Thursday 16 November 2023

Thursday 16th November - Cake(5) and Cross Stitch

Ang's cross stitch package arrived today - Two Weeks Early! She has recreated a sampler of the type they were required to to in the first year of secondary school.

I've photographed the whole piece of fabric in two halves so you can see it in situ. Nothing I made at school; the convent (where we similar sewing on binka fabric) or secondary dchool survives. I love the colours and variety of straight and cross stitch patterns Ang has used.

The first thing we made at secondary school was a Cookery apron. We had identical t-towels in blue and grey (school colours) and had to turn down two corners on one short side for the top, and attach tapes, and presumably a loop to put our head through? And, I suppose,  sew on a name tape. All using a terrifying electric sewing machine. The school was brand new in 1965, so very well equipped. 

We had been using pre-war treadle sewing machines in the last year of the convent. I enjoyed these, but these electric contraptions.... ugh. 

Here is the other half of the cross stitch piece;

By comparing the two, you will see there are only three spaces left!


My mother used to bake an immense fruit cake for my father to take on his sailing trips. It made him a very welcome crew member. The cake was affectionately know as 'the mud weight', which it a type of anchor used in places like the Norfolk Broads. I'll dig out the recipe sometime. 

Anyway, my Christmas cake would make a good mini mud weight. I took the biggest knife to it, Paul Hollywood style, prepared for the worst;

It has caught a bit round the edges. I cut a thinnish slice right across the centre, and divided is between ourselves. We tried it, cautiously, and came to the conclusion that if I trimmed the sides it would be fine. We both finished our sample pieces, so that's a good sign. The centre is dark and moist, the edges a little bit dry. I shall trim it, add a little more whisky,  and marzipan on half for Christmas.  It will be an unusual shape, especially as I plan to serve it as a sort of semicircular hill (like the chunk on the right). The other half can be wrapped and kept for later.


  1. Beautiful cross stitch designs. Are you each sending the whole piece of fabric each time?

    1. Yes, we send the whole piece of fabric, and a small notebook where we write about the design (inspiration, threads, process, stitches) and also a 'flat gift', like a book mark, or, in this week's parcel from Ang, a Christmas embroidery kit.

  2. I took part in 2 Round Robin cross stitches a while ago and both went to America and back, I must frame them. And your cake looks as though it has a lot of fruit so should taste very nice.

    1. Ang and I did an embroidery swap last year, and then - how could we not do another one! I love the anticipation of the parcel, and thinking of 'flat presents', as much as the interest of planning and stitching the designs. It's a bit like pen friends taken to another level, isn't it.