Posted by: Jocelyn | May 7, 2011

Oooh there are some wonderful people about !

It’s not often that words fail me.
But it happened when I cleared the mail a few days ago.

A parcel! Wrapped up in brown paper. All the way from America!
A gift from the lovely Jan – she of the Sitchlady blog!
There are some wonderful people in the world!

Just look at what she sent to me. Jan knew that I didn’t have access to many metallic threads where I live and so she sent some to me – along with some blending filaments and extra goodies. I was flabbergasted by her generosity.

Now I dare say that most of you have seen these glorious colours before, but they are new to me. My local store has a couple of different golds, but now I have blue. And Green. And Purple. And pink. And …….

And a needle magnet with a cat on it. How did Jan know that I am a dedicated cat lover???

I am beyond thrilled.Thank you so much Jan. You have made my week!

Posted by: Jocelyn | April 28, 2011

Delightful Diamonds

Diamond Delights IV is finished …

Diamond Delights IV

… and I love it.
I was concerned all the way through that the purple and green were going to be too bright, but now that it’s finished I’m pleased with my colour choices.

Those double fans in the corner squares were fun to do – you wind the thread around a pin in the centre to keep the tension even, then pull out the pin and it all looks gorgeous.

Diamond Delights IV

One thing I was really pleased with, was that the threads on this are all DMC floss with the exception of a bit of metallic. We just don’t have a big choice of threads here, so good old 6-strand floss forms the basis of my stitching. The pattern did call for 2 different widths of Kreinik braid but my local embroidery store (arguably the best one in NZ) only has #4, so I used that for most of the areas, and doubled it for outlining the big green diamond where the pattern wanted me to use a wider braid.

But blimey, I don’t know how the people with a huge choice of threads do it – I find it hard enough to choose from the limited range I have access to.

Well, next up is ‘Hot Stuff’, another pattern from Deb Bee’s Designs. Gosh she has some fabulous things – right up my alley. I love the look of ‘Tahiti Triangles’ – so many possibilities with that.

But first, I’m off to choose threads for Hot Stuff. That is going to take a long long time I’m sure! Oh dear, the thought of spending all that time in the embroidery shop is a rather attractive proposition! ūüôā

Posted by: Jocelyn | April 11, 2011

More Diamonds

Diamond Delights 2

I’m making progress on Diamond Delights IV. I’ve finished all the graduated green Hungarian Stitches, and the graduated purple borders. I must say the purple got a bit tedious, but only because I wanted to get it done quickly so I could move on to the fun bits! They come next.

You can see the hint of the  big diamond that the green sections create Рit will become more obvious as I do the Hilton-type stitches in the empty squares.

Posted by: Jocelyn | April 5, 2011

Diamond Delights IV

Diamond Delights IV, stage 1

I’ve started on Diamond Delights IV from Deb Bee’s Designs. I have admired this pattern for ages, and finally sent away for it (and Hot Stuff by the same designer).

There is a lot of hungarian stitching in this, but I am not getting bored with it at all because it is really interesting seeing the colour graduation develop. I have chosen my own colours Рgreen and purples, the pattern is in pinks and browns.

We can only get white needlepoint canvas here, so I coloured some of it a pale sage green for this piece. I just use ordinary acrylic paints from my local craft/hobby store without diluting them at all, and I am very happy with the result. I do find you have to use a lightly-loaded, quite dry brush for best results. Actually, this is the second piece I painted for this project Рthe first one turned out way too turquoisey so I will have to come  up with something else for that.

Posted by: Jocelyn | April 2, 2011

Stitch of the Month 2011 – the first 4 months

Stitch of the Month 2011 Feb, Mar & Apr

I am really enjoying the Hilton-type stitches in this year’s Stitch of the Month programme, available free on the American Needlepoint Guild’s website. January’s task was to outline the diamonds, and then¬†we fill¬†in one diamond each month.

And I’m enjoying using colours I don’t usually go for – I’m more of a cool-colours person – greens, blues, purples and pinks. We don’t know what the finished work will look like, although we do know the colours that will be used each month. Keeping those in mind, I decided to stitch each month’s diamond in a different position to what the designer (Ro Pace) suggests. It remains to be seen how it will turn out!!

Posted by: Jocelyn | March 27, 2011

Where have I been for 9 months!

I’m back…

Well, after nearly nine months, my blog is springing into action again! Yes,¬†I have a sort of excuse (no, not THAT reason for something taking 9 months ROFL) – but more on that below the picture. Here’s the finished “An Evening’s Waltz” which was the focus of my last post. I am thrilled with how this turned out but now I have to decide what to do with it LOL. When I started it was with the intention of turning it into a bag, but now I am concerned about the embroidery being caught on things and pulled. Ah well, I’ve been pondering it for 9 months, so I don’t suppose there is any harm in pondering for a bit more.

Am Evening's Waltz

My excuse….

The reason for my absence? I haven’t been in the best of health – specifically, I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer (cancer of the uterus) last July and the last 9 months has been quite a whirlwind of treatment and recovery. I had hoped that having a total hysterectomy at the end of July would¬†remove the tumour¬†and fix the problem but unfortunately they found some cancer cells in a lymph node. So removing my uterus didn’t remove all the cancer and I needed further treatment.

So I had six weeks of daily radiotherapy, and also six cycles of chemotherapy, and at the same time I kept working full time. My boss was fantastic about me taking off whatever time I needed, but I wanted to keep my life as “normal” and routine as I could.¬† I was told I that I would experience fatigue from both the radiotherapy and chemo, but I had no idea it would be as bad as it was. I had no energy for anything else, not even stitching. I was in bed by 7pm most nights, but fatigue is really a severe lack of energy rather than tiredness so sleep didn’t totally overcome it. Anyway, it meant¬†I went for many months without doing any stitching.

And now?….

But now I am stitching again. My energy is coming back. I have had the first of my follow-up appointments and there is no sign of any recurrence of cancer. I am not bald anymore – my hair is starting to grow back.¬†My life is looking great!!¬† Did I mention I am stitching again?¬† I have been working on one of Debbee’s Design’s patterns and I will show some work-in-progress pictures soon.

Why am I telling you this?…

I have been humming and hawing over whether to mention my cancer in my blog – I am not one for trying to garner sympathy etc – I prefer to just get on with things. But since my diagnosis I feel I almost have a duty to encourage people to go see their doctor if they have any weird or unusual symptoms. I am so pleased that I went to my doctor as soon as I noticed something different, and didn’t procrastinate or wait to see what happened etc. The longer you wait, the harder it is to ‘fix” some things.

If you notice anything unusual going on with your body, PLEASE go to the doctor straight away. There must be no worse feeling than later on thinking “If only I had gone to the doctor sooner”.

Posted by: Jocelyn | July 1, 2010

This is why I love needlepoint so much

A new pattern emerges

This is a perfect example of why needlepoint is my favourite form of embroidery. Still working on Peg Dunayer’s ‘An Evening Waltz’, and since yesterday’s picture I have added a few sprat’s heads. And just look at what has happened. Instead of cute little individual motifs, a¬†hugely new pattern is emerging.

Isn’t that so fantastic? Just adding some sprat’s heads and the whole thing changes so dramatically.

It’s why I love the process of charted needlepoint. I don’t see such a huge change while doing other forms of embroidery, even needlepoint that takes the form of pictures rather than geometric designs. But in designs like this, every layer changes the look entirely.

I find it exciting to watch, and addictive to work. I want to keep on stitching to see what it will look like next.

And here’s what it looks like, with all the sprat’s head done.
An Evening Waltz is beginning

Next comes the metallic embroidery – so stayed tuned for the next new look….

Posted by: Jocelyn | June 30, 2010

Beginning the Waltz

I always find it astonishing how a few additions to my needlepoint makes such a huge difference to how it looks. Yesterday it looked like measles, and now I’ve added some Amadeus and it looks so different.

The beginning of the Waltz

Where does the Waltz come into it? I am following a pattern by Peg Dunayer, called An Evening’s Waltz – it featured on the cover of Needlepoint Now back in Jan/Feb 2006. Peg’s is in white, ecru and gold on¬†black¬†congress cloth and is stunningly elegant.

My version doesn’t have that elegance but I think I am going to like it anyway – and I’ve made a few changes. It’s on sage green Lugana evenweave (25ct) and I am using pinky mauves and a coppery/bronzy/gold metallic. The waffles (yesterday’s ‘measles’) are in DMC Perle 12, #316, and the¬†metallic will be one of ¬†DMC’s Antique Effects.¬†The Amadeus are¬†rayon floss from Madeira and there will also be¬†some Gumnut Yarn’s Poppies (a wool/silk mix).

The other big change is that Peg’s orginal is square and I have added a repeat so that it becomes rectangular. I’m hoping to make it into some sort of bag or tote, but we will see how that goes.

Posted by: Jocelyn | June 29, 2010

I think I’m embroidering measles!

Stage 1 of my next project is complete – and my husband suggested that I seem to be embroidering a picture of measles. Trust a microbiologist to think like that!
Stage 1 of my new project

And on a side-note, about living with a microbiologist …. one weekend about 20 years ago will never fade from my memory. Imagine a group of work colleagues who play together in a social soccer team, and they decide to go to another town for the weekend of soccer, taking wives and families with them. That town happens to be famous for thermal activity and the hotel has a pool, naturally heated, containing natural mineral water. Now imagine being in the pool, with the microbiologists, while they discuss what organisms are likely to be in there with us. Fun!!?*!?

Posted by: Jocelyn | June 15, 2010

Tiffany Window – without much window going on

Tiffany window finished

I have finally finished Tiffany Window – the pattern is from the ANG’s Chapter Project Book, and the CyberPointers chapter did it as a meeting project back in March.

As so often happens, I made several modifications! The most obvious is that the original had dark lines going through it to define smaller “window panes” – I decided against those. I also changed the background stitch. I did it all in DMC threads instead of the ones recommended.

I enjoyed stitching this – well, most of it. I really didn’t enjoy the couching around the leaves and flowers, but the effect¬†it gives is well worth it. I also didn’t really enjoy stitching with the gold thread nor the pearlised thread. I would rather use the old rayons I think, and that’s saying something!! However the pearlised thread is just in the centre in a diagonal darning/running stitch so it could have been worse. And having to choose between awkward-to-use thread that is available locally and inexpensive, or ordering an easier-to-use thread from overseas and having to pay shipping etc …¬† I think I made the right choice ūüôā

Tiffany window close-up

I still have to “finish” this piece, but I’m not sure how I will do it yet. I think I might just wrap it around a piece of heavy cardboard, maybe with another piece of fabric-wrapped cardboard behind that, as I did with Diamond Iris. I like the way that one turned out.
Diamond Iris

Diamond Iris 2

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