Thursday 31 March 2022

Visit to Lacock Abbey.

On the Sunday of John's birthday weekend we visited Lacock village and abbey. Lacock is a village in Wiltshire and it is almost entirely owned by the National Trust. On the day we visited the weather was warm and sunny and the car park was filling up very quickly with visitors eager to see the venue of many TV series and films. We walked past the entrance to the Abbey to have a look at the main village street, and I took one photo of the village street.
It's a shame there were parked cars. We need another visit to explore the village.

Lacock Abbey was founded on the manorial lands by Ela, Countess of Salisbury and established in 1232.  After the dissolution, the Abbey and estate, including the village was sold to William Sharington and later passed to the Talbot family by marriage. The Lacock estate was home to photography pioneer Henry Fox Talbot from 1800 to 1877. In 1916 Henry Fox Talbot's son Charles bequeathed the estate to his niece Matilda Gilchrist-Clark. She took the name of Talbot and in 1944 she gave the Abbey and the village to the National Trust.

This was the view of the Abbey as we walked from the car park into the village.

When we went to visit the Abbey we walked past the front and turned round the corner. The doorway on the left took us into the cloisters.

The cloisters had a decorated ceiling  and was open on one side to grass.

In one of the room off the cloisters there was an example of the old floor tiles The looked beautiful and I love the designs.

We looked into the warming house. The information board in the photo below explains the warming house and the cauldron. You would be able to cook a lot of soup or stew in the cauldron.!

In the kitchen I like the household wants indicator. I could do with one in my kitchen. We have a note pad for writing down jars, tins etc that have been used but no one writes on the list.

I also liked the old range. I remember visiting my maternal grandfather's house and spending time in the kitchen by the range. It looked fairly similar to this one. I can also remember granddad using black-lead to clean the range. I was very pleased when he didn't ask me to help, it seemed a very mucky job to do

There was also a collection of irons and a pressing machine. Thank goodness we have our lovey modern steam irons.

As always I was on the lookout for embroidery and other textiles. There were two embroidered screens.

and a needlepoint cushion.

We walked round the grounds

Looked in the courtyard

There were lots of spring bulbs.

I loved the old fashioned daffodils, they have much longer trumpets and were an amazing bright yellow.

We enjoyed our visit and after tea and cakes we drove home to London. We really enjoyed our weekend away.

Take care


Sunday 27 March 2022

Slow stitching

I've been really enjoying my hand stitching recently and have made a point of doing some everyday. I've been working on the cow and rainbow block for the ark quilt and I think it has come out very well. I've increased the size of these blocks to 160%.

Yesterday I started on the block with Noah and the giraffes.

This evening I've sat and stitched whilst watching TV. I'm pleased with my progress. Instead of just outlining the spots on the giraffes I decided to use satin stitch to fill them in. 

My monthly goal for March was to complete three blocks, the cows, the giraffes and the dove block.

With a little bit of luck I have time to complete all of these before the end of the month.  I'm linking this post with Kathy from Kathy's Quilts for her Slow Sunday Stitching.

Tomorrow I really will share the photos I took at Lacock Abbey as well as more sewing.

Take care


Saturday 26 March 2022

Sewing in the sun

The weather here in London UK is beautiful, it's sunny and warm. In fact I'm beginning to worry that the weather is peaking too early, after all Spring only started on Monday and the weather is already behaving like summer. I'm not complaining as it's a very welcome relief after the rain and cold of recent weeks. Our house faces south and so our through living room dining room has been bathed in sunlight all day. It's been a pleasure setting up my machine on the dining table and enjoying sewing time in the sun. I've opened the patio doors behind me and can enjoy the bird songs (and squabbles) as they visit the feeder. I'm also enjoying being able to dry my washing outside again. I do need to get out into the garden to do some weeding and general tidying, plus we will need to get some bedding plants for the pots. The sun has really lifted my mood and I have several photos I want to share with you. Unfortunately, whilst caring for our old and sick fur babies I didn't feel much like blogging or stitching but the sun has given me a boost.

Last Saturday we celebrated John's 70th birthday. His birthday was on March 15th but ahead of time we moved the day to the weekend as we knew Scamp would not live through the week. Saturday also meant that our older daughter was able to join us but unfortunately, Oliver, her partner was working, so not quite the full family complement. Between us we had decided to be a little silly. Since there was nothing big and expensive John wanted we decided to get him 70 presents. they had to be things he would like, would be able to use or that would be eaten. Richard and Lucy set the dining table with the presents so this is what John saw when he went into the room.

In the end he had over 70 presents, mostly because we all got a little excited and bought extras plus we lost count! It took a while for him to open them all but we all enjoyed the bubbly while he did so. He was amazed we'd managed to keep it all hidden away and loved the varied gifts he received.

The previous weekend John and I went away to our favourite hotel, a little south of Bath. This was John's birthday weekend but I got a trip to my favourite quilt shop, Midsomer Quilting. John had put in bids on two of the 12 inch challenge quilts and having won them, he needed to pick them up. Many of the quilts in the challenge are auctioned to raise money for the local hospice. As always the shop had quilts on display.

I liked the colours in this one and the quilting was very pretty.

It was difficult to get a good picture of this one due to the lighting. I do like Dresden blocks.

The first two quilts didn't have a name with them but this one was called starburst and was advertising a class on how to make it which is taking place on 9th April.

My favourite quilt on display was this one.

It also had information about it.

Based on the Bayeux tapestry style and depicting it being made I love the things that bring it bang up to date. Can you spot the electric sewing machine? The work on this quilt was fabulous. I haven't been to the festival of quilts for many years but I may try and visit this year.

Having finished at the quilt shop we went bird watching for the day. We visited Ham Walls and Shapwick Heath. You are able to walk between the two reserves and there was a lot to see. Over the day we walked about 9 miles and really deserved the Gin and tonic before dinner. The day was warm but there was a cold wind that threaten to bring rain. In the end we were lucky and it stayed dry all day. I had fun taking photos of buds, catkins and spring flowers. I didn't have the right lens for the birds.

Off in the distance you can see Glastonbury Tor. The trees were all starting to take on a green hue as the leaves were starting to open.

 I managed to get a photo of a robin. He or she was singing away. 

There were Canada geese, tufted ducks, moorhens, coots, mallards and many more but this was the best I could get with the lens. Reminder to self - take other lenses when going bird watching. There were several marsh harriers and a kite which I could see through my binoculars but they don't even appear as a black dot on the photo.

The clouds cleared over the morning and I got this photo of fluffy clouds and blue sky. We had a great day.

On the Sunday we visited Lacock village and Lacock Abbey. Both have been used as venues for filming, appearing in Downton Abbey, the BBC's Pride and Prejudice and Cranford, Harry Potter and the half blood prince and Wolfman amongst others. The village is owned by the National Trust and people live in the houses in the village. The summer period must be a nightmare with loads of visitors all taking photos. I only took 1 photo of the village streets.

We spent most of our time visiting the abbey and walking in the grounds. I'll show you the photos from the abbey next time as I want to share a couple more blocks I quilted on my Austen Family Quilt. I tried to do the rope pattern and practiced it before hand. One of them is way off but 2 worked quite well. I'm not going to unpick the iffy one as it's all part of the learning process and this quilt will be staying with me.

I like how it looks on the back.

I kept the second block very simple. It's a shame I can't quilt in a straight line!

My plans for today are to quilt two more blocks but I need to decide how I'm going to quilt them first. So many decisions to make. I've also finished one of the hand stitching blocks that I'm working on for the Noah's Ark quilt. I'll show you that tomorrow for Slow Sunday stitching.

Take care


Friday 18 March 2022

Sorting priorities

Over the last few weeks I haven't had time or particular interest to get on with my various projects. Instead I spent time enjoying cuddles with Scamp and Casso and reading. Today I set about getting my quilting and sewing mojo back.  I decided that doing some quilting would be a good start. I collected the Austen Family Quilt and set up my machine. My plan was to quilt two blocks. First I needed to decide how I was going to do the quilting and time to have a little practice. Then to work.

I wanted to practice feathers but without trying anything too fancy and difficult. I am pleased with the result.

I'm going to need a lot of practice to produce really beautiful feathers at some point in the future. Today I was having difficulty quilting in a straight line.  

When I'd finished block 2 I felt pleased with what I had achieved and decided to put the quilting away for the day. I love the fabric backing of this quilt.

The postman delivered several small packages to me today. I had ordered the black aida and skeins of DMC stranded embroidery cotton ready for starting the Star Ship Enterprise cross stitch. 

The colours of the threads look prettier in person.

I only ordered 1 skein of each colour to start with as it gave the amount of yardage needed rather than the number of skeins. I have now wound the threads onto the plastic bobbins. All I have left to do is mark the centre of the aida before I can make a start.

Tuesday was John's 70th birthday. Because Scamp was so unwell we decided to put off celebrating until tomorrow. We are going to have a family birthday dinner and I took some time out to buy a couple of last minute presents. I need to finish the birthday cake in the morning.

I must get back to stitching the blocks for the Noah's Ark quilt. I haven't done any more stitching since I last posted a picture. For the next few weeks I shall have to get used to stitching without a dog or a cat on my lap. These blocks stitch up fast so I should be able to get the three that I set as my monthly goal, finished before the end of the month

Last weekend John and I were away at our favourite hotel near Bath. Whilst there I popped into Midsommer Quilting and came home with some fabric.

The stripped fabric is for the binding on the Austen Family Quilt and the paw print is for the baby quilt. I'll tell you more about our trip in my next post. It's getting late and tomorrow is going to be busy so I need to go to bed.

Take care


Wednesday 16 March 2022

Goodbye to Scamp

The last couple of weeks have been busy, with looking after Scamp, our Yorkshire Terrier. He had a growth on the bones in his face but he remained interested in life, food and cuddles. In consultation with our vet we decided to care for him at home until his quality of life dropped. He was OK over the weekend but went down hill fast this week and this morning he had two fits.  This evening we said goodbye to Scamp. 

He came to live with us when he was 5 weeks old. Too young to leave his mother, but she rejected him and so he came to us earlier than planned and we had to give him regular small feeds and be very careful not to step on him.

Although he was small he had a big personality and soon took control of the household. Whilst still a young puppy his ears stopped flopping over and he would hear the slightest sound, especially the fridge being opened.

He always looked as if he was smiling.

Scamp was a great companion on walks and loved to stop for lunch at a pub.

He was also a very helpful quilter's dog. He loved to test the cosiness of all quilts and gave his considered opinion.

I will miss Scamp and our morning cuddles, and his meeting me at the front door when I get home from work.

Thank you Scamp for being such a faithful companion. I will miss you.

On Friday I will be getting my sewing machine out for the first time in a couple of weeks. It will be strange to be sewing without Picasso and Scamp. We will be getting new fur babies but not for a few weeks. 

Take care