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August 2016


The Xmas decorations are all finished.

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My friend Angela had given my some lovely Xmas fabric last year and it was perfect for the backs of the decorations.  One thing I should have done was to allow a 1/2" seam allowance.  Having a 1/4" seam allowance wasn't enough with that 32 count linen I had used.  I had thought of using linen for the backing but I think the closer weave one I selected is better.  I couldn't really turn those corners through cleanly so have sewn seed beads on each corner.  Actually, I like the effect that this creates.

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These are now off to the Queensland Embroiderers' Guild to be part of their Xmas raffle.

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My current WIP is the Kogin kit.  The designers of this kit used an even count design and made it an odd count.  Unsettling when you try and count it out.  It just doesn't conform to the traditional way of counting out these patterns.  I did have to redraw the pattern to understand the graph.  That's fine, but my brain is now wired differently after stitching out all those other patterns.

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When I said I was having a break I was actually in hospital having a camera pokes down into my intestines to see what was happening down there. Due to an auto immune problem I have a dry throat most of the time and that camera thing upset this and sent germs into my ear and as a result I had a middle ear infection.  ( The results of the camera thing showed that I had an auto immune problem, which I already knew.)  The middle ear thing is not good for concentration. Vomiting and dizzyness is off putting, especially when counting, so my Kogin kit, which is supposed to be a relaxing activity, is driving me up the wall.  I think I have got the count wrong and will have to start again once I get over this infection. 







R.I.P. - Oreo

Poor old Oreo had to finally be put down.  He has lived far past what a normal goat would live but it was sad to see him towards the end.  He had been rescued from a terrible life.  He had been abused and mistreated but when he came to the island his life was turned around.

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At the end he couldn't breath properly and walking was a problem.  He would escape from the yard and lay in the roadway.  This saw a constant screech of brakes as drivers swerved to miss him.

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But just before the end he had a small revival.  He managed to walk down to my garden and eat all the flowers.  Not a leaf or a blade of grass, just the flowers which he delicately plucked from each plant.  When I went out to get the mail I saw that some of those plants had put out another show of flowers. 

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Now everytime I look at them I will think of Oreo.

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Books for inspiration and books for enjoyment

I have just finished a course from Future Learn called "Japanese Culture Through Rare Books " from Keio University.  Some of it I have found a bit academic but if you are into rare Japanese books it is fascinating.  In the last section of the course Proffessor Ichinohe talked out the book "Shuko Jisshu", which had lots of illustrations of cultural items.  I went looking on the net and the name came up all over the place but there was a free copy of part of the collection on the site.  Oh what a beautiful book.   There are so many pieces of calligraphy that would translate into embroidery.  I can see this one filled with different Kogin patterns.

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Then one of the sections was titled "The seven Founders of Buddism"  and along with some portraits of these founders, (don't you love that dragon under his feet),

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was some of the loveliest art work, again' great for embroidery.  These birds look like the ones that sit in the trees outside my home and that could be the same fir tree.

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And I just love this dragon and would like to get a translation of the writting down the side.

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Then the other set of books, five in all, are down to Carin at Queenies Needlework. In one of her posts she said she  was sewing and was listening to a talking book, so I asked her what was the name of the book.  Oh I am glad that I did.  This little set of 5 books by Gervase Phimm is a treasure.  Not a fast racey type of book, rather one of the more gentle kind. 

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He relates incidences from his time as an inspector of schools in the Yorkshire Dales.  I couldn't get hold of any of the talking books but I think if you had someone who spoke the dialect it would really enhance the telling of the stories.  Still, I don't know how Carin got any sewing done!   I kept falling around laughing at the stories all the time.  I see these books have been sold as a TV series so I am really looking forward to that.  I have also ordered some paper back versions for some of my teaching friends as Xmas presents.







Week 2 Place-Mats for Charity

I am beginning to wonder if I can keep up with 2 mats a week.  There is a lot more work in the quilting than I had at first envisaged.  I am still on track so we will see if I can keep up.

I am still exploring quilting with my walking foot.  Just straight lines in patterns.

Mat No 3

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Mat No 4

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I am still trying to get those corners perfect.  Next strategy has been to mark the 1/4" marks before I sew.

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And to try and get those quilting lines sort of straight, taking into consideration the not quite straight piecing, I am using masking tape to mark registration lines.  It is a lot easier to remove than water soluble pen.

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Some old/new Kogin stitching

Back when I first discovered Kogin Embroidery, which is a number of years ago now, I bought a couple of kits to stitch.  I didn't stitch them.  Or rather I started and ended up in a mess because I really had no idea of what to do.  The fabric was used for my samples and I put the instructions in the cupboard.  Then in the unpacking I came across the patterns again. 

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Now I know 'how' to stitch them I think that these need to be completed.  So with this in mind I am starting on Kit No 1.  It looks a lot bigger in the photo than it is in reality and I can now see why I was having so much trouble with the stitching.  It is the way the patterns are printed.  The count should be odd but it has been printed even, or it looks that way. I think that I will need to redraw the patterns again before I start.  This is my stitching for relaxation.  They might make nice Xmas presents?  But first I will have to sit at the computer for a while to get the pattern worked out.




A new animal at the farm

Hayley has a new baby lamb on her mini farm.

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His name is Marshmallow.

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Very cute, but he is a ram and a ram can be aggressive when they get older.  He has been de-sexed but I think there will be fun and games as he gets older.  He follows her around just like Mary's lamb.  All is lovely now, but watch this space.




Following links

I was reading a blog post from Kathy at Material Obsession and in it she had a link to a quilt show in Toronto, Canada.  It has been posted on flickr  and is just lovely to look at, probably delightful to hold but I don't know about the kissing bit!  If you like quilts and want some inspiration here is some great eye candy.

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And then if your interested in Journaling, Sharon Boggan has restarted her blog 'In a Minute Ago' giving all the ins and outs of what you will need.

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I came across Sharon's work when she mounted an exhibition of embroidery and technology on line back in about 2004.  At that point she was lecturing in art in Canberra.  I know she has been journaling long before it was popular so she has years of experience.




Week 1 - Place-Mats for Charity

To start my project I am using orphan blocks and fabric that was left over from a past quilt.  The fabric is all 100% cotton and the wadding is also all cotton.  As the left over fabric was already cut into strips I used what was to hand, sewing this directly onto the batting. ( At the end I found this caused a problem.  I should have straightened up all those strips.  When I came to quilt the piece I found that the strips weren't quite straight.  It doesn't look bad but I will know in future.  The future being Mat 7.)  After doing this I cut another piece of fabric for the backing.  I then pinned the top and battng to the back piece of fabric.

 For Mat No 1 I quilted this by stitching in the ditch using my walking foot.  Easy Peasy.

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Mat No 2 was straight line quilted with the lines being 1/2" apart, again using my walking foot. But wait.  That was how I was going to do it.  Then I thought it might look better if the lines ran on all sides of the orphan block.  So a number of hours later I finished the mat.

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I then bound the edges.

McCalls Quilting have a great set of free videos showing how to bind a quilt, or in this case a place mat.  They also have written instructions to accompany the videos.  There are 4 videos in the set and you can finish each step before your move on or easily go back and revise some point you might not be quite sure of.

The difference between an image and the actual article.

Because I live at the end of the earth I have to rely on images, in books and on the internet, of pieces of embroidery that I am interested in.  When working on my Kogin project I looked at thousands of images, trying to replicate the patterns.

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When every I have the chance to travel I head for the museums that hold the textile collections but it is sometimes difficult to gain access to historical pieces and taking photos is often not allowed.  So it is back to those images again, which are often not at a high enough resolution.  Well, high enough to catch my interest but not high enough to see the detail.  When an interesting book comes along, no matter what language, I try to aquire it.  And an interesting book has come along, but in German, which I can partly read, very slowly.

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The book is titled "Textile Bildweke im Kirchenraum.  Leinenstickereien im Kontext mittelalerllicher Raumausttattugen aus dem Pramonstratenserinnen Klost Olten berg/Lahn by Stafanie Seeberg  which is about whitework embroidery.  (And all of that sent the word check into overdrive.)

The few images that came with the book review has my heart racing.

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Oh I would love to see it in person and workout what all those stitches are.

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I can see all kinds of stitches that are used in modern day embroidery.   From what I can work out these embroideries are not in one place but held by museums all over the world.  Now just what are the stitches in this one?

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