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.

On Rejection

Rejection is something I find very hard to deal with.  It is like a physical blow to my body and my 'flight or fight' response is immediately triggered.  But I came across this post from Cindy Sherman, on Instagram that made me think again.  (Cindy is famous for her ability to make herself look like anything she wants to portray.)  

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If someone so acclaimed is not recognised for what she is most famous for all those other rejections that I have experienced and will experience in the future, are really about the person doing the rejecting!  (It has taken me a life time to work this one out.)   Why am I wiritting about this?  Well I'm putting together a display of my work and I can hear the rejection of it in my head.  I have never been able to fit the 'norm'.  Maybe it is time to embrace it?

I got my preferred diary, at last.

With all the disruption of illness I wasn't able to purchase the diary I like to use for this year.  I have used this type of diary for at least 10 years and every year I stitch a cover for it.  I thought that I has missed out and purchased another one just to go on with but then I found the one I prefer.

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I like it because it is well constructed, there is a list of school terms for every state, it has a  monthly and daily planner page, for this year and next, lots of room for notes and photos of subjects that sooth my soul.

I am pressing on with the challenge, which I will use for the cover of this diary. 

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After applying the paint I went looking for other fabrics to incorporate into the piece and low and behold I found an old piece I had stashed away from a workshop I did with Dijanne Cevaal back in the 1990's!  I very much copied her style for this block and I still have not mastered how to free machine quilt.  In this workshop we did Procion dyeing of fabric and them made lino blocks which we printed onto the fabric.  I did the workshop so that I could learn the process and use it with my special needs students, who it turned out, were far better than me at doing this.  (We made a quilt for the local library about the history of the schools local.)

This turtle is just the right colours for my fabric, but, it has thrown a spanner in the works.  I was going to have floral stitching but now it will have to be linked to the sea.  That is going to be a whole new story. I think I will attempt to machine embroider the turtle and although I have put together a whole lot of threads I'm not sure how the rest of this will turn out.

The Design Challenge

I have been slow in getting started on this, but then I'm just slow at everything at the moment.  I still find I have to lie down and just stop at points throughout the day.  Still, I got my fabric prepared and the paint onto it for the first stage.

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My tools included 2 sizes of brushes, which I didn't use much.  Some cut up labels off a pair of slacks I have bought and a broken plastic clothes peg.

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This was last years challenge and I see I must have used the same blue.  I have done little painting since then in acrylics it has all been water colours for the past year.

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Now to let it dry and move onto the next stage.

My phone isn't working!!

My phone isn't working properly.  I had no idea just how much I relied on it.  I can do some things like receive and send messages, look at advertisements and some photos and some apps but I can't receive or make phone calls, use the camera or the alarms.  I don't know if I have hit some button by mistake or the phone is faulty.  This calls for a visit to the Apple store which is an hours drive away and I can't get an appointment at the Genius Bar until 1 pm today.

Now, although I love all things techie I don't have a lot of knowledge, I just barge in and hope it works.  I might have done that on the phone.  After 10 years of trying to work out why my circular knitting needles keep coming undone I saw some one else tighten theirs and had  light bulb moment. I kept moving the screw when I should have been twisting the needle!!

I am going to have another attempt at "Stitch Camp" tomorrow with Gwen Hedley.  I did this course last year and really enjoyed the process.  (It's Free.)

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This year I have  taken my colour scheme from a vase of flowers I saw in a gift shop.

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And this time I think I will try a more figurative approach.  So things are about to get messy but I have my workspace set up to withstand the mess I make this time.  (I hope.).

Time for a review

Well looking at the year that was I didn't set a goal for each month as I said I would.  Life kind of just took over and I reacted to events.  

  I think I had more success when I set a list of goals, even if I didn't achieve them all. 

I did resign from all paid teaching although I have kept a few classes where I will work as a volunteer.  

I must NOT let this grow' and, I will limit the number of judging jobs that I undertake.

My right arm, which I have broken a number of times, can be temperamental and I have been doing a lot of knitting in the second part of this year and I have a number of knitting and crocheting projects I want to take on.  

I will need to pace the amount of knitting and crocheting I undertake in the following year.

Friendships have been super important over the last year.  My husband is ageing and experiencing signs of dementia and I have found this very distressing.  It has highlighted just how important having a good support system is. I am also getting older and I know at some point in the future driving may be a problem.   I have joined a local patchwork group that I can catch a bus to, to attend meetings.  I have also made some new friends in my local area and will take more time so I can meet my old friends.

Also,  I need to re-kindle some of my other interests, most notably, my love of music.  I need to attend more concerts and play the piano more often.  This is difficult with the injury to my right arm but not impossible.  What is impossible is singing.  I have a inoperable growth on my thyroid gland and if I sing it becomes very painful and I lose my voice, but I can listen. So, going to concerts in on the agenda and visits to the Art Gallery in the city needs to recommence.  These activities also allow me to join with friends to enjoy their company and having responsibility for home schooling of my grand daughter is no longer an issue.

Now that I am not teaching the priorities for my stitching have changed.  Most stitching was driven for the need to design teaching pieces.  That is no longer the case.  This has left me rather unsure about just what my priorities will be.  So I asked myself,

"what do I want to stitch?"

The list was so long that it would be quite unmanageable.  So this list may change as the year progresses but I will;

join the TAST challenge

Design and stitch a new book cover for the year.

Continue with the Kogin pin cushions and bags.

Complete the Graffitti and Friendship quilts.

Make the majority of my own clothes.

Travel is now back on the agenda but I don't want to go far or for very long as I don't like to leave my husband alone.  So my goals here are modest.

 Go to the Wool Festival in Bendigo, Victoria, in 2023.  (The pandemic has made this impossible over the last few years.)

I will visit my quilting friends in Toowoomba at some of their retreats.

I will attend at least one retreat with my Maberly quilting group.

I will attend two meetings a month at the Embroiderers Guild.

I haven't looked at what I want to do around the house or how I will incorporate family into all of this but it is a good starting point and gives me a sense of direction and if you can't change your mind along the way about what your goals are it isn't a workable plan to start with!

(I found this article  very informative when coming up with my plan.)

So, "girding up her loins" she launches into 2023!!

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Just laying around

I am still confined to my bed so I have been sitting knitting, in fits and starts, and looking at Pinterest.  ( That can take up most of the day.)

There I found the work of Katrin Vates, and I am captivated.

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Here is a link to her Instagram page.  (Be careful of your keyboard while you drool.)

The stitches she uses are simple but her use of colour and her ability to shade is wonderful.  She has a small video explaining her process.  And, there are a number of images on her site that explain this also. 

I was interested to note that although she mostly uses stranded cottons, (I have to have one of these thread holders)

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she supplements these colours with sewing cottons.

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And, she uses  a process like a knitter's swatch to test her colours and stitches.

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I have a small design that I would like to test this process on.  It may not eventuate into a finished piece but I'm sure the 'process' will be interesting.There is so much to learn from looking at her work.

The parties commence

It is now the week of parties, once each day for the next two weeks.  I think that I will need to put my stitching aside and just 'go with the flow'.  Although, today is the last day to get my Xmas parcels in the mail so I have to fit that in as well.

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And as these needle keepers/pin cushions make up some of the gifts I think I might be burning the midnight oil!


I have been drawing small designs in my journal of flowers and things that I find on my walks in the mornings. 

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Sometimes it is just a bit of scribbling.

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Sometimes it might be a photo I take with my phone.

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I had thought about how I might make them into a series of small embroideries for mini hoops to be used for broaches etc.

Now reading Sharron's post on Pintangle I think that this would be the perfect challenge for me to get my pieces from my design journal into an actual article.  The challenge is only once a month, so that is do-able, and, as it is part of a group challenge I can have extra input from others and if they don't work out who cares? 

I need to reward myself

I feel the need to spoil myself a little and the best way to do that is to purchase some fabric.  I bought this fabric is Huston 5 years ago from Odile Bailloeul.  This is Horatio the black cat.

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I thought that by this time her fabrics would have made it here to Australia but I haven't seen them yet so I am going to have to buy from France.  That means that I could wait for months for the goods to arrive, bummer.

Looking at her blog, which I subscribe to, I see she has been busy drawing more cats. (Wish I could draw like that.)

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And I see there is lots of other painting going on.

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While I decide what fabric to spoil myself with and then wait for it to arrive,  I have just found some mice I bought 5 years ago and never made up.

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That will keep me busy.  Although, I have a stack of projects to finish.  Maybe I should wait a bit?

A bit before the trend

Back in the 1970's I was a toy-maker, among other things, but, I made toys for shops in Sydney and was even featured on the Maggie Tabera TV show.  Then, I went off to be a professional musician, but, met my husband, fell in love and got married.  A few years later, just before the children started to arrive, I opened a toy-shop in Cairns, "Caro-Rose-Toymaker", and not long after opening I fell pregnant, after being told I couldn't have children.  I designed and made custom made dolls etc which sold very well, (I also introduced "Fischer-Price" toys to North Queensland selling to preschools and the public.)  This was completely against the trend at the time.  Fast forward and toy-making has become popular, shame I was too early with my ideas, but I still like making toys, just for the fun and challenge of making them.  (I give them away to family, friends and charities.)

Where is this leading, well, I have been wanting to try the Tilda patterns for their toys and whist searching came across another Australian toy-maker on Instagram.

Then I found her blog.

Davis,  is a doll-maker, sewing pattern designer and illustrator, based in northern New South Wales, Australia.

Beautiful dolls.

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Great Patterns for toys,

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Lovely illustrations, and I have an acute case of envy of her dolls house.

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I 'LOVE' that dolls house, even more than the one that Arne and Carlos have in Norway, it is almost up there, it is up there, with the one Salley Mavor has in the USA.  I haven't got space for a dolls house, but I could make space if I could find one like that.  You might be seeing a lot more home-made toys here.