textiles Feed

A lost week

This past week has been one of seeing Doctors, filling in forms and making sure that all things are in order, as much as they can be.

My daughter and I had time together.  Somehow or other I bought her a new hat!  (I know she has wanted this for over 18 months.)  Wesley, her deaf dog, seemed to like it as well.

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I had morning tea with my quilting friends.  We have been friends for 30 years and I now live far away, but, friendships that old and special are important. (I also got to deliver all my Xmas presents that my friend Kay will distribute if I have to miss the party.) We met at Albany Creek, which is on the north side of the city and near the high school where I used to teach.  It used to be an outer suburb back then, semi rural.  Now there are shops and coffee lounges and one of the nicest Patchwork shops I have been in for some time.  It is called Butterfly Stitches and the owner stocks all the fabrics I love, so I had to buy just a few.  The store isn't cramped but spacious, with a great teaching space as well.  I have a quilt planned for my sister of which I have some of the fabric, the rest is in that shop.

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I would have liked to purchase tons but was very circumspect and only purchased a piece for the background in my "Choock Quilt" and a piece to make a bag as a Xmas gift.

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I was hoping to have the Choock Quilt all ready for stitching when I got home from hospital and although I have prepared all the fabric cutting out the shapes is difficult as my wrist is still inflammed, but I am pushing on. 

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I also have my eye on a book from Quiltmania but it cost $45.00 US which translates to about $110.00AU when landed.  I might just keep my eye on it.

Screen Shot 2023-10-29 at 1.02.01 pmMy daughter-in-law is Dutch and I would like my grand daughters to maybe make one these quilts in the future.

 I will now be absent for a week or so as I turn to do battle with the cancer BUT I expect to win!

An experiment

Twenty years ago I had a small Elna Lotus Sewing Machine which I used as a trade-in to purchase a bigger Bernina machine.  I went looking for another one and found that it would cost me $350.00 for one that needed work doing on it, second hand.

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It was a good basic machine for straight stitch and zig zag.

Fast forward to today.  I have two excellent Bernina machines, and I love them, BUT, they are so heavy and I can not carry them around.  To get the smaller one off the island I have to bring my car over on the barge and that is a $75.00 round trip.  My big machine is electronic and just can't be moved around.  My local quilt group runs workshops and does sewing for charity in our weekly meetings and the cost of getting my machine over and back is just too expensive on a weekly basis.

Then I saw an add at Spotlight for a similar small Elna, cost $150 new.  I found a friend had bought one to take to the Patchwork group.  So I thought "what can I lose?".  (Well probably my $150.00)  So now I am the owner of yet another machine.

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When I went to purchase this one I found that they were all sold out at most of the stores.  In fact all but one store had sold out, so they must be popular.  The sales lady was rather worried that it would not do the job, telling me it is really "just a toy."  But my old Elna machine was great, so, I am going to experiment with this one.  I will have to see how it performs. Watch this space.

Another useful tool

I bought this woollen pressing mat from a thrift shop and it cost me $2.00.

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When I bought it I didn't really understand how I could use it.  It was just in a pile of mats marked $2 each, no description of what it was for or how to use it.  But, I can park it on my sewing machine table and iron as I stitch, the heat doesn't effect the surface at all.  No more jumping up and down to get to the iron.  I had bought a small ironing board from IKEA but this is far better.  Then I started to see adds for them on quilting sites, ranging in price from $18 to $65 depending on size.

I bought it from a community shop called "The Nest Community"

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And they have the biggest selection of wool yarn I have ever seen in an Op shop, this is only a small part of what is available.

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The problem for me is that it is over an hour to drive to the shop but still I check in every time I'm in the area and I love my ironing mat.

An outcome of that bus trip

One of the traders at the quilt show had some small panels for sale that caught my eye.

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This is the work of an Australian designer from the 1920's, Margaret Clarke, (1901 -2001).  They were totally charming and I had never seen her work before, which isn't surprising because her output wasn't large.  She started in her teens and did these paintings for a sweets manufacturer at the age of 17, had one exhibition where the promoter stole all the money from the sales, and every piece had sold.  (Today the originals are much sort after.)  Then she married and was lost to the art world.

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When I looked at my purchase I realised that I would like to buy some more of this fabric, but the trader hadn't put their name on the packet, so I set off on-line.  I found a shop on-line and all the fabric was on sale, how lucky was I?  I wanted the panels to make quilts for my grand daughters and great grand nieces and I saw that there was an embroidery panel available as well, so I ordered that for good measure. 

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I have finished all my "Silly Stitching" and thought that these might take their place.  Now they have arrived.

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I see there are better images on the net of her paintings.

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I have no idea just how I will embroider the pieces and they may prove to be more difficult than I think they are but the panels will make great little quilts.

A lot going on where I live.

I live in the Redland's Shire of Queensland.  This was, until the last 10 to 20 years a very rural area.  There is rich red soil, perfect for growing all kinds of foods, but fruit, and in particular, strawberries, have been the favoured crops. 


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This has always been a hot spot for koala, but urban sprawl has seen the suburbs extend right out to the bay, removing habitat, farms and native animals.  The Bay Islands, where I live, is a small microcosm of what used to be, but even that is being eroded.

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At the moment they are re-directing aircraft from Brisbane out over the bay which the birds are finding hard to handle.  From September to April this is home to migratory birds, some come from Siberia.

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But on the up side, there are a lot more services than there used to be.  Our local council hosts two galleries, one in Cleveland and the other at Capalaba and at the moment both have excellent exhibitions.

Cleveland - This exhibition is from the Bendigo Art Gallery and it blew me away.

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Capalaba - Sharon is a local artist from the Russell Island.

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to be continued:


Another Book

This book was a gift from my friend Pam and what a gift, one that keeps on giving.  It isn't a new book, being first published in 2012, but, it is quite magnificent.  Just the bird on the cover gives you an inkling on what is to follow.

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The illustrations are quite lavish.  Those tassels are magnificent.

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And it covers the traditional,

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To the contemporary, as illustrated in this needle lace.

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I am just in love with every page of this book.

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At the moment I sit and read a few pages at a time with my afternoon cup of tea.  Heaven.



I am hard at work preparing my kits for my last class.  I seem to have been cutting bias binding forever! 

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Well, the thing is once you have cut that fabric on the bias there isn't a lot you can do with the left over fabric.  It sits in the draw trying to fool you that there is more fabric there than there actually is.

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So, I have cut up all the left overs.  I'm going to have a lot of items with blue edges!

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I always worry that students will think I am charging too much for the kits.  This kit will cost $25.00 for 6 items one of which is a pipe edged cushion.  Then I found another class offered elsewhere where the class cost $105.00 and you had to buy the materials yourself. ( My class is only $60.00.)

Screen Shot 2022-07-04 at 5.27.33 pm The best tutorial I have every seen for sewing pipe edged cushion with a hidden zip is on You Tube from 'The windmill workshop'.  I always include a link to this site with my class.  The zip, in particular has to be done numerous times to get the technique memorised.

(My class in now full.)


Still Cleaning

I am still enjoying this slow cleaning.  I got to the tea-towel draw and found many with stains, so, into the soaking bucket.  Unfortunately a lot had to be put into the rag bag, which was a windfall for my cleaner.  I thought that I would just replace them with new ones from Ikea but found that there is a supply chain problem and there was not one to be found.  I then thought I would try the Thrift shops and not only did I find two new ones for $1 each I also found some old embroidery.  My thinking was this would be something I could use for my collage work.

The tea towels were either a gift or of great personal value to their previous owner.  Neither had been used but folded and stored carefully.  One was from Sicily,

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Trinacria was the earliest known name of the island of Sicily and that is the symbol in the corner. 

 (The head refers to Greek mythology, it is said to be Medusa, a gorgon (monstrous creature) with a head of snakes, a beautiful woman seducing men who, upon looking at her, were turned into stone. In the past, it was customary to place a trinacria behind the home’s door as a symbol of protection for the house - the Medusa would have turned to stone whoever wanted to hurt the family living inside.

The hair on the head of the gorgon is a snake intertwined with stalks of wheat, to which three legs bent at the knee are attached. The arrangement of the three legs refers to Eastern religious symbolism. The three legs represent the three capes of the island of Sicily: Peloro (north-east), Passero (south), and Lilibeo (west), which form the three points of a triangle.

The three stalks of wheat were added in Roman times, when Sicily was a major wheat provider of the Roman empire; overall, they symbolize the fertility and prosperity of the region.)

The other from "Etruria" in Italy.  This is the ancient country, before Rome, and takes in modern Umbria and Tuscany (Toscana).  I have very pleasant memories of Florence and love the embroidery from this region.

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Someones Nona had died and things that were of value to her, but not her children, were passed onto Vinnies.   I think the embroidery was probably her's as well.

One piece I will use for collage. (It cost me $4.00)  There are many pieces like this in Thrift shops.  The lace has holes in it and the cotton fabric will take printing ink well.

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The second table cloth is another story.  I don't think I can cut this one.  It is all hand stitched.  (It cost $8.00) Someone has put a lot of time and love into this, I imagine it was part of a 'glory box' and stitched as part of the household goods brought to her marriage and then to Australia.

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The cotton fabric of the cloth is of a type I have not seen before.  I'm pretty sure it is cotton and not linen.  It has a fairly heavy weight to the fibre and although the weave is plain I think it has been woven on a mechanical loom.  The stitching isn't fine, rather like something a teenager would have stitched, especially the edging.  (Oh, how I remember trying to get my scalloped edges all with regular stitches at that age.)

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The cut work motives are beautifully stitched with what I think would be a fine pearl thread.

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The detail in the middle of the flower also speaks of a teenage stitcher.

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I think the stitcher began in the middle when they were enthusiastic about stitching this or it was stitched by a more experienced person.  You can see that they were just glad to get it finished when they got to that scalloped edge.

So this piece stays to honour the life of the stitcher.  I will thank her each time I look at it.

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Norwegian Craft Tradition

For someone who is giving up teaching I seem to be doing a lot of lesson preparation!  But that is how it goes, I still have to fulfill the commitments that I have  for the rest of the year.  Making the decision to give up has taken a lot of emotional energy.  Added to that some of my health problems have come back to haunt me, so I haven't done a lot of stitching.

I decided that even if I wasn't feeling well I would continue some of my research into traditions of peoples who live around, or close to the Arctic Circle.  I was looking for indigenous peoples but came upon a series on You Tube called "Norwegian Craft Tradition"  by Arne and Carlos, who are knitters.

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You Tube 

It is very "laid back" , which each video about 1 hours in length.  It isn't a slick presentation but I have learnt so much from it.  One of the people they interview is

Government Grant Holder and Recipient of the King’s Medal of Merit, Annemor Sundbø in Ose.

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She just knows so much about Norwegian knitting and embroidery. Just what the embroidery designs mean, why they are certain colours, why they are stitched a certain way and how modern examples have overlooked the original meanings and just gone with style.

Each program looks at a different craft and interviews craft persons working in that discipline and they are in English or have sub-titles. That is so good because sometimes Google translate leaves a lot to be desired. Annemor's books are also published in English as well as Norwegian so they are on my wish list.

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Once I am feeling better again I want to get back to my Norwegian pattern darning and these programs are filling in a lot of the backgrounds for me.

Moving On.

Well I have completed my last Kogin class.  Rather sad about that, but, I know it is time to move on.  I took  my vintage Kogin jacket off the wall and donated it to the Guild Museum Collection.  The high humidity here isn't good for the fabric.  I could have sold it I suppose but I didn't want to do that. 

That left a rather large void on my wall.  I have quite a collection of vintage and antique textiles and decided on another "Guatemalan woven Huipil" to hang in its place.  I love this old design.  At first glance it looks embroidered but it is woven and on a backstrap loom no less.  That cat like motive is interesting.  I have seen that in work I collected from Peru.


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I hung a sash on one end of the rail and a belt on the other.

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The belt is all representative of local fruits and vegetable.  I used it as a hat band.

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The belt has the most amazing tassels at the ends.  They hang down so at first you don't see the colours.

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The shafts are some kind of metal covered with wool.  I'm not sure of their significance.  The ends of the sash has a very, almost modern design motive woven there.

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Whilst deciding what I would hang here I came across a number of antique pieces I have from India and I think that one at least needs to be incorporated into a wall hanging.  That is a project for the future.