Sunday, 26 December 2010

We had a lovely Christmas day. We spent most of it visiting our family and exchanging gifts. I was so pleased  my hand made gifts were  appreciated and valued.It has really motivated me and can't wait to start some new projects. I have been mainly kitting this past couple of weeks but Christmas Eve I picked up a quilt I had been making but haven't touched for a while, I had forgotten how therapeutic it is to sit there hand stitching while the TV is on.

I managed to finish the large (approx 45cm x 45cm ) drawstring bag I was making to hold my wool.

I am very pleased with the result. The fabric was a 100% cotton quilting fabric 'Darla Rose' by Tanya Whelan which I love, and  the design is vintage inspired . I lined it with a fuschia coloured poly cotton and as I did not have any fabric left I threaded some cord through the drawstring channel. I also made a crossover loop on the back so that it can be hung on a hook.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

anyone for a cuppa?

Andy does appreciate a second cuppa in the mornings so instead of draping a towel around the teapot to keep it warm I set about knitting a couple of cosies for us.I made this tea cosy from left over baby wool (it is 100% wool) and put a ribbon on the top, I think it looks very sweet and it knitted up beautifully. The reproduction of the colour is not that good as in reality the colours are warm and soft.
The second cosy I made was in a cheaper acrylic yarn that someone had given me, the difference in quality was striking. It was not as soft to knit with and it knitted up very thin. It looks fine though and I made a little pom pom in a different colour (I ran out of wool!). I much prefer to knit in good quality wool and at the moment I am knitting a pair of hand warmers in Sirdar Sublime extra fine merino wool which knits up beautifully.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Hand warmers

Yes it is snowing again outside but at least the temperature is now above freezing! It's hard work (and expensive) keeping the house nice and warm, but nice and warm it is with  the central heating on, the wood burner lit, together with the underfloor heating on in the conservatory and bathroom! Hate to think what the energy bill will be this year. As it has been so perishing my poor little hands have been really cold when I have to do the chores outside like filling the wood and coal basket and sorting  out the rabbits and hens. So I have made some fingerless gloves. They are really practical and keep my hands warm as well as allowing me to be dexterous (I think that's what I mean!). They are quite simple and stylish and  knitted  in an aran yarn. They can be viewed on my online shop
I love this colour for these long hand warmers, I think I have knitted something in all sorts of variations of this shade! I have knitted this particular pair in 100% merino wool by Wendy, as a gift for a friend who makes fine dolls house furniture and works from home, these will be an ideal practical gift to keep her hands and arms warm, as well as enabling her to carry out her delicate work. I like that you can turn the rib down to adjust the length, so you can have it long or short. I shall be busy making both pairs of hand warmers  for my online shop once I can get out and source some nice wool!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

last of the gifts made (I think!)

I wanted everyone in my family to have a handmade gift from me this Christmas and these are the last two gifts,. The bag on the left is for Stephen, my six year old grandson. I wanted to make a draw string bag that was boyish and wanted it to hold some little gifts, a sack but not a sack, if you know what I mean. Having looked for some boyish material and not found anything I liked I bought some denim from John Lewis and white cord and blue felt. The felt was for an appliqué letter S. I haven't done much appliqué so I just have to go for it! After several attempts to draw a half decent letter S, I was able to trace it onto the felt and viseline, and using blanket stitch I attached it to the bag. Voila! I made the pretty bag next to it in a 1920s/30s inspired fabric by Tanya Whelan. The family member I made it for isn't into country style fabrics, so I thought this would be more her, (I hope so).

Monday, 6 December 2010

a really warm knit for this cold weather!

I have completed the chunky cable tunic I was knitting and it looks really good and it is so warm. Not only that but the wool used is supporting British Sheep breeds, the sheep breed is Suffolk, it is 100% wool and is undyed. Because it is chunky it did not take too long to knit. I have worn it today and it is fabulously warm .

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Three little bags

Although the weather has been so bad this week it has at least enabled me to concentrate on my sewing. I have now collected some really lovely material for my projects and decided to review my fabrics. My best source has undoubtedly been Suffolk,  Stevenage, I am afraid is rather void of lovely little shops selling haberdashery and fabric especially quilting fabric, although of course we do  have John Lewis and Hobbycraft  who do sell a good range of quilting fabrics and haberdashery. But it is not quite the same as rummaging around not knowing what little gem you might find whether it be some pretty and unusual ribbon or   fabric. One of my favourite places is Halfpenny Home in Needham Market and I just do not get to visit it often enough! Its like a den of treats and Nic always remembers my name and asks whether I have started my rag rug (and I haven't) if you want to check it out have a look at their blog In fact I have just finished three little bags of which two of them were made from fabric bought at Halfpenny Home.I am really pleased with them, the fabric was nice to work with and I enjoyed making them. The problem is I always want to keep them! My bags can be checked out on

Friday, 26 November 2010

What a palaver!

brrr it's cold outside but at least it hasn't snowed here yet, however having said that I always get a bit excited when the first flurry is due!
On Saturday we are off to the Christmas Fayre at Bury St Edmunds, it sounds like it should be fun.....I will let you know what it was like.
Yesterday I decided to try and finish off things that I had made.I spent most of the day completing a patterned tea cosy that I could only knit so long as I gave it my full attention as it was so fiddly. I then needed to knit 8 leaves which would be sewn together to make 4, which I duly did.Well,what a palaver to attach these blooming leaves on to the top of the cosy. I eventually succeeded but when I tried it on a big tea pot having  followed the instructions as to where to place the openings, the openings were not right! Sooo, I tried to undo the seams but I had done such a good job of sewing them that I couldn't find the yarn!!! I eventually did find a yarn and cut it but it was the gathering yarn at the top, which meant my leaves came undone. Anyway needless to say I have now abandoned it for the time being, I suspect it will stay that way for a while!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Just look at the size of this tree!!

This is the biggest oak tree I have ever seen
We came upon this in Orwell Country Park and it is absolutely huge, Missy looks positively small by it. The tree has to be several hundred years old, It can be aged by measuring  from at least 1.5m from the base and measure its girth. I believe for every metre round its girth it equates to 100 years of age.

Hooray my shop is open!

I am really excited this week I have set up my online shop on Folksy and the good news is that I am able to call it plumcottage (all one word) the address is please check it out, any comments will be greatly appreciated.  Here are a couple of cushion covers I made this week.

I am really pleased with  all of the covers, but I really love the dotty fabric.Guess what will be covering some of my cushions in the near future!
 It seems that my hobby is overtaking my life at the moment....I can't seem to stop making things! Each day I just about manage to sort all the animals out, empty the dishwasher and washing machine, tidy up, make the bed and that is probably it for most of the week  before I start sewing or knitting! But you will be pleased to note that I do manage to have a shower and clean my teeth first thing and  have  dinner ready for when Andy comes home from work!.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Any suggestions for my online shop?

I have almost finished making gifts for Christmas and now I can concentrate on building up stock for the online shop on which I hope to start very soon. I am trying to think of a good name for the shop but I must admit I am struggling. I can't have Plum Cottage as it is already taken and I would have to add something to it to make it unique. Any suggestions will be  greatly appreciated.
Had a very pleasant day today. Went to mum's in Northamptonshire and had lunch out which is always enjoyable and we had a good old chinwag. Mum always keeps an eye out for fabrics and china in charity shops for me so I always come back with goodies.
Found some really nice good quality fabric yesterday perfect to make some cushion covers. I couldn't wait to get started on them and managed to make two covers, both with back openings, one with buttons and the other with fabric ties.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The good thing about a cold miserable windy day is that it is a good excuse  to light the wood burning stove! As it has been really cold this week it's been lit every day so far! So guess where I have been knitting, yes you are the fire!

I am very keen to support British sheep farmers and so have just bought some 100% British Suffolk breed chunky undyed wool. I am making a cabled tunic and it is knitting up beautifully and of course because it is chunky it just grows and grows like Topsy!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Turning fallen autumn leaves into compost

Great, Friday at last. Fridays are usually busy for me as I prepare for going away at the weekend.It means cleaning out the rabbits and chickens (I do them in the week as well but always on a Friday) stocking up on clean water and food for them. The rabbits have a self feeder, but they are quite greedy and I think over the weekend if the food's there then they eat it! They are looking quite round at the moment. Every other Friday I go to my mum's in Northamptonshire and we go out for lunch and shopping. But not today as I am having new roof blinds fitted in the conservatory, can't wait!

After the wind and the rain there is a sea of yellow and brown leaves floating on my patio and lawn and whenever anybody or pet comes in, they get traipsed  through the house! So today will be leave clearing day. Hard work, but the upside is that I will turn them into compost. In order to do that the leaves need to be damp and put into black bin bags or you can recycle used commercial compost bags. Puncture the bags in several places and put them somewhere out of sight in the garden. Leaves do take a long time to compost down unlike normal garden waste. After 12 to 24 months they will have composted down to a lovely friable compost to put on the garden.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

A few more handmade gifts

I have been really busy sewing and knitting gifts ready for Christmas

I was persuaded to go for a walk on Sunday once it had stopped raining (I must admit I was inclined to stay where I was, warm and cosy on the sofa!) and  am glad I did. We (that is Andy, Missy the dog and I) walked down to the foreshore of the Orwell estuary which is about 500 metres from our holiday home. At this point the weather had got cheerier although it was still windy and cold. We thought the tide was fully in and took ourselves along the coastal path until we could get no further as the spring tide ( a spring tide is a high, high tide) had flooded parts of the path. So we trundled back, (Missy as usual having a fantastic time running through the water chasing the seagulls.) and lo and behold we can go no further, the tide in fact was not fully in but it certainly was now! All was not lost as we managed to climb a fence to get round the flooded path, I thought the least I was going to get was wet feet, but with Andy's help my feet remained very dry!.


Monday, 1 November 2010

Starting the vintage style knitted tea cosy

I have been busy knitting  a 50's style tea cosy over the weekend (this was when I wasn't busy browsing the charity shops).Mum has given me her patterns  collected over the years and included was the 1950's tea cosy pattern. I think it will look great once it is finished, the style is vintage but the colours are contemporary - the photo shows it just being started and doesn't look too much at this moment in time. I hope to finish it soon, I really only knit at night, during the day I concentrate on my sewing.
We were on a long weekend in Suffolk and this morning the weather was superb and we took Missy our Setter Anglais, (she is  a French dog, we bought her in France when we were living  there.) for a  long long walk along the foreshore on the Orwell estuary. Unfortunately, because the tide was out and Missy just loves to chase the seagulls, our tri-colour dog turned into a grey slimy slug as she was running through the tidal mudflats having a whale of a time. She didn't think the cold shower afterwards was too much fun!

my coffee pot

Saturday, 30 October 2010

R and R

Hooray its the weekend and that means Suffolk! We set off last night, a little earlier than usual as we were going to a party and as luck would have it we got stuck in a jam at Little Hadham. Normally this would have been a pain, but Robert Plant was doing the Electric Proms on Radio 2 , so we had a great time listening to some fantastic music and interviews. We eventually got to the party which was a fund raising event for charity. There was live music provided by 'The Hasbeens' a local charity fund raising band, and I was transfixed by the lady playing the skiffle board. You just do not see it around these days, I guess she must have learnt to play way back in the 50's.
Today I trawled the charity shops ( I just love browsing, looking for something to catch my eye) and something did catch my eye, I picked up a 60's or it might be 70's coffee pot.
I have several now and I also picked up some vintage curtains which I hope to transform into cushion covers ( the last vintage curtains I bought I liked so much,  they are now hanging on my landing window!).

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

my first big hand sewn patchwork quilt (front and reverse of quilt)

My pride and joy, I loved making this, when my daughter, Sophie, saw me making it she wanted it so I finished it with her in mind. It now sits on her  bed - a family heirloom!

Welcome to my new blog!

I am so excited, I have been dragged into the 21st century! I thought long and hard on what to name the blog, I wanted it to somehow reflect my lifestyle and where and how I lived. I could not come up with anything so asked my other half, Andy - and he came up with plum cottage, perfect! We live in a lovely Victorian house in a country lane lined with wild plums trees.We have a wild plum tree in our front garden, and a wild plum tree hedge in the back! This year I made some fabulous jam with the plums.
I have taken early retirement and spend  time on my allotment and have revisited the crafts I learnt years ago, knitting, sewing, dressmaking and a new one, patchwork quilts.I also want to try my hand at rag rugs -  have ordered the 'how to' book, just waiting for it t pop through the letter box!
I have 6 hens, one silkie, two aracunas and three rescue hens, one dog, two cats, two rabbits and tropical fish! No more pets!