Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Aren't brothers-in-law wonderful?!

This week my one and only superb brother-in-law has been staying.  He travelled all the way up to Auckland to help me out.   Thanks to his expertise I am on Wi fi and my iPad is set up; I have been initiated into Skype and eBooks.  Yes!   Good old-fashioned Margaret is well on the way to entering the 21st Century.   Thank you so much for all your help Patrick.
The only down side in this happy saga is that little stitching has been done.   I did complete two small pockets which are to have packets of seeds placed inside them and then they will be mailed as surprise gifts to relatives who need a pick me up.   Spring flowers should do it and if they plant now they should enjoy soon.  (Photos to follow soon - said finish needs ironing before I am happy to show off).

Next week I plan to stitch more on my Trip Book cover but while distractions are in place finishing off half done items from "the box" is amazingly satisfying.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Two more completed ornaments

Last night was a mammoth finishing session.  Amazing how the TV version of Miss Fishers Murder Mysteries can assist in speedy needlework finishing!
These ornaments both convey the feelings I had when they were complete!

Both of these will eventually feature as my monthly contribution to the 2013 Christmas Ornament SAL but my entry for this month is under wraps until 31 July when I shall hold the big reveal!
Suffice it to say that it does not feature the word JOY :-)
I do hope your weekend has been as enjoyable and satisfying as mine.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Early signs of Spring

Today I caught the bus into the City and did some shopping for the HD3QBEM.   On the return journey I managed to call into the City Art Gallery and enjoy, once again, one of my favourite buildings in this city.
On the way home I called into The Fabric Warehouse and bought the necessities to make a dress for my nephews wedding in October.   He is having an afternoon wedding at a winery , near where my older brother lives on the East Coast of New Zealand.   I think this fabric made into a dress will suit and if it is a little chilly I shall throw a pashmina over my shoulders and hope for the best!  I fell in love with the colours in the fabric and in a happy coincidence it means I will not have to buy new shoes nor a new clutch bag. Yeah!   I do not like spending money on items I rarely use or will probably never use again.

Signs of Spring in my garden -  buds on the Prunus tree and a tiny miniature daffodil.
 One ornament is completed and hopefully tonight I will finish off two more.  
Next week my brother-in-law is coming to stay and will be installing the wireless modem and giving me tutorials on my new iPad so I don't think there will be much stitching done ;-)  

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Tonight's joy...

Tonight's joy came in two forms.
First a surprise 'fat' letter from Pamela with some really cute sampler fabric and a variety of delicious Japanese postcards.  This surprise was such a wonderful pick-me-up after a hard day at work.  Thank you so very much Pamela.
Second a completed Christmas ornament.  
This one is stitched on 40 count linen -  my first time on linen of such a high count!   I wanted to use up stash and had a small piece of 40 count linen gifted to me by Amy
The red and gold threads are German variegated thread given me by a friend who doesn't stitch!   I have never used them before and truth to tell I won't again if I can help it.   DMC flow through the needle much better although to be fair using two threads of floss on 40 count linen may not have been a wise choice.   However I wanted to colours to be dense and that aim was achieved.   I will make this into a rectangular hanging ornament for the Christmas tree.   But..... I have one other ornament with the stitching complete and another half way stitched and so the construction will wait until I can do all three together.
Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day for you and for me!

Monday, 22 July 2013

Not long to go

Today marks 333.5 weeks until I retire!   And what will I do then......?
I will stitch
I will read
I will go for long walks
I will go to the gym
I will cook
I will travel
I will sew
I will knit
I will garden

I will not wake to an alarm clock at 6am
I will not drive to work and incarcerate myself in a small office at the back of a warehouse
I will not be held responsible for the mistakes of others
I will not try and extract payment of bills from those who don't wish to pay for goods purchased
I will not be tied to an 8am - 5pm work schedule

I will be free!!!!!

Can you tell that this week has not started well and I need something to look forward to?

Sunday, 21 July 2013

An almost finish...

Over half the year has gone.  Time has rushed by and I still have lots of items on my To-Do list!
This ornament has the stitching complete and just needs to be completed -  maybe this week. I am debating whether to play safe with a circular finish or try to be smart and create a star shaped ornament.   Time will dictate I think.
And a close up -  this one was stitched on 28 count cashel linen in my favourite DMC115   The original chart called for beads but it has been decided that this one shall remain beadless.
I have two others half stitched and want to get them all done this week -  I wonder whether there will be enough hours in each day?
The sashiko piece was completely satisfying and most inspiring.    I can see a repeat of this one but probably not until next year.   Perhaps a bag?   We shall see.  

I stitched the sashiko on navy homespun poplin with white Japanese sashiko thread and then very carefully with tailors chalk inscribed concentric circles which I quilted using red Gutermann sewing thread.   Quilting over sashiko is certainly not traditional but I was pleased with the result.   Navy, red and white is always a pleasing combination, as any Frenchman will tell you!
We have had a fine but chilly weekend which I have thoroughly enjoyed but there are still several items on my weekend chores list so I will love you and leave you.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Kogin and Sashiko

I have finished my July page for the NMMSAL and it is now sewn into the book.  
Kogin is Japanese darning and provides a beautifully neat reverse side as well but of course I had to stitch it in before I photographed it ;-)  You will have to take my word for that.

And a close up.   I stitched this piece on a scrap of beige Binca fabric bought in Japan over 20 years ago and used navy sashiko thread also from Japan.  
The Sashiko piece is stitched and prepped for me to quilt this.   I intend to trace concentric circles on this and quilt lightly- hopefully emulating a piece of work I saw on the internet some time ago.   Quilting and I have an unhappy relationship so this plan may not work -  we shall see.
And tonight I pulled together a few bits and pieces from stash for yet another Christmas Ornament. 
I am truly joyful to use up bits and pieces!   And tonight while I watch New Tricks and my favourite Amanda Redman I will be plying the "needles without eyes" for a new summer sweater.   It is cold and mid-winter here but I can dream can't I?

Saturday, 6 July 2013

From Stash and To Stash!

Today I went shopping for a Christmas Tree.
No it doesn't actually look like a tree yet but it will!   And hopefully with beginning preparations early this will be complete in time to mail to its overseas destination for the beginning of December.
At the shop I found this...
First I saw the miracle word Belfast and then I could see beautiful hardanger and at this price...of course there is space in my stash cupboard!
My stash cupboard is really a treasure trove and 99% of the time has exactly what I want or need.   Today when tracing a design for my Sashiko page in the NMMSAL I retrieved a packet of Chaco Paper (the bright blue packet in the top left) purchased around 25 years ago in Japan!  I just knew it would be useful one day.
The design is now traced on to the Navy poplin and tonight while watching Amanda Redman on the TV I hope to complete the Sashiko and then attempt the concentric circles of quilting.   I need to get the Sashiko completed quickly before the chalky carbon line wears off.  
It has been fine here all day (an unusual occurrence for a weekend at this time of year) and I managed to get my garden weeded and tidied up and replanted the strawberries into fresh soil and fresh pots.   Perhaps with all the Tender Loving Care, in December we will have strawberries Chez Nous.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Half Irish!

Mid week on a cold July night is as good a time as any to post my current efforts.
Tonight I can show around half of the Ireland band of my sampler UK Trip Book Cover.   The left hand side is stone castle in three shades of grey and I grew weary of that so moved to the right hand side with its three to four shades of green!   That's not a tree on the right - a stone St Patrick's cross is my guess and the green beyond is probably depicting the Emerald Isles?   The row of shamrocks was tedious but is most effective and I do like the two spinning wheels.   Sky, castle and yet more green remain.   Then I move to Scotland which fortunately, has lots of my favourite blue.
This is a fun stitch on which I have upped the frustration levels by stitching over one.   But I'm almost halfway done and there's a great deal of satisfaction in that.
Have a happy evening everyone.