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October 2023

A lost week

This past week has been one of seeing Doctors, filling in forms and making sure that all things are in order, as much as they can be.

My daughter and I had time together.  Somehow or other I bought her a new hat!  (I know she has wanted this for over 18 months.)  Wesley, her deaf dog, seemed to like it as well.

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I had morning tea with my quilting friends.  We have been friends for 30 years and I now live far away, but, friendships that old and special are important. (I also got to deliver all my Xmas presents that my friend Kay will distribute if I have to miss the party.) We met at Albany Creek, which is on the north side of the city and near the high school where I used to teach.  It used to be an outer suburb back then, semi rural.  Now there are shops and coffee lounges and one of the nicest Patchwork shops I have been in for some time.  It is called Butterfly Stitches and the owner stocks all the fabrics I love, so I had to buy just a few.  The store isn't cramped but spacious, with a great teaching space as well.  I have a quilt planned for my sister of which I have some of the fabric, the rest is in that shop.

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I would have liked to purchase tons but was very circumspect and only purchased a piece for the background in my "Choock Quilt" and a piece to make a bag as a Xmas gift.

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I was hoping to have the Choock Quilt all ready for stitching when I got home from hospital and although I have prepared all the fabric cutting out the shapes is difficult as my wrist is still inflammed, but I am pushing on. 

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I also have my eye on a book from Quiltmania but it cost $45.00 US which translates to about $110.00AU when landed.  I might just keep my eye on it.

Screen Shot 2023-10-29 at 1.02.01 pmMy daughter-in-law is Dutch and I would like my grand daughters to maybe make one these quilts in the future.

 I will now be absent for a week or so as I turn to do battle with the cancer BUT I expect to win!

Getting on with the list of jobs

So many things to do!

I posted off all my pin cushion to my friends in Toowoomba.  I had planned to deliver those this week end, but....

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I finished the sample for the 2024 Children's Class.  Not the normal neat stitching I usually do, but someone else can stitch it properly.

I made it two sided so the kids could have a choice.  The first side is flowers and I worked out how to make lillies.  (I will put up a little tutorial later.)

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I didn't have enough thread to make the cord and tassel so I used old tapestry wool and I remembered, (after looking it up) how to make a 7 strand cord.  I think this should be changed to Perle thread.

Side 2 featured the good luck eye symbol.

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I hope this will do the job.

A bit hard to write.

This is a bit hard to write. 

As you will have noticed over the last year, I have had a number of health issues.  I have now been told that my breast cancer is back, after 23 years. 

So now I am on another journey.  I will see the surgeon tomorrow and he will outline my options, but I know that major surgery and chemo will be part of it.  There will be times when writting this blog will be 'too hard', so I will not be able to post sometimes.  I have severe inflammation in my right wrist.  This is my immune system working hard, but it does limit me.  This may get worse before it gets better.

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(source: found on Facebook)

This has made me face my mortality and I can say, looking back over my life, I have no regrets.  I have had a full and wonderful life and taken every opportunity that life has presented.  I have also been blessed with great friends and family, so no matter what the outcome I have no outstanding 'business' to deal with.  I also take great consolation in my faith so I do not walk this path alone. I live in a paradise and I know that it will help with my healing.

BUT, I'm not dead just yet, so while I can I will stitch.

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I am still working on preparing my applique blocks for my hen quilt.  This is the slow part but once this is done the stitching will be straight forward.

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The problem has been thinking in reverse, again, and every so often I find I have fused the Steam-a seam to the wrong side of the fabric or haven't reversed the pattern.

I am stitching out ideas for another "Children's Class".  This will be for someone else to teach not me.  I do enjoy the mental challenge of designing classes, especially for children.  The age span is some times from 4 to 14 years of age, male and female, and coming up with a design that cover that scope is a challenge.  I have put  quite a few techniques into the design and the idea is that they can be cut back or expanded to suit the student's experience and skill.

The finished item is based on necklaces that I have seen in other countries, like this one from Asia.

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I have based the design on the "sacred heart" which is a common theme in South America.  Lillys are an important design element in this region so I think they need to be added to the design. I am using a button hole stitch to make these.

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This could be cut back to get a small spray for beginners.

If there are advanced stitchers, or boys, I thought the Mexican Eye motive might be good. (I will put this on the back or the other embroidery.) This could be made into a key holder or a charm for a back pack.  I might even add a few beads to this.

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I can't remember how to make a 4 strand cord  to hang the piece using cardboard templates but have a friend who says she will show me.  (How can I forget this after making it for years on end?)

My hand is still painful so all my stitching is slow.



An experiment

Twenty years ago I had a small Elna Lotus Sewing Machine which I used as a trade-in to purchase a bigger Bernina machine.  I went looking for another one and found that it would cost me $350.00 for one that needed work doing on it, second hand.

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It was a good basic machine for straight stitch and zig zag.

Fast forward to today.  I have two excellent Bernina machines, and I love them, BUT, they are so heavy and I can not carry them around.  To get the smaller one off the island I have to bring my car over on the barge and that is a $75.00 round trip.  My big machine is electronic and just can't be moved around.  My local quilt group runs workshops and does sewing for charity in our weekly meetings and the cost of getting my machine over and back is just too expensive on a weekly basis.

Then I saw an add at Spotlight for a similar small Elna, cost $150 new.  I found a friend had bought one to take to the Patchwork group.  So I thought "what can I lose?".  (Well probably my $150.00)  So now I am the owner of yet another machine.

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When I went to purchase this one I found that they were all sold out at most of the stores.  In fact all but one store had sold out, so they must be popular.  The sales lady was rather worried that it would not do the job, telling me it is really "just a toy."  But my old Elna machine was great, so, I am going to experiment with this one.  I will have to see how it performs. Watch this space.

New Book

I was on duty at the Embroiderers Guild Stand at this years State Quilt show this week and had a wonderful time catching up with old friends, past students and other people.  I had to check out all the stalls and at Be Be Bold, who specialise in Japanese materials (they were my importers for materials when I was teaching), Jane said "I have a new book".  So I bought it.

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Nothing I don't already know as far as the contents is concerned but it is a lovely book and I do like the use of Counted Sashiko as the title.  Western stitchers understand this far better than Kogin.

She has 200 Hishizashi patterns included in the book.  You can find 700 Hishizashi patterns that you can download for free here on this blog, so I don't need those but the names of the patterns are all there.  I searched forever for these and only found confusing results.  The history section is also good but the Kogin from the west coast isn't included.  (It was only used for making straps to remove wood from the forest.)  The other useful section was the traditional and substitute western fabrics that can be used.  I ended up having to import my threads and the fabric by the bolt when I started stitching Kogin as nothing was available here.

The book has lots of basic beginner projects for those who want to try this technique but I think I will make this bag for my grand daughters.

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I made a similar shaped bag that I taught as an advanced Kogin class some years ago but it was for teaching techniques and I think the girls would like the one from the book better.  (My bag was a sampler of all the Hishi Zashi patterns.)

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I have started the preparations to make a new quilt for my grand-neice.  The theme is Chooks.

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When she was younger she used to keep chooks and a number were taken by a fox.  (Her thing is now rabbits.) But, I thought this would make a nice memory for her.  I only want to use fabrics I have in my stash for this one.  As usual I found that the instructions didn't match the illustration exactly.  I took a photo of the chooks , put them into catagories and worked out what had to be changed before I got to tracing every pattern.

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Tracing them onto the steam a seam took nearly a whole week.

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As I am using fabrics from my stash I then had to work out what the backgrounds would be. I quite like the fabrics I have choosen, so the next step it to get them all cut.  After that I have to chose the fabrics for the chooks and get them assembled ready for sewing.

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I want this all prepared for the end of the month when I have a sewing weekend with friends in Toowoomba.

I have also been designing a quilt for my quilt group and as part of this I wanted a star.  Well drawing a paper pieced star was really testing my hand so I went onto Etsy and bought one, printed pattern and all instructions, for $7.00.  Money well spent I think.

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And I was asked about ideas for some Children's Classes. Once I start putting down ideas I can't stop.  I just have to see how this will look stitched out.

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