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The satisfaction of pairing

Today was a bit more productive, I am very happy with this bird from this morning’s stitching. His name is Mr Swampy.


And that’s it for the bright fabrics I own. His body is beautiful blue silk from SpiralDyed on Etsy. I only have one piece and it’s blue, so at the risk of making too many blue birds that’s all I’ll make from this fabric, for the book. The blue/green stitches down his front are also from SpiralDyed. I would order some more (thread AND fabric) from them, but they are on a break at the moment. It was my first purchase, so I only bought a few bits. But I’m VERY happy with their products.

And so I felt at a bit of a loose end. I surfed the blogosphere and re-watched some of Jude’s Feel free videos. I watched her video of free piecing and was reminded of her most recent ‘stray’ cat piece, made from small scraps that she joins.

I stared at my small bundle of scraps and decided to do some what-iffing of my own. I just pulled out my little collection and spread it out on my board and just played with colour, joining as I felt I liked.


I’m really pleased with my combinations. And now I’ve begun a little stack of bases and possible figures to make into something larger later. Some of the details leapt out at me as I went.


And now I have fewer scraps. It feels good. And it was something easy and mindless to do while I boiled the christmas pudding and made dinner.


I love the little dimples of the basted pieces.


And I also realised that I accidentally made double the pudding mix I usually do. OOPS. Two full basins and just as much still in the bowl. Looks like I’ll be steaming puddings tomorrow too. Ah well, they make nice gifts, and they mail well.


And inspired by reading Caro-rose’s blog, I pulled out this old piece and blocked it out so I can frame it.


And for some reason laying in bed this morning, the light on the ceiling seemed very beautiful.


It was a good day.

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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. 🙂 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 🙂

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 🙂

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Solar system embroidery

I finished a large project this week, so a few photos to celebrate, and explain some of the process and thoughts behind my latest space embroidery.


This embroidery is a depiction of the inner solar system: the Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars. I placed them in their (approximate) correct position according to where they were on the day I started.

Yep, I know it’s not to scale. The orbits are roughly right, but the size of the actual bodies is all over the place. I just made them the size I felt happy with. And they do, they do make me happy.


Conceptually, this piece started with the idea of the Sun radiating its energy outwards into the void. But the void is not empty. It’s a complex, structured space – gravitational and magnetic fields, electromagnetic radiation, dust and debris surround the system. Debris like us.


I started by mapping out the orbits and the planetary positions, and transferred that to the fabric by tacking through a sketch. I then tacked on the radial lines and the planets. Using the tacking as a guide, I then filled in all the blackwork blocks. I started with darker colours near the sun, then faded in intensity further away. I decided on a blackwork pattern for each sector as I went, this meant lots of unpicking as there were some I was unhappy with after I’d surrounded them.

Next I couched down gold cord around the sun and stitched in the planets. I then couched down white cord for the orbits and sectors, and used outline stitch to border each sector in between – again fading to lighter colours on the outside sectors.


With its infinite variety of structured pattern, the blackwork technique just felt ‘right’ for the piece. And so I present the blackness of space rendered in blackwork, with not a black thread in sight.


Another project done, time for framing. It’s like finishing a good book: I’m feeling a little lost, but ready for a new project!


  • fabric: 40 count permin linen
  • threads: cotton and metallic
  • dimensions: 35cm circumference
  • started: May 5, completed: August 12, 2013