Monday, April 18, 2016

Back home...

We were away for a break last week, Farmer John and I. I know going bush is not everybody's idea of an ideal holiday, but I love it and was looking forward to the trip like an excited child.... looking forward to spending time out in the middle of nowhere, recharging the batteries surrounded by nothing but quiet. We never usually drag pets along on holidays, but since we were going bush, we decided to take our Nala dog with us after checking with the property owners that if it was ok. A few days roaming around in the bush would be fun for her as much as for us.

It is a good days drive from here to the Flinders Ranges. I love road trims and all went to plan.. Farmer John did the driving, while I had the luxury of just keeping us fed and hydrated (very important job) while watching the landscape slide by. From the station (Aussie term for very, very large farms) we bumped along a rather rough 4WD track for another 40min and arrived just as the sun was beginning to set. It was just as I had hoped for - perfect. A small (replica) shepherds hut, basic but beautiful, set in a creek bed and surrounded by large gum trees. The scene was set for a well deserved break.

Sadly it did not go like that at all and we are back home without our sweet Nala dog. She found and ate a dingo bait. It was horrible and so sad to watch our sweet girl die. She was only a year old and so full of life, everything was one big adventure for this puppy. She was so much fun and so clever, always active and kept us on our toes. But she is gone now. Needless to say we packed up and went home after having buried her in bush. It was awfully sad, but there was just no way we could even think about bringing her home.

I have picked up the flat balls, old knotted socks (her very favourite toy), sticks and at least a dozen pine cones that were scattered around the house. Everywhere feels so very quiet. I have lost pets before, but they have been old or sick and I knew it was time and the right thing to happen. It was sad but it didn't feel wrong. This is different. It feels so wrong. It did not need to happen. She may not have been with us for long, but she has left an awfully big hole in our hearts.

Rest in Peace Sweet Girl

Friday, April 8, 2016


... are changing colour all around and it is only a matter of days before the elm in front of our house will be a-blaze as if on fire.

I have been finishing the last leaf on my crewel embroidery grape vine, starting with two rows of chain stitch close together.

To get the points, I finish the row, anchoring the last stitch an tiny bit past the marked point.
I then start the next section inside the last stitch.
As with the previous two leaves, I use several shades of green with a touch of turquoise for the filling. I started with a very light green and stitched basic trellis, following the grain of the fabric and placing the stitches about 3mm apart. I then couched the trellis down with a medium shade grassy green. 
That formed the basic grid for the pattern of this one. I pondered what to do next, while stitching the veins over the top.

Perhaps running a some stitches diagonally in the grid would work? I used another pale green, slightly more yellow than for the grid itself and ran it diagonally along every second row - simply sliding the needle under the couching stitches. Quick and easy!
I could have left it at that perhaps, but thought it needed a little more...

So... new colour. This time the same bright grassy green as I used for the outline and with that I stuck a cross stitch in each of the remaining full squares. A small turquoise couching stitch dot across the centre of each cross completed the pattern.

With that the embroidery of this project is finished... already?!

I still need to make it up into a...?                                         Farmer John and I are packing the ute and going bush (I can't wait!) next week so it would be until we get back. Any guesses as to what this might become..?                                                                                                                                     Happy stitching,  Anna X

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Stitch chat...

... Along the Grapevine
I hope you all had a lovely break with family and friends over the Easter break. We spent a couple of day catching up on bits and pieces around home, before heading up the river to spend a day with family. It was really, really nice to get away, even if it was just for a day and brief sleep-over before heading back.

Before we left I spent an afternoon stitching quite a few of the grapes on my latest crewel embroidery project. It is great fun creating these plump little circles, randomly mixing the different shades of dark pinks. I know I have mentioned how much a love Whipped spider's web stitch before, but it really is so easy to do. I guess the one thing that can be a bit tricky, is getting the spokes evenly spaced around the circle. This is what I do...

 1. First I divide the circle into halves by placing two opposite stitches. Each is stitched from the edge into the centre.
 2. If I need eight spokes, I then divide it into quarters - again placing each stitch from the outside into the centre.
 3. It is now easy to divide each quarter and that way get eight evenly spaced spokes.

4. Whipping. The trick to get the whipping sitting nicely is pushing at rounds towards the centre, rather than pulling the wraps tight.
I push the needle towards the centre each time I slide it under the spokes to make sure the wraps are close together.
I find this works much better than trying to get them into place by pulling the thread tight, especially when working with wool.

I have put a FREE download of the stitch for you here.

I usually don't like doing anything more than once, or repeating the same stitch or pattern over and over, but with these Whipped Spider's web berries, I am really enjoying watching the individual circles coming together and turning into a bunch.

Happy stitching,