It’s a woman’s prerogative…

No sooner had I set out my stitching plans for 2012 that I started to realise I really don’t know how in the hell I’m going to achieve all of those finishes/goals when I really only get to stitch on the weekends (and not every weekend at that) … so I’m seriously thinking of throwing those previous plans out the window, and just going back to a rotation instead.  That means I’ll also be able to focus more on my existing WIPs which are actually starting to bother me, rather than trying to cram in those same WIPs (at a lot slower pace than I’d like) as well as meeting all the SAL and commitment deadlines at the same time … and probably not getting any of them done by the year’s end (but not stressing about it).

Perhaps it’s just that my head is in the wrong space at the start of the year with Dad’s health and some work issues that are still really bothering me.  Both of these issues are slowly getting resolved, with Dad seeing his surgeon this Friday, and I’ve started having dummy spits in the office to voice my frustrations at issues I’m facing (including telling a team member they’re doing my head in and they’re not helping my stress levels … yep, there have definitely been a few dummy spits lately in that respect, and probably a couple of months well overdue at that!!).  Anyway, maybe removing the pressure of having to finish all these projects will help to restore some sanity to my stitching – most of the projects in my list will still remain there as part of the rotation, I will just have no expectation to actually complete them by the year’s end … plus I’ll have the opportunity to change my mind at a moment’s notice, as I’ve also come across some other projects that I really wanted to stitch, but that didn’t make the cut for my initial 15 projects …  I think the stress of only limiting my stitching to a set group of projects also inhibits my sense of freedom, and as soon as that sort of pressure starts mounting I find I don’t end up stitching at all … so perhaps it’s for the betterment of my stitching this year to just ‘let it all hang out’ so to speak 😉

Tomorrow I’m off to the local GP to try and get some antibiotics for my bugs, which will also help to bring me back to a state of equilibrium (and probably less likely to have dummy spits at work LOL) … and perhaps feel more like stitching … but in the meantime I’m going to start my rotation guilt-free just as soon as I’ve finished my Round Robin piece that’s due out for mailing at the end of January … but not before I have fun by adding a few more rotation projects to the pipeline 🙂

And I’m not stressing if I change my mind a million times throughout the year … as the title of this post says, “it’s a woman’s prerogative” … as long as I enjoy my stitching this year I’m happy 😀

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Ooh, before I forget, I heard from Cindy that my little gift arrived safe and sound when she returned from holidays – so I can now share the full goodies … just as soon as I find the photos!!!  I think I’ve shown the finished biscornu before, but I’ve never shown the finished fob that matched it.  It feels good that this is now finished and living in its new home 🙂

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While I’m at it, I think there are also a number of framing jobs that I completed in November last year that I haven’t shared on here yet … the Tiger and Summer Snapperland are both for me, whereas the bears and the Letter S are both for gifts.  I did most of the framing of the Tiger 2 years ago, but couldn’t finish-finish it as the backing board was too high … he’s one of my first ever finishes (stitched on aida) and I love, love, love him!

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Finally here are a couple of yummy things I brought back from New Zealand with me on my last trip – the scrumptious blug electric kettle was compliments of Mum and Dad’s Fly Buys points in NZ, while the bowls are from my ‘glory box’ still in storage over there.  Both have already been christened, and I’m totally in love with the jug in particular!!  And I can’t WAIT to try out the new Orange Truffle Baileys over a bucket of ice … hmmm, in fact I just may choose that for dessert tonight, the ice will help soothe my throat and the alcohol will help to lull me into sleepy submission … hmmm …

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The final photos are of my frangipani plants on my balcony to show Mum – now both plants have finally flowered, although I’m disappointed to see the 2nd plant which has flowered for the first time has the pink frangipani … it’s still very pretty, but I do have to admit to preferring the white frangipani on the whole.

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And I think that will do me for another post … I still have some other things to post yet, but think I’m a bit photo heavy already … and it’ll give me something to write about later (if I get over the shock of having so many blog posts in one month!!!).

Biscornu exchange and other bits

I’m working some really mental hours at work at the moment with a project not going so well that I’m supposed to be helping with the testing phase, plus another high profile project that’s just materialised where I’ve been asked to be the project lead, another two projects already underway for early next year, an entire overhaul of our main computer system we use (meaning training etc required along with the testing), and my main work colleague off on annual leave (who never provides a handover document) … my brain cells are in overdrive, but on the whole I’m loving it, even though I could quite easily leave the long hours for someone else.  So I apologise in advance for the crappy grammar etc that I’m sure you’re going to find in this post, but I’m about to fall in a heap and get some well-needed Zzzzzzzzz……

I don’t think I ever showed the finished version of my French design purchased on holiday earlier in the year.  Mum helped me by stuffing it with polyfil on her last visit, and I stitched up the seam to put the finishing touches into it.  I need to get a little basket to have it on display with some of my other favourite items in my bedroom.  I think I also need to stitch this one again in traditional red threads.

“Citation de brodeuse no.8” by Brin par Brin

Next up is the biscornu I sent to my partner in the Oz Cross Stitchers biscornu exchange (a Facebook group):

“Free Biscornu #30” by The Floss Box
stitched on 28ct white Cashel linen
with recommended DMC threads, with Mill Hill beads in the whip-stitched border

And here is the exchange I received from my partner:

Pin Pillow Tutorial #2

Boo-Tyme-pillow

You will need:

  • Stitching for the centre of the cushion
  • Coordinating fabric(s) for side strips and backing
  • Sewing machine with coordinating sewing machine thread to match your fabric(s)
  • Scissors/rotary cutter and mat
  • Pins
  • Ribbon/lace/button embellishments (optional)
  • Polyfil stuffing (or something similar)
  • Sewing needle and thread to close up the seam opening

Pin-pillow-tutorial-2.1

1. First of all trim your stitched piece, and cut your coordinating fabric to your preferred length and the approximate width of your sewing project.  In my case I have chosen to have my coordinating fabric at the bottom of my stitched piece, and I prefer to have the quilting fabric slightly smaller than my stitched piece so it doesn’t take too much attention from the stitching – I have, however, seen some stunning pillows with the stitching taking up just a small amount of room at the top of the pillow.  The only difference is down to your preference, as the finishing process is exactly the same.

Pin-pillow-tutorial-2.2

Pin-pillow-tutorial-2.3

2. Pin the fabrics together, with right sides facing, and stitch a normal seam allowance (alternatively you may prefer to just a quilters 1/4″ seam).

Pin-pillow-tutorial-2.5

3. At this point I cut off my excess fabrics on each side, and trim my seams to 1/4″.  This is also the time when you should open up the seam(s) and give a quick pressing with the iron.

Pin-pillow-tutorial-2.6

4. If you have decided to have fabric on both sides of your stitching (either top and bottom, or left and right) this you will need to repeat the above process a second time for the additional piece of fabric.  Once you’ve finished attaching the coordinating fabrics, check the edges to ensure they’re all even, and give it a quick trim with the rotary cutter if needed.

5. At this point I add any seam embellishments to the pillow front.  For this particular pillow I just wanted to add one row of matching ric-a-rac.  This can either be attached by the sewing machine or by hand (I ended up adding this one by hand, as I didn’t have a matching brown sewing machine thread).  This is also a good time to add any buttons or other trims you want to add, prior to constructing the pillow itself.  Alternatively, you can add your ribbon at the very end once the pillow is finished, but just wrapping it around the pillow and tying a bow to hold it in place 🙂

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6. Now you need to cut your backing fabric the same size as your finished article, and pin them together with right sides facing together (the right side of the stitching will be on the inside of the sandwich).

Pin-pillow-tutorial-2.8

7. Stitch a seam allowance around the edges, but leave an opening at the bottom so that you can turn your pillow inside-out.  I tend to leave about 1 1/2″ opening and that’s normally enough room to allow for turning.

Pin-pillow-tutorial-2.9

8. I use a chopstick to help push the corners into a nice shape from the outside – you just have to be careful not to force the seam stitching too much!  Once you have turned your pillow inside out, it should look something like this.  Now all you have to do is stuff it to your preferred thickness with your favourite stuffing.

Pin-pillow-tutorial-2.10

9. I close my pillow openings with a ladder stitch – and the following is taken from a previous Christmas ornament tutorial, but is the exact same instruction for closing the pillows.

As you can see from the photo below, I start off by slipping my needle into the seam of the backing fabric, then coming back out about 1/4″ along the seam (about 3mm) and bring my needle out.

Christmas Cheer 20

I then take my needle directly opposite where I just came out of the backing fabric and slip my needle into the linen and follow the seam along for about 3mm and bring the needle back out again.

Christmas Cheer 21

I’ve left the stitches nice and loose in the photo below to help illustrate how the stitches follow along opposite each other, like rungs of a ladder.

Christmas Cheer 22

When you pull the thread tighter, the stitches almost disappear into the fabric, giving a really nice clean finish – this is definitely my favourite stitch for closing up openings for that reason!

Christmas Cheer 23

Once you reach the end of the seam opening, you need to finish off your thread with a couple of teeny stitches – I then bury the needle into the seam and come out somewhere about an inch way and bring the needle back out again – then clip the thread close to the fabric so that my thread tail does’t appear easily.

And here’s the final seam all finished off – see now nice and tidy that ladder stitch is in the opening? :D

Christmas Cheer 24

10. And that is the final step in your beautiful new pin pillow coming to life.  Now all you need to do is to find somewhere to display it where it can be admired by everyone 😀

Boo-Tyme-pillow

Pumpkins-pillow Halloween-pillow P1030899

Pin Pillow Tutorial #1

While I was finishing my wee pillows last weekend, I took a series of photos to create some basic tutorials. Here is the first one:

PILLOW/PIN PILLOW TUTORIAL #1

Boo-pillow

You will need:

  • Stitching for the centre of the cushion
  • Coordinating fabric(s) for side strips and backing
  • Sewing machine with coordinating sewing machine thread to match your fabric(s)
  • Scissors/rotary cutter and mat
  • Pins
  • Embellishments (optional)
  • Polyfil stuffing (or something similar)
  • Sewing needle and thread to close up the seam opening

Pin-pillow-tutorial-1.1

1. First of all cut your coordinating fabric into equal width strips, and approximate width of your sewing project.  In my case I have chosen to have two different fabrics on the front of my pillow, and have started with a narrow strip of bright rust fabric for the inner border.

Pin the first strip with right sides facing to your stitching (I prefer to start with the pieces attached to the left and right sides, but you may prefer to start with the top and bottom sections first), and stitch a normal seam allowance (alternatively you may prefer to just a quilters 1/4″ seam).

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Once you have stitched the first seam, attach the 2nd strip of fabric to the opposite side of your stitching and stitch another seam.

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2. At this point I cut off my excess fabrics on each side, and trim my seams to 1/4″ – I usually prefer to do this because I don’t trust myself to get things right the first time!

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3. You finish with nice tidy edges, ready to attach the last two sides of fabric.

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4. Before we do that, though, we need to open the fabric sides up and give them a quick press with the iron so that they sit nicely.  If you want to you can also do a row of top-stitching to assist with holding the fabric nicely, but I don’t normally bother.

Pin-pillow-tutorial-1.6

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5. Now we attach the top and bottom sides in exactly the same way as we did with the first two sides.  Once all sides have finished, I normally check the side strips to ensure they’re nice and tidy and even, and if not I give them a quick trim all round with the rotary cutter.

Pin-pillow-tutorial-1.8

6. In my case I decided to just have a narrow strip of bright rust fabric as a contrasting focal point, then added some wider strips of fabric for the outside edges.  These are attached in exactly the same way as the rust strips, they are just cut into wider pieces.  You just need to remember to add the next lot of strips in the same order as you did previously, which was in my case left and right first, followed by top and bottom.  Once I had ironed my finished strips I decided that little buttons would be nice in the corners, so I added these before adding the backing fabric.

Pin-pillow-tutorial-1.9

7. Now you need to cut your backing fabric the same size as your finished article, and pin them together with right sides facing together (the right side of the stitching will be on the inside of the sandwich).

Pin-pillow-tutorial-1.10

8. Stitch a seam allowance around the edges, but leave an opening at the bottom so that you can turn your pillow inside-out.  I tend to leave about 1 1/2″ opening and that’s normally enough room to allow for turning.

Pin-pillow-tutorial-1.11

9. I use a chopstick to help push the corners into a nice shape from the outside – you just have to be careful not to force the seam stitching too much!  Once you have turned your pillow inside out, it should look something like this.  Now all you have to do is stuff it to your preferred thickness with your favourite stuffing.

Pin-pillow-tutorial-1.12

10. I close my pillow openings with a ladder stitch – and the following is taken from a previous Christmas ornament tutorial, but is the exact same instruction for closing the pillows.

As you can see from the photo below, I start off by slipping my needle into the seam of the backing fabric, then coming back out about 1/4″ along the seam (about 3mm) and bring my needle out.

Christmas Cheer 20

I then take my needle directly opposite where I just came out of the backing fabric and slip my needle into the linen and follow the seam along for about 3mm and bring the needle back out again.

Christmas Cheer 21

I’ve left the stitches nice and loose in the photo below to help illustrate how the stitches follow along opposite each other, like rungs of a ladder.

Christmas Cheer 22

When you pull the thread tighter, the stitches almost disappear into the fabric, giving a really nice clean finish – this is definitely my favourite stitch for closing up openings for that reason!

Christmas Cheer 23

Once you reach the end of the seam opening, you need to finish off your thread with a couple of teeny stitches – I then bury the needle into the seam and come out somewhere about an inch way and bring the needle back out again – then clip the thread close to the fabric so that my thread tail does’t appear easily.

And here’s the final seam all finished off – see now nice and tidy that ladder stitch is in the opening? :D

Christmas Cheer 24

11. And that is the final step in your beautiful new pin pillow coming to life.  Now all you need to do is to find somewhere to display it where it can be admired by everyone 😀

Boo-pillow

NZ Exchange

I have absolutely nothing to show stitching WIP-wise this week, as I’ve been clocking some mental hours at work, with a few 12 hour days.  My new all-time record was a 16 1/2 hour day yesterday – 12 of them in the office, then I came home and did the remainder at home, finishing at 1.30am this morning.  I still have enough work to keep me going for one more entire day, but I thought I’d take a break for a bit – although I have a major deadline looming, so I have to do it over the weekend to get it finished in time for review on Tuesday morning (it’s a long weekend here in Sydney this weekend).

Seeing as I don’t have any WIP updates, I thought I’d go ahead and post the exchange I posted off last week.  I haven’t heard that it’s arrived, but it should be there by now 🙂

You will remember that I shared the ‘back sides” last week, well here are the fronts.  I was very sad to see these ones leave home … I think I just may have to repeat this exchange all for myself – love, love, love the colours – I just hope my recipient likes it too!

Exchange for StitchNZ

StitchNZ Exchange scissor fob

Freebie from My Aunt’s Attic
Stitched on 32ct white Belfast linen
with DMC 4030 thread
(homemade tassel & cord also in DMC 4030 thread)

StitchNZ Exchange pincushion

Freebie by Le Petit Monde de Vavi
Stitched on 32ct white Belfast linen
with DMC 4030 thread

And seeing as I have nothing else to share today, I’ll end with this week’s Photo Hunt, as I ran out of pre-published posts last week and have to think of this one from scratch.  Alas, no future themes are out yet either, so I guess next week’s will be from scratch too…

 

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
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This week’s theme is ”Public” and I went with the following dictionary definition:

“Definition:Open to common or general use; as, a public road; a public house.”

In saying that, here are my choices for this week … Here I am waiting for a bus at the public bus depot in Nadi … during a flood (and no, I have no expectation that a bus will really arrive!).

Nadi bus depot flooded

Or perhaps a public road at Edfu markets, Egypt…

Edfu Markets 1

Exchanges, WIPs and Finishes

In my overflowing mailbox this week I received an exquisite exchange from Elaine in NZ (this was an exchange hosted by the StitchNZ Yahoo Group).  I’m absolutely thrilled with this exchange – I really adore hardanger, although I still haven’t kicked myself in the pants enough to get back into it myself again … and this one is just gorgeous!  Elaine made it into a stitching pocket so I can hold my needlework tools and supplies – and sent along a matching wee pincushion (so gorgeous!) and packet of needles.  I’ve taken loads of photos so you can share in the beautiful stitching detail of this piece – while photos never do stitching real justice, I’m sure you can imagine that the finished piece is even more exquisite!  Thanks Elaine for a wonderful exchange! 😀

StitchNZ exchange 3

StitchNZ exchange 6

StitchNZ Exchange from Elaine July 2010

StitchNZ Exchange from Elaine July 2010

My exchange piece unfortunately left a little bit late (actually a whole week late, ahem!) … thanks to not being able to get to the Post Office.  As I’m pretty positive the recipient doesn’t read my blog, but perhaps I’d better play it safe and not post details about it yet … I’ll tempt you with a photo of the ‘backside’ in the meantime, and will post more when it’s received 🙂

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What’s next???  Oh yes, yesterday I sat in the lounge with Katie watching Dark Angel DVDs, and doing a teeny bit of finishing – I managed to get the Christmas Ornament tutorial photos completed (very basic ornie) which also means one more ornament off the finishing pile, my Just Nan Ladybug Santa is now in its little Whimzi frame, and I completed the Periwinkle Promises January Sampler Accent into its little pillow, complete with little corner tassels (I ran out of silk for the backing fabric/joining, but luckily had a skein or two in my stash that I was grab to finish this one off).

Christmas Cheer Ornament finished

Just Nan-Ladybug Santa framed

Periwinkle Promises-January Sampler Accent finished

Tassels

As for my WIPs themselves, I’ve done very very little stitching over the last week or so – I managed to put a handful of beads into Chatelaine’s Egyptian Garden Mandala (3 nights of beading and I’m still not even halfway finished the one band of beads – the row on the edge of the lotus flowers) – it doesn’t help that the beads don’t sit nicely with that poxy fabric that I’m using, so I’m having to squeeze the beads in and offset them every 6 or 7 beads:

EGM 23Jul10

Then yesterday I managed to complete some more of the border of the Quaker Huswif, and am now working on the bottom quaker band.  Once this section is finished, I’ll be flipping the design upside down and unrolling the scrollbars to work on the final two sections at the other end – I think at this point in time I’m pretty much sitting on the halfway mark of this piece 🙂

Quaker Huswif 24Jul10

And that’s pretty much it for now … not sure what I’ll be stitching on this week, if anything … I’ve got some big deadlines at work over the next fortnight, so I may be putting in some longer hours, which means less mental/physical energy for stitching …