Sunday, 29 April 2012

Stitching with the Embroiderer's Guild

I joined the Guild for their Stitch Day today. It is essentially an open house, predominantly for new members to find out about the Guild but it is open to all members and prospective members.

Each Stitch Day has a focus on a particular stitch and today's was Straight Stitch. We had a lovely presentation from the Curator of the Textile Group showing us a range of work from the Collection that used only straight stitch. The display cabinets were also filled with works that used only straight stitch. It is amazing what can be done with just one single stitch and its multitude of variations!

We started a small project where we were shown different variations of straight stitch - a segmented leaf pattern with different stitches for the stem, edges and each segment. Unfortunately I had to leave early so only got 2 done but they were good fun - couching and a loopy stitch I think they called double threaded running stitch (which was beautiful). Once I do a bit more I will post a picture.

Happy stitching,

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Almost back on board

Unfortunately I have not been very well for the last week and a half with a 5 day migraine followed by a mystery virus that has me feeling sick on and off throughout the day. Combine this with preparing to take on a new job at work and I have not had any chance to get on the computer at home. However, I did manage to drag myself out of bed today and go fabric shopping with Mum :-)

As a present for a significant birthday my wonderful parents are paying for Mum and I to go to a quilting retreat being organised by Berrima Patchwork in NSW later this year. We are very excited as you can imagine!

We will each do 2 x 2 day workshops while there. The first workshop we are both doing is 'Diamond Delight' by US quilter Carol Doak. The lady's at Carols of Midland were quite impressed that we were doing a workshop with Carol and were fantastic this morning in helping us choose fabrics. These are the fabrics I have picked for this workshop.

Quilt top

Backing fabric

The main patterned fabric for the top is absolutely gorgeous & Mum ended up buying some for her stash for a future project. It is a new range from French Dress which had just arrived in the shop. I'm sure it won't last long!

The other workshop I am doing is 'Opal Fever' by Australian quilter Sue Dennis. The picture for this looks absolutely stunning and I can't wait to do this workshop. Here are the fabrics I picked for this one.

Quilt top

Backing fabric

Mum's 2nd workshop is a bag with Leesa Chandler using her new 'Under the Australian Sun II' fabric range. You can check out photos of the projects on Berrima Patchwork's website here

Anyway, I am (hopefully) on the mend and will be able to get back to regular posting this week. Hope you all have a wonderful stitching week!


Wednesday, 18 April 2012

My Beautiful Babies

I am joining in with Melody at The House on the Side of the Hill for Tuesday Treasures today. My treasures are my...alright, our...beautiful puppy dogs, Jasmine and Leo.

They are Maltese Shitzus and they are just over 3 years old. I have had dogs most of my life and I just love the fact that they always give you unconditional love. Jas and Leo are just so excited to see us first thing in the morning or when we arrive home after having been out somewhere. It's nice to feel so loved!

Mind you, Jas is actually more like a cat 70% of the time. The relationship is all on her terms, she will only come to you or follow instructions when she wants to (and even then it's often reluctantly), and she sulks when she doesn't get what she wants. She is so cute though and it is absolutely worth putting up with this behaviour when she finally decides that she is going to curl up on your lap and keep you warm while you stitch. She loves, loves, loves chasing the ball at the park too.

Leo, on the other hand, can't wait to be your closest best friend and gets very jealous if Jas gets more attention than he does. This is his favourite toy and when we go to the park he just carries it around all the time, squeaking it. He often sits in my lap or close to my legs while I am stitching and is a great companion.

Hope you all have a great week.


Sunday, 15 April 2012

The right tools for the job

It is amazing how much easier it is to complete a project with the right tools. I have finally finished my soft toy camel, Buttons (aka Chrissy the Camel), but it took a while because I didn't have all the right tools to start with.

First, I ran out of toy fill. Luckily I was able to improvise and remove some from my niece's camel, which I will be able to replace before we stitch together again.

Then, I had to attach the legs with buttons. This was quite a tricky job and not helped by the fact that I only had doll sculpting needles to use, not the proper large doll needles. Picture this, my husband and I sitting on the couch late at night (after watching telly), him holding the legs to the body and squeezing them together so I could grab the needle on the other side (no mean feat), and me stabbing my fingers and thumb several times while trying to grab the needle. When finished, I had to undo everything as the front of the body was so squished that the camel looked anorexic! I would have laughed except my fingers were hurting and I was beyond frustrated. We put her aside and decided to try again after getting better tools.

(Note, it would also have helped if I had read the instructions properly instead of racing ahead in a gung-ho fashion. I actually should have attached the legs securely first and then added the buttons afterwards. This would have been much easier. A lesson learned for finishing my niece's camel!)

The next day I took a quick trip up to The Teddy Tree after work to get the right tools. Unfortunately I had to fight peak hour traffic and they were closed by the time I got there. More frustration! Luckily I had another project to work on that evening.

Finally on Friday afternoon I was able to get to The Teddy Tree before they closed and pick up a 3 pack of large doll needles. The Teddy Tree is a small shop in Mt Hawthorn and they have a fantastic array of bear fabrics, quilting fabrics, notions, teddy kits and completed bears for sale. They also have, I discovered, balls of DMC Perle 8 thread, mostly in variegated colours, which you can't get from Spotlight anymore. I will definitely be going back to stock up on some of these.

So, on Friday night I had myself a Friday night sew-in and completed my camel. It was so much easier with the correct size doll needle that I didn't need my husband's help at all (much to his relief). The ears were the next tricky bit. They took several goes and I was getting a bit worried because I didn't want the fabric to fray, but Fray Stopper helped me out a bit there. And finally, Buttons was complete...

Buttons in front of our beautiful Marble Bar rocks

A birds-eye view

Those tricky ears!

I am delighted with the end result and very happy to have her finished...and the lessons I have learned should make it easier to help my niece finish off her own version. 'Chrissy the Camel' was designed by Pauline McArthur of Funky Friends Factory and was featured in Homespun No. 86 (Vol 11.7). Pauline's blog can be found here. My heartfelt thanks to Pauline for such a challenging and beautiful project.

I hope you all have a great week of stitching.


Tuesday, 10 April 2012

I Love Magazines!

I have to confess, I am a magazine-a-holic. These are the magazines I currently 'collect'.

Some are purchased, some are free. I have been collecting for years. They are stashed...

next to my bed,

in the wardrobe,

in the cupboard,

next to my stitching chair...

... and various boxes in my parents' storage shed! 

I just can't help myself. I love all the gorgeous new patterns and projects and have a list a mile long that I want to create one day, and the delicious new recipes that I would love to make one day. Mind you, I have enough projects and patterns to keep me going for probably 20 lifetimes, and I doubt that I would be able to make every recipe I wanted to even if I made a concerted effort to cook 1 per day.

For all that, I still purchase them. I used to be an avid reader of books (and still like reading books) but when the kids were young I found magazines easier to pick up, read an article and put down again fairly quickly (read...while they were sleeping!). Now I like nothing better than curling up with my favourite craft magazines.

Currently my favourites are Homespun, because I love the stories/articles that go with each project, and Stitch, because the Embroiderer's Guild of England produces this and they have amazing articles on new techniques etc. that I would love to try.

I'm joining in with Melody at The House on the Side of the Hill today for Tuesday Treasures. Be sure to check out her blog and all the other wonderful bloggers who are participating to see what they are thankful for today.

Happy stitching!


Saturday, 7 April 2012


Well, it has been another busy week in the lead up to Easter and school holidays. Luckily for me my darling husband and children have been otherwise occupied for most of the last 2 1/2 days so I have had some free time on my hands!

I have spent a couple of days tidying and organising most of my craft supplies. I now have all my fabric sorted into boxes (3 altogether), my threads all in one place and most of my UFOs in 1 (large) box.  I also found a few tools (labelling pens, needles, scissors, etc.) that I have bought over the years and not quite taken out of the shopping bags. Oops.

The main thing I have learnt from re-organising is that I have way, way, way more UFOs than I thought I did! Some of them are almost complete, others have just been started and still others are patterns or kits waiting for the right time for me to start them. I will have to update my UFO list over the next couple of days.

I did get a bit nostalgic while sorting everything out. I came across some projects that I started years ago while a member of the Joondalup Embroidery Group. During that time my best friend had her first baby and to honour the occasion I made my first baby blanket. As Sheena had married into a farming family the blanket definitely had to have a farming theme. I can't remember which magazine held the pattern but here are some pictures of Sheena and Rourke with the blanket...

Now that all my supplies are organised I have been able to turn my attention to sewing. I have spent a blissful 3-4 hours this afternoon working on 'Chrissy the Camel' and she is coming together nicely. She will probably have a different name once complete because of the fabric I am using. She is a present for someone so I was hoping to finish her off today. However, I got so carried away with sewing her that I forgot to keep an eye on the time and did not get to Spotlight before they closed to get some more toy fill. Oh well, hopefully I will get a chance to finish her off during the week.

I hope you all have a wonderful Easter and a safe long weekend. Happy stitching!


Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Thanks to those that share...

...their knowledge, their passion, their experience, their hints and tips, and most of all their time. I am joining in with Tuesday Treasures at Melody's blog and my Treasure this week is the Embroiderer's Guild of WA. You can view their website here.

The Guild has over 500 members throughout the state and I have been one of those members on two different occasions. Previously I was part of one of the metropolitan groups and meeting with them every Monday was the highlight of my week. The lovely ladies who joined me helped to teach me and cement my love of embroidery and I developed friendships that still exist 10 years later.

Currently I am a lone member due to work and family commitments. I love to take advantage, when possible, of the workshops the Guild offers and am seriously considering undertaking their teacher training. I was also lucky enough last year to be able to join them for part of their annual retreat in beautiful Muresk. The skills, knowledge and experience of many of the ladies is incredible and very inspiring. I am forever grateful for their willingness to share.

See below some of the stitches I learned at a couple of the Foundation classes. These will (eventually) be turned into some lovely, useful items.

The Guild has an amazing collection of historical textiles and masses of information on all types of embroidery. They also have a library of approx. 2,000 books and a range of 'technique files' that they loan out to members who wish to learn a particular type of embroidery in more depth.

There is an Embroiderer's Guild in each state. I highly recommend checking them out if you are interested in stitcheries and embroidery as they are a wealth of knowledge. It doesn't matter whether you are a beginner or more experienced, there is something for everyone at your local Guild.


Monday, 2 April 2012

Finally some quiet time!

Whew! What a hectic week it has been. With school meetings, high workload, year 12 school ball and family commitments to attend to there has barely been any time for stitching.

However, as I worked on the weekend I was able to take some time off today. Yippee! Luckily for me Quintessential Quilts had a beginners hand quilting workshop on today so I was able to go and try my hand at it. Here are the results...


The wonderful teacher, Robyn, said I did pretty well for my first time and I was very happy with how it turned out. I did have difficulty getting the required 'rocking motion' but Robyn assures me this will come with practice.

I was also able to sneak in a little stitching on one of my table runner tops on one or two evenings last week and finished appliqueing the stars on while waiting at the doctor's this arvo. Now I just need some star trails and it will be ready to quilt. Here is a sneak peak...

Looking forward to my workshop in a couple of weeks so I can learn basic machine quilting and finish some of these items off.

Now, where did my gold thread go?...

Happy stitching,