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The next memory journal combines two trips I made to Tattershall Castle last summer – the first a bit of quality time with my youngest in July after the end of term and the second to a fabulous tourney and medieval reenactment event in August.

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The first thing that hits you about this unusual castle is the fact it’s made out of warm chestnut coloured brick instead of stone and that extends to features inside like roof vaulting and some of the window surrounds.

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So bricks were the inspiration for this memory journal and canvaswork seemed a good place to start. Although the pattern is simple, as is the tent stitch I used, I put a lot of thought into choosing a range of threads that echoed the different shades in the bricks.

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However there was one thing I bottled out on – the brick bond. My design is a simple Stretcher Bond where you only see the stretchers, or the long faces of the bricks. Tattershall is built using English Bond as you can see below.

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The advantage of that is that instead of getting a wall that is one brick width deep (fine for a modern house), the row of headers give you a wall that is the whole length of the brick deep – much better for a castle.

However, although it may be better for a castle, it was challenging to get it to look in proportion on a canvas grid, so after two attempts I gave up trying to align the ‘bricks’ and concentrated on a simpler pattern instead!

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I keep reminding myself that it’s a creative response to the visit, not a slavish reconstruction, but the perfectionist in me keeps muttering that perhaps I just need to try that English Bond one more time…

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Onto the second side.

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The applique felt cloud shape echoes the concrete seats at the Cloud Bar with split stitch silk thread clouds on indigo dyed sheeting sky and seeding on the crinkled gold satin sand.

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I’ve used pulled thread work and specifically irregularly worked diamond stitch for ripples in the sand before and it’s one of my favourite styles to work so I decided to use it for the back ground to some beachcombed finds – seaweed, a tiny bit of drift wood and a shell with a very convenient hole already drilled into it.

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At the end of the walk was the lovely Anderby Beach Cafe and I used fabric paints to copy their clever logo onto a piece of fine cotton, turning it into a sort of receipt to remind me of the posh hot dog (local butcher’s sausage) and latte I had enjoyed for my lunch, partly obscured by an appliqued splodge of tomato sauce!

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I’ve also started another memory journal for a visit to Tattershall Castle last summer which is inspired by the bricks it’s made from.  The pelmet vilene base for this one has been covered in an appropriate fabric rather than being painted and it will have six slightly larger panels rather than the eight for Anderby Creek which will fold slightly differently.

DSCN7868I’m considering batik, canvaswork and reverse applique to record my memories of this visit.

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The record of my 2019 Mothers’ Day visit to the North Sea Observatory and walk along the coastal path to Anderby Creek was finally finished on a very different Mothers’ Day just a year later. After learning tonight that the UK has joined much of Europe in lockdown, I hope I’ll never take being able to walk freely when and where I want for granted again.

Anyway, to the stitching. The cover title is in split stitch (my favourite for lettering) on indigo dyed sheeting over a piece of lovely pebble fabric from the Knitting and Stitching Show last November. It has been stitched through the pelmet vilene of the accordion with the speckly (a variegated metallic thread) stitches along the lines between the pebbles – sort of invisibly!

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Our walk started at the North Sea Observatory, just north of Skegness. It’s an amazing and I think very beautiful building, angular and austere with wonderful views over the beach towards the sea. Perfect to be stripped right back to the simple shades and tones of black work.

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From the Observatory we started to walk along the beach. I used tiny scraps of fabric to represent dunes, sea and sky in a patchwork landscape that is only about three inches high. This was the last idea I had for the book and it’s my favourite.

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Of course, when on a beach, beachcombing is obligatory! One of the things that blew me away about this beach was the huge amount of shells. I’ve never seen a North Sea beach with so many different types. I chose this oyster shell  because it had holes in it already, making it perfect for attaching with stitch. In this case I used long buttonhole bars which I worked back into for the little cast on stitch curls.

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When I saw a scrap bag at the Knitting and Stitching Show last year with this pebble fabric in it I knew it was perfect for the memory journal. The beach is more sandy than shingly, but it fits in with the story of our walk so well. I gave it a felt backing to give the pebbles a quilted look when I back stitched around them in my favourite variegated metallic Madeira thread. The idea was to look like the twinkles of light you get through pebbles when there is water underneath.

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Part two later in the week!

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The Anderby Creek accordion journal is really starting to come together. The Cloud Bar felt applique is finished and I then started a little piece of blackwork to create the North Sea Observatory. The photo I chose to work from showed the Observatory at an angle, so at this point it’s all a bit experimental!

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Filling in the areas with different patterns to represent different shades started to work better, especially at more of a distance.

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And the block work really pulled it all together.

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I also had a brainwave for the last piece – sand dunes in layered applique/patchwork with marram grass at the bottom. The way the ‘clouds’ echo in the ‘sea’ with the scraps of hand dyed fabric for the sea and sky is a very happy accident!

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All eight pieces completed (two are already in the book).

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Now the fun bit of attaching them to the pages.

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My memories of our Mothers’ Day expedition last year now safely gathered together.

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The Anderby Creek Accordion Journal is making slow but steady progress.

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I found some lovely pebble fabric which was exactly the right scale and have used that for the cover:

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And also hand quilted with my favourite sparkly Madeira thread around the pebbles for one of the pieces inside.

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Inspired by the concrete cloud shapes at the Cloud Bar, I’ve started to add split stitch clouds to some indigo dyed fabric…

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…which will then be overlaid by a felt cloud shape…

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…based on some of my photos of the Cloud Bar.

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The blackwork version of the North Sea Observatory has only had a few more stitches added to it as I try to work out patterns, but the book is slowly filling up.

 

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I really do need to get it finished before the year is up!

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Sorting some of my beachcombed treasures led to a couple of pieces of jewellery. First was a chunk of school ruler which had frosted beautifully in the waves. I paired it with a piece of beachcombed metal swarf with a lovely milled texture to make a brooch, now available here in my Etsy shop.

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Then I managed to find two vintage panel bracelets which are great for setting with sea glass and pottery like this one. There is just something about blue and white sea-washed china that I love.

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I also like to use panel bracelets to turn groupings of odd vintage earrings into unique assemblage bracelets. The theme that developed here was floral soft blues and greys with a central enamelled dragonfly. Available here in my Etsy shop.

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I also managed to list the brooch I made during show week from a scrap of felted woollen jumper, a vintage kilt pin and an odd earring drop and it’s available here.

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Definitely in my blue period!

I’ve also had a bit of a spurt with one of the pelmet vilene accordion book memory journals I’m working on. This one is based on a visit we made at the end of March to the North Sea Observatory and Anderby Creek beach in Lincolnshire. The shell strewn beach was unlike anything I’ve ever seen on the North Sea coast and then we had a stroll along the sand dunes to the lovely Anderby Beach Cafe for lunch before heading back home.

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I stitched a fragment with cast on stitch and one of the big flat holed oyster shells in the summer but then things lapsed until a piece of evenweave gave me an idea to do a piece of pulled thread work. I used natural coloured silk thread and Diamond Stitch to create a random pattern like ripples in the sand.

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Then I added some dried seaweed, a clam shell with a hole in and a little piece of driftwood.

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I love the very clever Anderby Beach Cafe logo which uses part of the structure of a traditional deck chair as the initial ‘A’ and the hot dog I had for lunch that day, using local butcher’s sausages was delicious. So that quickly led to a hand painted and stitched applique ‘receipt’ on calico, featuring a splodge of ‘tomato sauce’ to remind me of how much I enjoyed my lunch!

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Ideas forming for the North Sea Observatory and the Cloud Bar…!

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I’ve been trying to get on with some stitched fragments for my accordion memory journals for a while.

Firstly, the Kew Gardens journal. My plan is for this to document the visit I made at the end of July and focus mostly on the incredible Chihuly glass exhibition. I have a list of ideas for pages and started the title page last week which is part of a leaflet backed on a piece of calico. I’ve put a line of whipped running stitch through the middle of the letters and am outlining them in back stitch.

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Outlining finished and beading started. I am really pleased with the effect of the random blue bugle beads over the stems and am looking for some iridescent seed beads that I know I have somewhere for some of the teardrop shaped ends.

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The Anderby Creek journal from the end of March has also finally been started with a scrap of crinkled fabric which I love for its suggestion of ripples in sand and a holed oyster shell. I attached the shell to the fabric with long stitches through the holes which I then buttonhole stitched over to make buttonhole bars.

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I wanted a bobbly effect like seaweed, so I used cast-on stitch pulled round to make little circles along the length of the buttonhole bar.

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Completed and stitched into place in the journal. One page completed, seven to go!

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Last summer my middle one bought a Tintin t-shirt from a lovely shop in Durham when we were on holiday and to her delight, it came in a paper carrier with a bold graphic of Tintin and Snowy on each side. I think she liked that as much as the t-shirt and I promised to make her a notebook from it. I bought some Tintin postcards to use as the covers and finally a couple of weeks ago, I decided it was time to get on and make it.

I laminated two pairs of postcards back to back for the covers.

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Then I carefully cut up the bag so I could use every bit of the graphics and the Tintin wording up the sides.

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I had to add an extra piece of paper from a 1970s educational poster (The Pied Piper of Hamelin to be exact) to make the signatures even,

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…but I was pleased that I managed to include all of the main panels of the bag.

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I used waxed white polyester thread and Coptic Stitch to bind the book.

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Finally a job off the list and a daughter delighted.

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