A long trip

I took the long drive up to Warwick yesterday to visit quilting friends who were staying at Glenrose House.  It is in a lovely country location and they offer accommodation for quilting retreats and it has a great shop there as well.  But I do have to drive there and back, 3 1/2  hours in each direction to get to and from the place.  Seven hours of driving is a lot.

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The drive took me through lots of traffic for over 1 1/2 hours, then I got out into the country side, along with a few big trucks, and then after a few glimpses, the border ranges suddenly come into view. 

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We have been bush walking up here and it always takes my breath away.

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On this day I only had to deal with a few trucks on other days I haven't been so lucky.  This road gives access to the New England Highway that runs all the way down to NSW and the big rigs are a constant hazzard.

  Warwick is known for it's roses,

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the rodeo

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and the jumpers and jazz winter festival.

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This was shopping and lunch day in town for my friends so it was back into the cars and into town.  Country towns are always a bit different.  In the fabric shop, which sells patchwork, dress and curtain fabrics, along with lots of other things I saw a sample for a Chicken Scratch Embroidery class.  You can't buy that heavier weight gingham any more here that you can get in Europe so it was stitched on a light weight poly cotton.  Not quite the same but the pattern was nice, they had even used the needle woven stars.

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We had morning tea at Mamma Lucia's Patisserie where the cakes are to die for and they have all the national trophies they have won for baking on display.

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Then more shopping and on to lunch at the garden centre.  I did not buy one plant, I have to do something with the ones I have.  But there were some beautiful flowers there.

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I thought about this as a design for embroidery.

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As to my own shopping, I was very restrained.  Just 30cm (20") of each print for some more bags.

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The latest research shows that the number one indicator of a long life is the support of friends.  I am going to live forever!!!


WIPW

I got started on my SAL cross stitch but put on the wrong glasses and had a headache for 3 days.

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I have also started the No12 Peace embroidery.  Not much done here.

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And the knitting is progressing, when I can get to it.

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A cutting tip

I have been working on my 'A good idea at the time" bags and have been asked  how I get pattern on the fabric to match so well.

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I don't do any thing fancy like pattern matching, I just put my selvedge edges together and cut through both pieces.  I am only using the fabric the way it was printed and it is usually printed edge to edge.

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But beware of the fabric where the print runs in the other direction, it just will not work.  You are going to have to pattern match this one.

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A significant birthday

My son turned 40 this last weekend and his wife gave a huge party to celebrate.  And it rained. And it was outside, so they rigged up lots of tarps for people to sit under.

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 My daughter in law is one smart cookie.  She got someone in to cook the BBQ, just hot dogs and salads, so easy.  She hired some tables and benches for everyone to sit.  My son who is the head brewer at a boutique brewry set up 5 different beers on tap along with water, juice and some bowls of lollies for the kids.  There were kids everywhere, mostly all on the move.

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He changed careers from a computer game designer to brewing but still kept all his arty nerdy friends.  They came as Star Wars storm troopers.  The older kids loved it, mostly the boys, the little ones just screamed and ran.

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So despite the bad weather I think he had a great birthday.  But I am feeling rather old.


A subtle difference

Over the years that I have been hand stitching, especially Kogin embroidery, I have come to realise that there is one big difference in technique between Japanese and Western stitchers, and this has to do with how we hold our needle.  Just a small difference in the position of the wrist has a huge outcome.  Not only in what the stitches look like but the response triggered in our brain.

We hold our needle with our wrist in an upward position.

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 They hold theirs in a sideways grip.

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Here is a video of Yoko Saito, which is published on You Tube, (she was at Houston when I was there), and how she stitches.

 

The Japanese method produces speed and accuracy where the western method results in the release of chemicals in the brain that calm you because of the repetitive motion.  I have been practicing both methods and think I like that calming effect best.  It takes a lot longer to finish the piece of embroidery but I have become hooked on the chemicals my brain produces.

 


WIPW

So, I have put in the last hand stitch on this piece. It still needs to be blocked and then made up, so another weeks work still to go before it is complete.  My challenge was using a running stitch (pattern darning) and Kogin Hishisashi patterns from the Nambu region of Japan  (even count), stitch a piece where every pattern is different.

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There are 95 different designs in this piece, (and a number of small counting errors, which you really have to look for to find. )   I started by selecting the count of the diamonds then I choose patterns that would fit into that count.  The fact that there are some small errors is a positive when it comes to teaching.  It shows that although it is technically not completely correct, and you would never enter it into a competition, you can wing it, sometimes.  

You know, it is going to drive me crazy that there are a couple of small mistakes.  I might have to stitch another one?


Some new books

I dropped into Spotlight to get some more knitting needles and came home with a whole lot of books.  All reduced to $5.00 each from a Recommended Retail of $40.00 each.  Then I got another 30% off because it was a sale. (This was in the branch next to Ikea at Springwood, I'm not sure if they are in all Spotlight stores.)

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I also picked up some great craft books for the grandchildren for $1 each.  Then I found I was late picking up my husband and took a left turn in the car and ended up in a traffic jam on the freeway.  That made me very late but I did get this great buy.


On with life

I have my hands full at the moment with some extra studies.  They were just going to be a few fill ins but instead I find myself back at the books.  I can not write a piece without first doing my research.  All that Study I did for my degrees has brain washed me and I find it almost impossible to write a personal piece.  Then I do drafts 1 to infinity.  That comes from being a class room teacher I hope the kids took all my lectures on board as I have.

What I really want to get into is my course of "Art on the Ipad" with Susie Monday.  I did an introductory course with her in the USA and it has whet my appetite for more.  I've signed up I just have to get past all the things I have to do first!

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Then I have a group of Craftsy classes I have purchased and haven't got to yet!

I need to do a course on managing my time better.


Summer Stitching

This is not a good time of year to stitch.  It is hot and sticky and the outdoors keeps calling.  But I have been experimenting with a new zippered bag.  I am calling this one "a good idea at the time!'.  It seemed a good idea to do the stitching but I had no clear plan of what I would do with it.  Some pieces are samples on which I tested ideas others are for projects that didn't work out.  Now I have come up with a bag design in which I can use them all, or some of them anyway. 

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I am working on making a pattern and tutorial that I will put up later.