Friday, 3 June 2016

Crafting and shopping, these are a few of my favourite things

And not shopping for clothes either, I mean the good kind of shopping for crafts and antiques, lol.  Last Sunday DH drove me over to the Bramble Patch quilt shop in Weedon. They were displaying a small exhibition of antique quilts which included some pretty American quilts, plus there was a sale on older FQs for £1.50 each and buy 10 get one free.  Several of the sale fabrics were a bit ugly/weird but I was able to pull out 11 decent FQs in a 30s palette from various manufacturers. Pretty pretty, don't know what I will make with them but have added them to my 30s stash.

After the quilt shop we visited The Village antiques emporium in Weedon and also an architectural salvage barn which was full of dusty treasures. We picked up a rusty fireplace grate with gothic detailing and a marble block, both decorations for the garden, and I found a Royal Albert china dish in pretty vintage colours.

But those visits pale into insignificance compared to the last few days which we spent at the Newark International Antiques and Collectors Fair, which bills itself as the largest event of its kind in Europe. And it was big!  I think it would have been even bigger except the capricious English weather decided June was a good time to drop to 10 degrees C with an icy wind so I am guessing some stallholders and customers decided not to bother going. Luckily at the last moment I had catered to my paranoia by throwing in my heavy winter coat and hat, which I hadn't been wearing the last month, and I was sure glad to have them as the majority of the stalls are outside.  We were there from 9am to 4pm on Thursday, stayed overnight in a Premier Inn near Lincoln, then went back for another couple of hours on Friday which we had booked as a day off work. We were absolutely knackered Thursday night, it is suprisingly exhausting to spend the whole day on your feet, slowly walking the site and scanning constantly looking for treasures. Even my eyeballs were sore, lol!

But we did very well, finding some things from our list and a few things that weren't on it at all. There is a wide range of price points and there were disappointments when something we loved turned out to cost several hundred pounds. But there were also bargains especially on Friday when the remaining vendors were eager to get rid of stock. There were vendors and customers speaking many European languages and lorry loads of antiques changing hands from various countries.  I just love seeing all the furniture and curios from a bygone age, it's like being in a giant museum where you can touch everything and even take some of it home. There were some lovely antique linens to admire, and several stalls selling vintage haberdashery and needlework collectibles, and some gorgeous antique worktables, and several hand-cranked handsome Singer sewing machines.

So what did we get?  We found this super Edwardian folding screen to hide the modern eyesore of our television in our otherwise vintage-feeling front room. I will recover it in a blue fabric to match the living room.

And we found a bargain 1940s tray which we will use for carrying tea things outside to our new gazebo.

This isn't an antique, and I wasn't expecting to find it at an antiques fair, but I had been looking for one. A stand was selling metal garden obelisks at a good price and this will look very nice in our garden with perhaps a clematis growing up it or a rose.

On the floor in the above picture you can just see an Edwardian stained glass panel wrapped in a blanket, which I forgot to take a separate picture of. It needs some renovation and a wooden frame to stabilise it, then it will go in my bedroom side window so the light can shine through it.

We spotted this table on the second day and the dealer let it go for a good price, it needs some TLC but is basically sound and has a marble top. As you can see, our tastes do rather lean towards 1850-1945.

And I found this pretty lady from 1935 on a bargain table, apologies for the fuzzy picture. She has a similar face to one that I already have so can be a companion piece.

On one stall I stumbled across a big box of modern lacemaking bobbins which they were selling for the outrageously cheap price of .50p each, so I picked out 45 of the best ones including some very nice painted bobbins which probably originally cost more like £8 each. They said the bobbins were part of a house clearance and they just wanted to get rid of them.

Another stall was more shabby chic than antique but I picked up this wire decoration to go inside our new gazebo, like a faux window.

I spotted this empty 1940s flatware canteen which is in pretty good shape and still has its key which I'm sure will come in useful for something.

It was quite a fun trip, although tiring, and I expect we will go again another year as it was less than a two hour drive. I shall enjoy finding homes for our new acquisitions around our house.


On the drive to and from Newark, and on Thursday night, I was knitting on the Now in a Minute Shawl, the one I had 'finished' last week.  After wearing it a few times, I decided it was just too disappointing. I love the colours but the shape (which I measured and it had come out similar to the pattern) just didn't drape well.  Because of the narrowing of the shawl on one side, there wasn't enough length on the outer perimeter to allow the shawl to drape securely around the shoulders. To keep it from falling down from one shoulder, I had to wind it so tightly around my neck that it felt like a garotte.  I got the scissors out  to the tip of it and ripped out half the shawl, back to the start of the fourth wedge, and retrieved the various sock yarns from the attic so I could start re-knitting it. I am repeating the third wedge chart instead of following the instructions which would narrow the shawl, and I am also going to knit each colour until I have the same number of outer edging points rather than changing colours each wedge like I was doing. I will have to taper it eventually but not until I have achieved a sufficient circumference.

I also did some sewing this week on my Lace pillow transport bag.  It's all done apart from adding a zipper to the top.  There's a nice pocket on the front, and I added some Bosal foam to the base of the lining to give the bag some shape at the bottom. I've made it wider and deeper than the original instructions so that I can easily fit in two lace pillows, the pillow stand, pattern books and my tool bag. When I made the first bag a few years ago I found that the handles felt a bit flimsy. Jenny Doan's instructions are to fold the handle fabric over a one-inch strip of wadding, which doesn't add much strength and when my old bag was heavy I could hear stitches popping in the handle. So for this handle I substituted a two-inch strip of curtain-weight fabric folded double instead of wadding, and the handles feel much more substantial.  It was fun to make this bag and I like the colours. I look forward to using it for my next lace day.

Speaking of lace, I finally finished my miniature bobbin lace shelf edging.  I made it as two strips joined in the middle, then cut the ends very short and glued them to the back of the lace since it's for a dollshouse. Then I attached it to the shelves of my kitchen dresser in my Victorian kitchen using tacky wax. I think it adds a nice homemade touch to the kitchen, hopefully Cook appreciates it!

It's supposed to get warmer over the weekend, it's hard to imagine it could get much colder in June!

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