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Still stitching

… despite the heat. Four days of sweltering heat, 37C, 35C, 41C, 38C. Not sure what that is in Fahrenheit for those in USA. 100 or so? Around that. Hot. Too hot to feel like stitching, too hot to feel like anything much. But there is Christmas stuff to be done, so it’s being done. Early every morning, as early as can be, to beat the worst of it.

This morning out early-ish to go to the market. Brekky on the way at our usual haunt, because sometimes ‘eggs is nice’.

The light through the glasses on the cafe table looked pretty to me. Or maybe it’s just that a glass of water is a damn fine thing when it’s 34C at 9 in the morning and you’ve already walked a few km.

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And this plant was on our table. It has little plants growing on the edges?

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And then to the market. Despite our best efforts we were still too early for some of the places to be open. Most of the fruit stands were set up, but some of the delis and shops weren’t going yet. The organic grocer we needed for fresh cream/milk had a big ‘OPEN AT 10AM’ sign taped to their door. So we sat at a table opposite the florist and watched people pick out their Christmas flowers. Then we bought our stuff and walked home. It was 37C by then.

I ordered a tree to be delivered on Tuesday. Yay, Christmas tree!

And this afternoon I discovered that the dining table was a much cooler spot than the couch. So I moved there and stitched and stitched and stitched.

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To finish this so I can post it.

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To mum.

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It’s okay she doesn’t read here 😉

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It’s to tell her I love her. Even though Christmas, and I’m always here and she’s over there. I’ve finished it now and it’s wrapped, along with other bits, to send to her and the family for Christmas.

And the weather finally broke. It rained and rained. Now it’s only 20C. Maybe tonight I’ll be able to sleep 🙂

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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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Fruitful

This morning: some fruit picking in brilliant sunshine.

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

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I love the little dimples of the basted pieces.

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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.

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

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

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It was a good day.

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Boids

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.

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So I have three pages with recognisable birds now.

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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.

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

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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)

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The sky this evening portends a very warm night.

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

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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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Moving face cloth along

Last night I finished my crystallising rock man and put my face cloth aside for a while, deciding what to do next. I pulled out one of my newer books that I’ve only partly explored, The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Colette Wolff. She talks about a really simple ‘envelope’ method of finishing very small quilted pieces and I realised that that was how I wanted to finish my face cloth. Very simply backing it right sides facing, then turning it right side out, then quilting it.

So I ‘enveloped’ it before bed, and started quilting it this morning.

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Again, I’m keeping it fairly simple and freeform, allowing the needle to go where it wants. I want the stitches to be visible, part of the energy between the faces, so I’ve started multiple rows of running stitch, using Jude Hill’s method of making stitches tiny on the surface as they flow *through* the faces. And then in places I’ve started to flow *around* the faces too, and then spiral into the spaces between them.

For this whole project, I’ve just been using bits of leftover embroidery thread I have from old kits. I have them sorted by colour(ish), so I’ve just been drawing out whatever colour appeals to me as I go. I’ve been applying the same procedure to the quilting stitches, keeping the colours fairly soft, but varying them between pale golds, dusty pinks and greys. I want them to be visible, but not take over.

I’ve needed to stop this afternoon as my fingers are getting sore. As they do with too much in and out. But I love the soothing rhythm of repetitive stitching, both physically and visually. I love running stitch. My running stitch isn’t always neat and even, but I enjoy the outcome anyway.

I should finish this tonight or tomorrow. I already have my next project boiling away in my mind, so I’m enjoying taking my time on the running stitch and letting the new thoughts simmer.

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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.