Sunday, 31 July 2016

Pocket Number Two

Back to the florentine stitch and the effort to use up odds and ends of floss.  
This time I am going for a tessellated multi-colour version and so far so good.    It isn't easy to plan to be random is it?  So while I think what colour next (limited of course by the pile of floss I am trying to use) I will continue to stitch the outline in DMC3799.  All is well so far, I think.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Warm Tootsies

Too many chores today and not enough free time.   I did manage to finish the second sock though and the HD3QBEM laughed at me and said "you have too many".   As this pair are for a gift (I do have identical yarn to make myself a pair) I don't feel the slightest bit guilty.   But to prove myself in the right,  I lined them all up for a photograph.   Perhaps she has a point?!

One thing I do feel guilty about is that I currently have three projects on the go and I need to get them finished.   Oops, make that four!   So tonight I will sort floss for the second side of the Florentine Stitch bag and dream of the new project I will start when these are done ;-)

Friday, 29 July 2016

Look at this.
I think this is probably a competition from 3M for the most ingenious use of Post It Notes - they have been known to run such things before.   The local office of the Ministry of Education decorated their window in the latest craze and I stopped to take photo on my way home tonight.
I have been knitting on sock number two and should hopefully finish it tonight, all the while dreaming of another stitching project.   To my immense satisfaction they are proving to be identical twins which was exactly what I wanted.
Stitching is finished and the hardanger angel needs construction.   I plan to get the fabric for the skirt this weekend.   Photos will follow.  The holes are for the neck and the ties around the waist although they do look like planned mistakes at this point :-)

Sunday, 24 July 2016

A productive afternoon

Spring is here -  outside it is blowing a gale with squally showers so I rescued the first daffodils and brought them inside.
They are beautiful, although I now see that I must have bought one packet of bulbs of some new mutant variety as it has no trumpet but a double layer of frills.
This afternoon I made a double quantity of the HD3QBEM's favourite lemon honey.   She is happy!
And I completed the first sock so I am happy!
And on that note, Au Revoir.  I am off to make dinner and sort out my weeks stitching.

Friday, 22 July 2016

And the winner is...

Tonight was the official draw for a lucky winner.   Can you hear the drum roll?   Thank you to all those who left comments and helpful suggestions for my trip.   With the willing cooperation of the HD3QBEM the winning name has been drawn.
Grace  if you can email me with your postal address I will mail off your copy of the ANZEG Diary.   There's a block of NZ specialty chocolate to include and.....a few other surprises.
I have been working on the front skirt of the hardanger angel tonight.   Densely stitched areas like this are not a favourite but I admit the overall effect is rather good.   What I thought was a bunch of roses is more like a ribbon tying green leaves but I'm not finished yet.  And I still think red velvet for the underskirt!

Thursday, 21 July 2016

A White Night - with a splash of colour

Tonight I have been stitching white buttonhole stitch around the edge of the angel.   Perhaps not the most inspiring, it is nonetheless very satisfying.  
Another evening and I should be all the way round and can then begin the floral part.   I laid a piece of dark cloth under the lacework wing to make it clearer -  the fabric is still pristine white.   I wash my hands frequently while stitching this
I have pulled the floss for the flowers and think they should look really good.   My idea is to have a deep wine velvet underskirt- but no firm decisions have been made yet.   The HD3QBEM says that bottle green velvet would look good too.   She is of course correct ;-)
Tomorrow I will draw a name from the comments left for the giveaway so do leave a comment here if you wish to enter.   There will be a cake of Whittakers Black Doris Plum and Roasted Almonds chocolate included  - if that is an added inducement.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

And Spring is here....well maybe

Today I dressed in several layers of merino wool, long trousers, hand knitted wool socks, knee high boots and sat at my desk with a wool rug over my knees and a hot water bottle on top of that.   Yes, it was cold!  
This is the sky as I walked into the office at 7:15
And this is at the top of my steps when I walked home at 4:45 tonight
And Spring is here....?   I don't really think so, not yet anyway.
And for that reason I continue knitting this pair of pretty pink woolly socks.
I rather like the stripey pattern that is pre-dyed into the Opal yarn.  The heel is turned and I am racing along toward the toe now.   Just as well, I'm itching to get back to my hardanger :-)

Monday, 18 July 2016

A Trio of Adventures

Tonight is the tale of three adventures.
First up a new pair of hand knitted socks.   It is always an adventure to see how the pattern develops. I'm not very far along with these ones but I'm liking the colour scheme.   A big ball of wool but it will make a pair of socks to keep my cold feet warm.
Another adventure has been trying to reduce my food budget and for this year I decided to only go to the grocery store every five to six weeks.   Which means that on the other weeks it is a quick trip to the green grocer for fresh fruit and veges so saving me time.   But my car boot gets very full.
I invested in three plastic baskets from the $2+ store to carry the groceries in,  as my supermarket Pak 'N Save, is so named because they don't pack your shopping into plastic bags.   However even the baskets are not enough to contain the items necessary so there are two carry bags also -  these were free from a Civil Defence display at the local library a year or two ago.
And the bonus?   I have shaved $10 a week off my food bill!
And the third adventure is that for the past twelve months I have been experimenting with living on what the NZ Superannuation will pay me when I am 65.   It has been a fun adventure and I have proved I can do it.   At the end of this month I will do the final 'sum total' on my Excel spreadsheet but it looks like I will be less than what the NZ government will give me.  Not too bad eh?   I intend to continue this experiment for the next 39 months 8 days until Retirement Day.
And don't forget to sign up for the giveaway here.   The HD3QBEM will be drawing a name on Friday.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

A little giveaway

At the 2016 Embroiderers' Conference on Friday I purchased this small diary which contains photos of some of the amazing work on display in the Exhibition.   The theme was Celebrating Colour and each exhibit certainly did that.   From Wing Chairs in colourful needlepoint to Colourful Crazy Quilting, from necklaces to bags, from framed pictures to 3D objet d'art, you name it there was the whole spectrum.  Indeed one piece was the word Spectrum stitched faultlessly in every colour of the spectrum.

Photographs were not allowed so I won't show a photo of each page of the diary but the 'head' you can see on the cover was AMAZING.   Each of the floral (and animal) decorations was stitched in exquisite Elizabethan Embroidery on a black fabric which looked to be a knit and was stretched flawlessly over a mannequin head.   Where do people get their imaginative ideas?
I went to the Exhibition on my own and didn't quite get my timing right so there were few people to talk to.   This dimmed my pleasure of the experience a little and got me to thinking about how much added pleasure there is in sharing experiences with a companion.   I am planning a retirement trip to UK and will be travelling alone for around 6-8 weeks.   So I have a question -  do you have any helpful suggestions for extracting maximum pleasure out of experiences and adventures when one is alone.   Please leave any comments/answers to the question on this post and on 22 July I will have the HD3QBEM draw one name.  That person will receive a copy of this diary (and a surprise) and will be able to enjoy photos of 13 of the wonderful embroideries.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Little Sister's Visit

This afternoon Little Sister came to visit and while we were sitting talking I completed the Christmas Ornaments.   As you can see I changed my mind and the one I thought too big and was going to make into a notebook cover is actually a hanging ornament complete with bells.   I still want to make a notebook cover so will have to stitch another (lol).
The hardanger tassel was painstakingly cut out and stitched up.  I am really pleased with this one.   It is to be a gift so is now wrapped in tissue until it goes on its journey.
And I promised a give away so please come back and visit tomorrow:-)

Friday, 15 July 2016

Good value

Value for money!
One of these was the entry fee into the Merchants Mall and Exhibition.   I arrived early, too early really as the Guild displays had not all been set up.   However the lack of crowds meant I could look at everything and trawl the various goods on display.   It was great!
First up the Guild displays.  
The Auckland Guild, of which I am a member, had this display.
Do you remember me stitching a triangle of fabric with just three colours?   All the triangles were collated into this display.   And do you know -  I couldn't remember which one I had stitched.   How bad is that?   But there it is - top left.  I looked it up when I got home.
The Horowhenua Guild from much further down the North Island had an intriguing display.  
Based on a photograph taken by a member, the various contributors had stitched A4 sized portions which were then reconfigured to a stitched copy of the photo.  
Truly amazing as even the joins appeared to be the result of collaboration and matched up surprisingly well.  Isn't it beautiful?
Next, I went upstairs to the Exhibition where there were no photographs allowed.   Ranging from out and out creative through to extremely traditional there was certainly something to please everyone.   I wish I could have taken photos to show but instead I bought a memento which does contain photos of some of the pieces.   I will shortly be having a giveaway so watch this space.
Coming back down to the Ground Floor, here is a sneak peek at the merchants mall.
I enjoyed browsing at the beautiful wares on display.
Beads, threads, felt, silks, fabrics.   You name it, there it was for sale.   Most people had come with large bags which they obviously intended to fill!
This stall was beautifully decorated with very traditional wares.   I was super tempted but didn't succumb here.   The owner of Heirlooms loves Olde Worlde and she was wearing a long Victorian style dress.  Her assistant was her husband and that is he on the right, in the top hat.
Further around was a wood turner who had the most fascinating needlework tools.   My father used to do wood turning and I was instantly transported back to his workshop and the smell of the wood shavings.   My maternal grandfather had been in the sawmilling industry, going into the native forests to assess trees for logging.   So it was quite a nostalgic journey looking through all the wares on display.   I did succumb to temptation here and purchased this.
What is it, do you ask?
Well if I take off the ends - voila!   A Quik-Unpick and a stiletto.   Isn't that convenient?  Chrome fixings and a Totara body.   A new tool for my sewing box.
Then I bought fudge to bring home for the HD3QBEM and so ended a very happy outing.

Thursday, 14 July 2016


Congratulations to self.  The green cardigan is finished and fits perfectly. A lousy photo but I need a record. The HD3QBEM laughed at all the buttons but I like them and that's what matters.   Besides which there is no gaping!
And some Connected Wrapped Bars have been added to the Hardanger Angels Wing Tip.
Not bad when I am oh so very tired.   But no work tomorrow = a day to myself with a To Do List as long as ever.   First up though is the Embroiderers' Conference Exhibition.   The weatherman promises showers so I hope he is wrong as I predict a long walk from car park to venue.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

In which the HD3QBEM acquires stash

Saturday we went West to a pop-up knitting yarn store and the HD3QBEM was tempted beyond self control.   We came home with this...
Didn't she do well?   Her comment was, "well if I don't last long enough to knit it all up you can give it to Little Sister".    Little Sister, if you are reading this, don't hold your breath in anticipation.   The HD3QBEM will have this all knitted up in two shakes of a lamb's tail.

A break from knitting

The knitting on the green cardigan is finished and the garment is all pinned ready to be sewn up.   That job will be left for tomorrow night.
I need a break!   So it is back to my beloved hardanger and tonight I finished drawing the threads for one wing tip for the small angel.  
The lacy pattern is to be connected wrapped bars which is not my favourite filling but will look great when done.   White on white is hard on the eyesight:-(
With my new job I finish at "normal" time and get home earlier so have an extra hour or so to myself which is very welcome.   Several chores around the house are getting attention.   I made some Ginger Crunch Slice as Brother-In-Law is coming for dinner tomorrow night  (menu to be oven baked fish and chips with healthy vegetables).   Little Sister is coming on Saturday for lunch and then the afternoon (menu yet to be decided).
I have Friday off work to go to the Embroiderers' Exhibition and am counting down the hours.   What fun to see the work of so many other like-minded people.   I feel sure that photographs won't be allowed  but I will certainly be taking my camera with me just in case.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

A new start

Tonight I did some more knitting on the green sweater and have reached the armhole on the back.   I had promised myself a new start at this point so I have begun the Hardanger Angel.
Hardanger is definitely my favourite and I am already enjoying the setting out of the kloster blocks.   DMC perle #8 on 32 count Belfast linen = happiness:-) White on white isn't very interesting but the construction of this project is what makes it.   Watch this space.
Having more time in an evening to indulge my hobbies is such a great feeling.   
Next weekend is the National Embroiderers Conference and I have Friday off to go and visit the exhibition and the merchants mall. I am certainly looking forward to that.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

I am drained of energy...

My new position at the office is going well but as with anything new,  it is a challenge.  Consequently I am tired!   But with this new role comes a truly 8 hour day so I expect to see that "bonus time" reflected in a greater output of knitting, stitching and sewing as I get home at least an hour earlier.
However tiredness won out tonight and there are no photos of my "produce" to show yet.
I did however take a photo of Cricket at Church.   Cricket is a Golden Labrador who each Sunday Cricket deposits his mistress into a seat two in front of us and then proceeds to make himself comfortable underneath.   A family of small boys generally come along to say hello, at which he will open one eye, blink and pretend to go back to sleep.   "Good Doggy", says little Jacob and all is well. While I don't want to ever have a Guide Dog,  I would love a companion like Cricket.

And on a final note,  my battle with my new Android phone has been won.   I just could not make my forefinger fingerprint scan work to unlock the phone.   So I deleted that fingerprint registration and entered in my middle finger and we have lift off!   100% success each and every time.  I feel so good at having won that battle and am now available 24/7 (or at least when I have my phone with me) for my new boss.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Today's yarn

Dan the weatherman came to the party and today was another beautiful golden day, after a very chilly frost to start.   So this afternoon the HD3QBEM and I drove across the Harbour Bridge and down the peninsula to Devonport.   It is too far for her to walk the length of Victoria Street so we compromised by parking close and visiting the only two essential shops.  Wild and Woolly Yarns and Cushla's Village fabrics.
Wild and Woolly had mainly imported yarns; whisper soft fine merino and silk from Italy and France and mega thick 14 ply chunky from Australia.   I was looking for fine sock yarn and found none suitable but the HD3QBEM did find a new knitting pattern.
We wandered up the street to Cushla's and on the way found this
Somebody had yarn bombed the front of a cute inviting bookshop with interesting bunting.   Can you see The Very Hungry Caterpillar hanging on the right of the door?
The Cat in The Hat was above that and then Alice in Wonderland.
On the left hand side was Harry Potter and Pippi Longstocking.   Such fun.
We looked at all the temptations fabrics in Cushla's and decided that Little Sister would loooove this shop!
On the way home we stopped for an ice cream.   A great afternoon out was had by all.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Happy Feet

Today the HD3QBEM and I went on the double decker bus into the city.   She sat in the arcade and watched the world go by,  while I went to the store and made my feet happy with these.
And then we bought a new sweater for the HD3QBEM, had a look through the knitting shop and caught a bus home.   I think this might have been the first time ever that we have visited a yarn store and not purchased :-)
Dan the weatherman is my new best friend.   He has been enemy number one all week as we have had torrential rain (heaviest on record for Auckland) but redeemed himself today with golden weather.  If he can continue the miracle tomorrow we shall go for a visit to Wild and Woolly Yarns in Devonport and perhaps indulge in a hot chocolate too.