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Friday, September 23, 2005

My Treasures, Your Rubbish?

Checked my pigeon-hole yesterday right after lunch and found an envelope with cellophane tape all round it for protection. Looked at the customs declaration sticker and it has "threads" written on it. Yessss, more stash and this time its the "Indulge Yourself - Fine Wines & Spirits" Collaboration Pack which I had ordered through The Dye Is Cast.

When I placed the order, I had the intention to give away some of the items as a Fall Exchange to my secret pal. Now that I've gone through the fabrics and floss, I want them all! What's new? lol

On a different note, I've read in someone's blog today why she started to blog - to stay in touch with her twin daughters. While blogging, she discovered some bloggers that cross-stitch and how she was inspired by them. She opined that with her finished cross-stitched projects, she may be leaving some heirlooms behind when she's gone. Is this indeed the case?

Co-incidentally, I'd discussed with my colleagues at lunch yesterday that when I'm gone, what would happen to my cross-stitch projects and stash and, for that matter, my recipe books, smocking mags, etc? They would definitely be of no interest to my DS but what about my DD? Would she treasure them as I did and retain them as keepsakes of her mum? Or, I'll "see" them being auctioned off in e-bay? More likely the second.

Category: [ramblings]

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

ems January 2005 International Round Robin (Part I)

Although I have been cross stitching since my teens, it was never on a regular basis. I would lay off for a couple of years before I pick up the needle again. My interest in cross stitching rekindled when I discovered the adorable animal babies by Ellen Maurer-Stroh. I was so taken by Ellen's designs that I'd immediately signed on as a member of her EMS Cross Stitch Board when she started it.

The Board organised a round robin late last year and without any hesitance, I put my name down as one of the participants. I'd even roped in my colleague, Gina, to join in. I knew it would be a fun way to get to know other stitchers that are all bound with a common love - cross stitching. My second reason was a bit warped - I wanted to see the back of other's stitchings (not stitchers, lol). Lastly, it would take the mundane out of stitching for I could get to stitch a different theme on each square. Variety is the spice of life, so they said!

Joining this RR was not without its trepidations. I was worried that I had bitten off more than I can chew. I wasn't sure if I could meet deadlines or if I could stitch as well as my partners or my choice of design agrees with my partners. However, once the RR got going, I was too caught up with it to care.

It was easy to select my theme for this RR. Since I love teapots, Mary Engelbreit's teapot coasters was the obvious choice due to its vibrancy. Here is the square that was stitched by me.

My square
Theme: teapots

Designer: Mary Engelbreit

The second square came from Laura, Italy. Laura's theme is tea/coffee. I opted for tea since its my favourite drink. Mum came to my rescue by providing me with this design - very Chinese. This teapot looks somewhat like the one I'd used during my wedding tea ceremony! It was quite a difficult square to stitch due to the frequent floss changings. The result was well worthed the effort. It turned out beautifully if I may say so myself.

Laura's square
Theme: tea/coffee

Extracted from a chart of 6 oriental teapots (designer unknown)

Next came Sabine's, Belgium, square. Her theme is mice. For her, I'd chosen the stitcher from the Tailor of Gloucester. This square gave me the goose bumps each time I put in a stitch for my imagination ran wild. The mouse was so realistic that I was afraid it would jump right out of the cloth onto me. Many a time I was tempted to frog it and start anew with another design but since time was of the essence, I just plogged on. The good thing was, once the floral background was stitched on, the mouse was softened by the whole effect and she looks so adorable.

Sabine's square
Theme: mice

Design: Tailor of Gloucester by Beatrix Potter

Karen, UK, chose delfts as her theme. The design came from Cross Stitch Collection July 1996. It has two rows of three squares each and each square is about 48
x 48. A pretty fast square to stitch due to its size and 2-colour change. Since I'm the fourth stitcher for this round, I was to choose one from the remaining three. I chose this:

Karen's square
Theme: Delfts
Design: Cross Stitch Collection July 1996

I have Patty's RR in hand now and her theme is "Friends Across the Miles". We're to stitch anything that's related to our own country; flowers, animals, buildings, etc. Right from the start of this RR, I knew this would be the most challenging square. There are no available charts I could rely on. I have been agonising over the design and finally settled on one that's borrowed from our Malaysian stamps. Progress has been real real slow as, being the perfectionist that I am, I had stitched and frogged it many times just to get it the way I want it to be. Now you know where I got my blogname from. Deadline is 20 October and that's a month from now. Laura has just informed me that she has posted out Oggi's, Australia, RR to me. A week from now, I'll be hanging on to two RRs. Arrghhhh!!!

(to be continued)


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Encounter of the Pokey Kind

The first time I picked up a needle to do something productive was when I was 9. At that time my step-sister (since deceased) was learning tailoring and I volunteered to hem her projects. Little did Jie-jie (big sister) know that I used it as a ploy to get out of studying.

Jie-jie demonstrated a few stitches and thinking to myself this is "sap-sap-sui" (means "wet wet water" or "easy" in Cantonese), I took over. I fumbled a little, I jabbed myself a little but I finished hemming the dress in no time at all. Showtime now but praises were not coming my way. I asked Jie-jie what's wrong and she told me that the stitches were too "big". Haiyah, easy - I snipped off the knots on both ends and pulled the thread off. Haha... you guessed it. I'd used a single strand of thread that could go round the whole length of the hem to save work. Ain't it smart of me.

I re-hemmed the dress but this time I picked up only a thread from the dress for each stitch. Jie-jie can't say my stitches are big now. Showed her again the finished piece. Now, say something good, Jie-jie. No? I didn't get it right again? Then tell me what do you want. She took up the dress and used her thumb and index finger to show me that the width of each stitch was more than an inch apart and that's a no, no. Besides, I'm to pick up 2-3 threads from the dress so that the stitches stay. Jie-jie, why didn't you say so at the beginning.

I hemmed the dress a third time and feeling pretty smug, I asked Jie-jie had I gotten it right this time. "Okay", she said. That's all you'd got to say! Only, okay? You sure were a woman of few words but I love you still the same.

And that concluded my first encounter with a needle. It was nothing spectacular but it opened up a new dimension for me - my love for needlework.

I was introduced to other forms of needlework when my family shifted to Tapah. Here I was fortunate enough to have as my Primary Six English teacher one who loved to knit and crochet. We girls would rush through our assignments and with whatever time left before the bell rings for the next lesson, knit or crochet. I would like to express a word of thanks here too to my Malay classmates who introduced me to tatting. We may be young but we were mean with the shuttle; producing such lacy edgings sewn on to handkerchiefs. Homework? No such word existed in our vocabulary. Ah, such bliss. Shh... don't let my daughter get wind of this.


Saturday, September 03, 2005


What have I gotten into? Me starting my own blog and in want of something to write! This is the result of having lurked around the blogs of so many of you talented stitchers out there.

Margaret, you started it... for sharing with us, MYStitchers, the works of some members of Picturetrail. Hmm... now I have another baby to look after. Thank you.

It's Saturday now, 12noon and I'm doing this in office. If I get the sack, who shall I look for? Haha...
Will continue to post, so look out for this blog.


The End.