Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Blooming Roses

Can you hear the Happy Dance?
Today I completed the Ring O Roses Sewing Pocket.   Despite a certain lack of precise detail in the construction notes, this went together well and I am very happy with it.   I had wanted a sewing bag just big enough to carry the necessities to Guild meetings and now I have one.
I did put a double cord as the single specified in the instructions seemed lopsided to me.   Each cord took two hanks of DMC floss!   And, in my case, two hour long walks to the local Bernina Store (closest stockist of said floss) as I didn't get enough first trip.   Then I made the second cord too thick and too short, so spent another 30 minutes hanging over the balustrade untwisting a twisted cord:-(   All is well now and I am happy.
The bottom is the Ring O Roses so not immediately visible, rather a sort of pleasant secret for the stitcher:-)
Spring Cleaning is losing its attraction, dressmaking is between garments at present and I am pleased that the HD3QBEM and I go to Little Brother's this weekend as I am now getting bored.   This morning I had a look at the JobSeek website and reassured myself that there are suitable jobs for which I can apply - after I complete my promised month's holiday.   I need to cross the remainder of my jobs off my list and the next is to cut the HD3QBEM's finger nails so I'm off to do that now.   And the Hexagon runner is screaming for attention..... my afternoon should be fruitfully occupied.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

I'm going round circles

The HD3QBEM and I had a day out today -  she wanted clothes from her favourite shop and I wanted out of the City!   We went down to Hamilton, around an hour and a half drive south of here.   The weather was kind and we enjoyed our travels through the lush dairy farmland.  Spring is a great time of year  -  calves, lambs, a thousand shades of new green on the trees, flowering cherries and we saw splendid samples of all today.
This week has been busy.   I have been diligently working my way through the Spring Cleaning List (half done), the Sewing List (half done) and the Finishing List (half done).  But the car is washed and I even cleaned the inside,  so one job is fully complete.
Yes! Everything is only half done, even these infernal circles.
Ring O Roses needs 20 covered rings and 4 Dorset Buttons and I am only just half way.   So guess what I will be doing tonight?   On Thursday I went to the local quilting store to find lining for this project.   The two shop assistants were deep in conversation with each other ignoring all customers, so I carefully studied all the red fabrics, ummed and aahed and eventually chose this one.   As she was cutting off the piece I required, the assistant was congratulating herself on it being a wonderful match.   Not that she had anything to do with the choice!!
I plan on getting this project completed in the coming week.   Meanwhile I ponder what project to start next.   My only current piece is the English Hexagon Runner and the top of that is done and I am putting off the next stage as I don't really know how I should quilt this.   My sewing machine doesn't do quilting so it will have to be a "by hand" job and I am not sure I am ready for that. Any suggestions?

I have three projects to take with me when we go on holiday on the 18th.  One is a new name tag for Guild meetings.   My current one is plain - very plain.   My name in capitals stitched in blue floss on white linen.   Other Guild members have beautiful tags with flowers, specialty stitches etc.   As I was tidying out my bookshelves I came across a Name Tag chart in one of the files and promptly selected flosses and fabric.  Such a small project shouldn't take too much time??
Yesterday I sewed a silk top for the coming summer.  (This photo is for Little Sister -  and yes I will remember to take the tacking threads out of the hems)  Style Arc patterns are made in Australia (I think) and it was the first time I had ever used one.   The instructions are minimal but the pattern drafting is wonderful and I only had to adjust for my "dowagers hump", otherwise it was perfect straight from the packet.   All that remains is the bias binding around the neck and a button at the top on the back.   I am super pleased with this one.   I really like the overlay front which makes it less like a T Shirt and ever so slightly designer??  I am hoping for some "Where did you buy that?" or even "Did you make that?" comments :-)
And I'm off to make the dinner.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

And the prize at the end of Week One ?

Although Week One of my 'holiday' didn't exactly go according to plan I did accomplish quite a lot and as a reward spent today at the Embroiderers Regional Day.
There was a large crowd of women there and a large display of work from the 11 different guilds in the region.  
Can you see the Guild Banners hanging behind - they look lovely all hung together.
I love seeing what others have been stitching and came away with some clever ideas which I will transfer to my little notebook and eventually stitch.
One Guild had done a wonderful combined effort of our native pohutukawa flower -  don't you love the idea of each member doing one jigsaw piece and yet they all fit together beautifully.
Another member from the Far North produced this exquisite sampler.  While I know that I could never reproduce this I was certainly intrigued.
I am currently stitching a Christmas Ornament (from this years JCS Ornament Issue) but using threads and fabric from my stash.   This will become a box lid.  Don't you wish you were the recipient of the box and could see what will be hidden inside?
Yesterday I completed a new shoulder bag for the HD3QBEM -  I had promised here a new one for her birthday in September, but better late than never.   She is really pleased.   It is black heavy homespun furnishing weight linen lined with some cream shower curtain fabric so is semi-waterproof.   When I bought the shower curtain it was far too long and I had to chop off the bottom and am pleased to have found a use for the scraps :-)  I did a Sashiko design on the outside and sewed a heavy duty black zipper as the opener.   The small white dangle you can see on the zip pull is from my friend in Kagoshima-  seemed appropriate since Sashiko is a Japanese technique.
I'm off to cook dinner now and hopefully stitch more hexagons.


Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Two finishes

Today is the second day of my "holiday".   Sorting through my stash cupboard was fun and I have a box of charts that I will try and sell on Trade Me (when my brother-in-law is back home in NZ and able to help me) as well as a box of "want to do next" charts.  
Currently Little Sister and her husband are driving a Dodge along Route 66 and we get nightly updates of photos on Facebook.   Thank you Little Sister (if you are reading this).   But today I went out for a late lunch with a friend and as it is a beautiful sunny day I walked there and back.   Past the flowers

and ..... past Route 66!!
See, Little Sister.   You don't need to go to America to visit Route 66;-)

I have two finishes to show
Ring O Roses is now waiting for me to choose the lining fabric -  currently I am trying to decide between a red silky fabric to match the floss or a plain linen the same as the foundation fabric.   No decision yet so construction will have to wait.  
I made a small Sunbonnet Sally for this Pocket Fob and will look for a chain or suitable leather thonging to make this a gift for a friend.   Sally looks quite colorful in this doesn't she?
My Hexagon epic continues and I have so far stitched together almost half the required surface area of the runner.   There will need to be several additions to even up the sides before I can even think about the backing.   My middle finger on the right hand tends to get a hole in it from pushing the needle through on the hexies so I can only proceed slowly.   I am pleased with the random Granny look of this one.
Our temperatures are rising and I no longer have need for woollen socks so washed them all up to put away for the summer.   The HD3QBEM tells many people, "Margaret has lots of woollen socks" so this photo is to prove to her that I really don't have a surplus, only what is necessary :-)
Today I have been sewing so once dinner is finished, I will hem up the two pairs of trousers and sew the bias binding on my new silk nightdress.   I unpicked a Ready To Wear pair of trousers to trace off a pattern and then sewed them up again.   A long winded process to hopefully ensure I can replicate the fit of trousers that I love.   
So far so good on The List.   Tomorrow is some baking, some more sewing and then I will need to run the vacuum cleaner over the carpet - sewing does tend to leave lots of threads lying about.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Finished

Today was my last day at work.   For the pedants out there, please note I do not say my last day of work!   In November I plan to look for something part time and less stressful but meantime it is me-time.
Tomorrow I begin my "month off" with a list of chores (some of them belonging to the HD3QBEM) and a rummage,  clean out, tidy up of my stash cupboard.   I am so looking forward to that.  Who knows what treasures I will unearth?   I plan on selling on TradeMe (the New Zealand eBay) some of the charts that I know I will never stitch - and with the proceeds I will of course buy more stash to fill the spaces:-)
Tonight I finished the ring of roses on my sewing bag.   Can you see the eight rosebuds in a ring around the centre?  Only two butterflies, two crowns to fill the centre ring and then the last corner.   The end is in sight but I am still in love with this project and looking forward to constructing it and beginning to actually use the bag.
The bluebells in my garden burst into bloom on the day that Scotland voted NO.   Wise bluebells.
I love them and look forward to them each Spring.   In honour of the referendum and my bluebells I kitted up this and plan on making a start as soon as Ring O Roses is finished.  It will not be a mini cushion -  dependent on finished size I am thinking a book cover?
And so I am off to bed, rather too excited to sleep well, so I may start one of my pile of Library Books.  

Sunday, 21 September 2014

I made a ball

Thank you to all those who gave ideas for baby gifts.   I have made a start and this patchwork ball is now complete.   One thing I have learnt is that pentagons are not as easy to sew as hexagons.   But this was all made from materials in my stash cupboard so that makes me happy and I hope the ball will make the baby and parents happy as well.
Now I am working exclusively on Ring O Roses and thought I would have had progress to show but unfortunately desire outran performance and I am in the process of reverse stitching yesterday's progress and the end result is a frustrating zero.   Only three more pages of the chart, four Dorset buttons, twenty buttonhole rings and a day of construction before the happy dance.
Only one more week of work and I can then start on my holiday list of things to do.   The list now covers one A4 sheet of paper so I am not lacking in chores;-)  I intend doing the spring cleaning, a small painting job on one of the windowsills  and my summer sewing -  all to be completed by the end of October.   But top of the list and not defined as a chore is to tidy through my stash cupboard.   I am excited about that and guess I will wake early on Saturday morning.
Tonight Hercule Poirot is to die (on our TV that is) and as the HD3BEM and I are both fans we will be watching that.   A change from the excessive political analysis which fills all other channels as we are the day after general elections here in New Zealand.   Some may be unhappy with the election results but I feel my vote counted and I prefer the colour blue (National Party) to red (Labour Party)!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Almost but not quite...

A wet weekend and diligent stitching has meant that The Mermaid's Chest is almost but not quite completed.   The lid and the base are done but not yet joined....but hopefully by the end of this week.
I am really pleased with this project but as I don't intend to actually use it I am not paying for the mother of pearl ruler, floss winders etc to put inside it.   Fortunately there is still sufficient space in my cabinet for this to find a home.
Here are some photos


I still need to make the cables that tie the lid on but here it is pinned temporarily in position


And a quick glimpse of the inside.


The hooks and eyes at each corner undo to make a flat "object" and needlework items can go in the pockets.   I added only too small silver fish to hang at each end and am on the look out for tiny tiny silver scissors to substitute for these gold ones.

There are still several items on the To Do List but currently I am writing a new list.  At the end of this month I finish up in my current job and am giving myself the gift of one month's 'holiday'  before I start looking for something else.   As I want to make good use of my time off I am writing two lists - one of all the sewing items I want to do in order to empty the fabric box.   Two pairs of trousers, a skirt, two dresses, summer pajamas and a jacket.   Also I have a Spring cleaning list.   Given that I have been working 42.5 hours per week at my current job I should be able to get everything on my list done when I am "working for myself".   Once my 'holiday' is over I am going to look for work with less hours and hopefully more congenial colleagues and surroundings so that stress will be less.   Does that sound like one dream too many??

Finally, Pamela nominated me for a One Lovely Blog Award
There are conditions attached to this - you must

* Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them in your post.
Thank you Pamela.   I get so much inspiration from your amazing blog and have you to thank for the patchwork hexagons to which I am now officially addicted 

* Share 7 things about yourself.
As a child I had a whole year when I was ill and confined to bed.  Old fashioned remedies were tried, the most memorable of which was burning a Cresolene Lamp in my bedroom at night.   I have worn spectacles since I was five years old and my older brother once trod on a newly purchased pair so my father bought me metal frames thinking they would be unbreakable.  My maternal grandmother had bad arthritis and as a teenager I spent school holidays at her house doing spring cleaning.   She taught me to tat, crochet and to embroider.   My mother taught me to sew.   I still sew and do embroidery but rarely crochet or tat.   Unless it is a legal requirement I never use my middle name as I don't like it.    I do not like citrus fruit as I hate the smell left on my hands after peeling the skin.

* Nominate bloggers you admire.
I nominate two bloggers for this award
Jo at Serendipitous Stitching - she is always such a positive inspiration
Danielle at The Peacock's Feather -  it was Danielle's blog which first drew me into the blogging world both books and stitching.

* Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know.

And that is all from me today.
Have a good week.