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March 2020

Up and walking

After nearly a full year of not being able to walk I have been trying my legs on short walks every day, just to the corner of the street.  Then around the block and I have kept increasing that a bit each day.  I have been very hesitant in how far I go from home after an episode I had last year.  I got half way around the island, (that is only about 2.5 km) and my legs shut down.  I had to ring for my husband to come and rescue me and in the following week the soles of my feet blistered and peeled off.  

But today I made it all the way around, all 4.5 km.  My feet and legs are aching but my soul is flying.  I saw a ball of seeds just ready to launched into the wind.

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Because of the virus there is almost no one on the beaches.  One lady in the distance facing north on Norfolk Beach.

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And a child with an inner tube when I faced south.

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She then launch herself out into the water.

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Then I reached the wetlands and had to make the decision if I would turn around and go home, or risk it and continue on.

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On I went.  Last time I was here was in the drought.  We have had some rain since then and everything is green and butterflys are everywhere.

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Across the first creek and I could hear water flowing.

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There were lots of spider nests in the bushes and trees, glad I wasn't here in the morning when you have to fight your way through them.

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Then over the next creek and the sound of running water grew.

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Around a turn in the track and there it was, running water.

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It has been years since the creeks were running.  There are plants growing, birds and bats in the air and I'm sure there will be lizards and snakes in the undergrowth.  I also think I have found the subject for my next embroidery. 

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Being able to walk is such a blessing.  One I never appreciated like this before.


I found some old embroidery I stitched back in 1970.  That's 50 years ago!  Found a space on the wall for it.

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I think the pattern came out of a "English Woman's Weekly" .  I had no technique back then, just loved stitching.  Still do.

Recycling for March

I decided to break my routine today and do my recycling project for the month.  Actually there are two of them but I only finished one.

I found an old embroidered tray cloth, full of holes, so after washing I cut out the embroidery and then framed it in some other fabric.  I had to join lots of bits together to get the finished piece because I only had a couple of pieces left over from what I had bought years ago.

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This fabric is a traditional Dutch Chinz , lovely, but not much of it.

I made a flat bottomed zippered bag and added a tassel.

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I started on a second, using the other end of the tray cloth, that I will finish to morrow,

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All these recycled projects are destined for the sale table at the Qld Embroiderers Guild.  I have come to quite like that lady.


Well those threads arrived and it took 7 days to come about 35 kilometres.  I need to factor that in for the future.  It takes less than that for threads to come from the U.K.!  The envelope was quite large.

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Whilst what was inside was small.

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This would usually come in a normal letter envelope from the UK.  I think I will do some searching to see what else is out there locally.

But now it's back to stitching.


Whilst waiting for the threads to arrive I have returned to embroidering the seams of the patchwork quilt.

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And have pulled out some old cross stitch to break things up.

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And the knitting is back.  It took me some time to work out just where I was on this pattern.

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And I have finished piecing the back of the donation quilt 2.  I also came across some free cross stitch patterns for this time and am considering stitching this one.

You can find the pattern and instructions  at the

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 This is part of the "Be Well Movement".  No rest for the wicked.

Moving on

I am still waiting for the post to bring my new threads.  I wonder how long this will take?  So I continued on with the second donation quilt.  Remember that most of this is left over fabrics and I have to say that I am pleased with the outcome so far.  I have finished piecing the top of the quilt and added some borders.  I wasn't sure of just what I would do but I found some check fabric in the dress up box.  It has been washed and added.

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Now for the backing.  I had plenty of the fabric for the outside boarder having purchased 4 metres at the sale.  I can't decide if I should add appliques in each of the plain boxes or not.  What you can't see in these images is that this piece 'shimmers'.  All the fairy fabric has sparkles on it.  I'm not usually into sparkles but I love this.

I see that friends are busy making masks.

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And I found this link to a pattern that looks quite good.  It was picked up by the N.Y. Post.  I still have a pack of masks left over from my fabric dyeing but I can see I should make some of these for neighbours.

On the home front my daughter came to bring us some vegetables and a camera for her father's computer.  I am so proud of her resilience.  She had resigned from her lecturing job at the University in January and took part time work in Out-door education which has now all been stopped because of the virus.  So she has set up a new business as a tutor for high school students  and while she is building this up has landed a job packing fruit and vegetables.  That might sound as a bit of a come down but it is work when the lines outside Centrelink stretch out into the distance she has an income.  Her partner is self employed and has work lined up until May.  We were going to have a wedding but that is now on hold.  It will be a super post virus wedding party.


I am having to make some major adjustments to my life at the moment and it would appear that this virus could go on for 6 months.  Not just the 1 month I had anticipated.  Firstly, purchase of goods.  As we live on an island and most businesses will not deliver to us and when they do the cost of delivery can cost more than the goods purchased.  Here is an example.  I am merrily stitching my Quaker sampler and find that the new white thread is not the same as the one I started stitching with.  I bought it just before we decided to stay at home.  So, on-line to get the right one.  Cost of the postage turns out to be more than the cost of the thread and if I returned the thread  I originally purchased I would have to pay postage on that as well.  Just have to put up with this one as I have already stitched more than half of the piece.

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Now may be the time to finish some of that knitting.  The weather is a bit cooler and I could get some things finished ready to start on that huge stash of wool.

My to-do list of sewing needs to be adjusted.  The 24 gifts I was sewing for Easter can not be delivered, so these are going onto the Xmas list.  I will have tons of time to finish those.  (I hope those are not famous last words.)

There is no delivery of groceries.  "We do not deliver to the islands" is the standard reply.  I have managed to find a butcher but the order may not all come because of demand and I have to wait 2 weeks for delivery.  As a group of residents we tried to arrange "click and collect" from the supermarket, but that has been suspended, so it looks as though we will have to travel to the mainland.  Many of our residents are elderly or ill and this will put them at risk. The clothing companies and some patchwork places have a better set up, but I have plenty of those things.

Secondly, setting up video links with friends.  You can not imagine how many different programs there are.  I have Skype but others want Face-time or Zoom or whatever.  I seem to have managed to get them all set up now but downloading different programs that use different audio and cameras has taken a few days to sort out.  Next is setting up a schedule to talk to people, that is a mine field!  Not to mention that you have to watch the time of day, if you are presentable or if they ring when you are in the bathroom.  I always thought this one would be a problem, from back when talking to others through a camera was science fiction, back in the 1960's.

I have to adjust to my husband being under feet ALL the time.  He is one of those people who can not stay still.  He keeps mowing the lawns, gardening, driving around the island and generally driving me crazy.

So as you can see a bit of adjustment is needed and I have to wait for that thread to come.  Where is that knitting?

At this time

Everyone around the world is a bit anxious at this time, about the virus and the economy.  The stock market is all over the place which will severely effect income and jobs. Thoughts turn to 'how will we survive?'  My mind goes back to when I was a child and my paternal grand mother came to look after my sister, my father and myself.  This was my mother's first clash with cancer and we were not sure she would come home.  Nana would have been in her late 70's early 80's at this time.  Things were a mess then and I remember all the talk of when Nana was young and how they had got through things, which most of the time we just laughed at.  She lost a good portion of her relatives to the Spanish Flu, which has been compared to this current virus, but now that takes on another meaning.

This drawing by May Gibbs of a kookaburra and a gum nut baby shows that back then people were equally concerned as they are now.

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We were drilled on how to not waste anything, how to cook cheap nutritious meals, re-use clothing even extract the cotton thread for re-use.  How to grow vegetables, look after each other and trust in God.

I made a trip to the Supermarket yesterday and was able to get most of what I wanted, but no flour.  I was the only one in there with a mask on.  I got some funny looks but when I started to cough I also saw how pleased people were that I had that mask on.  I hope that I don't have to go out again for a couple of weeks at least.  We are a lot better off than back in the early 1900's we have the internet to keep in touch, compare notes and take part in classes.

I have been looking at India Flint's web page and she has a variety of classes on offer.  Some free some for fee, non too expensive.

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I missed this course but someone I know who did it said it was great.

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I think this is the one for me.

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An historic Quilt

My neighbour Jane Beatty, who's home lies in the street behind my house, has a wall hanging on her bedroom wall of a unfinished hexigon quilt.

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Even though the quilt is unfinished the pieces have been handed down through the generations of her family.  Each generation added a few more flowers until the piece reached it's current size.  I suspect it was one of those projects that someone thinks they will finish, but it never happens.  Jane then took this and sewed it onto a backing cloth and it now hangs above her bed.  She has not removed any of the papers or the original tacking.  (My mind almost explodes when I think what those papers might reveal.)  This piece will then be passed to her daughter.

The quilt was started in the 1860's by Ellen Mary Fitzhenry nee Cronin who emigrated to Australia in the 1860's from Ireland.  It is not known jut where she started the quilt, Ireland, on the way out, or in Australia.

(sorry for the quality of this photo but it is old, on glass and under glass.)

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Mary Ellen Fitzhenry.

It is known that she sewed this central red group of hexigon flowers.

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The beginnings of this quilt then passed to her daughter Ellen.

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Ellen Oliver nee Fitzhenry with her son, (Jane's father) and her aunts Alice and Marie. (early 1900's)  All three of these women contributed to the quilt.

The fabrics used change with each era but there is still a continuity to the whole.

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You can see from the tacking of each piece that paper not cardboard was used as a backing and if you look closely you can count the number of whip stitches used to attach each piece to it's neighbour. There are some blocks that scream 1920's and 30's. This one was stitched by her mother,  Margaret Oliver.

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But his piece speaks eloquently of far more than of just the fabric and stitching.  It speaks of a history of women over more than 100 years.  Of family and how that has succored it's members.  Of a commonality of understanding and shared love of textiles between it's female members.  Each piece is saturated with memories and the lives of the women who stitched it.

Wouldn't it be lovely if we had a written record from the makers about the making of this quilt?  So much is just guess work.  What we think might have been the intentions and emotions of the makers.  Men documented everything they did.  Women didn't think that was important.

But it is.


I am now to the half way point on my Quaker sampler.

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I love this central medallion.  I think it could make a lovely embroidery on its own.  I might have to do something about the scale as that stitching over one stitch does hurt my eyes.  

The other thing I have been working on is the next scrape quilt.

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I have now got the first 5 rows together and just the bottom 3 to go.  I don't think I have any thing quite right for the borders.  I picked these pieces from the stash.  The bottom piece is for the backing, the other 2 for the binding  and borders, I think.  The pink is a Beatrice Potter print.  The colour is right but I'm not sure about the subject matter.

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As I am keeping to the house as much as possible I don't want to buy more fabric and besides, that would defeat the purpose of using what I have, so this might have to do.