It’s three weeks since I last showed you my Finery of Nature cross-stitch, it’s a Dimensions kit I spotted on the sales table at Embroiderers Guild. It was meant to be stitched on black aida but my eyes aren’t up to black so I’m using a duck egg blue linen instead. Three weeks ago I was just finishing the first quarter…
I didn’t think I’d stitched that much this time, but looking at the photos is quite encouraging! I’ve stitched the top border, I’m trying to do this as I go along as I think doing it all at the end would not be a good move, I’d lose motivation very quickly!
There’s meant to be some french knots dotted around the edge of the flowers, on the pattern they are yellow and gold, I was thinking of changing to a more subtle colour, but at the moment I’m feeling it’s busy enough as it is, so they might not appear at all, or I might use a shade which will just give a bit of texture.
I’ve just started the next quarter with another lily of the valley. This part has a birds nest with three eggs and a huge dragonfly. I think the nest could be quite tricky in that it would be very easy to miscount. I think I’ll keep up with the flowers around it so I have a few points of reference.
This stitch-a-long is organised by Avis from Stitching by the Sea, we post our progress on a chosen project every three weeks, it’s perfect for keeping the motivation going. If you would like to join us please send a message to Avis. Please follow the links to see lots of stitching inspiration.
A couple of weeks ago three of us walked another section of the Lady Anne Way. This is a long distance path which runs from Skipton to Penrith in Cumbria, 100 miles altogether, we’re doing it in little chunks! We walked the first two sections last month, this time we jumped a head and walked part five, it’s all to do with how many cars we have available and whether we can use public transport. This section definately needed two cars, so it was a good one to do with three of us.
It was a very misty morning when we set off, but it was one of those mists you know will burn off to a glorious day and if you can get above the cloud level it’s stunning.
We drove up to the top end of Wharfedale, through Buckden, up the steep hill past Cray and over the tops to Bishopdale. I’ve driven this way many times and the view when you first see Bishopdale is I think one of the best in the dales, unfortunately it’s on a very steep, bendy road where there is no where to stop to take a photo!
We drove to Worton in Wensleydale, a little village where the day’s walk would end. We parked a car and then all piled into the second car and retraced our steps over the tops. The mist was just starting to lift and Wensleydale looked beautiful.
We parked by the wonderfully named Hell Gate, just above the hamlet of Cray. Our walk was mainly along old drovers lanes and after a sharp climb up it was interesting to look back to where it joined the tarmacced road over to Bishopdale, you could imagine how they were just as important as each other once.
As we climbed on to the moorland, Wharfedale still had wisps of mist and looked hazy in the morning light.
We realised as we walked along that we could just see all of Yorkshire’s Three Peaks, their summits just peeping over the skyline, Pen-y-ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside. I’ll hopefully be on the top of Pen-y-ghent tomorrow! If you’re still looking for the third peak, I did say just peeking over!!
At this time of year the moors have lots of ground nesting birds, there were lots of lapwings but we didn’t see any curlews. Once when we were walking at this time of year we saw a lapwing do the classic distraction technique of pretending to be injured to lead us away from her nest, she hopped along with a wing dragging just ahead of us. It was fascinating to watch.
We followed old green lanes for most of the walk, these tracks will have been there for centuries, I love that feeling of history as we walk along them. This one is called Busk Lane.
The views from the top over Wensleydale and the hills beyond were amazing. If you look closely the sheep has a tiny lamb hiding underneath her.
As we started to descend into Wensleydale, Addlebrough hill really stood out, it had such a distinctive shape. Apparently there was a Roman fort on the top. What puzzled me is that I’ve had many, many holidays in Wensleydale as my mum had a cottage just a couple of miles further down for about twenty years, but I’ve never noticed Addlebrough before, I can only think it’s other side looks completely different!
Walking further down into Wensleydale we got a brief glimpse of Semerwater, I think it’s the second largest natural lake in Yorkshire and it’s only little, but it’s very pretty, as are the cute lambs!
Wensleydale is very different to Wharfedale, it’s a much softer landscape. We meandered down the farm track until we reached the road that would lead us back to Worton.
I was pleasantly surprised by this walk, having driven over from Wharfedale to Bishopdale many times in the past it can be a pretty bleak landscape, it could have seemed endless, but we had an amazing walk, the scenery was stunning, the tracks were good, we did around 8 miles altogether, a great day out.
I’m quite excited at the moment, I fixed a date at the weekend to run my first quilting workshop. It’s on June 29th!!
A little while ago one of my local fabric shops, B&M fabrics, opened a workshop in the basement of their shop, they were looking for teachers! B&M fabrics have a big fabric stall on Leeds market selling all sorts of fabrics, but they also have a bricks and mortar shop on the outside of the market building that has a lovely range of quilting fabrics.
This happened around the time I gave a talk to my Embroiderers Guild about my journey in quilting. One of the quilts I showed was a jelly roll race quilt I made for my walking buddy, it’s all the colours of the moors we walk across. I told them how easy a jelly roll race quilt was and at the following meeting several mentioned that I’d inspired them to have a go and I ended up offering to teach a friend how to make one for a baby quilt.
A full jelly roll is around 40 strips, 2.5″ wide by the width of the fabric (WOF) it will make a twin size bed quilt, but you can also get half size jelly rolls which only have about 25 strips of fabric, still WOF, and they will make a baby size quilt.
In one day of fairly steady sewing, my friend, having never quilted before, pieced, sandwiched, quilted and bound a quilt, all she had to do at home was to hand stitch the binding down. An idea was sown…
I had a chat with Sue from B&M Fabrics and they were very keen, she doesn’t usually sell jelly rolls but she got one for me to make up a sample.
Last week I finally got round to making up my sample. The colours aren’t ideal for a baby quilt but customers will be able to choose a jelly roll from a selection. It went together pretty quickly. I used spray adhesive to baste the sandwich together and then quilted it in a wavy design.
I tried diagonal lines first, but the fabric moved too much. I then hit on the idea of double wavy lines, I put a line of pins down the middle and then stitched a slalom round them down the middle.Once the first line was down the rest were easy to stitch, I think it will be a great pattern for those new to quilting.
I took my sample in at the weekend and fixed the date, I just need to write an advert for the shop and then wait to see if anyone books!
If anyone lives nearby and is interested, just leave a message below and I’ll give you more information.
I worked pretty hard in the garden this week, especially yesterday, the weather was warm and sunny so I spent most of the day out there – and boy, are my hips complaining today!
Yesterday was the day the seed from the pussy willow on the back lane decided to fly, it’s weird how it happens every year, all the fluffy seeds seem to fall all on one day, a whole trees worth! They’re a bit like dandelion seeds, they float around aimlessly round so it looks like it’s snowing and land in heaps on the ground, dusting everything with white. To add to the picture we were inundated with millions of midges – not a day for lots of chatter!
I managed to do several bigger jobs yesterday, rather than the usual round of weeding. I moved the old metal arch to it’s new position over the back gate. I planted a clematis montana there last year in preparation – it’s the mile-a-minute clematis that is covered in pink bloom in the spring. I’m hoping in time it will cover the arch and meander up and down the fence. You can just make it out in the photo above.
Last winter I was given some garden vouchers, I dragged my OH to the garden centre so I could buy some metal obelisks, I bought three. When we took the chicken run apart I left some of the fence uprights and a length of wire with the idea of growing clematis up them. The clematis clearly had no intention of climbing a post, so I sawed them down and put the obelisk over the clematis. I tried to space them evenly but I was a little limited by huge stones which still hide under the soil. I think they make a nice gentle break between the Amber & Amethyst garden and the autumn bed behind. I’m looking forward to them being cloaked with purple clematis.
My non-flowering hydrangea has been moved to a pot in more dappled sun, if it still doesn’t flower in the next two years then I’ll give up and stick it at the back of a border somewhere! At the moment it’s in amongst my blue pot corner. The acer there is looking stunning, I planted it 24 years ago when my son was born. Unfortunately the one I planted for my daughter didn’t survive, a fact which she loves to remind me about with mock indignation! I planted a rose for her afterwards called ‘The Spirit of Freedom’, it suits her personality!
The garden is really filling out, plants seem to grow by the day, the Solomons Seal by the pond is still looking good with the cammassia growing through it and the little blue flowers of brunnera Jack Frost just in front. I saw a toad sunning itself by the pond yesterady, I’m hoping there’s a few more in the pond to keep my slugs under control! You can just see the golden hosta leaves through the variegated iris leaves.
The Amber & Amethyst garden is starting to fill out with suitably coloured foliage and flowers, the orange geums are just starting to flower, I always have to be careful with these in the winter as they look awfully like weeds! I tend to buy bigger plants now in the hope of not being mistaken. The arbour is proving a lovely place to sit and drink coffee or read a book, it gives just the right amount of shade.
In amongst the pebbles under all my pots I noticed a gorgeous combination of self seeded plants, it’s an ajuga plant with lovely purple leaves and a saxifrage flowering through it.
I’ve got a couple of large gaps in my borders now, I guess I’ll have to wander down and peruse the plants at our local nursery, especially as they’ve opened a tea shop there!
I’ve just finished the second installment of the Zoe stitch-a-long by Faby Reilly, it’s going to be a box, we’re stitching the sides at the moment. We don’t know what the finished design is like, but having stitched quite a few of her designs I trust her to make it beautiful!
The patterns are being released every two weeks, which is plenty of time to complete the stitching. The first pattern was just the cross-stitch of one of the sides…
This time we did all the titivating! We back-stitched round the leaves and the robin and added the stems. Faby has a really good tutorial on back-stitching with six strands of embroidery thread, I learnt several useful tips.
The rice-stitch along the bottom is stitched with a variegated DMC thread and some silver thread over the top. I used some silver thread I had in my stash. It was typical that with the variegated thread of purple, green, pink and beige, it was mainly beige in this stretch, I think I’ll try and be a bit more selective next time!
The beads are some I had in my stash but the sequins are some I bought specially. I found some that were more of a satin finish, which is much more me! They still pick up other colours but they’re a little more subtle than the usual shiny ones.
It’s another week before the next pattern is released, that one might give us a bit more of a clueas to the general theme of the box.
I’m linking up with Kathy’s Quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday, why not follow the link for lots of hand-stitched inspiration.
May is whizzing by and I haven’t even worked out how I’m doing with my Nineteen for 19 challenge for April, so here goes…
1 Scrap Quilt I was planning to start a new BOM with scraps, I’ve even sorted my scrap boxes out in preparation!! Then for once I got my sensible head on and decided I had quite enough projects on the go!
2 Tutorials; I’ve not had time to start this one yet.
3 sessions in the garden; The garden is coming on nicely, I built an arbour over Easter and after a visit to the Harrogate Flower Show I had lots of plants to sort out (still got a handful to plant!) I’ve been doing at least three sessions a week as the weeds are coming up as fast as the plants.
4 workshops; I’ve got three booked at Fabbadashery in Halifax, the first one is in about 4 weeks time, I’m looking forward to it. I’ll be stitch a Harold the Hare!
5 presents; I made a quilt for a friends charity, so I’m counting that as a gift, so it’ll be three so far this year.
6 quilts; I finished the Tula Pink quilt last month, it’s getting auctioned on Saturday, so fingers crossed it does OK. That brings my total up to two with lots on the go!
7 new patterns; I’m just in the process of cutting out a new pattern, but at the moment I’ve still just used 1 new pattern.
8 kits; My tally remains at two.
9 mini embroideries; I stitched a seascape this month for the travelling sketchbooks, so I’ve now done three mini embroideries.
10 things; I’ve not made any ‘things’ this month so my total so far is still three.
11 cross-stitch smalls; I’ve slowed down a bit this month as production was getting a bit mad! I have actually finished stitching one but I haven’t made it up yet, so it doesn’t count! I’ve got two other cross-stitches on the go so I’m trying to prioritise those, keeping my smalls for when I’m out and about. My total is nine so far anyway, so I can afford to slack off a bit!
12 pages in my book;I’m trying to clear the decks a bit before I start on this one as it’s going to be a pretty sentimental piece. It’s going to have all the pieces of my mums craftwork I found when clearing her house. 13 clothes made; Still just 1! I got a bit of a wake-up call at the weekend when I struggled to find anything smart enough to wear for a funeral, if it had been winter I would have been OK, but spring is more difficult. It was a Hindu ceremony so it didn’t even need to be black. I need to spend a bit more time on clothes and less on quilting! I’ve just cut out some cullottes…
14 drawers organised;I’ve had a big sort out of my scraps and a general move round of stuff. I emptied my three IKEA cubes which were jam packed with scraps onto the floor on the landing and sorted them into colours, also removing bits that were just too small. My OH came up just at the wrong moment as I’d emptied one box out, he looked a bit shocked when I said there was another two…I now have six boxes of scraps!! …but they are colour sorted plus one just for batiks, so I think it will be much easier to use them. In order to spread out my scraps I’ve moved my linings into a peacock box and quilt waddings into a big knitting bag I made a couple of years ago.So altogether that’s five boxes sorted, so that takes my total to a respectable 8.
15 minutes tidy-up at the end of a sewing session; I’m getting better at this and it does make a difference! 16 books; Now I’ve found slots in my daily routine for reading I’m really enjoying it again. I do most of my reading on the bus or the train. It takes an hour to get to visit my mum on the bus, it’s only 6 miles but the bus goes all round the houses, the advantage being it’s door to door…and it gives me useful reading time! I’ve discovered a new genre of books, books about walking, but they are more about the feelings walking up mountains can instill and the nature around, rather than a route book. They are what I would call slow reading books, I’m a bit of a one for skimming pages of a book, with these you can’t, they are beautifully written and deserve to be read properly! The first book is by Simon Ingram, called Between the Sunset and the Sea, I’ve not quite finished that one as it’s my bedtime reading book (the writing is too small to read on a bus!!) I have read The Old Ways by Robert McFarlane and Common Ground by Rob Cowan, I’ll do a proper write up when I’ve finished the Simon Ingram book. I’ve got quite a stack of books I’ve read now, eight so far this year.
17 blogs a month;I wrote 20 posts in April.
18 walks; We’ve done pretty well with our walks, which is lucky as it’s not long to our big walk in June. We walked up Pen-y-ghent which was a practise for next weekend when 40 of us from work are climbing the Three Peaks (well I’m just doing one!) We also started the Lady Anne Way and walked two sections from Skipton to Grassington. So with all that energy I’ve managed to double my tally to six walks.
19 Splendid Sampler blocks;I’m trying to crack on with this one (part of my clearing the decks!!) so last month I managed five new blocks, so 14 so far this year, but 30 altogether!
So, with a third of the year gone I’ve done a fair bit, some challenges haven’t got off the ground yet and others are racing to the finish!
A couple of days ago I embroidered another piece of the border for my Woodland Spring Wreath quilt, this is a BOM from Raggedy Ruff Designs, I’ve just got one more month to stitch and it’s finished.
This month I tackled half the borders, there’s four swags of flowers and foliage around the quilt to give the impression of a wreath. I showed you the makings of the first swag a few days ago…
Before any of the stitching there were five 4″ strips of border patchwork to stitch, some of these could be attached straight away, others are to be put to one side for next month.. It’s lovely to see the stars taking shape around the edges.
The second swag is smaller, with just clematis and blossom to stitch. It didn’t take too long to put together and stitch. This one lies just above the squirrel and the owl, at the top of the quilt.
Once it was complete I pulled out all my blocks and started arranging them on my design wall.. I’m so pleased with this quilt, I think it’s beautiful, I’m even more amazed that I managed to do free machine embroidery! The final pack arrived yesterday, so I can crack on and finish it, I’ve then to decide how to quilt it!
Wild Daffodil is organising a photo challenge this year when each month the subject is windows. It does mean I keep my eyes open during the month for possible photo opportunities.
Last week I walked over the moors from Wharfedale to Wensleydale, it was a stunning walk which I will share with you in the next few days. It finished in a little village called Worton.
Just on the main road is a beautiful old farmhouse, I seem to remember the date above the door was about 1729, so it’s nearly 300 years old. This isn’t actually that old in this village, Worton Hall dates back to 1600. I’ve since found out it’s called Summer Tree House.
I loved the stone mullioned windows, even the barn is a nice old stone building. It’s interesting to see how there is only a stone lintel between the barn door and the access door above.
At the side of the house there were two small windows, one was half blocked off by a stone plinth with the inscription ‘Michael Smith Mechanick but he that built all things is God. Heb 3 ‘ It’s interesting how big the surround is, it looks out of proportion for the size of the window.
I haven’t been able to find out anything about Michael Smith, however MS are the initials above the door with the date, so I presume he built the house or his ancestor did. It’s a Grade 2 listed building which means the outside is protected against unsympathetic development.
The other window on the side, again was only small, it’s an old sash window and through it you could see traditional English shutters. I always wanted a house with proper shutters! Here the shutters are always on the inside, closed on a night like curtains. A friend of mine lives in an old vicarage and she has shutters. It was amazing how much light they blocked out!
I’ll keep looking for more interesting windows this month, in the meantime why not pop over to Wild Daffodil to see more windows.
I nearly didn’t write this post as it’s been raining since mid afternoon, but after tea it was more of a light drizzle so I popped out to take some photos. It’s amazing how much everything has greened up over the last couple of weeks with a bit of rain.
I spent several hours in the garden today before the rain came, mainly trying to clear weeds from the front garden. I started my weedkiller spray regime, every three weeks, though after rain this afternoon today’s effort may be somewhat ineffective! I’m hoping this will beat the marestail and bindweed in particular. I’m planning to clear as much weed from here as possible before putting two layers of membrane down and a bark mulch on top, I’ll then plant shrubs and roses through the membrane, anything else which appears will get zapped! I made reasonable progress today – it’s quite a big area.
The hostas are all unfurling their leaves and looking glorious. The ones round the pond usually fare OK, but this one down by the garage gets eaten alive. It was only when I enlarged the photo on the computer that I spotted the snail sitting there bold as brass! I’ve just popped back outside and he is now residing on the back lane, where hopefully a thrush or a blackbird will have him for tea!
This hosta is next to the pond, it’s leaves seem yellow even next to the primulas.
Hubert the heron is on the other side of the pond, he is already disappearing behind Solomons seal and cammassias.
I’ve got quite a few clumps of cammassia now, they seem to like my soil, I love the way this clump mingles with a purple leafed honesty. You may recall I was trying to identify a plant about a month ago, well it’s this honesty!
Yesterday I was weeding down by the conservatory, it’s quite scary how fast the weeds appear, they’re setting seed before you know it! I’m going to have a bit of a move round in this bed as there is a very pretty hydrangea in the middle which is going to be moved. I say it’s pretty, it was beautiful when I bought it about five years ago at the Harrogate Show, one of those plants that people OOh at when you walk past! It hasn’t flowered since,not once! This is the second position I’ve tried, I’ve bought specialist feed…I’m going to try it in a large pot, I’ve been out and bought some lovely compost for it, fingers crossed!
The roses are all leafing up nicely. This one is Lady Emma Hamilton, it has the most beautiful copper orange blooms with a strong perfume. The leaves are tinged with a pretty shade of red.
This is my favourite view of the garden at the moment, out of the kitchen window, the white and blue border just in front is coming together nicely. The lilac just behind our garden is just coming into flower too. We get lots of birds visiting the feeders, they sit on the arch and then pop down for something to eat. This month we were really pleased to see a woodpecker on the nuts, we used to get one visiting the garden a few years ago, but we had to move the feeder nearer the house and we hadn’t seen (or heard) him since. They are very shy, we used to see him flying in from cover to cover, always positioning himself on the opposite side of the tree or the feeder from the house. We’ve also had a jay visit, I’ve seen them on the back lane but this was a first in the garden.
I’ve just been down to the garden centre and bought three wire obelisks, so hopefully next week I’ll be able to show you photos of them in position!
It’s three weeks ago since I last shared my Down the Rabbit Hole quilt, I was feeling a bit down-hearted about how long it was taking and my slow progress generally with the project. This is where I was up to…
The general consensus was that I need to try and stitch a little everyday, a bit like my 10 minutes in the garden, it all adds up. Kate Chiconi suggested 3 lengths of thread per day, we met in the middle with 2 per day!! I can’t say I managed it every evening, but I did manage quite a lot of late evening quilting and I’ve made progress!! I also managed to buy a second-hand lap quilting hoop on the UK quilters facebook page and I find it much better for my shoulder as I’m not trying to hold it all as much to keep it at the right angle.
Whilst it’s not happy dance time it is hop, skip and a jump time as I’ve finished another border, the one with the sunflower corners and dresden flowers. At a later date I’ll probably go back and add a little more around the Dresden flowers, but for now it is done!
It made me feel much happier today when I tried to take a photo of the area I’ve quilted, I had to use our kingsize bed and it covers the top, that’s quite a big area!!
The backing is a softly patterned mid shade of purple, it’s perfect for a newbie quilter as it hides a multitude of sins! It still has that nice soft hand-quilted feel about it though.
Hopefully next time I’ll have cracked on with the next narrow border, though I still haven’t quite decided how to quilt it.
Hand Quilt Along Links
This Hand Quilt Along is an opportunity for hand quilters and piecers to share and motivate one another. We post every three weeks, to show our progress and encourage one another. If you have a hand quilting project and would like to join our group contact Kathy at the link below.