My Embroidery Feed

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.

Pin Cushion No 4

I do like this idea of using a lace or doily to make the embellishment on the surface.  For this next one I have used a slightly bigger piece and the crocheting is done with a thicker thread, so the finished size will be 6.5" square.

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I decided that the central flower motive was what drew the eye in.  If it drew my eye in it might just catch the eye of a bird?

I couldn't sew straight onto the crocheting so I first drew the bird onto a piece of muslin and stitched the padding stitching.

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I then cut around the shape and needle turn appliqued this onto the surface, without the beak.

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It still wasn't easy to stitch because that doily was 'nobblie'. thank goodness for my laying tool.

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I think that I might add small tassels to the corners to finish it off.

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There are always a lot of crocheted doylies at the Op shop so I will keep my eye out for some more.


Machine Embroidery

I have played around with machine embroidery for years but never really taken it anywhere.  One of the problems I have faced has been that most machine embroidery I have seen has been the pre-programmed packages that come with embroidery modules that are attached to the machines I have bought and this doesn't really grab me. 

This is a design of that type available on Etsy.

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Then, there is the needle painting type of work that is favoured by quilters and although this is great it again isn't really what I wanted to do.

This is some work by my friend Pam.  It has taken years of practice and experimentation to do this.

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When I think about it what I want to do (I think), is to learn how to "draw" with my machine.

I recently received an Email notification from Bernina regarding their  Bernina Academy which will be happening in Sydney later this year and one of their presenters is going to be Meredith Woolnough.

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Meredith offers a FREE introductory course that answers all those questions that I have been wondering about for years, so I have signed up for it.


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It might lead no where, but then again, it might be the key to what I would like to explore.  We will see.


After watching the lessons, which are well set out and are all that I already know, but, I have found that I have small gaps in my knowledge base.  The biggest one is the need for practice.  Now I knew this but didn't apply it.  So I have put my fabric in my hoop and intend to just scribble and keep scribbling until I am really comfortable doing this.  It might take hours, days, weeks or even a month, but, I need to become really comfortable with this skill first.  These lessons come with a project as a bonus but I will need to do that scribbling first.  ( this activity will go into my WIPW file.)


I have a lot to learn

I really enjoyed my class on Goldwork with Anna Lang this weekend past.  It is a novel experience to be the least experienced in stitching a technique in a class, I am used to being the expert.  But that was not the case for this class, I had zero experience in this technique.  I got to thinking why hadn't I learnt to stitch with gold before?  My grandmother stitched the military uniforms with goldwork etc.  I wasn't allowed anywhere near it when I was young.  Maybe because the cost of threads is so expensive and I might have been seen as a possible problem.   This is our beginner piece designed and stitched by Anna.

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Also the threads are not readily available, you have to go to a special shop and then the threads have to be ordered in for you and they are not cheap.  Added to this teachers for beginners are few and far between.  But having said all that I found my biggest learning curve was how to handle the threads correctly, the actual stitches used I already knew.  Handling the threads was a challenge.   I had to keep reminding myself not to handle it too much, get the stitch in place in my mind before I plyed my needle and not lean on the frame.

The desire to learn this technique was piqued by those kits I bought from Jenny Adin-Christie that sit in the bottom draw.

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After this class I think I will be able to attempt stitching them but I have to finish the class piece first.