WIP Wednesday #291

Hi everyone! It was an odd week, with highs and lows. RIP Queen Elizabeth; you served your people faithfully and well. I intend to watch her service and give thanks. I expect Mum would have hung the bunting out in heaven; she always wanted to meet the Queen.

In fun stuff, I am planning a Taskmaster party for Mase’s birthday. He was sick the original weekend, and now of course nearly every weekend is another friend’s party, so we’ll do it in the warmer weather. Not a bad thing, really. It should be hilarious. And messy. These things often are!

Stitching wise, Stitch West had a meet-up and it’s so good to be with other needleworkers. We are so different in our goals, experiences and beliefs but everyone treats each other with respect and humour. I love that. And it’s less than a few weeks to the annual retreat – this time at Thames, a coastal town in the Coromandel.

I have some good progress on Rogue Dragon, and his top half is nearly complete. He’s really satisfying to work on as there are so few people stitching him, so the little quirks are a surprise. A few people have asked for the conversion details too which is very complimentary. It’s not complete yet so no sharing.

Hope you all have a good week.

WIP Wednesday #290

Well – so much for willpower, as I said on the facebook post. I have not finished the Garden Porch mice, or the second set of waves on the Thames biscornu, but I started the Rogue Dragon.

Garden Porch Mice on Floba, using DMC Perle #5

In Nora Corbett’s patreon, the majority of people chose her red/orange colourway in the first posts. Me, I’m different (hold the phone!) but as I said then, I’ll work on a conversion. It was going to be blues, so Talith , from MacCaffrey. Talith was the dragon to suggest using the fire lizards stone to create the flame that kills Thread. I know, ironic isn’t it? Someone else is using Glaurang, from Tolkien; and I’m sure there will be other names from literature. And probably a Fred or two. And then I went greens, so this is Morath, who rescued Debera from her father’s attempt at imprisonment post Search. This is with seven day’s work.

Rogue Dragon on Platinum lugana

And if you don’t know the series, start with Dragonsdawn by Anne MacCaffrey. That way you can read chronologically rather than as she wrote/published, as those dart around as her muse took her. And there’s a few books written by her children to round out the series. But only if you like fantasy. If you want a non-fiction, and I’m aware I may be a bit late to the party, but I was recommended and started Threads of Life: A History of the World Through the Eye of a Needle by Claire Hunter (pub 2020).  It’s fascinating.

We had a lovely weekend away with Mase. He’s now 13, and we got the best email from his teacher, so decided to go do his things in Rotorua as a treat. Did the usual luge (where I watch, coffee and stitch while they race), a couple of touristy things like Paradise Springs, and another bout of mini golf where I won again, hooray! Si “borrowed” one of B’s rugby balls (turned out this was without permission, eep) so he took photos of the ball and sent them to B frequently. Who sent back ridiculous text messages in return. Oh dear, this is my life!

A Very Late Update

So it’s been a long while since I wrote. If you haven’t been on my IG, we’ve got a lot to catch up on.

Family-wise, we’ve grown although maybe not in the expected way. Back in February, Si  was putting in the last of the Expol underfloor insulation. I was in the room above him and I heard an “oh shit!’ then a much much louder “go and get your mother!”. I went around and under the house where he told me that he thought we had rats. We don’t even have a compost bin and live in suburbia, and I thought this was really unrealistic. Sure enough, after I grabbed his headtorch and had a look, it wasn’t. I was exceptionally passive aggressive when I made the torch shine directly in his eyes and said “…it’s kittens”.

Turns out Mama Cat was dumped when the people behind us moved out. She wasn’t much more than a kitten herself and was malnourished and therefore so were the kittens. We found three live kittens and brought them into the house to be warmed up and fed. So now we have Charlie (was 205gm), Elise (was 225gm) and Kayn (was 265gm) – at nearly six months, Kayn is “average” while the girls are much smaller, but everyone is now thriving. Mama is now spayed and re-homed, but the three terrors are staying with us.

Charlie, day one
Kayn, Elise & Charlie, night one
Charlie, on Sunday. An ideal builders cat!

And I have a teenager again – and we’ve done the high school visit. Ouch.

Work-wise, nothing much has changed for me. The role has reduced down again, so it’s getting to time to look for something more. I have read over the material for the next Tikanga paper, and decided not to proceed there. I think language might be the go, or a dressmaking course. Honestly, it’s all about me so I’ll move the way I want to.

Reading-wise, I am devouring older Nora Roberts, Deb Kastner, Becky Wade and anything that has a Christian/K-9 Assistance trope. Luckily that’s a huge swathe of Harlequin novels so I’ll be there until that runs out.  Re-watching older episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, Taskmaster UK, and The Great British Sewing Bee. I made a lined waistcoat for Si, for his formal awards dinner (his team theme was loud), and now I’ve mastered darts and bagging out. Woot. Patrick Grant would still be looking down his nose at it!

Stitching wise, I have finished quite a few things, started some more and purchased even more. I have mastered a few embroidery stitches – queen was a real headache to ensure it was even – and have put off starting a Chatelaine mandala as (insert gasps here) I have fallen into the full coverage rabbit hole. I know. I know!! Please God, let me live to 102… Pattern Keeper is an amazing app

Finishes:

  • Mirabilia Fairy Idyll
  • HOD North Pole Trading Company (adapted to two antlers, not three)
  • Mill Hill Sunday Night (two of course, and FFO’d)
  • HOD Cookie Exchange SAL (need to FFO on a kitchen board)
  • HOD Reflect Upon Your Present Blessings
  • La-D-Da Sweet Pea (on Floba, FFO’d even!)
  • Tis The Season Abigail’s Sampler (good for learning new stitches)
  • Faby Reilly Fox biscornu (ready to FFO at the Thames Retreat)
Sweet Pea #ffo

Still to complete:

  • Chatelaine Castle I (still back stitching the gate)
  • Beth Twist/Heartstring Samplery Coffee Quaker (my over one conversion)
  • Mirabilia Princess Elliana (still working on conversion)
  • Mirabilia Le Nouveau Sampler (LHS of garden)
  • Mirabilia Fairy Tales (to bead)

Started since we last chatted:

  • Nora Corbett Coral Charms (converting to the same look as my Luce Mia mermaid)
  • Stitching Jules’ Watercolour Sheltie (via etsy, about 15%)
  • HAED Lesley Anne Ivory Tournee Le Chat Noir (about 12%, but it’s HUGE)
  • Ink Circles Red Velvet
  • HAED Aimee Stewart Cliffhanger (mini, just over 26%)
  • Just Nan Garden Porch Mice (on floba)
Cliffhanger by Aimee Stewart

I’m also working on the Nora Corbett Patreon pattern, Rogue Dragon. He’ll be converted, as hers is red/orange tones, and that isn’t my jam. He’s the next cab off the rank once Garden Porch Mice is done, as I really do want to see what & how the humbug forms. I’ve not completed one of those before. One of the ladies at the embroidery group I go to had one done last month, but on 32ct so much smaller. I have the 32ct for this one still with the chart, but I doubt I’ll do it again. Also, the urn and mice could go well into another Hare, especially if I was to use the same shape as the Sweet Pea I finished this month.

Anyway, I will try to write more frequently. I’d like to get back into a weekly routine again, and Zeb has been asking for flosstube again. Not sure if I have the emotional spoons for that but we’ll see. Where on earth would I start from??

Take care!

July WIPocalypse

Hello everyone! WIPocalypse is the monthly check-in SAL hosted by Measi on her blog, and via the Facebook group – we welcome all enablers! Click on the icon to the right to learn more.  If you’re a crafter, please join up either on your blog or via the Facebook group.

Since I last posted, I have some finishes! Un Ricarmo per Rinascere is done, and the following day I finished the beading on Nora Corbett’s Winter Bear. He’s a little altered from the original, as I am going to mount him on a canvas and I used a different bugle bead. Otherwise he’s as per the chart, on 28ct Evening Shadows Lugana from Countrystitch. URPR is on 28ct Geyser Lugana from Countrystitch, beads and threads as charted.

On a positive note, I found the fox biscornu bag! I haven’t opened it, but at least I know where it is now – in my WIP pile in my stitch dresser. I also did some “housework” and cleaned up my DMC threads, added them into Stash Cache and sorted out all the other brands (Anchor, Sullivans) to go to another stitcher.

There’s an upcoming WIPocalypse challenge based around the Summer Olympics. From Measi’s blog:

The rescheduled Tokyo Summer Olympics will take place July 23 – August 8, 2021. For the duration of the Olympics (defined as beginning of the day to the end of the day in your time zone), you can pick and choose from the following “events” to add some spice to your stitching. All optional, of course!

  • Marathon – pick one piece, and dedicate yourself to progress on that single piece for the duration of the Olympics.
  • Olympic Flag – You may stitch on any piece or combination of pieces, but only stitch in the colors of the Olympic rings – blue, yellow, black, green, and red, as well as white (the background of the flag).
  • Sprint – Choose either a time block (for example, 3 hours) or a number of stitches that you can do fairly quickly in an afternoon, and see how many projects you can work on during the Olympics. If you prefer to limit to a certain number of pieces and just do a rapid rotation, this also would count as a sprint.
  • Decathlon – Pick ten pieces by ten different designers and complete at least 200 stitches OR 3 hours on each during the Olympics.

The Bothy Threads kit Moongazer (why did I call that Moonlight last month??) arrived at work while I was away sick, and so therefore all temptation to have a new start ceased, and is the real reason I have two finishes J however, I intend to do the “marathon” event for the Olympic stitching, and hopefully this one will be a finish long before the Games are over. He really is very beautiful, confetti and all! I am stitching him on 28ct Cashel (for a change) in Waterfall from Countrystitch.

Moongazer after four days work

On that note, and probably because I am risk-adverse and at heart a scientist, but What The Actual?? Who thinks it’s an okay idea to run an event of this size and nature during a pandemic? Also, Boris et all should be taken out the back and locked up for being criminally negligent. Pretty happy the Australian and NZ Rugby League teams won’t be travelling to the UK in a few months.

July 25 – Have you ever attended a stitching retreat? If so, tell us about your experiences. As I said last month, I attended the Christchurch meet-up that was open to all NZ members. It wasn’t a retreat as such, as the accommodation and the event were in different locations, but it’s opened me up to meeting new people. I’ve attended two of the three West Auckland meet-ups, and once rugby season is over, I’ll be going to the monthly North Shore events too. 

In Praise of Picture Books

The other month, while on the way to rugby training, RNZ said something almost unforgiveable. The Great Eric Carle was now the Late, Great, Eric Carle. From the back seat came a howl.

I am unabashedly a book worm. I’ll read (need!) almost anything printed, and always have. I’ve tried to bring up all four of our kids as readers, and like to think I’ve succeeded with three of them. We have solid collections of favourites, from Winnie the Pooh to last year’s The Inkberg Enigma (buy it from Unity!) and cover a wide range of genres, especially when you add on their dad’s favs, and books are part of day-to-day life.

The howl had come from Mr 11 and his mate, Kobe the First. They reminisced about The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and made their own list of what they could or would eat should they have the sudden urge to hibernate (rather less fruit and veges than the original). We then moved onto some other favourites and here’s some we think you can’t go wrong with.

  1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Buy this in a board format. Buy it as soon as you know you’re pregnant, or on the way to the baby shower. Stash a few at home for Welcome Baby presents. You can’t go wrong with this one.
  2. The Lion in the Meadow by Margaret Mahy. Perfect for the child whose imagination blurs with reality, this Kiwi classic is on its second generation in our household. The extra beauty of the writing is that the main character (AKA the Boy) is never named, so you can very simply personalise this with your favourite person (hint: your child. That’s supposed to be your child). Another great Mahy is the Man Who’s Mother Was a Pirate.
  3. The Kiss That Missed by David Melling. This picture book is the start of a trilogy, all cleverly illustrated with plenty of subtle detail. It starts off with the King being in an awful hurry, and not stopping by to kiss his Prince good night…very relatable! Melling has plenty of other picture and hard books to choose from too.
  4. Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd – another Kiwi classic that is just about on the second generation! Hairy and his mates are now in board book, paperback, video, live action plays etc and littlies love the rhythm and rhyme of these titles.
  5. The Inkberg Enigma by Jonathon King– a Kiwi graphic novel that is aimed at 8+ readers or anyone that still loves Tintin.

A Very Late May WIPocalypse

Hello everyone! WIPocalypse is the monthly check-in SAL hosted by Measi on her blog, and via the Facebook group – we welcome all enablers! Click on the icon to the right to learn more.  If you’re a crafter, please join up either on your blog or via the Facebook group – we welcome all enablers!

I haven’t written for a while. We had a wee drama in the family (be proud of me, I didn’t rip someone’s head off for destroying one of my babies self-confidence & happiness) and a trip away from home. Lots of rugby training and games – Mase took out both Coach and Manager’s choice one Saturday. A RunAuckland walk, where Mase only beat me by a minute or so. A cold running its way thru the house, and antibiotics for me. Si & I have been to both a 7 Days and a Taskmaster episode filming (making up for not being well enough to attend the comedy festival in early May). The weather has turned to winter (boo) and it’s getting time to snuggle in and hibernate, despite the Christmas Eve rose still going strong.

Our trip was to Christchurch, the major city in the South Island. I had brought a ticket for the two-day NZ Cross Stitch group meet-up, and Si, Lou & Mase came down also. We flew in the day before, and out the day after, and the three of them explored all over the general environs. My favourite spot was the pier that goes out from New Brighton beach; it was almost full moon, crisp and clear. I love the sound of the sea.

The meet-up was good too! So lovely to get together with like-minded people, and I attended the lacing class. I’ve more than a few things to frame, and now that the local framer’s lacer isn’t available anymore, I can do that first step myself. Much better than staples or tape! I also dropped in plenty of charts for the freebie table, and got a few more back – a couple of Mirabilia and two more Teresa Wentzler’s. I really need to finish Tapestry Cat so I can start another TW. Fred will look gorgeous up on the wall.

May 30 – What was the first project you ever stitched? (whether you finished or not)? I can’t remember the first pieces, but I do remember the first one I had framed. It is a Stoney Creek design that I’ve seen a few times, the mother dog and puppies from the cover. I stitched it for my brother Johnny & his wife Tania; no idea if they still have it! I’ve stitched the puppy on the left for a couple of people as requests also, and still have the much battered chart booklet. I stitched the Alsatian by the letterbox and the cat on the front cover; possibly even the Yorkie. Zac has the cat framed in his room.

I can tell you what my latest project is – the Craftiness is Happiness April kit from Cotton & Twine, the UK subscription box. I finished that today (June 8th here in NZ) and will FFO tonight in the hoop as per their suggestion. That’s washi tape around the edge, also from the kit, and I’ll use that on my Hands On Summer hoops that I stitched earlier, as some 4” hoops have arrived and I think that’s a good look.

Woo-hoo!!

Hello everyone! I am feeling on top of my little world right about now, having finished the Auckland half marathon series with a PB in the 5KM portion (which is what I am limited to), finishing at 53:40 and 219/259 finishers. Si also got a PB yesterday for the half, and Mase ran in his first race and pulled up happy with his performance, but outraged that his age group is from his 11 to (family friend’s son) James’ 19! He will need to learn how to pace himself, as he went too fast in the first two K, then walked a bit, then ran the last 2K. Here he is at the finish line:

I’ve hung my collection of medals from the 10K at Devonport & Omaha; and the three 5km events from Maretai, Coatesville and the Waterfront on the end of my desk, as a daily reminder that even tho these things can be hard, and getting out there is important.

January WIPocalypse Update

Hi everyone. Apologies if you’ve been looking for a post from me, I took several weeks away from most media. It’s summer here and while we’ve had a few crap days, on the whole it’s been good weather and good family time. Three of us went down to Rotorua; walked in the Redwoods forest, around lakes and did the gondola/luge (Mase loved the luge so much we are now the proud owners of annual membership passes, #facepalm) and ate like kings. Then back to work, in the horrid lead up to the fiscal year end, and I cannot wait for this to be over!

Up in the Redwoods

I made up my mind regarding stitching –following along with the Magical Stitchers group again. The group is following the Percy Jackson series, so lots of Greek gods and legends; it’s the series Mase and I planned to read together this year anyway. Last time I did this I did stitch a heap and on a wide variety of projects, and I wasn’t bored for very long at all. So far, closing week five, and I’ve got (to be precise) 9948 stitches in on my focus full coverage (Mirabilla’s Red Skies at Night) and so have a finish for 2021, and I only started it on December 27th.  Yes, I do have the “new start” buzz! It does mean that I will need to find another Full Coverage to focus on – I’m thinking a Christmas stocking as I’ve had a particular chart for years. All up for January I did 10128 stitches, so feel like I channelled a bit of Stephanie!!

Red Skies

My other goals are to complete the Autumn/Winter and Spring series from Hands On Design; and to get at least a couple of Sandra Cozzolino Santa’s done. That doesn’t seem too unachievable. I’ll measure the Stitch From Stash just for my own curiosity – it got very ugly in the last few months of the year as I brought all the things…so I have 25 smalls on my list which is far more than ever before. I have also spent quite a bit this month so…yeah. Without any further purchases (not likely) and any finishes (I’m sure I’ll squeeze in a few) I will finish the six months in credit, but just. Purchases included some silks and beads for Red Skies, two FQ from Countrystitch (Fern & Feijoa), a Nora Corbett chart and the etsy one I mentioned above.

This month I have also worked on Tapestry Cat (a massive 180 stitches) and kitted Mase up in an Etsy version of van Gogh’s Starry Night. He is doing this on plastic canvas and I think I’ll do one on gold perforated paper, and cut the result out like a frame. There’s a few more by the seller, Cross Stitch By Narnie (no spaces on etsy) including The Scream, American Gothic, The Kiss, The Great Wave off Kanagawa etc. I’m pretty happy he’s stitching again as it’s good to have a hobby that doesn’t involve his computer screen!

This month’s WIPocalypse question is: Tell us about a WIP on which you’ve really struggled to make progress. Explain its history. What appears to be the reason you’re struggling? Easy! Tapestry Cat is one I am definitely struggling to focus on. I brought Fred as a kit in December 2006 and he’s been in and out of rotations ever since. Part of that is that it’s the typical Teresa Wentzler design, with lots of blended threads and half/quarter stitches and a ton of backstitch. That top portion of the frame is just about complete! Part of the reason is that I need quiet to concentrate on him; and the other bit is that right now I have positional hypotension (low blood pressure) and he’s just too complicated. Sorry Teresa!

WIP Wednesday #281

Hey everyone! I’ve not had much brain space for stitching as we gear up into fiscal year end/Christmas/oh dear me in Retail land; plus home life isn’t slowing down. I have missed 3 of the last 7 days, but have the middle Summer hoop stitched and a start on the third and last hoop; and some back stitch done on the biscornu. My 123Stitch order arrived and was promptly “hidden” from me (FYI fam, a large yellow envelope down the side of your bed isn’t hidden).

Merry Christmas to you and yours – I wish for you health & happiness.

WIP Wednesday #280

Hello lovelies. I’m writing today from my lovely home desk; looking out at the pruned lavender and roses – that was a Sunday job, in the hope more bloom will be out for Christmas Day. I’m watching Bridgerton promos, hoping these turn out at least half as good as the books. At the very least they seem to be educating a few on the Georgian court/clothing/colours. And I’m mildly celebrating the Electoral College confirming Joe Biden as the next POTUS.

There hasn’t been anything exotic this last week, unless you consider only having to cook a couple of nights as exotic! Not only did we eat out twice (once for work do, once with a very dear friend) but the boys decided not to clean up the kitchen. If there isn’t workspace, I don’t cook! No travel, no adventure – I’m needing to hunker down for a bit until Christmas is done. Irrespective of it being our Saviour’s birth, it can be a very stressful time.

Stitching wise I am slowly moving along with both the middle Summer hoop of Hands on Design’s Well Rounded, but I’ve completed the stitching portion of the top side of the Faby Reilly biscornu. There is a LOT of back stitch in my future…

Stay well – stay home, wear a mask, support your local retailers where you can. x