Wednesday Wanderings

Having a Garmin watch has spurred me into taking more walks, even if they’re short ones, it’s nice to be able to map where you’ve been and the speed (or not!) that you walked at. I’ve two walks to share this week;

The first one was just from my house and along the old railway line, discovering a couple more local paths. June is a lovely time of year in this country, the trees are in blossom, the wild flowers are appearing…

There’s something about a field of buttercups, this is at the top of the hill behind our house. I followed the path down to the main road, planning to follow another back a bit further up the road. However I spotted a footpath sign opposite, I’ve lived her for over twenty years and never noticed it before!

It went through a couple of little hilly fields, I could see now why I’ve seen deer not far from here. It’s a quiet little backwater. The blossom on the hawthorn bushes has been lovely this year…

I followed the path up to the next half of the old railway line.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the bluebells were still out up here…

The foliage on the trees is still fresh and green, especially with the sun behind it…

Altogether I think I walked about 4.5 miles, all around my local area. Yesterday my walking buddy and I did a walk from Burley-in-Wharfedale. I worked out a route which could be lengthened or shortened depending on the weather and how we were feeling!

We walked up to a little hamlet called Stead. It was quite a pull up to the farm and we were just saying we were ready for a coffee and a sausage roll when we turned into the farm yard and found they had a refreshments van, so we had a cup of lovely fresh coffee. Apparently she’s open every day apart from Wednesdays! Someone on the farm obviously had a sense of humour too…

For those of you not familiar with the animation of Wallace and Gromit, this is Shaun the sheep and Gromit the dog, the films are worth checking out, they’re very amusing and done in a lovely Yorkshire accent – maybe I’m a wee bit biased!

We walked down to the river Wharfe to a little nature reserve, hoping to see the otters again, but unfortunately they didn’t put in an appearance this time. There were lots of damsel flies flitting about though and the red kites were soaring in the thermals above.

From there we followed a footpath to another nature reserve, this one was at the end of Sun Lane, I only found out about it through a little leaflet I picked up on walks around Burley.

By this time we’d walked a fair way in hot sunny weather so we decided not to continue further down the river in the hope of seeing the elusive kingfisher, we meandered back to the car instead through the snickets of Burley, having walked 6.5 miles, far enough considering the hot (for UK!) weather.

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Monday’s Meander Round the Garden

After a very wet May we’ve so far had lovely weather in June, warm (even hot!) and sunny. The garden seems to change every time I go out.

I’ve been doing lots of weeding and planting today – I keep being tempted by the market plant stall or Courtyard Planters – I only went in for some secateurs and came out with six plants! The advantage of Courtyard Planers is that they will deliver locally so I don’t need to worry about getting plants home on the bus. If my OH comments I just say the flower fairies have been. Mind you, this time he was happy as one of the plants was for him, he’s taken over the front garden and is quite enthused at the moment, he mentioned he would like a brunnera and I saw one, not Jack Frost but very similar, so he was happy!

The early summer flowering clematis are all putting on a good show, they’re not very old, most were planted in the last couple of years so there’s not a huge amount of flowers but there’s some beautiful ones…

There’s another gorgeous purple clematis right next to the beautiful deep purple irises. I’m rather partial to irises, these came from Thornton Hall gardens, I think they’re a stunning colour. This is in my Amber & Amethyst garden, this bed is looking pretty good at the moment with perenial cornflower, aquilegia, geum and erysimum mingling in with the iris and clematis.

There’s some beautiful big blue irises in flower now just next to the conservatory, these are some my mum ordered for me from France one birthday, they’re obviously very happy there as the clump is growing bigger every year.

I’ve had a little rearrangement of my pots next to the patio too, the water feature with the fountain suddenly ran dry this afternoon, not sure why, even if the gentle breeze was blowing it out it shouldn’t have dried up that quickly, anyway I took the opportunity of it being slightly lighter to move it more to the front so hopefully it will get more sun and you never know the birds might actually use it as a bird bath!

I’ve done alot of weeding up by the pond too, buttercups and wild wild geum were everywhere, together with that sticky one that has like lots of tiny teasels. I was delighted to see a little frog (or it could have been a toad as I could only see his eyes and nose) cooling off amongst the duckweed. I was told recently that if you add some special black dye to the pond it doesn’t affect the wildlife at all but duckweed doesn’t like it, has anyone else heard of this? I’m hoping Mr Froggy is eating lots of slugs as my hostas are looking pretty good at the moment…

There’s another clematis on the big fence too, I think I forgot to prune this one so it’s all at the top. I started weeding this bed today but you can probably see a bit of what I’m up against – I’ve planted densely to try and deter the weeds (it doesn’t, it just gives them somewhere to hide!) so access isn’t easy, I’ll have to shimmy along the side of the summerhouse and under the cottinus as I can see a fair bit of bind weed appearing.

The flowers you can see include pink astrantia and a ruby red one, two big alliums at the front, a pieris and a geranium. I thinkthe peony will be in flower soon. Talking of peonies, has any one else noticed (here in the UK) that the peonies seem a lot taller this year, mine are all at least 4′ tall, I just hope the stems will support the heads when they open.

Looking at photos from this time last year, we’re at least a couple of weeks behind, but the garden is looking pretty colourful.

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Blackbirds

I’m trying to work my way through the multitude of kits I’ve bought from Andrea of Raggedy Ruff Designs, three weeks ago I’d just finished the machine embroidery of a lampshade kit giving the detail on the blackbirds and flowers.It’s still a bit scary doing the free motion embroidery but at least I remember to breathe these days!

All I had to do today was to make it into a lampshade. I bought one of those lampshade kits which are easily available on line, it’s a 20cm one. I’ve made a couple of lampshades at WI camps a few years ago, so I roughly knew how to do it. Unfortunately there aren’t any in progress photos as it really wasn’t a photogenic process!

My first job though was to remove any loose threads or long threads on the back and to remove as much of the paper stabiliser as I could. They would be particularly obvious when the light shines through.

The trickiest bit of assembly is right at the beginning; the embroidery is stuck to a large sheet of sticky back plastic. With the pieced background there was going to be no second chance as it would have totally frayed. To get the panel as straight and taut as possible I pinned it to my wool pressing mat, that worked really well. I took the backing off gradually, sticking it down as I went.

For the next stage I enlisted the help of my OH, he did look worried! I applied sticky back tape to both rings and then he watched to check I was going straight when I positioned the two rings on the very edge of the plastic backing and then rolled up the panel onto the rings. The lampshade was starting to look like a lampshade!

All I had to do the was to use a little car tool (which came in the pack) to tuck all the raw edges inside and behind the rings. Mine isn’t perfect on the inside but it’s good enough for me!

I’m pleased with this, I love the effect when it’s lit, but I think it looks just as pretty unlit.

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Wednesday Wanderings

A couple of months ago I spotted a walking book in our local bookshop, it’s called The Yorkshire Top 30, by Jonathan Smith. Apparently a mountain has to be at least 2000′ high and a certain amount of individual height around it to be classed officially as a mountain and within the Yorkshire Dales National Park there are thirty such mountains. The national park spreads itsself a little wider than Yorkshire’s boundary so some are in Cumbria and the odd one is in Lancashire. My walking buddy and I usually do a long distance walk each year but covid put paid to that both last year and this year, so we’ve decided to challenge ourselves to walking the Yorkshire Top 30, no time limit, we’ll just tick them off as we go.

On Monday we made a start. We decided to do Buckden Pike, the books route was only 5.5 miles, we can do that, we thought!

Buckden Pike is at the top end of Wharfedale, so we drove up and parked in Buckden village. The path goes steadily up from the carpark, it’s called Buckden Rake. We had a few stops to take photos…and have a two minute rest! We were fascinated by this tree and the angle it was growing at…

…it was noticeable how the trees here were at least a couple of weeks behind us further down the valley in Otley.

We quickly gained height and with it wonderful views up and down the valley, this photo is looking over towards Hubberholme and Yockenthwaite…

As the path climbed up and round the mountain we noticed the terraces on the hillside above the hamlet of Cray, the fields were sprinkled with white and yellow flowers. We saw quite a few wild flowers, violets, primroses, may flower, cotton grass, speedwell to name just a few, during the walk.

Upper Wharfedale is classic limestone country, this area looked like it had been quarried at some point. In the past this was actually quite an industrial area, there are still lots of old mine shafts and lime kilns, the remains of old settlements can also be made out.

Yorkshire is also known for its dry stone walls, so called because no mortar is used, they stay up due to the skill of the waller and how he choses and positions the stones, most of these walls are hundreds of years old. We noticed the one in the photo below which as you can see was built on a pretty steep incline, but all the stones are following a horizontal line, not the line of the hillside.

We like to have regular breaks and snacks whilst we’re walking, a ten minute sitdown makes all the difference. This was our view for our first break, a Greggs sausage roll and a cup of coffee.

As we got higher we could gradually see more mountains on the horizon, it was pretty hazy but we could just about make out Pen-y-ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside.

After much huffing and puffing we finally reached the top and sat next to the cairn to eat our sandwiches and a sticky bun!

Unfortunately shortly after this my phone died so no more photos!

The route the book suggested didn’t look or sound the easiest of paths so we decided to take the well marked path down the Starbotton, it was longer but looked easier. We walked along the ridge of Buckden Pike to see the Polish War memorial, during the second world war an airplane crashed up here during a training flight. One one airman survived, he crawled all the way to Cray. Hr returned many years later to build a memorial to his comrades.

The path down was not too difficult, a bit boggy in places and rough with loose stones in others, it was very noticeable how bad the erosion was from walkers. It was difficult in places as the path had eroded into a narrow rut or a boggy bit which meant it was easier to walk next to the path rather than on it…but then you’re making the erosion worse! We made reasonable progress down to Starbotton.

Starbotton is a really pretty village and it also has a footbridge over the Wharfe so we could walk along the river bank back to Buckden. It made a nice end to the walk and was certainly easier on the feet than two miles on a narrow, busy road.

Altogether (according to Garmin!) we had walked 8.5 miles, further than we thought it would be. We were both pretty tired at the end but it was encouraging that we had done it…though if a bus had gone past at Starbotton I would have been flagging it down!!

Our first mountain ticked off 🙂

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The Seaside Quilt HQAL

These three week cycles seem to come round awfully quick, or is that just a sign of age! Anyway, three weeks ago I had just started my seaside quilt, it’s by the same designer as the cottage garden quilt (Kathryn Whittingham) so I know it’s going to be gorgeous. All the patterns and instructions are in a book of the same name, available from her website, Patchwork Katy.

Last time I had made a couple of star blocks and a star fish…

I prepared some more applique blocks to stitch while we were away in Northumberland. There’s a cute little crab with googly eyes, a fish which I haven’t made the best fabric choice as there’s too many lines so embroidery lines are lost. These are only tiny blocks, 2″ sewn, so you can imagine how little and fiddly they were to cut out! They make lovely centres to friendship star blocks though and the cheeky little crab makes me smile…

I also embroidered a colourful beach hut. Whitby, in North Yorkshire, has a long line of beach huts all painted in bright colours, I’m using a striped fabric instead which makes a nice colourful block. I might try and get a few more stripy fabrics as there’s a few beach huts on the quilt

The beach hut goes in the same group as the star fish, there are some 2.5″ squares to make it into a row. I’ve bought a few seaside themed fabrics so I’m using those for all the little squares.

I feel there should be a few red squares scattered round the quilt too, the one I’ve added in the picture is actually a Christmas one but I don’t think it stands out as Christmassy. This morning I’ve just picked up a bunch of red patterned fat quarters in Hobbycraft, so I’ll see how they look. I’m not stitching all the little squares together until I’ve made all the bigger blocks in the row so I can see how the colours are working.

I’m also taking a lead from Kathryn, the designer, in using floral and general patterns of fabric too, so long as the colours work.

Earlier this week I started preparing two of the larger embroidery blocks for this row. The first one is a boat tied up at a mooring. I decided to do a nice bright red boat.

With these pictorial blocks the background is stitched first, I looked at using a beautiful batik for the sea, it would have been perfect if we lived somewhere that had an azure blue sea, but realistically, even on a beautiful sunny day the North sea isn’t azure! Instead I used a softer blue fabric and a very light blue-grey for the sky.

I cheated slightly with the seagull as there happened to be one exactly the right size on one of my fabrics, so I carefully cut him out and stuck him on with bondaweb, I just need to embroider round him now.

So I haven’t quite finished this block; there’s some bunting hanging off the guy ropes and a dog in the front of the boat. I’m planning to make the dog like Lucy, our elderly bichon frise, so I’ll just outline a dog shape and then fill in with french knots.

I’ve also realised that my mast isn’t central. Luckily I know nothing about boats so if it is nautically incorrect it isn’t going to bother me!

I’ve one more block prepared, it’s just waiting for the embroidery. These are oystercatchers, beautiful striking birds with their black and white feathers. We often see them on the moors too as they have adapted to inland living too. I was really surprised the first time I saw one on the moors, but I see them quite frequently now.

As you can imagine from the photo, this was pretty fiddly to cut out, but it is so effective. I think one of my birds might end up with rather long legs though! I cut out and attached the birds one by one so I didn’t get the pieces mixed up, it was confusing enough with all the rocks, trying to work out what order they went in!

Hopefully in three weeks time I might have the first row stitched.

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.

KathyMargaretDebNanetteSharonKarrinDaisyConnie, and Sherrie

I’ll also be linking up with Kathy’s Quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday.

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A Christmas Dress for Violet

The theme for the fourth round of the Great British Sewing Bunny was patchwork. Right up my street you might have thought but I was surprisingly uninspired, I nearly didn’t enter, I think I was overthinking it a bit, patchwork takes a lot of time and I think the thought of trying to make something in three hours put the dampener on things.

Whilst I was rummaging through one of my scrap boxes for something else I found a patchwork piece which was left over from a project last Christmas. It was the leftover jelly rolls stitched in rows, it was quite striking in red, green and gold. I effectively had a piece of fabric.

I decided to make Violet a Christmas dress. I cut two lengths of the ‘fabric’ to make the skirt and then cut the bodice from the leftover bits. I used another Christmas cotton for the lining.

It went together pretty quickly. I found another length of gold jelly roll so I used that to make the bottom of the skirt. I used a press stud to close at the back.

I made a sash by pleating some wide satin ribbon and then tied it with a big bow on the back. I still had a bit of time left so I made red necklace and bracelet and tied a ribbon in her hair.

Each week two entries are chosen for the maker to be in the final. I’ve managed to enter three out of four categories I didn’t win any of the rounds but I had a great time making them. I found it helpful to have the time limit of three hours for machine stitching and six hours for hand-stitching, I knew I didn’t have to spend hours making the perfect outfit. The finalists will now be sent a parcel of fabric to make something out of for Luna or one of her friends.

These were my three entries

Those of us who entered three or four times without winning are getting a voucher for Cool Crafting, I think this is a nice touch and a lovely surprise, I’m sure I can find something nice to buy on their website 🙂

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Walking in Northumberland

Last week we had a few days in Northumberland, we stayed in the same cottage as last year. It’s called Whistlestop as it’s an old railway cottage in Redesmouth. It’s prefect for us, it’s comfortable and well equipped and they allow dogs…

The weather wasn’t brilliant but it wasn’t bad. It rained most days but usually in the afternoon so we walked in the morning and only once got a bit damp.

We drove up to Kielder which is a huge reservoir and forestry commision land, there’s lots of footpaths and signposted routes. This time we went up to Kielder village and walked a bit in the forest and then down to the viaduct just a short distance down river. The viaduct isn’t used anymore by trains so it’s been turned into a footbridge. The view from the top was lovely…

The following day we walked round Hadrian’s Wall, this is the Roman wall started in AD122, it runs for 73 miles from the east coast to the west coast. A surprising amount is still intact. I say surprising (apart from the fact that it is 2000 years old,) but also because for centuries it was a useful source of stone for housebuiling. There is even a village called Wall of which many earlier houses are built with stone from the wall.

We parked by Housesteads Fort and did about a 5.5 mile walk.

The geography of this area fascinates me with it’s steep escarpments…

The views were amaing, I find up her that you feel quite high up from what feels like a small hill. I think the topography is undulating so you can see a long way. Just as an aside, I read up at Keilder that from one of their nearby fells you van see both coast of Britain.

I’m trying to get fitter at the moment, lock-down and operations have taken their toll, so I bought myself a Garmin watch, it’s not one of their fancy ones but it does what I wanted (plus lot more!) It tracks my walks and then uploads the to my computer and Strava. It does give you a bit of encouragement to see the mils add up.

Anyway, I thought I might do a regular weekly slot on walks, maybe call it Wandering Wednesday. Some weeks I might have been somewhere intersting, other times it might be round my neighbourhood. We’re walking up Buckden Pike on Monday.. so watch this space!

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On a Roll

I’m trying to keep my New Year Resolution of making up the cross-stitch smalls as I stitch them, so far so good. However I still have a couple waiting to be made up so whilst I was in a finishing smalls mood I decided to finish another.

I stitched this little wren just before Christmas, it is another one of my Fido Stitch Studio makes…

Isn’t it cute! I decided to keep it square so I chose one of my soft green cottons for the back. I like to make cord from a couple of the colours in the stitching, as this was like twenty shades of brown I chose a creamy thread and a mid brown. I stitched the cord on using some darker than usual pearl beads.

I felt it just needed a little something extra so I had a rummage in my button drawer and found three little light green buttons which matched pretty well.

I’m getting quite a collection of little birds now from Fido Stitch Studio on Ebay and there’s a couple more calling my name…

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A Little Sunshine

This one was a pretty quick make, I started stitching on Thursday as I waited for my physio appointment, finished it on Sunday, and made it up yesterday. It’s another facebook destash pattern!! The pattern is an old one (2008) from Shepherd’s Bush called Scatter Sunshine, it’s a nice happy design and quick to stitch too. The pattern calls for overdyed threads but they do give DMC alternatives which is what I used mostly.

Isn’t it pretty? It’s also meant to have nine tiny buttons on of bees, flowers, bugs and birds, I’ve got a couple of what I thought were tiny bee buttons by JABCO but they looked enormous so I embroidered the extra bees and just left the others blank. JABCO (Just Another Button Company) buttons are gorgeous but here in the UK they aren’t easy to get hold of and they are very expensive. There’s a lady on Otley market who sells buttons and jewelry so she’s going to have a look if she has anything suitable.

I found a pretty pink floral cotton in my stash, initially planning to have the cotton just at the bottom. I added a length of rickrac, but when I stitched it up I thought I liked it better with a little bit of pink on top too…so I undid the two ends and restitched them with a top border…

…then I didn’t like the rounded sides, it just needed something else!

After a good rummage in my trimmings drawer I decided cream mini pom-pom trim would work. I stitched it straight on to the sides. It’s not a brilliant finish but the alternative was to take it all apart and stitch a new back on and I didn’t feel it was bad enough to warrant that! No ones going to look at the back anyway!

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A Small Kingfisher

A couple of weeks ago I finished another kit from Fido Stitch Studio on Etsy. I think this is the fifth kit of theirs I’ve stitched. They’re only small but they have plenty of detail. These are my others…

The kit I stitched this time was of a kingfisher. I’ve never seen one here in the UK, I saw one once in Yugoslavia – and that’s how long ago it was!! The colours are stunning, I think a lot of the time here you just see a flash of orange and blue, unless you’re lucky enough to see one sitting on a perch. There’s meant to be one just a bit further up the river from here, so I keep looking out for one.

Isn’t he gorgeous!

I’m trying to stick with my New Year resolution of finishing off the cross-stitch smalls straight awy rather than popping the cross-stitch in a box and out of mind. So at the weekend I set about finishing my small. I had a good rummage through my scrap box and found this perfect kingfisher blue batik. I looked at having a narrow orange flange next to it but I couldn’t find one that was the right shade of orange. Instead I decided to embroider an orange line. I actually used my stitch wheel to choose a stitch to use! I chose heavy chain stitch as it was a bit thicker than other ones. After I had stitched it I felt it was too bright and dominating so I whip-stitched it with a bright blue which worked perfectly.

I used the same two DMC colours to make a cord, couched it round whilst adding tiny beads on each stitch and then made a tassel for the top corner. There’s actually three beaded cords there but two of them are hiding!

I haven’t any more Fido kits at the moment but I’m sure these won’t be my last.

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