Archive for new year

December with Dragon, Peacocks and a Catbus

Posted in Christmas, Embroidery, everyday life, Needlework, out and about with tags , , , , on January 1, 2019 by suetortoise

Well, here we are, Happy New Year everyone, and onwards into 2019. Which will probably be just as mixed and tricky and confusing a year as usual, despite our good wishes and good intentions. And we shall cope with it all, as usual. I don’t usually make New Year resolutions, but when I do I like to start them early. So since I finished work for Christmas I have been making sure I do at least a little stitching every day. At least one needle-full every day. And so far so good. How about you?

This piece was started at the beginning of November, but made little progress – it was interrupted by the Christmas card run, and by indifferent health and life in general. But by Christmas Day the end of the slow, slow outlining was in sight (That’s one strand of DeVere Yarns 695 Peat – an extremely dark greenish-brown that I tend to use rather than black for these sort of projects.) I finally got started on the coloured silk shading on the 30th, and the photo above is the state of play at the very end of the year. I am using Chinese silk for this stage.

Progress will slow a little now, with work recommencing – this project needs good light. (I have simpler things on the go, so I shall keep stitching!) Regular readers will remember I worked this same design in 2017, my very first project with the Chinese silk, when I only had limited choice of colour and was learning how to use it as I went along. Now, I can build on that experience, have a much better palette of shades to choose from and hope to do the design full justice. It’s a Victorian printers’ ornament. I’ll show you how I am getting on in my next post.

I haven’t only been stitching. I enjoyed my break, good food, rest, good company. A trip to visit friends in Welshpool last week featured a visit to the National Trust property Powis Castle. We went to see the interior decorated for Christmas, with some magnificent trees and room settings. It looked very festive and very grand. The peacocks were strutting around in the courtyard – here’s one.

I also watched lot of video. I always enjoy The Muppet Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve, and My Neighbour Totoro on Christmas Day – a tradition of quite a few years standing, now. And my favourite character in Totoro is the Catbus. So imagine my delight to get a cuddly, plush Catbus from my friend Sam at work. Catbus now sits on the arm of my sofa. (The picture also shows that I downloaded the Prisma photo-processing phone app on Boxing Day – I shall have fun playing with this and adding effects to phone photos.)

My other ‘not quite a new year resolution’ is to write Tortoise Loft blog posts much more frequently this year than last year. I say this every year, and it usually doesn’t happen. But here’s one, on the very first day of the year. It’s a start.

So what shall we talk about next?


Well past Year’s Turning

Posted in Embroidery, everyday life, Family and Friends with tags , , , , , , , on January 19, 2013 by suetortoise

Here we are, already beyond the middle of January, so about time I popped in a quick everyday life and stitchery update before I post anything else.

Christmas at Bucknell was very wet and gloomy weatherwise, but very pleasant. Dad and I were both getting over norovirus, so it was a quite event, but we managed to tuck into a fine Christms dinner cooked by Alan, my sister’s partner. We spent a lot of the time looking at old family photographs that Dad’s mother had put in a box, most of them unlabelled. (We’d come across them while sorting paperwork.) Frances, my sister, is working hard on the family tree. She and Dad managed to put names to quite a few of them, and Dad had lots of stories to tell about uncles, aunts and cousins.

Curiosity WIP 2: grown another foot

Too wet for my usual excursions with the camera, and not much light for stitching, but I managed to get a little further with ‘ The Curiosity’ – the chain stitch picture on silk which I have been doing for several months. I posted the first work-in-progress picture last year. Here’s another teasing little section (you’ll have to wait a good while before I show you the whole picture). As you can see, it’s grown another foot!

Since Christmas, I’ve been back in Shrewsbury, back at work and being rather lazy outside of work. I’ve been dabbling with a new stitch. It is a slight variation of French stitch, a canvas-work stitch, adapted for counted thread embroidery on fabric. I call it ‘pineapple stitch’, because the texture reminds me of the outside of a pineapple. It’s surprisingly quick and easy to work, and doesn’t require a frame, so this small mat is my current carry-about project for odd moments and wet lunch breaks (or, currently, snowy ones).

Pinapple Stitch mat WIP corner

I’m using a small oddment of fabric from my stash for the pinEapple stitch mat, and various colours and makes of pearl cotton 12, also from stock. I have to use what’s in the house – I don’t usually make New Year Resolutions, but I am banning myself from buying any more fabric or thread or needlework books before Easter. That’s a hard resolution for me to keep (especially as I’ve also banned non-essential stationery purchases) but necessary: I can hardly move in here for stuff and it needs using-up, not just storing. Perhaps you won’t be surprised to see that I’ve chosen spring flower colours for this piece of stitchery – I call it ‘Spring is Just Around the Corner’.

Pinapple Stitch mat WIP detail

I’ll be back in a day or two with a bit of family history – and the Station Master’s Dog, as promised.