Embroidery Feed

War Quilts - 5

This quilt (or table cover) is the second of two that were made by a tailor(s).

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This is the work of a very experienced stitcher or stitchers.  No soldiers sitting around and sewing in their spare time here. Although, it is made from the same woollen fabric as those in use in the English Military at that time.

In the central image, (that was copied from a painting) you can see the face of every person and put a name to each face the images are so good.  The whole of that image is inlaid work, not applique.  This is similar to the Prussian Quilts and although no one knows how these techniques moved from Prussia to England this quilt was made at the time by a tailor with a German name surname, Zumpf ,when Queen Victoria and her consort Prince Albert (who was German) was on the throne.

What I was attracted to was the two outer borders which were first inlaid with fabric and then embroidered with silk thread.

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The inlaid work gives the perfect shapes but laying the silk thread and then embroidered.   The satin stitch over it is perfect and would have taken a lot of skill.

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All the details are so perfect on this quilt.  The horns of plenty that have been placed in each corner mirror each other to perfection.  Even to the use of a lighter green thread on some of the tips of the fronds.  The silk shading manages to give dimention to some of the flowers.

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There must have been a strong tradition in the German States of this kinds of work for some time.  This level of skill and finese doesn't just appear from nowhere.  Then it is blown away with the tides of history.  The unification of the German States, industrialisation and the World Wars.  We are left to sit and wonder.


More effort needed!

Last Sunday friend Janey invited me to an embroidery class that was being held in the Brisbane City Library.  This was an event to celebrate Harmony Day and Nowruz , (Persian New Year).  We joined the Iranian Society of Queensland for a 'hands on' introduction to coin embroidery (sekkeh doozy), traditionally used to make decorative objects.  Let me start by saying I was hopeless.  It wasn't that I didn't know what to do it was just that I couldn't get those threads to stay put on the coin.  But I am not giving up.  I will keep trying till I am an expert.

I made sure that I took some photos on my phone for future reference.  This technique is similar to the Indian 'mirror embroideries' but is more decorative.  There are a number of ways that you can attach those coins.  When it came to keeping them in place on the fabric a spot of glue was used to keep them still.

We were to make this embroidered bracelet.

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We started with the dingle dangles and these were the ones I found difficult.  The thread provided was just too slippery and had too much give in it.

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The stitches are mainly based on button hole and needle weaving.


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English is a second language for  Shabnam  and she was not a trained instructor but we all learnt so much. (Some more than others.)  There is a series of videos on their Facebook page that I intend to sit and work through.  I am starting to save all those 5 cent pieces now that I have a great use for them, other than clogging up my change purse.

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You know, we are so lucky to live in such a culturally diverse society.  We have access to so much of other cultures all of  which enriches ours.

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Teaching

I had a beginners class on Saturday.  It was full of students who were quite accomplished embroiderers.  They though that because they were 'self taught' they were beginners. 

I often wonder why I put so much work into preparation of my lessons.  I revisited the small booklet that I give to students in this class, along with some of the samples I include.  Part of the revisiting included updating the web links that I include.  I check that the web addresses are active and in doing this I realised that there has been a shift,  from 'printed resources' to 'video resources'. ( I only give 4 links,  you could give a whole list but if you keep it simple I find people will visit the sites.)  It is interesting how we are slowly moving away from the printed word. 

The four sites I use are;

needlenthread.com  this has lots to look at in the Tips & Techniques section including some good 'how to' videos' at the bottom of the page.

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Pintangle's Stitch Dictionary. It you ever want to look up a stitch this is the place to go.  There are 100's of stitches and images of different variations.

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The Embroiderers' Guild of the U.K.  There are some nice videos with Nicola Jarvis demonstrating different techniques.  This site also has lots of interesting links.  One could waste a lot of time just exploring here.

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And finally, DMC U.K.  or DMC USA

Both sites are similar with the USA site having more video tutorials.

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With the samples I include in my kit I usually put a free pattern from Bronwyn Hayes of Red Brolly but her webpage and Facebook pages have been removed.  Bronwyn is fighting caner at the moment and her family want her to concentrate on that.  I really miss her breezy blog and all the lovely patterns she includes.

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So why do I put so much effort into preparing a class that is free for new members?  Well I love embroidery and I like to share that love with others.

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More Loot

On the road again and this time the destination was Toowoomba.  Always a good hunting ground. There are lots of interesting shops, artists, gardens and Op shops.

The Op shops were first on the list after I had attended to business.  I was looking for a small bar tin for baking.  My husband thought the other was old so he threw it out.  It was one like my Mother had and not easily replaced.  I found a tin but not the one I wanted but I also found lots of things I hadn't even thought about. Like these lovely little Japanese dolls.  All $2 each.

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And another bunch of things that I can't show because they are going into the Christmas draw.  But let me say that I spent another $20 on 5 presents!

Then I saw there was a sale on at Hana's, which is a family department store.  I only bought 2 shirts but I have noted lots of things for my next visit.  Out to the patchwork shops where there were sales but everything I liked was full price.  Some nice Moda fabric.

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Just some top ups on Shadowplay.

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Some nice 'boy' fabric, small scissors and thread.

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Then onto the craft show.  It was very hot by this time and I think I parked my car illegally under some trees at the University but I wasn't booked thank goodness.  Here I caught up with lots of people I knew and found some bits and pieces I have been looking for.  New blade for the rotary cutter and needles which I keep dropping and can never find again.  (I'm sure there is an imp that collects them.)

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Some Japanese thread I want to trial.

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A stand for my rulers.

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I think I could do with a second one of these as I have lots of templates still in packets!

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That was all stuff I needed.  The rest is, well I wanted it.  A lovely hand turned bowl in Campher Laurel.  The smell is divine.

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Finally I am starting to find some Australian wool producers.  With all the wool the country produces it is a crime that we have to buy from over seas.  I only bought the one hank of wool to trial.  We will see how it goes.

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Good thing I remembered to put the trolley in the car boot because I would never have got it home otherwise!

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I think I had better stay home for a while to let my wallet recover.

 


A Schoolgirls Work

I received a lovely book as a gift from my friend Angela.

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I had a look on Amazon and I can see that it is quite sort after, prices starting at $125 US!

It has some really interesting work in the book and I see that most of the samplers, which start from 1710, are silk stitched on linen.  But there was one unusual sampler which was wool stitched on linen.  It was stitched in 1809, and the wool hasn't been eaten or even looked at by moths.  So it is possible that stitching in wool could last.

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When I said unusual, I meant the inclusion of a steam engine in the piece.  There are a number of motive here that I could use and I love the borders.  This book is full of great inspiration, no wonder it is sort after. (I have put this image in at a higher resolution so if you click on the image you can get a close up.)

Now why am I worried about moths?  Well in my old house they ate through 2 Harris Tweed jackets, numerous woollen cardigans and a babies Hap.  I continue to keep an eye out for them.

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Loot

I  took a trip up to Warwick this week.  A long drive, over 3 hours each way.  I left early to miss the trucks going up Cunningham's Gap and there were only a couple of other cars on the road.  Last time I went up here there were road works caused by rock falls.  Non this day thank goodness.

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I wasn't so lucky coming back as there were lots of big trucks crawling down the range.  Once you get up the range you enter thick rain-forest and then out onto rich farm land.  This is where the headwaters of the Condamine River begins , that joins into the Murray-Daring exiting in South Australia.

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I was visiting friends who were staying at Glenrose which is on the fringe of the city.

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They host sewing retreats and you have to book well in advance to get in.  They have 4 cottages sprinkled through the garden and a great conference/sewing space .

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And I very quickly found their patchwork shop before I even found my friends.  And then I found some of my other friends in the shop.  It is a great shop and I came away with quite a bit of loot.  ONLY things I need.

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I bought the red fabric for the pin cushions but I also bought some scented ground nutshells for the filling.

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And two different types of mesh for using in one of my classes.

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This fabric was reduced and only $10 p.m. so I had to take all that was left on the roll.

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And the book was a gift from a friend.  I'm looking forward to getting into that.

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It was unbelievably hot up there, 39 degrees, so I stayed in the air-conditioning as much as possible.  When I got home I found the wind had changed direction and things were cooling off a bit.

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We have now had some rain.  Great for the garden but it has brought out the sand-flys  so repelant is in use again.

 

 

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Trying something new

I have never cross stitched using a wool thread  so when I saw an offer of a small kit and 8 shades of red in wool I decided it was a good time to get some.  I also haven't used Sajou cotton so I got a reel of that for good measure.

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The pattern that came with the threads is for a Valentine's Ornament but I intend to make a pin cushion from this one and add it to the Xmas bundle.

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Now I have been looking at Jacob's patterns for some time now .  He has managed to blend that traditional look into his designs and then he started producing his own wool threads.  In this climate wool is not my first choice but I will see how it goes.  Have a look at his blog he has some lovely images from museums of old embroidery  in among his work.

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Making the most of the day

If I go to the mainland I try to fit in as many things as I can into the day.  Last week I had Guild in the morning and then had scheduled the physio and the doctor as well.  But there was a little break in between so I was determined to get to the Fabric Store also.

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This shop is a gem.  They have the best fabrics, not necessarily the cheapest, but the best.  I got 3 metres of wool/lycra for my coat.  It was super cheap but there is a catch.  On the label it says "tears easily".  That means I will have to use stabaliser in parts of the garment to give the fabric that extra strength.  (The other good point about the fabric were the lines in the weave, great for lining up embroidery .)  But it was only $8 per metre so even if it doesn't work out I'm not too worried.  The big problem with getting to the store was parking.  There wasn't any.  I joined the line of people driving around the blocks.  Even my secret places were full.  So I had to drive further away, which meant I had quite a walk, in the heat.  After my last experience of heat exhaustion I am being careful.  Lots of water, and carry that bit extra.  I have also taken to wearing my hat all the time out there and I had left it at home.  I was reading today that a police dog died of heat exhaustion after being out in the heat on that day, so it is not just humans who are having a bad time with the heat. 

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In the 2 years since I have moved out of the city there have been so many changes in my old stomping grounds.  It took me a while to get my bearings.  A number of fairly new buildings have been demolished to make way for bigger buildings.  The James Street Area has become very hip and is extending it's range into the houses.  Non of this helps the parking or me remembering where I am.  Anyway, on my way to the Fabric Store I noticed that what had been a corner store had been turned into a shop selling Indian homewares. 

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I marked this on my list to look at on my way back.  I just love this little shop called Aiyra Handcrafts. I bought 2  Kantha bedcovers and a dress.  (Wish I had bought every dress in my size now.)  I couldn't find a matching pair so I bought the same fabric design in 2 different colour ways.

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Because I wanted them to hang to the floor I bought King size covers to see how they would go.  This 2 layers of cotton fabric makes a great cover on a bed in our climate.  I made some scrappy ones for my boys when they were little out of used cotton pillow cases.  They were patched so many times because the boys loved them.

When I put the covers on the beds they were a bit long on the sides so I machined a hem on each side to raise them.  It was while I was doing this that I realised they were totally hand sewn, even the join down the middle of the fabric.  I like the use of Herringbone stitch to secure the edges of the 2 layers of fabric.

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I then wondered how long it would take to sew a King Size cover?  The stitches aren't very even, so I would say they are being paid by the piece and I wouldn't think that they will be paid very much for their work.  For me, working flat out I can't see me taking less than half a day to stitch this.  So to those women I say thank you for my bed covers I appreciate your work and will treasure them.

 

 

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Hot and Cold

It is so hot here I am dreaming about winter.  In winter I normally dream about summer.  I just wish I could have my old summer and winter back again.  These extremes are driving me crazy.  I have bookmarked a whole lot of knitting I would like to start and then got to thinking about a winter coat.  I don't need a heavy winter coat, it rarely gets very cold but a light woolen one would be suitable, and I thought some embroidery on it might be nice. 

Onto the internet to see what I could find starting with my favourite designers one of whom is Gudrun Sjoden. (I remember when I first found her shop in Denmark, I didn't want to leave.)  These designs have been machine stitched but I think they would have been taken from traditional embroidery.  I found them all on Pinterest.

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I like the centre design  the best.  So it is time to hit the fabric shops and see what I can find.  I will have to get started soon to have it ready for winter.

 

 


The world and travel

This is  going to be my travel year, or, I hope it is going to be my travel year.  With everything that is happening in the USA what the year will bring is very uncertain and I, like many others, watch unfolding events  there with dismay.  If sane heads prevail, my plans for the year are , Sydney in June to see my family, then onto Japan in August, followed by Huston USA in Oct./Nov for the International Quilt Festival.  Then on to Guatemala in South America.

You might ask why Guatemala?  Well friend Pam is taking a group there and I plan to join them.  I had been tossing the idea around for a while and then I received this wonderful gift from her.

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This is a 'Huipil ' which comes from Guatemala.  It is a vintage piece from the highlands around Lake Atitlan.  The Mayan women usually wear their traje (traditional dress), which consists of a huipol (blouse), corte, (skirt) and Faja (belt).  These designs date back to before the Spanish Invasion.  in the 1600's.

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I am surprised by just how heavy the fabric is. The blouse is made of two pieces of fabric, woven on a back strap loom and then joined with embroidery across the centre to achieve the width needed to make a garment.

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 The embroidery design in then transferred onto the fabric and stitched.

Back of stitching.  You can see how the neck has been scalloped and then faced.

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Front of stitching.

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Close up of stitching.

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I love this piece and would also like to buy one with the bird embroidery on it.

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You can see lots of other examples here.

 

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