Books Feed


I have been following Rachel's progress on her foot stool done in canvas work on her blog.  I used to do a lot of canvas work but got bored with it.  Now I think I would like to stitch a piece.  At the Embroiderers' Guild they have a huge selection of threads for this kind of work on the sale table, so I can get the thread cheap and I'm sure I must have some canvas in my stash.  Next step was what would I stitch?

I found a colouring book on-line from 1615.  It was originally written for glaziers and plasterers but I'm sure some of these patterns would work.  (These are the kind of things one finds on in the Internet Archive.)

Screen Shot 2021-01-26 at 1.54.03 pm

There is a design index at the beginning setting out all the designs as thumbnails.

Screen Shot 2021-01-26 at 2.03.36 pm

Then these are expanded to full page prints later and there are some interesting designs that could work.

Screen Shot 2021-01-26 at 2.05.47 pmIt also has some recipes for mixing colours that come with the warning that these might be dangerous, still, it is interesting to read how it was done back then.

Screen Shot 2021-01-26 at 1.52.14 pmI intend to have a play around with these designs and see what I can come up with.

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.


Table Toppers

In my search for easy things to embroider I came across Gail Pan's new book "Tabletop Stitchery".

Screen Shot 2021-12-12 at 12.06.27 pm

There are so many Australian designers of this type of stitching who have incorporated it into their use of quilting.  There are so many that they must have a market for this type of work and there must be a lot of stitchers out there, who probably don't call themselves embroiderers, rather quilters.  So the humble doyle hasn't died, it has just meta- morphosised into something different.

The publishers of the book have a 'trunk show' of the work from the book.


I might use some of these ideas as part of my plan just to enjoy myself and I need to visit the sites of the other designers to see what they are doing.

New Book

Just when I thought that there were no books around where the writter used words beautifully and I had the feeling that  the stories I was reading all seemed the same, I was given a book by my sister that has just blown me away.  Day's Without End is a story about the wild west in North America.

Screen Shot 2021-12-01 at 2.50.41 pmIt is so intensely beautiful and terrible that I can only read one chapter a day.  The beautiful words describe terrible things in such a way that you know the situations and characters are often horrific  but also  beautiful and you are able to read the words and feel both the beauty and the horror whilst being engrossed in the story.

This is my first book by Sebastian Barry.  I have looked up all his other books and intend to try and read every other one. These are the ones I want to start with.

Screen Shot 2021-12-01 at 2.49.14 pm

But I know there are more.  Including some movies. I think these will keep me busy for most of 2022.

Some new books

I had to go into town to see the Doctor the other day and got there far to early.  So, I went to the local library and was just going to look but found a couple of books to borrow.  As I have residences in Brisbane and on the island I have library cards for both council libraries.  Problem has been that during the pandemic I have spent more time on the island.  The Brisbane City Library told me that they would cancel my card if I didn't borrow on a more regular basis, (at least once a year)  so, I try to pick up something every time I stay in town.  (I know the time may come when I might have to move into the town residence, but hopefully not for some time yet, I like the isolation and the relaxed lifestyle here.)

I can see a whole bundle of books on the horizon as there are 15 books in this series by Alexander McCall Smith starting with 44 Scotland Street.  The two I borrowed are near the tail end.

Screen Shot 2021-11-03 at 2.56.27 pm

And what a delight they are.  At first glance they appear light and rather frivolous but they tackle questions like honesty, snobbery, political correctness, love and loss, with a light touch, that leaves the reader smiling but identifying with what is written.  The characters are very believable, in fact I'm sure that I have met some of them before here in Australia.  (They must have visited from Scotland.)

I don't know where I have been to have overlooked these books and I'm sure others have discovered them long ago but I now have a reading list that will keep me busy for a while.







Things keep changing

It is the thing that things do, change that is, but I am finding it hard to deal with at the moment. 

My local patchwork shop is closing down and I was just getting really comfortable with going there.  I was only in there yesterday and today I get an Email telling me they are closing.  It isn't as if I hadn't expected it might happen, the owner Margaret is about my age and her husband died recently, but, I didn't want it to happen. 

Screen Shot 2021-10-29 at 3.09.48 pm

There are other patchwork shops. A bit further away and it will mean a special trip to get there.  Now that might make me use some of the fabrics that I have stock piled. 

My machine servicing man, Martin, has been moved to palliative care,  he had only just retired a few months ago.  He was such a support to me when I was running Textile and Design course in High Schools.  I would normally have about 50 sewing machines and he kept them in tip top condition, no matter what.  When I retired from the Education Dept. he helped me set up my sewing school that I ran.  Such a supportive special man.  He always ran special in-service days for my staff and kept me up to date on the latest developments of technology and sewing and he loved what he did.

Screen Shot 2021-10-29 at 3.25.34 pm

I have made so many special friends though out my life who have shared my love of sewing and textiles.  I am so grateful to all of them for their support and care for me.  I always knew these relationships were special and now that change is destablising my little world I appreciate them all so much more and I thank God for the blessing of having had them in my life.


A parcel in the mail.

A wonderful parcel arrived from my friend Pam.

Screen Shot 2021-10-26 at 10.29.40 am

Little silk bags full of goodies and a couple of beautiful books.

The books were, The Flower Hunter, Ellis Rowan, who I have to admit I had never heard of.  But her paintings are beautiful.  In fact I think she has made the flowers just a bit more beautiful than they are in real life.

Screen Shot 2021-10-26 at 10.27.03 am

The other is a book about dairies.

Screen Shot 2021-10-26 at 10.26.48 am

I have always written a diary, I haven't kept them all, but I think the visual type are my favourite, this book confirms that.

Then each of those little bags held so many treasures, and are treasures themselves.

Screen Shot 2021-10-26 at 10.29.07 am

Some hand embroidered ribbon from India. Maybe for using on the hem of a skirt or jacket?

Screen Shot 2021-10-26 at 10.27.18 am

Some lovely old silk thread and a collection of buttons.

Screen Shot 2021-10-26 at 10.29.27 am

And then there was a collection of old embroideries from Laos.  Pam and I travelled to Thailand together and she knows I looked in every market for old pieces, especially those stitched by people of the Miao tribes.  I have one that I made a wall hanging from in my sewing room.

Screen Shot 2021-10-26 at 10.30.22 am

Now I have another collection of pieces to play with.

Screen Shot 2021-10-26 at 10.28.15 am
Screen Shot 2021-10-26 at 10.28.00 am

Screen Shot 2021-10-26 at 10.28.54 am

Parcels in the mail are always exciting to receive.  Parcels from a good friend who know the things you like and have taken the trouble to put them together for you is super exciting.


New Book

This book's name gives it's content away, "Quilt Recipes" by Jen Kingwell. 

Screen Shot 2021-09-30 at 4.58.34 pm

The thing that is different about this book is that most of the designs are for hand quilting and piecing plus there are some great food recipes as well.  It is a book that I will use over and over I think.  Her use of colour is wonderful as is her ablility to make the old traditional blocks look modern.

You can see a short promo on You Tube, or a longer in depth Question and Answer.


As her company wholesales here is a list of her stockists in Australia.  

I know that she also sells in the USA but am not sure just where.

Jen has some good videos on You Tube with hand quilting tips.

( I do not know Jen and am not getting any commissions for this post, I just like her work.)

Preparing classes for 2022

Yes, it is that time of year again, getting the proposed classes out there.  I am not going to do the number I would usually prepare, people are not out and about like they have been and this year I have cancelled most of my classes.  I could move them on-line, this is what my friend Teena keeps urging me to do, but, I like to meet people face to face.  Old fashioned I know.

So this year I will do Kogin, Exploring Stitches, Applique and the introduction to Embroidery.  Plus I have a few small half day classes in the works.  I am hanging out for my second vaccination jab and nothing will happen until then.  We are very lucky in Queensland to have held out so long, but the Delta variant is rampant in some of the other states and will breach the border eventually.

The class which is giving me the most trouble at the moment is my Applique Class.  I renew my designs every two years and it is time for a new design.  So, I am out there surfing, just to see what others are doing.  (I have to explain that here in Australia Applique is the American version not the U.K. one.)

Two of my favourite designers are Kathy Doughty and Sarah Flieke.  Their work is a bit different.  Kathy's book Organic Applique has lots of inspiration.  Do have a look at the 'inspiration' section of her website.  It is inspirational.

Screen Shot 2021-08-23 at 10.04.34 am

As is Sarah's new book and video, Growing Wild.  ( I see that Sarah has moved her business completely on-line.  Teena would approve.)

Screen Shot 2021-08-23 at 10.08.49 am

Although both books are great my problem is that I try to include at least 3 different applique techniques, needle turn, freezer paper and some form of attachment of the pieces using embroidery.  Not all designs will accommodate this.  So it is back to the drawing board.  Hopefully inspiration will strike.

New Book

Maybe  I am still a kid but I love this book for children called Memorial by Gary Crew and Shaun Tan.

Screen Shot 2021-08-16 at 2.50.42 pmThis story is set in a small country town where a tree was planted besides a war memorial and in later years it became a traffic hazard and the decision was taken by the local council to cut it down.  At some points in the book there is no script just an illustration, but this says more than words can.  Like the painting on the cover.  For me this tree is like many Moreton Bay Fig trees that were planted in lots of school yards around Australia.  It brings back so many memories, even that painting of the fruit says so much to me. 

I used to teach with Gary, long ago when he was working towards becoming a famous author and I love Shaun Tan's work.  So this is a special book.

The next book

This book has come to me via my husband.  It is part of a group of book and is the first in a series.  It is non fiction and is about the 'songlines' that are found in the knowledge storing of all first nation peoples.

Screen Shot 2021-08-09 at 2.10.10 pm

I am finding it instructive and it explains so much about the culture of our aboriginal people.  For me, it continues a learning that began in my childhood.  Let me explain.  The name of my grandparents home and now my home was 'Lumeah. ' This is an aboriginal word that translate, 'peaceful place' or 'place of rest'.  My three times great grandfather on my mother's fathers side of the family, took up land in NSW in the early 1800's and the aboriginal people who actually owned this land became his friends.  This was their name of the land where his farm sat.  I was visiting Stradbroke Island recently and there was a park there with the same name.  I was told the name came from that same tribe that my forebear knew who had cultural links with the Stradbroke people.  That is over 2,000km of travel south.  All knowledge, science, law, stories etc.,  was linked to the land and shared across the continent for over 65,000 years.  It wasn't just religious knowledge but all knowledge and it was transmitted orally through story, song, dance and art.  This way of holding and transmitting knowledge is common to all first nation peoples.  It is only about 2,000 years since all of my ancestors belonged to this group. It follows that there is much I can learn from this.  But, it is not a novel it is non fiction so others may not find it as interesting as me.