My Embroidery Feed

Next portrait

For this exercise I did exactly what I was instructed to do.  I traced the picture, turning the image upside down so that I wouldn't be tempted to just sketch.  It worked.  I used stranded cotton, 2 strands for layer 1, 1 strand for layer 2 and 100wt sewing cotton for layer 3.  I also included some other stitches beside back stitch on the flowers.

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It doesn't look finished to me.  It needs a background and I think I would have made those flowers around the neckline separately and then mounted them in relief.  Still, I proved I can follow instructions.  The next classes are about stitching features such as eyes, teeth etc.  Doing exactly what is asked for might see me learning new techniques.


I am working on my second portrait from my Sue Stone class and in doing this I have made a surprising realisation.  Sue's process is to trace the image and then stitch this onto fabric.  I thought I had done this with my first portrait but in our second lessons we are looking at layers and I realise that I had automatically done this in class 1 without thinking about it.  So for lesson 2 I did exactly what was asked of me.  I traced the photo and was really unhappy with the result.  So I decided to see what would happen if I just drew it free hand.  Result?  I am better at freehand drawing than at tracing.

The top image is freehand, the one below traced.

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Now I have to work out why  I have trouble tracing the image.  It is something in my process that is happening at a sub conscious level and I'm not sure what it is.

Anyway, I have begun the stitching in brown thread colours this time.  I am using the drawing I did on tissue as my base.

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I think I might try just doing a basic sketch onto the fabric, (although this isn't Sue's process) to see what I can do.  I think using someone else's process and then altering it to suit yourself is a good way to coming up with your own signature in your work.  I do not want to just copy but develop my own voice.  Still a long way to go but I am enjoying the journey.

Design Decisions

As the final stitches are added to the last embroidery I just can't put off making final decisions about how I am going to make this quilt.  Some things have been decided. 

  • It is going to be a raffle quilt for the Embroiderers Guild. 
  • It should be about single bed size. 
  • It needs to appeal to people so that they will buy tickets.
  • It should be finished in time for 2021.
  • It will be stipple quilted.

With these things in mind I decided that it should incorporated hexies, in fact mostly hexies.  I laid out the hexies and then decided that each embroidery needed a border around them so they fitted the shape better.  I have decided on a 1.25" size for the hexie.

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I can't decide if that border should be a plain or printed fabric.

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I don't think that I can really decide this until I have the hexies in place.
And plain paper hexi's doesn't give me the answer to that.   So, I am going to have to cover enough that I can place them on top of the plain and printed fabric to compare them.

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Since last I made a hexi quilt, which was when my daughter was playing football and I would sit and sew on the edge of the field.  In fact I sewed so many I had enough for a queen sized quilt!

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I no longer have to cut all my own papers.  You can now buy them pre-cut.  That saves a lot of work.  I also see that some people glue them and some tack them onto the papers.   Looking at Mary Corbett's site I see she tacks hers.  I think I will stick with what I know.  OMG, she is so neat and organised!  Although she denies this.

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So my next task is to get stitching and cut the fabric ready.  I might look at how many hexies I need, I have ordered papers for 1,000.  This might not be enough, we will see.  This is a good task I can do while I home school.  Not taxing and easy to take up and put down.

Another block finished

This block was surprisingly more complicated than it looks.  Those little hexies were very frustrating to stitch and attached.

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The fabrics I have used are what I intend to piece the quilt in, very sweet and pretty.  I think they will suit the other blocks as well.  Only one more block to go and then I have to start piecing.  I have an idea in my mind of what I want to do but if it will work on not is another matter.

Preparing a new embroidery.

I have wanted to try Medici embroidery for ages now and have never been able to find a suitable fabric.  I have an old copy of Mary Hickmott's Stitches that had a project in it but even she had trouble finding a fabric and her sample was worked on DMC 18ct linen Aida, which I didn't find successful.

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(Silvana at piacere del ricamo   has lots of examples of how she has adapted this work for more accessible linens.)

So when a project plus kit appeared in Inspiration magazine I put in my order.  This linen is such a loose weave, far looser that I could have imagined and I can see that I could have problems keeping the stitching even.  But the first job was to photo copy the pattern and instructions from the magazine,  not as easy as it might first appear.  The magazine is not quite standard size so quite a bit of time cutting and pasting went on to get it to fit the laminating sleeves.

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This proved to be a good exercise as I would have missed the tiny instruction of where to start if I hadn't looked closely.

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I wish there was more fabric so that I could practice and get the tension right.

I was looking at the cover of the stitches magazine and see that I was given this by a stitching friend, Pam Muir.  Pam was a nursing sister at Royal Brisbane Hospital who used to come into the Guild after her shift finished in the mid morning.  Sadly she recently passed. I must try and stitch this piece as well.  It was so kind of her to pass this magazine onto me.



There are only 2 more blocks that I am going to stitch for this project, the other 2 just don't suit my final design.  Added to this there are another 2 blocks that I have finished that I have decided to exclude.  Reason? I only need 12 blocks for my design and the ones I have decided against are just too different from the rest.  One is the applique block.  This is the only applique, it will stand out.  The VW's are also being excluded and I have just finished them.  They also don't match the theme.

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Because of this I decided to play with them a bit.  The applique will go into a mug bag, and I think the same will happen with the VW's.  This last block was very lack lustre so I thought I would play with my ink intense pencils.  I have had these for 5 or 6 years and done nothing with them.  In this case I did some colouring in and them applied water.  Not a bad result.  (But it won't suit my quilt.)  I will have to explore their use some more.

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I am also working on a friendship block for my patchwork group and looking at how to stitch my Medici piece.  (Those on-line classes I am designing are also being worked on but as they are for a client I can't post any images.)

My classes with Textile Designer have come to a halt.  Firstly I became ill and couldn't stitch and then I just wasn't interested in the techniques they were using.  I think I will give this another month and if I find the next 3 classes uninteresting, cancel the classes.  I have a ton of things of my own I want to stitch.  The only other class I would like to do is Sue Stones stitching faces.  I really enjoyed that class and would like to explore this further.

Be carefull what you eat!

We thought we would try a new Asian eating place the other night.  The meal was delicious.  Then we went to a movie.  Next day I wasn't to well but after a lie down felt a bit better.  Next morning my blood pressure was through the roof, combined with a bleed in my eye, stroke territory.  So, a trip to hospital where they thought it was stroke territory as well.  After some medication and a night in hospital I was sent home.  (I had a "go to the loo quick" attack that morning.)  That day the blood pressure was out of control again and another visit to the Doctor but I had a normal reading by the time I got there.  After all that it turns out there was MSG in the food and that was responsible for everything.  It will take a few more days to get it out of my system.  I love Asian food but will be very careful where I eat in future.

As a result of this I am behind on my stitching.  The Embroiderers' Guild has asked me to design some embroidery work for sale to their members and that is to be finished.  I did get my tablecloths sewn and they are now in the draw.

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But today a parcel arrived.  A quite large box for Inspirations.

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Inside was a smaller box with my Medici kit. (This looked like pass the parcel.)

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Inside this was a smaller parcel.

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And this contained a ball of thread a small piece of fabric and a needle.

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The fabric is 16 threads to the inch count. (My Kogin fabric is 18 count.)  So a rather open linen fabric.

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I have just been able to source some open weave linen fabric from a friend.  She got it from someone that said their parents had brought a number of bolts from Finland to Australia when they came here some time ago.  It looks very open weave, and not all together even.  I was surprised to see that the thread count for this fabric was 24 threads to the inch.

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Not nearly as open as I had at first thought.  I was going to experiment with some blackwork on this.  I will give it a go and see what happens.  The linen thread in this piece is very strong.  I had also thought about working with wool on it but I think the linen thread would shred the woollen thread.  I have no idea what this would have been originally used for only where it came from.  Something to research.

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'.


I'm not doing anything out of the ordinary at the moment.  I need to get new glasses to use to do my stitching.  The appointment is next week and then I will have to wait for the glasses to be made.  So I am just doing ordinary stuff.

Like, I finished another pin cushion.

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And I am working, (a bit), on my simple stitching.

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And I'm crumpling papers to use for the Cas Holms Momigami piece.

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We are not using the traditional technique, rather her version of it.  I had no idea of what this was until this workshop.


You live and learn.

Left overs

After re-organising my sewing room I find I have bags of left over fabrics from previous classes.  Not enough to do anything major with but too much to put in the bin.  At the same time as this I was lamenting having been away from the sewing machine for a while.  So I went searching for what would use these pieces and I could sew them on the machine.

I came upon an old Quilt-along at the Fat Quarter shop that was based on small blocks and have decided to use these to make some pin cushions for the Guild sale table.  To be put on the table they must include embroidery, so I added a little.

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I reversed the fabrics for the back.

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I did find that I had lost some of my skills at the machine, that saw me tangle threads and do a bit of unpicking.  I need to travel up to town for a few days, for treatment for an infection,  so I want to get some more of these blocks sewn so that I can sit and embroider small projects whilst I am there.