Design Feed

Some acqusitions

I bought this painting last year when my husband was ill in hospital.  The hospital had an exhibition at the time and part of the sale was donated to the hospital.  Problem was I couldn't bring it home because the exhibition was to hang for the rest of the year.  I almost forgot that I had purchased it!  But now it is home and hangs next to the breakfast nook.  I have a passionfruit vine in the garden I just hope it fruits like this one.  As I come up the stairs from the lower level this is the first thing I see.  I am so glad I bought it.

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Also in the breakfast nook I have my new (old) chicken scratch table cloth given to me by my friend Angela.  (The Rosemary is cuttings from my garden that I want to strike for next year.)

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The design is only simple but very effective.

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And I must remember this rick rack braid edging put on with herringbone stitch,

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Doll's underwear

I hadn't realised just how involved making clothes for a doll could be!  I have sewn some bloomers in a very light cotton and these look good.

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But then I got thinking that they might be a problem to get on and off for little children.  So I went out and bought a packet of cheap babies socks.  These I have cut off at the heel.

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Zig zaged around the cut edge.

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And on the wrong side sewn in the legs.

Screen Shot 2018-03-21 at 7.09.37 pmI over sewed this to make sure it wouldn't unravel and then cut out the unwanted fabric.

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Undies that are easy for kids to put on and off.

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A new week

I have to sit and get my photos and notes in order but this week is shaping up to be a busy one again.

We were met at the airport by my daughter's partner who drove us back to the apartment.  From there we picked up our car and drove out to our son's home to pick up the dog only to find that their front plate glass window was shattered.  The gardener had been that morning and I think he had thrown up a rock when mowing the lawns.  No rushing home to get the washing on or pick up any supplies we had to sit till they got home.  It was great to see the grandchildren but I knew it would put my schedule out of wack.

By the time we got home to the island, with no supplies and only frozen meat in the freezer we settled for a tin of soup for dinner and it tasted delicious.   Not sure why.  Next morning I was up early and off again to the Embroiderers' Guild.  I have been completing my Competition Judge's qualification and the lecturer had flown in from interstate to finish our practical assessment, there were 4 candidates.  Three from outside Brisbane and one who lives in the city.  Now, I have been judging for some time now, but, I didn't have that official piece of paper.  The course was based around 6 assignments and my biggest problem was not writting too much!!  So now I am a qualified Embroidery Judge.  One more thing off the bucket list.

Next thing to do was to check on what the birds have been doing and some are up and off.

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Two of those birds we have been watching have both got from here right up to China.

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Coochiemudlo is just south of Peel Island which is in the centre of the above picture.  That island was a leper colony back in the 1900's.  The mainland is on the left and Stradbroke Island is on the right.  I watched the eagles hovering over my house today as I hung out the washing and the sense of awe as you watch these creatures just takes my breath away.

I think that I should get the house in order before I start stitching again but my fingers are twitching.  On the weekend prior to my trip to Melbourne I was up at Toowoomba and got started on my rabbits for the girls for Easter. (I stitched them in different coloured thread so we could tell which was which.)

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I still have a lot to do to make them presentable.  There are sweaters and cardigans to knit and a whole wardrobe for each rabbit.  (There names are Geraldine and Samantha.)  They have actually written to the grand daughters telling them they are coming and asking where they will sleep.  That request has been past to Grandpa who has to make some beds and wardrobes.  I already have their over night bags so their clothes can stay in there until the other furniture is finished.

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This is not getting the housework done and time is rushing on.



It was the first day at the art galleries.  I have seen too much, there were too many people and I am in overload.

At the main gallery they had a great water wall as you walked in.  I would like to do something with these images but not sure what just yet.

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I have just had so much inspiration in too short a time.  I need to give my brain a rest and come back to it.

But then there was the work of  Guo Pei.

How about these shoes! 

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I am going back to try and get some better shots of the gowns.

Another bag

I am off early tomorrow morning to spend the weekend in Toowoomba with friends.  Two days stitching and I hope to get my bunnies well under way in that time.


And I am still making bags.  I really like the shape of this bag.  I am now up to about the 10th version and still have some other ideas for it.

 If I don't piece the fabric but just use one piece for the outside and another for the lining I can cut it out and have it made up in 20 minutes.  So this is the 20 minute bag.  (I did have to rush to get it done in that time and there is a tutorial in a separate post.)

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I would prefer to take a little longer and get every bit accurate and I didn't top stitch the zipper opening in that time which I did with this version.

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It is a great sewing bag as my dressmaking scissors sit perfectly along with glasses and all those other odds and ends.   I have used a heavier lining in this one and am not sure it is the best choice.  It looks alright from a distance but top stitching the zipper was difficult and I couldn't achieve an even top stitch.  There were so many different weights of fabric in this bag and they were all fighting one another.  Shame It is a nice bag.

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Now I am about to attempt a re-purposed version.  I ironed the piece and have been looking at it all day.  I just CAN'T cut into it!!

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The two finger tassel

Quite a few years ago I decided I needed to have every colour of DMC stranded cotton.  Back then I was stitching other peoples designs and only dabbling with my own.  I thought that I had a full set and then DMC added new colours to the range and discontinued others.  At that point I decided I didn't need a full set of threads.


So what to do with all these threads, boxes of them?  Some I donated to the guild but I still have a lot that I will never use.  That is where the two finger tassel comes in.  One skein of thread is just the right amount to make a nice little fat tassel.  Now you could use three or even four fingers to make the tassel but they get a little thinned the longer they get.  You could use a piece of cardboard as a template but this little tutorial is just for fingers.

You will need 1 skein of stranded cotton or the equivalent amount of left over mixed cottons.

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A large needle with a big eye, a pair of scissors AND 2 fingers.

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Take the paper wrapper off the thread  and cut one small (1 round approx.) and one large length(6 rounds approx.)

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Then, with your two fingers slightly apart, lay the short thread along you index finger and wrap the main thread until it reaches the thickness you like.  This could be all the thread left or just as much as you want.

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Slide your fingers out and tie a tight knot with the short thread.

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Take the longer thread and make a slip knot in one end leaving enough length in the short end to blend in with the tassel.  (I had to put my pen through the thread because I couldn't take a photo and hold the tassel with one hand.)

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Pull the slip knot tight to make the head of the tassel and then wrap this firmly. 

Thread the end of your thread through your needle.

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Work you needle under the wrapping thread, working from the direction you finished wrapping.  I finished at the bottom so had to work towards the top.

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Work your need up and down behind the wrapping threads a number of times finishing with the needle towards to bottom of the tassel.  Notice that I work this on an angle and be careful not to pierce the strands of cotton.

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Now cut your thread at the length of the tassel and cut that folded thread along the fold.  At this point it will look a bit ragged.

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Use you scissors to trim it up.

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You could use it just like this but I have used that left over thread to make a longer hanger.  I threaded it through the top knot and made a secure knot.  You could make it fancy by using a twisted thread if you wanted to.

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First time I made one of these it took me about 15 minutes, I now have that down to 5 minutes.

Quick and Easy.  Uses up my extra threads and this is just right for the zipper pulls on all these bags I have been making.



My friend Angela rang last night and just after this I found a small flyer she had given me about a workshop she had visited in Germany.  She had a great collection of samples of this work and it made me wonder about the history and tradition of working with indigo in Europe. 

Think of indigo and I think Japan and India but these are not the only countries who use this dye.  So with my flyer in hand I launched out onto the web.  I didn't have to go far Mr Google had me to the site in one click,  ( The site is all in German so if you want an English translation I would search in Google and click translate on the site.)  I then found that they had a Facebook page as well that is full of the most interesting information.

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What a treasure trove of information.  This man has 700 old hand made printing blocks made of pear wood. 

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This carving was then added to with metal pins, so like the Dutch Stipwerk folk printing. 

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And I was interested to read  that this form of printing came as a result of trade with India 400 years ago.  Then I clicked on current research and there is so much going on in this area.  Next trip to Europe this work is going to be one of the top things on my to do list.



Next Project

As I only have one table cloth that fits my kitchen table I need to make some more.  I am not a huge fan of chicken scratch but have decided to decorate the cloth with that.  Now, I can't buy the nice fabric gingham that you can get in Europe and the USA.  I am stuck with a poly cotton, not very cheap at $14.00 per metre but this is what we all have to use.  (Unless we have access to a relatives stash.)  I have considered backing it with a stabalizer,  or maybe lining it, but for a breakfast cloth?  I don't think so. 

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I bought a little extra fabric to experiment with, so first off I will try different thread weights on some serviettes.  It should be interesting.

The other new project is a teaching sample for applique.  I have roughed out a design based on Ginko leaves, which I have never seen up close but I liked the shape.

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Then today on Pam's blog, among the most wonderful images were 2 shots of the real leaves.

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I am going to have to rethink how I do this one.  (Do go over and have a look at her wonderful story about NZ.)

Pattern Darning

I have always liked pattern darning.  Maybe it is the regularity of the patterns, it's geometric base, or maybe it was because running stitch was the first stitch I learnt and all it's variations?  What every the reason I like it, so it is with great interest that I see that Yvette Stanton has a new book coming out this year about Norwegian Pattern Darning.

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I started to do some digging into this technique and found that there isn't a lot to find.  I did find this image that shows a historical piece.

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A book was also given as a reference and I found a copy on Amazon.

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Other than this Medieval piece  I have only been able to find examples of baby clothes on Pinterest, no source given.

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So it is with interest that I await the publication of this book.