Monday 28 October 2013

Sunday Stitchalong and a Conglomeration

 Welcome one and all and I trust that all is well with you!

I'm joining in again with  Chrissie for Sunday Stitchalong but it's already Monday morning here! I'm not making apologies for that because, well, we spent valuable time with our younger daughter, hubby and grandsons yesterday, enjoying catching up over cuppa and cake and taking in the lovely warm sunshine whilst wandering through the vineyard and veggie patch - well really, why wouldn't you! And then afterwards, just to add to the pleasure, we had lovely home-grown artichokes, freshly laid eggs, and a case of their wonderful award-winning wine to bring home with us. Once home the thought of sitting at the computer really didn't  turn me on - and besides - I hadn't yet started on my stitching for the week so couldn't have shown it to you anyway: that all makes good sense doesn't it!

But I did make a start and here it is: a Christmas theme, simple and quick and most relaxing - I am really enjoying this!

So far I've used back stitch, little wee French knots, satin stitch and a mish-mashy sort of feather stitch for the angel's wings, oh and long and short for the hair. Apart from the wings which used two strands, everything has been done with single strand floss. 

And where did the inspiration come for this little piece? Well now, I must tell you, the postie brought me the loveliest surprise one day last week: I was already watching and waiting for the arrival of a  package from Judy containing a Giveaway that I'd been fortunate enough to win (more on that shortly) so a second package arriving at the same time sent me into a bit of a spin for I couldn't remember having ordered anything recently from Amazon. When I got into the parcel here is what I found:

My daughter Tracy had organised for Amazon to send me this lovely book - just because! Just because what? Because she loves her Mum and wants to encourage and support me in my endeavours - now isn't that lovely and aren't I blessed with my beautiful family! Thanks again Trace, and you can see I haven't let the grass grow under my feet xxx !

The book is so well laid out with double-paged spreads - pictures on the right side and all the info regarding types of stitching and threads etc. on the left - so not only was I inspired, I actually traced off the little motifs, with a wee bit of re-arranging, and this time round used dressmakers carbon paper to copy them onto the fine linen fabric. I'm happy!

And now for Judy's lovely gift, making it a double dose of excitement and pleasure:

Her sweet pin-cushion which she had lovingly crocheted - all squeezy and cuddly - so nicely wrapped in matching colour tissue and ribbon plus a sweet little cross-stitch for me to do. As well, Judy sent me a lovely note on her special paper and a postcard showing where she's based in the States. Many thanks once again Judy - the first giveaway I've ever won xx.

Remarkably, shortly after being told of this win I then had word from Deb telling me that I had won her lovely giveaway - a knitting pattern for the beautiful 'Pau Hana' jumper. Many thanks again to you too, Deb xx. I bought a lottery ticket after that but it didn't come up for me, although that doesn't mean I won't win in the future, does it!

Last post I showed the cardi I had begun to knit, and that's all fine but very little progress made on it because - well - I got side-tracked by a magazine! Just over a week ago, whilst browsing the newsagents stand I happened upon this, which led to THAT! Who is THAT peeping out from behind my cushions?

Could you have resisted that picture up in the top left corner? No, I couldn't either, so the cardi went on the back-burner, as projects are wont to do, and I spent the week working on this little Mousie. Following the info in the magazine I see that this pattern is also available through Ravelry. Overall the pattern was very good, but there were a couple of little hiccups which were probably (hopefully) printer's errors but which would bother a newcomer to knitting, and I don't like, after 50+ years of knitting, finding abbreviations that are nowhere else to be found; that aside, once moving beyond my annoyance, I did enjoy most of the process. For the shoes I used a Patons baby bootee knitting pattern  rather than the one provided. I do love Miss Mousie, and am still working on a name for her - so far suggestions have been Millie, Molly, Gertrude (Gertie?) - you're welcome to have a shot at it, I'd love to hear from you! 

Now I'm giving my lovely Hubby (J) a bit of bragging space here: he BBQ'd some lovely fish  along with asparagus wrapped in prosciutto the other night, and oven-fried some chips too. It was all delicious and I enjoyed it very much even though he felt everything had had a little bit too much heat!

Now don't you think he did a great job - and I promise I did not interfere or offer one word of advice - oh right, maybe that's why it was such a success!!!

I must also show you a pic that J very cleverly took a few mornings ago: he heard a tap-tapping sound and when he looked across the road saw two kookaburra's perched on the tree in front of the neighbours property. Right, well, that's  not really unusual but - one of them just happened to be killing off a mouse (or was it a rat), by bashing the poor thing off the branch. Notice its mate sitting watching the action!

Just a couple of lovely blooms from the garden now: roses and lillypilly foliage ... ...

And some pretty shots from the garden in situ ... ...

And 'that's all for now folks' (who said that - 'twas a very clever and entertaining rabbit from many years ago??? Of course it was  the inimitable Bugs Bunny!)

I'm wishing you all lots of happies, and for those of you who celebrate hallowe'en, do enjoy the fun! Many thanks for all your lovely welcome messages.

Joy xo

Sunday 20 October 2013

Sunday Stitchalong, Old Patterns, and Winner of Draw.

A big welcome to all of you, and special hello to my new followers - it's lovely to have you here!

It's that time of the week again to join up with Chrissie and other friends for our happy Stitchalong sharing time once again. I find that Sunday's are usually a bit involved with family and other happenings so I just want to let you know that the most of my stitching is done  through the week when I have more available time, and I share my progress on Sundays. 

It's taken me quite a bit of time to finish up the couple of projects that I showed you last week, but I am quite pleased with the results; I have to say that joining up with Chrissie has encouraged me to work  more of my projects through to completion, thank you Chrissie!

The first pic here is from last week's post and the next one is the placemat, ready to go! Please excuse the inconsistent colours due to fluctuating lighting.

So then I went on to make a second mat, and this time decided to have a play with my compass again, which gave me a few guide lines from which to begin experimenting. Basically, on paper, I just gradually added a couple of motifs that I had already drawn and used in the past (you may remember the butterflies from the two little framed pictures I did for my friends a few weeks ago) and followed my intuition, with the intention of giving the design a nice balanced look.  Then I traced the whole thing and transferred it onto the fabric.

(Again I apologise for the variation in colour - who would believe that this is one and the same mat!!!)
These mats were stitched totally with running stitch, in keeping with the Sashiko style, very easy and so relaxing! Afterwards they were backed with matching fabric and a cotton wadding sandwiched in using my trusty sewing machine, a process which, I might add, was not without slip-ups. The first one I did just happened to have the wadding sandwiched on the outside, silly Joy, how could such a thing happen! What a waste of time unpicking it - I didn't realise what I'd done until finished stitching and turning the mat out the right way. What was that about living and learning? I know I've committed that crime before - it's not good to repeat such a bad thing!

And the red snowflakes? Well here is what happened to that little piece, after much humming and hawing! In my fabric stash I found a scrap of leftover fabric from the pants made for 'Annie' doll, a few weeks ago, and decided to utilise it here; what do you think? The rod threaded through there is a pruning from our crab apple tree; it's a beautiful colour and does the job very well I think!

(Just a little 'aside' here: Hubby recently used a couple of these prunings in the garden to support a plant that needed a little help, and low and behold, a few weeks later we found that the little sticks were alive and growing new foliage!)

Now then, what else have I been busy with! Ah yes, take a look at this Paton's pattern book: I have had this for so long and think that some of these yarns are not even available any more, it's THAT old. This is an Australian issue but, when I was a youngster in the UK and working in an office, the other girls and I would knit during break times and my friend Peggy used this pattern over and over again - and her knitting was beautiful! When I came across the pattern in my file the other day I knew it was time for me to have a go at this, even if only for old times sake, and particularly because I'd just taken delivery of a fresh supply of Bergere de Paris Ecoton from  Deramores  (remember the grey cardi I knit recently) and I want a neat new cardi suitable as back-up for summer. The yarn is different so of course some working out had to be done with needles and tension, but hopefully I've got it right and this will turn out well.

 Do you love the colour? I do, and this is the absolute true colour!

Here are a few pics from our walk around the park on a fine day this week; we enjoyed lovely sunshine - how I wish it had lasted! That little building top right is called 'The Sanctuary' and is where groups of folks get together for meditation and the like! It's been very cleverly done with plantings on it's roof to enable the building to blend in with the surrounds. Clever eh! The bottom right pic is a close up of tree bark which I think is rather beautiful. What about that lovely old oak tree - there are three of them!

And a few more quick pics of blooms from our garden.

Last but certainly not least we come to the draw for the little striped cardigan: I wish I could give this to each of you who have put your name down but unfortunately that cannot be done! My lovely Hubby agreed to pick a name out of the bowl, although he felt a bit hesitant to do it! He gave the bowl a good old shoogle and turned the names over and over, then he lifted one little piece of paper out and - the winner is -  Forgetmenots Blue . Congratulations FB and I'll be in touch with you regarding your postal address soon!

So that's it for this week folks - I'm looking forward to catching up with all your posts and lovely makings and, until next time - be well, be happy, and enjoy your crafting!

Joy xo

Sunday 13 October 2013

Sunday Stitchalong Fun

Another Sunday and I've made it on time this week my friends! I hope you've been enjoying your stitchings and whatever else you've been busy with this week. 

Just a reminder before we go any further - if you haven't already put your name in for the little cardigan giveaway (my previous post), and you have a little girl in your life who would enjoy wearing this, then you have until next Sunday before the names go in the hat. Good luck!

And while we are on the subject of giveaways, you might like to check out Cheryl - you probably already know the lovely Cheryl anyway - and you'll find she is giving away two beautiful books at the end of the month. I wish you good luck here too, even though I kinda have my eye on the Hip Crochet publication!

Well as far as stitching goes, I have definitely kept things simple this week and started on the first of a few placemats that I've been planning to get to. Aimee Ray's 'Doodle Stitching Embroidery and Beyond' is where the inspiration and pattern came from for this, and I used cotton duck and three strands of DMC cotton floss. I might add at this point that no pressing or cleaning up has yet been done on this week's work, and you can tell! I'll show it again when it's all 'polished up'! 

(Gosh, doesn't the light affect the colour - these pics are all of the one mat and taken at the same time!)

Sashiko, just in case you're not familiar with it (which I wasn't, until I found this lovely book),  is an ancient form of stitching from Japan and was originally used to repair tears or worn parts on fabric. 
Nowadays it's often used for lovely designs which are sometimes complex and sometimes simple but usually geometric styled and stitched in white thread on indigo fabric - but hey, let's break a few rules and add a wee bit of colour!

 Sashiko designs are usually done with Running Stitch, using a longer needle so you can do several stitches at once, if preferred, and without a hoop so you can really get stuck into it. Although I have started this project with Aimee's pattern representing the movement of water on a pond, I am planning to go a bit more geometric with the next mat - experimentation should be fun!

Stitching with Running Stitch really took me back to school when I was around the age of ten or eleven - oh dear, that is a loooooong time ago - and I find my memory quite strong in that area. I really did enjoy sewing class and my lovely teacher, and those stitches had to be even and straight!

Also this week saw me doing a bit more RedWork - on snowflakes - now have you ever seen red snowflakes? Never mind, they are very effective I think, and this pattern also came from Aimee's book - same one:

With Christmas coming up this could become a little gift for someone, when I make a final decision about what it's going to be - I will show this at a later date! This design was also done on cotton duck using three strands of cotton floss. Stitches are: back; straight; satin; lazy daisy, and French knots.

And so my friends, that's my Stitchalong with Chrissie and friends for this week and I'm looking forward to seeing your lovely pieces. Till next time, do take care and I wish you all happy times!

Joy xo

Friday 11 October 2013

Giveaway and Latest Book Purchases

Is time really speeding up or what! I intended to do this post early part of the week but here we are and it's Friday again - I can't believe it! Anyway, welcome to you all and I trust that the week has gone well for you - I've been trying to keep up with all your posts that have been happening but I think I'm a wee bit behind again - so much time spent on the computer but I do get a kick out of seeing all your pics of wonderful makes and lovely blooms and places, and I love hearing of your adventures in daily life, thank you for sharing! I also thank each of you for your lovely messages - you know I thrive on them!

I have had a couple of lovely surprises in the past week or so - I am very fortunate to have won two lovely giveaways - the first surprise news came from Judy   and her lovely gift is 'winging its way to me' even as I type, but it does have a long way to fly - and then a day or so ago I heard from Deb regarding a gorgeous pattern that will also soon be mine! I can't show you these yet but will do when they arrive; thank you so much lovely ladies, I feel very blessed by your kindness!

At the weekend I was taken with an urge to knit something for a little girl, and at the same time thought it would be a nice thing to do for a giveaway, so I did! There's love in every stitch of this little garment for I really wanted to do it and really enjoyed the whole process!

I think that most of us have a little girl in our lives somewhere - whether she be daughter, niece, grand-daughter, friend or neighbour ... ...  so if you feel you would like to have this cardi for your little sweetie then you are welcome to join in the fun. Just leave me a message and I'll draw a name from a hat, on say, Sunday 20th of October at 5.00 pm Australian time! I'm happy to mail this off overseas or locally and will notify the winner and ask for mailing address when the time comes around.

The yarn used is 100% Australian pure wool in 8 ply, and is machine washable (gentle of course) and measurements are: 54cm chest; 32cm length; 20cm sleeve length (underarm). It's supposed to fit a 12-24 month child but I'm sure it would easily fit a 3-year-old. Of course children vary in size too so - who knows!

Right, what's next! Ah yes, I haven't shown you any of the book purchases I've made in the past few weeks so here we go - I know it looks like a lot of money has been spent here but not really, I did find a couple of bargains among the bunch:

You probably know by now that I have an ongoing love affair with fairies, and, as I'm also  interested in trying out ribbon embroidery, (sometime when I can find more hours in the day), these two books looked like a good idea. I'm not disappointed in the least, they are really lovely and will be very beneficial when I can set the time aside to concentrate on them. Front covers in first pic and below that you see the back covers of both.

I also found a Cath Kidston book, which a lot of you will probably be familiar with already, as well as a lovely publication by Alice Butcher and Ginny Farquhar:

I'm not doing 'real' reviews of these as it is easy enough to look them up on Google if you are interested in learning more about them, but I did just want to say that each of these books is full of inspiration and could be most helpful, especially at this time of year when we are looking for ideas with Christmas gift making.
 Having said that, I am showing you quite a few pics of 'Little Sew and Sew' by Christine Leech which I found only yesterday, and which I absolutely LOVE! Inside the covers of this lovely publication are  quite a few ideas that I'd like to adopt for the Sunday Stitchalong which I've been so enjoying, along with Chrissie and other friends. This is a very very sweet book!!! 

Alright, that's the books done with and now for a couple of little blooms to cheer you on your way! We had an empty pot that was crying out for a new plant so Hubby went off and bought a lovely new rose  aptly named 'Blushing Knockout' - and isn't she sweet!

And this bloom is the Clematis, but, although she gives us a beautiful bloom once or twice in the season, she just doesn't seem to grow or make any other progress, so we are always excited to see her showing off. This gorgeous flower has actually got bigger since I took the pics, but she was past her best before I had opportunity to snap her again - mainly due to the weather! Enough said on that subject!

Have a lovely weekend all you lovelies out there, and I'll be looking forward to hearing from you again soon.

Joy xo

Monday 7 October 2013

Sunday Stitchalong on Monday

Hello everyone, I'm running a bit late here but you know how it goes "Better late than never"! I hope you've all enjoyed a lovely weekend and are looking forward to an interesting and happy week. Many thanks to all of you for your lovely messages - I do so enjoy reading your interesting observations - and I'm very grateful to not be talking to myself!

Today I am only doing a short post to keep up with Sunday Stitchalong with Chrissie and friends and I'll do my 'regular' post in a few days.

 Just an apple and a couple of hearts but I did enjoy doing them! This time I decided to use only two of the six strands of floss at any one time, just for a change, and I think it does look a bit neater. Of course this time I had only pencil sketch marks to cover which is a lot easier than the effort involved after using my (too thick) indelible tracing pen!

This one is done mainly in back stitch and stem stitch plus that little border stitch is one I found in a Semco Embroidery Stitches booklet that I've had for .. .. well .. it may be over twenty years .. .. at a time when it seemed a good idea to get into embroidery but then nothing much came of it! Well, I say nothing came of it but my elder daughter, who has a memory like an elephant's, has reminded me of table cloths and such like that I turned my hand to. That girl never forgets a thing! This is a wonderful booklet actually, with all the stitches explained and illustrated so clearly, and, looking closely at the top right corner I see that it only cost $2.80 (brand new!) which is a far cry from today's prices, although that's all relative anyway!

Just a close-up in case you're against wearing glasses?!!! I'm only joking girls!

This little thing won't become a cushion - it will need to have a wee bit of protection as that stitch may not stand up to much wear and tear and would probably soon get tugged out of shape, were it in a cushion!

But last week's effort has become a cushion, so the dilemma about 'which way up' has been put to rest, and I do appreciate all the input from you lovelies regarding that point, thank you!

I may have stuffed this little thing too full, although these things usually flatten out a bit anyway in time, and I could have put an edging panel in it but decided to go the easy (well, not quite!) way and cut two equal circles and take it from there. I won't say that I'm thrilled with the result, but do still like the design and if at some future date I decide to make changes then I can easily do so. What do you think?

So now I'm off to catch up on some of your lovely new posts to see what you've been up to, but I will leave you with another couple of shots of my gorgeous lollipop tree, which has presented me with more blooms as well as much pleasure:

Wishing you all a happy, happy week full of all the things you best enjoy!

Joy xo