Design Feed

Be carefull what you eat!

We thought we would try a new Asian eating place the other night.  The meal was delicious.  Then we went to a movie.  Next day I wasn't to well but after a lie down felt a bit better.  Next morning my blood pressure was through the roof, combined with a bleed in my eye, stroke territory.  So, a trip to hospital where they thought it was stroke territory as well.  After some medication and a night in hospital I was sent home.  (I had a "go to the loo quick" attack that morning.)  That day the blood pressure was out of control again and another visit to the Doctor but I had a normal reading by the time I got there.  After all that it turns out there was MSG in the food and that was responsible for everything.  It will take a few more days to get it out of my system.  I love Asian food but will be very careful where I eat in future.

As a result of this I am behind on my stitching.  The Embroiderers' Guild has asked me to design some embroidery work for sale to their members and that is to be finished.  I did get my tablecloths sewn and they are now in the draw.

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But today a parcel arrived.  A quite large box for Inspirations.

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Inside was a smaller box with my Medici kit. (This looked like pass the parcel.)

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Inside this was a smaller parcel.

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And this contained a ball of thread a small piece of fabric and a needle.

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The fabric is 16 threads to the inch count. (My Kogin fabric is 18 count.)  So a rather open linen fabric.

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I have just been able to source some open weave linen fabric from a friend.  She got it from someone that said their parents had brought a number of bolts from Finland to Australia when they came here some time ago.  It looks very open weave, and not all together even.  I was surprised to see that the thread count for this fabric was 24 threads to the inch.

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Not nearly as open as I had at first thought.  I was going to experiment with some blackwork on this.  I will give it a go and see what happens.  The linen thread in this piece is very strong.  I had also thought about working with wool on it but I think the linen thread would shred the woollen thread.  I have no idea what this would have been originally used for only where it came from.  Something to research.

Stitch Club - Cas Holmes

It took a couple of weeks but I have finished my landscape for the Cas Holmes class.  I'm not very into working with paper, it was interesting but didn't really engage me at all.  I choose my island for the landscape.  The paper used for the sea was an image of ghost nets that wash up on the beach.  The red rocks was from a picture of strawberries from an Aldi catalogue and the green paper, representing the bush, from a travel brochure.  The best quality paper was the Aldi catalogue!

I mounted it on a piece of watercolour paper and included a short piece of prose I wrote.

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The eagles begin their hunt outside my house.  I always know when one fly over, I don't know how, but I know and look up involuntarily. There is one eagle who always looks me straight in the eye, which is a bit unnerving.  It is as if we know each other, as though we have a spotlight just on us.  To highlight this I took a spotlight image of the piece.

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I do not like stitching through paper and fabric, maybe because I am so emotionally connected to my stitching and I don't want the paper to intrude and it does intrude.  It doesn't feel quite 'right'.

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.

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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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Next Class

I no sooner finished the last piece and the next class arrived.  I haven't had time to draw breath.  This weeks class is with Haf Weighton and a lot of her work centres around architecture.  ( There are lots of great images to look at on her webpage.)

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I have to say that I find this work very appealing, although it is not what this weeks lesson is about.  We are to create a stitched medal (or series of ) bearing messages to document this corona virus time, or, as a gift to tell someone you are thinking of them. 

After a lifetime of perfecting my embroidery techniques the big challenge for me is going to be working in such a unstructured manner.  Watching the video I wanted to tell her how she could improve her stitching, I found I was almost squirming in my seat.  I think that I will have to do this my way and that includes careful stitching and a good finish.

G.T. Wilkins class

I can't remember what I originally wrote about this class.  But I know that it challenged me.  It was the unknown I suppose that got me rattled.

I decided to put my mark making on paper aside to work on another day.  I will embellish this using my sewing machine, but I need to develop my ideas first. That left me with the fabric piece.

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I had painted  this with bright colours, because that was all I had to hand.  It isn't what I would have chosen, but that is how it goes.  Because I so like the gum blossom as a design I decided to stitch this.  I also decided to work on just one half of the fabric, so that I could finish the exercise.  I enjoyed Sue Stone's method of transferring a design, so drew my motive, free-hand, on five pieces of tissue.  Doing it freehand meant that each one was slightly different, I then pinned them to the fabric and hooped up my work.

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I do like this tissue method of transfer for simple designs.  It can be a bit messy because there is always a residue of tissue to remove,

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But I find the sharp end of a pin can ease the tissue away.

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I choose to use a machine sewing thread to stitch with.  It is a 12wt Egyptian Cotton by WonderFil and is lovely to hand stitch with.  I also choose the WonderFil gold and steel grey lurex thread.  Just to see what would happen.

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The cotton thread was a breeze to stitch with, the lurex it's usual difficult self.  So the result of a full days stitching was this small piece.

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Reviewing this technique I think that I could use it to make cards or even small framed embroideries for sale in our local gallery.

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So after all the angst this class caused it has given me a new technique that I wouldn't has used of my own choice.  I will explore this one in the future.

I lost a post #*@

That is the first time that has happened in writting over 4000 posts.  And I spent so much time on it and I don't know just what I did with all the images.  Hell!!!

I thought writting it in bold might help, but it didn't I am still mad at myself.  But I have to admit I was surprised to see I had written so many posts.  The years just fly by.  Looking back at my first couple of posts, I found a spelling mistake,( which I have corrected ) and I also found a photo of dear friends who are still dear friends, Pam Holland and Di Murphy (who was Di Mill back then).  Since that time my hair has turned white and we are all thinner, who would have thought that would happen?

Screen Shot 2020-07-27 at 9.41.39 amIt was these ladies who introduced me to blogging and cared for me and gave me such great friendship, fun times together and love over the years.

Recognising that makes that lost post seem insignificant.

I think I know now

I think I know now why my father discouraged any of my attempts at painting.  I am a walking disaster.  Me and paint result in mess, mess and more mess.  This time I am working on my next class for Stitch Class.  The class is with  Greg T Wilson and the first part requires you to paint up a random design.  After my last attempt at painting fabric I should have known what would happen but once again I thought I was prepared.  I have taken a big piece of wood and covered it with plastic to fit over the small table.  I set out all the things I needed, Including some water to wash my brushes and put on a plastic apron.  I taped all the pieces I was working with to the surface, 2 pieces of heavy paper and some fabric.  I even washed to fabric first to remove the starch.

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I had no idea how to start so I took my acrylic paints, the ones I use with the grandchildren and selected 3 different colour pallets from what was available and put these onto plastic plates.  Then, as instructed  I made random marks.  ( I also got my Ipad out and put on country and western music, loud.)

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At this point I think I see what my problem was.  I stopped thinking.  I wet one piece of paper, very wet, and the fabric, a bit wet, with a wet brush and then just slapped the paint around.

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The next step was to cover parts of the painting with masking tape and apply more paint then keep doing this till you had finished, layer on layer.

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All OK.  I left this to dry, went and washed my hands, turned on the oven for dinner and prepared an oven bag for the roast.  The light had gone out on the oven so in it went.   I then went upstairs to take the masking tape off the painted pieces.  It kind of stuck to the plastic covering on the table top but that was OK but when I got to the last piece I knocked the water container over.  By this stage the water was very dirty and full of paint.  Then I smelt burning.  The oven was turned onto grill not oven and the plastic bag was burning.  What to do first?  I choose the dinner, fixed this disaster and then pulled the hose up to the top floor (again) and cleaned up the mess and rescued the prepared pieces. What a mess.

Next I have to embellish each piece with stitches but first I have to wait for them to dry.

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I have to dry out as well, so does my work area and I have to cover that board again.  I am glad I am working outside.

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I thought that my father was being horrible stopping me painting.  Now I know it was just self preservation.


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.

Class 2

This class was presented by Merill Comeau  Another from right outside my experience. 

I am a rolling stone, I have only gathered a few twigs from the past. I get rid of everything and move on with a clean slate. I have kept very little in the way of things from my past or used them till they fell apart. Also, I moved a lot over the years and things were discarded so that only the essentials were left.

So when Merill gave us the brief of;

‘Create a textile piece that represents something unique and personal about you by using imagery from nature, salvaged fabrics and a variety of stitch marks to convert your story’

I immediately found I had very few salvaged fabrics from my own family and those I did have were too precious to cut up. But, on the nature front I also realised that I had taken from my grandmother's garden, the Rosemary and the Lavender bushes, with their wonderful evocative perfume, (Lavender was the fragrance of her soap as well), and were so much part of my paternal grandmother. These were the plants I put in a difficult growing section of my garden. They have flourished.

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Every time I water them the perfume rises up and hugs me.

For materials what I did have were lots of pieces left over from my dyeing and printing adventures in the past. I didn't know I had so many!  These then became a treasure trove to be played with.

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As a child I learnt, from this same grandmother;

Rosemary for remembrance. Lavender for calmness and grace.

Rosemary is my middle name and Grace was my mother's middle name, yet another connection.

I did photocopy images of myself when I was 21 and of my grandmother as a girl, young woman and old woman to include. I just couldn’t separate my feelings about the plants and the people involved. I also included a few lines from a poem that spoke about memory and youth that had moved me.  I have had this written down for years and now know it was written by Phillip Larkin.


"The hardness and the brightness of the plain far-reaching singleness of the wide stare

is a reminder of the strength and pain of being young:

that it can't come again,

but is for others undiminished somewhere."


The piece is A4 sized and I must admit doesn't highlight the stitching well.

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I have mirrored the patterns in the printing with stitching.

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Beads have been used to highlight the printing behind the Rosemary.

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The paper that was on the back of the poem was used to print the old photo's of my grandmother.  It is see-through and crinkled to represent old memories.  This was then stitched in seed stitch with gold thread to represent fond memories.

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Before I started stitching I photographed the piece and added several filters.  I have some ideas for useing these in another piece.

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This was an interesting but very emotional exercise.  Examining all those old memories was wearing.  But, it has expanded my knowledge and challenged me.