Late Summer, Early Autumn Reading

I’ve another six books to share with you which I’ve read over the last few weeks, I usually have two on the go, one for bedtime reading and one for reading on the move, usually buses or trains!

I finished Skymeadow by Charlie Hart this morning on the bus. Charlie created a garden from a meadow whilst he was grieving his father and anxious about the impending death of his mother. It’s a story about how he dug and gardened his way out of his grief, making a haven for his growing family. From his rose garden to hedging, chickens, children and pets, and the traumas of his wife trying to pass her driving test. I loved his style of writing, amusing little asides make an easy read of what could have been a heavy subject. His metaphors for grief and responsibility took me a bit to get used to, but I enjoyed the book.

Lady Emma Hamilton

Blackberry & Wild Rose by Sonia Velton appealed to me as it was set in lives of the 18th century Huguenot silk weavers and it had a pretty cover! It is apparently based loosely on true events. However the story was more about love and betrayal, with the usual hypocrasies behind the doors of large, wealthy houses. It was an easy read but somehow lacked depth.

Yorkshire by Richard Morris …as one review says ‘restless, poetic, strange…’ It’s a history of Yorkshire from day dot, how Yorkshire became the place it is and what shaped it’s people. It is a fascinating book, he skips from one subject to another like someone chatting to you, from his own family history, to the geology, to great people in history. His family originated in Skinningrove, which we walked through on the Cleveland Way. His descriptions of battles lost me at times as to who was fighting who and whose side were they on anyway! He includes an interesting map of Yorkshire in literature, everything from the Brontes, James Herriot, to the Full Monty and Calendar Girls. As a Yorkshire girl through and through, it was a book I had to read and I learnt lots of new facts about Yorkshire, I can’t say I remember most of them but it was an interesting read!

Kate Humble’s book Thinking on my Feet is a lovely easy reading book for the summer, it’s a diary of a years worth of walks, she’s a TV presenter so travels abroad a lot and always tries to get to know a place by walking around. She describes all the interesting people she meets along the way. She lives in the beautiful Wye Valley and many walks around there are described. One of the most moving parts is when she went up to Scotland to meet a former soldier who started to walk round the coast of Britain when he was in the depths of despair from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. It’s another book about how just walking can improve your mental health, I enjoyed it.

I was surprised how much I enjoyed One Wild Song by Paul Heiney. It’s about sea sailing, which I know nothing about, but it’s a voyage through life too…‘By the age of 21, my son had sailed aboard a tall ship across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. At the age of 22 he wrote a poem, once heard never forgotton. At the age of 23 he took his own life.’ Paul decided to sail (mostly alone) from England around Cape Horn, the Everest of sea-farers, trying to rediscover his son’s voice. It’s a moving, funny, thought provoking and beautifully written story about his journey coming to terms with the loss of his son.

The Wild Remedy by Emma Mitchel is a very pretty book, filled with Emma’s lovely paintings and drawings of nature. It’s a diary of how walking in nature helped her mental health – she’s fought depression for 25 years. Her descriptions of nature are beautiful and inspiring, especially of the changes she sees over the year in the woods near her home. Her descriptions of what it’s like living with clinical depression are searingly honest. I enjoyed it but for me personally I would have preferred more of her descriptions and less of the neuro-science behind it.

I hadn’t realised until a wrote this post that two thirds of the books were about mental health issues. There’s a lot in the press and on social media at the moment as people are trying to break the stigma of having mental health issues, being around nature is well documented as being helpful for mental health. These books describe some pretty tough situations but they are all positive, uplifting books, on the whole they are more about the journey itself and the outcome, rather than what led up to it.

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Zen and Zoe

I’m all caught up with my two stitch-a-longs again, these are the cross-stitch ones which release their patterns every two weeks. It usually takes me about 10 days to complete both of them as I do have a few other projects on the go!

First to be worked on is my Zoe box by Faby Reilly, this is going to be beautiful! It’s a little box with each side representing each season. We’ve already stitched the sides…

Zoe SAL by Faby Reilly

and the inside walls of the box…

Zoe SAL by Faby Reilly

now I’ve just finished the edge of the lid, it’s got a pretty border of leaves in the seasonal colours. I stitched autumn and summer last time, this week it was the turn of spring and winter, with it’s sprinkling of snow on the leaves.

Zoe SAL by Faby Reilly

As you can see in the photo above I’ve also managed to catch up with the outlining of the individual pieces, this will be used to stitch them together. I’ve still another three shapes to outline, but so long as I keep ahead I’m happy!

The second stitch-a-long is called Enlightenment, it’s by Tempting Tangles. It’s described as tree motives with a zen saying. I’ve finally sussed it!!!

Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.

After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.

No, I don’t understand it either, and having googled it I’m not sure anyone does! The explanation I liked best (could understand-ish!) was Tom Barrett’s, he explains that it’s all about being in the moment:

When we are able to be in the moment, we no longer feel compelled to watch the clock. Whatever your work might be, bring all of yourself to it. When you are fully present, you may find that your labor is no longer a burden. Wood is chopped. Water is carried. Life happens.


Anyway, back to the cross-stitch! We’ve just started stitching the words, which is how I came to suss it, we’re given the pattern in strict blocks, but I’ve taken the risk and carried on where I’m sure I can work out the pattern, just so I’m not left with just a couple of stitches to start a thread for. Equally I’m meant to stitch a few crosses along the bottom which are clearly the tops of ‘Carry’, I’ve left those out to stitch with the rest of the letters.

Enlightenment SAL

It’s growing on me is this one, I love the colours, it’s only meant to have four threads, I’ve added a couple more variations with the greens which I’m happy with. I’ve also realised it’s similar colours to my Coming Home quilt which is going to take pride of place on our guest room bed when it’s finished, this will make a rather nice cushion to co-ordinate with it!

Both of these finish just before Christmas, so not long at all now!

Linking up with Kathys Quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday

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A Life Unbalanced

I usually keep my posts to things like sewing, gardening, walking, my general hobbies and interests, but as it was Balance Awareness Week last week I decided to share another part of my life, not for sympathy, just to spread awareness and understanding. There’s worse things to have in life, I know my limits and on the whole I live within them.

BAW 2019 logo with Fiona Flamingo

I have no balance, easy to say, but not so easy for others to understand the impact of this. Balance comes from three things, vision, leg muscles and ears, if one is hampered, such as in the dark, the other two can manage. My ears don’t do anything for my balance, they don’t pass on any messages to my brain, no one knows why. This means I only have my vision and my leg muscles to keep me upright. It also means my brain doesn’t compensate for head movement, so it’s a bit like living in a hand held video camera.

I made a short (90 second) video which I’ve just put on Youtube, here’s the link, this is pretty much how I see things – everything has a bit of a wobble!

How does this impact on me, I can’t focus on things when I’m walking, faces – I will walk straight past someone I know in the street, signs at the railway station, shelves at the supermarket – I can’t scan the shelves as I’m walking down a supermarket aisle.

I need a visual horizon, take that away in a crowd and I’m pretty unsteady, darkness can obviously do that, but so can brilliant sunshine. Taking a photo, it narrows your visual horizon – my walking buddy knows to watch me when I’m taking a photo as I don’t realise I’m falling. People with no balance classically fall like a tree, as there’s no awareness until it’s too late.

Stairs or steep paths are scary if there’s no handrail, anything that’s not just straight forward walking I need two to three points of contact – a bit like a rock climber, two feet and a hand, so when I lift one foot up I still have two points of contact! It may just be a finger touching against a wall, it just gives me a point of contact. Round the garden I have metal canes in strategic places in the beds, they look ornamental, but I call them my wobble sticks, it’s just something to hold on to. When I’m out walking in the countryside I always use two walking poles and I’m careful which paths I take.

Hopefully this gives everyone a better idea of the issues people have with balance problems. As they say, worse things happen at sea 🙂

So as you see, sewing, quilting and embroidery are perfect hobbies for me!

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Nearly Splendid Sampler

I’ve almost finished my Splendid Sampler 2 quilt, at the weekend I arranged them all on the lounge floor, looking more at the sashing than the actual block. I’m using the quilt as you go method (QAYG) so all the blocks are already sandwiched and quilted, they just need sashing to stitch them together.

Splendid Sampler 2 quilt

The fabric used for the block sashing was also, where possible, used to back the block, so I didn’t want two blocks together of the same pattern. Easier said than done!

I sorted them according to colour, blues and greys, light to dark, then I arranged the darkest and lightest first, trying to get an even spread, then filled in with the middlers. I spotted a diagonal line, tried to swop things round and ended up in a right pickle, wherever I moved things there was another problem. In the end I decided I’d played around enough…

Splendid Sampler 2 quilt

I’ve decided I need a drone to take photos of my quilts!! Standing on tiptoe just doesn’t quite do it, my legs and arms aren’t quite long enough!

I quickly read Kate’s (Tall Tales from Chiconia) tutorial on QAYG, I always have a quick refresher there before I start stitching the blocks together, her instructions make it so straight forward.

Splendid Sampler 2 quilt

I’ve used a dark grey for the sashing front and back, it’s surprising how much you use! I bought 3m as it was on offer, thinking I would have loads left – by the time I’ve made the binding I won’t have that much left. I’ve made the sashing on the back slightly wider – 3/4″ finished instead of 1/2″, it did mean I had to make sure I stitched the sashing on the same side each time. Of course I didn’t, so I did get very friendly with my seam ripper! It also means the quilting will not be quite central but I don’t think it will be noticeable.


So far I’ve stitched all the blocks together, hand-stitched the short lengths of sashing going down the quilt, but I still need to hand-stitch the long lengths going across, I left it as I think it will be a nice project to stitch when I next visit my mum – she loves seeing my quilts.


All that’s needed then is the binding, so happy dance is in sight!

Splendid Sampler 2 quilt
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The Finery of Nature SAL

I’ve made pretty good progress over the last three weeks with my Finery of Nature cross-stitch. When I last shared it with you I’d finally decided on the back-stitched colour in the border (dark blue), but I still had a few flowers and half of the border to do on this quarter…

The Finery of Nature

It’s time for another mini happy dance as I’ve finished this quarter, flowers done, border stitched, finito…

The Finery of Nature

This means I’ve reached another major milestone, I’m half way through this cross-stitch, though as you can see, I still need to do the back-stitching on the first half of the border, I’m ignoring that fact and doing another happy dance! You can also see where I’ve just started the next section…

The Finery of Nature

The next quarter is one of my favourites, it’s a beautiful humming bird. I think these tiny birds are so beautiful, I’d love to see one for real in the wild, I think I may have seen one once in a tropical house in a zoo, but it’s a very hazy memory.

I thought this bit would be fairly easy to do as there’s quite a lot using few colours, but the staggered arrangement for the wings meant I was easily confused! Anyway I eventually had an idea and stitched the dark green area just so I had a clear area to work from, it did help. This area has grown pretty quickly…

The Finery of Nature

I’m hoping this quarter will be stitched a bit quicker than the nest, that was a bit like hard work!

This stitch-a-long is organised by Avis from Stitching by the Sea, we each post our progress every three weeks, it’s a great motivator! Please follow the links to see what every one else has been stitching, and if you would like to join our merry band, just contact Avis.

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

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

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Splendid Sampler 2

Over the weekend I finally finished all the blocks for my Splendid Sampler 2 quilt. Last week when I showed you my progress I wasn’t sure if I would just make another four blocks, to make a rectangular quilt, or if I would buckle down and make another eleven blocks so it would be 7×7 blocks, a nice square quilt. Well I’m pleased to say I’ve pieced, sandwiched and quilted all these blocks…

Splendid Sampler 2

Yes, I cracked on and made eleven, so I’m feeling satisfied! The first one on the photo below is called Coastline Sponge Cake, by Katarina Roccella, she explains how putting together the layers of a quilt is a bit like the layers of a sponge cake, it’s also meant to be a coastline. It reminded me of the Lake District, with it’s mountains reflected in the lakes.

Starlight Starbright is by Pat Sloan, the organiser of this quilt, it was a nice simple star block to make. I also decided to use a bit more of the whiter fabrics to help balance out the one that stood out before with the light sashing. I’ll see if it worked when I put all the blocks out together.

The final one in this photo is called Balancing Reflection by Yvonne Fuchs. I’ve accidentally made this a bit more personal to me. This week is National Balance Week (I might be doing a post on it later) I have no balance from my ears so I do occasionally have a ‘wobble’. One of the triangles missed its line a bit (top right, though I’ll probably turn it the other way up in the quilt) and rather than trying to fudge it, I’ve quilted round the wobble, making it part of the design, I’m calling it my unbalanced block!

Splendid Sampler 2

Happy Willow is by Jenifer Gaston, I was originally going to make it just because it’s a tree, but when I read the story behind it I had to smile, when travelling as a child her dad told them to count something to keep them from bickering, she used to count willow trees. I remember when I was little counting lamp-posts all the way from Leeds to Wales!!!

With a title like Piece in Chaos by Betsy Chutchian, the pinwheel block had to be made, my sewing room could rarely be said to be tidy and usually verges on the chaotic!

American Spool by Tammy Vonderschmitt came with two versions, one with an American flag and one just a plain spool with a needle and thread embroidered on. I was just about to quilt over the spool when I realised it would make a perfect label block, so I popped my initials and the date on instead.

Splendid Sampler 2

I must confess the Mod Bowtie block was the last one I made and I chose it because it looked quick and easy and by then I’d had enough! It was very simple, two quarter circles are bondawebbed on and then bias binding applied. It’s a simple one but I do like it, and I like going to black tie events occasionally too.

Pack Your Bags is by Jodie Carleton and represents the adventures you can have in the world of quilting. It’s meant to say quilt in the middle of the luggage tag, I decided to change it to Otley, my home town.

Button Up is by Cecile McPeak and Rachel Martin, they make buttons to embellish quilts with. I rather like this one, it was made with a strip of three fabrics which was then cut into squares on the bias, stitched together and then the circle was cut from that. The fiddliest bit was cutting the four little holes!

Splendid Sampler 2

The one with lots of narrow strips is called Antique Memories by Pat Sloan, it’s a traditional block called courthouse steps. The last one is Lauren’s Flower Basket by Annette Plog, I’m really pleased with how this one has come out, the piecing came out well and to quilt it I decided after my success with a daisy shape last week I would quilt a daisy in each square, I like it.

Splendid Sampler 2

My next job is to arrange all the blocks in a possible order before I start stitching them all together. I’m on the homeward straight now!

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Nineteen for 19

It’s about time I checked my progress with my nineteen challenges for 2019, we’re two-thirds of the way through the year, some remain not even started, though that doesn’t mean I’ve given up hope, others are completed, so a mixed bag, like life really! August has been pretty productive really helped by having time off work.

  • 1 scrap quilt; Still not yet started, but still hopeful!
  • 2 Tutorials; I’ve got all the words for one, just need the photos, which means making another one!
  • 3 sessions a week in the garden; I’m still doing well on this one, I need to keep up with it now to try and get on top before the end of the season.
  • 4 workshops; I’ve been on two so far, I’ve another embroidery one in a couple of weeks time and a gardening one next month, so this one is ticking along nicely.
  • 5 presents; three made so far this year, nothing further in August, but plans afoot for Christmas!
  • 6 quilts; I’ve made five so far with another two or three hopefully in the pipeline for a finish, though I have cheated slightly by calling my Down the Rabbit Hole quilt a finish when I finished the top!
  • 7 new patterns; I’ve actually used three new patterns this month, more than doubling my tally to five. I used a pattern from the 1990’s, an indie pattern and a dress pattern I’ve had for ages and not used.
  • 8 kits; This remains at three, I need to start trying harder with this one as I still keep buying them so my stash is getting bigger!!
  • 9 mini embroideries; I’m classing my tahriri bookmark as a mini embroidery, it’s pretty small, so that brings my tally to five. I’ve another definite one to do, then it depends if I start another quilt I have planned!!
Tahriri embroidery
  • 10 things; I’ve made the bookmark month, so that’s seven things made so far.
  • 11 cross-stitch smalls; no new ones, but the challenge is already completed! I’ve another on it’s way and I’ve another to do before Christmas.
  • 12 pages in my book; this is the book of all my mum’s things, so it’s going to be quite a sentimentsl jurney making it. During my holiday I got out all the things I’ve collected, embroideries, cross-stitch, lace and little trinkety bits and washed everythin and had a good think about how I’m going to do it, I tjhink once I start it will be fairly quick…just got to start!
  • 13 Clothes made; this was just three by the end of July, but last month I exceeded all expectations and made four dresses and a jacket! So my tally is now a much more respectable eight, still a long way to go but more achievable now!
  • 14 drawers organised; My tally remains at 9, though I have just ordered some new bead containers with plans to reorganise both my beads and my buttons!
  • 15 minute tidy up; I’m doing a few minutes at the end of the day, though I probably need to do a few more!
  • 16 books read; this has definitely been my success challenge of the year! I’ve now read 21 books, I’ve got them all together in a pile, I feel quite proud when I look at them all!
  • 17 blogs a month; I’ve done this comfortably with 19 posts.
  • 18 walks; I was a bit quieter in August, recovering from a virus, I’ve two more walks to share with you but my tally on here remains at 18.
  • 19 Splendid Sampler blocks; this was on the back burner for a few months, so Augusts tally remains at 14, but I’ve cracked on since, so September should see this one smashed!

When you include my stitch-a-longs and quilt-a-longs, I’ve been pretty busy really!

Posted in Books, Crafts, Dressmaking, Nineteen for 19, Sewing | Tagged | 11 Comments

Dewdrops on Roses…

Yesterday morning when I took the dogs out first thing it was a beautiful autumnal morning, crisp and sunny. It was what my OH would delight in calling ‘back-end-ish!’ though he starts with that phrase sometime late June!!

There’d been a heavy dew and the leaves looked like they had little sparkling crystals on every edge. It was so beautiful I went straight back inside for my camera…

Autumn garden

The alchemilla mollis by the back door was the first plant I spotted. This has got quite hairy leaves so it does this with rain drops too.

Autumn garden

This is my Lady Emma Hamilton rose, I pruned it fairly hard in the summer as it got a lot of black spot, it’s rewarded me with this lovely reddish young growth. All along the edges were little dew drops.

Autumn garden

Even the last few remaining roses looked pretty.

Autumn garden

…and it was definitely the morning to see all the spider webs, though I was rather surprised to see just how many were on the box tree at the back!!…

Autumn garden

The iris leaves by the pond were covered – just how many dew drops can you fit on one leaf!

Autumn garden

Being out early also gave me the chance to check on the garden, which areas need tackling next. I did a lot of weeding and tidying over the weekend – the big bags are still there as evidence! I’ve pulled up the crocosmia leaves, they’d flopped over everything and I was vaguely hopeful that I might be able to pull a few with their bulbs out too as It does need thinning a bit, but I think I’m going to have to tackle that one with a garden fork.

Autumn garden

The Amber & Amethyst garden still has a fair bit of colour, the sedums are just coming into their own. This dark purple-red one looks good next to the echinacea

Autumn garden

I’m looking forward to seeing how the autumn colour works out with my autumn bed.

Autumn garden

Down by the patio my potted cream hydrangea which I bought in flower in June is still flowering it’s socks off, it’s beautiful. I’m just hoping the non-flowering one behind it gets the idea of what it’s meant to be doing!


At this time of year I’m torn between leaving things to die back naturally and giving everything a good tidy up. I usually settle for somewhere in the middle, leaving bits for the wildlife but hopefully not harbouring diseases. It’s a good time for looking round to see what’s become a bit of a bully, what needs moving and which areas need attention, start planning for next year!

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Splendid Sampler 2

I finally dug out my Splendid Sampler quilt box again, it’s been on a bit of a back burner for a couple of months but I’m in the mood for a couple of finishes – I seem to have rather a lot of projects which are taking several months (or years!!)

This is a BOM by Pat Sloan and Jane Davison, there are 100 6″ blocks, designed by 80 different designers, so lots of different styles and techniques. Pat released the first twenty blocks twice a week, then you had to buy the book for the rest of the patterns. Pat gives a huge number of free patterns, I’ve made four of her quilts, so I didn’t mind having to buy the book. Last time I shared this with you I’d made 30 blocks in total, I’m not making them all, I only want a throw size, not a double bed quilt.

I finally got myself organised and rather than flicking through the book trying to decide which one to make next, which wastes an awful lot of time, I started at the front and worked my way through…it worked, I’ve made another eight over the last couple of days.

Splendid Sampler 2

The dark grey fabric behind is what I’m planning to sash them together with, I think it works pretty well.

When choosing which blocks to stitch I’m trying to select ones that mean something to me. The square on the left is called Match Point, it’s by Mary Honaker, it reminded me of cricket stumps and after the epic Ashes match at Headingley when even I got excited, and I don’t really do sport, I had to include it!

Splendid Sampler 2

The star is probably one of the trickiest blocks I’ve done recently, mainly due to the tall triangles, I love the result though and I just quilted it simply with quilting in the ditch and an echo round the star too. It’s called Sparkling Star by Linda Nitzen. It looks great with the darker blue background. I love looking at the stars when I’m in the country, when we were in Bali last year it was Nyepi, part of the festival is the quiet day, no electricity for 24 hours, the hotel put the sunloungers out at night so we could star gaze, it was magical, watching shooting stars.

I wasn’t sure about ‘Happy Day’s by Chelsi Stratton at first, it’s two hearts and as she says “any day filled with fabric and quilting is a happy day”. It was a quick and easy block to make. I do find that blocks I’m not so mad about are the ones I do my best quilting on, I think possibly because there’s nothing to lose, so I go for it! I started off with the idea of stitching the three petals over the white block, intending to stitch a heart over the hearts, but the petals came out so well I carried on. I still had the mini border to quilt, so I just extended the petals. I love it, I think it’s one of my favourite blocks now!

Splendid Sampler 2

The block on the right is called Grandma’s Abiding Faith, by Jill Shaulis, it shows the ‘Old Rugged Cross’ as her grandma had a very strong faith and used to play the organ. My mum’s faith is very important to her and she used to play the piano, so I thought I’d include this one.

Radio Waves is by Pat Sloan, it’s a nice simple design, I decided it could be all the paths we walk that intersect and cross over. Love is also by Pat, I wasn’t sure about it at first, I thought it might be a bit twee, but I decided to use blue and grey to represent the countryside I love in all weathers, sunshine and rain, though I do prefer the sunshine!! I used the same print in the two colourways. The applique is done with bondaweb and machine blanket stitch, I just meandered all over to quilt it.

Splendid Sampler 2

Stars Above (below on the right!) is by Cath Hall, it’s paper pieced, I like paper piecing but it’s a lot more fiddly when you have to trace the patterns (four times!!) instead of just pressing print on the computer! I like how this one came out.

Splendid Sampler 2

The block on the left is called ‘There’s always one!’, it’s by Jennifer Keltner, it made me laugh; when my daughter was 16 she went on a six week adventure training in Canada with the Army Cadets, we got regular photos from the leaders, as soon as I saw this photo I knew it would be Helen, as there’s always one!!

So altogether I’ve made 38 blocks so far, I laid them out on the floor to see how they looked, they’re in no particular order, the only one that stands out to me as needing changing is the one with a whiter sashing, the little house. I might manage to just trim that back and stitch a colour over the top. I like the little pop of darker blue, a new addition to the fabrics, I think I’ll try and include some in the remaining blocks. It’s not easy photographing so many, this is the best of about 20 photos with me stood on tip-toe!

Splendid Sampler 2

I’m trying to decide whether to just do another four blocks, which would make it 42″ by 48″, or stick to my original plan of 49 blocks, which would be 48″ square but another eleven blocks. Fabric stocks may make the decision for me as I’m getting fairly low, not helped by the fact that I’m trying to back the blocks with the same fabric as the block sashing, so when it’s finished the back will be pretty too. Decisions!

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Lots of Leaves

I’m just coming to the end of over three weeks off work, two weeks annual leave and then days off either end. It’s been lovely! I didn’t have anything planned, just sewing, gardening, walking, a bit of socialising, just enjoying myself! I’ve been pretty productive on the sewing front, I haven’t managed to get everything on my list done, but I’ve not done bad!

I’m keeping up with my two cross-stitch SAL’s, in fact I’m a week a head now! Faby Reilly’s SAL, the Zoe box, released the latest pattern last Monday. We’re stitching the side of the lid now, it’s outlined with back-stitch which is used during the construction, though I haven’t finished outlining the bottom of this section so I really need to get on with it. This week consists of a very pretty row of leaves in autumn and summer colours. It was fairly quick to sew and for the first time I think I’ve managed a section with no mistakes!! The squirrel and the butterfly above are on the inside of the box, you can see how the seasonal theme is being developed.

Zoe SAL Faby Reilly

I’m really enjoying this SAL, the design is beautiful, I love the way a variety of stitches are used, here we have spider-web stitch, tied cross-stitch and a woven one to make the rose whose name escapes me! The beads and the sequins add a bit of texture too.

My second SAL was released on Friday (they’re both once a fortnight) and I’d finished it by Sunday! This one is by Tempting Tangles, it’s called Enlightenment and there is a bit of a tree theme – the leaf border round the edge is gorgeous.

Tempting Tangles; Enlightenment

We’re up to section 5 of 16, so we’ve just started the second row. I do get a bit frustrated stitching in strict blocks – the large green ‘trees’ have one extra stitch to be added on the bottom corners, it would have been so much easier to stitch it with the rest. I’m still a bit undecided on this one, I love the colours, especially the variegated one, the border is beautiful, I’m just not 100% on the rest of the design. I’m sure it will grow on me as it develops.

I’ve got a whole week before Faby releases the next installment – time to work on the Finery of Nature!

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