Thursday, 14 June 2018

New Jelly Roll sets and Rainbow Rings progress

In more preparations for this year's Festival of Quilts in August, I've been creating some gorgeous new fabric strip sets, and have even managed to upload them into the Sewmotion online shop! I am feeling pretty productive this week haha!

These collections are all from Makower and include Sky Blue and Sequoia, both designed by Edyta Sitar, Sundance by Beth Studley and finally Makower's brand new collection, Bloom, which I have to say is my new favourite - those teeny weeny florals are so cute!

These sets contain forty 2.5" strips, four in each of the ten fabrics included in each set.  I think these are my favourite pre-cut as they are so versatile, if you need inspiration, why not check out my Pre-Cut Party PDF patterns. What's more, if you subscribe to the Sewmotion Newsletteryou can get 10% off these sets over the next week.

Meanwhile, when not cutting I've been working hard on my Rainbow Rings quilt, my latest mammoth curved EPP, hand appliqué and quilting project, and it's coming along nicely - although this weather isn't the best to be sat under a full size quilt! Now I've hand sewn the four rings onto the dark grey background, I'm now hand quilting around each of the segments using an Aurifil 12wt cotton.

Wishing everyone and happy sewing week!

Thursday, 7 June 2018

June's free pattern

Life's getting a little frantic here at the minute, the mammoth cut has began in preparation for August's Festival of Quilts. Though I'm telling myself I've still got two months, I know that's going to fly by and I really need to get my finger out! As well as getting fat quarter bundles, jelly rolls and maybe some charm packs cut, I need to figure out how many kits I can get out of my fabric stock, what extras I need and how many I actually need to take to a four-day show, and that's all before I can then let the printers know how many patterns I need! Friends tell me I'll be fine and to make a list... I have lists of lists!! haha!

And of course, it doesn't help when my brain is coming up with new ideas for kits all the time! And then I've also got 'normal' work including commissions for magazines, and of course my free monthly pattern to my Newsletter Subscribers. 

For June I've returned to the jelly roll strip to create this Disappearing Courthouse Steps quilt - I love building blocks only to cut them up and rearrange them don't you! I have made this quilt using the Heart & Soul fabrics from Riley Blake, and once it's quilted and bound, I plan to release it as a kit. Though I also think this design would look great in Ombre fabrics! If you would like this free pattern subscribe to the Newsletter here.

This week one of the many projects on the go has been a new Hoop Art kit using the cute Kitty fabrics, I particularly love the flower print in this collection - so many fussy cutting possibilities!

And talking of magazine work, I've also got to make a couple of cushions in this gorgeous Dashwood Studio fabrics, so cute!!! 

So I best get on! Wishing you all a happy creative week.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

New Fat Quarter Bundles and Mammoth Curved EPP sewing!

This week I've finally uploaded some lovely new fat quarter bundles into the Sewmotion shop. When I buy these ranges, I have all the best intentions of designing and making them into kits and pre-cuts, but then time runs away from me and I find them collecting dust on the shelves. So I thought it was about time to get them out into the real world and share them with my customers! As you can tell, I've fallen for Makower's ranges in a big way at the moment - those Christmas ranges are so cute!! You can click here to find out more and to see the whole collection of fat quarter bundles.

I've been making great progress on my latest curved EPP mammoth quilt. For my Rainbow Rings I turned to my stash for some colour inspiration, and using my favourite EPP method, designed these four concentric circle designs. Now the piecing is complete, I just have to appliqué them onto the grey background and quilt it - should keep me busy for a while!

I'm also developing some new cushion designs to make into kits, including this Overlapping Circles cushion in those gorgeous Blue Sky fabrics from Edyta Sitar.

I have so many new kits and patterns in the pipeline, all in preparation for August's Festival of Quilts. I have worked this amazing four-day quilt show (Europe's largest I think) for my old employers Doughty's for the last eight years, but this is the first one I'll be doing for myself, and I won't lie, I am starting to panic at the amount of work I need to do!! Not only have I lots of existing kits to make up, but my brain won't stop coming up with new ideas - really annoying!! Anyway, you'll find me buried in pre-cuts and kit boxes for the next two months, with some curved EPP thrown in for good measure :)

Linking up with Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Greek bliss, purse kits and Quilts UK

Gosh, it seems such a long time since I last blogged, what a busy month! Even though it seems like an age ago now, we had a wonderful time in Kefalonia. We had been before, and it was still as wonderful and unspoilt as 13 years ago! As it was May and early in the season, the island's flowers were in full bloom and looked spectacular - why can't my garden look like this!! 

We stayed in Skala in the south of the island, and being shattered and only there for a week, we decided not to hire a car, but to explore the local area on foot instead... which one day turned into a 10mile hike up into the hills. We were headed for Old Skala but I have a feeling we took a wrong turn and ended up going much further, but these things happen for a reason, and man, was it worth it, the views were amazing! It was quite hilly with loose rocky paths, so a little tricky at times, but I'm so glad we got 'lost' on this stunning island!

On our return, I just had time to release some new Purse Kits into the Sewmotion shop. These were actually meant for the following week's show, but proved really popular with my newsletter subscribers. These kits come with all the fabric, plus zip, you need to make this cute English paper-pieced purse, and are £10 each. You can find out more here.

And then of course, it was Quilts UK in Malvern. As I may have mentioned in the past, I used to live in Hereford, about an hour west of Malvern where I worked for Doughty's. When we do this show, we're very lucky to be able to stay with Mrs Doughty who not only knows how to cook a fantastic Hereford steak, but also makes a damn good gin! Thank you Ruth!

This was my second year doing this four-day quilt show for Sewmotion, and I think this one was hottest one yet! We were in the marquee, and once it gets to a certain temperature, customers don't fancy hanging around too long when they could be in a nice air conditioned hall, and who can blame them! And of course, there was a certain Royal Wedding to compete with too... don't they make a beautiful couple!! Anyway, we still met lots of lovely people, including many newsletter subscribers - its always nice to put a face to a name. 

As those who were there know, I have added a third kit to my EPP Flower Cushion kit collection, this time using one of the bright and beautiful floral prints from Liberty's Cottage Garden collection together with a Makower spot. Click here to find out more about this kit, plus a link to my video tutorial series on how to make these cushions.

Linking up with Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

A Give-away Winner, New Hoop Art Kits and Secret Quilting

We have a winner!! I'm so happy to announce that the winner of this gorgeous fabric bundle and two tickets to this year's Festival of Quilts is... Eileen Gilmour! Huge congratulations Eileen, I will be contacting you via email.

Meanwhile, I've been working on another couple of Curved EPP Hoop Art Kits - can you tell I'm getting addicted! The first one features fussy-cut foliage in prints from Laundry Basket Quilts' Blue Sky collection, while the second is much more vibrant in hot Sundance fabrics from Makower. These kits are slightly larger at 10" but you need less fabric than the 8" designs so the price is the same at £20. Click here to find out more including what's included in each kit. If you're looking for a portable holiday project or you'd just like to try out this curved EPP technique, these kits are a great place to start.

I've also been working on a couple of new projects, a secret baby quilt for an upcoming issue of Love Patchwork & Quilting, and a new version of my EPP Flower Cushion, this time in a lovely bright floral Liberty print.

We're off to sunny (and very hot) Kefalonia next week, so there won't be a blog for the next couple of Thursdays, see you on my return just in time for Quilts UK in Malvern!

Linking up with Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

A Springtime Giveway and Finishing Off the EPP Flower Cushion Back

As I sit at my desk every day it's hard not to be distracted by the comings and goings outside - my window looks down on our small but pretty garden which is currently home to families of blackbirds, sparrows, the occasional blue tit, and even a lovely couple of collared doves. What's more, the other day I saw a bee, which can only mean one thing, spring has finally arrived in the Northeast of England! So to celebrate the brighter days and warmer weather, I'm hosting a Giveaway, yay!

This competition is open to all of my Newsletter subscribers, so for a chance of winning this gorgeous bundle of Liberty of London Cottage Garden fat quarters, together with two tickets to this year's Festival of Quilts, all you have to do is subscribe to my Newsletter. Not only will you hear all the latest product news and subscriber-only offers, you will also receive a FREE PATTERN every month straight to your inbox.

Better still, if you tell a friend and they sign up, then email me to let me know who referred them, you get an additional entry into the draw - happy days!
Closing date is midnight on Tuesday 24th April and the winner will be announced in next week's Newsletter, out on the following Thursday, good luck everyone, and get sharing!

Elsewhere at Sewmotion HQ - have you had a go at my Curved EPP Flower Cushion yet? It really is a lovely hand project to take on the go - you can catch the four-part series of video tutorials here. Once you have made the beautiful cushion front, what better way of finishing than with a nice and tidy zippered back? I have added a full tutorial on adding a zip to this cushion which you can see here.

Talking of EPP Flowers - I have uploaded two brand new Hoop Art kits to the Sewmotion shop. As you may have gathered by now, I'm totally addicted to this method of EPP and I'm loving applying it to all sort of projects. These EPP Flower kits come with all the fabric you need, including the fat quarter of background fabric, a 8" wooden hoop, template plastic and wadding, an embroidery floss, templates to cut out and full instructions. Click here to find out more about each kit.

Linking up with Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday

Thursday, 12 April 2018

The Final Part of my Curved EPP Tutorial and New Cushion Kits

The fourth and final part of my YouTube video series on curved English paper-piecing takes you through hand-quilting the flower ring using decorative big stitches. I love this method of quilting, the hand movement is so therapeutic and it really is quite quick!

You can see the latest instalment below, and of you have missed the first three parts covering the fussy-cutting, glue-basting, piecing and appliqué, you can visit the Sewmotion Channel here.

I have also now released a couple of cushion kits to accompany this series, the first is in the Red Rose Garibaldi fabric as featured in the film, and the second is from Liberty of London's Cottage Garden collection - I just couldn't resist fussy-cutting those cute little houses!

I am aware that as this glue-basting technique becomes more popular, it's highly likely that customers may already own a glue pen, and also have their favourite brand of thread they like to use, so I have decided not to include these in the new kits, which takes the price down to £14.00 and also gives the customer the choice. So each of the kits include the fabrics you need to make the flower, plus binding strips, a fat quarter of background fabric, a square of template plastic, templates to cut out and full instructions. What's more, if you subscribe to my Newsletter, you can get 10% off these new kits for the following week - sign up for free here.

With a few big quilt shows coming up, I'm starting to develop some smaller kits that are quicker for me to make up as well as more affordable for the customer wanting to dabble in curved EPP, the first of which is this cute mug rug - this is a my first mug rug, and I loved making it!! I think this may be the first of many :)

Linking up with;
Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts
Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation

Thursday, 5 April 2018

April's Free Pattern and Part 3 of My Video Curved EPP Tutorial

After a lovely long Easter weekend that included our 14th wedding anniversary,  I seem to have hit the ground running with so much to get done! As today is the first Thursday of the month, it must be Pre-Cut Party Time! For the uninitiated, my Pre-Cut Party involves my Newsletter subscribers receiving a free pattern every month, based on the treasured quilting pre-cut.

This month I have returned to a fave, the 2.5" fabric strip, otherwise known as the jelly roll. I actually came across an old quilt top I made years ago and remember having so much trouble with working out the layout, though I really don't know why, the blocks are just offset in vertical rows... I have a feeling I designed the original going horizontally - haha! The things you learn!

This bright quilt reminds me of the summer (which seems so far off looking at my rain-drenched window) and is made in Michael Miller's Flora Pop fabrics together with a lovely white-on-white print. If you would like this free pattern, and many more in the future you can subscribe hereYou will also hear about latest products and subscriber-only offers.

I decided to have this quilt longarm quilted again by the wonderful North Star Quilting who are only up the road in Hartlepool, so if you're local to the northeast why not check out their website, they currently have 10% off edge-to-edge quilting!

Alongside this pattern, I also have the kit in Flora Pop in which I have kindly cut all the 2.5" strips for you so you can get sewing straight away! The kit also includes borders, binding, thread and full instructions. What's more if you subscribe to my Newsletter, you can get 20% off the kit.

This week also sees the third instalment of my video  tutorial series on how to make this pretty curved English paper-pieced cushion. In Part Three I show you how to appliqué the flower ring onto the background fabric.

If you have missed Parts 1 and 2 covering the fussy-cutting, glue-basting and piecing, click here to go to Sewmotion's YouTube channel. I will have kits for this cushion soon, but if you have some gorgeous fabric in your stash just begging to be fussy-cut, click here for the templates.

Linking up with Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers & Needle & Thread Thursday

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Part 2 of my Curved EPP Tutorial - the Piecing - & an Easter Sale

Well, it's the Thursday before the Easter weekend and the sun is shining... fingers crossed it will continue to do so, I really fancy getting out into the countryside this weekend. That said, this is England, and no doubt the rain will appear at some point, which means another weekend of staying indoors with some sewing on the go... shame... ;)

I am working on so many EPP projects at the moment, including a long list of magazine commissions which I can't show off quite yet. However, I can share the second instalment of my series of YouTube videos on curved English paper-piecing and how to make this beautiful cushion. 

Part 2 shows you how to hand-piece your shapes together using a flat back stitch, before gently removing the papers. If you missed Part 1 covering fussy-cutting and blue-basting, click here to see last week's post.

If you're feeling inspired to get sewing, then why not have a browse in the Sewmotion shop's Easter Sale?!

Linking up with Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday

Thursday, 22 March 2018

My Curved EPP Movie Tutorials

I've been planning to make some how-to videos for a while now, but just haven't had the time to sit and learn something new. But with my obsession with curved EPP threatening to take over my life, I thought it was about time I showed the world what all the fuss was about, so I sat down and learnt how to use iMovie and made my first series of short tutorials. And what better place to start than with this gorgeous fussy-cut EPP Flower Cushion.

There will be four tutorials in all, the first one below starts with fussy-cutting each of these simple shapes, and then glue-basting them using a Sewline glue pen. I know there are traditionalists out there who prefer to thread baste, but you really can't get nice smooth curves around your shapes without using glue, and believe me, once you have pieced your shapes and removed the papers, you would never know glue was ever there!

So if you would like to get stuck into this lovely hand sewing project and have some beautiful fabric to hand that's crying out to be fussy-cut, let's begin by downloading your free paper templates by clicking here. Then click below for the first instalment - enjoy!

Join me next week for the second instalment in which I show you how to hand piece your shapes using a flat back stitch, until then, have a great creative week everyone!

Linking up with;
Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts
Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Fabric joy and new projects

I am so lucky to be surrounded by beautiful fabrics and amazing colour every day. My workroom (spare bedroom) is also south facing so I get bright daylight flowing in, and even sunshine some days! This week I finally made time to photograph and upload some gorgeous new fat quarter bundles into the Sewmotion Shop... there's some 1930s feedsack prints, a little Riley Blake and Michael Miller and of course some Alison Glass. Each bundle has a different number of fat quarters and is individually priced, click here to see my whole collection.

For those subscribers who started my Curve Motion Medallion BOM in January, their third instalment has been sent out this week and features this cute chubby Dresden Plate block.

If you're a fan of English paper-piecing and would like to join us for 16 months of hand sewing joy, click here to find out more. I also got the chance last week to photograph the full quilt in some 'nearly northern sunshine', I find it hard to capture the grey background in all it's gorgeous glory, but I think I'm getting there!

Meanwhile, I've also been working on a couple of new projects, one of which is this Curved EPP cushion which I'm planning to be a free tutorial on the website, and in video!! I have learnt so much this week and can't wait to share it with you.

Linking up with Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Being a Mindful Woman

Wow, what a month to be a woman, and a quilting one at that! Not only do we have Mother's Day this weekend in the UK, International Woman's Day today, but it's also National Quilt Month in the US - what more reason do we need to take some time out from the busy and more often than not, stressful day-to-day and treat ourselves to some 'me-time'. 

I for one really struggle with this, even though I don't have kids and have a wonderful husband who cooks EVERY night (I know, so lucky) I use these as reasons to work on the business harder than I should. While we took the conscious decision not to have children, I often feel I need to find another way to make my mark on the world, which is why Sewmotion is so important to me.

I'm lucky enough to absolutely love my work - the idea of designing, sewing and then sharing online is my dream job come true! I also believe sewing is the best therapy in the world and I know without it I would be a complete mess (especially at the moment, peri-menopause is a bitch!) Which is why, as you may have noticed, many of my recent patterns and kits have involved hand sewing in an effort to make myself sit down quietly and be mindful of just one thing for a while. 

While I do have the added pressure of the sewing being work, with deadlines and consequent patterns/kits to make up, I still find so much enjoyment and satisfaction in what I make, and I think this feeling of achievement and mindfulness is something we all need more of in our lives, we all need to slow down a little, not always, just now and again, and enjoy the slow and creative side of life.

I do hope you wonderful mums out there have a wonderful Mother's Day and all you fantastic, amazing, awe-inspiring women treat yourselves to a little you-time this weekend.

Linking up with Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers, and Needle & Thread Thursday.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Harrogate Spring Quilt Festival, 2018

As I sit and write this, the snow is falling yet again as the UK comes to its usual standstill during a wintery deluge. I'm only glad we're not doing Harrogate Quilt show this weekend! We had a great time at this bi-annual show last weekend, and the stand looked more colourful than ever. This was also my first chance to show off my Curve Motion Medallion quilt in real life, and it attracted some lovely comments, so thank you! For more on this glorious hand sewing block-of-the-month project, click here.

Another quilt which attracted a lot of attention was my new Mosaic Garden quilt kit, mainly due to Bryony's amazing long arm quilting (North Star Quilting), I know I mentioned this last week, I just couldn't resist showing it off again! The kit is now available in the Sewmotion Shop, priced at £68, though if you sign up and receive today's Newsletter, you can get 15% off! Click here to subscribe today

I love to wander through the collection of quilts on display  at these shows and always find something that sparks my imagination. The overall feeling of this exhibition was a wonderful abundance of colour! Greta and Mike Fitchett's work caught my eye with it's strong lines and graphic illustrations, Greta's work is inspired by architectural pattern found on her travels around the world and I thought her Reflection Quilts were so clever and striking in their use of colour.

Birmingham Post Office Tower, and Cologne Cathedral, Greta Fitchett
Designer and engineering illustrator Mike's pieces are inspired by vintage travel posters, a style I love myself, and it was great to see similar designs in quilt form. Coming from a graphics background, Mike's use of bold colour and simple shapes really appealed to me.

Heart of the Alps, and What a Shambles, Mike Fitchett
Another wonderful display of colour was to be found in "Interchange Appliqué Quilts' by Gillian Travis. These beautiful pieces are made using an innovative appliqué technique with batiks which are fused together. I'm a big fan of repetitive pattern and found these designs so happily satisfying!

Clockwise from top left: Circles 2, Notan Leaves 2, Turkish Carpets , Hawaiian Interchange, Circles 1 - Gillian Travis
These quilts are on a travelling exhibition with Grosvenor Shows, so if you get the chance to visit an event, go and explore this explosion of awesome colour!

I was so happy to meet a fellow UKQU member, Vendulka Battais, owner of Oliven quilt shop and queen of the Cathedral window! As well as demoing and teaching her stunning painting technique, Vendulka also had some of her beautiful quilts on display.

Cathedral Windows, Vendulka Battais, Oliven

Linking up with Midweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Quilt Show preparation, a new kit and North Star Quilting

For the past few weeks I've been cutting, folding, glueing, and pricing like a mad woman, in preparation for my first show of the year, the Spring Quilt Festival at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate. This 3-day event is held in a smaller hall than the one in Autumn, which I must say does make for a more much relaxed show. Talking to visitors last year, many commented on how nice it was to wander around the stalls at a leisurely pace, have time for some lunch before having a second look around and actually remembering where they saw that something that caught their eye!

As you can see, I've added some lovely individual fat quarters to my show stock, these boxes look so inviting don't they! And I've a few new kits not taken to shows before, including this gorgeous new Mosaic Garden Quilt Kit in Michael Miller's Wildflower fabrics.

You may recognise this quilt from a pervious Pre-Cut Party pattern, I've increased the number of blocks to thirty to make this double-sized quilt finish at approx. 67" x 80". The kit includes 120 pre-cut 5" squares, 3.10m of Makower's Ivory and eight binding strips, plus thread and full instructions. This new kit will be available in the Sewmotion shop early next week, priced at £68.00.

Did you notice the beautiful quilting on my new quilt above? Most of the time I love to quilt my own tops, but this quilt begged for something special, so I decided to give it to my friend Bryony Liddle to longarm. Bryony and her husband Luke run North Star Quilting, a longarm quilting service up here in the North East of England. I let her have free reign on my quilt, and she didn't disappoint! Keeping with the grid-like pattern of the patchwork, Bryony went to town with some truly stunning quilt designs in block formation. Fine Art trained, Bryony is a joy to work with, incredibly enthusiastic about her work and is very talented indeed! For more details on North Star Quilting's services, including prices, click here

Linking up with Let's Bee Social, Midweek Makers & Needle & Thread Thursday.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Learning from our wonderful quilting community

It really is easier than ever to learn a new skill these days thanks to the wonderful worldwide web and the generous communities out there who love to share their knowledge for free - and the quilting community is certainly no exception. Like many of you, whenever I'm stuck on a project or don't quite understand a technique and need to see a demo, I head for Pinterest or YouTube and it all soon becomes clear.

There are so many websites where quilter's share their knowledge, tips and hints with their readers - you can see my own collection of free tutorials here, from cutting fabric, speedy chain-piecing and EPP to designing a backing and joining binding ends.

The UKQU website is a another growing resource for learning with many of the UK's top quilting professionals as well as us 'normal' people sharing their skills and inspiration in the Bloggers Central section, and there's also a great Hints & Tips section with more free tutorials. This website grew out of the incredibly popular Facebook group and also includes information on quilting retreats, workshops and training, local groups and quilting shops.

I have heard some say that blogging is dying out, but I don't think that's true. If you read my own blog, you will see that every week I link to so-called Linky Parties, weekly online get-togethers where bloggers can share their current makes and meet people across the world, my favrourites are Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts, Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication and Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation.

As the world becomes smaller and communities become global, these blogs and websites are great opportinties to meet new quilting friends from around the world and find inspiration in unexpected places. Where do you hang out and find your best inspiration? Instagram? Pinterest? Do you have a favourite blogger to share with us? Please leave your comments below, I love to explore new places!

Linking up with:
Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts
Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication
Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation

Thursday, 8 February 2018

A new Overlapping Cushion Kit - & a surprise birthday trip

This curved EPP nonsense really has taken over my life, I went to finish my latest cushion on the machine this week and realised how long it had been since I sat there! So next month's free pattern is definitely going to be a machine-sewn quilt, honest!

For now however... I couldn't resist making a second version of my Overlapping Cushion kit, this time using these gorgeous rich prints from the Coonawarra Red collection by Helen Stubbings.

This block is actually one that features in my Curve Motion Medallion BOM quilt, I loved it so much I needed to use to in other projects. Thanks to glue-basting, these curved shapes come together quite easily, and surprisingly quickly. They are then appliquéd onto a linen-look cotton from Sevenberry's Japanese collection making this a very sumptuous cushion indeed. What's more I've now added a Sewline gluepen and cotton thread for piecing to both of the kits, so you can get stuck in as soon as you open the box! These kits are £29.00 each, and if you subscribe to the Newsletter you can get 15% off before the end of the month.

As I mentioned last week, Justin was whisking me away for my birthday, I knew not where... well after a couple of red herring turns towards the Newcastle ferry terminal and the airport (!) we kept going north to the beautiful town of Alnwick, home to Alnwick Castle where they filmed the Harry Potter films. Unfortunately the castle was closed until March, but that's just an excuse to return!

Alnwick Castle

We walked around the town on the Friday, and popped into the famous Barter Books. This wonderful second-hand bookshop is situated inside a glorious old Victoria train station, complete with miniature trains running on tracks over our heads and a cosy fire-lit cafe in the old waiting room. Needless to say, we spent a few hours in here. 

Barter Books, Alnwick
Justin had then booked us a gorgeous cream tea at our hotel, The White Swan, followed by a lovely evening meal in their Olympic dining room, so called because its whole interior including the beautifully carved wooden panels, mirrors and ceiling were originally part of the Olympic ship, sister to the Titanic. Apparently the owner of the hotel went to the auction after the ship had been decommissioned, and decided he wanted to buy this whole room, then came home and built the hotel's dining room to accommodate his new purchase. The room is certainly very impressive!  

The Olympic Dining room, The White Swan, Alnwick
On the Saturday it sadly rained... all day! So we went on a little driving tour up to Berwick, crossed the border into Scotland - again, we plan to return in better weather - then heading back down we stopped at Bamburgh Castle, crossed over the causeway onto Holy Island, finally stopping at Seahouses for the best fish and chips I've had in a while.

Berwick Viaduct and Bamburgh Castle
That evening we went to The Plough, a beautifully restored coaching inn dating back to 1896, where they serve food from their renowned Jolly Fisherman Craster menu - I had the Bouillabaisse which was just amazing! 

On Sunday the sun was back, and on Stitchscape's Diane's recommendation we stopped at Alnmouth bay on our way home, and wasn't disappointed, what a beautiful beach for a morning walk, thanks Di! 

The stunning Alnmouth Bay
So if you're ever in the northeast of England, head a little further up past Newcastle and explore the wonders of Northumberland, you won't be disappointed, even in the rain!

Linking up with:
Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts
Midweek Makers at QuiltFabrication
Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation