Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Blog #8 - Favoured Shades : A Mystery Sampler

Saturday, 17 May 2014 ~
Favoured Shades : A Mystery Sampler

Towards the end of 2012 and most of the 2013 year,
hundreds of ladies
throughout New Zealand participated in
“The Mystery Sampler” project -
that is, 
working a needlework sampler without knowing
what the finished piece of needlework would look like.
And this not knowing was the appeal.

Over a period of six months each participant
would receive  a section of the sampler -
usually about five to six bands of different stitches.
This is my completed sampler -

All the ‘girls’ that met at my home
once a  month were involved
with this project and loved it
- so much so that when
it was finished they missed
the excitement and enthusiasm
of seeing everyones progress
on their samplers
and so at the end of 2013
the decision was made
that in 2014
we would all participate
in another such project
using a sampler
I had originally designed
and stitched for myself in 2006
- the project beginning
on the 1st of April.


My original sampler stitched in 2006 -

Of course, at the time
I stitched this piece in 2006
I never wrote any instructions
for working it
(as it was never intended
for anyone else)
and my working charts
were only roughly hand-drawn.
Definitely not suitable for others
to work from. 
Thus, in January 2014
and over the following months
I had to begin writing instructions,
drawing stitch diagrams and
charting the design and to ‘check’
that everything I had written,
drawn and charted was correct,
I had to begin stitching
another piece for myself.

This time though I chose
a different colour to my original
and chose a 35 count fabric
rather than a 28 count.



We named this project the ‘Favoured Shades Sampler’.


This sampler was also a little different
from most needlework designs in that no colours were given.
Instead, the needleworker had to choose their own colours -
firstly, their favourite colour and then,
secondly, seven tones of that favourite colour
from light through to dark.
I worked a few sample stitches before I began my sampler
to ensure
that  all the colours worked well together
and they were all to my liking.
So often colours can look so different
when they are stitched
than they do when they are in a hank. 

The beginnings of my second sampler -
Throughout the year from January through to the 1st of September
I was often “hard-pressed” to have the instructions written,
the chart finished and the stitch diagrams drawn
and the stitching of that segment of my sampler worked
before the release date of the first of each new month.
This project as a ‘mystery’ has now come to a conclusion
but at the time
of the journey over seventy ladies
were participating.

The complete instructions for this design
are now available for purchase  - 
Favoured Shades     :     $45.00
That’s all for the moment.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Blog #7 - Happenings At Our Home

Sunday,  11 May 2014 ~
Happenings At Our Home

Just over a couple of weeks after Ellen & Tom left us
things began happening at our home.

When we first purchased our property in October 1999
it was six acres of neglected apple orchard -
long grass, weeds, thistles as tall as some of the trees
and apple trees that had not been sprayed or pruned for years.

There was no house and not one even one ornamental tree on the property.
Keith and I set about removing approximately 350 trees (see image above).

We then found and purchased a derelict old villa - just over 100 years old -
and on the 7th of November we had it moved in three pieces on to the property
to become our home.

Thus, over the years we have gradually restored the old house
and planted almost 300 trees - maples, ashes, oaks, laurels, etc. -
and landscaped the property. 

If you would like to view images of some of the progress,photographs are on the website -
Currently the Needlework Gallery is in the un-renovated lounge of the house.
My dream has always been to build a cottage  in the same style as the house,
near to the house, for this to house my needlework. 
However, the governing powers have refused permission
for this and so the alternative plan has had to be
to add on to the existing house.
This addition began on the 30th of March.
Here are a few photos of the house taken just before work began.
As one drives up the drive -
Front view of where the addition is to be -        

Back view of where the addition is to be -
I am very disappointed that this has had to happen like so, but we have had no other choice.

Keith operating the little digger and destroying one of the gardens
31 March 2014  -

and the next day setting up the profiles for the new addition -
By the 4th of April some of the floor joists were done.

One of the greatest disappointments with this addition is that although Keith
has been building all his life - brand new homes as well as renovated
and adding on to over ten homes for ourselves -
he is not allowed to build this one as the building laws
have changed so that only “ticketed”
builders are now allowed to build. 
So frustrating as Keith is an EXCELLENT builder -
far better than the so-called ‘professionals’.
Further updates in future blogs.