Wednesday, 23 July 2014

I am always glad when a crafty person shares their garden on their blog because I really just love a good nosey at other people's patches so I've decided to include more allotment stuff here. You can always just skip it: in fact, a question - do you read blogs, or just look at the pictures?!  I find some blogs irresistible and read all the way through, and there are others which I just look at for the photos - usually bloggers with thousands of readers, so I doubt this admission would bother them.

Anyhow, back to the allotment.  Thing 2 is a diligent helper so she and I went down and picked the remaining soft fruit.  

Nobody but me actually likes blackcurrant jam very much so a few pots will be enough - I will have to find something else to do with them.  If you have a favourite blackcurrant recipe suggestions would be very welcome.

The last strawberries, picked in the sun - I wish you could smell them.

These ones got made into Eton Mess, which was eaten so quickly that there is no photo evidence.  Pictures of other people's dinners are really inspiring but it doesn't often occur to me to take a photo of ours!

We have still got rhubarb and apples to come, because I get the benefit of one side of a row of old apple trees - cookers and eaters - which separates my plot from the next.  I've just been reading Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's book Booze and found out that you can make rhubarb vodka, so that's next on the list - I will let you know how it goes.

I don't want to sound too like Barbara out of The Good Life (I always liked Margot best) so I'd better point out that my most successful crop at the moment is actually weeds.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Why I am a Slow Blogger

Thank you to Moira for hosting the Slow Blog Linky - I'm just linking up to make my excuses for the lack of creativity.  I managed to finish one project since the last linky but I am spending the summer holidays trying to be a Good Mother, attempting to keep on top of the weeds on the allotment, and working, so not much craftiness involved.

For the last week I did get to go skiving off to the mountains up North with my husband, without children!

Last year we actually managed to get up to the top of that mountain - this time we were looking at it from the top of something a little smaller.   The vegetation on top of our hill looked like this, heather and blaeberries.

It seems to be a particularly good year for them.  Nom nom nom.

We found this Emperor Moth caterpillar which made me think of the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland, only missing a hookah to make him look even more psychedelic.

Further down, it was more meadow, with some beautiful orchids. I think this is the Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea) although it definitely was not growing on lime as described in my book.

Sneezewort (achillea ptarmica).

There were more beasties too - a shield bug, 

and a dung beetle.

Needless to say, it wasn't always sunny.

Knotted Cotton

Monday, 14 July 2014

Slow Blog Linky

Hey Slow Bloggers,  are you up to your eyes in small children during the holidays, busy at work, failing to keep up with finish-alongs?

You can always link up with other slow bloggers - this month's party is being hosted tomorrow by the lovely Moira!

Friday, 27 June 2014

Stitch Gathering

How cool is this - it's a bag which is a ticket!  The idea is to embellish it for your secret partner at the retreat.  

Apparently there are only a handful of tickets left and I can highly recommend it.  Last year was such a great day and I learned to make this

and this

so I am really looking forward to this year's event.  If you get your ticket now you will just be in time to choose your own classes.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Siblings Together Quilts and Labels

If you grew up with siblings, as I did, the thought of being separated from them is awful. The charity Siblings Together makes it possible for siblings who have been separated from each other by the care system to share some quality time together in the summer camps it organises along with other activities throughout the year.

I originally read about it in Lynne's post here - she was inspired to ask for donations of quilts for children taking part in the summer camps so that they would have something to call their own and to bring them happy memories. You can admire the quilts that have been made in the flickr group, and on Siblings Together twitter feed.

Lynne's post was the incentive I needed to make my first full size quilt.  This year I'm helping out by sending out labels for the quilts.  As before, these have been generously printed for us free of charge by Spoonflower - our contact Becca has written a lovely post about it on the Spoonflower blog and is already planning to make a quilt with her friend for next year's camps.

If you have made, are making, or can be persuaded :-) to make a quilt for this great cause and would like a label please let me know in the comments or by email to catherine [at] knottedcotton [dot] com.  Postage will cost 62p in the UK - if you are overseas I can let you know accordingly.  And if you plan to deliver it at FQR, you will also be able to collect a label from Lynne there - just let us know so that we can be sure to have them available.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Fabric Tuesday - yet more quilt photos...

Humble apologies to any regular readers for the overkill but if you live in Scotland and get two fine days in a row you have to make the most of them, so me and the current favourite quilt went off to play on the beach for a bit before it finally goes off to its new home in Mexico City.   (If you are visiting from Fabric Tuesday and want to you can read a bit more about this quilt and the charity it is for here.)

We are so lucky to have this beach a mile down the coast.  We hung around for a bit:

and wondered what the "2" stands for.

Then we found a garden where the grass was as green as the binding:

Chartreuse kona - (Kermit green:-)

The novice satin stitch writing on the quilt reads "Soy amada" (I am loved) and is for the girl that this quilt will go to.  It is in lovely variegated Aurifil, which I also used to quilt the pink, and though it doesn't show up so clearly in photos the writing is all right in real life.

I never thought I would become so fond of pink though somehow I had accumulated enough of it in my stash to make this quilt.  Now I promise not to go on about it any more:-)

Fresh Poppy Design

Monday, 16 June 2014

A finish: More is More

The More is More quilt for Alison's Soy Amada/o project is finished.  If you are not familiar with this project these quilts are going off to a children's home in Mexico City.

I loved the in-your-face pinkness of it so much that I had planned to throw everything at this quilt including applique and perle hand quilting in the white border but it turned out that less is more after all.  I tried out both and they just looked fussy rather than full on, so I unpicked!

Instead, for the pieced sections I did very simple quilting to echo the lines of the rows using a pink/orange/red/yellow variegated thread from Aurifil (No 4657) which went happily with all the fabrics - it's so pretty I would use a heavier weight next time to show it off more.

I used the same Aurifil in my sewing machine to free-motion satin stitch the words Soy amada (Spanish for "I am loved") in the corner of the quilt.  I don't have a fancy sewing machine but I can do this using a medium zig zag stitch on the tightest setting, just don't be too critical:-)

In the white border sections I used the star stitch on my machine to tie the quilt with white thread at regular (2 inch or so) intervals.  At the risk of stating the bleeding obvious I use the auto thread lock function to finish off one stitch at a time, pulling the quilt through the machine to the next section as you can see in this not very attractive photograph which shows the stitching from the back.

Once all the joining threads are snipped you end up with these little star shaped ties, and once you have got the hang of it you can actually be snipping the joining threads of one row of stitches while stitching the next.  I have already used this method of quilting for a whole quilt and as decoration in the border of another.  It is very forgiving of poor basting skills...

The stripey binding that I was going to use didn't work as the effect was totally lost, but I am so happy with this fantastically bright chartreuse kona which contrasts with the pink and satisfied my need for something with drama.

I love this quilt and have to confess to a sneaky regret that it's leaving!  It was fun to have a chance to play with colours so out of my normal comfort zone - I hope it makes someone happy and keeps them warm.

Quilt details:

Fabric - every single piece of pink in my stash, bar one.
Binding - kona in chartreuse
Batting - warm and natural
Thread - Aurifil 50 variegated No 4657, white Gutermann Sew All

Fresh Poppy Design
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