Friday, 30 May 2008

Fantasy Triptych Progress

Over the last week or so I've been focusing on TW's fantasy Triptych, so I thought I'd share a progress photo:

Last night there was no lace class, so Sonia and Louise came over to mine - we had a good laugh, ate some wonderful Dutch syrup waffles (thanks Sonia!) and made some lace. The Milanese piece I started last week progressed well. I taught myself how to do a 'Meander in Braid', including a turning stitch (new to me) using the book, and we were all impressed with the results. I am intrigued where the pairs go, and think it would be fun to try a short bit using coloured threads to track their progress. Anyway, here is a photo of what I've done so far - not bad considering it's only c.4 hours work and the technique is new to me:

The good news is that I've only snapped 1 thread so far....

Friday, 23 May 2008

Milanese lace

Well I started my new piece last night - it was fun to be something different, although so far I've mostly been doing a cloth stitch trail, so not that exciting. It's using a finer thread that I usually use (100 Brok cotton), and when I got to class 2 pairs which I had winded on ready for the start had already snapped - urrrgh, this doesn't bode well....

I learnt a new way of starting a trail though, and also how to do a blind pin. Best of all, there was some visible progress in just 2 hours... Hopefully next week I'll get some more done and at that point I'll post a picture - it's just a white blob at the moment!!

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Lace Happy Dance!

Last night I completed Margaret. I still need to do the finishing - sewing in all the loose ends (I usually don't bother and just cut them close to the reef knot, but as this is a gift...), and find a suitable bit of fabric for the centre. Hopefully I'll find lots of time to do this before Ed's mum's birthday in July. I've added a close-up photo to show the stitches used - rose ground, spiders and cloth stitch trails and fans. It was fun working the trails in a different colour.

I did take Assisi knot garden to our S&B last night, but I didn't touch it - instead I had a go at crocheting. Chrissie was busy sewing the ends into a fantastic blanket of squares, and she inspired me to pick up a crochet hook for the first time in about 15 years - I haven't crocheted since my grandma died. She (Chrissie, not my Grandma :lol) offered to give me some pointers, but I wanted to see what I could remember. I think we were both impressed (I did make a few mistakes initially - it took me a couple of minutes to work out how I should hold the yarn). After 2 false starts (nothing fundamentally wrong, just not quite 'right') I finished a small square. The best thing of all is that it is so easy to pull out something you aren't happy with! Hmm, maybe I need to invest in my own crochet hook and some yarn... Chrissie's stitch & bitch happy hooker book had some great patterns in!

Tonight it's my lace class. I've decided it's time to try a different kind of lace, Milanese. I'll let you know how I get on!

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Stitching update

I've been busy working on Fantasy Triptych for the last 2 nights. I've just finished the central tower (well, one 'floor' of it anyway), and have started the castle wall. I'm really enjoying the blending and the confetti stitches - clearly I've been away from TW stitching for far too long!

I've also taken a progress photo of Assisi knot garden, which I've been working on (on and off) for the last fortnight. As you can see, I've almost made my May goal of getting the third quarter finished.

Tonight we are having a stitch and bitch at Chrissie's. I'll take my lace, as I have almost finished Margaret (hopefully there will be a happy dance and photo to share), and also Assisi knot garden, just in case I do finish Margaret!!!

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Gardening Frenzy

If you've been wondering why I've not posted for a while, it's because I've been busy gardening! (and at work too, but I try and not worry about the mayhem there..). We've had almost 2 weeks without rain (until Saturday, when I got soaked on a trip to the local shop to but potatoes), and a good week of solid sunshine - chances are that's this summer over with now...

This is the front of our house on the day we bought it - as you can see, the front garden was a mass of ivy and overgrown plants, and we spent most of last autumn clearing the ground and digging it over... and then most of the early spring digging it over - we found enough rocks to build a rockery!! The front garden is going to be my rose garden (I've wanted one for years, and Ed keept buying me roses, which we planted in pots, ready for when we could plant our rose garden - some of them have been in pots for over 4 years!)

Over May bank holiday, Ed and I spent hours in the garden - we finally planted some of the roses in my rose garden, clearing all but 2 of the pots (one is still to be planted, but I'm not sure where, and the second is very happy in a beautiful pot, and therefore it's staying put!)

We also went to a garden centre and came home with lots of baby veggie plants, and then planted out our veggie patch - this year (our first in this house) we are *trying* to grow artichokes (because I can't get enough of them), courgettes (2/5 have already been munched by slugs and snails though), onions and leeks. Growing onions from sets and the rest from baby plants may seem like cheating to purists, and is way more expensive than growing from seed, but I have a bad track record with seeds... We also got some raspberry canes, which are planted in a sunny corner of the garden, and I got a standard rose called "ruby wedding" - but only because it was a nice rose, we aren't even married :)

We spent Monday In Newark with a friend and I stayed overnight in the flat in Nottingham, having decided to take Tuesday off work for a much needed hair cut and root-dying visit to Sheffield (I tried to find a great local hairdresser, but I still prefer the one in Shffield, so after 2.5 years of hunting I just went back - as have friends who live in Manchester and London - he's that good!). I stopped by at a nice garden centre on the way to Sheffield and bought another 4 rose bushes - as the front garden is much bigger then we initially thought, we need LOTS more roses (oh, the hardship)! Luckily I parked in a multi-storey car park in Sheffield, and all 4 roses survived the trip. My hair looked great too...

Last weekend I spent Saturday at Sheffield Lace Makers (I didn't make much lace though - a peril of being on the committee). On Sunday we went out in the garden again, this time we built a raised bed using log rolls. It's got 2 tiers to it, and we have planted it up with herbs, adding a row of strawberry plants at the front. Luckily most if these plants were in pots, transported from our old house, so the planting at least was fairly cheap. The plants seem much happier with space for their roots to spread. The basil plant, which was from Morrisons and slowly dying of neglect in the kitchen, didn't make it though.

This weekend we were slightly hampered by the fact Eddy nearly cut the tip of his thumb off on Monday - it's best not to ask, but the phone call I got on Monday initially reported a major catastrophe, a kind-of man-flu version of finger slicing - but luckily he didn't even need stitches! Anyway, he couldn't do much in case he got the wound dirty, but I needed to plant the last (latest?) 5 roses... which we did, and they look great. There's still lots of room for more roses, but I think we need to spend a little less money on the garden for a few weeks, maybe we need to start de-turfing the area for the border in the back. We have a fair few plants in pots that will fill it cheaply....

The good news on the stitching front was that, as we spent less time in the garden, I actually got some stitching time in this weekend, and have made great progress with Assisi Knot Garden - but I'll share a photo of that later.

Friday, 2 May 2008

May Goals

April Goals ~ recap:

1) work on Assisi knot garden by Mary Hickmott YES
2) Start and finish Dragon's Treasure by Gillian Brown YES
3) Start Fantasy Tryptich YES
4) Start something else (I started April with just one WIP, I need to get a few more going :lol ) YES
5)THIS WILL BE THE HARDEST GOAL: try not to spend too much on stash while in the States.... £35/$70, not bad at all in my opinion!!

May Goals:
1) do next 1/4 of Assisi knot garden
2) work on Fantasy Tryptich
3) work on Wild Fairy Light
4) do a freebie

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Assisi knot garden

A few of you asked about the Assisi knot garden. I bought this as a kit at the Harrogate knitting and stitching show in 2006. It's by Mary Hickmott, and I think it was first published in the magazine New Stitches. There are a whole series of knot gardens, all done in different techniques from hardanger to quilting! I loved the blackwork one as well as the Assisi, but managed to come away with just one knot garden for my stash - I did revisit the stand at the knitting and stitching show this year, but didn't buy anything - although I suspect I'll get the blackwork garden once I've achieved some stash reduction!

Kelley - it's nice to see you here. I've not been on Needle and Thread as much as I would have liked recently - how is your Above the Clouds coming along?