Slowly but surely I’m am making progress on hand quilting my Down the Rabbit Hole quilt. As I keep telling other, progress is progress! It’s three weeks since I last showed you my quilt, I had just started the rope border and was hoping to romp round it…
It’s fairly quick to stitch when I get going as it’s all in the same direction, I just have two threads going at any one time. I’ve got a lap stand ring now too and I am finding it much easier, it holds the quilt in a better position for me and keeps the area behind clear for me to work in. I just hadn’t quite appreciated that each of these rope borders is 64″ long! That’s a lot of border!
Hence I’m still on the rope border, making progress but not as quickly as I would like, I’m just over half way round. Once I’ve finished this border I think I’ll have a good session taking out the basting threads so the lines start to fade as I move onto the rabbits. Stitching this border has giving me plenty of time to ponder over how to quilt the next one, the rabbits and vines, I’ve got some ideas mulling about!
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.
Last week my walking buddy and I had our last practise walk, ready for our big challenge which starts tomorrow, walking the Cleveland Way as far as Whitby. We’ve been walking sections of the Lady Anne Way as practises, not necessarily in order, and this time we walked from Grassington to Kettlewell.
There’s several routes between these two villages, a couple of years ago we followed the Dales Way route which goes along the edge of the tops with amazing panoramic views up and down Wharfedale. This route is slightly higher it doesn’t have quite the same amazing views but it’s a great walk with no road walking except in the actual villages, always a bonus!
We drove to Kettlewell, parked the car and took the bus back to Grassington. It’s only about a two hourly bus service, so this way once we finished the walk we could jump straight into the car and set off home. As we parked, three gypsy caravans parked up too, it was Appleby Horse Fair last weekend so in the weeks running up to it there are always lots of horse drawn carriages on the road as they make their way up to Appleby. They’re lovely to look at but there’s always trouble at the horse fair!
Back in Grassington we made our way up through the village and quite quickly made good height onto the moors. We were pleased as we’re obviously a lot fitter than we were at the beginning of the year! The paths were good which does make progress a lot easier.
On the whole these long distance paths that we walk are well sign-posted. The little yellow roundel has the symbol for the Lady Anne’s Way on it, we like these stickers!
The lambs up here are still fairly young, they lamb later to give them a better chance against bad weather. These are a hardy moorland breed called herdwicks (I think!)
Although we didn’t have the views up and down Wharfedale that the lower path has, we had some amazing long distance views, this is classic limestone country…
Most of the paths and tracks up here have been here for centuries, this drovers road is called Bycliffe Road
As we started to descend along a grassy path the undulations of the fields in front fascinated me, accentuated by the patchwork of stone walls. We had a great talk at my WI last night from a lady dry stone waller, she was a wonderful lady, full of enthusiasm for dry stone walls, she had been all over the world building walls, each area has their own style. She explained that walls are twice as thick at the bottom as they are at the top to give them some stability, they are basically two walls joined every yard with a long stone across. There’s dry stone walling courses in Otley – I’m tempted!
I think the grassy path above is Coniston Turf Road. The next photo brings back lots of memories. The farmhouse you can just see below the horizon is called Hag Dyke. It’s owned by the Scout Association. When I was 13 years old I stayed there for a week with school. It is a one mile walk up the hill from Kettlewell to get there, there’s no proper road, in those days it was lit with gas mantles and it’s reputedly haunted by three monks. We were sleeping on bunk beds in dorms and on the first night we were so scared we pushed two together and slept five on the top and five on the bottom! I went back with a Rotaract group in my twenties but by then there was a generator fitted for power, it had definitely lost some of it’s atmosphere and quirkiness!
The path down into Kettlewell followed the contours gently down, which made for a very winding track…
The blossom here is quite a bit behind everywhere else as it’s that much colder
This is the final descent into Kettlewell by Parkrash. Parkrash is the start of an amazing road which goes over the tops from Kettlewell to Horshouse and Melmerby in Coverdale, if you like driving on winding country lanes I can highly recommend it!
Kettlewell is a very pretty village, much bigger than it looks if you stick to the main road and just drive over the bridge between the two pubs. We had a lovely walk, it was nice to do another route out of Grassington – I think we counted four or five routes we’ve walked in and out of Grassington, three of them up and over the moors. I think altogether we walked about 9 miles and still had a bit of energy at the end, so it’s looking good for our 10-12 mile days next week.
Last week I stitched a piece for a travelling sketchbook from my Embroiderers Guild. The theme of the book was windows, I had my usual perusal through Pinterest and saw a couple of embroideries of stained glass windows. I love looking at stained glass, when we go on walks through the Dales we often call in at the little country churches that we pass, they often have beautiful stained glass. This is a window in the church at Kirby Lonsdale.
I decided to make it using free machine embroidery. I have to say that before I tackled Andrea Walpoles Woodland Spring Wreath quilt, I would never have had the confidence to do this!
I drew an arched window, divided it into two main panes and added a fancy bit at the top – I can’t remember what you call that shape!
I found a batik fabric which was perfect for the stone surround of the window. I used bondaweb, so I could sketch on one side, iron it to the fabric and then cut out the shapes. It was a bit fiddly but doable.
I played around with several fabrics for the actual window but eventually settled on this multicoloured one, I’m not sure if it’s batik or tie-die, it’s a bit of an odd one but actually with the white and yellow splashes amongst the bright colours, it worked very well.
I ironed the window onto the ‘glass’ and then used 505 spray to stick it to the background, this meant I didn’t have too much thickness to try and embroider.
I went round all the edges first with a mid taupe colour. I then had a rummage in my variegated threads box and found a lovely one which had tints of golden brown, grey and purple. It worked really well.
I used the coloured thread to add texture to the frame and then to make some stonework round the window. I then got a bit brave and added patterns on the window panes in the same thread.
I edged the embroidery with a buttonhole stitch on the machine, using the variegated thread again. I’m really pleased with this one, it was pretty quick to do but I think it’s effective, hopefully the owner of the sketchbook will like it too!
Last week I decided to catch up on some time-limited projects, I’d been concentrating on finishing my first quilt for care-leavers, but it meant I was a bit behind on other things, some of which had a date on them! They may only be little things, a couple of evenings, but they needed stitching and ticking off my to do list!
The first one I chose was two blocks for Kate’s Scinteallate quilt. Kate regularly makes quilts to auction for ovarian cancer charities, they always have a teal theme in the name as teal is the colour for ovarian cancer, much as pink is the colour for breast cancer charities.
I promised Kate I would make two blocks for the quilt. The quilt is called Scinteallate and it’s all going to be star blocks, teal stars of all sorts of designs on a cream background.
I bought a book recently called A Block A Day by Lucinda Ganderton. It’s got 365 different quilting blocks, all 12″ square, perfect for this sort of project. As an aside, Lucinda gave all the sample blocks she made to the quilts for care-leavers project, they’re in lovely crisp modern colours and they’ve made quite a few fabulous quilts.
There are several stars in the book but I chose a couple called a two way star and a scrappy star. I searched round in my scrap box and amongst the fat quarters and found these left over from stitching hummingbirds, hopefully they are teal enough!
I stitched the scrappy star first, with a pinwheel in the middle and then half triangles around it. It came together pretty easily and I think it’s quite effective. I had a bit of a panic when I first made it that it wasn’t quite 12.5″, but actually it just needed a good press, it’s amazing the difference it makes!
The Two Way star is my favourite I think, I like the way it has little stars going in opposite directions to make a bigger star! It sort of gives it a feeling of movement.
These two blocks are now winging their way over to Australia for Kate to work her magic and make into another amazing quilt.
It’s three weeks since I shared my Finery of Nature cross-stitch, I’d just done a mini happy dance having completed the first quarter…
As you can see I had just started the second quarter with a lily of the valley. This is a kit by Dimensions, though it’s meant to be on black aida, I’ve changed to duck-egg blue linen as it’s so much easier on the eyes! It has meant a couple of colour changes though.
The second quarter has a birds nest with three eggs and a huge beautiful dragonfly which looks like it’s about to eat said eggs!! I’ve managed to get a fair bit done over the last couple of weeks.
I started on the nest, it’s one of those where you can get all of one colour stitched before you move onto the next colour – I find that quite satisfying! It’s a bit yellowy at the moment, I’m hoping the remaining colours and the back-stitching will tone it down a bit. The inside of the nest is stitched with half cross-stitch, I’m never sure about mixing the two, I always feel the half cross-stitch should be in the same direction as the upper cross-stitch, but instructions always have it the other way – I double checked!
I’m hoping this quarter will move on fairly quickly as there isn’t so many individual flowers as there was round the bird.
This stitch-a-long is organised by Avis from Sewing by the Sea. We choose our own project and post every three weeks, it’s a great incentive and motivator! Please follow the links to see lots of inspiring embroidery.
This month is flying by so I thought I’d better post an update for May before it’s too late!
1 scrap quilt; I’m trying to get a couple of finishes before I start another quilt! I’ve got all my scraps sorted and ready to go though.
2 Tutorials; still none, but I’m thinking of writing one in preparation for my workshop at the end of the month.
3 Sessions a week in the Garden; The plants and weeds are coming up thick and fast, so I’m needing my three sessions to try and vaguely keep up. The garden is starting to colour up nicely.
4 workshops; I’ve three embroidery and one gardening workshop booked this year. I’ve just had my first one today stitching Harold the Hare, I’ll do a proper post soon but here’s a sneak preview of progress so far…
5 Presents; This remains at three, though I’ve another one planned for after my holiday.
6 quilts; I made two quilts last month, so pretty productive, I finished a quilt for care leavers last month and I also made a jelly roll cot quilt as a sample for my workshop at the end of the month, making a total of four so far this year. I’ve just got five on the go, some nearer than others to finishing!
7 New Patterns; I made some Tania cullottes last month, but I can’t share them til next month when they appear on the Minerva website, so at the moment my tally remains at just 1
8 kits; my little embroideries have many been from printed patterns recently, rather than kits, though my pile of kits seems to be getting bigger! My total remains at two, I think I need to look at my kits instead of the internet!!
9 Mini Embroideries; I stitched stitched one last week, but that will come under June’s tally, so it remains at three.
10 things; There’s so many things I need to make, like a new handbag, a purse, wallet, boxes for my sewing room…I’m hoping now I’ve caught up a bit with deadlines I’ll be able to do a bit more for me.
11 cross-stitch smalls; I finished another one in May, it a pretty one with lavender and bees. I’ve made 10 so far this year! I’ve almost finished another one too so hopefully by next month I might have cracked this challenge!
12 pages on my book; I’ve still not started this one, I think once I get going I’ll crack on fairly quickly.
13 Clothes made; I finally feel I’ve made reasonable progress on this one. I made a broderie anglais top which I’ve worn several times already, and I also made some culottes which you can have a sneak preview of! My tally is still only 2 going on 3, but that’s 100% more than last month!
14 drawers organised; I don’t think I did any sorting last month, I need to re-sort my floss box and I need a big sort out of my patterns, maybe next month! My total is a respectable 8, so doing OK here.
15 minutes tidy up at end of sewing session; I need to get stricter with this one, I am better at clearing up at the end of a project though.
16 books; I’m pleased with how much I’m managing to read now, finding slots in my usual routine was key. I’m also really enjoying the genre of books I’m reading, ones about walking and nature in general. I finished three books last month, Simon Ingram’s Between the Sunset and the Sea, which is the one that started it all, The Salt Path and The Wild Places. I’ve even managed to persuade my OH to read Eleanore Oliphant is Absoluetly Fine, it’s not his type of book at all but as he is starting a mental health awareness course I told him it would be good background reading.
17 blogs a month; I wrote 20 posts in May.
18 walks; I’ve managed three walks this month, I went up Pen-y-ghent again, this time with a group from work, I finished the Welcome Way with my walking buddy and we also walked another section of the Lady Anne Way. We start our big walk next Saturday, so that will be eight days walking, so by the end of June I should have cracked this one! I’ve done nine walks so far.
19 Splendid Sampler Blocks; this one has gone on the back burner a bit whilst I try and catch up with other projects. I’ve managed to make 14 so far this year.
So with five months gone, I’m not doing bad, but it does help to show which challenges I need to concentrate a bit more on!
Over on Wild Daffodil there’s a photo challenge each month on the theme of windows. I wasn’t sure at first about having the same topic all year, but I’m enjoying looking out for windows on my walks.
Last week my walking buddy and I completed the Welcome Way with a walk from Baildon to Otley. We passed through the village of Esholt, a pretty village most well known as being the original set for the TV programme Emmerdale.
Walking through I spotted a lovely row of cottages above a little green and I recognised the name, Bunkers Row. When I was doing my family history research which morphed into a full one name study of my maiden name, Bickerdike, I discovered two of these cottages were lived in by Bickerdikes, back in the 1800’s I think. I love the arched windows in the middle cottage.
On Monday we walked from Grassington to Kettlewell over the moors, it was another section of the Lady Anne Way. On the tops, in a particularly lonely spot, we passed ‘Bare House’, an old farmhouse which is now just been used as a barn. The shutters were blowing in the wind.
It was an amazing place, though I wasn’t sure about the bathing arrangements!
We carried on down to Kettlewell, a little village near the top of Wharfedale. We were approaching by Parkrash, a steep road up and over to Coverdale. Our height gave us an interesting perspective over the village. This little corner looked fascinating. The arched windows are clearly a converted chapel, the windows on the white painted cottage almost look like weavers windows, especially having more windows at the side upstairs. Weavers windows are a style used in little cottages from the days when they would weave on a loom at home. They needed as much light as possible so upstairs there would be a long row of windows. They are seen a lot in the old textile areas of Yorkshire.
I’m finishing this post with a little glimpse of a machine embroidery I’ve just stitched for a travelling sketchbook n the subject of windows, more of this later!
I’m finishing this post with a little glimpse of a machine embroidery I’ve just stitched for a travelling sketchbook n the subject of windows, more of this later!
This year I’ve been trying to have a seasonal display of cross-stitch smalls on display, so on the 1st of the month we have a change-over.
I was thinking of a flowery theme this month, but when I pulled out the Snowflower Diary small for June it had a bear and a hive of honey, so I changed my mind and went for bees instead!
A few years ago (2015) I stitched a beautiful bee pincushion by Natalie from Le Jardin Privee, I still love it, the bees are just gorgeous!
A new bee small is the one I finished just a week or so back of a lavender pot and some bees buzzing round it. This was a free design by Lesley Teare.
The little box on the back hasn’t got any bees on it but it is a summer themed box, it’s a design by Nutmeg Designs, they do a lot of 3D cross-stitch.
Right at the front is a lavender bag I made for my mum last year as a birthday present, it went on a padded coat hanger. It hasn’t got any bees on it but it does have a pretty butterfly! This one is a Faby Reilly design, I stitched the card to go with it too and a little scissor fob.
I’m hoping to add another bee small to the display soon as I’ve almost finished another bumble bee cross-stitch, I loved the one I made for my mum this year so much I’m making my self one!
It’s about three or four weeks since I last showed you my Zoe box, it’s a stitch-a-long by Faby Reilly and the patterns are released every two weeks. This is usually plenty of time to stitch a section…unless you have 101 other things to do! This is where I was last time I showed you, I’d just finished the first side of the box with the cute little robin on it…
I got a bit behind, like I’d pretty much only just started the next section when another pattern was released. I cracked on and just kept going, finishing both parts in a few days.
The first lot of stitching was all the cross-stitch, this was my progress just as I started the next pattern with back-stitched stems…
The second part was all the back-stitch and embellishments. The stems are stitched with all six strands of DMC thread, Faby has a good tutorial on her website with lots of tips on how to make it neat with six strands. I’m using satin sequins, I’m rarely comfortable with the shininess of sequins, they’re a bit too blingy, these are a nice compromise. I love the little ladybird, I realised when I was back-stitching that I had omitted the two darker stitches that make his spots, and the head was the wrong colour too, this is one disadvantage of not having a colour printer,some patterns aren’t too clear in black and white. I resolved it by just overstitching with the darker brown!
I’m really enjoying stitching this design, each side is going to be a different season, though I haven’t worked out yet why it’s called Zoe!
I had a good weeding session in the garden yesterday, I tackled the deep raised bed by the patio. It’s about 6′ deep, 20′ long and 2-3′ high! I started with the areas I could reach from the patio, wiggling around the planters before I climbed up by the black sambuscus in the corner. This bit does look much better though I still haven’t decided if the thing with the strappy leaves at the front is a weed or one to keep. I convinced myself it was a weed, started to pull it out but the roots were different so it’s got a stay of execution until it shows it’s true colours…
The problem I have with this bed is that by mid May it is so full of foliage that I struggle to move round it. It’s usually pretty much left to it’s own devices and then every few years I have a big sort out, I think we might be heading for that next year! Yesterday I wiggled from the sambuscus, behind the choisya and in between the prickly osmanthus and the thorny rose and along by the back wall past the chicken. I then came to a halt! I needed to walk along the front wall to get to the end but I couldn’t even see it! I ended up having to call for help to my OH! He used a broom handle to lift the geraniums off the wall and helped me down!!
Things seem to be moving fast in the garden at the moment, the big blue irises are still in flower by the conservatory but there’s now a large clump of beautiful deep purple ones up in the Amber & Amethyst garden, they’re a gorgeous velvety deep purple, almost black.
Today when I saw my friends garden I was merrily telling her how my peonies weren’t in flower, no foxgloves or roses yet either (apart from the scottish one in the front which doesn’t count!) we sat in my garden later having tea and found that since yesterday a gorgeous peony has flowered, it’s in the autumn garden which is next to the A&A garden, it’s a beautiful pink colour…
My first roses have appeared on the arch, right at the top! This one is called Teasing Georgia…
…and a few floxgloves have started to flower, this one is self seeded in the side of the wall next to the conservatory door. It makes quite a nice little shady bed with the alchemilla mollis and an astrantia.
At the top of the drive is a golden philadelphus, otherwise known as a mock orange blossom. The leaves when young are a lovely yellow-lime green and at the moment it’s covered with heavily scented blossom which fills the top of the drive.
The pond bed is still probably the best bit of the garden at the moment, the rhododendron is flowering, I think it’s reverting to the common form, I probably should cut out those bits but I quite like the effect and I’ve never looked hard enough to see if it’s just one big branch that’s gone back to purple. The beady eyed amongst you will have noticed a childs windmill in the bed! This was Hetty and Daisy’s suggestion to ward off moles as apparently they don’t like the vibrations! It’s not easy to buy windmills if you don’t live by the seaside!! I found some eventually and even managed three tasteful purple and green ones, they did cause amusement as they poked out of my wicker shopping basket!
The hostas are still amazing, with just one or two small holes, there’s obviously a very happy frog in the pond whose eating any slug that goes near! He’s equally making me very happy!
The weeds are coming up thick and fast, especially the dreaded mares tail. I’m trying to spray it regularly but trying to avoid windy days and days when it’s about to rain! My OH is desperate to pull it up, but that just encourages it!
I love watching the birds in my garden and at the moment every evening a blackbird sits on the tree outside my sewing room and sings his little heart out, they have a beautiful song, it makes my evening!