Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year !!!

A belated Merry Christmas to all and wishing you and your family a very Happy New Year. We're almost ready to leave to our Aunt's house to spend New Years Eve together there.

It's ages ago since I last blogged. But things were pretty busy here and not everything was nice. Let's hope the upcoming year will be less stressful and sad. My husband and I decided that we will take a huge step back from what we were doing and concentrate more on us and our well being. We will taking up our hiking and will go more often away. We love to do short trips for hiking and abandoned that way too long. Time to take it up again....time to bring happiness back into our life. I still feel quite down, but things will be better. It can only go up from here.

Let's talk about nicer things....Christmas Day was a success. We had a group of 20 here and it was much fun. Thank god it wasn't as hot that day, which made it even more enjoyable. I uploaded a bunch of pictures to my webshots album and whoever wants to have a look in my house and under my pergola....just  click here

And may I proudly present my self made place mats and napkins , which I made because I SLIGHTLY miscalculated the time this would take. On the bright learned quite a lot.

I also did some stitching, although it wasn't that much. 

Little House Needleworks "Snowflakes" stitched with the recommended fibers on 32ct linen in the color natural. No clue what linen. It's not Belfast though.  I had ordered BELFAST ages ago ...and put it to my stash after arrival. The plastic bag said Belfast and I didn't doubt it. I have no clue what linen it is, but it is NOT Belfast. Which is kinda annoying because I like to work on soft fabrics and this one is not soft at all.

The Prairie Schooler
Taken from "Winter Wind"
Stitched on 28ct Jobalan - self dyed

Oh...that reminds me. I had a go at dyeing too. Which was easier then I thought it would be. First try was coffee dyed, and was't too bad but somehow I thought I would like to try out other hand painting...and hand dyeing with "real" dye. I liked that too. One of the pieces turned out a bit "Halloweenisch" while I'm not really a fan of anything For the rest I'm quite happy with it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A sad time

Life has come to a stop here. After having hope again for my beloved Father in law, things had turned for the worse. We had a couple of days of hope, of new dreams, of fun and laughter together. There were lots of scans, appointments for cancer treatment, but before the results of all tests were fully known, Dad got a heavy bleeding in the brain which took him away from us. When the results of the previous tests came in, we all knew that this was only a blessing.

We were with him when he still was able to speak to us, we were with him in the emergency room, and we were with him day and night until he left us. We were holding his hands and talking to him.  It might sound weird, but it was not only a sad time. It gave us peace too to be with him in this hour and assure him from our deep love.

I feel not only deeply saddened by the loss of this wonderful man, I also feel honored to have known this terrific husband of 46 years to his wife, a great father to his 4 children and their wives, a most wonderful opa to his grand children. A family man who's love was unconditional, a gentle man with an unbeatable humor - even in the days with unbearable pain still cracking a joke to make us laugh. There is no person that dislikes him, because he is such a nice man. Life is just not fair at times!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Manhattan Wonderland and Snowflakes

Lately I haven't been sitting much at the pc. Simply because I can't really concentrate at the moment. Everytime I do sit at the pc and want to read a bit, I get side tracked and feel restless. Life is a bit hectic here with garden work and also worrying  about my father in law who is suffering quite some pain lately. His well being has at the moment absolute priority for us and we try to help him and my mother in law as much as we can to ease their lifes. Hopefully things will turn again to the better soon.The doctors are quite hopeful at the moment :)  Stitching however soothes the soul and helps me to stop thinking and worrying and calms me down. 
Anyway, that might explain why I haven't visited much blogs lately and wasn't very active in the yahoo groups and message boards I'm member off.

Last week I stitched quite a bit on Manhattan Wonderland and finished page 3.

While I normally finish a piece before starting a new one, I broke this rule this time and started a new travel project. Christmas is coming up after all isn't it? There for I started  Little Needlehouse Design called "Snowflakes". 

And lastly an update on Alla Turca

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I heard the bells on Christmas Day!!!! - or was it the doorbel?

Yes I did hear the Christmas bells. It might be only November...but that's a minor detail. BECAUSE...firstly I'm in Christmas spirit...secondly I finished block 1 of Christmas at Hawk Run Hollow.

Of course the picture doesn't show the colors as they should be. The fabric should be darker. I'm stitching it over one on 25ct Lugana in the color "Vintage Marble Country Mocha"

Or did I get confused with the doorbell? While writing this post the doorbell rang and Santa the postman brought a packet from Kathy.  I won one of her fantastic give aways - a chart from Blackbird Designs called  "Awake the Dawning Day" . I LOVE that chart. Kathy not only sent the needed threads for it, she spoiled me also with lots of nice gifts. See that little Christmas ornament? The letters are tiny. It's stitched over one and it is so lovely. The picture doesn't do it justice. Thank you so very much Kathy.

And to stay in Christmas spirit I finished a Christmas ornament as well. Stitching snowy themes while the airco is running.It's even too hot to go outside today. I'm going strictly from airco to airco while humming Christmas songs.

Christmas Eve Deer
by The Prairie Schooler (The Gift of Stitching 11/2009)
stitched on a Silkweaver Solo (28ct Cashel) with recommended DMC

Another piece I recently started is called Alla Turca. It's a free design from Pelin Tezer, and a turkish variant on samplers.  Even the pattern is free to download on Pelin Tezer's website, I chose to stitch it together with a German yahoo group called Marquoir.  They cut the chart up in lots of small parts which get every 3 weeks released and are easy to fit in. That way I have a tiny finish regularly and I'm able to fit the whole thing into my stitching schedule. I'm stitching Alla Turca over one on 25ct white Lugana with my favorite red... Threadworx Bleeding Heart.

And some more Christmas ...I came a bit closer to finish my place mats. The never ending amount of long long long stripes were finally finished and I could cut out 40 pieces. And ...phew...I counted out how much fabric I would need, and got exactly 41 pieces out of 80 stripes. And I was slightly nervous while cutting not to make a fault. Anyway the front is done...batting added. Now "only" the back and the binding. And I'm dreading the binding.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Grand Marquoir finished :) (and some other stuff)

Can you see my happy dance?'s finished. It was a lovely relaxing thing to stitch with only 2 colors and a bit gold. There are couple of more designs of Isabelle Vaultier that I love and I'm tempted to stitch. They are on my never ending "to do" list.  She is such a talented designer with a load of beautiful designs. it is:

Coming to Water came back from the framer and is proudly hanging at the wall now. Can't take a better picture because of the glare I can only take a decent(ish) picture from this angle.

And....drum roll please....I WON. I never Not that I see that as a problem, but this one I really really really really really wanted to win. I was after this one since donkey's ages. Browsing the internet, trying Ebay, searching for hours. No luck at all.  And Sadie had a give away for it. This one came originally from Vonna, then Jodie had it, then Sadie...and as the lucky winner of her give away (YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY) it's now mine!!!! For the time being. Once it's finished I will give it away to the next stitcher in line. And for once I will order the threads and fabric as charted. I'm SO in love!!! Thank you so much Sadie, also for the lovely thread and the needles. Love both of them. Nothing can spoil my day!!! 

Hmm....almost nothing.  That brings me fluently to the next subject. Because Christmas is this year at our place, we'll having around 20 people here. Christmas is in Australia a Summer event, and we celebrate it outdoors in our garden with a buffet. We're having a large outdoor roofed area and a pool nothing can spoil it.  That's all fine and dandy. What is less fine and dandy are that stupid ideas I do have occasionally.
I thought it would be a great idea to make a beautiful table setting. And to celebrate me having a new sewing machine I could make 20 napkins and 20 place mats. Shouldn't be a problem. Can't be that much work. It might have not be THAT much work if one would choose something easy to make. But no...I need of course to find something really work intensive and THINK that I would be able to put that all together in no time. That's not the first time I'm "slightly" wrong in estimating time...and it might not be the last time.  The 20 napkins are finally ready. Now "only" 20 placemats. First I need to sew together 80  1 1/2" strips (44" long) which I had to cut of course first. These are only a small part of these place mats. And do NOT ask why for Christ Sake I didn't buy striped fabric in the first place. Please do NOT ask.

It's impossible not to finish it in time. Failure is not an option.  Mister (Always) Right had some raised eyebrows when I told him about this plan and asked why we don't simply buy some nice napkins and table decorations? For that money that the fabric and batting cost, we could easy buy some fancy stuff and it would save heaps of time. As you might imagine I waved that as com-ple-te-ly nonsense off the table.  What do men know about these things!!! Nothing at all!!! And he is NOT right!!!!!!

Still trying to figure out a nice way to fold these napkins. Here you see one of the ideas. If I fold it that way,  I fill it with a chocolate or something like that. Not sure yet.

Ohhh....and then to the more brighter things. We don't celebrate Halloween here. It's not custom here, nor was it in Germany and the Netherlands. But my nieces got dressed up, and we had a nice family dinner at our place. With monster cakes for the kids. Here are our beautiful nieces with my mother in law holding little Sofia :)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Update on Manhattan

Most stitching was lately for "Manhattan Wonderland" which I have troubles to stop with. Finally I love every stitch again and look forward to the evening to sit down and stitch.

AND (insert a happy dance here)  I received the chart for "Christmas at Hawk Run Hollow" and will start that soonish. The  fabric is already sown to the scroll rolls, and the threads for part one are ready and sorted too. I ordered a beautiful 25ct Lugana in the color "Vintage Marble Country Mocha" and will use this. Because I never stitched on 40ct I tried that on a small piece. I have a fat quater of Light Examplar 40ct floating around. But decided after only couple of stitches that stitching over one on 25ct flows way easier off my hands. For 40ct I need a magnifier and have to be careful not to miss one of these tiny threads. 25ct is easy to see, and needs way less concentration for me. I rather do something small on 40ct first. But who knows, may be in couple of months I at once love working on 40ct. Things tend to change from while to

3 weeks ago I started another travel project. One of my kitted up ones which was patiently waiting for its turn. It's a scissor pocket. Nancy started stitching it as well, and she finished it now couple of times to give it to some friends.You should have a look here at her fantastic color choices. I'm not using the original colors either, but chose a mixture of Threadworx and Gentle Art threads

 A Token of Love
Designer Barbara Bernard

On the knitting front I finished another square for the Aran Afghan. This one is designed by Ann Strong. And I still haven't started to put the squares

 And because I was tired of my wool floating freely around while knitting- and because my Jack Russel Lucy AND my cats thought that was purely to pleasure them - I made a "Caddy" as it's offially called. I call it a sown bucket...LOL. The plan was to put a hard bottom into it, but I decided against it and leave it as it it. This way I can easy put it away next to my seat. I also store smaller stitching wips in there.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Back in Manhattan!!!

Sometimes an old love is better then anything new. While dabbling what to start next and since Christmas at Hawk Run Hollow is not here yet, not being able to make any decent decision, I pulled up my good old "Manhattan Wonderland" and fell in love again with it. Have everything laying here to start a LHN for my Christmas stitching, but simply can't put Manhattan away. Oh well, who cares. At least I have fun stitching again.

I also knitted another square, this time the Janet Martin square.  And I *should* start sewing these squares together. Because I do not like hand sewing. And sewing together 24 squares - followed by the huge edging, gives me now already night mares. So I better start week (may be).

And lastly there is a sewing update. I made a knitting needle roll. Looked through all online patterns and made then one up that I liked. Plus I added some padding on the main body (not on the flap). All by all I'm a happy camper with it. And I might make something too for my circular needels. Saw a really cute one that suits my needs.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Coming to Water ...FINISHED!!!!'s done. It's finished. And I'm SO exited. Finally. Now I'll wash it and next week it's off to the framer. With a bit luck it will hang at the wall in no time.

While sitting here now since 30 minutes trying to say something staring at the screen...I give up. "Coming to Water" is washed meanwhile and hangs to dry. And  I'm brain dead today. I do have that sometimes - even more when something big is finished. While being overly happy it leaves also an empty spot - which I will fill in NO time But right now I can't get my brain into working gear nor to get myself moving to do anything. May be I should have a look into my charts. That is something that tends to cheer me up. 

Hmmm....what should I start next?
  • Mary Wigham? I have all my supplies gatherered already. Found a MOST beautiful variant from a French stitcher, and will copy her color choices - sort of. She used DMC while I'm going for Threadworx.
  • Christmas at Hawk Run Hallow? <---it's a must be. It's gorgeous. Chart will be sent my way somewhere next week. Not sure yet if I will do it on 40ct over 2 or on 25 or 28 count over one. I have to try out 40 count first (never stitched on that) to see if it's just as easy as on 25ct over one. I will most surely take the one that flows easier of my hands
  • Alla Turca from Pelin Tezer- love it
  • Floral Sampler from the Sampler Company - another one I'm deeply in love with - everything here to start it.
  • Letters from Nora (G, M and S) hmmm...not all supplies here yet, so that has to wait a bit
  • The Stitching Chair
  • A Scenic Farm (will replace the 18ct Aida with 36ct linen)
  • Amsterdam by Thea Gouverneur
And there are more in my stash waiting for me to start them. Lots of little things I bought thinking I MUST have it and never started it. Until I decide which one to start I'll grab my Manhattan Wonderland. It's about time that that poor bugger gets a bit attention. I could also go into my craft room to sew something. Or clean the house? Sigh...I might well do just that.

Oh...and I have also an update on the knitting front. I finished the Jay Campbell square. It was a very interesting square to do. Stitching a square while stitching 4 sides from the outer end to the inner one. Was new to me, and I loved doing it.  Another one that dearly needed blocking to look good.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Coming to Water - Julie H. Levy Square and a Valisette

Almost there!!!! Almost. I can smell the end!!!! If it wasn't that I suffer from a sudden aversion against aida I would be even I HATE working on that stiff fabric. Didn't mind it all the other pages, but recently stitching on this fabric puts me off quite a bit. Why? Not the slightest clue.
To make sure that "Coming to Water" won't end as an UFO, I promised to not stitch on anything else until I finished it. Hence my sudden interest in all sort of other handy work....LOL. Although I have to admit I enjoy these other things as well and consider them now keepers too.
Coming to Water is a gift for Michael, and I want to have it over and done with. When finished I probably can forget that fabric and simply enjoy looking at it again. may gladly say: another frigging page done. "Only" one more to go.

I also finished another square of the Great American Aran Afghan - Julie H Levy.  Happy with that too:
Julie H Levy

And....I made a bag!!!! My first bag ever - I loved every bit of it - and best thing of all is, it only took couple of hours. If you consider that in these couple of hours also is quite some time involved to find out how my new machine works and HOW to install a walking foot for example, it's not bad at all.  Which means I got a very nice bag in no time - thanks to "Un Petit Bout de Fils" who has a tutorial for it on her website. It's on French...which I can read a bit but not speak (don't's very good explained with pictures and so it was very easy to follow the tutorial. The name of the bag is Valisette, which means translated to English suitcase if I'm not mistaken. The name is a bit over the top size  I made the biggest size out of 3 possible sizes and it's really not that big. Just the right size for me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Grand Marquoir part 5 - and a Needle Book

Having here a major happy dance after finishing part 5 of the "Grand Marquoir" Now it's waiting for the last part which will be released end of October. The picture doesn't do it justice. Somehow I really like these days stitching over one.

Grand Marquoir

Nancy K sent me a note that the needle book I made for her has arrived. :)
She is a fan of Quaker motifs, which we do have in common. The design is taken from a chart by "With my Needle" and is called "Of female arts". I changed it a bit to suit it to over one which I got slightly "Of female Arts" is part of the "Little Sampling Etui" and I stitched it on a 28ct Cashel solo from Silweaver using Gentle Art threads.

Female Arts of Usefulness

The Great American Aran Afghan (Belanger - Selesnick and Burns)

Yessss.....3 squares done. I'm planning to knit all 24 squares and to deeply enjoy it while I'm at it. Totally forgot that I love cable knitting. It's so long ago. And these squares are ideal for a cable lover. Instead repeating the same all over as you do for a pullover or cardigan, everything changes per 12x12 square. And I LOVE that.

Three squares together

Each of the squares is from a different designer which is just perfect for me. Different designers...different techniques....different looks. Did I mention that I love changes? No? Remind me in that case to tell you next time. Never mind...I probably will do anyway.

First square is from Ginette Belanger. An easy knit. Turned out just lovely and exactly what one needs to get back into knitting after a long long years break. Not too difficult, yet a bit challenging to find your way back into it. And loving every knit

The second square is from Barbara Selesnick. It turned out much smaller then the first square so that I was considering to add some more rows to make a 4th heart. In the end I gave it a try as it is, and blocked the square which fixed it pretty much. It’s still a bit smaller, but that won’t be visible once the afghan is assembled.
I think if I wouldn’t use wool and couldn’t block the way wool does, I would have added that 4th heart.



And lastly: Hanna Burns
Beautiful square. Although one thing I didn’t like. The 3 ridges at begin and end are knitted with the same amount of stitches as the cable pattern. Which makes the edge quite wobbly. That’s why I changed it for the upper end. When I came to the 3 ridges I decreased evenly to 54 stitches and that worked better.
The edge got fixed by blocking, but if I would have to do it over, I would start with 54 stitches (or something like that) and increase in the last row to 62.



Did you read I fixed 2 squares with blocking and saw the pics about it??? I freely admit: I was living under a rock ...for YEARS. Totally comfy there. I NEVER grasped the concept of blocking a finished knitted piece completely. And boy does that make a difference. Two of the 3 squares seemed to have a problem. One seemed to be way too short - the other has a fault in charting in the outer ridges. Blocking fixed it. And it's easy as easy can be...once you leave the warm place under the rock that is.
I read blocking only works with natural fibers. But going on the "feel" of the wet wool I assume it will work also on blends with wool be it probably a bit less dramatic. Who not me...yet

Friday, September 4, 2009

Look what I got!!!

Ohhhh....I'm in love. My needles have a new home!!!
Marie P stitched for me this gorgeous needle book for an exchange from "Friends through Threads". The subject of this exchange was "For the Love of Needlework" and it had to be finished as a needle book.

Marie did a fantastic job. She stitched over one (!) a Little House Needlework Design called "My Needles Work" using Cresent Colors. It's so fine and beautiful. So are the little gifts Marie sent with the book.

The inside looks great as well. I moved my needles immediately to their new home.

Knitting wise...the wool arrived. I chose 10 ply pure wool from the Bendigo Woollen Mills called Luxury and I'm very happy that choice. This wool is really soft. Most wool is a tiny bit scratchy, but this one isn't. It's just super soft. The gauge knits up exactly the same as one used in the book. Only thing is, that I need a bit more of it, because pure wool is heavier then wool/acryl. It comes in huge 200g balls.
For my first square I thought I'll try an easy one after not having knitted for long years, and boy, am I glad I did Meanwhile I'm getting back the hang of it - and LOVE it.

Part 5 of the Grand Marquoir got released. Didn't do much there yet. But anyhow....

Then there is a give away. I'm giving you a link here, and adding one to the side, because Deb is having a GREAT give away. I'm drooling over that scissor frog. It's a beauty.

And lastly...after the last post I'm trying to take a picture from her cuddly majesty, Princess Ashley. But, hmmm...something speedy always jumps in front of her snoryness soon as the camera appears. Ashley learned to ignore this little rodent in moments like this - it's like rain: it's annoying but it does happen no matter what. Thank god the girls love each other (mostly...but you know how sisters are)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Another new toy

Sadly enough my sewing machine broke down after more then 20 years of service. And believe it or was reason for a happy dance. I'm dreaming of a new machine since ages, but told myself every time that it wasn't worth to spend the money because my machine was still good. That thing is 35 years old and virtually unbreakable. sorta broke down. My mother of course suggested I got it fixed. But that could have to do with the fact that she was the one who gave the old machine to me because she hates sewing machines, and I switched subject immediately. Fixing it....*shiver* knew of course precisely what machine I wanted. Until I went to the shop and tried out. That changed my mind. In the end I fell in love with a Brother and went with the Brother Innovis NV-400 and LOVE it. Still can't sew a streight line...but who cares about those minor details. I have now lots of feet to play around with. No foot control, can set the speed and lots of playful details. Which keeps me nicely off the street.

Bother Innovis NV 400

Ohhh....wat concerns the old Singer...I found something stuffed in the spool department. That could have been the problem. And didn't try out. Shhhhhhhh.

There is also an update on "Coming to Water". I'm trying to get the hang of it back, but still have problems with concentrating. And that makes it a rather slow process.

Coming to Water

Nothing new on the knitting front - I'm still in the process of deciding which yarn to use.

Ohhh.....and here is a picture of Mike and Lucy sleeping together in front of Mike's pc. Is that cute or what? This is the dog we took more then a year "temporary" in to train her so that she could go to a good home. A dog that didn't turn out to be the toy it was supposed to be - a story about how horrible wrong it can go. A disturbed biting little girl that panicked for everything and anything. We all got bitten in the process of rehabilitating. In the end we have one happy little girl, who learned to trust(mostly)...and to listen. Not in that order btw....LOL. That temporary is estimated these days for another 10+ years.
Which brings the zoo to a grand total of 3 cats and 2 dogs. :)

Mike and Lucy