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Selling embroidery – thoughts

I’ve not posted for a while, but I’ve been almost constantly stitching. Stitching for fun, learning new techniques and making pieces without any thought to end purpose or function. This has been enjoyable, but my stitch journal is bulging and some of these pieces are beyond samplers, so I thought I might sell some.

So. I’ve spent the last few weeks backing, stuffing, lining, photographing and uploading to Etsy. On Monday I’ll pass the publish button on each piece and see if it comes of anything.

But it means the usual struggles and doubts. Which pieces are worth selling? I like them all, but will anyone else? How many photos to take? They were really just play pieces, will other people mind the quirks? The deliberate exposed knots, the softly teased raw edges? And the biggie: what to price things?

I don’t really know the formula that answers any of these. I’ve been posting pictures on my Facebook page and Tumblr – and a few people seem interested. But interested enough to buy? I guess I’ll see. I often feel like textiles live in a world where lots of people like it enough to look, but not to buy.

Maybe I’m wrong and just full of doubt as I prepare. Or maybe online is the wrong place. Maybe a tactile medium needs to be in a rocks and mortar shop/gallery. Where people can touch and drape and see how the silks catch the light and the beads sparkle.

Well. I’ll see how this goes and maybe approach some shops. There are some beautiful handmade/crafty shops around where I live and in country Victoria that I would LOVE to have my pieces – but then I’d have to be serious and maintain a proper stock level and branding.

Getting ahead of myself.

Monday first. Lets see if I can even do the thing.

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Lazy day

Today was kind of a lazy day. I started immersing myself in Small Journeys and spent some time stitching scraps together as I listened and watched.


With Javi pressed up against me, as he has been for days, and is right now. Sigh.

As I’ve been reading stitching blogs again, I noticed people talking about their ‘cheaters’ and wondered what on earth they were talking about. It dawned on me that it might mean the cheap glasses you can by in pharmacists here. I googled around and yes! You can buy magnifying glasses-glasses and that’s what people meant.

Okay. Well I’ve been struggling with my lighting/magnifying set up for a while now. I have a light stand with a magnifier on an arm, on wheels. I also use a small LED headlamp if I want a quick splash of light but don’t want to wheel over the huge contraption, but I didn’t have a portable magnifying solution.

So yesterday, the man and I went on our usual Saturday morning market shopping expedition and stopped off at the pharmacy on the way. And Oh MY goodness. I bought a pair of glasses for $20 and they are marvellous! They even came with a hard case and a big cleaning cloth.


So I got right back into doodling some tiny trees and symbols on my doodle cloth and the ‘cheaters’ are grand. Everything is so crystal clear in them, it’s AMAZING.


The other thing that’s grabbed me again is the ‘Art of Manipulating Fabric’ tome. There are some techniques in there I’ve been playing with on a small scale. But in doing so I made this little surf board thing out of fabric scraps and the batting out of a men’s tie.


It’s become my ‘needles in use’ pad. Which I like. Small and useful is good. Maybe I can make brooches with my other experiments… hmm….

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Feeling flat this evening. Not sure why.

Sitting on the floor as his royal highness stole my stitching spot when I attended to the laundry.

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I’ve ordered a Fat Baggy! Which is exciting, but I think it’s partly responsible for my ‘funk’. I’ve started to talk myself out of making too many more bird book pages ‘until the magical fabric arrives’.

Well I do have a couple of pieces of brightly coloured fabric (no I mean literally a couple, in case you thought I was joking). So I made two little bird body beginnings. This one is well under way.


I’m not happy with the wing though. Not enough contrast. Hmm. I may add another line of darker green stitching under the wing to see if that helps.

I’m tossing around whether or not to stitch little names for each bird. The idea is for the book to be for a baby or toddler, read with a parent. For it to be very textural and rugged. But to be fun and bright and silly. So I have some silly words I think I may stitch around each bird, so that adult and child can read together and come up with their own stories, and touch/play with the birds. I’m also thinking each page will have a ground (or branch or water or whatever) that I’ll suggest in stitch that will also be quite tactile. Still thrashing that around.

Despite all that thinking, I’m not doing much ‘doing’. Maybe tomorrow will be a doing day.

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Back here

From there:

Version 2

Mt Feathertop. Seven hours of mountain walking one day. Then a couple of days of just being in the high country. Lots of walking, looking, being.

Bump. Back to earth now. Back in the city. Sigh.

Have started some stitching, but can post about that tomorrow. Still not properly grounded yet.

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No more red carpets

… just stitching.

Here is the funny 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  a lot of blogs, not sure if I should add them all, but the ones I’ve added today are the ones I 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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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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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 appliqué? 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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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!