Quatrefoil and antique tile

After getting enthusiastic about machine patching yesterday, I’ve spent this afternoon finishing off some EPP blocks. These are from a set of 9 12″ blocks which will either make a lap quilt, or have extras added to make it a bigger quilt.

Despite feeling desperately behind on the things I think I should be doing, I am, at least getting a few things done.

On a slightly different tack, a couple of hours spent on the results of the FTAnalyzer have been very fruitful.  Most of the folk who showed up ‘buried before death’ weren’t errors as such, it was just that the death listed the quarter in which they died. All tidied up now, so I’ll move onto corrections in another area tonight…


Set your seam, press to the dark side…

My last excuse (for now, at any rate) for the lapse in blogging, is that despite being already addicted to EPP because I love the relaxed hand stitching and ‘no rush’ attitude, te lovely lady at my local fabric shop has finally tempted/inspired me to have a go at machine patchwork. Now that the sewing machine is more accessible, I have a yen to use it. There are some great videos online to get started, and after watching just one of Jean Truelove’s tutorials, I was well and truly hooked! This week I’ve been playing with colour and fabric, and have come up with a handful of 9.5″ blocks.

They’re far from perfect, but , all in all, I’m quite pleased with them.  Most corners match in the right place, the pinwheel is a bit off…..  It’s a first attempt, and I’ll improve with practice.

I’ve decided that this one will be a baby quilt – I’ll do another three different blocks, then all eight again, with different fabrics.  Hopefully that will get me to the sashing and quilting stages more quickly, and the next effort will be more presentable.

It’s been a real change from hand stitching, but I’ll be back to that this evening.

More soon.

Analysis is good for the soul. Sometimes.

One of the things that’s been keeping me quiet these past few days is a little bit of (free) software that I’ve just been introduced to. FTAnalyzer is an amazing piece of kit that can make an enormous difference to your family tree.

Even the best researchers make the occasional error – whether it’s a typo, or just getting something not quite right.  I’m not one of the best researchers, though I try to be thorough, and not accept any information without some reasonably compelling evidence.  FTAnalyzer is a quick download, and very user friendly. There are links on the site to take you through how to use it, but to be honest, once you open it up, it’s pretty much self explanatory.

Having downloaded the software, you’ll need a gedcom file to analyse. Some folk start off with a small tree just to test out, but I didn’t have the motivation to do that, and went straight in with exporting my 9000+ person tree from Ancestry.  You don’t need to use an Ancestry tree, any gedcom will do the job.  Open that file in the FTAnalyzer software, and in a minute or so it will analyse all of your work.  Under the ‘Errors/Fixes’ tab you can identify potential data errors, ‘loose’ births and ‘loose’ deaths.

It took me a few minutes to work out what loose births and deaths are, but basically they are the ones that you’ve either left as unknown, or haven’t formatted quite correctly. The ones that the system didn’t like in my tree were the ones where I had written the dates without writing the name of the month – for example, I have now replaced 5.11.1843  with 5 November 1843.

It’s easy to download/print the lists of potential errors, to make checking quicker.

The ‘Locations’ tab  gives a comprehensive list of countries, regions, sub-regions, addresses and places.  This is something I’ve wanted for ages – when my other half suggests a trip out, and I really want to know if we have anyone buried nearby….

There are research suggestions, and a ‘Lost cousins’ area, which identifies Lost cousins facts recorded.

What I hadn’t anticipated, was that in checking off the potential errors, I have found new evidence, and even new ancestors, which I’d been unable to find previously.

All in all, it’s a really cool new toy.

Excuse # 238

Despite the online quietness, it’s been busy at Hadenmaiden’s House. Though I started 2019 determined that I wouldn’t be bound by lists this year, I seem to have committed to rather too many things (again). I’ve managed to make some good progress on several projects, and have a couple of finishes which means I can tick appropriate boxes.

First up is a quick mobius cowl for a KAL being hosted on Ravelry. This was an ideal project to take along to Knit & Natter, being a simple one row pattern that I really couldn’t lose track with.


I finally managed to take my trusty sewing machine out of storage in the garage – now it’s beckoning me to get on and do some proper sewing. I started off with a couple of bags – the one pictured below, and a Japanese know bag with the same fabric. I think I may now have the sewing bug in addition to all the other things that compete for my time and attention…


I’ve also cast on a lace weight shawl for another KAL. Gave myself an extra brownie point for using stash, but unfortunately the colour doesn’t show well in this image, which makes a lovely rich jewel toned green look like royal blue!


27 September 1859

t’s way too long since I last posted here, and I should explain why I’ve been away so long – I managed to get waylaid by a picture that was posted on social media, and ended up going down the rabbit hole that happens when you just an to know a little bit more about what went on….1859 Birmingham memorial card

This is a particularly poignant memorial to those lost in an explosion in 1859. It seems to be out of copyright and now in the public domain, so it should be OK for me to share it here.

Birmingham’s gun quarter around Whittall Street housed several percussion cap manufactories in the middle of the 19th century. Many girls and young women were employed in the production process which required dextrous fingers.  The work was dangerous and explosions were common.
One of the worst occurred on 27 September 1859 at the Pursall & Phillips factory on Whittall Street.
The explosion was widely reported in newspapers at the time, and Trove has an article from the South Australian Register, which describes the day in graphic detail, and is well worth reading.

What fascinated me was the last of names, and how they might link together. T
he oldest people to die were Fanny Dollman (sometimes Doleman) and Martha Groocock (sometimes Grocock), both 31 years old and married. Both had three young children.
Fanny also had a younger sister, Maria, who also worked at the factory, and died with her in the explosion, 29 year old Maria Earp.

Humphrey Wood was the only man killed in the explosion – he was an experienced employee, having worked as a percussion cap maker for at least eight years. He had been married a little over four years.

Catherine Clarke, 24, and 18 year old Winifred Casey both lived at the same property on George Street. They were buried at St Joseph’s church in Nechells on 2 October. Thomas Clarke was named in the burial notes for both young women, suggesting that they also may have been related.

Catherine Mary Perrigo was also 24 – she had been born in Middlesex, and the family moved to Birmingham when she was around six years old. Her father, William was a gun wadding manufacturer, so it is perhaps not surprising that Catherine would take a job in the same industry. Sadly William died a couple of months before Catherine.

It looks very likely that Charlotte Cottrall was Charlotte Fowler, who married Thomas Cottrill (sic) on 21 July 1956 in Aston.

Mary Ann (22) and Rebecca (19) Walton were sisters – daughters of Edward and Mary Walton. Edward was a master cabinet maker, and the girls two older sisters were French polishers. Livery Street who lived on Hatchett Street.
Sadly some of the girls are difficult to trace.

As the memorial plaque shows, 15 of the dead were buried in the same vault – at St Mary’s church, Whittall Street, on 2 October.

Mary Cantrill was buried at St Paul & St Martin’s church, Birmingham on the same day. She had lived on Hospital Street.
Catherine Clarke and Winifred Casey were also buried on t2 October, though at a Roman Catholic church.

Dinah Peel (14) lived at Smithfield and wasn’t buried until 5 October.

The parish record for St Mary’s, Whittall Street makes grim reading. On October 2 1859 they held a total of 19 funerals – the fifteen who had died in the explosion, three infants and a 23 year old lady.

These are the things we should recall, perhaps when we complain about health and safety rules….


In the blue corner

I finally made a bit of a start on the blanket squares for this year’s long KAL.

Managed to get 7 squares from 1 x100g ball. I have 10 balls each of 2 colours, so if this is typical, I should get around 140 squares in total. There are 30 different squares to choose from, and several different blanket sizes. Unless the plan changes, I’m aiming for three sets of 30 squares, to end up with a throw size blanket. That would also mean I have yarn for a border, or possible a couple of hat/mitts sets for next winter.squares

Wherefore art thou, Shakespeare’s Pedlar?

Back in the days when I could see well enough to attempt (and finish) fairly fine cross stitch pieces, I came across, and often used a rotation system. The idea was that when a stitcher had several different pieces on the go at once, working in a rotation would facilitate each of the pieces being completed, and not destined to become UFOs (UnFinished Objects.)

I seem to recall that I first found the ten hour rotation system on a site called Shakespeare’s Pedlar, but a search this week has failed to retrieve the original post. Basically it involved working on one piece for 10 hours before putting it away and moving onto the next for the following 10 hours of stitching. Provided the stitcher didn’t start any new pieces, real progress could be seen on each piece, and gradually the pieces would be completed.

This week I decided it was going to be a good idea to adapt the system for my patchwork. At the moment I have four pieces started, and each time I work on one, I want to just keep going. Whilst I’m not following the 10 hours guideline, I am making myself stop when I get a unit finished on each piece. The end result for this week is that I have measurable progress on three of the four pieces, and the fourth one to work on this evening.

Long may it last!

1 down, 34 to go

Finally got around to starting the Dutchman’s Puzzle quilt. I took the makings of the first block to craft group on Monday, and now have one of the35 blocks I will need. The colours don’t show up very well, hopefully the next progress picture will rectify that. biggest lesson learned this week – using the size 10 milliners needles and Bottom line thread that were recommended to me makes the stitching so much better, but the needles are difficult to thread in electric light. I fixed that by pre-threading a bunch of needles in the daytime, so I have enough to keep me going through the evening 🙂


I picked up a bargain this morning, too. Popped into town for a special birthday and, and whilst I was in the shop spied these three little lovelies – just 4.5″, 5.5″ & 6.5″ Ideal for dressing and keeping in my bag for emergencies, and only £1.50 for the three!