Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Birds and Fruit

So for the last few days I've been stitching on Barbara Thompson's Peacock Firescreen - it's ages since I last picked it up. I'm really enjoying the bright colours and big blocks of this at the moment:

It's the perfect piece to alternate with Fruit Bellpull - If I'm fed up of confetti it's time for the Peacock. If I'm bored of big blocks of colour, pick up the bellpull. Hmmm, I might be on to something here...

And if I want a change from stitching, there is always the knitting - which I hope to have an update for in the near future!

Thanks for popping by my little corner of the net x

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Two lace making successes!

This week I finally took the sampler of Bedfordshire techniques off my pillow, and trimmed the fringe at the bottom. Apart from the sympathetic ties on the bottom vein (which I just couldn't figure out), I'm really happy with how this turned out. One of the major tasks was to try some techniques above the main bit of lace, and others below.

The top

I was particularly pleased with how the last section, with multiple raised leaves, went:
On Thursday night I went over to Louise's and picked up the Bedfordshire Lace butterfly I started at Christine's lace course two years ago, and finished off the wings on the left (I honestly thought I'd finished them ages ago!). I took it to Sheffield Lace Makers working day and AGM on Saturday, where I got started on the second set of wings, I'm going to focus on this piece for now, as I'd love to finish it and get it off the pillow. It's packed away at the moment, but I'll take a photograph when I next pull it out...

Anyway, on Saturday Sonia and I had a lovely day at Sheffield Lace Makers. As always there was a competition at the AGM, for any piece of lace completed that year. I entered my sampler and also the little round flower motif I finished in February. I knew the flower was the best piece of lace I'd ever made, but I didn't seriously think I stood a chance - imagine my amazement when I was told I'd won third prize!!

I won a lovely Chris Parsons lace bobbin, decorated with lily of the valley. Of course it's already on my pillow... The prize was presented by Norma, our president.

The second prize went to Ena for a superb owl, and Helen (our outgoing chairwoman) won the Munday trophy for her fabulous fascinator, which she is wearing to a wedding in a few weeks time:

I am gobsmacked that I was in such talented company - and to me it shows just how much my technique has improved with the weekends in Aston Cantlow.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

A Little Archaeology

OK, so when I set this blog up I did say that occasionally I would post about my other passion, archaeology...

At the moment I am busy working on a ton of different projects (possibly too many, who knows...), but the one that is really exciting (well, one of the ones that is really exciting...) is called 'From Cemetery to Clinic', funded by JISC.

Basically, with a group of colleagues in both Archaeological Sciences and Visual Computung we are creating an online resource about a medeival cemetery in Chichester. It's not just any cemetery, but was attached to a leper hospital, which later became an alms house. And lots of the skeletons show signs of leproy. We (well, my clever colleagues, not me!) are busy creating 3D laser scans, with textured overlays, of the affected bones and linking this into a GIS map of the excavated cemetery - with lots of information about the skeletons. It's a short project (just 5 months), and scarily we're half way through - but we now have a blog about the project and what we are doing - so if you are interested in my day job, or archaeology in general, then please do have a look.

Finger bone with a groove at the far end - this is caused by the contraction of hand muscles in leprosy - the person would have been unable to straighten their fiungers, a feature called 'claw hand deformity'.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Lace and gifts

Sandra asked on my last post if I enjoyed the Bedfordshire lace course last weekend - and the answer is a resounding YES!! I left work a little later than planned and dashed off down the motorway - stopping off in Nottingham to eat tea and pick up Eddy - getting to Wilmcote, j outside Stratford at about 8.30.

Being disorganised, after a swift pint, I set about pricking out a spare lace pattern. I suspect doing this after a pint was a bad idea, and the following morning I pricked it out again after before we ate a heavenly breakfast. We got to Aston Cantlow just after 9.30, and said hello to everyone - most of the group were on the course the previous year, and I sat with Jane, who I know from this course, demonstrating at Harrogate Knitting and Stitching show, and we always seem to run into each other at various lace days. Eddy set up at his lathe in the back room, and got busy turning bobbins, and I started a sampler of advanced Bedfordshire techniques - different rolled tallies, veins and raised leaves - both above and below the lace. We were supplied with many cups of tea by the lovely Sue, stopped for a fabulous buffet lunch and then briefly for cake mid afternoon. By 5pm I had learnt several new techniques, improved in several areas after some useful tips and suggestions, and was just over half way through the sampler.

That evening we went into Stratford for dinner, and the following day we were back in Aston Cantlow by 9.30. The last area I'd worked on the day before - a diagonal vein with sympathetic ties - hadn't gone brilliantly, probably because I tension too much. After a quick chat with Christine I decided to leave it and learn from the experience - after all, it's only a sampler. My progress slowed a bit when I hit to raised leaves, especially those on half stitch (the more open background), and I was loathe to leave my pillow when we were summoned to the pub for Sunday lunch! After a delicious meal of salmon, asparagus risotto and veggies followed by a pear and almond tart I got stuck in... and the the time we had to leave I'd only got about 1" of pattern to go (I was the last person to put down my bobbins, and Eddy was the last to turn off his lathe). We stopped at Eddy's mum's for tea, and I got back home quite late on Sunday night - thoroughly exhausted but thoroughly happy. Of course I never did need that second pricking....

This week has been dreadfully busy - end of term marking and all that... but I had a lovely surprise. On Thursday I popped to the post office and picked up a parcel that was too large for the letterbox. It was a lovely package of goodies from Sara - I'd won her giveaway a few weeks ago.... and boy was I in for a treat:

Thank you Sara, you made my day!!

This weekend I'm opting for very lazy, with lots of crafting - I hope that you all have a lovely weekend too.

Happy Stitching x

Friday, 6 May 2011

The ort report

OK, so I'm late (again...). I'd left my camera at work, so although I'd taken a photo of my ort jar on Monday, I couldn't upload it. Never mind! I think my orts look really pretty this month - they've come from A New Beginning, Tine for Harvest, Fruit Bellpull and Eeyore's problem, in that order - and I think with very little mixing! Given I spent the latter part of the month on my sewing machine I took the photo on my dining/sewing table...

Tonight I'm heading off to Aston Cantlow (just outside Stratford) for Christine Springett's Bedfordshire lace course. Eddy will be turning bobbins again... there will be a report on that early next week.

Hope everyone has a lovely stitchy weekend!

Monday, 2 May 2011

Spring florals

Well I've been off work for 13 days, and over that time I've met up with my mum, aunt cousin and cousin's son for the day, visited Margaret in Birmingham, bought some lovely new clothes and some lovely new stash, had good friends over for dinner, and then a very old friend and her son over for lunch, and done lots and lots of gardening, stitching, knitting and quilting! The glorious spring weather has helped make this a fabulous break, and I've really enjoyed watching our plants grow, flowers start to bloom, and the lovely floral fabrics that is 'Rural Jardin'

So over the last few days of this fantatsic break I've been watching lots of snooker and other TV while quilting and knitting. My scarf is now 2/3 done - I've just started with the 3rd and final ball of yarn. Thankfully no frogging of late :) As it hasn't changed in any way other than length I won't share another photo!!

I've also been racing ahead with the Teacher's Pet quilt top. Yesterday I laid out all of the blocks to finalise the arrangement. The suggested one from the pattern didn't quite work:

So I switched the top left block with one left over (there are 2 spare blocks, which will be cushions - both are identical with lots of cream, so I am pondering an applique something in the middle of the large cream square, with either the pink or red fabric, as that is what I'll have left over! Last night I stitched the rows together, and today I stitched the rows to each other. This photo is of the main part of the quilt top all stitched together (taken with a flash - the photo I took yesterday is much more accurate in terms of colour):

I'm really pleased how it has turned out - not too bad for my first quilt top! With hindsight I would have picked another fabric from the Rural Jardin range, and used the plain cream/beige for the setting triangles and another patterned fabric for the squares in the blocks, but it's far too late now!! Next I need to cut out and add the three borders - pink, then cream, then pale blue. But not for a couple of weeks - it's back to work tomorrow (boo!) and next weekend we are away on a lacemaking/bobbin turning course. I spent some time today pricking out my pattern (a sampler of advanced Bedfordshire Lace techniques) and finding (almost) everything I need to take.

As it is now May it's time to review and set some goals... In April I wanted to:

1) Get A New Beginning past the half way mark Yes!
2) Work on another WIP Yes! - Eeyore's Problem
3) Start fruit bell pull YES!!
4) Select and buy a chart for Helene's birth sampler Yes - it's a Classic Pooh birth sampler, which was her first choice!
5) Make some lace Nope, not a single bobbin was touched (apart from winding some this morning, which doesn't count as it's a) not making lace and b) May...)
6) Do some knitting YES!!
7) Do some quilting YES!!

And I am pretty happy with that!

In May I'd like to:

1) Work on at least two xs WIPs
2) Finish knitting my scarf
3) Start Helene's birth sampler
4) Start to stitch something with the lovely goodies Karin sent me from her giveaway
5) Add the borders to my quilt top
6) Make some lace
7) Start my giveaway prize stitching, now I have the necessary supplies

Not much, eh?

Happy Stitching x