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

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I SWEAR I wasn't going to do this...

As if I haven't got enough stitching projects to last me into the next ten lifetimes! I've admired Pam Kellogg's CQs for ages, and then found more to drool over on other blogs, but decided I would not even THINK of doing one myself. Not enough time. My embroidery skills are too basic. But then I joined the Take A Stitch Tuesday group on Stitchin Fingers as you know if you've been reading my blog for more than 3 weeks. And I've discovered how much fun I can have experimenting with different ways of doing those basic stitches. What's the most fun way those experiments can be used? On a Crazy Quilt block of course. Sharon H. showed me how to get started on Thursday. Well, she did most of it, then when I got home I played some more. Here it is, ready for embellishments in the form of stitches, beads and buttons. Lucky I'm going to the Quilt & Craft Fair in a few weeks (not so lucky for the credit card though...)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Oh dear...

I've stuffed up. I was messing around with the Blogger template, and decided to try to bring this blog into line with my others. It still had the old template, so I clicked customise, selected the same template and VOILA. This is the result. Same template alright, but my custom colour at the top has vanished, and so had all my links! Well, it's worked out for the better in some respects. Instead of just a list of links to my favourite blogs, they now show when each person last posted something. Gotcha, girls! Now I'll know who's keeping her blog up to date and who's not - LOL!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Two more stitching samplers.

The TAST group on Stitchin Fingers is in its third week. I posted my Herringbone stitch sampler here two weeks ago, and since then I've done samples of Button hole Stitch and Detached Chain (Lazy Daisy) Stitch.
I'm not happy with either of these, for several reasons. Aida fabric is not suitable for some stitches and threads, and I've chosen the wrong ones for some of these. I never had any trouble with buttonhole stitch before, but I've always worked it on linen or other closely woven fabric, on top of stamped designs - and the same with buttonhole stitch. When/if I get time, I'll redo these samples on more suitable fabric. Don't hold your breath waiting, though!

Showing off my aprons

Last Friday, I gave a talk at Embroidery House (EGV headquarters) about my apron collection. It was suggested that I have my presentation videotaped so that I could put it on YouTube for people to see, and Ken even lent me his video camera to use! But, typical male - his instructions on how to use it were less than detailed, so when I got to the Guild and attempted to set it up, it didn't work. The fact that my mind was elsewhere at the time didn't help either (my car had developed engine problems on the way, and I barely made it to the Guild).

Just as well I'd taken my own camera, and one of the ladies offered to take some photos for me. Here is one of them, when I was about half way through my talk, as you can see by the untidy pile of aprons on my left! Everyone was fascinated by the variety in my collection, and all came up to me afterwards to ask questions, and tell me about their 'apron experiences'. A couple of the other ladies had brought their own aprons to show too, which made the afternoon even more interesting for me, as I'm always pleased to see other people's collections.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Am I about to start producing CQs????

Well, maybe! Karen has sent me a parcel of goodies as a swap for some crocheted doilies I sent her. She sent these lovely fabrics which look like chantung to me, but I'm not sure. After looking at her blog and seeing what she has done with similar fabrics, I feel like I could get started on something myself!
She also sent me some extras - a lovely embroidered table runner
And this magazine, which has several terrific articles about vintage aprons - thank you Karen!

On my kitchen table last week....

...Until the MOTH spilt a glass of wine over it! I had to whip it off the table and in to Napisan to soak. Fortunately there are no stains. I've had this Semco cloth for a while and probably posted a pic on the blog ages ago, but I'm able to post better photos now with the digital camera.

Items of interest.

One of my American blogging pals sent me these in a parcel of goodies. I posted these photos on my other blog, but they really belong here, so here we go again: Individal floral embroidered items. Phone book cover, beautifully stitched in cross stitch.

My new cloth from Eltham's antique market.

This is the cloth on my kitchen table. It drapes nicely over the circular table, but it will look even better over the larger dining table - it's just that the light is better for photos in the kitchen. Here is a closeup of the stitching. Absolutely exquisite - almost like machine work, but it is definitely hand stitched (you can tell from the back, of course).

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Two nice books at a nice price!

An antique market has just opened in my suburb - hooray!! The building was previously rented by one antique dealer who has moved to another location, and now there are several independent stall holders in the building, which makes browsing so much more interesting. I found a beautiful table cloth which is at present soaking - not in Napisan, but this time in 'Biz' (compliments of Chelle in Canada!) I'd read about this stain removal product on several American blogs and websites, and Chelle kindly sent me a sample. I'll be pegging it out on the line tomorrow and bringing it in to be ironed in the evening, so all going well, I should have a pic here then.
As well as the cloth, I bought these two books which at $10 each were a great buy! I spent much of the afternoon browsing through them and mentally ticking off projects I'd like to try (in my dreams, lol)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Finished project!

This is my entry in the Guild's 2008 Members Challenge, to embroider a leaf. I chose this mint leaf in Assisi stitch, and have put it in a plastic drink coaster frame to be submitted for entry.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Centrepiece and table runner.

Last week while I was at the Embroiderers' Guild, one of the committee members came into the office and presented me with this centrepiece. She explained that an aunt had made it and given it to M, but she had so many already, she wondered if I would like to add it to my collection. Well of course - with grateful thanks! The colour in the top photo is not as true as the closeup, but you can see the design.
I couldn't resist this table runner from the USA via eBay; there was nothing quite like this sweet design in my collection.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Good news for you lot, but hard work for me!

Further to my post regarding changing this blog into a website, or splitting it up into different blogs, I now have a solution, thanks to Anne. In a comment to my post, she suggested putting labels on the posts here, so that readers could 'call up' a category by the label name, and everything under that label would appear as a seperate list. In a negative frame of mind, I replied to Anne that because this was my first blog, and I have never upgraded the template when Blogger changed, I didn't think I could put labels on my posts. But after I wrote that, I had a go at doing it. VOILA! It works! Now don't get excited. There are 797 posts at the time of writing this, so it is going to take me forever to label them all! Some will be tricky because I'll have two different items on one post, so I'll have to fiddle around I guess. But what the heck? It saves me (a) creating a website (b) splitting this into several blogs, and it will keep me off the streets for a while, LOL! Thanks again, Anne!

New doilies and my first TAST sampler.

This lovely set was reasonably priced on eBay, so I decided to bid, seeing I have in my stash an unworked tablecloth with this design stamped on it, but no instructions. Now I'll have the originals to follow!
This is my first sample of stitches for the TAST group on Stitchin Fingers. I'm quite proud of myself! We were given the task of stitching Herringbone stitch in any form we like, and as I am not very imaginative, I started off with one row of plain Herringbone. Then I started looking at what others have done, and then I started looking at all my embroidery books...and came up with some ideas of my own! Well, sort of. Adapted from others, shall we say.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Great new website!

Poor Ken. My long suffering husband is sitting patiently in the lounge room, wondering if and when we are going to have any dinner tonight. It's after 7 pm and I've spent much of this weekend on the computer. Just as well dinner will only take a few minutes to prepare (last night's cold roast chicken warmed up with a can of vegetable soup - great stand-by!).
So what has been so fascinating that I can't tear myself away from this little screen? For the past year, I have been adding stitching blogs and websites to my IE Favorites List, and decided it is about time I moved them from there to the sidebar of this blog. (I know, it's supposed to be on the side, but it's ended up at the bottom of the page somehow...). So of course I had to re-check them all to make sure they are worth a second (and third) visit, which took time. A lot of time. One of the newer sites I'd only had a cursory glance at, but when I had a closer look, I got sucked in well and truly.
SharonB has created a website like no other, for lovers of all kinds of textile crafts. Stitchin Fingers has Groups, Forums, Discussions, Tutorials, in fact just about everything you could wish for on a craft site. I've joined three groups, one of which is a working group where the members commit themselves to learning one new stitch each week and practising it, working variations of it, and so on. Sharon did this last year on her blog and this group has the same name "TAST, or Take A Stitch Tuesday".
Several of my blogging friends have already joined Stitchin Fingers, and I'm sure if you are reading this, and you check out the link, you'll see what the attraction is! See you there soon!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

An old Vogart transfer

I've been buying up these plain tea towels whenever I find them, and they are HARD to find! I don't see them in retail stores - mostly on eBay or in second hand/opshops. They are perfect for my collection of vintage transfers, and I've done a few in recent years, as it makes a nice change from cross stitch all the time. I'm working on this one at the moment for a friend.

Friday, June 06, 2008

My latest finish.

I can't wait to post this - I've framed it since this photo was taken, but haven't got around to photographing the framed article! I'll do it later... I've been working on it for ages, but couldn't post progress reports in case Lee-ann saw it. It is an anniversary gift for her and Rob, who have turned out to be great friends with us. She is such a sweet lady and whenever we see each other, she always has a surprise package of goodies for me that she has discovered in opshops. I'll be cross with myself if Lee-ann reads this blog before the weekend. But they've been so busy, and they are visiting us on Saturday night, so the chances of her having time to read my blog are pretty remote...fingers crossed!

Table Runner

This lovely runner arrived today from one of my favourite eBay sellers right here in Melbourne. I think they have an antique shop, and list some of their wares on eBay as well. The linens are always immaculately presented, and it is hard not to bid on just about everything they list!

Monday, June 02, 2008

All this for $8!!

There are op shops that are true thrift stores. Then there are opshops that pretend to be antique stores...at least the people working in them like to think they are, and price their stock accordingly. Our local Brotherhood of St.Lawrence op-shop is run by dear old ladies who are happy to get a few dollars for their charity, and don't haggle over prices if a customer thinks it is too high. I usually 'tip' them an extra dollar or two because their prices are ridiculously low! They don't get much in the way of vintage linen in there, but last week somebody must have dropped this lot in and I came at the right time! This is a "carver cloth" - something that was common pre-WW2, I believe. This is an excellent example on ecru linen. The next two photos are close ups of the exquisite stitching on the cloth.
Centrepiece on cotton. Closeup of centrepiece detail. This is one of a pair. And so is this, one of a pair.
Again, there are two of these napkins, probably made in China or the Phillipines, where a lot of this style of embroidery came from (and still does). I don't collect it usually, but this design is not as common as some of the others around, and I think it is lovely.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

I'm thinking of changing this blog...

...and I would like some feedback. When I started this blog, I had no idea how much it would grow, and what would spring from it in the way of other blogs. This one gets more hits than any of my other blogs; there have been over 88,000 according to the stats counter, and in a vast array of countries!
The reason I created the Aprons Blog and the Peacocks Blog was in response to emails and comments from people who had a special interest in aprons and embroidered peacocks. In removing those two subjects from Patra's Place, it reduced the size of the blog and make it a bit easier to find other things. So now I've been thinking about reducing it even more, and creating further blogs for specified subjects. For instance, I could put my own stitching on a separate blog, and that way, the readers who like to see what I'm doing (as I do with many other stitchers) don't have to go through all the vintage stuff.
The 'vintage stuff' could then be split up into Tablecloths, Doilies, Teacosies, and so on, again to enable readers to go straight to an item that they might be interested in. I had once thought of doing blogs on themes such as crinoline ladies but then I'd want to go further and split up the rest into other themes, and that would be an absolute nightmare!!
My final option is to create a website, but this has its own limitations for me. First of all there is a cost involved. Yes, I know - there are 'free' website hosts around but if you read the small print, there are conditions attached to those. Then there is the work involved in creating a website. One of my friends has just done this, right from scratch. She did have some expert help in the beginning, but is now pretty much on her own, and while she can fiddle around the edges, she still needs experts to help her do more complicated changes. She'd never even had a blog, so was completely in the dark about websites! When I showed her how blogs work, she said they are so much simpler than websites, and proceeded to show me how a website is made....EEEKK!! That's not for me!!
I look forward to your comments, or emails if you don't have a blog account yourself.