Wednesday, 27 November 2013


I've finished the next batch of cat blankets for the RSPCA and will take them to Quainton in a day or two. I'm gradually getting through my crate of wool but I'm not going to buy any more just yet. I've dragged my old magnifying light from upstairs and (providing I don't trip over the cable) can more or less see to do stitching. For part of the day, at least. Back come the hexies I was making during the summer...
But here are the latest batch of blankets... I don't know why I didn't always do knitted borders on blankets rather than a separate crochet edging. Much more sensible!
I do try not to replicate a pattern/design in the same batch...
This is the kind of pattern to do while watching TV, football, reading, talking. It doesn't need any thought. Just OK for Knit and Natter, which is often Natter and Knit!
This pattern is very useful for using up small balls of wool, small blocks of colour.
 As is this one, above, even a few yards can be used to make stripes in an individual 'patch'...
And this one was the least attractive piece of knitting to do. The yarn was given to me. It has a shiny
thread running through it  which tended to separate from the other yarn so you could easily knit it as two stitches instead of one.

I've bought a Tumbler template and am gradually cutting a few pieces to make a handstitched version though, as usual, I don't know what it will be if I ever get round to finishing it. I've only cut 11 shapes at the moment... and I found a box of Tumbling Blocks I must have started about 3 years ago and given up on as I didn't have enough materials to choose a colour in three different tones. But I've been buying FQs for some time now, so I should have enough to do some more.

It's quite gloomy today, but better than scraping the car windows yesterday morning. It was the first real frost. I'm sure it won't be the last!

Keep well, everyone.

Monday, 21 October 2013


It's taken me about 45 minutes to sort through the various blanket photos, some 'smalled', some cropped plus the originals. Then I had to delete the doubles and so on - you probably know what I'm getting at. But finally I found the missing 6th  blanket. I know why I missed it. There's another one with a green border but this one is wider and the pattern is in moss stitch! I had tried that for a change and soon wished I hadn't! I've done so many garter stitch blankets, which means you don't have to think overmuch, so having to keep an eye on a g. stitch border plus a moss stitch stripe then another g. stitch border - my poor little brain can't cope with that and reading and TV at the same time...

I'll stick to g. stitch from now on - unless I do ripple blankets again???

Sunday, 20 October 2013


but I did remember to lower the photos!!

I decided that I'm too old and creaky to look after the pond any more so it would have to be filled in. This mess shows the poor old pond in July(no fish in it, thank goodness) covered with duck weed. I managed to find a small local firm who, for what seemed an exorbitant price but on a par with another quote, came to fill it in.

It was a good chance to get rid of those 'might come in useful one day' potsherds in hiding behind the bottom shed so those were dumped in the now-empty pond to act as hardcore. All sorts of other cracked pots were also thrown in, after all, every little helps!

The liner was folded over after the paving slab pieces round the edge were removed and added to the bottom of the pond, then the workmen brought in barrowloads of soil until it looked -
like this.  It was left for a few weeks until it had settled; in the meantime, I pulled up small pieces of pond liner which had been under the pond edging so there would be a clear run for sowing grass seed.
This is how it looks this morning after being transformed by Homebase's own grass seed. It has been cut a couple of times but Gillian hasn't been able to come due to the rainy weather so it needs a 'last cut' before the winter really sets in. And there are still some daffs waiting to be planted... I managed to fill these pots with new compost and plant tulips, crocus and violas in these and a couple more but it's a slow process. I don't usually garden unless there's someone else around to pick me up if I fall. The badger(s) have already had a go at 'the pond' and nearer the house, too, which makes the ground lumpy and potholed at the same time.  But at least it looks better than it did in July when it was a watery pond.
I wanted to advertise my Tiny Teds at the craft fair in Haddenham so made this banner using Bondaweb for the first time. Before I early-retired in the late 80s I copied all the wooden upper and lower case letters which the children used and they've come in very useful for lots of projects.

What else have I forgotten???

Saturday, 19 October 2013


 I haven't blogged for such a long time I can hardly remember how to do it! I've up/down loaded things I've done this summer, just to show that I haven't been sitting out in the garden munching chocolate, not that it's my idea of heaven, to sit outside in the sun with no prospect of shade. I tend to stay indoors and cool!! Nothing is in date order, just as it came alphabetically in my photo section.
 (I forgot to leave a space at the top in which to type the preamble and can't shift the photo down...)

The 28 Tiny Teds above were made during the summer just a few 'skins' at a time. I can make the body shape in two hours which you then double for stitching together, stuffing, stitching on features and making a scarf to wrap round his neck. I was having part of a stall at Homemade in Haddenham again (wouldn't it sound nicer if it was called 'Handmade in Haddenham'?). I covered two boxes of different sizes in material with a tiny print and piled one on top of the other so that some of the Teds had a shelf to stand on; others went into the wooden tray I used last year. I sold 26 out of the 28 so was quite happy with that.

I'm back to making Cat Blankets for the RSPCA rehoming centre at Blackberry Farm at Quainton. One thing I've just realised is, I've forgotten to turn the blankets to stand 'on end' as they're a quarter turn away from looking correct. Sorry! I make 6 at a time and then take them up to the Centre and chat to the ladies there. They always seem pleased to see more blankets.
Here's another one (below)from this batch. After making knitted blankets and then putting a crochet border round them it dawned on me that I could just as easily knit the border as I went along. How daft can you get???
 I try to make each blanket different in each batch .
 These were squares I made following a Quilt as you Go square and finally (actually) stitched these together after getting tired of seeing them laid out on the table for weeks on end. People seem to be quite taken with this pattern - and No, there aren't dozens of tails to sew in as I weave them in as I go - Lazy Libra...
 Another one of a different pattern, again.
 This one (above) is really a strippy quilt pattern, just random length strips knitted at once with a nice muddle of wools tangled together, not joined together afterwards as one lady at the Knit and Natter thought.... Incidentally that's held at Haddenham Community Library every week where some people knit, others sew, embroider or just chat. Some weeks it's more Natter than Knit!
 When I wanted a break I made these two hats for - well, some charity in due course. Will only fit small children and I made a premature baby hat from an on-line pattern which looks like a goose egg cover it's so tiny!

My daughter got married to her Dutch partner in August at the Town Hall. Some of the family went but I decided it would be too stressful to go out one day and back the next - and not my kind of thing anyway, I avoid weddings. Still, it was just as well they brought the wedding forward as Jonathan's mother was able to go from the hospice so,although she died ten or twelve days later, she saw her youngest son married. Teresa made the cake,of course!
A few more knitty bits - I found this pattern for knitted hexies which take a few minutes to make but you have to pay attention as you're counting decreases on every alternate row.
 I managed to take myself to a patchwork exhibition at Northchurch near Berkhamstead, the hall being at the top of a steep hill, naturally. Not a very large room and not a large selection of stalls, either but some of the quilts were interesting though not so easy to photo, not much room between the stands. I liked this one, being a scrappy quilt.
Just one closeup of one of the patches which, as you see, is made up of four squares stitched together with the same colour bias in each set of four. I like scrap quilts!
This is another design I like and have meant to make for y-e-a-r-s and have never got around to. Must find a way of cutting these 'tumblers' which I haven't got around to either...
I have made these blocks during the summer, usually by doing something towards them before I actually went downstairs in the morning. I've been given a lot of interesting scraps at K & N by a lady who says she's given up quilting...but none of that material is in here. I have enough to make the centre of a lap quilt but one side needs adjusting so I've put it away until next year. I've done quite a lot towards the handsewn hexie ?quilt during the summer but can't decide what to make it into, yet, so that's gone away as well. I'm still buying fat quarters!
 I entered Haddenham Horticultural Show again this year, putting in Darks and Brights quilt (2nd), the harlequin blanket I made a year or so ago (Highly Commended) and this Pen and Ink drawing I did in 2009 and that was a 2nd, too. It cost 60p in entrance fees and I won - 80p... Then found the crafts judge is one of the K & N ladies...
Sarah (granddaughter) has gone off to California for about 6 months with her boyfriend and she's currently  blogging photos and info on one of her websites plus sending a Round Robin to listed people and answering individual emails, too. While she's away Stuart and Helen are moving house so she'll come back to lots of boxes full of shoes and cushions as well as (no doubt at all) lots of other essential bits.

I'll just check this through then off to watch football on BT Sports Channel which is free at present to rope you in...

Will try to blog more frequently, and that's either a threat or a promise, I'll have to see which in due course! No room to put labels.....

Monday, 1 July 2013

BATTLE OF THE SOMME 97 years ago.

Some years ago I took a writing course and although I sold non fiction articles I never managed to get fiction published, though I did win a couple of competitions. Since this story concerns 1 July 1916, however light it is, you might be interested to read it.

Sunday, 16 June 2013


At last I've finished a quilt I began last year and left over the winter. There are 480 2" squares all together with as many different materials as I could find. Inevitably some are used more than once.
I didn't want to use any pale colours in it so I've called it 'Darks and Brights' because that's what they are. I framed the multi-coloured patch with cream and then added a border of the material I used to back the last (handmade) quilt I finished. There are still scraps left over so they'll turn up in other quilts from time to time.
There are materials which have already been used in other quilts such as this flying lion but there are others which I haven't used before.There's still a pin in some photos holding the layers together before I Tacked it.
Other pieces are'fussy cut' like this shell,( and joined so well, as you can see!) or I've used up the last scraps so couldn't be too picky about the appearance.
 Teddy in a beret...
A Christmas cat...
A penny farthing cyclist piece which came from a long-time friend...the paisley piece above it I used in a Trip Round the World quillow in 1995.
 And these dalmatians are the last piece left over from a dress I made my almost 40 year old granddaughter when she was very much younger.
The backing is a new sheet bought a few weeks ago at a car boot; very expensive at 50p! The camera hasn't really captured the colour because it's  purple. I didn't quilt it so did Mennonite Tacking instead, which holds the layers together just as well, only differently. There are tiny pink stitches which show in the square below the red, the dark green starry and in the  pink square below that. (These photos all get taken as the quilt's on the line and moving in the breeze... )

 This is how the reverse looks with just these small stitches visible.

 I used cotton perle No.8 for the Mennonite Tacking and a sashiko needle because of the thickness of the cotton. Good old Hobbycraft!
I didn't put on a separate binding but turned the sheet to the front and stitched it with multi-coloured cotton in colours which related to the border.

And last of all, the all important label.

Another quilt to pack away...

I've got some handsewing on the go, too, just a little bit at a time, something else which I began while Kath was still in Stoke, I think, so several years 'old'. These Grandmother's Garden pieces aren't meant to go together, it's just that I make handsewn quilts in small sections so that I don't have to cope with the weight for a long time. The exciting part will be when I play at laying out other sections, when they're made, and work out how wide the finished quilt will be, then I can really get going on it.

I've also got some machined patches stuck on the grandly named Design Wall, which is an absolute must as far as I'm concerned and since it's my house I can do what I like. When I first came here this was another of the First Things I did - sticking sheets of polystyrene on the spare bedroom wall and stapling a winceyette sheet to them. Then drawing felt tip lines horizontally and vertically to give me a line to which I can butt up patches and keep them level. The snag now is, I can't reach the top line as I've shrunk in the last several years. Ho hum...

I saw a strippy quilt heading to Briony's blog and liked it so decided to use some scraps which seem to keep piling up and make one for myself. Picking my way through my UFO box I found some patches which I'd make so long ago I can't remember when, though they are larger than Briony's. So I decided to carry on with those. The larger squares mean longer strips which then means cutting more strips and so we go on... I try to do a couple of squares a day after breakfast and before I do anything else. Well, that's the idea. I made the last two on this row this morning before coming downstairs and carrying on with this blog, begun yesterday.

Just as a tail-ender - I threw out some old bread for the badgers last night (that's extras), opened the Top Shed door to get the three usual handfuls of peanuts and found the field mouse sitting on top of the plastic bin containing the peanuts. So I left four or five nuts for it... Years ago I had left the lid off an empty bin and in the morning there was a dead mouse in the bottom. It must have fallen in and then couldn't get out so I make sure lids are on tempting 'smelly' bins.

Monday, 10 June 2013


When I was going to bed last night I saw a glowing light in the sky not too far away. I turned off all the lights and tried to make out what was going on. The flickering light gradually faded until all was dark.
This morning, these remains are hooked onto the cropped walnut tree. Looks to me as if it's one of those Chinese hot air lanterns and, caught in the tree, it burned itself out.

What do you think?

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

FLOWERS IN THE GARDEN, early June 2013

 A couple of days ago I took some photos of the garden but, looking through my saved photos, I found I'd posted them in other years so have only picked a few. It was a sunny day, at the time, now quite cloudy... The flowers above are camassia. They've been flowering well this year but going over now.
 The first two poppies this year. Such a lovely colour in the garden  and by accident more than design planted them near to wolfsbane (Aconitum) and alliums. Orange and purple. Plenty of poppy buds, if the rain doesn't spoil them.
 Welsh poppies, ajuga (aka bugle) which is good ground cover, some of the aquilegia which has sprung up all round the garden in plenty of unexpected colours.
 Forgetmenots are always welcome when they first appear but then, they seed everywhere, ready for next year. It'll be one of my jobs today when Gillian comes to garden - shortly.
 At the end of the garden, behind the bottom shed there's this hawthorn tree which I included in my garden as I didn't want it to be destroyed when the developer cleared the scrub several years ago.  So much top soil was dumped that the level of the ground rose considerably. There's a robin nesting box in there which was used the first year but not since.

 Photinias always give a good show of colour, too, with new leaves showing this bright red. Well, it is a variety called Red Robin.
Plenty of flowers on the rowan.

Alliums and wolfsbane by the poppies and (below) a little group of alliums. The badgers ate one group of bulbs...
Gillian's here so I'm off to work. If my new specs are OK (collecting Friday) I'll probably change the font size back to this but at the moment I can hardly see it!!! There's no size in between...