Jane's Jottings

The Ivory Tower is Ready!

Now that the Cross Stitch Guild has moved up to Warrington, I have been working hard here at Pinks Barn creating a new space for just me! I have completely filled a skip with all sorts of stuff now that my old building is being converted back in to a garage.  As many of you know, I am remaining on the CSG team as a designer so I needed to create a special space in the house that would be inspirational and even more important – warm and cosy!


This is how it looks this evening

The pictures of samplers on the sloping ceiling are inspiring but also stop me hitting my head on the slope which has happened quite a lot this week. My room faces west and overlooks my neighbours lovely garden so I am simply in heaven. This space is actually a little  area off one of the guest bedrooms so I will have to keep things  a bit more tidy!

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My new cotton cupboard

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A project for the CSG Magazine in March

This afternoon, I was working on some tiny one over one thread stitching on this pretty sampler which will be published in March in our CSG members’ magazine. You will notice that I am working on a frame – this is a very rare occurrence as I prefer to work loose in my hand. I am, in fact, adding some cross stitches worked over one fabric thread and I find it easier to see when supported by the frame. The frame is one of Sue Hawkin’s padded frames and is ideal for me as I can just pin the embroidery in place and can whip it off again when sorted. I use it working on the desk weighted by a co-ordinated sandbag (also supplied by Sue).

This design called And with my needle is worked on 28-count Cashel linen in Madeira stranded cotton (floss). More about this will follow…




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Date posted: Thursday, January 12, 2017

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Moving Day at the Cross Stitch Guild

I think this was one of the most difficult days of my life – after all I was sending my stash away and I wanted to keep it all. When you see the size of my space upstairs at Pinks Barn you will get an idea of the difficulty. I needed my stuff and I was sending it off to Andrea who has promised to look after it all but………….

As I write this, I am beginning to feel much better- My new workplace is coming together although it has involved thinking very laterally – Unless you are creative and understand, it is difficult to explain that a computer and a shade card is just not enough to inspire!

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One corner of the Studio during the move

I do not think I have ever felt as panic stricken as when the lovely guys were loading the van and this was still not packed – There were eighteen tea chest size boxes ready to load and yet? Everything had to be counted and packed carefully ready for the journey to Warrington. Of course, one kept finding little treasures that needed to be examined and discussed before packing/taking to the new office or putting in the skip……..


Our lorry and there are still fifteen boxes to go!

This one of the rooms in the new CSG HQ!

My job once all was unloaded was to assemble the faithful Ikea Ivar shelving which had travelled from Fairford – I think the top shelf only fell on my head four times in all. Once the first set is in position, it is marvellous and will stand all sorts of mistreatment. Mind you, as soon as one bay was ready Andrea promptly filled it with boxes of kits……….

Bill and his madeira threads

Bill at work- no-one was allowed near his Madeira threads

Bill has always looked after the storing and the ordering of our Madeira threads and he spent a blissful day sorting and arranging hundreds of coloured thread cones ready for the restart on the 4th Jan. At this point I think we all felt that it would be the 4th Feb! We did manage it after all. The first batches of post left the building in the afternoon of the 4th Jan and I know that Andrea has been busy ever since. You are a wonderful bunch – just keep it coming – we can cope!

Nearly there!

The new office in progress- more soon!

This is my new space and as you can see, the slope on the ceiling is significant and after banging my head three times in a day, I learnt how not to. By the end of this week, I will be sorted and able to move forward as I have deadlines already and Jenny and Andrea will not let me sit around looking wistful!

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Date posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2017

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Writing Hardanger instructions today

Hello again Everyone,

I am sitting here in the Studio writing instructions for one of the pages in our current part work The Country Sampler Book – this is a four part project that is included in The Cross Stitch Guild membership and this will be one of the pages included in Issue 114 of our magazine. If you are not already a member of the CSG why not come and Join Us  You will be able to take part in our lovely stitching projects for a whole year! Our little stitched books have become very popular – it is rather like a stitching lesson as you learn a new technique every time. If you  look at the CSG web site, you will be able to see other examples of these books stitched over the past ten years or so. Go to Books and Boxes for more information


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Hardanger embroidery originated from the Hardanger area of Norway and is very much part of Norwegian traditional life. The embroidery which looks like lace and is traditionally worked in white or cream on a light background and is part of the Norwegian National costume. Below you can see some examples of Hardanger worked on fine linen in matching thread.


7.Detail from a blouse cuff-2

A finely worked cuff on a ladies blouse


A detail from a traditional apron

Hardanger embroidery looks very complicated but is actually really very straight forward once you have mastered the basic stitches and counted the threads correctly. The trick is to work on a fabric where you can see the threads really easily whilst you learn the basics – you can transfer to finer fabrics when you know what you are doing.

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Forming Kloster blocks correctly

33. Diamond blocks with cut corners

Showing where to cut the threads

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Fabric threads cut and removed

30. Simple Diamond Sampler

The remaining threads strengthened with needleweaves

If you would like to find out more about this exquisite form of embroidery have a look at my E-Book Hardanger for the Horrified

Happy Stitching till next time

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Date posted: Sunday, December 18, 2016

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Autumn in the Cotswolds


I have been saving these photographs to show you –  I know that the autumn is now over but I thought that you would still love to see them.  Bill, my husband, decided that I needed a break from the office and took me out for the morning – I had ten minutes notice to find a coat and some wellies! We went to Westonbirt Arboretum  near Tetbury. I had treated myself to a new camera so this was the perfect time to try it out.  The colours were the most extraordinary and I think the best I have ever see. Locally, we had all noticed that the autumn colours were usually good this year but these were difficult to believe – You could not paint it!



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Date posted: Sunday, December 18, 2016

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Exciting news for all of us!

Hello again everyone!

I do have so much to tell you and hardly know where to start. I think the first thing to say is that whatever you have heard, I am not retiring! I do however have some very exciting news! I believe this will be exciting for both Bill and I here at CSG HQ and for you as Members of the CSG. At the end of this year, I am handing over the day-to-day management, kit production, our web site and mail order part of the CSG to Andrea Thompson who will become our new Managing Director as of the 1st January 2017.

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I cannot pretend that I am not thrilled that Andrea is taking this over because I think this is the best news we could have! Andrea is a Maths graduate and software engineer and is more than twenty years my junior! This will mean she can take the CSG upward and onwards – something I do not feel I can do properly. I know that Andrea feels that the CSG is a real community and she will work very hard to develop this with the help of you the Members and her new team.Andrea as spent quite some time here at Pinks Barn over the past few months and has been learning the ropes working with my team here- she has made up kits, used our swatch machine known as Daph’s DoDah, packed orders and had money lessons from Bill and she still wants to do it!

Bill and I are taking Andrea to Germany next month to visit Zweigart and Vaupel & Heilenbeck  so she to can go shopping for linen fabrics and bands and we will both be at CSG Events throughout the rest of the year. I am already planning next year’s features so that my diary remains as full as ever!

New Office

For me, the best bit is to come – I am going to remain within the CSG as the Patron and as a designer and author. This is going to mean that I can spend all day everyday designing and stitching which after all is why I started the whole thing in the first place. You can see the start of the new office in the picture now awaiting some creative decoration.  I have lovely plans for this space and you will be included in the news when I  have decorated my new space and you will be able to see I still mean business! All I will need is the new computer and my stash and away I shall go. I have plans for some lovely new projects for you to stitch and I will be sending all of them to the CSG and I have so many ideas for books that we can publish. I will, of course, be attending the Knitting and Stitching Shows and the Together We Stitch Weekends at the Hilton Hotels with Andrea but I will not have to pack the van or put up the stand!

Thats all for now.

I will add some images of the Lotus Flower Needle Keeper later……..

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Date posted: Thursday, April 28, 2016

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