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February 2022

Hungarian Embroidery

I have made the biggest mess of this stitching.  I am now taking a step back and am going to stitch a series of samples so that I can master some of the techniques.  I didn't appreciate just how complex this stitching is, and it is complex, and has a huge range of styles .  I started out seeing it as a 'Folk Embroidery'.  But it actually encompasses a whole culture which is rich and deep.  From my research so far I find that girls were required to first stitch samples, so that is where I will start.

I also found a video from back in the 1990's from Cleveland in the USA.  It is a wonderful resource, even if the quality of the film isn't the best.  It is about 38 mins but is divided into chapters, so you can take it in stages.


I also found a blog by a Hungarian woman Called "Kezimunkamania" that has some great patterns and they have been drawn in AutoCad so they are of a high quality.  They are written in Hungarian but it has a Google translate on the page. Screen Shot 2022-02-21 at 2.11.03 pm

And now I see that Selvedge Magazine is running some workshops Screen Shot 2022-02-22 at 10.14.55 amAnd that I have been doing the stitch upside down!

So, I restart learning these techniques.


New Book

I picked up a few books from the library and one was "The soul of a woman" by Isabel Allande.

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I read it at one sitting, laughing and thinking of my own experiences over the years.  It catches the thinking of the writter and the spirit of the life and times of many women who grew up in the 1960's and 70's.  It is more of a conversation than anything else and I felt that she was sitting in the room talking to me. It has me thinking about women's roles in society had how they have changed over those years?  You don't think about it until it is laid out like that in print.  She paints her mother and grandmother in bright colours and you feel as if you could have known them.  It is a book about females but, although she would hate to admit it,  she likes males. ( As witnessed by her three marriages.) I'm not quite sure even she has reconciled that part of her character. 

A most enjoyable read.


A little Simple Stitching.  Now it is repeat patterns.

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The first of the Hungarian designs.  I think I should have used a fabric with a looser weave and I am finding that some of the stitches recommended just don't work.  Also that this isn't the best design.

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And some of the Bayeaux kit.

An old design

I have been going through some of my old embroidery designs and have decided to share them on my blog.  So, this is the first one. This was all stitched in back stitch.  One thread for the hands and two threads for the words.  Here is a PDF of the pattern to download.   Download 12 peace.pages

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(I publish this under Creative Commons so if you republish please attribute it to me.)


Back to school

We are back to school today.  The speakers were cactus in the laptop but they managed to disconnect them and I bought some external ones.  A lot of running around to get things back on track.  To work off my frustration at the whole saga I got to work in the garden.  I thought I should channel all that anger and frustration into something positive.   I mowed my own lawns and the houses on either side, then I collapsed.  I was so hot I dived into the sea with all my clothes on and then came home, had a shower and just lay on the bed in the air-conditioning for a couple of hours.  I went to bed early that night and slept for 12 hours straight.  (I am no longer a spring chicken.)

I didn't do any sewing because I knew I would make a mess of it.  But it is time to get back to my dressmaking course.

Screen Shot 2022-02-18 at 11.02.13 am I have got really behind since I put everything away at Xmas.  I am at lesson 4  and the rest of the class is another 3 garments ahead of me.  Part of the problem is that they are working with woollen fabric and it is the middle of summer here.  I just couldn't face that.  But looking at the previews I see that Phillipa is wearing a dress on which she has Hungarian Stitching.   ( I know she will have stitched this herself.)

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I have wanted to learn this style of stitching for some time and last time I was in the Fabric Shop I bought a length of fabric that I want to decorate with this type of embroidery.  It is an Italian linen and would make a great wrap or bed throw  with a band of Hungarian stitching at either end.

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I think I will try a cushion cover first and have bought some Eco knitting cotton and some Milford 3ply to experiment with.

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I found some instructions on Pintrest.  It is interesting to see the how the back of the stitch will look, not unattractive.

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And then Mary Corbett has another version.


And then I found a whole lot of patterns on ETSY which I have bought.

Screen Shot 2022-02-19 at 10.57.18 amI will just try one first I think and see if I like it.  The dressmaking might have to wait until March!!

Simple Stitching

I am nearly at the end of the simple stitching panel.  The designs are now repeats of the ones I have finished.  So, now I am looking for more designs to stitch.  I was trolling through the V&A site and came on this woman's shift from the 1600's that had simple designs stitched on the bodice..

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There will be no copyright on this so I am going to re-draw them and stitch them in red silk, I think.

Whilst looking for this I also found a link to an embroidery book that I could download for free on the Project Guntenburg site.

Screen Shot 2022-02-16 at 5.23.10 pm It has some new stitches that I haven't seen before and I love this quote from the book:

In the practice of embroidery the needlewoman has an advantage not now shared by workers in any other craft, in that the technical processes are almost a matter of inherited skill. Every woman can sew, and it is with little more than the needle and thread, which she habitually employs, that the greatest masterpieces of the art have been stitched. The art of embroidery, however, is not merely an affair of stitches; they are but the means by which ideas can be expressed in intelligible form, and memories of all kinds of things be pictured on stuffs.

How times have changed?

A difficult week

It is the first week of the school term and it has been a difficult week.  Looking after a child with a disability isn't easy and I have had a number of challenges this week.  Monique broke both my new iron and my laptop computer we use for classes.  The iron was knocked off the ironing board, so I have replaced that with a top of the range one.  I will just separate the iron section from the rest of it whilst she is here. 

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The lap top is in for repairs.  It is only one year old but I can't get replacement speakers, so I will add some external ones.  She spilt water all over the keyboard.  I thought she had done damage to my Mac but I have managed to get that working again.  There are going to be some rocky patches ahead.  This all happened in the first two days.  I just hope I survive it all.

I do have this beautiful place to live, which is a plus.  The early morning sunrise.

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The sky and sea when the weather changes.


Even the mud-flats have their own beauty.

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And of course my little dog, Bear, is there to give me sympathy.

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And I have my stitching to keep me sane.


The place-mats are finished.


As is the Xmas wall hanging for my grand daughters.

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Some more work on the recycled book cover.  I'm not sure if this is finished or not.  I will let it sit for a while and have a think about it.  This is made from scrap embroidery and fabrics from markets of the hill people in Thialand, plus other odds and sods.  There is actually a lot of embroidery on this one, although you would never know it.  All the pieces that were stitched have been over stitched in places, either to attach them to the background and highlight the pattern.  Some pieces were only fit for the bin which some others are treasures.  It is destined to be made into a book cover.

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The engineers solution

My husband has bought a little electric powered bike to get around the island.  He scoots here and there on it.  The grand daughters love it and make a B line for it every time they visit.

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But it does have it's draw backs, like, it is hard to carry my cup of coffee home and ride it at the same time.  The coffee spills everywhere.

The other day he asked "can I use your sewing machine".  (I have an old machine set aside just for him.  There is no way he will touch my good machine.)

I didn't think any more about it until he came home with my coffee in this.


He bought a net vegetable bag from the supermarket and came up with this.  Not pretty, but it works.