Sunday, 21 January 2018

Hardanger Anonymous

My name is Margaret and I am a hardanger addict.
There I have said it!  What was to be a short therapy break from free style embroidery on Arabian Nights has turned out to be a "let's get this project completed" full on episode. 
I see that I have photographed the wrong side of the second piece (top of photo).   Apologies.  It is hot and sticky and I am tired and cranky so am not going to take another photo. 

The first side is complete and while debating whether or not to do both sides of the bag or leave one plain linen fabric,  I stitched the handles.  Then having got that far -  I told myself 'well I may as well complete this one'.   And another inner debate. What colour should I put behind the lace 'windows' to best show the stitching.   I wear only blue in all shades from cobalt to navy during the summer and this is definitely a summer bag.   Could either of those work?  I have fabric suitable for either in my stash so may toss a coin when the time comes:-)   I'm in full hardanger mode at present and unfortunately am already dreaming of the next hardanger project.   Oh dear.   The DBEM says I need to get Arabian Nights finished while I still have good eyesight!

The DBEM isn't very well at present and we are gaining frequent flyer points at the medical centres around town.   But each night I go out for a long walk to clear my head, aid my fitness and shed some of the Christmas calories.   The mileage is going up - 73 kilometres so far this month - and the scales are going down so I'm happy. 

Friday, 12 January 2018

An unexpected interlude

During my two week break from work over Christmas New Year I took the time to go and do my six weekly shop.  All good and lots of bargains, so the freezer got stocked with meat, bread etc
Today, barely two weeks later, I go to said freezer and.....oh woe is me!  The freezer has broken.  It is kaput.  Every item inside is no longer frozen and all is a soggy mess.   So tonight instead of a brisk 5km walk in the cool twilight, I am in the heat clearing out the mess.

And today the DBEM was far from well and went spent four and a half hours at the emergency department with a side trip to the radiology unit.  Home again now but not with a totally satisfactory diagnosis.  

So no photos tonight - this is merely to record the minutiae of life chez moi.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Not a lot of progress

By the time I get home, prepare dinner for the DBEM and me and go for my daily walk there is little evening left to put needle to fabric or even read my pile of library books.

So rather than tussle with Arabian Nights I pulled out the half started Hardanger Bag and have made a little progress on that.   The border along the top is the last for this piece of the bag.
While I laughingly said I would need Hardanger Therapy now I had embarked on a free style embroidery project I didn't imagine it would be so soon:-)

The DBEM hasn't been well but is a little better tonight so I promised her that if she keeps well for Saturday I will take her out.  She is doing her best but our current heat and humidity are not easy to tolerate when you reach the decade beginning with an 8.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Arabian Nights Progress Report 1

This new year I have decided that while I love hardanger and I like cross stitch surface embroidery and I will never have such an intimate relationship.
Nevertheless, Arabian Nights is progressing.   I started off using the floss ply as per the "recipe" but it was too thick for my liking and difficult to keep an even tension on four separate strands.   So I reversed myself out of the corner, made my own decision and am much happier now.
While the transfer survived 45 years on paper, I doubted that it would wear so well when transferred to the fabric so have folded up the bottom and am working from the top down. 
Although I say that I don't enjoy surface embroidery as much it is fun learning the different stitches even if I do have to hunt out my old stitch dictionary for assistance.   So far pricked finger tips, strained eyesight and less than 100% enthusiasm have produced this. (Excuse the poor photography)

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Out with the old and in with the new

During this last week of the year I have crossed lots of items off my list.  
A red rose pincushion was made for my friend Kazumi.  
The stitching in the large Hardanger Angel was finished. 
I got the Hardanger Bag out of the basket, had a look at it and promptly put it back.   
No, I needed a new project to finish off the year.
So what to do.
I had an old Anchor Embroidery book, carefully saved for the last 45 years and on a recent trip I purchased closewoven black linen to stitch one of these
But would the 45 year old iron- on transfer still work? With great faith I purchased the necessary DMC equivalent floss and found a packet of sharp needles in my bag.
One fine morning I cut out the fabric and overlocked  the edges before tacking a line down the vertical centre.   Then and only then did I pin on the transfer, heat the iron and with bated breath transfer the design.   IT WORKED PERFECTLY!!
So here I am venturing down the road of a new adventure.   
This piece is not counted.  
This piece requires an eye for line and design.   
This piece is a mammoth step into the unknown.   
And last night to the accompaniment of an Agatha Raisin movie on the TV I crowned a minaret:-).  

Progress will probably be slow and I foresee necessary hardanger therapy at intervals but it would be good to fulfill this long held dream.   Well done Anchor for the high quality of your publications.  Did their technical advisers ever think that transfers would last 45 years??

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Merry Christmas

The DBEM and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

An afternoon with the Corsini's

Today I met up with my friend and together we visited the Corsini exhibition at the Auckland Art Gallery.   A fantastic collection of renaissance paintings from the private collection of the illustrious Corsini's whose history goes back to somewhere around 1300 and includes a family saint, three cardinals and Pope Clement XII.   I was interested as I had read that one painting was by Caravaggio and another by Botticelli.  Well, I didn't hit it off with Caravaggio but the Botticelli was amazing!
The two angels on the left hold the hyssop and the spear, while the two on the right hold the nails and the crown of thorns.  Mary has her eyes closed "as she anticipates what is to come"  - the notes told me all this.  But I was most impressed with the painting of the velvet robes of the Madonna.   I felt that if I reached out and touched they would be soft and luxurious.   Well done Botticelli.
It was a well curated display and obviously every effort had been made to impress - this is the first time the private collection has left Florence.  Fancy coming to the Anitpodes on your first overseas trip!   The portrayal of the robes, the lace, the velvet, the brocade was amazing and the ornate carved wooden gilded frames were to be envied.   Some of the ancestors looked forbidding and one Cardinal was distinctly austere.   The religious iconography was interesting; I hadn't realised there were so many styles of halo.   The two paintings which were the samples painted for the ceiling frescos were incredibly detailed - one was of smiling fat cherubs carrying the palace and the coat of arms heavenward.   A facsimile of that one was on the ceiling in the room which had the ornate table setting of Corsini family china and cutlery and reinforced that the rich and famous live totally different lives. 
Obviously castles are cold places and this huge portal curtain was on display - not for its draught stopping qualities but because it bears the coat of arms of the family.    Embroidered in gold and silver on a heavy velvet type of fabric it had survived the centuries reasonably intact.
Thank you to the princes and princesses of Corsini for your generosity to Aucklanders in allowing your valuable painting to come to our City.