Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Merry Christmas

'Tis the season to be jolly, well this week surely has been, and it is only Tuesday. You know the deal, dinner & drinks with friends, sharing gifts, hugs & Christmas wishes. So I thought I would take this opportunity to wish everone out there in Cyberland a very Merry Christmas & prosperous 2008. This will probably be my last post for some weeks while I go to spend time & Christmas Cheer with family. So whatever you all do over this Holiday Season, be merry & wize, travel safe, & I will return sometime in 2008.


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

More Reticella

I just thought I would share with you all my latest stitching sample. I have worked this in preparation for a major piece I want to do. The sample was to test out a new design, plus different borders & corners. The sample has now served it's purpose, I have made decisions, & the major piece has been started. Yippee! Holiday stitching here we come. Watch this space for a pic of the real piece, sometime in 2008.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Personal Challenges

Well, it is less than a month to Christmas, (view my decoration made for 2007 above) & even less time untill I go on holidays again. So it is that time of the year that I start to plan for next year. OK, so what is on my personal agenda for 2008 ?

A wedding - one wedding gown & three bridesmaids dresses, due late in the year but planning has already started.

Two quilts, both 'big birthday' presents. One has already been started but a long way from being finished. Mmmmm........time is running out. The second is due later in the year (around the time of the wedding) but has not even been designed yet! Ouch............... have to get a wriggle on!

A piece of Reticella, like what I did here, just a bigger piece & a different design. The planning of this piece is just about finished & I might even get to put needle in fabric some time this week. Yippee! This will be my holiday stitching, and January, and February, and March and..............

Then there is the Filet Work that I want to try. You know, net based fabric with embroidery & needleweaving, very geometric, very me.

Enough challenges you all think? Of course not! Last Tuesday I was doing a little blog surfing & came accross Sharon B's "Take it Further Challenge. " You can read about it here. Well, being a sucker for a challenge, as well as wanting to be able to interpret design into stitches, and extend my design capabilities, I have signed up for the challenge.

What HAVE I done! Oh well, you all have something to look foreward to seeing here in 2008

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A New Toy To Play With

Last Saturday was A Stitches Plus day. It was our last meeting for the year, so Christmas lunch (where we all brought a plate), & an inspirational walk in the bush was the order of the day. So armed with camera , I set off with everyone to photograph anything which caught my attention. There were amazing seed pods, beautiful & interesting Australian wildflowers, multi-coloured & textured gum leaves, interesting rock formations & much more. I turned on the camera only to find it would not turn on fully. Disaster! After much fiddling, changing of batteries, prodding & poking, I gave up on the camera & resorted to my very limited sketching skills.

Yesterday I took the camera into my local camera store to see if they could shed any light on the problem. After much prodding & poking by the technician, I was told that it would cost $$$$$ to fix & I could buy a new one for just a few $ more. So I am now the proud owner of a brand new camera which takes pics like this.
A daisy which is about 5cm in diameter.
A 2cm width sample of my bobbin lace.
Anyone like to guess what this is?All I have to do now is learn how to use it to it's fullest. The camera shop will give me free lessons so I think I will take them up on their offer.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A new blog to visit

Last Saturday, over our Christmas lunch meeting, my creative stitching group voted to start up a blog about what we do. I had been thinking about doing it for a while but needed to ask everyone else what they wanted. Of course I was met with questions like "what is a blog", but after much discussion most of us agreed it would be good publicity. So our new blog is up & running & can been seen here. I hope you all join us as we share our travels through the world of creative textiles.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mixed Threads - An Exhibition

This my good friend Robyn Johnstone with her two works hanging at the gallery. She is another very talented artist & stitcher & in the two works that you can see here she has first painted, then combined surface stitchery with cut work & drawn thread work. Just yummo. Bug hugs Miss Robyn.

Mixed Threads - An Exhibition

How WOW are these? These two fabulous works are by Elizabeth Low of Australia, posted here with her permission. These great landscapes are stitched by hand, believe it or not, and they are just beautiful. They are currently on exhibition at Rogues Gallery, Long Jetty, on the beautiful Central Coast if you want to see them for real.

Three groups of the Embroiderer's Guild of NSW got together to produce work for this exhibition. The Stitchers Plus group, which I am a member of, was one of those groups. We had an official opening last Saturday complete with food, wine, & speeches. A really great afternoon was had by all. It is an exciting feeling walking into a gallery & seeing your own work & the work of collegues gracing the walls. More pics to come.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Cutwork Success!

I tried today at my second attempt of digitized cutwork. I had lots of help & suggestions from my on-line friends to make it better. I took some of these suggestions on board and managed to have success. I used the same digitized design as last time and it looks so much better. I have made myself some notes to use in the future & will add more still, as I think even this could do with a little fixing. I need to experiment some more.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A Digitized Cutwork Disaster

What is this disaster you all ask? Well, this is my first attempt at digitizing some cutwork. The idea was to lay down all the support stitches, cut out the appropriate area, then stitch the support bars and surrounding satin stitch.

OK, so it was all digitized, everything looked spot on. I download the design to the machine, hooped the fabric & stabilizer & off I went. Everything was good until I had to remove the hoop to cut. Once I cut, the stability was all gone. Obvioulsy everything all moved, maybe I didn't have it tight enough in the hoop.

I let the design continue without cutting the second side and as you can see it is beautiful. Obviously I need to sort out the support issue once I cut. Back to the drawing board again.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More Reticella

I have been playing with another design of Reticella. I want to do a major piece and am having trouble with design. For some reason the designs just are not flowing. Something about this little sample looks disjointed. I think I know what it is and have come up with a new design which flows much better than this one but have yet to put needle into fabric. I want to test it first before I start on the major piece and am running out of time. I want the design sorted out so that I can take it away on holidays with me in December. Yikes! Only eight weeks to go! Better get stitching!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Summer Sanctuary

My latest finished work finally revealed. It has been finished for some time but I have held of posting it until now. It is on exhibition at present at the NSW Embroiderer's Guild "A Gathering Of Threads" exhibition. The exhibition opens today at Olympic Park, Homebush, in Sydney & runs until Sunday.
The piece was a challenge in which we had a specific size & base to work to & had to include some metallic gold. What we did after that was up to us. There were 9 of us in the challenge & it will be interesting to see them all hung together, as they will be all so different.
I have used hand dyed fabric, with Drawn Thread, Patchwork, Cross stitch & Surface Stitching. The piece is in two layers. The underneath layer is patchworked together, while the upper layer is drawn, surface stiched & cross stitched. Hand dyed fabrics are used in both layers.

More Needlelace Trials

I am still trying to perfect my motifs of needlelace. Above are two more examples I have been expermenting with. The one on the right is sample number 2, where I still used the same thread as sample number one seen here but added in more support. It still proved unstable so then I tried sample number 3, the one on the left above, and added in still more support. I also left out the picots & changed some parts from wrapping to buttonhole stitch & vice versa. I used a different thread with this sample as well which I like much better. I have another two threads that I want to try but as far as design goes it is still back to the drawing board. I still need to add in much more support.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Reticella Recognition

Today I am a Happy Little Vegimite ! Some time ago I was approached by Carol Leather for permission to post my Reticella piece on her website. Today I have had notification that this has been done. Although the piece is on my own blog here, it is also now on Carol's website here. I am stoked that someone thinks it is beautiful enough to post as an example of modern Whitework. Thank you Carol.

If anyone would like to see the piece in the flesh is is being exhibited at the Embroiderer's Guild exhibition
"A Gathering of Threads"
being held at
Southee Pavilion
Sydney Showground
Sydney Olympic Park
10th - 14th October, 2007
Anyone living in or visiting Sydney over this time frame should really take a look at this exhibition. It will be a feast for the eyes.

Fabric Bowl

On one of my on-line groups someone has been asking about hand made free standing bowls. This is one that I made about four years ago. Mine is made from fabric & uses embroidery, beading & crochet motifs as decoration. It was made as a "Circular Shades of Black & White Plus One" challenge with the Stitchers Plus Stitchers group that I belong to. Any type of bowl will need some kind of support for it to keep it's shape. This one uses plastic, but a lace one would require something else.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Yesterday I had the pleasure of revisiting the "Arts of Islam" exhibition for a second time which is currently showing at the Art Gallery here in Sydney. I'm so glad I went back for a second look, I got to see dtail that I didn't see the first time around. I have come home with a sketch book full of my own sketches of what I saw.

I could not resist this book either. It is the first time I have ever bought a book just for inspiration. The designs are awesome and they will give me inspiration for my lace for many years to come. Definately money well spent.

More Lace

How beautiful are these? I aquired a bundle of old laces on Saturday & in amongst it all were these treasures. I am fairly certain all three pictured are hand done.

The top one is a length of filet around a meter in length. I can see little ends peeking out every so often where the joins have been done. I also have another shorter length in a different pattern.

The middle one is a piece of bobbin lace. By looking carefully I can see a few spots where the twists are just not quite right, a sure sign of being hand made. It is about 80cm long.

The bottom one is a beautiful collar done in Battenburg style. I know this is hand done because of the filling stitches and when I looked really closely, different threads had been used in some parts. I think perhaps the maker ran out of the lovely fine thread she was using & had to make do with what she had on hand to finish. Another thought is that perhaps it has been mended in a few spots & the original thread used not known. More likely this was the case.

A very talented person has made them, I just wish I could have met her so she could teach me how. I will take them all to my local Lace group in a few weeks & proudly show them off. One of our members is very preficient in the history of lace & how it has been made, so she will definately let me know one way or the other how they have been made. Whether hand or machine done, they are still all beautiful & I intend to clean them all & recycle them into something new.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Lace Motif

I have been playing with some needle-lace lately. I found this motif in a magazine, enlarged it quite a lot, & had plans to work a number of them to create something wonderful. However, my first experiments have fallen flat. I need to use much more support to create the rounded effect that I want at the top. I also need to use more support through the center as it is not strong enough. Oh well, live & learn. It has been back to the drawing board to fix up the design & I have come up with something completely new, which is really better as it is not a copy of someone else's. Watch this space to see the new one emerge.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Reticella Piece Finished

I have finally finished my first piece of Reticella. I am rather proud of it. It has been something that I have wanted to do for a while and now can tick of my list. Will there be more? Definately! I have already bought some more fabric, now I just have to start designing. I have to be careful about the design though as I do want some fabric left. Now I just have to think what to do with this piece.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mother Nature at Work

Sydney, as has most of Australia, has been in the grip of drought over the last few years. This year has been a little different & we are starting to see more rain. This morning while I was on my walk it started raining again, just lightly, but the sun was also out. I knew there just had to be a rainbow somewhere, and it was when I turned around that I saw this beauty. It stretched the whole way across the sky & stayed visible for about 15 minutes, long enought to get this pic. Looking carefully in the top right hand corner, there is a second rainbow but it is nowhere near as bright as the first. Rainbows have been scarce over the last few years because of the drought, but we have seen a few this year. Maybe the pot of gold at the end will be the water in our dams & the flowers on our plants.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Tissue Box Cover

At long last I have finally finished my tissue box cover. This was started way back in 2005 & put on hold while I did my course last year. This piece has been on my want to do list for a few years. I was going back through my inspiration folder just yesterday looking for inspiration for my next major piece when I came across my original notes & sketches for this one. It took a lot of planning, plotting, thinking & counting, but I think it was worth the effort. I am rather proud of it.

My Great Aunt's Tatting

On one of the on-line groups that I belong to, there has been some discussion about old table linen. I mentioned that I had a tatted doiley that my Great Aunt had done & I promised a pic, so here it is. My mother had this piece in her collection for many years before she gave it to me. I have had it in my possession now for nearly 30 years so it was made quite some time ago. Considering my dear old Aunt would be well over the century mark in age if she were still alive, I consider this piece very colourful for her generation. I am not sure if she planned the colour in the piece, or if it was just made from scraps of left-over thread, but I personally find it very inspiring.
I have my Great Aunt to thank (I think) for my interest in lace. Little packages used to arrive in the mail for my Mum, & inside would be little pieces of tatting. As a young teenager they had me intrigued & I asked my Mum to teach how to tat. When she said "no", I had to ask "why not?" & the answer promptly came back that she did not know how to tat herself. So I was given a "how to tat" book, a tatting shuttle & some thread to figure it out for myself. I sort of did but knew I was doing something wrong. It was about 6 years later I finally learned properly. Although I have now mastered the tatting knots, I very rarely tat. It is extremey slow & I think I would much rater have a needle in my hand. Maybe one day I might learn how to needle-tat.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Exhibition Pieces

Just over a week ago our local stitching group held an exhibition. We only hold it once every 5 years which gives us time to produce enough work to put on a great display. For anyone who ventured into the hall there was certainly a feast for the eyes. Everything from Hardanger, Pulled work, Drawn work, Ukranian witework, Needlelace, Tatting, Canvas work, Wool embroidery, Smocking, Goldwork, Patchwork quilts & much much more.
There are over 40 members of our little group who meet twice a month and produce some beautiful work.
Below are the pieces that I had on display.

This is one of the first pieces of Drawn thread that I ever did. It now hangs proudly on my dining room wall.
This is a piece of Myreschka that we did in a class. It is a form of Russion Drawn Thread & is worked totally different to the pink piece above.

This is a surface stiched piece of ticking that I turned into a workbag. It was an exercize that my friend R & I worked out for our YTFG group when we were running it. We wanted the children to practice their stitches. Their bags were a bit smaller than this.

This is atissue box cover that was also made in a class. The class was to explore chain stitch, but I managed to squeeze a few more stitches in for effect.

This beautiful lady is a pin cushion. I first saw her in a magazine & just had to make one. So the search began for my china half doll. I needed her first as that would tell me what her skirt would be. Not sure that I will ever use her as a pin cushion, she is too much a lady to stich pins in.

This is a piece of Casalguidi. Another piece worked in a class that I really enjoyed.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

English patchwork

A few weeks back I joined another on-line group. This one is a quilting group & they are very social off list as well. I found out a little of-shoot of this group meet local to me so I have been along twice to join them for afternoon tea, lots of chat and some stitching.

This piece of English Patchwork is what what I started the last time I went. I need to start another project like I need a hole in my head, but who can resist? Now I am thinking " What am I going to do with this? Any ideas?

First Reticella Piece

I have been playing with a few pieces of stitching lately, one of which is this piece of Reticella. I have always gone weak at the knees when I have seen pictures of this type of work in books. The technique is very old & dates back to the 1400's.

This has been worked by withdrawing threads from a piece of linen, then filling the resulting holes with needlelace. I think there are some books out there that describe Reticella as purely needlelace, but the earliest forms were made this way. I can understand why it quickly evolved into all needlelace, as to buy this type of fabric is $80/m, only to throw most of it in the bin as we create the holes. Funny isn't it, but the journey of learning & creating is worth every $ I have spent.

Should be finished soon, then to decide what to do with it. Mmmmmm more food for thought.

Crochet Collar

How beautiful is this? It is a hand crochet collar that I have been given as an early birthday present. It just has to be seen to be believed!

I have done some digging & found out that it has been made by a lady named Nancy, now deceased, probably dates back to the 1940's and has been made using sewing machine weight thread. I have seen lots of crochet work in my time, I even have drawers full of doileys that have been made by both grandmothers & my mother & myself, but I have never seen anything as fine as this. I am awe as to the creativity, patience & eyesight of the maker. I personally think the piece belongs in a museum somewhere, but while I walk this earth it will stay in my possesion. I have plans to have it framed to hang on my wall so that it can be admired by everyone.

I know it is Irish Crochet, something that I have not done, but now want to do with a vengence.

Do you all think I wll be all the envy of my textile friends? I think so, & I cannot wait to do show & tell at my next lace meeting.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Quilt finally finished!

Well it is done! Finally after about 15 years I have finished this sample quilt. It started life as a sample in a PW class, grew to be five pieces framed to hang on my wall, then grew again into this quilt. The journey has been long, & one of much learning, like accuracy, colour choice, & the difficulty in FMQing something of this size. So, one item ticked off my UFO list, only thirty something to go.

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Tagged !

I have been tagged ! I wondered how long this little game would avoid me! Thanks to Larinda, here goes.

I am a water girl, love to sit beside it, look at it, listen to it, splash my feet in it, you get the drift. Anything from the ocean, water-falls, lakes, rivers etc. My favourite is the beach, I love to sit on it, lay on it, walk on the sand, dabble my feet in the waves, & search for the wildlife that live near-by.

That being said, rain is one of my my least favourites. Most of the time I find it depressing. I can cope with one or two days of rain in a row but by the third day I am climbing the walls! I think it has something to do with my low levels of vitamen D! But I do so love the sound of rain falling on a tin roof! ( a memory from my childhood)

Thunderstorms are my nightmare. Ever since I was a little girl I have been frightened of them. I have tried to overcome my fear a few times but each time I have got caught out, once in the car with a screaming 2 y/o in the back seat & hail pounding on the roof of the car! Though once they have passed over me, or prooved they will not come near me, I can watch the lightning for hours, especially if it is out off a beach!

This love of water has produced my favourite colour of blue/green, but combine this with pink & maybe a dash of white & we have my all time favourite colour scheme.

I am a perfectiomist. Everything has to be just SO & I get frustrated when it doesn't happen. This has led to a lifetime of learning to make everthing perfect!

I love a challenge, makes me think ouside my square & usually sends me off to research something.

On the other hand, I am a scardy cat, & have to do my research really well before takling something new! This might have something to do with being a perfectionist, & wanting everthing to turn out right the first time.

Now it is time for me to tag seven people.

Margaret H
Sarah E

You have all been tagged!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Knotted lace

I just have to share my excitement!

Today I went to my local embroidery group & when I arrived there were a group of women gathered around the back table, so I went to see what they were all looking at. One lady was in the midst of laying out a carry bag full of household linen onto the table so I asked her where it had all come from. The story went that all the linen had come from her neighbour who was moving & all the linen was for sale. As she was talking, the above piece caught my eye so I asked the question of "How much?" The reply came back "50c or $1" . The piece above was instantly mine! along with another three of similar workings & two filet crochet corner handkercheifs!

I have heard of knotted lace, I even posess a book on how to make it, but I have never actually seen a piece! This had made my day!

The story continued that the lace was hand made by the neighbour's elderly Greek aunt who is still living, so I have asked that the message be passed on that it has gone to a very welcome home to sit behind glass!

Friday, May 04, 2007

More Shoe Bags

The last few days have been a little testy over the changes to my classes. So I have buried myself in my sewing room & stitched out another 4 shoe bags. I think that is about 10 now & when these are finished being made up I think that will do. They want about 18 of them but I am not sure if I want to do another 8. I still have to finish two pieces of my own work so I think I might try & concentrate on those pieces.

I'll probably get side tracked into something else though, like the "Sailing to Byzantium" challenge for one of the on-line groups I belong to.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

A WISP Nearly Finished

There has been some talk about finishing WISP's ( works in slow progress). This is only one of my WISP's and it is not even the oldest.

It is however the first large quilt I ever started ( I remembered there is a cot quilt that is 23 years old & as yet not finished!). So far this quilt has been 15 years in the making & I pulled it out about 3 weeks ago & decided it was time to finish it.

The fun part has been the quilting. I decided I would try to free machine quilt it with a traditional design . Never again! There are so many ends to end off!!!!!!! The FMQ has certainly been an experience! I have done FME before but doing it on an A4 size & on a 60" square quilt are two different things!

Oh well, it should be finished very soon, only 11 squares left to quilt, end off all the ends, then bind it. Time then to tick another WISP off my ever growing list!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Old Back Steps

Today on one of the on on-line groups I belong to there was some discussion about a particular talented artist that a few of us know. The first time I had anything to do with this lady was with this piece of embroidery. We were in a class together where we had to use a magazine pic as inspiration to paint a background onto fabric, then stitch. As paint brushes & me did not mix very well back then, I had no idea what I was doing. This lady took the brush out of my hand & said " you just do it like this" and in 2 seconds flat my background was painted. I learnt much later that she was an art teacher. No wonder she felt sorry for me! Anyway, the painting of the background may not be mine, but everyone of those stitches has been done my me.

I called the piece " Old Back Steps" & it was the first piece of my own work that I ever had framed . It now hangs on my dining room wall. That was way back in 1995 & there are now a few pieces of my own work which grace my walls. I even dabble occasionally with the paint brush these days, but I much prefer to use needle & thread.

Class changes

Today was certainly different. It was my first day back for a new term & there were 13 students in my class, the most in a long time. Now anyone who dress-makes, or sews, knows how much space we sewers need. So with 6 tables & 13 students can you imagine how cramped we were? They have promised me another table next week, (I would really like another two tables) so we will just have to see how we go.

They are also talking about changing the venue for the class. I know where this new venue is but I have not seen inside it. I need to check things like table space, power points, lighting, seating, whiteboards etc etc. There is plenty of parking, 2 minutes walk to a train station, & only 5 minutes drive from home for me. I think it might be a good move, we just have to wait to see what the students think. They don't get much of a say in the matter, but if they don't like it they won't come to class. The current venue is much more central for the district, but this new venue has plenty of advantages. The shops are even close by & if they run out of thread they can duck up to the shop & buy some. There is also talk of lengthening the class time which should be good.

The one dissapointing thing was that my Seniors class has been cancelled for good. It is a bit of a shame as it was the only outlet for some of these older generation. The class was supposed to be tomorrow & I only found out by accident that it was cancelled. I just hope they have rung all the students or there will be some very unhappy people tomorrow.

This has all happened because we have a new principal. It would be interesting to know how many other changes he has made in just 9 days of being in the job.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A few days R & R

When we get a chance we often go away for short breaks up the coast to a wonderful place called Forster. We have just had 5 days away & even if it rained most of the time we still managed to get out a little bit. This is just a view of the channel between the lakes & the wide Pacific Ocean.

This fellow was very obliging & posed for lots of photos. There are lots of pelicans around & they are funny to watch when the fishemen come in. If they are not careful they will lose their catch to the pelicans very quickly!

Just three of the sunrises we managed to get up early to see! It isn't very often we take the time out to see the sun rise but I am sure glad we did these three mornings. I tried to get pics of a sunset too one day but we got chased by a shower of rain!

I'll say one thing for sure, this planet we all live on is truley stunning if we just take the time to admire it's beauty. We all have to take precautions to make sure it is still here for future generations to come.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Can't See The Forrest For The Trees

One of the on-line groups that I belong to has put up a challenge called "Can't See The Forrest For The Trees". The group is all about using the computer for textile art. So with this piece I have used some digital artistry on two differnt photos of the gum trees in our neighbours back yard. It is still a digital image at this stage, but I do have some plans for it. I just have to find the time!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

First Reticella Sample

After spending a whole 12 months studying the art of Drawn Tread Embroidery, I realized that there was a whole lot more that I needed to do & try. So this year was to be a year of playing and learning Reticella. This is only one type of Drawn Thread embroidery & is the pre-runner to "Punto In Aria" or "Stitches In The Air". It was huge around the late 1400's in Italy & I have so much admiration for the women who created such beautiful pieces. I need my glasses, good light, & sometimes a magnifier to do this, so imagine working this beautiful embroidery with none of this!

So this is my first sample. I so wanted to learn how to do those horrid little buttonholed triangles, and try as I might I could not get them the same! Then I was introduced to a wonderful new book which gave me a whole new insight in how to do them. From then on I was on a roll. Now all I need to do is plan out a major piece & I will be set!

A Fun Day With Dye

This morning was a fun morning playing with some dye. The whole purpose of the session was to dye a piece of even weave linen ready for a major piece of embroidery. Normally when I have to dye something, I am scratching for pieces of fabric or thread to use up all the left over dye. I was prepared today though, I had been into Spotlight yesterday & bought some white homespun & embroidery threads. So now I have a range of threads & fabrics, ranging in colour from leaf green to torquoise. Most of the pieces I have used a resist of some kind to give variety. I know what I want to do with the even weave linen, but what I will do with the rest will have to wait & see. My threads are still drying so they will have to wait for a day or two until they appear here. Now I can progress on my piece of work ready for exhibition in October.