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.


I put out my classes for next year and after only 3 days am nearly booked out for the year.  That was a surprise.  I have to start updating notes, placing orders and generally getting myself organised.  Now the best laid plans of mice and men can fall into a heap.  Who knows what this virus is going to do?

So I went out and picked some more 'feral flowers'.

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Made an 'avatar' of myself for my 'art on the Ipad course', wish I was as trim as this.  (Looking at it I might grow my hair again.  All old ladies seem to have short hair now.)

Screen Shot 2021-09-25 at 3.13.40 pmAnd, I will have to keep this from Monique as she is always making avatars and getting into trouble from me.  School goes back this week so I'm glad I'm a little ahead because soon I will be rushed off my feet.

Palistinian Embroidery

At first glance this type of embroidery just looks like cross stitch but it is so much more than just cross stitch.  Traditionally it is called Tatreez and all the patterns have special meanings.  The patterns are mostly geometric, following Islamic tradition.

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In an exhibition that I once helped hang there were a number of women's dresses which were torn at the neck and then repaired.  I was told that this denoted that the wearer had been a widowed.

This company, that I found on-line, has some stunning embroidered scarfs in their shop.  (there is a lot of eye candy just to look at here.)


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I also subscribe to the Maydel newsletter and they also have a lot of Palestinian designs at the moment.  I am really tempted by this design.

Screen Shot 2021-09-10 at 11.15.46 amBut I think I will just go on admiring it and get some of my other work finished.

They do have a great video tutorial on how to decorate clothing using some of these designs.

Screen Shot 2021-09-10 at 6.21.34 pmThis one is a keeper.


Back to those faces

I have set my work on the portraits aside.  I don't know life kind of gets in the way.  There are so many things that need attention, all at the same time.  But I do want to get them done.  I have been looking at how other people on line are stitching them and then I thought, what if I look backwards.  A long way.  Right back to around the times of Medieval times.  There was a lot of faces stitched in the Opus Anglicanum manner.  Problem is I don't know how to do that stitching.

I have a kit in the cupboard that I bought in Bayeau, France, I haven't stitched that because I'm not sure how to do it.  Time to think about doing it.  So I open up my computer and start looking for instructions, free if possible, but I'm open to paying for the class as well.

In my list of blog links, (that is so long I rarely look at them) I found a link to https://www.opusanglicanumembroidery.com . Now, I also have a HUGE photo collection of Medieval lead light windows, again mostly of faces and before I started this project was going to stitch those.  This site had lots of kits for sale, to add to ones I already have.  I loved the hounds, and have just realised where I have seen them before.

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But I suppose the ladies face would be better.

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Still, this doesn't show me how to stitch it.  So over to the blog https://opusanglicanum.wordpress.com to see what I can find.

Here I found a link to a free class on You Tube.  Great little video with clear instructions.  After I stitch this I think I might have a look at one of the classes.


I also found this 2 video set which gives a demo of the stitches you can use as well. 

I still think that I will purchase a class after this, just to get it right.




Preparing classes for 2022

Yes, it is that time of year again, getting the proposed classes out there.  I am not going to do the number I would usually prepare, people are not out and about like they have been and this year I have cancelled most of my classes.  I could move them on-line, this is what my friend Teena keeps urging me to do, but, I like to meet people face to face.  Old fashioned I know.

So this year I will do Kogin, Exploring Stitches, Applique and the introduction to Embroidery.  Plus I have a few small half day classes in the works.  I am hanging out for my second vaccination jab and nothing will happen until then.  We are very lucky in Queensland to have held out so long, but the Delta variant is rampant in some of the other states and will breach the border eventually.

The class which is giving me the most trouble at the moment is my Applique Class.  I renew my designs every two years and it is time for a new design.  So, I am out there surfing, just to see what others are doing.  (I have to explain that here in Australia Applique is the American version not the U.K. one.)

Two of my favourite designers are Kathy Doughty and Sarah Flieke.  Their work is a bit different.  Kathy's book Organic Applique has lots of inspiration.  Do have a look at the 'inspiration' section of her website.  It is inspirational.

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As is Sarah's new book and video, Growing Wild.  ( I see that Sarah has moved her business completely on-line.  Teena would approve.)

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Although both books are great my problem is that I try to include at least 3 different applique techniques, needle turn, freezer paper and some form of attachment of the pieces using embroidery.  Not all designs will accommodate this.  So it is back to the drawing board.  Hopefully inspiration will strike.

Some flowers from my garden and some to stitch

Blooms are just busting out all over the place.  The weather has been so pleasant and I was able to pick some flowers to decorate the house.

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My collegues gave me the Royal Doulton ornament when I retired.  It is a gift that keeps on giving.  I planted the Freesia bulbs over 20 years ago in the banks at the back of the beach at the front of the island.  Now they just spring up every year for everyone to enjoy and the perfume is beautiful as is that of the lavender.

I have been busy drawing flowers as well, inspired by that Japanese fabric.  I think these would work a number of ways.  Enlarged, to make an applique or stitched in wool or this size or smaller in regular stranded cotton.   I have enclosed a free downloadable PDF.Screen Shot 2021-08-13 at 3.52.13 pm Download Japanese fabric designs - large flowers



Well, I have finished the quilt top, still the backing and the quilting to go. 

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But I am so pleased with the result.  I added borders that make the quilt a perfect size for a single bed, with a decent over-hang.

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I also love the fabric I found for the outer border. 

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It is a Japanese print of an embroidered fabric.  I am going to draw up some of these motives and see what they look like when they are stitched out.

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Now for the backing.

I think I'm back

Three weeks it has taken to be able to function.  I have struggled to do things only to end up back in bed again.  My balance is still a bit precarious but I am pushing through.  Shame the universe is pushing back!  Now we have another lock down.  I went up to Toowoomba only having to turn around and drive back again.  My booking on the barge was on the next day and there was no room for me.  So, I locked everything in the car and parked and then carried as much as I could to get the barge home.  At the last minute they said "get your car we will get you on somehow."  So, now I am home.  With all my sewing stuff and my car and locked up for the next few days.  I had stopped overnight at our townhouse, which was right in the middle of the hot spot.  But, I had heard that there were positive cases of students so didn't go out.  I am so glad that I didn't.  I even skipped breakfast so I wouldn't have to go into any cafe. 

It was a lovely drive up the range and so nice to see my friends, even if I had to come home again.  I had set this weekend aside to work on my donation quilt for the Embroiderers' Guild so they can use it as a raffle.  I have selected 12 embroideries for the quilt and am auditioning the frames.  I think I will change some of these fabrics because I will use 2.5" sashing blocks around each frame.

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As I have over 300 little squares too sew together I am just going to sit at the machine most of the time.


I still have not moved on with my embroidered faces.  I am searching for that link that will take me from the abstract or sketch, which I have mastered, to the next stage of realistic colour.  To this end I am looking at the work of every fabric artist I can find to find that link.  One artist who's work I admire is "Marlin Lager"  the Swedish artist who uses machine embroidery.  This video on You Tube shows some of her work and her studio.



But it is her wonderful portraits that first attracted me to her work.  There is an interesting Article about her work here.

Screen Shot 2021-07-17 at 11.12.36 amThis level of skill is far beyond me.   But  it is what I would like to aim for.

Screen Shot 2021-07-17 at 11.14.53 amMaybe I am being unrealistic?  Still I find great inspiration in this artists work.

Dior Fashion Show.

Did you see this?  The whole set of the latest fashion show from Dior was embroidered.

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They have a great Video of the making, but it is in French

And of course there is the fashion as well.

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As well as a great piece on Couture Embroidery.

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This is the work of Eva Jospin who was inspired by the palace of Colonna  in Rome that has a room in which all the walls are covered by embroidery.

(The lady who explains about the palace is speaking Italian.  It took me a few takes but I was able to understand her commentary.  Anyway the pictures are great.)

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Wow! how amazing is that?

(Postscript:  I see that now English subtitles have been added.)

Time to start the new quilt

Well the time has come to start the new quilt which will incorporate all the embroideries that I did last year.  I had one false start when I thought that hexigons was the way to go but that just didn't look right.

This time I am going to use mainly yellows and blues and have come up with a simple design.  Problem is that I have and even number of blocks  (12) and I don't think that is what I want.  I think that 9 would have a bigger impact.  I am going to make the top 9 embroideries into the quilt and then audition it with the remaining 3.  It might work and it might not.

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As this isn't a published design, just something I have in the back of my mind, as I had an extra block I decided to make up what I had in mind and include the extra embroidery I have.  I am quite pleased with how it looks but as I won't use it in the quilt I added a pipping border so I can use it as a cushion.

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I am going to settle on 7 squares on each side.  I tried 6 colours on one side but I like the odd number again.  I have a whole lot of charm squares, 5" x 5", that I am going to use and will just juggle the sizes to suit.  I do see a problem with the embroideries however.  I included a light stabliser (non stick) on the back of each one and there is a slight wrinkling.  Not much, but I can see it.  I just hope it doesn't distract from the finished effect.  I thought the size would be too small for a cushion cover but I have an old one the same size so know it will work.

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The one the same size is really old.  I was into printing and learning to machine quilt back then.  I am still using this cushion.  A thought!  If I only use 9 blocks I could make cushions from the others?