Posted on

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.

IMG_1617

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

IMG_1621

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.

IMG_1629

To finish this so I can post it.

IMG_1634

To mum.

IMG_1637

It’s okay she doesn’t read here 😉

IMG_1644

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 🙂

Posted on

Cat dreams

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

IMG_1587

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.

IMG_1597

IMG_1598

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’.

IMG_1592

And from last night, some weaving.

IMG_1586

Posted on 2 Comments

Still going…

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

IMG_1537

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.

IMG_1548

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.

IMG_1539

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.

IMG_1545

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.

IMG_1546

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

Posted on

Fruitful

This morning: some fruit picking in brilliant sunshine.

IMG_1514

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

IMG_1532

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.

IMG_1534

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

Now I have enough to keep going.

Posted on

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.

IMG_1481

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.

IMG_1478

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.

IMG_1479

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.

IMG_1486

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….

Posted on

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.

IMG_1466

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.

IMG_1467

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.

IMG_1469

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.

IMG_1470

I love the little dimples of the basted pieces.

IMG_1471

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.

IMG_1464

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

IMG_0005

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

IMG_1461

It was a good day.

Posted on

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.

IMG_1416

So I have three pages with recognisable birds now.

IMG_1415

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.

IMG_1417

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

IMG_1418

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)

IMG_1419

The sky this evening portends a very warm night.

IMG_1420

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

Posted on

Flat

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.

IMG_1410 (1)

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.

IMG_1409

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.

Posted on

Birds marching

Tum tee tum tum.

I started this project with a plan: a series of silly birds to make into pages. I’ve already deviated from the plan. I’ve drawn a series of bird shapes (or potato shapes or circles or whatever) onto some fabrics.  I’ve prepared some little pages and I’m just blatting the bird shape onto the page, and appliquéing it down. Like this.

IMG_1394

 

Then I’m either stitching little features on as I go. just as the needle takes me. Or I’m taking a photo and sketching some ideas out. (Thanks eternally for this idea, Jude.)

IMG_1391

I like this marching bird and his crazy bill. Not sold on this diving bird.

IMG_1392

I’m learning a lot about the fabrics as I go. This black cotton is soft and almost sheer. Lovely to work on. The pale brown is an old sheet… Which would be fine except the threads are SO tightly woven together, the needle doesn’t like it so much. Not sure what to do with the rest of the sheet if it doesn’t like being stitched…

Yesterday was a farmers market morning. And among other prizes, I came back with the most beautiful little bag of chat potatoes. We basically never have potatoes but I love them. Tonight I baked them, with whole garlic cloves, and asparagus spears. I made a herb butter. There was red wine.

Potatoes. Such creamy perfection.

Posted on 4 Comments

Face cloth finished

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

Front and back:

IMG_1333

IMG_1351

And then each of the characters.

Wild cat

IMG_1335

Pensive Incan sculpture man:

IMG_1336

Magnificent flame mane:

IMG_1337

Trapped in TV:

IMG_1338

Shirt shirt man:

IMG_1339

Ciao babe cat:

IMG_1340

Thinking catbear:

IMG_1341

Suave cat:

IMG_1342

River woman:

IMG_1343

Electro shock cat:

IMG_1344

Crystal rock man:

IMG_1345

Twigface:

IMG_1346

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

IMG_1347

IMG_1348

IMG_1349


IMG_1352

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. 🙂