Wednesday 29 April 2020

Progress and a new start

33 days in Alert Level 4 lockdown proved too much and I fell down the rabbit hole of internet surfing and stumbled on Tempting Tangles Designs website.   Their Quakers in Japan SAL was too tempting to resist and so I have made a start on a new project.
When I first joined the Auckland Embroiderers Guild many many years ago I promised myself I would not have any unfinished objects and now.....I have two that are languishing in the cupboard. Surely I will find time to complete everything now I am retired??
Anyway, the first two motifs of Part 1 have been stitched and I am thoroughly enjoying this:)

Some work has also been done on The Birds and the flowerpot has been completed along with the tiny bird on top.  Only three more birds and more of that boring teal green feeder trough and the left half will be complete :)
Besides that I have been out in the garden chopping away unwanted bushes and branches and enjoying the golden Autumn sunshine.  Today the DBEM came out and sat on her walker to keep me company.

New Zealand has moved into Alert Level 3 but it makes no difference to what our household can and cannot do.  We live in anticipation of reaching the promised "new normal"

Sunday 19 April 2020

Almost at the end of Week 4

I can see that my wished for retirement life will be vastly different post Covid-19 to that which began a few months ago. Still it is what it is and I must needs make the necessary adjustments both physically and mentally.   Mostly I miss the social gatherings like Church,  Bible Study Group, Embroiderers Guild and I definitely miss going to the Library for a weekly supply of books.   The on-line system through the library is good but not quite the same :-(  This past week I have had to really force myself to stitch but there is at least something to show for it.
Firstly the temperature chart - we are well into the green region again now as temperatures have dropped and we have had rain -  plenty of rain.   We even had two days of Blue!!
I finished off the eyelets - multitudes of eyelets - on my hardanger piece and will put this away for a rest for a week or two now having punctured a hole in the tip of my right middle finger pushing the fine needle through this linen.   This piece has many many picots and I have no confidence in my ability to do these so will have to practise on a doodle cloth first but hopefully this piece will help me master The Hardanger Picot.
Then I did a tidy up of my fabric scrap box and found a piece of Afghan fabric that I had kept as well as a pattern for a hexagonal bag.   So fabric and some 4ply merino yarn ( a pretty Junior Navy Blue) and a quick flick through some patterns and this resulted.   I will do a different Quaker motif for the other side of the bag and then when the fabric store is open will chose some toning cotton fabric to make up a bag.   It does feel good to finally put my plan into action as I had all but forgotten this piece of fabric.
The DBEM and I almost came to an altercation when she nagged at me to do a load of washing yesterday.  I did so, against my better judgement and of course it rained so it all had to dry indoors.   I don't know what it is but even though there are only two of us in the house she still wants to do a load of laundry each day.   I don't!!   Nor do I see the need to do so.   But in 28 years of living together we have never had a fight and I don't intend to start now and if it takes a load of laundry each day to keep the peace so be it.   Our weather forecast is better this week so it will be easier for her to have her way.    I do admit that there are few household chores she can do now but one of them is to fold the clean laundry so perhaps she felt like her last remaining job was being taken from her?  My retirement is an adjustment for us both and not helped by this current lockdown situation.  
Anyway, onwards and upwards.   And I plan on returning to my birds cross stitch this week so there may be an update on that in a day or two.

Sunday 12 April 2020


Our Embroiderers Guild is in recess at the moment as we are still in lockdown.   But at the last meeting the President advised the theme for the annual President's Challenge.   It is to be an embroidered depiction of the title of a favourite book.  Any type of embroidery (machine included) and any finish -  framed, 3D etc.    Strangely I felt that perhaps this was something that even I might be able to do and have been pondering on what .... I knew I didn't want to have to frame something.
And then yesterday I found my packet of hexagon templates for English Paper Piecing and remembered seeing a hexagon box made this way.  So today I have cut out fabric from my scraps basket and stitched a mock-up to ensure that I had the geometry correct.   Yes!!   With a 2.5inch square for lid and base this will be perfect.   So I need to begin designing.
I intend to do embroidery for the four sides and the lid but the bottom?  Well, that may be plain.  Also I can't see that I can create this from linen so may have to wait until the fabric stores reopen and get some homespun poplin on which to work the pieces.  Hopefully this will not end up a dreadful failure but I have the glimmerings of hope that I could manage to create something I will be happy to have live in my cabinet.
Thank you to all who have left comments on my blog.   The DBEM laughs when I tell her she is mentioned but I should report that today she wore the new top I made her and together we went for a short walk partway down the street.   It was a lovely sunny day and guess what....tomorrow is forecast for rain so I will happily sit at my sewing machine and work on the small projects I have cut out.
Meanwhile Keep Safe,  Keep Well.

Thursday 9 April 2020

More Progress

Two weeks of Level 4 Lockdown are now complete and I look back and feel that my time has not been wasted.
This week I have sewn myself a summer blouse (still needs buttons and then buttonholes so will wait until shops open again); completed the "C" for the 50th Birthday Gift; finished a quarter of The Birds; mowed the lawns and tidied up the garden a lot; kept the DBEM company on her walks as well as going for a daily speed walk myself; etc etc   Nothing different to any of the others in my street I'm sure.

I have also sorted through my plastic tub of fabric scraps and put into piles those that are large enough to make dresses/shorts/tops for little girls or boys (destined for donation to the Hospice Shop when normal life resumes); those I could use as backing for small embroidery finishes and a pile from which I am going to make patchwork placemats and oven mits (I need both but any surplus will be donated).   That's next weeks jobs list as the weather is predicted to turn for the worse.
Anyway here's a photo of the two major achievements for this week,
The DBEM rightly says this looks better from a distance:-)

I'm looking for a suitably squirly M to do one of these for myself.
My pre-lockdown grocery shop has been quite satisfactory and we have been able to keep to our regular type of meals but I was beginning to crave fresh fruit and veges.  Then through the wonders of randomness on Facebook I found a local company that would be able to do a non-contact delivery so I gave it a try.   The DBEM was sceptical to say the least and seemed to really think I had been duped but the box came and I was super pleased with all the contents.   Tomorrow I plan on doing some batch cooking to fill the spaces in my freezer with meals for me from the vegetables that the DBEM cannot eat.   I was particularly thrilled with the apples and she with the bananas and potatoes and so chez nous happiness reigns.
Then on the list is another toddlers dress, a small girls short and top set, a zip top project bag, some promised knitting to assist the DBEM and who knows what else?   There is even woollen yarn to start an aran sweater for my little great nephew.   I have plenty to do to keep me occupied safely inside what our Prime Minister calls our bubble.   This bubble lifestyle may continue for some time yet so best get used to it:)

The DBEM's supply of Talking Books doesn't fall under the Essential Services list so she is down to her last disc.   These are sorted for mail by volunteers and so nothing is being despatched at present,  But I had the bright idea of downloading audiobooks through my library access and we had a delightful afternoon listening to an Amish story.  Even the knitting I am currently doing on her behalf progressed quickly under the spell of a book being read aloud.

Meanwhile Keep Safe, Keep Well.

Sunday 5 April 2020

Progress of sorts

I have made a determined effort but am still not quite a quarter of the way through this piece of cross stitch.  And, yes you guessed it....I am sick and tired of the little crosses. 
But so far it looks good although I am unconvinced about the necessity for quite so much delicate shading.   Perhaps the finished piece will prove me wrong and the designer right!
Anyway, I needed a break so began another floral alphabet piece.   A friend will celebrate her 50th birthday later this year and I plan on making this the cover of a notebook for her.   Pinterest is a wonderful thing and a trawl through there gave me ideas for a variation on my usual theme.   I must say I found the curlicues of stem stitch quite therapeutic.
This past week I have made another small dress from a piece of white broderie anglaise in my stash basket.   It turned out well and is now in the Hospice Shop box to be added to the DBEM's knitteds and donated when this Covid-19 saga is over. 
Also a new winter top for the DBEM - she has approved the colour, fabric and fit and then told me she will put it away to use when one of her current ones wears out! 
Now I have half sewn a summer blouse for me -  a trial for a new pattern and made with a piece of cotton lawn from deep stash.  I am unconvinced about this pattern so although I will complete this current trial blouse but I will trial another pattern before cutting into my special fabric. 
And so another week begins.... Keep Safe, Keep Well