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January 2022

Simple v Complex

This stitch camp one week exercise got me thinking about design.  It can be very complex, like some of the designs by participants or simple.  For me the Queen of using a simple design, with style, is Gudrum Sjoden.  She can take the simplest design and make it something else.  Case in point, her new Spring 2022 home-wares collection.

She has taken a very simple flower design,

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Then played with colour, size, and direction. 

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If you draw out the design this is all it is, with maybe an extra leaf here or there. The circles of the flower are all different sizes.

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Who would think you could come up with some many attractive pieces from such a simple design?

That then translates into embroidery design.  We seem to be so obsessed with the complex and yet there is such beauty in the simple.

Sitting Around

I am finding that fatigue is my biggest enemy at the moment.  I try to stitch but have to stop and lie down again as I tire so easily.  My friend Maxine sent me a link to this You Tube music.  No matter what happens with the virus life goes on and people find ways to interact. 

I found this very uplifting.




Not a lot of work as I am struggling with fatigue.

The cross stitch progresses, with set backs.  Quite a bit of unpicking, I just can't concentrate to count.

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And to the Textile Artist on-line workshop, the piece goes in fits and starts.

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I hadn't realised just how much I am influenced by the sea that surrounds our island.  This piece responds to the ebb and flow of the surrounding waters.  As to stitches I have chosen, I really didn't make a conscious choice, I just followed how I felt,  This is a very relaxing way to work.

Mexican Embroidery

I love this traditional Mexican song, La Sandunga, and I really like The Guitar version of it.


For specticale,  this version by Natalia Jimenez is just wonderful.  The costumes are all based on traditional Mexican designs and the embroidery takes your breath away.  (If you go to You Tube you can see the detail.)


Here is a link to the translation of the lyrics.

Lila Downs  version is so good I will include it as well.  She is dressed in traditional Mayan Indian clothes.



First Marks

When I went to start my mark making for 'Stitch Camp' I found that all my acrylic paint tubes were either empty or dried out.  Not a good start.  Paint and I do not have a good relationship.  I had to wait until I could get to the mainland, where I'm trying not to go, to get some more.  Then the instructions said "mix till it looks like cream". I added to much water and had to add more paint so now I have two jars of diluted paint.  But I have made my marks and am waiting for it to dry.

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It is raining cats and dogs here.  This might take some time. But, I couldn't wait so I set the paint with the iron.  The next step was to deconstruct the two pieces of fabric and then reconstruct them ready for stitching.

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I think I will leave this overnight and come back to it.

I have lots of left over painted fabric to use for other things.


I am busy sewing new samples for my Machine Finishing class and have taken an applique I did a while ago and turned it into a piped cushion with a hidden zip.

First I had to unpick the old pillow, unpicking is so boring.


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This is always a difficult set of techniques to master so I have been on the look out for another way of doing it, and although not simple, I think I have found a new better way.   I'm happy how this has turned out.  There are some improvements I think I can make to the process.

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And how the zipper worked.

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I am also beavering away at my cross stitch and am at the half way mark of stitching the design.

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I also have to go back and have another Covid test.  I'm not looking forward to standing in that line.

Another recommendation

I have had my "Machine Finishing" class brought forward a couple of months so I am updating my samples and notes.

As a trained teacher I am very aware of the "presumed knowledge" that books, commercial patterns and teachers, and in fact all types of teachers, think that students already have.  This also applied in the classroom when I was teaching high school students.  But a lot of basic knowledge has not been passed on to learners, of all ages.  I know my own Mother didn't know how to sew or use a sewing machine and she would have been over 100 years old today.

So, as I am working on my notes all this is running through my mind.  There is just so much basic knowledge and skills that my notes were turning into a "major novel."   On visiting Phillipa Naylor's web site I found that she too has been thinking about this "presumed knowledge"and has called it "Basics".  She has put together a whole series of videos about this for students to read prior to taking her dressmaking course. There is much here that doesn't apply to embroidery but it is all really important information for anyone that works with textiles.

These are presented under four headings.



Patterns and

Sewing Machine Basics.

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The blurb at the top of the blog says:

Philippa Naylor shares her thoughts and advice on foundational tools and techniques required for garment making. We will be adding new videos to this series as we come across foundational topics which would be usefully covered by Philippa.

All these videos are free

So now my class notes refer students to these videos.  I will highlight the ones I think are pertinent to my class and set them as background viewing.  They are a wonderful resource.  (Not that long ago I would have said background reading.  Haven't times changed?)


Thank Goodness!

I spied a book by Yoko Saito and thought, "I want that", and it was reduced in price.

Screen Shot 2022-01-15 at 11.02.27 amWent to the web site to order the book only to find it was unavailable.  Thank goodness, I have so much sewing lined up.  Still, the book is nice to look at.


Whilst in isolation

I decided that if I am locked up here I may as well do something constructive.  So, I joined the Textile Artists Stitch Camp.  The leader for the camp is Gwen Headley

Screen Shot 2022-01-14 at 12.08.42 pmAfter joining the face book page I am just blown away by the beautiful work being done by people around the world.  There is just so much creativity out there.

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This doesn't start until January 17th and it is free.

Here is a link if you are interested.

A forced retreat

My son rang me this morning to say he had tested positive for Covid.  I'm still coming to terms with that.  When he was here he told us that everyone at work had contracted the virus, so in some ways I'm not surprised. (He is triple vaccinated.) Now we have to handle that.  It is impossible to get a test done unless you have symptoms and there are no home tests available to self test.  So, we will just have to wait and see what happens.  Not much use worrying about what might happen.  Both my husband and I are 'at risk'.  He because he has had open heart surgery and me because I have a problem with my immune system, so it is a concern.

We have to go into isolation for the next 7 days as close contacts so I am lining up the sewing projects.  Those place-mats and then quite a bit of quilting.  At least there will be no interruptions!  Because we live, away from people, I can still go for a walk outside.  And there are some parts of the island where you can be completely alone.  So it isn't all doom and gloom, and just think of all the work I can get done?

This morning the sea was calm and the wild hibiscus trees had dropped their flowers into the water.  (This tree is home to jewel beetles as well as having lovely flowers.)

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I am going to keep an eye on my Bougainvillea, it is growing like Jack's bean stalk and it is not going any higher than the roof.  I wonder how long it will take to get to the roof?

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