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.

Some Direction

I think that I have  'lost direction' in my life.  I have always lead an incredibly busy life with 'family first' being the item I use to sift my activities.  But once again I find that I have not taken enough notice of my own needs.  I rushed to do things for my family and others and put off getting my own health needs seen to.  When I did get to the Doctor this time my blood pressure was up over 230/110, and that is stroke territory.   Granted this was partly caused by the fact that my own doctor had gone on holidays and I couldn't get on appointment anywhere else.  And yes, I did try 4 other doctors, but couldn't get an appointment for at least a week.  In the end I decided to move to a Doctor closer to home but there was still a 5 day wait for that appointment.  (Covid has changed all our lives in so many ways.)  All it required was an injection and now that I have stablised I think I need to do some stock taking.

When I was working full-time I organised my time far better.  I set myself goals for the things I wanted to do and achieve, both at work and in my personal live.  Maybe I should formalise this again because it used to work in the past?  It is funny, but when one 'retires' you think you have time for everything, but you don't.  I am still going to have the responsibility for home-schooling my grand daughter for next term so that will take a large part of my time and stitching is the way I stay sane.

I follow the blog of  Hannah Brencher and although I don't agree with all that she write I think that these 5 points, which I have re-worded to suit myself, are a good place to start my planning.

Eat foods that make you feel good.  Avoid overly processed foods.

Get out and move.

At all costs, remember you daily devotions.

Be surrounded.  Accept invitations.  Do the the things you don't feel like doing.

Take your medication and your vitamins.  Don't miss a day.

So, on my walk today there was this beautiful sunrise.

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I have no trouble with the "keep moving" one and if I did Little Bear ,(my dog) ,would annoy me until I took him for a walk.


A bit of inspiration

So, we have to start making things for the stall.  I have a whole lot of those mini frames so I will embroider some of these.

But in my search for inspiration I came upon the work of Silversmith Karin Ferner.

I especially like the collars that she creates.  This one from care labels on clothing.

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Or this one of Swedish braids.

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I know her work is all about the Silver-smithing but there is just so much embroidery inspiration here as well.

Swedish Blackwork.

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Cross stitch on drawn thread work.

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Mounted cross stitch.

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And I adore this collar.

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I might have to take up silver-smithing!

When I was a teenager

When I was a teenager I played in a Youth Orchestra.  I remember most the feeling of being part of a whole 'new thing'.  The music and the act of playing it, melded us into another being but never to the extent that this group has reached.  They don't need a conductor any more.  They have all become part of that 'other being'.   This is one of the special things about being young.  I have seen the same kind of group cohesion in choirs and dance groups that were exculsively composed of young people as well.  So wonderful to watch this video and experience it again.



And if you want to watch more click on some of the other offerings.


Thinking about the Hexies

As I prepare all my hexies for a quilt I will make I keep thinking that I have no real idea of the pattern that I want to make it into.  Now I know I should have thought of that before I started and I did, kind of, but I have forgotten what I had planned and I think I have changed my mind about it anyway. 

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So now I am surfing away trawling to catch ideas of what other people have done.  Sue Briscoe has some great ideas, about all kind of things. on her blog.  There I found a report about the Toyko Quilt show back in 2015 and there is a great slide show you can watch of the quilts.  I would love to make this one, it isn't a hexi but it would have been paper pieced.

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And then there are these.

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It might be better if you just click on this link and be carried away like me.  If you like Sashiko Susan's is the blog where you can find it all.


"Slow Stitch" By Clair Wesley Smith, is a book I bought a number of years ago and reading it gave me one of those 'Ah Ha' moments when I linked her explanations to why I felt the way I did when stitching Kogin.

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She writes an informative blog about her work which is always a good read and I have been watching some of her videos that she has posted on Vimeo.


I can see I will have to work my way through these.

Pin cushion No 3

The next pin cushion used an old lace doily. This was held down with some buttons and running stitches.

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When I went into my own stash of old doilies I found that I only had a couple that were small enough to use and I had collected these in Op Shops some time ago.  They are both beautifully crocheted, not rustic at all.  On the first one, I sewed it into place on the background piece using a sewing thread of the came colour.

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It looks rather like a mandala and so nicely crocheted. The background fabric only measure 5.5" square and after sewing the back on and stuffing came down to 5 " finished size.  It is such a nice piece I didn't want the embroidery to take away from the crocheting so I used paler colours in my silk threads so as not to overpower the original. I hope I have done it justice.

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Things are all over the place here.  My daughter-in-law is very ill with Covid and we are trying to look after the girls without catching the virus ourselves.  It is really tricky.  All around us people are ill with the virus.  A close neigbour has been taken to hospital and she has 6 week old twins who they would not take into the hospital.  Her husband is trying to cope on his own.  She is from Poland and has no family here, so all their neighbours are trying to help, with Max insisting that he can manage.  My cousin, who also lives on the island had a bad fall.  His son came to visit and brought Covid with him and now his wife has come down with it.  Neighbours are helping out there as well.  Thank goodness we live in such a supportive community.  I walk early in the morning, so I can be alone on the beach, and am trying to stay away from everyone.  I think I will travel on the barge rather than the ferry for the next little while if I have to go to the mainland.

So Pin Cushion No 2

I managed to find a heart shaped button for this one.  I only had one.


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Then I tested a doll pattern to use with my grand daughter Jasmine.  It was not easy.  It looks easy and the knitting is straight forward but the assembly is difficult.  I'm not so sure this would be suitable for a child learning to knit.  It might put them off knitting forever!  I think I will get her to knit it and I will sew it together.

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In contrast the Izzi doll was so much easier to knit and make-up.

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They are about the same size but the Izzi doll is more attractive.

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There are lots of variations on this pattern as well. 

On the embroidery front it is unpicking and I have only managed 1 sample piece for the machine embroidery.

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Big problem here.  I went to lower the upper tension only to find that the machine does this automatically and there are no instructions in the operation manual as to how I can do this manually.  It has taken me nearly a week to work out that there is a small icon on the display screen where I can change this.  I am seriously thinking about reverting to my old machine on which I know how to change the tension.


Machine Embroidery

I have played around with machine embroidery for years but never really taken it anywhere.  One of the problems I have faced has been that most machine embroidery I have seen has been the pre-programmed packages that come with embroidery modules that are attached to the machines I have bought and this doesn't really grab me. 

This is a design of that type available on Etsy.

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Then, there is the needle painting type of work that is favoured by quilters and although this is great it again isn't really what I wanted to do.

This is some work by my friend Pam.  It has taken years of practice and experimentation to do this.

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When I think about it what I want to do (I think), is to learn how to "draw" with my machine.

I recently received an Email notification from Bernina regarding their  Bernina Academy which will be happening in Sydney later this year and one of their presenters is going to be Meredith Woolnough.

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Meredith offers a FREE introductory course that answers all those questions that I have been wondering about for years, so I have signed up for it.


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It might lead no where, but then again, it might be the key to what I would like to explore.  We will see.


After watching the lessons, which are well set out and are all that I already know, but, I have found that I have small gaps in my knowledge base.  The biggest one is the need for practice.  Now I knew this but didn't apply it.  So I have put my fabric in my hoop and intend to just scribble and keep scribbling until I am really comfortable doing this.  It might take hours, days, weeks or even a month, but, I need to become really comfortable with this skill first.  These lessons come with a project as a bonus but I will need to do that scribbling first.  ( this activity will go into my WIPW file.)


My niece Amanda

Amanda is Kates younger sister.  Her youngest son has carried the family gene and has type 1 diabetes.  She also is an artist, starting out designing and making jewellery.  Now she draws, paints and together with her partner is raising three children.  She posts her work on her instagram page. 

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I am going to have to put my name on the list of buyers to get some of her work.