Sunday, 20 November 2011

Happy Dance!!

It's been a while since I've had time to blog, but I wanted to share my latest happy dance with you:

A New Beginning
(c) Abbey Lane Designs
Stitched in Weeks on platinum cashel

I really enjoyed stitching this piece, and I think the colours are fabulous. I've got no idea how to finish it, maybe a cushion or a wall hanging instead of a frame.

What else have I been stitching on recently? I've been making steady progress on the Peacock Firescreen by Barbara Thompson:

And while staying in Nottingham at our flat I've been working on a small kit of Lincoln Cathedral:

I've also been knitting and crocheting, but more of that later, I hope!

Happy stitching

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Pretty peacocks

Is anyone else enjoying the Indian summer? It was 28 degrees C in Leeds today. It does feel a little odd wearing a sundress and sandals at the end of September, but I'm not complaining - in fact I'm hoping I can manage a similar outfit tomorrow and over the weekend. Although my legs are back to being milky white again, after a pretty cool August!

This week I picked up A New Beginning again. I've finished stitching the peacock and bird motif, and have also done the orangy diamond in the middle, and the small olive green motif just under it. Last night I started the square blue motif in the middle - and it's now official, I've finished pages 3 and 4!!! I'm really enjoying this as a change.

Sorry, it's a bad photo, and very crumpled...

This weekend I'm off to Nottingham. Tomorrow night we're going to the wonderful Memsaab for dinner with some of Eddy's colleagues, and on Saturday we're off to Lincoln. I'm taking a couple of projects to get framed, and I hope to pick up some lovely tea and coffee at Imperial Teas. I can't shop too much though, as it's the last weekend of spending before my credit card bill is issued, and I'm all spent up - just enough left to get a deposit down on those frames!

Whatever your plans this weekend, I hope you have a lovely one - and that you get some stitching in too!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Birth sampler happy dance!

Well it's all washed and pressed now:

I really enjoyed stitching this kit (I did switch from aida to linen), and I can't wait to get it framed and give it to Helene and Guy.

This weekend I've done a little more knitting of the pink and orange scarf, and have picked up A New Beginning again. I hope everyone else is having a lovely, relaxing weekend.

Happy stitching

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Now autumn is here...

I don't know about you all, but it's getting a bit nippy around here. So I'm even more addicted to knitting! I really do feel the need for lots of warm cuddly scarves... not to wear JUST yet, but I know it won't be long! Over the weekend I finally finished the chenille cable scarf I knitted over the summer - all I needed to do was sew in the loose ends! But this is now finished and ready to wear - I *almost* can't wait!!

I've also got a progress photo of the scarf I knitting my friend Annia as a late birthday present - the colours are fabulously autumnal. I wouldn't wear anything this bright, but the colours are exactly what Annia loves. I really hope she likes this once I've finished it.

I've just taken the last 2 days of work - a lovely four-day weekend, spent pottering around the house and garden - with lots of crafting of course. I knitted a fair length of Annia's scarf while watching Wallander on Sky+, have a cross stitch HD to share once it is dry and pressed, and we dug up the potatoes, ate chard, courgettes and tomatoes from the garden and planted up several pots of winter violas. It's my last chance for time off before Christmas - our term starts on Monday. Although I do wonder if once I've settled into my term-time routine I'll have a little more time for stitching.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Where does the time go?

First I should apologise to my regular readers - I've become very bad at writing posts. No particular reason, just life being extremely hectic (but then, it always is). I've not been stitching as much as I would like recently - I seem to have less time and energy than usual. Hopefully when term starts and I get REALLY busy at work things will settle down and I'll get back into my usual routine - and the lovely extended evenings developing a stitching ass...

So what I have I been working on? Well I've got the knitting bug again. I've started a lovely new cardigan (I bought the wool back in the winter last year) - given the state of the weather I should knit it quickly, it would be useful to have another snuggly cardy in my wardrobe! I've done the back, but that's all so far:

Last Thursday we had another stitch and bitch, this time at Sonia's. I really loved the crochet scarf that Heidi made back in June. She kindly gave me the a link to the pattern, and I tried it out - with Chrissie and Louise, my crocheting buddies, there for support in case I couldn't figure it out (they didn't need to help me out as much as I thought they might have to!). Chrissie lent me a lovely ergonomic hook (NEEEEED some of those) and some yarn, and I quickly made the flower. I then improvised and made a smaller flower and over the weekend I made it into a corsage, which I wore to work yesterday. I love the pretty button I found for it in John Lewis. I also bought some rather fabulous Debbie Bliss Alapaca in John Lewis, which I hope to use to make a scarf similar to Heidi's...

At the weekend I visited a new-to-me knitting shop, Saltaire Yarns (recommended by Chrissie). I left the very happy owner of a basic crochet book (I can never remember which stitch is which, so I can't read patterns), a book called 'luxury yarn one-skein wonders' and two of the aforementioned single skeins of luxury yarn. My credit card is in shock... two yarn shops in two days. Ouch!

Anyway I'm so far behind in the blogging stakes I totally forgot about the 29 August TUSAL. This is my current ORT jar status - most of the new ORTS are from Peacock Firescreen. The jar is sat on my new knitting project, a scarf for a friend using one of those luxury yarns, pattern out of my new book :)

I hope everyone had a lovely summer, and that you are all getting in some lovely stitching time now the weather is on the turn! Happy stitching x

Monday, 29 August 2011

Another week off work...

Wow, it's ages since I last posted. No proper reason, just life taking up all my time. I had last week off work, but this time I didn't go away ;) Eddy and I spent most of the time gardening, or catching up on TV that we'd recorded while on our travels. While watching the telly I've been either stitching on Peacock Firescreen, or knitting. No pic of the knitting yet as I've still to finish the back of the cardigan, but this is where I've got to with Peacock Firescreen:

Before I was on holiday I'd been focusing on the Classic Pooh Birth Sampler for Helene and Guy's new baby daughter, Holly. We went for a picnic with them yesterday (yes, in true British Bank Holiday weekend style it did rain - we ate between two heavy showers), and we finally met Holly for the first time - she's now 10 weeks old and is lovely. Anyway, I've finished the XS, just the BS to do - hopefully it'll be done and framed for her Christening:

When we bought our house four years ago we had HUGE plans for the garden. One of the first was to shape the lawn into two halves with an archway between. We sorted the narrow section last year; this week we finally shaped the far end of the lawn, and started the heavy digging (we have rock-solid clay, for the most part). All of the digging takes a long time, but the soil is so much easier to work in the areas we have dug over so far, so it is worth the effort. Once we've finished digging the area over and planted it up a bit more I'll post some photos. It feels wonderful to see the 'master plan' coming together, slowly and surely!

Sadly my plan to work on my quilt this last week totally failed. Maybe next time I get a few days free I'll take over the living room and get the borders sorted...

Monday, 15 August 2011

Jo, world explorer

It's a hectic summer for me, and both my crafting and my blogging have really suffered. I won't bore you with all the details, but will tell the story of the last few months in photos...

In June we had the most amazingly relaxing break in Spain. Check out the view from the villa...

In July we went on holiday in Belgium. First we visited Brugges and lots of WWI cemeteries:

Then we volunteered on a WWI excavation - my area was investigating a German dug out and trenches:

I had a mad turnaround at home on 30/31 July. I managed to take my TUSAL photo, and a progress photo of the Classic Pooh birth sampler - but failed to find time to post them. Not that I was doing any stitching on my travels - in fact for the first time ever (practically) I left my needles at home...

I had about 20 hours at home before I headed off again - this time for a work-related trip to Pretoria, South Africa. The work was intense and busy, but I made up for it with 2 intense days of sight seeing, one in Pretoria at the museums, but one day at the Lion and Rhino park:

Best of all they had an animal creche... this was the most amazing experience ever...

It's been a tiring but truly amazing summer :)

Now I'm trying to get back into life at home, work, housework - and some stitching!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

July Ort Report

I'm a couple of days late, but am doing much better than for the last full moon! This month I have collected ORTs from Peacock Firescreen (mostly greens and peaches), Bird in Hand (dusky pinks) and Pooh Birth Sampler (golden yellows):

I perched my ORT jar rather precariously on the edge of a plant pot for a bit of seasonal colour - I really love these white petunias, which we have scattered around the garden in pots, adding a splash of brightness.

As it is the start of July I really should set myself some goals, but first I'll review my June goals:

1) stitch on my WIPs yes, I mostly stitched on Peacock Firescreen, Bird in Hand and Pooh Birth Sampler
2) resist more new starts, apart from... managed this one
3) something from the lovely things Karin sent me! but not this one...

In July I would like to:
1) work on at least 2 WIPs
2) finish the xs on Pooh Birth Sampler
3) make some lace
4) do another type of crafting - either quilting or knitting

I've enjoyed the lovely warm weekend with a spot of gardening, eating the first potatoes from our garden, plus herbs, raspberries and strawberries, and stitching on Pooh Birth Sampler. Unusually for me I also did some housework... I'm sure that phase will pass ;)

My rose garden (before I did the dead heading though!!):

The first few potatoes - Anya and a red one I forget the name of:

Happy stitching everyone x

Saturday, 2 July 2011

So, where on earth will I find space for these???

I've picked up two pieces from the picture framers - Fantasy Triptych and Waiting for Ships. It took me ages to pick out the frames and mounts, but it was worth the effort. I'm really pleased with how they turned out.

There's only one problem - where on earth am I going to find room to hang them? I feel a major picture reorganisation coming on!

I spent part of last week on holiday in Spain with friends. Although I took some stitching with me I didn't do any at all. It was a lovely trip, I'll share some photos later on. Since I got back I've worked on a couple of pieces. Last night I finished stitching Bird in Hand:

And since then I've been working on Classic Pooh Birth Sampler - a gift for my friend Helene, who had a baby girl 2 weeks ago. This is how far I have got:

Hope everyone else is having a lovely relaxing weekend, with plenty of stitching time!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Stitching birdies

Over the last few weeks I've been stitching birds. I started Blackbird Design's Bird in hand - the bird is now complete and I'm tacking the branch he's sitting on:

I've also been focussing on Peacock firescreen - which is beginning to look great. I've not finished the top half yet, but I've probably done about half of the stitching - the bottom half is much less densely stitched:

I'll try and post some more pics tomorrow or on Saturday

Friday, 17 June 2011

A Very Late TUSAL!

Right, I have access to my camera now! Here is a photo of my ORT jar taken earlier this week.

Orts include some from Fruit Bellpull, Peacock Firescreen, Lindsay's giveaway gift and Bird in Hand.

I'm away this weekend, but when I get back I'll post some photographs of my stitching - promise!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Still here, still stitching...

Wow, it's been pretty busy round here lately. I have had time to stitch (a little), but no time to blog - how I miss reading about everyone's crafts, and life in general! Anyway, before I left work at Silly O'Clock (AGAIN) today, I promised myself I'd blog tonight. Of course it didn't occur to me to get my camera out of my lab coat pocket before I left... So there won't be photos. Not even of my TUSAL from 1 June - hey, at least I remembered to TAKE the photo :(

Well, it's nearly 3 weeks since I last blogged, so I ought to at least review my May goals!!! I said I wanted to:

1) Work on at least two xs WIPs YES, worked on lots of different projects - Peacock Firescreen, Pooh birth sampler, Bird in Hand (another new start), Lindsay's giveaway gift, fruit bellpull... I think that's it!
2) Finish knitting my scarf YES - I just need to sew in the loose ends and it's done
3) Start Helene's birth sampler YES
4) Start to stitch something with the lovely goodies Karin sent me from her giveawayNope... really must do this, I am waaaaay overdue (Sorry Karin)
5) Add the borders to my quilt top Nope, not had time to do anything other than admire it!
6) Make some lace YES - I've spent a couple of evenings working on the Bedfordshire Butterfly
7) Start my giveaway prize stitching, now I have the necessary supplies YES, just need to find a suitable backing fabric (I see a trip to the Skep in my near future)

So, what would I like to achieve in the rest of June???

1) stitch on my WIPs
2) resist more new starts, apart from...
3) something from the lovely things Karin sent me!

Happy stitching!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Birds and Fruit

So for the last few days I've been stitching on Barbara Thompson's Peacock Firescreen - it's ages since I last picked it up. I'm really enjoying the bright colours and big blocks of this at the moment:

It's the perfect piece to alternate with Fruit Bellpull - If I'm fed up of confetti it's time for the Peacock. If I'm bored of big blocks of colour, pick up the bellpull. Hmmm, I might be on to something here...

And if I want a change from stitching, there is always the knitting - which I hope to have an update for in the near future!

Thanks for popping by my little corner of the net x

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Two lace making successes!

This week I finally took the sampler of Bedfordshire techniques off my pillow, and trimmed the fringe at the bottom. Apart from the sympathetic ties on the bottom vein (which I just couldn't figure out), I'm really happy with how this turned out. One of the major tasks was to try some techniques above the main bit of lace, and others below.

The top

I was particularly pleased with how the last section, with multiple raised leaves, went:
On Thursday night I went over to Louise's and picked up the Bedfordshire Lace butterfly I started at Christine's lace course two years ago, and finished off the wings on the left (I honestly thought I'd finished them ages ago!). I took it to Sheffield Lace Makers working day and AGM on Saturday, where I got started on the second set of wings, I'm going to focus on this piece for now, as I'd love to finish it and get it off the pillow. It's packed away at the moment, but I'll take a photograph when I next pull it out...

Anyway, on Saturday Sonia and I had a lovely day at Sheffield Lace Makers. As always there was a competition at the AGM, for any piece of lace completed that year. I entered my sampler and also the little round flower motif I finished in February. I knew the flower was the best piece of lace I'd ever made, but I didn't seriously think I stood a chance - imagine my amazement when I was told I'd won third prize!!

I won a lovely Chris Parsons lace bobbin, decorated with lily of the valley. Of course it's already on my pillow... The prize was presented by Norma, our president.

The second prize went to Ena for a superb owl, and Helen (our outgoing chairwoman) won the Munday trophy for her fabulous fascinator, which she is wearing to a wedding in a few weeks time:

I am gobsmacked that I was in such talented company - and to me it shows just how much my technique has improved with the weekends in Aston Cantlow.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

A Little Archaeology

OK, so when I set this blog up I did say that occasionally I would post about my other passion, archaeology...

At the moment I am busy working on a ton of different projects (possibly too many, who knows...), but the one that is really exciting (well, one of the ones that is really exciting...) is called 'From Cemetery to Clinic', funded by JISC.

Basically, with a group of colleagues in both Archaeological Sciences and Visual Computung we are creating an online resource about a medeival cemetery in Chichester. It's not just any cemetery, but was attached to a leper hospital, which later became an alms house. And lots of the skeletons show signs of leproy. We (well, my clever colleagues, not me!) are busy creating 3D laser scans, with textured overlays, of the affected bones and linking this into a GIS map of the excavated cemetery - with lots of information about the skeletons. It's a short project (just 5 months), and scarily we're half way through - but we now have a blog about the project and what we are doing - so if you are interested in my day job, or archaeology in general, then please do have a look.

Finger bone with a groove at the far end - this is caused by the contraction of hand muscles in leprosy - the person would have been unable to straighten their fiungers, a feature called 'claw hand deformity'.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Lace and gifts

Sandra asked on my last post if I enjoyed the Bedfordshire lace course last weekend - and the answer is a resounding YES!! I left work a little later than planned and dashed off down the motorway - stopping off in Nottingham to eat tea and pick up Eddy - getting to Wilmcote, j outside Stratford at about 8.30.

Being disorganised, after a swift pint, I set about pricking out a spare lace pattern. I suspect doing this after a pint was a bad idea, and the following morning I pricked it out again after before we ate a heavenly breakfast. We got to Aston Cantlow just after 9.30, and said hello to everyone - most of the group were on the course the previous year, and I sat with Jane, who I know from this course, demonstrating at Harrogate Knitting and Stitching show, and we always seem to run into each other at various lace days. Eddy set up at his lathe in the back room, and got busy turning bobbins, and I started a sampler of advanced Bedfordshire techniques - different rolled tallies, veins and raised leaves - both above and below the lace. We were supplied with many cups of tea by the lovely Sue, stopped for a fabulous buffet lunch and then briefly for cake mid afternoon. By 5pm I had learnt several new techniques, improved in several areas after some useful tips and suggestions, and was just over half way through the sampler.

That evening we went into Stratford for dinner, and the following day we were back in Aston Cantlow by 9.30. The last area I'd worked on the day before - a diagonal vein with sympathetic ties - hadn't gone brilliantly, probably because I tension too much. After a quick chat with Christine I decided to leave it and learn from the experience - after all, it's only a sampler. My progress slowed a bit when I hit to raised leaves, especially those on half stitch (the more open background), and I was loathe to leave my pillow when we were summoned to the pub for Sunday lunch! After a delicious meal of salmon, asparagus risotto and veggies followed by a pear and almond tart I got stuck in... and the the time we had to leave I'd only got about 1" of pattern to go (I was the last person to put down my bobbins, and Eddy was the last to turn off his lathe). We stopped at Eddy's mum's for tea, and I got back home quite late on Sunday night - thoroughly exhausted but thoroughly happy. Of course I never did need that second pricking....

This week has been dreadfully busy - end of term marking and all that... but I had a lovely surprise. On Thursday I popped to the post office and picked up a parcel that was too large for the letterbox. It was a lovely package of goodies from Sara - I'd won her giveaway a few weeks ago.... and boy was I in for a treat:

Thank you Sara, you made my day!!

This weekend I'm opting for very lazy, with lots of crafting - I hope that you all have a lovely weekend too.

Happy Stitching x

Friday, 6 May 2011

The ort report

OK, so I'm late (again...). I'd left my camera at work, so although I'd taken a photo of my ort jar on Monday, I couldn't upload it. Never mind! I think my orts look really pretty this month - they've come from A New Beginning, Tine for Harvest, Fruit Bellpull and Eeyore's problem, in that order - and I think with very little mixing! Given I spent the latter part of the month on my sewing machine I took the photo on my dining/sewing table...

Tonight I'm heading off to Aston Cantlow (just outside Stratford) for Christine Springett's Bedfordshire lace course. Eddy will be turning bobbins again... there will be a report on that early next week.

Hope everyone has a lovely stitchy weekend!