Seaside Quilt HQAL

It’s three weeks since I last shared my Seaside quilt, this is the quilt from the book by Kathryn Whittingham, the same lady who designed the Cottage Garden quilt I made earlier in the year. I was just embroidering the last few blocks for the top row with just a few seagulls to add to the hermit crab…

I cracked straight on and finished piecing the top row. I’m really pleased with it so far, it’s such a happy quilt!

I’m working through the book pretty much in order, so I had a few little blocks to do next. I’ve prepared four blocks, using bondaweb to attach the appliqued shapes, I’ve embroidered nearly two of them. The ice-cream is stitched with back-stitch and then I added some french knots in a variegated thread for hundreds and thousands. Here in the UK an ice-cream cone with a chocolate flake in it is called a 99, no idea why! They were always a special treat when we were little as they cost more than a simple ice cream.

The life belt is half stitched, I need to make some white cord for the rope as I haven’t any white perle thread to use.. Once these are finished I have a lollipop and another beach hut to do. There’s several beach huts on the quilt but I haven’t found many suitable striped fabrics for them, like I have two! I mentioned this to my daughter and she kindly sent me a scrap of blue stiped bee fabric to try. It’s gorgeous fabric but I’m not 100% about the bee, especially as he hasn’t come out completely central. I might see how it looks when surrounded by all the colours in the quilt.

Hopefully over the next three weeks I’ll stitch my favourite block in the whole quilt 🙂 If you fancy stitching this gorgeous quilt too,please follow the link to Patchwork Katy.

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.KathyMargaretDebNanetteSharonKarrin, and Daisy

I’ll also be linking up with Kathy’s Quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday, please follow the link for more hand-stitching.

Affiliate links; I was kindly gifted this book by the author, but my views and opinions of the quilt and the book are my own.

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Peppermint Purple SAL

I’ve just caught up with the Peppermint Purple SAL, this is a blackwork sampler stitch-a-long which lasts all year, one block a week, we have just completed week 30! I find it easier to do several at a time as I find I can work the colours out more easily. I’m making it a little bit difficult for myself by making mine into a picture of Catbells, this is where I was last time I shared it with you…

I had just started the background and reached the reflection in the lake part…

Well I haven’t stitched any more background but I have done another four blocks. For the reflection of Catbells in Derwentwater I’ve decided to use lots of shades of grey. I’m using the bore grey-green or grey-brown for the reflection bit and then I’ll use shades of grey-blue for the reflection of the sky.Hoping it works OK, at least it’s a plan!

It’s funny how some blocks are so much easier than others, the oblong one on the left which crosses over the fell and the lake was a nightmare. For some reason I just kept making mistake after mistake. I’d look at it the next day and wonder what I was thinking, unpick it all then make another big mistake! I blame it on being tired! There’s still one mistake which I didn’t frog, that one is stayng as too undo it would cause too many other problems.

I need to start working on the border again soon, otherwise come December I’ll be left with lots of border.

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Summer School

Earlier this month I had a wonderful weekend at Bishop Burton College where the Yorkshire region of what used to be the Embroiderers Guild hold their summer school. It’s an annual event but it was the first time I’d attended. It was wonderful!

Bishop Burton is an agricultural college over near Beverley. During the holidays when the students have gone home other groups can hire out their facilities. There was a choice of four tutors, all with very different styles, I decided to learn silk shading.

Bishop Burton College

Our tutor was Sara Dennis, she’s a tutor from the Royal School of Needlework and is also the textile expert on the BBC’s Repair Show. She is lovely, very patient, very good at explaining the technique and helping us where necessary. We had just the right amount of banter in our class.

We were starting an embroidery of a poppy. Our first lesson was how to put the fabric in the hoop, I was amazed how tight it went, she came round with a screwdriver to make sure the fabric wouldn’t shift. It was as tight as a drum!

We had a choice of fabric to work on, silk or cotton. The design was pre-printed onto the fabric which I think made life much easier. I chose to do my embroidery on cotton as it’s a bit more forgiving than silk.

Over the course of the weekend we learnt the basic stitch, how to blend colours, how to work out what order to embroider different areas in, how to work out the stitch direction and lots of tips as we went along.

They work you hard at summer school, we had to register by 3pm on Friday, we had an hour meeting our tutor and prepping work before tea and more teaching time after tea. We were in class all day Saturday, back in the evening and more on the Sunday!

They feed you very well too at the college, I think they’re used to feeding big strapping lads, we had a big breakfast, two course lunch and three course evening meal! I put on several pounds in a weekend…which of course doesn’t disappear as quick!

It was a baking hot weekend weatherwise, so on Saturday afternoon after an intense stitching time Sara suggested we had a short walk round the walled garden. It’s a beautiful and interesting garden, for example there was one corner with rows of different types of hedging, another area had plants with the RHS Award of Garden Merit. There were some interesting sculptures around too, I loved the quirky snail!

It was lovely meeting people from other guilds too, just to be amongst people who enthuse about threads and fabric. Anne Brooke was there as a student, she was the designer of Harold the Hare and also the Stitching 4 the soul books which kept so many of us going during the summer of 2020. She’s now doing the 52 tags project, a few had brought their tags along and I’d popped my Stitching for the Soul book in my suitcase too, she was delighted to see them all…as we sat outside on the warm evenings drinking wine and gin!

At workshops there’s always the issue of people working at very different speeds, I’m a quick worker and there’s always the conundrum of whether you have people like me sitting around waiting for others to catch up, or people get left behind, or the tutor ends up teaching the same thing several times. Sara had a good way of keeping us all together but ensuring everyone was busy. Those of us who finished a section earlier could start the stem and then the leaf, going back to the petals as everyone caught up.

So, this is my poppy, not finished but I’m well chuffed with it. Apologies for the slightly out of focus photo, I took about ten photos and this was the best!!

I just need to buy a six inch hoop to go in my lap hoop stand and I can get it finished. I was delighted to hear the Summer School is already booked for about the next three years, so it’s not disappearing with the demise of the Embroiderers Guild. I hope this will be an annual event for me.

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Wednesday Wanderings

My friend and I have challenged ourselves to walk the Dales 30, I bought the book by Jonathan Smith of the same name where he suggests routes to climb all thirty mountains in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

One mountain which we weren’t looking forward to is Yockenthwaite Moor. It isn’t particularly high, but it’s like one big bog, in fact the author reckons there isn’t a worse approach to a summit in Scotland or Wales!! He lost his boot in one of the bogs and had to dig down a foot to retrieve it!!…he really doesn’t sell it as a walk to look forward to. He suggests walking it either when it’s dry or frozen…

We’re just coming to the end of a long dry spell, so when we were trying to decided where to walk on Monday we decided it’s now or never (well maybe next year sometime!!) We were’t going to get it any drier.

The wonderfully named Yockenthwaite is a tiny hamlet in Langstrothdale, basically you go to the top of Wharfedale and turn left. I think it only consists of three farms and a post box! If anyone has been watching the recent All Creatures Great and Small on the TV, they filmed some of it here. It’s a beautiful spot. I was playing with the panorama button on my new camera so it’s somewhat distorted but you get the idea…

We walked over the old stone bridge, through the farm, then up the steep stony track towards the moor. Once that petered out we were following our noses with the odd compass bearing across the peat haggs to the trig point on the summit.

The peat bogs were completely dry, which was great, but it was still really hard to walk on as it was like walking on beds of sphagnum moss, totally spongy and unpredictable, my walking poles frequently disappeared a foot into the tussocks. Not a great place for someone like me with no balance! The only good thing was that when the inevitable happened and I lost my balance and fell, it was a very soft, dry landing, only it was so soft I ended up stranded like a turtle on my back, unable to get up!! This is when you find out what a true friend you have…when they take a photo before they help you up 😀

Once we were on the plateau the stream beds of the bog which would usually be deep in water proved much easier walking. The peat haggs were several feet high in places, we were peering over the tops to make sure we were following a stream bed in the right direction. This is one of the tarns on the top, all bone dry…

I did have a bit of a wobble, a Kendal Mint Cake moment, as we neared the trig point. We could see it in the distance but it was still quite a way off and it was such hard going I was really starting to struggle energy wise. I could have quite easily have called it a day. I told my walking buddy I needed a stop, I drank some water and remembered my emergency rations of Kendal Mint Cake at the bottom of my rucksack. I ate nearly half a bar of Kendal Mint Cake.

Kendal Mint Cake is basically mint flavoured sugar in a bar , I’ve always said the only place I can eat it is half way up a mountain as it is so sweet…but sometimes that sugar boost is just what you need. Another friend who I used to go walking with in my twenties had kindly sent me a parcel of Kendal Mint Cake last year and since then I’ve always had a bar in the bottom of my rucksack, emergency rations…so thank you Jane, it saved the day!

It was just what I needed and perked me up enough to get to the summit…

The views from the top were hazy and distant due to the size of the plateau, but behind me you can just make out the shapes of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough, known as the Yorkshire Three Peaks.

The way down wasn’t any easier, just because of the terrain, though the views down Wharfedale and across Langstrothdale were lovely. This is the hillside across the dale from Yockenthwaite taken from the track just above the hamlet…

…and a hazy view of Wharfedale.

We’d actually only walked less than five miles, so not far distance wise, but it was probably one of the toughest ones we’ve done just because it was such hard terrain to walk on. We’re glad we’ve done it and can tick it off the list…but we’re not repeating the experience!

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Bleuet Take 2

Last month I made a Bleuet dress by Deer & Doe in some dark blue silk, it’s turned out beautiful if a little snug…

I decided to make another but generally go up a size. This time I used some turquoise batik style cotton from Boyes, I love the vibrant colours. I’d already cut out the pattern to a size 14 when I made it first, so I just followed the pattern increments to make it more like a size 16. For non-dressmakers amongst you, pattern sizes bear no relation to ready to wear – in shops I usually buy a 12, to be honest I think pattern companies have kept their measurements the same whereas shops have gradually changed their sizing so people think they fit into a smaller size – put it this way, when I was in my 20’s I was a size 10, I’m now 2-3 stone heavier and I’m a 12!

I had a slight disaster when I was making it – I was trying it on when the front and back were attached, as I took it off I heard an awful ripping sound and the fabric had torn 2″ down the back, to my knowledge there wasn’t a snip in the fabric there so I’m not sure why it happened. I decided the only way to rescue it was to bondaweb a patch over and stitch round the edge, luckily it’s a densely patterned fabric so it really doesn’t show!

My next issue was trying to find buttons to match, sixteen of them! Turquoise is one of those colours where it’s very difficult to find a match, in the end I bought some buttons to cover. It took me a while to cover sixteen buttons, but they look good. Please excuse the slightly crumpled look, I’d worn it all day, been shopping etc when I finally got my OH to take a photo.

This one is certainly more comfortable and roomy to wear, though if anything it feels a little on the big size now – maybe next time I’ll just increase a bit on the side seams. I missed the back bow this time as it would have been lost on this fabric. I added pockets again as I do like a dress with pockets.

Maybe third time lucky I’ll get the perfect fit!

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Monday’s Meander Round the Garden

I was sure I pressed the publish button on this post yesterday, never mind, one day later…

We were forecast thunder and lightening this weekend, but it’s been pleasantly warm and dry, a little cooler than the last week or so, perfect gardening weather. I spent several hours in the garden today, dead heading and weeding.

Most of the roses are past their best now, but Champagne Moments and the beautiful Lady Emma Hamilton are still looking great. I bought Lady Emma about 4 years ago now from David Austin, it’s a gorgeous colour and a wonderful heady scent, especially in the evening. As the bush is on a raised bit of the garden it’s about nose height when you walk up the steps, perfect position!

The bees are loving the veronica flowers, I have several round the garden as they are a lovely shade of blue and flower later in the summer when many plants are past their best. I’ve got a couple of pink ones too.

This sea holly ( eryngium ) is looking pretty good too. The leaves are quite lime green colour, which adds interest to the bed earlier in the year, but the silvery blue flowers are stunning. I wasn’t sure if they were officially flowers but I just googled it and according to wikipedia each head has lots of tiny flowers packed into the tight ball.

The amber and amethyst garden is still looking pretty colourful, though the rose on the obelisk badly needs dead-heading, that’s a job for tomorrow! You can just make out (out of focus, sorry, I think it focused on a rosebud!) the spikes of veronica, the bright yellow next to them is a crocosmia, it’s one I bought at the Harrogate show a couple of years ago, it’s not as tall as some (I’ve got the giant crocosmia lucifer next to the pond) but it’s flowers are also a bit bigger.

It’s not rained for quite a while now so I keep having to water recent plantings and occasionally these pots. They’re not in full sun for much of the day so they’re usually undemanding when it comes to watering. Right at the back on the right are two large pots, one with a fatsia japonica, and one with a large hosta. They were the only plants I could think of for a corner which has a tall fence behind, an arbour to the right and a raised bed with an overhanging sambuscus to the left and overhead…pretty shaded!

They all make quite a colourful, lush corner. You may notice that yet again my hydrangeas aren’t showing any signs of flowering!! They look happy enough, just no flowers. I’ve had one about five years now, it was beautiful when I bought it…nothing since!

We’ve hopefully got some light rain this week, the garden could certainly do with some, though they promised us heavy rain and thunderstorms on Saturday but nothing materialised. I heard recently that the reason our weather forecasts are more inaccurate than usual at the moment is that they usually get loads of data from airplanes but obviously there’s not as many flying, so less information to work on…makes sense!

Posted in Serendipity | 4 Comments

Jacquie SAL

Well I’ve almost caught up with my Jacquie SAL, but I seem thwarted at every attempt at the moment! This is the SAL by Faby Reilly for a needlecase, she releases the pattern for a section every two weeks. Last time I shared my progress I’d started stitching the first section. This involved back-stitching felt squares in place and embroidering two labels. I’d managed one of each…

I wasn’t 100% on the way my label had come out, but I decided to stitch the other one before I made a decision. At this point I also hadn’t done my preparation work of outlining all the blocks.

I took it to my Skipton Stitchers meeting on Monday. This was the Embroiderers Guild but since the Guild decided to take our money and abandon us, we went independent and call ourselves Skipton Stitchers. We had our second outdoor meeting and as it was hot we sat under the shade of a tree and stitched for a couple of hours. It was lovely to see everyone again. I managed a fair bit of outlining on my SAL. Afterwards I met my friend for lunch in a local cafe. A lovely day all in all.

Roll on a couple of days when I tried to crack on with the outlining. I realised my piece of fabric wasn’t quite long enough to get all the pieces from. I couldn’t fit the last two large rectangles on. I messaged Faby on Facebook to see, from a design perspective, which two rectangles would be better in a different fabric. The answer was sections three and four, which left me free to start the cross-stitch on section two…

Then I couldn’t find my flosses, I tidied my sewing room, checked down the sides of chairs etc, no sign. I decided I must have lost them on Monday in Skipton. My friend even kindly went down to the coffee shop to see if they were there. I resolved to buy a new set. I walked into Otley for my market shop yesterday, queued up at the butchers and then realised my purse wasn’t in my bag! I ended up getting the bus home, checking another bag and then getting two buses into Leeds to retrieve my purse from my locker at work! Thank goodness I have a free bus pass!! Whilst in Leeds I popped into Sam Taylors to get some more flosses. I caught the bus back to Otley, did my shopping and finally got home about five hours after initially leaving! I sat down in my chair with a welcome cup of tea and then spotted my bag of flosses hiding on the floor!!!

So I now have plenty of floss for my project!!

Last night I cracked on with section two, the first of the big rectangles and the first clue we had to the theme of the SAL. I did make me chuckle though…what does this look like?

Well it looks like a blue jelly baby to me!. So now I know what happens to jelly babies that don’t get eaten…

…they metamorphose into a dragonfly 🙂

I think this is going to be beautiful. I love the colours and in the next pattern release we’ll add the Faby magic bit, all the detail and different stitches.

Last night I also stitched the second label, it looks much better than the first one. I think it’s mainly due to the way the colour worked out with the variegated thread. I’m tempted to either undo the embroidery one and restitch, or just stitch another one, maybe also just using one strand of floss for the chain stitch border.

I still haven’t decided what colour linen to use for the other two rectangles, I’ve quite a selection of colours to choose from but I think I’ll wait to see what the design is looking like before I commit to something darker or lighter, or try to find one similar tone.

If you fancy joining me in stitching the needlecase, follow the link to Faby Reilly Designs.

This Stitch-a-long is organised by Avis, we post our progress on our project every three weeks so please follow the links to see lots of other lovely stitching.


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Flower Power

A couple of weeks ago I shared my progress on my denim jacket, embroidering flowers along the back…

This is a white denim jacket I bought at Sainsbury’s, our local supermarket. It was only £22, cheap enough to try something different. The denim is actually quite soft, it was quite easy to embroider. I used DMC threads and some other over-dyed threads from 21st Century Yarns which are called stranded cotton but are actually more like a perle. I drew some wavy lines with a silver gel pen and then eventually worked out seven different flowers to embroider, they’re not particularly botanically correct and some are just made up!

Well after what seems like thousands of French knots, it is finished!

I’ve embroidered all the way along the back, which was quite long enough! There’s foxgloves, alliums, cone flowers, amongst some more generic flowers. I added some foliage and filled in gaps with forget-me-not flowers. I stitched three little bees, having become well practise stitching them whilst making the cottage garden quilt. I was thinking of adding a ladybird but I decided a single spot of scarlet in a bed of pinks and blues might not work.

I’m well chuffed with my jacket, it took a little longer than I anticipated, but I already have plans for my blue denim jacket. Unfortunately it’s been too warm to wear it since I finished it! Here’s a photo of the whole border…

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Monday’s Meander Round the Garden

The hot (for us!!) humid weather is continuing, I much prefer the shade in this weather and follow it round the garden, retreating to my sewing room when there isn’t enough shade! The garden is starting to look a bit over blown, I need to do a bit more (or a lot more!) dead heading and cutting back plants that are past their best.

The roses are still looking good, though lots of dead heading to do there. This one is called Champagne Moments, it’s actually three bushes planted together to give the effect of one big bush. We bought these when we got married and I’ve given quite a few as presents as it flowers it’s socks off and is pretty disease resistant…

This beautiful rose is called Lark Ascending, it’s a gorgeous delicate shade of apricot. It grows to quite a big bush so it’s in the middle of the autumn bed over looking the amber and amethyst garden…

…just noticed all the blueberries on the bush behind. We’ve never managed to eat the blueberries as the birds always beat us to it.

One more rose picture, this one is Teasing Georgia, it’s meant to be climbing over the arch down by the patio but it is prone to blackspot and last year I ended up cutting it back hard and it’s still recovering. I’m aiming over the autumn and winter to sort this bed out, it has some of the worst soil of the garden, so I’m hoping if we can manage to turn the heavy clay a bit and get some compost in, possibly raising the bed a little with log roll, Teasing Georgia will be a bit happier.It’s a bit more yellowy than it looks in the photo.

At the other end of the patio is my pot garden. This is where the worst soil is, silver clay, it was so bad I just leveled it, put some membrane and pebbles over it and filled it with pots. It seems to have it’s own little micro-culture as it has to be really dry for me to need to water the pots. I had a bit of a sort out last week, potting up a lamium and a fuschia. I’ve also empied the water feature pot as it was still leaking, so I’ve dried it out so I can now replug the holes with blutack and hopefully it will be watertight for another ten years.

The border by the big fence is really filling out, I struggle to get in to weed now, but the bindweed keeps sneaking up so I shimmy behind the purple cotinus and try and attack it from the back. There’s a nice mix of plants here, peony, day lily, astrantia, geranium, roses – these ones are called Darcey Bussell.

I think I’ll try and get out in the garden early in the morning before it gets too warm, do a bit more weeding and dead-heading.

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July Smalls

I’ve gone for a flowery theme this month with my cross-stitch smalls display with two fairly recent makes, Scatter Sunshine and Be Nice.

The little forget me not one at the front is a cross-stitch I did probably about 30 years ago, I finally made it up a couple of years ago. The forget-m-not box is a design by Nutmeg Designs up in Reeth in Swaledale. The lovely poppy humbug is a Faby Reilly design. The little round cottage pin cushion is from a pattern in an old Inspirations magasine, another one I probably made over twenty years ago!

I might do a bees theme next month, or maybe birds…any preference?

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