Crafting Holiday at Home

Every now and then I get asked to write the blog for Tudor Rose Patchwork.  I’m not a great blogger, my daughter knows more than I do and she’s only 14.  But then you expect a 14 year old to be a technological wizard.

I might not be a technological wiz, but I can craft.  In fact I love to create and make.  So much so that I decided to treat myself to a week off work.  The children were still and school and the husband was out at work and I had the luxury of 5 days to please myself crafting.  The washing machine did go on but there was not one garment ironed – apart from the quilt I was working on.

As well as having my sewing machine out to work on my quilt, I had yarn on the coffee table to crochet, my Pfaff Creative 1.5 embroidery machine was running 1400 stitches per minute and I finished a beaded parure.

According to Wikipedia, a parure typically consists of a combination of a matching necklace, earrings, brooch, bracelet and often a diadem or tiara.  Well mine was a mini or demiparure:  necklace, earrings and bracelet.  It was a huge project but the feeling of joy when I completed the last beaded toggle was immense.


So you have an idea of what my living space looked like.  The dining table, which when extended seats 14, was piled high.  It was so nice being able to leave everything out ready for the next day, knowing that I was coming straight back to it and not having to put things away until who knew when.

I loved being able to leave the embroidery machine set up.  It does take up quite a bit of room and I don’t have a dedicated crafting space so leaving it on the dining table for a week was marvellous.  Christmas is coming and I treated myself to a few Christmas designs.  I now have a set of 8 pristine, white napkins, each with a different design and in a different colour. 

My daughter chose purple as the colour scheme for our Christmas tree this year so we now have 5 white and purple embroidered felt decorations.  And finally, I nearly burnt out the engine creating lace bookmarks and a lace lantern.

It was a really wonderful week.  The downside, all the house work to catch up on.

Joy’s Christmas Update

Most of my recent blogs have featured my crazy addiction to crochet.  Not so this time.  I’m still crochet mad and have been working on crocheted cowls amongst other things as Christmas presents for many of my friends.  Each one a different yarn and a different colour especially chosen for each recipient.  It’s so exciting.  I look at all these lovely things I’ve made and feel so happy and full of anticipation of giving them, I’ve roped my 13 year old daughter in to help with present wrapping this year.  We’ll have an afternoon together in front of the television watching a Christmas movie, with sweet treats and wrap like mad.

Right now though, I’m making earrings. Lots of earrings.  I’ve blogged in the past about my love for beading and jewellery making and it’s made a bit of a resurgence in my life.  An elderly family friend dropped by the other week with an antique blue-grey freshwater pearl necklace.  She didn’t wear it anymore and could I do something with it?  She wanted to give a gift to each of our group of friends as Christmas presents.

What could I create?  I decided earrings would be the way to go.  I needed to make 5 pairs using the pearls.  One lady needed something lightweight – she had delicate ears.  One lady would need a big and bold pair.  I was going to have to make a pair funky and modern for one of the group and something very sparkly for another.  And of course, there would have to be a pair for me.

I have raided my stash and have come up with 5 different styles.  I’ve got a simple teardrop with tiny crystals, a bigger teardrop with larger crystals and a crystal charm.  There’s a simple multi stranded affair using just the pearls, a more complex multi stranded pair using crystals and seed beads. And finally a pair with crystals that’s going to look rather like a bunch of grapes.

I’ve used several different techniques – thread and a needle, nymo and tiger tail.

It has taken quite a few weeks but I am finally happy with the end results.  One pair was taken apart twice as they weren’t quite right and I just wasn’t satisfied.  Finding the different styles to suit the intended recipient took a while and quite a lot of research.  I even dug out old design magazines and books as well as using the internet to form the basis of my ideas.

It is so nice creating and making personal Christmas gifts.  That wonderful feeling you get is what Christmas should be about.  Keeping our loved ones in mind and giving a present that is personal and thought out.  Merry Christmas everyone!


Joy’s March Update

What’s been happening since my last update?

I mentioned I was crocheting mad – still am, nothing has changed there. I’ve lost count of the WIPs. There are presents for family and friends, tasks to encourage my mum back into crochet and of course, things that I just must do for me. And there’s a blanket CAL starting soon that I’ve got my eye on too. Never enough hours in the day. And I’m sure that’s the same for all of us.

My mum’s been unwell and needed to get her groove back. She tried to teach me to crochet when I was 8, then as a teenager. I was 43 before I asked her to show me again. I’ve come on leaps and bounds since then but she needed a helping hand. So I found us a lovely blanket of squares we could work on together and I’m pleased to say she’s enjoying herself again. And it’s been great that I could give her something back.

Since my last post, I attended the first beading class with our new tutor and that was a huge success. A lovely group of ladies just having a lovely time together, like minded but from so many different backgrounds and walks of life. I’m very much looking forward to our next class at the end of March. Sue Stallard proved to be a super tutor, our group is a mix of complete beginners, some of us with a bit of experience and a couple of ladies who have been beading for donkey’s years. I’ve already been shopping for our next two projects. It does help that I know what’s coming next and what we have in stock. Come and see our new beads and crystals all the way from Czechoslovakia.

I do enjoy sewing and quilting but as a busy mum I spend a great deal of time driving and waiting for children. The portability of crochet and beading just lend themselves to being picked up and put down. I sit in the back of the car sometimes, with my laptop on the seat next to me, watching the latest drama or documentary, a pile of wool around me, a pattern fastened on to the headrest in front of me and a flask of tea. It’s actually not a bad way to spend a few hours really, truth be told. However, roll on the longer nights, because beading to the illumination of a car light is quite hard work on the eyes.

At work, I’ve been working on a sample embroidery. It’s a stitched and stump-worked kit that we may stock in the future. But I have needed a magnifying lens and lights, as the piece and stitches were so tiny. And that was in broad daylight. Keep an eye out on our social media and website for the kits.


February Progress

Nothing much has changed, the weather is still dismal and grey.  Sad to say but I still haven’t finished my lovely big crocheted throw.  Nearly there, 180 rows done, just the edging to do.  Getting quite excited now the end is in sight.  It has been quite nice spending a little time each evening on the sofa in front of the TV with my ever-growing blanket keeping me warm.  Spent the day out with my son and 10 other 14 year olds over the weekend paint balling.  Well they were paintballing, I sat in the car and crocheted, jumped out into the rain, fed them, sent them off again, jumped back in the car, crochet and repeat.  They all had a brilliant time and were exhausted by 4 o’clock.  I had a marvellous time being able to crochet without feeling guilty that I wasn’t doing housework/ironing/vacuuming etc etc.


I have however also been working on a couple of my many UFOs.  Just a few…


Having finished this lovely little piece, I have rediscovered my love of handwork, I started this stumpwork piece in a class with Kathy Laurel Sage about 18 months ago and I completed it last week. Just waiting for a frame now.  And of course, I’ll have to find a home for it.  It has reminded me how much I enjoy cross stitch and embroidery.   And goldwork… and tapestry… and jewellery making in its various guises.

I’ve joined a monthly group starting next month here at Tudor Rose Patchwork with our new tutor Sue Stallard and I’m very excited about the projects we’ll be doing in class.  The samples for each class are lovely and I’ve had a wonderful day ordering in the beads and crystals we’ll need.

The shipment of Czech delicas arrived on Thursday.  Huge amount of work involved getting them ready for you all but actually thrilled about new projects that are ahead of us.  Not to mention a couple of UFOs too… along with a bracelet and a necklace that need attention.

Help!  There’s just too much to do and not enough time.  Maybe if I didn’t sleep, eat, work or have to do anything with the children.  And I keep finding more to do.  I belong to a couple of Facebook groups and every day there’s a new pattern I’d like to make or new products I’d like to try.  A good job I don’t belong to any other social media.  It’s just madness.  How do you decide which project, piece you’re going to work on next?  Do you try and finish something a section a week whilst working on several others at the same time or just wing it, work on what you feel like that day?



January Update

So the new year has started after a wonderful but very busy Christmas with family and friends.  The weather is topsy turvy, sun shining brightly one day and frosty and cold the next.  Heating on, heating off.  Walk the dog, coat on, coat off.  Ride the horses – lightweight macs to keep them dry in the rain or thick, heavy beat the freeze rugs.  Just don’t know what to do or where we’re at.


Nothing changes for crafting for me though.  I’m addicted to crochet just now.  I’ve got UFOs at the sewing machine, UFOs in the jewellery-making and beading box, UFOs in the cross stitching bag.  But nothing pulls me away from my yarn and crochet hooks.  During 2016 I created 3 blankets which were given away as Christmas presents to family and special friends.   I made a dress, lovely to wear during the hot summer, and even crocheted a bag – currently a UFO at the sewing machine…


My wonderful husband treated me to some marvellous yarn for Christmas.  A 45% silk/55% mohair mix in a deep purple/maroon shade.  I’ve chosen to use it for another throw.  Two of last year’s blankets were crochetalong’s and the third was a very simple pattern.  This time I’ve chosen something more complicated to push me.  The first challenge being the chain of 177 stitches.  Never worked a chain so long before.  Found a tip online – create a chain in counts of five.  Worked well.  Got the right number of stitches first time.


I found that once I mastered the basics – a slip-knot and chain, a double crochet and a treble – anything is possible.  However complicated a pattern, stitches are all built around these basics.  So my new pattern with woven stitches, cables, arrows and celtic weave amongst others, are all just building on the basics.  And I have to say I’m enjoying learning and pushing myself with this.  I’m only on row 34 but loving every moment I am able to find half an hour in an evening to work on this.   There has been a certain amount of frogging but fortunately not too much.


“Frogging” I hear you ask.  What is frogging?  I had to google it too.  Quite simply, “to frog” is “to rip out stitches”.  It is a play on words alluding to amphibians and their chorus of “ribbit, ribbit, ribbit”.


Whatever your craft, I hope you have a wonderful 2017.