Previous month:
February 2011
Next month:
April 2011

March 2011

A traffic problem

I live in an inner city suburb.  We moved in when our children were small and no one much wanted to live here.  The inner city has lovely old large homes and having seen how people lived in Europe we wanted a more cosmopolitan type of life style for our family.

How things have changed.  The suburb has been part of an urban renewal project and high priced apartments and homes have been built.  The population has blown out and we now have a different population profile.  Among these are lots of stressed people from all age groups.  The worst place to see this is at the traffic lights.  Car drivers  wanting to turn the corner hassle pedestrians who they think are too slow.  Last week a man was knocked off his motorised wheel chair and had to be taken to hospital.  When I saw this video I thought 'yes'  I wish I could do this, there is justice in the world.


A very good and a very bad day No 2

So the very good this time is a new point and shoot camera.  A Sony Cybershot DSC-HX7V, well that is what it says on the box but I think it is the same as the 9V model.  It has 16.2 Mega pixels 10 x optical zoom Full HD movie and 3D sweep panorama.

It is so good I'm considering not taking my D50 Canon with me on this next trip.  This is so light and easy to put in my pocket. Of course I have been snapping everything in sight. 

The kitchen in 3D panorama,


A spider web using the Zoom,


I haven't worked out how to shoot a movie as yet.

And the very bad,  I got an email from my son saying that I can not travel on the dates I have booked.  He works for an airline and I qualify for staff travel.  Great for saving money but being bumped like this is part of the cost.  I went straight into a tail spin.  It is the NZ leg of the journey that is the problem.  I have decided to get into NZ a couple of days early via Dunedin.  Have a day in the city and then take a train and coach up the back-way to Queenstown.  Actually this could turn into a positive, but it is going to cost more money.

Now if I was suspicious I would be on the lookout for another day like this.

A very bad and very good day

The very bad.  My DSLR Canon D50 (expensive) camera stopped working.  Just like that.  The shutter switch would focus but not take any photos.  Of course it is just out of warranty and is going to cost over $300 to have fixed.  If I didn't look after my camera I might understand it breaking but I am extra careful at all times.  If I think there might be a problem with the weather I take my little point and shoot.  That has been working for 4 years with out any problems. 


As I have to buy a new point and shoot and printer I will be giving Canon a big miss.

The very good.  The postman brought a new book.


I have only had a quick look but I can tell already that it is going to be wonderful.  I bought it direct from Sarah through her blog The last piece but I see that it is now in bookshops as well.  I can't wait to rush in a make a couple of the designs but I will have to leave it until I get back from my next trip.  That is getting close too.

The Stitch Study

I am now ready to start the stitch study as part of Stitch Junkies with Sharron B's stitch files.  I have been thinking about the form this will take.  It will be a major study and I want to include the stories that go with the stitches.  I also want to use to opportunity to design some new work.

So I will begin with why I have selected 'this' linen fabric.  I probably won't have enough to do all the samples on it so there may be other fabrics added along they way.

The first fabric.        25 count linen

I bought this fabric back in 1970 from the New South Wales Embroiderers Guild at a cost of $3.00 per metre.  It is 25 count beige linen and now has a few rust marks here and there. I intend to leave these marks on the fabric as they are part of it’s story.

 At that time the Guild rooms were situated in Beaumont House 167 Elizabeth Street Sydney.  I was working as a Fashion Buyer for David Jones (Australia) Ltd. and my office was half a block away.  The first time I visited the Guild I was still a cadet.  This building had also been the site of the Women’s Club and one of the older Buyers, who was my mentor at the time, had taken me to this club for lunch and someone told be about the Guild.  

The building was old with a maze of passage ways.  An old style lift, that didn’t inspire much confidence, and lots of wood panelling.  I remember the ladies as being ‘rather old’ also, and as I was about to be transfered to the London Office they told me I should visit the Victoria and Albert Museum, if I was interested in embroidery, while I was there.  This advice was to change my understanding of embroidery.

I originally bought the fabric for a large embroidery , 30” x 60”, I was stitching for my Aunt’s new home.  I found the design in  Mc Call’s Embroidery for Beginners Book 2 page 27.  My boyfriend, who later became my husband, drafted it out for me on paper and then I transfered the design onto the fabric.  I remember that the pattern came in two layers.  I stitched one and then stitched the next design over this.


I found the pattern again the other day and reading the instructions realise I didn’t understand a word.  It was supposed to be worked on Homespun Fabric. Never heard of it in Australia back then, you did embroidery on linen.  Then there was something about working it on a canvas stretcher, never heard of those things.  And, I see it was supposed to be worked in “DMC Laine Tapiserie”.  I worked it in DMC perle 3 and 5, that was all you could purchase at that time and then only from one or two stores.

The fabric has travelled with me through my whole married life, over thirty years.  It has been folded and ironed numerous times.  Stored in boxes and on shelves.  Put into plastic bags, paper bags and calico bags.  I always thought I might need it one day and now that day has arrived.  It seems right somehow that my first big purchase of embroidery fabric should be used to document all the stitches I have learnt over the years and memories that these have and will revive.

A yellow time of year

The northern hemisphere is seeing signs of Spring appearing and today I see the sign of Autumn, yellow.  Yellow everywhere, I am being covered in yellow and that means that Autumn isn't far away.  Even though it is still 30 degrees C.


I have two large Chinese Golden Rain trees in the front garden and they are raining flowers.  The spider webs are coated.


The bird bath is drowning,


and the bees are just lapping up the honey.


Outside my sewing room window the Cassia tree on the side walk is also yellow.


As I looked closer I can see that it is beginning to set seed and the pods are a rich red, tan and brown colours.


There has to be an Autumn embroidery design in here somewhere?

A new Handbag

I am getting ready for the Quilt Symposium in New Zealand and lashed out on a new handbag today.  I wanted something that was big enough  to put my laptop in when I am travelling rather than a back- pack.


I wasn't sure if the laptop would fit but it fits just fine.  I do not want to put it in my luggage to leave it to the tender mercies of the baggage handlers.  There is a special wallet for all my travel documents and passport included,


and I find I can fit my camera case (Cannon D50)  in there as well.


Just think of all the fabric I will be able to fit in when I have the computer and the camera out.


It has arrived.  I have finally finished every week of the TAST 2010 challenge, even though it is three months late.

The weeks I missed 39 & 40


So now it is time for some reflection and evaluation of the process.


  • At times I found it difficult to complete the samples and go to work.  This difficulty became greater  when I became illThis has meant that I got behind with the exercises and missed out on the feedback from other participants.
  • I choose the wrong fabric for the job.  I tried to use up old fabric, that I knew wasn't the best quality from my stash.  Lesson learnt, always use the best quality materials you can.
  • Sometimes I didn't do the best stitching I was capable of because I thought the pieces were just for me. Always stitch as though you have an audience.


  • I have a wonderful teaching resource.
  • These samples have acted as inspiration for developing embroidery designs.
  • The feedback from the other participants was really valuable.
  • I increased my vocabulary of stitches, which means I have a wider range of ways to express myself.
  • Being part of this challenge has unlocked another part of my creativity.
  • I have developed a process model that I can use to learn the stitches and explore their capabilities.

5 steps to use to find out what a stitch can do

  1. Complete the stitch as illustrated using a medium thickness of thread.  Then repeat this using a thin and then a thick thread.  By the time you have stitched it 3 times you will know the stitch.  Changing the thread can show some of the different effects you can achieve.
  2. Change the direction of the stitch.  Try it in a jagged line, a circle or a curve.  Stitch it back to back.  There are endless possibilities here.
  3. Disconnect the stitch.  Make just one stitch in isolation and play around with the size and direction.
  4. Vary the distance between stitches.  Bunch them up, spread them out, make them unbalanced.
  5. Combine the stitch with part or all of another stitch and make something new.

So now it is time to move on.  Overall I have enjoyed this challenge so have signed up for the Stitch Junkies on Stitching Fingers.  I intend to use the first page of Sharon's Stitch Files and then design an embroidery for groups of stitches.

Gee it is good to draw a line under a project.




Interesting videos

He's back.  Hans Rosling has a new video on TED talks about washing machines.  But before that TED is having a week (beginning 21st March) promoting  "Ads worth Spreading". 

There are 10 winning ads and another 14 honourable mentions.  Everyone is worthwhile looking at.  The one which caught my imagination was the Dulux Walls add.  The "Let's Color Project" is Dulux's initiative to transform houses, schools, and public squares with paint. 


There are a whole host of videos on You Tube about this project.  One of my favourites is the colour project in India.  What the colour of textiles means to people in this culture was fascinating.


Of all the places I have visited in the world India sticks with me.  I loved other places better, but the memories of India keep coming back.  There were times I hated it but still I think about it. Of all the places I have visited in India Rajistan is my favourite, not the most beautiful in the traditional sense but still the most beautiful to me.

And so to Hans Rosling and the washing machine.


Makes you think, doesn't it?

Tast 2010 Weeks 41 & 42

I thought that these would be the last but I still have another two on the list before I can write FIN.

Week 41 Crossed Feather Stitch


I always start out be saying "there is not much I can do with this"  and then I change the direction or some other element and bingo, there is another image.  When I put this stitch around a circle I could see feet, so by adding a knot to the top I had people walking in a line.

Week 42 Plaited Feather Stitch


This is a pretty stitch and the choice of colours you use  add to it's charm.  The circle I worked looked a lot better just as a wreath, still you never know then you might want something different.


Those numbers look wrong.  They are.  I have missed weeks 39 & 40 and I have no fabric left to stitch them.  How did I do that?  Well weeks 39 & 40 were combined.

TAST 2010 Week 39 and 40 Buttonhole Picot,
and week 38 was Picot Chain.  Oh Dear.  Now I am back to 4 weeks before I finish.