HQAL ; Down the Rabbit Hole

I’ve been itching to write this post for the last two weeks!! It’s three weeks since I last showed you my Down the Rabbit Hole Quilt, I was still stitching the never ending vines…Down the Rabbit Hole

Over the following few days I made a concerted effort to finish the hand applique. I stitched the vines, leaves, flowers and bees on the last two borders, stitched them onto the main quilt and appliqued a vine around the corner to meet up with the running rabbits. This is mainly because my rabbits didn’t jump high enough to have any flowers underneath them and I didn’t just want a couple of stalks at the end. I’m pleased with my corner vines and I was so happy to finish stitching them.Down the Rabbit Hole

All I had to do now was stitch on the final border…

I had made the individual blocks for the border earlier, it’s squares on point and triangles, not the easiest to adjust if there is a problem! The first two sides (opposite) went on fine but when it came to the last two sides…you guessed it, I just couldn’t get it to fit. I had several goes at pinning it but it was about 0.5cm out, which doesn’t sound much, but when you are looking at diamonds that don’t meet, it’s huge!! Although this photo is before I stitched it, it does show the problem…Down the Rabbit Hole

In the end after much muttering, cursing and just generally chuntering, I decided I would have to fudge it. After even more thought on the best way to fudge I made a corner square of the purple floral fabric of the previous border. This nicely echoed the corner square of the earlier pieced border when I used the passionflower grey fabric of the previous border. I then appliqued the squares  of the block onto the corner-squares. I’m as happy as I can be with a fudged border, though I am tempted to see if I can applique it on the point instead. Before any of you think it wasn’t that far out, this is the best corner!Down the Rabbit Hole Quilt

With hindsight I think the issue was a mixture of the length of the border and also the size of the quilt. As it got bigger I found it harder  and harder to accurately measure the finished size of each section, if it was .5cm out on my rabbit borders then the diamonds wouldn’t fit.

So it was time for a bit of a happy dance as the top is now finished! I haven’t managed to get a photo of the whole quilt yet as it is so big, I need assistants and good weather, this is a photo taken the following day at my LAQ 🙂Down the Rabbit Hole Quilt

…all I have to do now is quilt it! I’ve decided to hand quilt it, it’s too big for me to machine quilt it (about 96″ square) I also wanted the quilting to be sympathetic to the medallion design, which ruled out an all over machine pattern and pretty much just left hand quilting. I haven’t hand quilted since I was about 18 years old, I’m hoping I’m a bit quicker!

Before quilting can start it all needs sandwiching and basting. I decided to take it to a local long-arm quilter to get it machine basted. I just have nowhere big enough to lay it out flat and baste it successfully. Christine Marriage is an award winning long arm quilter, she quilted my stained glass window quilt several years ago. She used to live about 15 minutes away, convenient! Five weeks ago she moved to the other side of West Yorkshire, by bus and train it would take me about 2 hours! It was worth it, there’s no way I was going to trust my quilt to the postman!

I managed to get a lift to Mirfield off my OH, I caught a train to Huddersfield and a bus to Honley, walking the rest of the way it took two attempts and a phone call to finally arrive at Christine’s new abode!Down the Rabbit Hole Quilt

Christine is going to sandwich the layers together and baste them using a long stitch in a meander all over the quilt to hold it firm. I can snip and pull lengths out as I go, rather than risking stitching through the threads. She’s a very busy lady, my quilt is booked in for 21st May, which seems ages off, but actually isn’t that long!

As I was over that side of West Yorkshire I decided to make a day of it, I caught a bus to Huddersfield and then another bus to Halifax.

There’s an excellent fabric shop in Halifax called Fabbadashery, so I had a good perusal and a few things came home with me!Piece HallI then went to Piece Hall. Piece Hall is an amazing, beautiful historical place,  I remember visiting 30 years ago, there were lots of independent craft shops there, it slowly slipped into decline but over the last few years there has been a big effort to revitalise and renovate Piece Hall. It was reopened on Yorkshire Day last year, I was a bit worried it would be full of trendy wine bars and cafes. I needn’t have worried, it has still got lots of small independent art and craft shops. This is what the website says about it’s history;

The Grade I listed Piece Hall, Halifax is a rare and precious thing, an architectural and cultural phenomenon which is absolutely unique. It is the sole survivor of the great eighteenth century northern cloth halls, a class of buildings which embodied the vital and dominant importance of the trade in hand woven textiles to the pre-industrial economy of the West Riding of Yorkshire, from the Middle Ages through to the early nineteenth century.

Dating from 1779, when it was built as a Cloth Hall for the trading of ‘pieces’ of cloth (a 30 yard length of woven woollen fabric produced on a handloom), The Piece Hall was the most ambitious and prestigious of its type and now stands in splendid isolation as the only remaining example. It is one of Britain’s most outstanding Georgian buildings.

Just to give an idea of the importance of the wool trade here in Yorkshire, I have a facsimile of Daniel Defoes Tour Through the Whole Island of Britain, written in 1726.He describes Leeds twice weekly cloth market;

Early in the morning there are trestles places in two rows in the street…The clothiers come early in the morning, they go into the inns and set it down. At seven a clock the market bell rings. Within a few minutes the whole market is filled, rows of boards covered and clothiers stand ready. The merchants and buyers walk up and down…you cannot hear a word spoken in the whole market by the persons buying and selling, tis all done in a whisper. By half an hour eight the market bell rings again, immediately the buyers disappear, the cloth is all sold…Thus you see ten or twenty thousand pounds value in cloth and sometimes much more, bought and sold in little more than an hour.

This astounds me, that is £20,000 in 1726!!!

I need to find another hand quilting project for the next couple of HQALs as I won’t be able to show you my Down the Rabbit Hole quilt again until the end of May!

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.

Kathy, Lori, Margaret, Kerry, Emma, Tracy, Deb, Connie, Susan,  Nanette, Sassy , Edith, Sharon and Bella.
Down the Rabbit Hole Quilt

I’m also linking up with Kathy’s Quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday, a weekly celebration of all things hand-stitched. Why not follow the link and see what everyone else has been stitching.

Posted in Down The Rabbit Hole, Quilt-a-long, Quilting, Serendipity | Tagged , , | 19 Comments

Last of the Holiday Stitching

I did quite a lot of stitching on holiday, we had several long flights, with the inevitable long waits in airports, together with quiet time either by the pool or on our balcony. These are the last two I have to show you, honest!

This pretty little embroidery pattern has been in my kit box for quite a few years now, just waiting for it’s moment. The copyright is from 2002 but I don’t think I’ve had it quite that long!! It’s called Butterfly Dance and it’s printed by The Sweetheart Tree, the designer is Sandra Cox Vanosdall. It came with a tiny butterfly charm.Butterfly Dance

I had most of the DMC colours in my stash, but I substituted a couple. The instructions weren’t as clear as they could have been so I’ve stitched the flower buds in teal instead of ivory! It stitched up pretty quickly though, all I had to do on my return was stitch on the beads, a few ivory ones on the scalloped border and a few teal ones in the vine.

It’s such a little embroidery (only 2.25″ square) that it was mislaid in my sewing room several times – if you saw my sewing room you wouldn’t be surprised! When I found it yesterday I decided there and then to finish it before it got lost again!

Despite having a HUGE box of beads I didn’t have any teal beads and my ivory ones looked too big, I think it needed those beads that are so small you sneeze and you lose the lot! In the end I stitched french knots in place of the beads and I think it looks fine.Butterfly Dance

I knew exactly which fabric I was going to use to make it into a mini cushion, it’s one left from my Splendid Sampler quilt. I stitched a border round then hand-stitched some lace just out from the seam. After I had made it up into a cushion I did have second thoughts about the lace, was it too frilly, would it be better with a line of ivory embroidery? I showed my mum today and she said it looks fine, it compliments the embroidery, so it’s staying!Butterfly Dance

The last piece of stitching is a cross-stitch design by Rovaris, she posted it on a face-book page I follow and I bought it immediately – I do like a good impulse buy! She has some lovely designs on her Etsy page. I love the sentiments with this embroidery and the sewing theme of course makes it perfect for me to hang in my sewing room.

It was very straight forward to stitch, the chart was nice and easy to follow. The only change I made was to stitch CRAFT in a shade of grey/brown, rather than black.Craft by Rovaris

It was probably about half stitched when I came back from holiday, I always take a little stitching project when I visit my mum in her care home, it gives us something to talk about and I’m also trying to keep her interest in crafts alive. She loved this one. She asked for the chart, so as soon as I had finished I made her a kit up, what’s hard is that I know it probably won’t even get started, never mind finished as with her dementia anything out of sight is forgotten.

I’m thinking of mounting this on card with a fabric surround. I’ve just got the two charms to stitch on first before I lose them!.

So that’s all my holiday stitching completed, two double page spreads for my stitch sample, three monthly small and these two, not bad for three weeks holiday 🙂

I’m linking up with Kathy’s Quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday, a celebration of all things hand-stitched. Why not follow the link and see what everyone else has been creating.

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Mountain Sketchbook

Last weekend I shared my new Travelling Sketchbook with you, I’ve chosen a theme of flowers. It will circulate around a group in our Embroiderers Guild and everyone will put a piece of their work in it, so in a few months time when it returns to me I will hopefully have a whole garden of embroidered flowers.

I realised when I posted it that I hadn’t shared with you my Mountains sketchbook since it returned from it’s travels. This was my first experience of a travelling sketchbook and I really enjoyed stitching a little embroidery for each persons book as it came into my possession.

This book did two circuits. I shared the first ones here but here’s a few photos to remind you.

The sketchbooks then did another shorter circuit…

The first entry is so simple yet so brilliant for my theme, in fact I had wondered about doing something similar before, it’s the outlines of mountains that mean something to her. Anyone who climbs or just loves mountains knows their outlines, they are so recognisable. So Margorie has thought of all the mountains she has come across in her life, written a little story and embroidered the outline in back-stitch, there’s the Eiger, Mount Teide, Snowdon,Vesuvius, American Rockies, Mount Fuji and the far Cuillins. 

Jill stitched a lovely picture of Ben Loyal, Jill is Scottish and explained the different classifications of Scottish mountains, Munroes, Corrbets and Grahams. Ben Loyal is a Corrbet, being 2507 feet high. I love the different stitches Jill used to get the image of the landscape, such as sorbello stitch for the rugged rocks. The deer are very sweet too!

Jill Mahoney

Jill Maloney

Gail drew a wonderfully intricate picture based on a view in the Northern Lake District, wouldn’t this be a great starting point for a blackwork embroidered picture?

Gail Marsh

Gail Marsh

Angela included a hand coloured map and an lovely embroidery of the scenery as she walked the West Highland Way in Scotland. It’s a collage of mainly tweeds which are a traditional Scottish fabric, giving great texture to the piece, she embellished with stitching, representing the heathers, streams, forests she saw on her walk.

Angela Harrison

Angela Harrison

So my book is pretty much full, I’ll pop a few mountain photographs on any blank pages, maybe a poem or two to complete my sketchbook of Mountains. It’s lovely to have something like this as so many friends each gave a little bit of themselves to create it. I shall treasure it.

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Monday’s Meander around the Garden

Spring has finally sprung here in Yorkshire, after a few days of higher temperatures the buds on the trees are just starting to appear and perennials are starting to show signs of life, I reckon we’re about 4 weeks behind our usual timings. Over the last few days I’ve even seen a few big bumble bees, always a good sign!

Our magnolia stellata has finally come into flower, a sure sign that spring is here. There was just one flower open yesterday and half a dozen today, so by the weekend I think it will be glorious. It’s one of my favourite trees in the garden, it’s stunning when it’s in full bloom. The flowers are so delicate, just beautiful.

I’ve been quite busy this week putting together arches for the AA garden. I managed the basic arch on my own, putting it together and erecting it in it’s spot. The gated arch was a bit more tricky, I put it together but it definitely needed two of us to stand it correctly so the gates would hang right. I’ve put a few more plants in, mainly ones which were lodging in the bottom garden, and spread around lots of gorgeous compost from the old heap. It’s starting to look like a garden! I need lots more plants, especially climbers and about another twenty bags of gravel!

We need some new compost heaps as our last ones were totally rotten. We usually run on a cycle of two heaps, one filling and one rotting down. Having priced them up we decided they couldn’t be that difficult to build. We started gathering together spare fence posts, planks and trellis from around the garden and I think we’ve just about got enough to build a double compost heap. I think my OH sees it as his project so I’m leaving him to it!

This is the old chicken run, I’m going to plant the left hand side with a deep border of shrubs all chosen for their autumn colour, so it’s going to be my Autumn Garden. I do like to name the different parts of the garden!

The pond border is starting to green up, there’s lots of shoots appearing, hostas, Solomon’s seal, brunnera, irises, give it another couple of weeks and it will look completely different. The hellebore’s are still looking good and there is a lovely haze of blue pulmonaria under the rhododendron bush. There’s a fair few weeds appearing here so I need to work on it this week.

My Jack Frost brunnera is just starting to flower, soon it will be a haze of little blue flowers. This is underneath the camellia bush, I bought it quite a few years ago at the Harrogate flower show, I love it as it is good ground cover without being invasive, attractive variegated leaves and a haze of blue flowers in spring.

Tomorrows job is to paint the big fence onn the right as we are finally (fingers crossed!) forecast a stretch of dry weather. My Eighteen for 18 challenge of three sessions a week in the garden is working well, sometimes I’m out for several hours, sometimes just half an hour, but it all adds up. I’ve just got to keep at it 🙂

Posted in Garden, Serendipity | Tagged | 14 Comments

SAL 5 The Tall Year Square Etui

It’s three weeks since I last showed you my etui box, I’d just made a mistake on the number 2, the last number of this side. I blamed jet lag, which when I saw the mistakes close up I think was a fair assessment! I’d even changed from cross-stitch over one thread to cross-stitch over two threads!! It certainly bear no resemblance to a number two…

It had to come out! I did appreciate those of you who argued that it put memories in the stitching…but it had to come out! I remember Faby Reilly saying cross-stitch over one thread is nigh on imossible to undo, it’s certainly not for the faint-hearted! It was lucky I only had one number to undo!!

I stitched the number again…it was so straight forward, what was the issue!!!  Apart from lack of sleep and messed up body clocks!

Above another row of long armed cross-stitch was a pretty border from two variegated threads. I did ponder about using the same thread top and bottom row, maybe starting with a different colour in the thread. In the end I decided to use a lighter thread for the top row and I was glad I did as I like the effect.

The last (top) row is like an embossed cross-stitch. In the instructions three colours are used, one for the base cross, one for the square and one for the little crosses inbetween. I decided to use the same thread for the cross and the square, just started with a different colourway, I like the effect.

Having completed one side of my etui, I decided to also stitch the spring square for the centre pincushion box whilst I had my chosen threads to hand. This didn’t take long at all as it’s only little.

The next side I’m going to stitch is summer. I’m choosing my own colours with this project, just thinking of what colours I associate with the season. I was originally thinking of heathery purples and greens, but having looked at the pattern again which has dragonflies, frogs and waterlilies on, I had to think again. It will be stitched on a gentle green linen, these are the colours I’ve chosen so far.

For anyone who is new to this project, it is designed by Betsy Morgan and published in the Classic Inspirations magasine. I’m using my own choice of threads (DMC) rather than those selected by the designer.

This stitch-a-long is organised by Avis, we post every three weeks, so if you would like to join in please send her a message. There are quite a few of us now, all doing different projects, so please follow the links to see what everyone else has been stitching;


KathyMargaretCindyHelenStephLindaMary Margaret,


Everyone is in different time scales, so if there isn’t a post when you first look, check later in the day. If you fancy joining us for the SAL, just send a message to Avis.

Posted in embroidery, Serendipity, Stitch-a-long | Tagged , | 21 Comments

Sketchbooks on the move!

Our sketchbooks at Skipton Embroiderers Guild are about to go travelling again! This will be the third round of travelling sketchbooks I’ve been involved with. For those not familiar with the concept, we all start with an A5 artists sketchbook, cover it to make it pretty, choose a theme, write the first few pages and then send it off on a circuit of members. Each month  we swop books and stitch a little embroidery on the theme of whichever book we have, so in about six months time I’ll get my book back with half a dozen flower embroideries, all stitched by my friends. From a personal perspective I found it really helped my confidence with embroidery as I suddenly had to do something on a given subject, it pushed me out of my comfort zone and I discovered I actually could do ‘proper’ embroidery!

We’re starting a new sketchbook this time (our last one did two rounds and was pretty full!) I’ve chosen the theme of flowers. I like to keep a very open theme, rather than limiting it to garden flowers, or wild flowers…and I like flowers!


It’s our meeting on Monday, so I thought I’d better get cracking with it! I remembered I already had a sketchbook cover with flowers on. It’s a little embroidery from the Knitting and Stitching show in Harrogate. Rowandean have a stitching table as part of their stand, you can sit and stitch a little embroidery amongst all the hustle and bustle of the show, it’s a little oasis of tranquility! This is the one I did a couple of years ago.Travelling Sketchbook

I searched through one of my embroidery boxes and found a few finished embroideries I haven’t done anything with including a couple of silk ribbon embroideries from workshops I’d been on. I hesitated slightly on the delphiniums as they will probably get a bit squashed,but realistically it’s not good enough to frame and it;’s been sat in the box for two years, so it may as well go in a flower book!


I also found a piece of unfinished wool embroidery. We had a workshop at Skipton which involved needle felting and wool embroidery on a piece of old blanketing.. Mine never got finished, so last night I decided to change that! This is what it looked like to start with, a few blobs of colour and a bit of wool embroidery.Felt embroidery

The wool I have in my stash was too thick to embroider with, it was more tapestry wool. I decided to use embroidery threads instead. I started with the blue blobs, just using lazy daisy stitch around to make a flower.

I was very restrained and just used embroidery floss I knew I had over-stocked on! The brown blobs are meant to be seed heads, I used pistil stitch which is a bit like french knot on a stalk. They weren’t overly successful, mainly I think because they are just a bit too heavy for the rest of the design.Felt embroidery

I kept embroidering flowers and leaves, using fly-stitch, feather stitch, chain stitch, all pretty basic stitches. Every time I thought I’d finished, I would spot another area that needed stitching! I decided it look more balanced trimmed to leave out the left hand edge which included one of the heavy seed heads! One advantage of needle-felting , I found, is that it is very easy to undo!

This was my finished piece when I finally went to bed last night, I’m pretty pleased with it! I’ll add a couple of flower photographs from my albums and a bit of blurb and then my sketchbook will be ready to start circulating.

DSC_0022 (1)I’ll be linking up with Kathy’s Quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday, a celebration of hand- quilting and stitching. Why not follow the link and see what everyone else has been stitching.

A pretty little thought to finish with…


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Today’s photo challenge word from Postcard from Gibraltar is clock

This is our conservatory wall, my OH finds it amusing as the clock is now set at 10 to 2, he chuntered so much about it having a loud tick that I took the batteries out, it took him several weeks to notice!

DSC_0009I’ve got a kit from Springwood Designs to make a clock for my sewing room, I bought it a couple of years ago at one of the shows in Harrogate. I’m still trying to decide whether to make it with fabric wedges like the pattern…Clock-Parts (1)


or sewing themed fabric, maybe plain fabric with embroidery…or buttons

…or haberdashery like this one by Live it.Love it.Make it


…decisions! There’s lots of ideas on Pinterest, I just need the time to sit down, make a decision and make a clock!

Posted in Crafts, Photo Challenge, Serendipity, Sewing | Tagged , | 7 Comments


I’ve just realised I completely missed last weeks Friday Photo Challenge. As I have just spent half an hour writing a post and sorting through photos to show you on a theme that was actually last weeks, I thought I may as well show you them anyway!!

The theme for last weeks photo challenge (from Postcard from Gibraltar) was Sweet. Now I’m not much of a sweet person, I never think to buy sweets (…I’d always prefer to go in a bakers and get a sticky bun!) and I’d always have a starter in preference to a pudding.

Instead I decided to share photos of Helen looking very sweet when she was a tot wearing dresses I made her. I got quite into smocking when she was little, helped by the fact that my mum bought a smocking machine so I didn’t have to do all the gathering!

Most of the designs came from the Australian Smocking magasine, which is a sister to the embroidery magasine Classic Inspirations. There were some beautiful dresses in there.

This one is my favourite, I still have it tucked away, I have plans to have it framed in a box frame so it hangs…one day!

This dress has embroidered circles of flowers down the button band, faggoted ribbon bands and rows of embroiderey on the hem bands.


The smocking is called a bishops neckline as it goes in a full circle around the neck. It’s got dozens of bullion roses in amongst the smocking which I seem to remember took forever!.

I made a fine cotton underskirt with vintage broderie anglais along the hem so it just peeped out underneath.

Doesn’t she look sweet 🙂

Posted in embroidery, Serendipity | 9 Comments

Monday’s Meander Round the Garden

I think spring has finally arrived!

My Amber & Amethyst garden is beginning to look like a garden. I’ve been buying a few plants on Otley market and Courtyard Planters over the last couple of weeks and today I decided to start trying to arrange them. Including plants I’d saved from clearing the area I’d got about 16 plants, mainly shrubs. It’s surprising how so many plants really doesn’t go that far in a garden…I’ll just have to buy some more!Amber & Amethyst gardenI planted my gorgeous wine hellebore next to a purple tinged hebe, hoping it will make a good match.

My other hellebores around the pond are looking good, the main disadvantage with the flowers is that they hang down, I remember hearing about a castle in England that planted it’s moat sides with hellebores, so when you walked along the bottom you could see all the blooms. I’ve placed my wine one at the top of the steps, hoping it will have a similar effect.hellebores & chicken wire heron

This blue planter of miniature daffodils is looking amazing at the moment, I think it’s the mix of the bright blue and the yellow. Sometimes the simplest of planting schemes works the best.Daffodils

I’ve got quite a big collection of planters in this corner, mainly because the soil was just so bad! A contorted hazel I have in a pot has got some pretty decent catkins this year for the first time..Catkins

and my miniature flowering cherry is in bloom, looking very pretty and delicate.

The pink camellia next to our conservatory is still flowering its socks off, I need to try and remember to prune it this year ones the flowers have faded as it’s starting to get a bit leggy. A brunnera called Jack Frost is just starting to appear underneath, it gives an amazing display of variegated leaves and deep blue flowers, a bit like forget-me-nots.camellia

I’ve ordered two garden arches for my AA garden to grow roses, clematis and honeysuckle over, once they are up it should really start to take shape. Over the next couple weeks I can also make final decisions over what has survived the winter and what hasn’t. I’ve lost quite a few plants this time, I think mainly due to the late frosts and snow. I’ve a few ideas of specific plants I want to get and of course at the end of April it’s the Harrogate Spring Flower Show, always a good day out!



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Holiday Stitching

DSC_0001 (2)Yes, I’ve another bit of holiday stitching to show you!

Last week I shared photos of the first half of my holiday along the coast of Australia between Adelaide and Sydney…

We actually finished our drive at Kiama, a beach resort about one and a half hours south of Sydney. We were there for a family wedding which took place at a hotel in Kiama, outside in the sunshine, of course. I wore (after last minute wobbles!) a dress I’d made for a friends wedding a couple of years ago. I also took an ivory shawl with me, it was interesting as in Yorkshire I wear a shawl for an extra layer, a little bit of warmth against the evening chill, here in Australia, the same shawl kept me cool against the hot midday sun!DSC_0156

It was a wonderful wedding, very personal to the couple, I loved the way they included a vow to be a good step dad and all that that entails.DSC_0105 (1)

Helen, my daughter, came over for the wedding too. The next morning we both woke up early and went to watch the sunrise over the beach…magical moments!DSC_0251 (1)

I started another page to my stitch sampler whilst I was there. Chain stitch was always going to be a double spread as there are so many variations.DSC_0001 (4)

I started off with three rows of basic chain stitch, followed by a square chain and then a lazy daisy stitch or two. The next row of twisted chain looks remarkably similar to another stitch! Underneath the names of the bride and groom is a row of cable chain, this is one of those stitches that I can’t quite work out how it works…but it does!

The row down  the left is called broad chain in my book. Effectively it is exactly the same as chain stitch, just done the other way round, some people find this much easier to get neat and I can see why,.DSC_0002 (4)

The second row is called Portuguese Border stitch, it’s actually made on a framework of straight stitches, with satin stitches woven in between to make a sort of heavy looking chain.

The third one is a raised chain band, which again is stitched on a framework of straight stitches and chain stitched formed over the framework. I finished that page with a bunch of flowers in lazy daisy and some individual broken chain stitches.DSC_0003 (4)

Up to this point I’d stitched each page with a single floss colour from the DMC variegated range, I do like their variegated threads!. On the next page I broke with tradition and used two!! Living dangerously!! Several of the stitches needed a contrasting colour and 4065 (whilst being a useful colour) is a bit of a wishy-washy shade to do a whole page in! I stitched most of the page in 4045 which is a really useful mix of leaf greens. I wish DMC would do more subtly variegated threads like this one, they would be really useful.

After the wedding we flew to Bali, we had a lovely couple of days doing nothing in a quiet village called Manggis. It is the first time we’d been to an Asian country such as this and it was fascinating to learn about the different cultures. After three nights there we moved to Ubud, known as the cultural centre of Bali. Our hotel was was between the monkey jungle and paddy fields.DSC_0324

It was Nieppe whilst we were there which is the Hindu New Year, the evening before there were processions in every village and town of huge models of the bad spirits, these are made by the young people of the village on a bamboo framework covered in what sounds like paper-mache. They are seriously big, they have long poles to hold the electric cables out of the way so they can pass underneath, though this one was so big they were having major troubles! Every household makes lots of noise in every corner of their home to drive out the bad spirits and leaves lots of offerings too. The models are processed through the town to the local cemetery where they are ceremoniously burned, though a few did seem to survive the night from what we saw the next day!DSC_0137

Nieppe itself is a day of silence and fasting. As I understand it, the idea is that having driven the bad spirits out the night before, they are as quiet as they can be in the hope that the spirits will pass by. There is no TV, minimal internet, no transport (airport is closed) visitors are not allowed out of their hotel and after dark if electric light is to be used the blinds must be down.

The advantage of all this is there is absolutely no light pollution. Our hotel left the sunloungers out and suggested we went stargazing. I have never seen stars twinkling as bright, it was amazing, we even saw a shooting star. We laid for ages just watching the stars, it was a magical end to our wedding anniversary.DSC_0003 (2)

The first row of chain on this page was  alternating barred chain, I rather like this one.     The second row was meant to be interlaced cable chain stitch, unfortunately I only realised afterwards that I had stitched standard chain, rather than cable, so it’s just interlaced chain stitch! I think it would be better in a firmer thread such as a perle really.DSC_0004 (2)

I stitched flowers from berry stitch, picot and lazy daisy, stitched some short lengths of stitches such as magic chain and singalese chain, altogether on the double page spread I’ve stitched over twenty variations of chain stitch, I never knew there were so many! I finished off with a lattice pattern simply stitched with individula chain stitches.

I think the green thread of 4045 worked particularly well on this page and very apt for such a lush place as Bali.DSC_0002 (2)

I’ve finally thought out a way of recording the different stitches on each page, my friend gave me two little note books for Christmas, very pretty and only 3.5 x 5″, just a little smaller than these pages. I’m going to put the information in this book and then when I make the sampler book up I’ll stitch a pocket on the inside back cover for my notebook!

Our final stop on this holiday was to visit family in Kuala Lumpur, he lives in a secure compound just outside KL, this was my first experience of compounds, I was amazed how big they are, the size of a market town in England! It reminded me of the ‘new towns’ here in England such as Milton Keynes, it had a similar feel and was just as easy to get lost in ! I did managed to get to the fabric shops and market in KL and bought a few lengths!DSC_0002

I’m linking up with Kathy’s Quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday, why not follow the link and see what everyone else has been hand-stitching.


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