Suffrage Centenary Picnic

Sunday saw the Suffrage Family Picnic in Arnot Hill Park, our local Park. This is part of a number of events this year planned, supported and underwritten by Gedling Borough Council.  I am part of the Centenary planning group led by Councillor Roxanne Ellis (Equalities Policy Adviser) and my role was to organise yarn bombing the Park.  The Fabulous Yarnarchists worked hard to produce green, white, violet and some red items and we descended on the Park to cover it in Suffragette and Suffrage loveliness!   With excellent weather this free event was greatly enjoyed by many local families.


The day started with a number of us dressed as Suffragettes and Roxanne delivered a rousing original speach from a soapbox in the Arnold Market Square.


We even had a heckler who we saw off with a rousing shout of “Votes for Women!”  Then a march to the Park joined by our local MP Vernon Coaker and communal singing of suffragette songs.

As families unpacked their picnics the entertainments included a pop-up theatre production of an original suffrage themed play put on by our local amateur dramatics group, The Prospect Players.  We had a craft tent run by Gedling Play Forum, Edwardian games, and an Edwardian entertainer wandering around the park with  unicycle and juggling tricks.  Finally we enjoyed an open air showing of the original Mary Poppins. (Not forgetting that Mrs Banks aas a Suffragette!)  As they might have said in 1918 “It was, in all, absolutely splendid!”

So sit back and enjoy the photos!


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Pears and ricotta cheese coffee cake. No butter at all. No guilt. — A taste of Italy on your table every day

I am purposefully following a lower carb diet to lose weight and deal with a certain amount of insulin resistance. While lower fat is obviously lower calorie I am not obsessing over that.   This recipe caught my eye.

My Slimming World version of this cake

Baked Pear Cheese cake

I have made a lower carb / Slimming World version of this cake.  I used wholemeal flour. You would get a lighter cake and less nutty flavour if you used white flour.  I couldn’t get ricotta and wanted to bring the fat content down so used Philadelphia Light cream cheese and I also substituted Truvia granulated stevia for the sugar.  I used a 1/4 cup of Truvia but felt this was a little too sweet.  You would need to experiment according to your taste and the sweetener you use.  I also used ripe conference pears but feel the flavour would have improved with a richer flavoured desert pear. I added not only the vanilla but also a generous teaspoonful of Allspice.  It could have taken more and maybe next time I will add some ground ginger which parners well with pear.

My cake came in at 68 Syns for the entire cake. I cut it into 24 small slices – just under 3 syns per slice. You would get a good sized slice for around 6 Syns. I suspect it would freeze but have not tried this out as yet.

I took my cake to share with my Slimming World group and it seemed to meet with general approval.  Worth a repeat and a little more tweeking but you would get a good slice of cake for 5 Syns.

This morning at the groceries store there were Bosc pears for sale. Although it is not pear season, they looked so good that I couldn’t help but buy them, and, as soon as I got home, I started making my favorite, low fat, pears and ricotta cheese coffee cake. Few ingredients and about 50 minutes […]

via Pears and ricotta cheese coffee cake. No butter at all. No guilt. — A taste of Italy on your table every day

Suffragette Chains – Crochet pattern


It being the centenary when some women in the UK finally got the vote, I have got involved with planning some events in Gedling Borough. In particular, the Borough is organising a family picnic in July in one of the local parks.  I coordinate a local crafting group called Notts Yarnarchists (search for us on Facebook)  and agreed to coordinate yarn bombing the park.  This will be in suffragette colours naturally. So green white and violet (give women the vote) for the more radical suffragettes or green white and red for the more law-abiding groups.  The colours should be in those orders.

As these lovely ladies tended to do things like chain themselves to railings I decided to crochet some chains. (Balls optional.) Looking round however surprisingly (!) They do knot and seem to be crochet patterns for suffragette chains. I did find a pattern for a chunky yarn chain Scarf on Ravelry by Lorna Watts:, which was a helpful start.  So, with due acknowledgement to Lorna, here is my own. I make this pattern free to all fellow Yarnarchists but it would be nice if you could acknowledge my authorship.  Please do not sell on the pattern, thanks.

This pattern is worked in double knitting yarn. For yarn bombing it is better to use a good cheap acrylic. Wool tends to sag in the rain. You will want either green white and violet colours or green white and red colours. By all means if you have something suitable in your yarn stash use that, so long as it is close to these colours I’m sure it will be fine, the suffragettes themselves chose a range of these colours.

To make a good solid fabric choose a crochet hook about one size smaller than the recommended crochet hook for your yarn. You will also need scissors and a tapestry or darning needle.

You will need to be able to do chain stitch, slip stitch, double crochet (UK)/single crochet (USA). Optional, chainless foundation double crochet (UK)/single crochet (USA). You can start this pattern in one of two ways.

If you choose option 1
use a larger size crochet hook just to make the chain, then swap to your chosen smaller hook. This will make it easier to work the first row into the chain.  I am using a 3.5 mm hook for the work so I will make my chain with a 4.5 mm hook.

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Start with a slip knot and make 30 chains, then join the chain into a loop using a slip stitch.  Take great care not to twist the chains you need to see the bump side of your chain running all the way around the outside of the loop.  Swap to your smaller hook.

Attention point – for all subsequent ‘links’ in your suffragette chain you will need to close the loop in the previous ‘link’.  Don’t forget – it’s quite annoying having to undo everything later on.

First row

Either: option 1
make one chain and then work a double crochet (UK)/single crochet (USA) into the very first bomb that you see.  Check again that you haven’t twisted your chain. Work a double crochet (UK)/single crochet (USA) into the bumps at the back of the chain. At the front of the chain you will see rows of Vs marching their way along the chain. The back of the chain you will see bumps in a line working their way along the chain.  When you have done the last bump join the end of the first row to the beginning with a slip stitch through the top V and pull that quite firmly.


Or: option 2
Make 30 stitches using a chainless double crochet (UK)/single crochet (USA) foundation row.  Use the smaller crochet hook throughout.  When you get to the end make your loop by joining the first stitch to the last stitch using a slip stitch. If you don’t know how to do a chainless foundation row there are some very good tutorials on YouTube.

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The advantage of doing it this way is that it is actually a lot quicker than the previous option of working the first row into the back bumps of the chain  And you are far less likely to twist it inadvertently.   The disadvantage is possibly that you will see a little gap underneath the first row but this is easily rectified by threading up tail on a tapestry needle at the very end and just stitching the gap together.

Second and subsequent rows:
make nine rows. Don’t forget that if you are using the chainless foundation row that that counts as your first row.  You can make more or less – I just found 9 made a pleasing size link.

Start each row by making a single chain and then work a double crochet (UK)/single crochet (USA) into the same stitch. Then work a double crochet (UK)/single crochet (USA) into each stitch.
Attention point
when you get to the very end of the row take care that you don’t make an additional stitch as the gap may look quite wide until you join the row using a slip stitch.  You may like to put a stitch holder into the first stitch as you make it to help you identify it as it can get pulled quite flat and the single chain you worked can look like another stitch in the first row.


Roll up and join the link edges:

At this point I suggest if you have used the chainless foundation row method you thread up the tail end in your darning needle and neatly stitch the bottom edge together.

Roll the bottom edge of your work up towards the top edge all around the link. Hold the two edges together so you can see the V stitch edges side-by-side. I like to join my edges by using the zipper stitch on the inside loops only. Again, there are some very good tutorials on YouTube. However any flat joining method will work and you will be rolling the edge on the inside of the link in any event.

Weave in your ends and ease the join to the inside of the link.  Then start the next link of your suffragette chain remembering to join that link through the last link.

This is a work in progress and I will add more photos when it is finished. 😊

Where I Stand 

This carefully considered blog is well worth a read.

Yokel Bear

I’ve written this because I feel that in the interest of clarity, and to counter some assumptions being made about me, I should state where I stand on the issue of the Labour Party right now. My hope is that people will read it with an open mind, not jump to conclusions, and at least afford me the dignity of respecting my views even if they differ from their own.  Sadly, I’m a little pessimistic that this hope will be achieved given how polarised things have become.

1) Corbyn 

I am not, and never have been, anti-Corbyn. I backed him in the leadership race, voted for him and was thrilled with the way that the campaign reenergised the left after the General Election defeat. More importantly, I liked a lot of his ideas. I also knew that he wasn’t a perfect candidate for me; I think anyone expecting any politician…

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Inspired by Winter Light and Landscape

The Braid Society

The Braid Society   present an annual travelling exhibition and, encouraged by my kumihimo sensei, I have decided to submit a contribution.

I have ended up making two belts, inspired by photographs found online.  One set of photographs feature the northern lights, the other set features sunset throught birch trees in the snow.Both however use the same kumihimo pattern.  My challenge is a 24 thread sasanami-gumi.  The distinct variations are as a result of using different threads, colourways and colour setup.