Saturday, 19 August 2017

Christmas Sampler

Life administration and aged care fill the hours of my days that are not occupied by gainful employment and little else seems to get done.   Well, that is not entirely true.   I did manage some sewing and am almost completed a new dress for myself.   And some stitches have been added to the Christmas Quaker Sampler.   The gap towards the centre  under the wording is for the date.   I don't want to tempt fate and put 2017 just yet:-)
When the bottom right quadrant is completed (hopefully tomorrow) I will put this aside and finish my knitting.   And I need to get started on the family Christmas ornaments too.  There are only 128 days till Christmas.   We have had to put in requests for Christmas Leave at work and I am hopeful of having two weeks off so in anticipation have already made a To Do List; mainly DIY tasks but I want to do some sewing too.  
Today we had a visit from a niece who brought her second daughter to visit Great Grandma. It has been too much for Great Grandma who is at this very minute snoring in her armchair!   Admittedly Great Aunty is also rather weary after two trips to the airport and some energetic baby admiration:-)

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Top and tail

The left front of the cardigan is complete so I put it aside and have gone back to the Quaker Christmas Sampler and much progress has been made.
I was really concerned this would not "meet up" so have done the motifs along top and bottom and then with a running stitch confirmed the intersections are as plotted.   QED.
Tonight I made the DBEM a special Japanese meal as she has been voicing a hankering for Chawanmushi.   It was rather tasty if I do say so myself.   It has been DBEM day here1   During the afternoon I stitched a Pop Over Presto Top for her in a cerise merino fabric.   When we have so many sheep in New Zealand there seems little reason not to go for merino:-) besides which this past week has been chilly temperatures.  
Tomorrow I have a day off work -  for a WOF for my pacemaker and my teeth.  Surplus time will be spent sewing - for myself this time.
And a funny story.  Last weekend I was clearing out a cubby hole in my roll top desk and happened across an old wallet stuffed with Australian Dollars, lots of Australian Dollars:-)   So I took myself off to the bank and turned them into my favourite New Zealand Dollars and indulged in a new toy and banked the balance.   It is many years since I had a trip across The Ditch so it felt like unearthing buried treasure1
This is for my Active August Campaign!

So to a chorus of "thank you dear, that was lovely" from the DBEM good night all.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

My garden thinks it's Spring

The temperatures are low, there is snow in the South but my garden thinks the winter is over.   I was so pleased to see this cheery yellow bloom brightening up the dreary outdoors.
Today has been a good day.   Good, because the DBEM was well enough to come with me to the shopping mall where we crossed off all the items on her shopping list.   Then it was off to the Post Office (watch out for a package Little Brother), the Library, a drive through the park to see the field of daffodils and then home.
On the knitting front I have almost completed the left front of the cardigan, so will then do another page or two of the Quaker Christmas.  I seem to maintain momentum better with short bursts like .this, besides which there is a deadline on this cardigan so I must keep up speed.   I am knitting in NZ merino 4 ply yarn which has an immense mileage per ball.  Unaware of this I bought 15 balls and will only use around 8 for the current project.   What to do with the remainder has been perplexing me for some time.   I even read a couple of Elizabeth Zimmerman books to see if I could design my own?!  However, my faithful English Womens weekly magazine had a pattern  which will be perfect for what I want and will use this yarn so I am happy.   A short sleeved cardigan is on my list of wardrobe planning for The Great UK Trip.
So all is well Chez Nous and the DBEM has just consulted her calendar/diary to tell me that she hasn't had a "good Saturday" since 17 June.  So she is Very Happy.

Saturday, 22 July 2017


This week I have made real progress on the Quaker Christmas Sampler and am almost at the half way point.  
When I get there this project will get a rest and I will need to return to the knitting - I need my cardigan by the end of September!

This evening I managed to attach the floral K to the book cover and am pleased with the results.   It sure does brighten up the black watch tartan fabric from which the cover is made.
The DBEM is unwell and today has been a dressing gown and pajamas day.   She has had a couple of these this winter.   This too is a sign of progress - of sorts.
Jo of Serendipitous Stitching aka Blogger Extraordinaire, hosts a Blogger of the Week.   Do pop over and check it out;-)   Thank you Jo and 'kia ora from Down Under'

Monday, 17 July 2017

Warm feet

A slight detour from the planned path of the Quaker Christmas Sampler.   The DBEM needed new bed socks to keep her chronically icy feet warm in bed, but she can't wear ordinary socks as they are too tight around her lower leg.   Last winter I tried altering a baby bootee style shape, with limited success.   So this year opted for these TV slippers.   Success :-)
And the Quaker Sampler is about to turn the lower left hand corner.  
Now off to another date with my needle.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Hard to find...

Today the DBEM is still unwell but as this is the first day to see the sun after a bad storm and a "polar blast" we decided to wrap up warm and take the newly washed car for a drive.   A local park has a pond and is a "dog friendly" zone so we sat and watched the dogs chase balls, each other and the ever patient sea birds.  
On the way I stopped at the "Hard To Find Bookshop" - not that the shop is hard to find you understand.   It is named that, as they stock otherwise hard to find books.   Little Brother had asked his library for a book I recommended but they couldn't oblige. I thought I still had my copy but a lengthy search proved memory false, so today at this bookshop, the obliging assistant directed me up the stairs, around the corners and I found exactly what I wanted.
The knitting is at another "have a rest" place with the back and two sleeves completed.   I am well on track to have this finished by the desired due date so it is back to the projects.
A toss up between the Hardanger Angel and the Quaker Christmas Sampler.   I really need to get half way on this project and only three and a half chart pages to go to that mark.
Why the sampler not the angel?   I am still debating what to use for the "body" of this angel as she is taller than number one.   That puzzle is paralysing my ability to do the necessary lacework to complete her.
Meanwhile I need to get dinner ready.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Chores Day

Chore number one.
Up early to do baking for the DBEM's treats.   Ginger crunch, chocolate chip biscuits and a gingerbread loaf.   Can you guess that teh DBEM likes ginger?
Chore number two.
I braved the crowds at Pak n Save and did my grocery shop.   Oh what a test of patience that was.  I do dislike shopping!   Usually I go one every four weeks but on the journey home I vowed to eke this out to six weeks....we shall see.   The car boot was completely full and there were several trips up and down the stairs to unload.
Chore number three.
As a reward to self I called at the Library.   Now this pile of books is calling my name and Fred Forsyth has tempted me from my knitting.
Chore number four.
And, the K is finished.   I need to have a finishing day sometime soon.  This is destined to be a circular "medallion" on the front of a notebook cover.
Now my last "chore" for the day is to watch Antiques Road Show.

Good night all.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

What makes my garden grow?

Tonight we have watched a recorded session of The Amazing Race and in so doing my Flower Initial has grown.
None of the flowers I talked about last night!   But roses, solomon's seal, periwinkles, viola and some cyclamen have now been "planted".   Hopefully this will be finished over the weekend and I can get to and make this into a notebook cover.   Strangely enough despite not really liking this type of embroidery I am thinking of stitching an M for myself:-)

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

And the flowers are blooming...

No, the knitting did not get started.   I picked up another project and am making good progress now on the Flower Initial.
As a lover of counted work I never find free style embroidery easy but this is coming along well.   This choice of shot silk from my stash was not the most inspired choice as the colour makes a hard base to match floss but so far so good.   Hopefully in the weekend I will get a photo in natural light which may show everything up a lot better.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Unlike the Tin Man

Unlike the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz,  I have a heart and hearts aplenty on my Hardanger Angel.   The foundations are all laid now with just the lace work left to do so I am taking a break.   This is the bottom border of the gathered skirt - the gap between the kloster blocks will be lacework.

My next project is to put some more flowers on the floral initial -  primroses, cyclamen, lavender and something yellow, maybe some forsythia?  
And then I really must get back to my knitting.   One sleeve, a left front and a right front and a collar to go and already it is July.   The winter will soon be over so I need to get going on that.  
So much to do, so little time.   Yesterday I had a 10 hour day but today was able to finish at my standard 8 hours and so got home a little earlier.   However I spent an hour writing an old fashioned letter with pen and paper which has taken care of most of my evening.
Back with some progress tomorrow (or the next day...)

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Angel Progress

Little by little I have made progress on the Hardanger Angel Version 2
Once this piece is complete I need to get back to my knitting but meanwhile I am enjoying my favourite technique.
So a quick snapshot before I go to bed.  The apron back and the shoulders are now completed.   Just the apron front to go -  perhaps tomorrow evening will see this finished.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Fieldays 2017

Today I joined around 30,000 others to attend the huge agricultural show held in Hamilton city.   Fortunately for me they provide a "park and ride" service which made life much easier.  Fifty acres of display site is laid out in 'roads' and a map is provided but believe me it is easy to get lost:-)
I watched the Contestants for Rural Bachelor of the Year cook a breakfast as part of their series of challenges.  Some of them produced edible and attractive plates of food.  The also-rans were obvious!
Most of them had mothers and no doubt grandmothers in the audience so votes were guaranteed.
These ladies sitting in front of me were probably in the grandmother category.  I was taken with their impeccable elegant hair styling.

After such a tiring day I need some hardanger stress relief ;-)

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Deep Satisfaction

"Aahh" she said with deep satisfaction and sighed happily.

Did you hear it?

The knitting is finished (well, the back and one sleeve) and I have started a new project.   Yes, yes, I know that there are two or three pieces needing construction but they are not on The List1
I started to grow a flower garden....but lost heart when it became difficult to match threads against the background fabric I have chosen.   Colour sense is not part of my genome and this project is proving harder than expected.  So a break from gardening is in order.
I looked around and found the ingredients to make an angel.   A bigger, more lacy and hopefully better hardanger angel than version one.   This one is intended to be all in white linen - 32 count belfast linen to be precise.  She is begun and I am so very happy.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Spring Cleaning - not this weekend

Last weekend I was a bundle of energy and with the prospect of Little Sister coming to visit later this month I gave my kitchen a thorough Spring Clean.   Well, it is Winter here in New Zealand but Spring will come?   Anyway, all good.   The kitchen is now clean and rearranged so the DBEM can lift the cups and plates and what she needs through the day more easily than before.
This weekend I have a nasty head cold and even the prospect of a visit from Little Sister did not give me any energy for any chores.   I curled up on the sofa with a lemon and honey drink beside me and read all 700 odd pages of  Elizabeth George's Just One Evil Act.   This evening I feel well enough to finish off my knitting - the first sleeve - and watch Antiques Road Show.   It will however be a silent evening as I have no voice.   The DBEM has the earphones of her talking book plugged in, I have my knitting and another book.   We are both happy-ish

Monday, 5 June 2017

iPad adventure

Note to self - next time remind me that I don't like shopping!

Today I took my iPad to the mall to see about a new cover.   Four years ago I bought the iPad so was not expecting this conversation
Me:   Do you have covers for iPads?
He:   What sort of iPad is it?
Me:   I brought it with me
He:   It's an OLD one  - they don't make covers for them any more!

No bonus points for him - terrible sales manner.

Off I go to another store where conversation went like this
Me:   Do you have covers for iPads?
He:   What sort of iPad is it?
Me:   I brought it with me
He:   It's an OLD one  - they don't make covers for them any more!

What is it with these sales people?   My iPad is NOT old!   I bought it in July 2013!   It is still in good working condition; it serves me very well and all I want is a cover.

Moral of the story - make your own cover and don't expect a male less than half your age to understand even a minute fraction of "use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without"
Does anyone have any suggestions for a "make it yourself" iPad cover?

Saturday, 3 June 2017

A Pollyanna view of today

Today has been a very satisfying day and like Pollyanna there is so much to be thankful for.
I didn't have to get up at 5 am today as I usually do1
I swept up the autumn leaves from the ramp so the DBEM won't slip
I did the grocery shopping
I collected the DBEM's medications from the pharmacy and purchased a new hot water bottle
I took the DBEM to the Hospice Shop to check on sales progress of her knitting -  two thirds of them sold raising around $500 so far
I went to the library -  look at the haul
I sewed a cobalt blue merino tee shirt and crossed another item off the list
I completed the hardanger runner and ironed it -  it's on the table now ( with a small teaser of the next stitching project)
I am thankful that we have a long weekend - a holiday on Monday for Queen's Birthday
And now I'm going to curl up on the sofa with my hot water bottle and read some more of my current book -  a biography of Angela Merkel.

Monday, 29 May 2017

It's true...

Diamonds are forever, well at least they seem to take forever.   The hardanger cutwork diamonds on the table runner are taking a long time.   Five to go and this piece will be finito.
The next photo may show this complete, ironed and in situ.   We shall see.

Saturday, 27 May 2017


Today I travelled across the city to visit the much advertised Woolfest Auckland.   In a large and somewhat gloomy old winery shed, turned into a gymnasium, a multitude of spinners, weavers, dyers and growers of artisan wools displayed their goods.   Not being an avid knitter like the DBEM I was able to resist temptation and merely admire.
However the mathematical precision of this rectangle loom weaving was a major temptation   Can you see the lady sitting in front left?   She was enthusiastic to explain to me how I could weave a lovely wool scarf.   It was tempting but I resisted and merely took the information.
Next around the corner was the Navajo Spinning lady.   I had never seen this before and was intrigued.  Rolling the spindle against her leg seemed to be the main technique and I wondered if that made one thigh thinner than the other.   She says no! The yarn was not an even ply but of a knobbly texture and she weaves it into wonderful fabric for vests, jackets, hats etc.

I am on the last stretch of the Hardanger Runner and tonight hope to get more of the cutwork completed.   There may be a finish to show soon.   And I have tacked up the next project :-)

Saturday, 20 May 2017


What do they say? Measure twice cut once?  When I started the login for the pencil case I only eyeballed the width and in true Kiwi fashion "she'll be right".   But she wasn't!  Far too wide for a pencil case.
Nothing daunted I carried on, as if further depth would somehow negate the width problem.   It didn't!
So a quick trip to OfficeMax for a notebook and the pencil case will become the book cover.
Next I measured and tacked on a new base layout for a pencil case and made a start.   This WILL be a success - I hope.
And you know what - pattern darning such as this kogin has resurrected my old shoulder problems and I have a very painful right shoulder.   Don't tell the DBEM as I have to help her with her knitting quite often too😀
But I had a very enjoyable time with Ian Rankin last night - well worth the walk into the city and the student-filled bus home.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Welcome Home

Today I took annual leave so as to devote a whole day to "life administration" and very successful it has been too.
A hair cut, shopping, dentist and then to collect my old friend Elna from the repair shop.
She is sewing quietly and smoothly and I am very pleased to have her back.   At a cost of $190 for her overhaul, I figure her upkeep to be $10 per year I have known her.   She's not an expensive friend:-)
Talking of friends, I did a favour for a colleague at work and she presented me with these beautiful tulips.   Feels strange to have Spring flowers indoors when outside the golden colours of Autumn are predominant.
Tonight I am off to the City for a date with Ian Rankin - well more honestly, he is to give a lecture as part of the Readers and Writers Festival and as an ardent Inspector Rebus fan I couldn't possibly miss a date with Ian.
Tomorrow I hope to have an update on the Kogin Pencil Case Fiasco....

Sunday, 14 May 2017

And off we go...

Yesterday I made a start on the Kogin and am quite pleased with the way this is turning out.  The black thread looks a great contrast on the ecru linen
The front, or what I have determined as front is darker
But Kogin is great that the back looks as good as the front.
This is highly addictive.  I'm off to do some more now.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

The next "adventure"

Some years ago I received an embroidered pencil case from my boss' wife.   It has been in regular use in my handbag ever since.   But alas!  The inside has a plastic-feel fused lining which now is rather sticky to touch.   Time for a new one.
I dug through my stash knowing that I had no navy fabric suitable but this ecru lugana should serve the purpose.  
DMC perle #8 in black should give a suitable contrast.  And if I cannot imitate the embroidery from the case itself, this book of Kogin patterns should surely provide something :-)
I have microsuede for lining and a zip and matching binding so this little project will cost me nothing but time.
So when my hardanger is I go on Japanese kogin adventure.

Monday, 8 May 2017

A bit of this a bit of that

The knitting made progress.   Well, to be more grammatically correct, I made progress on the knitting.  The back is finished which is the signal - time for some stitching.
So it's back to the green diamonds!   But the end of this project is in sight too.  This arrangement seems to be working for me.   A short break gives added impetus.
Tonight I planted some sweet pea seeds with which I hope to bring pleasure to the DBEM in a few months time.
And I cooked this ginormus lump of meat that the beef cattle on Little Brother's mini-farm generously gave me:-)   The DBEM and I will feed on this for several days!
Last weekend was my 6 weekly grocery shop.   The DBEM likes wheatmeal sandwich bread and although the "proper" brand is nearly $4 a loaf, home brand is $1.   But happy dance - on Saturday I struck a bargain.  Guess what is filling up my freezer now:-)   I've always been a little envious of the "yellow sticker" bargains my UK friends talk about as we never seem to get those bargains here.  For a producing nation, New Zealand food costs are high.   But on this occasion I won.  Hooray!
And now it's back to needle and thread.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Difficult to satisfy?

When I sew I think of all the projects I want to embroider.  When I embroider I think of all the items on my knitting list. And when I knit I think of all I need to sew.   Currently I am in stage three of my cycle:-)
Knitting is going well and ball of yarn number one is almost finished. A progress shot.
My doctor sent me a letter.  Well it was actually a paper to take to the blood test nurse.  So this morning off I went at 8am just as it opened.  Convinced I would be first, I was shocked to see a queue stretching out the door and up the street.  Just when I don't really have time to fit everything in today.
But I am not totally dissatisfied.   I left work early Thursday to visit my old boss who is recovering from major surgery and so I missed our "site meeting" at work.   To be honest I completely forgot about it.   So it was a surprise to arrive at work Friday and find this in my desk!   Although I feel a fraud being rewarded for doing what is my job it sure is nice to be appreciated:-)

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Owari. Finito, The End

Christmas Bling has been added and the Heirloom Nativity Sampler is now finished.
Whether or not it becomes an heirloom is debatable but satisfaction is high at having ticked this one off the list.
Small pearl beads, white stars and a red heart

Gold and bronze petit beads

And I am beaded out!   No more beads for me.   I'm ready to start something new so what's next on the list?   A navy woolen cardigan which I need to have ready by the end of August.   Off we go...