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.


I put out my classes for next year and after only 3 days am nearly booked out for the year.  That was a surprise.  I have to start updating notes, placing orders and generally getting myself organised.  Now the best laid plans of mice and men can fall into a heap.  Who knows what this virus is going to do?

So I went out and picked some more 'feral flowers'.

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Made an 'avatar' of myself for my 'art on the Ipad course', wish I was as trim as this.  (Looking at it I might grow my hair again.  All old ladies seem to have short hair now.)

Screen Shot 2021-09-25 at 3.13.40 pmAnd, I will have to keep this from Monique as she is always making avatars and getting into trouble from me.  School goes back this week so I'm glad I'm a little ahead because soon I will be rushed off my feet.

Re-doing an on-line course.

Things move so fast that I decided to re-do the 'Art on the I-pad" class with Susie Monday.

Screen Shot 2021-09-19 at 5.03.36 pmIt isn't that I don't know how to do these things it just helps to keep doing it .  I have become a 'bit stale' lately so this should help to get the creative juices pumping again.

I first met Susie in Houston (USA) a number of years ago.  I can recommend any of her classes.

I have been fighting with Google Mail all day.  I wish there was an easier way to use that.

Some flowers from my garden and some to stitch

Blooms are just busting out all over the place.  The weather has been so pleasant and I was able to pick some flowers to decorate the house.

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My collegues gave me the Royal Doulton ornament when I retired.  It is a gift that keeps on giving.  I planted the Freesia bulbs over 20 years ago in the banks at the back of the beach at the front of the island.  Now they just spring up every year for everyone to enjoy and the perfume is beautiful as is that of the lavender.

I have been busy drawing flowers as well, inspired by that Japanese fabric.  I think these would work a number of ways.  Enlarged, to make an applique or stitched in wool or this size or smaller in regular stranded cotton.   I have enclosed a free downloadable PDF.Screen Shot 2021-08-13 at 3.52.13 pm Download Japanese fabric designs - large flowers


I think I'm back

Three weeks it has taken to be able to function.  I have struggled to do things only to end up back in bed again.  My balance is still a bit precarious but I am pushing through.  Shame the universe is pushing back!  Now we have another lock down.  I went up to Toowoomba only having to turn around and drive back again.  My booking on the barge was on the next day and there was no room for me.  So, I locked everything in the car and parked and then carried as much as I could to get the barge home.  At the last minute they said "get your car we will get you on somehow."  So, now I am home.  With all my sewing stuff and my car and locked up for the next few days.  I had stopped overnight at our townhouse, which was right in the middle of the hot spot.  But, I had heard that there were positive cases of students so didn't go out.  I am so glad that I didn't.  I even skipped breakfast so I wouldn't have to go into any cafe. 

It was a lovely drive up the range and so nice to see my friends, even if I had to come home again.  I had set this weekend aside to work on my donation quilt for the Embroiderers' Guild so they can use it as a raffle.  I have selected 12 embroideries for the quilt and am auditioning the frames.  I think I will change some of these fabrics because I will use 2.5" sashing blocks around each frame.

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As I have over 300 little squares too sew together I am just going to sit at the machine most of the time.


I still have not moved on with my embroidered faces.  I am searching for that link that will take me from the abstract or sketch, which I have mastered, to the next stage of realistic colour.  To this end I am looking at the work of every fabric artist I can find to find that link.  One artist who's work I admire is "Marlin Lager"  the Swedish artist who uses machine embroidery.  This video on You Tube shows some of her work and her studio.



But it is her wonderful portraits that first attracted me to her work.  There is an interesting Article about her work here.

Screen Shot 2021-07-17 at 11.12.36 amThis level of skill is far beyond me.   But  it is what I would like to aim for.

Screen Shot 2021-07-17 at 11.14.53 amMaybe I am being unrealistic?  Still I find great inspiration in this artists work.

Dior Fashion Show.

Did you see this?  The whole set of the latest fashion show from Dior was embroidered.

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They have a great Video of the making, but it is in French

And of course there is the fashion as well.

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As well as a great piece on Couture Embroidery.

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This is the work of Eva Jospin who was inspired by the palace of Colonna  in Rome that has a room in which all the walls are covered by embroidery.

(The lady who explains about the palace is speaking Italian.  It took me a few takes but I was able to understand her commentary.  Anyway the pictures are great.)

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Wow! how amazing is that?

(Postscript:  I see that now English subtitles have been added.)

One of the good thing about this virus.

One of the good things about this virus is that has opened up the world of embroidery in lots of other countries in the form of Zoom classes.  French General fabrics is an example of this.  They have some lovely jewelry kits ,( that are all sold out.)

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And basic embroidery kits that are wonderful for learners.  In fact they have a large range of samplers.

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I think that this one would be a bit more challenging.

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I got a notification that Mandy Puttullo will have classes early next year here, (2022) although it isn't listed as yet but definately something to look forward to.

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I just love their fabrics and as I am planning another quilt to incorporate embroidery I am looking forward to these arriving in the shops.

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In the mean time I can just look at the web sit and drool and dream of ways I could use these fabrics.  Of course I will have to make room to fit them in, so I had better make some more donation quilts.


An expensive addition

I have often looked at what embellishing machines can do and toyed with buying one, but have never taken that step. 

Screen Shot 2021-06-25 at 12.29.51 pmI really fell in love with that hunting cat on Rachel's blog and it was felted in position, that got me interested again.

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Now I find that there is an attachment for my new machine, a Bernina 720.  It costs nearly as much as the Janome embellisher  but what the heck.  It could open a whole new chapter for me.  I love some of the things you can do with this.  My Bernina dealer is going to give me some lessons so that should help.  I love some of the things you can do with this tool.

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Now I am waiting for it to come in.




My dog Bear has his winter coat on at the moment so that means he needs to be brushed and combed every week if I don't want everything covered in dog fur.  I have collected this excess fur and put it out into garden for the birds to use in their nest building.  It takes a couple of days but it all gets used.

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There is so much waste fabric after the quilt is taken off the frame and cut to size.  I have been putting this in the bottom draw, just forgetting about it.  Now the draw will not shut.  I have trouble getting down to this draw, a result of breaking those bones in my back a couple of years ago.  But, the time has come.

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All the surprises I have found here.  Samples from my attempts at lino blocks.

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Odd blocks from trials of different piecing techniques.


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Pieces of photo transfer.

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Antique pieces from around the world.

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Not  to mention all the scraps from my quilt making.    After cutting away the excess fabric from the quilting I find I have all this left over fabric.  Nothing from the front but a lot from the back.  Now, what to do with it?  In the past I have made place-mats for charity, but I'm a bit bored with making those.  I'm more into project bags at the moment but this stuff doesn't really cut it for that.  Bear has decided that he likes all this mess and has sat himself on top of it, just to be a help.

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I have been quilting up pieces of fabric for bags ready for Xmas presents.  I just have to put the zippers in and sew up the seams.

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Looking at all this stuff I think that I can use the excess fabric and wadding as lining for some more of these bags.  I might be able to use some of those other pieces in the construction of the outer side.  I actually have enough to make 9 linings, Oh dear!

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When I put all that aside I found I had a small neat pile of fabric to put back in the bottom draw and the draw would close.

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I might not have done much sewing but it is good to get this organised.

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.