A Derbyshire Lass

Definitely Not London

Although I’ve lived in London for (wince) 18 years, I hail originally from Derbyshire, growing up in a town on the edge of the Peak District. Pretty, huh?

Actually, no, ‘pretty’ isn’t the word. Rugged, epic, sometimes bleak, always inspiring are much better words to use. When I first visited the county of Surrey as a young adult, I looked about at all the lush trees and verdant lawns and said, ‘But it’s so … green!’ I’d grown up surrounded by gorse, heather, moss. There’s nothing lush about the north and that’s why I love it. Can’t live there – I ran down to London as quick as my young little feet would carry me – but I love what it represents.

I went home recently. ‘What’s that got to do with sewing?’ I hear you ask. Okay so first off, the train journey:

My sewing time at home is precious; train journeys are windows of empty space to be filled. So when a Sewist has inserted a panel the wrong way round and then overlocked the seam (insert swear word of your choice) it felt only right to take this painfully slow unpicking task onto the train with me. Here’s my latest make of the Pendrell blouse and a seam ripper enjoying the fast moving view from the window. I think the fact that I sat on a train and worked my way through this officially and finally puts me in the Eccentric Bat category.

Whilst I was at home, my dear old ma whisked out her overlocker to give me a demonstration:

Thanks for all your advice and tips about buying an overlocker. Some invaluable information there and some exploratory trips to shops in order, methinks.

I also had chance to wear The Skirt of Extreme Happiness, when we went out for lunch at Fischers:

I made a friend.

If you’re ever in the Derbyshire area, I really recommend going for lunch here. It’s super-lovely. You should also pop over to the Chatsworth House Farm Shop:

Check out those pork pies!

Okay, I’ll admit – pork pies have absolutely zero to do with sewing. Back on topic, I also wore my Lady In Red dress on this trip, but I can’t share photo evidence of that due to the fact that all photos of me in the dress feature droopy eyelids, shiny cheeks and a wonky smile. Yeah, we were celebrating someone’s birthday, Yes, that person had turned 40. Okay, so a wine or two may have been consumed! Even Ladies In Red can get tired and emotional sometimes…

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16 Responses to A Derbyshire Lass

  1. rachel says:

    Your skirt of extreme happiness looks fantastic – especially with those gorgeous red shoes! And all that delicious ham in the picture is making my deli-meat deprived pregnant self salivate….

  2. Portia says:

    It’s always nice to make it back home once in a while. I’m with Rachel on the pork pie font (except I’m not pregnant.)

  3. KristenMakes says:

    I love that you took your sewing on the train! I agree about time being precious – I knit on just about all bus and train rides…

  4. Bold Sewist says:

    I love Derbyshire – was there last week, didn’t want to come back to the flatness of East Anglia at all! The skirt & shoes of extreme happiness look like it’s truly spring – summer even! Hooray!

  5. Erika says:

    Beautiful scenery! I’ve done the reverse trip – coming from a lush and green part of Sweden and moving much further north (although I’m south of the polar circle. Just.). The landscape up here is beautiful in a completly different way from the south. Like you say, not really pretty. But striking and breathtaking nontheless. I think I would like to visit Derbyshire =)

    Good luck with your hunt for an overlocker! I’m sure you’ll find one, it’s just a question of how much one wants to spend…

  6. Jane says:

    Great post, really enjoyed reading it. If you exchange Derbyshire for Lancashire, the first two paragraphs could have been written about me! The skirt of Extreme Happiness is holding its own nicely. x

  7. MacDoodle says:

    OMG I can’t believe this post! My husband’s Eyre ancestors are from the Peak District (Hope) and two years ago we went on a pilgrimmage to the area to visit churchyards and the records office in Matlock. We stayed in a converted mill which was wonderful and since everyone we spoke to recommended us a trip to Chatsworth, we went there. However, we totally fell in love with that farm shop though and made several trips there to purchase heavenly foods. My husband is a total foodie so we ended up opting to treat ourselves at the farm shop instead of eating out. We’re itching for a return visit. I’ve also never met such friendly people.

    One of the quirks of the trip was that we discovered that my husband’s nth great grandfather actually worked in the mill where we were staying. That was an amazing discovery which really brought the family tree alive for us.

    I also loved that barn-style bookshop and Eyam was awesome.

    • Wow! Glad the people of Derbyshire were nice to you. My sister’s foodie husband loves the farm shop, too. There’s a killer half marathon in Eyam that a perverse part of me is tempted by. I agree, Eyam is lovely and has a fascinating history – I should go back there.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    You look extremely happy in your skirt of extreme happiness! Thanks for sharing a little bit of your history. And I share you misery in the use of seamrippers. Alas, I think I have actually dulled mine I’ve used it so much. *big sigh*

  9. Roobeedoo says:

    “Eccentric bat”?! Love it! Much empathy re seam ripping. Are you sure your mum doesn’t want to give you HER overlocker? No? Aw! And you look very happy in that skirt. It’s name is well-earned!

  10. PinnyPinPin says:

    Derbyshire is on my list of destinations! I hail from the gentle rolling hills of Surrey (which I maintain is amongst the most beautiful places on the planet), but I do long to experience the rugged landscape of the Peak District (perhaps too much Bronte growing up!).

    Love the red skirt – it’s a great colour on you 🙂

    • If you like the Brontes you really should to go Haworth in Yorkshire. The moors there are stupendous and you can pop into the Haworth Parsonage, where they grew up. (And where I worked for a summer as a student!)

  11. Rachel says:

    Hi Karen
    My curiosity is getting the better of me – where is the village in the pic? I’m from Derbyshire-Belper/Ripley, came up here from Leamington Spa 18 years ago and totally fell in love with it. Chatsworth Farm Shop is lovely, myself and my daughter plan on having a bite to eat there on Easter Sunday after a long walk round Chatsworth. Oh love the red skirt by the way and you’ll never ever regret buying an overlocker!!

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