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Sunday, 26 April 2015


My Mystery Afghan Knit-a-Long

designed by Martin Storey for Rowan 
knitted in Pure Wool Worsted
approx size 120cm x 160cm
colours as per the original design



It has been fun, but I am glad to see it finished.
You would think that it is rather the wrong time of year for a warm blanket, 
but with the weather turning cold again, it could still come very handy.
Knitted in soft 100% wool, it is jolly warm!




Go and have a look at Jaana's blog , 
she is knitting baby blankets for Ghana, also using squares, but in same colour. It looks very nice.



©pleasureinstitching.blogspot.co.uk 2015

Saturday, 25 April 2015

show time


The last weekend in April - time again for the Creative Crafts Show at the Bath and West Showground.

I go to this one every year, because it is literally "down the road", but I do not expect too much from it. As the name suggests, the crafts here are various, but quite heavily tipped in the favour of papercrafts; not much here for  serious stitcher. This year I found one stand with DMC threads, no other threads in sight. Although there was quite an extensive choice of cross stitch kits, no other type of embroidery seemed to represented.
There are quite a few traders I see at the September show down in Exeter, who used to come here, but have given up, mainly because of the high rent, combined with poor facilities. Bath and West just has not moved with times. Three years ago at last we had a new quilt show, but that too moved elsewhere, after only two years.



But, being an eternal optimist, I attend, with the hope that this year I will find something new and exciting. 

To be fair, there were things which got my interest.
The first one is a multiple pompom maker from Multipom .
It is incredibly simple, do pop over to have a look (click on the link above).


My granddaughter loves making pompoms, but you know how all those pompom making gadgets can be little tedious and simply make only one pompom at a time.  Needless to say that she is very pleased with this new one, and we had a little production line going on here this afternoon.






The second very interesting thing I came across is a lucet. 
Yes, you might well ask, I also did not know this word existed. 
The Lucet Co is actually one man, who resurrected the art of "lucetting", an ancient method  of making a cord, brought to us originally by Vikings and which went out with Victorians.











I could not resist and in no time at all I was well away!
I have to work on my tention, but this has loads of possibilities; for anyone using a cord as an embellishment - you can use any threads, yarn, string; use multiple threads, include beads....
Again, the link above will take you to the website to find out more, and to learn about its history.





I am not serious bag maker, but this got my attention.


This is Flexiframe, a top rim for a bag; you simply pull it apart to open. It is very strong. When shut, it keeps the bag very secure.





Flexiframe is sold by Craft and Cotton.
At their stall I also bought these little charms/ embellishments.


There wasn't a large choice of patchwork fabric, but I did come home with some (of course),


and this lovely piece of "landscape" fabric.



There is always next year.......





©pleasureinstitching.blogspot.co.uk 2015

comfort food



A break in the weather - the rain has arrived today, and it is getting colder. I am not complaining; our little garden needs the rain, after a long and warm spell.
But it means being back inside and what could be better then a smell of fresh baking? 
You might remember my new baking book a couple of posts back. 
This is the first time I have made something from this book; it wasn't easy to choose, I want to make everyone of those tempting cakes.








Banana and cinnamon cake.




Made with wholemeal spelt flour, and maple syrup instead of sugar - the result is a moist cake, which smells and tastes divine. 


Definitively a new family favourite!


©pleasureinstitching.blogspot.co.uk 2015



Friday, 17 April 2015

home alone and more of Yoko







Do you remember my 48 knitted squares?
These were designed by Martin Storey as a BOM for Rowan wools.
They are all finished and need to be put together to form a blanket.

I decided to follow the original layout, as per Martin's instruction, but of course, one needs a space to lay them all out.
The living room is the only space with enough floor area for this task, but it is also a route from one end of the house to the rest.
I took an advantage of a day when DH was away, when I was home alone and I could spread out all the squares.



Now I have to stitch them together and finish knitting the trim.
The weather has been little too warm for that job last few days, I am just doing little in the evenings.

And now some more for Yoko Saito's fans. In one of my recent posts I talked about a book she published following her visit to Sweden - Scandinavian Quilts.
It seems that Yoko really fell in love with Dalarna, a region in Sweden, because she dedicated a second book to her visit there. As far as I can see, this book has been published only in French so far, but I could not resist.....


No, I don't speak French, but any text I need to translate I give to Google Translate to do, and as I found out yesterday, Google even stores translated pages for you.
Again, "Quilted Memories of Yoko Saito" is full of lovely projects and beautiful photographs of the area.
It seems that even the colours she chooses have been influenced by her trip, as some of the projects are in  somewhat brighter colours than Yoko's usual choices.





She visited Green Hotel in Tällberg, overlooking the lake Siljan, just a few miles down the road from where DH and I rented a holiday cottage in 2010 (you can read more about our trip in "Sweden 2010" under "my labels" on the left hand side of this blog).
We also visited Tällberg; just up the road from the hotel is a large shop, full of beautiful items crafted locally.


It looks like Yoko's love affair with Sweden continues.....




©pleasureinstitching.blogspot.co.uk 2015

Saturday, 11 April 2015

postal avalanche



You know how there are weeks when the postman just doesn't bring anything interesting? And then it happens all at once!

Well this was the week when it all happened......


Valdani threads first. 
I have never used them before, they are not readily available in local shops. Much more expensive then DMC for instance, so I want to know if they really are so much better.










I am new to shopping on Etsy, but I was browsing Internet for a hanging plant pot for our new kitchen (when we'll have a new kitchen - girl has to plan ahead, small details are so important) and came across this lovely pot on Piece of Clay website. 
It arrived this week - from Holland. It will have to wait until summer to perform its function, but I already know exactly where it will hang.



















Another Etsy purchase, Landscape Sky fabric, from a fellow blogger Deborah and Quilt Routes.








Just beautiful! 



I hope the camera picked up the gold shimmer here.




This is the BIG one, all the way from Australia:

my prize from Barbara's giveaway on her blog  Theodora Cleave .
How generous is this? What a selection. I am so chuffed! 
Thank you Barbara!





I was having my breakfast this  morning, when the postman brought this.
So I made a fresh pot of coffee and lost myself in the world of cakes, tarts and biscuits, many made with seasonal fresh fruit, and with sugar very often substituted by maple syrup or honey. With beautiful photographs, I could smell the cakes by just reading the ingredients! 
Pure bliss! 



We have been having a wonderful week of sunshine. Although much colder today than the rest of the week, we still have a beautiful bright day. Our little garden is really waking up now.
I am very pleased how well the young olive tree (in the black and green pot) survived the winter.











The new plum tree, planted in the autumn, is covered in blossom.
































Freshly planted herb bed by the kitchen door;







and DH's rock garden is also slowly filling up.

































The garden bench is waiting......





©pleasureinstitching.blogspot.co.uk 2015

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Yoko Saito





Although nothing to do with Yoko Saito, I have posted this picture first, because it just sums up the glorious spring weather outside. After a horrid week, Easter Sunday brought us sunshine and warmth at last.








And at last I have started a long journey of hand quilting Yoko Saito's Mystery Quilt, published originally as BOM by Quiltmania magazine.

As some of you probably know, it is not always easy to get Yoko's books in English translation.
So I am even more pleased about the 3 new additions to my bookshelves.




















I can safely say that I have enjoyed making this quilt; I have had much fun in "building" my village.

So, "Houses, houses, houses" was something I just "must have". So many new ideas for "house building"!
















The next book, although called "Scandinavian Quilts", was actually inspired by Yoko's visit to Swedish region of Dalarna, well known for their handicrafts, where they still use traditional designs and methods. 
I have visited this region myself several times, and like so many other tourists (including Swedes), 
I fell in love with Dalarna. 
Needless to say, that this book is very close to my heart.










































And like myself, Yoko found 
an inspiration in the house of artists Carl and Karin Larsson in Sundborn and she devotes a chapter to her visit there. 

We loved our visit there so much, that we visited the house again;
 this picture is from our visit in 2010. 









And of course, the Dala horses.






The latest arrival is "Floral Bouquet Quilts".






Again, as in her previous books, lots of beautiful applique, embroidery and quilting.
The fabrics Yoko like to use for her projects are not necessarily my choice; I prefer to use brighter fabrics. But I love her designs and get very inspired by them.


















I mentioned Quiltmania magazines.



Besides the bi- monthly Quiltmania magazine, they also publish 4 times a year "Quiltmania Special" and "Simply Vintage" (besides many books, including those by Yoko Saito, of course).
 You might be interested that from next autumn there no longer will be in existence the "Special" issue of Quiltmania; it will be replaced by more "modern" version, to mirror "Simply Vintage". 











©pleasureinstitching.blogspot.co.uk 2015


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