Friday 28 November 2008

Quaker Ornament finished

This is stitched on Dublin linen over one thread with DMC 115 and it has turned out small as I wanted for my tree this year. Although from JCS Ornament Issue of 2002 (thanks Staci!!) I have changed the date of course.

Last night's stitching was on an exchange so no snaps yet. I hope to do the finishing tonight as I have everything I need in the stash cupboard. Then there will be the happy happy dance as I have only three WIPs in the box.

Thursday 27 November 2008

It will officially be Summer next week!!

December 1st it will officially be summer but the weather man hasn't found out yet! It is still cold and stormy at times and the mountains still have plenty of snow. I took this photo on my recent quick trip to Wellington. This is Mt Ruapehu which is in the middle of our North Island.

I thought you might like to see the little Christmas Box I made for Taija in the Crazy Exchange. She lives in Finland and I stupidly thought the parcel of goodies might not get there till nearer December 25. But as always, the Post Office are not predictable and Taija received her box of goodies this week. Included with the usual chocolates, candy etc etc there was this little box. It originated as a Louis Vuitton box (from which my boss had extracted a wallet) - Yes! My box fetish is known even at work! But some cross stitching, some felt and a little time turned it into a sneaky peeky Christmas Box filled with bath items. You can see the other pictures on Taija's blog here. Like me you might not be able to read Finnish but now you know the story you can guess the rest from the snaps and see yet another box I scored from a colleague!

A few steps past a floss toss

Here's a shot of a WIP - destined to become an exchange so it must remain a mystery. I do like the colours and it is fun while stitching to think of what goodies I will put with it.
There has been no stitching for the past couple of days. I have driven to Wellington and back (8 hours each way) for the funeral of a family friend so there hasn't been time or energy. Tonight I plan to return to this - which will be a really cheerful thing to do after a dismal few days.

Monday 24 November 2008

A surprise from Japan

I told you the mailman left a card to tell me to collect a package at the Post Office. Well, Saturday morning I walked across to find it was a PIF from Yuko. What a lovely surprise - inside was a beautiful stitched biscornu, a card of ribbon, a DMC variegated thread I had not seen before, two cherry blossoms to perfume my drawers and a small notepad. Thank you so much Yuko - I am really pleased to have some of your beautiful stitching. I love the colour and especially the beaded edging.

Thursday 20 November 2008

Progress reports

I'm making good progress on my current piece but it is secret so can't be shown completely yet. I'm enjoying all the different stitches and textures although this photo shows I need to redo the satin stitch - it's not exactly flat is it? Perhaps a good steam press will work wonders? Do you like the colour scheme -I followed what the chart said although I suspect that my "Dirty Linen" is slightly darker than what was recommended. However on the enjoyment scale this is up the top.

Thanks for all your comments about Lisa's reindeer ornament. Denise if you email me I can give you the details you wanted. Just click on the email button on the left hand side in my profile.

Crazy Exchange Christmas Ornament

The mail man was really kind to me yesterday - he left a card telling me to collect a package at the Post Office depot (!!) and also a package for me to open. Inside was a beautiful Christmas Ornament from my partner in the Crazy Exchange, Lisa. No prizes for guessing what part of the world Lisa lives in :-) The beautiful reindeer is stitched in an overdyed moss green thread on a pale cream linen. The backing fabric is great - it has small holly leaves but is not the usual dark look we see in New Zealand but a fresh green "summer holly" colour. Many many thanks Lisa.

Tuesday 18 November 2008

The love of my life??!!

I have a love affair with DMC 115. Several of the Christmas ornaments I have stitched have benefitted from this love. Here's the latest. A Quaker Christmas Strawberry from a JCS Ornament issue stitched on Cashel Antique White linen with DMC115.
This came up so well that my mother decided to copy it but her strawberry turned out to be a giant - something to do with poor eyesight = coarser fabric perhaps? But no matter, Mother is as thrilled with her Giant Quaker Christmas Strawberry as I am with this one which has gone by air to its home far away. I have more linen, more thread, more felt leaves, more ribbon but no more time this year to make another for me. Isn't this a busy time of year??

Friday 14 November 2008

Staci's surprise

Congratulations to the mail men of New Zealand Post! They safely carried my surprise box to Staci - at Olympic speeds! Do you remember seeing Santa on my blog a while ago? I said at the time that his tummy would be stuffed with good things and he would travel to a special person. Well that person was Staci. Do read Staci's reaction on her blog here.

Staci has been a very generous angel to me over the past year and I wanted to really surprise her. Many many thanks to you Staci - I bet this is the first time ever you have received a Christmas Stocking as a Thanksgiving present!!
As usual I forgot to take a photo so have "borrowed" Staci's. The "stuffing" of the stocking was yarn and a pattern for knitted socks and some bags of typical New Zealand candy - Jaffas, Milk Bottles and Pineapple Lumps.

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas Staci and family.

Thursday 13 November 2008

Some stitching finishes

A lot of recent stitching has been for exchanges so I can only now show it off .

First, an "out of the blue thank you to Edgar" present. He shares my obsession with Christmas Ornaments so these little mittens from an old issue of Just Cross Stitch magazine seemed perfect. They are triple stitched on Cork Linen - first of all a base of Scottish Stitch, then crosses in gold metalic and finally gold beads. But they do look effective. As I'd hoped it was a surprise - so here's the other goodies that went in the package ; Edgar's favourites - tea and chocolate!
Second, the random selector has been determined that Becky K and I shall become friends and we were "connected" for the HOE Mattress Exchange, Floss Tag Exchange and Christmas Exchange. I stitched the JOY ornament in DMC threads on a scrap of Belfast linen and finished it with some antique looking lace from "grandma's old box". The chart was from the December 2007 issue of The Gift of Stitching magazine and then I decided to go cute and make it in to a needleroll. Becky said she loves needlerolls so that worked out well. You can read what Becky says about it here. This photo is of the extras in the package. I sent her a sheet of Frogs because they had been visiting my house a lot lately! And finally some stitching for ME. Staci kindly sent me a copy of the instructions to make this cute Quaker Tree from The Workbasket. It was in the 2002 Just Cross Stitch ornament issue which is now out of print - unavailable - nowhere to be found ; but Staci came to the rescue and assured me I'd finish it in time for the great "putting up the tree" evening on 1 December. I expect to finish it off tonight but this is a progress report. I've stitched over one on Dublin Linen with my favourite DMC115. These photos aren't so good because they were taken at night. Have a great day everyone.

Monday 10 November 2008

My weekend with Wallet

I told you I was going to my LNS to satisfy my cravings. Well unfortunately Wallet wasn't in agreement with my brain and at the first store Wallet completely refused to open her mouth - even though I had stuffed her so full of cash that some even peeked out the corner!
"But I want this" I cried - no response.

"I need this" I pleaded and still no response.

Eventually after much persuasion I managed to force out enough money to purchase a hank of Cinnamon floss from The Sampler Thread.

But never one to back off when convinced I have the upper hand, this determined shopper journeyed on to the next store - Wild and Woolly Yarns - where Mother was persuaded to part with a substantial sum of money for several kilos of yarn, none of which will be made into sweaters for me :-(

Mother's Purse, although descended from the same bloodlines as Wallet is so much more cooperative and fully realises her place in the overall scheme of things!

"See Wallet, it's really easy. You just open your mouth a little and the money comes out quite painlessly".

"Yeah right!", says still uncooperative Wallet.

Determination still not exhausted at this point, we came back across the Harbour Bridge to yet another LNS and after a stern talking to, Wallet whispered "OK then some fabric will be minimum pain. Go ahead" and so very quickly while I still had cooperation I hastily purchased four lengths of Belfast linen and two of Cashel.

"Boring" said Wallet and maybe they are to such an uncooperative companion. However if Zweigart will persist in producing linens with such subtle shades of colour differential what is a girl to do. Do I want antique white, country cream, ivory, beige,? Of course I want them all!!
And then I find 'A Quaker Row' and quickly before Wallet realises, I race to the threads wall and select threads too. "Ouch" says Wallet as the cash is extracted but Margaret does the happy happy dance.

Wallet is now sulking, so I have made friends with Credit Card in preparation for the next Stash Adventure.

On the stitching front I completed this pink Quaker Odds - MAY - which, in the fulness of time (and dependent on other outside factors such as Christmas preparations) will become a box top. I'm stitching on opalescent Lugana and in the photo the sparkles really show up. I'm quite pleased with the way this has turned out so far.

Also started Midnight Stitching's "Faith Hope and Love" and it is half "Love"-ly at the moment so not yet at photographing stage. I blame the world of stitching bloggers for the way in which my needlework projects are breeding. Up until last year I was a "finish one then start the next" stitcher and now I am most certainly converted to the "finish one and start three more", which syndrome I blame on all you wonderful folks out there.

And finally one philosophical question to finish - is it really true that sitting quietly stitching will increase iron levels in the blood or do I really have to eat liver and spinach and kilos of red meat???

Friday 7 November 2008

I'm currently working on...

This is the start of a box top. I signed on for the When Pink Matters blog and have just started a Quaker Odd (month of May design) using Needle Necessities thread that looks like strawberyy icecream and opalescent lugana fabric. These two go well together and I'm enjoying stitching this in memory of my Aunty Mary who lost her long and courageous fight with breast cancer at Christmas time three years ago. My aunt was a mathematics teacher and loved things geometrical and precise. Also she was a vibrant Christian and so I was drawn to doing something in the Quaker tradition which seems an apt combination of both those facets of her life. Her daughter is a history academic and so I intend to present it to her in memory of her mother.
Recently Becky K and I have been exchanging through the HOE and I find that she and I are kindred spirits when it comes to gadgets, so last night I emptied out my sewing box to introduce you to some of my gadgets! From left to right they are Janet's Boo Boo stick (for brushing away the dust of floss after "reverse stitching"(I's like to say never used but in fact so well used that I tucked the longer brush end under the sewing bag out of sheer embarrassment!), the thimble bag (contains my grandmother's Dorcas thimble), scissors (of course), thread wax, a "quick unpick", tape measure, DoLally, needle gripper (useful when threads are thick and stubborn in canvas work), Lucet, set square, ruler, several needle threaders, a wooden needle holder and at the bottom centre is what should probably accurately be termed "a frogger" - it is a needle whose eye end is stuck carefully and permanently into a turned wood handle which makes it easy to hold and greatly assists with reverse stitching (well lets be frank its for unpicking mistakes). An embroidery friend has an inventive husband who made one for her and was then begged and bribed by several others who wanted one too!!
Becky sent me a thread winder which when extracted from its plastic bubble container will join the gadget family. My Clover thread cutter and various other pins and needles have their own stitched books which you can see inside the sewing box.
The heavy duty stuff is in this photo. When a needle gripper just doesn't do the job these pliers are essential as is the screwdriver. Embroidery hoops and screwdrivers go together!
Tomorrow I am going to visit my LNS and fully intend to satisfy any cravings! At least that's how I feel today - perhaps tomorrow my wallet may close its mouth and refuse to part with any hard earned dollars. Watch this space for further updates.

Tuesday 4 November 2008

Goodies from Becky

Finally the photos of Becky's package. Edward Bear insisted on helping out so please excuse him invading the photographs. He proved to be really useful as a prop.
Becky was assigned my name in the HOE Mattress Pincushion Exchange and aren't I the lucky one! This pincushion is superb - in autumn colours which is great. Can you see the cute acorn and pumpkin - the back has our names and the date and what is really the cherry on the top -Becky is clever and stitched on the sides too!! Becky included a pen (I have a pen fetish so that was great), two black tassells that will be so useful for finishing and a brass finish thread winder. I've never seen one of those before but love stitching gadgets so quickly put it in my stitching bag and will take it to Embroiderers Guild to show off on 15th!!
Thank you so much Becky. I was thrilled with this exchange.

Monday 3 November 2008

My Chicken is finished

A late night marathon effort last night and the chicken is finished. I did this one on 32 count belfast linen with DMC 115 so he/she is just the right size to stay at home with me. The last chicken flew the coop to live with Wendy Jo so I made this one smaller!
On the stitching front I completed a couple of gifts and packed up the packages which are in todays mail but no pictures yet. I will show you when I hear they have arrived safely. I looked out a chart and thread to start one of the Quaker Evens and am looking forward to getting started on that. This is for the When Pink Matters and I intend to make a small box - but you can read all about it on the site.

The day I returned from holiday I received this card in my box and in the weekend I finally managed to get to the post office to retrieve a delightful exchange from Becky Kirkbride - the HOE Mattress Pincushion Exchange. I will take some photos tonight and post tomorrow but many many thanks Becky - it's exquisite.