Sunday, 2 May 2021

Progress on all fronts

 First up a confession -  I have not fallen in love with Deruta Sfilato :-)   However I am delighted to have managed to decipher the instructions and to translate the drawings into linen and thread. There are four solitary 'blossom' to go in each corner and then the filling stitch to complete this piece.   An antique hemstitch border completes the piece which I think will just live in my drawer.   But all in all I am pleased and after sufficient break I may try another piece or even another style of drawn thread work. There are several more pieces of fine linen in my stash which are very suitable for this type of stitching.

And I have started a set of Kogin coasters for a Christmas Gift.   The recipient doesn't know I have a blog so I'm quite safe showing you this.   All five will be the same design and will be stitched into squares although I have yet to decide on a backing fabric.   In Japan there are usually five in any set of kitchen or house wares so I will make five despite the fact that New Zealand generally has sets of six or twelve.  Japanese stitching needs to adhere to Japanese convention I think.

I have the fabric and threads ready for an Acorn Needlework Etui -  the chart for this was in four successive issues of Fine Lines back in 2003!!  Does anyone else remember this magazine?    I was so sorry when it went extinct.    For all these years I have kept the chart and suitable linen so at long last I am about to push the start button on this project.   The first piece is 27" by 9" on honeycomb stitch which forms the bag and creates the Acorn Cap for the top of the etui.   Confused?  I promise to show progress photos once I begin.   I don't intend to put the HNG in the branches of the tree either -  more branches would be better I think.

The instructions prescribe Gloriana threads but in the end the cost of obtaining those was prohibitive and The Ribbon Rose was able to provide a Threadworx alternative that I am happy with so I'm almost organised enough to begin.   I'm looking forward to this one -  but the Deruta needs to get finished first otherwise I will have too many projects on at one time.   Currently I have three in my basket and that is really two too many for my peace of mind :-)

Sunday, 25 April 2021

On to the next project

This week I finished the Kogin for the fifth little bag.   The DBEM will testify that I got into a good rhythm with this and the speed increased.   But lesson learned -  I will not be attempting Kogin on fine 36 count linen again.   In my fabric stash there is plenty of much coarser linen and I will use that.   Next up I plan on making placemats.  Watch this space.

With some difficulty I traced off one side of the pattern for the Noodle Box Bag and have stitched it. 

There are just the gold bugle beads to go at the upturns of the pagoda roofs but they can wait until the very end.   I'm using a Perle 12 from Gumnut Threads as once again I was determined to use only stash.  Isn't it amazing what limited access to a specialty needlework shop can do?  Ha ha.   I really desperately miss my Ribbon Rose (LNS in Auckland) and even more so as I am contemplating another big project which requires Gloriana threads.   I'm sure that Ribbon rose would have something suitable to substitute if I were able to visit in person.   I've been researching on line but the international post and packaging from Needle in a Haystack are extortionate so I'm thinking about alternatives.

And the Deruta Sfilato (Italian Drawn Threadwork) is coming along.   The first attempt at drawing the threads resulted in disaster.  I had miscounted:(   However that piece is being used as a "doodle cloth" to test out the stitches and I started again and was more careful and the second time it has worked.   

The daisy in the centre is now complete and I am ready to put in stars and a net filling.   I am enjoying this very much and forsee more Drawn Threadwork in my future.

Tomorrow is a public holiday here in New Zealand but that will make little difference to my normal routine of life.   This week looks like being rather busy with DBEM's medical appointments.   I'll be back soon.

Saturday, 17 April 2021

Not much to report

 Ten days have passed and in many ways I feel I have little to show for it.   The DBEM has required a lot of help with her knitting and there seemed to be scant time for me to pick up my needle.   Several days sheer frustration drove me out for long walks, only to return home to find yet more knitting repairs waiting for me.   At this stage I do not think I will be taking up knitting as a main hobby any time soon!

There really should be a support group for ‘carers of elderly parents’.  Sometimes we need a holiday or at least a break of more than a couple of hours at a time.  Nuff said:-)

Anyway, I have managed to complete half of the Kogin for the fifth bag and despite the foolishness of attempting this on 36 count linen I am rather pleased with the effect achieved.   My monthly stitching group friends were all very complimentary at our recent "show and tell" so I cam home inspired to speed up and complete this.   The next two bags will be Assisi embroidery I decided and I have a lovely grape coloured silk to use for those.  

And I successfully found a New Zealand embroiderer who can assist me with the Italian Deruta Sfilato.  I’m waiting on the mail to bring me some printed assistance and can then make more headway on that.

I have another hospital appointment on 30th April and hope to hear some more news then - meanwhile there are still limits on my driving and frustrations on every hand.   

So it's over and out tonight.   I have set the TV to record Prince Phillip's funeral and I'm off to bed soon.

Monday, 5 April 2021

Update and new project

 It was a poet from my favourite Yet-To-Be-Visited destination who once said “the best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley an’ lea’e us naught but grief and pain”and I certainly agree.  I’ve had rather a week.

Surgery to replace a faulty pacemaker lead was scheduled for last Wednesday and I duly presented myself at the required time and was met at the theatre door by the surgeon.   A handsome man with a full head of executive grey hair, he was as British as The Empire and such a lovely accent.  I rather fell for him!!  Until he told me he wasn’t prepared to go ahead with the surgery.  What?!   Apparently my heart has complex anatomy and the hospital here is not equipped for any of the catastrophic events he could foresee so his opinion was to wait, be referred to Auckland Hospital’s specialist cardiac unit and have the procedure done safely up there, miles away from family support.   At this point he was not My Favourite at all but there was nothing for it but to swallow my totally engulfing disappointment and make my way home to wait. 

And so I am waiting and endeavouring to use the time wisely.   Four of the little bags have now been completed although for number four I had insufficient Perle thread to do the whipping of the wave stitch but as the recipients are not, to my knowledge embroiderers, this will not be a big problem.

Some years ago I purchased a book Deruta Sfilato which despite being written in Italian is wonderfully illustrated and thus I hope to be able to teach myself.   

So I am in the process of edging a square in buttonhole stitch and then will withdraw threads to begin making one of these lovely looking flowers.   What I will do with the finished piece is unknown but I am looking forward to this adventure.  

 Meanwhile the DBEM continues to use up her existing stash of yarn which means I am becoming ever more expert in picking up dropped stitches and repairing errors.

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Almost but not quite

 I have been busy working on the third bag and for this one I used up some left over variegated blue Perle #8 and stitched it in Sollersom - roughly based on the pattern in an Inspirations magazine.   Yes, I do like it and am going to stitch another (with some variations) in some more left over Perle #8. Basically a whipped wave stitch,  this is rather effective.   

But I'm not going to have time to complete the bag this week as tomorrow I go into hospital to have my pacemaker lead replaced and stitching will have to go on hold for a day or two.   I have stocked up on books on my iPad as well as going to the library for a good stock of reading material.   I've finally been able to get my hands on the latest Elly Griffiths book, "The Postscript Murders" and have made a start.   I was rather taken to read this on page 9

I've never thought of my Allbirds as expensive -  perhaps that's because they are so comfortable.  Between us the DBEM and I have several pair :)   Today I wore Natural Black merino.

Well that's all from me at present.   I shall be back soon, hopefully with some stitching to show.

Sunday, 21 March 2021

One finish and two more on the way

 One bag is finished completely ribbon and all.   I am well pleased.

And with the momentum from that I started on another in Kogin work = Japanese darning.  But this is B.O.R.I.N.G !!!!   I like the effect but it is going to take many hours to complete and I lost interest quickly.   I must admit though, that the fine linen and the Au Ver A Soie silk thread are a great combination.  

So I started another the same as the first and merely changed the colourway around a little.   This is coming together well and has relieved the boredom.    I shall go back to the Kogin when this is complete.   And then I think the fourth one will be in traditional blackwork.

So far so good.   I am happy that the linen is being used to good purpose and I'm enjoying the finished product.   Two more Christmas ornaments are almost completed so I'll show those next time.

Any spare time is spent repairing the mistakes in the HDEM's knitting.   I took her to the optometrist last week and it appears that there is little that can be done to effect any improvement and she is almost at the point of deciding that once the current stock of wool yarn is all knitted up she may call it a day.   I will be happy if she gives up the knitting as I don't really enjoy it and am having to do quite a bit now to assist her progress.   We have discovered that she can operate the iPad to stop and start audiobooks and this is giving her access (through the public library) to a better selection of books than those provided by the Blind Foundation for their Talking Books.  So there are pluses and there are minuses:-)   All the medical professionals we see tell her "you're doing very well for 90 years old" to which she smiles and later tells me 'they would say that wouldn't they.   Wait till they reach this age!' 

Until then....

Monday, 8 March 2021

Finishes and new starts

 The Gift of Stitching biscornu is now fully finished.   I have to say the unusual geometry of this almost defeated me at the sewing together stage and there were two episodes of reverse stitching but the end result was worth the angst.   I rather like this and the way that four smaller squares make up one face.   My  display cabinet now has another resident :)

And I have made another start.  It was the seemingly vast quantity of high count linen in my stash that inspired spurred nudged me into action.   If I don’t stitch this up now I won’t be able to see to use it and that would be an expensive mistake.   So out came a piece of 36 count Edinburgh linen and I tacked out the sizes for five small bags.   The first is started - a mixtures of stitches but mainly cross stitch and beads. I’m determined this will be all stitched from stash so as I don’t have beads the correct or near enough colours I used Smyrna crosses.  So far so good but definitely hard on the eyes.  I'm doing the hemstitched channel for the draw cord at present.  The 36 count linen doesn't look so fine in the close up shot of the hemstitching but believe me it is !!

A recent visit to the library led me to the magazine displays and I found  a copy of Homespun, an Australian handwork magazine.   I was drawn to the odd shape “noodle bag” in the copy I borrowed and think that I might use my piece of 50 count linen for this   So in the wet weather of the last couple of days I added "measure out for noodle bag” to the list and to my joy found that I have ample fabric.   In the fullness of time you might yet see the bag appear on this blog :)

 But there is sewing to finish, baking to do, cleaning to complete etc etc   I should be busy all day tomorrow as today I spent mowing the lawn and tidying up the garden -  flowers and vegetables.   The broccoli seedlings have their own little 'house' of insect proof mesh to stop the white butterflies laying eggs for hungry green caterpillars :-)   My neighbour kindly gave me some fresh sweet corn today and I enjoyed it with my dinner tonight.   He has a very large garden which reminds me of Mr McGregor's so much so that I expect to see Peter Rabbit appear at any minute.   He grows more variety in his garden than I do so he gives me some of his surplus and I bake him scones and biscuits -  works well for both of us :)