Monday 31 January 2022

A visit to Guildford

Guildford is a town in Surrey, 28 miles southwest of the outskirts of London. It has a cathedral, a castle and a university. I've visited the university on several occasions for meetings but I've never visited the town itself but today, John and I decided we would visit the cathedral and the castle. We went by train as we both have senior rail cards and it meant we didn't have to worry about parking. I enjoyed the opportunity to view the countryside we went through rather than concentrating on the road. The cathedral and the castle are in opposite directions so we decided to start with the cathedral. Before leaving I'd taken Picasso for his yearly check up and vaccinations so we left late morning and were hungry by the time we got there but they had a very good cafĂ© and we enjoyed a tasty lunch.

The Cathedral church of the Holy Spirit, usually just called Guildford Cathedral stands on land that was donated to it. Richard Onslow gave the original 6 acres and then Viscount Bennett, (click HERE  for more information about him) who was Prime Minister of Canada between 1930 and 1935 bought the remaining land needed and donated it to the Cathedral in 1947. The Cathedral was designed by Edward Maufe ( more information HERE) and was built between 1936 and 1961. From the outside it isn't as pretty as older cathedrals because it's made of brick but it is impressive. The photo from the front doesn't show the tower.

Once inside you enter an amazing space with a wide nave and a soaring ceiling. The space is very light and has a calm and spiritual atmosphere.

The Cathedral is built on stag hill and when walking in the nave I found a brass stag in the floor. The stag appears several times around the building.

One of the things I like to do when visiting places is to identify any textiles. Guildford Cathedral has a strong textile history. It is a former wool town and a feature of Guildford wool was its blue colour. The main colour in the Cathedral is blue with gold and red used along side it.

This cope is known as the wigwam cope and was designed and embroidered by Beryl Dean in 1962. The design was inspired by the archways and windows of the cathedral

The second cope on display is the consecration cope 1962. This isn't the original cope worn at the consecration of the Cathedral. The original was designed by Lady Maufe in 1946 and made by the Royal School of Needlework using wedding dress silk. On the morning of the consecration, after 12 years of being exposed to light the fabric was found to have rotted and it had to be hurriedly stitched together using long tacking stitches. The cope on display is a replacement for, and a copy of the original


The next two embroideries adorned the pulpits.

The Cathedral banner depicts its dedication to the Holy Spirit. It was designed by Sir Edward Maufe and stitched by Mrs Doris Halliwell over a two year period.

The front on the High Altar was rather magnificent. Sir Edward Maufe designed a series of frontals for the High Altar which were made by the Broderers Guild in the early 1960's

I liked the embroidery on the frontal in the Lady Chapel.

The Cathedral was beautiful but also very different from the older cathedrals in the UK. It was very light and airy and there was a lot to look at but it didn't feel cluttered. We had a great day out, with the sun shining cheerily even though it was cold. We had planned to visit the castle but we decided to head home as the sun started to fade and the temperature dropped. We are planning more trips out and about this year since we haven't really done very mush over the last two years.

Tomorrow is February 1st and the start of International Embroidery Month. I am hoping to keep up with the Crabapple Hill stitch-along this year.  For now I need to finish sorting out my embroidery floss in preparation. The embroideries are small so I should be able to complete most of them in the evening.

Take care


Friday 28 January 2022

Polar Bear Plunge

 This week Joan from MooseStash Quilting is hosting the Polar Bear Plunge blog hop. Thank you Joan for organising the hop, they are always such fun to take part in. 

Since life has been a little bit hectic recently with my brother being in hospital over Christmas and New Year, work being vey busy and Scamp needing extra care, I decided to keep this really simple and make a mug rug. I spent quite a bit of time checking out pictures of polar bears and enjoying videos of them frolicking in the snow. I needed to keep it simple so decided I wouldn't try making a picture of a whole bear but rather a head and upper body shot. I'm quite pleased with the result.  Here he is climbing out of the water onto the ice.   I used embroidery thread for his nose and eyes but I wish I'd done the same for the outline of his muzzle as it doesn't show up very well.

The remit for the hop said polar bear or something blue. Over Christmas, whilst tidying my sewing cupboard I found an orphan block. I made two of these blocks using the same fabrics but putting them in different positions. The second one I made was well sewn and was finished into a cushion cover and gifted. The orphan block in my cupboard was a mess. The points are all off and some of the seams (lots of the seams) don't match very well. I like the block and didn't want to throw it a way as that seems such a waste. I decided to do some work on it to tidy it up a little and quilt it. The tidying up was very basic as I didn't want to take the block apart. I decided to quilt it by stitching round all the seams and I made a game of trying to complete each round without cutting the thread.

You can still see where seams don't meet properly but it doesn't look too bad. Over the weekend I'll add the binding which is the same fabric as the binding on the polar bear. For the back I used a brighter and sparkly blue fabric I had in my stash. I couldn't use it for the binding as it doesn't go with the blues on the front. Whilst most of the quilting was straight stitching I did do some zig zag stitches around a couple of the squares.

Here are the rest of the blogs taking part in the final day of the hop. Why not pop over and visit them to see what they've made.


Friday Jan 28

Sew Many Yarns (you are here)


Lianne Makes Stuff

Stitchin at Home 

Quilt Schmilt 

Lynns Beauty


I'm going to make myself a cup of tea and settle down to visit all the blogs taking part in the hop. 

Take care


Monday 10 January 2022

Slowly getting my sewing mojo back

So far this year I've done very little sewing even though I have a lot of projects I could be working on. Unfortunately my older brother has been ill and in hospital since December 18th. He is slowly getting healthier so I can now feel settled enough to start on the sewing. I have managed to finish the penguin embroidery and I've made a start on the tortoises. I will show you these little stitcheries later in the week. In order to get myself into a good sewing mood I decided to look back at what I finished last year to give myself some positive vibes. I thought I had only finished a couple of quilts and I was very pleasantly surprised to find that I had been quite productive.

I finished my oldest UFO, my millennium sampler. This still has to be framed but I hope to get that done this month. Covid got in the way of getting it done earlier.

I created several baby quilts. This was for one of my students new baby, Umar.

This one was gifted to a colleague of my older daughter.

I love the stars and stripes of this little quilt

I used up quite a lot of 2.5 inch squares on this 16 patch quilt but my scrap boxes are still full.

This is a favourite pattern of mine using charms squares or in this case squares cut from fat quarters. I can't find the finish photo.

This one used the Mr Rabbit's garden embroidery as the center block.

I completed the hare quilt which started life to be a baby quilt but I enlarged it as my younger daughter wanted to claim it.

I've completed a Christmas table runner.

and my fall table topper.

In addition I made a bunch of mug rugs, several cushions, two sets of oven gloves and I also completed some dress making. I'm sure I've missed one or two things but I was surprised what I had achieved.

This year I have some baby knitting and sewing to do and I must make some more scrappy quilts as my scrap boxes are over flowing. Having reviewed last year I feel good planning this year's projects. Thank you to all of you who read my blog. I will continue writing about my sewing, visits to galleries and trips to other parts of England. I hope you will enjoy whatever I achieve this year.

Take care


Monday 3 January 2022

A new year and new beginnings.

 I'm not sure I'm ready for 2022 as I have so many half finished projects from last year cluttering up my storage cupboard and my brain, that its difficult sorting out priorities for the year. There is one priority that must be finished and that is the Noah's Ark embroideries and quilt. Older daughter Kathryn and her partner Oliver, otherwise known as Katy and Olly are expecting their first child in early May and this quilt is for the baby. They had a scan last week and know the baby is a boy. So far on this quilt I've finished the elephants. Sorry still using the old photo which was taken before I pressed the piece.

I had copied out the patterns for the penguins and also the tortoises. My December goal was to complete both these pieces but that didn't happen. That means I have a lot to get done to complete this quilt in time. I'm hoping my grandson will follow in his mother's footsteps and arrive two weeks late, just so I get some extra sewing time to get it finished.

Today is Sunday and therefore a slow stitching day. My aim is to work on the penguins and see how far I get. This is a small piece and I've already done the frame around it.

I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching link up. This is the first for 2022 and this is a link up I always try and join in with.

Take care


Sunday 2 January 2022

Happy New Year and review of 2021

December wasn't great for posting on my blog due to a variety of reasons but mainly there has been just so much going on that by the time I have space to post I need to sleep. I'm taking the opportunity to take a look back at 2021 and link up with Cheryl from Meadow Mist Design for her Best of 2021.

2021 has been another odd year for everyone. Trying to stay safe and well and ensure all family and friends are well has been tiring. At the same time we have needed to get on and enjoy life as far as any restrictions allowed. Overall the year at Sew Many Yarns has been good, with family time, trips away (although much fewer than usual), dinners out and visits to museums and art exhibitions, not forgetting visits to favourite quilt shops. Cheryl's link is about the best moments of 2021 and the choice of why they are the best is wide open so this took a little thinking about and trawling through the posts from the year. At that point I fell into the rabbit hole and ended up reading about my year from the posts. It was very enjoyable.

Most viewed.

There were several post that had very similar view figures but the post on February 6 won by a whisker. This showed my finish of a baby quilt for Umar (new baby of one of my students). I love making baby quilts but using scraps where possible. This one made a small dent in the scrap boxes,

The post also showed the start of the ballerina baby quilt. The ballerina blocks were part of a collection I was gifted by an elderly friend who was moving into sheltered accommodation and so was downsizing. This quilt was also gifted to a new baby.

 Most comments.

The post that received the most comments was the post for the Show your stripes blog hop.  I love taking part in blog hops for a variety of reasons, not least being the lovely comments that I receive.  For the Show your Stripes hop I made a baby quilt using a pattern from Miss Rosie's Quilt Co.

I chose to make this quilt using blues and reds and managed to source all the fabric from my scraps. I even had yardage in my stash for the back.

Yet again, although I used my scraps to make this quilt, it didn't make a big difference on the scrap boxes.

My favourite finish.

Making a quilt or piece of embroidery is lots of fun, very therapeutic and means you end up with a useful and pretty item. Having a finish is always good and my favourite finish of 2021 happened on the first day of the year . It was also my longest UFO having been started at the end of 1999. My millennium sampler was a Christmas gift from John in 1999. I started work on it almost immediately but over the years it spent long periods of time in my embroidery bag.  It was a great relief  and also a triumph when I completed it. 

Trips and walks.

I don't just post about quilting or stitching, I also post about our trips and walks. I get quite a lot of comments about the trips. In May 2021 we went to our favourite hotel in Somerset for a weekend break. This should have happened in March, for John's birthday but due to lockdown for covid it was delayed. We visited my favourite quilt shop  and then set out to Fairley Hungerford castle and on into Bradford on Avon.

Fabric objects.

I like to take photos of any fabric objects I see on our visits. In November John, Lucy and I went to Suffolk to try and finish the Stour and Orwell path. We walked from Pin Mill to Ipswich
At one point of the walk we walked past Freston Church. The vicar was just leaving and told us the church was still open if we wanted to have a look inside. The church was small but very interesting. Several members of the congregation had made kneelers for the church and I took photos.

I'm linking this post with Cheryl from Meadow Mist Designs for her Best of 2021 link party. Tomorrow I'm hoping to get some sewing time and post about our December activities.

Take care