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September 2019

August 2019

New Book - Bowl Me Over by Debbie Busby

I am always on the look out for different ways to teach children embroidery.  This book is an inspiration on how to use stitching and words.

Screen Shot 2019-08-29 at 3.48.32 pmI'm sure there are lots of adult stitchers who would like it as well and it could be an endless source of ideas for small Xmas presents just using your scaps.

Non of the designs are difficult and you could sew everyone by hand and forget about the sewing machine altogether.

These little pincushions use stitching and a white gel pen to gain that washed out look.  I think that you could also get the same result painting the inside of that lettering with bleach.  I will have to give that a trial.

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I also see there is a notice to teachers that the publisher encourages teachers to use the book for teaching purposes,  (within it's guidelines.)  I have bought an E Book Version.  The hardback hasn't hit the stores as yet.

Oh No!!!

I just received my delivery of 30 hoops for the next Children's Class and they are all the wrong size!

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Not by much but I have already cut all the cardboard circles to fit in the back of the stitching.

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The other thing that is different is the screw fits a Phillips Head Screwdriver.  I will have to get one of those.  So another order has gone in for the right size.  Good thing they are cheap. (about .95c each)    I think I will include them with the bigger decoration just in case there are students that can't handle the assemble of the two circles.

I tried lots of different ways to sew those cardboard circles together.  There always seems to be more work in the finishing than in the actual embroidery.  Wish I had a little elf who sewed them together over night for me.  Because the stitching is laced together it is helpful, (but not absolutely necessary) that the length of the stitches on each piece is about the same.  If you can make them 'exactly' the same the finish is super neat.  But kids and exactness do not always go together.

So here are three tips that I have found will help.

  1. When marking the outside of the stitching circle do this using some dressmaking carbon paper. ( I like the Clover brand because you get a clean mark,) and a dressmakers tracing wheel.  You can usually find these in the haberdashery section, but you might have to ask.

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2. Sew around the marked circle with your sewing machine using a large needle and a thick thread.  When it is  time to stitch you can remove the thread  and use to holes left as a guide.

3. If you wind a thicker thread onto a bobbin and sew on the wrong side the machine couches the thread in position.  

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I use Razzle from Wonderfil which is a thick rayon thread.  This is about the maximum weight that you can use in your bobbin on a Bernina machine, some other brands will take a bit heavier. 

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You can then whip this, just make sure you tie off the ends so that when you pull on it it doesn't come undone.

Silk worms

Like lots of kids when I was a child I kept silk worms, mainly to sell to my friends to make a bit of money.  But my father taught me how to get the silk off the cocoon as one continuous thread and then make bookmarks from it. 

Looking at Lizi Qi's You tube channel I see the traditional way of using the cocoons is totally different. No spinning here but a great end product.


(I'm pretty sure that all these videos are Chinese propaganda but they are interesting non the less.)

Shu Embroidery

Shame we can't all look as young and pretty as this but at least they show how long it takes to complete an embroidery.  This young lady seems to be super woman.  Is there nothing she can't do?  (Have a look at her You Tube channel, lizi qu.)


Every stitch is a story of time, every thread a piece of culture. Thousands of years of customs that have ever existed in the land of Shu (present-day Sichuan) are sewn within Shu embroidery. The cycle of winter and spring continues, it's yet another year. Thousands of years have been carried away by the river of time, but the beauty of Shu embroidery has remained unchanged. I wish more and more people would see the beauty of traditional Chinese culture. A belated Qixi present for you (Qixi is the Chinese equivalent of Valentine's Day). Wish you peace and happiness.

The next Children's Class

It is all finished and ready to go, well nearly ready.  I still have to assemble the kits.  But the samples are all stitched and the bugs removed.  I have a range of patterns for the children to choose the design they like best with ability levels for beginner to the more experienced.

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The biggest challenge has been mounting the embroideries over the card.  I now have 5 different methods of finishing these.  I intend to write a little tutorial for each one.  I might even attempt some videos!  (Might is the operative work here.)  Now I have to get back to my other classes for 2020.  And there is a new baby arrived in New York USA, so I have to get back to the knitting.

Besides Stitching....3

Besides stitching I just relaxed.  I am having trouble walking again but after nearly 2 weeks of restricted movement I was able to get around a bit.  I took my camera around the site and saw all the familiar scenes.

Looking out over the escarpment into the morning mist.

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The trees against the bright blue of the sky.

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A pee wee singing a song.

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And other birds up high in the trees.

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There was quite a wind blowing and this beautiful nest was dislodged.  Poor bird will have to start again.

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And although there is a drought and everything is dry and dusty still there was beauty in what was left of the gardens.  Some of these photos I would like to use as inspiration for my thread painting,  (that is progressing very slowly.)

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Here are a few shots that are contenders.

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And some details within shots that show promise.

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I could smell this Star Jasmine long before I saw it.

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And the bees were very busy.

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Now that I have the images I want I can put them into a drawing program and trace them off, or, just trace them using tissue paper.  But how am I going to work out what all the colour are?  Guess what?  I found an App which will do it for me, then I can match the international colour numbers to DMC threads.  The App is called "Color View Finder".

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Isn't that cool.  You can buy the app from the app store.

Besides Stitching .....2

Besides Stitching I also spent time with my dear friend Angela and the ladies of the Zinnia's Quilting Group.  These ladies are super stitchers.  Quilts to die for, many of which they design themselves.  (I should have taken more photos but didn't want to seem rude and pushy.)

I thought I might sew this house block into a place-mat.

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And, I loved this Outer Space Quilt.

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And the quilting was very inventive.

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Lots of doylies to use as quilt labels.

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Not to mentions the wonderful food provided.

Angela has just returned from overseas and she gave me this superb supper cloth she bought in an Op shop in Ireland.  What a find?  I think that it is hand woven linen and it certainly is not worked in Irish embroidery, rather Italian, Sicily I suspect.  It features;

drawn thread work borders,(look at that stitching, right down to the spiders web in the corners.)

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Retino a Tessitura  (I don't know the English for this.)

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And some white work, for good measure.

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Whoever stitched this wanted to get all kinds of techniques into the piece.  (It cost 6Euros)

An interesting napkin from a market in France.  Interesting because the edge is all worked in chain stitch not crocheted.

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The program for the upcoming "Wool Week in Shetland".  (If only I could fly away!)

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And the pattern for a Shetland lace scarf.  I'm sure I have some 2ply stashed away that I could make this in.


Now that I have given this as a gift to my friend Angela I can show the finished piece.  I had it framed but found it hard to photograph because of the glare on the glass.  So this is the piece before it was framed.  I really liked working on this one.

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Besides stitching.. 1

Besides stitching there was shopping.  Of course there was shopping.  I was rather careful with my purchases.    Fabric for future classes,

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fabric for the girls,

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Embroidery fabric for the stash. 

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See, not out of control at all.

But, when we visited the Danish Flower Shop, I almost lost control.  What I wanted from here was charms to add to the children's Xmas decorations and they had heaps.

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  But, they also have these gourds.

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But they had done other things with some of them and made planters with lots of succulents.

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I don't think they are strong enough to hang but they sit prettily on a table.  I limited myself to just two pots and a few succulents.  Then, when I got home I visited a neighbour , Kurt Buckley, who grows succulents and does great Bonzai type plants.  Just love this miniature Geraldton Wax tree.

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This is a full sized one in someones garden.

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The plants I bought need to grow into the pots but I now have them sitting on my balcony.

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I didn't go away looking for these things.  They were just an added bonus.


Back Home and Refreshed

I had a lovely time away but I am so glad to be home in my own space.  All the washing and ironing is finished and stored.  I have a tidy room to work in, although I still have to clean out all my fabric.  I am going to to do a bit of culling this time.  Last time I emptied draws only to find they mysteriously filled up again !

So I will put up a bit each day of what I saw and did.

Embroidery - Marlene Lambert from the Toowoomba Guild, showed us some yummy stitching. 

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These are all patterns from these Japanese books, (which I bought from Amazon Japan before they were available in English.)

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She also made a lovely little bag which I am going to make a pattern for.

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This day we went out to lunch and hit the patchwork shops.  More to come.