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.
和美さん、母が喜んでいます。早速日曜日に利用しているバッグにつけておきました。ありがとうございます。

Saturday, 22 August 2015

The big, the small and the epic error.

Spring is showing her face and my garden has both big daffodils
and the teeny weeny miniature ones.
The warmer temperatures and sunny days are most welcome as it has been a very wet winter.   During the week we had a couple of white frosty mornings and it was hard to crawl out of bed and go off to work but it is light when I commute now.
During the past busy week I managed to stitch and complete the back panel for the needlecase and then .... the great discovery of the epic error.   Can you see what I have done?
In the interests of conserving linen I forgot to leave a border around the 'sampler' front cover of the needlecase before stitching the back.  What a foolish mistake.   However rather than reverse stitch all that I have  moved upwards and with sufficient border left to allow for lacing to the card, I will restitch the flowers.  Next time I will follow the directions instead of thinking I know better.
This week I plan to lace the panels for the Sampler Casket.   On Friday I found an art supplies store near work where I can purchase acid free card for the lining pieces so I am inspired to complete that project.   So all being well I might be able to cross two further items off this month's list :-)

Sunday, 16 August 2015

A new Best Friend

Sunday night and after an extremely busy weekend I feel exhausted to start the week.   Not good as the young woman with whom I shared the work load at the office has been seconded to a job at the Prison for six months and I will be bearing the load alone.   Hopefully all will go well.

Yesterday was Embroiderers' Guild monthly meeting and there were workshops to attend.   A choice from two -  a small fabric notebook or an introduction to Portugese Whitework.  Three guesses which one I chose?
I think I am likely to become very good friends with this wonderfully precise technique.  Wrapped bars, bullions and buttonhole eyelets in abundance.  But I love being able to precisely control the thread and to know that the final product is correct.  Counting is very important in this work.   Corners are multiples of 4 and bars are multiples of 6 and unlike Hardanger you cut and draw the thread as you work around the foundation.  It's fun learning something new.
The sample is on a rather coarse aida fabric and stitched with #8 perle thread but I am looking forward to beginning a project on a finer fabric and thread.   I'm thinking a biscornu to begin with but there is a wonderful runner in Yvette Stanton's book which would look wonderful on the top of my Chinese carved chest.   Don't get carried away Margaret - finish the current projects first!

My list for the weekend is all crossed off.   I stitched up a small cardigan for the HD3QBEM to give to great grand-daughter #1, cooked the meals for the coming week, wrote three letters for tomorrow's post, had my hair cut, did the cleaning, wrote the menu, did the grocery shopping, finished my book and emptied my washing basket.  
What a pity that most of those items will be on next weekend's list too!

Friday, 7 August 2015

A wonderful package from Sunny Spain

Look what Sheryl sent me from Spain.(With apologies for the fuzzy photo)
The beautiful cotton fabrics will be ever so useful and I love the little needlebook and purse.
Have a closer look at the mermaid.   Isn't she wonderful.   The fabric is a rich velvet and the embellishing is exquisite.
I love the little bobbins on the cord ends too.
Thank you very very much Sheryl.
On the stitching front:  I have stitched the small strawberry - the emery on the Strawberry Sampler Bag and Toys.   Now I am paralysed with indecision -  shall I make it a true emery or shall I just stuff it.   The instructions call for a needle woven leaf on top and I'm not sure I can manage that?  We shall see.
In the interim I have the fabric cut out for a new winter skirt and hope to get that stitched up tomorrow.   Dan, the weatherman promises another polar blast so it will be an indoors day.  So with stitching sorted, sewing in the cue and an excellent book pleading for attention all should be well in my part of the world:-)


Saturday, 1 August 2015

Two are better than one

Last Saturday I bravely left my embroidery spectacles at Mortimer Hirst to let the handsome Grant make me new lenses.   So all week I struggled with clip on magnifiers.   I have been almost too tired to stitch but managed to make these "doubles".   Why does everything have two sides - even an argument?!
My mulberry Mary Stewart Hussif is turning out well.   The hardanger decoration is backed with a small square of cream calico and the lining is some ancient cotton quilting fabric from stash.  Now I need to buttonhole stitch all the way around both pieces before joining them together.
I wanted to make fancy toggles on the ends of the draw cords but the only scraps left of the linen fabric are a few stray threads that frayed off the edge.   This has been a truly frugal project!
And both sides of the red and green blackwork strawberry are done so I hope to get this finished over the weekend.   They have both to be lined with wool batting and laced over a more strawberry (oval) shape before being stitched together and then the search for red headed pins will begin.  There remains a strawberry scissor fob and a needlebook for this set but not just right now.
My list for this month is already drawn up in my mind so I will courageously commit to paper - well to blog anyway
1.  Finish off strawberry pin keep
2.  Complete Mary Stewart Hussif
3.  Finish hemming quilted placemats
4.  Construct Advent "candles" for  Christmas Gift
5.  Tack out linen for hardanger jewellery roll
6.   Lace linen panels of Sampler Casket
Now I am off to put Chicken Soup into the slow cooker and Sweet and Sour Pork Casserole into the oven.  I try to do the week's cooking over the weekend leaving the HD3QBEM to heat up meals through the week.   She feels she's helping and I get a meal quickly when I get home after work then gym. A win-win wouldn't you say?


Sunday, 26 July 2015

Finito!

The strawberry bag is now finished.
I am pleased with this one and walked around the fabric shop trying unsuccessfully to get a green silk for the lining before coming home and delving back into stash.
This scarlet chinese silk is not an exact match but it looks OK and at least I could do the happy dance!   Now I am working on the red and green blackwork pinkeep.  There is a strawberry scissor fob and a needlebook too but once the pinkeep is done I will put this project on hold as there are two other items of higher priority on the "To Do List".
Yesterday I went to see Grant, my friendly optometrist.   Apparently my eyes are stable but he agreed that my embroidery spectacles could do with increased magnification.  Thankfully I had taken a piece of stitching with me, so I stitched a little while he measured and calculated and in a week or two I will have new lenses.  On that happy note I walked the length of the city's main shopping street and crossed off several items from my list before coming home to the usual weekend chores.
This afternoon I braved the rain to go to the library and now the latest Daniel Silva book is calling out to me.  However so are the dinner dishes and the preparation of this week's lunches, so duty needs to come before pleasure.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Strawberries grow well in the rain

Today it is really wet and windy.   I defied the weather to go out and cross off my list of chores -getting drenched in the process.  
However being confined indoors has done wonders for my stitching and the strawberries are growing. They look good don't you think?
I find it harder to do the cream flowers, aged eyesight etc but they do look effective.  There's a needlebook, pinkeep and scissor fob to complete this set.   In faith I dated this 2015!
My quilted placemats need the binding hand finished and I'll do that tonight.   I'm still dithering over the colour for lining my Sampler Casket so no progress there.   But I do have the buckram cut for my Advent Candles so will soon have those done.
And now my Date and Orange Loaf is out of the oven, the Miso Meat Balls are in baking, Chicken Soup is in the slow cooker and I have a book and a cup of tea.   See you later!