Monday, 30 September 2013

Calf Club And School Holidays And A Little Needlework!

OK, so the school holidays are now upon us  way down south of the equator. It is supposed to be spring but I think it has sprung off somewhere else! It feels like it has been either, windy, rainy or cloudy for several weeks now. No big highs in sight to bring us some brighter sunny days. Oh dear! I hope that is not going to last all holidays!
The girls finished up school on Friday and we had the annual calf club day on Saturday. Thank goodness that is all over for another year. It is a major fundraiser for the school. The kids have to prepare quite a few items for the day, among them, painted rocks, vaseline saucer's with petal display, miniature gardens, decorated cup & saucer, decorated CD and a floral table display. They also have to do a project or animal rearing for practically all of the third term. Here's a snippet of their achievements.....

Jazmin chose to do a garden project again this year. She is in the junior school year 2. Not a winner this time but there was much more competition this year. There were so many lambs for judging last year that I think people elected to do something else.
Tigerlily chose to raise a chicken this year. She is in senior school or intermediate year 7. Athena won a 'highly commended' or 4th place ribbon and Tigerlily won a '1st' rosette for her chicken diary which is the project that accompanies the chicken. Go girl!

 And now for my proud mother momment! Tigerlily and all the seniors painted a corrugated iron picture to sell at calf club or to parents first of course. Isn't it fabulous. The bird is a Saddleback and the flowers are Kowhai. Both are native to New Zealand.  The green 'koru' along the left side are a national symbol and represent an unfurling fern frond.
I did manage to get some needlework achieved during the week. I am stretched across projects so is not quick going and I didn't manage to work on the Essamplaire casket at all.
The back stitch and cross stitch are comming along on the Mermaid Treasures mirror frame. You can now see the cloud, wind & sun up the top and the face and torso of the mermaids with one still bald. I am getting there!

Mermaid Treasures (Amy Mitten)
The Needleworker's Pocket book received a little attention while I watched the girls at swimming lessons on Friday. I got the eyelet stitch done on the edge of the flap. Need to backstitch around this now and start on the next bit.
Needleworker's Pocketbook (Amy Mitten)
I made a ridiculously small start on the May Your Hands. I am not sure that I can cope with the roller frame and might have to whip it out to stitch in hand for the cross stitch and maybe put it back in for the satin stitch. It is just so awkward! There are numerous pieces to do the sawtooth border around.

May Your Hands and Shady Bower (Thistle Threads)
I did achieve my  stitching goal for the foral glove. I am up to date with lesson #1.  Yeah!

Floral Glove (Thistle Threads)
I wonder what I will manage this week stitching wise with the kids being off school. Today was cleaning, tomorrow is food shop and Wed/Thurs/Fri off down to Rotorua/Tauranga to see my parents and take the girls on a tiki tour. Looking like I should aim ...... not too high! :P My mum is a stitcher too and there are always the evenings and I won't have to cook for a couple of days at least.
Happy stitching to anyone out there reading my ramblings.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

It's Raining, A Perfect Day To Do Needlework, But......

My sister want's to do lunch as she is not working today and I haven't seen her for a while, so I will have to put the needle down. I can feel things creeping onto the backburner as the school holidays edge closer and closer until Friday they are here for two weeks. We also have the school calf club day on Saturday and there are always loads of projects/animals that the kids/mum have to prepare!
Still you and the kids are always tired at the end of term and it will be nice to have a break from the routine.
So onto my project gains this week. No parcels from the postman to add to my stash this week, how boring!
I finished lesson #7 for the Mermaid Treasures and have started the backstitching for lesson #8. This is the last lesson with needlework prior to commencing the finishing. The finishing.....should I be scared!!!!!!

Mermaid Treasures Lesson #7
I completed the satin stitching on the Essamplaire Casket frieze and the detached buttonhole body for the butterfly. Margriet emailed to say she was posting the next lesson last week. I wanted to be further ahead before she did this but alas not. I tried not to look ahead but I finally gave in. Looks like fun and will be nice to be working on a larger motif rather than lots of tiny ones for a bit. First, I need to finish the frieze!

Essamplaire Casket
I made a start on the Floral Glove. I backstitched the two carnations and put in the first row of long and short satin stitch into the first carnation. I think I will have to get out my magnifiers to do the second row as cannot clearly determine where to place the needle. The needle in the kit has a burr on the end which I have tried to emery and might need to file....very annoying as it catches just a little on the silk thread when going back through it for the satin stitch.
Thistle Threads Floral Glove
I also placed the Thistle Threads May You Hands into the Millenium Frame ready to start and have marked the start point, not stitches yet though. It will happen.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013


I didn't feel like I had a particularly fruitful week needlewise this week past but posting this blog is showing me otherwise. Diarising your needlework accomplishments no matter how small the progress certainly motivates you and encourages you to keep going no matter how small the stiching window. And even though the vast majority of my current projects are longer term and there are no quick finishes, I like that, it feels worthwhile. As I read other blogs and see others achievements the same inspiration happens.......
This week I traced  the outine on the linen for the Thistle Thread's Floral Glove and got it all framed up ready for stitching. I really want to try and put some stitches into this before the next lesson is posted on the 1st October.

Floral Glove (Thistle Threads)
I also managed to complete the backstitch and satin stitches on the butterfly for the Essamplaire Casket. Lots of thread changes here. Next will be the satin stitches on the flower to the left and the round forms to the immediate right of the butterfly. As I stitch this project I am getting a real sense of just how long it will take me to design and stitch the Thistle Threads Flat Top Casket I have ordered let alone the double I want to order. I do so love the look & effect of the stumpwork so will likely go down that track and so will be a real labour of love. 

Essamplaire Casket
I also traced the outline onto the linen for the Butterfly Pinkeep ready for the next Thistle Threads Cabinet of Curiosities lesson on 1st October. I would have rather done this piece on an Evertite frame but I am waiting for some more to arrive and thought since it seems a quick piece I will stick it on the Millenium frame I wasn't using. Just need to lace the sides......soon! 

Butterfly Pinkeep (Thistle Threads)
On Friday I receive the ginormous box containing the Mirror form ordered from Tricia. It's way bigger and more substantial in reality. I intend to do this prior to a casket. Tricia has no larger mirror slate frames at the momment. Not sure if I want to break it up and stitch pieces or to do it as one piece. There is a DVD that came with the mirror. I still need to watch it. Maybe that will help.
I found a blog where a mirror is being stitched and I like her ideas.

Mirror Form (Thistle Threads)

Hinges and DVD ....... just loving the look of that hardware
Inside the mirror box were a few other items...... the kit for the May Your Hands and the kit for the Goldwork Master Class that both started 1st September. Now I need to read those lessons and figure out what I need to do to get started. Whew, busy busy and it's school holidays in a couple of weeks! 
May Your Hands (Thistle Threads)

Goldwork Master Class (Thistle Threads)

Acorn forms included in the May your Hands kit. Aren't they just so adorable!
There were also some supplies I ordered from Tricia including the Silver Tape I ordered for the Flat Top Casket. The tape is quite a different colouring to what you see on the website and is almost greeny looking, still like it though even though the cost was right up there for trim.
Acorn, pear, orange & lemon forms, parchment, silk pear purl in purple's & waste canvas linen. Looking forward to the lesson with the use of waste canvas. Tricia has explained to me what it is so have some idea that it is a cool idea.
Silver Tape (Thistle Threads)
Oh and after all that excitement I did get some further stitching done. The Mermaid is comming along once the unpicking of the start of lesson #6 was done due to the graph errors and I started on Lesson #7.

Mermaid Treasures (Amy Mitten)

Double running stitch in sparkly and blingy 'Bijoux Obsidian' to replicate the scales. Love the names Amy gives to her threads! This particular job is a little tedious but still better than that 'darn' shell was.
I also did a tiny bit on the Needleworker's Pocketbook. Those little Norfolk style deer are just so teeny tiny cute.

Needleworker's Pocketbook (Amy MItten)
And to top all off this morning I see my cheque has been presented that I sent to 'Timeless Treasures' in Napier so I must have got in! Haven't had an email yet! This is to enrol to do the Fruit of the Vine Sampler Huswif with Ellen Chester a visiting American designer. Quite appropriately the venue for the day is the Mission Estate Winery. The course is costly but it is not often we get these opportunities down here in NZ. So now I have to figure out... do I fly to Napier for the day or drive with the family for more than a day. It is a 4 hour drive or and hour's flight from Auckland. I haven't been to Napier since I was a child. It's not until March 14th so a bit of time to decide but not much if I want cheap flights.

Sunday, 8 September 2013


I made some inroads into my current needlework projects this week. I didn't make inroads into my constant adding to my stash though.....

I have had fun for the most part this week but a little gutted that I had already done some work on Lesson #6 for the Mermaids when Amy announced that there were some errors in the charts....bugger!

This is how far I got before Amy notified the errors. So looking at the revised charts I now have to unpick the two lines of blue backstitching at the top and tail of the mirror and redo the basting circle in red. Frustrating as the backstitching takes ages and is easy to miscount the threads......aarrrrrggghhh but at least I hadn't done more stuff that is much harder to unpick.

I have made progress on the Needleworker's Pocketbook. The eyelets are quite fun and really make for a lacey look on the piece. There are rather a lot more though so might not think of them as so much 'fun' in the near future as they certainly progress slower than the cross stitch. This is a nice relaxing piece to stitch in the evenings as I can see the threads just with my normal glasses and watch TV without getting lost.
.........and onto the Essamplaire casket. I have been plugging away at the needlelace on the top of the piece at my desk during the day as the pieces are all detached and small and fiddly. I was a complete novice to needlelace at the start of this course but learnt to do it while stitching the Mermaid. Like all things, the more I do the better I get. Thank goodness for Amy Mitten's Mermaid instructions for learning this technique as I didn't realise when I took this casket course that it really is assumed that you know how to do this stuff and there are no detailed instructions. I am loving how it all slowly comes together and  this is a 2 - 3 year course so loads to do. I am now ready to start the frieze beginning with the satin stitch on the butterfly. I am treating this casket course, which is a reproduction of 'The Burrell Casket', as a stumpwork practice piece so when I finally design and begin work on my own casket using the Thistle Threads wooden form I will be adept at all the techniques. Also really looking forward to being a part of the Thistle Threads stumpwork course which is to commence next year. We are up to lesson #5 on the Cabinet of Curiosities course and I am loving every minute of the history and technique. Next month we get to do some stitching for the course, what fun.
Detail of the flower on the left hand side of the top which consists of detached leaves and petals. There are also detached wings on the moth above the flower and the body is padded needlelace..

Detail of the flower on the right hand side of the top which also consists of detached leaves and petals. The stem is couched gimp and the caterpillar is padded needlelace.

He is totally factually not the right colour for a leopard but I adore him just the same. Love that smirk.....

Now for the lack of inroads......

I ordered the DVD of the SANQ collection from Silver Needle. Looking forward to wiling away the hours with my 'cup of contemplation' and reading all these back issues. What a great idea for those of us who are new subscribers to this magazine.

I received my order of goodies this week from Inspired Needle. I have also placed another order this week with Cathy, who is super helpful, for some more GigiR charts (including the latest offering of 'The lady in red spinning her wool'), some Weeks Dye Works Linen's, Gentle Art Sampler Threads to stitch the GigiR Sampler from Saxony chart I have already and some more Evertite frames. I just love these frames, they are so light and allow you to practically 'work in hand' as they are super comfortable to manoeuvre and hold the work tight well. I have not yet come to terms with the whole concept of lacing several expensive slate frame's for a complete work on a casket.

I got my latest issue of the british magazine 'Homes & Antiques. I am still in love with all things historical and british chocolate boxey!

I also got the kit for the 'Mute but not silent' sampler that Amy Mitten offers as a workshop. Being as I live in  NZ and could never attend her kitting it up for me means I can still do it...yes!
Then, just to top off the week Tricia from Thistle Threads emailed me to say that my Mirror form is on it's way along with the two outstanding kits for the Gold Master Class and May your Hands and some supplies I ordered. Yippee! Next will be the flat top casket which when I last asked her maybe a month ago was looking to ship September. It's close anyway and I am in the third lot to go. Oh joy!
Even if the design process takes ages, there is nothing like having the actual form in front of you so you can stick designs onto it for a true visual. Well at least that's how I like to work. Just need to find the $$$ now for the double casket and that will be the next couple of decades stitching sorted........


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