My Embroidery Feed

Some loose ends

Just a couple of things I didn't mention about the embroidery on my containers.  Firstly threads,  I used Danish Flower Thread that I had left over from a commission that I completed 10 years ago.  I love this thread and just couldn't throw away my ends.  They came in handy.

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Secondly my reference for drawn thread work.  My "go to" book that I have been using since the 1970's by Moyra Mc Neill, and it is still in print.  I was thinking how pleased I was that I covered it in plastic.  Inside I found a news article from 1977 about Bill and I leaving the Northern Territory.  (We were referred to as 'kids'.)

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And thirdly, I finished by last simple embroidery.

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I loved stitching this one.

And just a word about my "interesting things' table.

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This is just an old cane table that sits in the corner of the back verandah.  I went and did a check on just what was there.

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And it was interesting to note that all the birds nests, bird feathers, most rocks and shells are gone!  The girls must have a use for those things?


Class 1 - Completion

I could have stitched so much more on these pieces.  From my initial response I have found this the most enjoyable and thought provoking process.

That fabric dried as 3 different, but similar colours.

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I thought at first it would be too stiff to work with but It was more similar to fabric that is highly starched rather than thick and stiff.  I think that must be a feature of the acrylic paint.  As I said in my post about the disaster of painting them, I had used the expensive even weave linen, but this turned out to be a blessing in disguise as I started to work with them.

I started designing with a series of shapes.  Nothing fancy, just the basic shapes.

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From these I selected the three most likely and decided on the last one I had drawn.  I then moved on to making a pattern that would fit the seed pods I had selected.  Actual observance of each pod revealed that I would be able to incorporate embroidery into the design.

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I started with the largest seed pod and the opening in the fabric reflected its shape.   The embroidery was just straight stitch lines and some very small beads to mirror the texture of the surface.

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I didn't have the right kind of cord or wire that Debbie Lyddon used so just had to improvise with what was at hand.  This resulted in selecting a button hole finish to reinforce the opening.  I had wanted to tie a knot at the bottom but the stiffness of the fabric saw me just not turning it all the way through.  I then moved onto the large gum nuts.

I love gum nuts.  When ever I find a fallen branch of these they come home to my "interesting things" table that I keep for the girls.  The blooms are beautiful and range through a whole lot of colours.

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They look a bit daggy when they start to die.

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But dry to these wonderful shapes that have so much texture.  This was the inspiration for the shape of my vessels.  I made a round opening  and the gum nut just sat there when I dropped it in.  I used a variation on feather stitch all over the little container, front and back.

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Because I had used even weave fabric the embroidery was very enjoyable and got me thinking about how I could use it in the third container.

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This container was for the little seed pods.  Some of the biggest trees,

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have the smallest seed pods.  These are photographed on a 32 thread count  (threads to the inch) linen.

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The birds rip the branches off to get to the nectar and if they are cockatoos the ground below the trees are covered with small branches and flowers.

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There seems to be an infinite number of varieties and colours.

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The question was how would I stitch this?  I selected eyelet stitch.  There are so many ways you can stitch this.  I tried out a few on the back of the container.

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If I had more time I would have stitched every variation in all the different shades of the bush.  (See that even weave fabric was a blessing.)

For this container I used 3 openings and different types of drawn thread work.

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Because the seeds were so small I put handfuls of then in and different ones show their faces in each opening.

I have decided to put a peg board on the end of the cupboard next to the "interesting things" table and make lots of different containers to hold some of these things.

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I think they look so much more interesting hanging and the seed pods inside fill out the shape.

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My "interesting things" table is great but I think a hanging display will be better.  Now onto the next class.  I have one day to clean up the mess I have made.


WIPW - Change of directiion

I quite put myself off my stride when I couldn't find the felt for the appliqued rabbit.  So I have put this one aside to rethink.  I know I could use another fabric for this I just have to convince myself that I will like the result.

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So I have moved onto the next panel whilst I think this through.  This one doesn't require as much thought as those that have gone before.  It looked very simple and in fact a bit ordinary but ordinary is sometime what we need to stitch.  I started with back stitching the outline of the flowers.  Then I realised that the green leaves were a bit different.  I decided to embroider them in outline stitch using a single thread and that seemed to work.  I have never used a lot of outline stitch in my work always defaulting to stem stitch for leaves but the more I stitched the more I came to appreciate what a nice stitch this is.  So I used it for the interior of the petals, again using one thread and a different shade of blue for the lines on the inside of the shape.  I am now working on the centre of the flower using a combination of bullion and french knots and enjoying every moment of it.

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I think what these simple embroideries are teaching me is that although the illustration is simple, as are some of the stitches, how I approach the use of that stitch is important.  Basic stitches can be just as beautiful as the most complicated and there is always another facit  to be explored in each one.

Things need to be replaced

I have finally finished the last small embroidery I was working on.  These pieces may only be 6" square but there is a lot of stitching in each one.

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As I was tracing up the next design I took more notice of the amount of work involved and there is quite a bit in this next one as well.

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I also found that I had no felt for the applique and that I was running short on certain thread colours.   I can order these things on-line and wait for them to arrive, and wait, and wait.  I am still waiting on some books and fancy pins I ordered 3 months ago !!  Anything that I can source locally takes at least a month to come through the mail, although It doesn't take that long for the bills to get here and if it comes from overseas who knows when it will get here.

I have also run out of art paper and printing inks, I can't get that through the mail  I used my last scrap on a card I was making and have to urge to do more.  I am going to have to make a trip to the shops.

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I am starting to get on top of the lack of thyroxine in my system but find I am still having trouble thinking and reasoning.  I am just going to have to wait for the levels to normalise.  In the meanwhile I have to stop trying to do things like I am normal, like joining my patchwork group on-line!  All I managed there was to throw everything into a mess.  I did realise the problem when I joined the community stitch challenge 2020, and have only now started to do the exercises.  I have lost nearly a month and am way behind.  There have been four fantastic sessions with great instructor.s

Sue Stone, Cas Holmes, Emily Tull and Richard Mc Vetis to date.  There are now over 60,000 members in this group.

So this was the week one challenge exercise from Sue Stone.

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I decided to use Sydd Tofs stitch ,which I saw on Queenie's Sunday Stitch School

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I started with the traditional stitch using Appleton's crewel wool but then started to play around with different threads, direction and spacing.

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This little stitch shows lots of potential.

Some reflection

I read somewhere that self isolating has seen how people revert to their basic personality type.  If that is so I am basically a solitary person.  I know I shouldn't admit this, but I am loving every minute of this lock down.  I love being in my own bubble and doing the things I like to do, like stitching.  I don't have to apolgise when I sit and stitch or knit or read.  I don't have time to watch Netflix or partake of many of the other entertainments out there, I have so much stitching , reading  and listening to music, or playing music that I want to do.

I think I have always known I was a solitary kind of person.  I deliberately joined some groups and became involved in some organisations because I believed it wasn't good for my own mental health to be isolated.  But now I can indulge myself.  I will have to watch that this doesn't become 'the new normal'.  I know I have to make an effort to rejoin the world again.  But, just at the moment it is "bliss".  I have to add that I live in a beautiful place to do all this.  Being on an island gives me so many advantages, like sitting on the beach or walking in the bush.  I'm not sure how I would go if I was sitting in my townhouse up in the city stuck indoors.

What have I been stitching?  Well all those blocks from the Facebook group.  They are simple designs but they have given me so much enjoyment.  The latest one is by Gail Pan Designs.  I have used Stef Francis thread and selected 2 strands of Fine Perle  to do the stitching.

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Without thinking about it I found myself selecting some other stitches than those recommended.  Like the leaves and the French knots in the centre of the flower.

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Another thing I am learning is there are lot of ways to stitch flowers.  I knew that but didn't really appreciate it.  Opps! maybe that shows I have been on my own too long?

Not what I thought at all!

This is not the kind of embroidery I like normally but you know I did enjoy stitching Block two of this quilt.

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Again, it took a lot longer than I thought it would even though the stitches used were basic.  But, with basic stitching you still have to take care. The eyes are just satin stitch but they are probably the most important part of each bear.  They are the part that show their character.  The other thing is the children just love these bears so what does it matter that I think they are basic?  This may turn out to be the block that the children enjoy the most.

A few days lost

I lost a few days there over Easter. 

I ate something that made me really ill, probably pepper or some spice that I am allergic to.  Plus I have been grappling with a bad cough that I have had since November, no one can tell me what that is, but the drugs given to me by the Doctor have caused internal bleeding, so now they are in the bin.  Then he had reduced my thyroid medication and it is too low and I didn't get my Vit B12 shot, so I have pernicious anemia again.  But, I am still able to walk and I bought some B12 vitamins to get me through until I can see the Doctor again.  They are like a magic potion.  Take one and I switch on again, just like a robot.

The other thing the lack of thyroxine has on the body is that your brain slows down.  I should have realised what was happening because I was stitching that first block from Love and Hugs from Australia stitch-a-long, but was so slow.  It has taken me 4 days to do what I could normally complete in a morning and I should have put a backing piece on it to give the fabric some weight. 

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Thought of that later.  I think I will just add the backing when I assemble to blocks.

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The other thing I thought of, after I had started, was that I needed to make a 'halo' so that I could keep the piece in my hoop and return to it.  Now that the halo is constructed I can reuse it for each embroidery as they are all the same size.

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So one down 15 to go.