"It takes ages to finish a quilt you're not working on!"

Monday, December 31, 2007

My last posting for 2007

Happy New Year to all my Blog friends!

Photos of 2008 projects.

These photos relate to the previous post...I did them in the wrong order, didn't I..
This is the picture of the Assisi project I am doing for the Guild Challenge.
And this is what I've done so far. One strand of DMC on green 32ct. Pam K, if you're reading this - this fabric is one of the pieces you sent me ages ago!

This is the picture provided with the kit I started for a friend. And this is all I achieved!

I forgot to mention this goal. It is a Semco supper cloth started by my M.I.L. 70+ years ago. She gave it to me to finish about 15 years ago...
And this is all I have done so far - one rose! It took me two weeks. There are 12 of these roses on this cloth, as well as assorted buds and daisies. I make no promises about finishing this by December 2008!!

What is on the drawing board for 2008?

It is such a great feeling to know that the Indian won't be glaring at me from the corner of my stash room! I found a notice with the last EGV magazine, giving details for entering the Challenge for their September show. It is to embroider a leaf. Yes, just a leaf. I thought: I can do that. After looking through about 200 books and charts, I decided on an Assisi pattern, and have made a start on it already. Tried to scan it, but that didn't work, so I'll take photos of my work so far as well as the book, and post them later.
I had a blue and white teacups cross stitch sampler on the go before Christmas, to give to a friend who turned 60 in December. Sadly, it wasn't finished in time (just as well she wasn't expecting anything!), so I'll just play with that during the year and perhaps have it ready for another birthday or even Christmas 2008.
Another friend turns 50 next December, and had hinted that she would love to have me stitch something for that occasion. We went through my books together, and she chose four designs, and left it to me to decide which one to do. One was a bunch of Aust. native flowers which would be stunning when finished, but the chart had heaps of those nasty little quarter and half cross stitches, so that went back on the shelf. Another design was a Japanese lady in a kimono, but I thought it wouldn't really suit my friend's home, even though she liked the design. The third choice was a lighthouse - fantastic picture which would look fabulous anywhere...and the fourth one was an English thatched cottage with hollyhocks etc. and a pussycat. I chose the cottage because these friends are Anglophiles - is that the word? They love everything British, and have been there several times.
Other than those projects, I have some UFO's (kitten doiley, peacock duchess set..) that I would really like to get finished instead of carrying them around with me to stitch when I'm in a waiting room somewhere!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Crinoline lady doiley.

This picture does not do the doiley justice. I should have ironed it first of course, but as usual, I was in a hurry to photograph it and show it off here! Isn't it a warm and fuzzy feeling to be given a gift that has been hand made just for you? The lady who stitched this knows my love of Crinoline Ladies, and bought the stamped linen doiley with me in mind for Christmas. Thank you very much, Anne, if you're reading this!

Christmas gifts of vintage linen..

I am very lucky to have not only a darling husband like Ken, but his equally darling sister as my SIL. She keeps an eye out for vintage linen for my birthday and Christmas, and these two cloths were found at an antique shop no less (I told her to go to op-shops, they are cheaper, but she ignored that!) This first cloth is a card table cloth, designed specifically for the purpose of one of those small square tables, with ties at each corner. Each corner design features one of the four card suites; I've photographed two closeup.
This gorgeous supper cloth is absolutely perfect in every detail. I think I have a similar one in my collection, but haven't checked it yet. Doesn't matter - I'm definitely keeping this one as well!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

This week's other goodies.

Ken did not believe me when I told him I found this beautifully embroidered bag in a Salvation Army thrift shop for $1. I replied "Well, I actually bought two bags for $1 each - this one and another suede bag - both in excellent condition!
This lovely table runner is my latest eBay win from one of my favourite sellers in Qld.
These were found in an opshop in Bulleen (not far from Eltham). I had one of my senior friends with me and we stopped for a coffee at this little shopping strip. The opshop was next door to the cafe, so we had a look before we went home. B. found some wineglasses for 20c each, which, she said, at that price, I don't care if they do get broken in the dishwasher! In the meantime I was fossicking around in a plastic box full of material scraps and found these napkins. Sadly there were only three, not four as one would have expected to find. But at $1, who's counting!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Semco English Churches stamped linen.

My very dear friend LeeAnn included this set of vintage Semco stamped linen in her Christmas gift to me. She has some fantastic finds around the opportunity shops she haunts - I'm just so glad she doesn't collect it for herself, and I am VERY glad she collects it for me!!

As you can see, one of the six panels has been neatly stitched, so even though there are no instructions with the linen, it is easy to see the way it was intended they were to be embroidered. Will they (or one of them) be my next project? It is all straight stitch and stem stitch - very simple and quick sewing.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Indian is framed and home!

I didn't wait for Ken's birthday or Christmas to give this to him. It was never intended for that purpose; I just kept stirring him up over the years by telling him he might get the Indian for his next birthday, etc. It is sitting on the floor in this pic because it was the only place I could get a photo without the flash reflecting off the glass (even though it is non-reflective glass). Ken has been busy since he got home from work, trying it out in different spots around the lounge room. I'm just glad it's all over!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What next? Is there life after an Indian?

There certainly is - a cupboard full! Two close friends of many years are turning 60 - one next month, and one this time next year. I have two cross stitch kits in a blue cups and teapots theme, slightly different from each other, but about the same size. I've got one on a frame and ready to go, but if I don't finish it by my friend's birthday (Xmas Eve), she won't know anything because I haven't told her about it. So it will keep for the other friend next year, for whom I have promised to stitch something. But if I do get it finished in time, I still have the other one to do next year.
Ken's Mum has given me several unfinished embroidered items over the years, and one is a Semco suppercloth, which I would love to finish off while she is still with us. It has roses and rosebuds scattered over it, and I have completed one rose, which took me two weeks. It is an intricate design, and I didn't want to hurry, because embroidery looks awful if it is rushed, doesn't it. So I may retrieve that one next year. I'd like to do a few Christmas cards for some good friends, but if I start the teacups project in earnest, I won't have time for the cards! Ahhh..decisions, decisions. But it is nice to be free of that Indian at last. And if I remain unemployed for another month or so, I may get some cards as well as the 60th gift done! (don't hold your breath)

Indian Chief front and back.

This is the front, finished ready to frame. If you go close up, you may notice the difference in the beads. These are closer to the real turquoise colour. The first ones I had were just blue glass.
And this is his behind..er..back.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A few Indian hiccups.

I took two more photos when I'd completed my Indian, and am going to go back on my word and publish them here shortly. But in the meantime, I have two little stories to finish off the saga of the Indian. I always hand wash my finished stitching projects in luke warm water, with a little wool-wash liquid added. I've never had any problem until now...this time, the colour ran from one of the red threads used in the design. Fortunately there are only a couple of small areas where this particular red was used, so the damage was not extensive. About 1 cm of very pale pink can just be seen on the aida, at the edge of the design. I'm not worried about it. If it was to be judged in a competition, I guess it would be important, but anyone else who sees it wouldn't be so RUDE as to point it out....would they? (Ken did, lol)
The other thing that happened as I was tidying up my craft room (polite word for the mess I make when working on half a dozen things at once!), was that I picked up the jar of beads I had been using, and dropped it. It would have been fine if the lid had been screwed on tightly but....no. So thousands of tiny turquoise beads were scattered all over the carpet... ugh...I had to pick them all up because I didn't want the cat to come and lick any up. So I called on Ken to help me and he did, with a suggestion that we use sticky tape or Blue Tak to pick up a number of beads at once. Great idea! I cut two lengths of wide sticky tape and we both set to...until we started peeling the beads from the tape into the jar and realised the colour was being left behind on the tape - EEEEKKK!!!! OMG, what about the Indian? I've just washed it...beads and all! I raced into the bathroom where it was laid out on a towel to dry, and examined the beads. Phew - they still had their colour!
It is with the framer now, and he has promised it will be ready in time for Ken's birthday, a week before Christmas. Please God, don't let anything else go wrong!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Final update on my Indian Chief.

You read it right the first time - FINAL update. I have 168 more stitches to go (about three hours work) where the needle and cotton is hanging down in the photos. Apart from replacing the beads with some better ones I found last week, I will have FINISHED THE INDIAN! Here is where he is at tonight (Thursday 22nd November). Next time you see this old man, he will be mounted and framed (I mean that in the nicest way).
An interesting sideline about this project. The title on the kit is simply 'Indian Chief'. I emailed a friend who I met through a Native American website some years ago, and asked her if she could identify which tribe this design might be from. She responded immediately - here is her reply:
Whoever designed this artwork did a poor job of following traditions of just one tribe. The head dress has ermine skins hanging down on the side which was traditional of Blackfoot and Nez Perce. However, then he is wearing a necklace of turquoise which is entirely a Southwest tribe adornment usually. The pattern on the headband is so often used by many tribes that it cannot safely identify which Nation this would be. Hate to tell your friend, but this is simply a "generic" Chief. hugs to you, Wahela Bluejay
When I read this out to Ken, he was a tad disappointed, and wanted to know if there were any embroidery or cross stitch patterns of 'real' Indians. I have no doubt there are, but if he thinks I'm going to spend another 20 year stitching Indians, he's got another 'think' coming!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I have a new apron!

If you want to check it out, you will have to go here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Jesurum Lace from Venice.

A friend recently sent me this link about Jerurum Lace, which I had never heard of, but now that I've read about it, I want to share it with the readers of this blog. This is the first part, but the link has a lot more, including many photos.
Venice, since 1870 Lace, a precious and coveted ornament from the sea. You cannot describe Jesurum without referring to the history of lace, just as you cannot talk about the history of lace without referring to Jesurum. In the 16th century, Venetian lace was known and appreciated throughout Europe, thanks to astute Venetian merchants, ably assisted by famous artists who willingly provided designs and inspiration for this noble art. Lace originated from the need for suitably trimmed and decorated household linen. According to a popular legend, a sailor returning from a long voyage brought a piece of strange seaweed, Halymedia opuntia, known by seafaring folk as "mermaids' lace", as a gift for his sweetheart. The sailor soon returned to sea and to console herself, the girl copied the beauty of the seaweed in her lace. In Venice, lace had been used since ancient times in clerical vestments and it soon became appreciated as ornamentation for rich medieval and renaissance garments. When it was adopted for use on everyday articles, it rapidly gained popularity and commercial production began to satisfy the numerous orders reaching Venice from all parts of Italy and elsewhere. According to official documents, the monarchs, aristocracy and churchmen of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries spent fabulous sums on fine lace to decorate fans, sheets and curtains, men's and women's garments and even shoes. The lace industry reached its peak of excellence in Venice in the 18th century and was so greatly appreciated that not only working class women and nuns, but also aristocratic ladies devoted themselves to its production.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Chicken Scratch tablecloth.

I already have quite a few gingham cloths and aprons decorated with 'Chicken Scratch' embroidery, but can't resist another good example. Gingham has such a fresh clean look, and this green will look nice on the outdoors setting on a summer's day. I found this in an opshop for $4.50...

Friday, November 02, 2007

Cross stitched cushion.

I found this charming little piece in an opshop recently, with a pricetag of $2. I couldn't leave it there to rot, could I?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

"The Love Of Lace" gift book.

A dear friend of mine visited recently and presented me with this little book. She said her hubby had spotted it at a garage sale and thought of me straight away. Isn't that kind? I'm always surprised when this happens to me, although I guess I shouldn't be, as I do the same thing myself - buy odd bits and pieces for people who I know will appreciate them.
It is a charming little book - full of information about the various kinds of lace, and how they have been used down through time. The pictures are that gorgeous olde worlde vintage style - here are some samples.

Update on Kitten doiley.

Remember this little cutie on my blog here a few months ago? I've been diligently stitching away on him every time I've been in hospital and doctors' waiting rooms (and that is a lot of hours in recent months), and I am satisfied with how he is turning out. I had no instruction sheet to go by, so I've just used basic stitches and colours on a whim. I don't stitch this item at home at all - my stitching time at home is focussed on the Indian, which is also coming along nicely. Another photo up soon!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Update on Chief UFO

See? Nearly finished! If you click on the photo, it may bring it close enough to see where I've done back stitching around the face, and also the beads I used to embellish his jade adornments.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Chelle and more stitching time.

My blogging friend Chelle over the Pond in the U.S.A. went raving mad today, posting comments all over my blogs about my latest linen finds! I caught up with her while she was in the middle of posting them, and we hooked up to each other on Instant Messenger. We chatted online for about an hour - 4 to 5 pm here in Melbourne, and 1 to 2 am over there in Illinois! What fun to catch up with blog friends online around the world. It cheered me up no end after a traumatic day jobwise - thanks Chelle!
Which brings me to 'more stitching time'. Anyone reading this who also reads my other blog Patra's Other Place will be aware of the problems I've had with my workplace. I'm not going to go into details here, but the good thing to come out of it is that I've decided to have an extended holiday from work, if not actual retirement (Ken's not happy about that option!). I have been so tired all the time this year and recently under more stress, so I am looking forward to being at home or out with friends from now on, and more importantly, having more time to STITCH! I'm going to get moving fast on Chief Indian UFO, so watch this space for developments!

Close ups of MIL's embroidered treasures.

I love this little treasure! MIL said it might have been to slip napkins in, but I have seen them elsewhere used like this, putting cutlery in the little pocket,
MIL said she remembers enjoying stitching this, until she had to do the border, where the edge had to be folded under twice, then stitched into the spoked edge. She got one and a bit sides done, then gave up!
I was delighted to see this familiar face! I have this tray cloth already embroidered in my collection. It will be fun to stitch this one myself and then perhaps give it to Ken's sister or niece.
These last two look much like the hand embroidered cloths that have been made in Asian countries for years, but MIL said she did these herself. Perhaps they were sold in kit form?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Mum-in-law has been tidying up again...

Yesterday after I'd been to the Embroiderer's Guild, I stopped off at MIL's house for a cuppa and chat. She said (as she so often does, bless her heart) she had a sudden thought about a box at the bottom of a drawer in a back room. This is the box she handed me: With the ribbon still around it, it looked like it may have once contained biscuits or chocolates, or lingerie perhaps. She didn't remember. But this is what she had been storing in it for the past 50 years:
There is a suppercloth, tray cloths, doilies, crocheted collars made by her grandmother, embroidered handkies, a crocheted sauce bottle cover, and a beaded necklace, which she had made herself when she was in her twenties. She said she'd done a lot of beading, but given most of it away as gifts at the time. I soaked the material items overnight, hung them out to dry this morning, and thanks to strong winds, they are now inside waiting to be ironed.
Finally, she handed me a plastic bag containing these two small tapestries, complete with wool and needles. She'd bought them only a few years ago, but couldn't finish them once arthritis had got its cruel grip on her fingers.

Goodies waiting for me at The Guild!

When I arrived at the Embroiderer's Guild yesterday for my monthly volunteer stint, I was met by the other volunteer I work with on this particular day. She reminded me that I'd missed their Paddy's Market Day, but she'd seen some aprons and other small items she thought I'd like, so she grabbed them for me. Thank you, Wanda! Here are two items; you can find the aprons on my Apron blog. This is a very old Fautleys design. I always wish people would leave the instructions attached to the linen - the staple is still in the material, but the piece of paper has long gone!
Not sure about yellow daffodils and green leaves on this green traycloth...I wonder how it would look if I just stitched the outline in black instead of filling it in with colours?