Embroidery 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.

Mexican Embroidery

I love this traditional Mexican song, La Sandunga, and I really like The Guitar version of it.


For specticale,  this version by Natalia Jimenez is just wonderful.  The costumes are all based on traditional Mexican designs and the embroidery takes your breath away.  (If you go to You Tube you can see the detail.)


Here is a link to the translation of the lyrics.

Lila Downs  version is so good I will include it as well.  She is dressed in traditional Mayan Indian clothes.



Sometimes fate steps in.

I have been agonising over clearing out all my fabrics.  I had 6 bags full of fabrics.  All in good condition, all use-able but all surplus to what I needed.  I had to steel myself to load them into the car ready to give away.  But, it just had to be done.  I am seriously considering giving up teaching at the end of this year and I will not need all those supplies. 

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Now it is done.

My daughter and son-in-law came to pick up a motor scooter, that is also surplus to requirements, on New Year's Day and to arrange a loan so that they can start the renovations on their home.  Laura is teaching 'Summer School' at the University so things have to be fitted in around that.  At breakfast she excitedly told me that she had started a 'Sewing School' as well because so many people had approached her to teach them.  "Would you like to go through my fabrics to use in your classes?" I asked. 

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Now the majority of the fabrics, a collapse-able cutting table, a bag of extra zippers etc have all gone to set up her new enterprise.  She is also dabbling in quilting, so I know my stash and library will go to a good home.  I knew she could sew and also that she is a great teacher but I hadn't put the two things together.  She has a Doctorate in Business and is academically very gifted, I would never have thought she would love stitching more than this.

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Looking back I realise that my love of stitching, which I took from my Grandmother, has been there for my family to see.  I have never tried to 'make' them like the same things as me but it has been passed on almost like 'osmosis'. 

Now I wonder if anyone will pick up on the embroidery?

Being Tempted

So, the last day of the year.  Not a great year.  Lots went wrong but some things were good.  I am still trying to sort out just where the balance is.  This pandemic seems to be deepening and makes one feel very, well, not quite unsafe, probably unsure about what is to come.  I have just about finished clearing out all the extra fabric from my sewing room.  It didn't really clear a lot of space, which is surprising as I had 5 large shopping bags full to donate to the Guild or the Op shop.  Some of the embroidery kits I bought back in the 1970's when we were in Europe.  I am never going to finish them, better they go to a new home.

There were a few things I just couldn't part with.  Like this piece of Marimekko fabric from 1981.  I was going to make it into a wall hanging but now it is a table cloth for my patio table.

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And this quick drawing my friend Pam did for me on a piece of fabric.  I might have to frame this one.

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Some Ukranian work, I didn't finish, and this piece of Limerick Lace stitched by my grandmother and great grand mother.

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And I found my old darning mushroom that my grandmother gave to me.

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As to stitching, all I seem to see lately in my research is canvas work.  Firstly Rachel on her blog with some new delicious stitches.  Then I have seen all this wonderful work on the Royal School of Needlework's site.  I just love this post box and although this is worked on linen not canvas it still uses the same stitches.  This piece is by Ayako Tanihata.

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And how about this piece by Sally Randall?  (I wonder when she is coming home?  She may never get out of the U.K.!)

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Luckily for me I only found one piece of fabric suitable for canvas work so I'm not giving in just yet because I have a long list of other things I want to stitch, but it is tempting.

Roll on 2022.

This quiet space in my mind

"It is such a waste, all that fabric I have pilled up. "

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This is what is going through my mind as I clean.  "I could give it to the sale table at the Guild, donate it to an Op shop, I've already given heaps to friends."

The other thing running across my mind is that my hearing aids are giving me trouble.  One has completely died.  I wondered the other day when I went shopping why everything was so quiet.  It was Xmas Eve and there was no noise at all.  I rang the audiologist but everyone is on holidays and I am going to be living in this super quiet space until January 5th, probably longer, because the aids has to be repaired or replaced.  I ordered some cheap ones on-line to get me through, but they have to get here through the post.  It has been 15 years since I suffered the injury to my hearing when I was attacked.  It has just got progressively worse over the years.  I had no idea that this would be the outcome back then.  Being unable to hear also turns on your internal voice.  It was there before but now that there is nothing else to hear it is getting 'very loud'. 

"What are you going to do with all that fabric?"

I can't hear anything but I can sew.  The noise of the sewing machine may send others up the wall but I can't hear it!!

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I also have a set of noise cancelling earphones and I can hear the music I am playing on I Tunes on my computer.

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So maybe I can turn this set back into a plus? 

(Note to self : Put some more money in your itunes account you need to buy some more music. This stuff is so old!)

Simple stitching (2)

I wrote this post before Xmas and thought I would start the week with it.  There is some great simple holiday stitching and other things to be found on this site.

Helen Stubbings has been around for a while (2001) and is always very generous with her ideas and patterns.  She has also published numerous books on quilting, applique and embroidery.  She has a plethora of social media sites. (She has links to all of these on her blog.)

I liked all the great advice she has on her blog.

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Her articles on how to survive breast cancer treatments, taken from survivors, is really good.  (I can second the one about taking warm comfy socks.)  As are all the wonderful free tutorials and projects .   

These are not only on her site.  She is the Queen of networking and you could spend a life time just following all the links.  It always leaves you feeling good and full of enthusiasm after visiting her blog.

Table Toppers

In my search for easy things to embroider I came across Gail Pan's new book "Tabletop Stitchery".

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There are so many Australian designers of this type of stitching who have incorporated it into their use of quilting.  There are so many that they must have a market for this type of work and there must be a lot of stitchers out there, who probably don't call themselves embroiderers, rather quilters.  So the humble doyle hasn't died, it has just meta- morphosised into something different.

The publishers of the book have a 'trunk show' of the work from the book.


I might use some of these ideas as part of my plan just to enjoy myself and I need to visit the sites of the other designers to see what they are doing.

In praise of cross stitch.

I think I have told this story before, but, when I was at school I could never get the hang of cross stitch.  My stitching was just a mess.  When I left school and travelled to Denmark I found all this cross stitch at the Danish Handcraft Guild.  I just had to master the technique and during the process got addicted.  At one point I stitched a sampler every year, until I had so many I had no place to display them.

Recently I came across an internet link to a library of free cross stitch designs from Hungary.  There are hundreds of designs.  I like this dragon.

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Border designs just go on and on....

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Then they get even more detailed.

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Some are taken from Museum Collections.

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There are even instructions on how to digitise photos ,drawings and mosaics.

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But I think I will make this needle case.  I found it at a blog called "Make Stuff Be Happy"

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There are a lot of free patterns here and this pattern was taken from the above library.

Looks like I have talked myself into doing some more cross stitch again!

I love this little needlecase.

Kate sits opposite me at stitching days at the Guild.  We normally compare notes on things French, but neither of us have been able to travel since the pandemic began.  She has this lovely needle-case that she designed and stitched, so I asked her permission to put up some photos of it.

It is stitched in silk threads on Moray silk fabric.  (The one that has a kind of watermark in the weave.)  I really covet this piece.

This is the back and you can see how she has bound the leaves together.  That twisted cord around the edge sets it off nicely.

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Inside she has printed an index of the needles, the following leaves are in Doctor's  Wool Flannel.  (You can see the sheen on that silk fabric better here.)

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And on the front cover she has stitched this delightful motive.

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A couple of detail photo's to see the actual stitching.

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Just lovely.


An idea

One of my all time favourite animations is Yuri Norstein's  "Hedgehog in the Fog".

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The story centres around a little hedgehog who goes to his friend, the bear, at his house, to count the stars. 

I thought that I might embroider some little hoops, the ones you can hang around your neck, with  images of the bear and the hedgehog for my great nieces as Xmas presents.  The things is, these little hoops are only about 1" in size so I expect that I will have to do outlines and maybe one or two features that are stitched.

So, I have done a couple of little sketches to get started.  I need to stitch four of them. 

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They are quite cute so I can see me stitching more than just four.  Yoko Saito made a wonderful quilt about this little hedghog.  I wonder if I could do a little drawing of him?

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As if I haven't got enought to do?


Some More Embroidery from South America

I think that I had 'brain overload' when I got home from South America.  I saw so much embroidery that I didn't really appreciate what I was seeing.

This lady is paid by the guides to model her clan's head dress, and it is about 7 metres long.   I have seen her since numerous times on the internet since I returned.  That doesn't detract from her wonderful costume.  The embroidery around the neck is quite distinctive.  All the other patterns on her clothing are woven.

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Although the stitching is similar to Brazillian embroidery it is just a bit different.

There is also a lot of satin stitch used.

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Around Lake Atlilitan they use bird motives a lot. The people have many stories from pre-Spanish times about the birds of the forest. Mainly satin and long and short stitch.


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And you see the lily in much of the work along with the birds.

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And there is tons of Bullion Stitch.

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You can buy some printed patterns but mostly the women go to the artists who work in the markets and get them to draw the designs onto their fabric, then they take it home and embroider it.

The problem is that now it is cheaper to buy second hand clothing that comes in by the bail load from the USA Charity Shops.  It is so much cheaper that I wonder how much longer this tradition of wonderful embroidery will last?