Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Funny how things turn out isn't it?  My friend is having a holiday so has a house/dog sitter looking after everything.  Now the house sitter (K) is an Australian taking time out from her life in Oz, to travel and get to know different areas and the folk that live in those areas -- and get to know them she has!.  We met up when she joined me in my Aqua Aerobics class, then she invited me to join her in Zumba classes held in the small town that I live.  I passed on Zumba but she has made a few friends there and after a bit of a chat it was mentioned that our church 'Holy Trinity'  has a crypt full of bones and someone, knew someone, that would be willing to open the church and give a tour.....I was invited to this and took her up on the offer.  How can an Australian visiting, for such a short time, be inviting me to visit my local church???.. WELL DONE K

We were taken through a small doorway and down the stone stairs to the crypt and could see the remains of approx. 1500 human individuals.

The doorway must have only been about 4ft. high

narrow staircase

There are many theories about the bones..

* Danes slain in battle by the Saxons  ~ the skulls do not reflect the injuries of a battlefield although some appear to have evidence of trepanning or damage by a sexton's mattock. ('tepanning' = surgical intervention in which a hole is drilled or scraped into a human scull)
* Bones of men slain at the battle of Naseby or at Bosworth Battlefield ~ who would spend the money and resources to transport dead bodies from a battlefield even though Naseby is only 8 miles away and Bosworth 30 miles away.
* Remains of a monastic burial place ~ the quantity of bones seems large for a monastic burial even over centuries.
* Victims of plague epidemic ~ who in their right minds would place plague victims in a crypt or dig them up from a lime pit and place them in the crypt.

skulls and long bones

More skulls

neatly stacked 

friendly faces

George Busk in 1872 noted that " it merely represented the gradual accumulation, through a long series of years of skulls and bones removed from adjacent churchyard. The remains therefore might be taken as fair representation of the population of the surrounding  district for a very considerable period...."
It was also revealed in 2013 by an osteoarchaeologists that the ratio of bones is about 50 : 50 male to female. So I personally think he might have it just about right.  What do you think?

This is K, and I think quite a lot of folk locally will miss her when she goes to her next house-sit.

As you can see the crates/pens that house many bones are not small 
I feel quite privileged being able to get to the crypt, as I never seem to be around when they give the tours.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Few bits to 'Show and tell'

I have been messing about with a few different things.  I have finished another pair of finger-less gloves which will be added to that lace-knit scarf that I loved so much.  The gloves took a bit longer to knit than the scarf .. well, the scarf was knitted on 4 mm needles and the gloves were on 2 mm. needles... quite a difference in size but I have to say I am beginning to like knitting on those fine pins

They look a bit green in this photo

Think they will be a nice gift for someone

As I had finished my knitting I needed something else to keep my fingers busy while watching T.V. so I have started back on my crochet blanket.

Few more to add

We had our all day sewing at Highampiecemakers on Monday and I thought I would make a couple of crayon rolls that will eventually go into the 'shoebox appeal' that a few of the ladies help with, but it turned out that a conveyor belt approach was the fun thing to do. So a couple of us set to and made almost 30 little rollups Yeah!

I had to add a few stitches to these at home, don't they look bright?

One of the lady's that goes to the Monday group had some cotton lace that had been taken from a table cloth and offered it for anyone that could use it.  At first I didn't think I would need it, but after a bit of a chat I mentioned that it would look very nice on some sheets and pillow cases.  Bit of recycling and I now have some very nice bed linen.....Thank You Hazel

Already preshrunk so I just had to sew it on.

Bit more tricky to sew the pillow cases as I first had to undo all the stitching before sewing on the lace,
Mr D's aunt is 80 and throwing a party (her very first party!) and we are going to celebrate with her.  I have been wondering what to make for her as a small gift (what does a lady of 80 need?) that she will be able to use and (hopefully) appreciate, and so after talking to my sister-in-law we came up with hand embroidered pillow cases.  It took me ages to choose the right thread-count/cotton mix etc. Then unpicking them, so I could embroider, must have taken a couple of hours. I then spent most of the day drawing up little sketches 

just some thoughts 
and finally found a simple pin embroidery for cards that I thought would look sweet... talk about time wasting,  but the best bit began....

Embroidered ready to be sewn back together

Delicate is the word
I think Spring has at last arrived.  Maybe I feel Spring has taken its time coming because we are usually away through February, but the flowers are appearing and making the garden look so much more cheerful

So bright a cheerful

How many flowers are on that white Polyanthus

I think they have really gone to town this year with bumper crops

 I am off to the NEC this weekend the 'Sewing for Pleasure' expo is calling me.   I have never been before, so am quite looking forward to something new.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Useful tools

I have been working on this months 'Mini Mania' (as it has now been named) challenge, and I have to say it has been a bit of a challenge.  I managed to get all the pieces cut, but as I was piecing them I noticed my machine was skipping stitches, so like a good girl I changed the needle (not the easiest task with my new machine), but it still skipped stitches so I had to resort to reading the instruction book and that gave me another needle choice, so once again changed the needle.  In the past I have never had any trouble doing this, but my new Janome is a bit if a fiddle so I have resorted to finding little tools to help and wondered if any of you have a similar problem and have solved it with your own tools.  Firstly I use a handbag mirror so that I can see where the needle should be placed..

I think this came out of a Christmas Cracker

that helped a lot, then I remembered my Bernina overlocker had a dust brush with a hole at the end where you inserted the needle to help with the placement into the machine so off I went and found that.
You can still buy these from Bernina Dealers

Lastly my old Bernina needle threader came in very handy with those fine needles that have very small eyes for the automatic needle threader to tackle

This used to slide into the side of the old machine 

 So these are my new favourite friends

Can you see the needle?

and these are my old but very trusty friends 

Fine lace pins, sharp snips, Sewing guide, and my quick unpick 

What special bits and pieces do you use???

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Bags Beads and Blocks

Once again I have been flitting from one thing to another in my craft room, still,  as they say 'change is as good as a rest'

Later in the year Higham Piecemakers will be having its bi-annual quilt show, where we  raise funds for a local Charity.  There is always a cushion raffle (so a cushion will be made later) and this year we are also having a 'Bagabola' (change from Tombola) so I have to make a bag.  A friend introduced me to Debbie Shore and her 'You Tube' tutorials, so I decided to make the zippered tote bag.  The instructions were really very good and, as you can pause the video, nothing escapes you.  I think if I made it again I would add a thin batting/wadding, but overall I think the bag is really nice and hopefully it will be appreciated.

Love this Ikea fabric

Pinterest is another time waster for me, but there are some wonderful things to put on the 'to do' list.  I added one before Christmas, and have only just got around to making it.  I was hoping to use some old jewellery, but in the end only used a couple of earrings (minus their posts) and lots of little glass beads.   This was so simple to make, I might go raiding the old necklace box for some different types of beads etc.  

Christmas bauble 

I also got an email from a 'flickr' friend.  I used to play on flickr a lot with swaps and 'quilt- a- longs', but flickr changed its format so I dropped out of a lot of the groups,  but the ladies that I used to swap with have what is called an 'Epiphany Group' and if someone was sick or has some tragedy and needs a hug, a begging email would be sent out and those that wanted would all make a patchwork block. They would then send it off to one wonderful person who would piece all the blocks together, someone (or a few) would donate the batting, someone would then sandwich and quilt.  The finished quilt would then be sent and the recipient would receive hugs (in block form) from all over the world.  A call went out this week and it was decided that we would all make a 8.5" block with a house on it  we could add trees or flowers and the colours we were asked to use were pink and green on a white background.
This is my contribution 

Wonky house with lots of love 

I have started working on the new challenge quilt for this month, but that is still a 'work in progress' so will have to show you that at a later date.

Happy creating. 

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Mini Mania No. 1 finished

Remember I said that a few of us were having a little challenge?  Well, we had our 'reveal' on Saturday at 10 o'clock, we all used the 'whats app' way of showing and telling on our phones and I have to say it worked well.  Four of us started the mini quilts, but as sometimes happens life got in the way for one person (quilts for dogs, cushions for a charity) so only three of us had our quilts finished.

This is Lesley's
Oh so neat!
 and Lynda's
She even made fancy binding 
and last but (hopefully) not least, my one

Looks like I could do with a lesson in pressing!

If Ann manages to get her quilt  finished I hope to get a photo and then I will show that one.

Our next challenge is now up and running.......this one is going to end up about 8" x 10" ......but for me its a good lesson in cutting carefully.