Memories of Maldon…

As I mentioned in previous posts, I had my annual retreat at The Parsonage a few weeks ago.   While I wasn’t very well over the weekend, and there were a couple of other sickies amongst us… it was still a lovely time and I think we all suffered a bit of a pang as this will be our last year at The Parsonage, and next year we will need to find other accommodation.

As usual on the drive up we did a bit of a shop hop, meeting up at Gisborne to check out Quilters Bazaar and the Drapers of Mount Macedon, and then on the advice of Catsmum, we stopped off in Kyneton to visit Pick Up Stitches, a new to me, Wool and Patchwork shop, who were having a sale.

So, I ended up with a bundle of Heirloom Magic Merino yarn and over the weekend away I stitched some more Grannies, which I found easier to work on while we sat and quietly chatted or watched movies.   I’ve enjoyed these so much, I rang Pick Up Stitches last week to see if they still had the same dyelots in store, and bought some extra yarn to make a largish lap rug.

The inspiration for these grannies comes from this post at the always inspirational Lucy at Attic24, which lead to me to here and more especially to this photo and all it’s lovely green goodness.

And for some more intraweb crafty goodness – check out the Quilt Gallery on Threadbear’s site of the splendiforous show and tell at The Applique Society meeting we were lucky to attend while we were away…    I could make all of these… and it was funny how many of these I have patterns for already!

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Hooky Love

I’m a recalcitrant quilter these day… find myself being completely under enthused about any type of work that involves working with pieces of fabric…but what I am getting a buzz out of is crochet…

The Giant Granny Square has come to a halt as I’ve run out of the white wool, and haven’t had a chance to duck out and buy some more.   Though am very happy with my progress so far, even though it’s slow going now that the rounds are so big.    Still planning to do another complete set of each colour before finishing off with a white crocheted edging.

So, going through hooky withdrawals, I searched through yarn stash and found some yarn I’d bought (I think at Spotlight) awhile ago and started to make largish Granny Squares.   There are 8 colours, including black and I’m randomly placing colours inspired by this gorgeous thing on Flickr.

BUT, because I’m not sure where I got the yarn from, and not sure if I can get any more, I’m trying to eek out enough to get the right number of squares – currently have 8 finished, and I need to end up with either 9 or 12.   So, it’s likely I’m going to make some little 4 round granny’s out of the little bits of wool left and join them up to make the larger squares.

Plan is to finish off with a round of black and then join up using Attic24’s Joining Granny’s tutorial and then maybe do an edging… if I do, this will be first thing I’ve crocheted that actually needs to be sewn together… wish me luck!

Have been drooling over various colour/ yarn options to have a go at Lucy’s Hexagons or her Ripple or even having a go at Do You Mind if I Knit’s Little Squares scarf – but possibly in a more restricted colourway, reds, greys, blues, creams.

Can’t decide if I want to work with bright 8ply Biggan Design or the thicker, but much more colour varied Cascade 220 or to work with Tahki Cotton Classic… any suggestions?

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.

OUT THERE IN BLOGLAND

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

FABRIC FONDLING

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

WHICH STITCH?

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

TRAM TRAVELLING

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

YARNING AWAY

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

Something….ummm…Red? South Seas Lace

Another finish for me this week, am on a roll!

This is a Debbie Draper design from The Gift of Stitching’s May 2009 issue.  Stitched using Threadworx Bleeding Hearts on white linen.

I started this as a Stitch Along with Claire and Sandra, but of course, I lagged behind, but was determined to catch up and get this finished.

Slight panic as I got closer to the finish line and I realised my strands of thread were rapidly diminishing… that’s ok – when I bought this thread at Quilters Bazaar last year and showed Mum she loved it so much she rang and ordered 3 skeins… but had forgotten that Lorraine had ordered them for her specially so she had them all from the same dyelot… and they looked completely different!!!

Then remembered that Jayne had also bought a skein elsewhere, and asked if she could bring it along when we had dinner this week… again – different.  Much more a burgundy red/plum colour that I had.

So, I was very frugal with my stitching, thinking of the best way to do each stitch to minimise thread use, stitching down to the last little scant inch on the needle.

Was close to the finish line last night when I should have been in bed, but knew I had to finish it and put myself out of my misery… was I going to run out of thread or not… NOT!    The photo below shows exactly how much thread I have left over.   Finished at about 1.00am this morning, so a very tired girl at work today.

If I’ve finished something, can I start something now?

I need to decide, considering how much of a recalcitrant SAL member I was, whether I want to join along with Claire and Sandra and lots of others in a SAL on Ink Circles Stitchers to stitch Ink Circles The Bramble and The Rose, which was published in June 2009 Gift of Stitching, which begins on 1 March.

I do love this design and would like to tackle it, and while I’m loving my Blackbird Stockings, the lots of thread colour changes can be annoying.   Except there’s no way you’d be able to memorise the pattern for this one!

Have been pondering doing this in a dark grey mottled Threadworx thread on a pale grey linen piece I have in stash (need to check if the linen is big enough) – not red I know, which is outside my comfort zone a little – but I think would look really dramatic with this design.   Hmmm…do I or don’t I?

Looking forward to tomorrow night’s Friday Sew in -recognise a few names on the list – Jan Q, Blessed, Fiona and Kate.

Still can’t decide what I want to work on – though I’ve got another early start tomorrow – up at 5.00am to be at a breakfast meeting by 7.00am – so will probably just pick up a UFO or several and try to make some progress.

She’s making a list and checking it twice…

Put away the books, we’re out of school
The weather’s warm but we’ll play it cool
We’re on staycation, havin’ lots of fun
S-T-A-Y-C-A-T-I-O-N in the summer sun

Can you tell I’m getting a little excited?   Only 16 more sleeps before I go on leave and I don’t go back to work till the end of January – 43 days off – woo hoo!

This will be the longest continuous break I’ve had since I was diagnosed with glandular fever 20+years ago, and I spent 5 weeks at home feeling cruddy and the only energy I had was to cross stitch while getting addicted to Santa Barbara and Days of Our Lives (I watched the first episode that Patch appeared in and was hooked, lol).

But like then, I’m going to be predominantly housebound, apart from some small trips and a quilt class or two… and a friend coming to stay for a few days.   May actually be forced to be housebound, as my nephew’s car is off the road and he’s regularly borrowing mine to get to and from work.

Flossie (Mum) coming to stay for the 1st week of the New Year, we’re going to have a ‘bee’ between putting together some quilt tops and finishing off some small projects like wallhangings and bags.

It’ll be the usual deal of her using the machine, and my cutting and pressing…though I am thinking of getting her to help me make a start on either one of these gorgeous quilts by Roslyn of BloomSimply a Bloom or Sweet Menagerie.

A bit inspired by Blessed’s version of Simply a Bloom and the bundle of Allspice Tapestry Charm Squares and Jelly Rolls I found when sorting out the stash for the sale of surplus items!

Both of these seem like relatively simple projects for someone who is less than comfortable on the machine, as it’s just straight sewing…

Am busy getting organised and things prepped with the intention of sewing something every day!

Things I must do while on staycation:

  • Get my blocks finished and posted to Aunt Pitty Pat for the Holly Jolly Christmas Block Swap – have got all my backgrounds cut, just need to sit down this week and start to prep the appliques, I’m doing Christmas Wreaths, Plum Puddings and Christmas Ornaments

  • Make softie book/s of this panel – I commented on the Busy Thimbles blog and as a result the panels arrived today and I get to have a play… already have ideas swarming through my head
  • Finish my South Seas Lace cross-stitch… as usual I’m lagging behind behind on this SAL, both Claire and Sandra have finished theirs… and I’m still stitching on mine, making slow progress… got bored with the narrow border and wanted to see what the final border looked like.

Actually, check out Sandra’s Grand Marquoir finish post… isn’t it gorgeous?   This is another project I’m lagging behind on, I’ve done 3 letters…sigh…

  • Keep up to date with The Parsonage Dresden Plate Exchange – I’m working on Kylie’s at present … you can see one of her blocks below, I didn’t make this one, Jules did.    I’ll also have Jules handed over to me in the next fortnight.

  • Start my Blackbird Design Stocking Series – I’m hoping to be part of Dragon My Needle’s Christmas Design SAL – a year long stitch along working on particular Christmas Designs.  I got the January 2009 kit from Stitches and Spice for these gorgeous little stockings, and hope to get the rest of the series during 2010.  So the aim is to stitch at least 1 stocking a month during 2010.

Things I’d like to do while on staycation (and more likely towards the end of my 43 days will be getting lots of things prepped so that I can just pick things up and work on them once I get back to work… including:

  • Prep Aunt Millie’s Garden blocks – I’m using a white with black pindot background and lots of spotty/dotty/striped bright fabric
  • Prep Love Letters blocks – I’ve got 2 lots of fabric for these, deep navy, burgundy, browns on tan backgrounds for Mum, and the 3 Sisters Chocolat range that was used in the original quilt for me.   Not going to make both – will get the blocks ready for Mum to stitch hers, and will prep and applique mine

  • Organise cross-stitch patterns for Aury’s Bride’s Tree SAL.  The Bride’s Tree is a German tradition. It is believed that a couple’s Christmas tree needs twelve specific ornaments for happiness in their life journey together. My eldest nephew and his girl get married in November 2010, and have asked us to give them money towards their honeymoon in lieu of gifts as they are funding the wedding themselves.   This seemed like a nice idea, to make them 13 ornaments for their 1st tree as a married couple, and I thought I’d look for quakerstyle patterns for each months theme, and have found some freebie patterns already i.e. the quaker heart to represent true love and love of family.

I’d also really like to aim to do a blog post a day… either a progress report on what I’m working on, or maybe dragging out some WIPs/PIGs and posting in more detail, in an attempt to shame me into progressing some of these.

Anyway, off away to do the dishes and to bed… coming home tomorrow night to progress the embroidery on some Christmas ornaments for a catch up with some girlfriends weekend after next.

Will blog a Christmas themed post at the weekend, hopefully to show the finished ornaments, and my first blocks for Holly Jolly as well as some show and tell as Mum has started decorating the house today, and I realised none of her Christmas quilts are recorded on the blog.

Stitchers Angel 2009

IMG_0241

Well Kate has finally received my parcel, so I can post a photo of my Stitchers Angel gifts.

This was harder then I thought, just because I couldn’t decide what I wanted to make… initially stitched several of the freebie projects to make a similar set above, but was hugely bothered by the fact the stitching was so different on each design… so instead used a stitchery design from Natalie Ross and winged it!

Check out Kate‘s blog… how she manages to produce what she does, while looking after girlies and hubby and a menagerie of animals astounds me.   And if you’re a cat lover like me – the antics of Henry will crack you up!   She’s having a giveaway at present, so even more incentive to visit.

Not much else go on here, while I continue the great craft room purge, even more things being listed for sale in the next few days…

Though I have finished the first of the It’s a Redwork Christmas stitchery blocks as well as being shamed into working on my South Seas Lace after realising that Claire and Sandra have both finished theirs!   Will post photo’s later in the week.

Itching to get started making my blocks for the Holly Jolly Christmas Block Swap being organised by Aunt Pitty Pat – making Christmas blocks to swap in January 2010 – which gives us 11 months to put them together for Christmas 2010!!!   I think there are still a couple of places available if anyone wants to play?

And also itching to have a go at drafting blocks for Kellie of Don’t Look Now’s Joseph’s Coat Quilt Along check out the blocks made so far on the Flickr Group site – they’re all gorgeous.

So need to get this craft room purge done and dusted so I can get back to playing with needle and thread.

Those generous designers…

It always astounds me how generous designers are out there… and here are some more wonderful things available out there in the blogosphere:


Dorothy Baker’s Sweet Nostalgia – this 12 month stitchery project based on vintage children’s illustrations has just started, I’ve downloaded Month One – because we don’t yet have Cosmo threads in Australia, I’m wondering about stitching this as a redwork quilt (hmmm – might be a bit complicated!)

Among the Gum Trees – a collective of nine designers who have just launched a shared blog with plans for giveaways and freebie designs – go and check it out!

Fat Cat Designs – this designer is incredibly generous with her designs and currently has a couple of BOMs on offer free, with previous months blocks available to purchase.  I’m collecting Southern Gentleman – luscious applique quilt blocks

Gail Pan’s Christmas Wish has just finished… you can still get the block patterns and the finishing instructions

Bunny Hill’s A Tisket, A Tasket is up to block nine… these are gorgeous either stitched or appliqued

Stitchers Angel Swap – we’ve had 4 of the 7 free designs released for this years swap, each one absolutely gorgeous… makes it hard to decide which ones to make for my mortal – maybe all of them!