Sunday, December 30, 2018

A Crocheted Baby Blanket

Back in August I got word that another little baby was due in the family. I had only just met the mother-to-be, so asked another member of the family about what she would like. I was concerned about making something, only to have it not looked after properly.

I decided on using wool, as I was assured that the new Mum's mother would look after it. The yarn is Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury Frost in 3 ply.

 I also decided on a pattern, a square that would be easy to take away and work on away from home. Unfortunately, the square proved too difficult at the time, and I decided on the above pattern instead. It was just crocheted squares joined together. How hard could it be? The pattern is from the Shepherd Baby Shawl Collection Book 1, and marked as a 4 sheep rating, the hardest in the book. I repeat, how hard could it be? Mmmmmmm............... the rating is there for a reason!

The pattern told me to make 64 squares, to me that is 8 x 8 . So I made 8 squares, then started to join them together. Mmmmmm...................... they did not sit even. So I un-pulled the joining row, looked at the picture, worked out the maths, and figured I needed 9 squares per row! That meant 81 squares! So I made nine squares, joined them on, worked the in-between mesh, and repeated the process.

I worked this way because I knew I was going away. My plan was I could take squares with me to do and join them together when I came home. As I worked nine squares, I would join them on, this way all would be together and I would know exactly how many squares I could work while I was away. The problem was I had all the squares done and joined together before I went! That meant I had to find something else to take, but that's another story for later.

Anyway, the shawl was finished way before baby came. It has now been wrapped and gifted. Wool is bit hot now for bub to use, but as you can see it is quite large, and will be quite handy when the weather cools down, even for some years to come. I just hope the new Mum likes it. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas - A Hardanger Christmas Stocking

Wishing everyone a very happy and joyous time this Christmas. May your day be filled with fun, laughter, good food and good times.

I try to make a new Christmas Decoration each year. In fact, I make twelve, to give to special family and friends. By now, they will be adorning Christmas trees across the country so I can show them off.

This little stocking is done in Hardanger, with some counted thread work to add some bling. It is a free pattern I found on the internet, one of a whole series, and the third I have done in the series.

So merry Christmas everyone, and may your 2019 be creative and bright.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Possom Gloves

On a recent trip to New Zealand, I noticed lots of things made from possum yarn. Everything from socks, gloves, hats, mittens, scarves etc. I know that possums are a pest in New Zealand, and it is good to know that when they are culled, they are not wasted. After seeing all these products made with possum yarn, I was on the hunt to find some for myself.

I had heard via the grapevine of a yarn shop in Auckland, so when we got there, I was on the hunt. Took a little while but we found the shop, and I was in a candy store! Decisions decisions! Possum yarn is sooooooo expensive!

I ended up with one 25 gm ball of lace weight Zealana Air. 40% brush tail possum down, 40% Cashemere and 20% mulberry silk. I could only afford one ball, so I had to think very carefully about how I was going to use it. My plan was to combine it with something else, and probably make a scarf. I was thinking a feather and fan one with this yummy yarn in between the pattern for just two rows.

When I came home, an acquaintance suggested gloves. What a fabulous idea! I had needles, I had a 2 ply pattern for gloves, I just had to find them. In the meantime I did an internet search, and found a pattern for fingerless gloves put out by Zealana using the exact yarn I bought. Did I want fingerless gloves? No, I wanted full fingered gloves, and I wasn't sure I had enough yarn for full fingers, so I made a decision to make the fingers out of another yarn.

The fingers are worked in Patons Embrace 2 ply, something I had in my stash. It is a 90% merino wool and 10 % silk yarn. I had made other gloves in it before.

So my gloves are finished, I have something made with possum yarn, and they will be waiting to be worn in about six moths time when winter  hits.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A Winter Hat

Behold, my new winter hat.  Mmmm..... winter is long past in my part of the world, in fact this week it will be more like summer. But next week, I will be heading for parts that will be a tad colder than home. I have winter hats of course, so why did I do another one?

I had made this blanket, and in the process had to look for some yarn to do a border. I found ten balls of navy acrylic yarn in my stash and used only part of one doing the blanket border. What to do with the rest? I had obviously earmarked it for something, but who know what that was now. So I dug out my double pointed knitting needles and decided to make a new hat to take away. It's only acrylic, so if it gets lost, it's no biggie. I still have my nice woollen ones.

So my hat was born. I started with six stitches on the needle, joined into a round, and just knit, increasing six times on every second row. I continued this way until it was big enough for what I wanted, knitted another two rounds, then decreased until it fit may head. Finally I added a ribbed band. No pattern needed, just winged it.

Its a beret style hat, a bit slouchy which is how I like them. It's navy, my base colour for clothing, and its warm. So it will serve the purpose of what I want.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Double Eyed Spider Book mark No 3

This is my third attempt at this book mark with double eyed spiders. I wanted to do it again to get my notes down pat, and to see if  I could work it again just from my notes. I still had trouble, and my notes are not the best. These double eyed spiders have certainly got the better of me. I usually found that I got interrupted half way through working them, then got lost, so just tried to figure it out following the lines on my pricking.

Anyway, it's finished now, and I am already onto something else. I think I may let these little spiders a rest for a while.

The book mark itself is worked in Guttermann Sulky 30  thread, with a gimp down each side of Guttermann Quilting cotton in a double strand of plain blue. It's difficult to see in this pic, but it's there, and a little thicker and more noticeable than the last attempt. The quilting cotton was a bit tricky to work with, but we got there in the end.

I've been keeping track of the hours it has taken me, and I have worked out this book mark  has a value of $200. No wonder I only give my bobbin lace to people who appreciate it.

A new book mark has already been started, another deign with no spiders, just seven little tally flowers. I've tried these flowers before and they certainly were a challenge. Oh well, practice makes perfect and I am always up for a challenge. Watch this space!

Monday, October 15, 2018

A Crocheted Blanket

Another finish, a crocheted blanket.

This blanket started on an impulse buy. I spotted some yarn cakes at Lincraft and loved the colours. I'd heard so much about yarn cakes, so I bought three of the same colour way on impulse to give them a try.

What to make? How far would my three cakes take me? I had no idea, so I just started crocheting squares. I believe now the cake yarns are supposed to be self striping. Just like me to be different, instead  I got miss matched squares.

I tried pressing the squares to get them to sit better. The smell produced was one that disagreed with me. It was at this stage that I decided to give it away.

I continued to make squares, as many as my cakes would let me. When I had enough for a blanket, I sewed them together. I was hoping I would have enough left to do a border. In case I didn't, I went looking in my stash and found a navy acrylic that I could use at a pinch. The cakes were equal to a 10 ply, while the navy was an 8 ply. Not sure how it was going to work but I would give it a try.

I was also concerned that the navy may have been too dark, so I started with a row of chains and double crochets. My idea was that the chains would be covered in a row of trebles  in the cake yarn on the next row of the border, and so just leave me with little spots of navy. I was hoping that I could get just one colour of the cake yarn to go all the way around the blanket for this part of the border, but no. Continuing in the style of cakes, I have a colour change. Not to worry, I just did another row of navy.

This would be my final row, so I decided to do a row of picots. I felt a shell edge would be too solid, and in the navy would be too much. The picots would add an interesting edge without too much navy.

So the blanket has now been blocked, and looks better, though the smell still disagrees with me. So I have asked a friend of mine who does a lot of work for charity if she would like it. So my little blanket will go to a charity somewhere, hopefully to be loved by someone. I am sure it will. I have had my experience with cake yarn now and I think that will do me, and I can now go back to my beloved Bendigo wool.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A Warm Cardigan

My latest finish, a warm winter cardigan for me.It's been made in Bendigo Woollen Mills Savanah 8 ply. which is 70% wool and 30% alpaca.

I made a jumper for a male member of the family back at the beginning of last year, and ran out of yarn to do the neck band, so had to order more. I knew that I would never get the same dyelot, and I only needed one ball, ( the ball size is 200 gms) so thought I would order enough to do something else with.

At the time I had plans to make a blanket, one of those half fabric half crocheted ones, but that went by the wayside  and I decided to make myself a cardigan instead.

The pattern is from my Paytons Classic Cardigan book, and then I just added a pattern up the front from my Knitting Dictionary 900 Stitch Patterns book.

It's warm, it's comfortable, and I had a devil of a time trying to find buttons that would suit.

Friday, August 24, 2018

A Pulled Thread Needlecase

This little needle case was born out of a demonstration.

I was asked to demonstrate at an exhibition of works by Laura Leverton and Christina Barton, held at 76 Queen Street Gallery in Concord West. The exhibition was mostly pulled work, and I was just beginning to experiment with pulled work. What to do?

I looked through my fabrics, and found a scrap of linen that I thought would work. It was only small, so I had to set it in some fabric that would then let me put it in a hoop to work. Now what to stitch?

I had Googled some ideas, and came up with just stitching straight lines of stitching, so off I set. I left enough room for a hem, and started stitching.

There is some satin stitch in there, lots of four sided stitch, and lots of eyelets. My favourite row is one with half eyelets that gives a negative space of a zig zag line. My second favourite is one which combines all three of these stitches, and was inspired by the work that was on the walls.

I hemmed it with a four sided hem, lined it with some cotton fabric, added some Doctors Flannel, a hand made twisted cord, tassel and toggle closure.

Wallah! My new little needle case is now in use.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

A Little Work Pouch

Way back in 2016 the creative stitching group I belong to ,Stitchers Plus, had a challenge for the year to work 2" squares. My mind went instantly to working tenneriffe lace in a square format, it was something that I had wanted to try for a while.

I played with a few different designs which can be seen here , and settled on one that I liked so decided to make more.

The problem was what to do with them. A friend had suggested that I make a 15 sided biscornu, and I remember thinking 'why not?' So off I set to make 15 of the same designed little squares, just in different colour ways. I think I made ten before I  started to think how I could put this pin cushion together. The squares had been on exhibition, and in that process had been mounted to navy card to keep them flat and show off the colours to best advantage. To make the pincushion, I would have to take them off the card and mount them onto something else. I needed something rigid to help hold the shape, and everything I thought of was not pin friendly, so I needed to think of something else to turn them into.

I thought of one of those  square shaped bags that were traditionally from Central Asia, so bought some navy linen, interfaced it, carefully sewed a square, turned it through and folded it to shape, only to find it didn't sit quite square. Oh well, it would have to do. I found out later that all my friends who have made them have never got them quite square either.

So, the bag made, I then stared to add on my tenneriffe squares for decoration. I had a plan, but the plan didn't quite work, the squares were just too big to do what I wanted. I could only fit four of them on, and then they went on crooked, and the bag still looked incomplete. So then I decided to add some interlaced herringbone. Mmmm... remind me not to do this stitch ever again!I knew the stitch had to be worked carefully, and I'm sure I did it right, but when I came to do the interlacing, some of it worked, some of it didn't. If I don't tell anyone they won't know 😃😃.

The bag talked to me as I worked the interlace herringbone, and I kept adding rows of it. The issue was that where the joins met was not the best. So I decided to cover them up. I vlysafixed two layers of the linen together, cut some small circles and stitched them over the joins using woven wheel. Looks much better.

Then I needed a closure, so I made a covered button using the same linen with another woven wheel for decoration.

It's finished! Yay! My fifth UFO done for the year.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A Textured White Bookmark

This little book mark was born form spotting a scrap of fabric in a bag on my coffee table. It was left over from making some Christmas decorations, but not big enough to make another one. It was big enough, however, to make a book mark.

What to do? Firstly it needed a buttonhole edge to finish it, and I had a thought I would work a needle lace edge later. I have found over the last few years that I find straight buttonhole stitch edging a little boring. It just needs a little something to add to it.

OK, so the buttonhole stitch was done, now what? I needed some inspiration so looked in a few books to see what inspired. I spotted a lovely edge of two rows of 4 sided stitch with bullions angled in a zig zag worked in between. This would do. I am so used to counting by four, I left only four threads between the two rows of 4 sided stitch. It really needed more, possibly at least six threads to make the bullions stand out, and then it may of been too wide for this little book mark. A lesson learned for next time.

So once this row was done, I was left with a blank space in the center which needed to be filled. Back to my book for some more inspiration. I spotted some bullion flowers that would work nicely, so spaced them out evenly,  then worked a row of satin in between, also decorated with bullions.

The little book mark was cut out, and I decided to only put a small amount of needle lace in the corners, rather than all the way around the edge. Then I made a tassel to finish it off.

I am quite happy with my new little book mark and do intend to use it.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Double Eyed Spider Bookmark No2

Back in April I finally had a go with this pattern featuring double eyed spiders. There are four of these spiders in this book mark, and on that attempt they were all different. I vowed to myself I would do another one to practice them. At the time, I made notes on how to work them, and I wanted to test my notes out as well.

So, here is attempt number two of this book mark. It is worked in Guttermann Sulky thread, just a slight different colour than the last one. This one is more green than blue, and I put a plain bright blue pair of Guttermann Quilting thread down each side. Unfortunately it gets lost and is not noticeable. I may need to double it next time to make it stand out.

All my spiders are the same on this one. I followed my notes working them, and for the most part they are good. They just need to be tweaked a little at the end.

I want to work another one still, just so I know my notes are fool proof. Once they are correct, I will type them up and store them with my pricking. So watch this space to see version number 3 of this book mark.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

A Blue Edged Handkerchief

This little handkerchief is another one in my collection. The edge is in bobbin lace worked by me and then  mounted by hand to handkerchief linen. The pattern is by Olwyn Scott, and was published in Australian Lace.

Started back in April this year, it is finally finished and ready for show and tell.

The pattern of the edge is the same as this yellow one that I finished back in February. When I finished the yellow one, I nearly cried, it wasn't square! So not to be put off, I made a new pricking, made sure it was square, and started another one.

This one is also worked in Gutermann Sulky 30, in this gorgeous variegated blue. This time I tried a little experiment though. Along the edge, I used a double thickness of a plain deeper coloured blue/green thread, sort of like a gimp. It's difficult to see in this photo but it's there. It worked beautifully so I may try this double thread edge thing again.

I am very happy with my new little handkerchief, and once it has finished it's run of show and tell, I plan to use it.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

A Little Book Mark In Pueblo Stitch

Just over a week ago I met with my creative stitching group. This year we have all been taking turns to inspire each other with a little exercise of some sort. At our last meeting our inspiration was Pueblo Stitch.

We were asked to bring a piece of fabric, two different threads that could not be divided, and a needle that would accommodate both threads at once.

I threw in a variegated crochet thread , a plain Perle 12, and some scraps of even weave linen that was left over from another project. I had no idea what we would be doing.

On arrival, we were given a page of notes on Pueblo Stitch, and told to go for it.

It was an instant decision to make a book mark, so I left enough for a hem, and just started stitching. The piece of fabric was only small and I soon came to a corner. Another decision had to be made, how to get around the corner? Once worked out, I turned the corner, worked some more, turned another corner and worked some more. This continued all the way around until I was nearly back at the start. It was here I made an instant decision to keep stitching in a square spiral in towards the center until there was no room left. I might add here that this entertained me for the day.

When I came home I added a hem and a tassel to finish it. Such a quick and fun little project in which I learnt a new stitch.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

A Tenneriffe Handkerchief

Another handkerchief to add to my collection.

This project began some time ago, how far back I am not sure, possibly a few years. I was looking for something else and found this small snap-lock bag containing thread, some tenneriffe wheels, and one of my own hand made tenneriffe pads with a circle part worked  .

I actually found it with less work on it than it has here, as there was only one of those center petals worked. I had obviously worked out the maths, because as I continued to work the other four, the petals all fitted beautifully. I just had to make up my mind as to what to fill the spaces in with.

As I was working it, I was thinking "now what am I going to do with it?" I played with the idea of making another five and working them into a doily. Mmmmmm........... that would require too much extra work. I had two other suggestions, one was to put it on a facinator, one of those  hair accessories that are worn to the races. Considering I have never been to the races, and never likely to go, I ruled that idea out. The second suggestion was to put it in a ring and hang it as a Christmas decoration. This idea worked for me, but at this stage I had already decided and half put it into the corner of a handkerchief.

As I mounted the circle into the corner, I realised that I would have to put an edge all the way around to totally finish it. I had just finished doing buttonhole loops with bullion picots on my book cover, so  I worked the same finish around this handkerchief.

So this is number four UFO finished for the year. There are a few more yet that I want to complete, so watch this space to see which one is next.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

A Book Cover

Behold, my latest book cover.

It didn't start out as a book cover, it started as a project towards an Embroiderer's Guild fund raising effort some years ago. Half done, these letters got packed away for some reason, and didn't see the light of day again until earlier this year. I found them while I was looking for something else.

They were part done, and still packaged with all the threads I was using at the time. So I finished off the embroidery, then wondered what to do with them now. The only thing I could think of was to applique them onto a book cover.

The letters were stitched onto even weave linen, so I thought it might be nice to hem them first before appliqueing. Rather than machine stitching, I could then hand stitch them to a background which could them be appliqued to the cover. In hindsight, this was a fabulous idea as they can be easily removed and used for something else if need be.

The hem I used is a pulled thread hem, which gives a little picot. The letters were two separate pieces, and this hem gave me little loops at the side to join the pieces together. Once they were joined, I had this idea to do a needle lace edge around the outside. The edge just made it.

When finished, I hand stitched the piece to a scrap of navy fabric, which then got appliqued to the striped fabric, and turned into a book cover. The book cover was made to fit a spiral backed note book which I use for my Stitchers Plus group, and can be removed to adorn another when the current one is full.

So, another UFO done. I wonder which one is next to be finished?

Monday, June 04, 2018

A Chocolate Tin

Another tin in my collection today, this one is number nineteen.

I found this tin while cleaning  out a cupboard a few years back. The cupboard is an old china cupboard that belonged to my parents, and dates back to the 1950's. I remember it in the kitchen as child, being full of every day food stuff like salt, pepper, jam, honey, sugar, cereal etc. Our every day cutlery and table linen was housed in the drawers, and every day plates cups and glasses were behind the glass of the top section. The cupboard is mine now, and houses all kinds of textile goodies including old knitting and crochet patterns. These patterns were what I was going through when I found the tin.

I am not sure where the tin came from, it was probably a gift from someone. I've done the Google search and found similar ones for sale from a few dollars up to $30. There is lots of information on the bottom of the tin including nutritional information and a use by date of August '13. Hmmm.......  that's fairly recent, and I know I didn't buy it.

The tin is rectangular in shape and only about 4cm in height, so it's another perfect stitching tin. It's just tall enough to hold a ball of Perle thread, along with a needle case, a pair of embroidery scissors and a piece of even weave linen. What more could I want for simple work storage?

Thursday, May 03, 2018

A Christmas Tin

Tin number eighteen in my collection is the latest tin I have bought, and one that seems to celebrate Christmas.

We were away on holiday towards the end of last year, on a day out to a country town to visit my elderly Aunt when I purchased this tin. I was always taught that when you go visit someone, to always take something, and had deliberated for a while what to take her. We had called into a local shopping center on the way to her home, looking for a bakery or florist shop with no luck. Instead we walked into a cheaper chain store and spotted all the pretty tins of biscuits that we out for Christmas, so I bought her a tin of chocolate biscuits.

It wasn't until we had left the store that I thought I liked this tin so much that I was going back to get another one for us.This is the tin that I bought for myself, it is different to the one I bought my Aunt, but along similar lines.

There is no information on the tin at all. At the time it was covered in a plastic wrap which was taped, so any information about the contents or date is long gone. I know I bought it late in the year of 2017, and I know it contained chocolate biscuits. I might add here that at the time, this tin sat in a very warm car while we went to visit my Aunt. Note to self, chocolate biscuits and very warm cars do not mix.

The tin is slightly rectangular in shape, 22 cm x 23 cm and only only about 4cm high. So now it is cleaned of melted chocolate, it is being used to hold some lace making supplies. Supplies that I need for my current lace-making project. Lace bobbins, threads, scissors, pins etc etc.

Just another pretty tin to add to my collection and be useful. I wonder what the next one will be.

Friday, April 27, 2018

A Baby Quilt

Towards the end of last year I had word that another little baby was due in the family. The delema was what to make, so I thought I would use up some fabric from my stash and make a quilt.

The fabric that I had in mind was an all over print, a cute print, but I was just going to quilt it and not cut it up. This piece of fabric was ear marked for another little baby a few years back, but I actually did something else for him.

So I had it all planned out, until I heard that a second little baby was due. Then my plans changed. I was away on holiday when this news was heard, and I had discovered a beautiful patchwork shop in this country town we were visiting. So I walked in, was amazed at what they had, and bought a panel. I had decided a panel as it would be quicker to do,  after all I now had two quilts to do.

So behold, my latest finish. I have had lots of oohs and ahs, but in reality it is just a printed panel that I have quilted. It still took a long time to quilt though, as I quilted around all the animals, the clouds, the sun , then quilted the background.

The quilt is with it's new owner now, and I believe he is very happy with it, or at least his mother is. Now I can get back to finishing some more UFO's

Monday, April 23, 2018

A Counted Thread Needlecase

This needle case started life in a workshop way back in 2013. It was a fabulous workshop with a fabulous tutor. It was supposed to be a hussif, a small container to keep all my sewing goodies in, but
I decided right at the beginning that I would turn it into a needle case, I thought I would have more use of it in that form.

Like a lot of things that  do, I will get the stitching done, then they may sit there for quite some time before I finish them or make them up into something. This one has sat for five  years. So why did I pick now to finish it?

Well, I was finishing off another UFO and it needed a closure. I wanted to make a hand made toggle. I had made one  once, many years ago, and was trying to remember how to do them. What I was producing just wasn't quite right. I could still see the base fabric, ( some white cotton tape) underneath. Well, a month ago, I participated in a mini creative exercise with my Stitchers Plus friends, and  I felt sure one of the ladies there would know how to do them. One of them pointed me in the direction of a book which I had a copy of at home. When I looked, the instructions were not quite what I wanted.

So then I asked around at my local stitching group, and was pointed in three different directions. One of the ladies there helped me fix up the dodgy one I had made, and I was also pointed towards one set of workshop notes and two books, all of which I had at home.

The workshop notes were the ones attached to this piece, and they were very clear and precise. So I used those notes to make my toggles on my red needle roll, and my mauve counted thread needle case. So while I was at it I thought I may just as well finish this one off too, it just needed a lining , some needle pages and a toggle closure.

So another UFO finally finished. That's two done for the year, just another eight to go to complete my personal challenge.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Double Eyed Spider Bookmark

Back last year when I was working my yellow lace edged handkerchief, there was a pattern for a book mark on the same page as the edging. I had wanted something little to take to lace meetings, so I drew up the pricking and proceeded to start.

What I hadn't counted on was these double eyed spiders, and they stumped me. I tried so hard to work them out, but my lace meeting was getting closer and I needed something to do. In the end, I changed my pricking and inserted  whole stitch ground  diamonds instead. That book mark can be seen here.

I was going to master these little double eyed monsters, so I tried again, and still had trouble. The pricking was tiny and the lines were fine, so I made a larger version to try to work out the thread path. By looking at this larger version, and also at the photograph in the book, I realised that I had pin holes in my pricking that should not be there. OK, I could just try to ignore them for now and fix up my pricking for next time. One problem solved.

As I continued to work, I still got confused every time I came to one of those double eyed monsters. In the end I came to the conclusion that that there were still pinholes there that should not be. I couldn't figure out what to do with them. Anyway, I got my book mark up to a point that I could take it to a lace meeting and have something to work on for the afternoon. One of the ladies at this meeting had made a number of these book marks, so I had a chat to her and she sorted me out. Yes, those pinholes needed to be there, but as support only.

So behold, my new finished bookmark! It has been made with Guttermann Sulky 30 thread, with a purple crochet thread acting as a gimp down the side. My double eyed spiders leave a bit to be desired, and like the spiders in nature, they are all different. Watch this space for another one when they are all the same.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A New Needlecase

Back in January 2017 I was enticed to join and on-line group called 'A Year In Stitches'. The idea of the group was to encourage people to stitch every day. Do I need encouragement to stitch every day? Definitely not, I have been stitching every day for most of my life.

I really didn't need to start anything new, but I did. Everyone in the group appeared to be doing surface stitching of some kind. Well, I am a counted thread/lace kind of person, so I looked in my fabric stash and found a piece of linen that I had bought at a Christmas function with my local stitching group. It was a light pink/mauve colour and had in the packet with it a skein of Waterlilies silk floss that blended. All I needed now was a needle and I could start. But what to do?

My passion is drawn thread work, and for a long time now I had wanted to try some coloured needle weaving. So I began creating the sides of a drawn channel with a 4 sided stitch, using the lovely silk thread that was in with the fabric.

OK, channel edged and drawn, I needed to find some Perle threads that blended to needle weave with. That was easy, I have plenty of left over balls of Perle threads, so enter the blue, pink, and cream.  The coloured needle weaving was fun, and I found it much more practical to run three needles. So much easier than threading & re-threading needles all the time.

The piece grew over time. I added fine borders  that I found in one of my books, decided what to do with corners, and added a black work pattern. With the black work pattern I blended different colours with the silk floss that made it blend in with the needle weaving that  I had done. All the while I kept thinking 'what am I going to do with the piece?'

The piece went on hold while other things took over. Then last year at Stitcher's Plus, we were setting challenges for ourselves for this year. My challenge was to finish some UFO's. So behold, my fist UFO for this year is finished! I have turned my piece into a needle case. I finished the black work stitching, hemmed it with a four sided stitch hem, added some lining and Doctors flannel, then a closure of toggle and loop. There is a hand made twisted cord for the spine with a bottom tassel just to finish it off.

So one UFO done, hopefully nine more will happen over the remainder of the year.

Thursday, April 05, 2018


My ANZAC tin is number seventeen in my collection. This one I bought a few years ago purely for the tin, though it did contain ANZAC biscuits that were OK. I tend to make my own ANZAC biscuits.

This tin is rectangular in shape, and about 7cm high. The lid is in relief, with a scene from the Kokoda Track, a famous track from WW11 in Papua and New Guinea. My Dad fought in WW11, though not in New Guinea. I bought the tin in rememberance of him and all the other soldiers who fought in the war.

On the base of the tin there is lots of information. There is a story about the history of the ANZAC biscuit, and how it was included in the rations of the soldiers at Gallipoli in 1915. It goes on to tell  how it was the women back home who were baking the biscuits not only for the soldiers, but also to raise money for the war effort. There is also a story about the RSL, and the New Zealand equivalent.

Of course there is nutrition information, and information about the company that made the biscuits, as well as a use by date of March 2013.

I’ve found them on EBay selling for anything up to $30, but I will keep mine for a while yet, it is, after all, in use. 

So what does this tin hold? Embroidery supplies of course. There are embroidery hoops, threads, half finished pieces of work, my good embroidery scissors, threads, a thimble etc etc. I am sure you get the picture. It's a tin I  can pick up and take to group days and I will have something to do on the day.

ANZAC Day will be upon us again  later this month. I must look in the shops and see if I can acquire a different one to keep this one company.

Friday, March 23, 2018

A Little Needle Roll

Nearly a week ago now I spent the day with my creative stitching group Stitchers Plus. They are such a fun group of people and very, very creative. This year we have decided to each take a day and present a little challenge to the group. This little needle roll is the result of one of those challenges.

The challenge was set by Annette. We were each given a little kit that contained the basic makings of this little needle roll. Included were two needles already threaded with fuseble thread, and a blindfold. Yes,  a blindfold!  We had to stitch with the thread provided with the blindfold on! Now that certainly was a first,  a fun and very interesting exercise! Below was the result of my stitching by feel only. Later I added some more to fill in the gaps.

Then came some fun with the iron. We had a few different foiling sheets to choose from, and I actually used two different colours on my sample which produced an interesting result.

That was as much as I got done on this piece on the day, but when I came home I picked out some threads from my stash and started to stitch.. I added feather stitches, french knots and woven wheels.

The kit also included some Dr's flannel stitched onto a ribbon, which I then stitched onto the back of my decorated piece. 

I also added a handmade toggle and twisted cord for closure.

Such a fun day,  with a very creative little needle roll as an end result.

Friday, March 16, 2018

A Toffee Tin

This hexagonal toffee tin is number sixteen in my collection of tins. It is one I have bought, purely for food storage.

It's a few years ago now, we were away on holidays, spending time up the coast for Christmas. I wanted to make some rocky road to add to the Christmas table, but because we were away from home, I needed a container to store it in. I could have opted for a plastic one, but this was a male member of the family's  idea. It was his thought that he could eat all the toffees first, then I could have the tin for storage.

There is lots of information on the base, including a date of 2013. There is also a note telling me the tin and all it's contents is  recyclable. Mmmmm......... not likely, not while I am still alive any way.

I did some research on the tin, not finding any for sale. What I did read though is that the confectionery company that makes the toffees is now using plastic tubs!

My tin is empty most of the time, but is does get used for food storage occasionally.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Another Tea Tin

This tea tin in my collection is number fifteen. It is a fairly recent addition, one I bought from a local Asian grocery store when I was looking for a different flavoured tea. The tea in this one is long gone too, it was an Oolong tea, A Chinese tea supposedly with lots of health benefits. 

The tin itself is wonderful, it has a wonderful shape, gorgeous colouring's, and gorgeous design on the tin lid and sided. On the bottom there are lots of labels, and a date of 2021. That's a best before date, so we can tell the tin is fairly recent.

They are available for sale on the net, though at this stage they are being sold with tea still inside.

So what does this tin hold? At present is is still being pretty on top of my Mum's china cabinet with some of my other tins keeping it company.

Monday, March 05, 2018

A Bushells Tea Tin

Another tea tin in my collection today. This one is number fourteen in my collection, and is one I purchased full of tea over ten years ago. The tea inside is long gone, and the tin still remains empty.

This one is apparently one of three in a series  called "Australian Communities" to collect. I only have this one. It is dated a 'limited Edition 2005'

These are for sale on e-bay and Gumtree and I am amazed at how much they are selling for. Mine is a little rusty on the outside, though still clean and rust free on the inside. I really should use it for something, but is just sits as decoration on top of my Mum's old china cabinet.

Friday, March 02, 2018

A Yellow Lace Edged Hankerchief

Check out my latest handkerchief edge!

I wanted to do another hankie edge, something easier than the last one, so I checked out the patterns I had, and chose this one. I had not done it, but it looked easy enough. Famous last words!

I set about drawing up my pricking, and printed out just a small section around a corner to practice it first. Mmmm........... what I thought was going to be easy turned into a challenge. No matter what  I tried, I could not figure it out. Mmm....... What to do.

I thought about waiting for my next lace meeting and asking someone, but that was ages away. Then I thought I could ask someone on the lace related Facebook groups that I am on. I got lots of answers back, some helped, some didn't, but the one that helped the most was the one that told me it was triangular ground.

Triangular Ground? What is that? So I pulled out my lace books and did some research. Yes I found it, but it didn't really help. What now? Frustration plus!

One of my family members suggested You Tube, everything is on You Tube! So I checked out You Tube, and found a video of how to work two different types of triangular ground. Which one was I supposed to do? There were a number of videos, and they were so good they soon had me sorted which one I had to do. There was only one hitch, The video was demonstrating working the triangular ground in one direction, and I had to work it in the opposite direction.

There was much to and froing from my PC to my lace pillow, much note taking, and finally I produced my little sample. I had to check my notes to make sure that I could not only read them, but follow them again at a later date.

Now the hankie edging was ready to begin. It is worked in Gutermann Sulky No 30 thread, which was beautiful to work with. There were no breakages! Not one!, and  it took approximately 40 hours of work to produce. Now that is just scary!

It will just sit and look pretty in my glass cabinet for a while until I decide what to do with it. I want to make another one in pretty blue colours. Watch this space.

Friday, February 23, 2018

'Umbrella Hills' - A Baby Quilt

Back in November last year I was given the news that a new baby was arriving in the family early this year. I had this fabric in my stash so decided that I would use it to make a quilt.

There was not enough time to piece a top, not with holidays and Christmas in the mix, so I decided to quilt the piece of fabric as it was. I wanted to echo the design on the fabric, so started quilting around the umbrellas. From there I chose a line of the clouds and quilted along those.

I had always been taught that quilting needs a maximum distance of a fist width between the quilting lines. The back of the quilt is in a plain lime green fabric, and the quilting lines I had done already showed up easily. Some of the areas between the lines were greater than a fist width, so some more quilting was necessary. Still working on the back, I put some pins in where I felt some more quilting needed to go. I then turned the quilt to the front, and picked out some more cloud  lines that were close to the pins. After stitching these new lines, all the quilting was done.

The bind is in the same green as the backing, and there is a digitised label on the back saying that I have made it and the date it was completed.

This quilt will now be with its new owner, and I am sure he will snuggle under it in the coming months.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A Bobbin Lace Book Mark

Slowly but surely I have been working through a bobbin lace book I have on Bedfordshire Lace.

This is pattern 6a in the book, and it took me a total of fourteen hours to work, not all at once I might add.

I have been working through this book for some time now, and another lace maker that I know has advised me not to use it because of the shoddy work shown in the book. Well, I love the patterns and designs in this book, and I was not going to be put off. I have not had a problem with the book, until now.

I started this book mark back in November 2017 at my local lace group. I had spent the afternoon winding bobbins, then was just beginning to set up to start when it was time to come home. I packed everything up well, or so I thought, came home and put my lace pillow away. I was about to go on holidays and would not have time to touch it for a while.

It was not until after New Year that I got time to pull it out again, and this is what I found!

Obviously I had not secured everything well enough for the short distance I had to travel home. No, my Fluffball of a Sasha Cat did not get into it and have a play. It was packed away where she could not get to it. In my years of making bobbin lace, I have never had a pillow in such a mess! It took me some time to sort it out and make it neat again so I could work.

OK, so I was all set up to start my book mark. I started reading the instructions in the book, and it was like reading double dutch. I was so confused! I had started two other bookmarks similar to this before, so I ditched the book instructions, pulled out the notes on those other book marks, and figured the start of this one by myself. Once I got the start sorted, I was off and running.

The pricking was drawn up on a 5mm grid, and I used DMC Special Dentelles thread to work the lace. The thread was possibly a little too fine for the 5mm grid, but I am happy with the result. Next time i might try a Perle 12.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Art Journal Page Twelve

Page twelve in my art journal sits across from page eleven, so the two pages are seen together when the journal is open.

The pages had the same treatment, with modge podge, paint, stamping and even down to pen choice and line work.

As with page eleven, I found this page too insipid, so it too got the magazine treatment at the same time I did page eleven.

I only used one page from the magazine for both pages. I had cut the magazine  page into strips, and half of each strip was glued onto one page, and half  onto the other, with a space left between the strips. On page eleven there was some orange, while on page twelve there were mustards, greys and blacks. 
It still gave the page some life and the black from the boat in the magazine picture lifted and accentuated the outline of the number twelve

This was my page twelve before I added the magazine page, while the top photo is the completed page. It looks much better.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Art Journal Pg 11

Opening up to a blank page in my art journal is always daunting. The last one I had painted green and hated it so I pasted paper over it. The full story of that page can be read here. ( create link)

For this one I mixed colours together again and painted the pre-prepared mod podged page. I have decided my painting skills need work. Once dry, I then proceeded to stamp on another colour with a star shaped stamp I created years ago from a cork.

At least my page now had something on it, so then it was a case of picking out pens to add some line work. I had my trusty black felt tipped pen, but I also looked through all the coloured texta type pens that I had. I found some Sharpies, and also some gel pens, but settled on the gel pen for colour. It was orange, and I thought stood out best on the paint colour.

I used the painted stamp as a starting point, and drew star shapes echoing the stamp, then more lines to repeat and accent the shape. Then I got out the orange gel pen and drew little orange dots between the lines. M...... still not liking the page, I added an outline around the orange dots in my fine, black felt tipped pen. It was better, but still not to my linking. I left the page for ages before I did anything else to it. I added some black dots and circles to the inside of the number eleven, and this seemed to make it worse. Every time I got it out I was trying to work out why I didn't like it.

It was something about the colour. I had picked the orange gel pen because I thought it would contrast with the painted background, but it didn't. It was the wrong shade of orange, and I came to the conclusion that it was a discordant colour scheme, one that I have never taken to.

So....... how to fix it and make it better? I could either paint over the top of it all and start again, or add something to it like I did before with the last one.

I had been going through old magazines and saving pictures that I liked, so I went through them and picked out one that I thought would blend in. The page was from a travel brochure, and was a picture of Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong and the famous red sampan.

I cut the magazine picture into varying width strips, kept the strips in order, and then glued them over the top of my page so there were gaps in between. I cut the strips to length so that they fitted around my number eleven, not over the top.

The end result is much better. My number eleven is still the focus of my page, and the orange/red sail of the sampan adds that splash of contrast that I was looking for. The page to me now feels like a party on Victoria Harbour, something that I have done in real life. So in fact I have created a memory without even realising it.

This is what my page looked like before I added the  magazine strips. I wasn't sure if it was too busy, or what the problem was.  All I knew was that I wasn't happy with it. Now comparing the two, I think I had lost focus when I added the pattern to the inside of my number eleven. I always wanted the numbers to be the focus on the page.

I am content with the finished page. Would I use it for inspiration to my stitching? Not sure. Watch this space to find out.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A Dilmah Tea Tin

Anyone for tea? I love a good cup of brewed leaf tea, and purchased this tin full of tea leaves some years ago. It is number thirteen in my collection of tins. I would have bought it a my local supermarket at the time.

The tin is still on the small size, 12cm square at the base, and 15cm high. There is lots of information on the tin, how and where the tea is grown, how it is packed, information about the Dilmah company, and even how to brew a pot of tea.

I searched on the net to see if I could find one like this for sale. There were lots of Dilmah Tea Tins, but not one just like this. This one has some rust on the lid edges, but the inside is still clean and mark free. At present it still sits empty, waiting for something to be stored in it.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A Hilliers Tin

Tin number twelve is a Hillier's Turkish Delight tin. This one is a smallish rectangular tin, 9cm x 5cm, and 15 cm in height. This one was gift from my son a few years back.

They are still available and selling for a few dollars, I am assuming filled with chocolates.

At present this tin is empty. The size and shape of it makes it difficult to store things in. So for the moment is sits as decoration on top of my cabinet.

Monday, January 29, 2018

A Flower Basket Tin

Tin number eleven is a flowery one. It's a medium sized round tin about eight centimetres high. Still another one that I don't know where it came from. I suspect that this one also came from my Mother.

There are no markings on it, and Mr Google is no help. I have a faint recollection that it may have held a Christmas cake in a previous life, but I am not sure. My Mother used to buy Christmas Cakes in her later life. In her younger days she used to make them, and a beautiful Christmas cake at that. It was so good that I wanted her to make it as a wedding cake for when DH & I got married all those years ago, but she declined. Much to my disappointment.

It's life now is to store braids and live in my cupboard, only to see daylight occasionally.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A Butter Cookie Tin

Tin number ten in my collection is a butter Cookie tin. This one is a medium sized round tin about 7cm high. Another tin that I am not sure where it came from, probably another gift from a student, I used to get lots of sweet things from students as end of year gifts.

This tin has a use by date on the bottom of October 2005, so another one that is not that old. Once again I have tried asking Mr Google, only finding similar ones selling for a few dollars.

This tin is sitting in my cupboard with nothing in it! Maybe I should pull it out and use it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

A Chocolate & Toffee Tin

Tin number nine in my collection is an Even's 60th Birthday Chocolate & Toffee tin.It's a large round flat tin, about five cm high,  and I have no idea where it came from. Possibly another gift from a student.

I tried asking Mr Google about the Evan's Confectionery Company that is marked on the side, with no luck. It gives an address in suburban Sydney, and all I got was an American company. I couldn't even find a photo of one similar in Goggle images. There is also a use by date of Oct 00 on the base, so it is not that old.

So this tin lives in my cupboard with lots of my other tins that I use for storage. This one holds stamps, some that I have made from corks, some that I have bought. The stamps I use occasionally in my creative pursuits. I have used some with crushing velvet, some with paint and textile medium  on fabric, some with paint on paper, and some with stamp pads on paper.

Must get them out to play again.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Damnish Butter Style Cookie Tin

Tin number eight in the collection is one of Danish Butter Style cookies. 

It's a tiny little round flat tin, about 16 cm in diameter and only 3 cm in height. There is printing on the base listing nutrition information and ingredients, and a best before date of 2013.

This tin would have been a gift from a student.

I've had a bit of a look on the net for a tin like it. There are lots of Danish Butter Biscuit tins there, but not one like mine. Maybe they are not up for collection yet, I have only had mine for a few years.

So what does my tin store now it is empty of biscuits? Threads of course. This one has my collection of Perle 5 threads, left overs from my correspondence course days. I should really donate them, Perle 5 is a bit too thick to use for my fine tastes.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Corinthian Tin Number two

This is another Arnott's Corinthian tin. It's a different shape than the one I posted about before. The last one was a large round flat tin, about 5cm in height . This one is still round in shape, but smaller in diameter and much higher. It's actually a better shape for these biscuits than the previous one.

This tin has a date of 2004 on the base and I know I bought it. I would have bought it for the biscuits though, not the tin, though the tin is still used for storage.

I've spotted one for sale on the internet. People must be still wanting them as the price is amazing. I am assuming it is only for the tin as the biscuits would be long out of date and stale.

So what is my tin used for storing now? More beads of course!