Sunday, 4 October 2015

Cherry blossoms, shopping and stitching

Today I took the HD3QBEM to see some of the beautiful flowering cherries.   We don't have any on our section but there are may trees in the area and one or two streets nearby are avenues of pink cloud.   Very pretty.
We also went to the fabric store and the HD3QBEM chose three pieces of fabric for me to sew into summer tops for her.   We have a public holiday later this month and if I can get the fabric cut one evening beforehand I will go into assembly line production that weekend and then hopefully voila!
Yesterday was a regional embroidery day and it was fun to spend time with others and be stimulated by the projects they have done and are doing.   I persuaded one lady to let me photograph her cylindrical hussif and I plan on copying that next year.
One of our speakers Priscilla Lowry, is both a textile artist specialising in silk (fabric and yarn) and a university lecturer in medieval history.   She gave an illustrated talk on women and embroidery in medieval art.   It was fascinating and makes me wonder if I could somehow find the time to attend a few lectures before my longed for trip to the UK as it would certainly make visits to art galleries more interesting.   After her lecture she showed us many of the garments she has designed - wearable art in the true sense of the word.  
I did manage to find time last week to stitch some more on the Hardanger Jewelry Roll.   However I have now put this to sleep while I finish off a Christmas gift which is destined for overseas and needs to be posted at the beginning of November.   The hardanger is needed for March so can wait.   It is pretty though and I am really enjoying this project.
At Regional Day I needed something a little less all-consuming so did the foundation for an Angel Bookmark.   Yes!   This one will go to sleep for a while too but then I will stitch angels and hope that it will reduce my ever growing stress and put me in an angelic frame of mind:-)
Meanwhile I am off to finish the housework and cook the dinner.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

A done and an almost-done

This week has been really busy without much stitching time, but I did manage a "done"
The little needle-book finally has it's tassel and bead closure.
I am rather pleased with this one as I particularly like the sampler front cover.
There is also an "almost-done" to celebrate too.  My jewelry roll has a large motif on the front and that is now complete.   The variegation in the floss is more evident in this.
I wish my oblique loop filling was more regular but perhaps when I give this a final press and pin out the picots to make them even then the oblique loops will cooperate too?     This roll takes almost a whole fat quarter of linen as it is self lined but in each corner there are small squares of 'waste' and I have used an unknown silk from stash to stitch these
I hope to make them into tiny scissor fobs which the Embroiderers Guild can sell - if I can find a source of cheap scissors as I doubt they would sell without the scissors attached.   What do you think?
Next Saturday is a regional day for the Guild and I have made a start on a hardanger bookmark as I need something simple to stitch while I listen and chat.   Kloster blocks and buttonhole stitch seem simple enough.   Before Saturday I have to bake the 2 dozen coffee and walnut muffins I promised to take for morning tea.   Currently the walnuts are in the shell so that will be tomorrow evenings job!  I was planning to do that tonight but the HD3QBEM needed her fingernails cut and that is always a nerve wracking task.  Yes, it is!  I am amazed at how much more difficult it is to cut someone else's nails :-(

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Out and about

After a month incarcerated inside our apartment, today the HD3QBEM felt well enough to go out.   Where would you like to go? I asked.   To buy buttons!   Of course.   Now why wouldn't I think of that?   So off we went to Dave's Emporium where she sat on her Zimmer frame and I counted out buttons.   Aren't they pretty?   Now the marathon of sewing all these onto the 9 finished garments commences.  I can see I will be needed for some if not all of these.
I called at Spotlight and got some wool batting as I want to make a start on lacing the panels of the Sampler Casket.

This morning I cut the card for the liner to the needlebook and am really pleased with how that has turned out.   I intended to blanket stitch around the flannel pages but decided that pinking shears made a pretty edge with a lot less work for moi!   Now all the toys for Sweet Strawberry Sampler Bag are complete.   A photo to come later when I put in the final stitches of the corded edging.
Diligent stitching on the hardanger jewellery roll this week has resulted in noticeable progress and I am very happy with how this is turning out.   What is more, there will be very little fabric left over from a fat quarter of linen and I intend to make scissor fobs with the extra "bits".  It really is difficult to photograph tone on tone embroidery.  I think I need to try in natural light.   I followed instructions and bought "expensive" Caron threads for the kloster blocks and filling stitches but you can hardly see the variegation and I'm not very impressed with those threads for hardanger.    DMC is far more durable and retains its sheen so much better. Still overall this project is giving me a lot of fun in the stitching and in thinking of the pleasure the recipient will get.

The HD3QBEM has been writing up her life story and I have had the pleasurable task of typing it into readable form.   We have wallowed in nostalgia for several evenings as we worked on this together.   I insist on details that she would happily overlook but mostly we compromise and soon it will be in final form ready to be sent off as promised to Little Brother.   She seems to have run out of puff at the moment so this is on hold.

So with chores all done I'm off to read in bed having been to the library to pick up my requested copy of The Girl With the Spiders Web.  I don't need to get up at 6am on Sunday mornings so can indulge by going to bed a little later :-)

Sunday, 13 September 2015

A very long week

It has been a very long week at our house.   The HD3QBEM has been unwell again, all week, cheerfully telling me very untruthfully each morning that she feels better than yesterday!   She has only been outdoors for two doctors visits and has had no oomph to do anything.   Tonight for the first time in two weeks she dried the evening dinner dishes.  I'm sure she feels very frustrated and unwell as she hasn't even picked up her knitting needles :-)

My needles have not been in use much either but last night I did  make a start on finishing the needlework tools that will go in the Sweet Strawberry Bag when it returns home.   Currently the bag is on display at the Auckland Regional Exhibition.
First a pin keep -  it was well nigh impossible to find green and red pins so these are a little mismatched
A teeny tiny scissors fob for a teeny tiny pair of scissors -  I opted for a felt leaf rather than the specified needle lace.  
And the front and back covers of a needlebook.   I need to make the lining pieces and then there will be a fabric hinge and the closure to design.   Can you tell I have not followed the instructions completely??
And on a completely different note -  there have been workmen in the area digging up the footpaths to lay (?) fibreoptic cable for ultra fast broadband.   At least I think that's what they are doing!   Anyway in the midst of all that this appeared.
No no no.   They are not retrieving the old cables using over sized chopsticks.   This is a recent addition to the city art works collection.   I like the way it brings a smile to the face each time I go past  although to be fair it did generate many Letters To The Editor in the daily paper.   But being a lover of soba noodles I just love this and am delighted to think that my city tax helped pay for it :-)

Thursday, 3 September 2015


Coldrex and I get on real well and tonight I feel ever so much better.   The HD3QBEM however is far from well and today had a home visit from her GP.  First time this has happened in over 50 years!   Still that is better than an ambulance ride to the emergency department.  GP kindly braved the rain and brought not only a diagnosis but a vial of antibiotics and strict instructions so hopefully the HD3QBEM will be on the mend soon.
I completed the filling stitches on the first hardanger motif and made a tentative beginning on the buttonhole stitch edging of the main piece.
Today I got brave and downloaded my first app onto my smart phone.  Yes!   I've had this phone for nearly two years and have ventured this far into cyberland!   This is the countdown to my retirement date....okay, I can hear the laughter but believe me seeing the seconds tick away is definitely a good thing some days:)  So 49 months 25 days 20 hours 12 minutes and 24 seconds to go.
And finally tonight I made a batch of date and orange muffins as there is a shared lunch at work to farewell yet another staff member.   I've lost count of the number of times we have had these lunches but participation is obligatory when one is on the lowest rank of the pyramid.

Hopefully I will have a more cheerful post this coming weekend.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

And the month end accounting is ....

The end of the month was time for an accounting.   How did I do?

1.  Finish off strawberry pin keep - All done !
2.  Complete Mary Stewart Hussif -  yes All done !
3.  Finish hemming quilted placemats - yes again.  All done!
4.  Construct Advent "candles" for  Christmas Gift  - begun but not completed (not going quite according to plan )
5.  Tack out linen for hardanger jewellery roll -  another yes.  (And the stitching has begun)
6.   Lace linen panels of Sampler Casket - not yet :-(

All in all not bad considering that I probably failed as my list was longer than time available.
I will try not to fall into that trap again :-)

I did make a start on the Hardanger Jewelry Roll and am quite pleased with myself.   Not only did the tacking lines all match up as they should but the buttonhole row did too.  So voila -  a new beginning.
I have until mid-February to get this completed.   As well as this I have the Sampler Casket to finish, the Advent Candles will need to be completed, packaged and on their way by the end of October and the Strawberry needlecase and scissor fob need to be finished too.   So there will be no more new beginnings here until these items are off the list.
The HD3QBEM has a bad cold which I suspect she has generously passed on to me as my throat is a little sore.  So it is Coldrex and bed for me tonight.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

An update for Kazumi

My friend Kazumi sent a beautiful lacquered lip mirror key chain which the HD3QBEM promptly attached to the bag she uses.   What a lovely thoughtful birthday gift.