Quilt display at Castle Espie

 I was delighted to be able to see the exhibition set up by the Loose Thread Quilters that just finished in Castle Espie. There as a great variety of work using various techniques. Unfortunately the names are not beside each photo there was just a list I didn’t notice til the end. My hubby patiently waiting so unable to get copy of names








The one above was my favourite.



So what’s install for you this year craftwise?

 We all need to get the right balance in our lives and that very depends on whether we have dependents to consider, employment we have to work round then down to the basics of eatingsleeping and cleaning. I had already decided this year is a year of finishing but that doesn’t mean I can’t start something new after all those other priorities, such as new babies born requiring gifts can be a priority that prompt a new project. I made a great start by finishing two projects at Glenada but starte a new crochet blanket this week as I am low on baby boy items. I haven’t done C2C for a while and forgot how quick it is even with colours to change.

Having finished my City and Guilds in patchwork and design successfully I am not finished with sewing yet and plan to share some basic skills to those who are interested on various Wednesday evenings. We won’t necessarily be making an item but learning basic skills and sampling different techniques that could be used for a larger project.
I will get back to my genealogy and scrapbooking but have lots to sort before I even get to putting photos on paper. The years go by so fast and although my age is keeping up my available time doesn’t seem to be. I had completed a small workshop with Jenny Rayment and decided to turn the samples into a small hanging for my craft room. It hasn’t quite earned the wall yet but it is complete.

 I did a little of my own fiddling and folding for borders to add to the two samples as I really didn’t want cushions. The calico I got from Emlress Mills suited perfectly.

Coffee and craft has been mostly crochet recently but open to any crafters.


 This blanket gives a very different but equally beautiful design on each side. It draws me back to interlocking crochet but I don’t plan to start any new ones right now as much as I enjoy them.
Thinking back to balancing life we also need some time out and nothing better for me than a walk with Smudge in Mountstewart. There is so much choice now with all the new added trails and as the weather improves the crochet can come along too as lots of quiet places to sit. 1/7th of my week is my paid employment so that gives me lots of time for exercise, craft, Bible study and all the basic things we must do so I consider myself extremely rich! Richness for me does not come from monetary gain.

Glenada with the Northern Ireland Patchwork Guild


One of the quilts I finished at Glenada. I had decided as a whole this year would be primarily for finishing things so this weekend was no exception. The quilt was a pattern and fabric pack I purchased from the Fennel Shed many years ago. I completed the machine quilting and binding and it’s now presently on my bed.
 Jeanette and I also worked on some handquilting. She got hers finished and mine is still a work in progress as sore on the fingers.
It was busy but at the same time a relaxed atmosphere. The staff wee so friendly providing us lovely meals without any effort on our part so we could return to our projects immediately. It was a weekend of eating, sleeping and sewing. It was lovely to see what everyone else was working on and pick up some hints and tips on the way.


Items being made for church celebrations and some for charity.


Some folk preferred not to have their photograph taken just that of their work. I also finished a bag I had started some time ago. It was made to raffle in aid of Kiwoko Hospital in Uganda, presently tickets available until Easter £2.




Lots of little small wallhanging being made also and some dressmaking.






Discussions in techniques and ideas.
 Some non sewing fun directed by Jeanette

   We can’t wait til next year

Volunteering with the National Trust-Mountstewart


This is one my favourite photos of Smudge at Mountstewart, probably our favourite place to visit. I have been visiting for 
twenty five years and she has been there for eight of them. She gets so excited we cannot utter the name Mountstewart in conversation at our home as she gets so excitable she expects to go there right away so we have to speak in code if we are proposing a visit. The new trails have added to our experience immensely. I have been a member since I was twenty two and have gained so much not just from visits in N.Ireland but also in England and Scotland. I am fortunate to work part time and as I have recently finished my design and patchwork course I felt I could volunteer to help with conservation. At this moment in time I am feeling a bit guilty as I seem to have gained more than I have given so far.
The world of volunteering is much more than I ever expected and I look forward to being more involved in his community. I met with two employees of the trust thinking I was there for some sort of interview only to realise this was quite the reverse as the conversation kept going back to “if you decide to join us”  I was invited to take part in any events volunteers are involved in and was delighted to see a programme online where I could book these.
I have always been interested in my family genealogy which I may have inherited from my dad’s love of history. I have found a few skeletons in the closet much to the annoyance of family members but in the process I have gained so much reward especially in the reuniting of one of my dad’s cousins to her half sisters she never knew she had. The era I have most interest in is late Victorian early Edwardian as I feel there was so much change then. Personally I feel I should have been born a middle class lady of the late 1890s where I would have sat all day sewing between having at homes. Some of my friends may feel I have achieved this goal at the age of 48 since I only work evenings and the rest follows.
I have been fascinated by Mountstewart from the first day I walked in the gardens and was delighted to have met and talked with Lady Mairi on a number of occasions. During our little chat on whether we were going to be volunteers or not it was discussed the importance of preserving the past whilst allowing it to be enjoyed by all. On one occasion I showed Lady Mairi a photograph of Smudge under the blue hydrangeas, which I love. She asked if it was taken in my garden. I hesitated and then I stated I suppose it was as we were fortunate to share Mountstewart through the National Trust.
Anyway back to volunteering…I opted to join the volunteers garden walk where the head gardener informed us of the changes in the garden and plans for the incoming year. A lot of plans that have to take place simply because nature decides and others because of governmental regulations. Unfortunately it’s keeping to regulations that causes a financial burden on the trust and many of these are unseen by the general public. I know very little about plants and their Latin names but found this walk and talk most enjoyable and informative. When Smudge and I walk in the future I will be looking at everything from a different light. The highlight of my week was a talk by Neill on ladies in big Irish houses covering my favourite time in history. I hung on every word and was so envious of his research. How I would have loved to have chatted with the ladies he did and been exposed to the documents they were willing to share. To finish the week I thoroughly enjoyed Dr Blacks talk on “hanging the head” I seriously never thought of this art as interesting but again I will look on portraits differently in the future. So… as you can see now why I feel guilty as although I aim to volunteer already the National Trust have given me so much more.

Patchwork and more with Yvonne McAtamney

 It’s winter so what does that mean for you? I think of soups stews and sitting indoors doing craft. It’s been Patchwork essentially with some crochet thrown in recently.

This is a cross between Patchwork and crochet. I had a lovely time with the long lane hookers getting back into this project I started last year with stylecraft alpaca year.
This month at the Oatchwork Guild we had Yvonne McAtamney speaking to us about where she gets her inspirTion and showing off her quilts. I love to see other people’s ideas and it encourages me to be more creative.
 The fine silk threads and delicate applique was amazing. Interesting to hear how she matches her thread with her fabric. Her pieces reminded me of my trip to China and visits to the temples and museums there, seeing in the Geisha girls at the summer palace.



 It was unfortunate there were so few at the workshop but I generally don’t do Sundays. For those who do do Sundays why are workshops not attended. What puts off those with advanced experience and those with little experience and how do you get the right balance.







I continue to work on N.I Big Sock and some members have added to our supply