Staying Home HQAL

It’s three weeks since I last shared my progress with hand quilting my Staying Home quilt, this was made with fabric left from my Coming Home quilt and embroidered blocks from a QAL by Hugs and Kisses back in 2020 during the lockdowns, hence the title!

Three weeks ago I had finally got into the swing of my chosen pattern, hearts in the sashings and stitch in the ditch mainly for houses…

Well I’ve made steady progress and I’ve finished the row with a cat on it, blocks and sashings top and bottom. I’m now working on the row below, I’m just working on the second house, the central embroidered block is already quilted, so just two more embroidered blocks to do and then the sashing…

…as I said, steady progress, not huge but progress is progress and quilting has slowed down now with Christmas presents to make and party outfits to stitch. Christmas seems to be sneaking up rapidly!

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, Daisy, and  Cathie 

I’m also linking up with Kathy’s Quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday, please follow the links for lots of hand-stitched inspiration.

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Stitch My Garden SAL

Three weeks ago when I last posted about my garden embroidery, I had just started the lay out of the area by the summerhouse…

I haven’t done a huge amount but I’ve started the ‘hard landscaping’, as with a real garden the walls and fences and the basic layout of the garden need sorting first.

I’ve used a single running stitch round the edge to denote fencing – stitched in green and brown like in my garden. A double row of running stitch denotes the wall, we have a steep plot so the previous owner had terraced the garden back and front with stone walls. Last time I also found it psychologically better to stitch with the boundary of the garden clearly marked.

The chain stitched line is the log roll edging, at the moment it looks very dominating, but I’m hoping that ones the shrubs and flowers are stitched it will merge a bit more.

I’ve used back-stitch round the paved circle around the lawn and the lines between the paving stones. Back-stitch was also used for the summerhouse, I’ve still to do the roof both round the edge and the shape of the ridge. I haven’t quite got the sizes right with the summerhouse door and windows but only I know that the windows and doors actually measure the same!

At the moment I’m just stitching tiny French knots for the gravel path. I think I’ll add the shrubs next which are cut from painted fabric and stuck on with bondaweb, that will fill the space up nicely.

This embroidered book I’m making was inspired by the Stitch-a-Garden course held by Nicki Franklyn of the Stitchery, I think it’s still available if you’re inspired to have a go.

This blog SAL is run by Avis from Stitching by the Sea, we post our progress on a chosen piece every three weeks, just enough to keep me motivated! Please follow the links to see what everyone else has been stitching.




Posted in embroidery, Garden, Stitch-a-long, Stitching my Garden, Textile Books | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

A Big Coat for Winter

Even though our winters are a lot milder than they used to be I still like a big coat for winter, the sort you can put lots of layers on underneath and even a shawl over the top…a big coat!

In my enforced isolation with a mild dose of covid I decided to make a big coat. I had recently bought the September coat pattern from Merchant and Mills and that definitely comes under the big coat heading. I read a few reviews and decided to come down a size from my measurements so I made a 12 and it’s still very roomy.

I rummaged in my wool stash which at the moment is in my freezer, this is not as random as it sounds, we had an outbreak of carpet moths last year and they eat wool, as I had rather a large stash of beautiful locally made wool I popped it in airtight bags in the freezer to kill any potential larvae. It was meant to be there about 2 weeks but 12 months later it’s still there!

I found a length of a closely woven wool in a herringbone weave, it’s a length I bought from Marton Mills in Pool in Wharfedale when they had a pop up shop pre pandemic. I think it was about £12 a metre whereas in shops good quality wool tends to be at least £25. I also like the fact that it’s woven about 3 miles from my house. It’s a lovely soft shade of blue.

I also found in my stash a length of pretty jacquard lining in a silver grey and blue which went with it beautifully. I do like the jacquard linings for coats and jackets, it’s just a bit more interesting than a plain lining fabric and they tend to feel nicer too.

The coat went together beautifully, I find Merchant and Mills patterns are a bit like Vogue patterns with separate pattern pieces for linings and good instructions. I only made a couple of minor changes, it was meant to have a breast pocket too and the patch pockets were meant to be on more of a slant. I felt that even though the herringbone weave wasn’t too obvious, to put a pocket off grain could look a bit unbalanced. I also lined the patch pockets rather than just turning the edges under.

I’ve been wearing my coat all week, it’s very comfortable and easy to wear, I think another time I would leave the pocket flaps off as I think they detract from the line of the coat. The pattern is designed to be either winter weight or summer weight, it could look rather nice in a linen for spring or summer. I might go down one more size as there’s still plenty of room. I’ve had some nice compliments about it too which is always good!

Merchant and Mills describe the pattern as ‘Overcoat meets duster, a coat for striding through town or country with purpose’ I think that’s pretty accurate 🙂

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A Quick Stitch

Last night I put together some threads for a little piece of stitching to go in the project bag I have in my handbag. I started stitching whilst waiting for my physio appointment and finished it this evening! It’s only about 2″ tall, so there wasn’t a lot of stitching but I’m pleased with the result.

It’s a little simple flower design which was among the mystery bundle I bought from Sookie Soo on Instagram, ideal as a little embroidery for my garden book.

I decided to make it into a geranium psilostemon which is one of the bigger geraniums, it has deep magenta flowers with black centres. I’ve got a couple of plants by the patio, I had a huge one where the gate opens but last year I decided it had outgrown it’s spot so I moved it elsewhere and just left two of it’s babies which had moved onto the raised bed.

The big one used to billow out onto the path and through the gate so when I stitched another Sookie Soo design earlier in the year with a garden gate on I embroidered it with the geranium behind…

For the flower I stitched the petals with long and short stitch in two shades of DMC thread with black French knots for the middle. The leaves I sort of adapted fishbone stitch to give the shape of a geranium leaf, even if the size is totally out of proportion!

Todays embroidery will hopefully go on the same page with a bit of crazy patchwork to bring it all together…

Posted in embroidery, Garden, Serendipity, Stitching my Garden, Textile Books | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Staying Home HQAL

I’ve made reasonable progress with my Staying Home quilt over the last three weeks. Last time I’d just started quilting some of the sashing having finally made a decision as to how to quilt that area…

I was hoping I might have finished a row, well I haven’t but I’m fairly close. Once this row is stitched the rest should in theory be quicker as this row has top and bottom quilting.

I think it helps that I’m enjoying stitching the little hearts and even more encouraging I think it works pretty well as a design. I cut myself a heart template out of some spare round templates left over from a previous Sarah Fielke quilt and I just draw round it with the Frixion pen. I’m still being cautious with the Frixion pen, just doing dots where I can get away with it.

So here’s my progress so far…

I did wonder last night if I should quilt another square of the block sashing, but looking on the back I think there’s enough quilting…

…but I’m still undecided on that one. It might frame the individual blocks better with another row of quilting.

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, Daisy, and  Cathie 

I’m also linking up with Kathy’s Quilt’s for Slow Stitching Sunday, please follow the links to see what everyone has been stitching.

Posted in Quilt-a-long, Quilting | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Jack Frost

This morning I embroidered two bees on my crazy patchwork piece and decided it was finished!

Last week when I shared this piece I still had a few areas to work on…

I continued the gimp thread from the lace onto the nearby corner piece, couching it down and then embroidering round it both with fly stitch, feather stitch and a beaded chain stitch. I’m not totally happy with the curve when it changes from the lace to the spiral but it’s staying! The other end is just curved gently across.

The blue corner needed some more stitching, I’d started off basically stitching the fabric pattern in a lovely blue linen thread and whilst I was happy with that bit I didn’t particularly want to just stitch it all. I decided to embroider the flowers and then add leaves and stems, my original thought was to link them all together like a vine but it didn’t quite work out that way!

When I put it down last night I just had the bottom corner to sort. Over the last couple of days I had the idea that it would be nice to have a bee or two on each page, just a little one. This morning I decided that a bee would nicely fill the corner and I added one by the wreath too. I think they finish it nicely.

So that’s another page completed for my textile garden book, I think I might do the other wreath (a lilac one) in a similar style and then something a little different for some of the other little stitchings.

Posted in embroidery, Garden, Stitching my Garden, Textile Books | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Stitch-a-Garden SAL

Having finally finished my embroidery of our patio, I’ve just started the next page for my garden book, the top garden where the summerhouse is…

There’s a few bigger features in this part of the garden, such as the summerhouse, the lawn and the pond. There’s also lots of shrubs and small trees such as the osmanthus on the left of the photo and the purple cotinus coggrhia, so I’m hoping it might be a little quicker to stitch.

I’ve chosen the same murky fabric for the background, I’ve no idea why I bought this fabric as to look at it’s actually quite ugly! It’s sort of duck egg blue with brown and green smudges which actually works pretty well for a background. I sketched out the area so I could work out the scale so it will fit on one page. This area is directly above the patio garden so it’s the same depth but it’s wider so I’ve ended up including the main path too, although I might extend a little upwards to show the big fence more and take some off the path…

The black lines are the outline of the design and the page, I’ve used a Frixion pen so a little heat from an iron or a hairdryer and they’ll disappear.

As you can see I’ve added some painted fabric for the grass, the pond and the summerhouse, I’m thinking of adding a bit more paint as the lawn is looking a bit yellow. The pond makes me smile a bit as mine is more vivid green due to duck weed, luckily my stitched garden doesn’t have weeds!

I feel I’m still at the scary white page stage, hopefully once I get a few more shrubs added and get stitching it will start coming together.

This SAL is organised by Avis, we each share our progress on our chosen needlework every three weeks, just long enough to keep me motivated if an embroidery is taking a while! Please follow the links to see what everyone has been stitching.




Posted in embroidery, Garden, Stitch-a-long, Stitching my Garden, Textile Books | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Jack Frost

One of my most successful purchases from the Harrogate Flower Show has been Brunnera Jack Frost, I bought it quite a number of years ago and it still looks good, It’s a hard working perennial which has sprays of tiny blue flowers in spring and cream and sage green variegated foliage the rest of the time, well apart from deepest winter! It’s a bit like a perennial forget-me-not, but taller and sprightlier…

…and with a more interesting leaf. It now has several babies growing around the garden!

When I was stitching one of the wreath patterns from a mystery bundle from Sookie Soo on instagram I stitched lots of French knots in a variegated blue and it crossed my mind that if you were to make a wreath from Jack Frost, it could look like this…

OK so the leaves aren’t variegated but it is only about 2″ across!

This is one of the embroideries for my garden book, my plan is to do crazy patchwork pages with these little stitchings, interspersing them with the full page embroideries. I decided it was time to start putting some of these pages together,

I rummaged in my fabric stash and found some blues and greens which went nicely with the stitching. I ‘crazy-patch-worked’ them together and started stitching. I added trims, embroidered round them and over them…

…I felt the flowery fabric at the top, whilst very pretty, seemed to dominate the piece. I decided to add some lace over the top. I carefully cut a segment of a doily I bought for 50p in a vintage shop that’s opened in Otley. I then had the idea of running a gimp thread through the lace which I can then extend into the adjoining areas…

This is what I like about crazy patchwork, you can just run with an idea and go with the flow. So I’m planning on couching into the green area and developing it a little more, and the blue corner still needs sorting, but it’s getting there. I think one of the issues with this kind of stitching is knowing when to stop!

Once this one is finished I’ve several more little embroideries to incorporate into my garden book so I think I’ll be busy for a while.

Posted in embroidery, Garden, Textile Books | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Exploding Heart Quilt

I’m trying to use my covid house arrest productively, luckily I don’t feel too ill, I’ve had worse colds, so I decided to make a concerted effort to finish the Exploding Heart quilt. This is a wedding present for a wedding that took place in May! The pattern is by Slice of Pi, the colour scheme chosen by the couple was sage green and creams.

Last week I had made a concerted effort to make all the individual blocks, there’s five different pieced blocks, mainly quarter square triangles.

I had already started stitching the rows for the centre heart…

…so I ‘just’ needed to arrange and stitch the surrounding blocks. I’ve made things slightly more complicated for myself by using several different patterned cream fabrics for the background, it would have been much simpler if I’d followed the pattern and used a plain background! It’s just another factor to think about when arranging which block goes where so no blocks of the same fabric are adjoining. I’ve already spotted one pair which are next to each other!

I’m really pleased with it so far, I think the different creams in the background work really well, it was worth the extra head scratching! Now I just have to quilt it.

I’ve just ordered some batting which will hopefully arrive tomorrow, I was pretty sure I had some in my stash but it’s doing a good job of hiding away if I have! I’ve just to decide on quilting patterns and thread colour. I’ve ordered a spool of pale green variegated thread which I’m hoping will work on both the cream and the green.

I’m wanting a fairly simple quilting pattern, when I do free motion machine quilting I tend to do a fairly dense pattern whereas I want something a little more spaced and therefore quicker! I’ve bought a pattern off Etsy which is hearts and a meander which I think will work, however they have sent it in a zip file and I still haven’t managed to open it! I’ll have to get my OH onto it tonight!

Whilst I’m waiting for everything to arrive I might do some dress-making 🙂

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There is no Planet B

I’m a member of Skipton Stitchers, formerly of the Embroiders Guild, every couple of years we hold an exhibition, showing the community our wide range of styles, hopefully encouraging people to take up a needle and thread and maybe joining our friendly group.

We did have an exhibition planned for 2020 with the theme of There is no Planet B. This obviously got cancelled and when we finally reopened we exhibited stitching we had done in lockdown instead.

This year we decided to hold an exhibition with the ‘There is no Planet B’ title. This covers a wide range of work, for example using recycled textiles or natural world themes. It’s being held this weekend in Skipton at Christchurch.

Unfortunately I can’t be there as my OH and I had planned a weekend in London to meet up with family visiting from Australia. I’ve just tested positive to covid so my plans are scuppered anyway and I’ve been banished to my sewing room!

I do have a few things being exhibited though…

Some people hesitated about including the Stitching Bee Challenge piece (mine is the spiral above) as they felt their stitching wasn’t the usual standard, as in true GBSB fashion we had 1.5 hours to produce something from identical fabric swatches. I argued that just showing amazing and perfect stitching could put people off joining, I know when I was deciding which group to join a nearby group had some stunning work on their website and my thought was that I wasn’t good enough. Hopefully enough people have included their pieces so we can display them together.

So if you are within striking distance of Skipton this weekend, I recommend a visit, I think there’s a £2 entrance fee just to help us cover costs but there is some beautiful and very varied work on show.

Posted in embroidery, Skipton Stitchers | Tagged , , | 11 Comments