Nineteen for 19

At the beginning of October I did a count up of both craft projects on the go (WIP’s – work in progress!) and also things with an October deadline, it was a bit of a shock, even for me! I had fifteen different craft projects on my list!!! Even for me that felt a little overwhelming – I made a concerted effort to have a few finishes and reduce my WIP list!

So I had quite a productive October…

  • 1 Scrap Quilt; still not started…
  • 2 Tutorials; …nor this, though I have got some photos organised now.
  • 3 Sessions a week in the garden; I’ve managed a fair bit of tidying up but the weather has been pretty bad – I’m a fair-weather gardener!
  • 4 workshops; I went to a workshop at Courtyard Planters in Otley on how to make a low maintenance garden and I also went to another stained glass workshop and made my tree scene, so that makes my tally 5, challenge complete!
Stained Glass workshop
  • 5 presents; I made George the rabbit for my great-nephew, together with a complete set of clothes, so I’ve now made four presents and I have got plans for three more presents in time for Christmas, so I should get this one.
Luna Lapin - Archie
  • 6 Quilts; I finished another quilt for Care-Leavers, I’ve another top finished but waiting to be quilted, I think that one may have to wait until next year. So far this year I’ve made seven quilts!
Quilts for Care-Leavers
  • 7 New Patterns; I made a smock from the Merchant and Mills pattern this month, so that makes 6 altogether – I might just manage this one!
  • 8 Kits; I completed the first Stitchbook Collective kit, so that makes 4.
Stitchbook Project
  • 9 Mini Embroideries; I’ve been quite busy with hand-embroidery this month, I stitched the two pages for the Stitchbook Collective and I also stitched my entry for the Anne Bronte P200 exhibition, so that’s 8 altogether this year, definitely achievable!
Anne Bronte P200
  • 10 things; this stays at 9 for now, but I’ll crack this one in November.
  • 11 Cross-stitch Smalls; I made another two this month, one for October and a pretty autumn one by Faby Reilly. I think this puts my tally at 13.
  • 12 pages in my book; I still haven’t started this one which is going to be made of my mum’s handiwork. I’ve a weeks holiday in December, so I haven’t given up on this one yet.
  • 13 Clothes made; I made a cream cardigan and a smock last month, so my total is now 10 – maybe I’ll actually manage this one this year!
  • 14 Drawers organised; I’ve not done any more sorting this month, so it stays at 11.
  • 15 minutes tidy-up each day ; mmm, I really must try a bit harder on this one!
  • 16 Books read; I’ve a few more to share with you soon, so this challenge has been way-exceeded!
  • 17 blogs a month; I managed a comfortable 20 last month.
  • 18 Walks; Last month my walking buddy and ! finially finished the Cleveland Way with the last few miles from Scarborough to Filey, this pushed out tally to 21 walks over the year.
Cleveland Way
  • 19 Splendid Sampler Blocks; I smashed this one last month when I cracked on and finished the quilt.

So, pretty good progress I think…and in case you’re wondering, I now have nine projects on the go, much more manageable!

Posted in embroidery, Nineteen for 19, Quilting, Serendipity, Sewing, The Stitchbook Collective | Tagged | 6 Comments

Tweed Handbag

Last week I finally got round to making myself a new handbag – it was well overdue as the one I made a couple of years ago was looking decidedly worn and sad.

I decided to use the same pattern – the Miranda Day Bag by Lazy Girl Designs, it’s just the right size for me and having made it at least three times, I know what I’m doing! I used some gorgeous Donegal Tweed left over from a skirt I made last year, for the base I used black denim again as it makes a hard-wearing, smart base. I made a couple of design changes having seen where my last one wore out first.

Miranda Day Bag

The pattern uses the lining to make a false binding along the top edge of the bag, as it’s lined with quilt weight cotton it’s not very hard-wearing. I decided to add a strip of denim to the top of the lining which would act as the false binding. I also used denim to line the flap as again that was an area which wore quickly around the magnetic fastener.

Miranda Day Bag

There’s always a surprising number of pieces to cut out when making a bag, outer fabrics, lining, pockets, flaps, interfacing, wadding…I used some fabrics I bought for my Coming Home quilt to line it – the colours matched perfectly and I have plenty left. I decided to use the blue tree fabric for the pockets as I do like a light coloured interior in a handbag – I’m less likely to lose stuff! I put pockets on both sides and also a zip pocket to put my bus-pass in! The handles are leather which I bought in a closing down sale, my only other addition was a key fob – I used a length of ribbon which says ‘I can resist everything except temptation!’ and used the clip from my last bag.

The initial stages of putting it together went pretty easily, I hand-stitched the handles on with top-stitching thread, it was a bit fiddly but the holes were already there, I just had to find them with the needle! I soon had my two halves ready to stitch together. That’s where the fun started..

Miranda Day Bag

It was a good idea putting the denim strip along the top, it does look great, but it was hard work for my sewing machine!! With multiple layers of denim, tweed, interfacing, batting and lining it was a big ask – I did get the safety message flashing up a couple of times – ‘Stopped for Safety Reasons’!! The side seams didn’t get fully top-stitched but I don’t think it’s noticeable. The other area I had difficulty was stitching the flap on, this is the last bit to stitch, it was just too thick at first, I couldn’t even get it under the foot! I decided to trim the denim back so it wasn’t folded on it’s self and that seemed to do the trick.

Miranda Day Bag

My new handbag went into immediate use, I’m really pleased with it, hopefully this will stay smart for a bit longer than the last one.

Miranda Day Bag
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Cleveland Way

Last weekend I was making up a photo album of our long distance walk and I realised I didn’t get round to sharing the final day with you, so here it is!

We started the Cleveland Way in June with a nine day walking holiday, we started at Helmsley and walked over 80 miles over the moors to Saltburn – by-the-sea and down the coast to Whitby. Two day trips at the end of the summer allowed us to walk from Whitby to Scarborough, all that was left was the final stretch from Scarborough to Filey.

We were delayed by weather, holidays and work but we finally managed to get a day when the weather forcast looked reasonable and we were both free…

Scarborough has a very long sea front – about 3 miles from the start of North Bay to the end of South Bay, luckily my guide book suggested getting the bus along the front as three miles on tarmac is a slog! The photo below just shows South Bay.

Cleveland Way

The sky looked very dramatic and moody in Scarborough, but actually the weather held off all day.

Cleveland Way

The walk was mainly along the cliff edge, there had been a lot of rain in the preceding few days which made the path very slippy – we had a few hairy moments!

Cleveland Way

Just to prove the sun did come out! This was our morning coffee spot – we always have a flask of coffee for our walks.

Cleveland Way

It wasn’t all cliff top walking, there was a pleasant stretch through some woods – though there were lots of steps too, this has definitely been a memorable characteristic of the Cleveland Way, lots and lots of steps – my knees will never be the same!

Cleveland Way

It’s always nice when you can look back and see how far you’ve walked, Scarborough is the town you can see in the distance, but over the summer we had walked as far as the eye can see and much further.

Cleveland Way

It’s nice looking forward too, but it’s a bit disconcerting when you’re not sure which headland is the end!

Cleveland Way

The end was finally in sight. This is Filey Brigg, you can just see a stone triangle which marked the end of the walk.

Cleveland Way

According to my walking buddoes fitbit we walked an awful lot further than 109 miles, with detours to places like Rievaux Abbey and the White Horse of Kilburn, together with extras to get to our hotels, we walked the best part of 130 miles!!!

Cleveland Way

This lovely carved seat marks the end, it’s carved with the names of places along the way and matches one at the start in Helmsley. We had a celebratory cup of coffee and sticky bun here!

Cleveland Way

I didn’t have the energy for a happy dance, but we had done it, walked the Cleveland Way. It was one of the harder ones we’ve done, mainly because there’s lots of steps and much of the footpaths were hard underfoot, but we did it!

Cleveland Way

I make a photobook every year of our walks – it’s great to look back on, if you would like to see more photos of our walk then follow the link to my photobook.

This was our seventh long distance walk, we do one each year, next year we’re walking Lady Anne Way, 100 miles from Skipton to Penrith.

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Zen and Zoe

I’m just about keeping up with my two cross-stitch stitch-a-longs, they’re both secret ones and they both release another part of the pattern every two weeks, luckily not on the same day!

The Zoe SAL is by Faby Reilly, I’m really enjoying this one and this is the penultimate cross-stitch section – after the last one we have two more sets of instructions to make up a gorgeous box with a side for each season…


Last time I showed you the top of the lid…


This time we were stitching the inside of the lid on the right hand side…


…isn’t it pretty!

I’ve already started stitching the last section, I’m not quite sure what this will be, it’s two smaller squares, it could be a scissor fob, or it could be a mini biscornu, maybe to decorate the lid. Whatever it is, it’s going to be gorgeous! I’ve a little back-stitch to do and some silver stitching over the cross-stitch border and then these two are finished. Then I just have the inside of the base of the box to stitch and it’s ready to put together. It should be finished for Christmas, which isn’t too long away!


My other SAL is called Entitlement by Tempting Tangles. It has a Zen saying in the middle which we’re half way through stitching. Last time I showed you I had just reached the half way point with 8 sections to go…


We’ve now started on the bottom left hand side again. I like the colours in this one, especially the border which uses a beautiful variegated thread.


I have to say I will be somewhat disappointed if the lower half of the pattern turns out to be pretty much a reverse of the top half. Unfortunately that is how it is looking at the moment, I may be pleasantly surprised when the rest of the pattern is gradually released.


The next section takes us up to the centre line.

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

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A Little Further Down the Rabbit Hole

I did my usual trick this month with my hand quilt-a-long – Friday evening I suddenly remembered I had a post to write, so I’d better do some quilting! This is why the HQAL is such a motivator for me!! Luckily last night was the Festival of Rembrance on TV so I sat with my OH and quilted whilst I watched.

Three weeks ago I was about half way across the third border…

Down the Rabbit Hole

I’ve now reached the penultimate corner as I’ve more or less finished the third side. I say more or less as I realised I’ve still some marking to do, my ceramic pencil ran out and I need to find my spare leads! In the meantime I cracked on with the very outer border as that doesn’t need marking, I’m over half way on the last side with the diamond border. The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter, though too early yet to get out my dancing shoes!

Down the Rabbit Hole

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.
Kathy, MargaretEmmaTracyDeb, Susan,  Nanette,  EdithSharonKarrinGretchen, Kathi,  Bella, Daisy and Connie

I’ll also be linking up with Kathy’s Quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday, so please follow all the links for lots of hand-stitching inspiration.

Posted in Down The Rabbit Hole, Quilt-a-long, Quilting, Serendipity | Tagged , , | 34 Comments

The Stitchbook Project

I’ve just finished another two pages of my Stitchbook Project. This is a year long course organised by Helen Bellingham of Untangled Threads, which is based not too far away from here in Scarborough. Each month there’s a different type of textile or stitching to try, there’s lots of little samples to try and then one larger piece to pull it all together. I think it will be a great way to learn about those things I see at shows but haven’t got a clue what to do with,like Tyvek, kunin felt, joomchi or gel plate printing. Helen makes a video to show us what to do, as well as providing written instructions.

Last month was all about textural stitching – it’s certainly pushing me out of my comfort zone as it’s much more abstract than my usual stitching…

This month it was Pleats and Edges. Our box of goodies contained denim, cotton tape, twill, embroidery thread, calico…we made samples of pintucks, gathers, pleats, smocking, irregular gathers.

What I like with this project is being able to follow the instructions but still be able to make it your own. The first sample was some pleats, I decided to embroider in the teal thread provided along the top. That was the start of the theme for the page, just a little bit of embroidery in teal.

One sample was pintucks, I have to confess I stitched these on the machine, but I then hand embroidered them to change direction in the middle. The smocking one was designed to be less formally stitched, but I decided everything so far reminded me of the Victorian clothing and embroidery, so I went down a more formal route. I did some smocking years ago when my daughter was little, I dug out an old book and did a short strip of traditional smocking.

Stitchbook project

There were about seven samples all together, we then had to arrange them on a piece of soft denim. I could only fit five on in an arrangement I was happy with. One sample has gone in the sample box and the other I used for my second piece – more of that later.

I stitched them all onto the piece of denim using running stitch and french knots. I added some tiny mother of pearl buttons to add a bit of interest, but also to continue the Victorian theme.

Stitchbook project

I wanted something underneath my pleats and after a bit of rummaging I found a beautiful mother of pearl circle, I’m not sure what it was for as I found it in my mum’s stuff. It just fitted under the pleats…

Stitchbook project

I went slightly off kilter for the final piece, in the instructions we layered up several types of fabric and then ‘quilted’ the centre, having cut out a frame in the denim. We were then to use any technique we chose to decorate the frame.

I decided to use one of the sample pieces which I hadn’t had room for – a larger rectangle of regularly gathered folds. I gathered the folds up irregularly and started to add different ideas from the samples, together with some very pretty trim I had in my stash.

I stitched a length of soft blue trim down one of the folds, I pleated a length of blue lace along the side, tucking most of one edge under a pintuck. I hand stitchd a running-stitch with some tiny buttons along the pin-tuck.

I found a narrow length of cotton which ws actually left from trimming blocks with a rotary cutter, I managed to gather one length to tuck in a fold and twist the other length down the side.

I stitched on half cotton balls which Helen had included in the pack and added herringbone and some mock smocking too. I was pretty pleased with the finished embroidery…I’ve just realised that it looks a bit like a snow scene when it’s on its side, well that was a fortuitous accident!

Stitchbook project

My next job was to make a textile frame. I cut a rectangle in the denim and decided to use the leftover centre to embellish the edges. I cut it into 6 strips and gathered them onto a long thread. I could then lay them along the border, twitsing as I went, securing it down with french knots.

I’m pretty pleased with my two pages, I like the neutral colours, the next box (which has already arrived!) is on staining fabric, so hopefully I can continue my neutral palette.

Stitchbook project

If anyone fancies starting the stitchbook project, I think there are still packs available – it’s a limited number. I’m learning lots of techniques and ideas and it’s ceratinli making me think outside the box!

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

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November Cross-stitch Smalls

Having shown you my most recent make yesterday I thought I’d better share my little display of smalls for November…

Of course my two most recent makes take pride of place, the two autumn cross-stitches are both free patterns, leaves one by Faby Reilly and one with a blackbird by Thea Dueck…

Another one by Faby Reilly which I display each November for Remembrance Day is the poppy humbug, it’s beautiful…

The bumble bee small is still one of my favourites and although the bees aren’t around now it’s cold, the colours are very autumnal! This pattern was from Etsy I think.

bumble bee cross-stitch

The cat and the flower wreath are ones I made years ago, in fact the wreath one was a small I gave my mum many years ago, so I got it back when we were sorting her things out! I think that was a Just Nan pattern. The cat was a mini Lanarte kit. The pear in the background helps to support the others!

Autumn cross-stitch smalls

I’ve finally managed to collect an autumnal display of smalls – and next month I can get all my Christmas ones out 🙂

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Autumn Smalls for November

I’ve finally managed to collate an autumnal collection of smalls, just in time for November. Last night I finished another autumn freebie, this time by Thea Dueck, it was released on her facebook page (Victoria Sampler Chat Group) she’s a new designer to me so it was nice to try a little design first. It was released over 4 weeks, bit by bit, but I didn’t discover it until the end, so I just stitched it all at once….

Autumn cross-stitch small

Isn’t it pretty? There’s no thread key, you can choose whatever threads you wish, which is great, but it also means you have to think and also means that maybe some things would have been better in a different colour…like the two bottom oak leaves which disappear into the pumpkin, hence the extra back-stitching! I love how the borders and the letters have worked in the variegated threads.

It took me a while to decide on fabrics to make it up with, I haven’t got a huge selection of browns. I found a gorgeous one which colourwise matched perfectly, but it was too busy. My thought with this one was to have it as a narrow border with a darker brown next to it. Having stitched it on and added the ric-rac, I decided it was enough.

Autumn cross-stitch small

Once the front was done I could stitch the back on, stuff it and slip stitch the end. I think it’s really pretty. I really must get better at checking things for loose threads before I photograph them! By the way, the gorgeous wool you can see behind was woven less than two miles from my home at Marton Mills. I’ve just discovered that twice a year they have a pop up factory sale so I’ve three more lengths in my stash! I think there’s a concerted effort to push Yorkshire wool as the quality product it has always been, Abraham Moon in Guiseley have cornered a niche corner of the market with their beautiful tweeds and Fabworks (a fabric shop in Dewsbury) have recently released their ‘Made in Huddersfield’ range of gorgeous tweeds. It’s nice to think fabric I’m wearing was made just a few miles away.

Autumn cross-stitch small

If you fancy trying one of Theas designs she’s just started a Christmas stitch-a-long on her facebook page.

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The Finery of Nature SAL

The last three weeks seem to have passed very quickly! I’ve been working a bit on my Finery of Nature cross-stitch, this is a Dimensions kit I started ages ago, I found it on the sales table at my Embroiderers Guild so it just required a donation and it was mine. I think someone was probably put off by the fact it was on black linen, I just changed it to soft green instead, which has meant a couple of colour changes, but nothing major.

Three weeks ago I was making good progress with the hummingbird…

The Finery of Nature

Well, I didn’t think I’d done that much as I’ve been a bit distracted by other projects, but comparing photos, I’ve done OK! I’ve finished the cross-stitch on the humming bird, though there is still quite a bit of back-stitch to do, I think he’s gorgeous already!

The Finery of Nature

I’ve started the flowers that surround him, they’re a bit bitty to stitch as there’s like two stitches in one colour, three in another – lots of stopping and starting, but I’m getting there! I tend to start in one area with a certain colour, if there’s thread left I will see if there’s another leaf or flower I can reasonably count to and I’ll do that too. Hence the odd areas of stitching!

This stitch-a-long is organised by Avis, we post every three weeks and it’s a great way to keep motivated, everyone is very encouraging! If you would like to join us please send a message to Avis, otherwise please follow the lins for lots of stitching inspiration;

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Sue, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Linda, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Megan, Deborah, Mary Margaret, Renee, Jenny, Carmela, Jocelyn, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, Connie

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

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Stained Glass Woodland

A couple of weeks ago I went on a workshop organised by a friend from WI. Rachel Poole was running the class and I’ve been to a few of her days and she’s an excellent tutor. This time we were making stained glass decorations.

I’ve done stained glass twice before, both with Rachel; the first time was a nativity set, we were amazed that we managed to get the whole nativity made in one day, including cutting all the glass, applying the lead and soldering it all together…

Stained Glass Nativity

Last year we made Christmas decorations – holly, angels, trees etc, these were made by covering the edge of the glass with copper tape and then applying solder to the tape…

This time we were making a winter scene of trees and hills. Some of the trees were pre-cut just to save time, others we cut ourselves – it’s pretty scary cutting glass, you have to score it and then snap it – that’s the scary bit!! Once the shapes were cut we had to grind the edges both to smooth the outline and to ensure the copper tape had a surface it could stick to. You can see in the photo below that the clearer ‘cloud’ was still quite rough round the edge.

Stained glass workshop

It took quite a long time to stick all the copper tape on. The aim was to have most of the copper tape applied by lunch. Then after our sandwiches we had the scary bit of dipping each piece in acid and then covering it in solder – those soldering irons are VERY hot!

Stained glass workshop

Once everything was covered in solder we could arrange them and stick them together with blobs of solder, making sure each piece had enough soldered points to anchor it securely. I made twirly bits of wire to decorate the trees and make a star, all stuck on with a bit of solder. I must admit I got Rachel to solder the two rings on – that was just too close to the soldering iron!

Stained glass workshop

I’m really pleased with my winter scene. It’s already hanging in the conservatory, I think it can stay up all year as although it’s wintery, it’s not too Christmassy.

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