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Still going…

It’s been hot and humid for a few days. The blueberry plants seem to enjoy this, but I don’t.


Javi has been struggling to stay cool. But then he does keep pressing himself into the warmest places in the apartment. The windows are hot.


I’ve been stitching. I’ve been embellishing the bird book pages in an attempt to create a sense of place for each bird. And I’ve been naming and ‘verbing’ each bird. To suggest story, but not with any planning, just going with it. And not to over-tell a story, but to allow a child to weave their own.

I admit that I put myself through hell embellishing Walter. That brown sheeting is so tight, it’s not fun to hand stitch.


And I don’t usually do this, but I have another project on the go. One evening when the light wasn’t so crash-hot, I started randomly piecing some scraps. And I liked the base it created.


Then I thought it was such warm, dark colours: maybe it’s a place a cat could curl up. And dream. So that’s what this is becoming.


I worked on it some more last night, now the dream is twining more and there is a moon.

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This morning: some fruit picking in brilliant sunshine.


Home with a bounty. Raspberries, youngberries, loganberries. We will eat some fresh, some will go into frozen yoghurt. Yum.


And back to birds this afternoon. Beautiful fabric from Deb, I don’t even know how to explain how perfect it is. Bright and soft and textured. Stitching between eating berries and drinking wine.


And a package arrived from Dharma trading. Fabric samples and harem cloth. Precious, soft things.

Now I have enough to keep going.

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This morning was a long walk to South Melbourne market, around the lake. And then back home, around the lake. About two hours walking on a sunny morning. The flies were horrendous on the way back. It’s a bad year.

Once we were back from our treks, I felt inspired to stitch some. I’m trying to lift some of my duller fabrics with bright threads. I worked on this little fellow. He tells me his name is Egbert.


So I have three pages with recognisable birds now.


My plan is to stitch their names onto the pages (e.g. Egbert Marchbird) and then the babe can make up her own stories for each of the characters.


After the names, I will stitch a ‘ground’ of some sort for each.


I’m still not happy with the fairly dull colours I have in my fabrics, but hopefully that will change soon. I’ll keep on stitching in the meantime. Gotta keep going :0)


The sky this evening portends a very warm night.


Hopefully I can sleep, I’m not keen on heat at night. And last night was a disrupted one.

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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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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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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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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.