Of sparrows and snowdrops…. and a free pattern for you

Last week I chatted a little about the family of sparrows that live in our garden hedge and amuse us so much with their antics.  One reader kindly sent an email about our sparrows, and amongst other interesting facts, highlighted how their population had plummeted over the last few decades.

If you read the Bustle & Sew Magazine you will know that I like to include monthly nature notes, many taken from my collection of vintage books.  It would seem that concerns about sparrow populations are not new as this paragraph from “Chronicles of the Hedges” by Richard Jefferies, a late nineteenth and early twentieth century writer describes….

…we must remember that the granivorous birds have no longer the same resources open to them which they enjoyed formerly.  The old fashioned barn door is almost a thing of the past.  When all the corn was threshed out by the flail and winnowed by the old hand machines there was something going on in the barn all through the winter, which was good news for many of our common hedgerow birds. That cheerful sound – now so rare – which could be heard in many a country village or solitary farmhouse on a cold wintry day may be imagined to have served as a signal for all the hungry and shivering songsters outside to come in and be fed….. you might be sure of seeing large flocks of sparrows and other birds too gathered together, sometimes in front of the barn, sometimes in some sheltered corner to the number perhaps of several hundreds.”

It was the last sentence that really made me think about the decline in bird numbers, for who today in this country has ever seen a flock of hundreds of sparrows and other hedgerow birds I wonder?  I know that sadly I haven’t.

Our snowdrop population is not in decline however, though they do seem to be a little later than usual emerging this spring (the image above is from an earlier year) perhaps due to the prolonged cold weather we’ve been experiencing. But now there are sturdy green spikes everywhere, both of snowdrops and some early daffodils too. They will flower later up here on the hills though and the daffodils especially are much more advanced down in the more sheltered village gardens.

And so, in celebration of the changing of the season, when the end of winter is finally in sight and the earliest days of spring approach, I thought it would be nice to share a pattern with you all – a seasonal bowl of snowdrops, brought in from the chilly garden to bloom indoors (after all who wants to sit in the garden to admire them in this weather?!)

As you can see from the image above it’s quite a simple pattern using just two stitches, satin stitch and split stitch and is shown mounted in a 5″ hoop.

The Bowl of Snowdrops pattern is taken from the January edition of the Bustle & Sew Magazine and you can just CLICK HERE to download it absolutely free as my gift to you.

And finally, don’t forget that the Stitcher’s Alphabet is now available to purchase. Based on the series of the same name that ran in the Bustle & Sew Magazine during 2022, this book has been enlarged to over 80 full colour pages with lots of new material and extra entries to intrigue and possibly even surprise the reader! Just CLICK HERE to learn more.


Thank you for the lovely gift of snowdrops!

Here on Cape Cod, there was a wind chill temperature of -34 degrees Fahrenheit, so we are greatly in need of some hope of spring.

A warm “wave” from this side of the water!


A few years ago I put together a little guide for transferring your pattern – where I refer to Sulky Sticky Fabri Solvy any similar brand of soluble printable stabilizer will work – there are more available now than there were in 2018 when I wrote the guide!


Here’s the link and I hope you’ll find it helpful.

Helen x

susie Brooker

We have some big conifers in our garden. When we first moved in dozens of sparrows roosted in them. 25 years later there are none. I used to love listening to their chatter especially at dawn and dusk.There was often what sounded like squabbling over the best spots


So sorry to hear about your sparrows Susie, their decline is so sad, they’re one of my favourite birds x


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.