Sunday, 23 September 2018

Pulled Thread Design No. 19

One thing Skip and I like to do when we`re in new places is to explore bookstores and libraries.

When we were in Sidney last week, we found a really good used book store. Skip headed to the history section and I checked out the needlework section. One never knows what out of print or hard-to-find books will be there.

I was very pleased to find a vintage Danish book on pulled thread patterns. Someone paid $1.50 for it at some point.
I paid $5 for it. When I checked on Amazon.uk it was 19.99 British Pounds and is one of three in this series.
I found a few patterns that I could use on my pulled thread project. Fortunately, the instructions are in  both Danish and English but I had my trusty Google Translate app ready just in case there was some extra Danish for me to interpret.

No. 19 was an interesting pattern that created raised squares by running the threads behind. I had seen this pattern in photos before but had been unable to find instructions for it before now.

It took a couple of hours to do the one square. But I liked how it turned out.
 9 squares down, 7 to go.


Friday, 21 September 2018

Home Pincushion

I have finished most of the stitching on the Hands on Design 'Home' pincushion. The instructions have me attaching fusible interfacing to the back side of all the stitching before I sew it together. I'll wait until I get home to do this as I didn't bring any interfacing with me.
The half of a house on the left will be sewn to the half house on the right side. This will be the last seam I sew when assembling the project. I selected a floss colour (DMC 3024) that most closely matched the colour of the fabric for the backstitching all around the pieces. It will make a very smooth transition from the sides to the top (and the tops of the trees).
I still need to trim the piece of plaid wool fabric to fit inside the diamond at the top and attach it with a blanket stitch. Then start to attach the sides to the top and the bottom.
I've outlined the top and the bottom with the backstitching as well. I'm working on finding lettering for my name and date for the bottom.
 I have a couple of other projects to work on in the meantime.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Royal BC Museum

Yesterday Skip and I ventured downtown to the Inner Harbour area to visit the Royal British Columbia Museum. The general admission fee included the Egypt exhibit that is here until the end of the year.

Outside is a little park with a ceremonial First Nations house and totems. There were food trucks behind it where we had a bit to eat.
Once inside, we went up to the top floor to the west coast Native art exhibits and worked our way down.

This was the view of the Inner Harbour from the top floor.
Just to the right - due north of the museum is The Empress Hotel. The square tower on the left is the Netherlands Centennial Bell Tower - a gift from BCs Dutch community to honour Canada's centennial in 1967. It is the largest carillon in Canada.
I took many photos but this post will focus on various handmade crafts by First Nations people and Egyptians.

This tapestry was woven on a Salish loom by Debra Sparrow in 2014. These ceremonial pieces are worn or stood upon during important events. This was one side.
And this is the other.
This beadwork was on a cradleboard.
 Detail on the cradleboard piece.
There were several whorls from drop spindles. The light wasn't great but this is one of the better shots.
This Chilkat robe was collected at Sitka in 1922.

There was a video showing how this 'Raven's Tail' dance apron was created by elaborate weaving/braiding of the threads. The design came to the artist, Willie White, in a dream and was finished in 2017.
 The colours of the wool and application of buttons are very typical features of Tlingit designs.
More elaborate beadwork.

Once the white men came, the First Nations people began making items to appeal to them for trade. This is an embroidered letter holder using crewel work techniques.
These buttons were woven with grasses.
Here is a heart-shaped needlecase with typical red and black wool. A finely woven needlecase is in the foreground and a small pair of knitted socks in the background.
I was very surprised to see this doily with a punto antico design that was created with linen thread and a type of knotted technique.
We then moved on to the Egypt exhibit

This small piece of finely-woven linen cloth dates from between 1500 and 110 BC.
These were other examples of woven cloth with stripes from 3rd Century BC to 3rd Century AD. This time linen and wool were used.


There were tons of other artifacts and interesting displays. It is definitely worth a visit anytime one is in the area.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Butchart Gardens

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Yesterday was another lovely, sunny day so we decided to visit Butchart Gardens.

It was surprisingly busy for a Monday. I cannot even imagine what it is like during the summer months.

I took lots and lots of photos of flowers but am only going to post this breath-taking shot of the sunken gardens.
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I'm guessing it's a major employer for the area - and not just students. The last time we were here was in the spring. This time many roses were in bloom and the chrysanthemum beds were just starting to bloom. We were impressed with the dahlias of every shape and size and many plants we usually only see in the south like bamboo, crotons, azaleas, rhododendrons, etc.

It was a very pleasant way to spend the day.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Fun on a Rainy Day

Several years ago, we visited this area after disembarking from a Panama Canal cruise. Skip had a few relatives and acquaintances that we visited in various parts of Vancouver Island and we ended our trip visiting my cousin, Barry, and his wife, Lynda, at their home, where we are now house-sitting.

Just before we flew home we spent a night in Sidney near the airport that serves Victoria and the environs. That evening we poked around the main street a bit and noted that there were several book stores and coffee shops that looked rather interesting. We made a mental note that we would like to investigate further on some future trip.

Today started out quite rainy. We decided it would be a great day to poke around bookstores so we headed up to Sidney.

We were hungry so we first went for lunch at The Pier Bistro - that little building at the end of the pier to the right of the blue fish market.
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I had delicious crab cakes on a bed of greens.
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After lunch we walked around the waterfront. This 'Welcome Figure' is a landmark in Beacon Park and faces out to the harbour.
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There is also a bandshell at the southern edge of the park with a few Muskoka chairs.
The sky looked very menacing but shortly after this it cleared up.

A few metres further down is this pirate sculpture.
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Vegetation is very lush.
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We were really trying to find this establishment - The Surly Mermaid. What a great name for an eatery/pub.
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At the used book shop, Beacon Books, Skip bought a book about Hannibal (history nerd) and I found a 60 year-old Danish book of pulled thread techniques.

The sun came out for our 25 minute drive back to our lodgings.

We will definitely pay the area another visit before we return to Ontario.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

West Coast Windfall

Skip and I flew to Victoria BC on Tuesday. We are house-sitting for my cousin and his wife who live in a beautiful Art Deco home on a bay. They left for a European holiday two days ago. This is the view from the living room.
My 'stitching chair' is in the corner of the windows on the far left. Looking out there, I can feel my blood pressure dropping by several points.

Yesterday, Skip and I ventured downtown to explore the Button and Needlework Boutique. It's one of the loveliest stitchery and yarn shops I've ever been in. They had charts from designers I'd only ever seen on Etsy (Satsuma Street) and online. It's easily found by the big button hanging outside.
The centre table has bins with many, many designer's charts. I didn't check but I'm sure I could find almost every Victoria Sampler chart here.
I have this chart by Little House Needleworks at home.
Overhead are several Sue Coleman designs inspired by Northwest Coast native images.
They have all the threads, needles, fabrics, and accessories for stitching as well as a full inventory of beautiful yarns. I will definitely need to make a return visit (or two) on my own so I can explore further.
Then, not surprisingly, we found a Mexican restaurant for lunch.

Otherwise, we`ve been pretty lazy while we adapt to the time change. Skip loves that he can watch NCAA and NFL football games starting at 9am and be finished sometime around 8 or 9pm.

Today it is raining so we may hop in the car and go up to Sidney where, on a previous visit, we counted 9 bookstores.

Monday, 10 September 2018

Buttons are Finally On!

It took me 3/4 hour at the button store to make a decision about what buttons to choose. I finally took the plunge and they were on sale 1/2 price! BONUS!
They're quite small to fit between the two i-cord edges.
I didn't want them to really stand out.
Unbuttoned...
Buttoned (as much as I'd probably ever button it)...
I really would love to knit another sweater with this yarn (Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift) or Jamieson & Smith 2-ply jumper weight. It is so light but very warm.  And the vast amount of stocking stitch wasn't that annoying. The waist shaping made it interesting. All over Fair Isle would also be fun.

I've had the pattern for Alice Starmore's Oregan cardigan pattern for ages. I could cough up the big bucks and order the kit from her with the Hebridean 2-ply or try to match the colours with Spindrift or J&S 2-ply jumper weight.

I would do a set-in sleeve because I don't like the look of a drop shoulder on my ample upper body. This would involve doing steeks for the armholes. After watching the relevant episode of Fruity Knitting (episode 40, starting at minute 11:00), I have the confidence to tackle that new technique. Andrea (in the video) uses a 10-stitch steek. I'd probably only use 5 or 6 stitches for my armhole and front steeks.