Embroidery Feed

Apologies and a sigh of relief

It has taken months, lots of profanities and near nervous breakdowns but I have finally sorted my computer problems, for the moment.  It turns out it was a fault with my service provider and now that I have sorted that I find I have over 2,000 emails to work through. 

We have had so much rain as well, over a months rainfall in 2 days, and this hasn't helped at all.  What with wild storms damaging the phone towers and now all this rain I am hopeful that I am now back onto the tracks and will run along at a steady and predictable pace.  We did develop a leak in the latest storm which partly flooded the kitchen.  I went to put on the dishwasher only to find that all the cleaner was soaked.  Next thing will be mold.  I have the bleach all ready for that.  I did find that my kitchen table top is showing some wear so went looking for a tablecloth to cover it.  I only had one tablecloth the right size and this was one I bought in an Op shop.

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It looks like it was made by Betty or Ron or by someone else for Betty and Ron.

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I wonder who Betty and Ron were and if they liked sitting at their table with this cloth.  Were they young, old, still living or dead?  So many questions but it is obvious that they were a couple and it would seem that they enjoyed this or else all that work wouldn't have gone into the stitching.  I was wondering if I should make another with Carolyn and Bill?  I don't think so.

Those lovely flowers on the table were from my daughter in law as a thank you for dropping everything and looking after a little wounded child.  Turns our it is not broken but lots of soft tissue damage.  She still can not stand on it so we are booked for more babysitting.

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She has lost another tooth and was angling for $4 from the tooth fairy.  She had to settle for $2.

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So apologies to all those people I have not replied to via Email.  I am working on it.

P.S.  I spoke too soon, that Email has gone again!  But, I just got it back.  This could go on forever......

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.


I am in the process of developing a class on applique and want to include a number of different techniques.  I had to make a friendship block for my friend which used a technique I think I will include.  It is a good method for larger pieces of fabric.

You will need a base fabric to applique it onto, applique fabric and iron on interfacing. 

Make sure that your pattern piece is cut on the bias because this will make it turn through and stitch in place evenly.

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Put your iron on inter-faceing  with the glue side against the right side of your fabric.  Trace your pattern onto the wrong side of your main fabric,

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then sew around this line.  DO NOT IRON.

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Trim back your seam allowance.  Turn to the interfacing side and make a small slit in this.

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Turn through to the right side.  DO NOT IRON.

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Roll the edges between your fingers to get the edge to sit straight.

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It is never easy to pull your points through.  You could use a collar turner.

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Or put a thread through the corner

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and then pull the corner out when you turn it through.

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Position your applique piece onto your base fabric and now iron in position.  Once you iron there is no turning back so make sure you have it in the correct position.  Slip stitch the edges into position.

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This method works well where you have larger and regular applique pieces.

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A long trip

I took the long drive up to Warwick yesterday to visit quilting friends who were staying at Glenrose House.  It is in a lovely country location and they offer accommodation for quilting retreats and it has a great shop there as well.  But I do have to drive there and back, 3 1/2  hours in each direction to get to and from the place.  Seven hours of driving is a lot.

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The drive took me through lots of traffic for over 1 1/2 hours, then I got out into the country side, along with a few big trucks, and then after a few glimpses, the border ranges suddenly come into view. 

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We have been bush walking up here and it always takes my breath away.

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On this day I only had to deal with a few trucks on other days I haven't been so lucky.  This road gives access to the New England Highway that runs all the way down to NSW and the big rigs are a constant hazzard.

  Warwick is known for it's roses,

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the rodeo

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and the jumpers and jazz winter festival.

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This was shopping and lunch day in town for my friends so it was back into the cars and into town.  Country towns are always a bit different.  In the fabric shop, which sells patchwork, dress and curtain fabrics, along with lots of other things I saw a sample for a Chicken Scratch Embroidery class.  You can't buy that heavier weight gingham any more here that you can get in Europe so it was stitched on a light weight poly cotton.  Not quite the same but the pattern was nice, they had even used the needle woven stars.

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We had morning tea at Mamma Lucia's Patisserie where the cakes are to die for and they have all the national trophies they have won for baking on display.

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Then more shopping and on to lunch at the garden centre.  I did not buy one plant, I have to do something with the ones I have.  But there were some beautiful flowers there.

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I thought about this as a design for embroidery.

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As to my own shopping, I was very restrained.  Just 30cm (20") of each print for some more bags.

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The latest research shows that the number one indicator of a long life is the support of friends.  I am going to live forever!!!

A subtle difference

Over the years that I have been hand stitching, especially Kogin embroidery, I have come to realise that there is one big difference in technique between Japanese and Western stitchers, and this has to do with how we hold our needle.  Just a small difference in the position of the wrist has a huge outcome.  Not only in what the stitches look like but the response triggered in our brain.

We hold our needle with our wrist in an upward position.

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 They hold theirs in a sideways grip.

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Here is a video of Yoko Saito, which is published on You Tube, (she was at Houston when I was there), and how she stitches.


The Japanese method produces speed and accuracy where the western method results in the release of chemicals in the brain that calm you because of the repetitive motion.  I have been practicing both methods and think I like that calming effect best.  It takes a lot longer to finish the piece of embroidery but I have become hooked on the chemicals my brain produces.


I think I am back!

This last week has been so intense that when I sat down to write this post I thought it had been weeks since I had been here not days.  I have such a backlog of tasks to catch up with and a huge pile of others waiting to be attempted.  What has got me so off balance you ask?  Those Children's Classes! 

On reviewing  I feel that the embroidery designs were good but there was too much to do in the making up of the projects, especially that purse frame.  I still have a small bundle of purses to put together and post out to students.  That has only happened once before.  I think the problem was that we had such a large class and I 'assumed' that my volunteers knew more than they did.  That is one to put down to experience.  Having said that those children were delightful.  I do like teaching kids no matter how frazzled I get.

Starting with my big girls, who are now on the brink of becoming young women.  (How time flys.)  They were not very taken by pineapples.  So, out came the books and they came up with something that suited them.

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Another crop of stitchers who have great skills to now move on into the world of embroidery.  This is what teaching is all about.

The younger ones did like pineapples and they stitched their little hands off.  Some stitched so fast I had to quickly come up with a design for a back panel to keep them busy.


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The images are not as good as I would like.  I have a new camera and getting the images onto my computer is a unfamiliar process.  Plus, Apple keeps sending through more upgrades to the operating system and I have to work out how they work!  They say they are improvements but I'm not sure.

I have a break now till the next class and this time the assembly is going to be a simpler.

Stitching Stories

There is a wonderful post on friend Pam's blog about an exhibition she saw at the Adelaide Art Gallery in South Australia.  This exhibition is work of the Yarrenyty Arltere women. I was so taken by their work this sent me looking for their web and facebook pages so that I could learn more.

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source: facebook

These women come from Alice Springs so they are desert people.  There are lots of wonderful artists out there but this is the first time I have seen indigenous women stitching.  They not only stitch but they use old blankets that they dye with natural dyes first as their base cloth. 

Having lived in Arnhem Land I really appreciate the humour that is distinctly theirs and I can imagine those women stitching and laughing at their own work.  I love the thoughts of this artist who has given her pieces two heads because she has two thoughts in her head at the same time, should she stitch but she would like to go into town as well!  I felt exactly the same hanging out the washing and thinking I should be hosing the garden and was pulled between the two.

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The other thing that struck me was how much they like stitching for exactly the same reasons we like stitching but they are far more insightful about their experience.  Marlee Rubuntja says:

In 2009 I came to the art centre, I thought , I'll try this. And now I come everyday. Then I got strong for this art centre, I love this art. In 2009 I didn't see properly what was happening, how this art was getting me strong. In my head and heart I grew all these ideas and I started  feeling well again. Now I feel like a strong woman, I like talking for this place, this art because I want others to be encouraged to get strong also. When we first started sewing we were in kindergarten, then we started focusing properly and moving to primary school, then high school then university- and now I'm waiting to be a professor of sewing! Look out world, I might sew Parliament House!!

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source: http://www.yarrenytyarltereartists.com/artists#/marlene/

Thinking about the  week 1 TAST challenge this section of stitching using just running stitch an old dyed wool blanket and wool yarn, that looks like it comes from Lindcraft or Spotlight, is inspirational.

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This may not be wise?

I have decided to add a new piece of stitching to that great bundle that I already have in progress and I know this may not be a wise thing to do.  My reason for doing it is that I want something that I can just pick up and take with me to Guild stitching days.  One of the members, Katherine, has a piece of cross stitch that she just stitches on meeting days.  I thought I would take a leaf out of her book.  So I have decided to take part in the  Mystery SAL that is being run by Jacob through his blog at Modern Folk Embroidery. 

I have bought the first pattern, for the princely sum of .75p, "The four seasons - A Primitive Quaker year", and am now preparing the fabric and thread.

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Just to be a bit different, and because I have the fabric sitting in the draw, I have decided to use a dyed 32 count linen that I bought some time ago and I have also decided to use silk thread.  Another of those "it may not be wise" decisions.

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The thread is from Kaalund Yarns and comes in 12 strands.  I thought 2 strands might not give me the coverage I want but after stitching a few stitches with 3 strands then some with 2 strands, I think the 2 strands is the way to go. 

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 There is 10 metres on a skein of the silk.  The instructions say I need 180metres of stranded thread or 17.5 to 22.5 skeins of DMC stranded cotton.  I think I can get away with 3 skeins of the silk but had better buy 4 or 5 of the same dye lot.  Oh dear, the thread is going to be expensive!

This is going to be a big piece, 70cm X 50cm.  Now I just have to wait for the shops to re-open to buy the thread.

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Thoughts on stitching in 2018

I see that Sharron has put up a piece about TAST in 2018 and I think that I will join the "Beyond TAST Challenge."

I first started with TAST back in 2009 but didn't get very far.  It wasn't until 2011 that I became serious about exploring the stitches and made sure that I did a piece every week.  It was a great learning experience, not so much in learning new stitches but in exploring what I could do with those stitches.

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In the past I have used this exercise to build a folio of what I can do with certain stitches but this time I think I will used this activity to design embroidered boxes.  I have been looking at a number of French blogs that have featured embroidered boxes and I like the work of Lea Stansal and wonder if I couldn't take this in another direction.

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Or I could play it safe and work on a fabric book.  I think it will be boxes.  I will have to look at the challenge first me thinks!