Friday, 10 March 2023

My Precious

 Today my sewing machines were discharged from their “hospital” and I gladly collected them.   It has been lonely without them and I admit, I was rather worried that my Blue Elna wouldn’t be able to be repaired.   However both are working beautifully.

That Elna has been with me for something like 55 years?   I remember Father persuading me to spend more than I really wanted to and purchase one the same brand as Mother’s was at the time.   It was painful parting with so much of my hard earned holiday-job-money but it was a wise buy.   Mother’s machine eventually stopped working and not long before he died Father bought her a small basic Janome.   I’m so glad I kept that and have a back up.

Recently a friend gave me two lengths of fabric from her mother’s estate and I am going to stitch a blouse with the fine Japanese cotton and attempt a pair of lined trousers from the wool gaberdine.   An pair of  trousers bought many many years ago are being sacrificed for the pattern and I have found a helpful series on YouTube to guide me through.   Not right now though.

My older brother is very unwell and next week I am making the journey north to see him for possibly the last time.  A 9 hour drive will be quite an adventure but I have the satisfaction of knowing that only yesterday my Mazda passed it’s check with flying colours.   I will be taking a bag of embroidery, knitting and some books with me as well as low expectations of how much may be accomplished.  Little Sister will also be there and hopefully we can ease some of the burden for Sister-in-law.  So once again I may be off the radar for some time.   But there may be something of note to record when next I’m back at the blog.

Friday, 3 March 2023

Presents for little girls

Tonight I have finished  dress and doll for “soon to be 8, Great Niece I”.  The dress fabric was on sale so I was happy.   She is tall and her mother has supplied the finished length measurement so hopefully all will be well.

The parcel that went off for Great Niece X last week was obviously a success.  I was pleased with it.

Her mother said all the girls enjoyed their gifts but the dress was a great hit!   It is a full wrap and with the frill definitely has the twirl factor!   Dearly Beloved Elderly Mother’s button box provided the decorations for the dolls shoes.   I love it when I can use bits and pieces from stash.  Great Niece I has a small cloisonné butterfly brooch on her doll.   It belonged to Dearly Beloved Elderly Mother’s Grandmother.   My niece and her husband like history so I’m hoping that Great Niece I will enjoy having a brooch which belonged to her Great Great Grandmother   Or maybe all that will be too much for an 8 year old mind to comprehend.   

Next I need to complete the Blue Boston Etui.   I’m currently making a pin cube and still have the top of the bag to finish off.   Then I have some wool and a new pattern to knit a pair of winter socks.   But I want to dig into my stash and find another embroidery project too.   Hopefully my embroidery mojo will return now that Dolls and Dresses are out of the way.

Monday, 6 February 2023

The construction is never so satisfying

 I have completed the cardinal pocket from Betsy Morgan’s Willing Hands book but am not really satisfied with the construction.  Still, as I was telling a friend this morning, I have had the pleasure of stitching it and the satisfaction of doing something else from the book my dear Mother bought me.   

And now I’m working on the Bristol Sampler bag but doing it in blue.   The air has been almost blue too as the small 1.5” paper pieced triangles defeated me and I resorted to square and changed the style.   I think I’m happy with what I have done (?) and am currently working on the small needle book and scissor fob.   The needle book has a fun plaited ribbon spine which looked like a doable challenge! But in actuality defeated me and I had to adapt!  Now I just need to actually finish the scissor fob and make up the bag and pin cushion.  This week?  I’ll see.

The little dresses and dolls for the Great Nieces were a hit and the six year old and eight year old are being very noble in containing their impatience.   I have cut out the dress for the six year old and tonight plan on cutting the doll pieces.   I need to find suitable dress fabric for the eight year old but the local shops didn’t have anything I liked.   An hour away in the city where my younger brother lives there’s another fabric store so methinks I need to have a day out. 

Today has been HOT and WET but I have donned a raincoat and been out in full scale war against the caterpillars devastating my cauliflower.   Let’s just say that war victims were great in number and I think my cauliflower will survive.  Dratted white butterflies and green caterpillars.   I need to find some way of creating a insect proof cage thing that will still allow sun and water in….or may be just resign myself to summers of war against invading insects!

Thursday, 19 January 2023

Two sets complete and now back to my first love

 Soon-to-be 1 year old and soon-to-be 4 year old Great Nieces N and V have their "sets" completed.   I think they look cute and am quite happy with them.

Each girl has a matching dress - N the dots and V the geometric blue - and I tell myself that even if they are not worn much I've had tremendous fun sewing love into these.  Once my sister can find her dress patterns I will make a set for the 7-next birthday and 8-next birthday girls.

But now I am back to my first love, embroidery, and am stitching an etui from Betsy Morgan's Willing Hands II .   Once again I am stitching from stash as much as possible and so far am really enjoying the rhythm of cross stitch while inwardly lamenting the lack of specialty stitches.  I don’t like the draw cord and tags either so will be constructing mine differently but will ensure that it is a complete etui when done 🙂

My vegetable garden is producing well and I am freezing beans daily.   I fight the birds for the cherry tomatoes and so far I am winning.  I am propagating Egyptian Walking Onions to give to friends.   I don't want many more in my garden nor do I want them 'walking' the length of the bed either.   Apparently they are expensive to buy so my friends have been keen to receive their first Walker.   In taste they are rather like shallots so are very useful in cooking.  My gardener neighbour was distinctly disinterested when I told him but others are happy to find a place in their gardens.

Saturday, 14 January 2023


 A recent day spent in the company of six great nieces and a great nephew was noisy but fun.   The oldest - nearly 8 - was happy to chat to “Great Antie” (sic) and I was telling her how I’d made one of her cousins a dress and a rag doll with a matching one.  Her wistful comment “cute” set me to wondering and now I’m in a quandary.   If I make her a set like that then I’ll need to do one each for her two younger sisters.  Question is have I the stamina to do three rag dolls??

Anyway the set for the soon-to-be-one year old is nearly complete.  Today the bodice and buttons will go on the dress for Baby Nell and the doll will get her knickers and face.  I rather think the black slippers need a ribbon tie too so while I’m out I will search for the appropriate very very narrow ribbon.

Tuesday, 3 January 2023

What will 2023 bring?

Happy New Year.   I contracted the dreaded Covid on Christmas night so was in self isolation for seven days from Boxing Day.   Prior to this I’d have said I was quite content with my own company but….I certainly felt the impact on my mental health and now although I’m really cautious I am going to try to meet up with friends each day for a while.

But I did manage to finish the Frisian Whitework and have begun the construction of the cushion.  Step one is as below.   I’m now puzzling over what to do in the ‘windows’ behind the cut work.   They need a dark colour so perhaps a small patch at each window?

And I’ve made a new start on a pattern from an Inspirations magazine last year.   I ordered the fabric especially from a New Zealand company.   It’s called Bay of Island Blue and will be all stitched in white so should look quite stunning.   

And I plan on working on Betsy Morgan’s Virgin Queen’s Stitching Pocket although I will substitute floss as Gloriana is out of my price range.

And that's all for today.

Sunday, 25 December 2022