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

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Two surprises in the mail today.

Well, one surprise, and one 'expected any day now'. The one I was expecting is from Jane in England. We did a one-to-one swap of cross stitched cards, after I saw this on her blog and begged her to swap with me! This photo does not do it justice - Jane has used gold thread for the border, and to embellish the kimono, and it really sparkles. Thanks heaps, Jane!
This really is a surprise - a fabric postcard from Sue, also in England. She did this for my birthday, as part of the Stitchin Fingers FPC birthday swap. My birthday isn't until April, but who cares? I don't mind early birthday cards! Thank you also, Sue!

Peacock CQ block finally finished off!

Well, here it is - finished at last! I dread binding things; I always seem to make a mess of them, so I took my block up to my friend Cheryl in Hurstbridge, who is MUCH better than me at anything to do with patchwork! She looked at the fabrics I'd chosen for the border and binding, and shook her head. "Nah...they don't really go. Let's try this" and she produced some strips of fabric that she had left over from a quilt she'd just finished. Within half an hour my block was complete with orange border, purple binding, and backing. Thank you Cheryl - you're a great mate!

Hussif.

A couple of years ago, Julia over in Western Australia posted a tutorial on how to make a Hussif. I marked it down for future reference, but didn't do anything until my friend Val asked if I knew how to make a needlecase. I had been thinking about making myself one of those for ages, as my old one is from my school days and is literally disintegrating! Val and I trawled the Internet for patterns, and when she discovered Julia's Hussif, she decided that a folder containing more than just needles would be much more useful. I thought that was a good idea, so she printed two copies of Julia's tutorial, gave one to me, and we started making one each while I was at her home.
Val had some beautiful Japanese fabrics which she generously shared with me, so we cut out enough for two hussifs, and read through the instructions together to see what had to be done next. By then it was time for me to be on my way home, and we didn't get the opportunity to catch up with each other for another two weeks, so I continued making my Hussif. I have so much fabric stashed away, and I didn't want to buy any extra to make the pockets for the Hussif, so I used some red fabric to make them. I stitched names on the pockets in back stitch, using two strands of gold stranded cotton. Here is my Hussif, just about finished. I still have to add something to tie it up (Julia used ribbons, but I thought a toggle would be nice), and I also have to stitch down the two folding lines.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Two small finishes today.

I wanted to finish these today so I can show them to friends and family who I will be seeing later this week. This is my first Humbug! It is for Jane, with whom I am doing a swap on Stitchin Fingers. It was so easy and quick, and although Jane will be sending me hers, I can't wait to make myself another one. This is the tiny peacock in its frame. Isn't he cute? This one is for me!
Now that those two are finished, I will DEFINITELY return to working on my UFOs.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Some nice finds at the Op shop.

I dropped into Vinnies in Briar Hill yesterday. Just for a quick look, as I was on my way home to meet Ken, who hadn't taken his front door keys with him when he took off on a message of his own. Vinnies had a HUGE pile of patchwork and stitching magazines which I was itching to go through, but didn't have time, so I settled for two that grabbed my attention first, and I'll go back there next week to have a closer look, if there are any left.
But not only did I find the magazines, I found this cute little Gumnut Babies cross stitch languishing in a pile of stuff - aaagghh!! How could anyone throw this out after doing such lovely stitching? It was mine for a dollar!
I needed a small frame for a tiny peacock I've nearly finished doing, and for another dollar I found the perfect size. In case anyone is wondering why I'd start a new project when I'm supposed to be focussing on UFOs, well I had a good reason. I borrowed a book from the library, called "Miniature Embroidery for the Victorian Dolls' House". It has the cutest tiny designs in embroidery, cross stitch and patchwork, and among them was this little peacock which was supposed to be for a folding or pole screen in a dolls house. The design is from a panel in the collection of the Rochester Museum. I've never had a dolls house, and am not likely to have one in the foreseeable future, but I just had to stitch this peacock before returning the book!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Biscornus and humbugs

I've been sidetracked again from my UFO's, but not for long. The Australian sampler is waiting on my sewing table, not in the basket on the floor. That is a good sign, because the basket on the floor is where I toss things that won't be looked at in the near future, whereas if a project is on the table, it is in my face, so to speak.
What have I been doing? Putting together the biscornu from Pam Kellogg's pattern, and starting a Humbug, which I will be swapping with Jane in England. These little ornies are just right to have as a distraction from wading through the UFOs, which are not my choice of stitching as you will understand. But having made a commitment to myself for this year, I will keep plodding along with them. And it does feel good when another one is finished, and the guilt factor is very slightly reduced each time.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I am a winner!!!

I have just received an email from Lynn at The Little Red Hen blog, to tell me I have won her giveaway this month - the "Pretty Little Mini Quilts" book, in which one of Lynn's designs appears. I am tickled pink! How often do you enter these blog giveaways and then forget all about it because there were 50 other entrants, who all deserved to win it much more than you? But it seems it was my turn this time - thank you Lynn!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Baby Elephant cross stitch

I think I have been very diligent, working on my UFOs this year so far, with three completed already. So I rewarded myself with a small diversion - a quick and easy cross stitch card. Melbourne Zoo has a baby elephant ("Mali") which just about everyone wants to see before she grows out of the cute playful stage! So I decided to celebrate her by stitching this design by Mary Hickmott, which was in the New Stitches magazine a while back. I found it at our Guild library and photocopied the pattern to use at home, and I can't remember the date of the magazine, but it was Issue No.188.
This is the Chook Lady, sewn on to the calico bag that I mentioned previously.
So, now I'm working on the next UFO in my pile - a round robin sampler which was completed by all participants in 2003, but never finished off by me once it came home. I have redone the 'Australia' lettering so it is all in green, and I've started stitching a wattle flower design down the middle of the sampler. The same design will also be used horizontally between the icons to help fill in all that blank space. Then I'll do a border in patchwork fabric - I have some stunning Aboriginal artwork fabric that will fit in perfectly. Oh dear... I've just noticed that orange blob under the platypus in the bottom left hand corner...it is a bit of tangled cotton that I didn't notice lying there when I took the photo!