Monday, 30 June 2014

Perfect Days

It's windy as and stormy AGAIN today. We sure do seem to have had a bit of unsettled weather of late. But then it is nearly mid winter here and a tad more than a week past the shortest day or winter solstice for us who live down here in the lower lattitudes. Of course it is not all bad, loads and loads more time to stitch, stitch, stitch while it is blowing a gail outside. So cosy!!! I love the change of seasons. Hope the power stays on!

School breaks up for the end of the second term on Friday so I have been mindful of getting plenty done and prepping some stuff for some easier stitching projects for a couple of weeks. Luckily my girls are pretty good at amusing themselves so I won't have to stall

I am stoked  that I have now finished the canopy and drape pieces for one door of the mirror. This was fun seeing the needle lace come alive and a raised pattern emerging.

Here's the canopy piece still mounted on the support canvas, ready to be removed and the buttonhole edging done. Now that was one mega fiddly job as the thread catches on all those seperate tabs and the bows. The result as you will see in a minute is worth the effort as the pieces look so much nicer once they are edged.

The needle lace pattern used is an alternation of up and down buttonhole, a space  and then two buttonhole stitches followed by a space. The stitches alternate each row and so a diagonal raised ridge develops across the piece as you stitch. Fab. Now doesn't that buttonhole edging grand the piece up somewhat?

Here are the side drapes and the canopy pinned in position. Now this is really starting to look like a stumpwork piece. 

Just look at how much depth we have going on here now. Awesome.

The next task is to complete the long satin stitch underneath on the surface of the design. This will be done in the same shades but with only the lighter colours. Then it will be time to assemble all the pieces ready for attaching. This will include the leaves I have already completed as the branches of them hold up the canopy. Looking forward to that bit.
I decided that I would finish the whole canopy on one side before starting the next as I may just do the canopy and drapes on the Queen's door in a different colour. Oh yeah!

The quilting side of my world has seen the introduction of a new project to the mix. I know, I know, like I really need another WIP!!! And I haven't even started the third installment of Di Ford's/Quiltmania's mystery Mountmellick yet. I think I am secretly putting that off as it is chocka block with broderie perse on all four borders so will be mega time comsumming.

When I went into Patchwork Passion a few weeks back I got totally hooked into wanting to make Lucy Boston's Patchwork of the Crosses. The ladies there have been working away on this for a little while now and are having loads of fun with the honeycomb hexies and fussy cutting. So of course I wanted some of that fun for myself not to mention an excellent excuse to start diving into that rather large fabric stash I have. 

I have made a start. There are 56 blocks in this quilt and 8 metres of fabric for the background hexies alone. It is a labour of love and not a short term goal. I am doing the EPP method, same as the PP ladies. This is the sort of plain stitching I can do when kids are on holiday. It's very portable. I need to fussy cut some more blocks this week. It's a great way of looking at your fabric in a whole different way and it's fun.

Here's my first completed block with background. Each block is made up of 24 hexies and the background is another 24. Then there will be all the joining squares. I haven't decided on that fabric yet.

I have another one glue basted and awaiting piecing....

.... and here's the background hexies for that next one....

This is what the quilt will look like after a lot of hexies, a lot of squares and a lot of's a biggie!

Winter casket Keepsakes is nearing a finish but I will share that one next time....

Rae H

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Proud Mother & Other Momment (s)

My lovely eldest daughter did us proud this week as parents. A science project poster she entered at school was selected as a finalist for the 'Franklin Rotary Science & Technology Exhibition for 2014' in the Year 8 category. 

We went along prior to the prize giving to see all the exhibits. There are some very talented young teenagers out there.

Now us Kiwi's are known for being modest about our achievements....she didn't want me to photograph her while her friends were looking....can you tell????

That's her poster presentation about 'Electric cars for the common good' behind that shy smile.

Then her name got called out as an award winner and she had to go all the way up to the stage....

Proud, we sure were....joint second place....Well Done!

Now there is also another member of my extended family who has achieved good things of late. My youngest sister, who has recently relocated back to the USA to the San Francisco area, has her own art exhibition opening soon at Raw Artists and I couldn't be happier for her. She is an amazing artist with the palette knife and recognition for following her passion as an artist and for her art is really cool.

Check out her gallery at Saatchi Art

Well done Sis

Rae H

I'm So Excited And I Just Can't Hide It....

I have put my name down, I am all signed up for something to look forward to in September,  besides the arrival of Spring of course! 

Patchwork Passion have announced that they are hosting Yoko Saito for three classes towards the end of September. I love the woven Japanese style fabrics AND Yoko's own quirky and prolific style and so I am in. I haven't done a class for some time so it will be quite the little treat.

Since I love but have never done anything in her style I decided to enrol for two of the classes as they suggest that you need to have mastered her small piece needle turn applique technique for the two day class. Hubby will just have to look after the kids on the Saturday, which just happens to be Day #1 of the next school holidays!!!

The Almond Notebook Cover (24th September)....isn't it just adorable....and....

the Floral Bouquet Wallhanging (26th & 27th September)....gorgeous and so feminine

Just too much fun to be had here....can't wait

Of course, I had already showed an 'expression of interest' in attending both the Di Ford and Sue Spargo workshops in 2015 but that's another story. Wee way's to go and in the meantime plenty to carry on with.

I will post about my stitching over the past week or two soon....promise

Rae H

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

A Quartet Of Leaves And A Sweetie

The leaves for the mirror are done, done, done, done...finally! They have now been set aside until required near the end of the canopy/drape making process.

I have couched the wire to the support structure but have not yet made a start on the needle lace. Hopefully soon but not for want of trying it is just that life and chores just keep getting in the way as we all know!

I also had a finish finish this past week. It was a super quick and small stitch so was easy to knock this project on the head. I completed the sweetest little scissor fob from the Sheperd's Bush Fold series. It's just too divine for words. I am loving the colour of the linen in this project, the beautiful colour palette of over dyed threads and the overdyed ribbon just finishes this off a treat.

Fabulous....'My Home'.... Scissor FOB....

I live in the semi rural countryside and so am loving the rural vista style of this collection. So glad I decided to go ahead and sign up for the series.

I have given Anne Lawle a rest this week after all that tent over one the past couple of weeks on the gentleman and have picked up my kit again for Amy Mitten's Winter Casket Keepsakes. I am having fun with this just trickling along in the evening. 

Here's my completed pieces so far....

I just love working with that twisted personality thread located in that nest at the bottom of the photo. It sure has a mind of it's own but for some reason I can relate to

I am about to start the couching of the wire thread on that spiral piece in the!

I was spurred on again to pick this up as Amy sent an email out last week to say that the Summer kit was on it's way and it starts on 21st June....our winter solstice in this hemisphere. Spring is still waiting in the queue too!!!! 

Then look what the postie delivered today....squeals of delight at my house....this butterfly and beetle are SO DARN FABULOUS

Amy's creations and her fabulous kits and instructions are beyond amazing and she totally surprises you each and every new project. 

Maybe I can manage to do all these  Amy projects in line with our seasons down here far south of the equator!!!!

Hope your week is as fun as mine is turning out to be.

Rae H

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Bullet Bitten, Lesson Learnt & What A Difference A Wire Makes

It's done, I bit the bullet and am re-making the leaves. Thanks to Francesca for confirming my suspicions that the first leaves were not really working out, not because of my technique but because of the type of wire I had used the first time. The diameter was just too thick for the purpose. Francesca suggested that it really needs to be about the same diameter as the thread you are using which when pointed out by someone with loads of knowledge suddenly makes perfect sense. I needed to flick the switch sooner and turn that light bulb on and I wouldn't have spent so much time pfaffing about with the first lot. But I am so very happy that I decided to have another go as they are way, way superior and now look for the most part like the photos Tricia showed in the course.

So I set aside the 'pretty' but not fit for purpose wire and went rummaging in my stash. I found some Gilt 6 end silk that is nice and fine. It works. It keeps the shape of the leaf nicely as it doesn't compete with the 32 gauge couched wire outline.

Two hours later, cos that's how long it takes to make one leaf from couching the wire at the start to wrapping the stem at the end, I have a finished leaf that really looks like a leaf....fabulous....take a isn't that better!

This is how they will look when attached....nice....

Of course, I have since re-read Tricia's instructions and did see some mention of wire types she used, should have done that first maybe but we all know what that is like and I wouldn't have learnt my lesson then....would I !!!

I am a happy camper now though....two done and off to make two more....

Rae H

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Legless And Leaves On A Sunday Afternoon

I have been busy beavering away in the evenings for the past two weeks on my Anne Lawle. It is winter here now and the perfect season to achieve so much more stitching in the evenings with the shorter days. In fact the shortest day is only a mere two weeks away but the weather still feels like Autumn. It has been a most mild turn of events so far this season.

The alphabet band was pretty easy going being cross stitch and montenegrin but then I hit a go slow comming into the next border with the lady and the gentleman. The gentleman is up first and he is S.L.O.W going....tent over one....takes forevever. I outlined him first to make it easier for me to fill in the tent stitch areas. There is a lot of creative licence to be bandied about due to interpretation of the rather ambiguous instructions. Lucky I think I know for the most part what I am doing. But you certainly wouldn't confuse this with the original as it sure ain't no exact's my Raewyn Anne (Anne's my middle name)....

Take a look at where I got to....

....oops this photo's a little blurry but you get the gist...his hair's in stem version of it that is!!!

I like the detached button hole cuffs but I did munt the collar a looks better in reality than this photo suggests. I did two wraps for his french knot eyes but I think I might extract them and just do one wrap as they seem a bit heavy....and his chin stitch is disappearing....need to sort that....

The hat was finished off last night....the leggings and boots are started....

During the day the leaves on the mirror have been taking precedence over all else in my studio....

First, the leaves were stitched in long and short stitch on the background. The leaves at the side will remain as they are but the leaves in the middle with the branch holding the curtain have a detached overlay and so the long and short will be covered by the detached piece. They have yet to have their background stems stitched  in brown as this is done around drape attaching time....

Despite not being a huge fan of long and short or indeed needle painting, they don't look too shabby. I need LOTS more practice in this technique....

Then it was onto making the detached leaves.... I chose to use a gold wire as the support thread for the detached up and down buttonhole which is done in Soie de Paris. This wire I suspect is thicker than the wire used by Tricia in the instructions and so my leaves have turned out more rounded and with less definition. The wire is also much more visible. It is different and less lace I like it....I think I want to make four more leaves....NO....I want to move onto the drapes. The leaves were stitched round and round the wire outline and so even though I had lots of stitches I still got some larger gaps around some of the curves. I think I might go back and retrospectively plug these gaps with extra's doable....I tried it already.

I have a stash of the waste canvas 30 count rather firm linen that I got from Tricia thinking I would like the techniqe for getting counted onto a satin background but I hated the technique so not ever doing that as you have to extract all the waste threads after stitching and you could just imagine some of them getting caught with the needle and thread while doing the counted work and being a nightmare to pull out.

Anyway, long story short this canvas makes an ideal structure upon which to make the support for detached pieces. This is my four leaves traced on the waste canvas and the 32 gauge wire couched down as the cordonnet.

I decided to couch the wire around all the leaves at once so that job was done.  I use an Amy Mitten tip and masking tape all loose ends down and out of the way. Going forward I also masked the edges so the working thread doesn't get caught there either. 
As you can see the support wire is relatively thick and so has given the leaves a much different look and the definition is reduced from that of the drawing.... but I like this pretty wire and I wanted to use it!!!

Once the detached up and down buttonhole was completed I then removed the leaf from it's support and buttonholed around the edges....much better. I could have wrapped the wire first with Soie Ovale but I just didn't fancy wrapping thread around that teeny diameter wire.

A pair of leaves....

And here is where they will ultimately go....I have wrapped all the loose wires with Soie Ovale for the branches but haven't yet cut off the loose ends....

What do you think....will they pass muster???

So this week I am starting the drapes about which I am really excited. I started couching the side pieces yesterday. In Lesson #4 that came out last weekend it is all about the kings cloak. Beautiful and vibrant in red. So much to look forward to....I am just loving this project as mega time consuming as it may be.

I also finally received my next issue of Quiltmania yesterday and so no excuses now to making a start on the next instalment of the Di Ford Mountmellick. Some ladies in the facebook group who were lucky and received their magazine weeks ago have already finished this next gorgeous border. 

So inspiring seeing what others are achieving and the joy and excitement making things with your own hands can bring.



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