Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

Archive for November, 2018

Knit and Natter Friday

Last day of November 2018, oh my. That means it is only…. a few weeks till the days start getting longer hurrah.

Wild Daffodil asked to see my attempt at boro patchwork at the Knitting and Stitching Show last week. It is not pretty.

We were each given a packet of instructions, fabric scraps and instructions. The tutor said she had some brooch backs if we wanted to make a brooch and were done by the end of the workshop. She said we could make boro into cushions, cards etc.

I am not the fastest of workers, too much day dreaming, so I set about cutting my fabric and stitching.

And very quickly I realised that sewing running stitches in a straight line was harder than one would think, so I kind of stopped and did some random seeding stitches for a while. My lovely chatty neighbour was doing much better at straight lines till she pointed out that she actually had a piece of Aida (cross stitch ) fabric, with holes in straight lines. Then I got distracted by the brown piece of fabric, top left which I had cut from a larger but small piece of whatever it is. The scrap leftover looks like a sailing boat I thought. So I stopped doing what I was supposed to be doing and constructed this.

I just can’t do abstract. Of course looking at it today it looks like a church window. I think the blue piece is actually from knickers.

And these are the left over pieces of fabric.

Not daunted by my inauspicious beginning once home I decided I would fix a hole in an autumn leaf cushion I made once. I had a hole due to dreadful machine sewing of border to main panel. I found a piece of green fabric which looks nothing like the original fabric which I had made all by myself, but boro is supposed to be visible so hey it should look different. And set about mending the cushion boro style. I cut a leafish shape and set off. Oh Dear.

I was trying to stitch leaf veins. Never mind the cushion no longer has a hole, and the photo is mercifully blurred.

Not quite got to grips with boro yet.

There has been a little knitting occurring this week, half way up the black and white yarn jacket sleeve for Baby J, who should now be known as Toddler J, having found his legs in the last fortnight.

And some crochet. Jane from Rainbow Junkie Corner had very kindly sent me a copy of her pattern for African Violets and some yarn, as she so liked the bookmark she had won in my giveaway, and I had admired her African Violets in her giveaway.

Jane possibly unwisely, said email her if I got stuck, which I did a bit on the flowers, but she quickly replied, Jane is a chart person I am very much a written instruction totally panic at the sight of charts person. All was resolved with ease.

Anyway I am delighted with my woolly African Violets. Thank you so much Jane.

Sitting very nicely in a little white bucket.

From the top, and on the kitchen window cill for some Winter Colour.

Which you may recall was one of the things I decided to do in winter. Thank you so much Jane.

Today we are off to York and hopefully the Christmas Market.

Next week I plan to make my Boxing Day Chutney which I shall simply call spicy chutney on the jar because I got tired of telling people last year that it wasn’t compulsory to eat it all on Boxing Day. Honestly, sons…

So what is everyone’s plans for the weekend? Christmas lights in our towns and villages all seem to be turned on, on Saturday Night at 5pm! At least in our neck of the woods, hoping for a dry mild evening.

Take care and

Be Happy,




1,568 Sawdust Hearts

During the Spring of this year a friend told me about the 1,568 Sawdust Hearts project. After the First World War, many men came home injured and suffering from shell shock. As part of their recovery they were encouraged to take up craft work. A popular craft was to make a sawdust heart pincushion for a loved one.

Decorations were simple, and easy to do using pictures, pins and threads.  Occupational therapy was born.This one was found in an antique shop this year.

Helen Birmingham has a studio and gallery in Scarborough and decided she would like to raise money for Combat Stress, a charity who provides help and support for soldiers with post traumatic stress. She saw an article about sweetheart pincushions as they were known, on the internet ,and came up with the idea of asking people to decorate a sawdust heart for an exhibition, for which there would be a catalogue which would raise money. She realised that she couldn’t  have one heart for every soldier who didn’t  return from WW1, but she could  make 1,568 hearts for every day of that war.

So the blank hearts were made up, and would be decorators came forward to embellish them in any way they choose.

The exhibition is running Scarborough for the whole of November and the hearts will then be returned to their makers.

I attended both the launch on the 3 November  and the presentation on 11 November at which the last post was played. Both occasions were very moving and I found myself unable to take pictures and think about what I was seeing . So on Saturday I returned to

The Woodend Gallery. There were quite a few visitors , and I still found myself in tears. But I managed to pull myself together and pay proper attention to the hearts and to find the ones I admired most. There are a lot. Each heart has a number for the purposes of knowing who made which one in the catalogue.

This is number 20, by Sue Robinson. I loved the colours and the fabric construction,

68 by Laureen Downes. This is easily overlooked in the brochure. I found it strange that some didn’t photograph so well, and some that did were not so memorable in life. I loved the added embroidery in this one, and the Dorset button and that the pinwheel at the bottom paid homage to the original hearts.

126 by Mo Bergson- Mr E’s favourite. He liked the desolation of the this felted heart, feeling it depicted the futility and sadness of the war.

158 by Deborah Powell.Deborah’s heart was also included in an additional booklet called Inside Stories. Many of us had written to Helen when we returned our hearts to tell of our inspiration. Deborah had explained that Day 158 was 1st January 1915. HMS Formidable was sunk on that day by a U Boat. 547 sailors lost their lives. On the back of the heart are 547 crosses, one for each man lost.

Sorry, I am crying again…

Helen spent a long time figuring out how to display the hearts, until she decided the only way was numerical, After all the soldiers weren’t neatly sorted out , the doctor’s son would serve next to the cleaners son, so the hearts should not be arranged artistically either. The boards were numerical with thirty hearts per board. However the sun shines brightly in the gallery so each day the free-standing boards are moved around so none fade. Now I could  arrange my pictures so that they were numerical, because I just flitted from board to board, but then I reckon no, soldiers get muddled up in trenches and hospital, and battlefields, so from now on the numbers  are a bit more random.

This is 636 by Wendy Green. I love that it is a picture, with fields, poppies, sky and trees. I find that I am drawn a lot to pictorial ones.

549 by Sue Stichbury. Boro patchwork and embroidery, loved the use of scraps. There were a few that included the word Forget me not.

218 by Shirley Rae. I loved the drama of this one, it depicts to me the horror of war and that Hope should always be with us for a better day.

331 by Stuart Batty. This is actually the back of the heart that has been used. It just moves me, a lot. It’s one of my very favourite hearts.

This is how the boards look with 30 hearts on them. You can see the last one here.

Not all of the hearts sold, so they became Unknown Soldiers displayed thus.

And that still makes me cry.

Some hearts weren’t returned, many of us found it hard to make them, so much did we want to do justice to these lost souls. But Helen called them Missing in Action and made a heart which appears in the catalogue for each one out there somewhere, She displayed the Missing in Action Hearts too.

There’s the heart at the top, and all those numbers.Lost days, lost young people.

Now this nearly became my favourite heart, I loved the faded velvet and that it closely resembles the style of the original hearts. It’s number 865 by Paula Fenwick- Lucas.

842 by Dr Maggie McArthur. Inside Stories tells us that

The top represents the future

The middle is the mud of no-man’s land.

The bottom represents the iconic poppies flowering once the land recovers .

The lace on the edge came from Bruges, near to Flanders.

I just loved the embroidery.

913 by Cynthia Ruth. This looks so delicate and pretty, any sweetheart would have loved this one had her soldier love sent it to her.

Another one with a ship. 906 by Mandi Bainbridge. This looked green in the catalogue but isn’t. I feel sure there is a story behind this one, I just don’t know what it is.

830 by Ruth Westmoreland. England’s green and pleasant land. Love it.

797 by Marion Brookes. I choose this one as there was knitting and butterflies. So many different techniques went into these hearts. This one was inspired by a quote from William Orpen. Too long for me type out, but it talks of the transformation of the mud into fields of white daisies, red poppies and blue flowers, a beautiful blue sky and the air thick with white butterflies. An enchanted place but instead of fairies thousands of white crosses for unknown soldiers.

1110 by Fiona Johnson . I think this one also expresses the unexpected beauty in the fields after the soldiers went home. I love that Nature heals itself after such an onslaught.

And finally my favourite amongst all these wonderful hearts.

1126 by Pippa Philips.

This post took me two sessions to write. These hearts still move me to tears.

May we never forget, and God Bless you all.







November Books- 2018

I have read some lovely books this month, including a couple recommended by discerning bloggers. So many thanks.

Byron Rodgers- J.L.Carr- The life and times-not so much a book as a pamphlet. J.L.Carr wrote the book A Month in the Country, which if you haven’t read or seen the film, I can highly recommend. J.L.Carr was a bit of an enigma even to his closest friends- a remarkable Headmaster in Kettering, an aficionado of cricket, a painter of great skill creating paintings of rural Northamptonshire  especially churches, a writer and publisher. An enjoyable but too brief read.

Michael Robotham- The Secrets She Keeps- Another very good thriller from this author. Two women, two pregnancies and some big secrets. Not saying any more as I don’t want to spoil it for you.

Sarah Waters- The Little Stranger. This one was recommended to me by Tialys, and I loved it. Lynne described it as a slow burner which is most apt. The pace is so well-timed, it is brilliant. The lure of the old house Hundreds Hall is  strong. The past glories, the balls, the parties, the library , the stables, the glamour, the family, the decline post war, the tragedy, and finally the Little Stranger. Thoroughly enjoyable, thank you.

Jhumpa Lahiri- The Lowland- Shortlisted for the Man Booker prize in 2013. This is a well constructed novel with several narrators, and once again was a blogger recommendation last month. It’s set in Calcutta from the 1940s and Rhode island from the 60s to the present day, and the focus is on one family and their relationships and the impact of everyday life  in troubled times. The Evening Standard on the book cover calls it “A sad and haunting story”, which sums it up nicely. I found the part set in India during the war interesting because my Dad was there from1943 to 1946. I am always appalled by my lack of knowledge of life outside the West. I enjoyed the book, and there was a happy ending of sorts, but it was a sad novel. Worth reading.

Edward Royle- A Church Scandal in Victorian Pickering. This turned up on the books returned shelves at the library. How have I missed it before? A very well written account of a vicar in Pickering, who may or may not have been carrying on with the daughter of a local weaver, and who was had up before a church court accused of immorality and bringing the church into disrepute. Needless to say that whilst the immorality wasn’t proved the causing a scandal bit was. So he headed off to Belgium with his wife and family for a while and the weaver’s daughter went to Paris as a dressmaker. Seems the vicar and the dressmaker got together a few years later . He became a curate in Suffolk and she the curate’s wife, although in the census she still had her maiden name. This only took a couple of hours to read and I nearly didn’t include it here except for the fact that it threw a light onto the town in which my Gt Grandfather grew up, only yards away from the vicarage.  Was my family aware of the scandal, in a town of less than 4000 people they must have been. Also it showed the shocking disregard the said vicar had for the reputation of the woman. It also said a lot about the hypocrisy of the day. And finally, just to flag up once again how great the library is, you never know what you might find.

Finally, Tialys reminded me that I had once taken the trouble to compile a list of 109 authors whose books I should seek out, and then had promptly forgotten it, even though I turned it into a page here. So I consulted it a week or so ago, and ordered some books through the library. I thought they will be here in time for Christmas, I shall have plenty to keep me going when the library is shut for the two-week break. Humph! They all arrived within  three days and I now have a huge pile of books to read right now, beginning with the Night Circus. Bring on those winter nights when I can settle down with a book, my blankie and a cup of tea. But do please keep your recommendations coming in. Thanks to you all my reading choices have widened to new genres and I am loving them.

Now where’s my book, half an hour before dinner….

Stitch, Knit and Natter Sunday.

A very busy but very enjoyable week. There was another succesful for walk for the walking group I set up. A visit to the Stitching and Knitting Show in Harrogate , a visit to the Hearts exhibition and a very funny play at the theatre. Sadly there was also a funeral on Friday of one of Mum’s friends and the Mum to my friend. All of this takes time to absorb.

I have mixed feeling about the Stitching and Knitting Show, it was very big, too big for me and very crowded, and I have already been to Quilt and Yarn shows this year, and I can’t help but feel that I prefer them to be separate, and smaller. I didn’t think that there were many small suppliers, it seemed to be the big boys in Harrogate. Never the less I had a good day out, although the best bits may surprise you.

First best bit was talking to the lady on the UK Handknitting Association area, she was extremely helpful with some questions I wanted to ask.

Next good bit were the chats I had with other visitors whilst I ate a sandwich. I was quite surprised by how many people came from Scotland for the event and how many people came for all four days. One lady was really helpful when I talked about the things I had been told I would need for the patchwork class I have enrolled in for next year.

My biggest highlight was the workshop I booked myself into, for once a workshop I booked was not cancelled. I have never known an hour fly by so fast. And who knew that sewing by hand in a straight line was so hard. I was at a boro patchwork workshop.

I also very much enjoyed the embroidery part of the show which of course you don’t get at quilt or yarn show, not surprisingly.

So now come the pretty pictures of the embroideries I loved.

Look at them.

This one took all the best prizes, but I prefered the other.

Now isn’t that a great way to display little pieces of gorgeousness.

Now this was an interesting project which has been on going since 2012 and is now at its final exhibition. although I believe it may end up in Kent in a permanent home. Tea and tea bags and no plastic and plants were the theme of these little embroideries, all available for sale to raise funds to help a plant charity. I know I am being vague, but there was so much to take in.

I regret not buying this one.

The cat made me chuckle.

It was rather lovely to be able to walk in amongst them.

Can’t leave the show without showing you these two quilts that caught my eye.

Truly lovely and this one reminded me of Tealing it to the Mountains

And as for purchases I bought one knitting pattern and six fat quarters, total expenditure on the day £6 lunch, £8 car park and £11 shopping. Never have I spent so little at a show.

Back home, the news is Baby J’s grey(groan) Jumper arrived safe and sound and was liked. In fact Mr J said Mrs M was in awe of the craftmanship and it was worthy of a Baby Boutique in Wimbledon. I think that is praise!

Some knitting has happened chez moi. Black and white jacket/cardigan has both fronts now, just the sleeves etc to do. And I have done four bunting flags now.

Not bad I reckon.

Next week is quieter, maybe… two trips to York, hospital for Mr E, shopping, lunch, library of course and a library meeting, other than that the days are mine own. Although the house could do with a bit of a fettle.

So, how are you all? Do you get overwhelmed by big shows? Any good things happened this week, plans for next .. do tell.

Hearts post to follow next week. I have finally chosen my  favourite, I think, well maybe.

Be Happy,


19 Fun Things to do in Winter

Well so glad I asked for your ideas to add to my thoughts for winter, because I have come up with no less than 19 fun things to do in Winter, and if it snows I can make that 20 by making snow angels and a snowman.

Let’s Go

1 Visit a stately home decked for Christmas.

2 Go to a Christmas Market drink mulled wine/cider and enjoy hot chestnuts.

3 Sing carols

4 See the Christmas Lights being turned on

5 Bake Stollen

6 Bake Chocolate and cherry mincepies

7 Make a Christmas ornament

8 Make Christmas cards

9 Cook up some spicy chutney

10 Swap my usual Earl Grey tea for Lapsang Souchong tea.

11 Buy a poinsettia/ pot of bulbs

12 Plant up some pots for outside Winter Colour

13 Walk on a beach and have a walk through woodland.

14 Take a good Winter Photo.

15 Knit a Winter fairy

16 Knit for charity

17 Make Marmalade

18 Make homemade fat balls for the birds and take part in the Great British Bird Count

19 Take a Snowdrop walk.

I am liking this so much. Bring on Winter I am ready and raring to go.


Knit and Natter Friday!

Autumn has continued to be so mild, and although most of the leaves have fallen in the sunshine the countryside still seems to be golden. A truly lovely season.

Sandra (aka Wild Daffodil) and I had a lovely walk in Dalby Forest. The larch trees had all turned a rather fabulous colour they almost shone.

Poor Daffy, I lugged her up a big hill to see the Bridestones and then back down again and then said “Now we shall go and see the Nissan Hut”, just as it was getting gloomy. But do you know what? The muted evening light took away the starkness of the Nissan Hut as we approached it.

The pine needles have stared to fall on its roof and it is beginning to settle in a bit. Who knows in ten years time I may really like it.

Sandra whose wardrobe matched the season!

Temporary graffiti. ” Not me Guv!”

We had a great day out in Scarborough, taking in the sawdust hearts.

The sounding of the Last Post affected us both. I intend to return before the exhibition closes and I promise to take lots of pictures.

Mr E and I went off to Hull and met up with youngest son who was celebrating his birthday there with Ms G, they had been feeding the sharks at The Deep.

An unexpected bonus for us.

Thankfully this has been a quieter week and I have had time to recoup energies.

Knitting wise I have finished the grey (groan) jumper for Baby J and I jazzed it up a bit with some rather jolly buttons.

These ones

Three frogs and their eyes do joggle. How cool are they? So its back on with the black and white yarn and a jacket for Baby J. I  had completed the back before I was asked for the grey(groan) jumper. So I can only lay claim to doing the left front this week.

I shall try to find some really bright coloured buttons for this one.

And so it is the weekend, and the adverts on UK TV for Christmas have begun. I actually found myself looking forward to them coming on TV this year. Some of them are little works of art. My Favourites are this


and this one from Sainsbury’s


So that means it’s time to think about Christmas. No nay sayers here please. I know it is not everyone’s favourite time of year but I like it, and I ignore the commercialism. Although I love these adverts I still shop local.

The Repair cafe is tomorrow so we will drop by and see if we can help. Next year I hope we shall be able to play a full role again. And next week is the Harrogate Knitting and Sewing Show and I have my ticket!

Right now, it is time for my family history group.

Have a great weekend, and do join in the natter.

Be Happy,


Scrap Happy November.

The Eastern Jewels blanket left me with some rather nice leftover yarn so I made a cushion. The pattern came from The Patchwork Heart and it couldn’t be simpler. Initially the yarn was chosen completely at random as far as colour order goes. I started with the one at the top of the bag and then the next one and so on. Then I saw what had happened i.e. a lighter square within a darker square and that I had got nearly  to the corners. At  this point I decided it needed a big pop of colour so began to choose the colours. It was fun to make and a complete antidote to the careful colour arrangement of Eastern Jewels. And there is still a lot of leftover yarn.

The front .

And the back. I am sorely tempted to make another, and another….

Linking with Kate for Scrap Happy Day Do go over to her site for some really wonderful scrap happy links. I am always so wonderfully surprised by what people make with scraps.


Knit and Natter Friday.

We keep on saying it- how come it always seems to be Friday again?

I have had a truly wonderful week with more goodness this weekend coming up.

The Sawdust Heart launch last week was just perfect. A lot of fellow contributors were there,  there was music and there were the hearts.

I found it rather overwhelming in fact. I had got myself into a bit of a nervous state wondering if my sawdust heart would look inadequate against all the others. I need not have worried. There were some truly fabulous creations but some simpler ones and all were very beautiful and moving. And yes I did cry a little, so many hearts, and so many stitched with someone in mind. I didn’t take pictures, mainly because there were a lot of people present in quite a small space, but I have plans to go back before the end of the exhibition and take some which I will share in due course. I will be back again at the exhibition beffore that with… (well wait and see who )on the 11 November for a remembrance service- I say service but it isn’t a service from the look at the programme, more and act of remembrance.

Talking of remembrance I saw this most interesting display of poppies at Armley Mills industrial museum.

The yellow ones are to remember those women  (canary girls) who worked in the munition factories and their skin became yellow from the chemicals they were exposed too. More information on canary girls here

I spent a fabulous day in Whitby with a fellow blogger. We walked and talked, we ate fish, I ate chips, we followed in the steps of Dracula , all 199 of them, and visited one of my favourite churches St Mary’s in Whitby close by the Abbey.

This afternoon we are walking in the forest.

Big surprise on Wednesday night. Mr B is 30 this week, my baby 30, now how did  that happen? Anyway it turns out his fiancée has booked him a surprise birthday experience in Hull. Could we join them on Saturday afternoon for a few hours. OH YES WE CAN. Very excited to see my birthday boy.

Meantime I have baked more peanut butter cookies for Mr E.

That’s just the first batch! There were over fifty this time.

I have finished knitting the front of the grey jumper for Baby J, the sleeves should be done quite quickly, hurrah. I may have a finish in a week or so.

And one more bunting flag has rolled off the needles, it does so help not to miss a row or two and have to frog back, growl.

So I was wondering what your plans were for the weekend? Have you had any terrific surprises recently?

Have a great weekend and as always,

Be Happy,


Yarn Along.

Just started to read The Little Stranger, and after one chapter, I am happy to say I am enjoying it Tialys, so thanks for the recommendation.

As for knitting, I have nearly finished the front of Baby J’s grey jumper. It probably was not a good idea to start a Christmas KAL with Deramores. Week one, make bunting. Two flags down, six to go. When will I learn, not to start so many things at one? Probably never.

What about you, are you well disciplined and only have one project on the go at a time? Have you planned any Christmas projects, if so how are they progressing?

Joining with Ginny for Yarn Along


Linking with Wild Daffodil for the One a month photo challenge. This month’s prompt was Patina, and it just so happens that I love old wood and the totally wonderful colour from the patina. I cannot for the life of me understand why dark wood is out of favour for interior decorating. It is the business as far as I am concerned.

This glorious side board was taken at Fountains Abbey this year, in close up


This fabulous wood was taken from a boys school and placed in Newburgh Priory.

You don’t get better than the patina of school boys from 1648. Or do you?

What about figures carved into the choir pews in Slingsby church.

That fabulous patina from hundreds of choristers down the ages.

I rest my case.

What do you think?


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