Embroidery Feed

Monday Morning

It's Monday and I don't know what I have done over the past few days.  Oh, I know, I was gardening and have managed to put my neck out.  When I was a kid I was knocked down by a car on a pedestrian crossing.  It was a surreal experience.  I don't remember seeing the car before it hit me but I must have because I jumped up into the air and didn't go under the wheels.  I do remember being in the air and thinking,

"you are going to do a backwards flip, you have never been able to do one of these before.  You are going to come down on the median concrete strip, tuck your head in and roll.  Also, I'm going to wreck my school blazer and my Mother will kill me."

All that in just a few seconds.  I did tuck my head in and roll but I fractured my skull and cracked a bone in my neck along with hurting my leg.  Now that I am getting older these things are coming back to haunt me. My neck is the worst and I am usually pretty careful but I got carried away with a new hoe I bought at the hardware store.  

Screen Shot 2017-01-29 at 4.18.43 pm

The soil in my garden is terrible.  Someone must have put down a plastic layer and then added lots of gravel in an attempt to break up the heavy red clay.  I need to break it up and get the plastic out.  As we live by the sea I also have to contend with the wind and salt air.  Behind the house is sheltered but over run with ferns.

Screen Shot 2017-01-29 at 4.19.09 pm

  I have more I want to do in the garden but will have to put it off for a bit while I recover.  I think pots will be the best option. 

Screen Shot 2017-01-29 at 4.18.57 pm

I now actually have some flowers I can pick from the pots.

Screen Shot 2017-01-29 at 4.19.18 pm

So I have been stitching.  Some samples for a new "Introduction to Kogin" class. 

Screen Shot 2017-01-29 at 4.17.42 pm

One thing a teacher has to have at the forefront of their mind when teaching beginners is that you have to think like they would.  Now, once you reach a certain level of compentancy this isn't easy to do.  We all remember that Math teacher who couldn't understand why we couldn't see it.  He couldn't explain it at a beginners level. Technically what happens  is that our learning has switched into the automatic, like when you know how to drive a car. We don't have to think about it we just know.  But the beginner hasn't got here yet and is still at stage 1.  It is not easy to switch your brain out of that automatic mode.

Screen Shot 2017-01-29 at 4.18.04 pm

  So, that is what I have tried to think about when planning this project.  I am trying to keep it simple but have some challenge in there as well.




Xmas 2016

Advent has begun and I have unpacked all the old decorations and Xmas pieces.  This is the first Xmas in this house since it has had the extensions finished and we unpacked all the boxes.

  Screen Shot 2016-12-07 at 5.20.01 pm

All the old favourites rose to the surface, some a little worse for wear.

  Screen Shot 2016-12-07 at 5.19.50 pm

Some are broken and will have to be fixed and failing that replaced.

Screen Shot 2016-12-07 at 5.19.25 pm Screen Shot 2016-12-07 at 5.19.38 pm
 We have so many memories of Xmas' Past tied up in all these thing.

Screen Shot 2016-12-07 at 5.19.09 pm

I was going to get the advent calendar set up for the grand children but they had a commercial one they were looking forward to using.  So, this one will go away until some Xmas in the future. But my Drops Christmas calendar has arrived, so I have my own advent calendar.  The countdown is underway.

Screen Shot 2016-12-02 at 2.01.51 pm





25% Fluent

That is what my Italian classes say that I am but I'm not sure about that.  I have turned the translator off on the Italian embroidery blogs I follow and I can make out about 25% of the script, so perhaps they are right.

One blog that I follow is "Il Piacere del ricamo", The pleasure of embroidery, written by Silvana Fontinelli.   I now know what 'Salve Ragazze' means.  (Hello Girls)  On her post No 640 she has a lovely little project that I am about to start stitching.

Screen Shot 2016-12-06 at 8.07.43 pm

It is stitched in No 8 DMC perle cotton, so should stitch up very quickly.  All the patterns are there on the blog along with very clear photos of how to stitch the piece.  Silvana also does beautiful drawn thread work and if you are not learning Italian you can just translate it into English.  This might make a nice Xmas decoration? (Oh the Italian says it's a Xmas decoration)


Heating up

It is hot here 38 degrees centigrade.  I have been working flat out stitching samples for the next Children's Class.  I had the idea for this class back in April but could never get it all together.  Now, with a dead-line looming, the samples are finished. 

It is a "Two in One" project.  The cover can be used as a needle case or a key case.  Each of the little pouches have a lining of wadding and a cotton fabric.  For 'Polly the Pig' I used some glitter fabric that was so pretty I extended it a little to make a trim.  I used a natural coloured fabric for the cover because they will be handled a lot and pale colours will show the dirt.  (they are washable.)

Screen Shot 2016-12-03 at 5.55.26 pm

Depending on how quickly the students complete the embroidery, they can have no trim, like the birds, or a row of stitching around the hem and also a small embroidery on the back.  For those really quick sewers, they can make their own cord.

There are seven different designs to choose from, although I have only stitched out three.  (I got a bit carried away with the drawing.)  The purpose of this class is to teach how you can fill in a shape using stitches other than satin stitch.  I tested these on the grand children and the pig won hands down.

That cloak

As you can probably tell from yesterday's post I have been to see Dr. Strange at the movies which invoked all those memories.

Screen Shot 2016-11-27 at 8.35.08 am

I had been told by a friend not to leave when the credits came up as there was more so I sat and looked at all the names of the animators etc, that went on for ages, and there was more.  But in among all those names there was a small section recognising the costume designers.  So I went looking to find out more because that cloak is just wonderful.

Screen Shot 2016-11-27 at 8.48.41 am

It is hand and machine embroidered, pieced using nap and like colours.  A work of art. As are all the costumes in this movie.

Screen Shot 2016-11-27 at 8.49.03 am

There is a great article in Vanity Fair by Joanna Robinson about the designing of this cloak and at the bottom of the article are some wonderful images, where these two came from.

I have always admired the work of Alexandra Byrne in many movies and love the fact that embroidery is used in many of her creations.

Screen Shot 2016-11-27 at 8.58.31 am

There is a huge body of work from costume designers that isn't really recognised, it is just part of the movie and gets a credit in those bits at the end, that a lot of people walk out on. 

I loved the movie, pure fantasy, which I love.


Some more goodies.

I also picked up a couple of donations for the Guild Collection whilst I was in Toowoomba.  The first is an apron.  These were available through a newspaper back in the 1920's and 30's.  There are lots of them still around and are sort after by collectors.  This one has a lovely story attached to it.

Screen Shot 2016-11-23 at 7.39.30 pm

It belonged to the Donor's grandmother who had travelled to a country property to be a governess for the children of a widower.  She and he later married and had a family of their own.  This was her special occasion apron and the donor remembers her wearing it when she was a little girl.  Some of these aprons were only outline stitched,

Screen Shot 2016-11-23 at 7.42.50 pm

image from Pinterest

but others had the whole design stitched like this one.  It certainly makes the skirt come to life.

Screen Shot 2016-11-23 at 7.40.29 pm

The woman in the design has the look of Wallace Simpson, I don't know if this was deliberate.

Screen Shot 2016-11-23 at 7.40.04 pm

There is a pretty small design on the shawl and this is mirrored on the pocket.

Screen Shot 2016-11-23 at 7.39.50 pm

The apron even has the original safety pins used to attach it do the wearers dress.

Screen Shot 2016-11-23 at 7.40.47 pm


A bit of detective work

After the shock of the camera on my phone not working and then it just popping up again I can now write about some of the happenings on my weekend at Toowoomba as I can post some images.

One of the other women at the retreat asked me if I could find out about an old piece of clothing that her grandparents had brought to Australia from Poland.  This was the old Poland, when it's borders extended north and it was part of Imperial Russia pre WW1.  It was part of a child's dress that had been mostly hand made from parts of other clothing.  The most notable feature was the beading on the bodice and sleeves.

Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 7.44.13 pm

There are two distinctly different types of beading. The first is on the yolk across the shoulders, and is stitched.

Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 7.45.06 pm

The second is across the chest region and is woven.

Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 7.43.52 pm

I suspect that they were taken from two separate garments.

The beading on the sleeves is similar to that on the shoulders but might have come from another garment altogether.

Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 7.46.19 pm

Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 8.01.48 pm

The beading at the side of these panels has been sewn into the pintucking and although the beads are a good match in colour, there is a slight difference in the beads.

On the back of the beading you can see the construction method and the piecing.

Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 7.46.55 pm

The designs have a Scandinavian look about them and I suspect that some of the original beading was part of a Saami (Lapland) costume.  If you look at the bands around the sleeves those animals look like deer of some kind.  The other hypothesis is that the maker copied some of the Saami designs.

Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 7.45.44 pm

The Saami today mainly live in Norway and Sweden but there are others smaller groups that live in Finland and Russia.  Although I have no documentary proof I suspect that some of the beaded sections of this garment originate with the "Skolt Saami" or perhaps the Karelians who live in the same area.

Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 3.58.38 pm

Source: Wikipeadia

I  had read that the yoked sweaters that we know today were originally taken from beading designs used in Greenland by the Saami.

There is one interesting little feature.  One the back of the yoke there was a pyramid of yellow beads on each side. I wonder if these were original or added later?

Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 9.01.38 pm

So here sits a piece of a small dress that was obviously much prized as it was brought to the other side of the world.  The decorated section was cut off and packed away probably because it held memories of home.   So if you have a treasured piece make sure you write it's history so that we are not guessing where it came from or who made it.


Embroidery Inspiration

Some time ago I started following the Swedish Embroidery Guild after reading about it on Queenies blog. There is always interesting things there, different from what you see on other sites.  One of the artists they talked about was Eva Nelander Junten.  Her website is called 'Colour, Form & Textiles.

She has some lovely images on her site.

Screen Shot 2016-11-16 at 7.59.08 am

Screen Shot 2016-11-16 at 7.45.29 am

At first I thought that most of her stitching was by machine but a lot of it is hand stitched, beautifully.

Screen Shot 2016-11-16 at 7.43.49 am

Screen Shot 2016-11-16 at 7.43.08 am

 Her work has a folk art touch to it you can see her work here & here.

The other thing that attracted my attention was embroidery inspired by Eucalyptus bark.  I look at these trees all day and have often thought they would make a good embroidery.

Screen Shot 2016-11-16 at 8.09.46 am

This is perfect.

Screen Shot 2016-11-16 at 8.11.04 am



Being Tempted

You know that little devil that pops into your mind and says, 'now that looks interesting, maybe....'  Well she has turned up again.  This time with her needle and thread in hand and is tempting me with an interesting embroidery project.

Screen Shot 2016-11-02 at 8.05.12 am

I am trying to resist but I have to admit that I am finding it hard.  I have wanted to do a Quaker Sampler for ages.  I even bought all the patterns from Needleprint with that in mind.  Problem is they are for a 40 count linen, which I don't think I want to stitch again.  This pattern is on 32 count linen and I think I could handle that.  It is from Modern Folk Embroidery and is called 'Elizabeth Gee Quaker Sampler.'

Screen Shot 2016-11-02 at 7.52.49 am

I have decided to bookmark the page and think about until the end of the month.  Oh it is tempting!

When looking around at Jacob's site at Modern Folk Embroidery I wandered onto the family website which is written with his Mother and Sister called, "Of Home & Garden".  Not hard to see where this young designer gets his talent. Lovely site, one to which I will be returning often. Some of the images are works of art.

Screen Shot 2016-11-02 at 4.26.28 pm

Image from Of Home and Garden.com









Exhibition at Craft Fair

There was an exhibition at the Craft Fair featuring the work of  Akiko Ike.

Screen Shot 2016-10-22 at 11.46.11 am

(I did make a video of her talk but it was too long to upload.)

Her method of stitching "Chiku Chiko", which is taken from the sound the needle makes as it is pulled through the fabric, is very simple but falls into that catagory of stitching that makes it very relaxing to stitch. 

Screen Shot 2016-10-22 at 11.48.59 am

Screen Shot 2016-10-22 at 11.48.43 am

But it was Akiko's personality that shone through.  She is irreverant and funny, has great style and this all shine though although she speaks no English.

Screen Shot 2016-10-22 at 11.50.15 am

It was the details that made this talk so interesting.

The fact that she couldn't sew as a child but came to it at 60 years of age and has been stitching every day since and she is now 74 y.o.

Her hands.

Screen Shot 2016-10-22 at 11.59.52 am

Her sewing box.

Screen Shot 2016-10-22 at 12.00.25 pm

And the fact that she kept her cottons in a colander.

Screen Shot 2016-10-22 at 12.00.10 pm

I can see why her techniques have become popular.

Here are some interesting links about her work. (lots of images)

Crazy Sashiko 1

Crazy Sashiko 2



These was also an artilce in Quiltmania Issue 100