Monday, 26 October 2020

October finishes off in a fine fashion


Things were happening during October, although I don’t feel that I accomplished much stitching.

I forgot, in my last post to show you the updated Temperature SAL – I stitched all of September and one week into October.  I really got enthused over the little yellow house, after all the weeks of blues and greens.  It has appeared that the colours will return to blues and greens for the rest of October, as it has been chilly again.  I think I’ll be putting lock motifs onto each month March-June and August to October, as it appears we will be out of such strict lockdown in early November. (but enough about Covid talk as there are plenty of other venues to discuss this, and I don’t want to mention it  except to placemark it in history)

Something else to get really excited about, was showing off a lovely quilt finish.   I finished the flimsy (quilt top) two years ago, it was a MSQC tutorial pattern if I remember correctly, and took me only a weekend to put it together.  The intention was always to stitch bees on it, and I did – there are 6 little bumblebees buzzing around the stars, turning them into sunflowers.

I did not overthink the backing fabric, just using two fabrics and not thinking about how wide each panel was going to be.  I stitched a label on Aida and incorporated that into the binding. 
I really love the overall look.  The yellow binding just sets off the whole quilt entirely.   

Of course the main excitement, was picking up the prop for the quilt photo-shoot.    A BRAND NEW CAR!!!!

HoneyB is a Toyota Hybrid CH-R – the 2020 model.  I have waited 18 weeks to pick her up.  She drives like a dream.  My little Yaris is 14 years old, and somewhat tired.  My son will be the new owner of that car.  I decided in March that I would get a new car and overthought the process all thw way to the end of June when I made the decision between the Sporty Yellow CH-R or the super safe Subaru sedan – a blue Boxer.   The funky yellow colour and the style (and a really good price) was the bit that put me over the line.  I’ve had the car a whole 6 days and it will take me several more weeks to learn all the gadgets and bits and bobs.  

This past weekend I decided to stitch something for this year’s Halloween.  I found a pattern in a 2012 Halloween ornament magazine and scrambled in my fabric collection and specially flosses - a mixture of Dinky Dyes, Six Strand Sweets and Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe. The body of the ravens are perfect for this floss specially dyed for me for another Halloween project a few years ago, by Nancy of The Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe. I like the blue sheen to the black ravens...

The pic makes it look a little bit washed out, no matter what I do. The lettering is not so washed out as it appears. The fabric is called Prank and was part of a Fabric of the Month club some 6 years ago from Picture This Plus. I have all these bits of evenweave in bright colours and I will eventually stitch on them

I hope to take this and another couple of Halloween finishes from a couple of years ago and finish them into cushions in time for Saturday.  I doubt if I’ll be going to the extremes of previous years for decorations, might just decorate my stitchy nook.  I’ll share pictures with you then.



Saturday, 17 October 2020

October 2020 - Don't Overthink things...

Hello friends.  I really hope there are more than just one of you out there reading this.  Am I still in archaic land just blogging – writing about my stitching life?   I really need to teach myself to use Instagram and branch out there.  I am also thinking about branching out into Flosstube videos, because I know I can really talk a lot better than typing.   I feel that some of the Flosstubes I am watching I am sitting opposite a stitchy friend and just watching a private show and tell.

Something to ponder in the weeks ahead.  Just a chat between you and I – where I show you what I’ve been working on…. Pretty much exactly what I’ve been blogging on for the past 10 or so years.

I have not felt so motivated last weekend, because I didn’t feel I had anything to share on the Saturday afternoon I put aside to talk to you.   This week I do have a couple of finishes to show, but cannot say that I have bound the mugmats and mini quilts from a couple of weeks ago..   I might have a look at these over the weekend.  I want to clear up and re-organise my craft area, pack away all the excess floss from all the projects started for the past 2-3 months…  particularly spending some time cutting up my scraps.

My stitching rotations have all gone manky wumpus over the past few weeks because I dropped Harriet Salt much earlier, stagnated again on Shores of Hawk Run Hollow and the SAL got too close to finish – I seem to have completely lost what week was what to work on which pattern.  Was it the Temp SAL?  Was it my Christmas Tablecloth?  How close was it to the 20th of the month?  Did I have to finish that month’s section of the TOL SAL?  I was also doings

I have finished the lilac version of my SAL – the beads are all attached now and all the bands are stitched, including an extra band on the bottom to round off the alphabet.  I think I will make a couple of quick Christmas Ornaments from the square motifs near the bottom and have them ready to send out for my Christmas Stitchaglongs.   I don’t think I’ll frame this one, as I will be framing the blue one.  This one may be made into a wall hanging and sent out as a gift this year.  What would you think if this turned up in your letterbox for Christmas?

In my last blog post – I showed the Storm At Sea blocks started.  I did put this together, finding that 2 of the long diamond blocks had come out of the copier a whole 3mm smaller than the rest of the foundation blocks had printed and the same for one of the major square blocks – this meant that I had to put those 3 blocks aside and re-make them.  Fortunately I had enough of the scraps in the right colours to do so.  I was then able to put it all together.   

I was unable to see the full effect of the blended colours until I took this picture and I was so amazed at the shading and how well all the colours worked.  I have put this one aside for awhile, while I think whether to make a scrappy border – or rather to frame it in navy blue batik – then yes, it gets bound and will end up in this year’s gift pile.  (should I set aside one week in November for a binding binge?)

I do have a quilty finish – I HAVE finished the binding on this one, but there will be no complete photos shared anywhere until I do the official photo shoot when I PICK UP MY NEW CAR !!!!   I have spent a few nights where I normally do cross stitching, instead stitching the binding on.  

I have made labels which now adorn my sewing machine simply saying:  Don’t Overthink it.   Otherwise, I would have overthought the backing – but instead just used two lengths of fabric I had put aside for the purpose.  One is the fabric used on the legs of the stars, one is a simple black/white fabric that was asking to be used.  Both of these are good as the quilting does not show up on them.   I love the way the binding pops on the quilt – but no full photo until after I pick up my car…. Come back next weekend.

Time today to let you get back to your stitching pleasures – I have been watching Pumpkin Hollow Quilts flosstube and enjoying watching Olivia and seeing what she is stitching…  I’m envious…

Saturday, 3 October 2020

September fades away and October beckons


 September not bound for finishes…

The day has dawned warm and windy here in Frankston, Victoria.  Meteorologists have warned about horizontal weather – so batten down the hatches.  When I get to stitching the past few days in the Meteo 2020 SAL I think it will show a dramatic change to temperatures.  And yes, that is on my cross stitch rotation for the coming week – to stitch September and see the changes.  I must also consider the extra motifs to fill in the blanks.  The end is in sight – it should be finished the first week of 2021 – and how quickly is that looming?  

Stage 4 lockdown in Melbourne has morphed into stage 3.4 with the prospect of easing to 3.2 in a week or so… I don’t know, it has become a bit too hard to follow as most of the restrictions do not affect me – apart from businesses closed, not travelling outside my 5km radius, with the exception of travel permit to head to work as an essential employee – (15 years’ experience has won out) – I don’t have school age children and pre-lockdown, I didn’t spend much time at cafés or shopping centres, but now I’m fanging to get to a restaurant to have a dinner out, to drive to the country to see my girlfriend or my sister – plan a weekend away.  I don’t like going to supermarket shopping anymore – I get anxious around groups of people now.  Not to mention that the Car Dealerships are closed down, but the benefit is that I am saving up a whopping deposit on my new car, ordered at the end of June.  When lockdown is eased and I CAN drive more than 5km, then I’ll have a new car to drive into the country to see my girlfriend and sister….. 

I always thought personalised numberplates for cars were a bit wanky and pretentious… but guess who has bought personalised plates??  Yep…and they arrived this week.  It’s not quite regulation to show numberplates on social media – but here is a snippet..  

 I must really pull my finger out and finish the hand embroidery on this quilt so I can get it sandwiched and quilted.  I’m still thinking of combination machine and hand quilting this one.

Reading back to my last post, I realised I missed last Saturday – I remember the weather was dreadfully chilly and I spent a
 lot of my time at the sewing machine – sewing for no real purpose, but trying a couple of techniques.   I had the idea that I needed to make a couple of mug-mats to go into my Stitchy Gift Bag of bits – so I had a go at a bit of Quilt-as-You-Go mug mats  - random stitching and these 2 are the result.  One has had the binding finished, but the other is waiting for the binding to be attached… which seems to be the running feature of my fortnight  - but I digress..

I then found a bit of patchwork that I had pieced and had the backing ready to go to be quilted…. (I have a pile of these that I walk past at least 8 times a day and it was on top of the pile) and of course that fell under my machine needle for a bit of distraction.  I’ve done all the quilting process now, and now I need to put some binding on and stitch it down.. I also need to darn in all the ends of the quilting, as I started in the middle of the project.  – So this is another project not quite finished.

Missouri Star Quilt Company Tutorial last week was a fun quilt of patches of Sewing Machines.  It caught my eye (as so many of their tutorials do)  Of course, I had to have a go… and an afternoon later, I have two more mug-mats quilted and ready to be finished off – the black one will probably end up with some felt applique – and once again, the binding is attached but is waiting to be finished down.

Halloween quilt is on hold for the moment.  I’m thinking how I want to quilt it – and because it is such a fussy pattern, I don’t want the quilting to distract from the pattern, particularly the bats.  I’m leaning onto just making some spiderwebs across the whole pattern…  Then, there will be binding to attach and stitch down…

Then of course I got side-tracked again..  and started another technique.. Storm at Sea is a really distinctive design and I spent a lot of last Sunday on quilt math… colouring in options for designs.. I didn’t want to make a whole quilt, just 4 patches together to get the idea of paper piecing…  I spent a few after-work evenings putting them together and neglecting my cross stitch, but hope to spend this afternoon pulling the paper sections off and putting the mini-quilt together.. Then I can sandwich it, quilt it, put the binding on and finish it – it can then also go into my gift pile.

I’ve ordered some Australiana fabric for a requested project, so when that arrives, will want to put that one together fairly quickly – until I have all the fabric together and see it, I do not have a direct pattern in mind, but inspiration will hit.

I have a new friend in my Sewing nook – Meet Jacky Lamby.   She has been gifted to me by a work colleague who is extremely modest about her crochet skills.  Jacky is a shelf sitter and is positioned to look over my shoulder and watch me at my sewing machine.  Jodie – thank you.  It is almost a backwards compliment to a hand-crafter to describe something as good as something you’d find in a shop
  but Jacky is so well made – I could imagine finding her in a baby-wares shop for an exorbitant price

Bit by bit, I’ve been finding little things to sort out the organisational aspects of my sewing nook.  I have a LOT of printed patterns, some freebies I printed around 2004-05 which I still want to stitch (someday), some magazine charts I’ve pulled out – rather than keeping an entire magazine.  I have sorted these into Stitchery/Cross-stitch/Patchwork.  I have them sorted into Christmas/Halloween, Sheep/Teapots, Samplers by Motif/Band/Alphabet and Blackwork.  I have been very good and have kept an excel spreadsheet to document what chart can be found in what book. 

Now those of you who have display folders (I may or may not have gone out and bought some 50 books to use), you will know that they are floppy, exasperating things to put on a shelf without some sort of restraining system.  I am using the Ikea Kallax unit and was finding the books just kept falling sideways and not sitting where I could put them clearly.  I went online to search for a solution and I think I found a simple one.  At K-Mart of all places, found a wire rack in the office solutions and this is the result.  Wonderful!  The books are staying upright and are divided into groups.  You can see the basket on the floor, with another lot of books, but I have to work out which of my cube squares I am going to abandon to put the books in…  I am using all the other squares, so this will be a difficult decision – but my room IS a work in progress

Nearly forgot a finish of sorts... My TOL 2020 SAL is nearing completion and of the 2 versions I stitched, I had to adjust the last couple of bands of the blue/yellow version because I miscounted the fabric I stitched it on.  So now it's finished and I've added the beads and sequins.  When life opens up again, this will be sent to the framer

I hope you have enjoyed my meandering today – I was listening to a new to me Floss-Tube – Jan Hicks Creates..   in this time of isolation, felt like I had a stitchy friend sitting next to me and telling me what was in her week…  I wonder if I should investigate floss-tube a bit more..   Do you have any channels you like to visit?  Please leave a comment and let me know.



Sunday, 20 September 2020

Sew Over September

Sew over September….

In fact, sew over 2020 – it’s taken me quite some time to become disenchanted with lockdown, but I think as the weather improves, the urge to get out of the house, travelling further than the allocated 5km to the nearest supermarket increases.

It’s not so much the wanting to visit the Grandbabies interstate (which I do – I really do), but even the desire to travel within my own state, to visit my sister (5 hour drive), to visit my bestie (1.5 hour drive), a day trip down the coast, into the hills, across to the other side of town – is almost overwhelming.

If the general populace behave themselves, lockdown will soon be over, and although a grand Halloween Party is unlikely, we should be able to gather the family together for a celebratory meal at Christmas…

In the meantime, I walk around the block and spy into other people’s gardens, this lovely display of proteas, or the gumnut blooms which look like ballerinas, or even the lorikeets feeding on a seed block are distractions.

Meanwhile, stitching and sewing continues.

My Halloween quilt now has a border of monster teeth.  I am extraordinarily pleased with how well these worked out – especially the rounded corners.  It is now sandwiched and being quilted on my home machine – really trying not to overthink how this is quilted…just point to point and in the ditch for the main part.  Once this is done, I can return to my other project… the honeybee quilt.

For stitching this past week, I’ve been concentrating on the 2020 SAL and am near the finish on both colourways. 

The Lilac version is the original chart and I’ve added beads along the way.  The blue version had to be adjusted because I didn’t calculate the length of the fabric very well and would have run out of fabric.  This will be beaded on completion of the rows, which is only another couple of evenings worth – I’m not certain if I will put it away in rotation for another 3 weeks or shuffle out my rotations completely and finish it!

I really have to get a move on with some Christmas stitching, as am participating in a couple of Christmas ornament exchanges with currently nothing but ideas spinning in my brain to show for it.  So as it is a lovely sunny day – I will heave myself away from the computer and go and plan my next week’s worth of sewing and stitching.

Nearly forgot to empty out my ort pincushions, these sit next to me and I tuck away all my stitching orts to pop into my TUSAL Jar.  By the look of this, I have been stitching...have emptied them now and will start afresh for this week.

Hoping everybody is keeping well – what are your next projects that you are planning?   Drop me a line and let me know…  (Jo – I read your blog..  I KNOW you have about 60 projects on the boil  - lol  )