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Some loose ends

Just a couple of things I didn't mention about the embroidery on my containers.  Firstly threads,  I used Danish Flower Thread that I had left over from a commission that I completed 10 years ago.  I love this thread and just couldn't throw away my ends.  They came in handy.

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Secondly my reference for drawn thread work.  My "go to" book that I have been using since the 1970's by Moyra Mc Neill, and it is still in print.  I was thinking how pleased I was that I covered it in plastic.  Inside I found a news article from 1977 about Bill and I leaving the Northern Territory.  (We were referred to as 'kids'.)

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And thirdly, I finished by last simple embroidery.

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I loved stitching this one.

And just a word about my "interesting things' table.

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This is just an old cane table that sits in the corner of the back verandah.  I went and did a check on just what was there.

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And it was interesting to note that all the birds nests, bird feathers, most rocks and shells are gone!  The girls must have a use for those things?


New Book (s)

The books I have been waiting so long for finally arrived in the mail.  I had thought they would have been hard bound but the 2 soft covered book came in a cardboard holder.

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The subject of these books reach right back to my childhood.  The Principal of my primary school, (that is kids 5 to 8 years old), was a Mrs Legard, heavens I still remember her name, and at the tender age of 5 or 6 all I wanted to be was a singer and actress.  My mother was horrified.  My father worked with actors and they were not suitable people according to her.  So, At 6 years of age I got a job at the radio station where my father worked reading the children's birthdays on the children's program on a Saturday.  After lots of arguments with my mother  about my aspriations, we had an interview with the principal, who I thought would take my mothers side but she said "I think she will make a great actress".

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This woman became someone important to me and over time I got to know her mother and father who were retired missionaries from China, Mr & Mrs Hutton.  Their mission was to the Miao, this must have been back before, or near to the turn of the 1900's.  I was fascinated by their stories of their lives in China but this took place in the 1950's and all things Chinese were taboo.  But I never lost my interest in these people and their life and customs.  Many came to the USA and Australia after the Vietnam war.  Since that time I have looked for  their works, when I went to Thailand and any exhibition that I could find.

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These books fill in all the gaps in my knowledge of their work as they look at the traditional work of artisans that is still carried on in China.  It also comes with a full set of patterns of some of the work and an explanation of what each one means.

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I don't think I would ever stitch any of this work but I can still look and appreciate it.  It also brings back memories of those two elderly people telling that little child stories of their colourful lives and the people they came to love in China.

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These books were expensive but I was lucky to get a copy as they sold out within days of being released.  They are sure worth the wait.

Waiting for books

Because all the borders are closed and there are very few airlines flying we have stepped back to the pre1960's when it comes to buying books from overseas.   The websites say 10 to 15 days, but for some books I have been waiting longer than that.  I realise now that I have been spoiled by the supply chains of quick delivery facilitated by the airlines.  The things this virus is teaching us!

But I have received a knitting pattern book from Kate Davies Design & Co.  Colour Moves by Claudia Fiocchetti.

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I would like to purchase that yarn from KDD& Co as well but the exchange rate on our dollar is so low I just can't afford that kind of expense.  But I know that I am going to have to knit gloves and hats now that the ferry and barge services have been severely reduced.  Soon those South East winds will blow and standing on the open deck of the barge will be very cold.  The ferry isn't running between 8am and 6pm so it looks as though I will need all my winter woolies in a few months time.

There are some really challenging patterns in this book, well challenging for me.  I would like to knit this colour work set.  Those colours look just like looking through water.

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And the second pair of gloves would mean I could use my fingers and keep warm at the same time.

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Now I have to find a similar type of yarn locally and that might be easier said than done.

Fun Stitching

I purchased a copy of Annie Downs book of embroidery and quilting designs, "The Making of a Peaceful Day."  (I can't see it on her web page just yet.)

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These are always quick and easy to stitch and make great small gifts.  I usually put this kind of thing into my 'silly stitching' box for stitching on 'social occasions."

The book is just full of this kind of thing that all go towards making a quilt or lots of small projects and even if you don't stitch these designs you can use the projects in the book as a base for other designs you may devise.

I know a few cats that this pillow describes.

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What a great project to use up scraps.

Threads of Life

I had a recommendation to read 'Threads of Life' by Claire Hunter from numerous sources.  When I got a comment from Margo that it was worth reading, I thought, the universe is telling me something here.

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So I bought a Kindle version.  It is so good I have ordered a hard copy from Book Depository.  Now that doesn't happen very often!  It had to be good for me to want it on my book shelf as a forever copy.

Back in 2008 I bought an embroidery from an antique shop very cheaply.  I knew it was significant and should not just molder in one of my draws so I ended up donating it to the Queensland Embroiderers' Guilds Collection.

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Reading Claire's book I found there is a whole section on 'Story Quilts' and her research into them.  Oh how I wish I could have gone with her back in 1995 to research all this.  I'm glad that I kept photographs and look at it again and now understand it's true significance. 

This book has a great bibliography but only a short list of links to images.   I wish there were more links to images. Words can paint pictures and the words are beautiful in this book.  But for me, embroidery is about looking at the piece and experiencing the emotions evoked.  I had seen first hand this story quilt (and some of the other works mentioned) and knew just from looking at it that the story it told touched me.  I am sure that more images would have seen this book have even a greater impact.

(Note to self:  Always take photos of things you see on your phone even if you don't think they are important.)


I was complaining to my family and friends that I didn't have any fiction books or any books of any genre that I found interesting at the moment.  Of course the Gods were listening to me and sent me a small bundle.  So I now have this bundle of books to read and have only finished one.

This I found as I walked into my local library on the 7 day loan stand and is by Ann Cleeves.

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"The Long Call",is a really good read, just like all her other books.  It is not deep and meaningful, although there is some social comment in there.  I read it from cover to cover in less than 1 day.  You can see by that fact alone that the story was good.  It is the first of a new series and I am already wondering just which actor is going to play the lead role in the TV series that is sure to follow.

I'm still reading the other books that dropped on me.


New Book

After reading Mary Corbet's review of Embroidered Boxes I ordered a copy which arrived yesterday.  Now that was only 7 days ago and it's here?  I can't get a letter from my sister in Sydney in that amount of time.  And the cost of postage was less than I had to pay to send her a parcel of about the same weight.  The postal system has me scratching my head.  Any way, the book arrived and it is everything that Mary said it was.

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I bought it because I wanted a good guide to how you construct a box.  I have other books but this one is really clear on the mechanics of the construction.  I think I need to get some board and tools and just make some mock-ups first, then think about the embroidery. 

I have some embroidery that I finished a little while ago to make a box but it sits in the draw because I am just not confident enough to cut into it.  The author recommends making your first boxes with just fabric, no embroidery .  I think that is what I will do.

I like this book.

New Books

Two new books for me to get into. 

The first is a knitting book.  I have to finish last years cardigan but I thought some mittens might be easier to finish and I MIGHT have these ready when the weather turns cold.

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I also received a copy of an ebook so the hard copy may go to my sister down south.  It is colder down there.  My favourite pattern at the moment is this one.

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A bit of colour work but they are so cool.  I'm also taken by these ones as well.  They are more practical for our type of weather.

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Here are all the patterns included in the book which you can purchase on-line here.

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The second book is semi fiction.  I say 'semi' because it is one person's recollections.  It is called "The land before avocado" by Richard Glover

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Not deep and meaningful but still an enjoyable read.

New Book and Recycling Project

As I have mentioned before, I greatly admire the work of Kate Davies at KDD& Co  

and have recently purchased her new book Wheesht.  ( If you follow this link you can read Kates' overview of each chapter.)

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It is about creativity, but not what you would normally expect from a book about this topic.  The content here is more 'thought provoking' rather than 'how to'.  I believe that it will take me quite a long time to get through every chapter and do the writting justice by considering the content and pondering what this could mean for me.  Even then, in light of what I have read in Chapter 1, this process may cause changes in my practise that could be on going.

To illustrate, Chapter 1 is concerned with darning.  It was my grandmother's darning samples that she did when she was 7 or 8 years old that got me interested in embroidery to begin with, so my attention was peaked.  I don't do a lot of darning, winter is short here and I tend to live by the saying "a stitch in time saves 9. " So when it came to the task for this chapter I couldn't think how I would do anything.  But the chapter also made me think why I have nothing to darn and I realised that although winter is short, and that is a valid reason, I also put my clothes in the Charity bin and buy new ones because the replacement cost is so cheap. Another reason is I don't like the look of repaired clothes.  That led to the question "why don't I like the look of repaired clothes? "   I'm a bit shame faced to say that the answer was "what will people think of me".  (I'm still pondering this one.)

Then I considered just what did I have to be repaired?  An old quilt.

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I made this back in the 1980's before we had patchwork shops here.  It is all made from cotton dress fabrics of different weights.  It have been washed so many times the fabric is very soft and lovely to have against your skin.  This is the quilt my husband always pulls out when he needs a quilt.

But the use of dress fabrics has led to so some of the seams coming apart.  Not only coming apart but fraying so badly it can't be resewn without some major work.

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The answer is to patch it.  I love those Boro garments that are patched and darned with Shashiko stitching, my solution isn't nearly as elegant but I unpicked the binding and trimmed that flaying before adding the patch.

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As I had made this quilt so long ago I couldn't find the original quilting thread or anything like it.  So I settled for my "spagetti thread" , which is a bit heavier than what I used originally.

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I then replicated the quilting pattern I used originally, with a few adjustments, and patched that seam.

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I know other sections are going to fray like this so this will be an on going project.  I am going to count this piece as my Recycling Project for this month.  I wonder what Chapter 2 will produce?

Back to bed, again.

Like lots of other people I am finding the smoke from the fires debilitating.  Lots of just sitting or back to bed.  But I have risked the smoke a couple of times to see my grand daughters receive prizes for their school work.  I also keep surfing the internet and finding books.  A little while ago I wrote about Ruth Singer and decided that I could use her new book," Fabric Manipulations".  Most of the techniques in the book I already am familiar with but the ribbon folding is new to me and reminds me greatly of Japanese origami.  It was worth buying for this alone.

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I also bought a second hand book from the same author, "Sew it up".

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Not a thing I didn't know in it but my daughter keeps asking me for books to improve her dressmaking and this has all the basic techniques.  I have given her my more advanced books but I think this will be a perfect Xmas gift.  As I said, this is a second hand book, it cost me $15 including postage.  It is hard bound, thick and heavy.  Looking inside the cover I see it has come from a library in England.  I don't think any money was made by the seller here, but it has gone to a good home.

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To the girls, Monique won the academic award for her year level.  She is high functioning Aspergers, in fact although she is in year 3 she has a lot of her lessons with the year 6 students.  She is also very musical, playing keyboard, viola and trombone, and she sews. (Grandma loves this.)

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Jasmine is in year 2 and is our artist and very academically able but is not so keen on sewing, yet.  (She is super shy and looks so like my sister.)

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Oh dear, I know Xmas is going to get me.  I am so behind on my work.