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.)

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

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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.

The next book

My last book seemed to be finished before I began!!  I don't think this next one will be the same.

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Pachinko, which means "pinball"  has me putting it down every few pages to think about what I have just read.  I don't know a lot about Korea or the way of life of it's people.  I know that there is ill feeling between those people and the Japanese but as to why I am now finding out.  I visited Korea with my husband when he went on a business trip a number of years ago and remember having problems with the stainless steel chop sticks.  I also fell in love with their hand stitched thimbles and other small stitcheries along with their patchwork.  This book starts out saying one thing but opens you up to a range of other emotions.  If you enjoy historical fiction you will love this book.

You can click on the link at the beginning of the last paragraph to read a range of reviews from people far more informed than me.  I also know that the Korean's practice their own form of Kogin embroidery which is so similar to the Japanese form it is hard to tell them apart.

This is a good book and a great read.

Finally, a good book

I have finally found a good book to read.  Donna Leon's new book "Transient Desires"

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I'm trying to slow my reading pace to make it last longer, without a lot of success.  I notice that although not mentioned, the virus has had an impact on Venice in this story.  Fewer tourists and tour boats.  Nothing about how the virus has spread in the city.  That might form part of the next book.  But, there is an edge to this book I haven't felt in the other 20 something books.  This one is about people trafficing.  I will say no more than that the story will speak for itself.

New Term

School starts today so not much time for anything else.  But I do have a new book called "Why we Drive" by Matthew Crawford.

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I am so enjoying this book.  It isn't a novel but rather looks deeply at our society through the lens of this American.  Much of his observations could be applied to any first world country.  He puts words together in an order that makes reading a pleasure.  I have borrowed this book from the on-line library at my local council but I think it is important enough to buy a hard copy.  It is one of those books that explains so much of what is going on in our world today.  

His thoughts on the company "Uber"  ( the taxi replacement Company) is great.  I, for one, refuse to use Uber and if I need a car will call a taxi.  My children and most of my friends use their services all the time.  After reading his explanation of their business model I understand what it is I didn't like about this Company but I never had any firm evidence or understanding for my beliefs.  Now I do.  He also shows that how much everything changes it stay much the same, reaching back to Greek of Roman writers to illustrate his point.

The review from Penguin books said,

"Driving, it turns out, offers a near-perfect embodiment of the broader changes being wrought by government and technology throughout our lives. In Why We Drive,the philosopher and mechanic Matthew Crawford shows the driver's seat to be one of the few remaining places where we still regularly take risk, exercise skill and enjoy freedom. But it is here too that we discover what we are losing to automation and the technocrats, and who will profit from the vision of progress they press upon us."

There is much debate here about the Federal Government insisting that Companies like Google and Facebook pay for the news that they copy from Australian Companies, both print and on-line.  Trying to understand the broader picture of exactly what is taking place here, (Google has threatened to close it's search engines to Australia), has been my reason for my search for more information.  There are far more academic books on this subject but this one is written in a way that is informative and interesting to read.

I am going to have to read his other book, "The case for working with your hands", after this.

The days inbetween

Those days in between Xmas and New year some how just muddle through.  I don't need anything from the sales, all the fabric shops are shut and so are lots of other business.  As I found out when I went to get some service on a hearing aid.  I did manage a trip to the Doctor to get my Vit B injection so my mind is working again.  The humidity is sky high here and the beaches are full of day trippers and holiday makers.  You can't get a seat at the local coffee shop and now it is starting to rain. 

So it is time to bunker down with a book and listen to the radio.  I got a good book from my sister for Xmas.

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I have read all of Jane Harper's books and this one doesn't disappoint either.  Set in Tasmania it is a great story, so far.

The other thing I bought was a new Diary for 2021.

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I am surprised just how much I have to put into it already.  Next year is going to be a busy one, that is unless that virus upsets all my planning.  The new year is rushing to greet us and after all the turmoil of 2020 I have been thinking about where I am headed.  My health has not been good this year and I am still dealing with the repercussions of Ross River Fever virus I got nearly 3 years ago.  That has left me with a movement disability that I thought I would recover from but it looks like it is here to stay.  Upside of that is I have a  disability parking sticker for the car.  It leaves me wondering just how long it will take for those that got Corona Virus to fully recover. There are stories emerging of it leaving lingering problems for some.  Just like myself and the Ross River Fever.

Something to explore

I came across Teresa's patchwork videos whilst looking at Facebook and found her methods very engaging in fact I almost became addicted to them.  They are all short and easy to watch.  There are actually 200 videos on the playlist!  The mind boggles.

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I followed this up because I was looking for easy, yet attractive designs to use for my donation quilts.  In fact I probably didn't need to buy the book because everything is here. But being old school and having had trouble constantly with access to the internet I decided to get the book.

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Teresa is Spanish and has a particular skill is seeing patterns.  I am going to try this first quilt in the book.  It looks fairly straight forward and the quilting is simple.  

Scan 50I just hope I can make it with the fabric from my stash, because that is what making donation quilts requires for me.  Somehow or other I have to use up all that fabric I have collected!

This book is clearly written, the photography is good and having the backup of the videos means I can watch the parts I find difficult being done on the screen.  (Over and over again.)



New Book

This is one of those "can't put it down" types of books.  I do like the way Anne Cleeves writes.  Her development of her characters takes you right into her stories.  And if you watch the TV series of Vera and like it, you will like this book.  I read it over one day and a night.  Well, being laid up means I have lots of time to read.  "The darkest evening" is a most enjoyable read.

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Here is a link to a good interview with the author.

Last treatment

I had the last treatment for the infection I have been fighting yesterday, so I celebrated by buying a new book, "Quilts from Tilda's Studio".

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I have to say I am a fan of the Tilda range of fabrics and the quilts in this book are an inspiration, along with the toys that are pictured with them.

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The toys are not in the book but you can download the patterns for free from their blog.

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If you are into dolls have a look at "Tilda's Friends".  All free patterns again.

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I do like how they incorporate traditional Scandinavian Designs into their quilts and pillows.

Screen Shot 2020-08-13 at 4.18.02 pmAnd the quilting is doable on a domestic sewing machine.

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There are a number of pin cushions on this page as well.

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My friend Angela also sent me some images of pin cushions by Kelly Klien.  I will be making pincushions for ever.

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Another Reference Book

Why would I possibly need another reference book?  I have quite a library already.  Well, I read Mary Corbet's review of this book and decided that on the basis of that review I really needed this book.

Willing hands really does have a great section on finishing, but there is a lot more to this book.  ( You can get a good idea of what is in the book from the gallery on Inspirations web page.)

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What hasn't been said is how many great small projects there are.  Now is the time to start stitching for Xmas and this book has some small but do-able projects.

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The problem is going to be how to STOP yourself starting some of the bigger projects.

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Living in a digital world

I had made the move to digital books some time ago but the lock down has moved me even further into this world.  Don't get me wrong, I still love my hard copy of a book and there are some that I don't like to read digitally.  But novels read better on my Ipad and I am now finding that I like some of my magazines delivered that way, but not my reference books for embroidery.  I like those as a hard copy.

I have just taken a subscription for Selvedge magazine as a digital copy.  I used to subscribe for a hard copy but they became so expensive that I cancelled my subscription and kept a look out for a copy at the Embroiderers' Guild Library.  There has been no access to the library for the past few months and who knows when it will open again, hence the digital subscription.

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This will not come till next month but I am already looking forward to it's arrival.  The other thing that being a subscriber gives me access to is the virtual world fair.

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It is so easy to press that button 'Buy'.   I am going to have to be careful and keep an eye on just what I do buy.  At the moment I have subscribed for three classes.  The Textile Artist Stitch Club for embroidery, Quilters Question time for patchwork and Art Prompts from Carla Sonheim.  This has me stretched.  Finding time to fit in other projects is almost impossible, or I should say, is impossible.  I will have to set aside three days for the Virtual World Fair and I haven't clicked that button yet, but I want to.

Problem Solved

It is so satisfying when you are able to put all the bits of a puzzle together and come out with an answer.  With one particular puzzle this has finally happened.

Friend Pam gave me some embroidery pieces that she had bought, I think in Thialand, but were they Hmong (Miao) or Chinese?  We both wondered what they were?  It looked like it might be a collar but why was it stitched onto paper and how would you get it off?

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I think I have finally found the answer to this problem.  The book I bought about Miao crafts has a section on this kind of embroidery and although this doesn't look like the traditional patterns it is the same technique.  The wrapped thread is couched into place. It is wrapped around horse hair.  (My reference says this is mass produced as well as being hand stitched.)  I now find out from Pam that you can get a Kindle version of this book from Amazon.  I have bought a copy so that I can enlarge the illustrations.

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Pam had a couple of great links on her facebook page.

This one from Google Arts and Culture.

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The other is this Chinese video.


The Chinese government class the Miao as one ethnic group. But from what I remember Mr Hutton telling me about these people, There were many different types who thought of themselves as quite separate.  He called them black, red, white and yellow Miao.  This may account for some of the different types of embroidery that we see today.  I am so glad that it is all still there.