Friday, 21 July 2017

Margaret from Margaret's Blog

I first "met" this week's Blogger of the Week through a Travelling Granny, Madame Muriel.  She had been staying in New Zealand and took the long flight to me with the very first stitched gift I ever received from a fellow blogger.  Madame Muriel moved on in due course but her hostess and I stayed friends.  There's always something lovely to see, from cross stitch to knitting to the most gorgeous hardanger.  So please welcome Margaret from

1. Please introduce yourself – name, where you are from, family, pets etc.

My name is Margaret. For the past 26 years I have lived in Auckland, New Zealand. By day I work for a government department and by night I care for my elderly mother. For the past three years I have been practising living on the same amount of money as the government pension, just to prove to myself I can do it. Why? Well in 27 months I will be receiving my Gold Card and become an OAP.

2. How long have you been stitching and how did you start?

At four years old I spent six months in bed ill and to keep me occupied my grandmother sent me a Semco “fancy work” kit. My mother had fond memories of stitching these in her younger days and helped me learn stem stitch, satin stitch, lazy daisy stitch etc. I made a bad job of completing the cheval set around which my arthritic grandmother lovingly crocheted an edging. Then around twenty years ago I went to a two day class on Brazilian Embroidery and sat next to a woman who inspired me to join the Embroiderers Guild. Since then I have been an avid stitcher.

Margaret's first stitched piece

Brazilian Embroidery

3. How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start? Is there a story behind your blog title?

One day I stumbled across a blog called The Peacock’s Feather and from there I visited other sites. The IT man at work taught me the basics of setting up a blog and away I went. My posting is far less regular than it was (life administration gets in the way) but I still ‘visit’ my blogging friends and with some even talk by email. Back in the day there were many exchanges and I sent and received parcels to many different countries. Sadly postage costs have killed that pleasure.

4. How would you describe your stitching style? Are you a serial starter, a rotator, a OAAT (one at a time), highly organised, random and eclectic, etc.?

My favourite is Hardanger (in which I am self taught from the Janice Love books) but I have dabbled in almost every other technique except ribbon embroidery. While I have kept to my vow not to have UFO’s I do currently have three WIP’s, which is really two too many for me��

5. Do you have a favourite designer or style of design you are drawn to?

I love Christmas Designs. Every year I stitch Christmas Ornaments for my three nieces and two nephews and I have 12 years of Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament magazines from which to choose.
I prefer books, boxes, etuis, hussifs, etc rather than framed pieces for the wall although I do have quite a collection of cross stitch M in frames on my bedroom wall. With the cost of framing I have called a halt to that collection now. But as readers of my blog will know, I always revert to my favourite hardanger for rest and relaxation.
I have stitched nearly fifty of these hardanger tassels – both with roses and without – and am always grateful for the skilled embroiderer who taught this class all those years ago.

Hardanger Tassels

6. Which piece are you most proud of in your collection?

What a difficult question to answer! Perhaps it would be my ‘tool box’ which was sparked by a piece in the Sampler & Antique Needlework Magazine but which I changed completely.

Or perhaps I should say Lauren Sauer’s “The Mermaids Purse” is the one I am very proud of. I sent to Canada for the threads and fabric and then stitched it very carefully and am now way too scared to actually use it.

7. What has been your worst stitching disaster?

My one attempt at Silk Shading technique was one. I paid for a two day class at the Guild and I made a valiant attempt to like the technique and the project but it was a disaster and I never finished. That piece went to The Great Embroidery Exhibition in the Sky!!
And the other? A complicated hardanger mat for the top of the chest in my bedroom. Stitched over many months, I foolishly rushed the cutting out and snipped several of the buttonholes on the edge. Oops…this one will not be able to be washed? Every time I look at it I am reminded, “slowly and carefully”!

8. Which new technique would you like to try, either stitching, finishing or another craft?

I love counted work so want to try Reticella, Ruskin lace, Schwalm, some more Wessex, Fisherton and Ukranian, some Punto Antico, Hedebo, Portugese Whitework, Sardinian Knotted Embroidery, and possibly Deruta.

9. Do you have a box of finished-but-not-fully-finished pieces? Or is everything FFO'd? What's your favourite way to fully finish a project and what do you do with them?

I currently have two pieces stitched but not constructed. This is rare for me as I like to “finish finish” projects as I go. And in the bottom of my sweater drawer, lying between two pieces of acid free tissue, is a whitework sampler that is complete but will never be framed. I wanted to stitch this but don’t want it on my wall! I have a cabinet full of completed pieces but most of my stitching is given away as gifts to family and long suffering friends.

10. Which of your projects most represents "you"?

Probably my two travel books. Since I was 13 years old I have had a dream of visiting the UK. I kept a list, culled from books, of what I wanted to see, do, eat. As the years went by I started a savings account - this was to be a ‘don’t worry about the money’ trip of a life time. And then….I found two wonderful stitching charts. Voila!

Travel books

11. Tell us a secret about yourself. Or a joke. About anything!

If I wrote it down it wouldn’t be a secret would it?


  1. Nice to meet you Margaret.
    You've done some beautiful work, the Hardanger ornaments are gorgeous

  2. Wowza. I am very, very impressed by your work Margaret. Your first work is adorable and excellent! :D

  3. The intricacies of your work is amazing. Hardanger terrifies me, cutting those threads eek! I can't believe you have done almost 50 of the tassels.

  4. Such lovely work, Margaret! I have never attempted hardanger, but certainly admire those of you who tackle it :)

  5. Lovely to see a bit more of your work, I follow your blog and do hope we get to meet when you travel over to England.

  6. Nice to see you featured here Margaret. I do love your travel books.

  7. What beautiful needlework! I love your Mermaid's Purse, that's a really stunning finish.

  8. Hi, Margaret, it's nice to see you hear and learn a bit more about you! Your "tool box" and Mermaid's Purse are both marvelous finishes and I really like the Hardanger tassels as well - don't think I've ever seen something like that before.

  9. I love how you learned to stitch and your first piece is adorable! I love your Mermaid's purse and the travel books are perfect.

  10. I have enjoyed reading your answers Margaret and seeing pictures of your beautiful needlework.

  11. Hello Margaret, nice to meet you. Such beautiful hardanger work and Brazilian embroidery.

  12. Hi Margaret! Wow, you have quite a collection of interesting stitching. I don't even know of half these techniques you want to try

  13. Great to meet you, Margaret. I love that you still have the first projects you carried out! Great travel books as well! x

  14. So nice to get to know you a bit better. I have been visiting your blog every now and then and have seen a lot of your awesome stitching. I just love the travel books that you made.

  15. You have some exquisite art pieces there! I hope you will travel to the UK one day and make your dream come true!AriadnefromGreece!

  16. Very beautiful stitching you have done over the years Margaret. You are very adventurous with all the different types of stitching you have done over the years and everything looks spectacular, even the one that started it all when you were 4!

  17. So great to learn more about you, Margaret - what exquisite work you do. You should be very proud!

  18. Wow, your finished pieces are stunning. Lovely to read more about you :)