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March 2018

February 2018


Frustration reins supreme.

And because of that I have been taking more steps backwards than forwards.

My Kogin bag is now finished.  As you might remember I wanted to incorporate leather into the finished bag but after many attempts I had to admit that I just couldn't sew it on a domestic machine.  The hemp fabric is too stiff and the thickness of it and the leather were just too much.  So, I then tried to insert a zipper but to no avail.  I am not giving up on this idea but it will be for something else.  I ended up binding the top edge with a heading tape and using a hand made button with a loop closure.  As this is a class sample I had to also consider just how students would construct the bag.  This I think is a good compromise and "doable."

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With all the baby sitting and stress I have been stitching cross stitch like mad.  I am still behind but I have managed to get quite a bit done.  The thread and fabric contrast even better than I thought they would.  But, one draw back with stitching with silk thread is you have to be extra careful not to make mistakes that require unpicking.  The silk complains terribly and then dies!  (the screams are quite off putting.)

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Apologies and a sigh of relief

It has taken months, lots of profanities and near nervous breakdowns but I have finally sorted my computer problems, for the moment.  It turns out it was a fault with my service provider and now that I have sorted that I find I have over 2,000 emails to work through. 

We have had so much rain as well, over a months rainfall in 2 days, and this hasn't helped at all.  What with wild storms damaging the phone towers and now all this rain I am hopeful that I am now back onto the tracks and will run along at a steady and predictable pace.  We did develop a leak in the latest storm which partly flooded the kitchen.  I went to put on the dishwasher only to find that all the cleaner was soaked.  Next thing will be mold.  I have the bleach all ready for that.  I did find that my kitchen table top is showing some wear so went looking for a tablecloth to cover it.  I only had one tablecloth the right size and this was one I bought in an Op shop.

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It looks like it was made by Betty or Ron or by someone else for Betty and Ron.

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I wonder who Betty and Ron were and if they liked sitting at their table with this cloth.  Were they young, old, still living or dead?  So many questions but it is obvious that they were a couple and it would seem that they enjoyed this or else all that work wouldn't have gone into the stitching.  I was wondering if I should make another with Carolyn and Bill?  I don't think so.

Those lovely flowers on the table were from my daughter in law as a thank you for dropping everything and looking after a little wounded child.  Turns our it is not broken but lots of soft tissue damage.  She still can not stand on it so we are booked for more babysitting.

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She has lost another tooth and was angling for $4 from the tooth fairy.  She had to settle for $2.

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So apologies to all those people I have not replied to via Email.  I am working on it.

P.S.  I spoke too soon, that Email has gone again!  But, I just got it back.  This could go on forever......

Pattern Darning

I have always liked pattern darning.  Maybe it is the regularity of the patterns, it's geometric base, or maybe it was because running stitch was the first stitch I learnt and all it's variations?  What every the reason I like it, so it is with great interest that I see that Yvette Stanton has a new book coming out this year about Norwegian Pattern Darning.

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I started to do some digging into this technique and found that there isn't a lot to find.  I did find this image that shows a historical piece.

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A book was also given as a reference and I found a copy on Amazon.

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Other than this Medieval piece  I have only been able to find examples of baby clothes on Pinterest, no source given.

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So it is with interest that I await the publication of this book.


I have always felt a bond with trees, right from when I was a small child.  We had a Mulberry tree on my grandparent's property and I spent a lot of time during my first 5 years with that tree.  Not only did I love the fruit but when it was cut down I cried and cried.  I remember the adults asking me why I was so upset?  I said "because she was my friend."

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Now I was only a little child but maybe I knew something on another level that the adults had missed.  This TED talk by Suzanne Simard makes me believe that little child knew a lot more than the adults.  There are also all those beautiful folk tales about tress from all over the world.  Sometimes knowledge gets reclassified as legend.




It is finished!!!

The last of the "Peace Embroideries" that was my project for 2017.

Peace Embroidery No 12

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The whole piece was stitched in back stitch.  The outline of the hands in 1 thread of DMC  stranded cotton and the lettering in 2 threads.

Now it is time to reflect on the process.  I found this a really worthwhile activity and I learnt so much about the process of translating a drawn design into embroidery.  July's design was the easiest to stitch.  Traditional stitching on linen.

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The most difficult was April's design

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It was the modern type embroideries that pushed me the most, including No 12.  The modern designs called for simplicity.  Using the 5 basic embroidery stitches, well.  I tend to over think everything.

The other lessons learnt is that stitching lettering is not easy on non traditional fabrics.  In fact all lettering calls for some skill to achieve a good result.

I have another long term project simmering in the back of my mind but I have to give it a bit of thought.

Some experiments

I am working at putting together a bag made from the Kogin stitching that I finished recently.  I bought a shoulder bag in Guatemala when I was there and have found it to be really useful so have based my design on this.

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But it has leather inserts between the zippers and the embroidery.  I have never sewn anything like this before.  I bought some upholstery fake leather, but it has a flock backing that I don't like.

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I also bought another type of fabric that can be used as a blackboard for children in quilting,  it looks like what it is.   I then found a leather supply Company in a nearby suburb and was able to purchase a piece of leather that looks good (like leather) and would do the job and piece was only $20.00.

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It isn't very thick so I tried sewing it with a "Jeans Needle" . 

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That didn't look too bad, but not quite right.

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So I have tried a leather needle which is a lot better. 

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The only cotton I had was a "Rasant " which is great for dressmaking but a bit light for leather.

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So off to the patchwork shop to get a heavier weight cotton, and would you believe it,  I got the cotton I wanted,  and a couple of pieces of pretty fabric.  Just too nice to pass by.

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Now for the prototype.

They keep coming.

I signed up for the knitting club with Kate Davies, and as you have probably guessed, I am a fan.  Not only of her knitting but of her writting as well.   Normally there are one or two designs that I like and consequently knit up.  This time is different.  Every design, so far I would like to knit up.  Either for myself or for the family.  I love this last design called "Stronachlachar."

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I am going to have to knit this one but it is so hot here and I haven't finished the last one!

Some interesting tea towels

One of our members came to our last patchwork meeting with some tea towels she had been given.  They are hand painted and then the ends have been decorated with crochet.  They are now for all us to use. Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 11.06.40 am
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I had a teen-aged student who's parents came from Portugal, where these came from.  She used to complain that all they did was crochet.  Everything was covered in crocheted and she called her mother and aunts the "Crochet Marfia".

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They are intense but colourful.

Applique - 2

Another friendship block to finish for my patchwork group and this time I have just put my fabric onto a double sided heat and bond and then assembled on a piece of bake paper.  After this it is easy to lift off onto the background fabric and fuse into position with the iron.  That sounds easy if you have done it before but there are a number of steps.

Firstly you must reverse your pattern then trace it onto the heat and bond and then fuse this to the back of your applique piece.

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Cut out your shape and then score the paper with a pin to remove.

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If you have a pattern place this under the bake paper and then assemble your pieces on top and fuse together on the bake paper.

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These will then just lift off as one piece and

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you can then  fuse them to the base fabric.

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But I see a problem straight away with my cup cake.  I should have backed the icing on the cake with another fabric to get rid of that shadow.  Still I have a crafty plan to deal with that.

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Next I zig-zagged the edges down.  Before I did this I put a piece of interfacing on the back to stablise the stitching and before I actually stitched I did a few practise lines to get the width and density of the stitch correct.


I pull my bobbin thread to the surface to eliminate tangles.

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Bottom and then the top.

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Then turn to the back and cut away that interfacing.

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My crafty plan for that shadow was to embroider and embellish the design.  It takes your eye away from the shadow.

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I used straight stitch, pistol stitch and French knots.  The fabric for the icing is by Odile Bailloeul, I just love her fabric designs.