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March 2012

On the road to Mandalay

Later in the year I want to go and see Myanmar.  Up till just lately this has been closed to tourists but now the doors are open.  I would usually travel unguided but I am looking at a Textile Tour this time.  I am still not totally mobile but should be by September when I plan to go.

The two things I want to see are the White Elephants.


And I would book a balloon ride over the temples.


Pacific textiles - Cook Islands

 All the quilts that are made by Pacific Islanders use a common theme of tradition and place. On occasions I have met the ladies from the Cook Islands.  A couple of times here in Australia and in New Zealand and they stitch some wonderful quilts.  They are limited by the materials they are able to obtain but still produce a bit of magic.

They are not bound by the usual rules of quilting that most of the world adheres to.  Like the Tahitian quilt that I drew inspiration from in this weeks TAST sample they also use non traditional stitches for their applique.

This short video from the Museum in NZ gives an insight into their work.


Sri Lankan tablecloth - part 2

There are several other motives in this piece.  They have been worked separately and then appliqued into position.


Each of the designs could be used on their own.





The first three use a combination of fly stitch, open and closed, and chain stitch, with this last example introducing feather and herringbone stitches.  Feather stitch is also used to link the motive together and interspersed with this are several different bands of stitches.

This band again uses that fly/chain stitch variation but this time in 2 colours. Very effective.


And here is another variation on the same stitches.


The corners are finished with feather stitch trees.  All this is stitched on calico and backed with another piece of calico to cover up the back of the stitching.


Just a few stitches but used to great effect.

A tablecloth from Sri Lanka - part 1

There are a lot of Indian elements in this piece of embroidery but it is still typically Sri Lankan.  I love that the embroiderer has incorporated Yo yos or Suffolk Puffs into her piece.





The stitching is not complicated at all.  The yo yo is held in place with a fly stitch/ chain stitch combination with chain stitches in a contrasting colour worked between the arms  Then another fly stitch worked out from the bottom of each chain arm of the original combination.  Then the direction is reversed and fly stitch is worked in descending size finishing with a straight stitch.  I like the twisted buttonhole bars that have been worked to keep the centre of the yo yos together.

What is a bit tricky is getting those 15 points evenly spaced.  I wonder if they measured it or was it just estimated?  I'm going to have to try this design.


TAST 2012 March 20th

Week 12

Barred and Alternating Barred Chain Stitch

This stitch gave me one of those Ah Ha moments.  I had seen something similar before in this piece from the 'Threads' exhibition here is Brisbane.  I had stood there with other stitchers trying to work out what stitch the quilter had used.


I even tried to work it out myself on a bit of scrap fabric.  On the quilt they had used it to do the reverse applique, the applique and the lettering.


This is a very similar stitch. Problem solved.  Part of the problem was that this stitch has other names.  But it is a chain stitch variation.  As I have already done my chain stitch sample this sample had to be a bit different.  I thought that this problem would arise at some point, that the stitch for the week would be a variation of a stitch we had already done.  So the sample size for these occurrences is long and thin and I will file it is a chain stitch variation.

On the sample I have stitched chain and then twisted chain to demonstrate the component parts of the stitch.  Then, both the barred and alternate barred variety.  Then I had a bit of fun working out other variations.  You can sit or hang anything on those arms.  I tried it on the letters and finally as an edging of an applique.  Once you built up a bit of speed I think it would be a good applique edging.


(link to Pintangle)   (Link to Flikr)


Australia became a nation in 1901, before this it was an English colony.  These aprons reflect the search for identity, that in some cases continues still today.  These aprons reflect what women thought that identity was in the 1930's.  I think that they could be bought as printed designs from a magazine or newspaper back in the 1930's.  I have looked at the records of the Powerhouse Museum but although they have some images they don't seem to have a lot written information.


Aslo the National Museum of Australia has a number of examples but no record of the source.

This apron is called Miss Australia


Here is another example of the same design from the Powerhouse Museum Collection.


Love the kookaburra, lots of stem stitch in all these piece.

Interestingly I have a photo of Miss Roma Field, who was my original mentor in embroidery, standing in much the same position with a kookaburra.


The racehorse Phar Lap was an icon back in the 1930's. So he featured prominently.




And when you go bushwalking to find out where your mates are you call Cooee.  Don't think they did much walking in these clothes.


How about this Koala,I have never seen a stripped one before.


The other major happening in the 1930's was the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  This  apron appears to be from a different source.


Just embroidered snapshots of a time past.

Next, Cross Stitch from Denmark

These are from Denmark and all taken from Hans Christian Andersons stories.  See if you can work out what the story is.  (Only as a last resort use the translator.)

I have linked a translation of each story to the number below the image. There are lots more embroideries in this collection that were all brought to Australia by an immigrant.   There were so many stories that I didn't know, then I found lots more at the translation page. 

I also found the fact that these stories were published in America before they were published in Denmark amazing considering that the author is such an icon in his native land.










5  (I think)







From all the lands of earth we come

That is a line from a patriotic popular song. 


They should have added, "and they all brought their embroidery with them.

This is quite a large embroidery from Sweden.  I think the words are a dialect and I think they say;

"We have sun (sunshine?) we have sung the entire summer day long."


There are only a couple of stitches used in the piece, the main one being stem stitch.   Here it is used for all the filling of the clothing and outlines for the face and hands of the girl.



And the same for the boy.


Love those shoes.  The only other stitch is satin stitch.  Amazing how two stitches can say so much.