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Cat dreams

Backed and quilted. The texture really shone this morning in the low light.

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I sighed as I felt the softness of the red and orange damasks from Deb. Now that they are quilted down, they are soft and strong. I am so pleased.

After a trip out early to the market, I wrapped the edge of the backing around the whole cloth and stitched it down. Now it feels whole and done. Ready for gift-giving as a bookmark. I played with rolling and unrolling it.

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I also decided to add some thread beads to the moon, it just needed some more texture. Using Jude‘s technique of sewing in the ‘in between’.

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And from last night, some weaving.

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Curls and stairs

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

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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.

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So beautiful.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Face cloth finished

Lots of images today. I like the details that emerged here, so here they all are.

Front and back:

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And then each of the characters.

Wild cat

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Pensive Incan sculpture man:

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Magnificent flame mane:

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Trapped in TV:

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Shirt shirt man:

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Ciao babe cat:

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Thinking catbear:

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Suave cat:

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River woman:

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Electro shock cat:

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Crystal rock man:

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Twigface:

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Then some detail shots, because I love the folds, and the texture and the meetings between characters:

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So that’s that. Much credit to Jude Hill’s teaching in the Feel Free Spirit Cloth materials. Her words and examples have changed the way I think about cloth, stitching, textiles. This piece feels like very baby-steps for me; I am very much looking forward to expanding my thinking and doing of ’embroidery’.

Onto the next piece! I won’t be blogging for a few days as I’m away in the mountains. Taking my pens and pencils away with me to brainstorm in the quiet moments. 🙂

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Flame manes, ladies, rock men

The flame mane lion creature is done.

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Stitching the mane was a slow and satisfying experience. I enjoyed the split backstitch, and can see myself using this again and again.

I also completed this lady… I think she’s river creature, flowing and spiralling.

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And have started this rock man, crystallising and extending into the space around him.

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Faces so far. Almost done with the faces, but I feel they need some space-embellishment. Then backing and quilting. I can see spirals.

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A day

Today was a beautiful day. My man and I went for a walk around the lake in the morning, and then to the post office in the afternoon. And we washed the car. I love washing the car. Plus I sent some emails I had to send so yay, it was a JOB day.

But I did get a little stitching done. More flames…

Photo 4-11-2015, 7 07 04 PM

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And some silly closeups of some of the other faces…

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Some face ideas I sketched… some based on existing cartoon cats. Just for another idea bank.

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And my own soft lion.

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Getting wilder… and time sinks

Last night, Sue from Tortoise Loft posted about some new needlework she’s working on, inspired by images on Flickr from an embroidery book posted by the Internet Archive. I headed over to have a look, and then spent WAY too long just scrolling through page after page of old book illustration images. Not just needlework, but botanical drawings, diagrams, photographs. There are 53000 pages of book art there. (I didn’t not scroll through all of these… 😉 It set my mind racing with ideas. Some of the textures in old illustrations just fill me with a need to make…

But I need to finish my face cloth first. Face cloth. We used to use one of the in the shower/bath when I was a child, to wash our faces…

In any case, I mainly worked on my flame-lion, content keeper of majesty. He has a much larger, more unruly, mane now.

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Just the top and bottom to finish on him.

I’m finding working ‘in the hand’ to be a real delight. These tiny stitches, so dense, strong, solid – they change the nature of the cloth as you work. It’s addictive.

So much time woven into so many tiny stitches. Satisfying though, mainly because I’m learning so much as I go. So much still to learn…

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Wild things

Things are moving along on my faces cloth. Here is the (halo?) thing I mentioned for the office robot.  He has some kind of brain wave, it just moves pretty slowly.

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And I finished* the Ciao Babe cat.  I really like the blue on the brown cloth.

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And I’ve started this cat… that I’ve decided I want to be a wild thing too.

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So after his face I thought maybe it could be a lion? I played with cardboard flame-mane.

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And sketched in something like that, and started stitching.

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And stitching. This is all in the split back stitch that Jude Hill teaches. This is where he is now.

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He seems pretty content to be magnificent.

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Wildness and rain

Yesterday I stitched a little more of my twelve faces.

I finished the wild cat face.

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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:

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

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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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