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April 2017

May 2017

A new toy

I have a brand new toy.  A Scorpio terminator 10 kayak, it matches my birth sign.

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I have been thinking of buying one for a while now but I just couldn't decide between a sit in or sit on.  I choose a sit on because it is easier to get out of and this one is set up for fishing as well.  The sit in looks better and goes faster.

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But I am no 'spring chicken' and as I get older I still want to be active, so I am now all set up.

We loaded the new kayak into the ute, which has been misbehaving, and after a couple of detours headed home. 

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We no sooner got onto the barge and some clown put a pirate flag on it.  Are they trying to tell me something?

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WIPW

Choppy and the Universe.

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This is the last sample for the Children's Classes in July.  It isn't what I first planned. That was a space dog but I was watching my son's dog as he sat in the backyard and he looked so pensive I knew I wanted to embroider him. This will be a good design for the beginners as the whole of that universe could be glued in position leaving just the dog.  Even the stars around the border could be glued in position.

Choppy is a dear little dog and a great character.  This is him when he was younger.  He is getting rather long in the tooth now.

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You have to watch him because he likes to get into the beds.  It starts with sitting on top,

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And next thing you know you find him under the blankets.

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I took the background I had drawn for the space dog, made it bigger and did a little sketch of Choppy looking up.  He was actually looking at some birds he wanted to catch.  He doesn't like them in his space.

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So this class is now already to go.

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What to do when you can't see very well.

It is just over a week until I start the operations on my eyes and I can't wait for the time to pass.  My eyesight is deteriorating very quickly at this point and embroidery is becoming difficult.   I still have my last Children's Class sample and my June 'Peace' embroidery to finish and then I plan to put embroidery aside for a bit.  A bit being about 6 to 8 weeks.  That is the amount of time I am told I will need to heal.

I plan to use that time to knit.  I have one shawl on the go and it is problematic but I will eventually work it out.  So what else?  Well,  Kate Davies has a new pattern for a shawl that I think will fit the bill.

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image from Kate's Blog

It is mainly knitted in garter stitch which I can do by feel if necessary and I know the auld shell pattern pretty well also.  You can buy this pattern from her Ravelry Shop.

Then as my eyes get better I plan to knit some sheep, toy ones.  Julie at Little Cotton Rabbits has just released a couple of new patterns which are also available in her Ravelry Shop  along with her other patterns.

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Image from Little Cotton Rabbits

They are just adorable in their little dresses and sweaters.  I have knitted her animals before and I have to say I hate giving them away but the kids always get around me as they love them as well.

This is to make up for the disappointment I felt at missing out on buying the kit for the 2017 CAL from Scheepjes. There are only 2 shops in Australia that sell this wool and both were sold out.

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So my work is going to be a bit different for the next little bit.


Another project finished

My cottage patchwork group always have our Mother's Day Breakfast the Sunday after Mother's Day, that was yesterday.  After all the rain we have had recently I was a bit worried about the weather but the morning was fine with banks of incredible clouds in the east.  (There is another island underneath some of that cloud.)

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 4.07.16 pmAnd in the west.  This one looked like a giant wave about to break.

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It was an interesting drive to the venue.  Through thick fog and blinding sunshine.

The ladies had decorated the table.

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And made bags of goodies for everyone.

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They all had delicious, non fattening chocolates in them.

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The challenge this year was to make a Book-Cover in the Boro style.  I put a lot of thought into my piece and actually had some Boro fabric from Japan that I was able to use.  I left the darning stitches that someone had put into some of the pieces and embroidered over the top of them.  I also left 4cm seam allowances as I had embroidered a larger piece so that the book-cover could be unpicked and re-purposed latter on.  It was a bit scrappy and didn't look like any of the others.

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And the others were great.  Some used non traditional fabrics.

Not traditional

Others used traditional fabrics.

Boro

This is going to be a hard act to follow next year.

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Not quiet sure about this, it might be good or bad.

I am a fantasy freak.  I have always loved comics, fantasy stories and movies.  I am so glad that I am around to see all the Marvel Movies.  And now the Museum of Modern Art here in Brisbane is about to launch a major exhibition titled "Marvel creating the cinematic universe".  I am so anticipating this exhibition I just hope it comes up to my expectations.  I see that most of the movies are also going to be screened at the Museum as well.

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What I am really hanging out to see are the costumes from the movies that will be on display.  It is one thing to look at an image and another to see the actual item. 

It opens on the 27th of this month, so I have set myself a little reading to help give me a better understand  of the stories.  I know that most of these comics have their origins in Norse Mythology as do most of the fantasy novels around today.  To this end I have bought a copy of Neil Gaiman's book of the same name.

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There are so many events to accompany this exhibition.  I think I will need to buy a season ticket.

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WIPW

Stitching is difficult at the moment.  I was quilting a quilt on my sewing machine and caught my thumb under the needle.  My first action was instinctive and I pulled my thumb away.  This broke the needle but left a jagged tear in the ball of my thumb.  It is slow to heal and still quite painfull after a week has passed.  So embroidery has to be of the type that doesn't hurt.  I am surprised just how much I use my thumb.

I found that I could crochet so made a couple of kitchen towels for a friend.  Then I found I had no buttons.  I have no idea what happened to them all in the move.  I had jars of them but they are nowhere to be found.

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I can knit, but all I seem to do is make mistakes that I have to unpull.

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And I have started on my peace embroidery for June.  I can manage cross stitch in a frame, slowly.

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 I have one more box top to finish but I am finding holding the stitching difficult.  This is my grand daughter's little dog Choppie.  He is getting very old and frail.

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And I am working on a piece of Boro stitching.  I need this finished for next Sunday.  I think I should be focusing on this piece.

I am keeping the words of the Haiku Master Issa in mind doing these things.

"Oh snail,

Climb Mount Fuji,

But slowly, slowly"

Which could be a version of the fourth step of humility,

"Endure the pain of development and do not give up."

So much for reflection, back to the stitching.


Learning to stitch - No 1

My daughter-in-law was off to give a paper at a conference and I have been baby sitting for a few days.  For me that means moving house over to the mainland.  My grand daughter, Monique, who is 6 y.o. has asked me to teach her to embroider.  Her nearly 5 y.o. sister Jasmine insists that she wants to learn as well.  I have been waiting for this moment, which is very significant for me.  I was taught by my grandmother and we started about the same age. 

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We have been working with a plastic needle and lacing cards up till now and I have put a lot of thought into how I will teach her.  Now, I have taught lots of kids to embroider but when it comes to my own I want them to love what they are doing and that it become something special to her, like it is for me and was for my grand mother and her Grandmother.

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  I have so much at risk here if I don't get it right.

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I have decided that I will start with a running stitch sampler.  I have selected an 8 count Aida cloth, 22 tapestry needles and No 5 Perle thread in shades of her favourite colour, pink. .  To this end I have a frame to put it in when it is finished and they will sign their name and the date. 

But the best made plans are often not what actually happens.

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I have drawn where to start and finish the stitching on the fabric. Then when we looked at the fabric, she and I, I became aware just how stiff the fabric was and that the hoop was too big.  Because I had used a water soluble pen  I removed this with water and this softened the fabric.  I also reduced the size of the hoop which gave me a practice piece of fabric which I cut off to use as a book mark.

When I started to think this through, it became obvious that starting stitching is quiet complicated. The book mark has become the first project because it can be finished in a few sessions and it is something they will use.   Both girls needed a project bag to put their work in so that had to be made as well.

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Here is my ten step lesson plan and what actually happened.

  • Step 1  Wash your hands
  • Step 2  How to divide and store your threads. - 
  • I ended up having to do this myself,  also, we had to learn about the length of the thread they would use and how you measure it.
  • Step 3 How to cut a thread.  - 
  • This is hard for little hands.  They can easily cut the thread when they are finished but it is a bit difficult to begin with.  I have cut all their threads to a length that they can handle so this is will be something we will work at.
  • Step 4 How to thread a needle -
  • This is going to take some time.  Demonstration and trial and error with this one.
  • Step 5 How to locate the centre of your work.-
  • We got that straight off although I know this will vary from child to child.
    Step 6 One way of starting the stitching.
  •   -.  I decided to start with a knot.  We will try other methods later.
    Step 7 How to manipulate the needle to do running stitch.
  • - I started with the smaller piece of fabric and an un-threaded needle.  Just working out how to put the needle in and out of the holes took a whole session but when we came to stitch with thread it payed dividends
  • Step 8 How to sew a row of running stitch and then repeat this in another row  keeping the count even.
  • -  They did this almost with no help at all.  Accompanied by the singing of happy songs.  I think they like stitching!
  • Step 9 How to finish your thread.
  • - Just a back stitch.
  • Step 10 How to store your work until you are ready to stitch again.
  •   Those project bags now hang on the handles of their bedroom doors.

So next week we will finish the book mark.  They read books every night so this is something practical they can use.  Then we will start the sampler.

 

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Just something to wind left over thread on.

I remember that my Grandmother had this star shaped thing with a leg that she wound left over thread on.  As she told me, she had lived through three depressions and you didn't waste thread or fabric.  All was unpicked and put on that funny star.  I saw a picture of a similar one on Pinterest but it wasn't quite the same.

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Then I found out it's name. "Odradek".   It appeared on one of the knitting blogs I follow written by Kate Davies.  It has quite a story and that story has raised a lot off questions.  The first being where did it come from to be in my grandmother's possession?  It's source seems to be Eastern Europe and I know some of her relatives  came from Poland but that isn't even close.

The next was who is this wonderful artist I have never heard of before, Albert Anker?     I love his work.  Someone else to investigate.

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Finished already

The new book, and the last of the Fitz and the Fool series arrived on my ipad.  Once again I was pulled into their world and couldn't escape until the story finished.  But I can think of a whole lot of follow up stories if the author is interested. 

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I promised myself that I would read slowly and carefully, but I didn't.  I got swept along by the story and found tears streaming down my face in some of the sad places.  I will put a bit of space between me and the book, probably a year, and then re-read the three books in this trilogy.  Some how or other there just has to be more of these stories.  I know some others were not happy in this book but I loved it and the book cover is perfect.