Wednesday, 30 May 2007


I'm skipping about in happiness! Or, rather, I'm inwardly skipping about in happiness, as that sort of behaviour doesn't go down well in an office environment. Yesterday, when I got home from work, there was a parcel for me, and yes yes yes, it was the thread I'd ordered weeks ago from Attic Needlework!! So after running out of thread on 25th March, finally I can continue on Paradigm Lost! I'm all in a tither, I'm so excited! I did briefly get out PL last night, but we'd been to the pub, and I didn't want to risk lots of frogging, so I only stitched a few stitches before prudently setting it aside. More on it imminently!

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

A Wonderful Busy Stitching Weekend

As I suspected, the proper piece of kit didn't arrive for H's laptop, so no blogging at the weekend. And with the weather being extremely liquid at the weekend, it meant absolutely no distractions from stitching - I got so much done! No bbq building, no golf, no gardening, but plenty of stitching :)

First, I finished off the scissor fob I started (I think I will send it to my mum when completed). I stitched this freebie from Drawn Thread called 'The Heart Throb'. The front side (on right below) is on 32-count cream linen and uses the DMC threads listed on the chart. The reverse (below left) is the same design stitched on 32-count English Rose (Permin/Wichelt) using Silk 'n' Colours Pink Elephant. Having stitched one side of the border as directed on the chart (a stitch called double faggoting which was extremely tedious and boring, although looked nice), I frogged it and just went with a simple backstitch border. I also managed to pop into the craft store and pick up wadding and some delicate dusty rose-coloured ribbon for the fob, so I am all set to 'finish finish' this (once I pick up some nice scissors, which the craft store most definitely did NOT have). H also bought my birthday present when we were in town - a daylight lamp and it makes stitching o so much easier - I am already so thankful for it!

Next, I pulled out Silver Needle and finished off 3 bands (the sort of wave-y white and pink one, the teal one, and 'Followed where my fingers led') and started a fourth, which doesn't look like it but will be another floral band.

And then, since it was still teeming down with rain, on Sunday I decided to spend a few hours on Northern Lights. I'm really pleased with how this one is turning out - it's chock full of speciality stitches and speciality fibers, so there is always lots to keep my interest! I finished several bands on this one before starting the 'animal' band. Everything was fine with the eagle and the snowy owl, but then I started the rabbit ears with Wisper thread (which I've never stitched with before) and suddenly lost all confidence because it didn't quite look like I was expecting it to, so... problem, I simply packed it away and pulled out 'Their Song'! It's wonderful having a whole weekend of free time and so many projects on the go that I am spoiled for choice! Their Song is progressing famously well, with only the bottom quarter or so of the design to finish. I'm hoping to get this one done before the next Loose Feathers chart arrives on my doorstep, but I think that may be a race I lose as Kate from Thread Bear let me know the other day that the chart is on the way from the States.

And, then, finally, nearing the end of Monday I decided it would be a good time to start a new project as I have a couple of spaces in my rotation - so I picked through my stash and came up with Love Is Patient by La-D-Da. I'd bought the Lakeside Linen recommended fabric when I was over in Canada earlier this month (can anyone tell me where is a good place to get this, and/or R&R fabrics in the UK or Europe? I'm having a hard time getting them in any kind of a timely way from US distributors - it seems to take at least a month to get fabrics across!). The design uses only five colours, but they are gorgeous, sumptuous colours from Crescent Colours so very much looking forward to using them! I only managed to get a small part of the outer border in the design done, so didn't bother to take a photo - a single straight line of stitches just doesn't spark the imagination somehow!

And phew that's about it for my weekend. I'm hoping that my order from Wyndham comes soon, as I'm reserving the final space in my rotation for Spanish Wine, but I'm awaiting the LL fabric which is on the way. Fingers crossed that all the thread I've ordered from Attic comes through soon as well - I can't wait to get going again with Paradigm Lost, which has been sitting disconsolately in a corner for about 10 weeks waiting for the thread to arrive...

Happy stitching everyone!

Friday, 25 May 2007

Half a Finish

Yippee, I finished the first half of my first biscornu last night! I did, however, forget to take a photo this morning in the rush to get out of the house and to the train, so apologies that no photographic evidence accompanies this post. I will post a photo this weekend if the hookup thingy for H's laptop is delivered today as it is supposed to be. Otherwise I will be silent until next week - and we've a Bank Holiday weekend this weekend, so I'm very much looking forward to that! Golfing, stitching, gardening, stitching, assembling the new BBQ, stitching, using the new BBQ, stitching - we have lots of relaxing plans!

Oh, I also started the next band on Silver Needle last night, but there isn't much to show yet so I'll post that once I get somewhere more tangible on it.

Great news came through yesterday - Jean from Attic Needlework has confirmed that she is going to re-send the large order of Crescent Colours 'Bejeweled' that has seemingly disappeared into thin air earlier in the spring, which is WONDERFUL news as means I can soon carry on with Paradigm Lost. And Kate from Thread Bear has confirmed that the new Loose Feathers chart is on the way. And I've also ordered the 'Home of a Needleworker' chart by LHN from Kate, so a bit of stash on the way - hurrah!

Happy stitching and have a wonderful weekend to everyone!

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Nearly There

Last night I worked a little on the biscornu design (my first) I'm doing - I'm still not convinced about the thread colour, but I am forging on regardless just to see how it turns out. It was only a little while, because H and I got out the golf clubs and made our way up to the local driving range - now that our interest in golf has been renewed, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the local golf club does in fact have a driving range, and is tucked away in the fields just north of the village. It only takes about 5 minutes to drive there, mainly because you have to drive around the village to get to it - it's less than a mile as the crow flies. We had a very pleasant evening as the sun was shining and there are countless birds and other wildlife living in all the fields around the course - very peaceful. Until, of course, you hear me cursing my 7-iron, or H applauding himself for hitting a straight drive. The joys of golf!

So anyway, I've not much more left on this, the first side of the biscornu. I am toying with the idea of using a solid colour for the reverse side (same pattern) rather than carrying on with the very lurid (see, I am convincing myself more and more that I don't like it so much) thread I am currently using. We shall see! Tonight is the Champions League final, and H is out for dinner with some work contacts, leaving me in peace to carry on stitching this, so it's quite possible I'll make a decision tonight on the thread for the reverse.

Happy stitching!

Monday, 21 May 2007

Quite a Satisfying Weekend

Well, this was a good weekend. Not only did the weather behave remarkably well (and far better than advertised), but I managed to finish Busy Bee (hurrah!) AND frame Mum's Heart II (double hurrah!) and also spend a good deal of time in the garden, which I find quite rewarding. Also, FIL was over from Ireland and we all went to watch the Heineken Cup Final at Twickenham on Sunday which was a lovely day out.

So, first to Busy Bee. The photo unfortunately hasn't come out all that well, but this design, by The Sweetheart Tree, was done on 32ct cream fabric with DMC threads, Mill Hill beads and a bee charm (not the bespoke ST one, but one I found that was the right size as was finding it difficult to track down the one that was called for) and some crystal paillettes (again, not the 'proper' ones but some Gutermann substitutes which are just fine). I love the twirly delicate backstitched vines on this one, I think they turned out beautifully (if I do say so myself!). I have a couple more Sweetheart Tree designs in my stash, so will definitely dig those out - they are so quick to finish (this design is about 2.5 inches across and 8 inches high).

Also, I framed MIL's A Mother's Heart. Unfortunately, she wasn't able to come over this weekend as originally planned as they are off to Australia tomorrow, and thus she had a million and one things to sort out before they left, and there wasn't time for everything. So FIL is going to take it back to MIL and I guess we might get a call tonight when FIL gets home. Hopefully she will like it!

I spent a good deal of Saturday in the garden - we only have a small L-shaped raised bed in an otherwise paved garden, but there was enough to keep me busy for most of the day. I was happily weeding, forking over, adding topsoil, pulling out some of the horrible plants left by previous owners, pruning, planting a new clematis (it's a gorgeous mostly-white-but-faintly-pink colour with striking purple stamens, and I of course forgot to take a photo of it), and planting a dozen or more different types of seeds - since it is our first growing season at the new house, I'm mainly planting loads of annuals until I decide what I want to do with it more permanently. Meanwhile, H and FIL watched the *yawn* FA Cup Final. So everyone was happy! Below are some photos of the (old) clematis already in the garden. I can't remember exactly what it's called.

Friday, 18 May 2007


Oh, I can't believe I nearly forgot this! I finished Titania - a Mirabilia fairy - back in February, only 3 months after it needed to be finished in order to get it to my lovely sister for Christmas (good things come to those who wait?). So when we were in Canada, I brought the rolled up, unframed stitching with me and brought to a local framers (Broadmead Gallery - I don't think they have a website) in Saanich. Here are the results, which I am really pleased with (as is my sister!). I'm so proud of this, my first 'big' stitching project, and certainly the first that I have had framed so professionally. (Having been a bit shocked at the cost of framing, however, I'm not sure I'll be professionaly framing anything but very special projects going forward!)

A Finish!

Excellent news, I have finished Mum's Heart II for H's mum! I have only to pop it in the frame and wrap it in some suitably cheerful birthday paper and it's complete!

I love a finish! Hopefully one or two more this month on some of the smaller projects I'm working on...

Happy stitching and have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Last Few Stitches

Yes, the camera cord was indeed left in Canada, but I've sourced a new one, so all set to go. I didn't actually take any photos of my stitching last night though, so although I can upload a photo, I've none to upload!

I've nearly nearly finished Mum's Heart II, with only a handful of knots to tie, some backstitching to complete and the last few beads to attach before it's ready for framing. H's mum's birthday was last weekend and his parents are meant to be coming over this weekend for a visit (and a trip to Twickenham on Sunday for the Heineken Cup Final!), although I'm not sure whether H's mum will come or not. But still striving to finish it in time so that I can give it to H's dad - I think it will be far safer travelling back in his hand luggage than sending it through the post. I'll take some photos tonight and post them tomorrow - sorry for the very text heavy and photo light posts recently!

Happy stitching!

Monday, 14 May 2007

Jet Lag is Yucky

Hi all - sorry it's been so long! Last week was a whirlwind of birthday brunches (mine!), trips to the West Coast, golf and sunburn, and we've only just landed back in the UK, peeling and happy, but very very jet lagged. I only managed 2 hours of sleep last night, but I was in a most zombie-like state all evening, and so didn't even manage to pick up my needle at all. Also, I seem to have misplaced the cord which I use to download photos from my camera, so I'll enquire from my dad and see if I left it back home. I'm rather hoping that it's simply at the bottom of my case. Otherwise, it'll have to be text updates only until I find a replacement.

I've quite a bit of stitching to do before Friday when H's parents are over and mum-in-law needs to receive her birthday gift, so hopefully will crack on over the next couple of nights - H is working in Dublin towards the end of the week for a few days, so that should give me plenty of time to catch up provided my zombieness passes by then.

Happy stitching!

Saturday, 5 May 2007

3 Birds

Sorry I haven't posted in a few days - we've been busy playing golf, eating well, and staying out of the rainshowers. Yesterday we took a 'tour' (courtesy of Dad) of the Cowichan Valley, and drove all around Arbutus Point, Maple Bay, Cowichan Bay, Cowichan Station and into deepest darkest Glenora - further out than even I had been before. Cowichan is such a gorgeous part of the world. Now all we need is for our EuroMillions ticket to come good so we can buy a nice bit of acreage and build a house :) Dream on...

Progress on Their Song has been steady - H has been distracted by the pool table downstairs, leaving me plenty of time to stitch. I had a small heart attack when I realised that some of the stitching is one thread out, and I thought I was going to have to rip out substantial areas, but after a medicinal peach cider (possibly the cause of the problem in the first place), I realised that the two 'star' motifs to the left of the tree were the culprits, and I had counted 'and very frankly' off them as well. Everything else though was stitched in the correct place, so I've made an executive decision to leave the stitching in place as is - you'd have to know (and probably count threads) to see the error, and it won't affect the final look, so I don't see any reason to take it all out.
Rather helpfully, Mum read the finishing directions for Heart Throb (scissor fob) and also couldn't really work them out (despite 50 years of sewing experience), so I can go ahead with my plan for finishing it without any qualms!
Happy stitching everyone!

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Stash Heaven

Wow. I had SUCH fun yesterday! First we went to Broadmead Gallery in Saanich with Titania to get her framed up to finish off T's Christmas present. It transpires that framing is a bit more expensive than I thought, so Titania is now set to be T's Christmas and birthday present for at least the next 4 years. At least that'll give me a chance to finish a matching one for her :) I don't have any photos of the piece, as it will take a couple of weeks to frame up, and by then we'll have made it back to the UK (best not think about that), so hopefully Mum and Dad will take some photos and email them over when they pick it up.

Then we went to the Button and Needlework shop in View Street. What an amazing place - and the people were so helpful and wonderful. I could have spent hours there, in fact we probably spent at least two. I sadly don't have an LNS near me which is anywhere near this quality, so to see a shop where I can wander in and find an endless supply of really interesting charts, amazing linens, including lots of hand dyed ones, more threads than I could find in 6 shops together back home, not to mention a multitude of fancy buttons and lengths of ribbon, well, I did go somewhat nuts. Here is the photo of what I brought away with me, and it contains: The Token by Long Dog Samplers, Scarlet Berries by Carriage House Samplings, 32ct Pearled Barley linen from Lakeside Linen, 36ct Vintage Exemplar linen from Lakeside Linen, 34ct Cafe au Lait from Legacy Linen, and then one skein of Caron Waterlilies, 2 skeins of Needlepoint Inc Silks, 12 skeins of GAST threads, and 11 skeins of WDW threads. Phew. I had such a great time!

Oh, and yes, the reason I went there in the first place was to pick up a small charm for Northern Lights that Kim from the shop had ordered and put by for me. It was the least expensive thing I bought :)
A special note for anyone who is planning to go to Victoria or lives locally and hasn't seen this shop (although I can't imagine there are any local stitchers who have not!) - check out the walls, which are packed tightly from side to side and working up towards the top of the two-storey room with amazing examples of stitched pieces. It was the icing on the cake, and the work was BEAUTIFUL. It was really inspiring, especially as I found so many examples of things I wanted to do myself. I kept pointing pieces out to H commenting - I've started that one; or, Oh, look how beautiful that is; or, That's in my stash. I think he sort of glazed over halfway through :) I wish I had taken some photos, for it is truly wonderful. Check out their website at as I think there are some photos of the shop in there.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Welcome to BC

We've arrived! After months of anticipation, we're finally in BC. It's wonderful.

I had decided to bring my stitching on the plane to keep me distracted and amused, so I found a couple of freebies to start stitching - a scissor fob design from Drawn Thread called 'Heart Throb' and a small square design which I'm hopefully going to turn into a biscornu - my very first attempt at one, so we'll see how that goes. And, just in time, the threads at left arrived in the post (Silk 'n' Colours Pink Elephant and Needle Necessities Island Butterfly). On Thursday night then, having confirmed on our trip to Dublin the week previous what stitching implements could be brought on board (sewing needles yes, scissors no), I cut all the threads I'd need for these two small projects into useable lengths, got the linen ready, and found a small frame. The 9-1/2 hour flight from Heathrow to Vancouver passed quickly enough, and my progress (Heart Throb top, biscornu bottom) is here:

I'm intending to use the Pink Elephant to replicate this design for the back of the fob, and the Island Butterfly is used for the biscornu. I'm now not convinced that such a dramatically hand-dyed thread was the way to go, but hey it's only my first try and we'll see how it turns out - live and learn.

I'm hoping to finish at least the scissor fob design whilst I'm here as Mum is a champion sewer, and I'm not 100% sure that I understand exactly what the finishing instructions are trying to tell me.

H's flight wasn't quite as comfortable as mine. He'd had a bit of a sniffle before we left, and Thursday was spent on a teambuilding exercise with his company. Whoever was organising it must have a small sadistic streak ... I know, what we'll do is we'll take a number of office-based staff who have minimal DIY skills, give them some rope, barrels, and twigs and ask them to McGyver up a raft! And then they can race that raft on a lake! In April, yes! ... Well, I guess you can imagine what happened next: having far more confidence than was warranted in their floating barrel(s), H and partner set out on the race, only to capsize at the furthest possible point from shore and then have to swim back towing what was salvageable of their former raft. A bit of discussion ensued ('No, just because you were first back with a broken bit of your raft in your hand doesn't mean you won' - 'But the rules didn't say you had to actually be on the raft to win the race' - etc), followed by a prize-giving, and suddenly H had been standing about drenched in lakewater in April temperatures for the best part of an hour. Throw in a bit of chilly recycled air for 9-1/2 hours, and I guess neither of us should have been surprised that he woke up with a full-blown fever and the worst cold he has had in 4 years on our first day here. But he's cheering up, helped no doubt by the gift of a set of golf clubs once we'd arrived!

We spent a couple of days with my sister and her boyfriend, and they took us to Little Mountain, aka Queen Elizabeth Park. Vancouver is beautiful at the moment - all the spring shrubs and plants are in full bloom, and the rhododendrons and tulips are particularly gorgeous. Right is H, sharing some sunny weather in the park with BC's emblem flower - the dogwood. Sister T and A are below, with a bit of the mountains behind them.

I spent a bit time on Sunday doing some stitching - apart from the small designs for the plane, I brought Their Song with me as it has a small number of colours, making it easier to travel with, and frankly I am just loving this design and can't wait to spend even more time on it! An early start on Sunday (for some reason T and A weren't up at 6am...) meant I could devote a few hours to it, and then our trip over to the Island on the ferry meant I had a couple more, so progress is on the left. In fact I'm going to finish off this post and find a quiet spot to get this out again.

Once we arrived on the Island last night, I gave Mum her joint birthday and Mother's Day present - Mum's Heart I. And she loved it! Photo - FINALLY - at right. I'm so glad she loves it, and so glad I can finally post the photos from this project! I'll also now post the Mum's Heart II progress photos, as I know that H's mum will never stumble across them by accident.

I also gave T her (extremely) belated Christmas present, which is a Mirabilia design - 'Titania, Queen of the Faeries' (at right) is I think the full title of it. T has had a life-long fascination with fairies, and also a life-long streak of middling to poor luck, so hopefully this fairy will look out for her and keep her safe. I'm taking it to a framer in Saanich in the next week, and Mum and Dad will pick it up to bring to T for her to finally put on her wall. It's the first big design I ever stitched, and it was so rewarding to see her face light up when she saw it. I have two more Mirabilia charts in my stash pile, and although I was still learning most of the way through it, it still took me 5 months, so I don't know if I'll pick up the next one in a mad hurry. I'll maybe give myself a bit of a rest!

So I think that's brought you up to date for our trip, and I'll hopefully post a bit more when I'm here. I wish everyone as relaxing a time as I am having!