Jacquie SAL

It’s time for an update on my Jacquie needlecase. This is a stitch-a-long by Faby Reilly, a new section is released every two weeks, we’ve just completed section five.

Three weeks ago I’d just finished a gorgeous dragonfly with lots of sparkly thread, sequins and beads, it looks amazing…

The section I’m working on now looks like it’s going to be the front of the needle case, it has another beautiful dragonfly sitting on a stem. I do struggle doing chain-stitch on evenweave fabric, I have no problem getting nice neat stitches on normal embroidery fabric, but somehow trying to count the threads and keep the loops even is hard work! Last time I tried was on one of the earlier pieces and I thought using two threads had made it more bulky and uneven…

… so this time I just used one thread…and I’m still not happy with the effect! But isn’t the dragonfly gorgeous!

The sequins and beads have already been added as you can see so I’m eager to see what the next section of stitching will be. In the information about the stitch-a-long Faby mentioned that there would be two levels of stitching, sort of intermediate and advanced, so far it’s all been the same, I think this area left blank at the moment on the bottom right will have a choice of stitching. I’ll find out on Wednesday if I’m right!

This stitch-a-long is organised by Avis, from Sewing by the Sea, we post our progress on a piece of embroidery every three weeks, just often enough to keep me motivated! Please follow the links to see everyone else’s progress…

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, Constanze, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Megan, Deborah, Renee, Carmela, Sharon, Daisy, Anne, AJ, Cathie, Linda, Helen

Posted in cross-stitch, Stitch-a-long | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Stitching on the Move

I always have a little something to stitch in my handbag – I almost get anxious if I don’t after spending five hours stuck on a commuter train a few years ago! It’s usually one of my cross-stitch smalls and earlier this week I finished another one. Sticking to my New Year Resolution I’ve made it up straight away…

This is a free pattern from La-d-da, my original plan was to make it up on my usual 32 count linen. When I looked at the pattern I realised it would end up about 6″ square, too big for what I wanted…so I had a crazy idea and stitched it over one thread instead – every time I’ve stitched over one thread I’ve vowed never again!

This time it actually worked out fine, I think the important factor for me is that it is a pretty simple, one colour design. I actually quite enjoyed it and it’s made me think this would be a good way to use the 28 count linen in my stash.

In my sewing room, which is painted a soft shade of purple, I have a mini shelf unit…on pinterest I’ve often seen printers trays with a different cross-stitch in each hole, I’d love one but I really haven’t the room or the pennies. My little unit is the shape of a house, with six cubby holes which I intend to fill with cross-stitch smalls, especially purple ones or sewing themed ones. This little cross-stitch was going in one of the 3″ holes.

Yes it really is that small!! The rabbit is actually stitched in a darker shade of grey, it’s come out a bit darker than I anticipated but he’s staying. I found in my scrap box a piece of fabric left over from my Down the Rabbit Hole quilt, it was just about big enough to do the back.

It needed a little something to titivate it a bit round the edges. I thought of making a cord, but I rummaged in my thread box and found one of those threads I fall for at quilting shows and then never seem to work out how to use! It’s just the right shade of purple with a bobbly feel to it. It was just the right weight.

I found some co-ordinating beads in my bead box and stitched them about every centimetre as I couched the thread down. I left the two tails long and threaded a glass bead on the end. It’s just what it needed, a little bit of titivation!

So I have my first sewing room small to go in my house…

Posted in cross-stitch, embroidery, Smalls of the Month | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Two Whernsides in Two Days

I’ve just had a fabulous couple of days walking in the dales, my friend and I can now tick off another two of the Dales 30, Whernside and Great Whernside. Typically, Great Whernside is the smaller of the two!

We decided to tackle Great Whernside on Monday as it was a bank holiday here in England and this would be the quieter of the two, it also meant we missed the show traffic for Kilnsey Show on Tuesday. My OH has been wanting to go for a walk recently, but he walks much faster than me, he walks for exercise, I walk for the enjoyment of being outdoors. As my daughter was also up for the weekend, I hatched a plan!..

My friend and I got dropped off up Park Rash, a narrow, steep single track lane which goes over to Coverdale from Kettlewell. It meant we started less than 2 miles from the summit! My OH and daughter Helen then returned to Kettlewell, parked and walked up from there, this route is nearer 4.5 miles and obviously a lot more up!

This was the view of Great Whernside from our starting point…

We had a good walk up to the summit, the cloud was down but there’s posts along the way to mark the path which does make life easier. Just as we arrived at the summit, so did Helen and my OH, perfect timing!

As you can see Helen was still full of the energy of youth!!! This is despite filling her rucksack with tins from the kitchen as training for the army – her pack weighed about 20kg!!

Apparently from the top of Great Whernside on a clear day you can see both coasts, Morecambe Bay to the west and the North Sea to the east. Obviously when we went we couldn’t even see down the valley!!

Helen and my OH descended the way we had come up but then walked down the road into Kettlewell. We walked down the way they had come up, past Hag Dyke hostel. I have fond memories of Hag Dyke, it’s a remote scout hostel belonging to the Ben Rhydding scouts. I first went there on a school trip, when we were about 13 years old our school organised a class residential for a week. We went to Hag Dyke. It’s only accessible by walking up – they used a tractor and trailer to get our bags up. In those days it was lit with gas lights too, very atmospheric when they tell you it’s haunted, the first night we were that scared in the girls dorm that we pushed two bunk beds together and slept five on the top and five on the bottom!

I organised a trip up there myself for a Rotaract group in my 20’s, I was slightly disappointed to see it now had an electric generator! Apparently now it’s energy comes from solar panels and wind power. It also has the highest chapel in the country, a little stone outhouse at the top of the field has lovely stained glass windows.

Hag Dyke

From there it was quite an easy descent down to Kettlewell, and perfectly timed again, my OH and Helen arrived about two minutes after us!You can just see a couple of cottage roofs in the village peeping through the trees. As you can see from the photo, this is classic limestone country at the head of Wharfedale.

Yesterday my friend and I walked up Whernside. This is one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, the challenge is to walk Pen-y-ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside in under 12 hours – its about 25 miles long. This was our main reason for not doing this walk over the bank holiday weekend – it would be heaving!

Whernside is the highest peak in Yorkshire, number 1 of the Dales 30.

We parked at Ribblehead by the viaduct. This icon railway line is part of the Settle to Carlisle railway line. Beeching tried to close it in the 1960’s but there was a big campaign which went on for decades before the line was safe from closure. We arrived just in time to see one of the steam trains going over the viaduct.

Behind the viaduct is Whernside. The route up is very clear due to all the work that’s been done to protect the paths from erosion from the hundreds who walk up here on a weekend We walked up the right hand side to the mouth of the railway tunnel. It was quite interesting here as next to the stone bridge over the railway line was an aquaduct to take a stream over the line. I’ve seen any aquaducts for canals, but never for a steam…

The peak in the photo is Ingleborough, one of the other three peaks.

The path climbed pretty relentlessly up to the ridge. We stopped for a coffee and bun on the way up…and a couple of squares of Kendal Mint Cake. The views kept us going too. This is one of the few places where you can see all three peaks clearly…

Ingleborough, Pen-y-ghent and Whernside

We finally made it to the top, there’s a curved stone wall with seating so we could eat our sandwiches out of the wind. We declined to go through the squeeze stile to the actual trig point as it was pretty narrow!! It would certainly have been a squeeze!

From the top the view was great, as you would expect from the highest point in Yorkshire. As well as the dales in front of us, on the other side of Whernside we could see the Lakes, Morecombe Bay and the Howgill range where we walked a couple of weeks ago…

The Howgills

The path down was a little testing, steep with stone steps – totally irregular, not great when you have no balance! We took our time and got down in one piece. Altogether we walked over 8 miles, boy do I ache this morning!

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Daisy Chain

A few months ago I stitched one of the Raggedy Ruff kits I had in my stash, it was called Susie the Cat, it had a black and white cat surrounded by echinacia flowers. I made it into a cushion for my friend…

When I was hand embroidering a white denim jacket with flowers last month I thought it would be nice to embroider white daisies round my blue denim jacket. I’ve worn my white one a few times already and I love it…

Initially I thought of hand-embroidering them but I was concerned by the fact that this jacket, unlike the white one, was made with a stretch denim. I didn’t want to spend hours embroidering them only to find they totally distorted when I wore it. Equally I really didn’t want to use a stabiliser as it would make it difficult to work through that as well as the denim.

I remembered the echinacia and decided that made in white, they would look like daisies! Unfortunately I couldn’t find the pattern but Andrea kindly sent it again. I traced about twelve flowers onto bondaweb and then had a rummage through my fabrics. I’m hoping that the bondaweb and stitching on top will make everything stable enough to withstand a little stretching.

I thought of using white on white patterned quilting cotton at first but it looked a bit too stark. I then had a rummage through my batik scrap box and found some light ones which I’d used for the low volume background of the humming bird quilt I made for my niece. I did a bit of fussy cutting too as some of them had daisy sort of designs, they worked out pretty well, though they were fiddly to cut out! I arranged them along the back and two just coming round each side. It would have been nice to have more on the front but then I would have stitched through the pockets! I used thirteen flowers all together.

I thought of using a denim needle but couldn’t find one in my drawers so I used a top-stitching one instead. First thing to do was to do a basic outline. I chose a fairly dark variegated blue thread. Some of them were somewhat wobbly but I know from previous Raggedy Ruff patterns that wobbles are not noticeably once it’s finished – luckily!!

I went round a second time putting a bit more definition on the petals. I also used a variegated orange to stitch on the centres of the daisies.

Once I was happy with the basic flowers I changed to a cream/off white variegated thread and added some detail on each petal. Once that was stitched I just need to add a few stems so they weren’t just hovering in mid air…

I thought of adding a few grasses but having shared a photo on my Skipton Stitchers whats-app group, the general consensus was that it was finished enough.

I’m really pleased with this one, I love the effect and it didn’t take half the time it took to hand embroider the other one. It did make me wonder what a denim jacket would look like with a large design of Andrea’s on the back, she’s just done one with a baby giraffe and the mothers head looking down, wouldn’t that look amazing on a jacket! If you fancy doing one of her raw edge applique designs, please follow the link to her website, she’s got some beautiful designs.

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Seaside Quilt HQAL

I’ve made reasonable progress on my seaside quilt, though not as much as I hoped as I ended up distracted this week by the Little Book of Comfort and Flossie the Barts Bunny! This is the quilt design by Kathryn Whittingham, she kindly gave me the book after I enjoyed making her Cottage Quilt so much.

Three weeks ago I had finished the top row and just started four of the smaller embroidered blocks.

The lifebuoy still needed some rope stitching on it. The instructions call for perle thread, whilst I have a good selection I haven’t any white, so I found some thick but smooth thread inn my stash and used my cordmaker to twist it into a length of cord. Once it was made it was just couched in place…I say just, but I needed my biggest chenile needle to get the cord through the fabric for all the loops round the ring!

Last time I wasn’t keen on my bumble bee beach hut. A few of you suggested changing the front door,well thank you, it worked brilliantly! I couldn’t remove the old yellow door as it was bondawebbed on so I just stuck a new door over the top. I decided not to add the heart in the middle as it was already hard to stitch with three layers of fabric and two layers of bondaweb. If I feel it needs something at the end I can always add a tiny button.

I’ve made up the sets of four squares to go in between the lifebuoy and the beach hut, I haven’t stitched them into a long row yet as I want to see how the colours work. This will be in a line going down in the quilt, it was just easier to put a long photo across ways here!

I embroidered the lollypop to go with the 99 ice-cream though they are at the other end of this quilt row.

Next to make up were two flying geese blocks with fussycut fabric in the middle. Theses are made with half square triangles, rather than the usual way of a rectangle base. This makes it easier to stitch this particular block together. I’ve made all the half square triangles and trimmed half of them to size, just need to trim the others and stitch the squares together. At the moment the blocks look quite dark and prominent, but I think they will settle down once everything else is made. I love this harbour fabric by Macower, it reminds me of Whitby, there’s a photo of Whitby below.

The next block is one of my favourites. The Yorkshire coastline has lots of little villages right on the coastline, hugging the cliffs round the natural harbours such as Staithes and Robinhoods Bay, we walked through many of them when we did the Cleveland Way a couple of years ago…

This block perfectly captures the higgledy piggledy nature of these villages. I haven’t finished the embroidery yet but I’ve made a good start.

The windows looked pretty dominating to begin with, but once I embroidered the window frames on in a very light grey they settled down nicely. I’ve still to do the shoreline and the seal bobbing about in the sea – that’s the grey blob!

Hopefully by the time I next post about my Seaside quilt in another three weeks time this row will be starting to come together.

If you fancy making this quilt the book is available (together with the cottage garden quilt book) from Kathryn’s website, Patchwork Katy. They’re both gorgeous designs and the instructions are very easy to follow.

Affiliate links; I was kindly gifted this book by the author, but my views and opinions of the quilt and the book are my own.

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, and Daisy

I’ll also be linking up with Kathy’s Quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday

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

A Comfort Book

Ever had an idea and just run with it…

A friend who is going through difficult times at the moment recently posted on facebook that she had heard about comfort boxes, the idea being that friends and family wrote something nice about you and when you’re feeling low you can read the comments for a pick-me-up. Lots of people wrote comments.

I suddenly had the idea that if you made a little fabric book with pockets in, you could put messages in there and carry it with you, a little book of comfort.

I felt it needed some words running through it and chose a poem from Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne. I selected some variegated thread and stitched the lines of the poem with simple back-stitch.

The pages sort of came together as I went along, finding fabrics that worked as I stitched. My friend has very different colour tastes to me, she is brilliant at mixing colourful textiles, when I think of her I think of oranges and reds. In my stash I found a little square which I made at a Embroiderers Guild dyeing workshop a couple of years back, it was perfect for the first page…

I stitched everything onto wool felt squares, I find it very forgiving as a backing, you can hide stitches in it for a start! Each double page spread had a pocket stitched on one side and a line from the poem plus a few embellishments on the other…

I raided my button box and bead box for suitable things to sew on, just to add a little something without spending hours embroidering.

My friend comes from Manchester which has the symbol of the bee, so cheerful sunflower fabric with bees on fitted in perfectly…

I just used a simple running stitch most of the time to stitch on the fabric…or tiny beads!

I bound it using some coloured glass beads from Hobbycraft in between each page. I think I’m on about my fourth packet of these beads as they are so pretty and a useful size. For the cover I used two different quilting fabrics, I made a sleeve and then stuffed some heavy interfacing in between the two layers. It was a bit fiddly but it wasn’t an iron on one and I didn’t want the extra bulk in the seams. I embroidered her name and the title on some spare linen, made a cord from two co-ordinating DMC threads and stitched a button on the front as a wrap and tie.

I wrote all the various comments from facebook on luggage labels so they can be read at random, she can even add poems or words that she likes.

I’m really pleased with how it came out, it really didn’t take too long either, an afternoon and a couple of evenings. Time well spent if it helps her in some way through the next few months.

Posted in Books, embroidery, Textile Books | Tagged , , , , | 34 Comments

Barts Bunny is ready for duty

When I made a Barts Bunny as part of the Great British Sewing Bunny competition held by Cool Crafting, one of my former flatmates said Pleeeease could she have one too, how could I refuse, they are so nice to make…

I started Flossie the bunny whilst we were away last week and finished her over the next few days, of course she needed some lacy undies before any photo shoot…

I then started making her uniform. For the GBSB we had three hours to make an outfit. Confession time, for my Barts Bunny, there was a judicious use of pins behind the scenes to hold everything in place. I clearly couldn’t do that this time, I could hardly send Flossie through the post with pins in her!! So, it did take me a bit longer this time!

I made the dress using the raglan dress pattern but changed it to a front opening, with a white collar and short sleeves. It closes with a little press-stud.

The apron is just two squares of cotton. As Flossie is somewhat pear-shaped two rectangles didn’t sit tidily on her middle, so I added a couple of tucks either side. I made the navy belt from some satin bias binding, it worked very well as I could shape it with the iron so it sits better around her ample middle. A shiny button makes her silver buckle which we were so proud to buy when we qualified. I think our aprons tied with buttons, that was too fiddly so Flossie has a ribbon tied in a bow across her back.

Flossie has already learnt that a Barts nurse always folds her apron across her lap when sitting to prevent creasing!

I was well chuffed to find doll sized fob watches on etsy, they’re just the right size, even if I think they’re designed more as pocket fob watches as they have a little chain hanging down. We always had a pair of nursing scissors in our top pocket (and strings of safety pins!!) so I attached them straight to the apron to give the effect of a top pocket.

The beady eyed amongst you may also have noticed a hospital badge by Flossie’s collar, the hospital badges at Barts (were made by Fattorini no less!!) had a enamel blue surround and a shield in black and white. There’s no way I could reproduce that, however I’m pretty pleased with Flossies badge, I used a little blue sequin with an even smaller ivory one and a shiny dark grey bead in the middle…

We had the lovely black wool capes with a red lining and red straps coming from the shoulders so they hung nicely without being fastened. I decided to use some black felt, a bit more realistic than the quilting cotton I used for my Barts Bunny, but a little stiffer too. Again I’ve tied the red ribbons in a bow for ease. Both the dress and the cape patterns are adapted from patterns in the first Luna Lapin book.

All that was left was the cap,ours were made from a square of starched linen, we made them over a shortbread tine,secured with safety pins and hairgrips. They were meant to have five pleats down each side and neat tails over the middle. I got the knack of making caps so I regularly made them for friends, everyone had their preferences whether they liked a deep brim or not, big tails or short tails…

For Flossie I used a square of cotton, about 8″, and made it round a bead container with a few stitches to hold it in place. This one is attached to Flossie with pins as I couldn’t think of any other way without making it permanent! Ours were held on with white hairgrips, the caps were great for holding long hair out of the way. I remember one of our group, Judy, had her hair cut really short so the hairgrips wouldn’t work…so she stuck her hat on with blutack!!

To be accurate Flossie should also have black tights or stockings and flat lace-up shoes, they were meant to have three pairs of eyelets for laces and no moccasins, which were trendy at the time!

Although the modern nurses uniform is much more practical, (I wear scrubs all day) I loved our uniform, you felt like a proper nurse!

So Flossie will be winging her way to London over the weekend, all ready for duty.

If you fancy making your own Luna Lapin, follow the link at the top to Cool Crafting for both books and kits.

Posted in Luna Lapin, Sewing | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Wednesday Wanderings

We tried to go for a walk yesterday but we were thwarted by the weather…

Our plan was to climb Great Whernside, another one of the Dales 30. We set off in good time having bought our packed lunches on route. We were planning to shorten the walk by driving up Parkrash and parking at the top, reducing the amount of climbing substantially! The road is a very scenic, single track lane winding it’s way over to Coverdale.

When we parked at the top the wind was howling round the car and the rain was coming sideways! Now we don’t mind rain when it happens during a walk, but setting off in the rain is not our cup of tea – this walking lark is meant to be fun! We sat in the car, ate our suasage roll and had a coffee, hoping it would show signs of blowing over.

After half an hour we decided it wasn’t going to happen…maybe a walk further down the dale. We drove down all the little back roads, mainly single track with passing places, so my friend did have to do a fair bit of reversing as we met cars coming the other way. It was a delightful route though.

We parked up near Embsay, hoping for a walk round the reservoir, but the rain was still coming down. I did manage to get a pretty evocative picture of the moody skies…

…we ate our sticky buns and had another coffee!

We drove up to Ilkley Moor, the weather was still inclement so we ate our sandwiches looking at the views over Wharfedale before returning home for a coffee in the garden in the summerhouse!

It reminded me of the Safari Suppers that were popular in the 80’s with each course in a different house!

Hopefully next week we might actually manage to do some walking!

Posted in The Dales 30, Walking | Tagged | 10 Comments

Jacquie SAL

I’m now four parts in to the Jacquie SAL and I love it already! The pattern sections are released by the designer, Faby Reilly, every two weeks, as this SAL post is on a three week cycle, sometimes I’ll just have one new part to share, and sometimes, like today, I’ll have two parts to share.

Three weeks ago I just had a jelly baby on a stick…

You’ll be pleased to know that uneaten jelly babies metamorphose into beautiful dragonflies!

As well as the beautiful blue dragonfly, Faby had stitched a cloud of little ones in a metallic silver thread. Whilst I was rummaging in my box of metallic threads I found two variegated ones which I thought might work, a green/purple one and a pale gold/pink/turquoise one. I decided to stitch a flutter of them across the top in the darker one and all the others in the lighter one. I rather like the effect. I also used the darker metallic one for the veins in the wings

When the next section was released on Wednesday I was that keen to stitch it that I forgot to take a photo before I started the extra back-stitching.

The final section of this panel includes outlines inback-stitch which give it an almost Art Deco feel, together with beads and sequins. I like the matt finish sequins and one little packet has so far done several projects and there is still plenty left! I checked on line the colour of the Mill Hill beads which Faby uses and found some similar in my stash. I decided to change the colours for the heads of the darker dragonflies to a light mauve/green metallic bead. I’m really pleased with the way it’s come out. I love the way the dragonfly stands out even though the background is so busy.

I’ve a decision to make soon, when I was stitching the outlines I realised this piece of linen wasn’t quite big enough for all four panels so I messaged Faby to see if there was a preference for which panels were stitched in a different colour. The next section was one of them. I had a look through the various colours I have in my stash, there’s lighter ones, darker ones…and I found a piece the same colour!! So now I’m wondering whether to do it as per instructions all in the same colour, or do I do two panels in a different colour. I think I’ll wait and see what the next part looks like.

If anyone is tempted to join this stitch-a-long please follow the link to Faby Reilly Designs. It’s nicely paced and her designs are always gorgeous!


This SAL is organised by Avis, we share our progress every three weeks on a wide variety of hand-stitching. Please follow the links to see what every one else has been stitching;


Posted in cross-stitch, embroidery, Stitch-a-long | Tagged , , | 19 Comments


Earlier in the year whilst the Great British Sewing Bee was on television, Cool Crafting from Kendal ran their own version, the Great British Sewing Bunny. We had three hours each week to make a costume on a set theme for a Luna Lapin or one of her friends, it was great fun. One week the theme was heroes so I dressed my Violet as a Barts nurse, I trained as a nurse at St Bartholomews many moons ago and this is what our uniform was like, starched aprons and hat and a black wool cape…

Well one of my nursing friends was very keen to have her own Barts bunny, so whilst I was away at the weekend I started sewing Flossie. These are hand-stitched apart from the ears. My friend wanted pink ears, so I found a pretty pink ditsy print for her ears and feet, I left out the interfacing from the ears as I knew they would be getting squashed under a hat.

The hardest bit of these rabbits are the eyes and nose, the eyes are small buttons with some straight stitch eye lashes. For the nose I stitched over some pink felt so it didn’t look too pointed, I’m still not sure about her nose but I’ll wait until she’s dressed and see what she looks like then.

Flossie in her undies!

I made a pair of pretty pale pink French knickers from some broderie anglais in my stash, with a little white flower at the front.

She’s now waiting impatiently for the rest of her uniform…

…so the collar is made and the apron (all the white bits first!) I just have to finish putting the dress together, keeping my fingers crossed that the collar fits OK as I’m mixing two patterns together. Back in the day the collars were detachable, together with all the buttons, it used to take about ten minutes to sort out a clean uniform, and that’s if you didn’t have to make a hat!

Once the main dress is stitched I can add the extras like scissors, I’ve even managed to find a mini fob watch, then it’s just the cape to make.

Hopefully soon Flossie will be on her way to London, where else would a Barts Bunny live 🙂

Posted in Crafts, Luna Lapin, Sewing | Tagged , , | 11 Comments