Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Block 6 The Blacksmith's Shop

I have actually almost finished this block, but I just haven't had time to post. I bought myself a titchy notebook, rather than my usual laptop and it is taking a little getting used to, obviously I needed to spend some time exploring (OK....playing!) with it.
Today I am going to start a new small project to work alongside VoHRH. I feel that if I don't I will just go on working on this big project and having nothing else to show. I think I may start a Christmas ornament for the challenge...or... a little all black ABC Needlewoman chart free from www.amonpierre.net
Thanks for your interest and comments which I really enjoy.
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Friday, 16 January 2009

Really enjoyable so far!

This is a quick update of Village - quick because I want to get back to sewing it! It is really enjoyable so far and my decision to abandon or ignore all housework is proving very beneficial. I realise that this is the first block and not very heavily stitched, but even so....

I would also like to share with you a website which gives many, many tutorials on finishing which I found to be excellent. It gives hints on ribbon rouching for example which I hadn't seen anywhere else, cording, bag finishes and on an ornament finish called a pendebulle, which is a little bit like a Fortune Cookie shape. I might have a go at making a Christmas ornament using this tutorial. It's fun to try something new.

No doubt many stitchers will already know this site, but for those others who haven't tried it, the address is:-http://designersforum.org/finishingtutorials.htm

Talk soon,


PS have you noticed the crazy dates on my pics???

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Sunday, 11 January 2009

Block 5, it begins.

This is the very start of Villages. After much deliberation and marking out the fabric with running stitch, I changed my mind about beginning with block 1 and went to blog 5 in the middle. I would hate to do all this and run out of fabric, although it wouldn't be the first time! I am using a 36 count fabric called 'vintage pearled barley'. I have 'sand dune' which is the recommended colour, but it did seem very yellow, so I chose this instead. Let's hope it is successful.
Again, I am using my favourite Vikki Clayton silks and you can see from the ones shown here (selected for this block only) the colours are beautiful.

If I had not wasted so much time on this stupid computer I would have more to show!

C'est la vie


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The back!!

So here is the back!

I picked up on a small snowflake pattern on the front and repeated it along with a few single cross stitches and a border.


Christmas 2009 ornament and a new beginning!

So.. I have finally taken some pictures of my first, (hopefully my first of twelve), Christmas ornaments.

This is a much adapted chart by Blackbird Designs, 'Home for Christmas' in the 2005 JCS Christmas Ornaments special. I changed the colours from red and green, using Vikki Clayton silks and added an extra bit of border. I also worked one over one, which made the design quite small, but very pretty. I finished with Delica iridescent beads which I also threaded for the hanger. The finished piece measures just about 6 cms (21/4 inches) square.

I have been trying for a whole afternoon to upload the back of this ornament and am having no luck, unless I upload to anew post. So I am going to do that with the back and the beginning of the Village of Hawk Run Hollow.

Bear with me!!!!


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Friday, 9 January 2009

What is this life...........?

I would like to thank Margaret in Canada for the following story which she sent me recently.

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the boy stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time.

This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on. In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk at their normal pace. He collected $32.

When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars. Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theatre in Boston and the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and the priorities of people.

The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour:
Do we perceive beauty?
Do we stop to appreciate it?
Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing some of the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

I was thinking about the story this morning as I walked along the beach. I must admit that I do try to remember to take a few minutes out just to stand and stare - easy in the warm sunshine, less so when the wind and rain and hail is howling across the sand. So, in spite of freezing temperatures today, Meghan and I stopped to look out to sea and were doubly rewarded.

First, a large black cormorant came skimming in at wave height and landed effortlessly. He began feeding, dipping below the freezing water and bobbing up again a few metres along. I counted, and got to '23 mississippi' for one dive. Impressive, especially as I swim like a long-necked turtle in a vain attempt to stop my face and hair getting wet.

Then further along the beach I thought I had spotted another cormorant, but to my delight it was a seal, lolling in the waves just 50 metres away. There is a seal colony on the Tees estuary at a place called, appropriately, Seal Sands, just a few miles away, but to see one so close in the water is a rare and much appreciated sight.

So there you go - A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
(Leisure by William Henry Davies)

Photos tomorrow of my first Christmas ornament finish for 2009 and I have started 'Villages of Hawk Run Hollow'. Yeah!!!!! (Thanks for your advice Patti!)


Thursday, 1 January 2009

What to do, what to do?

So...how quickly it is over.

All that preparation, hopefully appreciated by friends and family, lovely gifts given and received and now - at least after this first day of the new year, back to easy, unhassled, pleasant normality.

But cold!!! Meghan and I were almost the only people (I count her as a person!) on the beach today and it was freezing with a biting bone-numbing cold. I always feel on such days that if I were to shout, the letters would form into jagged icy words above my head and then shatter to the ground. Fanciful or what?

I haven't done any sewing since my last post, so long ago - so no pictures - but on Christmas Eve a very special parcel arrived which contained ALL the colours of Vikki Clayton's variegated threads which I bought in her sale a few weeks ago. She has changed her silk thread and so decided to sell out the old in order to start afresh. I just love them and spent yesterday indulging myself labelling and rewinding them onto bobbins arranged alphabetically in thread boxes. Bliss!
I didn't even lose my equilibrium when I knocked the boxes off the table and had to arrange them all alphabetically again. I just took pleasure in the doing!

I am wondering now what to start for my new project???? I have a couple kitted up, including the Village of Hawk Run Hollow, (http://www.carriagehousesamplings.com/) but I am still undecided and may spend some time today browsing through charts.
Decisions, decisions, delicious decisions!

I am probably not going to make any New Year resolutions. There seems little point in creating something to beat myself up about! But.... I am resolved to continue to enjoy sewing and not feel guilty about the time spent doing it. So there!!

In the meantime I would like to wish all who drop by, a very happy and peaceful 2009.

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rains fall soft upon your fields,
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.