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March 2022


Most of my efforts this week have been with the drawing program.  I have made some progress and can now set a grid for the graph and get it to print.  The trick was to be a bit like Gandalf  when he was trying to open the doors to Moria, I follow a strict procedure, which wasn't in the instruction manual!  I have class kits to prepare for upcoming classes.  They do take time and the classes keep getting bigger.

I have also finished lengthening the arms and body of the cardigan that I knitted for my grand daughter.  It now sits on the blocking board.

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I just have to sew on the button then.  I hope she likes it.  I have put the left over wool away so I can add more length if I need to.  That is the advantage of top down knitting.

I have another lot of knitting started.  This one for my cousins new grand son.  I am knitting this in light blue.  I have almost forgotten how to read an old fashioned pattern, I am far more used to charts these days.  I got this pattern book in Toowoomba.

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All other sewing is on hold until I finish the current lot of teaching.

Problem solving

I use a drawing program called "Easy Grapher" to graph all my embroidery.  It was published in 2004 but works on Windows 10.  Problem is my PC computer died and it doesn't work on Apple and I have classes this coming week which I need to use the graphs for, and, you guessed it, I don't have a print out.  When I checked they said I would have to buy a new copy.  That's OK but it has to come from the USA  as a CD, there is no on-line download, and there is no way it would arrive in time for me to have it loaded and do the drawings again.

I wish I had kept at it and learnt to use Inkscape.

Screen Shot 2022-03-27 at 2.26.52 pmBut that takes time and practise.

The only solution has been to use my other drawing program.  I use EasyDraw which is vector drawing program.

Screen Shot 2022-03-27 at 2.31.51 pmWhat is the difference?  Well, neither of these programs are designed for embroidery. In the case of charting Kogin patterns you can only draw on the line not in the space with Inkscape and although you can draw in the space with EasyDraw you can't print out the grid of the graph.  But I still need those patterns.

Solution.  I used EasyDraw to chart the graph.  It wasn't easy as it has a "snap" function that helps you draw on the line and I wanted to draw between the lines, so my lines are not perfectly straight and all drawn by using my finger on the track pad.  (painfull)  Because I knew that grid wouldn't print I took a screen shot.  It will have to do but I think it will work.

(Please feel free to use this design if you wish.)

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A bit of nostalgia.

I came across this old photo of a childhood friend taken in front of my Mother's vegetable garden.  Roslyn died last year from cancer and because the borders were closed I was unable to see her before she passed.

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I had forgotten what a pretty young girl she was, with deep red hair.  Her father always called me "Carolina".  I think she would have been about 12 or 13 when this photo was taken.  I remember all of those plants.  The peach tree, the tomatoes, peas, beans, strawberries, potatoes.  We never got big crops because my sister would eat most of the produce off the vines before we could get to them.

I have been doing some research regarding a brass slab from the 1400's and have found a wonderful book on line regarding these.  It is called  Monumental Brasses and Slabs   by Charles Boutell.  I am sure there is a ton of inspiration in the images in this book along with the great explanation regarding the meanings of the images.

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Another  book that I think has the best images is from 1849 and is titled "The monumental Brasses of England"  by the same author, Rev. Charles Boutell, M.A.

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Both books are freely available on-line.  My mother's first name was Joyce and it came as a surprise to find that this is an old name from the 1400's.  I still have to work out why the women are depicted with a small dog and the men with what looks like a little lion.  A good number of the plates have small animals in them, which is an interesting source for design.   I have lots of images of stained glass which compliment these.  Great resource for portraits.  I don't know what to start with faces or animals!

More Loot

Some more loot from my trip.  I found some lovely pieces of Tilda fabric.

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These are going to make a shoe bag for my new winter boots that have a woolly linning.

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I might also have enough fabric to make a new mug bag for the mug I bought at the Op-shop.  The colours will match.

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And I found a rain jacket.  The same make as the one I wore for over 20 years when I went hiking only this time it is a fashionable colour and not navy and has it's own carry bag.

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Besides the lovely bag my friend gave me I also received another little bundle of goodies.

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I haven't decided just what to make with these.  I had better start making things I think.


I have lots of classes at the moment so most of my time is spent putting kits together but I have found time to finish all the stitching in the ditch for the quilting of the embroidered quilt.  Next job is to do some test runs for the other quilting.

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I have a few other things I have laid out ready to start.  I want to cover this box.

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I have a pile of other small boxes I want to cover so I thought I would start with a kit.

Then I bought some more printed 'simple stitching' patterns to add to the ones I have already finished.  These are all a bit larger in scale.

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and there are quite a few of them so these will go on for a while.

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I think I had better return to my lists again, 'Must do' and 'Want to do'.  I can see myself becoming snowed under.


A big decision

I have decided to give up most of my teaching. 

I have issues with my health and having to home school my grand daughter has made things even harder.  And although I love teaching, I think it is time to just stitch for myself.  I have been assessing the work of younger people who want to be tutors and it is time to make way for 'new blood'.  I will still teach classes for people new to stitching.  Again, I think this is probably the most important class of all as first impressions are so important.

I can't just stop stitching and I have to have some kind of a challenge.  So, I am going to do more portraits, Kogin and I would like to become expert at free motion quilting.  I stayed with my friend Angela in Toowoomba and she is doing the most beautiful work on her long arm quilting machine.  She made me this lovely bag from a recycled embroidered doylie.

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Inside was a heart shaped block of bees wax for coating my thread.

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I am going to stick with my Bernina 720 but I have to say I would love to have her skill on the machine.

I will not be able to stop creating new designs, I do this in my sleep.  I will put those here on my blog as well.

I have to honour all the bookings I have for the rest of the year but that will be the end of teaching.  I'm a bit sad but relieved as well.

Back Home

Well I'm home again after my little trip to the country where I have been judging at some country shows.  I do love doing this.  You meet the nicest people and get to see some wonderful work.  The weather was considerably cooler, and that was very pleasant.  It was cool enough to have a quilt on the bed at night.  I also get to look in shops that are new to me.  I saw a lovely writting desk that I would like for the townhouse.  My son won't like it, (he lives there) but it would be great in my bedroom.  The town house is modern and Guy often works from home so he has the living area set up to take all his computers, so it wouldn't fit there at all.  It would be an indulgence for me as it is an antique and not that cheap.  (I'm trying to talk myself into this.)  I didn't buy it but if it is still there next time I go up I will.

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The other thing I like to do is the op-shops.  Only Vinnies this time but I still managed a good haul. One thing was this lovely doll for my grand daughter.  Cost $4.00.

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And this mat that I will unpick for the embroidery to repurpose.  I have a machine finishing class soon and this will make a good demonstration piece.

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See the price? 50cents!!  You couldn't buy the buttons for that.

(I bought lots more which I will keep for later.)

Looking at some of the history of Russia and Ukraine

Like most people I am very disturbed by what it happening in these countries.  To try and gain some perspective  I have been looking back at their shared history and the disputing claims each country has made.  What I have discovered hasn't really put my mind at rest but it has given me a wider understanding.  It all reaches back to the Vikings and the disputes today have their sources in what happened back then.

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Oleg of Novgorod’s campaign against Constantinople. Source: The Radziwiłł Letopis, also known as the Königsberg Chronicle. Source: Wikipedia

It is hard to imagine that historical events would have such a long reach into our times but that seems to be the case.  For Putin it would appear to be an almost religious quest to put forward his version of medieval happenings.

This article by Karen Schousboe gives a brief overview of the arguments.  It poses the fact that "history would progress through conflict", not a happy proposition.

The closing paragraph states that:

A keynote in Putin’s web of historical and medieval reenactment is this Ivan Ilyin, who has been named a Russian Christian Fascist. In 1917, he finished his thesis on God’s worldly failure decrying the presence of “motion” in history. While Lenin accepted with Hegel that history would progress through conflict, Ilyin thought that the liberation of humanity would only take place at the point of the elimination of history. One day, Ilyin thought, this eradication would come about through the effort of a saintly hero, who larger than life would abolish the “Middle Class” and its morally depraved idea of “progress”. Based on this idea, Ilyin fashioned the fascist seizure of power as “an act of salvation”. In the aftermath of WW2, Ilyin began to imagine the “Unsoiled” Russia as the spiritual redeemer of the world or the recycler of native virtue. Part of this idea was the tenacious adoption of the Orthodox, positive attitude towards war and physical opposition.

Today, Ilyin’s ideas are used to foment the Russian position on “spiritual threats”, portraying Ukraine, Europe, and the United States as not just political but existential and spiritual dangers to “Mother Russia”.

Who knows where this will take us all.

(There is a good lecture about the Russian- Ukraine Crisis on You tube It is 5 years old but still applies today.)



A gift from my "Buddy".

My patchwork group has decided to allocate each member a "Buddy" this year.  This is the person we will make our Mother's Day and Xmas gift for.  We have also been asked to do little tasks of kindness for out Buddy each month.  We will not find out who our buddy is until the end of the year.  Last meeting my Buddy gave me this lovely table runner/mat.  Just perfect for the small table I have on the front deck.  My husband has just finished replacing all the wood in the floor here so it is looking very nice. 

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The colours of the fabric are so bright and fresh.  A lovely gift.

I am off judging at some country shows for the next few days.  I just hope that the roads are all open after these floods.  I do enjoy getting out to the country and meeting people.  There hasn't been much of that over the last year or so with Covid.