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February 2020


I was complaining to my family and friends that I didn't have any fiction books or any books of any genre that I found interesting at the moment.  Of course the Gods were listening to me and sent me a small bundle.  So I now have this bundle of books to read and have only finished one.

This I found as I walked into my local library on the 7 day loan stand and is by Ann Cleeves.

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"The Long Call",is a really good read, just like all her other books.  It is not deep and meaningful, although there is some social comment in there.  I read it from cover to cover in less than 1 day.  You can see by that fact alone that the story was good.  It is the first of a new series and I am already wondering just which actor is going to play the lead role in the TV series that is sure to follow.

I'm still reading the other books that dropped on me.


New Equipment

My new sewing table has arrived and hubby has now assembled it for me, twice.  The first time he got it all wrong and had to do it again and he is an Engineer!  I wouldn't have stood a chance at it's assembley.

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It sits in front of the long desk and the table and desk are flush with one another.  Great when you want to support a heavy quilt.

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The table also makes the machine a "flat bed " and is very comfortable to sit and sew at for an extended period of time.  (Notice that woollen cord I made for the scissors.  Soft and easily tires onto the machine.)

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The other piece of equipment I have been working on is my embroidery frame.  I have found it increasingly hard to find pure cotton tape to bind the ring with.  My solution to this has been to cut strips of calico .  I then neatened the edge with a tripe zig zag stitch, to deal with the inevitable fraying, and bound both rings.  Now I'm all ready to start my next Quaker Sampler.

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I have started quilt 2 of my donation quilts for 2020.  This one is only using pieces from my stash and to get rid of some of those smaller pieces I decided on a strip quit.

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I don't have enough fabric of the feature print to do the whole quilt so I am using two other feature fabrics.  What has surprised me is that the photo looks more beige than pink.  When I look at it on the wall it looks more pink than beige.  In fact there is a lot of pink fabric and only a little beige but because the pink is a mid tone it takes on a beige look.  I had wanted to make squares out of the pattern but because I had used different widths the centres were very uneven.  I'm not sure how the other blocks are going to blend in with this?

The cross stitch is finished.  Time to roll out the next one. Now where did I put it?  I know it was somewhere SAFE!!

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Tutors Display

On a not very conspicuous wall a display of the tutors work samples were pinned.  All the pieces displayed I had seen as images on my computer screen, or in magazines, before.  But there is something about embroidery that they eye of the camera just can't capture, it can only been seen when you stand before the piece and look at it.It's as though 'the spirit' of the piece is hidden and only displays it's tactile self to a live audience.

This was so for all the work displayed but some had even more 'hidden spirit' than the others.  The band sampler stitched by Yvette Stanton was one particular piece that kind of hit me between the eyes.  It was so beautiful.  This image shows what it is technically but there is so much that is hidden.

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The pattern is there but you can't see how the thread shines or how it lays on the fabric.  How each thread sits up against it's nieghbour and makes a whole.  It's as though it has a memory, and those women who first stitched these designs are in there as well.  I bought her book "Smoyg" some time ago but until I looked at this piece in person I had no real appreciation of how beautiful it actually was.  I have now taken out my copy of the book and am looking at those designs with new eyes.

So one big revelation for me this past weekend is that I have discovered that all the embroideries have "a spirit."  It has always been there, I just haven't put into words what I have been looking at.  That in turn has me considering if the embroiderer imparts part of themselves into the piece?  For myself I'm sure we do but it isn't something you can measure, it has to be felt.

Big Weekend

I have had a big weekend.  Big in the sense that I had a lot to do and big in the amount of ideas and inspiration I experienced.  Where to start?  Firstly, the first "Embroidery Convention" was held at the Convention Centre in Brisbane this past weekend.  I saw and experienced so much that I will have to break the writting about this over a number of days.

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I attended to demonstrate Kogin Embroidery for the Embroiderers' Guild.  I was so busy that I forgot to take photos of a display of my work.  It was just full on talking to people.  It wasn't a huge convention but it was all about embroidery and textiles.  There were quite a number of traders exhibiting as well, and they were also super busy. 

Having been ill for the past 2 years I have lost touch with the social side of embroidery and textiles.  At this show I ran into so many people that I haven't seen during this time and it made me realise how much I have missed and how things have moved on.  I am seriously behind the 8 ball.  And another thing I had to acknowledge is that I am still not completely recovered.  Yes, I can walk again and think straight but the fatigue sets in after about 5 or 6 hours.  I am not my old self that could work two jobs and just power on.  I have also fallen behind with what is going on in the embroidery world. I was once good at picking trends and where the market was going.  This past two years has put me right out of all that.  I have to do some serious research to catch up.

One of the traders at the show was Kathy Doughty.  Kathy is a quilter who owns and runs a shop in Sydney called Material Obsession and she is an innovator in the textile world.  Now I see she has embraced embroidery as well.  She also writes a great blog which has been down for a while because she has been travelling and teaching in the USA, but is now back online.  (There are lots of interesting links on her last post.)

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Embroidery, on her stand was labelled "the new vintage", it also features on her web page.

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I bought her new book "Organic Applique" which looks interesting although I have only flipped through it.  I have all her other books in my library and if they are anything to go by this should be good.  I see the title also states "creative hand stitching ideas and techniques", lots to discover here.

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Looking back at the traders displays I see a number had the French General sampler prints I wrote about and they were walking out of the shops.  Every one I spoke to agreed that the quality of the linen was good.  Charlie agreed.  I had some trouble getting my piece back from her!

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New Book

After reading Mary Corbet's review of Embroidered Boxes I ordered a copy which arrived yesterday.  Now that was only 7 days ago and it's here?  I can't get a letter from my sister in Sydney in that amount of time.  And the cost of postage was less than I had to pay to send her a parcel of about the same weight.  The postal system has me scratching my head.  Any way, the book arrived and it is everything that Mary said it was.

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I bought it because I wanted a good guide to how you construct a box.  I have other books but this one is really clear on the mechanics of the construction.  I think I need to get some board and tools and just make some mock-ups first, then think about the embroidery. 

I have some embroidery that I finished a little while ago to make a box but it sits in the draw because I am just not confident enough to cut into it.  The author recommends making your first boxes with just fabric, no embroidery .  I think that is what I will do.

I like this book.


Well it took some time, more than 3 hours actually..  I broke 5 sewing needles, stabbed myself several times  and now have an assortment of band aides on my fingers but I kind of got Ted back  together again.

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One tearful grand daughter told me she is never going to leave Ted on the bench where Nugget (the puppy) can get him.

This is Nugget.

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This is Nugget and a friend.

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This is Nugget trying to get carrot off a string.

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This is Nugget at doggy day care.

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He is a Beagle, Pug cross or a Puggle.  Lovely, naughty, Ted destroyer!


I have got all the reverse stitching out of the way and am powering on. I am nearly at the bottom of this one and I had better start looking for where I put the fabric for the next one!

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This is my stress buster piece so I wasn't very happy about having to do unpicking.  I like to measure out one length of thread, load up three needles and stitch for about an hour early in the morning before breakfast.  That calms me down for the day.  Or most of the day or until something makes me flip out.

The other work is progress is Ted.

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I think he is done for myself but one very tearful grand daughter is sure I can put him back together.  I'm not so sure.  I tried and not all the pieces are there.  I have bought some more fabric and will try again tomorrow. 

Poor Ted.  I think Nugget the puppy must have got to him.

Seduced by Fabric

When I dropped off my last quilt at the quilt shop to be quilted I saw a display of French General fabrics.  It was front and centre.  I have a bundle of fabrics from this company that I have yet to make up, so wasn't even tempted.  Look at them.  Just perfect to pet.

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But they had some printed panel designs, on linen, that caught my eye and my purse.  I just had to have a set and them.   I bought another set for good measure.  I thought that these might make nice cushions to go with the quilt I am thinking about in the fabrics I already have.

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It would fit into my 'silly stitching'.  (That is stitching that you can sit and talk to others whilst you work.)  What I wasn't expecting was the quality of the linen.  It is very good, in fact perfect for surface stitching. The first panel I will just stitch in red but I think I will get creative with stitches and colours for some of the others. Then I made the mistake of visiting their web page.

I love this apron,

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and I already know what I am going to do with my scraps, that is after I sew the quilt.  I could get it all cut out and then sew the scraps!


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These panels are going to keep me busy for years.

Getting Ready to Sew

So I have the new machine out of it's box and set up on the bench.  I have read the manual from front to back and I now just have to start sewing.  But there is a problem.  The room is a mess.  I need to put everything in it's right place before I can begin.

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I think this is part of my problem.  Nice to have it in a poster. So I spent a whole day just getting my room in order.  I could blame it on the weather I suppose?  The weather has been completely out of control.  A drought, then the fires now more rain in a few days than we have had in over a year.  It is hot and humid, rather like a sauna.  The seed that I put out for the birds has grown into grass! I wonder if it will develop into flowers?

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And flowers that should be finished are in bloom again.

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The rate of growth is just amazing.  This is the climber two weeks ago.

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This is it now.

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and next door's vine has completely covered the new fence behind the clothes line.

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The weather has driven Larry into the house.

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Some other poor person found this when they opened their sewing box.  I'm glad it wasn't me.

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Besides the rain we have also had King tides.  The creeks overflowed and the tide rose so high there was a meeting of fresh and salty waters.  Now we will have an explosion of baby cane toads and mosquitos.   I'm procrastinating again.  I have to start sewing!!!!