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November 2020


I am working on my second portrait from my Sue Stone class and in doing this I have made a surprising realisation.  Sue's process is to trace the image and then stitch this onto fabric.  I thought I had done this with my first portrait but in our second lessons we are looking at layers and I realise that I had automatically done this in class 1 without thinking about it.  So for lesson 2 I did exactly what was asked of me.  I traced the photo and was really unhappy with the result.  So I decided to see what would happen if I just drew it free hand.  Result?  I am better at freehand drawing than at tracing.

The top image is freehand, the one below traced.

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Now I have to work out why  I have trouble tracing the image.  It is something in my process that is happening at a sub conscious level and I'm not sure what it is.

Anyway, I have begun the stitching in brown thread colours this time.  I am using the drawing I did on tissue as my base.

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I think I might try just doing a basic sketch onto the fabric, (although this isn't Sue's process) to see what I can do.  I think using someone else's process and then altering it to suit yourself is a good way to coming up with your own signature in your work.  I do not want to just copy but develop my own voice.  Still a long way to go but I am enjoying the journey.

First attempt

This is actually my second attempt at a stitched portrait, (but as I used that for the title of the last post I couldn't use it.).  The first was in Stitch Club and I was pleased with what I did there. (It was a lot smaller than the one I have just finished.)

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This is the first in a series of seventeen that I intend to stitch.  Twenty plus years ago I asked the members of my patchwork group for a portrait of how they saw themselves for my friendship block. (We took it in turns to do a block for each other so we could make a friendship quilt each.)   I had thought that this would make a good wall hanging and I expected blocks that looked a bit like this.

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What I got was some like the one above but many were so different.  Judy, who's portrait I have just stitched gave me this!

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There were some blocks that didn't match the size I asked for as well.  I still thought I would do a wall hanging, so, I took photos of each of the ladies.  I imagined I would have this printed onto fabric in a random design and mount the blocks that way.  Problem was that the technology to do that wasn't available back then, it is now, but not then.  Then, 20 years later it was my turn for another block and I hadn't made any firm decisions about the first lot, so I declined and decided I wouldn't ask for another block until I had finish that first lot.

Over the years I have tired various ways to stitch portraits of my friends, both embroidered and quilted, but, non of them sat right with me.  That is until Sue Stone's Class.  I'm glad I kept all those photos I took of the ladies, they are perfect for this project.  I am very comfortable working with Sue's method of stitching.  

Of course over the twenty years we have lost members.  Some have moved away and some have died.  The first three portraits will be of the members who have moved on to become angels.  I think these ladies will fit in well with the 'heavenly hosts'.  They did a pretty good job of being angels here on earth.  The first of the three is Judy.

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I intend to make all this into a fabric book and also write a book about the stitching of this and focus on how important friendships are in our lives, with an emphasis on what this has meant to me.  I won't have it finished anytime soon but I like long term projects.

(Some notes about the stitching.  I used a dressmaking linen and backed it with a cotton voile before stitching.  I used only two different threads.  The black is Cotona Madera, 30 weight machine embroidery cotton from Germany.  The grey is a Rasant machine poly/cotton  machine thread.)



Second Attempt

This is my second attempt at this block.  I have another completed 'somewhere safe'.  Heavens know where that is.  It is a friendship block for one of my patchwork friends.  She must think that I have forgotten her.

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I swung those dots around.  I think it looks OK but too late now.  She can unpick it and do it again if she doesn't like it.  BUT I just can't stand it!!!!!  So I unpicked it and did again.

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That's better.  I didn't have anymore fabric so I'm glad it worked this time.


I am in the middle auditioning the embroidery against the hexies.  I always knew I would need a border around the embroidery and this has given me the opportunity to make a decision.

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The plain pastel coloured fabrics will look the best and will frame the embroidery.  The next decision is just how to do this?

I could just put the border around the embroidery and slip stitch everything together.  But, I have been following the work of Katja Marek.  She has taken hexies into new territory.  I bought her book "the new Hexagon" and I think there are other things I could use here.

Screen Shot 2020-11-03 at 11.31.34 amThis is a great article about her work.

Time Difference

I have signed up for yet another on line class, this time with Sue Stone.  The disruption caused by the virus does have some positives, one being some of these "on line classes."  I have wanted to do a class with Sue for some time but It would have meant a trip to the other side of the world, plus all the added expense of accommodation etc.  This way I can do it in my own home.  (This is the first time she has offered this course on-line)

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(image from Google)
I thought about the cost, for about 2 minutes, and then clicked that button.  What I didn't think about was the international time difference!  What I thought would arrive today will not arrive till tomorrow.

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I normally travel around this time of year but that is no longer possible. It kind of hit me when I realised that I wouldn't be up in the air, or fighting my way onto planes and through customs when the Halloween decorations started appearing.  So I put some decorations out myself and joined the list of residents for trick or treating by the kids, my grand daughters included.  Then we had this monster storm hit just when the kids were about to set out.   My son sent me a photo of the hail they were getting and I was a bit worried.

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But it wasn't nearly as severe here.  We had lots of rain, smaller hail and thunder and lightening.  Still all the kids enjoyed it, even though they all looked like drowned rats.


The Hexi's begin

So I have myself set up ready to start the hexi part of the raffle quilt.  I bought a plastic box from the Dollar shop, I had recycled all my other boxes.  I cut one strip of each fabric I want to use and gathered the other bits.

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So many hexi's to prepare!  I started at a rush thinking "this will take forever".  Then I slowed down.  I thought about how I was stitching and finally have turned it into a slow stitch exercise.  Far more enjoyable.  I now start my morning with the ABC Classic FM breakfast show, a cup of tea and sew 20 hexis ready to put into this quilt.

I also went back over my on-line classes with Phillipa Naylor.  (Those classes are just so detailed and the work so accurate.)

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This minature quilt called "Circuit Training" used a lot of the paper piecing techniques as does the quilt hanging behind her.  It is on my 'someday' list.  But, she has a whole section on Hexi's that I keep looking back to.  I wondered at the time if these classes were worth the investment but they have far and away been wonderful and just keep on giving.  I want to have this quilt ready for 2021, probably about June.  I think I have left myself enough time.  (Say's she crossing her fingers.)