What happened to this blogging lark then?

Um……..dunno is the answer.

I don’t know about you, but as I get older the time just seems to disappear.  There has been some sewing going on, quite a lot of knitting (surprisingly for me), but not a lot of mini-ing.

We’re just back from visiting my mother-in-law in rural Aberdeenshire where this:

Red squirrel on a peanut feeder

Meet Tufty the red squirrel

was the view from the kitchen window.  However; we had to extend our visit by a week so as a result I’m now frantically trying to catch up with research for a dissertation which is due in the middle of August.

There is some sewing going on which involves these:

Remnants of a man's shirt

Guess what this started as?

Seven yards of handmade bias binding

Handmade bias binding (don’t use the steam setting on your iron – you’ll scald your fingers!)

(did you know you can get seven yards of bias binding just from the sleeves of a man’s shirt?)


Moving Houses

We’ve just moved house right across the country from Wiltshire to Lincolnshire and I’m still unpacking boxes.  However, when you’re a miniaturist this involves packing and unpacking not just one house but two – or even more.

I’ve not unpacked the doll’s house yet but I did manage to take some photos before it was all packed up…

My Doll's House

Please excuse the mess – we are half way through moving houses

Front door of dolls house

The door is open – do you think there’s anyone in?

Doll's house kitchen window

…and there’s a light on in the kitchen – shall we have a peek?

dolls house kitchen

Ooh – it looks untidy, they must be moving too!


Huge needles + chunky wool = finished jacket!

Brand new jacket!


This is my type of knitting!  It’s the Kim Hargreaves Nat jacket which is knitted in Rowan Big Wool on 10mm needles.  Because you use such big needles and a very chunky yarn, it knits up really quickly.  I bought the wool on 14 September and finished sewing up the jacket on Sunday – after it had lain over the back of my chair for a week waiting for the second sleeve to be sewn in.  By my calculations that’s just three and a half weeks to knit – I normally take about six months to knit anything.

In addition, it’s really warm and the wool is beautifully soft against my skin.

Just the jacket I kneed for our forthcoming move to windy Lincolnshire.


P.S. Don’t ask – I don’t know!  Husband has already started the new job but it depends on when they can find us suitable accommodation.

Historic knitting, sewing and embroidery patterns

I don’t “do” miniature knitting and my real-life knitting is very slow; however, in the States Friday was apparently I Love Yarn day.  To celebrate, Two Nerdy History Girls posted a link to what is possibly the oldest English printed knitting pattern, from 1655, part of a book called Natura Exenterata: or Nature Unbowelled By the most Exquisite Anatomizers of Her.  The book is here and about three pages is is the first pattern To make Network called the Broad Arrow, and the Diamond.


A sewing machine from 1881

That book is on a website called the On-Line Digital Archive of Documents on Weaving and Related Topics and it’s a treasure-trove of historical pictures, books and patterns on all sorts of fabric-related subjects.


A further collection of digitised knitting patterns and images of historic sewing patterns is provided by the the Visual Arts Data Service, part of the University for the Creative Arts based in the south of England.  Part of their collection includes sketchbooks belonging to Victor Stiebel who was an English fashion designer whose clients included Catharine Hepburn, Vivien Leigh and Princess Margaret.

Whatever type of needles you use – enjoy!


I’ve been included in a treasury!

I switched on my computer this morning to discover that one of my new items that I uploaded to my Etsy shop last week has been included in this lovely Halloween treasury created by BarnshopAntiques on Etsy:

[sh-etsy-treasury treasury=”/MTI2OTk4OTh8MjcyMDgxMzUzOQ” size=”medium” columns=”4″ display=”complete”]

What a lovely start to the day!

Catching Up!

Aargh! It’s been over a month since I’ve written anything here.  However, as  an excuse  there is a reason…

This is what I’ve been up to over the last few weeks:

Maggie Davidson (1870-1950) - my husband's great-grandmother

Maggie Davidson (1870-1950) – my husband’s great-grandmother

When we were on holiday, I was given a whole lot of old photos from my husband’s family.  I’ve been busily scanning them into the computer and linking them to the relevant people in my husband’s family tree.  Don’t you just love the detail on that dress!


Newcastle Gateshead bridges

Newcastle Gateshead bridges © Copyright Andrew Curtis and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

I’ve also been up in Newcastle for a weekend.  As part of my day job, I’m Director of Scottish Studies for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies so I was at the National Family History Fair in Newcastle last weekend running a stand for the Institute.   Great fun, lots of lovely people to talk to, but a six-hour drive each way.

And just for some light relief…..

Knicker making class

Nine women, nine totally different pairs of knickers!

Knickers!  I was at a knicker making workshop yesterday at The Makery in Bath.  Having just recently discovered sewing blogs, I jumped at the chance when Winnie of Scruffy Badger Time asked if anyone was interested in a knicker making workshop in Bath.  Delicious lunch, great chat with lovely ladies, four hours learning to make knickers and the intricacies of applying knicker elastic, and chocolate cake!  What better way could you find to spend a Saturday afternoon!


Photo courtesy of Winnie at Scruffy Badger Time



P.S.  I have been making some minis, but am waiting for some less dreich (Scots for grey/dreary) weather so I can photograph them and upload them to my Etsy shop.

As if I didn’t have enough projects on the go…

I fell in love with the Unicorn in Captivity tapestry when we saw it in Stirling Castle when we were on holiday and decided I wanted to try to make a miniature version (as you do).

It was easy enough to get an image from the guide book and to scan it into my design program, but that’s where the work started…

Unicorn in Captivity tapestry

The original image from the guide book

First draft of the design

The design so far

Because the background is so busy, the design software did the computer equivalent of blowing me a raspberry and translated all the flower colours into various shades of mud.  So now as well as all the normal tweaking and tidying up I’d expect to do, I’ve got to translate the various different muds into real colours to represent all the different flowers depicted.

The next time I have a bright idea… somebody stop me please!


(P.S. I’m not breaching copyright.  The guidebook was published under the Open Government Licence so I’m free to copy and adapt the image)

Summer holidays

We’ve been back from our summer holidays for a week now so I thought I’d show you something of where we’ve been:

Muir of Dinnet – Aberdeenshire

Burn o, Vat

The Burn o’ Vat “cauldron”

Grey wagtail

where this little grey wagtail had a nest

Burn o' Vat waterfall

the waterfall

Entrance to Burn o' Vat cauldron

and that’s the way in

wild mushrooms

Wild mushrooms!

Loch Kinord

The view over to Loch Kinord

Stirling Castle and the Wallace Monument:

The Great Hall at Stirling Castle

The Great Hall

The Stirling Heads

The Stirling Heads – painted replica heads in the Great Hall

The Stirling Palace Tapestries

The Stirling Palace Tapestries – medieval tapestries re-created specially for the Palace

Campsie Hills from Stirling Castle

Looking over the town of Stirling towards the Campsie Hills from the castle

Stirling Castle from the Wallace Monument

The view of Stirling Castle from the foot of Wallace Monument

The Wallace Monument

Looking up at the Wallace Monument – no, I didn’t climb it – I’ve no head for heights!

You can’t see it from these photos, but it rained or drizzled every single day – typical Scottish weather for July!


My dolls’ house

My computer died on me and I lost most of my older mini pictures last year so I’m going to have to take a lot of new ones.  However, in the mean time, here are some surviving photos of the house and various other bits and pieces:

The outside of the house - brand new

The house as it came fresh from the fair!

The inside of the new house

And here’s the inside of the untouched house

My first attempt at doll-making

My first attempt at doll-making

Second attempt at a doll

Second attempt at a doll

Adam carpet

Something I CAN do! An Adam-style carpet sewn at 22hpi on DMC thread. This was a kit from the Miniature Textiles Company at http://www.miniaturetextiles.co.uk/




Hello world!

I’m just back from holiday and feeling refreshed and full of energy hence this new project.

Things may change, but what I hope to do is share progress on my dolls house (which has stagnated for a while – maybe this blog will give me the push I need) and various other mini projects.  I’ll probably also end up talking about various other crafty things I’m doing (I also dress make, knit very slowly and garden), progress in my Etsy shop and just life in general.