A beautiful opalescent sky this morning, a fresh breeze and now the sun breaking through in earnest – the week is due to get hotter as we go along. Out in my neighbour’s field, the flowers that escaped the thresher are popping out, including this formidable beast, the spear thistle. This one escaped the blade by being under an apple tree and is now about 4ft high. Every part of the plant except the petals is covered in vicious spines – it got me several times even as I positioned it for the photograph. Although classed as a noxious weed by farmers, it’s a huge benefit ecologically speaking, for both insects and – later – goldfinches and other small birds. The fabric for August is this lilac-dyed bamboo (not sure it will show in photographs, but it’s quite a different shade from last month). The threads are grey coton à broder no 16, rainbow-coloured rayon thread pulled from a scarf, six-strand cottons in green and lilac, and pale yellow sewing cotton no 40. The stitches are stem stitch for the stems, straight stitch for the spines, burden stitch for the calyx and straight stitch for the petals.