Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Mission Accomplished

Woo Hooey Hoo

I spent a goodly part of yesterday lacing up my first ever slate frame and tracing on the design for my Mirror with Doors. This project is the one that Tricia is working on for the Thistle Threads Cabinet of Curiosities Part II Stumpwork.

It certainly does take quite some time to stitch the linen to the cotton tape and then to lace the sides, or in my case, lace the top and bottom as I have had to turn the project around in the frame in order for it to fit.

So proud of myself and I am no longer a slate frame virgin!
And then the tracing, oh the tracing. I figured that the tracing would be better left until I had laced the slate frame as the weight of the frame would help to more firmly hold the linen in position whilst I traced the design.  My figuring was right! After lacing the frame I ironed some freezer paper onto the back as Tricia suggests to help the linen surface not be so 'lumpy' for the pen to trace and so the lines are smoother. It does work. I then taped the printed design onto the light box so that wouldn't shift and then laid the frame over my A3 size light box and thank goodness, it just fitted, so I wouldn't have to fuss around with moving it to trace all the design....bonus!
Then I made darned sure my frame was not hanging over the edge of my table so I wouldn't knock it when leaning over to trace. It worked for the most part but I still knocked it a bit during the process. Being ever so careful to not knock and checking constantly with another printed design beside me on the table I began to trace and oh what a mission. It did take a while and I had to keep stopping and shaking my aching arm but it's done and it was done just as the kids came home from school. Whew!!!!
Isn't it such a pretty design!
Next task is to start on outlining all the flowers around the mirror surround with Elizabethan Twist couched with Tire Silk. I need to just start so the daunting feeling evaporates... :D
I feel I am going to be getting to know these two quite well!!!

Monday, 24 March 2014

Fruit Of The Vine And My 50th Post

 My day with a designer in the Hawkes Bay was a fabulous time. The weather was brilliant, the flight down was smooth and the view out the plane window awesome. Hawkes Bay was warm and welcoming. The event was hosted at the Mission Estate Winery which is a beautiful old and elegant building set in amongst the grape vines. Perfect for a project named 'Fruit of the Vine'. The class was small and intimate and mostly not from the Hawkes Bay. Ellen Chester's energy for the project was motivating. Ellen is lovely and I am pleased I had the chance to meet her. Of course it also turns out that she is in Tricia's Cabinet of Curiosities course so we had loads to talk about! We learnt loads of specialty stitches and Ellen gave detailed instructions about stitching and completing the project which was super helpful. It will be a while before I get this one done though. Seeing the pieces stitched was a treat as you just don't get a sense of the dimension in the stitches unless you see them for real.
We were very well fed and watered during our day at the winery. Lunch was on the patio with beautiful platters of antipasto, salad and fresh fruit. No wine though or we never would have been able to concentrate in the afternoon ;D
Me & Ellen

Our class kit for Fruit of the Vine
I have to say that the day was splendid and the only thing that bugged me was totally out of Ellen's control. She wasn't allowed to bring in the beautiful scrimshaw pieces as they are prohibited In New Zealand.....darn!!!! I like them!
Thank you Ellen for sharing your time with us all the way down under and thank  you also to Sherelyn from Timeless Treasures for hosting Ellen.
I finished block #2 for the Civil War Bride quilt. Gosh there were a lot of stems in that second block and it took a little while to place all the pieces but I am pleased with the result.

Block #1

Block #2
The Needleworker's Pocketbook is trucking along. I just finished the thread holder portion last night and am now up to the flowers on the ruler. After that the project will be ready for finishing. The end is nigh!

This is the thread holder portion a couple of days ago.
I have also done a little more towards completing the first block of Di Ford's 'Mountmellick'. This is such a pretty quilt and I am loving the fact that I am getting to do this quilt in the same colours Di chose. She is just unsurpassed at fabric selection for shabby quilts and the brilliant use of fussy cut fabrics.
English paper pieced corner hexies coming together

This is where they will go but they are not stitched yet.
Issue #100 of Quiltmania arrived on my doorstep last week with the second instalment of the quilt. This time it is the first border. This second lot of fabrics are just as gorgeous as the first. Bestill my beating heart...

Amy Mitten has released the first lessons for the Spring Equinox Casket Keepsakes. and the kit arrived. But of course it is the Autumn Equinox for us here in Nez Zealand. Not sure when I will be able to start this one. The Winter Casket Keepsakes (Summer here) are still sitting very partially completed close to my workspace on my desk but not on it!!!! Quilting has side tracked my time of late.

They are sooooo pretty
I really really really need to spend some time doing what we needleworker's tend to consider the least fun part......the finishing. It can make or break a project that has taken hours of time stitching.
Not only am I nearly there with the Needleworker's Pocketbook but the May Your Hands and Floral Glove are still awaiting completion. The Tire Gold Silk I was waiting on arrived last week so no excuses for finishing the tiny bit on the glove I need to do that I had put aside due to running out of thread for couching the Elizabethan twist.
Take a look at these gorgeous wire metallic threads that I received from Tricia at Thistle Threads during the week. I won these in the contest to guess the dimensions of the winning beaded 17th century basket created by the amazingly talented Rachael Kinneson. So pleased I entered as the threads are fabulous.

Hope you all have a fabulous week filled with creativity!!! 

Thursday, 13 March 2014

A Day With A Designer

Tomorrow I am off to the Hawkes Bay for a 'Day With A Designer'. The designer is Ellen Chester of With My Needle . It is very rare that an American designer lands on our shores to teach a course being as we are so very far away so an opportunity not to be missed.
My flight from Auckland to Hawkes Bay departs at 6.45am so I have to get up super early. There is a tropical storm predicted to arrive in the upper North Island later Friday/Saturday and I am just hoping like heck that it doesn't speed up as I sure want to be back on terra firma Friday evening in Auckland before it starts to blow a gale. I am only going for the day.
I will tell you all about the course next week. It is hosted at the Mission Estate Winery which is somewhere I have never been before. It is quite appropriate really because the piece Ellen is teaching is the 'Fruit of the Vine Sampler Huswif'.
You can read Ellen's blog here
Our darling feline patient Louis is back at the vet today. As the swelling has subsided and he has been catching it on everything the cast has slipped and so they need to recast him. His hock is still very unstable. $$$ :( but oh so glad he is still with us.
Despite his injuries and being a very good patient he is still as keen as ever to bolt outside. Husband's who leave doors open don't help!!!
The girls and I couldn't help ourselves graffiti-ing his cast

I finally and with much glee received my Cabinet of Curiosities casket form on Tuesday. I savoured the moment on my ownsome. The packaging was amazing and made the unveiling a bit like layers of paper in a game of pass the parcel only it was...unwrap a layer....take a photo...unwrap a layer....take a photo....

It is all very much in pieces at the moment as the hardware does not get attached until all the lining and stitching is done. I won't glue the wooden bun feet in either as Tricia is having metal ones made and I may well change when they are available. But I have it in front of me and I can now start to visualise my design in 3D. Woo Hoo.
I have been in a couple of times this week to the printer trying to get the pattern for the mirror with doors to size correctly and it is very frustratingly not being helpful. At this point I cannot just trace it onto the linen as the dimensions will not be right so I have may have to trace the outline and fit the design in. Painful but doable.
I have a huge stack of design ideas piled up in my room for both the casket and the fancy mirror. Need to organise my thoughts around all this.

I received a lovely package from The Little Quilt Store during the week. This is the beautiful studio of Lynette Andrews quilt designs. I purchased the set of Apliquik Tools. So far I have used the Perfect scissors both large and embroidery and they are brilliant. They have little serrations on the blade a bit like metal thread scissors and really grip the fabric. Of course her fabric designs are just gorgeous and I now have all the bits to make the Chateau Hexagon Quilt.

The Di Ford Mountmellick attempts at hand applique have been driving me crazy this week and I finally decided to be kind on myself and only do hand applique for the broderie perse. Trying to get the vase all lined up and hand pieced was difficult to say the least for a newbie to hand applique. So I reverse stitched it all and machine appliqued.  Too little time and too many projects to feel guilty over this failure. I just was not happy.
This is my failed hand uneven and yuck

This is my moving on using stitching technology....nice and even and balanced

I have layed out the swags and diamonds and you will see that next week. The latest Quiltmania magazine came out today with the next border instalment. Need to move on with this...
The Needleworker's Pocketbook is still trucking along...
Oh, this week I also received a package I ordered of ETSY after seeing the work of a cool needlefelter. Sarafina Fiber Art supply the necessary supplies to make the animals she has video tutorials for on her website. I got the fox....too cute

Enjoy the rest of your week




Wednesday, 5 March 2014

A Family Member's Distress Causes Small Achievements

My little helper 'Louis' has had a tough time of it this week not to mention causing us, his family, a great deal of angst. He was missing for two days before he wandered into my daughter's bedroom at 1am in the morning looking VERY beat up and VERY sorry for himself. He could hardly walk so it must have been a real challenge to get home and up all the stairs to the bedrooms. Your eyes just well up thinking about the effort and how scared and sore he must have been and knowing that cats don't normally come straight home when they are injured. So straight off to the vet we went in the morning with much concern. They knocked him out to take x'rays and to our huge relief there was no ligament or obvious bone breakage. Just a LOT of swelling especially around the hock area  and lots of grazes & cuts consistent with impact with a car and tarseal. There is however massive soft tissue damage and so the vet has put him in a cast to help stabilise it for a few weeks so it can heal. He's not that enamoured of it but he's tolerating it and the acrobatics are diminishing. Sleeping is very much on his agenda and there's no way he's going outside any time soon.

So with all that drama going on which interrupts your sleep and can't help but cause worry and fear, I have not focused so much on stitching.

The Thistle Threads  CoC II Stumpwork course started over the weekend and I have read the first lesson. Tricia has such an informative manner of getting the information across, it's great. I did order the mirror form she is working on some weeks ago but it has still not arrived along with a bunch of overseas orders and my flat top casket. I hope they are not all sitting in customs while they get ready to bill me! aaarrrggghh

I am nearly, nearly at the end of the main piece of the Needleworker's Pocketbook. Just the last eyelet band and the back stitch to do on that bit. So keen to get that one knocked off.

I want to start a Scarlet Letter sampler and contribute to the Nicola's Scarlet Letter Blog. It will be good motivation to continue and I like doing these in the evenings. But I am not starting anything else until the pocketbook is done.

I did manage to do a little quilting during the week but it was slow going.

I stitched the stems onto the Di Ford Mountmellick which seems like such a pathetic effort for the week but I was fussing a bit as this is the first hand applique quilt I have attempted. I had to do some reverse stitching on them as I hated the look and thread and stitch I used the first go.

I did nearly complete the machine applique on the Civil War Bride quilt. I didn't do the apples as I didn't have the right colour thread. I really like using the Gutermann 100% cotton and need to go get a bunch more colours but with the Louis saga I just haven't been up to the 60-90 minute round trip to the shop I have to do to get them. Maybe in the weekend as the kids like going to the shop to as it has other crafty stuff. Only trouble with that is they want everything!!! Can't think where they got that from!!!!!!
Yesterday I traced out the second block onto the heat n bond and now to choose colours from the myriad in the kit. There's lots of leaves in this one, second along from the left in the top row of five.


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