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June 2021


We are back in lock down for 3 days so  I think I will take the time on the sewing machine. 

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I have a new donation quilt on the design board.   I just can't remember what I was going to do with this so I'm trying the "Hidden Wells" block using Teresa's method.  

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I remember this block from the books of Mary Ellen Hopkins, like "You can sit on my quilt".  I still have those old books.

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The wool has arrived from Scotland so I can get back to the shawl.

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And the swatch I knitted for the Bendigo Woollen Mills wool will require smaller needles.  I will have to wait until I can get out to buy those.

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And all the parts of the first dog are knitted so he has to be put together.

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I think I have more work than just the three days of the lock down.


More Tidying

I have been back into those messy draws again and came on a package of fabric for a quilt top. 

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I think I have worked out why it is still there.  The kit was supposed to have all the fabric but when I measured the fabrics included there was nothing for the binding or backing.  It must be over 10 years ago that I bought this so it is unlikely that I will find that fabric again.  But heavens, I have so much other fabric.  All except 1 draw in this lot.

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And about 1/3rd of these draws.  (The rest is embroidery and dressmaking supplies.)

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I'm sure I can find some fabric for the backing and binding.  Failing that there is always the quilt shop!!

This will make a nice donation quilt.  Another project to finish.



An expensive addition

I have often looked at what embellishing machines can do and toyed with buying one, but have never taken that step. 

Screen Shot 2021-06-25 at 12.29.51 pmI really fell in love with that hunting cat on Rachel's blog and it was felted in position, that got me interested again.

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Now I find that there is an attachment for my new machine, a Bernina 720.  It costs nearly as much as the Janome embellisher  but what the heck.  It could open a whole new chapter for me.  I love some of the things you can do with this.  My Bernina dealer is going to give me some lessons so that should help.  I love some of the things you can do with this tool.

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Now I am waiting for it to come in.



Ready to Knitt

As I am still waiting on that Scottish wool and as some of the Bendigo Woollen Mills wool has arrived I have decided to start on this new cardigan.  But you can't start unless everything is organised.  So, with that scrap fabric I made a new project bag.

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This time I cross hatched the quilting in a purple thread.  (So labour intensive!)

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I couldn't make sense of the instructions in the manual for my new sewing machine so spent a considerable amount of time looking at tutorials for the machine on U Tube.  Computerised machines are great IF you know all the commands for the computer.  All I wanted was to be able to move the needle over.  Two broken needles later I had it all worked out.  The breaking of the needles was partly caused because of the thickness of the quilted fabrics, all those seams joining the pieces together were just too much for the needles at times.

But, I'm pleased with the bag which holds 400g of wool, the pattern and needles.

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It is raining here so it looks like a wet weekend coming up. Perfect for knitting.

Where I live

If there is one bird that you associate with the island it is the Stone Kerlew.  These birds are endangered everywhere else, but not here.  Here they thrive.

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They have a piercing call and being a night bird it can be heard ringing out in the still of the night.

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Visitors to the island can find the calls disturbing.  The indigenous people say they are calling remembering the death of children.  It is a mournfull call.  I have been taking photos of them for years but have yet not been able to embroider one.

On the home front I am looking after my nieghbours chickens.

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I have always had a love affair with chickens since I was a child but ours were always in a hutch.  These ones range freely, although they don't go very far and are always around when it is feeding time.  I had no idea they were so fierce.  They fight the kookaburras, crows, ibis and any other birds who try to take their food.  The other day I had the lawn covered with feathers where an ibis had come off second best.  Still I love to hear them clucking around.  They like to be talked to and praised when they lay an egg. 

I love chooks, but my husband doesn't like them.  Says they attract snakes, so he bought me a concrete one instead.

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Not nearly as good as the real thing.



Well HALF the order for wool from Australia has arrived.  No sign of the Scottish one yet.  Now I'm trying to work out what the pattern for the cardigan, that I want to knit, actually says.  It assumes I have so much knowledge that I don't have.  I'm looking for some advice on-line from someone who has already knitted it and I have a fall back pattern just in case I can't work it out.


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I got my first lot of scraps in order and have quilted some fabric for project bags. I used one piece of my photo transfer fabric and I think I will try other photos of the island as well.  I have a few ideas about how I might develop this design and incorporate re-cycling.

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I made another project bag from one of the orphan blocks I had.  It turned out to be a lot of work but as I want the bag to hold a project I'm about to start I don't mind all that work.  It is hard to see the quilting but I used a red thread to cross hatch the surrounds and back of the bag.

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I linned it with a red fabric that I rolled the top of so it would show as a piping.  It fits the frame well and has internal pockets for all the other pieces.

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This leaves me with just a small roll of left over to use, but, I have just found a couple more bags of scraps in the cupboard.

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The quilt is now completely finished.

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It was a bit hard to photograph so I hung it from my back  1st floor patio.  It is out of the wind and a sun trap in winter and a great place to work.

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Because I use a hidden hemming method for the binding it took a whole day to hand stitch  but I like the fact that you can't see the stitching.

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When you write it down I actually did quite a lot this week.



Tara Books

Back in the 1990's my husband was working as an engineer with his friend and collegue Dr. Valdev Sing and we went to India in conjunction with his work.  For someone who had never been to India before this was a life changing time as I am sure it is for lots of people from the west on their first visit.  There were so many things that were different and as the men were working most of the time I was left to my own devices.  It was at this time I discovered a small publishing company called Tara Books.  They were hand making books made in rather primitive surroundings but the books were astounding.  Even more remarkable was that the founder of this company was a woman.  Gita Wolf.

(You can read all about the company on their web page.)

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The first book I bought was "The night life of trees".  It is one of my most treasured books. It is all hand made.  I look at it often.   It was my introduction to Gond Art.

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This short video shows you how these handmade books are put together.

From this time on I have been buying books from this Company.  I hold onto most of them and don't let them stray to far away.  I find even the children's books inspirational.  One early book I found opened my understanding about Indian Gond Culture, The London Jungle Book.

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I thought that Kipling had thought of all those jungle book stories himself but it seems their origin was in Indian folklore.

You can find some inspirational videos on their web page.  At the moment they are having a 10% off sale with free frieght for purchases over a certain amount.

Screen Shot 2021-06-18 at 4.05.06 pmI just had to add some more books to my collection.  This one in particular.

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My dog Bear has his winter coat on at the moment so that means he needs to be brushed and combed every week if I don't want everything covered in dog fur.  I have collected this excess fur and put it out into garden for the birds to use in their nest building.  It takes a couple of days but it all gets used.

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There is so much waste fabric after the quilt is taken off the frame and cut to size.  I have been putting this in the bottom draw, just forgetting about it.  Now the draw will not shut.  I have trouble getting down to this draw, a result of breaking those bones in my back a couple of years ago.  But, the time has come.

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All the surprises I have found here.  Samples from my attempts at lino blocks.

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Odd blocks from trials of different piecing techniques.


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Pieces of photo transfer.

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Antique pieces from around the world.

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Not  to mention all the scraps from my quilt making.    After cutting away the excess fabric from the quilting I find I have all this left over fabric.  Nothing from the front but a lot from the back.  Now, what to do with it?  In the past I have made place-mats for charity, but I'm a bit bored with making those.  I'm more into project bags at the moment but this stuff doesn't really cut it for that.  Bear has decided that he likes all this mess and has sat himself on top of it, just to be a help.

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I have been quilting up pieces of fabric for bags ready for Xmas presents.  I just have to put the zippers in and sew up the seams.

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Looking at all this stuff I think that I can use the excess fabric and wadding as lining for some more of these bags.  I might be able to use some of those other pieces in the construction of the outer side.  I actually have enough to make 9 linings, Oh dear!

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When I put all that aside I found I had a small neat pile of fabric to put back in the bottom draw and the draw would close.

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I might not have done much sewing but it is good to get this organised.

The borders

I am much more within my comfort zone putting a binding on a quilt.  Not nearly as confronting as using paints on fabric and it is a job that has to be done.  Even if it is a bit boring, but, it is necessary.

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I am really surprised by how many people are Ohhing and Ahhing over this quilt.  I think it's the fabric.  It is an exact replica for the Beatrix Potter illustrations in her books.  Those people who look at the quilt are remembering the pleasure they had when reading them as a child.  I know that is what first attracted me to the fabric.

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I hope the child that receives this quilt loves it as well.  I think I might buy a couple of those little books to include with the quilt so that the pleasure can be handed onto another generation.  If you follow the link  to "Those little books"  you will find all kinds of activities for children (and those who are children at heart.)  Even though I live on the other side of the world my visits to Hill Top Farm are amongst some of my most special memories.

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Beatrix Potter was a great embroiderer as well as all her other accomplishments.  All the embroidery on the bed surrounds etc were done by her. 

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You can not take photos and there were very few post cards available to buy in the National Trust shop.  Researching her embroidery would make a great project for someone and I am sure that reproductions of her work in kits would sell.  There's a business idea for someone.

The first tests

I have taken a range of fabrics that I want to use for my portrait embroideries and tested the paints and pens that I have.  I didn't know that I had so many, enough for a whole box full.


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I tried to keep the test consistent by replicating the same paints and pencil tests on each test fabric.

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I used 2 different types of linen, 2 cottons and one cotton/linen mix.  The results for each were predictable according to the fabric fibre source but just how each product performed was not.  This will be a valuable resource for future work.  Hopefully this will cut down on mistakes in the future but one can never be 100% sure.  In fact I think this is activity has been an exercise in procrastination on my part.  I just don't want to start.  I hate making mistakes but you never learn unless you take a chance.

I might put this away now and do some quilting.