Friday, September 29, 2006

Weekly round-up

Haven't been much in the mood for blogging this week as I've been feeling a bit down and as a result have had rather a frustrating time.

Stitching is going slowly as I haven't been enjoying it so much, but I've now finished the main part of the dinosaurs. Here was me feeling really pleased with myself over finishing, but my son was distinctly unimpressed and informed me that I haven't done the border yet, and that I've still to put his name on it! Hey-ho - that's 5 year olds for you!

Here's a piccie - I'm rather pleased with it, even if no one else is!

I also had a frustrating time starting my Peachy Biscornu - couldn't count my stitches and couldn't get all my crosses lying in the same direction. I also started railroading as I was getting rather fed up with the way my thread kept twisting.

And I've now succumbed to the temptation to start kitting something new and am finishing off kitting up Genny Morrow's Nova. When I get started, I just hope I enjoy it!

On Wednesday, I posted my contribution to the Stitch and Stash forum's Personality Thread exchange where you send your exchange partner a skein of thread along with a 'life history' for that skein. It was fun writing the life history - I hope my partner likes it!

I also signed up for the Stitch and Stash Christmas gift exchange which will be fun!

Now for some blogthings -

You Are a Seeker Soul

You are on a quest for knowledge and life challenges.
You love to be curious and ask a ton of questions.
Since you know so much, you make for an interesting conversationalist.
Mentally alert, you can outwit almost anyone (and have fun doing it!).

Very introspective, you can be silently critical of others.
And your quiet nature makes it difficult for people to get to know you.
You see yourself as a philosopher, and you take everything philosophically.
Your main talent is expressing and communicating ideas.

Souls you are most compatible with: Hunter Soul and Visionary Soul

You Are Rain

You can be warm and sexy. Or cold and unwelcoming.
Either way, you slowly bring out the beauty around you.

You are best known for: your touch

Your dominant state: changing

Not fair - I wanted to be lightening

Thursday, September 21, 2006

A little family history - Alexander Colin Stewart

My maternal grandfather was Alexander Colin Stewart, born in Lanark in the south of Scotland on 12 Apr 1908. He was the second son of John Stewart and Margaret Isabella Henry who were married in Turriff, Aberdeenshire, in August 1903.

Between 1913 and 1926, Colin attended Lanark Grammar School before studying at the Royal Technical College, Glasgow (now part of Strathclyde University). In 1931 he graduated with a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Civil Engineering. For the next 2 years he completed his apprenticeship under Mr J.T. Babtie. He then went to work for the Road Research Laboratory as an Assistant Engineer where his work mainly involved the use of concrete for roads. In 1934, he also became an Assocate Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

In Lanark on 10 July 1935 Colin married Gladys Farquhar. At the time, he was living at 12 Marion Road, Southsea, Hampshire and was working for the Admitralty. Gladys lived with her mother in Lanark and commuted to work in Glasgow.

In 1938, Colin was sent to work overseas and he and his wife went to live in Singapore where their son was born, returning to England in 1939. While in Singapore, Colin's work involved building bridges. After their return to the UK, the family lived for a time in Petersfield, Hampshire, but by mid 1942, Colin had been sent to work in Scotland and the family moved to 104 East King Street, Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire.

In August 1942 Colin and Gladys's daughter was born in Glasgow. However, not long after moving to Helensburgh, Colin was again posted overseas. On 28 November 1942, he boarded the MV Henry Stanley in Liverpool, en route for Freetown, South Africa, possibly on his way to the Singapore area.

By 1942, the Germans and Italians had virtually closed the Mediterranean to Allied shipping and all merchant ships went round the Cape of Good Hope. Any journey to Singapore would therefore have been via South Africa, round the Cape of Good Hope, then to Mombasa, Kenya, across the Indian Ocean to Colombo or Trincomalee in Sri Lanka and then through the Malacca Strait to the North of Sumatra. Refuelling and re-provisioning stops may have taken place in South Africa and Sri Lanka.

There is a slight paradox here as the Japanese captured Singapore in February 1942. It is unlikely that Colin would therefore have been heading Singapore itself after then, certainly not in December.

However, on 5th December, the Henry Stanley was torpedoed by a u-boat (U103) and sank fairly quickly. The crew and passengers took to the lifeboats, heading for the Azores. The u-boat later surfaced and took the Henry Stanley's captain prisoner. During the night, a gale blew up, accompanied by heavy snow squalls. The U-boat commander decided to pursue the lifeboats to see if they needed assistance. However, the submarine shipped a heavy sea which flooded her engine-room and the chase was abandoned. Nothing further was heard of the four lifeboats and their crews, and it was presumed that they lost their lives in the storm.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


You Are Grape

You are bold and a true individual. You are very different and very okay with that.
People know you as a straight shooter. You're very honest, even when the truth hurts.
You are also very grounded and practical. No one is going to sneak anything by you.
People enjoy your fresh approach to life. And it's this honesty that makes you a very innovative person.

You Should Be A Pisces

What's good about you: carefree and compassionate, you are truly light hearted

What's bad about you: when things get bad, you tend to retreat and not let others in

In love: you're a true romantic - it's flowers, bubble baths, and candles all the way

In friendship, you're: eager to lend a sympathetic ear and likely to develop a deep connection

Your ideal job: bartender, magician, or secret agent

Your sense of fashion: simple clothes that don't distract from your personality

You like to pig out on: seafood - from fish sticks to salmon
Well, I am only a week out of being a Pisces ......

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Yet more lovely stash......

It seems like I'm not content with all my new stash from the end of last week - I had a good post day yesterday with two lovely parcels of goodies arriving with the postie!

Firstly, my ebay stash, including "Flowers on the Square" by Elizabeth's Designs which I've been after for a while. You can see it stitched up as a beautiful biscornu here.

Secondly, I got a parcel of goodies from Carol Tinson. Her Peachy biscornu is really beautiful and the SAL for it starts at the end of the week. I'm quite excited about this and looking forward to getting started. Also, her charts are beautifully presented and printed on really good quality paper with laminated covers - I'm very impressed by that alone - she really does offer value for money! Thanks Carol!

I really do need to take a break from all this stashing and do some serious stitching!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Updated WIPs

There are now a couple of updated WIP photos in my photo album -

4 Wishes (Just Nan) -

I had been struggling with this one a bit. Not sure why - perhaps it's the linen, perhaps the constantly changing colours. At the moment, I'm looking forward to getting back to it. You may notice that I have added some of the beads, but I was in too much of a hurry and they're not lying nicely at all. I'll be taking them off to redo. I suspect that I'm not going to make my deadline of completing it by the end of October!

Tiny Rose Mandala (Chatelaine) -

I also made reasonably good progress on Bright Skies last week and am enjoying stitching on it. However, the dinosaurs suffered last week from a complete lack of enthusiasm!

I'm now also having doubts about my stitched Christmas presents - do my friends and neighbours really want that sort of gift? Is it the sort of thing they'll like? Will they really appreciate them? The answers to these questions are probably all yes and no!

A Grand Day Out (a la Wallace and Gromit)

Had a great day at the Knitting and Stitching Show at the NEC last Friday. I’ve never been to anything like that before so I was really looking forward to it. I went prepared for the worst, ie. not being able to move for the crowds, but fortunately for me, it was not busy and I was able to wander round having a really good look at everything I wanted to see. I realise that this isn’t necessarily good for the people with stands as they may not be able to recoup their costs, but from my point of view, it was ideal!

One of the highlights of the show for me was the West End Embroidery stand. I’ve admired many of the canvaswork designs on their website for some time and to see many of them in real life was amazing! The lighting on this stand was just fantastic. You get absolutely no idea from the website of the texture, colour and three dimensional nature of the different pieces. For me, the pieces by Orna Willis and Kick Back and Stitch (Terry Gifford) particularly stood out. There were also several copies of Susan Portra’s Spirit of the Southwest showing several of the different colour combinations, a copy of which chart I had promised myself.

The stand next to West End had lots of Mirabillia and Lavender & Lace designs - many of them stitched and on display. I'm not sure what it was, bit I found this stand very disappointing - none of the stitched pieces made me want to stitch them. Perhaps this stand just suffered from being next to the West End stand. But the woman who was looking after it just didn't seem interested either, and wasn't interested in chatting to punters like me!

I also did a couple of practical projects with the Cross Stitch Guild and thoroughly enjoyed both. They aren’t exactly big, spectacular pieces, but I just enjoyed doing them and finished them at home over the weekend (photo below). It was lovely to wander around the show looking at everything and then to sit down and do some stitching at chat to people before going off for another wander.

I also made one or two discoveries of pieces and designers I liked such as Sue Hawkins and the Calico Cat (can’t get into that website right now).

I bought my son a small beginners cross stitch kit as he is always interested in my stitching and wants to help - when I gave it to him he insisted on starting immediately!

Of course, I also bought quite a few things which I’m really looking forward to getting started on, but I’d better finish off at least one of the pieces I’m currently working on before I do. I rather suspect that my mother is going to get an all stitched Christmas present.

Stash from West End Embroidery, Sue Hawkins, the Calico Cat.

When I got home, I couldn't believe just how good and relaxed I felt - it was so good just to have the day to myself. I'll have to do that sort of thing more often!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Progress review

Well, it's Monday lunchtime and here I am back at work recovering from the weekend. I've decided that come weekends I'm pressurising myself far too much to get stuff done. My plan yesterday morning was to do some washing, all the ironing, and finish painting the porch. Well, I got all that done as well as changing (and vacuuming) beds, shortening two pairs of trousers and cleaning the living room. Then I wonder why I'm so stressed out I can hardly speak to my husband or son! So I'm telling myself - slow down!!

To be honest, work doesn't help - I find it very depressing. I have so little to do, no problems to solve, no challenges to overcome and basically nothing to motivate me in any way. It really isn't any surprise I spend so much time on the 'net out of sheer boredom.

On the stitching front, I did quite well with my September goals last week. A couple of weeks ago, I started stitching 'in hand' with the dinosaurs and am finding it so much faster than using a hoop or frame. I made good progress on my last dinosaur (although I haven't done anything on it today). The stitching in hand also proved useful with Bright Skies so I did well with my day's stitching on that.

However, if you're going to try stitching in hand on a symmetrical piece, take care to mark the top first! I made rather a mess of my Tiny Rose Mandala with stitches going everyway imaginable before I realised!

4 wishes is also making good progress as I've finished band 2. I'll need to get a new photo of that.

On the family front I had a phone call from one of my sisters on Saturday (I think) to let me know that she and her boyfriend got engaged on their recent holiday to Switzerland - so congratulations to them and look forward to seeing them at the start of October.

And to make this post slightly less boring, here are a couple of photos my dad took recently of one of my favourite places.

And after a little rain -

This is Corra Linn, part of the Falls of Clyde, near New Lanark. I might just get the top one printed and framed as I'd love to hang a picture of Corra Linn at home.

Friday, September 08, 2006

September goals

Not very good at this blogging thing yet! I'm always intending to come here and post something, but I always get distracted and wander off somewhere else on the web......

Anyway here are some goals for September -
  1. To post here at least once a week (you can only hope)
  2. To finish those d@mned dinosaurs (so near, yet so far!)
  3. To stitch on Bright Skies at least once a week (so far, so good)
  4. To stitch 4 wishes during the week (OKish, not too sure about the linen)
  5. To stitch Tiny Rose Mandala at weekends (fine)

We'll see where that gets me at the end of the month!

I've also uploaded a whole load of photos to Photobucket, see here.