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June 2019

Exhibit 2 ( Which was a bit of a revelation)

Back when I was young and we had opened our businesses, had our first baby and were living in Cairns (1980's) I was blown away by an exhibition of work by Dick Roughsey and Percy Treszise.   These two artists had collaborated to produce one of the first books for children about Aboriginal creation stories.  I bought a copy of the book, which all of my children loved, and wanted to buy the paintings of the illustrations. BUT.  The biggest but was the cost.  I just didn't have that amount of money to spend.  The next biggest but was that they were all painted on paper and living in the tropics I knew I couldn't look after them.  They would get mouldy and damaged.  So I put what money I had into a couple of other paintings from the exhibition.  These were on board and I knew they would stand up to the climatic conditions.

The first was a basket ball game between Mornington Island and Doomadgee.

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The second was children gathering wildflowers.

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I have carted these painting around with me for years.  At our old home in New Farm they were hung as the first thing you saw when you opened the front door.  They reminded me of my time in the Northern Territory and the wonderful aboriginal people I met there. 

Fast forward 30 years.  Walking from the coffee shop in the main gallery ( Queensland State Art Gallery) I spied an exhibition of the works of Goobalathaldin - Dick Roughsey.


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The first thing I saw were all those painting of the illustrations for the book I couldn't buy 30 years ago.  They had been obtained by the University of Queensland who made sure that they stayed in pristine condition.  Aboriginal Culture has many stories about the time when volcanoes were active in Australia.  (The shortest time frame for this would be 7,000 years ago.)

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I walked around reliving my young adult life again.  Dick had gone onto paint many pictures of his life on Mornington Island.  There were some traditional paintings there as well.

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Of these I was taken with the cross hatching in the background which is very similar to the work of the artists at Yirrikalla, where I had lived in the Northern Territory.  On reading the catalogue I found that he had been there to learn from those people.  Now, living on Coochiemudlo Island, I find that those same people have been down here teaching the Noonuckle people how to hunt and other traditional practices that the missionaries had stopped.

It would appear that my paintings are now worth a considerable amount of money, but I would never sell them they are too important to me.  Thinking about how I hadn't bought the book illustration paintings, I remembered another exhibition I had seen about contempory aboriginal textile art called "A floating Life".  There was some beautiful jewllery and the work of some of the Tasmanian artists had really touched me, but again it was a bit expensive.  When I thought about it, it wasn't expensive when you considered the amount of time and effort that went into creating it.

Such things of beauty from shells.  There is an old photo of Truganini c.1866 wearing one of these necklaces.

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I went back and purchased a bracelet made by a descendant of Truganini, Lola Greeno.

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It is made of Black Crow and Mireener shells.  When I save enough I will also get a necklace like Truganini's.

Bookcover Tutorial

It is only a week or so to the Children's Classes at the Queensland Embroiderers ' Guild and the project this time is a book-cover.

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I do have a tutorial for a book cover from back in 2011 but I think it is time for an update. ( Looking at that tutorial list there are so many here you could search forever and not find it!  Another job.)

I use this easy method to make book- covers out of odd pieces of embroidery and patchwork, even interesting pieces of fabric I find.  I don't follow any set measurements, rather, just suit it to the book I want to cover.  Have you noticed how many variations there are on A4 and A5 sized books?

Materials: fabric to cover book, interfacing, lining

Step I  -  Select your fabric and book you want to cover.

You may find that the pieces you have are too small, so join the pieces so that they extend out beyond the edges with enough fabric to fold over the                          front and back covers and allow for a seam at the top and the bottom. 

This is a flexable measurement.  The ends can cover nearly the whole of the inside cover or just enough to fit the cover in. It depends on how much fabric you have to play with. In this example I had an embroidered panel which went nowhere near the size of the book so I added a piece of left over patchwork from another project.  A thing to note at this point is that you make sure that your fabric isn't too tight, allow a bit of ease all around.

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Step 2 -    You need to add an interfacing to this piece to give the fabric some body.  The exception to this would be if you were using a stiff furnishing fabric which already has the weight needed.  In this example I had stitched through a Pellum interfacing which had given it the strength needed.  This interfacing doesn't have to extend to the fold backs, unless you want it to.

Step 3 -    Neaten the edges of the fold over on either end.  I was short on fabric at one end so I sewed a binding on it as a neatening choosing the same fabric I                 was using as the lining.

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Step 4 -  Turn your fold for the front and back cover so that the right sides are facing each other.

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Step 5 - Cut your lining fabric the same length as you main piece but about 1cm shorter on each width and neaten the raw edge .

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 Step 6 -  Place your lining fabric over you main piece, right sides together.  Pin in place and sew along the top and bottom edges.

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Step 7 - Turn your piece to the right side.  You will need to pull the front fabric through the open end of the lining and the lining will look like this.

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And the other side like this.

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Finish by folding the pocket ends to the right side and poking out the corners. 

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If I want a really refined finish I will machine right around the edge again to give this a sharp edge.  There are lots of other ways you could finish this but this is a quick easy method that gives a good result.  (When designing this I was thinking of 20+ kids lined up wanting their book covers assembled!)



Gallery Visit

After my last visit to the gallery several months ago I was a bit apprehensive as to how long I would be able to walk  when we set out.  But, I managed to drive into town, which is a 2 hours drive.  Start at the coffee shop, with a coffee and small cake.

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And visit three exhibitions before I had to stop.

Winter days are cold and clear here.  Looking up through the trees to a beautiful blue sky lifts the heart.

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The first exhibit was a selection of weaving and beading from women from the Pacific Island.  It was interesting to see how the traditional use of palm leaves had been augmented with acrylic knitting wools.

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Also, what the purpose of the belts actually was.

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Lovely beading.

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And the use of beads and shells in these pieces is great.

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I had thought that rope making was a man's job, but no, the women twist the cord from coconut fibre and then plat it to make these ropes.  Imagine the amount of time that would take?

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The women who worked on this exhibit said they found they were women first, wives, mothers and all those other roles can after this.  I think that belonging to my patchwork group has taught me the same lesson.

Exhibit 2 to come.

Thinking about Xmas

I was serious about that "thinking about Xmas" quote.  I really do need to start on some simple projects that I can use as Xmas gifts.  I normally stitch something for my ex teaching colleagues and I don't want to repeat anything that I have already done. 

Then I remembered that Mary Corbet had an eBook of small projects so I hopped over to have a look at that.

Screen Shot 2019-06-18 at 3.17.41 pmBesides being quite charming there are a few finishing ideas here that I haven't used before.  These will make great little projects for stitching at the Guild.  Easy to carry and stitch and I can always change the image selected to stitch.  So I bought the book, downloaded it onto my computer and have printed out the first project to start this week.


There hasn't been too much that I could talk about over the last few weeks.  Firstly, I have good days and bad days and there seems to have been more of the latter over this time.

I am back on the knitting.  Front, back and two sleeves up to the armhole.  Now I have started the yoke.  I will get there eventually.

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I have started on the "Minnie Mouse" quilt for Jasmine.  It is just a cheater panel but I have added borders etc to make it bigger.  All the straight line quilting is finished now for the outlining.

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And a bit more on the Kogin project.

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Now, I have to start thinking about Xmas!!

Buttonhole pin wheels.

At my patchwork group last week people were asked to bring some old family textiles.  It is amazing what people have in their cupboards.  Most of the ladies had old baby clothes and a smattering of wedding dresses dating back to the 1800's.  But one lady had an embroidered linen cloth worked by her mother back in the 1940's.  It was worked in buttonhole wheels and still looked as good as the day it was finished.

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There were a lot of these stamped designs around back then and I'm sure just about everyone has one in the linen cupboard.  The quality of the linen used is beautiful, you would have difficulty finding that today.  At the Guild when old un-worked or partly worked table cloths are donated they sell like hot cakes.

There is something about buttonhole wheels that I find really attractive.  Maybe it reminds me of the embroidery of my mother and grandmother and their table cloths which then brings up other images and memories?  Maybe it is the combination of the thread colours that are bright and cheerful?

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And then there is the appreciation of the actual stitching.  I know from experience how hard it is to keep that buttonhole edge so neat and even.

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I missed the email asking us to bring these textiles and I have already donated most of the old textiles I had to the Guild collection but I think I will investigate just what is hiding in my linen press.

It's in the bag

There were times I didn't think I was going to finish this quilt but it is now in it's bag and stored in the guest room for my paddlers. So it is called "the paddler's quilt."

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I made it's storage bag from the left over fabric, which means I know what quilt it is without having to open it and it keeps it clean. 

My paddlers arrive during any good weather.  "Hello Mrs Foley, we were paddling in the area and thought we would drop in".  After feeding and watering them, or rather after a few beers,  it's getting dark and too dangerous to paddle back so they are invited to stay.  It is always, "we don't want to be any trouble" but I have a bundle of inflatable beds and pull quilts out of the cupboard for them.  Being  mostly young men, who you can read like a book, the looks on their faces when the floral quilts are given out made me think I needed something more masculine.

This quilt all started with a charm pack of nautical fabrics and like topsy grew.  I started the quilt  a year ago but managed to damaged my shoulder  and made it worse trying to use the roller cutter.  Then I bought too much fabric and then a few couples started to turn up in the mix.  So the quilt ended up queen size.

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I just couldn't handle quilting something this size so gave it to my local quilt shop Bayside Stitchcraft who did a great job.  I am so lucky to have such a good shop close by.   (Well only about 15K away.)

She used a wave pattern to suit the nautical theme.

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So I can't wait for the next lot of paddlers to arrive to see if this meets with a better reception.

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Family has taken over

My eldest son, father of my grand daughters, had a serious workplace accident .  After much to do he ended up with a major operation on his spine.  It has been rather tense here wondering if he would end up in a wheel chair but to date everything seems to be going well.  The big problem is keeping him from moving,  he has always been a bee in a bottle.  This has meant that we are constantly visiting to take the girls to and from school and him to and from medical appointments and from doing what he should not  (Like chopping and stacking fire wood!)  In-between travelling and looking after everyone not much sewing has been going on.  What I have managed to finish is my' sew together bag' that was my gift for one of my patchwork group.  I managed to cut the cushion of my thumb while sewing and although I still have to keep a dressing on it I am sewing again.

So this is my gift, now finished with the correct zipper and beading in place.

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My choice of fabric for the bindings was not good.  They matched the colour of the main fabric well but the weave was too open.  Still, it is now ready to return to it's new owner.


I also finished the trial run of this bag.

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I used tailoring interfacing on this one it was a lot lighter but still held it's shape well.  I also hand stitched the bindings on  both bags as it gave a better finish.

I used different coloured zips and a bright kangaroo print for the lining.  (I never thought I would find a use for this fabric.)

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I don't think I will make any more of this these two were enough.


I am waiting, not too patiently, for the arrival of my new book by Sue Briscoe.

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(Image source: Book Depository)

There was reference and one project in her original book (2005)  on Sashiko Emboidery to Kogin Embroidery, but this was omitted in the later editions.

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So I am keeping my eye out for the mail person to call.  Please Hurry!!