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February 2013

January 2013

Progress on the Sweet Hearts Challenge

Back on the 1st of this month I posted that I was going to take part in this challenge, the 'sweet hearts'.  One block a day for 365 days.  This is my progress for January.

Firstly, I decided to change the arrangement of the blocks,  I have put in white backgrounds to make a bigger heart pattern distributed across the quilt.  I had 28 of these to make but I missed that some would be on point so I have made one extra.  Poor little orphan block.


I had cut all the other background blocks, but I have made them all 1/2" larger 4.5" instead of the 4" in the instructions.  I did this so that I could trim back but I think the appliques look better with that little extra space around them.  So this quilt is going to be bigger.

DSC07486 - Version 2
This is a red white and blue quilt so I thought I had better put it up on the board to make sure it would look alright.  I think it will be a little bigger than a single bed size.


Those white background blocks don't come in until row 8 so I have a lot of sewing to do until then.  Most other people are up to row 5 and have a lot more to show.  But I am on track with my one block a day.

Hey, you white glove ladies.

I have just been reading an advice from the British Library about the use of white gloves.  And guess what?  They don't recommend their use but recommend "Clean dry hands, free from creams and lotions" as being preferable in the majority of circumstances.

image: British Library


They have a series of videos for using their collection if you are interested.  There is also a link  to academic research about "Misperceptions about White Gloves".  I have to add that this research is focused on handling books but there are parts of this research that has relevance for textiles as well.  So all those white gloves may be doing more harm than good.

Weather update

We are now cleaning up.  The leaks have been repaired.  All the litter in the garden collected.  The paths and verandahs swept.  I'm glad I swept and didn't hose because the water treatment plant is having serious problems due to the silt in the river.  Some people are going onto bottled water tomorrow,  I have boiled up 20 litres to keep us going for the next few days.

 The sad thing has been the deaths of 4 people including a 3 year old when a gum tree came down on him and his mother.  She is still in hospital.  Gum trees are not called 'widow makers' for nothing. 

I, like everyone else, has been glued to the TV watching events unfold.  Last flood (2011) we lost electricity for 5 days and just had our radio.  When the emergency calls went out to some towns and cities my heart was in my mouth.  At Laidly, only about 60K to the west, the call was just "get to high ground, don't try and take anything you only have a little time to save yourself."

Courier Mail

The emergency at Bundaberg to the north is frightening.  The call there was "get up on your roof and we will try to get you out."   Some people were up there overnight with the river running at about 40 knots.


Watching the choppers come in to some houses was hair raising.  This being the tropics the chopper would disturb the fruit bats.  They would all fly up in the air and hitting one of them will bring a chopper down.  Living on the ground you forget about the hazard up there.  TV aerials, powerlines etc.  There were a lot of elderly people being got out.  When you are in your 80's or 90's and lost everything how do you start again?


I noticed that sports bags have come into their own for lifting babies and dogs up to the choppers.



There are lots of small towns cut off with no drinking water and little food and at one point half of the state had no telephone.  Both the main cable and the back up cable were cut.

I was planning to travel to Toowoomba on friday to see my friend Angela.  But the water looks a bit deep and at this point it is 4k wide.


Where the water has gone down the road is a bit of a mess.


I am teaching up there in March I might have to wait until then.  I hope things are back to normal by then.  Angela's daughter is expecting a baby in early February down in Melbourne.  I hope she can get down to her to look after the other children.

Oh beautiful Queensland, beautiful one day, who know what will come next?

A new book

A new book arrived in the mail and the cost of the postage was twice the cost of the book.  But I really wanted this book and the Etsy sellers were out of stock so I had to go with Amazon Japan.

It is another book on Kogin stitching but these are modern interpretations.  I feel they take this work to another level all together.  ( I think the author and designer is Hisako Kamata.)


It is, of course , all written in Japanese but with my trusty dictionary I have been able to deduce that all the coloured work has been stitched on Lugano 25 count fabric using DMC 25 flouche threads.  There are still a lot of works in this book stitched on the traditional hemp but the finish you can achieve with the Lugano is better, especially hems and edges.

I have been experimenting with the Lugano fabric for a while but just couldn't find a thread that would work.  Thank goodness for the internet.  I can buy the fabric from the UK and the threads from the USA.    Mary Corbet wrote a review about this thread here.

Time to chatch my breath

I just fell into bed and slept for a full 10 hours, I was so tired.  Why?  It has been 'Children's Classes" time again.  Added to that has been the heat and the anxiety that I will have forgotten something or that something would go wrong.  But nothing went wrong and everything went right.

I am always delighted when the children personalise my designs, I like the kids to make the work their own.  So, not many pieces the same as any that I spent hours working on but  lots that took the designs down their own paths.  This class was 'Chicken Scratch'.  Some examples.

Woven stars and the addition of a bead as a spacer between the tassel, which made such a difference.  Everyone learnt how to made a tassel along with the stitching.

Here are some more with that bead and the pattern is their own arrangement.  (The pink fabric is from Ikea.)

I had a big box full of bright coloured  No 8 Perle cottons. The children could choose any colour combinations that they wanted to.  They even mixed up the colours for their tassels.


The older girls has a small check, which took more stitching and had a higher level of difficulty.


This image isn't very clear, but Holly decided she would do a different pattern altogether, which was very effective.  I love the different coloured tie on the tassel.


This is a two day class and on the second day they all came with their ipods and phones to put into their bags.  Those that didn't have any of these took money out of their money boxes and other special things to put into their new shoulder bags.

Our little Grace not only used her own arrangement of the design but put lots of colours in her bag.

(The little ones, 6 year olds, had a larger check so it would stitch up quicker.)


That's the wrong way around, this is the front.


There was only a couple of bags that weren't quite finished but I sat at the sewing machine all day sewing in the linings so it was only a little bit of hand sewing on the sides, (which they sewed), some weren't quite finished and those two students only attended the class on the second day. 

Phew! Now it's on to the one day class at Easter.

That wind

That wind sounds like a train coming through a tunnel.  It isn't too bad down here it is up in the air it is roaring.  We still have to survive the night but hopefully the worst has gone over.  It amazes me that big trees can bend so far in the wind before they break.  No breaks yet.

I had a rather trying afternoon.  My husband headed off to help our daughter, who was taking in water, leaving me to find I was taking in water.  The rain was hitting the windows at a horizontal angle with this high wind behind it.  We are having some more work done, new skirting boards and surrounds on the windows.  Guess what?  The windows in the kitchen are not weather tight.  Water everywhere.  Here I am out in that rain and wind trying to rig up a tarp.  I did it, but boy did I get wet.

I decided that I had to take my mind off it all, so I stitched.  I rang my husband to tell him to check before he drove home because there were warnings about flooding.  When he got home there was a news alert that where he had driven the road was cut and people had to be rescued.  It can only have been 20 mins after he arrived home. 

That wind is booming out there again.  I hope I can sleep.  I had better get some more stitching ready to take my mind off it.   I finished Silly Stitching No 14 this afternoon.  I was stitching very fast.


Here we go again.

First we were melting, now we are being washed away.

That Monsoon finally turned up and with it has come high winds and rain.  For those people on the coast mini tornados  (200 km per hr winds) have come off the water and wiped out homes.


All the beaches are closed.

752391-wild-weather-at-hervey-bayThis image from Hervey Bay blogger Deborah Cook, of, shows wild conditions at Urangan.

I am going to make a quick trip to the shops for candles , just in case we lose power.( It is supposed to hit here this afternoon.) I hear that those poor people in Grantham are being flooded again.  This time they have had some warning.




A new toy

I have a new lense for my camera, it is a gift from my husband.  It is wonderful.  I can now get in close on my embroidery.  Up till now I have been using my little point and shoot, which is fine , but this lens is terrific.