My London Bag.

As it has become known now. 
Do you remember the fabric I bought at the most recent quilt show I went to in Malvern. Yes thats right, the fabric that had haunted me for nearly a year since I saw it last.
Well the day before our hols when we went to London and immersed ourselves in art, culture and all things red, white and blue I managed to put sewing machine to fabric and made the bag I so wanted. 
 And it was made with incredible speed, I galloped along making decisions as I went. 
And somewhere along the line I forgot to take any more photo’s and began packing bags. 
But not until the bag was completed.  I’ve forgotten to take a photograph of its insides but it is fully lined with the red and white stripy ticking.  We were both very pleased with it and so were the tourists. I was stopped a couple of times to ask where I had purchased it from and as you might imagine I was delighted to say I made it myself. 
During our foraging in Liberties I found some London themed fabrics. 
Very pretty 
and they would make great bags, 
But at £79.00 a meter, I left them where they hung.  

Golden Orb Spider Cloak

During one of our jaunts to London we spent a morning at the V & A to see this.  The Golden Orb Spider Cloak.  We had heard of this exhibition some six months earlier and had eventually managed to fit it in just before the exhibit closed.  It was as beautiful as you might imagine, I loved the embroidered spiders that ran over the shoulders front and back.  It took eight years to make and fascinatingly the spiders only produce their golden fibre in one season of the year.  
There is a video which tells you a little more about it, Golden Orb Spider video

I’ll leave you to enjoy the photo’s. 

 The densely patterned woven two metre shawl that was also made from the Golden Orb Silk.

My breath was taken away with the amount of work and skill involved in this venture. 
 It takes 23,000 spiders to weave 25 grammes of silk and there are 1.5 kg of silk in the cape.  I would have loved to have felt a sample of the thread or fabric but at the price it would have been, I very much doubt I could have afforded to do so.  

Conservatory Suite

I have been meaning to tell you about my exploits recovering Mum’s conservatory suite.  Well what happened is that Mum started to eye up a brand new suite which was over the £500 mark and Dad broke into a sweat.  They were meeting me at knitting later and told me about it, I exclaimed that she didn’t need a new suite, all she needed was new cushion covers.  So then she said, “well thats what we think and we want to ask you if you will do it for us?”  Well I couldn’t say no could I, and I am game for most things sewing.  We went straight off back to Mum’s measured up, then bought fabric and thread and I got to work.  A couple of weeks later I had this. 

 Recovered the cushions in a box shape, that was an interesting technique to learn.  In the corner of the photograph you can just see a circular cushion that I made and used piping with for the first time. 
 Mum was really excited when I said that I would replace the valance in the same fabric as she had never had it all matching before.  We ripped the old valence to bits to reuse the curtain heading.  I remember that this section involved the use of the ruler and washable marker so that all of the sections would meet up.  By the way can you see her wonderful flowering Easter cactus, it only lasts like that for a few days.  
And one of the two chairs.  I think it turned out all right. 

My birthday post.

Just a few moments from my birthday celebrations. 
Firstly there was CAKE! from Mum and Dad which was delicious.  My brother has been buying Carolyn’s cakes for over twenty years.  At last she has her own shop in Leamington so everyone can buy her deliciously sweet and sticky masterpieces. The Cakery   And what is more, they are very reasonably priced. 
 During the celebrations we went to Warwick Castle to see how our young Squire was doing. 
 I can’t find the words to express just how emotional it was to see my boy having fun again, he loves this summer job and he was very upset to be leaving it so suddenly last year when he became very ill.  Although he still has problems because of the surgery, mostly he is happy and healthy and we are all very, very grateful for that. 
 We had a meal at our favourite restaurant in London. 
And best of all Son no.1 came back home at 3 a.m. on my birthday.  The best birthday present a mother could have.  Suffice it to say that to come back he would have had to leave, which he did, it was all very upsetting.  But our boy is back, slightly damp, bedraggled and very upset, we are giving him lots of love and hugs and he seems very happy to be home and is becoming happier by the day.  
A wonderful birthday with my family complete. 

Embroidered Buttons

 As soon as I saw this workshop advertised on Loop’s website I knew I had to go,  the pretty colours and delicate beading taught by Cecile Franconie sang to me, I was in love.  I managed to convince hubby that this would be a wonderful birthday present for me and he agreed.  Little did I know he would make it a five day city break, of which I will reveal just a little more in the next post.

pochette boutons copy.jpg
And then I waited, and it was a long time, I’d booked in December for a workshop at the end of May.   
 On the day, I was completely bowled over, three of the other six ladies read my blog! The world of knitting and crafting must be quite a small world, especially when there are super fast trains to bring you to London from France, as was the case with one of my fellow bloggers. 
 There were so many pretty things to play with on this course.  Fabric, thread and beads, it was completely lovely to immerse myself in such beautiful playthings.  The group gelled together in a magical way, everyone was just so very happy.  And mostly all you could hear was deeply contented sighs as we each admired our handiwork. 
 Cecile was a wonderful teacher, even with the language barrier, she had a lovely lady translating for her, but often we just knew with the language of embroidery what was required of us. 
Some pretty work by Cecile. 
 My first button completed. I can see that these are going to be incorporated into my hand knits at every opportunity.  
We all worked to the same design of a mushroom and it was fascinating to see all the buttons together. 
And then there was time for shopping,  
Hubby and I’s next day adventure was to see Turner Inspired: In the Light of Claude so when I saw this by Malabrigo in a sock weight, I knew it was meant to be.  It will make a lovely Autumn cardi (although I am not sure for which year!). 

London Jubilee

We have spent seven out of the last eleven days in London, but not all at once.  Firstly we spent five days, one of which I had a wonderful time at Loop and shall get around to writing it up.  On another day trip we as Friends of the Royal Academy of Art were personally invited, invitation only, to see the Summer Exhibition, which was great fun.  Although there were quite a few works that I think I could have done better myself, who knows, maybe I will exhibit something myself next year.  And after those heady jaunts we relaxed in Warwickshire waiting for our local celebrations to start.  And then it rained, and rained and rained.  And whilst it rained we reminisced about our days spent out in London and I remarked that I really would like to try and get around the city by bus, I’d see a lot more and it would be easier on the joints not having to climb the steps of the tubes. Every time I’d mentioned this before, hubby hasn’t taken the bait but this time I added in… I’d heard that Londoners use the buses more than the tube…  Well that seemed to do the trick and we downloaded apps and booked train tickets and talked about what we would like to do.  We decided against an exhibition, they exhaust us and we just felt we wanted to feel the buzz of the city and remain relatively fresh.  So yesterday was spent wandering around and tootling around London on the buses.   We left as the crowds were building up, we contemplated staying and standing in The Mall, but my joints won’t take that, no matter how buzzy I feel.  We had a wonderful day, I took over three hundred photo’s, here are just a few.