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

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tansy's round robin.

My work on Tansy's round robin is nearly finished. I just have to do the back stitching, and it will be ready to post to Jane in England, for her to stitch another design on the fabric. Tansy specified birds as her preferred theme, and when I asked what kind of birds, she said 'mythical or folk' stylised designs, so when I found this Phoenix in one of the BHG books, I thought it would be perfect. I will post another photo when I've done the back stitching, but it is interesting to see the contrast between one with and without that final touch. This was a challenge for me, on 28 ct. material, as I've previously only done one or two projects on that kind of fabric. But as I got going on it, I started to really enjoy working on it, and I think I can now understand why so many experienced stitchers say they prefer this to Aida.

Fabric postcard and embroidered tea towel.

I had two gorgeous surprises in my mail today - a fabric postcard from Kathy, my swap partner in the Under The Sea Yahoo group. Here is her card. What a coincidence that she has featured a mermaid on hers, because I also stitched a small mermaid on my card for her. The other surprise was this beautiful 'tea towel' which was stitched for me by Kathleen in the U.S.A. You might remember reading here a couple of weeks ago, that I posted Kathleen some of my old unworked linens for her to stitch, as I knew she liked vintage linen. She didn't tell me she was going to do this for me as a way of thanking me! Thank you so much, Kathleen, this is so pretty. There is no way I'll be using it to wipe dishes! It will be displayed in my kitchen with other hand stitched tea towels.

Roll up! Roll up! Lots of eye candy!

Well, all those doilies I mentioned below are now off the line and nicely pressed, so sit down with a cuppa (or a glass of red) and enjoy some eye candy! First off are three white pieces with drawn/pulled thread (I can never remember which is which) hems. The first photo is a closeup of the corner of one cloth, as it is a larger cloth than the others, and I thought it was worthwhile to show the work in closeup instead of the whole cloth, as it is in such good condition. This is an unusual example of Hungarian embroidery, set in a crocheted surround - correct me if I'm wrong, I'm no expert on crochet. The embroidery is perfect, very difficult to tell the front from the back. Thsi is a nice little item of cutwork, with subtle shading on the embroidered edges. I put this one and the one above on a shaded background, to highlight the work, as it would have got lost in the white glare of the scanner otherwise. These next two are simple doilies, nicely stitched. Cross stitched roses are a dime a dozen, as the Americans say! I have a number of doilies and cloths with roses cross stitched on them, but I thought this one was a nicer than usual example. This cloth is probably one of the thousands of doilies that have come out of China and the Phillipines in the last century, as they have a similar style. But I do like the colours used on the roses here. Good old thistles! There must have been a real craze for them at some time in the distant past, because I have at least a dozen varieties of the theme in my collection. Just another pretty centrepiece you say? But have a closer look at the stitching - tiny, perfect little satin stitches. Amendment dated 1st June. I had not looked closely at the back of this centrepiece until the weekend, and it was then that I realised those pink flowers are not satin stitch, but bullion stitches. Oh my, this person must have had perfect vision and nimble fingers...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Crocheted doilies giveaway.

Many craft bloggers have giveaways to their readers - stash items such as fabrics and threads. I have been given a heap of doilies by Ken's cousin, who works for a company who clean out houses after someone has died or moved on elsewhere. Sue keeps an eye out for linens for me, and gave me this nice lot yesterday. I've soaked them all overnight, and if we get some wind or sun to dry them today, I'll be ironing them tonight, and put decent photos on here soon.
This lot however, aren't in my field of interest. While I can appreciate the work that goes into crochet, lacemaking, tatting, etc. I don't actively collect it. So, here is my giveaway - post a comment here telling me why you would like some of these, and what you will do with them. There is enough to go around for a few people, and I don't mind posting overseas, so don't hold back if you are not in Australia!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Two FPCs, all finished.

This fabric postcard is in the nature of an experiment. Fellow Stitchin Fingers member Doreen sometimes cuts up old doilies to use in her FPCs, and as I had some damaged doilies lying around, I thought I would have a go. Thanks, Doreen!
And this is the Under The Sea card now ready to be posted to Kathy in the U.S.A.
On a different subject, I've just posted a new addition to my apron collection on the Apron blog.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Postcards and biscornu exchanges

Isn't this lovely! A personalised biscornu! This arrived in the mail today, from Marg in Qld. She was my exchange partner in our Cross Stitchin Fingers Biscornu exchange.
I am overdue in a Yahoo Group exchange, so I worked my little butt off today to get as much done as I could on the fabric postcard for the "Under The Sea" theme. While I was hunting around in my stash for the appropriate bits, I got an idea for another postcard, so I started on that as well. I might donate it to our Bushfire survivors FPC group, or just keep it for a future exchange.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Old linens get a new lease of life!

Kathleen over at Yesteryear Embroideries in the U.S.A., does the most exquisite embroidery, and she particularly likes to work on vintage designs and linens. After reading her blog and seeing examples of the work she does, I asked her if she would like to play with some of the old UFOs in my stash, and she readily agreed to. So I sent a dozen assorted items over to her, and she has just posted photos on her blog of the first doiley she has finished. Even though I have far too many vintage linens in my cupboard, most of which I shall never do myself, it is hard to part with them because I just love to look at them, handle them, and think about how I will stitch them. Most of my readers would empathise with me! But I was more than happy to pass them on to Kathleen, knowing she will love them and actually work on them, instead of the pieces sitting unseen in my home for years to come. Do visit Kathleen's blog here and see what magic she has woven!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fabric postcards for our bushfire victims.

Most of the people who read this blog will be aware of the Stitchin' Fingers website (the link is at the top of the sidebar here). I belong to several of the groups on the website, one being the Fabric Postcards Group. I asked the members of this group if they would be willing to make a postcard for a person who has lost family, friends or property in the February bushfires in Victoria. So far I have received FPCs from ladies in England, the USA and other parts of Australia, and more have been promised from other countries.
Lorna in the U.K. is a textiles teacher at Cantrell College in Southampton, and asked her students if they would make a postcard for a child over here, who had been affected by the bushfires. Today I received a large carton from England, with 140 handmade postcards, all with messages on the back from the children (age group from 11 to 13). Here is the box: This is what it contains: Just a few of the children's postcards: They all have caring messages on the back of the cards:
I have to tell you that both Ken (my husband) and I were moved to the point of having tears in our eyes as we read each message. To think that these kids on the other side of the world, would do this for children here, who they don't know and are not likely to meet, is something very special. There has always been a close link between England and Australia because of our shared history, and this project goes to show that those links are still strong. Lorna must be a very special teacher to be able to persuade her students to do this.
I have already emailed Lorna to thank her, and have told her that I will be emailing our local paper and other media to tell them about this effort for our Bushfire victims. Even though so much continues to be done by so many, to me this is different, because it's done by kids for kids.
Thanks Lorna, and thank you also to your students.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Jigsaw quilt?

Here is another interesting concept, using fabric or paper to make pieces shaped like a jigsaw piece. Everyone in this group uses the same template, then they swap their creations with others in the group, and eventually make up a display of some kind with all the interlocking pieces placed on a backing. I started out to write some letters an hour ago. I should have just turned the computer on without going online. It always happens - I get sidetracked! But it is simply fantastic what people come up with, and to be able to see their work around the world, from your own home...

Here is a person who is never bored!

I have come across many super-creative people since I've been on the Internet, but Cindy over at Cindy's Stitch in Time has to be one of the most incredible! Have a look at this post on her blog, which tells what she does with a pair of old jeans. And have a look at the rest of her blog while you are visiting - lots of eye candy for crafty people! (and it wouldn't kill you to leave a comment, either...)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Two small finished items and one nearly finished.

This ATC and fabric postcard have been keeping me busy, as they had a deadline. The ATC (top) is an exchange for another Stitchin Fingers member, in England. The theme for everyone in the exchange was "My Country". My stitching of 'AUSTRALIA' is pretty wobbly, but I don't think my partner will mind.
This patriotic postcard is my contribution to the FPCs for Bushfire Victims on Stitchin Fingers. I had done one earlier, but wasn't happy with it, so I feel better about this one.
I've been working on these chickens when I felt like doing something that didn't take as much concentration. The green border will have a red edge outside it, and that will be surrounded by a brown border. The reason I chose those colours is because I'm going to make this into a table centre by adding a wide border of fabric around the edges of this piece. The fabric has roosters all in rows, and the colours of the fabric include these three colours.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Antique market finds.

I've been prowling around opshops this week, but today I decided to go upmarket and visit one of our local antique markets. I found some great items all messed up in a heap in a clothes basket under a table. So having the afternoon free, I sat on the floor, tipped everything out and proceeded to fold them all up and put them back neatly, removing what I wanted as I went. The ladies in charge were so impressed they gave me a cup of coffee and biscuit free of charge! Here are some of the items I found: This koala doiley is quite common; I think I already have one or two in my collection, but the stitching on it is beautiful, so it was worth grabbing for $6. His fur looks so real you could just about cuddle him.
There must have been over 100 tea towels, and as much as I love them, I am NOT going to start collecting them, at least not any more than what I already have in our hall cupboard...So I only took a few - for $3 each I was very pleased to get two plain Irish linen towels which will be perfect for my Aunt Martha's transfers. Two that are already embroidered,
I gave in to temptation on these two printed towels. I can't resist anything with chooks and chickens on these days! The one with the Irises on is for the staff at Iris Grange, the aged care hostel where my MIL is now. They are so kind and caring, I just thought this would be a little gesture to say thanks. It will probably end up one day in the kitchen mopping spills, but I'm sure the girls will like it for now.
I also bought two aprons (printed fabric, not embroidered) which can be seen on my Aprons blog, and this tablecloth, also printed fabric. As my friends know, I only collected embroidered linen, but I had to have this lovely bright crinoline lady cloth for our kitchen table!

Monday, May 04, 2009

An ATC from India.

One of the exchanges I'm in with the Stitchin Fingers site is a fabric ATC exchange. I've already posted photos here of the ATCs I have so far received, and here is the latest one to arrive from Pallavi in India. It is very different from the usual ATC that we see on our group, so perhaps Pallavi will be inadvertently responsible for a whole wave of new style ATCs! I didn't know what the white items were, so I emailed Pallavi to ask, and she tells me they are temporary doilies cut from tissue paper. Nice thought - thank you Pallavi!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

If you like Biscornus, check this out!

While surfing through other stitchers' blogs, I discovered a Blog dedicated to Biscornus - Basket of Biscornu. I'm sure there are others, but this one has really blown me away. Each member of the group commits to making one biscornu per month for 12 months. They post a photo of their work each month, and as there are 49 girls, there are hundreds of beautiful biscornus on the blog so far! Can you imagine, a 15 sided Biscornu?? (They are usually 8 cornered).

My first Biscornu finished, and Tansy's round robin.

I finished my Biscornu today - YAAAAY!!! Just love these little thingies, and now that I know how easy they are to do (fiddly, but not difficult, for those of you who still haven't made one), I've got more in the pipeline. Being my first attempt, I used 14ct Aida and a very simple design. Next time I'll go for 28 ct. or evenweave, and might attempt a blackwork design. But not just yet. My next project has a deadline of the end of May: the Round Robin I am in on Stitchin' Fingers. The picture below is of the piece I have to work on, and it belongs to Tansy in Kentucky. I was blown away when I saw her work!!! One strand over one thread of 28ct! I have already apologised for not being able to match her standard, as I don't think my eyes could see well enough to do that, even under a magnifyer. But I have worked 2 over 2 on 28ct, so I'm confident that my bit on her RR will be okay.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Lots of vintage stuff today!

Two years ago, I gave some of my unworked and unfinished vintage doilies to a friend who loves to crochet. I can't crochet, and these doilies needed the edges crocheted, so Sue offered to do them. I would have got them back ages ago, but she lives about 200 miles away from us, and we haven't been to visit since I gave her the doilies. So she posted them to me. ****************************************************************************** Also in the mail recently was a large envelope from someone whose name I didn't recognise at first. On opening the envelope I found these three doilies and a note from one of the EGV's committee members. Then I remembered - she had rung me last year and told me she'd left some doilies at the EGV office for me, but I kept forgetting to look for them. She obviously got sick of waiting, and decided to post them. Thanks Rachel, if you are reading this!
And these two fishy pieces of fabric? An eBay purchase, which I bought to use for a patchwork project needing an ocean theme. Isn't it pretty?
Finally, I had a spare afternoon today, and as it was a pleasant day for driving (not too hot, too cold, too windy), I decided to do some op shop browsing. I visited four shops and got lucky in three of them. If you go to this blog, you can see what I found.