Monday 28 March 2016

I killed my computer

Today I killed my desktop computer.   Between the HD3QBEM and me, we managed to create the blue screen of death.   Even a quick phone call to computer expert brother-in-law could not resurrect anything.   His advice?  Take it to the computer repairman.   So I will do so and will just have to live with my iPad for company until the desktop is back to full health.  Meanwhile, radio silence from my part of the world.

Sunday 27 March 2016

Wounded in action

Tonight I had an altercation with a sharp knife and the knife won!
So no stitching tonight.   I will have to continue with my knitting if I can.
This afternoon the HD3QBEM and I counted, labelled and packed her knitting for the year and next Saturday we will deliver it to the Hospice Shop.  27 is this year's count.   I am really proud of her as her vision is fading and there has been a lot more unraveling and re-knitting this year.  
Don't they look colourful?

Saturday 26 March 2016

The Flag Debate

According to all who know far more than I, the people have spoken resoundingly and by 57% to 43% the vote was to keep the current flag.  Whether or not that is resounding I cannot say.   However, what is amazing is that there was a 67% turn out of eligible voters.   Far more than for a general election.   Does that mean the citizens of New Zealand have more interest in their flag than their politicians?
(Image from internet)
Anyway, after a referendum costing $26 million we will retain the current flag and there is no necessity to incur further cost in changing letterheads etc.   Now that too has my vote!

Alas, this doomed idea of a flag change has divided public opinion and once again raised debate on whether we should become a republic rather than a dominion.   Not in my life time, I say.

Friday 25 March 2016

It has been a good Friday

Today the sun came out as well as the sewing machine.   Our dismal weatherman forecast rain but he was wrong :-)
Anyway Noddy and Big Ears now have a bag.
The HD3QBEM and I had some discussion over this as I favoured a standard tote shape but she with experience of two daughters was adamant that this was better.
So I put a wide gusset/base strip around the squares and now it is finished I like it.   The bag is fully lined with the same colourful fabric.
I have another finish too but that is for tomorrow.
Also a bonus-  while finishing this and looking through fabric stash I found two pieces that Little Sister will love.   A quick scurry for an envelope and they will go in tomorrow's mail.   Look out for a package Little Sis.

Thursday 24 March 2016

In the pink

Tonight I started a new piece.   I'm making gifts and this is to be one of those.

A small beginning but in my favourite hardanger so progress should be smooth.  Can you guess what this is to be?

Wednesday 23 March 2016

Easter treats

Today the mailman brought Easter goodies from Kazumi in Japan.
Don't they look lovely?   We will enjoy them.  Thank you Kazumi.

Tuesday 22 March 2016


A difficult day
As office politics rule
Words fail me tonight

Monday 21 March 2016

Hardanger again

Going back to work after a break is always hard but today has definitely been a difficult day.   What better way to unwind than with a piece of hardanger.
Tonight I made a start on the edging ribbon.  Rhythmical back stitch and the odd shaped diamond serrations have worked their magic and the stress has melted away.

Sunday 20 March 2016

We have buttons

It is that time of year again and the HD3QBEM pulls out all the garments knitted over the year, counts them and sorts out which need buttons.
Off we went to David's emporium where she sat on her zimmer frame and I selected buttons.
Doesn't she look happy?
Tonight she is busy clicking the needles on yet another garment while I have sewed up the "just finished" one and will be sewing on buttons this week.   After Easter we will deliver the pile of completed garments to the Hospice Shop.   I promise a photo of them all before then.

Saturday 19 March 2016

Breeding Puppies

Every year the Blind Foundation have special appeals to raise funds for guide dogs.
While running an errand for the HD3QBEM at their Auckland Head Office,  I picked up a cute cookie cutter (for a donation) and this morning rose early to make puppies.
Considering that all came from the same genetic material they are decidedly different colours!  The HD3QBEM is quality controller and declared them delicious.

Friday 18 March 2016

Back to the future

Back in the pre-blog days (2006) I knitted a cardigan in a complicated lace and cable pattern.   It was such a complicated pattern and caused so many grey hairs that once completed I had a ceremonial burning of the original pattern.
Over the years I wore the cardigan but then I lost a lot of weight and the cardigan did not shrink with me so it languished in my camphorwood chest.
Late last year I decided to unravel the cardigan and recycle the wool, a beautiful 4 ply crepe.  And then, guess what, I found a photocopy of the original pattern.  And yes!   I have decided to reknit this garment in my current size.   Don't be fooled by the description easy -  this is not a knit for the fainthearted.   But I liked the style and the colour and so....

With the cooler temperatures on their way, knitting will be a great way to keep my fingers agile and my lap warm!

Thursday 17 March 2016

A day out

Today the HD3QBEM and I had a day out.   Most of the morning was taken up with errands but once those were out of the way we drove about 30 minutes north of the city to the small village of Puhoi.   Settled in the 1880's by immigrants from Bohemia (now the Czech republic) this little village is "world famous in New Zealand" both for its Bohemian heritage and for its cheese.
However we went on our day out and ate no cheese and indulged in no culture.   Instead we went to the Puhoi General Store and had fish and chips.   As we unwrapped the newspaper and with greasy fingers ate the delicious hot meal, we wondered how long it has been since we ate fish and chips.   Eventually the HD3QBEM's superior memory calculated that it was at least 14 years ago!   Can this be accurately described as a treat?
(Apologies-  photos from the internet today as I didn't take my camera)

Anyway, I have since planted plenty of Spring bulbs (freesias and daffodils) in my pots and tonight it is gently raining so they will be happy even if I am not.

I'm off to do the dinner dishes and pick up my needle.   Some more hardanger I think.   My plan is to finish half the runner and then put it away for a rest while I stitch something else.  Yes!  The next project has been chosen but it is small and will not take too long -  a gift for a June birthday.

Wednesday 16 March 2016

A great class Part 2

Today was vines and flowers.

 Lots of counting, back stitches, whipping stitch, eyelets and the end result is tired eyes.
So tonight I will have a 'rest' with my hardanger.

Tuesday 15 March 2016

A great class Part 1

I feel like I have been stitching all day!
The class was held at this Community Centre -  a hundred year old School Building which has been refurbished and is in use for everything from embroidery to Scottish Country Dancing and yoga.   The rooms had enormously high ceilings and large windows so we were flooded with light.   My photo doesn't really do that justice but you get the idea?
The project is counted work so I'm very happy and feel as if I have made great strides.   We stitched from 9:30 until 4pm and since coming home I have been busy and now have only a couple of rows of cross stitches to do and my homework is complete.
Tomorrow we add flowers, button loop, and a linen button which we make ourselves.

So on that happy note...

Monday 14 March 2016

All packed and ready to start

My basket is packed with all the necessaries and tomorrow I am of to my Embroidery Class.
This will be such fun I am sure and I am very much looking forward to this.  Look out for an update tomorrow night.
Packets of needles, threads as directed, sewing kit, 6 inch hoop and my name tag.  Just as well this sewing basket has a wide mouth.  I stitched this back in 2002 so it has served me well.
Here's a snapshot of the two sides- just to prove it really is a sampler basket.  Look at all the different stitches.  Don't you love the hanks of floss?
Today the doctor gave the HD3QBEM a good report and I am allowed to dress the wound now.   That will be so much easier for her than making the trip to the doctor's surgery and I feel confident I can manage that much on my own.

Sunday 13 March 2016


No stitching update tonight.   I am still working on the florentine bag and have made good progress.   On Tuesday I have my Alison Snepp hussif class and will legitimately be able to start a new piece:-)
Neither of my current projects have really gripped my interest and I have high hopes for this class.

Here in New Zealand we are in the middle of a binding referendum on a new flag.  Initially we chose one from five and that narrowed the final choice to these.
A tick for the new goes on top or a tick for the old goes below.   The HD3QBEM is upset that the new one is on top and she says this shows bias on the government's part.  The ballot is postal so results won't be known until after 24th March.  

Saturday 12 March 2016

Update on florentine bag

Bored with my hardanger, tonight I pulled out my florentine bag.   Rhythmic stitching is great while watching detective stories on the TV.   I seem to be able to manage to guess Who Dunnit while counting to four!
Anyway here's progress.  My quandary now is do I have upward or downward bows?
Thank you to all who sent good wishes for the HD3QBEM.   We went to the medical centre today and a very nice young Filipino nurse called Girlie, removed the dressing, called the doctor to look at the wound and then bound it all up again.   One tetanus shot later and with the whole morning used up in the doctor's waiting room and the nurses office, we came home.  The HD3QBEM has done as she was told and kept her foot elevated today.  She is perky and enjoyed a treat of a spicy Hot Cross Bun and a chocolate Easter Egg.   So life is normal!?!?

Friday 11 March 2016

Those nasty needles!

The HD3QBEM has not learned her lesson.   Tonight she is back using those nasty needles.  
I meanwhile am scrubbing the carpet!   Tomorrow I will take her to the Medical Clinic to get a tetanus shot (on the advice of the lovely Ambulance Girls) but all is well.
Thank you all for your good wishes.

Thursday 10 March 2016

Dramatic events - chez nous

Tonight we have had visitors.  They came in this limousine.
Yes!   The HD3QBEM has been in an accident.  Somehow she managed to pierce her lower right leg with a knitting needle.   A 4mm one at that!   Her anti-coagulation medication made the flow of blood difficult to staunch so we called 111 and the paramedics came and attended to her.
And after they had gone I scrubbed the carpet and applied an initial dressing of carpet shampoo.  

Enough drama for one night.   I will now do the dinner dishes and get the HD3QBEM to bed.

Tuesday 8 March 2016

Spot the mistake

Tonight has been a lesson in frustration,   Everything was smooth sailing and the whole diamond joined up....but.... one thread out.
Can you spot the mistake?
Yes -  the very first stitch of this diamond.   So rather than reverse everything I opted to snip and pull.
The TV programme on the Isle of Skye was just too distracting.   I have stopped stitching and will try again tomorrow.

Good night all.

Monday 7 March 2016

And so it's back to the diamonds

On 15th March I have an Embroidery Class and I'm unwilling to start a new piece before then.  So tonight it was back to the diamonds.   Having made the decision to leave the filling stitches until the very end, I have the unpleasurable task of 14 times foundation klosters.   Four are now done and all have met up perfectly with only minimal reverse stitching.
This afternoon I had some time off work (time in lieu) so sorted out some scraps of linen and tacked out one hexagon.  
I'm thinking of using toning linens and one quilting cotton for the bindings and lining.   My idea was to make this a sampler with each hexagon a different stitch but I have been looking through my hardanger books and think I will do them all in hardanger with different filling stitched.   There are another five hexagons to tack out yet so I have plenty of time to think and plan.

Sunday 6 March 2016

Lenten Lilies

Flowers do not have a good time clock.   Easter is 'early' this year but the Lenten Lilies in our garden are earlier still!
Judging by the number of buds and the fact that there are plenty of buds on all the other plants in the garden we should be able to enjoy these right up until Easter.
But there is something amiss.   I have freesia bulbs ready to plant this week to supplement those already 'dormant' in my pots.   And what do I see today?   Freesia leaves.  Those pesky dormant bulbs are already active and Spring is still a whole two seasons away.   Just as well I am only an imitation gardener;-)
Tonight I have Antiques Road Show, Unforgotten and Elementary to keep me company as I stitch diamonds on my hardanger.   Noddy and  Big Ears are sleeping, awaiting their construction into a bag.   The UK trip book is at the stage where I need to research how to stitch the multiple signatures (paper pages) onto the fabric spine before I complete the book.   So it is back to my faithful friend, hardanger.

Saturday 5 March 2016

Today's travels

The HD3QBEM and I went to Daruma Sushi-Go-Round today and had a lovely time.   We are regulars there and the staff are lovely and make sure the HD3QBEM gets super service and we always enjoy the food.

Then it was home to chores which are not so enjoyable.
But tonight I finished Big Ears.  Did you hear the happy dance??
And I hauled out this piece and laced into onto acid free card.   I plan on making a  little book with pockets and pages to take with me on my trip.   Nothing like being prepared in advance!   The fabric box produced this piece of cotton in a suitable green for the back,the lining and the spine.  I think I even have a length of red ribbon suitable for tie closure so this project could soon be a finish-finish.
Just as well as I have had inspiration for a hexagon box.
Dr Google, that fount of all knowledge, came up with this result of my search and it is just what I want.  No way will my hexagon box be of patchwork cotton.   I shall embroider the central hexagon of the pieces for my box.   I'm thinking a sampler box with a different technique for each piece.   All I know is that I am well ready for a finer count linen and a smaller size needle.   Noddy and Big Ears were stitched on 20 count Cork linen with what seemed like a bodkin for the needle.  It is back to 32 count Belfast linen and good old John James #28 tapestry needles next.

Friday 4 March 2016

Are you tired of Big Ears?

I am!   But he is almost finished.  
Tonight he got some hair, some eyes, part of his beard, a second sleeve to the jacket and part of his left hand.
And I discovered that the two holes on his jacket were actually meant to be gold buttons!  Who would have known?  The white areas and the back stitching to go.   I love it when the end is in sight.

Tomorrow the HD3QBEM and I are going out for sushi lunch for my "Survived One Year" celebration.   I am looking forward to that.

Thursday 3 March 2016

And Big Ears has....a hat!

Thanks to an episode of Masterchef Australia on the TV, Big Ears has his hat and his ears.
He's coming together quickly and I am so pleased.  
Now another project can be pondered over and decided on.   Perhaps by Easter I might have this project done and be able to start another.   We get a four day weekend holiday for Easter so I will surely find time for stitching up the bag as well as for searching for another project?
And tomorrow is Friday which is always a bonus.  Today marks one year since I started my job at the Department of Corrections and in many ways it has been a long year.   But I am another year closer to retirement and my long-hoped-for trip to the UK.   And that reminds me I still have to complete my trip book.  Perhaps that should be my next project?

Wednesday 2 March 2016

A body without a head

Today has been a long day -  11 hours at work - and all day long I felt as if my head wasn't attached to my body.  Rather like my little Big Ears.
He's looking quite good though and tonight I will try and give him some ears.   After all it is ears that make the man in this case:-)   The HD3QBEM has been offering all sorts of advice about what sort of bag.   While I have listened patiently, I really have no idea except that it will be either square or rectangular, and not too big.   Simple?   I hope so.

Tuesday 1 March 2016

Beautiful flowers

Today I had a surprise at work.   Over two weeks the local TV stations and the national radio have been recording interviews with an offender who is currently behind the wire.   All this required my "expertise" at our AVL.   Anyway the colleague I had helped with all this came today with this beautiful bowl of flowers.
Two varieties of orchid which we will enjoy thoroughly.

No stitching to show tonight but I am hoping to give Big Ears some more clothes:-)