Jane's Jottings

A Great Stitching and Knitting Show

My portrait by Harriet Riddell drawn on her sewing machine freehand!

Back from the show and in the office at home with some stitching on my lap. We have our first Together We Stitch Weekend in 10 days and I am designing and stitching the project which is certainly not quite ready. I have to complete it by tomorrow as Andrea needs time to make up the material packs – Some late night oil will need to be burnt tonight!

I had such a lovely time at Olympia working for Andrea Thompson on the Cross Stitch Guild stand at the Knitting and Stitching Show – one of the best bits was watching Harriet Riddell drawing portraits of people who popped on to her stand. She drew this picture of me from life in about 40 minutes freehand on her sewing machine! I just love it…….Harriet Riddell is so talented and so nice about it! Do have a look at her web site and see what she has been doing. On tour in India, she stitched pictures of the Taj Mahal sitting in the grounds with her sewing machine! If you look at the picture, I was holding our Elizabethan Sweete Bag and she captured it perfectly and in seconds!

The Spring Knitting and Stitching Show

The Cross Stitch Guild stand was heaving for most of the show and kept us all very busy either teaching or serving customers. This was the first time that I had attended this show without being the boss and it did feel strange at first. I soon got the hang of it…… Nothing to worry about and time to shop for myself! Dress patterns, a cardigan and, of course, my portrait!

Classes at Olympia with one of our teachers, Janet Simpson


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Date posted: Monday, March 6, 2017

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Bead Heaven in Cornwall

I have just returned from a visit to GJ Beads in Hayle, Cornwall where I selected a range of seed beads for designing purposes. I am planning a range of counted beads kits for the Cross Stitch Guild as soon as I can get the designs drawn and charted. Keep an eye on the CSG web site as I will let you have previews on Facebook as soon as I can.

Gill and Jane at GJ Beads

The Warehouse! OMG!

I had to limit myself to the size and type of bead that is suitable for 28-count linen and 14-count Aida otherwise I would have been there all day! Jill takes classes at her studio and also has invited Tutors to come and offer courses. I noticed that Heather Kingsley Heath had a weekend event planned for the end of March so check your diaries!

Bead Soup – What a good idea!

Matsuno size 11 Seed Beads

This is the most likely range of seed beads used in counted embroidery in the UK. The beads are the right size to take the place of a cross stitch when worked on 28-count linen. You can use these beads on 14-count Aida fabric but they will not lie as neatly as the do on linen. This CSG diagram shows how the bead sits on the fabric when worked on linen- there is actually a small dent in the material whereas this does not apply with Aida material. The beads will tend to wobble a bit more on Aida.

Hemstitch Flowers

If you alter the type and thread count of your fabric you will have to reconsider the bead size used unless the beads are added at random as I have in this project – Antique Stitches – Hemstitch Flowers.  This project has individual seed beads added at random using a “sharp” needle and a half cross stitch. This project is available from the CSG Web site……..

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Date posted: Tuesday, February 28, 2017

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A Spring Dog Walk

Our favourite river walk

Monty and I have been enjoying the slightly warmer weather and apart from the mud (there is a lot of that!) we have, at last, seen signs of spring arriving here in the Cotswolds. Monty is a Cockerpoo and will be two this month and is absolutely crazy about water and in any form. Apart from keeping him away from the swans, I do not mind him splashing about although you need to maker a quick retreat when he comes out of the river!

Look – I have a stick!

We are very privileged to live in such a lovely part of the country although our village had two hundred new houses added in the last year! They are very attractive and well planned to fit in with the local stone but can we cope? Fortunately, The Ernest Cook Trust owns most of the remaining land and manages it very carefully preserving the look and feel of the country. I do not think a day passes when I am grateful…….

The first gorse bushes starting to flower

More lovely snowdrops

Now I must get back to work again- I am in the middle of designing part of our Calendar Pockets Series which will be included in the CSG member’s magazine – We are creating a pocket for each month and then combining them in a mammoth sampler. You will not guess where I got the idea for this little snowdrop motif! You can see  examples of the next three in the series below:

The second in the series

The Calendar Pockets are part of an exclusive series featured in our CSG magazine with March, April and May and will be posted to members in early May. Not a CSG member – Go to Become a Member

Made on linen band…….

These little pockets are very simple to make up as there is so little finishing to do…..Stitchers often do not like sewing! You can buy linen band from the CSG web site – the limit is simply your imagination!

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Date posted: Wednesday, February 22, 2017

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Off to the TV tomorrow – very early!


Stolen Moments

Stolen Moments is one of the projects to be featured on my programme tomorrow (11am Create & Craft TV) and is among my all time favourites.  Check out the CSG web site amongst the Mini-Band Samplers. The name, Stolen Moments was suggested by Bill, my husband who knew that I had to steal moments to stitch!

Bill and I are driving up to Peterborough in the early hours of tomorrow morning as I have to be in the Studio two hours before we go live. I am told that we are going to be broadcast to the USA at the same time which means quite literally millions may be watching! As always I will pretend that I am just talking to a small stitching group and cross my fingers. My plan is to show the little Hardanger detail visible halfway down the sampler – this is a technique that is surprisingly simple once the principles are grasped. If you have the time, scroll down to the post created on December 18th as I do go through this quite thoroughly.

After we finish at the Studio we are driving up to the new CSG HQ in Stockton Heath and will then spend the day packing the orders,  filling the mail bags and sticking on labels – such a glamorous life we lead! If you manage to catch the show I hope you enjoy it as much as I love doing it….

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Date posted: Tuesday, February 7, 2017

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What a wonderful week!


Just look what arrived this week!


greenhouse open

I am just waiting for a broken roof light to be repaired this week and then it is all systems go. Bill and I went out to a local supplier to buy my potting table and he really surprised me with the gorgeous wall clock as a greenhouse opening gift! I have heating and lighting and, of course, lots of seeds ready to be planted. The whole garden needs a big sort out and it will not be long now.

Behind the greenhouse, I have two very raised beds for my vegetable and herbs and I plan to have tomatoes and basil in the little greenhouse in the courtyard garden. In addition to all this excitement, my Christmas present from Bill was a day course with Sarah Raven at Perch Hill where I will be learning about planting a cutting patch – I cannot wait…..

We are off to walk Monty in a moment – Yesterday he had his first experience of the beach- sadly no waves to chase as they were simply miles away- We were down at Brean Sands, just south of Bristol and it looked as if you would walk to Wales!

first beach

As always the stick is bigger than he is!

  dog walk 2 

The views across our local lake on the way home- Just lovely…….

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Date posted: Sunday, January 29, 2017

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