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October 2015
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December 2015

November 2015

A bit of no stress time.

I decided to take some time and just sew for the hell of it this past weekend.  I have now bought a number of Craftsy on-line courses one of which was how to make some small bags  by Joan Hawley, which was only $23 Aus.  (It would have cost more than that to buy the patterns.)  I have made lots of bags, even some like the ones in the course, so it was a case of no stress.  (Oh,  except this was why I had to find that walking foot for the machine, that I never found so had to buy a new one.  But that was a couple of weeks ago.  This time I had the walking foot ready to go.)

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I had pre-watched the class and saw the instructor use clips rather than pins.  I'm hooked.  These are a great little tool.

Bag 2

There are three different bags in this lesson but I thought this box bag would be the most useful.  I set myself up with my ipad mini in front of the machine and just enjoyed myself.  I did change the pattern slightly by top stitching the zipper, but you know I think it would have been just as good without the top stitching.

Bag 1

The trick to these bags is being 100% accurate in your measuring and sewing.  The bag looks good and it isn't even ironed yet.

Bag 3

I also like the fact that you can hang it from the door handle.  Now, I wonder how I could add embroidery to one of these bags?

Bag 4



Yes I am getting to applique but not the type I wanted to do.  I have spent a couple of days getting the applique ready for the January Children's Classes.  That has meant tracing, cutting out and mounting part of the pattern onto Bake Paper.  The head of the cat I have left of the kids to do in class but all those small pattern pieces and little chatty people looked like a big problem to me.


The next problem is the very young ones, 4,5 & 6 years of age.  I have decided that I will have to partly do some of their stitching for them, so that is going to be another couple of hours on each piece.  I am starting to see these in my sleep after preparing 35 of them.  I know I will need a new pair of small sharp scissors after all this cutting out.

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Now, I know the class isn't until the end of January, but,  we are going to have to move out of our home for the builder to do the extensions.  Once again everything will need to be packed up and go into storage, yet again.  I am hoping that we will be able to find something on the island to rent during this time but it is going to be more disruption, so, I want to get all the projects designed and kits put together for the Children's Classes finished and ready right through to June "16.  They start work in February and think it will take 16 weeks.  There are always hold ups so I expect it to take 20 to 24 weeks.  That will take us through until the end of June.  Maybe I should think about the September class as well?






I have completed the cross stitch part of this piece, just the back stitching details to go, "You Beaut".  I never thought I would get to this point.  This is a picture of Hill Top Farm in Cumbria.  I bought the kit from the National Trust Shop there.


I have had to make a number of changes to the pattern for it to suit the end use.  Firstly, it was supposed to be stitched in one thread.  I didn't like the look.  It didn't give enough coverage to the fabric so I changed that to two threads.  You know what that meant?  Not enough thread but as I have tons that wasn't a problem.  I just dug into my stash, although I had to keep looking at the Anchor to DMC conversion charts all the time.  The other problem was the finished size.  I want this to go into the top of  a music box and the design was a wee bit small.  With a bit of adjustment I think I have it to fit.  My grand daughters are very impressed with this piece, especially as it is part of farmer McGregor's farm.  Although they keep  asking where is Peter rabbit?


I think this qualifies as "finished the cross stitch" so although it isn't completely finished I think I can now start the applique. But I hope to have that back stitch and mounting finished by early December so I can post it off as a Xmas gift.  If not the following Xmas.  Plenty of time.

And I am finished my Fusion embroidery.  Some details.  It is stitched on 32 count Zeigart linen.  I have used DMC unstranded thread for the centre and the surrounding threads were Kaalund Hand Dyed Silk for the Flowers and the trunk of the tree in Cottage Garden hand dyed cotton thread.

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I started this piece just to see how the traditional Kogin patterns would stitch out on a European fabric and I found that the patterns looked beautiful but they lost some of their oriental appearance.  Then the piece took on a life of it's own.

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I had never attempted to draw a Orange Blossom Tree before this but it sort of ran out of the pen.  I didn't have to make hardly any adjustments to it.  I concentrated on the shape of the tree trunk and tried to give some impression of the flowers. 

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For the sampler part of the embroidery I drafted the outline of the squares, unfilled to start, and then drew a square each week.  I would normally like to have a picture in my mind of the finished piece but this piece decided itself how it would grow.  By spreading the stitching over a long period of time, one block each week, it gave me time to concentrate on just that piece of the pattern and bring to it my full concentration, and that has resulted in my stitching being of a higher standard. 





Taking time

 I am starting to design a new piece in Kogin and got to thinking about how peaceful and content this form of stitching makes me feel.  It is repetitive and requires a level of concentration that doesn't allow you to think of other things.  I found this video about making paper string in Korea, the process of which seems to be similar in that it too is repetitive and also seems to require the same sort of concentration.    If you can enlarge the picture to full screen, it is a lovely video.


Long postponed

My Great Aunt brought me back this table runner for me to embroidery when I was a young girl and I have had it in my 'to do' draw since then.  She bought it when she went on a cruise of the Greek Islands and then continued onto Egypt so that she could ride a camel around the pyramids for her 75th birthday. 

IMG_3350 copy

The problem with this piece was that I had no idea how to work it.  Over the years I have looked in books, asked friends, given it to parents of my friends who are Greek and no one really knew. Some information I was given was that it would have been worked in satin stitch  and that the piece had been hand woven.  There are numbers printed on the transfer design but not instructions.

Now that I am moving on from the work I have finished this old piece again came out of the draw.  What to do with it? It has great sentimental value as I greatly admired my great aunt who was a very successful self made business woman.  She had laid down the beginning of her businesses in the great depression, taking great financial risks whilst raising four children on her own.  She had nerves of steel.  Some of the property she owned she won in poker games played against men back in the 1920's when a woman's place wasn't doing this kind of thing.

So once again I fired up Google and started looking for this kind of Greek embroidery.  I have done this every day for this last week and then I hit 'pay dirt'.  But it wasn't the kind of 'pay dirt' I had imagined.  I found an identical piece on the EBay USA site.  BUT, the colours used are horrible as is the stitching,  which is, satin stitch.

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So I will work it in satin stitch but there is noway that I want to use these colours, traditional or not!  I think I will take it into the next Guild meeting tomorrow and see what my friends think.

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My agapanthus have just come into bloom. 

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I lost a couple to the goat but have saved most of them.  I planted them at the beginning of the year and finally here they come.

Agi a

It has been a week about flowers.  I bought a book about embroidering flowers that arrived this week.  I am looking forward to stitching some of these.

Flower book

I received a lovely bunch of flowers from my daughter and a supper cloth that my friend Angela brought me back from Scotland.

Flower g

It has been pre-loved and I intend to replace the sections of embroidery that have worn away with love.

Flower t

Angela also marked a place in a book of reflections that she sent me.  This is very special and I will treasure it.

Flowers l

And then the counter on the Type pad platform tells me that this is post No 3,000.  I'm sure that I have received more than 3,000 blessings since I first started this blog.


My neighbour Haley has a small menagerie of animals.  She also has several houses she rents out and the animals are an attraction for the kids.  One of these animals is Oreo the goat.

Orea 1

She is very dumb, badly groomed and a stupid goat.

Oreo 2a

She has taken a liking to Charlie, and comes on the front patio and trys to talk to her through the window.

Oreo 2

Charlie doesn't reciprocate those sentiments.  In fact she doesn't like her at all.

Oreo 3

And now I know why my flowers just disappear.  They are being eaten by  a goat.







Surprise, surprise.  I can actually see the end of this one, it is still far in the distance but I can see it!


The Fusion piece now needs me to put it into a frame and stitch all the centre of the flowers in satin stitch.  I am going to have to sit and concentrate on this.  Then I have to decide if I have it framed or stick it in a draw.  I know this sounds weird but I have been stitching a sampler every year for over 30 years now, I have a huge collection and this house has nowhere to hang them.  There may be room when we get the extensions to the house built but wall space is still going to be at a premium.



A new needlebook for that bag.

I really needed a dedicated needlebook for my applique.  So I used a couple of pieces of linen I had for the body.  This is a tightly woven fabric  and not what I would usually use but it matched the square of Liberty fabric I had. It did make doing the reverse applique on the cover a bit challenging.  I made the finished size 4.5" X 9", with 1/4" seam allowances added when cutting.

I fused a piece of light iron on pellum, 4 1/2" X 9" to the back piece.


I used a template cut from freezer paper to cut out the heart design


I then fused  a 41/2" square of pellum to the back of the Liberty print and tacked this behind the window made by the cut out design.

App 2

Then another square the same size was fused to the other side of the piece of fabric.

There are a number of ways I could have done the applique.

Clip around the edge of the cut out, iron back and applique. Removing the freezer paper at the end.

Clip around the edge of the cut out, iron back and then glue this seam allowance in place.  Removing the freezer paper after stitching.

App 1

I choose to clip the seam allowance and iron into place, remove my freezer paper and needle turn the edge.  There were a few wiskers on the linen but I dealt with these by running my needle through the glue and then pushing them into place with the needle.

 I then did a running stitch to outline the heart and the outside edge of the needlebook in DMC No 5 thread.  As I said earlier, this was a tightly woven fabric, so I used a large eyed Crewel needle to punch through the fabric.  The holes this made were easily removed with a bit of steam from the iron at the end.  I also stabbed not scooped with the needle.  This made it easier to stitch and I also drew some lines with a fading pencil to keep the stitching straight and an even width from the edge.

App 6

App 5
 I place the two pieces, right sides together and machined with a 1/4" seam allowance, leaving an opening at the bottom edge to turn through.  This fabric was very stiff and it was difficult to get the seams to lay flat so I rolled them with my fingers, tacked and then ironed them in place before closing the opening with a ladder stitch.

  App 4

The thread I used for the outline stitching is fairly thick so I ran a tail between the layers and then started stitching with a back stitch.  I used the same technique in reverse to end the thread.

App 7 I then went looking for my woollen flannel for the leaves.  It is somewhere but who knows where that is?  (I also thought I might find the walking foot for my sewing machine.  No Luck.)  So I ended up having to use flannelette using my new wavey blade rotary cutter to pink the edges.  I machined the two leaves through the middle and then hand stitched them into the middle of the book.

App 8

Nice little home for my new needles.