Embroidery Feed


Recycling is so very 'now'.  But recycling has been going on for ever.  Then again, recycling can mean something quite different depending on the era.

This book was published in 1915. 

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WW1 was raging and recycling was a necessity for most people, so, it was often a topic of interest, especially for women trying to make ends meet.  I find the difference in how we 'express' ourselves in different eras interesting.  Back in 1915 we 'explained' what we meant with a lot more words.

A good example was the 'Preface'.

War is a hard, stern teacher, and its lessons are bitter in the learning; yet some of its teaching we badly needed - and not the least important of its main lessons is the one it inculcated on the criminality of waste.

To so many of us "waste" was a word with a comparative meaning. What was waste in one woman was not necessarily waste in another, we argued.  It was wrong for the factory girl to let her skirts drop off her for lack of mending: but not wrong for the better-off women to discard their clothes directly they showed the least sign of wear, because they could afford to buy more, we said; and besides, it made it good for trade - that was a favourite argument used by the extravagent to excuse their wanton waste.

Harsh words indeed.

On reading this book I had no idea that you could use old crockery for beads.  It seems like a lot of work.  We can purchase beads at a very cheap price today, maybe this is something that will change over the next 100 years?

What I was looking for was drawings, rather like those of Margaret Clarke, to use in my 1920's quilt.  The only thing I found was these illustrations in advertisements.

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Screen Shot 2023-04-08 at 1.26.29 pmI might use the faces of the girls looking over the wall and the flowers on the cover could translate into an applique.  Or maybe these?

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What I can't see myself doing is turning the collars of my husbands shirts.  If he wants that he can do it himself!

When re-organising my files...

I came across an old collection of images of work done by Tara Badcock, who is a Tasmanian embroiderer and artist.  Most of her work is machine embroidery and she has mastered the art of using her sewing machine as a drawing implement, just perfectly.

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Most of the images that I have saved are from back prior to 2012.  Now that is some time ago.  I did find that she had a Flickr account so I have started my search here.  Then I found an instagram account  and it would appear that she has moved her work more towards fine art.

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And I also found a Facebook account.  Here there are quite a lot of images of her work.  I think it is her birds that I am most attracted to.

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And I see she has added hand embroidery to her skill set.

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I just love this piece.

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There is such a French influence in her work.   I am going to have to keep on eye on her sites to see what she is doing. I'm glad I found those images.

On my wish list.

I have been a fan of Sue Vickery for some time now.  I was first introduced to her through her work about Jacques- Julien Houtou de Labilladiere, the citizen Botanist.  (Do visit her web site to look at her video presentation of this story.  The embroidery and tailoring of the garments is just beautiful.)

Screen Shot 2023-05-06 at 4.24.06 pmI bought the book written about his life and travels and that was one of the instigators to my learning French.  Those early explorations of the French around Australia and the pacific are quite fascinating and not a lot has been translated into English although his writting about this trip have been.

One of the things that I also admire about her work is her ability to say a lot with very few stitches.  Her portrait of her mother is an example.

Screen Shot 2023-05-06 at 4.18.17 pmI am going to have to try her methods in my own work.  I have a feeling that it isn't as simple as it looks.

Citizen Botanist

Getting last week organised

I know that sounds counter-intuative but some times I just do things and I have to get my mind to catch up with my actions!

My week started with car troubles and that just threw all my plans into disarray.  Because I had an appointment at a set time and the car battery was flat I just hopped on a bus to get to my appointment, which was at the Genius Bar at Apple.  (You have to make an appointment a week in advance they are so busy.)

The problem was with my watch, which I had lost some time ago and then found a week later in the garden.  Turns out that someone had found it, tried to get access to my information, failed, and then dropped the watch in the garden for me to find.  (Must have been someone local.)  I ended up having to buy a new  watch.

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So, Mickey is back again but I need lessons on how to work this thing.  (My phone calls keeps going to my watch!)

It was an hour each way on the bus and then another 2 hours waiting for the RACQ to come and tell me my battery was flat, then he tells me I have to drive around for another hour to charge it again.  That was Monday.

Tuesday is my day at the Embroiderers Guild.  This week there was no parking at the train station.  Luckily there was a disability parking spot at the next station but again It got me rattled.

Wednesday I had a lecture at the State Art Gallery.  I had a bad coughing attack in the middle of it.  Ended up even more rattled, I enjoyed the lecture but the place was packed and I felt stupid.

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Thursday I stopped.  I was due to judge at a regional show but I knew I couldn't drive all that distance so I cancelled at the last minute.  Something I have never done before but I knew I wasn't fit to drive.

Friday I went on that bus trip and chilled out.  I will tell you about what happened later, but by the time I got home I just about had my head together.

Saturday I was back to normal so mowed the lawns and worked in the garden till I dropped.

Sunday I unpicked my knitting.  What a mess. So I put that aside and did some 'silly stitching'.

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Now for a new week.  (I have to get that knitting sorted.)

Some New Threads

Now, I know that these threads are used in the sewing machine and for hand quilting but I have some ideas for an embroidery. The colours are delicious.

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The are Aurafil 12 weight.  It was cheaper to buy them from the U.K. as a set than from a shop here.  That is crazy!!

I am taking a bus trip with my local patchwork group today to see an exhibition of a country group and I am only taking one shopping bag!

A reel of blue sewing cotton.

That is what Sharon Jewel started with.

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She had bought this to repair her husbands shirts.

She then bought some homespun fabric and cut it up in pieces measuring 300X300mm.

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Over a period of about 2 years Sharon filled over 100 pieces of fabric with embroidered images.  These originated for random images and thoughts, that arose over time and outside the deliberate processes of thought.  She then drew these images and words onto her fabric with a pencil and proceeded to stitch them with her blue thread.

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Sharon has used simple stitches to express complex ideas, some of which seem disjointed.

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But all hang together as a train of thought.

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I asked her if she found the process 'meditative' but she hadn't thought about that, only getting the idea onto the fabric.  But she said it was something that she could put in her pocket and take anywhere and just stitch.

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When asked how she removed her pencil markings she replied that if they were not covered with stitching she washed the fabric in soap and water and then ironed it.

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Sharon doesn't come to embroidery with all the trappings what we, who have embroidered for years and have absorbed the 'rules' of embroidery that we were told must be adhered to.  She just stitches what she thinks and feels.

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Yet there is a cohesion to this body of work. 

It isn't beautifully mounted in frames, but is like random thoughts pinned to the wall.

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This exhibition is something one wouldn't expect to see in embroidery but that makes it even more special.

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End of the week

There is so much I could say about the happenings on International Women's Day that I'm not sure where to start.  I think the most important thing, besides saying it was a great day, with friendship and lots of stimulating ideas, was the recognition of women past and present and the sharing of ideas of how to proceed in the future.  Sharing the experience with other women was somehow more significant because of it's "ordinariness"

Let me start with the function.  As I said before, it was low key.  No notable people giving speeches, just a group of women from the Bayside suburbs of Brisbane who support the local "Schoolhouse Gallery", gathering together to recognise the role of women in our society.  Past, present and future.

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There was a selection of works on display, from both men and women artists, but the work of women featured.

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  They had taken time to decorate all the bollards with knitted and crocheted covers.  These looked colourful but certainly home made and that was part of their charm.

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The morning tea was prepared by the women themselves and it's charm was that it looked "home-made", not professionally prepared by a caterer. 

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There was tea made in a teapot, china cups and saucers, plates and serviettes and a tray to put your used utensils so they could be taken to the kitchen and cleaned.  (Not the usual disposable ones that get put in the garbage bin.)

We recognised the difficult times in which we live and how women are trying to survive in Ukrane, Turkey, Syria and other troubled places.  That what was once a whole collection of women's organisations has seen them being "watered down" and that the move to "gender equity" has actually seen many women pushed to the margins.

When I watched the news that night there was a feature about the presentation of a new set of statues outside Federal Parliament. 

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These were the first female members elected.  There were no toilets for them in the building and they had to drive to their homes to access one.

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What troubled me was that there were no young women there.  I know that many would have had home and work responsibilities but for all the gains that have been hard fought for I hope 'complacency' doesn't see them slide away.

Another Book

This book was a gift from my friend Pam and what a gift, one that keeps on giving.  It isn't a new book, being first published in 2012, but, it is quite magnificent.  Just the bird on the cover gives you an inkling on what is to follow.

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The illustrations are quite lavish.  Those tassels are magnificent.

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And it covers the traditional,

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To the contemporary, as illustrated in this needle lace.

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I am just in love with every page of this book.

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At the moment I sit and read a few pages at a time with my afternoon cup of tea.  Heaven.


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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(source: https://www.fruitfullywrite.com/woman-of-valor-notebook/)