Friday, December 30, 2016

Progress on my cross stitch WIPs

I had put away my woodland sampler to focus on finishing the Merry & Bright cross stitch by The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. I finished the bonus pattern first. I only made one change and that was to change the light blue border to pink. Now I have to decide how to display it.

I also finished the main panel too. I plan to have this professionally framed, perhaps in red?

I have just this week pulled out the Woodland Sampler and finished November. The July block is also half complete. I plan to finish this either today or tomorrow as it's already dated 2016 and I don't plan to restitch the final block.

So hopefully I will have two fewer cross stitch projects to list as UFOs on 1 January 2017.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Progress on my knitting WIPs

When sorting out my works in progress basket I came across two cakes of yarn in the frozen colourway  which I had caked up for the little bobbins knits Christmas Eve cost on for 2015. They were never cost on so I decided to add them to my WIPs and I have now done the heel turn on both socks. Like my advent socks I have knit these two at a time.

I have knit on my mini mania sure every day with my advent minis. It is growing slowly.

I have been making progress on my advent socks using the mini skeins from my advent calendar. I am two rows away from the heel turn.

I have not yet added the pom-poms to my white stuff inspired scarf so I have no finished objects this week.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Working on my cross stitch WIPs

I have grossly miscalculated how much I can achieve this month, so I have adjusted my expectations. I have finished October and most of November on my Woodland sampler with just one month to complete - July.

Progress will be slow as I can't get good stitch definition with white and the remainder of November is white and there are white dandelions in the July block.

However I have now put it away until after Xmas and I am working on Merry & Bright, clue 2 of which was released on Monday evening.

I will work on this every day after my advent knitting. It should be finished but not framed by Xmas.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Progress on my knitting WIPs

A plan only works if you follow the plan and I am easily distracted. However I have finished my first WIP of my juniper socks.

The wool came in a Tunisian crochet kit from my friend Claire. However I will be trying out Tunisian crochet in 2017.

I took my cables down the back socks to my WI sock knitting group and I made progress, but I soon realised why they were languishing - they were too narrow. They have been ripped back and replaced with my vanilla advent socks.

The toes were knit from the same Opal mini skein and then I am doing different skeins on each foot and aim to add matching heels and cuffs. This is not a knitted bikini, thank you Jo for the feedback! That brings all sorts of horrible pictures to mind.

I also started the Peace cowl by @healthyknitter but I didn't like how it was turning out, do I ripped that out too. I have added six more sets of three rows to my mini mania shawl and it's interesting to compare the two ends as they have some completely different colours in them.

The only other progress to report is that my White Stuff inspired scarf is out of my cupboard and in a bag with the pom poms to work on one evening. The parts are assembled in one place to make it easy to grab the bag and finish the scarf.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A plan for my knitting WIPs

I need a plan for my knitting WIPs as well as my cross stitch WIPs. So in progress I have:

1. Juniper socks for Knitvent. I am on the second sock

2. White stuff scarf, just needs the pom poms to be sewn on
3. Afterthought heel socks, just need the heels to be knit
4. Gondola shawl - I need to add some beads to a row that I have already knit and then finish the last clue.
5. Inglis Raven Mitts by Ysolda Teague. Both mitts are half complete
6. Cables down the back socks. I am doing the heel flap on the first sock
7. Mini mania scarf. I will add one set of three rows from my Opal advent calendar in December.

I would like to get all of my knitting projects finished in 2016, ready for Little Bobbins' Christmas Eve socks cast on. Now back to my Woodland sampler cross stitch.

Monday, November 28, 2016

A plan for my cross stitch WIPs

Having got back from a 16 day holiday in the Mediterranean , I have found it difficult to get back into the swing of things. So I decided it was time to formulate a plan to finish some WIPs in December and 2017. I also added to my cross stitch WIPs by buying two further Christmas patterns. There is no hope for me.

I have 11 WIPs including my hugs tapestry cushion and a floral cushion in tent stitch, which I need to move into the same bag as my other WIPs. So firstly I have:
3. 12 days of Christmas to work on during November and December 2017
4. Xmas on Gingerbread Lane to work on during October 2017 as this one is nearer to completion.
5. Pretty Little London which has twelve ten stitch wide columns so I will do one column per month in 2017 as well as taking it on our cruise in March.
6. Holly Jolly Santa which is the smallest chart and which I am going to work on at my quilting group in December 2016.

7. Christmas Celebration sampler is a new purchase for which I don't gave the threads so this will be hibernating.
8. Merry & Bright is a new pattern which I took on our recent holiday and completed the first clue. The second clue is released in a week's time.
9. Woodland sampler will be completed this year as I have already done the date on the sampler.
10. Spring sampler to be worked on at my quilt group in January and February 2017. It is very nearly complete.

11. Once upon a time which I will sew each month and if I have already completed the relevant month, I will stitch two border squares.

Assembling all my projects in one place has been therapeutic and I have put away the kit I was working on and have moved the Woodland sampler into the lounge yo work on in the evenings and Holly Jolly Santa is now in the car ready to work on this Wednesday.

I have also formulated a plan for other aspects of cross stitching:
1. I am going to unsubscribe from the temptation which is the Frosted Pumpkin on Facebook and Instagram
2. I am going to destash my stock of linen and aida immediately
3. In 2017 I am going to destash all of my threads that are not needed for these projects
4. My one remaining kit which hasn't been started is to be given to a friend on Wednesday.  First I have to find it!

That feels much better. Now I need to do the same for my knitting projects.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Black butter bundt #bundtbakers

The theme of this month's recipe challenge is apples. I have to admit I don't like cooked apples nor do I like apple juice from a carton. however I have found out over the last year that I love fresh apple juice as it tastes like apples and isn't processed. Whilst away at the Festival of Quilts last week, we were discussing comedians who have appeared in Jersey and Stephen K Amos came to mind along with the jar of black butter that he was given and an idea formed.

Black butter is  locally produced mostly by the National Trust once a year but also by La Mare Vineyards. Read more about it here. we have had two 220g jars in the cupboard for some time that came in hampers as gifts. So a black butter bundt it would be.

I paired the black butter with apple and cinnamon yogurt as both flavours are in the black butter and decided on the Nordicware heritage tin.

So here's the recipe which worked beautifully at the first attempt. The icing, wasn't such a success so I will let you use your favourite icing recipe.

225g margarine
200g black butter
250g homemade vanilla sugar
3 large eggs
350g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
250g yogurt

The addition of the baking powder to the self raising flour means that you can do an all in one method (thank you Delia). Pour into a greased pan and cook for 75 minutes at 160 degrees C

I decorated the bundt with a lemon, cinnamon icing and air dried apple slices. The kitchen smelt like Christmas had come with the lovely spices. It didn't taste overly appley and there is not much left.

If you liked the sound of my bundt, follow these links for more apple bundts:


#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the BundtBakers home page.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

July 2016 in socks

I have been hit by the sock making bug and so has my credit card. So many photos of so much lovely yarn on Instagram tempts me every day. However this coming month I am going to give myself a weekly budget (with some birthday money added on) to try and get my stash under control.

Kate Selene is a case in point, even on holiday, she tempted me with her wares and unfortunately Juicy Oasis had good Wi-Fi and thankfully good air conditioning. These are the popular pattern - Hermione's everyday socks in grey pop fizzle.

And these are made from two knit rows on circulars and one row of K1 P1. The yarn is by Biscotte yarns and was some that I won in an online draw. Unfortunately I don't know the name of the colourway as its not on the ball band. Biscotte do fantastic self striping yarns.

And yesterday I cast on this wool for some socks for Imogen of Fig Tree Yarns to take to Yarndale to show off the Holiday Yarns in Norah's Peacock's Big Brother. I am embracing the grellow.

I plan to knit these whilst travelling to and from London on Tuesday. I have an interview near Parsons Green and plan to do some yarn shop visiting using my travel card to its fullest as the interview is at 2.30 pm for an hour. I am on the red eye and will then knit in Gatwick airport until the cheap train fares kick in at 9.30 am.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

My secret garden BOM month 7

I am up to date on this block of the month (BOM) for all of a week as the ninth block will be released next week. I am now having to substitute fabrics for my original picks as a 16" block requires more than just leftovers. I am pleased with how it's coming together.

I love the eclectic background for this block which I am guessing came from an I want her stash bundle from Westwood Acres.

This block was a bonus block in that it is a ten month sew along with twelve blocks to see. It is a variation on a block from a previous month.

And all my blocks so far. Now to catch up with the Summer Sampler.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Summer Sampler 2016

Well my procrastination about joining this summer sew along cost me money as I missed the deadline for the introductory price. Never mind, I'm only three weeks behind. On Tuesday I decided to take the plunge and the first two blocks were soon made.

I have decided to pair Bonnie & Camille ranges with Karen Lewis screen printed fabrics on a Kona steel background.

I think I will do a substitute block for week three's sno cone block as it doesn't speak to me. I will do the block along with block 4 next week.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Liberty quilt

A quick turn around on this one as I am away for the weekend and like to clear the decks. Liz used all but a few scraps from a Liberty bundle.

The pantograph chosen is full of the joys of spring with rabbits playing in a garden.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Riley Blake fabric challenge for the Modern Quilt Guild

I applied for the challenge fabric through the MQG and then forgot about it. Then a 1kg parcel from Riley Blake was shipped to me. Hmm, intriguing. It arrived, and didn't weigh 1 kg at all and contained the challenge fabric. A generous 3/4 yard which remained pristine  in its packet. Fortunately there were some shipping delays for others so the deadline was extended until 31 May. Yes I am posting a full three days before entries have to be submitted and I only started it just over a week ago.

My thoughts all along were Welsh strippy quilts like this one here. Of course I didn't do any research and just relied upon my memory. One of our local guilds was requested to make quilts for the children's ward of our local hospital so I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone.

I pieced and quilted the black and white quilt above, using a pantograph for the strips and ruler work for the printed strips. I have learnt a lot from the process and need a lot more practise. I also FMQ's the borders and went straight from the pantograph into the border like I was taught by Angela Walters. no ends to sew in. It was at this stage that I heard that the sizes were completely wrong for the hospital. So I don't know to whom I will gift the quilt.

Then I dyed the quilt using Procion dyes. Not a bad result but a bit patch and a bit orange. Friday morning I Facebook messaged a local shop owner who confirmed that she had a Dylon packet of Tulip red, a quick dash into town and the quilt was soon in my washing machine. Yesterday and today I've sewn on the binding and submitted my details to The Modern Quilt Guild. Relief

What to work on next? Perhaps a small project that I scheduled to complete this quarter, whilst also quilting a customer quilt.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Folk art basket

I thought I had just about finished this folk art basket by Button Angel yesterday. However when I went to turn it inside out and finish it, I realised there were six leaves not stitched down. Hmm. Do last night I unpicked it and have remedied my mistakes this morning.

I mostly followed the pattern but made a few adjustments as I went:
I made the basket round rather than oval
Some circles I replaced with buttons
Stems were made out of ribbon
And I used fabric for the appliqué rather than wool felt.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Blocks for Helen

These are some of the blocks that I have sewn for Helen (Indiana Dreams) for our Bumbling Honeys Bee. We are hoping to meet up in July as Lizzie and I are in London or at the Festival of Quilts in August (or  both). Some projects are with their last person, so are on target for a July finish. Some are more tricky than others. I have found that deciding what to make almost takes as long as making my contribution.

The full reveal won't be until we hand over our blocks and the envelope shown above isn't my final block as I wasn't happy with the contrast between the Kona white background and the script fabric. I just have one block more to make and I have to pick up some fabric from Jane to complete it as my stash is deficient in some areas.

I hate extra seams in blocks and regularly adapt patterns for Blocks of the Month to eliminate the extra joins. You can see from the foundation pattern above that the letter E would have to be made up of two pieces which would have to be sewn together to make the block.

Well I decided to try and do some mitred corners to enable the block to be sewn as one piece. I can report I was successful. I did it by just sewing to the intersection of the pieces and reverse stitch to secure and then I did a mitred corner as you would do on a border. I've torn away the paper to show you how it looks. I was surprised at the sense of accomplishment I felt.

I will show you the final blocks after they've been revealed in July or even August.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

My secret garden block of the month

You know that I love a good block of the month. This block of the month is hosted by Pat Sloan at the website This is the May block which I have just completed. Instead of using a red fabric around the middle text fabric I decided to pick out the pink in the centre block and used a favourite Lu summers fabric.

Here are all of the blocks laid out together along with my pack of fabrics that I have used so far. When I run out of a fabric, I plan to just add a different fabric into the mix.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Last minute

I am packed and ready to go to the quilt show in Nantes and had time to trim these two customer quilts before my lift arrives.

No time to edit the photos, sorry.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Craftsy class sale

I love a lazy spring afternoon as much as anyone, but I love a crafting afternoon even more! Craftsy has put hundreds of their top classes on sale at 50% off –– so you can find the inspiration to keep every day filled with creativity. Hurry, these deals end Saturday! 

I've spotted a "Professional Yarn Dyeing" class and Elizabeth Hartman's new class with a bear and a reindeer pattern included. Ooh and Susan B Anderson's my first toe up sock. There are 785 classes on sale. Wow.

Link to Craftsy

Friday, April 15, 2016

My Secret Garden Block of the month

It is no secret that I love a good Block of the Month (BOM). And free is even better as I have plenty of stash to use. April is the fourth month of Pat Sloan's BOM and I was particularly drawn to this month's Keukenhof block as I visited Keukenhof a few years ago on a scrapbooking retreat.

I eliminated some of the seams in the background portion of this block and got it down to eight pieces from twelve pieces. I love the Karen Lewis red floral print and the Carolyn Friedlander background looks good with the other fabrics I chose. As I am using stash, once I've run out of a fabric, I substitute something similar. The navy in this block is an example of this approach as I'd run out of the navy honeycomb pattern in a previous block.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Q2 2016 FAL

2016 FAL

I did finish most of the items on my Q1 list but never got around to showing them to you, so my Q2 list will be entirely different.

First is my Moda Building Blocks quilt which has been waiting to be quilted for some months now. It's time to get it finished.

The hexagon quilt is quilted and now needs to be trimmed and bound. I'm on the home straight with this one.

This is Lizzie's University quilt which I need to finish and quilt before she's at home on either study leave or school holidays. The blocks are 50% complete, so they will be worked on at our Modern Quilt Guild days.

This is probably the most urgent thing to do and it's to make a pennant for our WI. I commissioned a pennant stand to be made and it will be delivered tomorrow. So that means I now need to make the pennant to go on the stand. I have just found some background fabric so have pencilled this job for Monday of next week.

A few small projects to finish. The first is a basket. The outside is done and quilted so it shouldn't take more than a few hours to get it finished, so why has it been in the cupboard for months?

And this has been in the cupboard almost complete for possibly two years. It looks very sorry but is a social tote. All it needs is the binding, again, a few hours work.

And an Instagram block designed by Lori Holt to be made into a project bag. Hmm, do you think it would take more than two hours. Perhaps not and now I've found my press stud pliers, it'll be even quicker.