Friday, 31 August 2007

Goals for September

September looks like being a busy exchange month - hurrah! So here are my goals for the month:

Carry on with Northern Lights
Carry on with Spanish Wine
Carry on with Awake the Dawning Day
Carry on with Paradigm Lost
Finish AMAP Pinkeep
Stitch and send 4 gifts/exchanges
Stitch 2 further gifts
Start stitching Orlaith's stocking
Choose Fair & Square block to stitch
Choose Stitcher's Lottery project

Phew - I will be kept very very busy if I manage to achieve even half of that :)

This is how I did in August...

continue Northern Lights YES
continue Awake the Dawning Day YES
finish Queen Anne pincushion YES, start a next small project YES
complete eyelet border and corners, and start section 1 of Spanish Wine YES
finish Love Is Patient YES, and, once that is finished start a new project no
finish pages 1 and 2 of Paradigm Lost, start page 3 no (only a few stitches left on page 1 though, and page 2 is completed!)

Overall, not a bad month! Roll on September :)

Happy stitching and thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, 30 August 2007


I'm in the midst of a bout of secret stitching, so I haven't any photos to show you. So this seemed like a good opportunity to show you my chickens!

My mum was sent one of these chickens from a friend. Being the wizard sewer she is, and a curious sewer at that, mum decided that the best thing to do in order to find out how the chicken was made was to carefully take it apart and put it back together again. And being the very clever woman she is, she worked it out, and now makes chickens for all of her friends. Being a demanding (albeit lovable) daughter, I decided that I'd like to have some chickens of my own, so last time I was in Canada I spent a pleasant couple of hours picking through mum's quilting stash (mum's stash is another story for another time, but essentially it took me about 2 hours to pick through most of her stash, which had itself recently been reduced in size by over 60%). I came up with a wine and green colour scheme, and a purples/blues colour scheme (which mum referred to as the 'funky chicken' ha ha).

That was back in May, and mum is very busy with lots of things in the summer time, including golf, also a bit of golf, and then of course there's the golf. But finally my chickens arrived last week, and now they are waiting to be filled up with rice, sewed shut and have their eyes attached. I will show you the 'after' photos possibly next week... I'm hoping to finish them at the weekend.

Next I will have to get her to teach me to do the sewing bit so I can make chickens of my own. I'm sure my sewing skills will eventually be up to it!
Happy stitching and thanks for stopping by - hopefully will be able to show my secret stitching soon!!

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

A Finish and a Few Grapes

I got rather busy at the end of last week, and then we had a bank holiday yesterday - finally some good weather over a long weekend, truly amazing! I really think it is time for me to get a computer at home - I never have enough hours in the working day to post and read all the blogs I'd like to! So I didn't post over the weekend, but I have been stitching, so I've some progress to report! Firstly, I finished stitching the needblebook - hurrah! I'm thinking of turning my Friday stitching session into a 'secret stitching' day as I've just realised how many things I've committed to over the next month or two :)

Above is the 'Touch of Orange Needlebook' by MTV Designs. On the left is the cover (front on right and back on left) of the needlebook, and the right hand photo is the small motif which will be a scissor keep and sewed to the inside of the book. It's stitched on 28ct Vintage Country Mocha linen, using Gloriana, Atalie, and Kreinik threads and Mill Hill Beads. Now that I have my brand new sewing machine, I'll be able to sew this all together once I pick up a few necessities - ribbon for tying it shut, a bit of felt, etc.

I also did a bit of work on ADD at the weekend - the grapes are nearly done!

The best part of the weekend was Saturday night, when H and I went for a 'date' at a very nice gastro pub a few miles away that we'd been meaning to try. I realised when I got out of the car park with my freshly shorn legs, newly painted toenails, best dress, blow dried hair and best jewelery that we don't really do dressed up occasions very often, so it was a real treat to ourselves. And the food was gorgeous! I had a wonderful goat's cheese salad with apples and walnuts, followed by a Welsh fillet steak with cheesy mash. H had the largest, cheesiest half baguette of cheesy garlic bread I have ever seen, followed by a delicious looking burger with all the trimmings and chunky chips. I indulged in 'Angel Mess' for dessert - raspberries and blackberries crushed with lots of whipped cream and broken up pieces of chocolate meringue. Yes, it is rather sweet, and no, after all that food, I couldn't quite finish it! But we had a lovely evening, and it really made my weekend!

Happy stitching, and thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, 23 August 2007

No Photo

I woke up this morning intending to take a photo of last night's progress on the AMAP pinkeep, but was rather disoriented to discover that dawn is only just breaking at 5.45am in southern England which is I suppose mainly because the sunrise is getting later and later every day, but also attributable to the very grey, overcast, pregnant looking clouds which filled the sky from one end to another. Of course, I didn't see them for quite some while, because I wasn't quite able to pull myself from sleep in the semi-dark, meaning I was in a bit of a mad panic to get ready to leave for work. Going in early is fine in the middle of summer, but the dark mornings do make it a more difficult slog. The upshot of all this is that I didn't have any time to snap some photos of my progress, and will hopefully be able to update you tomorrow.

I'm not looking forward to my struggle home this afternoon, as it's Reading Festival this weekend, meaning my train will be full to bursting with grungy-looking 20-somethings complete with wellies, overstuffed backpacks, tents and bedrolls. Ah, it's only once a year...

Happy stitching and thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Flowers Blooming

Tuesday is ADD, and yesterday I started to finish the flowers on the right-hand side of the house. I didn't have much time to stitch as I'd been working late, and unless I leave promptly at 4.30pm each day, the train service to our village is not what you might characterise as 'regular' or 'convenient'. Alas, the trials and tribulations of commuting into London continue *sigh*.
But, on the good news front, I've joined the Crazy Exchange run by Karen and Marc, and I'm looking forward to meeting some new people and stitching some exchanges!
Happy stitching all, and thanks for dropping by.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Weekend Update

Friday saw a new start - hurrah! I keep seeing stitcher's pockets and cases, and I keep yearning for one, so now I'm stitching one! I've selected MTV Designs' 'A Touch of Orange Needlebook' because the finishing looks straightforward and it's a lovely design, but not too complicated. I have just ordered my very first sewing machine, which H tells me has arrived today (delivered to his work, as far too bulky to carry home from my work in London, which is an hour and a half on the train from home!), so I'm all set to whip this one up once I've finished stitching it, and of course once I've learned how to use the machine. Suddenly, those Grade 8 sewing lessons with Miss Anderson seem rather a long time ago!! This is as far as I've progressed with the stitching (this is the front cover):

I'm using threads out of my stash, and not the prescribed ones, and have gone for a rather more rusty orange look than is suggested on the chart. Bright orange isn't one of my favourites. This is a Gloriana silk thread called, I believe, Fall Leaves or something like that.

Saturday's update is of course PL. I'm working on a very huge medallion beneath the (?) dragonfly - I managed to get the first three 'spokes' of it done. That's nearly all of pages 1 and 2 completed now.

Happy stitching all and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, 17 August 2007

Tercera Esquina

I'm still slowly progressing with my double running stitch on Spanish Wine, and last night finished the second corner (top left) and started the third (bottom left). I hope the translation in the title is correct - I got it from a free internet translation page :)

The weekend ahead is set to be a dire one weather-wise yet again, so our outdoor pursuits may be somewhat curtailed. The garden is really quite getting out of hand with all this rain - the weeds are rather flourishing. The plants are too, so it doesn't look too disastrous, just very untidy!

Blogger is playing much nicer today, and has allowed me to post the photo of my start on the AMAP pinkeep. Nice Blogger.

Have a wonderful weekend all, and happy stitching!

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Teeny Tiny Stitching

I had a day off on Wednesday to wait in for the TV and clothes dryer repairmen, so spent a very pleasant day cleaning the house from top to bottom and carrying on in my mission to clear out the house for the upcoming potential car boot sale. We have so much junk! One family's junk, however, is another family's gold, or so I told myself as I boxed up books, videos, DVDs, bedding, and an brand new sandwich griller!

I started a new project last evening - I'm doing A Mon Ami Pierre's Victorian Pinkeep. This is 1/1 stitching and I'm doing it on 32ct linen using Vikki Clayton Hand-Dyed Fibers. I can only stitch a small bit at a time (with glasses shifted from my eyes to the top of my head - I'm only 33 and already I can't see small stitching!!), so I haven't gotten very far - it may take me a while to finish this one!

(I promise you there isn't much to see, and unfortunately Blogger has decided that the small photo I took of my progress isn't worthy of being published, or so I am assuming after repeated error messages! Hopefully photos tomorrow.)

Happy stitching everyone!

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Her Needle was Merely a Blur...

*Blogger wouldn't let me post upload yesterday, so this will be a very photo-filled post (and possibly a long one!)*

Saturday is Paradigm Lost, and I haven't managed to stitch on PL for a couple of weeks I think - too much going on on a Saturday! This Saturday, H and I were planning on playing a bit of golf. However, plans went out the window following his work outing on Friday night. It seems that I should be more careful when agreeing to his having fun with his workmates - last time he ended up in a freezing cold lake in April, and subsequently had a head cold and fever for a few days. This time, they decided that an indoor pursuit might be a better choice, so they headed off after work on Friday for a go-karting session. It turns out that there is a good reason why H doesn't have a driving license for the 'real' roads - I think the adjectives 'flagrant' 'kamikaze-style' and 'foolhardy' may have been bandied about during his laps, (as well as the noun 'revenge', which may explain the cornucopia of bruises he is now sporting all over his legs, arms and back!). So golf, although is not a particularly physically demanding game, was clearly out of the question from first thing on Saturday! So, PL it was :) I finished off the motif I was working on - the large central one - which means I have nearly completed page 2 (phew). The remaining motif on pages 1/2 spans the pages (and also down onto pages 4/5 - it's a biggie), so we'll see how I get on with this. I've also added a close-up of the central motif.

Sunday saw H heading off once more to Dublin for meetings early on Monday morning, so after I had dropped him at Heathrow, I had the remainder of the day to stitch away to my heart's content. The beautiful weather of Saturday didn't last either, so it was an easy choice between stitching (dry) and garden (wet) on Sunday! First of all I finished (hurrah!) Queen Anne's Lace pincushion! It's a bit of a funny size - a bit small for a pincushion, and a bit big for a scissor fob, but I had decided to finish it as a scissor fob regardless, and got out all the threads I was going to need to make a really snazzy green and pink cord and matching tassel. And then, steaming ahead, and excited about the prospect of finishing this, I started stitching together the first side of the fob, and then the second, and then the third, and then...and then I realised that I had completely forgotten to attach the cord and tassel (in fact I had completely forgotten to even make the cord and tassel!), so I decided that it wouldn't be a fob after all, but a pincushion as originally intended. Note to self - slow down a bit when doing finishing! Here it is:

Queen Anne's Lace Pincushion by Cat's Whiskers

28ct Cashel Linen - Platinum

Threads - DMC Linen as charted

Feeling quite inspired by my finish, I picked up Love Is Patient, determined to put in the final few stitches on this as well - which I did do, another finish! Although, having recently seen all the wonderful options for finishing on Focus on Finishing and on all of your inspiring blogs, I'm of two (or three or four) minds about how to finish this one: as a pillow? frame it?, as a fabric basket? maybe even a large flat fold? - it's only about 8" x 6" so it isn't that big... if you have any thoughts, do let me know!

Love Is Patient by La-D-Da

36ct Examplar linen - Lakeside Linens

Crescent Colours threads as charted

And it wasn't even close to bedtime! So I carried on with Spanish Wine - finishing the interior eyelet border (yay!) and starting the corners, one of which I finished (top R), and one of which I nearly finished (top L) - these are all in double running stitch, which looks fantastic (though I do say it myself) but which I'm finding very time consuming, working out a 'there and back' path (probably because I'm very new to this stitch). But loving this project as ever!

And, finally, after a lonely supper (LOL, self-pity is not my style :) I decided to round out my stitching marathon with Awake the Dawning Day - the vines around the house are getting there. It's quite a difference hopping from Spanish Wine, which is 36ct, to ADD, which is 28ct!

Monday - Northern Lights - I managed to finish the esker band and half of the iceberg band - the rather large gap between them is for a completely beaded band, and because this is such a long sampler, I intend to put the beads on last of all.

Phew - think that's enough for today :) Happy stitching!

Friday, 10 August 2007

PIF Promise

I've taken up Hazel's very kind PIF offer, and so now I'm offering the same to keep it going! So here it is:

I will send a stitched handmade item to the first 5 people who leave a comment on my blog under this post. You will receive it within 365 days; you have my word. The only thing you have to do in return is Pay It Forward by making the same promise on your blog! Once you sign up, I will be emailing you for mailing address information and will keep an eye out on YOUR blog to see what designs, colors, designers you like.

I look forward to hearing from you - and to stitching something for you!

Happy stitching!

Border Nearly Done!

Yesterday was Thursday, so back to Spanish Wine. I very very nearly finished the interior eyelet border. I may just pick this up on Sunday to finish it off. And then I'm on to the first of the corners, hurrah! The lines don't really wiggle IRL like they do in the photo, I was in a hurry to take a photo and so didn't quite lie it flat.

I know I didn't post an update from Wednesday - I'm finishing off the Queen Anne's Lace Pincushion and didn't quite manage to finish it, so I'm saving that for Sunday as well (H is off to Ireland, so I should have a free afternoon/evening to stitch, stitch, stitch).

Have a wonderful weekend, thanks for stopping by and, of course, happy stitching!

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Back on Rotation

I'm back on rotation, and feeling good about it! Last night I picked up Awake the Dawning Day again and carried on stitching the LH vines. I really love these Loose Feathers designs - I think I forgot to mention that the latest one came a few days ago, and it's gorgeous! I'm really looking forward to stitching it - although I do have one question that you might be able to help with - the fabric (R&R 28ct 'Sea Fog') that came with it is a delicate murky green (if you can describe something as delicate and murky all at once), but it most definitely does not have a delicate scent. Pungent and moth balls come to mind! If you have any experience/advice about washing hand dyed fabric, do let me know as I don't think I can bring myself to stitch on it smelling as it currently does!

I'm **nearly** there on catching up on my blog reading - we don't have a computer at home, and I don't always have a lot of spare time at work to squeeze in all that I want to do on the internet :)

Happy stitching!

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Happier :)

A good sleep always puts the world to rights, doesn't it?! Thanks to all of you who dropped by and cheered me up with your comments yesterday :)

Last night I felt renewed vigour for Northern Lights, so I finished the 'reindeer lichen' band (the bottom-most completed band), and then started on the next one. I can't remember what it's meant to represent, but it's a row of lovely rectangular satin stitched boxes, and it's in a beautiful Thead Gatherer Silk 'n' Colours thread called 'Granite' which is all rich dark purples, blues, greens and golds, so I'm looking forward to carrying on with this one. I think that I've identified my restlessness with this project: any time I have to use Wisper, or else stitch an animal, I get bored and frustrated. So it's good that I'm in an 'in-between' bit with no animals or Wisper for at least 2 or 3 more rows!

Happy stitching to all out there - thank you again for all your kind thoughts!

Monday, 6 August 2007

Grump Grump Grump

Monday has so far been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, and this is the fourth time I have tried to post and Blogger is BEING DIM. So I'm very grumpy and my Monday is going poorly, so I'm just going to post a couple of photos and hope I am in a mood to tease Blogger into working properly tomorrow.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Goals for August

I stitched only such a teeny tiny bit on Northern Lights on Monday, that it isn't worth taking a photo. And last night, Tuesday, I had a bit too much wine to drink at a lunchtime send-off for one of the girls who is taking all of August off (I'm very jealous!), so I didn't do any stitching last night either! I can't quite believe that it's August. The weather is improving, so maybe our summer will start now...

Goals - July

finish pincushion - yes
finish a second small - yes, my first tin top!
start a third small - yes, am working on a pincushion
finish Silver Needle, and start another project - yes and yes, started Awake the Dawning Day
continue Northern Lights - yes
finish entire page 1 and page 2 of Paradigm Lost - no, I think I bit off more than I could chew!
continue Love Is Patient - finish outer border and heart border - yes
continue Spanish Wine - yes

Goals for August

continue Northern Lights
continue Awake the Dawning Day
finish Queen Anne pincushion, start a next small project
complete eyelet border and corners, and start section 1 of Spanish Wine
finish Love Is Patient, and, once that is finished start a new project
finish pages 1 and 2 of Paradigm Lost, start page 3

I think that should be enough to keep me busy!

And, before I go today, a heartfelt thank you to all of you who have dropped by and left lovely comments, particularly the very kind comments about my tin finish :) Happy stitching!