Thursday 10 November 2016

They simply stitched...

Good morning lovelies!

A cold start to this November morning greets me...
So, slippers are keeping me warm, cuppa in hand and I have five mins
of saying hello before my busy day ahead.

My week has been a very mixed bag of moments...

English Paper Piecing.

Family History.


Travelling through The Fens.

Slow Stitching.


Of course, if I was to sum up all of my varied days it would look like a jumbled patchwork throw...unfinished at that.
I guess the same as anyone else!

In our modern times life just seems to travel so flippin fast don't you think?
I wonder if our ancestors thought the same or even had time to think of such thoughts?

Slow stitching helps to ground me when I am needing some downtime.
When it is time to step off that hamster wheel of normality.
Isn't it strange how the thrill of a simple piece of metal and a snippet of thread can bring such joy....

I decided in the summer that my project over winter was to finally get around to
cutting out and then stitching my hexies back together again to produce
a snuggly lapquilt.
I have so many FQ's that are too small to add to a project but too big to waste.

English Paper Piecing has always been welcome in my heart since learning how to make a cushion whilst at Junior School.
I diligently stitched with eagerness each and every little small piece of cloth waiting for my jigsaw to appear.
of course in practise it was a really good way of introducing children to stitching and even wiser a good way to get them to practise their stitching without it becoming a chore.
i owe a huge thank to Mrs Walters for that...

Of course real English Paper Piecing (EPP) has a history something very different to what we perceive today...
It evolved from sheer necessity, like many sewing crafts.

Every tiny scrap of cloth able to be saved was added to the bag of scraps
and housewives would sit and stitch whilst hubbies were toiling the land 
during the summer months to produce a 'new' bed blanket quilt to keep their families warm
in the grueling hostile winter months.

I'm sure they didn't see it as therapeutic as we do today.

they simply stitched....

Not sure what they would've thought of our designs and styles today.

They used any scrap of paper they could get their hands on as templates to 
use to cut out their hexie shapes...
letters from family, telegrams, birthday cards, shopping lists, brown paper from the bacon or cheese they collected daily on their shopping trips to the grocers.

None of our pre-cut shapes back then.

No die cut shapes or machines to help quicken the process.

No fresh sparkling new fabric....


As they stitched by gas light or low evening light, because that was often the only time
they were able to sit and stitch...
they would simply stitch, slow and steady but methodically to get the job done.

Would their mind wander as does mine?

I really would love to sit and chat with the women in my family who are no longer here that 
sat quietly and did the very same...

What do you sit and think about whilst stitching?

All our vintage whispers of thread will become hierlooms of the future.
Do you add special memories to your projects or are you happy to simply stitch also?

Do tell..
I love to hear your tales...

Monday 7 November 2016

Seeped in history...

Hello lovelies...

Thank you for all your lovely comments following my last post.
It is so joyous for me to share my passion for my beautiful 
Fens with you all.

I know everyone favours the area they know best.... 
the area you were born into or the area you grew up in.

For me the ancient landscape known as The Cambs Fens
is deeply rooted within my bones.
My family history reaches back to a time when Fenmen waded 
through the boggy marshes on stilts; before there were dry fields and profitable farms.

Over time, man has forcibly sculptured every square patch of the land
for his own advantage despite Mother Nature putting up a big fight, resulting
in the flat land now famously known for the best arable land in the UK.

On a holiday in Cornwall a few years ago, a shopkeeper asked me if I had travelled far
on my hols...
When I replied I lived in Cambridgeshire,
 she quickly returned with " live in the damp patch then..."

The damp patch?

Can't say I've ever been described as a damp patcher before!

A stubborn 'ol Fen bird yes.
A Fen tiger yes.
One of them odd fen folk yes.
But...never a damp

My Fens offer skylines that equal a winning National Lottery ticket.
Her sunsets are masterpieces fit for the Tate Gallery.

As a child I would sit for hours watching clouds, create characters
and building my own stories...
I loved writing stories and poems.

I take SO many photos of the Fens and her landscape you would think at my age I would be bored of doing so by now but no.
I especially love trees.

Fen trees have a special corner in my heart.
Any shape, any size...any age.

They are always full of silent energy that bring a smile or two
whenever I see them.
Prince Charles was famously ridiculed for talking to the plants and trees but
I have to say I'm with him on that one....

I'm a firm believer in trusting trees with their wisdom.
They know a thing or two about survival of the fittest.
The tough 'ol Fen winds whip up a Fen blow around 
their ankles that often cause distress to so many....
and yet they plod on like tired old soldiers to get to the winning post.
They hold their own.

They are like little treasure boxes holding secrets to our past.
If only they could talk back....

Off to grab a cuppa and do some slow stitching so
until our next chat folks...
Toodle- ooh for now!

Wednesday 2 November 2016

Fenland Misty Mirrors

Hello lovelies...
November already?
Where does time go?

My poor neglected blog mirrors a very loyal friend who I return to when time allows and yet faithfully awaits my return for my next story...

As I am writing this post I am surrounded by the most beautiful Autumnal sunshine...
the sort that tricks you into thinking it may still be a little summery
out there but in reality it really is quite a shock to the system!

Spidery frost fronds decorate my garden with so many of Mother Nature's gems glistening in the sunlight.

Yes indeedy...Autumn has definitely set out her stall.
She is here to stay for a while so it is time to dig out those snuggly jumpers, tights 
and crocheted blankets. 
The array of colour, texture and smells delight my Virgo soul.
It really is MY time of year and for a couple of months I feel in vogue...

For me, Autumn has always been a reflective time of the year.
A time to start closing the door on life earlier in the day to snuggle under the warmth of home with my loved ones.

As usual I have a whole host of projects on the go to complete during the darker months which
will probably still be sitting there come Springtime but the intention is always good...

I have been working away from home alot this year doing various events and shows 
so it is extra special this year to be slowing down and putting my feet up a little more.

As much as I have absolutely loved doing all the events, exhibiting some of my work,
selling my kits, demonstrating various crafts and meeting so many beautiful people 
from all walks of life....
In truth, I am such a home bird...

My Fen roots are so strong that the feeling of nesting at home with my family whilst the
wild Fen winds blow all around me seep to the edge of every cell of my body.
I yearn for the simplicity of life.

Is that just a Fen thing or just an age related obsession?

So, with harvests all now in, flowers slowly fading, leaves finally falling 
and children already writing their Christmas lists it is time to wish everyone  
Happy Samhain

Samhain is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season
 and the beginning of winter or the "darker half" of the year.

Samhain allows my Fenland soul to rest her weary bones for a while and simply enjoy
the beauty around.
Don't get me wrong...
I don't enjoy the darker side of our year for so many reasons
but we must all embrace things in our lives that are often not our choice.
So with that in mind I welcome the dark into my life for a while
as best as I can...

As our rhythms of life begin to complete their full circle for this year we shall soon be moving on to the next circle.

2016 has been a very enlightening one for me.
I took a huge gamble at the beginning of the year to change direction slightly
and concentrate on projects I really wanted to do rather than was expected to do.
It was definitely a new direction to travel in, a scary one at times 
but none the less a very inspiring one! 
In allowing myself the freedom to explore through my much loved cloth and thread, my world of creativity has expanded immensely.

I've always enjoyed exploring and experimenting but lately
I've so enjoyed throwing loads into the mix of a textile collage, and just like watching a Victoria sponge being baked in an oven,
 watch it evolve right in front of my eyes.....

Capturing my ancient landscape with vintage cloth is just so beautiful to do.
I'm so pleased I haven't lost that 
well known dogged Fen determination deep in my genetic make-up to go against the grain... 
if anything I think it is getting stronger as I get older!
Either way it is making my soul so very happy.

"each new day is a path of wonder,
a different invitation..."
John O'Donohue

Until my next story...
Toodle-ooh for now