June days

And that was June.

Last days of June

Long lines this month on the daily stitch journal:

daily stitching: June (7.5″ x 10″)

I’ve found this format to be quite a challenge at times. Filling a line is not at all the same as filling a box-shaped space. The path is already mapped out and you have to walk its length. A box or square – your needle and thread can meander around in it, but a long straight line knows where it’s going and you have to follow it.

June days, detail

And that’s a fair example of art reflecting life, because I also find the long summer days themselves to be a bit challenging. I like sunshine, in moderation, but not heat. I like night time to be cool and dark. Even with blackout curtains it just doesn’t get dark enough at this time of year and sunrise is some ridiculous time in the middle of the night. It’s also been unusually hot here the last few weeks, and every room in the house has been several degrees warmer than is comfortable. Sometimes I go to the local Sainsbury’s just to cool down – their air conditioning makes the whole shop feel like a giant fridge.

June days, detail

Yesterday I found a vintage Coats mercerised cotton crochet thread in variegated yellows in a local charity shop for 50p. I don’t have much yellow thread – it’s not a colour I tend to use very often – but it looked so delicious that it had to come home with me. It made a lovely detached chain stitch.

vintage Coats crochet thread

And everyone likes to see the other side, of course. Once this is made up into a book, the other side will no longer be visible. Next year I think I will return to the two-sided format where the back remains accessible. I like to see it.

the other side of June
early June days

Next month will be summer flowers. I think this could be fun.

July ahead – flowers marked with Frixion pen

I’ve reached a bit of a landmark: the end of June marks my first six months of working for myself. It’s been hard work and long hours and immensely rewarding, but I am quite tired. Next week I’m taking a social media break for a week or two, just to potter behind the scenes and recharge a little. I will still process any orders and respond to emails, but Instagram and Facebook can carry on without me for a little while. I may still post here, if I have anything to say. Does a blog count as social media? I guess it probably does, but then the pace here is slow enough to be ok.


We had a day out at the seaside recently, revisiting the East Yorkshire coastal town where I grew up. I’ve always liked the seaside colour palette – aqua blues, sandy browns, sky blues and whites – and I set about assembling some patchwork to cover a spare pillow in my workroom.

patchwork in progress

I generally use the freezer paper method for English paper piecing (google it if you’re not familiar with this, there are lots of tutorials and instructions out there). This design is based on a little paint sketch I did a couple of months ago:

watercolour sketch

It all came together fairly quickly. I didn’t want to stitch on it much because the fabrics are really beautiful in themselves – scraps of textured silks, vintage linens, and vintage/handwoven cottons.

hand pieced patchwork

I found a bit of old black soutache braid, which I used to emphasise some of the seams. I quite like the Mondrian-esque effect.

Mondrian went to the seaside

And after a couple of days, a new pillow cover. The back is just tea-dyed calico, simple envelope style, so there are no zips or fastenings.

patchwork pillow

It’s made a the spare bed look extra cosy.

Marking Time II

I think I’m calling this one finished today – apart from finding some sort of stick to hang it from and making a label for the back, both of which still need doing.

Marking Time II detail

I’ve enjoyed working on this one. It seems to have taken its own time, as all things do – a few minutes here and there, whenever we could sit down together. But these things happen, one stitch at a time, like putting one foot in front of the other. Just to keep going and see what happens. It’s always an adventure and a voyage of discovery. We always seem to get there in the end, wherever it is we’re supposed to be.

Marking Time II detail

I’ll show a picture of its full length when I’ve sorted out the hanging rod. It’s about 43″ long and about 9.5″ wide.

Marking Time II top

I really like the long narrow format; it strikes me as quite practical because it doesn’t take up too much wall space and is pretty easy to hang.

On my work table today

I also like how the ancient cup and ring marks translate so readily to stitch, and how universal these patterns are. There are circles everywhere in life.

Cloth with the sketch that started it

The summer solstice tomorrow – and there’s my northern hemisphere bias again, for which apologies – is another circle, another turn of the wheel. And so we continue, keeping on keeping on.


Dyeing this week, which means at least another week to ten days of sorting, winding, twisting, grouping, labelling, photographing, describing and listing. I no longer announce shop updates, but I’ll be quietly adding these into the shop in the next week or two, if all goes well.

hand-dyed threads fresh from the washing line

It’s a lot of work, and it takes a while to sort through. Just as well I enjoy every bit of it. There are some really pretty colours this time.

a rainbow of silk thread sets

Lucky me, I get to choose some of the leftovers – all the odd yards that aren’t needed for a full skein. Just right for a line of daily stitching.

thread ends, dyer’s perks

Apparently we have hot weather on the way here in the UK so I’ll be in a darkened room somewhere trying to stay cool. Enjoy your weekend if you like it hot 😎

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