Thursday, 30 May 2013

May Ornament et al

Happy dance -  May ornament voila!!
This was a freebie (source forgotten in the mists of time) stitched on 28 count white cashel with DMC threads.
Last night in a bleary eyed race to the finish I completed the stitching on the Scottie Mitten.  
Now I think I'd like to finish this in a mitten shape so the flowing crosses forming the ribbon the right will come out and I will make cord to tie a ribbon there when this is constructed.   I am super pleased with this one so it will be going nowhere but on to my tree.
With that done I will get on with my Naxos Necessaire while the instructors helpful hints are still fresh in my brain.   There are many metres of stitching before the construction can begin and as I took this class to learn the construction I will need to persist. 

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

In this case, it was the journey and not just the destination...

Five and a half hours driving took me through a lot of New Zealand countryside.   The Autumn is a beautiful time to travel and I enjoyed a perfectly splendid golden day!
The small village of Tirau is well known for the corrugated iron 'decorations'.    Even their information centre is in the same vein.  
Next was the even smaller village of Lichfield and these "old couples" were sitting invitingly outside a shop selling sheepskin and opossum fur products.  Made of ceramics and dressed in authentic oldies clothes I thought they were really cute.  

Once I left the sheep and dairy country behind there were only huge tracts of pine forest.   Kaingaroa Forest is a plantation forest of 2900 square kilometres right in the centre of our North Island.   In an effort to vary the scenery a little the roadside edges of the forest are planted in a variety of exotic deciduous trees and many different eucalyptus.   Despite the good intentions of forestry officials, plantation forestry is not the most exciting landscape.  
I was therefore, happy to be hailed by a friendly Maori man with a large STOP sign and instructed to wait while these trees were felled.   Sure looks like a dangerous job for the man in the digger but probably worse still for the other man on the ground.  He operates the chainsaw and makes the incision thereby directing the fall.  
Oh yes I went through Hobbiton too!   The small rural village of Matamata is the site of one of the movie locations and there are 'shrines' to the movie dotted about the town.   Even their information centre has got in the groove!

Well that's all for tonight.   I need to rescue the Date Loaf from the oven and then there will just be time for a stitch or two.   Perhaps I might get the Scottie Dog finished if I hurry.

Monday, 27 May 2013

There and back!

Last weekend I went to a weekend Stitchers Retreat.   Unfortunately the organisers were a bit sniffy about photographs so I have one only of the class in progress.  
The class I took was with an Australian tutor called Alison Snepp and was the Naxos Necessaire.   You can see a photo of the finished product on the extreme right hand side of this link.  She was an excellent tutor and considering the density of the stitching I felt I made reasonable progress.   This photo is of my almost completed fabric button.
On the final day a friend persuaded Sherelyn of Heirlooms to open her store and I got to visit.   The store is actually an old homestead and is like a museum with its antique furniture and fitments.   I secretly snapped a couple of shots as a memory,

Don't you think this avenue of ancient oaks looks like something from Anne of Green Gables?   It was beautiful and I enjoyed scuffing through the fallen leaves in the golden Autumn weather.  The friends with whom I stayed live at the end of this glorious line of oaks.   These were planted by an early settler in 1864 as the grand entrance to his home.   While the home may not have survived these oaks have although a bad storm at the beginning of the year uprooted one.

More on my trip tomorrow night when I will hopefully be able to show you my progress to date on the Necessaire.   For now it is bedtime in preparation for return to work tomorrow!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Rhubarb and Scottish Terriers

At present the only edible produce from my garden is rhubarb.   Melody had a particularly interesting looking recipe for a loaf on her blog recently so last night I went to bed with the fragrance of newly baked loaf wafting on the air.   A keeper this one, although I am the only one in this house who enjoys rhubarb so it will only be made occasionally.
Next weekend I will be away and wanted to take a small something to stitch.  With that in mind I looked out the Cricket Collection Terrier ornament and made a start -  well a substantial start really.   No stitching on this tonight or it will be finished before the weekend even arrives.
This will end up a mitten shape and I am enjoying this one very much.   Have you seen the new Cricket Collection Alphabet Letters -  I am so far resisting temptation but may not be able to hold out permanently :-)
Enjoy the rest of your evening everyone.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Embroidery Day and UK Trip Book Progress

Last night I managed a start on my UK Trip Book cover.   The extreme top right hand side will eventually become clearer as the White Cliffs of Dover.   Beneath that is the first of two English Oaks.   Tired though my eyes might get with this very fine work, I am enjoying dreaming of all I shall see and do as I cross the floss.   Last night 'Restoration Man' was a most interesting programme on the conversion of a Kentish Oast House into a modern mansion.   Dare I add Kent to my list?
This afternoon I went to my local Guild meeting and had great fun catching up with others and checking on what they were doing.  Amazingly many of them were knitting today!   We have just had a President's Challenge and the theme was flowers.   I took a snap shot of the display, the President's Choice and my choice - in that order.

The Show and Tell table had quite a few items this time.   One amazing piece was the tetrahedron pyramid.  As it was all done in machine embroidery I wasn't tempted to try this at home but was amazed that anyone could have this idea.   It was to be entered in a competition "Views of Tamaki" and as you can see each mini pyramid had a view.
The Chicken Scratch in the foreground is a taste of the mini workshop at next month's Guild meeting.  It was introduced as Amish Stitchery - doesn't that name sound better than Scratch?
One of our older members had participated in the Mystery Sampler run over the past months to raise money for the Embroidery Conference to be held in Auckland in 2016.  That's her finished sampler on the left.    I hate mystery samplers so didn't participate.   If I want a mystery give me a book: in my embroidery I want to see the end from the beginning.   But I must admit the finished product looked great.
And apart from a little grocery shopping, a little gardening and a little cooking that was my day.
I'm now going to enjoy some reading before I cook dinner.
Which of the books from my pile shall I start next?

Friday, 17 May 2013

Dreams are free ....

As a young teenager I had a notebook in which I recorded all the places I wanted to visit, all the foods I wanted to eat, all the events I wanted to go to when I made my longed for journey to the Untied Kingdom.  For many years I noted down things like, kippers for breakfast, Baker Street, Charing Cross Road, pork pies, Whitby Jet, Wensleydale  cheese, pub lunch, Winchester Cathedral, Oxford (the Morse Tour was underlined), a Rebus tour, Kilburn and the mouse man, Ruskin lace in the Lakes District, Waterford crystal, Lewis, Harris, Iona, an eisteddfod, the Edinburgh Tattoo etc etc .  You get the idea?   Each book I read seemed to add to the list.   One of my uncles married a 'British rose' from Devon and I recall that event resulting in the addition of several items to the notebook.   Why, to tick everything off my list I would need to spend a year away!
But alas in the packing and unpacking of many shifts over subsequent years I lost the precious notebook.   I did not however lose the desire for an extended visit to the UK. Dreams may be free but my hoped for trip was going to cost and I intended to plan properly.   The savings account is getting fatter, retirement age and its associated freedom is getting closer and so a few years ago I found another notebook -  fatter and larger than the original -  and am beginning another list.
On the cover of the notebook I am going to put this embroidery.  There are nearly 60 different colours and I am intending to stitch over one thread on 28 count fabric.   But I am also intending to stitch pleasurable anticipation into every little cross.
Tonight I have sorted out all the necessary threads and a piece of linen and while watching Restoration Man will have the pleasure of starting this.   I feel like my trip is beginning!
A just reward for a hard week at work.
Have a good evening everyone.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

A Spot of Bother and Peking Knots

This week I have been plodding along with the locked back stitch on my piece of Fisherton De La Mere.   After completing the circle (well the square in this case) I found I was one thread out.   Never mind, I told myself -  this is a page for a sample in your NNMSAL and as such will serve the purpose.   Correct but I've lost heart because of this spot of bother so a few eyelets and a few wrapped bullions and I put the piece aside.   Maybe later I tell myself.
So.... I fished out the piece of cruel crewel work and once again attempted the Peking Knot which had so roundly defeated me a few months ago.   This time I chose a different colour blue floss and away I went -  successfully this time.   Now whether that is due to the time elapsed, the colour of the floss or a closer attention to the instructions I shall leave for you to decide.
This weekend our beautiful blonde weather forecaster promises rain and plenty of it so I shall enjoy indoor pursuits and look forward to our Embroiderers Guild meeting.   At least this time I have some items to contribute to the "show and tell" table.   We only have "show and tell" every second month and I was away for the March meeting so shall be able to surprise them all with a positively splendiferous collection of smalls I have completed over the past four months.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Where does the time go?

Goodness it is May already!   This year is flying by and today I crossed off another two items on my To Do list - planted the last of my daffodil bulbs and put away the last of my summer clothes into the camphorwood chest.  
On the stitching front I have
1. Completed my May page for the NMMSAL -  a type of drawn thread and lace work
2. Started a small piece of Fisherton De La Mer.   So far only the locked back stitch to which I will need to add square eyelets and wrapped bullion bars.   Watch this space!   I enjoy the mathematical precision of this technique but once again I have ended up with tone on tone.   What disease do I have that I always choose these combinations?
3. Completed a small bag - a Lauren Sauer design which was supposed to be stitched in red.   I used Waterlilies Dark Shadow silk floss which is a very deep navy/ purple.   I'm rather pleased with how this turned out - even though at times I found the constant back stitch tedious.  
One side is strawberries and the other acorns.  There was supposed to be a scissor rest and a scissor fob.   I opted not to do either -  how many bag-scissor-pinkeep-needlebook combinations do I really need?   So I stopped at the bag only.   The pattern for the scissor rest is intriguing though and I may relent and try that later on.
4. Completed a book cover -  a gift for a friend.
I have only one project on the go at the moment so will allow myself the pleasure of choosing another from my stash -  perhaps a sampler?   I feel the need for some variety of stitches.
But I have a huge pile of books beside my bed and those wonderful words "in transit" on six of the books on my library request list.   I'm chuckling my way through The Rosie Project at the moment and the HD3QBEM is listening to yet another E V Thompson book on her Talking Book machine. 
We are promised yet another fine day tomorrow for Mothers' Day and my sister and her husband are coming for dinner.