Embroidery Feed

Another bit of recycling

I didn't mean to make this now.  It is something I thought about years ago and I just got the urge to make it.

Remember those sandwich plates that your grandmother had?

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Every group I have ever belonged to had one in the cupboard that someone had donated.  There were doylies that were made especially for these and I have been collecting them for years.  This is part of my collection.

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And today I worked out a way to re-use them.  A needle case.    I cut a piece of batting and some patchwork fabric to fit inside the crocheted edge and then slip stitched this into position.

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Cut the leaves and machined these across the middle.

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Attached a button and loop.

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And I have a new needle book.  Some of those other pieces have more complex shapes but I will work on that.  I am pleased with this solution to the problem.  I didn't have to cut into them, which would have just cut my soul but they can be reused and loved once again..

Stitch Club - Cas Holmes

It took a couple of weeks but I have finished my landscape for the Cas Holmes class.  I'm not very into working with paper, it was interesting but didn't really engage me at all.  I choose my island for the landscape.  The paper used for the sea was an image of ghost nets that wash up on the beach.  The red rocks was from a picture of strawberries from an Aldi catalogue and the green paper, representing the bush, from a travel brochure.  The best quality paper was the Aldi catalogue!

I mounted it on a piece of watercolour paper and included a short piece of prose I wrote.

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The eagles begin their hunt outside my house.  I always know when one fly over, I don't know how, but I know and look up involuntarily. There is one eagle who always looks me straight in the eye, which is a bit unnerving.  It is as if we know each other, as though we have a spotlight just on us.  To highlight this I took a spotlight image of the piece.

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I do not like stitching through paper and fabric, maybe because I am so emotionally connected to my stitching and I don't want the paper to intrude and it does intrude.  It doesn't feel quite 'right'.

The medals

This week past has been rather testing.  It started fine but then those 2 young women brought the virus into the state and worse than that, into the surrounding suburbs to where we live.  Everyone checked where they had been and if they might have crossed paths with them.  Then we sat in the line for hours waiting to be tested.  Thankfully, these came back clear, but the stress and uncertainty saw my PTSS rear it's head again.  Only one night without sleep and I immediately knew what the problem was and was able to deal with it. But the result for me is that I have slipped behind with my work.  I am considering skipping the workshop with Cas Holmes, but we will see.

On a happier note, I decided to only stitch 3 medals not 4, there just wasn't enought time.  I cann't see myself doing this again, but never say never. I ended up spending a lot more time stitching than I had intended because I just couldn't deal with the finish or stitching on the sample pieces.

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Having said that the process of selecting the words to use was interesting.  I read 3 or 4 articles reporting on how the Covid virus has effected the community and from these selected a list of words that I thought were relevant.  What I did find useful was the information regarding the fonts to select, any thing with 'handwritting', and there are only a few, the size of the font to select, 48 and to print them out and 'draw in' the connecting lines so that the stitching flows easily.

I selected the words; mend, peace, care and safe for my medals.  I used an old hand towel for the fabric to stitch on, so this one will slot into my recycling project for the month.  I have a small packet of Liberty floral fabric pieces which I raided to select flowers to applique around my selected words.  I kept all the pieces as one until I made up the items.

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I didn't use the glue suggested but did use this basting glue.  There isn't the problem of the needle getting caught with this one.  ( I think I bought it at Allthreads.)

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I decided to embroidery the flowers and leaves to applique them to the background.  As these medals are about 3" (small) I used only 1 thread of stranded cotton to do this.  I then mounted them onto some card, also recycled and beaded the edges.  I bought some pins from the $ shop to hang each medal.

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I backed each one with a piece of felt, stitching it into place.  A pin could be sewn on the back to make each one a broach as well.

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I want to give one to a friend who comes out of isolation tomorrow.  She rushed to Melbourne to be with her Mother, who has since passed away.  She then got caught up in the virus scare and has had to spend 2 weeks locked up on her own in a hotel room.  Only being able to exercise for 30 mins a day under police guard.  She certainly deserves a medal!  But which one?

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I think I will let her choose which one she would like from the three.


Fine Embroidery

All this work on creative embroidery has reminded me just how much I love fine embroidery.  I am quite uncoordinated, as you have probably gathered.  I can trip over my own feet, have a long list of broken bones and the mess I have made stretches for miles!  I have spent a lifetime refining my embroidery skills, even though I am not a 'natural' embroiderer.  Now in my old age I feel that I have reached a skill level better than my grandmother, who was my model.  Having to stitch 'untidily' for the last challenge was mental torture and I just couldn't do it.

But, I  can still  improve my skills, which I keep trying to do.  When I look at the work of Elizabetta Sforza I see the next level I would like to attain.  I have often thought about putting some embroidery on my clothing, and never done anything about it.  But in her last post she had this simple embroidery on a linen dress. 

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I could do that. 

What I would like to do is this.

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The stitching is beautiful and the finish perfection.  This is the next mountain I want to climb.

Next Class

I no sooner finished the last piece and the next class arrived.  I haven't had time to draw breath.  This weeks class is with Haf Weighton and a lot of her work centres around architecture.  ( There are lots of great images to look at on her webpage.)

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I have to say that I find this work very appealing, although it is not what this weeks lesson is about.  We are to create a stitched medal (or series of ) bearing messages to document this corona virus time, or, as a gift to tell someone you are thinking of them. 

After a lifetime of perfecting my embroidery techniques the big challenge for me is going to be working in such a unstructured manner.  Watching the video I wanted to tell her how she could improve her stitching, I found I was almost squirming in my seat.  I think that I will have to do this my way and that includes careful stitching and a good finish.

G.T. Wilkins class

I can't remember what I originally wrote about this class.  But I know that it challenged me.  It was the unknown I suppose that got me rattled.

I decided to put my mark making on paper aside to work on another day.  I will embellish this using my sewing machine, but I need to develop my ideas first. That left me with the fabric piece.

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I had painted  this with bright colours, because that was all I had to hand.  It isn't what I would have chosen, but that is how it goes.  Because I so like the gum blossom as a design I decided to stitch this.  I also decided to work on just one half of the fabric, so that I could finish the exercise.  I enjoyed Sue Stone's method of transferring a design, so drew my motive, free-hand, on five pieces of tissue.  Doing it freehand meant that each one was slightly different, I then pinned them to the fabric and hooped up my work.

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I do like this tissue method of transfer for simple designs.  It can be a bit messy because there is always a residue of tissue to remove,

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But I find the sharp end of a pin can ease the tissue away.

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I choose to use a machine sewing thread to stitch with.  It is a 12wt Egyptian Cotton by WonderFil and is lovely to hand stitch with.  I also choose the WonderFil gold and steel grey lurex thread.  Just to see what would happen.

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The cotton thread was a breeze to stitch with, the lurex it's usual difficult self.  So the result of a full days stitching was this small piece.

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Reviewing this technique I think that I could use it to make cards or even small framed embroideries for sale in our local gallery.

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So after all the angst this class caused it has given me a new technique that I wouldn't has used of my own choice.  I will explore this one in the future.

I lost a post #*@

That is the first time that has happened in writting over 4000 posts.  And I spent so much time on it and I don't know just what I did with all the images.  Hell!!!

I thought writting it in bold might help, but it didn't I am still mad at myself.  But I have to admit I was surprised to see I had written so many posts.  The years just fly by.  Looking back at my first couple of posts, I found a spelling mistake,( which I have corrected ) and I also found a photo of dear friends who are still dear friends, Pam Holland and Di Murphy (who was Di Mill back then).  Since that time my hair has turned white and we are all thinner, who would have thought that would happen?

Screen Shot 2020-07-27 at 9.41.39 amIt was these ladies who introduced me to blogging and cared for me and gave me such great friendship, fun times together and love over the years.

Recognising that makes that lost post seem insignificant.

Progress on the simple stitching

I have now finished block No 10 (I think that is the number.)  Simple but very sweet.  This is the link to all the original free patterns.

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I am getting to the point where I have to think about the design for this quilt, only 6 more blocks to go.  I found some fabric I think will suit from the current Tilda range.  Now I have to get down to designing the quilt.  Why buy the fabric now?  Well one of the upcoming blocks has hexigons in the design and I needed to tie this in.

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On another note, a new gallery opened on our little island on Friday night where all the artists from our Artisans Collective can display their work for sale.  Not a very momentous or world shattering occassion but I was able to dress up and socalise.  Now that is rare in these times and there was delicious food, wine and live music.  I put on my glad rags and then looked at my shoes, what a mis-match.  Since I broke my foot badly back in 2011 I have had to wear sensible, flat shoes.  I used to love all my glamorous Italian shoes but they had to go.  All except one pair, that were quite sensible being lace up and with a solid heel but I couldn't walk in them.  I held onto them for sentimental reasons.  But on Friday night I pulled them out of the cupboard, cleaned them, and put them on.  They fitted and I could walk in them.  Off I went like Cinderella to the ball.

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Now, maybe this is a sign that I can start collecting beautiful Italian shoes again?

Another Reference Book

Why would I possibly need another reference book?  I have quite a library already.  Well, I read Mary Corbet's review of this book and decided that on the basis of that review I really needed this book.

Willing hands really does have a great section on finishing, but there is a lot more to this book.  ( You can get a good idea of what is in the book from the gallery on Inspirations web page.)

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What hasn't been said is how many great small projects there are.  Now is the time to start stitching for Xmas and this book has some small but do-able projects.

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The problem is going to be how to STOP yourself starting some of the bigger projects.

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Class - 5 - Sue Stone

Another Textile Artist that I admire, Sue Stone.  I have been following her work for a few years now but up until now the classes have been out of my price range.  As have all the artist that have been involved in this Stitch Club.  I was looking on line and saw that Emily Tull is coming to the "Fibre Forum" in Geelong, Victoria.  I would love to go but the cost of travel, accommodation and class put the cost at about $3000 Australian Dollars.  My $40 per month for 3 classes is much better value.

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So, I haven't completed anything to date but I have started two pieces.

Piece No 1 sees me just about finished weaving the fabric strips into a background.  On this one I have used all recycled materials.  I even took the drastic step of using some embroidered pieces.  They were all damaged pieces and I then tea dyed them before cutting them up. The backing piece is an old embroidered mat.

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I have started to stitch some texture in place and have used the old pieces of embroidery for this as well.

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At this point I ran into a problem.  I was going to embroider a line drawing of my mother.  I started with an old photo and did about three drawings until I came up with something that looked something like her.  This I found a lot harder than I thought it would be. 

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Then Charlie became ill and I became emotional and all the issues that I have held onto for over 50 years surfaced, so I put it aside.

But the exercise still has to be done. "Use three fabrics to weave the background and no more than three different coloured threads  for your stitching". 

So I am trying a different approach.  This time I did a line of machine stitching around the woven strips which are a bit smaller than the first piece and I started with the line drawing.  Much better, I even got a fairly good likeness of my subject but I still need to refine this.  I found I just couldn't stitch teeth, so the mouth isn't right and her eye brows are darker than they are in real life.  It is one thing to draw the portrait and quite another to stitch it.   The stitching took a lot longer than I thought it would.  I have used one stand of DMC stranded cotton and machine thread.  I think on the next one I will use silk thread as well.  Using different weights of thread helps with the detail.  I still have a lot more stitching to do on this one and a lot more practice until I will be happy with the result.

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Then I have 20 portraits of my quilting friends and the original piece to finish so maybe by that time I will have improved a bit or gone crazy trying.