Wednesday 29 October 2014

Leeks, roses and harps of Erin

Today, in between home duties and a "warrant of fitness" at the doctor, I have stitched diligently on my UK piece but Scotland has stubbornly refused to be conquered!
I am so pleased with this which is destined to become the cover for an accordion book in which I will hopefully record my travels when I fulfill my life long dream of visiting the land of my forefathers.
And now I am weary and my eyes are a little sore so I shall go to bed.   We have had heavy rain, thunder and lightning today and it is still blowing a gale outdoors so we could have a disturbed night.

Tuesday 28 October 2014

The Big Six Oh

Today is the day!   The List is not complete but too late -  the time has come.
Haven't the intervening years changed both the HD3QBEM and me?
We went out today looking unsuccessfully in antique shops for a suitable gift and finishing up at Zealong for High Tea.   A great day, despite the dismal weather,  as shown in this selfie.
And just in case Little Sister (currently in Los Angeles) is reading this -  the HD3QBEM did manage to hide your present successfully until the day!   Thank you very much.
Tonight I intend to complete the Welsh Dragon and St George's Cross on my UK piece and so hopefully to have stitching progress to show on my next update.

Saturday 25 October 2014

The List

A week's holiday and there is not a lot to show for it.
We went to see Little Brother but the weather was not kind and I only saw the lambs and calves from the window.  Little Brother's wife did have the bright idea of some photos so here you are - The HD3QBEM et al
I read a lot of books and did some stitching.   However, on reflection I think I may have been over optimistic to think I would finish all three projects I took.
The nametag is done and will hopefully be constructed this weekend.
I started on the Baby Blue "envelope" design by Lynn Nicoletti.

The United Kingdom emblem design also got started.  
These are all stitched from stash so there is a feel-good factor involved here :-)
Yesterday, the first day home from holiday, was devoted to unpacking, laundry and a jig-saw puzzle. Of course!   A 1000 piece jigsaw is on The List and there are only a few days remaining so the pressure is on.   The HD3QBEM is of course no use at these visual pursuits so it was me, myself and I!   This morning after breakfast I finished it.   Now what do you think the last piece of the puzzle was?   Not the sparkling sapphire ring.   Not the pearly white teeth.   Not the tiara.   No, it was a piece of Prince William's balding pate :-)
Apres Jigsaw, I made a concerted effort to complete the Spring Cleaning in the Kitchen (all done!) and so crossed another item off another list.  Then this afternoon, the HD3QBEM and I crossed another item off the list and played tourist in our own city by riding the circle line, known here as the Outerlink Bus.   It was fun and we both enjoyed it, even if we embarrassed ourselves with this selfie.

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Blooming Roses

Can you hear the Happy Dance?
Today I completed the Ring O Roses Sewing Pocket.   Despite a certain lack of precise detail in the construction notes, this went together well and I am very happy with it.   I had wanted a sewing bag just big enough to carry the necessities to Guild meetings and now I have one.
I did put a double cord as the single specified in the instructions seemed lopsided to me.   Each cord took two hanks of DMC floss!   And, in my case, two hour long walks to the local Bernina Store (closest stockist of said floss) as I didn't get enough first trip.   Then I made the second cord too thick and too short, so spent another 30 minutes hanging over the balustrade untwisting a twisted cord:-(   All is well now and I am happy.
The bottom is the Ring O Roses so not immediately visible, rather a sort of pleasant secret for the stitcher:-)
Spring Cleaning is losing its attraction, dressmaking is between garments at present and I am pleased that the HD3QBEM and I go to Little Brother's this weekend as I am now getting bored.   This morning I had a look at the JobSeek website and reassured myself that there are suitable jobs for which I can apply - after I complete my promised month's holiday.   I need to cross the remainder of my jobs off my list and the next is to cut the HD3QBEM's finger nails so I'm off to do that now.   And the Hexagon runner is screaming for attention..... my afternoon should be fruitfully occupied.

Saturday 11 October 2014

I'm going round circles

The HD3QBEM and I had a day out today -  she wanted clothes from her favourite shop and I wanted out of the City!   We went down to Hamilton, around an hour and a half drive south of here.   The weather was kind and we enjoyed our travels through the lush dairy farmland.  Spring is a great time of year  -  calves, lambs, a thousand shades of new green on the trees, flowering cherries and we saw splendid samples of all today.
This week has been busy.   I have been diligently working my way through the Spring Cleaning List (half done), the Sewing List (half done) and the Finishing List (half done).  But the car is washed and I even cleaned the inside,  so one job is fully complete.
Yes! Everything is only half done, even these infernal circles.
Ring O Roses needs 20 covered rings and 4 Dorset Buttons and I am only just half way.   So guess what I will be doing tonight?   On Thursday I went to the local quilting store to find lining for this project.   The two shop assistants were deep in conversation with each other ignoring all customers, so I carefully studied all the red fabrics, ummed and aahed and eventually chose this one.   As she was cutting off the piece I required, the assistant was congratulating herself on it being a wonderful match.   Not that she had anything to do with the choice!!
I plan on getting this project completed in the coming week.   Meanwhile I ponder what project to start next.   My only current piece is the English Hexagon Runner and the top of that is done and I am putting off the next stage as I don't really know how I should quilt this.   My sewing machine doesn't do quilting so it will have to be a "by hand" job and I am not sure I am ready for that. Any suggestions?

I have three projects to take with me when we go on holiday on the 18th.  One is a new name tag for Guild meetings.   My current one is plain - very plain.   My name in capitals stitched in blue floss on white linen.   Other Guild members have beautiful tags with flowers, specialty stitches etc.   As I was tidying out my bookshelves I came across a Name Tag chart in one of the files and promptly selected flosses and fabric.  Such a small project shouldn't take too much time??
Yesterday I sewed a silk top for the coming summer.  (This photo is for Little Sister -  and yes I will remember to take the tacking threads out of the hems)  Style Arc patterns are made in Australia (I think) and it was the first time I had ever used one.   The instructions are minimal but the pattern drafting is wonderful and I only had to adjust for my "dowagers hump", otherwise it was perfect straight from the packet.   All that remains is the bias binding around the neck and a button at the top on the back.   I am super pleased with this one.   I really like the overlay front which makes it less like a T Shirt and ever so slightly designer??  I am hoping for some "Where did you buy that?" or even "Did you make that?" comments :-)
And I'm off to make the dinner.

Saturday 4 October 2014

And the prize at the end of Week One ?

Although Week One of my 'holiday' didn't exactly go according to plan I did accomplish quite a lot and as a reward spent today at the Embroiderers Regional Day.
There was a large crowd of women there and a large display of work from the 11 different guilds in the region.  
Can you see the Guild Banners hanging behind - they look lovely all hung together.
I love seeing what others have been stitching and came away with some clever ideas which I will transfer to my little notebook and eventually stitch.
One Guild had done a wonderful combined effort of our native pohutukawa flower -  don't you love the idea of each member doing one jigsaw piece and yet they all fit together beautifully.
Another member from the Far North produced this exquisite sampler.  While I know that I could never reproduce this I was certainly intrigued.
I am currently stitching a Christmas Ornament (from this years JCS Ornament Issue) but using threads and fabric from my stash.   This will become a box lid.  Don't you wish you were the recipient of the box and could see what will be hidden inside?
Yesterday I completed a new shoulder bag for the HD3QBEM -  I had promised here a new one for her birthday in September, but better late than never.   She is really pleased.   It is black heavy homespun furnishing weight linen lined with some cream shower curtain fabric so is semi-waterproof.   When I bought the shower curtain it was far too long and I had to chop off the bottom and am pleased to have found a use for the scraps :-)  I did a Sashiko design on the outside and sewed a heavy duty black zipper as the opener.   The small white dangle you can see on the zip pull is from my friend in Kagoshima-  seemed appropriate since Sashiko is a Japanese technique.
I'm off to cook dinner now and hopefully stitch more hexagons.

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Two finishes

Today is the second day of my "holiday".   Sorting through my stash cupboard was fun and I have a box of charts that I will try and sell on Trade Me (when my brother-in-law is back home in NZ and able to help me) as well as a box of "want to do next" charts.  
Currently Little Sister and her husband are driving a Dodge along Route 66 and we get nightly updates of photos on Facebook.   Thank you Little Sister (if you are reading this).   But today I went out for a late lunch with a friend and as it is a beautiful sunny day I walked there and back.   Past the flowers

and ..... past Route 66!!
See, Little Sister.   You don't need to go to America to visit Route 66;-)

I have two finishes to show
Ring O Roses is now waiting for me to choose the lining fabric -  currently I am trying to decide between a red silky fabric to match the floss or a plain linen the same as the foundation fabric.   No decision yet so construction will have to wait.  
I made a small Sunbonnet Sally for this Pocket Fob and will look for a chain or suitable leather thonging to make this a gift for a friend.   Sally looks quite colorful in this doesn't she?
My Hexagon epic continues and I have so far stitched together almost half the required surface area of the runner.   There will need to be several additions to even up the sides before I can even think about the backing.   My middle finger on the right hand tends to get a hole in it from pushing the needle through on the hexies so I can only proceed slowly.   I am pleased with the random Granny look of this one.
Our temperatures are rising and I no longer have need for woollen socks so washed them all up to put away for the summer.   The HD3QBEM tells many people, "Margaret has lots of woollen socks" so this photo is to prove to her that I really don't have a surplus, only what is necessary :-)
Today I have been sewing so once dinner is finished, I will hem up the two pairs of trousers and sew the bias binding on my new silk nightdress.   I unpicked a Ready To Wear pair of trousers to trace off a pattern and then sewed them up again.   A long winded process to hopefully ensure I can replicate the fit of trousers that I love.   
So far so good on The List.   Tomorrow is some baking, some more sewing and then I will need to run the vacuum cleaner over the carpet - sewing does tend to leave lots of threads lying about.