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Curls and stairs

I’ve been working on this piece over the last couple of days.




I needed to go to the city yesterday. While there I visited one of my favourite places, the Nicholas Building in Swanson Street. It’s a glorious small building, with an old cage lift, internal arched stain glass ceilings and little details everywhere that surprise. It also has four GREAT shops: Buttonmania, Maria George beads, L’ucello and Kimono house. I visited the latter and bought some vintage japanese fabric. If you’re a crafty person visiting Melbourne, you HAVE to visit this building and venture upstairs.

And THOSE stairs.


So beautiful.

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No more red carpets

… just stitching.

Here is the funnyΒ robot with a tie.


I have since added a … halo thing over him. I’m not sure why.

And. This little cat face. He’s very simple, but I think I might be happy with him like this?


And lastly, this guy. Who my man calls the ‘Ciao babe’ cat.


Again, I’ve finished whiskers, added ears and sone forehead stripes since this photo.

Progress on the whole thing.


I’ve been thinking though. On whether this is a whole thing, or whether this is something I will cut up and add to other things. Or. I don’t know. Not sure whether to quilt the gaps and make it into a Cloth that I can give to (a friend’s child maybe) or whether to leave it as a sampler that I could re-use. Hmm.

And thinking about that ‘childishness’ that I’ve brought to this. And whether I should care about that or not.


Also I’ve added a link list to the blogs that I love. I visit quite Β a lot of blogs, not sure if I should add them all, but the ones I’ve added today are the ones IΒ need. My soul is enriched by the visiting and the journeying with.

ALSO I’ve been asked to submit some work to a show. I’m thinking about this deeply. I have ideas. But it is in the US so it would be a long way to send things. Hmm.


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Starting again

I’m inspired to blog again and record my thoughts as I stitch. A journal, intended primarily for me, and secondarily for anyone else who might be interested. No rules for myself except one: to relax about this. And just do.

So here are my latest stitching learnings. New techniques and ways of thinking about stitching from Jude Hill’s spirit cloth teachings in Feel Free.


She advises using soft, light, open cloths that are easy to stitch. So I tested some of mine with running stitch. Some work, others not. But I enjoyed just making them and lining them up. Gives me ideas. πŸ™‚


In her class she suggests using a nine patch as a simple grid to frame the design. I couldn’t help but want to break that a little.


And so I played and learned. And just holding cloth to stitch, no hoop, it felt good.


I have lots of ideas now, and a pallets of techniques to practice. Until the techniques become soft and pliable like the cloth.


And now I’m bursting with it.

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Pintangle: Take a stitch Tuesday

I just discovered this glorious embroidery challenge: Take-a-stitch-Tuesday. I know, I’m VERY late on the scene πŸ™‚

For anyone else new, it’s run by sharonb over at PinTangle, and the idea is to create a space where embroiderers can try out new stitches or push the envelope a little on stitches they already know. It has a group on flickr that form part of the record of the group’s creativity, as well as a web ring and regular spotlights from sharonb on PinTangle. I recommend you check it all out!

I think it’s a wonderful idea, I’m inspired just by reading through the entries. Part of me is tempted to jump on board at week one and stitch up a storm… but I don’t want to derail my current project, I’m trying to be disciplined about how many things I have on the go.

So my plan is to refer to the challenge in bits and pieces on my side-cloth as I see the opportunity. And maybe when Jack’s complete I can throw myself at the challenge from the beginning.

*twitchy needle hand* πŸ˜‰

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Embroidery, patterns and sight-seeing

Another little update of my stitches and life in general.

I’ve been working on Jack this week, but most of that’s not been on Jack himself but on the samplerish side-cloth where I’m testing out ideas:


I’ve sketched out the colours and fill ideas for each area, but it’s not till I’ve tried it with different threads, strands, textures that I know which one has the best chance of working. While stitching my last project, I spent a lot of time unpicking and re-doing areas. I don’t mind that so much, but having a side-cloth to test things on gives me more freedom to try variations side by side and compare them, and then choose the one I think will work best. I still foresee some unpicking, but hopefully less.

Anyway, I’m having fun with the side-cloth as well, so it’s all goof fun and learning.

Here’s where Jack is currently at:


I’ve settled on some larger fill areas now after playing on the side, so the next update should be a bit more colourful. Oh! And I did my first ever ‘laid work’ in the little blue triangle fill area, so I’m pretty proud of myself. πŸ™‚ Even if it’s just a tiny bit, it was fun and something new. Jack might turn into a large sampler at this rate :-O

Out in the real world, we have a menagerie of creatures that inhabit (or visit) or bustling street: galahs, corellas, lorikeets, the occasional rosella, possums, bats… and over the last couple of weeks: ducks!


I love ducks. They aren’t very exotic, I know, but we don’t see them often, and these ones are so tame! I had to step over this guy when I was going for a walk. Crazy!

I’ve been hideously busy with work. I tripped to Sydney and back yesterday for two meetings. The meetings went well and aren’t worth relating here, but I had two hours between when I had some time to wander the city.

My first meeting was down near the water somewhere. I don’t know the area, but it was beautiful in the morning sun:


And then over the lunch break I wandered in the city centre.

The Strand arcade is beautiful:


And then I had lunch at QVB, and took a few photos, but this one is the prettiest:


And then off to my second meeting followed by a train to the airport and then home. It was a long tiring day.

I shared some of the silly patterns I’ve been making in my last post. I’m afraid to report that I’ve just been getting sillier and sillier with them. I borrowed a stylus from a friend, it’s made iOrnament a whole lot more fun πŸ™‚

Interleaving fours:


Girls with scarves and mittens (clearly the cold has been getting to me):


Cat faces:


Mooses (meese?):


Ducks. Or rabbits. Or rabbitducks:


That’s enough silliness from me πŸ™‚

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Updates: knitting, embroidery, food!

I’ve been busy! But not posting as much as I’d like, so here’s a pretty huge dump of some images from my last month or so.

I’ve been knitting almost every day. Some lovely Kinfolk hand dyed yarn into socks:


And some delightful squishy madelinetosh yarn into a beanie. This resulted in my man asking if he could put in an order for a black one. Which I subsequently knitted, but didn’t photograph, because … well… black knitting never photographs well.

Knitting a hat

I’ve also knitted another hat, and started a new scarf… winter is pretty much over here though, so I’m not sure how much longer I’ll have the knitting bug. Links to all my projects are in my Ravelry library.

Related to the winter weather, my man and I have been cooking lots of Japanese hot pots together. he bought a lovely book on Amazon (this one, I swear it’s not a sponsored link! πŸ˜‰ The recipes are surprisingly approachable, so we’ve been making one every weekend. One hot pot feeds s for a couple of nights.

This is a duck hot pot:


And this is a mushroom hotpot on the stove. Mmmm, mushrooms.


And to go with our Japanese dinners, we’ve also bought a little batch of sake from this great Melbourne supplier of all things sake:


And finally back to crafting. I’ve been playing with a couple of design/creative apps over the last month or so.

iOrnament allows you to make repeating patterns using all 17 of the wallpaper groups. (I’m a maths nerd, so I love this). I bought a little stylus for my iPad, and am having heaps of fun with this. Not sure how it will translate to embroideries yet, but I have some lovely screensavers and backgrounds I’ve made myself πŸ™‚



I’ve also downlaoded a cute isometric app called… Isometric πŸ™‚ It allows you to place diamonds on a grid to create isometric patterns. I’m really into triangles at the moment, so my designs are tending to be not very isometric and more triangle-y. But I’m having fun:


And finally, I’ve been working on my new big embroidery project. I’ve done a whole lot of history research, and looking at hundreds of examples of playing cards. And then sketching up and playing with my own designs.


I’ve finished mapping out (mostly) what stitches go where, and have started the actual stitching. But photos will follow once it’s fleshed out a bit more πŸ™‚


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How to find an image’s real source

Sometimes when I’m browsing the beautiful crafty images on tumblr or pinterest, I come across images without the original source acknowledged.Β  I like the originator of a beautiful piece to be credited, so I when I reblog/repin, I add the source at least in the comments when I can.

I wondered if the source is often uncreditted because people don’t know how to find out. It only takes a few minutes (at most) and google images, and a little deductive reasoning, but here’s what I do:

Step 1. Save a copy of the image onto your computer (I usually just dump it on my desktop).


Step 2.Β  Open Google, and navigate to the images page. You want an ’empty’ search box. You can then drag your saved image over the search box and drop it in. It will change to a “Search by image” box when you’re in the right spot.


Step 3. You should now have a heap of search results that look like your image. If you don’t, you can add some words in the search box to help (like ‘socks’, or ‘awesome’. Okay, possibly only ‘socks’ will help here πŸ˜‰


Step 4. Sherlock time. This is the bit that requires some deduction. Which one is the original?

Things to look for:

  • Image size
  • Source web site
  • Image date (where available – the earliest one should be the first!)

In the search above, you can see that the original image I searched with was 500×615 pixels. Usually, the originator of the image will be the person who holds the highest resolution version, so you’re looking for an image that’s at least as large as the one you’re using to search. In this case, none of the first page image results are large.

So onto page 2…


On page 2 I can see an image that matches in size. But it’s on tumblr. Normally, I’d ignore search results that are on tumblr or pinterest, as they are most likely reblogs/repins. Results that are on a personal blog or flickr are the first places I look… because that’s usually where crafty images are placed by the creator. (But again, not always.)

So I checked out the bad magpie flickr result first, but it was actually from her favourites list, and a quick scroll through didn’t enlighten me, so I went back to the google search.

In this case, the Belle Atelier tumblr result is my best remaining option.


Hurrah, Belle Atelier lists the source. A quick click to check it out:


And it links to the crafty Beth Buhnuh on flickr. Who also has lots of other lovely craft things to look at…

Step 5. Acknowledgement time! At this point I usually just reblog/repin the image, and add the original source (in this case it would be the image page on Beth’s flickr) in a link in my comments.

My instructions are fairly long winded, but usually it’s a 3o second process. Simple!

You have the power, go forth and acknowledge! Crafters everywhere will thank you πŸ™‚

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Current project – blackwork solar system

Just some snaps of my current project. I had this idea for the sun and little planets in their current position. For the colour blocks I was looking for a technique to show both pattern/order as well as complexity/variation, and thought a nontraditional use of blackwork might fit the bill. Lots of different patterns, lots of colours, but lots of repetition/order.

Sketchy idea:




Some more progress:


I’ve done quite a bit more work since then, I just need to get more disciplined about taking progress shots. But I’m having fun with a technique I haven’t tried before, so looking forward to seeing how it turns out.