Sunday, 7 June 2015

Gardens and cream tea

Today (Sunday) was a lovely sunny day at last. We spent the morning grubbing out the copious crop of weeds from our own garden, and putting down some mulch - which we should have done weeks ago but the garden wasn't ready then.  But in the afternoon we headed off to the pretty Northamptonshire village of Creaton, which was having its annual Open Garden Day.

Ten lovely gardens were open, and it was quite enjoyable to stroll around the pretty village in the sunshine and just walk into people's gardens.  You pay £4 to get a map showing all ten gardens and then you can visit them in whatever order you like.  We saw so many lovely plants and it really made me wish that I knew more about gardening. Also lots of lovely features like ponds, gazebos, arches, sundials, dining nooks etc.  Makes our infant garden look quite boring and open. And we had a lovely cream tea at one of the houses along the route, in fact they brought out an entire platter of cakes and just left it for us to try whatever we wanted - yum yum!


Yesterday we went to Northampton to run some errands and stopped into the marvelous Fabric Millshop, which is a huge Aladdin's cave of  bargain gorgeous home dec and upholstery fabrics, as well as craft fabric, trims etc.  I wanted to recover two cushions in the living room to tie in better with our blue painted walls, and I chose two fabrics that picked up the right blue colour, plus two more cushion inners and some continuous zips.  A bit of sewing last night and this morning and we have four new cushions. The plaid fabric was only £2.95 a metre!  I'm pleased with how the cushions make our ratty old sofa look more like it belongs in the room.

I started to add the outer border to the Stack and Whack quilt.  The short borders went on fine, but the first long border is too short so I've measured something wrong - not sure whether it was the quilt or the border fabric.  Need to investigate.

I stumbled across a free online BOM called the Cosy Afternoon Free BOM by Jacquelynne Steves and decided to sign up.  Not because I need a new project (I really, really don't...) but because I thought it might get my creative juices flowing again and bring back some of my quilting mojo.  I pulled some fabrics today ready for the kick off on 15 June. What do you think? I was going for a vintage feel.


I finished the teddybear for the pregnant colleague at work.  For some reason his head looks a bit small - perhaps my tension tightened up from the stress of playing Scrabble with the in-laws? :)

I knit a pair of booties for her as well, and have started a quick newborn cardigan in worsted weight Lion Brand acrylic.

Commuter knitting has been the same. This week I also made a start on a cardigan for me out of slubby cotton yarn.

Do you remember this bargain buy of 'tangled at the dye stage' Rowan Summer Tweed, from Texere at Fibre East?

I've spent probably about 8-10 hours in the last few weeks untangling the blue yarn. I was very disappointed to find that hidden in the coiled skein were multiple broken ends, ranging from just a few feet up to several yards.  I have managed to wind two big continuous balls from it, then I have some medium balls then some pretty useless balls of lots of small scraps.  The plan is to knit a cardigan for summer from it, but I need to do some tension swatches now that I've untangled it.  Not looking forward to ever untangling the purple skein now...

Bobbin Lace

I was almost finished the long strip of bobbin lace but I've found a vintage cloth that I think I will attach it to, and the cloth is wider so I need to extend the strip by two more fans. That means I've got to move the lace up the pricking again, so that might be my job for tomorrow's bobbin lace meeting.  I've also got started on the first dollshouse edging.  It's a fairly simple pattern of fans and ground, the real challenge is that the thread is much thinner (Cotona 30) than I've used before.  As dollshouse scales go, this is a pretty wide lace edging - it would equate to something like 6" deep in real life. But I'm proud of what I've managed so far, even though it's only half an inch long. Now that I'm familiar with the pattern I can manage it with my glasses on, although I occasionally have to use a magnifying glass to check if I've missed a pinhole or not.

Around the house

While my f-i-l was here, he narrowed the quilt ladder he built for me last year so that it fits in the corner of our hallway. It makes quite a nice display area for rotating quilts from my collection, and I see it every time I walk to my bedroom. The top two are vintage 30s quilts that I bought on holidays in America, the third one down is a vintage top that I added borders to and quilted, and the bottom one is my Piece o' Cake applique quilt that I finished a few years ago.

I've put a first coat of paint on the frame of a cheap pine wall mirror that came with us from our old house.  My plan is to do an antiqued gold finish to make it look a bit more 'period'.  I saw a Youtube video by a picture framer showing a three layered technique: base coat + gold coat + antiqueing stain. I've got some gold paint but no antiqueing stain. I might try normal wood stain and see if it works.

Yesterday we spent a few hours constructing a cage of netting for our inherited strawberry patch, to keep the birds out. It looks like we should get a pretty good crop, although they will be hard to pick as the patch has sprawled to about six feet by 12 feet. I think we need to do some judicious runner removal afterwards to try to create some lanes between the plants because they are just all growing together at the moment.  I put down some straw underneath all the plants I could reach, to keep the berries away from the dirt and the snails. Although our garden seems to be inhabited by rare acrobatic snails, I've found several climbing high into our pear tree nibbling on leaves, so low level straw probably won't give them any trouble.

1 comment:

swooze said...

That lace! My goodness! I am impressed.

In Texas ther is a gardener named Neil Sperry. He wrote a gardening book specifically for Texas. It is an amazing resource. I wonder if there is something similar for England. It helps identify plants and gives info on lighting and watering needs. It also tells how big the plant grows, etc. maybe you need to write one!

Still no word on the job front. Depressing.

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