Saturday, 21 August 2010

My contribution to BBD Exchange

When Patti asked me if I would like to join the Blackbird Designs Exchange Group, I was quite apprehensive - not that I was afraid I wouldn't love the gift I received (I did!) but the whole thing about what to stitch, how to finish, can I complete in time etc.

However Patti is a persuasive gal so I agreed to give it a go.

There followed a great deal of chart searching and discussion with my stitching friend Ann. Is the possible design too big? Too small? Take too long to stitch? Need framing to look good? Has it been seen too much on other blogs? Will my partner have it already?

Eventually I chose this little Blackbird design from a file of printed-off charts. I chose the colours from Vikki Clayton's HDF as the original was a single colour and set to work.

It was lovely to stitch, just enough variety to keep it interesting but a bit of repetition to make it a fairly quick stitch.

Then half way through - a really worrying thought struck me.

'Was this an actual Blackbird Design chart, or just a chart with a blackbird on it' - in which case it wouldn't do! There was nothing on the chart itself to indicate where it was from. I found it under 'Blackbird Designs' in my folder, but you can see my dilemma.

I called my friend Ann and she remembered seeing it on a blog somewhere, but between us we read so many! She came round and together we began to trawl through the blogs we normally read - something with 'needle' thought Ann, or 'thread' - mmmm that narrows it down a lot!

Eventually we found it and read with relief that it was an actual Blackbird Design freebie. So I carried on, finished it as a little ornament with a beaded edge and peyote stitch hanger (I really like these now) and sent it off to my partner Elisabeth in France.

There was the expected anxiety about whether it would arrive safely and whether Ela would like it.

It did and she did. Ela even sent me a lovely hand-made card to thank me again for the gift.

So maybe I will join an exchange group again. I loved my gift from Christina and Ela loved hers from me and that's just about everything you can hope for.

Thank you for your comments - always read with much pleasure.
Love Irene xxx
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Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Counting Mistake Item 2

I know, I promised you this ages ago. Counting mistake number two.

Mmmm you think - can't see anything much wrong here.

Well actually, there isn't anything much wrong, except that it is supposed to say 'Live, Love, Laugh'

I bought a chart which showed a little woven basket with a stitched border along the outside, and inside, lots of pretty little mottoes and inspirational sayings - like - 'be what you want to be - it isn't too late' (it was slightly more catchy than that) and 'seize the day' and stuff.
I determined to use my wonderful Kaalund thread (Taipan) and set to work.

Now, for little inspirational saying ornamenty-baskety-things, I don't much bother about the linen count, huh, that's for amateurs, so I grabbed a piece and began to stitch 1 / 1 because that is mostly what I do now and as I stitched I hummed a little inspirational tune. I was getting really quite good at this stitching thing although humming and smirking at the same time was proving a little more difficult

I learned the pattern quickly, the border was looking good, the colour was yummy, and so as I stitched, I began to discuss with myself where I might put the completed basket and the aforementioned sayings. On the table, in the hall, in the bedroom?? Now where would be the best place to show off my considerable skill?

Enough of this, border finished - time to look at the lettering.

Have you guessed yet?

Yes....stitching 1 / 1 from a chart that was meant to be 2 / 2 with lettering - spells disaster.

There was just not enough space to stitch anything much. So, not wanting to waste a perfectly good border, I wrote 'LIVE'
It's not even inspirational is it? If you manage to take in a breath, you're doing it.

I couldn't give you the exact quotes and sayings because I threw the chart down in disgust and now I can't find it.

Yeah, not so smirky now eh?

Love to all who visit,

Irene xxx
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Saturday, 7 August 2010

Beautiful Tall Ships.

I mentioned in my last posting that I have been busy. Well, I thought I would show you briefly what I have been up to.

My home town, Hartlepool, has been hosting the 2010 Tall Ships Race and I have been a volunteer. I haven't had a very high powered job - I am a 'Lost and Missing Persons Assistant' but it has been such fun to be involved with this event.

We began our training way back in May and have been looking forward to the arrival of these ships for months now. There are about 65 vessels in all, quite a few of which, including all those in the photographs, are Class A - the biggest of the sailing ships. They are from all over the world, Oman, Russia, Indonesia, Poland etc and their crews have been magnificent. It is not every day you see a group of Russian sailors shopping in your local supermarket!

From the Headland, we watched the ships far away on the horizon, steadily making their way into our port. I am not a watery, shippy sort of person at all, but seeing those great vessels in full sail must send an echo back through the ages as it really stirs the heart. I found myself quietly humming the tune of 'Hearts of Oak' and the rousing 'Rule Britannia'. Both these songs are probably inappropriate these days, and of course most of the ships here are not British, but still.........

The festival ended on Tuesday with a full Parade of Sail when all the ships left the harbour and sailed north along the coast, again in full sail.

OK - so even I shed a tear and like I said, I am not usually a watery sort of person!

Back to sewing now all the excitement is over.

Irene xxx

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Blackbird Designs Exchange

I interrupt my busy schedule to bring you excellent news!

I still have a 'counting mistake' project to share, but this lovely ornament arrived this morning from Christina and I just had to show it.
It is called 'Thistle Manor' by Blackbird Designs stitched on 32ct linen with an unknown, but very pretty Anchor thread.

I am a member of only two exchange groups, the Quarterly Quaker Exchange and this - the Blackbird Design Exchange.
Patti encouraged me to join, and I am so pleased I did as I would not otherwise own such a lovely piece of work. I am delighted to have the ribbon finish too as I can't do this - and the ribbon is all shiny and curly-whirly and so neat!! I don't know if Christina has a blog, I suspect she may have, so I will find out and post it here next time so that we can all go and look at her meticulous work.

Thank you Christina, I thrilled to ribbons with it.

Irene xxx

Post Script Edit.

Christina's blog is
So there's no excuse, pop on over and have a look.
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