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Wildness and rain

Yesterday I stitched a little more of my twelve faces.

I finished the wild cat face.


At first I stitched him a mouth of big white blocky teeth. But it didn’t look ‘right’. So then I tried triangles in wrapped stitch (as I learned from Jude). His face came alive. So wild. He needed some spots then, so I stitched those in. I now want to make an army of spotty wild cats. Like Javi.

Then I moved onto one of my stone faces. One of the ones that looks a bit dopey.

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He needed something else. A hat? A beard? Hmm. I started chatting to my man about this. And he did the thing. He started weaving a story about this character. Where he worked and how he spoke and then said to me ‘he needs a collar and a tie.’ THAT seemed right. I smiled and told him about Jude’s advice to create stories around your characters. It made me smile, he surprises me often. I didn’t expect him to be interested much in my faces, but he is, he takes joy in them too.

So I played around with a collar and tie. This seems to work:


So here is the piece so far, partway through face #7. I’m working on the collar now.


This morning we walked out for breakfast. Knowing a storm was due, we carried coats. We went to the Hank Marvin market in the rain, and walked home in the rain.

Rain makes me happy. (When I have a coat.) Everything glows green in the rain.


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Back to beasts

I actually end up getting some late stitching in last night before bed. I worked on the hair on this little creature.


This morning I finished his outline. I was tempted to grow his hair into leaves and sprouts… so still thinking about that.

I also took a leap of faith, a braveness I wouldn’t have had before embedding myself into Jude’s blog and classes. I cut a hole in one of my squares and appliqued down the edges to make this little one.


He’s some sort of Ned Kelly / robot crossover.

It was a beautiful morning for stitching in the sunshine.


I also stepped out for coffee, walked to the market for fruit and veggies. And then later in the afternoon for a stroll in the park in the sunshine. Loving the Spring weather.

So now here’s where I’m up to with this sampler of ideas. Another cat on the way. 🙂


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More beastie faces

A little stitching today and a lot more looking, sketching, thinking. But I have made some progress on my beastie face sampler.


This fuzzy forest cat is from yesterday.


I also started this charged up creature. Not sure if he’s finished or not.


And this little robot/stone personage on one of the silk squares. I might do some more on this one.

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But I’ve drawn up another face already on another silk square, so another face practice first.

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Beasts begin, roar!

Last night as the sun was setting, there was the most beautiful rainbow…


The man and I marvelled at how the clouds inside the rainbow seemed to hold onto the sunset more strongly, the inner was so much pinker than the outer.

To stitching! As I mentioned yesterday, I immersed myself once again in a workshop by Jude Hill, her Feel Free Patchwork Beasts. Last night before bed I finished applying 12 squares to my base cloth. This morning I lay them out in the morning light so I could appraise my starting point. Javi helped.


I love this open weave Japanese fabric, and the way it nestles up against an old tear in the sheet. I wonder if I should mend the tear, or whether I should keep it.


I have a sketch book with lots of face doodles, so I started there and selected one of my cat faces. I sketched it out on the fabric and stitched it up. I started to see this little guy as a forest cat, so I selected deep greens and dusty purples to help him blend in with the forest shadows. And bright eyes for hunting.

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I wasn’t sure what to do next, and whether I needed to add any further details. Again, Jude’s wisdom helped guide me here. She suggests taking a photo at this stage, and printing out some copies to draw out ideas. I don’t have a printer, but I can doodle on-screen, so that’s just what I did.


I tried out some different arrangements of whiskers and other little facial details, and once I was happy, I once again sketched them out on the fabric and stitched them.


I’m really happy with how this is going! Back to stitching 😀

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Birds settled for the moment

I think my birds are done for now, in terms of embellishment. I need to back them and quilt them. But I’m putting them aside, while I start my next thought.


The last bird was very much a What If bird for me. Jude Hill encourages lots of ‘what-iffing’ in her cloth embellishment, so I tried to push myself outside of my comfort zone a little.


My What ifs:

  • What if I use some variegated thread? That was okay except I used some hand dyed indigo thread and against the white fabric that was a mistake as it rubbed terribly.
  • What if I just outline the back wing rather than use another appliquĂ©? I think that could have been successful if I’d made it more wing-like. But I’m happy with the idea.
  • What if I make the legs really sketchy? And even don’t connect the back leg? This was also aiming to match the wing effect. I think it could work – I wish I’d varied the line more by stitching the back leg with one strand of thread, or a dark grey.
  • What if I use satin (wrapping) stitch to make the tail? I think this was okay, but again the blue-bleed does effect the surrounds.

And he has a red eye as he started to remind me of the choughs we have here, which are very much a what-if bird for me too. I do like the way he’s flying off the edge of the cloth… more what ifs, possibilities, futures unknown.


Here’s the back of the cloth – which will become the ‘in between’ once I’ve backed it.

And so I’ve started on the next train of thought, brought about by Jude’s Patchwork Beasts workshop. She evokes such beautiful faces for her beasts.  I’m inspired, going back to some sketches I drew a while back as ideas for hand-puppet faces, and will use these ideas to practise rendering some of my own characters in stitch.

So I’ve been preparing a base cloth, an old worn sheet, soft and thin, basted to some thin loosed weave backing.


And some two inch squares coming together for creature faces.


I’m excited to see where this will lead.

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Seven birds

I spent the morning out at breakfast and markets. I noticed these beautiful flowers at the cafe we had breakfast. Thinking I could do this in stitches somehow:


And for lunch we had nordic bread and cucumber lassi. Honestly that bread is the most amazing food. And lassi ‘a la’ the other half. Goes from this:


To this! Yum.


And I tidied our balcony garden. Spring! So everything is humming along 😀


And then a morning of Jude Hill’s Patchwork beasts. Followed by some stitching time.


I finished the ‘ears’ of the owlet, and started a bird in the top left… which I prompted unpicked. I then put the piece away and walked to the botanical gardens and back in the sun. Feeling refreshed and inspired, I stitched the blue bird in the top right, which I thought of as a little wind spirit.

And that’s where my bird sampler is at. I’m excited to start some more expressive beasts next, based on what I learned this morning from Jude. Two more little birds though first.

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The dodo peacock and co

So today I’ve been walking and thinking and stitching.

Walking to the market and buying veggies, but especially cucumbers and yoghurt as my other half has taken to making cucumber lassi for lunch, which I love… he puts a whole cucumber in the blender with herbs and yoghurt and ice. It’s superb.

And stitching. Some other birds have appeared on the cloth. A dodo peacock. Not sure, but I think he may need some head adornment, I’ll check later.


And an owl thing.


The owl thing later sprouted some ears to blow in the wind.


And thinking about spirals as another personal symbol. Spiralling in, spiralling out. About how spiralling in can be good… if your life is too full and you’re moving in circles trying to keep everything tended. And making the circles smaller as you go, to make the tasks simpler. And simpler. Which makes the circles smaller. Spiralling in, smaller and smaller circles. Until you are still at the centre.

Spiralling out is another thing. Maybe later.

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Squares of birds

I’m starting to worry that the squares are little cages. Note to self: let the birds roam around a little.



My first bird somehow became a little parrot.


Javi is looking outside for birds. But they are right here!


I’m treating this as a technique sampler but also challenging myself to try different sizes/shapes/poses as I go as well. I’m interested that the birds are creating their own characters as I go. In a way that feels like they are coming from a part of my imagination that I don’t reach by simply thinking: I need to MAKE in order for these characters to emerge.

Anyway, I have bluebird to finish. Be back later!

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Last night I made some squares and rectangles using the paperless piecing method that Jude Hill teaches on her Feel Free pages. No plan in mind, just to practice the technique and to start building a little library of small cloth squares.



And today, I stitched a randomish arrangement together. And then I thought the little blue rectangle at the top was like a patch of sky.

I know I keep referring to Jude, but I’m learning so much as I follow through her blog and her classes. She has a very strong personal language she uses in her work. And it got me to thinking about recurring symbols that I use in my doodles and little pieces. And what concepts and meanings are important to me, that I may want to express. So I can start to tell my own stories in stitch.

One symbol that I’ve identified with over and over is the ‘small bird’; specifically the pardalote. This would be a whole ‘nother post to explain, so for the moment I’ll just leave it at that, but the patch of sky lead me to think of birds, so I thought I’d make a small sampler of small birds, to try some techniques and just play.

So here we are. On the way to a wee flock.