A cold, bright, crisp spring morning, the temperatures in single figures. Great clouds came from the dog’s mouth as he ran around the orchard this morning. The grass was littered with the catkins of yellow willow, looking like thousands of furry caterpillars. We planted this willow using cuttings no bigger than a pencil, some 15 years ago and now it is a 20ft high hedge. Today’s threads are Anchor variegated blue cotton perlé no 5, greenish-yellow six-strand cotton, sewn in six strands, orange embroidery cotton no 15 and yellow sewing cotton no 40. The stitches are coral stitch for the heart, with couching, straight stitch, fly stitch and feather stitch for the catkins.