Sunday, 22 June 2014

A Swarm in June is worth a silver spoon

It must be summer. We've had at least seven days of sun here in South Wales which is getting on for a record here. Today has been a scorcher.
The best news of the day so far is that we have bees again. Mike went to look at his hives this morning because he had seen a couple of dozen bees going into his empty hive over the last couple of days. He came back this morning to say he had seen a swarm in the hedge about 30 yards from the hives. Mike has never collected a swarm himself so rang our friend and neighbour Andy for advice. Both men went to have another look and no collection necessary. The bees had found their own way into the hive. A celebration beer for the men and rosé for Carole and I.
‘A swarm in May is worth a load of hay; a swarm in June is worth a silver spoon; but a swarm in July is not worth a fly’ 
 It was decided that our bottom field was ready to cut for hay so that began this morning. So we will have both a load of hay and hopefully some honey later in the year.

I needed a new challenge on the quilting front and decided to confront my demons. My first attempts at appliqué had been very poor and I needed to give it another go. 

Kerry at PennyDog Patchwork is running the English Country Garden BOM. The patterns are free for the first month of the BOM then available at her Craftsy shop for just less than £1 each. A bargain!
The BOM started a couple of months ago so I had to work on the first three blocks this weekend. The background fabrics are Lynette Anderson Bread and Butter and a fabric from my stash (unknown origin). The fabrics for the flowers are all from my stash so far but I may need to buy some red for a poppy or rose later.

I love the naive simplicity of the English bluebell design. The Sarah Raven book was a present from Mike last year. Possibly one of the best wild flower books I have seen.

Kerry's instructions include a number of ways to appliqué either by machine or hand. I traced the design pieces onto freezer paper, ironed this to fabric then cut the shapes with an approximate ¼"seam allowance. I clipped the curves and used Sewline fabric glue sparingly on the seam to form the shapes. These were placed and pinned on the 12½" block and I used a Mettler silk-finish 50 wt. thread to match the background (col. 725).

The only problem I have had so far has been turning seam allowance on the points without showing any excess fabric from the front. Any tips anyone? I'm just a bit concerned as July's pattern is a hyacinth and I presume the shapes will be like the bluebells but smaller.

The June block is an Iris and I have made a start with the log cabin background and cut the petal shapes for the Iris itself. I might do some sewing this evening once the house cools down.

I have been doing very little knitting or crochet due to the hot weather but I have almost finished a bag I am making from Lucy's pattern at Attic24. It is made with a chunky yarn - Bergère Magic+ in Brebis, Lichen, Colvert, Corail, Petrol and Criquet.  Just the handle to make now and then I will have a bag for my projects.

showing the bottom of the bag
The bag is fairly large so next time I will be following Lucy's pattern for her Jolly Chunky Bag which is smaller and neater. I will be using Lucy's collection of yarn colours in Stylecraft Chunky acrylic from Wool Warehouse which are in her typical bright palette. Have a look at the selection here This should work out a bit cheaper too than the Bergère yarn.

I'm linking up with Catherine at Knotted Cotton for the Slow Bloggers linky and with Janine at Rainbow Hare Quilts for Wool on Sundays. All those of you who sometimes feel pressured to blog need to look at the Slow Bloggers manifesto! Janine has been making the most amazing jointed cloth doll family and there are always lovely project links.

I'll also be joining in the Sew Darn Crafty Linky party when it starts later today

and also joining for the first time
Slow Sunday Stitching
stitch by stitch
Have a wonderful week and keep your fingers crossed that it remains sunny to dry our hay.


***** UPDATE*****
I was too late to join the Slow Bloggers Linky but please check it out as it is being hosted by Martha at Weekend Doings. Talk about SLOW!
The manifesto for the Slow Bloggers though is on Knotted Cotton. Take a peek.


  1. A silver spoonsworth of bees and a load of hay - you've had a good day! I love your applique flowers and your stripy crochet bag. I hope your good weather continues. Thank you for linking up with Wool on Sundays :)

  2. A good day for bees and hay for you and love your applique flowers and the stripy bag :)

  3. Very exciting news about the bees! Beautiful applique. I love the shape of the daisy. Is it a daisy? I'm not an expert on flowers or applique but I beleive you can do less than a 1/4" seam which may help with the points.

  4. These are quite pretty blocks and look well done! :) Thanks for visiting me...I answered on my blog but came over as well. I struggle with points but this tutorial helped me

  5. The applique is a technique that you just have to keep doing to get better. Hang in there, practice makes perfect. Check out youtube videos for appliqueing points. You do have to trim a bit of excess off but learn how to do it properly to avoid ruining your piece. Love the flowers and the view of your fields!

  6. well done on the bees. I would love a hive but hubby has put his foot down and said no. To be honest Stan is scared of bees and once spent all afternoon barking at one in the house so it's probably the right decision.
    Love the applique blocks. I think I'll join in this one as I need some hand stitching to do while sitting in the garden xx

  7. Glad about the bees - so many dying off here, but then we have a drought. Beautiful flower blocks. That latest one looks 3D. Thanks for the link - off to check it out.

  8. Great news on the bees. Love the bluebell applique, it looks like a lovely project.

  9. I think that your flowers look beautiful and stand out beautifully on the background you've made. To learn more about hand-stitching appliqués, you may want to see Karen's tutorial (Teardrops of Love) at I'm looking forward to seeing more of your blocks.

  10. Welcome and thanks for linking up your hand stitching projects! Love the backgrounds your pieced for your pretty flowers...what a great project!


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