Monday, 29 May 2017

It's true...

Diamonds are forever, well at least they seem to take forever.   The hardanger cutwork diamonds on the table runner are taking a long time.   Five to go and this piece will be finito.
The next photo may show this complete, ironed and in situ.   We shall see.

Saturday, 27 May 2017


Today I travelled across the city to visit the much advertised Woolfest Auckland.   In a large and somewhat gloomy old winery shed, turned into a gymnasium, a multitude of spinners, weavers, dyers and growers of artisan wools displayed their goods.   Not being an avid knitter like the DBEM I was able to resist temptation and merely admire.
However the mathematical precision of this rectangle loom weaving was a major temptation   Can you see the lady sitting in front left?   She was enthusiastic to explain to me how I could weave a lovely wool scarf.   It was tempting but I resisted and merely took the information.
Next around the corner was the Navajo Spinning lady.   I had never seen this before and was intrigued.  Rolling the spindle against her leg seemed to be the main technique and I wondered if that made one thigh thinner than the other.   She says no! The yarn was not an even ply but of a knobbly texture and she weaves it into wonderful fabric for vests, jackets, hats etc.

I am on the last stretch of the Hardanger Runner and tonight hope to get more of the cutwork completed.   There may be a finish to show soon.   And I have tacked up the next project :-)

Saturday, 20 May 2017


What do they say? Measure twice cut once?  When I started the login for the pencil case I only eyeballed the width and in true Kiwi fashion "she'll be right".   But she wasn't!  Far too wide for a pencil case.
Nothing daunted I carried on, as if further depth would somehow negate the width problem.   It didn't!
So a quick trip to OfficeMax for a notebook and the pencil case will become the book cover.
Next I measured and tacked on a new base layout for a pencil case and made a start.   This WILL be a success - I hope.
And you know what - pattern darning such as this kogin has resurrected my old shoulder problems and I have a very painful right shoulder.   Don't tell the DBEM as I have to help her with her knitting quite often too😀
But I had a very enjoyable time with Ian Rankin last night - well worth the walk into the city and the student-filled bus home.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Welcome Home

Today I took annual leave so as to devote a whole day to "life administration" and very successful it has been too.
A hair cut, shopping, dentist and then to collect my old friend Elna from the repair shop.
She is sewing quietly and smoothly and I am very pleased to have her back.   At a cost of $190 for her overhaul, I figure her upkeep to be $10 per year I have known her.   She's not an expensive friend:-)
Talking of friends, I did a favour for a colleague at work and she presented me with these beautiful tulips.   Feels strange to have Spring flowers indoors when outside the golden colours of Autumn are predominant.
Tonight I am off to the City for a date with Ian Rankin - well more honestly, he is to give a lecture as part of the Readers and Writers Festival and as an ardent Inspector Rebus fan I couldn't possibly miss a date with Ian.
Tomorrow I hope to have an update on the Kogin Pencil Case Fiasco....

Sunday, 14 May 2017

And off we go...

Yesterday I made a start on the Kogin and am quite pleased with the way this is turning out.  The black thread looks a great contrast on the ecru linen
The front, or what I have determined as front is darker
But Kogin is great that the back looks as good as the front.
This is highly addictive.  I'm off to do some more now.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

The next "adventure"

Some years ago I received an embroidered pencil case from my boss' wife.   It has been in regular use in my handbag ever since.   But alas!  The inside has a plastic-feel fused lining which now is rather sticky to touch.   Time for a new one.
I dug through my stash knowing that I had no navy fabric suitable but this ecru lugana should serve the purpose.  
DMC perle #8 in black should give a suitable contrast.  And if I cannot imitate the embroidery from the case itself, this book of Kogin patterns should surely provide something :-)
I have microsuede for lining and a zip and matching binding so this little project will cost me nothing but time.
So when my hardanger is I go on Japanese kogin adventure.

Monday, 8 May 2017

A bit of this a bit of that

The knitting made progress.   Well, to be more grammatically correct, I made progress on the knitting.  The back is finished which is the signal - time for some stitching.
So it's back to the green diamonds!   But the end of this project is in sight too.  This arrangement seems to be working for me.   A short break gives added impetus.
Tonight I planted some sweet pea seeds with which I hope to bring pleasure to the DBEM in a few months time.
And I cooked this ginormus lump of meat that the beef cattle on Little Brother's mini-farm generously gave me:-)   The DBEM and I will feed on this for several days!
Last weekend was my 6 weekly grocery shop.   The DBEM likes wheatmeal sandwich bread and although the "proper" brand is nearly $4 a loaf, home brand is $1.   But happy dance - on Saturday I struck a bargain.  Guess what is filling up my freezer now:-)   I've always been a little envious of the "yellow sticker" bargains my UK friends talk about as we never seem to get those bargains here.  For a producing nation, New Zealand food costs are high.   But on this occasion I won.  Hooray!
And now it's back to needle and thread.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Difficult to satisfy?

When I sew I think of all the projects I want to embroider.  When I embroider I think of all the items on my knitting list. And when I knit I think of all I need to sew.   Currently I am in stage three of my cycle:-)
Knitting is going well and ball of yarn number one is almost finished. A progress shot.
My doctor sent me a letter.  Well it was actually a paper to take to the blood test nurse.  So this morning off I went at 8am just as it opened.  Convinced I would be first, I was shocked to see a queue stretching out the door and up the street.  Just when I don't really have time to fit everything in today.
But I am not totally dissatisfied.   I left work early Thursday to visit my old boss who is recovering from major surgery and so I missed our "site meeting" at work.   To be honest I completely forgot about it.   So it was a surprise to arrive at work Friday and find this in my desk!   Although I feel a fraud being rewarded for doing what is my job it sure is nice to be appreciated:-)

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Owari. Finito, The End

Christmas Bling has been added and the Heirloom Nativity Sampler is now finished.
Whether or not it becomes an heirloom is debatable but satisfaction is high at having ticked this one off the list.
Small pearl beads, white stars and a red heart

Gold and bronze petit beads

And I am beaded out!   No more beads for me.   I'm ready to start something new so what's next on the list?   A navy woolen cardigan which I need to have ready by the end of August.   Off we go...

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Spring is coming ..... I hope

The days are beautifully clear this week with the crisp temperatures of Autumn.   On the walk to the office I pass the garden centre and am reminded that now is the time to plant Spring bulbs.   So this weekend I will plant these in hope of a fragrant display in Spring.
Last night the hardanger was mainly in reverse direction but all is well now and I hope to make better progress tonight.  The maybe I will put the roof on the stable and finish off the "picture".  Not far to go now but there are a lot of beads on this one.
End in sight though.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017


Just before the Easter long weekend Cyclone Cook made landfall in New Zealand - at almost the exact spot where we had beach accommodation booked.   Rather than brave the weather we delayed our departure by a day.   And so it seems did everyone else!  The roads were either blocked by large earth slips or gridlock.  The usual route being rendered impassable, I opted for the "long way round" and after  six and a half hours on the road and only travelling 175 kilometres the DBEM called it quits and we turned around and came home.  Lesson learned for me.   Staycations will be the way to go for the future - the DBEM hasn't been at all well since we came home :-(
But I have improved the shining hour and my sewing is up to date.   So much so that today I went and bought another length of fabric -  my favourite blue and grey/black combination for a winter dress.
I cleaned up up plastic box full of scraps and made this apron too.
And with the book finished (and highly recommended) I will be stitching tonight.   And back to work tomorrow :-)

Monday, 17 April 2017


Before I take my sewing machine to the repair shop tomorrow I was anxious to sew up a top I had cut out so this morning off I went.   And voila.....
Then this afternoon, a quick scurry to The Ribbon Rose for a ball of Perle #8 in DMC3813 so I can finish off the Hardanger Table Runner.   But I got distracted by a new library book.   This is one of those "recent releases" which can be rented for the princely sum of $6 for 14 days to save waiting in the interminable queue.   And I am engrossed....
So a quick post tonight and I am back to my book.   Sorry to the DBEM as I won't be talking tonight:-)

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Spot on

Two projects to show tonight.
First up my $5 top.   A local trader called Geoff's Emporium has end of roll fabrics at ridiculously cheap prices and these serve me well when I want to trial a pattern with little cost.   This spotted top is one such.   I copied this successfully off a casual T shirt top I bought years ago and which now shows signs of loving wear.  All in all spot on I think.
The Heirloom Christmas Nativity Sampler is nearing the end.   Thoroughly sick of the cross stitch nativity scene I ventured into the hardanger end piece.   Kloster blocks proved a challenge to get correct when this afternoon I had a pleasant interruption of Oldest Nephew and New Fiancee.   However persistence paid off and the result was spot on.
Tomorrow is what my UK friends call a bank holiday and more sewing is on the plans.   Also by then my equanimity may be restored and I can relate the sad tale of my planned Easter holiday :-(

Thursday, 13 April 2017

My Faithful Friend

Fifty five years ago my father persuaded me to part with the huge sum of $300 to purchase a swanky new Elna SU.
Since then it has sewn me thousands if not millions of kilometres of beautiful even stitches and hundreds of buttonholes.  But today my friend failed me - the gearing on the buttonholer has seized up.  So I need to quickly get my next two projects finished before taking her off to her second ever mechanical overhaul.
Currently I have this fabric almost completed and when the final stitching is complete it should transform into this
And why have I had a day sewing?   We were planning to travel to Tauranga for a brief holiday over Easter but Cyclone Cook is disrupting plans and is currently making landfall just south of where we are booked to stay.   So we will travel tomorrow instead and I have made use of the time today.  See you when we get back:-)

Thursday, 6 April 2017

One Quarter

My stitching has had a hurdle to overcome this week.
I completed one quarter of the Quaker Christmas Sampler - doesn't it look good?
Then on Saturday morning I woke to my right eye the same colour red as the Sampler!  By Sunday the white was all gone but today, Thursday, a quarter is back to a pale pink which I tell myself is white:-). No pain just self conscious at the strange look.
Tonight I have been stitching Mary and Joseph and the end of the Heirloom Nativity Sampler is in sight.  As is the end of the week of torrential rain and serious flooding which has passed over.  I am hopeful of a fine weekend.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

This year's pilgrimage

Today I took the DBEM to the Hospice Shop to deliver her knitteds. A total of 30 this year  and a colourful photo they do make.   Lots of stripes - they seem easier for her to knit.
We were amazed at the warm greeting given by the two ladies running the shop who chatted to us for a while.  It was a lovely encouraging outing for the DBEM who isn't at all well and is much more restricted in what she can do.
I'm off now to do the last two items on today's list of chores.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Christmas is coming....

A break from hardanger due to running out of thread means I'm back with the little crosses.
I'm currently working on the half done large motif at bottom left.  Then a couple of snowflakes will fill the gap near the centre top.  Snowflakes are whit but that won't work on Antique Whute linen so I auditioned several DMC before settling on 648.  Hope it works as I'm sick and tired of reverse stitching:-)
This is one quarter of the total Sampler - how fortunate it is still only March!

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Goodness me! Godiva!

I opened one box of the gifted chocolates, saving the golden ribbon of course.

But it was the other three boxes that proved to be a visual delight:-) Aren't they wonderful?

Friday, 24 March 2017


The DBEM had a visit from the postman today and even when I enquired on my daily lunchtime phone call as to what mail there was, she never let on.   So when I did get home it was a real surprise to see a well wrapped parcel from Japan.   Kazumi sent me this beautiful tin.

On White Day (in Japan the women give men chocolate on Valentines Day and on 14 March the men return chocolates to the women) Kazumi had received 14 boxes of chocolates and she generously shared with me.
Look at this....

But wait, there's more!

And the insides?   Well, the gold box is Godiva chocolates- far too posh for us:-(
I'll open it and show you those tomorrow!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Wrinkles and all

Progress was so good.  Enthusiasm was great.  And then I ran out of Perle #8 in this colour and ground to a halt.   I don't trust my wrist cutting the threads for the lacework - nor with the iron yet.  So here 'tis - wrinkles and all.
But the end is in sight and this evening I'll get back to another WIP.

Monday, 20 March 2017

A blue sky day today

The Tasman Tempest which flooded many parts of the city is now a distant memory and we have been enjoying wonderful clear Autumn days.
On my walk at lunchtime I looked up and saw this.
The last of the summer hibiscus?   I hope not.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Helping the DBEM

This week I have been helping the DBEM by sewing up  half a dozen of the little cardigans and sweaters she has knitted.   Our temperatures are dropping as Autumn arrives and she is getting anxious to take her "produce" to the Hospice Shop for them to sell.   However sewing up and attaching buttons is now beyond her so yours truly to the rescue.   She vows that she will not buy any more wool and will instead knit up her stockpile.   I don't believe her:-)
The buttons on this flecked red cardigan were sent to me all the way from Asahikawa, Japan.  Do you remember these Yuko?
For the past two weeks the DBEM has been most unwell and had a minor fall at home.  I am amazed at how much this has decreased her confidence and she now uses her Zimmer frame all the time.  The radius of our "circle of adventures" is now quite small; simple pleasures it shall be from now on:-)