Tuesday, 1 December 2009

How big will my tree need to be?

Here is a little Christmas ornament from this year's Just Cross Stitch Ornaments edition. It is by Blackbird Designs, using Vikki Clayton silks. I chose a piece of linen from my stash and finished it with a little loopy edging which is not very clear in the photo. It is a plain, homely little ornament I think, but no less pretty for that.

When I flick through magazine's like JCS I amazed at just how easy it is to pick out the different designers from the pictures. Sometimes it is the colours they have chosen, or some aspect of the design, a little house, or a bird, but it is so often very obvious. How clever of them to have developed such a recognisable style.

Thank you again for your welcome comments.
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Sunday, 29 November 2009

At last - some sewing!

I have been sewing a little, and waiting for a good day to take some photos. Today I was going to go out into the garden and take some interesting atmospheric shots - but hey - its piddling down, so back to the kitchen ans mediocraty.

This is a Stacy Nash design, from her 'A Simply Early Christmas' booklet. I chose Oliver Twists rayon hand dyed thread which is lovely to use and embellished it with some tiny iridescent beads and a bead hanger. I made another, very similar, which I will show later in the week. These are very quick to make and pretty I think.

I went to the Stitch and Craft show at Harrogate with friends on Saturday. There were some amazing displays of work. It astounds me that people have not just the imagination to dream up these projects, but the ability and capability to carry them out to such a fine degree.

Obviously, there was stuff to buy, and I think that if people have gone to the effort of setting out their wares for general perusal, I should at least acknowledge this effort by buying some of it. So I did.

I bought lots of fabric, lots of threads, some 'have-a-go' things like a couple of Japanese braiding cards and generally indulged myself. It did get very, very busy as the day progressed until we were finally shuffling along in a pulsating slow-moving crowd, catching tantalising glimpses of goodies that we were unable to reach. I had spent some time the previous evening noting fabric and threads of a couple of projects I thought I might start, but was only able to buy Crescent Colours, no WDW or Gloriana or Gentle Arts as I had hoped, so that was a bit disappointing.

These 'shows' travel around the country to various venues and I have heard that some exhibitors will go to the southern cities but not up north where the natives wear blue woad make-up and there is the constant danger of being snowed in and being forced to eat deep-fried Mars bars.

We do, we are and yummy!!

Take care
Irene xxx
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Sunday, 1 November 2009

My second favourite activity.

Oh - the acquisition of stash, second favourite only to stitching.

Well, you see, I say that, but actually I really enjoy the many rituals associated with this craft.

I like to browse through various shops, mostly on-line, selecting and rejecting items before making that final choice

I love to wind the new threads onto named bobbins and store them alphabetically or numerically.

I love to sit and turn the pages of the new chart or magazine, flicking backwards and forwards, making mental notes.

I like to select the threads and fabric. I even enjoy binding the fabric to stop fraying.

I LOVE to start something new, I think I even enjoy feeling guilty about not quite finishing the last project. I justify this by saying to myself 'This is a hobby, a pleasure, if it stops being that - then there is no point'. This means I can lay something down and hope to go back to it eventually. Easy isn't it?

So this is my new stash. I got this from the Sampler Guild. It consists of some Staci Nash primitive charts. These are beautifully presented with parchment covers and ribbons -especially nice to have ( even if I never work from them!). The Tokens of Love Quaker pinball book - see those long darning needle things on top of it? They are the knitting needles!! Mmmmm!!! Also the perpetually Engaging Diary and some Mail Art designs.

It is just awful weather here today, torrential rain, windy and totally unpleasant. So I guess I will just have to sit by the fireside and sew. Shame!!

Thank you for you lovely comments.
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Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Next.......... Beading.

So this is my beading-without-a loom attempt.

The little legs are not actually attached here, just popped on for effect.

Yesterday I stitched the back and front together, much as we do a cross stitch ornament, but much messier and more out of control (eeeek!) and now I will need to fill him with lead shot and stitch on his legs permanently. When he is finally finished he will be .........

A mantle ornament. Yeeah!!!!!

But that's all right, because I have mantles, so he can ornament them as soon as I hear the first 'O Come..' being played in my local supermarket - so that would be any time now.

He is from a chart in Jill Oxton's Cross Stitch and Beading magazine and is made with Delica beads - in case you want to rush out and have a go.

Managing to keep up with more frequent postings - phew!

Love to all

Irene xxx
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Saturday, 24 October 2009

A patch to be proud of?

Or grammatically speaking - 'of which to be proud'!

Well no, not really. In fact I think in real life it is slightly better than it looks here, some of the patches seem a different colour, but they're not really, and I think, I believe, the seams are straighter than they look here.

Oh, OK!

It is exactly how it looks here, but it is my first try and I learned a lot.

I hope that when I embark on a full size quilt , it will be better. I have decided this block will not be part of my future masterpiece, which will be awesome, so I have finished it with a binding and will use it as a place mat. A single place mat - ooooh how stylish!

I think this pattern is called 'Butter churn' and I 'ditch' quilted with the machine.

Good grief! So much to learn and I am just getting to grips with WIPs and UFO's and RR's and stuff.

I am making an effort to post more regularly and have already stored pictures of my beading and some stash I acquired recently. So watch this space.

Love to all

Irene xxx

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Friday, 23 October 2009

Happy Returns!

People are so kind aren't they?

I'll tell you the story.

Angela, who doesn't have a blog, is a friend of Patti, who does. I sent Patti a little needle case I had made for her, and Angela saw it. She asked via my blog about the fabric I had used inside the needle case and about the tag I had used on the bow. I had a little of the fabric left, so I sent her it to try, along with a few tags.

And look what she sent in return! How lucky am I? She has repaid me thricefold ( is thricefold a word?). A newsy letter inside a pretty card from Cyprus, five lots of fabric, some different tags and beautiful ribbon.

This is especially nice as I know Angela is particularly busy at the moment with a poorly close relative and her daughter starting college. I know Rula will do well, Angela, and just go on being as supportive to your husband and family as you have been.

The fabric is particularly welcome at this time as I have begun a couple of new crafts - yeah, like I didn't have enough to do!

Both if them involve the acquirement of more stash. I know, I know, but somebody needs to sort out this economy and I've taken it upon my shoulders!

Firstly, patchwork - see how useful Angela's gift will be?

My LNS is running a series of classes and so far I have made one block.
OK, so one block does not a quilt make, but it is a start. I have a photo and will post it tomorrow.

Then bead weaving. Again classes run by my LNS.

Well, as a stitcher, I have a fair quantity of beads, only about 10 of those bead boxes with 18 compartments all full, which I toted gleefully to the class. The teacher looked, shook her head sadly and directed me to the bead displays.

Aw shucks!!!

I have made a 3D Father Christmas (well 2D at the moment as I haven't joined or stuffed him) and a sort of topiary tree hanging-to-go-on-a-bauble-Christmas-ornament thing. Again not finished. The work is quite interesting, maybe because it is new, but repetitious. The repetitious aspect gives me false confidence and has resulted in a lot of tedious pulling back.
I have learned two stitches (who would have thought there was more than one?), straight stitch and peyote or brick stitch. This is bead weaving without a loom. Huh, who needs a loom I cry?
Again I have a couple of pictures which I will let you see if you don't look too closely.

That's all for now, sorry it's been so long. Hope you find me again.

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Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Busy, busy, busy but 2 things to share!

I am so busy with a visitor here from America that I have no time to stitch, to post, to breathe!

However, I must just tell you two things very quickly. Patti is celebrating three years blogging and is having an amazing giveaway. She calls it 'the mother of all giveaways' and it is! So go on over and enter TODAY!! (http://tapestry-of-dreams.blogspot.com)

The other thing I wanted to share is, for me, equally amazing.

I was walking along the beach with my mum and the dog and chattering away as usual when suddenly, my mum stopped saying 'Sorry to interrupt, but what is that?'

When we looked, it was a pod of dolphins playing just off the shoreline. They were jumping and doing that lovely curved swimming thing and were just beautiful. We couldn't move, we just stood there transfixed by these creatures. We watched for about 20 minutes until they moved north along the coast and were lost to sight.

Now those of you in hotter climes must be thinking 'er yeah - so?' but remember this is the North-east coast of England, not the Gulf of Mexico and I have walked on the beach every day for 6 years and have never seen them before. We felt so privileged and our spirits were lifted.

I will try to get some stitching done soon, and sort out a giveaway and finally give out the awards. Please bear with me.

Irene xx

Friday, 11 September 2009

Home again, home again, clippety clop

I am so disorganised it's untrue!

I returned from holiday early on Sunday morning, but since then my feet have hardly touched the ground. There has been so much to do. All the things I postponed until after my holidays had to be taken care of.

The sky was black with chickens coming home to roost!

I had a central heating unit to service, a tooth to be filled, hair to be cut, a dog to collect, a mum to return, a class to attend, meals to book, tickets to buy, letters to write, and two days work promised. Then you have to eat, so you have to shop, so you have to cook.

Hey ho.

We went to Southern Ireland for two weeks and what a beautiful place it is. I thought we were lucky here in the North of England, we have the Dales, the Moors, the Coast and the Lakes all within an hour or two, but Ireland - well - its something else.

My only tiny gripe is ......the rain.

And boy, did it rain -


I became very expert at winding down the car window, snapping a quick photo and winding it up again before we all got drenched. In the end, it was so bad it was funny! We decided just to do everything we had planned anyway, but it was a shame. There were pretty villages and fishing harbours which we only peered at through the swish of the windscreen wipers!

I have pictures and I will post some when I am on my main laptop. This is just my netbook and I don't store them here.

I took sewing with me - Mary Wigham - but actually did none at all. There was certainly time, but somehow my mind was in a whirl and I just couldn't settle to do it. Now I am back I am trying to pick up and finish some of the smaller projects I started before I went but which were too much hassle to pack and take. I have a 'Welcome Baby' heart, a Christmas ornament and a needle case similar to the one I gave Patti well on the way.

I have had some lovely comments on my blog, some even talking about previous postings which means readers actually went back and looked at them. Thank you so much. I have had queries and tips and praise and I am grateful for them all.

As soon as I get my head together, I will finish choosing my award winners.
About time too, some would say.


Thursday, 20 August 2009

Too hard!!

I need to write a quick post to say that it is too hard!

Patti's 'rules' are that the award is passed on to blogs that are smile worthy and not necessarily to those of people who follow or comment regularly on your own blog. These rules are good rules.

But - finding only six blogs that especially make me smile from the very many that I read every day that make me smile, is just too hard. And because I was so pleased to get the award from Patti I don't want to award mine in a higgledy piggledy, devil may care, what does it matter, kind of way.

At the moment I have three definite nominations, but the other three........????

And tomorrow I go on holiday so there will be a two-week gap in my posts. So, if your blog is funny, or flippant, or wry, or dry, or just crazy, hold you breath......it might be you!

Well, OK - it is two weeks, you can have a couple of breaths if you really need them.

Happy holidays

Thursday, 13 August 2009

My first blog award!

I was delighted to see that Patti had given me this award. How cute is this? Thank you so much Patti, for the award and more importantly, for the sentiment that goes with it.

Now I need to pass on this smiley acknowledgement by choosing 6 blogs which make me smile too. No easy task - I could give this to many lovely interesting funny blogs. So, if you will forgive me, I will take a little time to think about it.

It feels so special to receive this, and it is wonderful to have contact and even make friends with people all over the world. A few years ago, such a thing would be beyond imagining.

Best wishes, and again many thanks. I am off to peruse some of favourite blogs.

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Tuesday, 11 August 2009

A gift for a friend

I made this little needle case as a surprise gift for my blogger friend Patti. She has been so supportive and always writes a lovely comment when I post. We live at different ends of the country, but found out recently that as we are both members of The Sampler Guild, we will both be attending the Jackie du Plessis classes in this country in May next year - so we will meet. In fact we have arranged to be room mates! I can see it will be great fun!!

The basic chart for this is from the French book 'Miniatures au Point de Croix' but I added the 'les aiguilles' bit (it seemed more exotic than 'needles') and I just made up the construction as I went along. Actually this slap-dash approach led to the formation of the little pocket which could hold packets of needles, or threaders, along with loose needles on the flappy bit. I think I will do this again. I stitched it one over one with Vikki Clayton's Blueberry Soup silk. My exceptional photography means that you can't see it ties with a ribbon bow. I included a few tiny antique buttons, a little tin heart and a few of those little tags you can just see on the top, which say things like 'made with love', 'created for you' and 'hand made'.

Patti mailed me this morning to say she is delighted so - if she is pleased, I am pleased - and I was very very happy to stitch it for her. Thank you again, Patti, and here's to our stitching weekend.

By the way, Patti has a super draw happening at the moment, to celebrate the safe arrival of her grandson Oliver, so pop on over and have a look.http://tapestry-of-dreams.blogspot.com/

The Sampler Guild web site is http://www.thesamplerguild.co.uk/ in case you want to have a look there too. It is a very friendly group of like-minded people.

Thanks for visiting.



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Sunday, 9 August 2009

Quaker pyn keepe

I used a motif from a larger freebie chart for this little pyn keepe. I wish I could give credit to the designer, but unfortunately I trimmed up the pages to make it easier to work across the motifs and cut off all the information. If I find it again, I will certainly note the details here.

This was my first pin keep and I can only say it is 'OK'. I think the stitching and finishing are alright, but the little bow on top was a nightmare to make up. I have since found a blog giving hints on how to do it, but too late for this one, which, if you look closely, is still slightly off centre. Believe me, this was in spite of much fiddling, pinning, cursing and sighing. I do not give in without a fight and hate things to be 'not quite' but in this case - !!!!

It was stitched one over one on 28 count using HDF Gandy Tango.

To tell the truth, it was going to be my first Blog Draw too. I recently reached 1,000 views and wanted to celebrate, but it ended up not good enough so I will try again and let you know. Maybe I will just have a draw for no particular reason.

I did a little more stitching too, but that is a gift and not to be shown here yet.

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Pretty cut-glass pin jar.

This is another little find in my quest for sewing bits and bobs. It is a pretty little pin jar with a white metal lid and the word 'Pins' picked out in gold ( I should be so lucky!). The pins were included when I bought it, so I didn't realise at the time that the jar is quite shallow, in fact you can just make out a line about a third of the way up on this photo. This means that the jar is heavy and very stable, but also that when reaching in for a pin, your finger can easily reach the bottom. Those Victorians actually thought quite carefully about how objects would work in practice, didn't they?

I have some stitching to show too, a little Quaker pin keep, sorry - pyn keepe - but I need to charge up the camera first.

Thank you for your previous comments. I love to read them

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Friday, 24 July 2009


I showed this stitching to my son who tried to pick up the pen. My job here is done!!

I haven't pressed it properly ( actually - I haven't pressed it at all ), so apologies for the wavy appearance.

It represents a page from a child's French writing practice book, complete with teacher's corrections - and a ink splat. It appealed to me, but I am not sure how to finish it. I am thinking it would make an excellent slip cover for a note book, but this is a finish I have never tried before. Still, as a teacher I must have covered a million books with paper, really - a million - easily, so that must give me a bit of an insight into how to begin.

OK, I am going to tell you something.

I wasn't going to, but I will.

This was almost finished and only needed my name and a date adding. So, with determination this morning, I put it into a small hoop, ready to complete it.

I began to sew, and immediately panicked because my eyesight seemed to have deteriorated overnight. I was poking about in the back of the work, unable to hit the hole I was wanting. It was awful. I thought 'This is it then, the end of my sewing, I just can't do it anymore'.

I changed the needle, maybe that one was blunt, no difference.

I plodded on but it took an absolute age.

Finally it was finished and I took it out of the hoop.

Mmmmm - eyes not blind. Needle not blunt.

Sewing doubled up in hoop giving two layers of fabric.

Idiot!!! I couldn't bear to frog and repeat so I just treated the second layer like waste fabric and picked it out thread by thread.

Anybody else make basic beginner mistakes like this? I thought not!

Best wishes



Look what I've got now!!!

Actually I have had this beautiful sewing box for a few weeks and I am busy hunting down old needlework tools to go inside. At the moment I have, all in bone, some bodkins, a tatting shuttle, some thread holders, quite a lot of crochet hooks, (some with mother of pearl handles) and some carved things which look needleworky, so they're going in too. There is a lovely old painted tape measure, and of course, some thimbles and some antique packets of needles. The back of the lid is a pin cushion and it drops open to make a space for charts or patterns - or secret love letters??

It's nice isn't it?

I have some sewing pics to show too, but I haven't worked out how to load two different pictures into the same blog using Picasa. The above is a collage which downloads as one picture. If you haven't tried Picasa, give it a go. It's free to download.

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Friday, 10 July 2009

Just exquisite! And another draw to be won.

A quick posting to say that I received my draw prize from Patti and it is just lovely. The pin keep is so finely stitched and finished it will take pride of place in my collection of smalls. Thank you again Patti.

New news.

Patti is having another draw and this one will be even more spectacular. Pop over to her site again and have a look. www.tapestry-of-dreams.blogspot.com

It finishes on July 14th and is definitely worth the effort.

I don't know whether I should have a go or not....it seems a little greedy.

Aw, go on then, I will!!!

Best wishes


Sunday, 5 July 2009

It's mine, it's mine!!!!

Let me tell you, if one of my blog favourites is having a draw, I add a comment and my name to the list, but I never win.


I won Patti's draw, so soon I will be the proud owner of the lovely Mary Little pin keep above. How lucky am I? The awful truth is, I had been so busy that I hadn't had time to read any blogs or to check Patti's (http://tapestry-of-dreams.blogspot.com/) so when I eventually did, my surprise and pleasure was even greater.

This will be my first ever pin keep, I have never made one and have never been given one before. I am so looking forward to receiving it.

Thank you so much for you generosity Patti.


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Monday, 29 June 2009

Congratulations Toby

I just had to congratulate my nephew Toby for gaining a 2:1 degree in linguistics at Lancaster University. He is going on to a post graduate course in journalism at Brunel University in London. Here he is celebrating his 21st birthday on Valentine's Day this year.

What a star!!

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Sunday, 28 June 2009

This is Patti's brilliant draw prize.

This lovely Mary Little pinkeep is the prize on Patti's Tapestry of Dreams blog.
The draw is on July 1st so you still have plenty of time to enter.

You're still here?

What are you waiting for?

Go. Go. Go.


Good Luck


Wednesday, 24 June 2009

I've joined the Wighamonians!

OK, I'm not entirely sure what to call the people who are stitching the Mary Wigham sampler, but Wighamonians sounds good enough.
I really didn't want to do this, but nor did I want to miss out on the community of stitchers who are attacking this project with absolute gusto.

So I gave in.

I twisted my own arm.

I put forward too good an argument.

I was just too convincing.

I have chosen a 28 ct antique fabric and am using Vikki Clayton's conversion silks which are very pretty, not quite as strong as they are showing here and a little 'chalky' in their colours - if you what I mean. I am stitching 1 over 1. Since I started to stitch over one over one, anything else just seems too big.

I am off to work in my lovely LNS now, so not much time to chat. Loving it!

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Friday, 19 June 2009

Love letters - a primitive finish

I have always admired projects with a primitive finish, so I decided to have a go with this ' With my Needle and Thread ' design called Love Letters.

I dyed the backing cloth with a tea and coffee mixture and then I dried it in a warm oven. This does not really show in the photo - but I did - honest!

The instructions said to stitch the backing to the heart all around with a small machine stitch and then turn it all through a slit cut in the backing cloth. Another scary moment! But it seems to have worked and I stitched it up roughly as shown.

I was supposed to dye the front in tea and coffee too, but when I experimented it seems just too dark all over. Maybe I will have the nerve for this next time.

I stuffed the first heart with wadding only, but the second which I completed for my sister (see the K.H. highlighted?) I added some lavender buds too, so it is nicely aromatic.

I finished both as shown on the original design, with a tiny key.

I cannot tell you how hard I found it to 'stitch roughly' the slit and sew 'haphazard' cross stitches around the outside. It goes against every bone in my body!!

But hey - I did it!

I am not sure why my blog will only let me write with the middle alignment today - except for the first paragraph of course, I can do whatever I want with that. (Edit - I tricked it. Ha-ha)

Best regards



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Thursday, 11 June 2009

So...we can cross out pendiboulle

This is just a quick posting to show the little pendiboulle I made. It is 28 count cotton (I think) and stitched with DMC in a pale mauve and pink colour. I have replaced the floss bobbins in their box now and it is too much effort to look through and find them again! I embellished with a few beads from my stash. This one is quite small, in spite of being 2 over 2, but very pretty.

The chart was a freebie from http://stitch-creations.blogspot.com I notice she has spelt it 'pendibule'. I wonder which is right????

I pondered on my last blog about the pin box cube being half as big had I stitched it 1 over 1, but Patti pointed out it would have been a quarter of the size. How do you work out tricky maths like that, Patti? You are so clever. And always so kind to comment on my blog. Thank you for your comments and I envy you your mathematical genius.

Just before I go........I was looking at Rosewood Manor's new chart 'Language of Flowers' which looks lovely, but noticed in the blurb that is was 'just like a Tussie Mussie'.

A Tussie Mussie?

A Tussie Mussie?

A new one on me, so I had to google it. Apparently it was a small Victorian posy in which the flowers held a message, hence the name 'Language of Flowers'.

I can't believe I have reached this ripe old age having not even seen or heard of Tussie Mussie before. Am I alone in my ignorance?

Best wishes
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Friday, 5 June 2009

It all looked so easy........

This is a little pin cube box that I first saw on the 'Quaker Inspired blog', but was originally designed by Anita, of Stitch-Creations.
Thank you Anita.

When I saw it I thought 'Oooh nice' and then 'Ummmm, looks fairly easy'. Well, the stitching was very enjoyable, very quick and yes - fairly easy. The instructions for putting it all together were also very clear.

I think it all began to get a little tricky when I used double-sided tape to hold down the inside folds. The tape was too wide and I put too much on and then needed to trim back the edges of the linen for less bulk, which meant that the double-sided tape was exposed, which meant that as more sides were added, things began to stick to the tape. My fingers, other cube sides, frayed threads, my sewing thread, the sofa, my sweater, the dog! Well maybe not the dog but certainly all the other things! In fact the only thing that didn't stick to the tape was the folded-in edges! In the end I decided to tack down each corner to hold the fabric sides in place as I stitched.

So..... that's 4 corners on each side x 6 sides = 24 corners.

In fact, this would have been a good thing to have done at the beginning, rather than trying to do it with 3 haphazard sides already stitched together.

However, I really do like it. So Anita, I truly meant thank you. The chart you donated freely, the hassle I made for myself!

Kind regards


PS This was stitched over 2 with 2 threads of DMC 4240 on a 28 ct linen. I am really into 1 over 1 but can you imagine trying to join this together if it was half the size? I would probably have to be surgically removed from it.
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Thursday, 4 June 2009

How cute are these?

I am not much of a knitter, but I do like to pick up the needles now and then.

I made these cute little baby booties to illustrate a couple of the styles possible using Zoe Mellor's '50 Baby Booties to knit'.

They use not very much Double Knitting wool and knit up surprisingly quickly and easily. Zoe's clever instructions mean there is no picking up or grafting of stitches and only one seam to sew at the end. The book and the wool come from a wide selection at http://www.in2stitches.co.uk/ .

I have also finished a pin box and a patchwork-type cushion which I will post tomorrow. I finally seem to be catching up on various projects and actually finishing them. I must get back to Village of Hawk Run Hollow though. I seem to have stopped stitching there and yet I really enjoy it. My resolve to complete one square a month means it is only June and I am already three months behind. I will need to stitch so quickly my needle will be just a blur!!

And then there is the Tempus Fugut SAl with the Sampler Guild! And I need to make a Christmas decoration for this month for the 2009 Christmas Challenge. And I want to try a pendiboulle, and a humbug, and a pin keep, and a flat fold and mail art and and and ........

Whoever decided that 24 hours in a day would be enough???

Regards and thank you for your kind comments on Lo How a Rose.
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Monday, 25 May 2009

Lo how a rose - finished!

It seems to have taken me ages to finish this project - not because I didn't enjoy it - I certainly did, but because I just wasn't able to sit down and have a real go at it. However it is finished now and I am very pleased with the result.

I stitched it 1 over 1 on (I think) 28ct cream linen, although the whole thing looks pink here! I used a variety of threads, many of which I just changed as I went along, so difficult to list them. I used mostly Vikki Clayton and Weeks Dye Works. I particularly liked the subtle shading of WDW 'Pelican Grey' which I used for most of the script and 'Basil' for the occasional highlighted letter, such as the 'A' in 'Amid'. Now I need to think about framing!

I think I mentioned a while ago that I do a little teaching at my local needlework store? The store is fairly new, only existing since September'ish 2007. It was begun by two good friends, Linda and Val, who made a 'now or never' decision to leave their jobs in the Health Service and do something they really wanted to do.

So, they began small and have been slowly building the business to now include a really good range of knitting wools along with DMC cottons, including some speciality ones and a variety of charts and kits. They have some thriving craft classes happening throughout the week too.

Sadly, earlier this year Val decided that because of ill health in her family she was unable to devote the time and energy needed to keep the business vibrant and reluctantly left. Linda asked me to volunteer a little time to help and I have been really enjoying doing that. I have been 'working' 2 days a week and love the time I spend there. I really want this enterprise not only to survive but to expand and thrive. Linda is planning to include patchwork and quilting in the shop's repertoire in the autumn so that is an exciting prospect too. I have done some, but not for a long while. Wish us luck!!

If you would like to visit the new web site the address is www.in2stitches.co.uk

Thanks for stopping by - enjoy the sunshine Brits - its rare enough!!


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Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Lo - Lo from 'Lo'

When I was a teacher, I had to write a lot of reports, or presentations or accounts, and this was the aspect of my job I liked least. So, over time, a strategy developed.

I would prepare for the task ahead.

I would line up papers, - alphabetically, numerically, by size, by colour, sometimes by all four.

I would make important decisions about font size, colour etc.

I would 'arrange' my working area to better utilise the space.

I might even design the front page.

I could be thus gainfully employed for many hours. But I would not actually write the report.

I am a Pisces and I think this is all part of my psyche.

Now I find myself delaying a project because I really really want to do it.

And so it was this weekend.

A very kind friend gave me the chart for 'Lo how a rose' which I have been desperately seeking for ages (Thank you again Helen) and I so wanted to start it that I delayed until quite late last night.


I have no idea!

But now I have started, and I really like the little I have done, so it is full steam ahead.
I am using a variety of threads - a couple of Weeks Dye Works, some Vikki Clayton, the rest DMC on a piece of linen from my stash which I think maybe 28 ct.

I have only Lo to show!

Thank you for your very welcome comments.

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Wednesday, 29 April 2009

'Lo how a rose' draw.

I am sure that many of you have seen and admired Edgar's beautiful stitching of Brightneedle's 'Lo how a rose'. This chart, sadly, is only available from a 2001 better Homes and Gardens Christmas booklet which is very hard to get hold of and quite expensive - believe me - I've tried.

Well Edgar, star that he is, is offering the book as the prize in a draw. All you need to do is go to his site http://blacksheepsite.blogspot.com/ and leave a comment on the post referring to the draw, I think it is April 27th.

I e-mailed Brightneedle to ask if they had the chart elsewhere. They replied that they were trying to get back the rights to publish it again, but no luck so far. So Better Homes and Gardens is our only hope if we want to stitch this.

I wish you luck - but if you win will you share????


Thursday, 23 April 2009

The matching (almost) scissor fob.

I just wanted to share this pic of the scissor fob I made quickly last night to match the needle case. I charted the bird diagonally - this was not as easy as I thought it would be, which is why it only almost matches!

I also wanted to tell you that Valerie is having a draw to celebrate her fourth year blogging. You will find her at Fog City http://fogcitydweller.blogspot.com/. You need to leave your comment and draw entry on the April 21st posting.

That's it for now - poppy seed baguette with duck & orange pate and green grapes for lunch out in the sunshine.
I just love this retirement thing!

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Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Finally - something to show!

This is a little needle case which I am really happy with. I haven't finished a case like this before and I really needed to think out the steps before I started! I was standing - iron poised to attach the interfacing- when I thought " No! Need to add the little needle holder fabric first!"

This shows the inside of the case and a some of my antique pin holders.
I used a 28 count linen, with Vikki Clayton threads, sadly un-named as they cane from a detritus bag. I just love the blue though. I used a tiny 'homespun' check style fabric and finished with a narrow grosgrain ribbon and a few simple heart buttons.
Nice isn't it?
Can I take the credit for its design?
The original freebie chart came from http://aliolka.blogspot.com/ - look under 'primitive birds' and 'birds with tulips' for variations on the design. Thank you so much Aliolka, for this and your generous sharing of other charts. This site is in Russian (I think) but a translation is available for those of us less than fluent in this language.
And still I crib!!
The needle case design came from the wonderful Danybrod blog http://dany88.canalblog.com/ Thank you Dany for your inspired stitching.
Isn't it amazing that we can look at, and appreciate, the work of stitchers from all over the world with just a click of a button. Without the Internet we would all be stitching in virtual isolation and we could not be inspired by the creativity of others.
Thank you Internet inventors, could you ever imagine it would be this good?
Thanks for stopping by, good to see a bit of sewing isn't it?
Irene xx

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Tynemouth antique fair.

This is the wonderful Tynemouth Station Antiques Fair. I hesitate to call it an antiques fair because although there are some antiques there, mostly it is just an opportunity to rummage through a lot of stalls looking for stuff that you can't possibly leave without! They were all treasures once and will hopefully be treasures again. The fair is on every weekend, although we usually only visit every 4 or 5 weeks to give the stock a chance to regenerate itself.

Look at the station itself though. Isn't it amazing? It is Victorian with lots of wrought iron and glass. Just a like a train station ought to be. It has been carefully restored in recent years and is always a joy to visit. There is a little cafe, to eat in or out, always crowded, with delicious home-made food. Vegetarian Melt - yummy.

Yes, you say - all very interesting, but where is the sewing?

No, I say - just filling in 'cos I haven't done any.

Not a bean - not a sausage - nuttin!!

But I am not complaining because I have had a lovely week. My mum has been staying with me, my friend Kath visited from Qatar (Hi Kath!) and my house is clean. My mother makes me clean it!

But now, everyone has returned to their homes, my son is away working for a work, my house resembles a new pin...... so sewing.....brace yourself....I'm coming in!!!

But first some fair finds - in all senses of the word!

Birdy-ornamenty-things don't usually interest me, but this little gem was a no-brainer. ( a bird-brainer?) It is a wooden wren, just about life-size and beautifully carved and coloured. It is obviously a one-off hand-made creature and I love it. Cost £1 !! I know!!

This a heavy lead crystal rose bowl which was absolutely filthy when I found it. It has the cover with holes to support the flowers (that must have a name?) and now it is clean, it really sparkles in the sun. When we (my sister and I ) need to bargain, we usually send in the heavy squad - my 85 year old mother. She assesses the situation and is pathetic, or needy, or poor or whatever it takes to get the right price. So this lovely thing was £2.

I had been looking for something similar for a while because of an idea I saw on someone's blog, I think maybe Edgar's. Can you guess what it is yet??

It's a scissor holder!!
Thanks for dropping by, now I need to do some sewing!
Have a lovely Easter.
PS Lena-lou - I did it your way!