Monday, 30 June 2008

This Retiired Business

Life is such fun at the moment. I so busy that I haven't had time to update my blog lately. I have several finishes to show you. Firstly, I found this just started the other day and decided to finish it. It's by Hillside Samplings and is the 2006 Folk Art Sewing roll.

The second finish is one that i am particularly proud of. It's the Americanna Sewing Case by Catherine Theron. This is one of the classes that i took at Criss Cross Row this past March. I changed the count of fabric and only used 1 strand of wool for the bargello. I replaced the inside linen with a particularly beautiful R & R 400 count linen but used the same threads that were in the kit.

and finally a shawl that I knitted whilst on holiday last month. I cannot stitch in hotel rooms as the light isn't good enough. However I can knit and this is the result. The shall is knitted width ways and the frill at either side is knitted on afterwards. The yarn is a very stunning colour way from 'Posh Yarn' They hold their sales on a Sunday evening at 6pm GMT and their yarn is so popular that it is a fight to get the yarn you want. It certainly gets the adrenaline flowing.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Beautiful Day

Today am finally over the horrible cold/virus. It hit my asthma head on and for the past 10 days I have felt 90 years old. I have hardly moved from the house except to take the dogs walking and that took three times as long as normal.
Today, when I woke up, I could breath. Such a difference. However nobody wanted to hear me moaning so I'm going to show you the rest of the finishes.

This little needle case is 'Be True' by Blackbird designs.

This one is a beautiful design called 'Needles and Pins' by Gloria Moore of Milady's Needle.

This next one is a design by Ellen Chester of With My Needle. It is called 'Beauty and Grace.

I have finished Catherine Theron's Americanna Sewing Roll and am stitching a small piece by La-D-Da called 'Briar Rabbit. Then I feel a shawl coming on. I'm away from 22nd May and I can never see to stitch in my hotel rooms but I can knit. Let's see how I get on with the lace knitting.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Sanity at Last

There are those that might question the title of this particular blog but my retirement has taken off with such speed that I haven't had a chance to draw breath. My friends (wonderful people) have drawn me into their own lives and therefore enriched mine during this time of change for me. I have not once had a chance to feel at a loss. In fact my days just speed by. I was always faintly incredulous of those who stated that they didn't know how they managed to find time to go to work. Now I'm one of them!

I have several finishes to show. At least you will know that I haven't been entirely without purpose.

This is Key to my Heart by Lauren Sauer

and this by Brightneedle

This by Merry Cox named A French Bon Bon Box

So as you can see I have done plenty of stitching in the evenings after my very hectic days. Now I feel the longing to knit somehting so I am away to search through patterns and yarn!

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Back Home Again

Now my retirement starts. I'm back home after the classes at Criss Cross Row in Newark, Delaware. What a fun time we all had. I took classes with Wendy White and Catherine Theron. Both lovely people and wonderful needle workers. The classes where held at the Christiana Hilton. On my arrival I was told that the hotel had overbooked and I should drive to another hotel just up the road. I was feeling very annoyed until I realised that the Hilton would be picking up the bill. Yes, they paid for my first night's stay, dinner and breakfast. How could I stay annoyed having just saved a considerable amount of money. Well. I couldn't. The next morning I drove back to Philadelphia airport to collect my dear friend Margi Ochs who was flying in to take classes. That afternoon classes started and the fun began. Marsha had a boutique running all day which was staffed by the wonderful friends she has. Marsha herself, spent a lot of her time driving to see Ken in rehab. The boutique was filled with all the new designs out at Nashville market so restraint went out of the window!

On Friday late afternoon I went with Marsha to visit Ken. The drive was 1 1/4 hours each way. Although it was a shock for me to see Ken as he, was Marsha assured me that he was better than the day before. Those of you who have followed Ken's illness via the Caringbridge website will know that his recovery from the rupture of his brain aneurysm will be much slower this time. Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation is a wonderful place with dedicated workers dealing with all levels of brain and body injuries. Ken will have a long stay this time. Ken recognized me and could associate me with Jim which I felt very happy about. It transpired later that all the staff recognized me also as Ken has a picture of Jim and myself taken in Alaska on his wall.

The classes finished all too soon and on Sunday night I was on a flight back to Heathrow. This is were my life will now change. I woke up on Tuesday morning and my first thought was "This is the beginning of the rest f my life". Retirement starts here so I have to get out of the habit of rushing around as I shall have days to finish things. Let's see how I get on.....................

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Update on my Latest Stitching Project

This is my latest stitching project. Blackbird Designs Loose Feathers Design #29 "Where My Heart Blooms". In the end I decided to stitch this over one as I'm not keen on stitching on 30ct linen over two. It's just that little bit too large for my taste. It's coming on very nicely and I hope to finish it as a flat fold.
I was sitting at the computer looking at there past designs and admiring them. At the same time I was thinking that a lot of their designs have blackbirds on. Well DUHHH! How stupid am I? Of course they do they're Blackbird Designs. Well you do have to make allowances for me!

Wednesday 21th March is gradually getting closer. That's the day that I fly into Philadelphia to take the classes at Criss Cross Row. I can't wait to see Marsha again. The news on Ken is a little better. He has been moved to rehab and will under go the same intensive rehabilitation that he had in January 07. We are all praying that he continues to improve.

Sunday, 24 February 2008


Yesterday I had some terrible news. I was waiting for news on Ken Cauthen's condition. Some of you may remember that my dear friend Marsha Cauthen, the owner of the on-line needlework store Criss Cross Row, had suffered a terrible shock when her husband Ken had a brain aneurysm in January 2007. Marsha had helped Ken throughout his ordeal and although he never regained his short term memory he was able to function reasonably well with Marsha's help. On his last hospital visit they were told that the aneurysm needed to be re-coiled as there was a space which, for safety's sake, needed to be filled. The operation was to take place on 22nd February and should only have taken 1 1/2 hours.
Yesterday I heard from Marsha that things had gone terribly wrong and that to enable the surgical team to get to a blood clot part of Ken's skull had to be removed. As I type he is in a drug induced coma and on life support. Many of you will know or have heard of Marsha. Please include them in your prayers today. They both need all the love and prayers that we can give.

Today, to try and keep myself busy, I completed my 'Love in Williamsburg' by Giulia Punti Antichi. I decided to leave of the lettering and finished it as a cube stand up. I am very pleased with the result which you can see below.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

My Latest Stitching Project

I always love it when I get a package in the post and this was no different. My order from Lois at Elegant Stitch has arrived. I have joined the Blackbird Designs Loose Feathers club and this was my first chart. The chart is entitled 'Where My Heart Blooms'. I have joined the club with the pattern,fabric and threads option. Not, of course, that I need any more threads but I love the idea of the complete kit. I know - I'm lazy but there we are.

The charts will come every 2 months and at the end there will be a mystery sampler made up of elements from all 6 previous charts.

I have also completed yet another Victorian Shoulderette. This time I have made a matching hat to complement it. Needless to say the hat is not for me but for my son's wonderful partner who, I think, deserves much more. Now that I shall be finishing work I am hoping that I shall be able to help with the children so that she can have a little time to herself.

I am in countdown mode now for finishing work. Two weeks and two days to go. Now it cannot come fast enough.

I'm off now to put the first stitches in my 'Where My Heart Blooms'

Monday, 18 February 2008

At Last......

Yes I know I've been winging on and on about handing in my notice and I know it must have bored the pants off of you but I finally did it last Monday and I'm FREE. My last day will be on 11th March just in time to fly to Delaware for Criss Cross Row's Acadamy classes. I'm taking Wendy White and Catherine Theron's classes. It will be a fun filled few days.Once I return I can stitch, quilt and knit at my leisure. I suppose somewhere amongst that lot I should really mention cleaning but somehow it doesn't seem very important.
Jim's operation went very well. He was in the Clementine Churchill for one night only and then home. He's healing very well, with a great range of movement in his arm.
Last Saturday I had a Sampler Guild gathering at my house. We really are so lucky in that we have found such a wonderful group of women with whom to share our love of stitching. We really care about each other and share our ups and downs. Meeting up as we do has become a very important part of my life and I am very thankful for it.
It speaks volumes about me that I agreed to have my two beautiful grandsons to stay overnight on the same day as the Guild gathering.There was 20 minutes space between the ladies leaving and Dylan and Luke arriving. On Sunday morning I looked like my worst nightmare. But stitching is a healer and by Sunday evening I was back to what passes (for me) as normal. Now I'm off to daydream about freedom...................

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Weekend Talk

I felt a great feeling of relief this Friday. At last I told work that I would definitely be leaving, if not in December, then sooner if my pension will allow. Now I'm of the opinion that I cannot wait until December. There is so much that I could be doing and I resent time spent working where appreciation is never shown. Lip service is easy and doesn't cost anything but rewarding senior staff could be a saving grace. They havn't learnt this lesson in the 11 years that I have been working for them and for that reason discontent is rife. I made a decision in the last week spent at home that I really didn't want to carry on working in an atmosphere that has changed from enjoyment in hard work to malcontent at little recompense. Immediately the words wereout of my mouth so I felt that a great weight had been lifted. I'm now in charge of my own life.

Jim goes into hospital tomorrow to have a shoulder arthroscopy and depbridement. He will be in overnight provoding they find nothing else wrong. Then he will be forced to take 2 weeks off and rest the right shoulder/arm. Many years ago I worked at this particular private hospital and I know he will be well looked after in almost (for a hospital) luxurious surroundings.

This weekend's finish is shown below. This is another chart by the French designer Atalie entitled Avril 2007. Perhaps now my biscornu phase in completed. I had fun stitching this one but enough is enough and I shall cast on this evening for another Victorian Shoulderette. I plan on beading the lace edging on this one.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

On the Upside

This week didn't start well. I caught some sort of bug and I've been at home struggling to get rid of it. I actually don't know what was worse - the anitibotics or the bug. However today I feel a bit more normal. Yes I can hear you all asking 'What is normal for her?' Normal is feeling able to stitch and complete a project that I started the weekend before last. This is a bicornu designed by Le Fil Atalie. You can view her designs at This biscornu is the design for October. The chart is in colour although the instructions are in French. However, you don't need the instructions to stitch this. So thst is the upside to being off sick,

The back of the biscornu is a very quick stitch. I didn't have the Atalie floss with which the design should be stitched but I chose colours from The Thread Gatherer which I had in my stash

I also have the chart for The April Biscornu and I think I shall stitch this next.
On another front I have sorted out my stash and put some things on Ebay. I was very firm with myself. Anything that I knew I wouldn't stitch this year went. The problem is that I don't seem to have created any space at all. The drawers to the filing cabinet are still stuffed. Maybe I need to even more strict.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Finshed Items at Last

As I promised I managed to upload some finishes to show you. This is the finished Victorian Shoulderette. I am so pleased with the way this has turned out and I really love the Dream in Color Smoochey yarn that I used. It knits so beautifully. I intend starting another but this time in Posh Yarn 'Lucia'. I also thought that I might try adding beads to the bottom of the next shoulderette

The next finish is 'Ghosties and Ghoulies' by Brightneedle. This was a class that I took in 2006. That shows how slowly I finished that one. Actually I had completed the stitching but put it aside to finish. This piece is just so sweet.

And then finally...... my Merry Cox piece from Williamsburg 2006. I held of this conmpleteing this because whilst taking the class my Son and Daughter-in-Law told us they were expecting another birthday. I waited until Luke was born and then added his initials.

I'm now well on the way to completing Merry Cox's piece which I took at Williamsburg last Christmas. Merry isn't teaching Christmas 2008 and I'm not going either. I didn't think that I could manage Williamsburg and Ackworth again in one year as I did in 2006.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Time Flies

I promised myself that I would sign into my blog every day and at least post something of interest that had happened during the day. O.K. - so that hasn't happened. What a surprise!
On Friday my good friend Patti came around and endeavoured to show me how to organise this blog. As you can see success didn't come easily. No pictures of finished items. No pictures of family or even of me, the blog writer. Friday is my day off and I promise myself that I shall spend some time attempting to upload photos.

I don't know what I caught this week but I do know that I have had to force myself to stay awake for the past few days. Come the evening I could cheerfully give up and go to bed. But I have forced myself to stitch mainly because I really want to get my Merry Cox ' Williamsburg' piece finished to show. Because I have been interspersing knitting with stitching I havn't managed to get as much done. I admit that I would usually have finished the project well before this in other years.

Work has been especially busy of late. I don't understand moves that promise to make a GP's surgery paperless turning out to mean 'Covered by more paper than one can ever deal with in the time allocated!!!!!' Whatever happened to 'put the patient first'???? Effectively it's now 'Fill every form in triplicate before the patient sits down in the consulting room and then send the triplicated forms on a journey around the surgery to different admin staff to be procesed'.

But - enough of this winging. Should anyone ever visit this blog they will think (maybe correctly) that I am a mad woman. I'm not - I just work in the NHS!

Friday, 25 January 2008

My Days and Evenings ......

My days or evenings never turn out as planned. After walking the dogs and nearly getting blown away in the evening gale and soaked in the driving rain, I collapsed in a heap in the chair and didn't have the energy to do anything but knit. I'm working on the Victorian Shoulderette by Sivia Harding.

This pattern is a joy to knit. The instructions are easy to follow and I especially like the way the bottom band of lace is knit at a different angle than the rest of the shoulderette. As soon as I learn how I shall post a picture. I'm nearly finished it now and I really think that I shall knit another soon.On the needlework front - I still have my Merry Cox Christmas in Williamsburg peice to complete. I have completed three sides of the design. It grows so quickly because it is mainly tent stitch. I cannot wait to see my finished piece and although it sounds as if knitting has overtaken needlework in my life, it isn't really like that. I love the way knitting has made a revival and all the hand dyed yarns there are around at the moment. Wool is so tactile. It really is a needleworkers faullt that I returned to knitting at all. I was introduced to sock knitting at ASG in Louisville in October 06 and I have been hooked ever since. I'm really thankful that my son's partners all love handknitted socks!

Monday, 21 January 2008

This is a bit like Alice.................................

Well, here I am with my first ever blog. What to say? This morning was so dark and dreary so I felt I needed to be cheered up. What did I do? Well, what I always do and that is buy something. This day's something happened to be wonderful Dream in Color Smoochy yarn from Socktopus. It just goes to show what a google search will throw up. In all my searches over the past year I had never found Socktopus before. I'm not quite sure how I can have missed such a wonderful choice of hand dyed yarns available here in the UK. That means NO CUSTOM charge. I was on top of the world and one thing led to another and so the blog was born. Will I have time to write down my thoughts every day? Who knows, least of all me but I can only go with the flow.
Later on in the morning my day was brightened even more by the arrival of a pink package from Posh Yarn. The package was full of Laura Noble, Laura Maze and Lei Glimmer. Now, I have no idea what I am going to knit but I do know that it will be a shawl or stole. I have knitted several of Evelyn Clark's designs recently and just love them. Tonight will be taken up with the pattern search.