Design 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 first tests

I have taken a range of fabrics that I want to use for my portrait embroideries and tested the paints and pens that I have.  I didn't know that I had so many, enough for a whole box full.


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I tried to keep the test consistent by replicating the same paints and pencil tests on each test fabric.

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I used 2 different types of linen, 2 cottons and one cotton/linen mix.  The results for each were predictable according to the fabric fibre source but just how each product performed was not.  This will be a valuable resource for future work.  Hopefully this will cut down on mistakes in the future but one can never be 100% sure.  In fact I think this is activity has been an exercise in procrastination on my part.  I just don't want to start.  I hate making mistakes but you never learn unless you take a chance.

I might put this away now and do some quilting.


Some art Quilts

I had some one ask me about some quilting recently and during the time when I was researching the answer I came across OZ quilt network.

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They have some great traveling exhibitions and some of these you can look at on-line. One of these is Australia Wide Seven.  Some great inspiration here.  I think that "Blue Grass is my favourite piece.

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It is simple yet elegant and that stitching just makes it special.

Some more stitched portraits

I have been exploring the work of Nicole O'loughlan .

This piece stitched on a recycled piece of linen is what first caught me attention.

(Self portrait as work in progress, 2020, hand embroidery with found embroidery appliqued on linen, 20x20)

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She is an artist from Tasmania and I am finding her work very interesting.  These are all hand stitched and tell such an interesting story.

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She has a great web-page and blog.    Certainly someone to follow.

Exhibition Part 2

These are the other pieces that caught my attention.I'm not sure if this was stitched by hand or zig zag on the machine.  It is a simple technique but effective.

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There were a number of pieces that were woven, which is one of the techniques favoured by Polish artists. This one looks to be needle weaving.

Wiodsimierz Cygan

"To weave or not to weave" (linen tapestry)

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And this one more pictorial.

Kith Mjoen

"I promise you a rose garden"

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A combination of a machined background with inkle loom weaving.

Maria Antonia Zecchina Herbaria

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I think this piece is woven it would also work well as an embroidery.

Dorota Taranek


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Although the embroidery is a messy technique I find the piece quiet charmning.

Marta Sienicka



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There are many versions of houses but the metal roofs made these ones stand out.

Teresa Rucinska


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A simple idea of using different coloured pieces of tulle and then embroidereing a grid, worked on paper. I liked the finished effect.

Lene Heimer Nielson

"Tasty Embroidery"


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There were other works with about a total of 40 pieces in all.  But it was nice to be able to walk into a gallery and enjoy these works.  Besides giving pleasure they also provide inspiration.  I will be so pleased when this pandemic is over and I can just enjoy things like this again.


I took the time on Saturday to have a look at a small exhibition that was on display at a Library fairly near by.  I had read on Sue Stone's ( U.K.) Facebook page that It was coming to my area and that she had a piece displayed in it.  The exhibition was called "Baltic Mini Textile Gdynia i"  and is quoted as being one of Europe's Leading reviews of textile Miniatures.  The works are all 20x20x20c, which makes it easy to transport and display.  The display was mounted by The Warwick Art Gallery (Qld Australia) in partnership with Gdynia City Museum Poland who curated the works displayed. ( I will take a few days to show the pieces that caught my eye.)

I found the piece by Sue Stone easily.  I had seen this piece before but didn't realise it's size.  When I looked into it I was able to see the intense detail in the background stitching.  (Her signature fish was in the picture.)

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The gallery is housed in a space in the Capalaba Library and this is an out of the way location.  Good for me because I had the place to myself.  (I asked the attendant if I could take photos and she didn't have any information that I couldn't, so I did.)  I was able to really look at every piece on display. 

This piece was cross stitch on Aida cloth and showed a really good use of colour and direction.  Simple but complex.

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There were some work by Queensland artists, two of whom I know.  That was a bit of a surprise.

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The top one

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and the second.

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And I was taken by this free form crochet piece.

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I had to look at this one a couple of times before I saw the image.

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To be continued....

I love this fabric

There is one print in the Tilda Woodland range that I love above all others and it is this one.

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I fussy cut it to make a box bag and lined it with the blue fabric.  I went back to the shop and bought the end of the rolls, not much, just enough to make some more bags.

This one I made as a gift for my patchwork friend.  The bags are so roomy and in this case held almost 2m of fabric.

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I must remember to make a bag for myself.

If you are into making patterns

When I was teaching full-time one thing I taught was how to draft patterns for clothing.  It was the rare student who liked this topic.  I think it was because most students didn't have an ability to visualise what they were making.  This is a skill that isn't really taught in school.  You might get a bit of it in art but nowhere is it actually 'taught' in the curriculum.  You only have to look at all the Apps available on line that do this for you.  They range from doing your make-up to designing houses and interior design and a whole range of other tasks that you have to 'visualise'.  Some people are born with this ability but for the majority it has to be learnt.  The other thing that most students found difficult was the math.

This brings me to the box bags I have been experimenting with.  I found a pattern on the Bernina site "We all Sew".  It is a great pattern and just fine for a knitting bag.  Like a lot of things it was designed to sell the designers fabric and I wanted to use my own.  So, I added some handles and did just that.

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Then I got to thinking about making it in other sizes.  Now there is a simple mathematical formula for working this out.  For the length you add your desired finished length to your desired height plus 2 times your seam allowance.  For your width use 2 times your desired width plus 2 times  your desired height plus 2 times the seam allowance.  That gives you the size of the fabric you need to start with.


I thought back to my classroom days and saw all these blank faces, with one or two exceptions.

The internet is a wonderful thing so I went looking for an App or a blog post that would do this for you.  And I found a blog that had an automatic calculator on it's site.  It was a blog written by Sarah Kirsten.  She has a "Pouch Pattern Calculator"  that you just fill in the measurements and it works it out for you.

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She write very thoughtful blog posts and there are lots of hint and tricks to be picked up from this site.


A bit early for Xmas but....

I know it is a but early for Xmas but yesterday I dropped into my local Patchwork shop to get some more sewing needles.  I don't know why but the eyes of the needles keep getting smaller!!!  Whilst there I saw this fabric which will make great little drawstring bags for Xmas.

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Cuteness overload.  I thought about them for the children and then thought that I know lots of adults that would like them as well.  There was also a print fabric to match this, so that went into the bag as well.

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(Some of those designs in the background would work well in fly stitch.  I will have to have a go at that.)   And I did get the needles.


New fabric, new designer.

I am having trouble setting up my new camera so a trip to the camera store was called for.  To get into the shop I have to drive across numerous busy traffic lanes, SO, I decided I would come into the street from the other direction and straight into the parking lot.  To do this I had drive a suburb away and that is where my patchwork fabric shop is.  (I know this is convoluted logic but it did get me to the fabric shop.)  Of course I had to go in.  I wanted a charm pack for the butterfly blocks and whilst there I found this lovely fabric.

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This is an image from her website of the fabric made up as cushions.

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The larger design is printed on a cotton/linen blend and I intend to embroider all the bees in those flowers.

The fabric was so unusual I decided to look up just who the designer was.

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It turns out she is a young woman based on the south coast of New South Wales and her Instagram page has some lovely images.  Her web page gives some background on her work and on her blog I see she uses Procreate on her Ipad to do a lot of her designing.  I then visited "La La Land's"  shop and made a few purchases.  This is someone I will keep on eye out for in the future.



RIP old camera

It only seems like yesterday that I bought this camera but looking at my records it was 2005.  It has been around the world several times.  Up mountains, into the desert, been repaired twice and now it is dead.

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They don't make spare parts for it anymore.  So, I HAVE TO buy a new camera.  I have a lot of lenses for this one so I will buy another Canon that they can be used on.

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A big purchase but it is about the same price I paid for the dead one 16 years ago.  How can that be?