Thursday 31 July 2008

Quaker needleboook is now completed

On the very last day of the month I woke up early and although I had crossed off the last item of my list of goals I still needed to make the twisted cord and tassel on the needlebook. So here it is now all done. Its not perfectly constructed I know but I really like the motif and am sure I will use the needlebook. If I counted up I probably have enough needlebooks for one for each needle!! Were I to do this again I'd use different fabric - this time I used a piece of Kiwi Illusions "Limestone" Lugana - but although the colour was great it confirmed to me I'd rather use linen. It would be thinner to fold into the book and hold the creases better than cotton I think. I really like the Midnight colour of the Caron threads silk and will be finding another project to use that again.
But I do feel happy to have crossed off all the items on my July stitching list and what's more I have even made my August list!!

Bottom left tendril and flower of The Queen's Sweet Bag

Finish the needleroll for HOE exchange and make the package

Finish the Wiehenburg Susanne Sampler

Finish one PIF

And that should keep me out of mischief and still allow for any extras I may want to include. Have a good day everyone

Monday 28 July 2008

Summer Quaker Exchange

Seems strange to be posting with the word summer today when it is Antartic temperatures outside, but Sonda let me know she had received the Summer Quaker Exchange I sent her so here's a picture.I made her a Sweet Bag stitched on 28 count with DMC 798 - bright summer blue. The twisted cord and tassells were DMC Perle in number 712. In the package I included treats for her children and some seeds for NZ flowers - hoping they will grow of course!

What a weekend!

Wouldn't you know it? I plan to stitch all weekend and then a "weather bomb" hits and along with heavy rain and strong winds the power goes out and .... How on earth the pioneers managed to stitch by candlelight I do not know but it doesn't work for me! Fortunately the power company men work all day all night and so on Sunday the lights were on again and my spirits rose so I can show you part two of the lilac mystery. This is fun and a challenge to stitch.
The Wiehenberg Susanne Sampler is coming on - I am almost completed page 1. The photo is lousy but I am really enjoying this - it's very relaxing to stitch. I rather like the "Deep Sea" thread on the Confederate Grey linen. This will definitely be framed and go on the wall of my bedroom. Today I have brought to work, the "ingredients" to start a Floss Tag for a friend at Embroiderers Guild. (I usually stitch at lunchtime.) We haven't really heard of these things much in NZ and with Staci's tutorial and Deb's encouragement I hope to manage a successful one to show when I get together with my friend for a stitch day in September

Friday 25 July 2008

My first Crazy Exchange

I really was very unsure about how this would work but I marked my X for an exchange for Marlies in Gouda, The Netherlands. To be very international I made for her a needlecase designed by Gay Eaton, an embroiderer of some renown in New Zealand. It is in Wessex Stitchery which was originally the brainchild of an English woman Margaret Foster. Gay found out about it in 'olde English books' and revived the stitching by printing a new updated version in 2001. It became quite a trend in NZ for a time among embroiderers who took classes with Gay. The stitches are all named and this one is called Exeter as it is based on the stained glass windows in Exeter Cathedral in England. Colour wise it is loosely like the NZ shellfish the paua (cousins of the abalone to my American friends!) I included the "crazy paua" fabric with which it is lined, some buttons made of paua shell and a card showing the original. Anyway Marlies says she was happy with it so I am relieved and will let you all see the picture here.

Last night I stitched some more on my "lilac mystery" and was really pleased with the result. As it is a gift I can't show you anymore yet. We are promised bad weather for the weekend and I have already planned my stitching schedule so there will be photos after that.
Enjoy your weekend too.

Monday 21 July 2008

Stitching report

Just so you don't think I was totally lazy over the weekend I will tantalise you with this progress shot of ... well what do you think it is? I can't show you the whole thing nor give too many details as it's to send away. One thing I will say is that on checking the pattern it looks like there are no simple crosses in this at all - somebody has got carried away with speciality stitches.
Have also made some progress on my Quaker needlebook - and this now only requires the final stitching for construction. Unfortunately a few committee meetings and nights out this week might mean the happy dance of completion is delayed but I do promise a photo on that great day yet to come.
Made a start on the Quaker sampler too and so far have A, B and P done. Weird order in which to stitch the alphabet eh? Also I decided not to do over one thread - I need to conserve my eyesight for all that spare time when I retire! So it is in two threads over two threads but I am very pleased with the combination of confederate grey cashel linen and Deep Sea Weeks Dye Works thread. As I stitch I can see it framed and hanging on the wall of my bedroom already :-)

An Award

Despite being so new to blogging I have been chosen by Olga for an award so will list my "must read every day" blogs
First up is Edgar - his blog is entertaining and his stitching inspiring
Second is the Carol - I am in awe of Carol's prolific output and so very thankful for all the sites and sounds of the stitchers world to which she has introduced me.
Third is Yuko - Her photographs are superb and her finishes so creative I am constantly inspired
Fourth is Staci- who will no doubt be nominated by everybody else. Staci is the angel of generosity and encouragement
Fifth is Carol R - whose blog must be a favourite with everyone for its inspiration, warmth and interest.
These five a but a few of those whose blogs and work have inspired me and made this year an extremely interesting journey stitching-wise. Thank you to you all.
Following Olga's instructions I now post the "rules"
1. The winner may put the logo on her blog.
2. Put a link to the person you got the award from.
3. Nominate 5 blogs.
4. Put links to the blogs.
5. Leave a message for your nominees.

I want to thank Olga for her award and to say how much I appreciate her comments on my hardanger, It is heartwarming to be able to share some of the unusual hardanger objects I have been privileged to learn from others.
Happy stitching all

Thursday 17 July 2008

Queen's Sweet bag - progress report

The poor Queen's Sweet Bag has been languishing in my "to do" bag but I am making some progress at last. Curling tendrils done in four colours in tent stitch over one thread are not my idea of fun but I am determined to stick to my vow of no UFO's in my house. So here is a progress report!
I have stitched a couple of exchanges but you are not allowed to see those yet. A small quaker needlecase is currently under construction and after the weekend may make its debut. My monthly to do list is currently crossed off - completed - finito yay oh yay - do the happy dance!

So I have sorted out threads and linen to do a quaker sampler from the Weihenburg Group I have just joined. I got cashel linen (confederate grey)which I know is 28 count but I am going to do it over one thread in a beautiful Weeks Dye Works thread (Deep Sea).
Do you want to see a photo - I will take one tonight and post later. I'm looking forward to starting this in the weekend.

What a meal!

I am still full after the Japanese feast on Tuesday night. Three of my colleagues went to dinner with me at Auckland's best Japanese restaurant.
As the company colours are red and grey we had to start with .... what else? Then there was the sushi - Salmon, Snapper, John Dory, Scallops, Tuna, pickled plum rolls, natto rolls and cucumber rolls. I love the way Ariake restaurant makes the amount of rice small and the size of the fish slice large. I want to save my carbohydrate allowance for later on!!Next we have chawan mushi which for me is always like a treasure hunt. Buried in these delicious steamed egg custards are bamboo shoot, chicken, prawn, gingko nut and Japanese mushrooms. The flavour is a delicate slightly fish base and oh so delicious.Then there is broiled tofu, braised eggplant in miso sauce, deep fried chicken portions (with the most fantastic taste of powdered seaweed in the batter) and broiled vegetables (carrot, white turnip, broccli, lotus root) and of course Koshihikari Rice and Miso Soup. At this point the complaints about full stomachs began to come from all four of us greedy ladies!
And then the manager arrived with.... "congratulations on 20 years of service with JTB" he says and places in front of me a years worth of calories. Did I refrain? Of course not- its only once in twenty years after all!!! But somebody must have told him - it can't possibly be public knowledge or can it? One of my colleagues must have loose lips :-)
So after a wonderful evening a much more portly Margaret went home full of happiness to sleep well. "Tomorrow the gym to wear off these calories" she thought as she sank into blissful dreams!

Tuesday 15 July 2008

Just like any other day!

Well it started out just like any other day. Breakfast of rolled oats mixed with protein powder (strength for the day ahead you know) - it is winter here! But as I'd slept in it was a scurry to get to work on time. Not forgetting the goodies I'd baked for afternoon tea (more on that later). Despite the late start I made it on time - only to find that others had been here before me! Yes today is celebration day - 20 years with the company. Two of the staff had decorated my office and given me the most beautiful bunch of flowers. My assistant gave me a cute yellow gardening basket. The company gave me a ..... wait for it !!!! Certificate! Well between that and afternoon tea the day was just the same old normal - much like it has been for twenty years. Afternoon tea was a welcome break - I don't often take a break midafternoon! And the homemade cookies were a real hit - "Margaret we didn't know you could cook like this!" In true Japanese fashion it was photos all round. Guess which one is me?!Then afterwork I am going out with three of my colleagues to the city's best Japanese restaurant and will have a delicious meal. You may wonder why this choice of restaurant? Well, I lived in Japan for 9 years before returning to New Zealand and starting work with this Japanese travel company so it seemed appropriate - and what's more I LOVE Japanese food. I will post pictures of the meal another day but meanwhile I'm off. See you later
All in all a memorable day really.

Friday 11 July 2008

Surprise Package from Missouri

Yesterday the mail man brought me a surprise package from Missouri. First thing I see when I open it is this. Isn't it amazing! Love at first sight here. Then on undoing the package out comes a ???? What is it I ask myself - a perfectly formed and finished thread keeper ring. I have never seen one before but having read others blogs I have an educated guess. And an exquisite bag personally labelled for me! Deb has done this for the LHN exchange on HOE. She is certainly a skilled needlewoman.Oh yay. I do the dance of total satisfaction but then there's more..... Some really unusual and delightful pins. I have never seen anything like them. Another session of ooh and aah :-) Now have a look at the total package. Deb, thank you so very very much. I am (as you can tell) totally delighted!

Wednesday 9 July 2008

Successful PIF

Congratulations to the two ladies who signed up for a PIF from me. I look forward to surprising you sometime in the next 365 days (or possibly even sooner!!)
The successful ones are

Deb from Artistic Needle
Tammie from A Stitch in Time

Thank you for signing up. I will contact you by email to get your snail mail address so I can send the surprise.

Tuesday 8 July 2008

Cathy and Carol's surprises

Cathy and Carol do such a great job on HOE that I wanted to surprise them - and they have now both received so here are the pictures.I did this needlecase in a class at my LNS many years ago and decided to try it again for Cathy when I saw on her blog that she does hardanger. This is stitched on 28 count Lugana (in shade Limestone from Kiwi Country) with Wildflowers variegated thread. You can't really see but the tassels have a 'different top' where the twisted cord is inserted, that is done in two steps. I was really worried I hadn't remembered how to do that properly but they turned out OK.

Since Carol is always doing so many scissor fobs for others I made her a tassel - which is almost but not quite a scissor fob (It would need really big scissors!!) This is in 28 count cashel linen with matching DMC #8 and #12 perle thread. I am pleased, as I was worried that the twisted cord hanger was too stiff and too short and ... But no need to worry; it suits the door of Carol's hutch cabinet perfectly. You can see it at home on her blog here.

I got such a lot of pleasure out of surprising these two wonderful ladies who do such a great job on HOE.

Monday 7 July 2008

PIFs still open for sign up CLOSED NOW

Close off for the PIF from me to you is tomorrow Tuesday so please do leave a comment. There are still places available and if your name is drawn you will receive a stitched gift and surprise package from me. Yuko told me that I had a year to fulfill my promise but you might just be surprised with a package from New Zealand before the year is up. So please if you are interested please leave a comment. I will post the results here on Wednesday morning.

Yet another scissor fob!

My Embroiderers Guild has a "stash enhancement" room and it was there I picked up an old needlework magazine circa 1994??? The previous owner had torn out several pages but I was delighted to find an article about C A Wells and the instructions for this scissor fob. I stitched it on Edinburgh 36 count linen colour sandstone with DMC threads (Gold and two shades of blue). Two sides have a wonderful trefoil on them in blue and gold while the other has the initial. Each segment has a chain stitch outline and is joined by overlocking stitch. It really is a beautifully compact little fob.

Friday 4 July 2008

LHN Exchange with April

Well, I almost had grey hair thinking this wasn't going to arrive any time soon and was having visions of re stitching but April posted on HOE to say it arrived today so I can show off.
The chart was a Little House Needleworks Christmas Ornament (2006??) and I made it in to a needle book with a Sajou alphabet A for the back and a scissor fob to match. April said she liked it so that's good. I included a couple of hand dyed Stef Francis (British thread artist) in colour "Devon Sunrise" and some NZ bath products.

Pay it forward CLOSED NOW

Announcing a PIF from me to ....

Yuko has selected me as one of her recipients for the PIF and so I am offering the same from me to ... the first three who post a comment on this blog. If there are more than three there will be a draw for the lucky ones - I will do the draw on Tuesday 8 July and post the lucky three here so watch to see if you are it ;-). The three selected will receive a PIF gift from me within 365 days and the only condition is that they in turn do the same thing on their blogs.

There's lots of stitching going on but nothing I can show yet. Two items are already in the mail so maybe I can show some photos soon.

Surprise surprise

Yesterday I received a totally surprise package from Staci. What could it be I wondered? And guess what? Generous hearted Staci has stitched two squares for me as my partner on the Fair and Square Earth Day exchange in March didn't come to the party and never sent. Maybe one day in Heaven I will get to meet "Angel Staci" and be able to thank her in person. The Bible says that it is more blessed to give than to receive so I pray that Staci is showered with blessings as I was so overwhelmed by her generosity.