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

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Birthday swap fabric postcard finished.

This is the last fabric postcard I was committed to doing this year. It is for a swap participant in our Stitchin Fingers textile postcard group. I am the last person on the list, so hopefully around the middle of April I will receive eight postcards from the girls I have been sending mine to. I'm disappointed in the finishing touches on this card. It is supposed to be with Sue on March 2nd, and of course it won't be, but I was rushing to get it finished tonight so I can mail it first thing on Monday.
While I was working on it, Ken brought all his work shirts out into the kitchen and said "While you have the sewing machine out, could you make an alteration to my shirts?" Then he handed me his waterproof motorcycle jacket and asked me to fix a rip in the seam! THAT one couldn't be done on the machine, so after everything else was finished, it had to be hand stitched. Have you ever tried to hand stitch through heavy waterproof fabric? Three needles and several broken threads later...
Thank you everyone who commented so favourably on my Redwork Chook Lady. I have a few other Bronwyn Hayes designs to stitch, and I am looking forward to starting them, but not this year. 2010 is the Year Of The UFO, remember?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Another UFO bites the dust!

That's probably not the best way to put it! I actually meant that I've finished another UFO. This Bronwyn Hayes redwork has been my companion on many trips to hospitals and doctors, and I put the last stitches in it yesterday while waiting for Ken to have an echocardiogram at his cardiologist's office. Ken has more specialist appointments coming up, so I have to decide which of my remaining UFOs is the most portable, to slip in my handbag when accompanying him to the hospitals.
I showed this to Ken's Mum tonight when we visited her, and she chuckled over the design, saying how cute it is. She asked what I would do with it, and I showed her a small calico bag which I bought from a craft shop. I bought several of them for the express purpose of attaching simple stitcheries to them, and either using them myself, or giving them away as gifts.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Peacock block update.

As you can see, I've been busy in the last three days! I worked on it until 3 am one night - I was on a roll and couldn't bear to stop the creative juices flowing! I moved a few bits around, and added beads and stitching here and there. There are three minor finishing touches that I want to do, then I'll start work on the binding and backing. I tacked the mauve border strips on the block just to give an idea of what it will look like. I'm not sure yet what colours to use for the border. The inner binding will be narrow, and the outer border a bit wider - both will be plain colours I think, as the block is too 'busy' to allow patterned fabric outside of it.
Sherri asked what I will do with it when I've finished. I plan to show it and my Teacup block in the Whittlesea Show this year (November), as they have a section for embellished patchwork blocks, as well as the usual quilts. So it just needs to have the binding and backing put on it. I have a large folder in which I keep all the patchwork blocks I've made.
Lesa suggested stitching a peacock plume on the purple fabric, and gave me a link to Pam K's free pattern for a plume, but unfortunately I had already stitched all the buttons on before I read her message. An embroidered plume was what I originally wanted to do, but I couldn't find a pattern - blow it! (My own attempts at drawing one were laughable)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Working on the next UFO on my 2010 list.

One down, eight to go. UFOs that is. The Romantic wall hanging is done and hanging up in the lounge room at the moment. Ken's family came over today to celebrate his Mum's 97th birthday, and they like to see what I've been stitching. They loved my Romantic stitching, and were impressed by my current WIP - the Peacock Crazy Quilt block which I started last year.
In January I posted a photo (here) of where I was up to, and now you can see on the next photo how much I have done. Unfortunately this photo is very pale; the colours are much more vibrant, and some of the beadwork I've done doesn't show up. I've removed some bits, added some bits, and done some more seam treatments with beads and emroidery. I still have to do some couching to attach the blue braid at the bottom right hand, embellish some more small seams to the left of the central peacock, stitch a spider web in the green patch at the top, and do something in the purple patch in the bottom right corner. That bit has me tossed. I had a gold peacock sew-on patch there, but was never really happy with it, so I removed it. I've played with threads, beads, buttons, and embroidery, but I just can't make up my mind what will look best! Any suggestions?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Two finishes as promised, and some opshop finds.

Pam Kellogg is creating a monthly biscornu pattern for her readers to do, and this one was January. Her colours were completely different to this. When I was looking through my stash for some Aida or linen to work on, I found a piece of yellow Aida, and for some reason as I looked at Pam's pattern and at the yellow fabric, I could visualise flames. So I used red, brown and orange and have called it my Bushfire Biscornu! Here is my Romantic Bookmark (or small wall hanging). I still have to put a backing on it, but that is a matter of minutes. I'm just pleased to have finished something that was started in 2003!
I went for an opshop crawl today, and found this very old unfinished tablecloth. It is dusty and stained, and I know what you're thinking - as if I haven't got enough to do! The reason I wanted it is because I have two more cloths in this style, with the yellow binding. One has a Mexican design on it and the other a Swiss style design. (I described it as Swiss because it depicts a girl that looks like Heidi in the book of the same name). I'm now wondering if there was a series of these cloths brought out, with designs for different countries?
I also found these two perfectly stitched centrepieces or traycloths.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Another UFO finished.

Tonight I finished stitching the Romantic Dancers bookmark, but I won't post a photo until I've done the finishing off bit. Just couldn't wait to tell you! Tomorrow I'm off to spend the morning stitching with a friend in Hurstbridge, and I'm trying to decide which UFO to work on next. I've also been working on my January biscornu from Pam Kellogg, so I may just take that instead, as it only needs an hour's work to finish that. Then I'll have two completed projects to show off!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines Day!

I received these two gorgeous textile postcards in the Stitchin Fingers Valentines Day Swap organised by Robbie. I wasn't going to participate in any exchanges this year because I want to focus on other stitching projects, but I couldn't resist this one, and I'm so glad I did take part! Aren't these lovely? This is from Mary Lou in Canada.
This was from a 'secret' Valentine, and all I know from the postmark is that she lives in Casterton, Vic. I suspect it could be 'Sharon', but unless she confesses, I can't be sure! But thank you both!
Here are the two that I made for my swap partners:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Our Guild's 50th anniversary banner.

Today I attended a morning tea at the Embroiderers Guild, and while I was there, took a few photos of the building, and the banners that have been made by members to commemorate the anniversary. EGV headquarters "Embroidery House" is located on a busy suburban road, with trams and constant traffic. The building was once a private residence, and there a only a few similar houses of that vintage left intact along that section of Wattletree Road, as there are now mostly blocks of flats, shops and offices. Embroidery House. On the walls at each end you can just make out the brightly coloured anniversary banners.
The Guild has regional branches around Victoria, and each branch was allocated a colour to work with. They chose a theme that related to their part of Victoria, and using their colour as a background, stitched motifs, icons and pictures on the theme.
Below are closeup shots of just a few of some of the individual pieces. The whole lot have been joined into the two 'banners', sealed under plastic somehow and fastened to the walls. I just hope that they aren't damaged by the heavy rain we've had recently..

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Embroiderers' Guild Guidance Groups.

The Embroiderers' Guild of Victoria has much to offer anyone who has some interest in textiles. I can't remember exactly when I joined the Guild (I think it was about 15 years ago), I was still working full time and didn't have time to attend any of the classes, meetings, guidance groups, etc., so all I got out of my membership was the monthly magazine. Ten years ago, when I reduced my working hours, I decided it was time to get more actively involved in the Guild, so I started going to one of their "Guidance Groups" on Sunday afternoons, once a month. The group I joined was the Counted Thread group, because I was mostly doing cross stitch at the time. The members of the group were very friendly, and when I wanted to try a complex (for me!) Blackwork project, they were so helpful - I would have been in a mess without them showing me the correct way of doing it.

After a while I put my name down as a volunteer 'gallery hostess' once a month, and I've been doing that for a few years now, although I stopped going to the Sunday group because Ken was complaining about me not being at home for him on weekends! Once a month for goodness sake...

Most of the Guidance Groups are held at Embroidery House in Malvern, an inner suburb of Melbourne. The Guild also has Guidance Groups at members' homes in various suburbs, for those who can't get to Malvern, or simply want to meet up with other Guild members. Some are held during the day, others at night. Last year, the Guild President asked me if I would be willing to host a Group in Eltham, as the Guild had been receiving requests from members in the northern suburbs to have a group for them. I agreed to host a group on Wednesday afternoon once a month, and today was our first meeting. I had 9 people interested in joining the group, but 3 of them couldn't come on Wednesdays, so that worked out well, as I really didn't want a big group to start off with.

Today was our first meeting, and four of the ladies arrived around 2pm, happy to find my house cool, as it was very hot outside, and I'd had the aircon. running since 10 am. We spent the first hour chatting and getting to know each other, and we didn't get much stitching done, as once they heard about my linen collection they wanted to see that first. All I did was open cupboards and drawers to show them how much was there; we'd be there for weeks if I had started taking everything out to show them! Back in the lounge room, everyone took out the pieces they brought to work on, and we chatted and stitched until I put the kettle on for a cuppa. They left about 4 pm, and everyone agreed that we had 'gelled' together nicely and they looked forward to next month's meeting.

I had been concerned about where we would be sitting, as the lounge/dining area in our house does not have good daylight, even though the lounge faces west. The best area for natural light is where I have my linen collection, and the adjoining room where I do all my craft and stitching; both of these rooms face the south and the light is good nearly all day. But neither room is big enough to house a group of people. So, we sat in the lounge with the lights on, and everyone seemed happy enough with that.

Tomorrow morning I'm off to Embroidery House in Malvern to join other volunteers for a 'Thank you' morning tea, put on by the Guild committee for the volunteers. It is a great pity that the Guild has a reputation among some circles for being 'snobbish' or 'a closed shop' - they are not like that at all. All the ladies that I have met and come to know are kind, generous and helpful, and certainly don't look down their noses at me because I consider myself a novice stitcher compared to some of them! They know my interest in antique linens, and have often given me bundles of linens they have found or been given, but have no use for. I could walk away in despair, thinking I'll never be as good as them, but I realise that it is because many of them have not only been stitching regularly since they were children, but have been taking classes and workshops over many years, in order to improve their skills. I haven't done that, so naturally I don't have the same skills and knowledge, but that's okay - I'm just happy to be among these ladies and pick up bits as I go along.

Happy 50th Anniversary to The Embroiderers' Guild of Victoria!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Another postcard finished.

I was quite happy with this last night, as I finished it off. But the MOTH looked at it a minute ago and raised his eyebrows...now I'm wondering if it is a bit over the top? It is for one of the members in the Stitchin Fingers FPC Birthday exchange, who spends a lot of time on creating lovely postcards, so I thought I would have a lot of fun with this, using beads, sequins, buttons, and braid to embellish, as well as variations in stitching the seams of the crazy patchwork design.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Valentine Day postcards

I broke my new year resolution when my arm was twisted by Robbie, who organised the Valentine fabric postcard swap on Stitchin Fingers. But now those two FPCs are done and in the mail I can get back to working on my UFOs. I just wrote elsewhere that I can't believe it is February already. At the rate this year is moving along, I have serious doubts about achieving my goal of finishing all the UFOs I listed here a month ago!
(Note: Robbie didn't really twist my arm. I love Valentines Day, and couldn't resist putting my name down for the swap! I'll post photos of my FPCs here on 14th February)

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Opshop find.

Found this in the Brotherhood opshop today for 40 cents. It is only a simply piece of cotton with purchased lace machined to the edge, but the embroidery is perfectly stitched.