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

Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween fabric postcards, ATCs...

We have been busy at the Stitchin Fingers website, swapping ATCs and FPCs with a Halloween Theme. Here is what I have received so far: Cute fabric postcard from Leslie in the U.K.
And a cute ATC from Maria in Spain - The FPCs and ATC I made for these swaps are here. I am expecting another FPC from Liz in Kansas - that is for our Yahoo postcard group. Ahhh..the joys of simple stitching!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A variety of linen goodies.

On Tuesday, I visited our Guild in Malvern, taking my friend J. along with me. J. has no real interest in embroidery, but does appreciate the arts in general, so she was keen to see the Guild and whatever was on display. This month's display had an unusual theme - 'The Nursery', and Guild members were asked to contribute items from their own collection of family things. I took five little girls aprons, Ken's first bib and a tray cloth with Donald Duck stitched on it. They were all up on show, and I was spitting chips that I'd forgotten to take my camera!
As well as viewing the display, I had to collect a package that one of the Guild members had left for me in the office. She'd phoned me to say she had some old unfinished linens, and asked if I'd like to have them. Of course I said yes! The EGV members are getting to know me and my love of old stuff, and quite often hand me items they have come across in their travels - how kind people are. This is what B. brought in: A simple unfinished doiley, which I shall probably send to one of my overseas blog friends who delight in finishing these! This is a very old teacosy, finished on one side, with the same pattern on the other side, but not quite finished. I'll finish this one myself if I can match the colours. Fortunately there isn't much more to stitch, so if the colours are not an exact match, it shouldn't show up. Then I just have to find someone to crochet the edge! It needs to be soaked and pressed, as you can see, but what a little treasure.
Before we left, J. and I bought some hand made cards from the Guild gift shop cabinet. One of the EGV Groups meet monthly, and make small items such as cards, pincushions, needlecases, etc. for sale to people who visit the Gallery. J. bought two (one of which I suspect will be mine at Christmas!) and I bought this one:
I have more eye candy, but it is elsewhere. I finished a Peacock bookmark this week, which you can see here if you are interested.
As well as that, I found some beaut bargains in Savers in Greensborough today! A singlebed patchwork quilt, just perfect for the spare room, and two tablecloths. You can see these on the OpShop blog here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Needlework Tapestry Guild of Vic. Exhibition

Around this time last year, Sharon took me to the Tapestry Guild Exhibition, and I was hugely impressed by their display. Sharon told me this year's exhibition opened today, but she couldn't attend, so I went with another friend. We were both simply blown away by the standard of work, and I took photos again like I did last year. The theme of the exhibition was "Black And White" and the members had taken full advantage of this, using blackwork for many projects. The members of this Guild are not as touchy as other Guilds about people photographing their work - and I did say I'd be posting photos on my blog. I think they were flattered to think their work would be seen on the Net! These are only a few - I would have taken more, but my camera batteries were going flat, and there would have been far too many to post here anyway. Christmas cross stitch.
This tapestry picture had won a place in the Royal Melbourne Show, as had many of the other pieces here.
Rooster in blackwork - stunning!
A bright cross stitched rooster, looking very similar to the blackwork version above...could this clever stitcher have turned a cross stitch design into blackwork, or vice versa? I should have asked.
Unfortunately, I didn't focus the camera properly for this shot. This is cross stitch on 16ct (I think) Aida, all in black and greys - absolutely fantastic. Looks like a photo at first glance.
Peacock tapestry on footstool.
Another peacock design, this time in blackwork.
I fell in love with this and the next - OWLS!!! This one in cross stitch..
And a beautiful blackwork Owl.
Does anybody here remember the Milly Molly Mandy books from their childhood? She was one of my favourites, and as soon as I saw this, those books came alive in my memory! I'd love to know where the stitcher got this pattern - if it was a kit, or something she has designed herself. Again, I should have asked!
A gorgeous example of cross stitch in colour combined with blackwork.
This is work in progress of a a very well known design of cats asleep on a bookshelf among the books. Something I would have loved to attempt, but the thought of doing all that stitching on black Aida puts me off!
Another beautiful blackwork piece.
Having just completed my patchwork Dresden Plate, you can imagine how impressed I was with this Dresden plate in blackwork!
I'm such a one-eyed Aussie, I just love anything like this!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

It was a productive weekend!

Yesterday's Craft Expo got me all fired up, although I paid the price today for being on my feet for so long. Aching lower back, and my left knee felt like it was tied in a knot! I was supposed to visit two friends today, but cancelled both because I just couldn't walk very far. Anyway, I got busy last night and today, and am very pleased with my accomplishments! My fifth patchwork block finished - 'Dresden Plate'. I love this design, but it is very fiddly to get right, and I don't know how people have the patience to make up a whole quilt in these!
I hope my friend Val is reading this. We started this project as an SAL but she finished way before me, and even worked on mine to help me get a move on. So I got stuck into it, and here it is - done!
These Xmas trees were part of a block on a bunch of patterns a friend lent me, and I made a template of just the trees, thinking of the variations one could make with them. Today I felt in the mood to do some applique, and couldn't resist playing with the templates and some scraps of fabric. When finished, this will be a fabric postcard for a future swap with either of my Stitchin Fingers or Yahoo groups.
Still feeling the urge to applique, I pulled out the templates for a pair of cupcake and teacup napkins I made earlier this year. Several friends said they wanted one, after they'd seen the original, so I decided to make a start today. Some months ago, I bought six plain pink and four plain yellow napkins at Savers for a few dollars, for the purpose of appliqueing things on them. I've put the cupcake in one corner and the teacup in the other, for this napkin. Now I have to embellish each to finish off. I think L. will like this!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Melbourne Craft Expo 2009

I love attending craft events with Sharon - it is so much fun spending money with someone who shares your enthusiasm! This Craft Expo is the first time it has been held in Melbourne; we think it replaces the Stitches & Craft Fair, run by the same Event managers. After reading the advertising, I didn't think I would enjoy it as much as the previous Fairs, but I was completely wrong. It was one of the best craft events I've been to in recent years. I don't know if my opinion was influenced by the ambience of the venue - Melbourne's beautiful Exhibition Buildings, which are over 100 years old and set in stunning gardens, alongside the Melbourne Museum.
We arrived early, bought our tickets and waited in the sunshine with other keen crafters for the event to open at 10 am. While we were waiting, Expo staff walked around distributing free tote bags and craft magazines to everyone - nice touch!
Once inside, we strolled around getting our bearings to see where the workshops and seminars would be held, and booked into one on embroidery. Stopping only once for coffee and a bit later for lunch, we enjoyed ourselves immensely - the stands were mostly patchwork and stitching, with paper and other crafts well represented. Here is my stash: Hexagon patchwork kit, with cardboard papers for piecing, template, fabrics, and dear little cutter and cutting board!
This little stitchery was a freebie, thrown in with the Chooks stitchery and pattern book that I bought at one stall.
Fat quarters - cupcakes and teacups - what else would you expect from me? (No new chook fabrics in stock).
Cute buttons to use on stitcheries and patchwork projects.
This photo isn't very clear, but this is the cutest stitchery - "Family Picnic" with a line of Chooks going out for the day! Can't wait to start on this!
This is the kit we received when we did the Embroidery stitches workshop. The tutor showed us how to do three or four stitches that are sometimes a bit tricky to do, and I learnt something from each example, as although I know how to do many embroidery stitches, I am most certainly no expert, and some of my work is not as neat as it should be.
I've been doing cross stitch for so long now, that I'd almost abandoned other forms of embroidery until I started crazy patchwork embellishing, and renewed my love of traditional embroidery. Sharon has been doing these stitchery type projects for a while and I could see why she enjoys them so much as a break from cross stitch. This book contains small easy designs, which I am planning to make into gifts, with some of those cute buttons to embellish each project.
I've got several needle threaders, but had been looking for a really fine one to assist me in threading beading needles. This might do the trick. If it doesn't, it still looks like a good needle threader!
These last two photos show the main reason I attended the Craft Expo. I have been wanting to put my newly created patchwork blocks into some kind of album, and thought I would have to have something purpose-made, but when I saw these at the Expo for $15, I pounced! They are 99.9% perfect - my blocks are about half an inch too wide, but that can be easily rectified by folding one side over and pressing it, so it will fit. I am so pleased with this!!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Free patterns and tutorials.

My stats counter for this blog ran out ages ago, so I'm never really sure how many people read it, but for those that do, I'm wondering if any of you have ever visited the Freebies For Crafters blog on my sidebar? Khris spends a lot of time surfing the net for free patterns and tutes, to post on her blog so other people can benefit from her searches. I know I do; I've copied a lot of items on to my computer, as well as printing them for future reference. Khris knows from her stats counter and followers that she has a lot of readers, but rarely receives comments or feedback. She wonders in turn if the people who use the patterns from her blog ever acknowledge the designers? The internet provides so much in the way of resources from designers who are happy to share their original ideas with the world. It would be nice if they were thanked! Here is what Khris says on her blog:
Are you ever looking for just the right pattern or tutorial and spend forever sifting through the many, many sites in hope of finding it? I do!! And crikies there are that many out there not worth looking at, you waste the whole day looking and don't find anything worth making. There are wonderful people out there who are generous enough to share their free patterns and tutorials with us. Please leave them a comment if you do use their pattern or tutorial. It is nice to let them know we appreciate their generosity. Grab a cuppa and get comfy. This blog is put together because I am always trying to keep a track of worthy free online patterns, tutorials or ideas that I hope to use but am forever searching for. This blog will hopefully save all of us some time with free patterns and tutorials that are worth making. Be sure to follow the blog regularly as I will try and update often with freebies.

Monday, October 05, 2009

New additions to my Blog Friends List.

I keep seeing new blogs that I want to add to my list on the sidebar, but there are so many, that I just add a few there, and keep the rest on my IE Favorites list. One of the new blogs that I added tonight is Quilting In The Valleys - not just because she is a wonderful quilter, but she is another Gina!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Three small items finished this weekend.

I'm really on a roll with my new work space, but my arthritic hands are feeling the effects, and my stitching on these fabric postcards and ATC leaves a lot to be desired. But I wanted to finish them so they would be in the mail in plenty of time to get to their destination by Halloween. ATC for Stitchin Fingers Halloween swap. Two fabric postcards for October exchanges - one for a Yahoo Group, and the other for Stitchin Fingers. These look the same size as the ATC above, but it is just the way I scanned them. They both measure the standard 6" x 4".
I made up two lists for myself, to establish a working order of the projects I want to finish by the end of this year. Those with a deadline:
October -Halloween ATC - done
October -Halloween FPC x 2 - both done
November - ATC (Stitchin Fingers)
November - FPC x 2 (Stitchin Fingers and Yahoo)
November - Round Robin ornament (Stitchin Fingers)
December - ATC (Stitchin Fingers)
December - FPC x 2 (Stitchin Fingers and Yahoo)
December - Round Robin ornament (Stitchin Fingers)

WIPs to finish:
Assisi Lyrebird (nearly there)
Peacock Bookmark (also nearly there)
Peacock CQ block
Tea Cup CQ block
Teapot Table runner (completed RR, just needs a border)
Black Cat Patchwork wall hanging (also needs border)
Chooks Cross stitch (needs a border)

Other work in slow progress - patchwork blocks at my weekly class. Do I have enough to do? Will I finish everything by December 31? Only time will tell.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

A few small things achieved today.

Last week, I decided to bring a folding table in from outdoors where it has been gathering dust. I cleaned it, and set it up in my study/den/mess room. This room was originally designed to be a smaller bedroom, and has a floor to ceiling window and a built in wardrobe. I've had shelves installed in the wardrobe to put fabrics etc in, and there is also a desk, filing cabinet and three sets of bookshelves, as well as stuff piled up on the floor. So, because there was nowhere else, this extra table had to go across the window, which is where I wanted it anyway, as it faces south-west and the light is pretty constant all day - not too dark in winter or too bright in summer.
Why am I writing about all this? Well, because I am so pleased with myself to finally have a space where I can spread my craft projects out and leave them, instead of having to remove everything from either the kitchen or dining room table, where I used to work on large projects that needed space to spread stuff out. It has motivated me to get out projects and set them out where I can see them and decide to work on one right now, instead of thinking about digging it out and looking for threads, needles, patterns, etc. before I start.
I finished a paper craft project today (that's on the other blog) and then did these small bits of stitching for Halloween theme postcards and ATCs: Tiny little witch on 14ct aida. I tried to stitch this on 32 ct, but gave up! Pumpkin and ghost to use on ATC.
Then I did some more on the Assisi Lyebird that I started as an SAL with my friend Val. It was her very first cross stitch project, and she finished hers in record time for a first timer, putting me to shame! Then she offered to finish mine, and I gave it to her, but took it back after she'd done quite a lot, because I felt guilty about letting someone else work on something that is going to be a gift for a friend!