Weekend smocking

I love spending a day doing needlework, and today I smocked. I finished smocking the first little dress I pleated. During the week I will hopefully finish the other one – ready to make the dresses next weekend 🙂

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Smocking

I haven’t smocked for a while, but just woke up the other morning with an idea for a little dress. Bought and washed the fabric yesterday, ironed and pleated it today – ready for a weekend of smocking.

But of course I couldn’t choose the fabric, so bought enough for two little dresses. I am thinking lace and ribbon and embroidered roses, or buttons……..and white broderie anglaise petticoats. As if I haven’t got enough to do 🙂

smocking

Different projects

I decided to take stock of the projects I am working on. This is similar to reading – I am always reading about five books at a time, because I like reading what I feel like at that moment. Same with needlework, it is much more fun to be able to pick and choose what I feel like. But when I am close to finishing a project I am normally quite keen to get it done.

Yesterday I made two bags. I have a friend who is always knitting for everyone. I can’t remember her ever knitting something for herself. She carries her knitting around in a supermarket plastic bag. So I made her a bag. I made myself one as well, because I can never leave my knitting or crochet on the table – the cats think it is for them and will carry the wool around. I also have one more bag cut out and ready to sew

I don’t really enjoy knitting much, but every now and then I feel like it. I knitted a baby jacket, just needs buttons and then it is done. Then started another one this week, as I really liked the pattern. All the pieces have been knitted, just have to start sewing together and do the neck and front bands. I have some wool left over and might knit some bootees to go with both when I am done. The baby jackets will be finished this week as I am so close now. Actually quite proud of myself for knitting these

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Knitting

I cannot crochet, so decided it is time to learn. And when I found this beautiful High Tea Crochet Fusion Quilt tutorial I knew that was the perfect way to learn. It is so beautiful and a whole  production process. I have some blocks sewed together, just need to be turned inside out. On others I have to do the blanket stitches and I also finished the crochet on six already. It is a fun project and I am enjoying every minute

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Crochet fusion quilt

I am doing the Splendid Sampler quilt. Pat Sloan releases two blocks a week and this quilt-a-long will continue until January 2017. I am actually up to date with the blocks and bonus blocks, except for the one which came out on Friday, as I was sewing the bags and didn’t have time to do this block. I am also adding borders as I complete the blocks and will start the hand-quilting soon. This is a fun project and I am learning so much

The other quilt-a-long/embroidery I am participating in the Bee-utiful Quilt-a-long. Block 6 was released yesterday and I will embroider it tomorrow. Block 7 will be released later today and this will also be done this week. (It is Sunday here today and I don’t do any needlework on Sundays – something I inherited from my mum and the way I was brought up.) This QAL finishes in August, and then the quilt will be assembled and quilted. Love this project so much!

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Bee-utiful QAL

On Mondays, during lunchtimes, a group of us meet at work and do needlework. Some of us knit, others crochet. I usually do embroidery or smocking. My current Monday-project is a Sunbonnet Sue quilt. I plan to embroider 6 blocks and then sew the quilt and the progress is good. I am really itching to finish this and it is sometimes very tempting to work on the Monday-project at home too. My past projects were cross-stitch afghan blankets and I just have to add the binding for the last one – which means I completed three since last year by working on it during lunch time once a week. Love these, they are so beautiful, although I really have to give it a good ironing

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Sunbonnet Sue quilt

When I feel like working on small, but quick projects I smock little vests for babies and embroider bibs – these are fun and easy baby-shower presents to use as and when needed. Just gave away a few of these and must get some more done soon. I also have a few pairs of frilly socks and I want to embroider little roses on these

And then my main hobby – smocking. I love smocking baby dresses and love giving it away to mums or dads who do not expect it. I usually smock several and then make the dresses as I need them. Or spend a holiday making dresses. At this stage I have quite a few smocked and will start binge sewing dresses very soon 🙂

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Smocking

And another big project which I want to have finished before December is the Sylvia’s Bridal sampler from the Elm Creek books. I have 7 more blocks to finish and then I can start assembling and quilting. This was started last year in April, after I saw a friend’s blocks. I hope to visit my daughter in Canada the end of this year and plan to take it with me as a present for her

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Elm Creek quilts

A lot of sewing happening at the moment, but it makes me happy. Work is stressful and I am still struggling to get over the breast-cancer journey – this took a lot out of me, physically and emotionally; with the emotional issues of this journey being very difficult and ‘up-and -down’, and hard to handle. This is such a horrible disease and I never thought it could affect someone this much, until I was diagnosed with it. My biggest desire at this stage is to be healthy again, physically and mentally, and to get my energy back. I often feel a sense of rush to finish all the projects I am currently working on, to tidy up before starting anything new. And that is where I am with my life at the moment. Thank goodness for needlework!

 

Holiday needlework

I love school holidays – it means needlework, relaxing, reading, sleeping in and blobbing on the couch! Finished more Splendid Sampler blocks, embroidered block 1 of 6 for a quilted blanket and finished a smocked dress!

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More Splendid Sampler blocks
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Embroidered block
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Smocked dress for a 1 year-old
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Close-up of the smocking

Smocked dresses

It is the first day of the Christmas holiday and I have been busy. I had the deck water-blasted a while ago and only managed to sort it out today. Also placed the bumble-bee nesting box between the plants, just waiting for the queen bumble bee to inspect it and move in. It has a glass cover and a wooden lid, which means I’ll be able to take photos of the activities when I take the wooden lid off

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Bella inspecting the deck after it has been water blasted

Haven’t done any patchwork for the quilt for a while, will hopefully get to it this holiday. But I have been doing a lot of smocking and also made three little dresses. Two have been delivered to two little sisters already

I love my job, but to be honest I really, really love vacation time. And I am free until the beginning of February!

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Two little smocked dresses, already with their new owners
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The result of my first day on vacation

 

Salad in a jar

I haven’t been here for over a month, can’t believe how quick the time went! In this time my sister came to visit from South Africa and she wanted me to teach her how to smock. I have now finished smocking the fronts of 6 little dresses, with another nearly done and another one pleated, but not yet smocked. As soon as finished all of them and steamed it, I will post a photo, before sewing the dresses.

School is starting again tomorrow, after a 2-week holiday. Summer is nearly here and I decided it is some time for healthy eating, as I have been cutting out food which seems to have affected my eczema. I really struggled with it on my hands for the past few months and started to not eat certain types of food/snacks as it seemed as those things made my hands itch even more – milk, cheese, oranges, mandarins, chocolate 😦  I also found an outrageously expensive cream which helped a lot. But I have been reading about salads and came across articles about salad in a jar. I bought salad ingredients and made salads fot he rest of the week. Apparently the greens remain fresh if you put it in a jar – we’ll see, I hate soggy lettuce

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Salad in a jar

I will get there!!!!!

It amazes me, when I read the blogs I am following, how quilters seem to be able to complete a quilt a day……….and I am taking weeks and weeks to plan and prepare, and I’m not even at the cutting stage yet 🙂

Today I have been sidetracked again. I couldn’t sleep last night and thought about a colleague who’s wife is pregnant. I decided, if it is a little baby girl, I want to make her a little smocked dress. So off to the fabric shop this morning and came back with fabric for a little blue dress and for a little pink dress, as well as thread and buttons and ribbon. I couldn’t pick only one colour and there will be another baby somewhere who needs a pretty smocked dress. The fabric has been washed and is now drying (I always wash fabric before smocking)

In the meantime I have started planning the blocks for the patchwork and made a list of the pieces and sizes and colours I need to cut. Am I maybe too organised?

My other hobby is photography and I have been keeping an eye on the Monarch butterflies and the Swan plants on the deck – at the moment there are about 7 chrysalis hanging around. But I have also managed to capture the whole cycle of the butterfly, from the eggs to the birth of the butterfly. What an amazing thing to watch.

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Butterfly eggs
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Caterpillar
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Ready to transform
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Chrysalis
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Butterfly emerging
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Just out, not ready to fly yet
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The underside of the wings of the Monarch
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Tiny little butterfly feet