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March 2020

Getting Closer

I was supposed to go up to Toowoomba for the weekend and to a meeting at the Guild, but I think it is safer to stay where I am.  A couple of residents of the island work on the movie set down on the Gold Coast.  I doubt they have had contact with  Tom Hanks and his wife, but I think it better to just stay around home. And then my daughter-in-law had to be tested as she had been in contact with some Asian students who had been in contact with other people who tested positive so they went into isolation. Luckily  for her the test came back negative.  But the knowledge of those who have the virus is moving closer to people we know.

When I do go off the island I am going to take the barge, even if I have to brave the elements.  At the moment those elements are looking like a cyclone just off the coast.  We are expecting 50 knot winds today.  But the ferry is nearly always crowded, especially in the morning and afternoons.  I am going to have to go and get food, although toilet paper is good at the moment.  What I haven't been able to buy is antiseptic, might have to make my own.


This is a good chance to iron all the fabric in my stash.  That's a job I have been putting off for years.  I really need to sort those fabrics and I can 'pet them' at the same time.  Now, not ALL these draws are fabric, five hold finished work and other stuff, but the rest is fabric.

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And this chest of draws isn't all fabric.

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Just most of it.

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I have a lot of ironing ahead of me.

Also time to stitch a sample for the next Children's Class.  That isn't till June/July so hopefully all this madness will have passed.  I am in the process of drawing sea gulls for this task.  But I need to simplify the drawings so that the kids can stitch them.  I always start with things that are too complicated.  Why can't I just make it simple?

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The Society for Embroidered work/ Contempory Stitched Art.

This group haven't been operating for very long but from this exhibition it looks to be quite exciting.  Having been greeted by gallery operators with "embroidery isn't art it is only a craft", it is good to see that others feel as offended by this statement as I am.  This interview runs for 15 mins so if you intend to watch it get a cup of tea first.


They do have a good website, which I haven't finished exploring as yet.  Just watching the display of work on their home page is inspiring.Screen Shot 2020-03-15 at 11.58.25 am

If you are in the U.K. They are having an event this month that you may want to attend.

Screen Shot 2020-03-15 at 12.03.59 pmBut if you are self isolated like me there is lot to look at on your screen.


Quilt 1 Finished

It is always a great feeling when you completely finish a project and the quilt I was making from the lessons I am doing on line with Phillipa Naylor is now complete.  I made this quilt with fabric I had in my stash but then I bought a few pieces at the sale in Toowoomba, they went in as well.

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It actually looks better on the bed than on the wall.

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And I am really pleased with the quilting. A circular pattern to balance all those points.

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The other thing I am pleased about is the back.  The backing I put together makes this quilt reversible.

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I'm not sure which cat I like the most.  Fat cat is I think my favourite.

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But then the other two are pretty nice as well.

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I have bound lots of quilts but I have to say that Phillipa's method gives the most professional result.  The mitred corners sat perfectly and you just couldn't see how the binding had been sewn on.  I have never achieved that level of finish before.  I have also made a bag to keep it in.

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Now this quilt was to be a charity donation but I have one grand daughter who really wants it.

What to do?

On-line workshop

That Sketchbook Revival online workshop is back again this year.  I loved the work I did in last years workshop.  Not that I am any great artist but it gave me a chance to experiment and play.

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I came in late last year and didn't have everything prepared in advance, which resulted in a great scramble.  This year I am going to be ready in advance.  There is an introductory video included in the link above and once your sign up you get access to a pre-session on preparing a sketch book.

Screen Shot 2020-03-10 at 10.32.24 amThen, if you want to, you can post to the Facebook page and get comments from others, or not, as you like.

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It starts on the 23rd March though to April 3 and the page stays open until April 26th, for all of us that are slow.  Of course there are lots of links to buy things but they are just links, you don't have to click on them.

The health advice has been to stay away from groups of people, like my quilting and embroidery groups, especially for those over 60 years of age.  This could be one way to keep your mind and hands busy.

That link again if you are interested is


I am nearly finished quilt No 1 that I am stitching using the on-line classes I am doing with Phillipa Naylor. 

Not quite there so I will show that later in the week.  So the only other thing in progress is the cross stitch.  I am ready to move the work down.  In the next section that lettering come in again.  The perfect recipe for going cross eyed.  It is a lovely piece to stitch.

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Every morning I cut my length of stranded cotton, divide the strands between three needles and stitch while I listen to Classic FM music.

Some Embroidery Inspriation

As I am designing some new embroidery I am also out on the web looking at what others are doing.  I found the site of Paulina Bartnik and remembered that I had seen an article in Frankie magazine.  It wasn't my magazine so I couldn't take it and when I went to buy a copy couldn't get one.

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Luckily she has a link to the article, and another to one in Inspirations and Embroidery magazines, on her web page.

This is from Embroidery magazine and I love the effect of embroidery on felt.

Screen Shot 2020-03-05 at 10.21.42 amIt is interesting to zoom in and look at her stitching,  looking closely I see she mixes up the type of threads she uses. She has some great images on her Instagram account.  Her work is lovely just to look at even if you can't afford to buy anything.

Some of the design

Well I didn't do as much as I would have liked but I did get started.  I got obsessed by the little bee in the photo.

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It is a little Australian native bee ideally suited for taking pollen from native flowers, it is also stingless.  I drew it up as per this image but it just didn't look right.  So I went into a museum site and sure enough when I looked at that image I could see what had happened.  Because his wings were moving so fast they were invisible to the camera.

my image

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Museum image.

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So I tried again.  The small drawing will be for the embroidery with the flower, the other drawing is for a stand alone embroidery.

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Something like this.

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Still a lot of work to go yet.

Making a new embroidery design

I am often asked how I come up with a design.  Well, there are a number of ways.  Firstly I look for inspiration.  I can do this by surfing the net to see what other people are doing.  This often is enough to spark an idea.  Or I might sketch a drawing of something I fancy, like a bee.  If something like this I might look on line or in books to see what others have drawn to refine my own ideas.

More and more though I find that I use my photos to find a new design.  I took this photo in the garden the other day.  I think it will make a great embroidery.

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I could just sketch this but there are a number of applications available on line that you can use to do the same job just with the click of a button.  I used 'Waterlogue' to simplify it for me and show me some other colours.  One way to achieve this could be to colour my fabric with Inkintese pencils and make a watercolour background to stitch on.

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Then I used 'My Sketch' to get an outline drawing of the area I am most interested in.

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Next step for me might be to transfer the image to Adobe Sketch on my Ipad and then trace the outline using my Apple pencil or because I want definite lines I can follow, I would use a vector based drawing program.  I like to use Easy Draw, which is compatible with my Apple computer but you could use any vector based program.  (I think Corel Draw is another one that will work.)  This step is slow and can be tedious.  Lots of zooming in and out to get the detail right.  It may end up nothing like the photograph.

So, that is my project for the weekend.  Lets see if I can get to the next stage by Monday.

Fun Stitching

I purchased a copy of Annie Downs book of embroidery and quilting designs, "The Making of a Peaceful Day."  (I can't see it on her web page just yet.)

Screen Shot 2020-03-03 at 1.38.18 pmAnd a couple of very easy embroidery patterns.

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These are always quick and easy to stitch and make great small gifts.  I usually put this kind of thing into my 'silly stitching' box for stitching on 'social occasions."

The book is just full of this kind of thing that all go towards making a quilt or lots of small projects and even if you don't stitch these designs you can use the projects in the book as a base for other designs you may devise.

I know a few cats that this pillow describes.

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What a great project to use up scraps.


Donation Children's Quilt No 2 is progressing.  There is something about the light in this room because those centres in the focus squares are white and they look yellow.  When I finish this I will take it outside to photograph.  I intend to put an applique in each of those white squares, the four different wands that the fairies are holding.

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I wasn't very happy with this quilt to start with but adding the focus blocks has made it a lot better.  I have learnt a lot from the class on machine applique that I am doing with Phillipa Naylor and I want to try out some of the applications here.

I am also getting ready for Easter.  This means a gift for each of my quilting pals, all 21.  At the moment I am preparing fabric but think I have seriously underestimated the amount of fabric I will need.  Boy, pre-sewing this quilting is slow work.  There is a couple of hours in each piece.  (Can't tell you what the finished item will be.  I don't want to spoil the surprise.)

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And I have started on the next Quaker cross stitched sampler.

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