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!

Still Struggling with Technology and a Surprise Gift

I am determined to get to grips with this technology issue.  (Says she gritting her teeth and pulling out her hair!)

I was all set to buy a new desktop but then Mr Apple wouldn't let me into my Email account and on top of that said I had security issues because I was trying too many ways to get in.  So I have put my $3,000 back in my bank account and am going to learn how to use this laptop properly.

I have had some wins, but I am still behind.  I managed to link this machine to the printer, download a new browser and attach an external hard drive, air drop a photo, (which I can't open), they were big wins.  Next I have to transfer everything over from the old desk top.  Hope I survive that!

And then in the midst of all this chaos a parcel arrived in the post from my friend Marion in the UK.  It was a lovely embroidery kit .


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I already have it set up in my hoop ready to start stitching.  I find stabbing easier than scooping when stitching these days, hence the hoop.  This isn't something that I would have bought myself but I just love it.  Thank you Marion.  (This will now be part of my WIPW.)

I spent the morning with the scrap material and and thinking, "should I continue with this, or should I put it all in the bin?" The constant cutting is aggravating my wrist problem but then again it is starting to take some shape. Maybe just a bit each day.

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The mess is getting to me but I don't want to waste the fabric.  Then again if I put it into the bin I can concentrate on other things?

Decisions, decisions.


I have long had some ideas of embroidering some pieces featuring birds.  I have done some in the past,

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but want to do some more.

Not wanting to reinvent the wheel I first turned to my on-line antique pattern library books and there I found some wonderful designs that are now all out of copyright.

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What I want to do is use the basic shapes to depict some of our native birds.  That will require some changes to the designs but I now have the basic shapes and can tweek the drawings to suit me.  I also noticed that there are a number of Kate Grenville designs in this book, also out of copyright.

Some more on those "Envelope Bags"

As I embark on the third of my envelope bags I thought I would do a bit of research about them.  I first saw them in India when I travelling but also remembered I had seen them years ago in Afganistan, (back before the wars when you could catch a bus in Rome that took you to India.  The young men who ran the bus then started Flightcentre.) And I seem to remember seeing some on display at the V&A.

I found this article in Piecework Magazine  about dowry bags.  There are some interesting stitches used and I love the tassels.

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And then there was a "Dowry Purse".

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And there are any number on the auction sites.

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All these images come from the Indian region and I could find nothing much from Western culture but perhaps the "clutch purse" is a descendant of this original design?

Then to top it off I found some examples from Japan.  (They look rather modern to me.)

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I have to start somewhere!

This post is really for me!  I need to "put a bomb" under myself and get started.

My peripheral neuropathy is bounding along at a great pace.  The feet are about the same but my right hand is becoming very painful.  I used to love to draw and sketch, but I see the day coming when I will loose a lot of the function of my hands.  I need to practice drawing with my sewing machine and I really should start right now.

I came upon a page on Instagram by Saskia Wassing Embroidery Artist.   Some lovely work and I think I might be able to handle this.

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I just have to stop procrastinating!

I love this site.  This is what I would love to be able to do.

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Not just yet, but in the future.

Getting into it again.

I am still not fully recovered after my "dalliance" with Breast Cancer.  Actually, I'm suprised that I have survived! The odds of that happening did not look good for some time but my body scan came back clear and I have started to pick up the pieces.  There is still a lot of 'recovering' to do but I am about to venture out again.  Up until now it has just been getting to the hospital for treatment, getting back home and into bed, sleeping and getting to treatment again.  Broken only by a bit of mindless stitching to try and kick start my brain again.  (That brain fog is real.)   My local patchwork group meets today so I am going to the meeting.  I might have to go back to bed again, but, I am going to start interacting with people again.

The mindless stitching is going to expand to a new project, inspired by a group of local women, some of who have since passed.  These women collected and catalogued all the local plants on the island.  This was made into a a collection of samples that were mounted and have been since photographed.  I will stitch a selection of these onto tote bags.

This is not an original idea.  I got my inspiration to do this from a book published by Tara books in India called "A Stitch out of Time".

(The link is to a great article about the writting of this book.  Well worth a read.)

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This stitching was done on garbage bags but I am looking for a cotton/linen fabric to make my bags.  The video below shows her stitching process on an Indian cotton.


I have started by photographing some of the plants.  I need to select something uncomplicated for my first piece.

Actually, it's good to pick up the pieces and start thinking about living again.

How one looks at a situation

I have to admit that my current illness has knocked me around, physically, but probably more mentally.

The worst, for me, has been the loss of movement in my right wrist and arm.  I have tried to adjust what I do to accommodate this by changing how I stitch and not knitting or crocheting, which all cause a lot of pain.  (I tell myself that I adjusted to my thyroid illness which ended my music career.   That is still a deep hurt, but I have accepted it and moved on.)  I can no longer draw or write with a pencil or pen the way I used to, but, I can use the mouse and stylus on my computer and I can use my sewing machine. 

Being physically active has  been important all throughout my life.  I spent years tramping is out of the way places all over the world,  I sailed, played tennis, went to the gym, played netball, swam, now Lymphodema has severely limited my physical movement.  Whilst I was in the hospital they put me onto a machine that aided my lymphatic system.  It was the  first time I have seen my ankles in 30 years.  I have managed to secure one of these machines and will hook myself up to it a couple of hours each day.  I walk 2K everyday with the dog, I might be able to get this up to 5K.

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So, I have addressed the physical activity question and the other two positives are being able to,

use my sewing machine and

being able to draw and type using my computer.

Starting with the sewing machine.  I have a Bernina 720 machine and it does so much that I haven't explored.  I have decided to sit everyday and learn something new using this machine.  Firstly I will construct a book with examples of every stitch and what I can do with each one.  Even if I only take one stitch a day that Is going to take me a year to work through.   Then, I have a box full of feet to use with the machine, these can be used to for all kinds of processes. ( I  may even invest in the embroidery module.)  That needs to be explored.  And there is You Tube!

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I also need to upgrade my computer.  This could be an opportunity to learn to use the programs properly and expand my very basic knowledge of graphics programs.  I have decided on a lap top so I can use this when I am using the machine for my legs.

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I am mourning the loss of the ability to embroider to the standard that I have spent a lifetime practicing and it will be a hurt just like the loss of my singing voice and my ability to play the piano was.  But I am not going to get that skill back again.  I must accept that, mourn it's loss, and move on.  I remember reading somewhere

" If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."

So it is time to embrace the change, no matter how difficult, and look to the future.


There was a time when I was really into block printing.  I found it a great way to get my special needs students involved in textiles and in fact some of the students, especially those from the Torres Straight, were experts at making the blocks.  (Little did I know back then that this was a much practiced craft that their parents were engaged in.)

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I also bought a bundle of blocks back from my times in India.  I still use them sometimes.

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I have been thinking about embroidering my Xmas cards and thought these blocks might make some good designs but found that most of the ones I had were too big.  So, I went looking on-line and found this old book.

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All the designs are copyright free, not too big, easy to download and trace and I think will do the job.  I don't have to use all of the design, just those parts that will make a small design.

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I will let you know how I get on.

Up for air

I am just so grateful for all the support I am being given by my friends.  I am embroidering again, whilst sitting in hospitals and waiting rooms.  Just cross stitch, you have to concentrate and the time flies.

I found this pattern  at  Il piacere del ricamo.blogspot.com  The English translation isn't quiet right so I have decided to change it.

Screen Shot 2023-11-09 at 2.53.41 pmThe literal translation from Italian is;

"Good little girls go to heaven, and the others go to cross stitching."

I think I will change the words to;

"Good little girls go

to heaven,

the others  are

Cross- Stitching"


Silvana has some great embroidery tutorials on her site.

Getting on with the list of jobs

So many things to do!

I posted off all my pin cushion to my friends in Toowoomba.  I had planned to deliver those this week end, but....

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I finished the sample for the 2024 Children's Class.  Not the normal neat stitching I usually do, but someone else can stitch it properly.

I made it two sided so the kids could have a choice.  The first side is flowers and I worked out how to make lillies.  (I will put up a little tutorial later.)

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I didn't have enough thread to make the cord and tassel so I used old tapestry wool and I remembered, (after looking it up) how to make a 7 strand cord.  I think this should be changed to Perle thread.

Side 2 featured the good luck eye symbol.

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I hope this will do the job.