Week 7 - Placemats for Charity

I have now dug out a jellly roll of fabric.  It is the only jelly roll I have ever bought and I bought it about 10 years ago.  It has been moved from pillow to post but never opened, now it's time has come.  I think that I should be able to get about 12 placemats out of this lot, maybe even a few more.

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The colours are very pretty and would have been lovely 10 years ago, but, they are not today's colours.  Also, the fabric has been rolled up like this for over 10 years so there is going to be some distortion.   The batting I have on hand is a bit thinner as well but one of my objectives is to use up all the stock I have on hand.  I have decided to make the binding strips only one thickness for these mats as it suits the lighter weight batting .

Place-mat 13

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Pretty straight forward piecing and I like the off centre circular quilting.  Takes a bit of time and cotton but really easy to stitch.

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Place-mat 14

The piecing is much the same only placed different and I managed to put a join in my binding right at the corner, not good.

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The quilting is much the same as the previous mat but this time I used an off centre square.  Basic shapes make a great starting point for this type of quilting. How many to go?  Triangle, rectangle etc. etc.

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I've made a switch

I am enjoying my Italian course on Future Learn BUT I have found something even better.  (For me that is.) My friend Teena sent me a link to Duolingo a free on-line languages site.  There is a TED video that explains how this site came to be and it is well worth the watching.


It is actually fun to learn!  I have always had trouble with languages but the fact that I can go back time after time and get feed back on my progress  is great.  I have a good long term memory but I have to repeat and repeat to get in to go into my short term memory.  This platform is just perfect.  On top of that there is an app for my phone so every time I have a few minutes I can practice.  In fact the number of people learning a new language using this platform is equal to the whole population of Russia.  There is even a part of the program that teachers can use in school and Harvard University recognises English proficiency of completing the English course on Duolingo.  I have to say I am impressed.  Now, after Italian I think I will be able to tackle Japanese!


I am finding it hard to concentrate on this piece, although I am enjoying stitching it.  Looking at it again I see that I have reversed one of the patterns.  How did I do that?  If I had tried to do it it would have been impossible.  It doesn't look too bad so I think I will leave it as it is.

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The background of this voided design is stitched in 'Old Italian Cross Stitch'.  I had never heard of this stitch before and went to my reference books.  It wasn't mentioned in them either.  It is a kind of a mixture of a four sided stitch and a cross stitch.  I had to practice for a while till I worked out the sequence.  As you can see it took me a while to work it out.  When I turned the work over I realised that that pattern was the same on the back.  This meant that those old pieces could be used on either side.  Nifty!  Only drawback is that it uses a lot of thread and takes 3 times the amount of time it takes to stitch the modern cross stitch.  Still, I think I would use this stitch if I was going to do another piece of Assisi embroidery.

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It gives wonderful coverage of the fabric and is much better than the modern cross stitch.  The reason that I took this class in the first place has it's origins back when I was in high school. For our senior assessment in year 12 we had to design a piece of embroidery as part of the Textiles and Design subject.  Looking through books I came across Assissi embroidery and fell in love with it but after the disaster of trying to do cross stitch back in year 9 I opted for drawn thread work.  (I'd never done that before, fools rush in...)  I still love Assissi work and this UFO is a wonderful learning piece.


A bit of a find

I picked up a book called "Embroidery for Schools" from a charity shop and I think it is a bit of a find.

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It is by Joan Nicholson and that name seemed a bit familiar so I went to Mr Google to see what I could find.  Turns out she is the mother of Nancy Nicholson who's embroidery is bit like that of her mothers.  (There are some great images on her blog ,  plus lots of references and articles about work done by both of her parents. )

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The book is dated and is printed in black and white but the ideas presented are wonderful.  I have been making lots of stitching cards for my grand daughters.  There is a whole chapter devoted to these in this small book and I found some colour images on Nancy's blog of the originals.   But I really love the little stitched dolls that she makes. 

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These are first printed, using lino prints onto fabric and then stitched.  All the patterns for making the lino blocks are in the book.

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This has started me thinking about things I might be able to do for my children's classes not using these patterns but using the same process.  I need to start experimenting.


My boring post box

I have the most boring post box.  Everyone else, or nearly everyone else has interesting post boxes, the island is noted for interesting post boxes, of which mine is not one. 

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I found another one the other day while walking around. This old fire alarm makes a great post box.  I am going to have to try and do something about mine.

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Week 6 - Placemats for Charity

This is the end of that charm pack.  The pieces of fabric were getting smaller .

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I channel quilted this and then experimented with triangles using the channel line as my guide.  I think the arrow head pattern is the one I like the best.

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By this time not only were the pieces smaller they were irregular in size but I was able to patch them together.

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I channel quilted this as well and then let the stitching wander over the line making an easy but pleasing pattern.  Have to remember this one.

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Life has become difficult again.  By difficult I mean that it is interfering with my stitching.  My daughter in law has to go to Japan on a work trip and leaves this Friday.  I knew this was on the cards but she ended up only getting a weeks notice that she would have to go.  She returns to Australia and then has to fly to Tasmania to present a paper at a conference. Then my son has got a sudden promotion seeing him taking responsibility for production in the breweries in Brisbane and Sydney so he has to fly away early next week.  That leaves me with 2 little girls one of whom will only sleep in her own bed, I am the one that will have to move.  The medication the doctor has prescribed is not agreeing with me, I sleep 16 out of 24 hours and that children's class is going to happen at about the same time, difficult.

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I am going to have to make some changes.  Hand stitching will still be able to be done.  Machine stitching is going to have to go on hold for a few weeks.  I will have to relocate to the mainland for the next 3 or 4 weeks and that medication is going in the bin because it is worse than the complaint.  Someone else may have to take over the Children's Classes.  I have everything prepared it is just deliverying it.  I can keep up my Italian language class on their computer.  Simple!!!  Now there may be some disruption to my posts but then again I might be able to handle it all.


I started this piece back in 2005 after a class with  Christine Bishop. I put it aside to finish it but it got lost and then this week it surfaced again.  I have no idea where those imps had hidden it or even how it got into the bookcase but here it is.  The class was about Assisi Embroidery and how the styles of embroidery had changed over the centuries.  This is a sampler which demonstrates each of the different styles of cross stitch.

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This is the other Kogin kit.  I had got a lot further on this piece, which is all wrong.  So, this is going to take a bit of unpicking then I will start again.

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A new on line course.

I have started a new course, how to speak Italian.  Now I really want to know how to speak Japanese, so I started with Italian.  That sounds really logical doesn't it?  I 'm a bit scared about learning Japanese so thought I would start with a language written in a familiar script.  Also, I am a little familiar with the language from all those years of training as a musician.  I have memorised whole opera roles in Italian without really know the language. But my accent is impeccable.  Native speakers think I must come from Italy, even though once they start talking I get lost.  

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This course is presented in short modules and goes on for months.  I think I should get my son Guy's partner to learn as well.  Roseanna came to Australia as a child and can understand but not speak the language.  I have another reason for getting her to learn with me, I might get to see my son a bit more often.  He is a shocker that one.

Hair Embroidery

I came across this video about 'Hair Embroidery.'  A couple of thing I found interesting.  Firstly, this is an example of 'spiritual embroidery'  that has been practiced for a long period of time and the embroidery technique used is the same as that taught at the RSN.   (My mind is all over the place.) It is interesting to watch the embroiderer working and the tools she uses.