Lady Anne’s Way

We’ve had a very dry spring so far and the weather over the Easter Bank Holiday has been glorious, hot and sunny. My OH and I decided to go for a walk and my walking buddy joined us, we had a great day out.

We’ve decided to walk Lady Anne’s Way as practice walks for our big walk in June (Cleveland Way). Lady Anne’s Way goes from Skipton to Penrith, 100 miles in total! We’re just doing it in bite size chunks so we might not finish it til next year but it gives us something concrete to do rather than just finding local walks to practise on.

On the way up to Skipton we drove through Ilkley. Last night, as a result of all the dry weather we had (and I suspect a BBQ!) there was a large moor fire on Ilkley moor, as well as dozens of fire engines they were using helicopters to drop water. This explained the ‘low flying airplane’ I thought I’d heard in the night! This morning much of the moor was still smoking, it was quite shocking to see. Fingers crossed it stays under control!

Ilkley Moor fire

The walk starts at Skipton Castle, which is about 900 years old! Lady Anne Clifford was born there in 1590, she was the last Clifford to own Skipton Castle.

Lady Anne's Way

We rose quite quickly out of Skipton, well what I should say is the path rose steeply out of Skipton, we huffed and puffed our way up, stopping to admire the view lots of times!

Lady Anne's Way

We then made our way over undulating farmland to the village of Embsay, where my walking buddy lives – we resisted calling home for a cuppa, instead we sat in the shade of a beautiful tree to have our first cup of coffee and a banana.

Lady Anne's Way

We skirted mainly around the edge of Embsay, following various snickets and ginnels around the houses. We crossed the ‘duck pond’ which is the old mill race, you can still see the old chimney from the former tannery.

Lady Anne's Way

We walked up through Eastby village and along the fields to Billy Bobs!! Billy Bobs is an ice-cream place, they make the ice-cream on the farm and have a huge American Diner type place with lots of play areas for kids…we just wanted an ice-cream!

The trees are starting to come into leaf, you can just see flushes of green and bronze as the new leaves unfurl. It always fascinates me how different trees come into leaf at different times, hawthorn is one of the early ones, where as sycamore and beech are much later. There is an old saying that ‘if the oak before the ash we shall have a splash, if the ash before the oak we shall have a soak!’ I’ve not seen either in leaf yet! I love the dip in this photo!

Lady Anne's Way

There were LOTS of styles on this walk, this one was fairly tame but most went over dry stone walls about 5-6 feet tall, and many were clearly designed for people with longer legs than me!

Lady Anne's Way

All this warm weather has brought the tree blossoms and the wild flowers out early, the fields and the hedgerows were dotted with colour, we saw violets, dandelions, daisies, coltsfoot and some tiny little pretty white flowers which we didn’t know the name of. This field was full of celandine, it looked lovely.

Lady Anne's Way

After the ice-cream we had a long pull up and over the moors, it was worth it when we saw the view at the other side, especially as we knew the car was parked down there ready to take us home!

Lady Anne's Way

We walked about 7.5 miles altogether, so not too far. We’re planning to walk the next section on Tuesday, Barden to Grassington, I’m hoping it won’t be quite so hot!

Posted in Walking | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Zoe SAL

Last year I took part in a stitch-a-long called Lizzie SAL by Faby Reilly, it was a beautiful sewing wallet with lisianthus flowers decorating it inside and out. This years SAL is called the Zoe SAL, I still haven’t worked out where Zoe comes in but I’m sure it will become apparent! This time we’re making a box.

Our prep work included stitching the outlines in back-stitch with markers every 10 stitches to help with counting. I use this technique a lot now as it is so much easier if, for example, a line of 200 stitches is required! I’ve manged to stitch the box sides and I’m half way through the lid sides, but I’ve plenty of time to catch up.

The project is stitched on platinum linen, I’ve no idea why it’s called platinum, I was expecting a silvery grey, it’s actually more of an oatmeal! The designs are released every two weeks, this time we’ve got quite a light fortnight, supposedly to help us catch up with outlining, in practice I think I’ll will be more trying to get ahead with other projects, maybe finish one or two!

We’ve started on the side of the box, I can already make out a very pretty robin, at least I think it’s a robin! There’s also several patches of white and green which will probably make more sense in the next set of instructions! I’m just hoping I’ve placed these OK as counting has never been my strong point! I even tacked down the 50 stitch line (the edge of the side) every two stitches, unfortunately I picked a grey thread that was hanging around and I can hardly see it!

Zoe SAL

So there’s not a lot to show at the moment, but with a fortnightly pattern release that should change pretty soon!

Posted in embroidery, Stitch-a-long | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Coming Home

Coming Home is this years quilt-a-long by Sarah Fielke, she was also the designer of my Down the Rabbit Hole quilt so I knew it would be a beautiful quilt! I’ve just finished month three and I must admit I keep looking at it on my design wall and thinking “Oooh, I like it!”

Last month we stitched the larger star border, but we couldn’t stitch on two of the sides until we had made the cornerstones this month.

Coming Home quilt

The cornerstones each have an appliqued tulip, it took a while to choose my fabrics as my instincts were to have an apricot tulip, in fact I have one cut out, I tried all sorts of backgrounds with it before I realised it was the apricot that was the problem. The soft grey background is actually the back of the fabric, it was just a touch lighter and I preferred it. I tried the brighter teal blue and it just worked.The applique tested all sorts of skills, inside corners, outside corners, inside and outside curves as well as making quarter inch binding for the stem. I expected the tulips to be hardest with all the corners, but I actually found the leaves trickiest to get neat, from a distance they look fine…and nature isn’t perfect!

Coming Home quilt

Once the four corners were stitched the central block could be completed, it took a bit of fiddling to get it to fit, I think bias on the triangles was the main culprit there.

Coming Home quilt

We also started the next border which is a row of houses. I made four sets of three house styles, two are striped which can go either way and the last one (my favourite so far) is a pinwheel block, it worked really well in apricot and green. I think next month we’ll be making another four houses and adding all the roofs. I think they’ll look pretty cute!

Coming Home quilt

The centre block is already 32.5″ square, the pieces do seem pretty big after some of the quilts I’ve made recently! I’ve just to wait until the end of the month for the next installment.

Coming Home quilt
Posted in Coming Home Quilt, Quilt-a-long, Quilting | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

She Sells Sea Shells

It was my Embroiderers Guild meeting yesterday so over the weekend I embroidered a little piece for the Travelling Sketchbook. The theme of the book this time was the letter S. At first I thought she meant monograms, but no, you could stitch anything beginning with S! Initially (excuse the pun!!) I was still thinking of stitching a monogram, maybe with a flower beginning with S, at the last minute I had a bit of inspiration;

She sells sea shells on the sea shore, the shells she sells are seashells I’m sure…

The tongue twister of my childhood was full of ‘S’s, I decided to do a seaside theme and the idea grew pretty quickly and I was quite amazed how well it came out!

I started off with some sand coloured silk (sticking with the S theme!!) I put some calico behind it to give it some support. I found a scrap of blue fabric which had blurred lines across, perfect for the sea. I just started playing with different things, seeing what worked and what didn’t…

Seascape embroidery

I pulled out my boxes – textiles, lace, threads, embroidery flosses and beads and had a good rummage in them all, pulling out stuff that might work. At Guild meetings we have a raffle based on a colour, everyone brings a little something in and they are put into three boxes of goodies as prizes, it means you can end up with all sorts in your stash! I think both the blue fabric and the netting at the bottom with sparkly bits on both came from raffle wins! This is what my work table looked like…

Creativity in action!

I tried to stitch the various layers on with different embroidery stitches, such as fly stitch or just straight stitches within the lace design. I used two different laces, one of which is so old it’s probably classed as vintage! I also used two different textiles, I’ve no idea what they are called, it’s the sort of thing I fall for at a show and then wonder what on earth I’m going to do with it, well one of them was perfect for the breaking waves, the other made the wet sand.

Seascape embroidery

I embroidered feather stitch on the sand, trying to give it a bit of an organic shape. I followed the shape with some shell pink french knots. When I was little we used to have family holidays in Prestatyn in North Wales as my grandparents lived about five minutes from the beach. I used to collect dozens of tiny pale pink shells from the tide line. Another tide line is stitched with a variety of tiny beads.

To add a bit of sparkle to the sea I overlaid some silvery organza and stitched on some particularly sparkly beads.

Seascape embroidery

To finish it I stabilised everything with some vilene on the back and blanket stitched round the edge.

I’m really pleased with this one, I even like the sideways view, it just reminds me of the view when you’re sat on the beach wiggling your toes in the warm sand with the sea sparking in the sunshine…

Seascape embroidery

Posted in embroidery, The Travelling Sketchbook | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments

Slowly Does It Down the Rabbit Hole HQAL

It’s three weeks since I last showed you my Down the Rabbit Hole quilt, I was hoping to be onto the next border by now but as usual life and other sewing projects got in the way. I’ve decided to stop feeling guilty over my slow progress with hand quilting this quilt, progress is progress, even if it’s just a couple of hours. Though what I really need to do is to try and quilt a little bit every day, even just one thread length a day would make a difference.

Anyway, three weeks ago I was here…

Down the Rabbit Hole

I was just about half way round the sunflower border.

Well I’ve done another Dresden flower and I’ve almost finished another sunflower, so I’m about three quarters round this border now. The straight lines are my basting threads which are gradually fading as I remove them.

Down the Rabbit Hole

Fingers crossed I might actually finish this border over the next three weeks!! Please follow the links below to see lots more hand-quilting, I’m sure they’ll have made much more progress than me!

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.

KathyLoriMargaretKerryEmmaTracyDebConnieSusan,  Nanette,  EdithSharonKarrin, and Gretchen

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

Posted in Quilt-a-long, Quilting, Serendipity | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

In the Pink with Tula Pink

I’ve just finished my Tula Pink quilt! This one is going to be auctioned at a charity ball so I felt it need to be fairly striking, having said that I had lots of wobbles making it as the colours are brighter than my usual palette, so I have to give a huge thanks to everyone for your suggestions and encouragement, it kept me going forward! Now it’s finished I like it, yes there are changes I would make with hindsight, but everyone’s reactions to it since I finished it have been positive, so hopefully it will do well on the night.

To give a bit of a recap, it’s a free pattern on the Tula Pink website, it’s called Flower Market. I used predominantly Tula Pink fabrics, so there’s owls, racoons, squirrels, frogs, all sorts hidden within the designs. As a pattern it went together really quickly as some of the pieces are full block or even double block size. Arranging the fabrics and colours was more difficult as I had to fight my usual desire to have the colours fairly co-ordinating, the lime green really makes it pop but I did have to be pushed into using it!

Flower Market Quilt

I backed it with some plain fabric in a light blue/green colour which pretty well matches one of the fabrics on the front. In some lights it looked a bit bright but it works well now it’s all made up. It’s actually a lot lighter than it looks in the photo, you can see a peep of it in the photo of the quilt folded below.

Flower Market

I quilted it using a mixture of flower patterns and foliage of sorts. The flower design is one I found on the internet but I didn’t fancy using it all over so I also used my standard quilting pattern which is like meandering to a point! I found when I started free motion quilting that it was when I had to stop that I had a wiggle, so I decided to change direction at that point instead, much easier! My tension still isn’t perfect but it’s improved a lot, I haven’t got any ‘eyelashes’ from going too quick!

Flower Market Quilt

I used a variegated thread on the top which is purple and green, I think it nicely pulls it all together. The quilt is about 63″ square, so it was a bit of a handful when I was trying to quilt the centre as I’ve only got a standard size sewing machine.

I stitched teal green binding on, I always hand-stitch it down which takes quite a while but I’ve never managed to get a neat result with the machine. I understand a lot of quilters really dislike binding a quilt, but I see it as the last stage, it’s almost done and it’s actually quite relaxing. It took a few hours but it’s one of those activities where you can just let your mind wander and day dream away, before you know it you’ve stitched all the way round.

Flower Market Quilt

I just need to embroider the name of the quilt, my initials and the date on the back and it’s ready to be posted.

Market Garden Quilt
Posted in Quilting | Tagged , , | 28 Comments

Pen-y-Ghent

Pen-y-ghent is one of ‘The Yorkshire Three Peaks’, the other two being Ingleborough and Whernside, they are all within fairly close proximity so there is a popular local challenge to walk all three in twelve hours, a distance of about 26 miles. If you register at the pub at the start you can get a certificate at the end!

In May a group of forty colleagues from work are going up to stay for the weekend and walking the three peaks on the Saturday. It should be a great weekend as there is a good mix of people, doctors, nurses, radiographers and cardiac technicians, all ages, I’m really looking forward to it.

I did make it clear right from the beginning that there was no way I could do all three, I know my limits! I’d just do one, one of the doctors is also just doing one so I’ve got someone to walk with. However, I decided I wanted to do a practice walk, make sure I could actually do it (I’ve got no balance) as I really didn’t want to throw a wobbly with one of my work colleagues!

Pen-y-ghent from Horton in Ribblesdale

Yesterday we decided to tackle it, it was a nice clear morning, though it was pretty cold, we needed extra jumpers and hat and gloves! We parked at Horton in Ribblesdale and set off, there was a lovely view of the fell from the church, we were climbing up the steep right hand flank and coming down the gentler left hand side.

Pen-y-ghent

As soon as we gained a bit of height the wind started, and it was pretty strong, we were walking straight into it so it was hard work. Strong winds always make me a bit nervous when I’m walking as it’s so much easier to lose my balance. The path up Pen-y-ghent is pretty much straight up with varying degrees of steepness, so we had several rests on the way up, taking a photo of the view is always a good excuse!

Pen-y-ghent

We decided to assess the wind when we got to the start of the final ascent, however having scrambled up one steep bit there was no way I was going back down it so we were committed! Climbing up the final flank is a steep scramble, all hands and feet required! There’s no photos of this bit as the camera went in the rucksack! At times there was quite a precipitous drop beneath us so we had to keep calm and hold on! At the moment I’m reading a book by Simon Ingram called Between the Sunset and the Sea, it’s all about climbing mountains, he describes the fear and exhilaration you get climbing a mountain perfectly!

View from Pen-y-ghent

We finally reached the top, it was pretty busy up there but some gentlemen squeezed up on the stone bench in the windbreak shelter so we could sit and eat our sandwiches. It was a fairly busy route really, it’s popular anyway and it’s also half term so there were a few families out walking, we reckoned over the walk we saw about 50 or 60 people. There was a good view of Ingleborough from our sandwich spot at the top, I was so glad we weren’t heading that way today!

Ingleborough

The way down is much easier terrain, though a slow descent is hard on the knees. We did a short detour to see Hull Pot. This is a huge pothole, a collapsed cavern really, what brought it to our attention is that a few weeks ago there was a sudden downpour, 5″ rain fell in a matter of hours. The whole pot flooded! There’s some photos here if you want to see. Hull Pot is about 60′ deep and wide and about 300′ long, you can just see some climbers at the bottom. It was quite awe-inspiring to think of it flooding so quickly.

Hull Pot

We saw some very cute lambs on the way down, which helped to distract our tired legs!

Spring lambs

Altogether we walked about eight miles, it took us about five hours including lots of breaks (sausage roll break, coffee break, sandwich break, sticky bun break…) but it was pretty tough terrain for me and straight into a strong wind so I’m pretty pleased with that. At least I know I won’t throw a wobbly on my colleague in May!

Posted in Walking | Tagged , , , | 20 Comments

Tuesday’s Totter Round the Garden

Things seem to be changing almost daily in the garden, shoots appearing, leaves unfurling and flowers opening. I do like this time of year! It’s been a bit colder but it’s remarkably dry, in fact we could do with a bit of rain!

Round the pond the hostas and irises are starting to shoot up and the foliage of the dog-toothed violets (erythronium) has appeared. The hellebores are still in flower though they are starting to droop as the new leaves push their way through the middle.

Spring garden

Over the arbour the clematis has lovely fresh lime green leaves and soon the blue buds will develop. The camellia is past it’s best now but it’s still looking colourful. At it’s feet is brunnera Jack Frost which is covered in tiny blue flowers. The fatsia japonica at the back by the fence was planted last year in a very tall blue pot, the area is very shady in the summer with the fence, the wall to the left and the sambuscus spreading it’s branches overhead, so far it’s still looking happy.

Spring garden

I don’t often show you the front garden, it’s mainly shrubs (and weeds!!) but this little area is looking particularly good at the moment. The perennial wall flower has flowered it’s socks off for months now and it’s rust/red flowers are still looking good. The white flowered shrub is a spirea arguta, it’s a very easy going shrub and once it’s finished flowering it gets pruned hard. The golden leaved shrub at the top is actually a privet that has never been pruned, I love it’s light, airy look.

Spring garden

Walking down our steep drive there’s all sorts happening now, the white plum blossom is out, the philadelphus has opened it’s lime green leaves, there’s quite a lot of buds on there too so hopefully we’ll have a good display. The flowering blackcurrant is flowering, thaty’re the soft pink dangly flowers, unfortunately the smell is not good – cat pee! Right at the bottom is an amelanchier which is looking very pretty with white blossom and coppery new leaves. I need to do a lot of hard pruning in this bed, the laurel is too big, for some reason the eucalyptus looks dead, I’ll cut it right back and see if it recovers but I’m not hopeful.

Spring garden

I have finally got some long catkins on my twisted hazel, I’ve had it about four years now and have only had short stubby ones up to now, but look at these!

Catkins

I’ve got a few plans for the garden over Easter, I’ve just bought a garden bench for the Amber & Amethyst garden and I’m going to make an arch to go over it, at least that is the plan. I’ve found some instructions on a blog, just need to get some uprights and find a jig-saw in the garage…I may be some time!

Posted in Garden | Tagged | 8 Comments

The Finery of Nature

It’s three weeks since I last shared my Finery of Nature cross-stitch with you, I didn’t think I’d done that much, little bits here and there, but the photos show a respectable amount of progress! This is a Dimensions kit I found on the sales table at my Embroiderers Guild, it’s meant to be on black aida, but I’ve changed it to a soft green linen so my eyes can manage it!

Three weeks ago I’d tried adding some silver highlights and just started the border too. I was having serious doubts about the silver thread…

The Finery of Nature

After much debating I decided to take the silver out, I felt it looked messy and also I felt the silver (which was meant to be gold!) was mainly to highlight things against the black, it just didn’t seem to add anything to the picture. There’s still back-stitching in other colours on the pattern so if I decided something needs a bit extra, I can always use a colour instead without it looking out of place.

The border is one place where I’m still trying to decide what to do. The swirls are meant to have a gold thread couched down the middle, I’m still hovering between a silver grey, a dark grey or a dark teal!

The Finery of Nature

It would be nice to think I could finish this quarter over the next three weeks, but we will see!

This stitch-a-long is organised by Avis, we each choose our own project, work at our own speed, just share our progress every three weeks, it’s a huge motivator, so if you’d like to join us just send Avis a message. Please follow the links to see lots of inspiring hand-stitching.

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, LucyAnn, Jess, Sue, Constanze, Debbierose, Christina, Kathy, Cindy, Helen, Steph, Linda, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Catherine, Deborah, Connie, Clare, Mary Margaret, Renee, Jenny, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon

Posted in embroidery, Stitch-a-long | Tagged , | 30 Comments

Nineteen for 19

With three months of 2019 already gone, it’s time for an update on my Nineteen for 19 challenge;

  • 1 Scrap Quilt This will hopefully start this month as there’s a free quilt BOM I’m planning to make, just using my scraps – I desperately need to sort them out in the next couple of weeks into colours.
  • 2 Tutorials; I’ve not had time to start this one yet.
  • 3 sessions in the garden; March came in like a lion and went out like a lamb. I’ve really enjoyed the last few mild, sunny spring weather in the garden. My three sessions a week in the garden has definitely paid dividends, I finally feel almost on top of the back garden, well as on top as I’ll ever be! I’ve sorted out the area by the compost heap, so it actually looks like part of the garden and I’ve done lots of weeding and pruning.
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  • 4 workshops; I’ve got three booked at Fabbadashery in Halifax, the first one is in June, I’m looking forward to it.
  • 5 presents; I’ve now made two presents, I made a bee mini cushion for my mum for her birthday. She loved it.
  • 6 quilts; Just one finished one at the moment, which was the baby quilt for my niece. I’ve got five on the go though (six if you include my Down the Rabbit Hole quilt!) I’m making one for a charity auction which is now sandwiched and just needs quilting, I’m hoping to do that next week. I’ve a quilt for the Care Leavers Christmas Dinners which just needs quilting too.
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  • 7 new patterns; I’ve finally used a new pattern, a straight button down skirt, hopefully I’ll use another one this month too.
  • 8 kits; My tally remains at two.
  • 9 mini embroideries; I stitched a vintage map for the Travelling Sketchbooks at Embroiderers Guild, so my tally is two with another one to stitch this month.
  • 10 things; I’m counting two sets of curtains as a ‘thing’, they were for my son’s house, he’s pleased with them. My total so far is now three.
  • 11 cross-stitch smalls; I’ve been quite productive this month with cross-stitch smalls, two were very quick to sew (the bumble bee and the QR code scissor fob) Hello Spring and the cute bunny taking a bit longer. I also made four smalls from cross-stitching I did on bibs and nappy pin cushions over twenty years ago, I’m not counting these in my tally though as all I did was make them up. So four this month takes my total up to nine!!! Almost completed this challenge already!
  • 12 pages in my book; I haven’t started this project yet, though I think I have worked out in my mind how I’m going to do it.
  • 13 clothes made;I have finally made an item of clothing! A denim skirt with a button down front and a machine embroidered border. I’ve worn it several times and had lots of compliments 🙂
  • 14 drawers organised;I’ve started sorting out all my patterns on the computer, somehow they all end up in different places! I’ve been putting them into folders to try and corale them all. I’ve also started printing off my cross-stitch patterns on the computer, as otherwise they just get lost and forgotton about. I’ve put them in a file so when I want a new project I can just flick through. With previous months sorting I’m counting this as three, even though they weren’t drawers!
  • 15 minutes tidy-up at the end of a sewing session; I’m getting better at this and it does make a difference!
  • 16 books; I’m doing pretty well at reading now, finding different time slots to make it work, such as my train journey to work or the bus journey to my mums. I finished Circling the Sun, I also read Miss Eleanor Oliphant is Fine, this is a wonderful book though it took me a while to get used to the style of writing, I was pretty quickly hooked into the story. It was interesting to see how people can completely misunderstand behaviours and social interaction due to major traumas in childhood. I also read This is going to Hurt by Adam Kay, he was a doctor in the NHS and these are excerpts from his diaries from when he first qualified to being a Senior Registrar. I’ve worked in the NHS for the majority of the last 35 years so I could relate so much to the tales he told, some were very, very funny, but it’s also poignant and sad to read about the workings (or not!) of the NHS and how it affects the staff who work so hard to keep it going. So I’ve read six books this year, I’m pretty pleased with this.
  • 17 blogs a month;I wrote 22 posts in March.
  • 18 walks; I’ve not done so well at this one as my tally remains at three, our plans for walks kept being thwarted. The good news is my toe is fine now after the offending nail was removed (it was falling off following our walk last year!!) I’m now hopeful for the weekly walks we have pencilled in our diaries for this month.
  • 19 Splendid Sampler blocks;This has been on a bit of a back burner this month as I’ve been concentrating on the charity quilt and keeping up with my Coming Home quilt BOM, so what I’m trying to say is I haven’t done any more this month, but as my total is already 9 I’m quite happy!

Another busy month sewing wise, my longer term projects have also taken up quite a lot of time, such as my Coming Home quilt, Nature cross-stitch and of course my Down the Rabbit Hole quilt. With a new quilt BOM and a cross-stitch SAL starting this month I really need to get a few finishes under my belt!

There’s also quite a few challenges that I’ve not even made a start on so I think I need to concentrate my mind a bit or maybe clear the decks a bit!

Posted in Dressmaking, embroidery, Nineteen for 19, Quilting, Sewing, Smalls of the Month | Tagged | 7 Comments