Tuesday, 30 August 2016

An addition to the finishing basket

Mary Beale's Christmas Wreath is finished.   Well, more accurately, the stitching is finished but the object is as yet unfinished.  Here 'tis.   At the top, what I take to be an angel in the clouds and at the bottom a lion and a lamb on a hillock.
I took Samplers and Santas as my example (see here) and inserted the words 'peace' and 'unity' in the two bottom segments.   Since this is intended as a gift I did not think the recipient would appreciate 'Margaret her work' on the bottom of their Christmas Ornament ;-)
And so the pile in the basket grows and will eventually become from top to bottom -  an angel, a wreath and a florentine tote bag.  This basket kindly allows me new starts.   One in here is carefully ticked off the To-Do list and a new project is chosen.  Ah, the bliss.
I currently have only the hardanger runner in progress and have just started a small hardanger needlebook.  Stitching has been interrupted by sewing, with only the hem left to do on the navy jacket.   Our temperatures are rising slowly, so the navy jacket will probably go unworn until next Autumn.  Pat on the back to self for being so well organised;-)

Sunday, 28 August 2016

A good day

Today the HD3QBEM and I went for a drive out to the extreme west of the city.   The organisation I work for is to get a new office and I took her out to see it.
This is the new office!   Plans are almost signed off and eventually construction will begin and will be finished in about two and a half years.   I may get to see this before I retire;-)
On the way back I stopped at Spotlight (like Joann's in the USA) for one DMC floss.   And....
In addition to the floss I spent some of my gift card on two pieces of material for summer clothes.
On the left a rayon jersey knit for a wrap dress and on the right a piece for a T shirt.
Now I just need to find the store that sells time to make them!
And finally some pretty blossom to convince me that Spring is here.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Surprise ^-^

Today's mail brought a big (well small in size but big in impact) surprise envelope.   At lunchtime when I phoned the HD3QBEM she told me there was an envelope from Japan with a sticker on it.
When I got home I found that the sticker was a sender's address label in Japanese; even fully sighted the HD3QBEM couldn't read that !!
Inside was this ....
And a note from my friend telling me that she had found this letter writing notepaper which was "exactly right for Ma-" as she affectionately calls me.   Top marks and a gold star to Sawada san.
Can you see clearly in this shot why she thought so?  
It was around 36 years ago we first met and Sawada san was a university student then. Since then our paths have diverged but her occasional surprise packages warm my heart.   Thank you very much Sawada san ^-^

Thursday, 25 August 2016


Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of Father's death and Little Sister sent these lovely flowers to the HD3QBEM.  Carnations, lilies, chrysanthemums, freesias, erlicheer, an iris or two and fragrant stocks.
Aren't they beautiful?    And the smell from the stocks is divine.
Thank you very much Little Sister.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Spring is in the air

Today was glorious and golden all day thus difficult to believe the weather forecast for rain tomorrow.
However, just in case I picked another bunch of freesias to keep the HD3QBEM happy while I go to work.  Aren't they beautiful?   Can you smell them?

This afternoon I went browsing at the Vintage Textile Fair.   How come textiles from my childhood are vintage?   I'm not that old!!
There were acres of vintage sewing patterns (not tempting),several tables with fabrics (tempting but resisted), a stall of hats (I tried on one or two), lovely linens (imagine the laundry), clothes from several decades (including some in that dreadful crimplene fabric - remember that?) and furs!  One beautiful rich brown fox fur shoulder stole.   I could see that attached to the hood of a thick woollen winter jacket.  I checked the length, the look and the price.   But good sense prevailed.   Can you imagine the cold frowns and dark looks from the animal protectionist lobby?   I would be too afraid to venture out:-(

Friday, 19 August 2016

While the boss is away.....

For the next two weeks my boss is on leave and today she came down to my desk, sat down and said,
"will you have plenty to do while I am away?"
Now, what sort of a question is that?   I meekly answered that I had enough work, all the while wondering what else she wanted done.
In point of fact I was in the middle of tidying my drawers and cleaning the top of my desk, so while I looked busy it wasn't exactly productive.
She grinned and said, "you might do mine while I'm gone or have you run out of tins?"
This photo shows the reason for that comment.   Score one point to the boss!

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Progress report

After a busy and long day at work it has been relaxing to stitch mindlessly on this colourful piece.
The end is in sight and I am now wondering how I will construct the bag I want to make.   A tote bag with a colourful outside pocket on each side, using up some heavy black woollen fabric left over from my winter skirt.  Stash contains some buckram stiffening too and the necessary cotton for the lining.  Over the weekend I will study my existing but precariously worn out tote and make some notes on the construction, although there will not be time to sew.

I have other commitments this weekend! It is the Embroiderers' Guild monthly meeting; I have promised Little Sister to Skype her so that the HD3QBEM can share in the antics of Great-granddaughter; the Vintage textile fair is on at the nearby racecourse and I intend to visit, and then I need to fit in the usual chores and a visit to the Library.  

I need to note that my new position at work is immensely satisfying and interesting.   Now the days are getting longer I arrive home in bright day light (even though I leave before the sun is up) which means I have time for some outdoor activity and a longer evening to enjoy both the company of the HD3QBEM and my stitching.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

I needed this

In a couple of weeks I am taking the HD3QBEM away for a long weekend.   She already has her knitting project selected and bagged up ready to take.   So of course I followed her example.
I had kitted up the Mary Beale Christmas Wreath project but decided that starting to count fine linen under hotel room lights was not a guarantee of success.   So I started it at home last night and couldn't stop.
But now I am going to put it away - right away -  and get back to my Florentine Pocket which needs to be completed.

The side street where I usually park my car while at work is being dug up by slow moving men in hi-vis jackets.  They have carefully placed bright orange traffic cones and no parking signs and told me that it will be two months before they are finished.   So I am leaving home half and hour earlier in order to ensure I get a carpark on another side street.  Parking is very difficult in the area where the office is located.  Of course I have the intention of finishing work earlier to compensate....but that doesn't really eventuate.  So next week I plan on taking an afternoon off in lieu of the extra hours.   But today was a beautiful Spring day - well, Spring-like and traffic was light so I was home by 4:40pm.   Just as well.  The HD3QBEM is not well and was very happy to see me.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Progress on the Florentine Pocket

I have the whole dark grey/black skeleton stitched now and the colours selected.   These look random enough to me so far and certainly very colourful.   Hopefully in a week or so I will be able to make up the bag.
Today I passed by my LNS and called in to pick up one DMC floss.   Look what jumped into my hand as well :-)   Who knew that Highland Mist was such a beautiful colour.  
This will become a hardanger piece (once I look in my stash for suitable fabric) but may have to be put out of temptations way until I finish the current WIP's.  On the other hand, in a couple of weeks the HD3QBEM and I are going away for a long weekend break and I will need a small project to stitch then so....we shall see.
Meanwhile I have a date with a good book, a hot water bottle and a warm bed.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

The Next Project

Tonight I have done the lace filling on two more diamonds of the hardanger runner and hemmed around half of it.   As a reward I selected the floss and fabric for my next project which is to be of little crosses:-)
These colours don't look very festive but they are destined to be a Mary Beale Christmas Wreath = Merry Christmas I (here).   I plan to stitch on a piece of 28 count raw linen from stash and will back it with red velvet.   Of course this will not happen until I have finished the Florentine Pocket and made that into a tote bag.   What a good feeling to know that all the ingredients come from stash.

The end of current WIPs is in sight and I am already in planning mode for the next projects!

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

And the Trip Book is finished

A lot of thinking, some self control and determination and the Trip Book is complete.   I am happy with it too - which is a plus!
Since I expect my trip to be around six weeks I made forty pages.  One a day n'est-ce pas?
I left enough "space" so that my intentions to stick in small souvenir pieces such as tickets, photos, stamps etc will not spoil the width of the spine.
I made the pages paper so that I can write on them with pen, coloured pencils or marker pens.
I padded the inside front and back so that I can poke in pins if necessary.

And I put Scotland on the top, in deference to my maternal ancestry.  

Next on my 'trip-preparation-list' is the planning and sewing of a capsule wardrobe and some detailed research of the itinerary.   So far I have decided a colour scheme (navy/white) and an entry port (Manchester) but there are a few more necessary details before this plan could be considered complete :-)

Now I am off to dream some more and hem up half of my hardanger table runner.   My hot water bottle is in my bed and soon I shall be too.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

How much further?

Only another six diamonds to go to the halfway-and-a-bit point and then another six to go after that.
But tonight I folded the hem in to assess whether the size was as I had originally calculated.   Yippee -  it will be just right.   But it certainly needs the drawn thread and hem stitched border I plan.
However I am going to take a break at the half way point and give this piece a rest.   Besides which I think the stitcher needs a break too :-)

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Warning - construction zone

It has been bitterly cold here today and apart from a brisk walk down to the village shop for a newspaper,  I have not been out.  
Instead I have done the chores and enjoyed myself sewing and stitching.
My jacket is all sewn up and now there is the hand stitching to do.   Meanwhile it can hang for a day or so to ensure I get the hem straight when I do that.   I'm really pleased with this, especially the pretty lining which are in a soft lawn.   The sleeve lining is bemberg rayon so my arm will slip in easily - a clever idea I found on the internet somewhere.  The body fabric is a thick warm knit which although insufficient for mid winter will be great between seasons.
The trip book is under construction -  the spine is attached to the covers and I have marked where I will sew the pages in.   Cutting the pages to size is not a job for the end of a day nor for tired eyes so I will leave that until tomorrow.
And the hardanger has made its way to the top of the WIP pile.   I am determined to get to the absolute half way point on this so have made a start on the lace filling.   Once I have done all the diamonds on this half I will definitely be in need of a new project:-)
I have put the hot water bottles in the beds and it is time for a bot drink before I hit the hay after an enjoyable but tiring day.

Friday, 5 August 2016

First freesias

The first freesias have bloomed and are a beautiful scarlet.
Together with even more daffodils they are in a vase to remind me that Spring will come.   We currently have a polar blast coming up the country, dropping all its snow in the South and bringing only icy winds and low temperatures for us in the North.
The small stitched piece is the finally-completed piece from the class I went to in March.   The designer is strong on copyright, and I have already had a sharp reminder once,  so no close up shots I'm sorry.   This has been on my list for some time and I am pleased to have completed it but it will probably never be repeated.  
My trip book has its spine sewn in and tomorrow the back boards will be glued in place.  Then it is just the individual pages to sew in -  may be another week and it will be done.
But tomorrow I am going to sew.   A navy jacket with a lining in almost-William-Morris fabric.  I have the pieces cut and the lining pieces pinned so it will be a quick job indoors tomorrow when it will be far too cold to venture out.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

My battery is running down

It is official.   My battery is running down and will need replacing within two years!   This morning I had a pacemaker check at the hospital and received the glad tidings explanation.  This is Good News as the replacement will be implanted and checked as working properly well before I depart for my retirement trip.   Excellent.

And as I had taken a day off work I made the most of the rest of the day.
A visit to the Fabric Warehouse to buy a length of cotton for a summer dress.(I don't know why the photo is showing a black shadow -  it is plain cobalt blue and white)
Then a well planned trip to cross off the usual Saturday chores.  (I plan on spending Saturday sewing up the jacket I cut out some weeks ago).   I also called at the Curtain Warehouse and bought some red velvet for the underskirt of the Hardanger Angel.
After lunch I met a friend for a birthday cake - only a day late -  and a natter.   The Foundation on George is a cafe in the old building which used to house the Royal New Zealand Foundation for the Blind.  I had a delicious passionfruit cake, while Kathy settled on a Lemon Curd and Poppy Seed muffin.   We tried each others and both of us thought the other's was the better choice ;-)
This evening I have been constructing the small cylindrical hussif from the class I went to in March. Hopefully tomorrow evening will see that finished and then I can get back to the Florentine Stitch pocket and try out the suggestions for randomising my colour choices.   Thank you to all who left comments.
It does feel good to be at the construction stage actually constructing these pieces that have been sitting in the basket.   I have promised myself that when the hussif, the angel and the trip book are finished completely I can start a new project.  How's that for an incentive?   All I need is a few more days off work :-)
And now I am off to bed with a hot water bottle.   There have been blizzards down south and we are getting the icy winds up here.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

A little bit of progress

In the winter I wear black with accents of grey.  In the summer I wear blue (mainly navy and cobalt blue) with accents of black or white.   Can you tell that I don't have much of a relationship with colour?   Hence I have come to an almost complete halt on the Florentine Pocket.   What colour to do next?
Well when in doubt stitch the black/grey (until the floss runs out) and then repeat one of the other colours!    So here we are.
However, the HD3QBEM is much more adventurous and ever so much more frugal.   All the odd ends of balls of yarn get put away and she mulls over what she can use them for.   Somewhere on the vast space of the internet her loving daughter found a "random sweater", so with some encouragement off she sailed.   Last year she knitted two randoms which sold rapidly at the Hospice shop. This is the first of this year's -  a V neck sweater to fit a 2 year old size - the back thereof.
  I volunteered to sew in all the ends which was generous of me considering the bright idea had been mine.   But what a lot of ends there were!   And there is still the front to go after which I will knit the neck band and arm hole bands.   Certain aspects of knitting are too much for the HD3QBEM nowadays so often the finishing falls to me.
And now I am off to do some hardanger.   All the florentine stitching on canvas has hurt my thumb so I'm having a rest from that for a couple of days.