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July 2022

Machine Embroidery

I have played around with machine embroidery for years but never really taken it anywhere.  One of the problems I have faced has been that most machine embroidery I have seen has been the pre-programmed packages that come with embroidery modules that are attached to the machines I have bought and this doesn't really grab me. 

This is a design of that type available on Etsy.

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Then, there is the needle painting type of work that is favoured by quilters and although this is great it again isn't really what I wanted to do.

This is some work by my friend Pam.  It has taken years of practice and experimentation to do this.

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When I think about it what I want to do (I think), is to learn how to "draw" with my machine.

I recently received an Email notification from Bernina regarding their  Bernina Academy which will be happening in Sydney later this year and one of their presenters is going to be Meredith Woolnough.

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Meredith offers a FREE introductory course that answers all those questions that I have been wondering about for years, so I have signed up for it.


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It might lead no where, but then again, it might be the key to what I would like to explore.  We will see.


After watching the lessons, which are well set out and are all that I already know, but, I have found that I have small gaps in my knowledge base.  The biggest one is the need for practice.  Now I knew this but didn't apply it.  So I have put my fabric in my hoop and intend to just scribble and keep scribbling until I am really comfortable doing this.  It might take hours, days, weeks or even a month, but, I need to become really comfortable with this skill first.  These lessons come with a project as a bonus but I will need to do that scribbling first.  ( this activity will go into my WIPW file.)


A new piece of equipment

One of the things to come out of the Goldwork class that I took at the Embroiderers' Guild was a recommendation for a floor stand to hold my frames.  It is a Lowery embroidery work frame.  I was tempted by the powder coated model that came in a wonderful array of colours.

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Screen Shot 2022-07-27 at 8.32.12 pmWhy practical?  Well I live by the sea and that salt air can be deadly for any kind of steel.  I am finding that although, not completely debilitating, the rhumatiod arthritus is slowly progressing and I need to sit for longer periods of time.  As yet it hasn't effected my hands, although I have managable pain in my wrists, and it might not get any worse.  This way I can sit in comfort and It has been over 30 years since I bought my old frame!!

This one will see me out.

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I am still not feeling very well.  Not sick enough to have to stay in bed but sick enough to be unable to concentrate properly.  The most I can manage is my hexigons.  Still, I am doing something.

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I see that the papers are coming out of the quilt being made at "The last homely home."


And that site also has a  tutorial on the basics for this Technique but she uses a machine to cut her papers.


What I really like is that I no longer have to measure and cut the hexigons.  I used to get my husband to do this for me but now Sue Daley has them all prepared for me.


Oh, I forgot about that rotary cutting mat.  I will have to dig it out again.

Start of the blooming of the Wattle

The weather here has been wild.  We have had 100k winds beating in on us and lots of rain.  I haven't been very well this week so it hasn't really effected me.  I went to the mainland to do my grocery shopping on one day all rugged up with two jackets, hats gloves the lot.  All the umbrellas got destroyed by that wind.  But for the most part I just sat around and read books.

But now the sun has returned and the winds have dropped.  The trees have been trimmed by the winds but despite all that the wattle is starting to bloom.

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This bush is on the top of the bank behind the beach but is protected by some big trees.  It is always the first bush to blossom.

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Little balls of yellow sunshine.

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It isn't a big bush so I only take a small spray to put in with the other flowers. 

The other flower that is blooming is the Crucifix  Orchid.

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This is the most common colour.  Now I have my eye open to see the pink and purple ones.

There are lots of varieties of wattle.  The next one to blossom will be this one.  Already the green of the tree has a yellow tinge to it.

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Looking at it more closely you can see the flowers forming.

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It is so good to see the sun again.  I don't like it when there are extended periods of wind and rain.

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I would love to buy a Bouganvillia the same colour as my neighbours.  There is something about that mauve colour.

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And this is what happens when you plant a indoor pot plant out in a sheltered spot in the garden. It turns into a giant plant!

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Unfortunately winter still has some time to go yet before Spring and Summer arrive.

(I hope it isn't going to be as hot as Europe.)

Did you know

Did you know that there are 100,032 toy patterns on Ravelry.?

I couldn't believe that when I went looking for toy patterns to knit or crochet.  Jee people must love knitting toys.  What I was looking for was those pocket dolls, which I found.  So many variations.  Some free patterns

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and some you had to pay for.

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I am going to start with the free ones and then give them to my friend Kay to sell.  Her grandson has Cycistic Fibrosis and as his father is my Godson and all of us, but especially his parents and grandparents, raise money for research into this disease,  I thought I would make some of these for her to sell.

There are so many cute toys I might make some of the others as well.

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Now some of those look a bit complicated.  I think I will keep to the simple ones.

Where I live

The weather has returned to what it should be.  Cool clear days and cold nights.  In other words it is beautiful.  But only for a short while because the rain and cold is on it's way back.

This has brought the dolphins into the beaches and around the jettys.

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Whilst I was learning my Goldwork they had a Mangrove Festival on the island and the Dolphins escorted the boats around the mangroves.

photo from Facebook by Jan Cox

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The birds are all super noisey at the moment, sometimes you can't hear yourself think.  I saw these Black Cookatoos  but didn't have my camera with me luckily Gary Nolan put some great shots up on Facebook.

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As I walk the dog twice a day I should take my camera with me.  The native flowers are about to bloom they should make some great shots.


When I have finish my other goldwork pieces

Like lots of other people I am drawn to looking at the work of costume designers.  Before my son was a brewer he was a concept artist for computer games and also animated movies.  I got to meet some of the people he worked with who now work on the Marvel movies etc and saw some of the wonderful work they did on costume design.

One designer who's work I greatly admire is Michele Carragher  This piece is from the movie "The Secret Garden".

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The pieces she designed for the Game of Thrones are also outstanding.  I have found that she has a book called 'Trace' which is said to be a comprehensive insight into her work.  It is now on it's way from the Book Depository.  I can see that I better add 'Stumpwork' to my list of techniques I would like to master.




I am stitching the hexigons,

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and the Goldwork sampler.

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Thinking about the hexigons, again, I came upon this quote. 

"Everything worth doing is tedious, demanding and sometimes dull.  Then, before you quit remember this:

The test of a vocation is the love of the drudgery it involves.  Sometimes it's "drudgery" is more restful than it's greatest achievements."

Logan Pearsall Smith.

I will think of that as I sew these hexigons.  (I'm becoming very phillisophical in my old age.)

I have a lot to learn

I really enjoyed my class on Goldwork with Anna Lang this weekend past.  It is a novel experience to be the least experienced in stitching a technique in a class, I am used to being the expert.  But that was not the case for this class, I had zero experience in this technique.  I got to thinking why hadn't I learnt to stitch with gold before?  My grandmother stitched the military uniforms with goldwork etc.  I wasn't allowed anywhere near it when I was young.  Maybe because the cost of threads is so expensive and I might have been seen as a possible problem.   This is our beginner piece designed and stitched by Anna.

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Also the threads are not readily available, you have to go to a special shop and then the threads have to be ordered in for you and they are not cheap.  Added to this teachers for beginners are few and far between.  But having said all that I found my biggest learning curve was how to handle the threads correctly, the actual stitches used I already knew.  Handling the threads was a challenge.   I had to keep reminding myself not to handle it too much, get the stitch in place in my mind before I plyed my needle and not lean on the frame.

The desire to learn this technique was piqued by those kits I bought from Jenny Adin-Christie that sit in the bottom draw.

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After this class I think I will be able to attempt stitching them but I have to finish the class piece first.

Mindfull or Mindless?

I'm not sure just what category stitching hexigons fits into, mindfull or mindless stitching?

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I know I have to be mindfull, that I place them on the straight of grain  and secure them so that they will not come undone.  But after a while the stitching becomes mindless, which has it's place in the scheme of thing.  Sometime we need to not think too deeply.  I have 100's of these to prepare.  Good for Guild Meetings where you like to chat and sew.