Fancy Work…

Fancy Work

On one of my online quilting forums there has been a recent thread about where people do their stitching, at meetings, at guild meetings or in my case, on the tram, and for this week, and possibly into the future, on the bus.

I commented about the odd looks I get often while I’m doing my work, which so far has consisted of buttonhole applique and more recently embroidery (redwork).

About a fortnight ago, I had lovely exchange on the tram.   Going in later than usual after a doctor’s appointment, so not incredibly crowded, about 20 minutes from the city a lovely little old man got on the tram, went to walk past me, looked down and exclaimed – “oh, what lovely fancy work!”

And, yes he really was a little old man, I’d guess maybe in his late 60’s, early 70’s, and probably not much taller than me – which isn’t very tall – I’m a smidge over 155cm (5ft 2).

He then sat down next to me and started to reminisce about his mother teaching him to do ‘fancy work’ as a child and how he used to stitch doilies and tablerunners and cloths while catching the train to his very first job as a copy boy for the Herald newspaper.

He used to catch the ‘Red rattler‘ train and because the trains were crowded and he’d often give his seat up for an adult he would perch himself against the door to the compartment for balance.

He then went on to tell me that his first pair of long trousers, were the pants from his Dad’s army uniform that his Mum had taken both in and up – but there wasn’t much she could do about the problem of saggy, baggy bottoms.  And one day, wedged against the doorhandle while he stitched, a big burly bloke opened the door from the outside with such force the handle got caught in the folds of his pants and he was effectively hoisted… he said the whole carriage laughed, particularly when same burly bloke lifted him bodily of the handle and checked out he was ok.

He was very pleased to see me doing my work, and amazed that I was stitching  a pincushion for a friend I haven’t met yet, (am participating in a pincushion swap via Flickr and said pincushion is winging it’s way to the USA).

We had a lovely chat, where he explained that he couldn’t do the work anymore because of his eyesight, and I’ll admit he also made my day – to know that my work had positively impacted a stranger… see crafting does break down barriers!

I like the term ‘fancy work’ – we are all fancy workers – putting a little brightness and joy in the world with every stitch we take.

So, as a thank you to him and to all of you, am having my first giveaway.  I have a Rosalie Quinlan’s Little Patchwork Village pattern and a collection of some of my favourite DMC threads to give away.

So, if you’d like to do some fancy work of your own, leave a comment here, and tell me if you do your fancy work in public and any stories you’d like to share.

If you post a link to this on your own blog, and let me know in your comment, you’ll be eligible for an extra bonus surprise prize!

Will use the random number generator to pick a winner at the end of the month.

PS. I bought this pattern over 12 months ago, bought my fabric and thread to do it, and then promptly misplaced the pattern!   There have been several futile searches through the craft room for this one, till I bit the bullet and bought another copy in February… we all know what happened next…  a few weeks later, I opened a box to work on my Red and Green Sampler blocks and at the bottom of the box – the original pattern… sigh… so while this pattern has been opened and read it definitely hasn’t been used.


Friday Night Sew-In…well, Stitch in really

Had big plans for yesterday’s Friday Night Sew in, but ended up sick with a sinus infection, that kept me curled up on the couch in front of the telly, dozing intermittently and feeling sorry for myself.

So instead of prepping Klosjes as I planned, I alternated between crocheting the Giant Granny Square and working on my It’s a Redwork Christmas blocks and making cups of tea and the resultant loo breaks.

Giant Granny Square

Giant Granny is coming along, have almost finished one full set of my colours and about to start repeating.   Am probably going to need to buy some more cream, but am hoping I’ll get 2 repeats of each colour out of each 100g ball.

Granny Square 20_03_10

I finished the It’s A Redwork Christmas block I’ve been working on while catching the tram this month, and started another.

It's a Redwork Christmas

Likely the Klosjes preparation will happen over Easter now, as next weekend is my brother’s 50th birthday celebrations, so the rest of this week will be spent finishing off his Dr Who Scarf as his gift.

Licorice Allsorts

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted on the blog, had disconnected my camera and it’s a major drama climbing under furniture to reconnect, and basically I was lazy!

And my oldest furbaby, Gertie has suddenly taken to taking up this pose everytime I sit in front of the computer… easy enough to surf the net, a bit difficult to type.

Gertie helping me update Flickr

So, this is a licorice allsorts sort of post, with an update of what I’ve been working on for the last little while and other stuff and nonsense.


First off, my lovely quilty fairy godmother Jasmine is having a blogaversary giveaway, she’s made a quilt from a jelly roll I sold in the big clean up last year!    She’s my fairy godmother, because the first time I ever met her in person, after corresponding online for awhile, she was wearing purple and black striped witchy socks with a tutu and a tiara!    And she almost conned a lovely man at the local pub into buying us a bottle of Moet Chandon – have loved her ever since.

Bobbi and Heidi have organised another Friday Night Sew-In for this Friday – Friday 19 March, you can find all the details here.    As Saturday is also International Quilt Day, I’m planning a night in on Friday that will probably extend over into the wee small hours of Saturday.   Will either do some more work on my Red and Green Sampler blocks like last time, or work on some Teapot blocks I am making as part of a Flickr Quiltalong.   By the way, I’ve finished the block I started at the last Friday night sew-in.

Source: Darlene C. Christopherson – A Perfect Union


Mid February, inspired by my finishing the last of my Baskets full of Butterflies blocks, I dug out another old WIP.    This quilt was designed by Michele Hill and is called Folk Art Sampler, published in APQ Vol 12, No. 12 and 13 in 2005.    I bought the fabric for this quilt while away studing at the University of Ballarat in July 2005 at Gail’s Patchwork Emporium, prepped 5 blocks, and stitched one flower on one block and then put it aside, where it has remained ever since.   So during February and March, I’ve finished buttonhole appliqueing the 5 prepped blocks, prepped and started stitching another 2 blocks.    I bought some sashing material a few weeks ago, and want to finish the centre blocks and add the outer borders.    I think the easiest way to get this finished is to prep all my applique and fuse and stitch one side at a time.

WIP Folk Art Sampler


Since my last post, I’ve also finished another Blackbird Design Stocking as part of Dragon My Needle’s Christmas Design SAL – gee there is some lovely work happening in the gallery of photo’s.

Blackbird Designs, Love is in the Air - Be Mine, Stitches and Spice Gravestone 32ct Belfast Linen, The Gentle Arts Thread - Aged Pewter, Clover, Avocado, Harvest Basket, Apple Cider, Antique Rose

I’ve also made a start on Ink Circles The Bramble and The Rose as part of a stitch-along that my cross-stitch enablers Claire and Sandra are also doing.   There are a few stitchers working on this one on the Ink Circles Stitchers blog.   I’m using Threadworx Lava Rocks, which is more a solid colour then I thought it would be.   Was originally going to use 32ct linen, but didn’t like the linen I’d ordered online, so found a piece of what I think is 28ct quaker cloth and am using that instead.   Means will be a bigger finish, but am loving it so far.

The Bramble and The Rose, 1st Progress Update


I really hate catching public transport!    I miss my car, and being able to drive to work without the hassle of city traffic and parking.     The only thing that has made life bearable is that I am using the 45 minute journey to and from work as an opportunity to use needle and thread.   BUT, what to do while travelling that doesn’t involve major supplies?     My Butterfly baskets were perfect, as they were fused and all used black thread… but I didn’t have another fused applique project that didn’t require multiple needle/ colour changes.    So for the last fortnight, I’ve been working on another of my It’s a Redwork Christmas blocks by Rosalie Quinlan, and this is my progress to date.    There are 9 of these blocks all up, and this is my 2nd block, so this could take me most of 2010 to work on during my travels.

It's a Redwork Christmas


And just to round out the whole needle and thread experience, I’ve also started playing with some crochet.    Inspired by Attic24, Do You Mind if I Knit? and Sarah London and some of the stunning work  they are all doing, I’m attempting to master the art of crochet.   While I’d love to try some of the more complex designs out there, I’ve started off simply, with a giant granny square, am going to use light pink, hot pink, red, yellow, green, turqoise and purple alternating with this creamy/white colour using yarn I had collected for another project that didn’t happen.

Giant Granny Square

And just to make sure she get’s her mugshot here, have a look at Gracie, my ever so slight crazy cat, assisting Mum as she prepared the surprise 50th quilt’s binding last weekend at my house.     I’ll post a proper photo of this quilt in a week or so, as the party is next weekend and it’ll be unveiled then.

Gracie helping with the quilting