Tuesday morning Pitch and Stitch - 10.00am to 1.00pm

Tuesday morning Pitch and Stitch - 10.00am to 1.00pm
This hanging from Annie Downs' Hatched and Patched book should be in every caravan as a cushion or decoration!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Fear of Quilting

Sometimes we forget how scary it must be for people to sign up for the first time to one of our workshops.  They probably wonder about all kinds of things: will it be hard?  Will we laugh at how bad they are at sewing?  Should they know how to sew before they come?  Where are we?  Are we real? (-that always reminds me of the the people who advertised a Santa Wonderland and when visitors turned up they discovered a muddy farmyard with a grumpy santa sitting in an outhouse!) 

Over a period of about 3 years,  a lady called Jenny would e mail me every now and then expressing an interest in quilting, but she never actually booked to come on a workshop.  Then last year she said she was interested in the Beginner's course so I said, "Well then, come along".  She ummed and ahhed a bit and then wrote, " you say it's for beginners - but is it really for ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS or will everyone else know what they are doing?".

I assured her it was for beginners and so she signed up.  She only lives a few villages up the valley but still wasn't sure what she was embarking on and so when she reached East Garston, - she turned around and starting heading back home!  Then she said to herself "Pull yourself together Jenny!" and bravely turned back round and found her way to Lorne Hill Farm.

We are glad she did!!  Jenny finished the Beginner's New Sampler Quilt Class - for beginners, with beginners and with no previous experience needed(!) and is proud to show off the beautiful quilt she made:
Yes - those are a pair of camels top right (don't ask)
She had never sewn before and has good reason to be proud.
Jenny has now joined our Medallion Quilt class and over the next year will be making a stunning King Size Medallion Quilt.
And she knows she has nothing to be afraid of........

Meanwhile, I have started finishing things and am gradually ticking UFOs (unfinished objects) off my list.  I first saw this knitting bag when Sheila brought one that she had made and when I saw the pattern and kit at Malvern I bought it!  I can't remember which shop it's from, but it's called the Woolly Jumper Knitting Bag and is by Brenda Walker.  I love it! - and the kit was brilliant - they were really generous with the fabric so when I cut a bit wrong (of course) it wasn't the end of the world.  (I hate it when places are really tight with the fabrics in kits).
(the stitchery above was from Il Etait Une Fois)
( should have done the applique a bit higher up)
Wonder what Amanda Bond will think of it when she comes to take the knitting class on Saturday (knitted collar with cable: brilliant for beginners)?

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Cross stitch

For Victoria's 21st Birthday we bought her a (proper) sewing machine.  Victoria has always done really brilliant cross stitch, many of which she designs herself.  I have lots of framed pictures she's made for me.  I was really pleased this evening when she sent me these photos - using her sewing machine she has made her latest two creations into cushions.  One is for my great niece born this summer, and the other is destination unknown.  I think they are lovely:

Sadly, her photography is about as good as mine - at least she doesn't have holes in the toes of her socks!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Happy 5th Anniversary to us!

Wow -it's our 5th anniversary this week - five years of running workshops here at Lorne Hill Farm - we can hardly believe it!  Sandra really couldn't get her head round it - five years of driving out here at least once a week and she's finally managed to get her car into 4th gear!!
As a mini celebration we had chocolate brownies at Pitch and Stitch (thanks aunt Bessie), and looking round it was great to see all the projects underway: Sandra was making felt hairbands, Dawn was working on the tapestry of her daughter's dog (she commissioned the pattern from the kneeler people), Jackie was working on her cat quilt, Jacqui was doing cross-stitch, Bev was working on her quilt, Heather was doing a house block to go in her caravan (she and her lovely family have come all the way from Suffolk to stay on the CL for half term - the children love looking at all the animals), Freya was working on her cushion with Sandra's help, and I was knitting.  All very, very busy - oh, and of course, chat, chat, chatting!
One table - I took an appalling picture of the other table - it looked like a Hallowe'en scene so won't get posted!
All very inspiring.

The children are home for half term this week and it's great to have them around.  George has gone busking with his melodean in Andover - it's his first time so I hope he has fun and it's not too cold.
Victoria and I had a great day yesterday: first we went to Swindon collect my repaired Singer from the two Tom Dillys - father and son - same name, same genius when it comes to sewing machines.  They were happy to put mine right, even the knee control which I thought they may have to change to a foot control.  Tom D the younger said that because it was a Centenary machine they did all they could to save it!  So pleased to have it back in working order - 62 years old and still great.
Then we went to Hobbycraft and bumped into Clare Kingslake - I was so pleased.  We always love having her out here to give classes but she's had a busy year so we haven't seen her for a while.  I was thrilled to hear that her beautiful book, Folk Quilt Applique, has sold more than 10,000 copies but not in the least bit surprised - it's a lovely book to have.  Look at her website www.clarespatterns.co.uk for inspiration.  I was also really happy that she'll be coming to do another class for us in the spring - she's made a beautiful satchel and Victoria said she'd love it so it appeals to young people too.
The we went to Burford and after getting some lovely new fabrics for the workshop at Cupcake cottons we had lunch in the old Bakery shop (chocolate eclairs too!) and then I took Victoria to the needlecraft shop - she thought she'd died and gone to heaven: everything a cross-stitcher could want and more!

November is here and I have decided to make lots of Christmas presents this year.  I was looking at all the lovely panels we have for Advent Calenders - we have a great selection which are included in the workshop price for the Advent Calender day on  24th November
These are so easy to make and can be used year after year - not all of them have pockets which have to be filled, some have numbers which you attach each day in the countdown to Christmas - loads of fun for little ones!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Advent Elf

Sandra has sent me this picture of the Advent Elf we will be making at the workshop on Wednesday 21st November - the workshop is now fully booked, but  the the pattern will also be available on the Advent Calender day on saturday 24th November.

I think she's great fun - and there is also a boy version.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Shepherd's Delight!

I see it's over a month since I last wrote - time flies.  The workshop has been very busy, with the new workshops up and running and Pitch and stitch every Tuesday - it's always so interesting to see all the different things people are doing.  My Kneeler was blessed at the Harvest Festival service at church ( a friend said afterwards, 'Did we really pray for five minutes for a cushion...?) and I have finally finished the last of Pauline's quilts.  Using all the fabric left over from the first quilt, I made it with Japanese Patches - it seemed to take forever but the joy of the patches is that you then don't have to worry about quilting it - you did it as you went along:

The front

The back!
I copied an idea I got from the NEC, which was to reverse the outer border which I think makes it look more 'finished'.  The centre is the Mariner's Compass which I started at one of our summer workshops.

Now that's out of the way I can start finishing some other projects.  Today I went back to a brilliant bag I started in May... should be finished soon.

At least it looks like it may stop raining for a while - this evening produced a spectacular sunset:

I know at least one shepherd who was delighted!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012


Obviously I'm not crazy about pigeons - they cause a lot of damage in the garden and decimate my beans every year.  However, it did amuse us when this lady built her nest (nest is maybe rather a grand title for the pile of sticks thrown onto the old towel) just outside the back door and then proceeded to sit.
And sit, and sit.  As we banged in and out, held conversations on the doorstep, threw wellies into the porch, took things off and on the shelf, used the rakes and brooms stored in the corner, as the dogs came and went, - in fact the only time she'd fly off for a few seconds was when I'd try to hang the mop on the nail next to her and would miss it and hit the shelf instead.
Then, this morning, she seemed to be sitting higher than usual and we soon found out why:
Hmm.  Not the prettiest little fledglings - but at least their mother loves them!!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Autumn Workshops

I've now got some photos of the Lynn Johnson Workshops:
This is the 'Home Sweet Home' hanging:

Here's a detail
 The use of natural felt makes it look so pretty and I really like embroidering felt.

Then this is the 'Country Compass':

Absolutely stunning!!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Autumn Schedule

I've finally finished the Autumn Schedule, so here's a sneak preview of what we have lined up.  I'll be mailing the full descriptions out in the next day or so, so if you want more information let me know your e mail address:

Wednesday 26th September - Medallion Quilt course with Lynda Johnson
Wednesday 3rd October -  Quilt as you go Country Compass with Lynda - 3 part course over 7 weeks
Wednesday 10th October - Beginner's Sampler course Part 1
Saturday 13th October - Home Sweet Home felt hanging with Lynda
Wednesday 17th October - Finishing Day
Wednesday 24th October -  Country Compass Part 2
 Wednesday 31st October - Medallion Quilt course
Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th November- Quilting weekend with Helene Burgess
Wednesday 7th November - Beginner's Sampler course Part 2
Wednesday 14th November - Country Compass Part 3
Saturday 17th November - Knitted Cable Collar with Amanda Bond
Wednesday 21st November - 4ft tall Danish style giant elf Advent calendar with 24 pockets Saturday 24th November - Advent Calendar Day
Wednesday 28th November - Medallion Quilt Day
Saturday 1st December - Christmas Cards
Wednesday 5th December - Quick and Easy Knitted, Felted Slippers with Amanda
Wednesday 12th December - Christmas Pitch and Stitch
Saturday 15th December - Wreath making morning

Wow! - lots to choose from!

Monday, 10 September 2012

We plough the fields and scatter.....

Just one thing to say:
All is FINALLY safeley gathered in!!!!

And while we've spent the summer running in and out, stopping and starting, sitting around waiting for the right weather, at the right time, other people have been more productive!

Cath has finished her beautiful Medallion Quilt:

And Helen, who came to the Trip Around the World workshop, has finished this lovely cot quilt:

Perfect for the new arrival - whether it's a girl or a boy!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Explaining Horrible Harvest

What's horrible about the harvest is that it isn't happening.  Everything's too wet so we are at the end of August and only half way through!  I did watch Jeffrey loading the corn trailer George was driving a while ago, and then George took me for a ride in the tractor but that seems like a distant memory now!

Anyway, things are ticking over in the workshop.  Sandra and I are sewing the seeds of the Autumn Schedule and there are some good things coming up.
Sarah has finished her beautiful Double Wedding Ring Quilt:
Obviously it is for a wedding gift and Sarah used the hearts and flowers design on the wedding invitations for the quilting.  A lovely idea. 

Monday, 27 August 2012

Beautiful music.....horrible harvest!

Well - what a morning we've had!  Dorina and Brian stayed the night on our CL, and it turns out Dorina is a violinist who has led practically every Symphonia (Scottish, London, Los Angeles) we've ever heard of.  Anyway, she came up this morning to give Jonathan a lesson and also played some pieces for us.  What a joy!  And Jonathan's Happy Birthday is coming along very nicely.

Went to the Festival of Quilts the other week and saw some beautiful quilts.  A few of my favourites were:
Wrapped in Gentleness by Hiromi Yokota - wow! 70,000 beads handsewn to quilt!
In Memory of my Mother by Patricia Fitzgibbons.  This quilt incorpoated old pieces of embroidery - something I've had in mind for a while.

Julia's Venetian Travelling Quilt by Michelle Holmes of Ashby de la Zouch.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012


Belinda's right - it is a Puss Moth.  It was wrongly described on the photo I found. 

Grub's Up!

Had a very nice morning at Pitch and Stitch and we all admired Marie's tapestry cushion she is making.  Marie's husband was a Hungerford man and they come up from Devon each year to visit old friends and family - this is the first time she's joined us at Pitch and Stitch though (although I've admired her crochet in the past) and we look forward to her coming again.
Anyway, it was midday and as we were all starting to feel peckish and our minds were turning to grub - look what started coming through the door:
Ummm.  Good appetite supressant!
I'm trying to find out what it is.  It was about 2 inches long and very fat.  One suggestion is a Hawk Moth caterpillar but I'm pretty sure it's a Pine Hawk Moth Caterpillar.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Help in the garden

Clare and Pauline joined us at Pitch and Stitch this morning - they came up from the caravan site.  Clare was escaping her husband and children for a couple of hours (not really, I'm sure) and brought up some cross stitch and Pauline started on a the little heart kit we have.  It's always so interesting to meet people from other parts of the country.  Obviously, one of the main topics of conversation was how well we are doing in the Olympics and both Sandra and Jackie are lucky enough to have actually  gone up there - Jackie on super saturday so she was still wallowing in the excitement and I was quietly very envious!
This afternoon I was sitting staring out the window, doing nothing and thinking about everything I should be doing, when I saw I was getting a little help in the garden:
This young hare was munching at the water thistles in the rose bed!!! - very helpful!

Friday, 3 August 2012

Summer Break

Wow!  Olympic Fever has hit Lorne Hill Farm!  I'm glued to the TV and loving it all!  I'm keeping everyone informed as to where we are on the medal table and I watched the gymnastics so avidly whilst doing Japanese folded patches that reality has become a little blurred and I'm not sure which I'm best at, the Japanese folded patches or the Japanese handstand.  I've been so inspired by it all that I'm determined to master touching my toes with legs straight by the end of it all.
Now August is here it's time for our summer break.  Although Tuesday morning Pitch and Stitch continues as always, we don't run any workshops in August, although Sandra and I are putting our heads together to work out the Autumn schedule which will recommence in September.

We had the last of the Medallion Quilt Days from the Spring schedule on what was one of the hottest days of the year - the workshop was more like a sweatshop!  A few of the ladies have finished their quilts now - and they look tremendous!
Some are coming along nicely

and some are forging ahead on their second Medallion!

So - there will be spaces on the Medallion Quilt course in September so new people can join. Thanks to the brilliant Lyn Johnson, our teacher, we also have a fantastic new method for basting the quilts - no more crawling around on the floor or taping to tables, using two 4x2s we can baste a whole quilt, in comfort, in a morning:
Pure genius!

We also had a Mariner's Compass workshop recently with Anne Jervey.  It was hand stitched and I used Pauline's fabric and am making it the centre of a quilt for her granddaughter.  I am surrounding it with Japanes patches so the whole quilt will be hand-stitched.  Very girly but quite pretty, I think.

Right, got to go now - I think I'm playing handball next.

Friday, 20 July 2012


Finally got the kneeler finished!


It's been quite a busy few weeks round here - and very wet!
Here are some of the things we've been up to:
Christine Brewster came and gave a workshop on willow weaving.  In the morning we made a trivet and basket, and then in the afternoon we moved on to more challenging things and using a sort of 'freestyle' weaving made sculptures.
It was a very productive day and we were all pleased with our efforts.
The day before was Medallion Quilt day - and another of these beautiful quilts was completed:
Well done Jackie.
The day before that was Pitch and Stitch - and Dawn brought along the lovely picture she has needle-felted:

It is of their little dog and Dawn had saved some of his fur from when she used to groom him, and incorporated it into the picture.

Then we went on our lovely holiday in France.  We stayed at Les Jincheres in the Deux Sevres and had a wonderful time.  As you can see from the weather house

The weather was quite changeable, but when it was hot it was very hot, and when it was cloudy it was still warm and we had very little rain which was a welcome change from home!  The gite was lovely and in the middle of nowhere so, as George said, the bad things about it was that it was quiet and there weren't loads of people about and the good thing about it was it was quiet and there weren't loads of people about!

On our return we discovered some new inhabitants at Lorne Hill Farm:
They've moved on now that we're back and banging in and out!
Last Wednesday we had the last day of the Beginner's Sampler course.  Everyone had done so well and Carole had actually finished!  Although not a complete beginner, Carole wanted to do the course to try out stitchery and applique.  She chose to make her quilt to celebrate her daughter's trip over to the other side of the world and so all the pictures were relevant to her travels.  It was so funny one day when we were all sorting out our blocks and talking about hearts and flowers when Carole said "Has anyone seen my Sidney Opera House?"

And this is the whole quilt:

Really stunning!
Finally, we went into Newbury to see the Olympic Torch.  It was far more exciting than I expected and I don't think I've ever seen so many people in town - all happy and cheering
Took some great pictures of the actual torch but it was a pity that the camera wasn't switched on at that point.....

Monday, 25 June 2012

Glow worm time

Should have some good photos on the next post of the Medallion Quilt day on wednesday and the willow weaving day on Thursday.
I don't have much to show for the last month - I have finished sewing my kneeler but I haven't finished stretching it into shape to fit over the block.  In fact, everyone was quite amused last week when they asked what I was doing - I had a damp tea towel and was pushing  it down onto the tapestry and explained that that was what the instructions said.  They looked at me so I quoted the instructions "press into shape with a damp cloth".  Well - I didn't think it was that funny, it should have said "press into shape with an iron over a damp cloth" if that was what was expected.
Anyway, I'm still pressing.
In the meantime it's glow worm season so I've been out trying to photograph them - and not very successfully.  If I use a flash I get this:
No - I can't see it either.
And without a flash I get this:

or this:

Neither of which are very effective.  If you want to know what they look like, this is one we brought in (and obviously put out again afterwards).
It's the females who shine their lights to attract the males who are flying around.  They are very bright - the first time I saw one I was driving home and as I turned into the drive thought the bright green light was a piece of glass reflecting my headlights, but as I drove past it continued to shine so I stopped and went to investigate.  I was very excited and look out for them every year now.  Very pleased to see them on our front lawn this year.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Unexpected Distinguished visitor

Medallion Quilt Day today and some of the quilts are looking so beautiful.  Here is June's, made almost entirely of recycled fabrics:
June will be celebrating her 85th birthday tomorrow and describes herself as a dressmaker rather than a quilter (I believe this is her first quilt), but I think this makes her officially a quilter.
Then here is Sheila's which we layered ready for quilting at Pitch and Stitch yesterday:

Sheila was pleased to catch the Caravan Club Inspector doing his annual visit today - she told him exactly what she thought of our CL and hopefully it was all positive!  Sheila's quilt is completely handsewn.
Finally Cath's:

Really beautiful.
Meanwhile, on the farm, we have been getting out the flags and bunting for the Jubilee weekend!  East Garston has risen to the occasion and everywhere you look bunting is blowing in the breeze.

We went to quite a lot of trouble, so imagine how surprised and pleased we were to receive a rather distinguished guest in the workshop: