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June 2020

Class - Emily Tull

Another class that took me right outside my comfort zone.  This class was about observation.  When we look at things our mind goes into 'default mode' and we see a representation rather what is actually in front of us.  This weeks exercise was observing and stitching lips, what we saw, not what we thought was there.

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Once I got over the fear of starting this and actually began it wasn't hard at all.  Not saying that I could stitch anything like Emily's work but it is getting over that fear of making a mistake that is the hardest thing.

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I do admire Emily's work.  Something to aspire to.


Out of bed

I am feeling a bit better after my enforced rest.  My Vitamin B12 levels dropped out and I got dizzy and fell.  Something really simple that an injection could fix but I still have a sore behind and head. 

I didn't do much work, mainly read and slept but I have finished my next simple stitching, that was about as much as I could concentrate on.

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I am now half way through these little (time consuming) embroideries.  However they have kept my hands busy.

Problem Solved

It is so satisfying when you are able to put all the bits of a puzzle together and come out with an answer.  With one particular puzzle this has finally happened.

Friend Pam gave me some embroidery pieces that she had bought, I think in Thialand, but were they Hmong (Miao) or Chinese?  We both wondered what they were?  It looked like it might be a collar but why was it stitched onto paper and how would you get it off?

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I think I have finally found the answer to this problem.  The book I bought about Miao crafts has a section on this kind of embroidery and although this doesn't look like the traditional patterns it is the same technique.  The wrapped thread is couched into place. It is wrapped around horse hair.  (My reference says this is mass produced as well as being hand stitched.)  I now find out from Pam that you can get a Kindle version of this book from Amazon.  I have bought a copy so that I can enlarge the illustrations.

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Pam had a couple of great links on her facebook page.

This one from Google Arts and Culture.

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The other is this Chinese video.


The Chinese government class the Miao as one ethnic group. But from what I remember Mr Hutton telling me about these people, There were many different types who thought of themselves as quite separate.  He called them black, red, white and yellow Miao.  This may account for some of the different types of embroidery that we see today.  I am so glad that it is all still there.

Class 3 - Stitching with Plastic

I love Susie Vickery's work but I really dislike stitching with plastic.

Firstly, I do not keep or use any plastic If I can help it, so I had to go out and buy onions and other fruit to get the bags.  That wasn't a good start.  Then, I didn't have any hession fabric and I was not going to make a special trip to the mainland.  And the main reason I don't like plastic is because I see first hand what it does to the turtles and birds that wash up on our beach.  Not every day, but on a regular basis.

But this is about learning so I steeled myself and did it.

The plastic was horrible to stitch with.  It hurt my hands to pull the needle through the fabric.  It made a mess and it made me feel terrible.  I wondered about this, why?

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I found I couldn't sit to stitch it. It made me uncomfortable and I had to keep standing and moving around whilst I was stitching.  I realised that I kept thinking about those poor animals and birds, I couldn't separate my emotions about their pain from the stitching.

Will I do any more of this kind of stitching?  I don't know.  I may look at something that highlights the plight of the wildlife and our beaches.  On our island our beaches are always pristine.  This is because everyday as we walk everyone picks up any kind of litter all the time.  We all hate to see any animal wash up on the beach.  But it happens.


I am having problems with internet connection, again.  But this morning it was back again so I can do a report.

The work in progress includes the simple stitching.  I have determined that I will make these into a quilt for the Embroiderers Guild to raffle.

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I am working on the week 3 exercise for 'Stitch Club'.  This is a hard one.  I have the fabric in the hoop and have collected lots of plastic to stitch with, we will be eating onion soup for weeks!  I am just looking at it with no idea what to do.

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And I have downloaded more teaching videos on how to use my 720 Bernina machine.  I am working my way through alphabets.

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Not very interesting I'm afraid.

New buddle of embroidery

My friend Angela from Toowoomba came for a visit at the end of last week bringing with her a bundle of old embroideries for my recycling.  There are so many that I will be right for materials to recycle till way past the end of the year.

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The problem is going to be that I don't think I will be able to cut into some of them as they are so beautiful.  Luckily some have already been cut up to rescue the embroidery.  I think I will start with these.

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And some are not in good condition so I will happily look at using these.

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But others are beautiful.

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Or the design so unusual that I hesitate to cut into them.

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And then you happen upon a gem.  This is a table runner and a mat. 

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I think this has come from Italy.  The linen is hand woven and the stitching is so fine.

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This kind of work was done in southern Italy and you can see examples of modern work on Silvana's blog.

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I am going to have to work out a use for this one that doesn't involve cutting the fabric.

Monique's Quilt - finished

Twenty years after it was started I have finally finished this quilt.  Monique hadn't even been born back then, but she decided it was the one she wanted.

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I am so glad she did.  I like this quilt, the colours and the design.  I think it was the first applique quilt I designed, even though I didn't have a button hole stitch on the machine I owned back then.

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The quilting is a simple repeat pattern but I think the flowers suit the design in the fabric.

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I have made it it's own bag, as I do with all my quilts.  This makes it so much easier to store and then find again at the end of summer.

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I see the border has the words "wandering mind wandering mind" printed near the border.  I think I will call the quilt "wandering".

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I have a couple more quilts on the go but those Stitch Club exercises are keeping me really busy.

Another book has arrived

The books are slowly being delivered that I ordered before the lock down.

This one, "Stitch, Fabric and Thread by Elizabeth Healey" is a great source book for creative stitching.

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Not one I want to read at one sitting but one to refer to when I need inspiration.  This video clip gives a great review of the book.


You also get a look at the content from  your chair.  I think that I only have one more book to arrive.


  I will start with the positive.

I have finished the Smoyg bookmark.


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I learnt heaps about working with the wool thread and linen doing this.  Now the second kit has arrived and the thread count for this is 40ct.  This I think will be a challenge!!

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I was so caught up with the Smoyg work only a little completed on the simple stitching.  Perhaps I should give myself a break and do more of this before I start on the next kit?

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I have worked out the knitting pattern and un-pulled all my work back to the armhole.  Oh well, these things happen.

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Whilst pondering just what the pattern said I have got quite a way with the hat.

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And the next class for  "stitch club" has arrived and this week it is Susie Vickery.  I love her work.   This short video of stitching a portrait is just magic, there are others there as well.

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The big problem for me is going to be finding materials.  She is working with plastic bags.  I have non.  They are banned in the shops now and I haven't used any in ages because of the threat they pose to the turtles and other marine life that live around our island.  I did find some biodegradable  doggie do do bags, in black with some printing on them and I think I might have an old onion bag somewhere.  I go to the mainland to shop today so I will see if I can find anything.