Friday, August 22, 2008


The Hermit has been off work this week, so I've been spending a lot of time offline, just apending some time with him, crafting, listening to the Olympics coverage (go Team GB! the best results in living memory!) and generally having some downtime. Although my job was part time, I never actually took any leave, and I'm beginning to realise how in need of it I was. Job hunting will start on Tueday after the Bank Holiday, but until then I'm taking a break...

I have been extremely productive, but uploading pictures is proving a bit of a problem at the moment. Photobucket just seems to hang if I try to upload more than four or five pictures at a time, it's very annoying, especially as I have so much to show you all! I went on a bit of a finishing spree so I have a whole host of pinkeeps and such to show - and floss tags! I'm very pleased with myself about those :o) I've also finished a needleroll for an exchange, and a birth sampler commissioned by my sister for her friend - sis loved the one I stitched for her so much, she ordered another one!And when I rung my sis to tell her it was complete, she told me that her sis in law has just broken the news she's expecting a baby in early Spring, so I foresee another one then too...

I've been fairly good with stash lately, and not buying any, but today I saw a basket making kit in the Oxfam shop, and I just had to have it... it's something I've never tried before! Reading the instructions, apparently I need to keep a bowl or bucket of water to hand to soak the weaving bits in - there's so much potential for disaster in that... I will hopefully do a photo post for that, as the process looks interesting. The silly thing is that the charity shop had a completed basket of a similar size to the kit and it was less money, but where's the fun in that?

I hope everyone has a nice weekend - it's a Bank Holiday here, and as expected, the weather is likely to be wet (the whole summer has been!) so I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I will probably spend some time with my sis and the niecelet as BiL is having to fly to the US for work this weekend, and niecelet can be rather exhausting for my sis on her own - especially as she misses her daddy, and my parents are also away, and she's missing them too, especially her grandad!

Saturday, August 16, 2008


I must be a touch crazy. I set my alarm for 3.00am this morning so I could listen to the swimming from Beijing.

I'm not really into swimming as a sport - I was the only person at my primary school who never got their 'Learner' certificate :o) - but I did want to find out how Rebecca Adlington got on. And it was worth it - bless her little cottons, she stormed it!

I've spent most of the day listening to the radio and/or watching the streaming feed on the computer. Alan Green commentating on the rowing is terrific, he gets so involved - I think he was tearing up when Britain won the rowing gold medal - he was convinced they'd lost it, so was I, I was probably in the same state! :o) Britain has had a great medal haul today, and there are more coming tomorrow - it's good to see! I had to have a nap after the 100m final though...

Stitching wise, I've been working on two items for exchanges so I can't show you pictures - a needleroll for the Hooked on Exchanges swap, and a floss tag for a private exchange with Karen V. I've also worked a little more on Random Thoughts. It's been really nice today, just forgetting my responsibilities and stitching!

Friday, August 15, 2008


For the Olympic Stitching Challenge, I was stitching Random Thoughts but although I'm making progress, I'm enjoying it too much to want to stitch quickly and to a deadline, so I'm not pushing it.

Instead - and because I don't want to make errors when getting excited at British prospects in rowing, cycling and sailing - I've been hammering at my finishes.

Literally, in some cases - I've made my first floss tags! I got some rivets from my favourite haberdasher - they are 4mm - and in my tool kit was the perfect 'bodger' for that diameter, so I didn't need to make a slit, and it made the finish pretty neat - after I hammered the rivets in! I don't think I've ever that to be so violent with my needlework before... BTW the 'bodger' is a family name for a screwdriver like implement that is basically a pointed screwdriver - should I call it a stiletto?

I've also made a couple of mini pillows, and I'm just taking a break from stitching the backing onto My Favorite Things - which of course, I'm doing by hand, being averse to a sewing machine - and I wouldn't be able to hear the commentary over the noise, either!

I have picked fabrics for a whole slew of pinkeeps from my stash - I'm pleased with how many work well - not always perfectly, but near enough! I'm blessed that I have such resources. They are going to be my weekend projects, but right now I'm off to watch the streaming feed on my computer of the Team Cycling Pursuit - Team GB are in the Gold/Silver race off - Go Team GB!

Monday, August 11, 2008

And The Winner Is ...

There were 13 entries into the draw for the sicssor pocket in my blogoversary post.

Thanks to the randomiser at, the winner is:

Carol R!!

Carol, if you email me your address at nic[dot]wray[at]gmail[dot]com, I will get it in the post to you!

(I tried to get a screenshot, but something is wrong with the Mozilla add on...)


It's been busy here - I've been decluttering, and our bathroom was having some work done on it, so there's even more chaos than usual! I'm waiting for the chap to come back to start tiling - he was supposed to be here half an hour ago ... oh, just had a phone call, ETAP 'between 12 and 12.30' yay!

The decluttering has meant I've added stacks of stuff to my trades blog!

I've finished the card for The Hermit's forthcoming birthday but I've also been knitting some rather kitsch stuff - pictures will follow when I have the necessary bits...

I've joined Melissa's Olympic Stitching Challenge but I haven't done a lot on my piece for the project yet - I was getting a tad too excited with the British medal winners! It's not like cricket, where I can sit and stitch loads as I listen to the gentle tones of Test Match Special!

I should be spending some time updating my CV and job hunting but even the thought of it is making me tense... so I think I will have today off and start tomorrow!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Another Commission

My sister has asked me to stitch another version of the birth sampler I did for her birthday for a friend of hers. Friend Y had a baby girl this week - rather unexpected, as she'd been told at her scans it was almost certainly a boy! So, Y has nothing very pretty and my sister thought that this sampler would be a start :o) However, the baby doesn't have a name as yet either so I'm just going to work the border for now...

I've been working on a crewel piece which is a UFO and I'm really not liking it - I've gone completely off the design and I'm only finishing it because I'm being stubborn! I was hoping to give it to my mum or sis, but they don't like it either - my dad turned his nose up too... I'm telling myself it's character building and also I need the practice - I can do crewel work, but I don't do much of it.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Summer Quaker Exchange

Design: Quaker ABC freebie
Designer: Gencat
Threads: House of Embroidery - Grapes
Fabric: 28 count evenweave

This is the piece I stitched for Irmeli (no blog) on the Hooked on Exchange blog

I've noticed quite trend towards Quaker stitching (or perhaps it's just the blogs I read!) but this was my first project in the style. It won't be my last - I loved the simplicity of stitching in one colour, although I chose a varigated thread to add interest and because it said 'summer' to me.

For finishing, I was very brave and 'screwed my courage to the sticking post' and went for an octagon shape - I'm still not sure how exactly I got the right dimensions! But it all worked, even though I think I over did the glue holding the pieces together, as it made sticking the pins in tough - and I think I had a dodgy batch of pins, some of the heads came off and my fingers got pricked ... no blood was shed, but I had to get the pliers out to remove the offending items! LOL

And talking of giveaways - you have until Sunday to comment on the Blogoversary giveaway post if you'd like to try and win the scissor pouch!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Blogoversary Giveaway!

Ooops! Until Teena reminded me, I didn't realise it was my blogoversary - I'm sorry, it was a very hectic week with work and stuff.

Anyway, better late than never, and to celebrate, I'm going to give away the scissor pouch from my previous post! I appreciate all my readers, especially those who leave comments, and this is just a little token of thanks from me to you...

If you'd like the chance to win the pouch, please add your name in the comments below!

Scissor Pocket- Monthly Finishing Challenge

July's Monthly Finishing Challenge was to produce some kind of scissor keeper. I wasn't really sure how to go about the pinkeep with pocket ones (can anyone recommend a tutorial?) so I went for the pouch option.

The stitched piece has been hanging around for ages - it's from a DMC/RSN hardanger kit, and I didn't really know what to do with it - I didn't want to frame it, and there's only so many cushions one can have, even if it went with my decor, which is doesn't!

I lined the square with white felt and then folded it together and stitched it with mattress stitch so the seam looks invisible. I then drew threads out of the trimmings to make the tassel, and the fastening is a press stud.

Stitching Update

I've been working on Random Thoughts lately - and loving every stitch of it! Even the over-one sections are working well and I'm doing them as full crosses - unusually for me!

The colours are muted and work well together - and they are working on the fabric I chose, which was a piece of vintage Belfast from Zweigart - I think the colour has been discontinued, which is a shame.

I've had to call a temporary halt though - yesterday the silk kept snagging on my fingers, which I think are a little rough from housework *sigh* - so it was on with the handcream, and onto a 'new'project. Well, I say new, it was actually an old WIP I had forgotten about - I traded a chart years ago, and when it arrived, it came with a piece partially finished. So yesterday, I finished it! And I also started the other project on the chart, so hopefully by the end of today, I will have two pinkeep sized finishes :o)

After that, I'm going to work on one of my quilt blocks and I'm also going to make a pot of soup. What are your plans for today?

Friday, August 01, 2008

Reviewing July Goals

I think I did okay on my July goals - I seemed to get most of them done, plus I also did a few things that weren't on them.

I haven't shared any pictures yet, but I really got back into knitting by knitting bracelets from wire and beads - that was a bit of a distraction but I did get some stitching done!

  • Card for Sister - done
  • Gift for Sister - done
  • Card for BiL - done
  • Card for Ma - done
  • Gift for Ma - done
  • Monthly Finishing Challenge - scissor pocket/keeper/sheath - done
  • One finish to make up - three done!
  • One framing finish - well, I've sorted out some frames, and also a mount for another piece, but I need to construct everything.
  • One PIF gift - done
  • Random Thoughts - I'm halfway through the main panel, but I'm taking this slowly, I'm enjoying it so much, I don't want to rush!
  • Summer Quaker Exchange (HoE) - done
In addition to the knitted jewellery, I also managed to finish Wooly Zipper (Bent Creek) - a not-very-old UFO and Honeycomb (Meinick Designs) - which was an old UFO, and also one of the larger projects in my stash!

My August goals were initially quite modest, but considering I will have more time on my hands - today is my last working day :o( - I'm going to have a real run at my quilt project as well as making things for The Hermit's birthday. I'm also going to try and empty my mending basket - why is it that decorative stitching is so much more enticing than the practical stuff like re-hemming trousers?

  • Quilt Block - Card Trick
  • Quilt Block - Tumbling Blocks
  • Card for The Hermit
  • Gift for The Hermit
  • Quilt Block x 3
  • Empty Mending Basket
  • Monthly Finishing Challenge - Scissor Fob
  • Needleroll Exchange (HoE)
  • One Finish to Make Up
  • One Framing Finish
  • One PIF Gift
  • One UFO
  • Random Thoughts - I've added this again, but I'm not going to worry if I don't in fact finish it.