My Embroidery Feed

The Plush Work

I first saw this work at a antique quilt exhibition in France.  At that point I didn't know about the French quilting tradition, then I saw this post from      .

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Now I have been playing around with the technique. In Cecile's post she also had a link to the same quilts that I had seen and says that the tin templates that were used were sold by pedlars and could sometimes be found in Secondhand Shops.  She made her template from cardboard.  There is also a mention of these tin templates being sold in the USA and they sometimes come up in antique auctions.  There is another very good tutorial at This tutorial has a link to a PDF file of templates.

Looking at those old quilts I realised that they are all made on a wool or wool felt fabric.  I then found some woollen fabric left over from a tweed skirt I had made.  As it turns out this was a good choice because the weave isn't super tight and it is easier to pull the woollen thread through when stitching. Having said this I believe that any fabric that has an open weave should work with this technique.   But, it is still quite hard work on your wrists, mine were a bit sore by the time I had finished. 

The other difference was the wool I used.  I had bought a bag of tapestry wool from the 2nd hand stall at the Guild which only cost $10.00.

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When I looked at Cecile's post I see she was using wool used in crewel work which is a lot thinner than the tapestry variety so there was going to be a different outcome, but not quite a much as I had imagined.

This is Cecile's who has also worked on a wool fabric.

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This is mine.  I tried to keep the stitching the same as hers but I think that if I had used a third colour layer, that would have covered that slight gap you can see.

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The different wool used does affect the finished piece.  I wish I had taken some close up photos of the original quilts but I think that they would have used what ever wool they had to hand so there would have been a difference here as well.  This technique used left over or repurposed wool and fabrics originally and these would have been classed as scrap quilts as beautiful as they are. 

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 I was reading in one tutorial that you should mount your work in a hoop.  Not possible with small scraps of fabric but I will mount another piece of wool fabric in a halo and see what the difference is.  I might try some different shapes but because of the strain on my wrist and time involved in the stitching I can't see this becoming a major technique for me.  Still it was a fun exercise. 

Now what am I going to do with all that wool?




That [email protected]#%

I have had to un-pull it back to where I joined it together to make the yoke.  I have no idea what I did but I found a section of stitches that looked really loopy.  I tried to fix it and that made it worse, so I had to un-pull it back to the front, back and sleeves.   I did something wrong and I had yarn all over the place.  In the end I cut the yarn and am now ready to start the decrease again.  I just hope it works this time.  (That took 3 days to get to this point.)

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Nearly finished, rather I have finished the silly stitching. 

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That means that I now have to experiment with the wool embroidery.  I saw this in antique quilts in Nates in France back in 2007 and am finally getting around to trying to do it myself.

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This is from Facile Cecile back in 2012 and I am sure that the technique originated in Europe but the Americans call it Amish Plushwork.  I bought a whole lot of old tapestry wool to experiment with.

Only two seams on the quilt this week.

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and that is all I have done.





I still have an urge to keep on embroidering the seams of the rose quilt.

Shadowing of the printed design.

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Lazy daisy and knots.

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Straight stitch and Colonial knots.

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But I think I sill soon get bored with this because there isn't a lot of thought involved.  So, I have dug out a design I was working on some time ago.  I was going to make this into a class but I think I will just make it into a book cover when it is finished.  It is a floral Dragonfly
and although I drew the design and trialed the stitches I might change all that.

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Actually I have sewn quite a bit of this one.

Trialing some new designs - Version 1

I stitched some pin cushion fronts last year and am now trialing how I will make the pin cushions.  I had seen a number of "Pin and Clip cushions", although all seemed to be for patterns that you had to buy, like this illustration.

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These are a fairly new designs, as the clips haven't been in common useage for all that long and here they are rather expensive.  I like the feature of the clips on 4 sides but this doesn't sit very well on my sewing table.  As  result of this I have decided to try three different designs.  The first I have made out of the smaller of the 'gum tree' design that I appliqued.  I have put clip holders on two sides.

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It is the simplest of the construction methods , being just a rectangle with the clip holders sewn into the side seams and then stuffed with wadding.

But, it sits perfectly in the front of my smaller sewing machine. 

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If I had put holders at either end this would look more balanced but would not have been so ergonomic  in it's use.

Next I am going to trial a larger version.

A bit behind

The weather is just so hot and humid here at the moment.  A large cyclone has been off the coast and in now headed for NZ and that is the reason for the weather.  I am trying to get a display of my work together for the Embroiderers Guild and am finding it a really hard ask.  I have come to the conclusion that I am only going to include work that I have designed myself.  But, I have so much.  Hundreds of samplers that I have designed, 50 book covers, the list goes on. 

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Some things that I started and didn't complete, like the challenge with friend Pam.  I thought about putting all this in the bin but today friends talked me out of it and into completing the display quilt.  I have completed 38 of the 52 blocks but there is still the assembly and I have another 2 quilts to finish.  One just needs another applique added and the quilting and the other just the quilting.  And it is sooo hot.  I try to stitch but feel as though I am melting.

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I got my preferred diary, at last.

With all the disruption of illness I wasn't able to purchase the diary I like to use for this year.  I have used this type of diary for at least 10 years and every year I stitch a cover for it.  I thought that I has missed out and purchased another one just to go on with but then I found the one I prefer.

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I like it because it is well constructed, there is a list of school terms for every state, it has a  monthly and daily planner page, for this year and next, lots of room for notes and photos of subjects that sooth my soul.

I am pressing on with the challenge, which I will use for the cover of this diary. 

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After applying the paint I went looking for other fabrics to incorporate into the piece and low and behold I found an old piece I had stashed away from a workshop I did with Dijanne Cevaal back in the 1990's!  I very much copied her style for this block and I still have not mastered how to free machine quilt.  In this workshop we did Procion dyeing of fabric and them made lino blocks which we printed onto the fabric.  I did the workshop so that I could learn the process and use it with my special needs students, who it turned out, were far better than me at doing this.  (We made a quilt for the local library about the history of the schools local.)

This turtle is just the right colours for my fabric, but, it has thrown a spanner in the works.  I was going to have floral stitching but now it will have to be linked to the sea.  That is going to be a whole new story. I think I will attempt to machine embroider the turtle and although I have put together a whole lot of threads I'm not sure how the rest of this will turn out.

Still designing

Even though I am not teaching anymore I just can't stop designing embroideries and other things.  For my "exploring more stitches" class, which I no longer teach, I designed a book cover every year.  This is a very handy piece if you use a pen and paper diary like I do, so I got to thinking about what I would make for next year.  I got out all the past covers I have made and found I had made quite a few.  (Not all were embroidered, some were quilted.)

In amongst all these I found a small applique that I had done to test the design for an applique class, along with a piece of Indian embroidery I picked up when I was in India and some plastic wood-grain fabric,  I thought I liked.  I have no idea why I stitched that applique on the wrong side of fabric but now I can use the right side as a contrast.

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So this will be the basis of my 2023 Diary Cover.   Incidently, this is the finished cushion cover I developed from this little piece and there is a free copy of the applique if you would like it.  (This is only the drawing no instructions.)

Download Applique class

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I am working on quilting pieces to make project baskets.  There will be 5 baskets and each will feature a different quilting pattern.

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These are really labour intensive and I started the process at my stitchie weekend up at Toowoomba.  I thought that I would achieve a lot more on these than I have.

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Unreal expectations!

Still working on the dolls.  Have 12 sewn and stuffed and now need to add the faces and ears etc.  These are great little stress busters as I can knit them without thinking and then think when I have to do the finishing.

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I'm not sure how to knit these ears.

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And the pin cushions continue.

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Kogin Bags

I am in the process of trialing the making of shoulder bags which incorporate Kogin stitching.  This still needs to be refined but I think the basic design idea is sound.

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As I embroidered the front and back in one piece I think I need to leave more distance between the design from the bottom fold on the front.

The back looks fine.

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The bag has two pockets and is lined with red fabric.

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The other things that have to be refined is the straps and the leather used.

The colour of the straps just isn't right and although a good quality leather was used for the trims I think it is a bit heavy in weight.  (Not sure about this it might just be new and stiff.)

My daughter,  Laura, who works in leather is assembling these for me.  I love this bag she designed, along with her other pieces.

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We are back in home schooling every day this week so it is mainly knitting that I can do as we do our lessons and trying to keep some order in my sewing room where my grand daughter sleeps.  Now, there are two other spare bedrooms downstairs, but, she likes grandma's workroom so she can be close to us.

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These little Issie dolls are great to keep the hands occupied but allows you to think of other things at the same time.  Problem is I never seem to have the colour I want, even though I have 9 boxes of yarn!

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I also have some ideas for the pincushions, I can work on these before and after school.

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These are on black fabric that to the eye doesn't show all that lint that the camera sees!

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But, there is no getting anywhere near the sewing machine.