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.

Design Idea

I think this quilt by Wendy Williams is a great design concept for embroidery or quilting.  The background has been painted, the fish embroidered separately and then appliqued in position and then the cloth has been line quilted.

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Now this artist has used fish but you could use birds, or butterflies, or flowers in fact there are a so many other objects you could use to embroider on and then mount on a background like this.  I think I will use this concept to make a pillow cover.


Australian Quilt Convention 2022 - Brisbane

This is the first time the the convention has come to Brisbane and the first Quilt show with lots of exhibitors we have had in a couple of years.  Because there was so much to see and do I will have to spread this over a number of posts.

As the shops were the first thing you see I will start with that.  My first stop was at the Bernina workshops to catch up with Bree Ledington.  Bree started in our local shop straight out of college.  Even then she showed so much potential.  Now she is an area manager with Bernina in Sydney.

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I know my friend Martin would be so proud of her.

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Then I walked all the stalls and didn't buy one things.  I can't believe that.  Shopaholic me didn't buy one piece of fabric or any other textile related thing.  I just got tired really quickly. Added to this the shops I was interested in were over-run with customers.  I wasn't up to fighting my way into the melee.

I looked at Natlie Bird's stand.  I still have lots of those little pre- printed designs to finish but it was interesting to see how they were used in a quilt and other items.

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Then Hatched and Patched

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I still have a number of patterns that I haven't made up but I was looking for her new book and just couldn't get near the counter, so that saved me some money.

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I know this is published by Quiltmania so I headed there but no luck.  Looks like I will have to buy it on-line.

Then I headed for the stalls that had Japanese fabric, but I couldn't get near them either.  So all my money stayed in my wallet!

Next was the exhibitions of Quilting.  So many quilts!!

All the photos of past winners of the Rajah Awards were up on display.

(This award is called the 'Rajah Award' in tribute to the historic Rajah quilt made by convict women en route to Australia in 1841. This award will acknowledge an individual who has made outstanding contribution to their community through quilting.)

I saw a very young image of my neighbout, Margaret, and lot of other quilters I have known.  But, my friend Pam wasn't there.  I really thoughts she should have been.  Then this morning I find she is the 2022 winner of this award, so now her picture will be up there with all the others.

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to be continued.


My Kogin project

The bag I designed for my last Kogin class has been bugging me.  I'm just not happy with the finish.  It is the interfacing I used that is the problem I think.  So it needs to be redesigned.  As usual I always write and evaluation of each project and when I went into my journal to do this I found some other notes I had made about interfacing.

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The prices have increased a bit since I wrote this up but I have selected 3 or 4 I want to test out.

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At the end of the other class I had some fabric left over so I am stitching another 4 bags which are all based around the original design.  I still have a couple more to stitch up but as I find this stitching so pleasurable that isn't a problem.


I will use Japanese fabric for the cuff on all except one and I want to see what my daughter can do with a leather cuff.

I came on some lovely plated leather cord.  It wasn't cheap but I think it will add to the finish. 

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I have to stitch up the other bags first but I will let you know the results.

Visit to the Art Gallery

There isn't that much time before the 10th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art at the gallery closes.  What with Covid shut downs and the floods  it has been impossible get there.  So I made the time yesterday.  I didn't get to see everything and there were so many children on school holidays there that I am now in overload.  I took quite a few pictures and I would like to go back, but I don't think that will happen.

Parking was a problem because they still haven't restored the car-parks after the flood  and all the fountains and water features are still cactus.

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But the water dragons are still going strong and are as cheeky as ever.

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I saw so many interesting thing that I am going to have to 'digest' the information overload. So I will go with what was the stand out exhibits for me.

These wonderful pots would have been hanging over water, but the floods have put paid to that, so, you have to imagine them all being reflected in imaginary water, they are still pretty spectacular.

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The other stand out for me were the pieces by Mayur and Tushar Vayeda from India.   They belong to the indigenous Warli people of the village of Ganjad, in the Palghar district of Maharashtra, India.  I have been to some of these villages and the women paint the walls with the most wonderful designs.  These painting take that work to another level.

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And there are so many shapes that would translate into embroidery.  This one of the village.

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This looks like fairies or spirits flying in the air.

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And the wonderful botanical shapes in this piece.

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This is a bit gross, but I know that the swirling backgrounds would have been painted with cow dung.  But, you have to admit it gives a great colour.  I'm not sure how I could replicate that in embroidery!!


Norwegian Craft Tradition

For someone who is giving up teaching I seem to be doing a lot of lesson preparation!  But that is how it goes, I still have to fulfill the commitments that I have  for the rest of the year.  Making the decision to give up has taken a lot of emotional energy.  Added to that some of my health problems have come back to haunt me, so I haven't done a lot of stitching.

I decided that even if I wasn't feeling well I would continue some of my research into traditions of peoples who live around, or close to the Arctic Circle.  I was looking for indigenous peoples but came upon a series on You Tube called "Norwegian Craft Tradition"  by Arne and Carlos, who are knitters.

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You Tube 

It is very "laid back" , which each video about 1 hours in length.  It isn't a slick presentation but I have learnt so much from it.  One of the people they interview is

Government Grant Holder and Recipient of the King’s Medal of Merit, Annemor Sundbø in Ose.

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She just knows so much about Norwegian knitting and embroidery. Just what the embroidery designs mean, why they are certain colours, why they are stitched a certain way and how modern examples have overlooked the original meanings and just gone with style.

Each program looks at a different craft and interviews craft persons working in that discipline and they are in English or have sub-titles. That is so good because sometimes Google translate leaves a lot to be desired. Annemor's books are also published in English as well as Norwegian so they are on my wish list.

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Once I am feeling better again I want to get back to my Norwegian pattern darning and these programs are filling in a lot of the backgrounds for me.

Problem solving

I use a drawing program called "Easy Grapher" to graph all my embroidery.  It was published in 2004 but works on Windows 10.  Problem is my PC computer died and it doesn't work on Apple and I have classes this coming week which I need to use the graphs for, and, you guessed it, I don't have a print out.  When I checked they said I would have to buy a new copy.  That's OK but it has to come from the USA  as a CD, there is no on-line download, and there is no way it would arrive in time for me to have it loaded and do the drawings again.

I wish I had kept at it and learnt to use Inkscape.

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The only solution has been to use my other drawing program.  I use EasyDraw which is vector drawing program.

Screen Shot 2022-03-27 at 2.31.51 pmWhat is the difference?  Well, neither of these programs are designed for embroidery. In the case of charting Kogin patterns you can only draw on the line not in the space with Inkscape and although you can draw in the space with EasyDraw you can't print out the grid of the graph.  But I still need those patterns.

Solution.  I used EasyDraw to chart the graph.  It wasn't easy as it has a "snap" function that helps you draw on the line and I wanted to draw between the lines, so my lines are not perfectly straight and all drawn by using my finger on the track pad.  (painfull)  Because I knew that grid wouldn't print I took a screen shot.  It will have to do but I think it will work.

(Please feel free to use this design if you wish.)

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A bit of nostalgia.

I came across this old photo of a childhood friend taken in front of my Mother's vegetable garden.  Roslyn died last year from cancer and because the borders were closed I was unable to see her before she passed.

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I had forgotten what a pretty young girl she was, with deep red hair.  Her father always called me "Carolina".  I think she would have been about 12 or 13 when this photo was taken.  I remember all of those plants.  The peach tree, the tomatoes, peas, beans, strawberries, potatoes.  We never got big crops because my sister would eat most of the produce off the vines before we could get to them.

I have been doing some research regarding a brass slab from the 1400's and have found a wonderful book on line regarding these.  It is called  Monumental Brasses and Slabs   by Charles Boutell.  I am sure there is a ton of inspiration in the images in this book along with the great explanation regarding the meanings of the images.

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Another  book that I think has the best images is from 1849 and is titled "The monumental Brasses of England"  by the same author, Rev. Charles Boutell, M.A.

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Both books are freely available on-line.  My mother's first name was Joyce and it came as a surprise to find that this is an old name from the 1400's.  I still have to work out why the women are depicted with a small dog and the men with what looks like a little lion.  A good number of the plates have small animals in them, which is an interesting source for design.   I have lots of images of stained glass which compliment these.  Great resource for portraits.  I don't know what to start with faces or animals!

Back Home

Well I'm home again after my little trip to the country where I have been judging at some country shows.  I do love doing this.  You meet the nicest people and get to see some wonderful work.  The weather was considerably cooler, and that was very pleasant.  It was cool enough to have a quilt on the bed at night.  I also get to look in shops that are new to me.  I saw a lovely writting desk that I would like for the townhouse.  My son won't like it, (he lives there) but it would be great in my bedroom.  The town house is modern and Guy often works from home so he has the living area set up to take all his computers, so it wouldn't fit there at all.  It would be an indulgence for me as it is an antique and not that cheap.  (I'm trying to talk myself into this.)  I didn't buy it but if it is still there next time I go up I will.

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The other thing I like to do is the op-shops.  Only Vinnies this time but I still managed a good haul. One thing was this lovely doll for my grand daughter.  Cost $4.00.

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And this mat that I will unpick for the embroidery to repurpose.  I have a machine finishing class soon and this will make a good demonstration piece.

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See the price? 50cents!!  You couldn't buy the buttons for that.

(I bought lots more which I will keep for later.)

Simple Stitching

I am nearly at the end of the simple stitching panel.  The designs are now repeats of the ones I have finished.  So, now I am looking for more designs to stitch.  I was trolling through the V&A site and came on this woman's shift from the 1600's that had simple designs stitched on the bodice..

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There will be no copyright on this so I am going to re-draw them and stitch them in red silk, I think.

Whilst looking for this I also found a link to an embroidery book that I could download for free on the Project Guntenburg site.

Screen Shot 2022-02-16 at 5.23.10 pm It has some new stitches that I haven't seen before and I love this quote from the book:

In the practice of embroidery the needlewoman has an advantage not now shared by workers in any other craft, in that the technical processes are almost a matter of inherited skill. Every woman can sew, and it is with little more than the needle and thread, which she habitually employs, that the greatest masterpieces of the art have been stitched. The art of embroidery, however, is not merely an affair of stitches; they are but the means by which ideas can be expressed in intelligible form, and memories of all kinds of things be pictured on stuffs.

How times have changed?

Counterintuitive work bag

Now I know this sound silly but I have solved my problem with how my bag I keep my current project in works.

Normally you have a zipper at the top and you drop the work in.

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I can always find the project it is all the little things like needles, pins, scissors etc that get lost in the bottom.  Now I found a solution.  I just turned the bag upside down.

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Now the zippered edge makes a pocket just the right size for all those things that get lost in the bottom of the bag.


And the top of the pocket still holds my work in-place.

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Some times having a brain that thinks in reverse is an advantage!