Saturday, 17 July 2021

I’m back again

I’ve not much stitching progress to report really. Following the successful replacement of pacemaker and its associated wiring my right arm/shoulder is sore and stiff.   Not helped by the fact that when I was out on my walk at the beginning of the week I took a tumble and my upper right arm was the cushion in the fall.  Slowly I am coming right but it was a shock.   The cardiology technician checked me out and everything is still in place and I’m ticking away.

However the DBEM has been assiduously knitting and I have been doing my part in sewing up the garments and ensuring that they are completed ready to put away in ‘the box’.   I feel hugely successful in having assisted in reducing her yarn stash to one small plastic bag, thereby ensuring that any unwanted knitting inheritance will be minimal:)

I was not allowed to drive at all for a couple of weeks so was grateful for dry days that I can get out and walk.   Frosty mornings are not so welcome but I have jonquils, freesias and daffodils blooming in the garden so Spring can’t be too far away.   The roses are still flowering generously but in a couple of weeks when my arm is better I will prune them back.  Surely by the end of July any danger of frost will be past.

And I am bored with the Kogin and not really yet hooked on the fine cross stitch so I’m thinking of what I can do next.  This seems unreasonable given I have four projects currently in progress so I’m trying to keep calm and continue with what I’m doing. 

Anyway, one Kogin luncheon mat is completed and the other about half done.   When I am next out I will look for suitable fabric to back these and we can begin using them.

The cross stitch bag is very fine work and progress is slow but I like the DMC930 on this vintaged beige/cream linen and really want to make this bag so will persist, however slowly.

And now I'm off to pick up a dropped stitch for the DBEM and then add a few crosses to mine.

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Kogin and Cross Stitch

 It’s about time for another catch up - at least to record progress on my stitching.   Currently I am obsessed with Kogin and with some of what’s left of the red Lugana I am making two tray mats.   The DBEM and I usually have our evening meal on a tray in front of the television so we will appreciate a new cloth each for that.   There are many stitches in these so this is a long term project and we will continue to use our old ones meanwhile :) I am stitching one "diamond" on each mat first as the book needs to go back to the library and I can then copy my stitching to complete the mats.

Many years ago I found the instructions for a folding etui on a French blog and carefully kept the instructions.   

Then more recently I burrowed down a Pinterest hole and found this.   

So I have started a new sewing/stitching/project bag.   In DMC930 I am stitching over one thread of fabric on 28 count Cashel linen so this too will not be a quick finish.

And the weather has turned bitterly cold and my head and ears get really cold on my daily walk so I am knitting myself a beret in left over yarn.   I’m not a fan of knitting in the round and as this is definitely a “ needs must” project I’m going to knit it flat and put a seam up the back.  

Today was sunny (but still bitterly cold) and I managed to get my lawns mowed and also a quick pulling of weeds in the vegetable garden.   There are carrots ready and broccoli and silverbeet coming on apace.   The leeks are doing well but it is a slower race with those!   In the flower garden I still have roses blooming at the same time as the daffodils are in bud.   Our weather has certainly been strange this year.   Next week I am scheduled for my pacemaker lead replacement (finally I hope) and so won't be mowing lawns or doing gardening for a couple of weeks.   I'm working my way through a "must do before the 30th" list of jobs.   Tomorrow the weatherman has promised fine but cold so I may be outdoors again and the baking and other indoor jobs can wait until the wet weekend.

Thursday, 3 June 2021

New month, new resolutions and a new start

 Well, where to begin.   It seems ages since I have updated this blog so here we are...

First, the Kogin coasters are completed and I am pleased with them.    Next I shall begin a set of placemats for my own use but not in red!   I am most definitely a blue person so it shall be the traditional indigo navy and white for me.   

Nearly two weeks has passed since my last post and the DBEM has been for her various appointments and  has her “warrant of fitness” for 3 months so this week I have some time to myself.   We have been to the Optometrist and are waiting on new spectacles which have sharpened up the little sight that the DBEM has remaining.   And we are waiting for an appointment with the Opthalmologist too as the right eye needs looking at.   So it was a good and bad report but the DBEM is still happy she can continue with her knitting so all good.

Little Sister came up last weekend and stayed while I went to a very interesting embroidery class.  This 'Grecian Urn' is constructed of surface embroidery stitches converted to counted work so I had fun.   But I have to confess that my plan on learning about colour combination didn't really come to fruition.   The variegated thread I chose for the initial row of 'spider web wheels' set the colours and that was that.   However I am pleased with the effect so far.   What do you think?   

By the way - thank you Mary for the introduction to   I shall certainly be making use of this in the future:-)

And I have made good progress on the Acorn Etui and even stitched a few of the detached buttonhole leaves.   The realisation is that this will take a loooong time to stitch -  those leaves are not conducive to quick progress.   But there is no hurry;-)

And that's all for tonight.

Thursday, 20 May 2021

A new start

 Once again the DBEM and associated care have interrupted my plans and stitching progress has been slow.

The 14 year old television decided to stop showing pictures.   Sound was good and all other functions OK but no picture.   So after a few days I succumbed and Saturday afternoon a new one was delivered and installed.   So I have settled back to the regular life rhythm of The Chase followed by the news broadcast and then I hit the off switch.  

Deruta Sfilato has come off the frame and I have only the antique hem stitch to do.   This was a trial piece and would not pass any close inspection but I plan to mount it on a piece of plain silk and keep it in my drawer.   Later on I would like to try again and see if I can improve my technique.  I am happy that I managed to follow instructions and teach myself a new technique.

So I began the Acorn Etui and rather than “begin at the very beginning” I started with the Acorn Cap for the back and rapidly grew bored with the honeycomb stitch.   Effective it might be but there is little scope for imagination.  Now I have started in the back acorn itself and despite the lettering being stitched one over one, I am enjoying the variegation of the floss and am happy that it will all look well when finished. Thus I have started on parts two and three of the instructions which are by far the simplest but give me a good idea of the completed size.   

And to show you the 'verse' and the cute little acorns.   A compound monogram goes in the box and the year below it so guess what I will be stitching next.

And as a palate cleanser I have stitched some more on the Kogin Coasters.   I rather like these and hope I don't "fluff" the construction.  Somehow I never have a great deal of confidence at that stage of the stitching :-)

At the end of the month our Embroiderers Guild have a two day class which I have decided to do.   Little Sister is coming for the weekend so that the DBEM has company while I am out.   I have done the required preparation for the class and have sorted all my ‘non DMC threads’ into colour groups.   At this class I hope to learn something of the science of how to choose colours that harmonise rather than clash.   Up till now it has all been rather hit and miss for me and that could well be the reason I prefer to follow instructions rather venture into unknown territory.   I’m hoping for some increase in colour knowledge from this weekend class.    At the end of August there is another class scheduled at which Dorset Buttons will be taught but I’m not sure I will go to that one as it’s to be held during the week.

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.