Thursday, 31 December 2009

Last Posting of 2009

As you see from this photo, I chose to start on the cross stitch and I've also thought of someone to give it to. My local friend, Meishan, who's really helped and taken an interest in us since we've been here is moving next month, so I thought I'd give her this cute pic as a little something to put in her new room over in Ilan. I must try to find some sort of hanging mechanism here, like a bell-pull end or something so I can give here a complete piece ready to display. I know where I can get handbag handles and that sort of thing, so there may be what I need in that craft shop. Anyway, I've already applied a bit of unintentional artistic license to this piece - got the 2 pink shades in the rose bloom the wrong way around. Numpty! Anyway, I got quite a bit done owing to having taken last night and this morning off.

I forgot last time to thank everyone for the kind comments on the bee finish. He isn't really that realistic though as DH and I had a look at some real bees on-line and found that mine was really rather too fat and also the wings are incorrectly proportioned and placed. Still, it was only a simple kit and done mostly to get to grips with the technique. I've thought of someone to give that to as well - a local busy bee who always looks stressed out! Just need a small, round frame of some sort now.

I'm planning to take the hardanger away with me this weekend as it will be easier to work in transit being just 2 threads, ie none of the constant colour changes you get with cross stitch etc. Should have something to show there early next week, all being well.

I've never celebrated new year, never saw anything in it really, but I still wish everyone all the best for the future. Thanks a lot for all your interest in and support for my blog and stitching projects and may we all get lots of needlework done this coming year!=)

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

2009 Stitching Review and 2010 Plans

Many stitching bloggers do a review of their needlecraft year, so here's mine for this year about to end:

Finished projects can be seen in the sidebar on the left of my blog, under the Feedjit thingy. Altogether, there seem to have been 11, of which 4 were started the year before (2 C&G samples and 2 WIPs that took a bit of a long time!!) and 1 was stitched in early 2008, but just finished up into the casket this summer gone. So, there have been a grand total of 6 pure 2009 finishes. Not really a very productive year, but it's been a busy one with the international move and dealing with the boomerang 'flu in the spring and repeated viruses out here since October.

My goals set for this year at this time last year were:

* Finish all WIPs, including C&G stuff - I pretty much managed this as far as it went.
* Get my C&G work done in time, (mid-May for this year's work) - I didn't succeed here thanks to lousy health from January-May and then moving away. Might well come back to C&G in 2011.
* Do a hardanger cushion for my Taiwanese friend - yes, I did this, only I haven't given it to her yet!!
* Stitch something for my 2nd sister before she goes abroad for a year, preferably something with practical use. - I didn't get to this, I was just not up to it at the time, but she doesn't live too far from me at the mo and I have chance to do something special for her soon.
* Take several kits with me when we go back to Taiwan in late August/early September, should all go according to plan, that is!!! - Yes, all this went to plan and I've even worked one of the kits - the stumpwork bee and flowers from the last post.
* DH's 10th anniversary card - probably a CQ heart. - I did a strawberry heart in silks instead.
* Do some small pieces that I want to do. No more obligation stitching! - Ha! No, this didn't happen, I was just just busy or too unwell. Actually, I've decided that obligation stitching isn't such a bad thing after all. It gets stuff done and the 'need' for a gift gets my creative juices flowing, frankly, when I stitch something for the sake of it, I then have it hanging around whilst I think of something to do with it!

I also stitched 2 Lizzie*Kate seasonal thingies and that Anchor Creative Embroidery kit with the dragonfly and waterlily and was featured on Mary Corbet's listing in the summer, which caused an enormous increase in site traffic for 3 days!! Many thanks to Mary and to all the others who've listed me in one way or another over the past year. My blog made it onto Sharon B's 'S' list too, but that was in December 2008 and also created a fair amount of fresh traffic over a few days.

So much for 2009, what about next year? Well, mostly I'll be carrying on working through the kits and designs I've brought with me, but there are a couple of openings for some more design work. I have the Brazilian kit I posted about recently out to do soon, but I've realised that the fabric is really too yellow for my needs. It doesn't match the threads anything like as well as white will, so I need to organise another piece of fabric for that, (there are some pieces of silk in other kits I have with me that I don't think I'll want to do on silk, so one of those will probably do) and get the design re-traced. I also need to source some tracing paper.... There's also a goldwork string instrument kit out ready which also needs tracing and, as I neglected to bring the photo with me, an image sourcing as well!!

Whilst waiting for those to get going, I've set up a hardanger needlecase, a green version of this one (scroll down past the chaffinches cross stitch), and a cross stitch which you can see the floss tosses for below as well as a small pic of what the XS will be - a couple of cute field mice with some blackberries.

The only question now is which to start on first?? We're away this weekend, so I want to take one of them to work on whilst we're sat on the coach for 5 hours.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Stumpwork Bee

I've finally completed the DMC stumpwork bee kit. Sadly, these kits (there were about 6 in the series) are no longer on the market, which I think is a shame given the helpfulness of kits when learning a new technique. You have all you need to complete the project as well as detailed instructions and diagrams that walk you through the process without the need to go and buy a number of specialist items.

Anyway, here's the creation of the bee itself in turkey stitch/ghiordes knots.

Here's the turkey stitch trimmed and combed out (with an old toothbrush)

Below I've added in the legs in DMC black metallic stranded thread and eyes using one black seed bead each:

One of the wings in progress (wire secured to a double thickness of calico, then wing worked in DMC white stranded metallic. Cut it free from calico pad by snipping between the calico layers.):

Wings attatched from various angles

And the completed piece in its entirety

© Elizabeth Braun 2009

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Finished 'Spring'

Here it is, TA-DA->

I've given up on enlarging the photo via the 'Edit Html' tab as it always ends up blurred, no matter what I do, so I've done it right aligned so it can be clicked on for a larger size. Whenever I centre a photo, it can't be clicked on, although I've been able to click on centred photos on others' blogs. Pah! Anyway, good to have another WIP completed.=) I hope the bottom bit straightens up when framed, which won't be done until we go home, I shouldn't think. Hoping to get on with the bee next.

I've decided to get a rental viola very soon, probably early in the new year. I do rather miss playing and it would be a waste to have brought so much sheet music etc with me and not to use it. I plan to shop around for the best deal over the next couple of weeks and take up the most attractive one as and when. There are no public holidays here, (except 1 Jan, I think), so nothing to be interrupted by!!

Anyone whose been on blog 'for real' lately will have seen that I've added photos of all my pieces from this year down the sidebar under the Feedjit thingy, and also a nice, cheery 'welcome' in cross stitch at the top. So, lots of extra pictures on regular display now.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Hardanger finally finished up!

After three attempts at getting the zip in today, I eventually managed it this evening. The first time I had the edges too far apart, the second time too far over the actual fastening part and the third time I finally had the good sense to set it very carefully! Anyway, however and whatever, here it is with better photo quality today than originally posted, although the thread colours still don't show!=( I've realised that it's not the original photo that was the problem, it was using the HTML editor to enlarge it -it made it blurred! Odd as the original was easily big enough, but I guess it doesn't work well trying to do this with counted thread fabrics. Also, using the 'centre' justification for photos leaves them unclickable on to see the full size version, so a change of tack is needed for counted thread finishes, methinks!

I've done quite a bit more on 'Spring' and just have the flower pots and label to put on now. I thought that these L*K designs would be quick and fun to stitch, but I've found them to be quite long-winded and rather boring, if I'm honest. I will finish the series as I've had them for years and have gone to the trouble of doing almost two so far, and I do love 'four seasons' collections. I hope they can eventually go in Sir's new study when we go home. we may find a way of displaying them here in the meantime.

We bought a set of the most beautiful lilac rose bedding this week, (which I'd been hoping for for a few weeks!) and that made me really want to pretty up our bedroom. Once I get the rest of the housework up to date (ha-ha-ha!) then I want to make a start on getting things in there looking good. This is the fabric:

And this is a Brazilian embroidery kit that I want to work up to go on the wall. The actual thread colours match the bedding really well.