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My drug of choice

I started this blog during my recovery from Post Traumatic Stress after I had been physically attacked.  It played a big part in my recovery but the most important role in that recovery was played by my stitching.  Kogin and Cross Stitch in particular.  PDSD reared it's head again this year and I have been plagued by high blood pressure and anxiety.  So, I have turned to the two kinds of stitching that helped in the past and you know, they still works.

I have found some scrap 32 count linen, drew out the design for a bee and started stitching.  My blood pressure has come down and I am a lot calmer. 

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  I include the pattern for the bee and a link to the instructions on how to make this small pin cushion.  I stitched this on 32 count linen and worked over 2 threads using 2 strands of DMC stranded cotton. ( I found that 24" of cotton was enough to stitch the design.)

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You could use any small design or even repurpose some old embroidery to make these.   There are lots of examples of these kinds of pin cushions on Pinterest.   Kathy Schmitz  has two great books full of small embroidery designs that are suitable.  (I bought "Tiny Treasures" as a digital download.)

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The tutorial for the construction of the pin cushion is also from her blog.  I did make a small change when I made my pin cushion by including a magnet at the back of the embroidery to make it a needle keeper as well. 

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I was going to eliminate the cord around the embroidery but when I stitched it I could see my hand stitching so I added it back in.  The prototype threw up a few problems. 

Firstly, my hand is getting really bad, I have an appointment with the specialist today. 

Secondly, you must use a thread  that matches the fabric to sew the hexis together, I'm going to experiment with machine embroidery threads. 

Thirdly, I am also going to have to experiment with stitching the back of piece again, I'm not happy with the finish.

And finally, it is a pain trying to keep the needle away from the magnet when you attach it to the back of the embroidery but having that magnet there is really cool.

This is how it looks from the inside before you turn it through.  I just left one seam open on the last hexi and had no trouble with the turning through.

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I am so pleased that I know how to stitch, it is a blessing.

You could buy a pattern from Etsy if you prefer.

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An old design

I have been going through some of my old embroidery designs and have decided to share them on my blog.  So, this is the first one. This was all stitched in back stitch.  One thread for the hands and two threads for the words.  Here is a PDF of the pattern to download.   Download 12 peace.pages

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(I publish this under Creative Commons so if you republish please attribute it to me.)


More Flowers

At this time of year the gum trees are in bloom, a bit too much in bloom. There are seeds and flowers all over the place.  Especially on my newly washed car!!

I hadn't realised just how many types of wattle flowers there are until I started to look.  They don't all flower at the same time, rather one comes out then another.  The bright splashes of yellow in the bush catch your attention.  Looking closely I can see that they have different leaves and flower formations, it is just the bright yellow that is consistent.  The one I am looking at now is more like a finger of flowers rather than the little puff balls you usually see.  The green of the leaves is a lot darker than some of the others, but they all say spring.

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So here is another little embroidery of this variety of wattle.  I have used Danish flower thread for the stems and flowers and DMC stranded cotton, 2 strands for the leaves, to stitch it onto a small piece of 32 count linen.  I will include this design in a class I will be teaching later on this year "Discovering more Stitches" for the Embroiderers Guild.  Again, this design was inspired by that Japanese fabric.  (In fact there is nothing like it on the fabric it just sent my brain in this direction.)

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But, is such a nice small design, approx 3"x3", I thought I would  include it here.

  Download Japanese fabric designs - wattle




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


Choppy and the Universe

My son had a little dog called Chopper. ( Named after a notorious criminal, Chopper Reid.)  We was a Jack Russell, King Charles Spaniel cross and he had the sweetest personality.  He has been part of our family since he was a pup.  We always looked after him when they went on holidays or had to go somewhere where they couldn't take him.  He would tear up and down the beach in sheer delight and loved to find ways to escape.

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He and Charlie, my dog, have always been the best of friends and have grown old together.  When they were puppies they romped around.

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My grand daughters have grown up with him and Charlie.

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As a little thing they would always stay close and play next to her.  Here she turned around and told them they were making too much noise!

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But now he has grown old and ill, so the decision had to be made to put him down.  He was just in so much pain.  It is very sad to loose a family member and the girls have given him a funeral and buried him in the garden.

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Monique has her own telescope and often he would sit beside her as she looked out at the skys.  This inspired an embroidery for one of my Children's Classes a few years ago which was made into covers for the lids of boxes. I called the embroidery " Download Choppy and the Universe .  In memory of Chopper I offer it as a free download.

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For Baby - 2

This is quite a long post so you might like to get a coffee or cup of tea before you start reading.

I decided to embroider some decoration onto singlets for my Godson's new baby, due in January 2014, and back in early December '13 I was looking at the Semamori Patterns I had found at Sri threads .

Since that time I have been doing a bit of experimenting  with those original patterns.  There were three major constraints to take into consideration. 

The fabric.  The kiminos that these designs were originally embroidered on were woven fabric, I am using knitted fabric and a rib knit at that.  Added to this was the variability of the rib between different brands of singlets.  This meant that I couldn't use the original stitches.  They wouldn't accommodate the stretch of the fabric and the babe could catch their fingers in the stitching.  The other problem with the fabric was how to transfer the design onto it?  I had about three or four experiments before I found a solution.

The thread.  This was originally a cotton thread but again this just didn't work with that stretch fabric.

The size of the designs.  When I charted them out I found that they were quite large.  This is fine on the back of a garment but there wasn't the same amount of fabric available on the chest of the singlet.  Now, this was my own assessment about the size of the design.  When I did a survey amongst family and friends, the men all liked the large designs, the women the smaller ones.  So I think size is very much about personal choice.

I decided to select my singlets from Target and Coles stores because these were the most readily available.  

 Thread - I experimented with both cotton and silk threads and found that 1 strand of the Madeira silk thread gave the best results on both brands of singlets.  I did try a z twist silk but found this one behaved better on the rib fabric and washed well.  (Mary Corbett reviewed the thread here.)


Fabric - Both were labeled 100% cotton but there was a difference in the feel and stretch of the fabric.  

Target  home brand had a smaller rib and held it's shape better.  (Made in Cambodia.)  This made it easier to stitch on.


Coles singlets were made by Bonds were very soft to the touch but the rib was floppy.  (Made in China.)  This required more care with the stitching.


(Both singlets were labeled the same size but the Bonds singlets were quite a bit smaller.)

Embroidery Stitches -

The best was stem stitch and for shorter distances straight stitch.  Other line stitches didn't express the essence of the patterns and back stitch was straight out horrible.

 Transferring the Design -

The best results were achieved using a water soluble pen and a firm surface under the pattern. ( Don't use transfer carbon it just stains your fabric so badly you will have to bin the singlet.)


  1. I made pin holes in the pattern at line points. P1020592
  2. Marked these points onto the fabric with the pen. 
  3. Removed that pattern and joined up the dots.
  4. On the small patterns I didn't put in all the dots only the main ones. The smaller details were added after I had stitched the main parts of the pattern.
  5. After stitching I washed the marking pen out under COLD water.

The size of the Design -

So here are the five samples that I stitched and I think the size comes down to personal choice. 

Target home brand singlets, two large motives one small, (middle).


Coles Bonds singlets, two small motives.  (The third singlet is in the bin.)


I have included fourteen different patterns with both sizes for each design as a PDF download.

PDF - Download Good luck motives 2

Conclusion -

These designs make charming motives on babies singlets, are original, not gender specific and have meaning.  I will be using them again.



Old emboirdery stitches

I came across another old book from the Anchor Needlework Series.  Book No5 price 1/-.  From the designs in the book I would think that it was published in the 1940's or 50's.  Not all of the pages are there  and many of the stitches seem to have been inspired by Indian Embroidery. 

There are two little birds that have been used  as a design to stitch around the hem of a babies dress.   The stitching is very fine and delicate and there are 12 birds around the hem of the dress.  I have enlarged the images so that I could see the stitching.  I think that it would work as a larger desgin stitched in a thicker thread and would make a great motive on a tote bag, although the eyelets and drawn thread work might have to go.

I have redrawn the birds so that they are around the 5" size .  Download Anchor birds 

Another thing I have to stitch.




Easter Monday

We had a wonderful Easter sunday with family and friends all arriving for breakfast.  My husband tried to help with the cooking, not the best, but I am still very slow on my feet.  Some times I despair that I will ever be back to normal movement.  But I can move which is a blessing.  I have now been fitted with surgical stockings and have a new physio who has done wonders draining the lymph out of my leg.  We caught the lympodema just before it became irreversible.  (I hope)  Still, I have to suspend all long air travel until there is some improvement.

Part of my new exercise plan includes swimming 3 times a week so I am off to the pool this morning.  I'm going to have to find a heated pool as the weather gets cooler.  Then I will start an embroidered table cloth that I want to make.  (And put off the TAST sampler, I hate satin stitch.)

I took the pattern from an old tablecloth that my daughter- in-law brought from Holland.  She thinks it might have been her grandmother or great grandmother's stitching.


I still haven't worked out what thread was used, partly because it has been washed a lot.  It looks like a broder thread, then again it might be two strands of stranded cotton. ( If you click on the image you can increase the size to see the actual stitches.)This design is interspersed with small sprays of flowers that are in the centre of the medallion.


I have drawn out the pattern and it is included here as a PDF file if you would like to use the design  . Download Tablecloth