Friday, 24 February 2017

February 2017

Our meeting this month was held in Wendy's home. Five of us gathered around her dining table, to show, tell, gossip, plan, and of course stitch.

These pink flannel flowers have been worked by Annette onto black merino/cashmere fabric using tapestry wool and butterfly gold thread. The design is by Tess Macgraw from the Macgraw label. The embroidery was worked onto a cape that was part of their collection for the International Woolmark competition recently held in Paris. Tess and Beth Macgraw, from the Macgraw Label, represented Australia and New Zealand in the international competition, having won an earlier competition for their region.

The above photos shows the back and front view of the finished cape. Annette felt privileged to embroider for such talented and hard working designers, and felt unbelievable that she had embroidered something that was worn on the catwalk during Paris Fashion Week.

Robyn had been continuing to work on her sugar skull. It has now been appliqued onto a pair of jeans which will then be made into a skirt.

Jenny had finished this Bedfordshire bookmark. A form of bobbin lace, the pattern is one by Olwyn Scott and Robyn Hueppauff, which appeared in Australian Lace, Summer 2005. The bookmark has been worked in two threads by accident, one linen and one cotton.

These little trinket bags have been made by Gerri. They are hession bags that have been embroidered with free style stitches, then lined, and closed with a press stud. They have been made to be sold at the Spring Garden Fair (CWA) , 7th October 2017 in Armidale.

Annette's almost finished "Hidden Treasures" . The piece has been trapunto quilted trapping bits and pieces from Annette's sewing bits box. The pieces have been trapped between a wool blanket and an old napkin. The piece was brought to group to get ideas on the best way to finish or frame.  

Jenny had been continuing on with her "A Year In Stitches" project, playing with blending threads to get interesting colours.

Jenny had also finished knitting a new jumper for a male member of her family. Made in an 8ply Wool/Alpaca mix from Bendigo Woollen Mills. The pattern is Sirdar 9248 purchased from Patternfish.

Robyn had knitted herself a pair of calf high socks ready for the cooler weather to come.

This 'Wrap with love" blanket is another finish by Gerri. Knitted squares of acrylic yarn that had been over stitched together to join into the blanket.

Jenny brought along her handkerchief collection following a discussion with Wendy ( our Guild's president) at another meeting earlier in the week. Jenny had not thought of her handkerchiefs as a "collection", and hadn't realised she had so many until they were all together. Some of them were made by Jenny , some by her Mother, and some had been gifts over the years. Many have hand made lace edges, and all are used every day.

Wendy's pin cushion had been purchased at the Wagga Wagga exhibition back in 2013. It has been made from sections of recycled doilies.

Meet Lily, who was purchased by Wendy for a Christmas decoration in Germany. There is a children's story of "Lily The Mouse"

This little gnome is also Wendy's. He is made of felt, has a knitted cap and sleeves with wooden beads for hands and nose.

Our Guild headquarters is still undergoing renovations but the end is in sight. We will be moving back to our new meeting space in just a few months. In the meantime, we all hope that you continue to follow our stitching journey as we still meet in remote locations. I wonder where we will be next month and what goodies we will all produce. Please come back for another visit to find out.

Monday, 30 January 2017

January 2017

Welcome to a new year of Stitchers Plus. For the moment we are still meeting externally from Guild HQ while the building undergoes major renovations. We hope to return to this new and improved meeting space sometime this year.

We usually only meet casually in January anyway as our normal meeting space is full of Summer School participants. Our January meeting is typically a look at what's on exhibition at Guild HQ, checking out what's happening at Summer school, a chat with old friends who are participating in Summer school, then out for lunch somewhere.

This year we met at The Art Gallery of NSW. Only three of us attended, meeting in the park opposite the Gallery, then proceeding to the coffee shop inside the Gallery for morning tea.

Jenny began show and tell with a new piece she had begun as part of 'A Year In Stitches'. 2017 was going to be the year of finishing UFO's  for Jenny, however it doesn't take much inspiration for her to start something new.

 The challenge had come from two of her internet friends to participate. This piece was begun on January 1st, by first searching for some suitable fabric. A piece of Danish Linen was quickly spied in her stash, complete with some Waterlilies silk thread. Other complimentary threads were soon found in her stash to add to the mix. They included both DMC Perle threads and DMC stranded threads.

Jenny had always wanted to try coloured needle weaving, so a border of three colours was first, followed by re-enforced corners and ends  another border found in an old leaflet of Lagartera Embroidery from the 1970's, then a black-work pattern worked in blended threads. It will be interesting to watch this piece evolve.

Sheila had attended an Embroiderers' Guild summer school course with Carolyn Sullivan called 'Ideas Development in Collage'.  Carolyn taught a number of different techniques for creating collages.  The class began the first day by working through a number of exercises using drawn grids and progressed to collaged grids, and expanding ideas from either personal drawings or created collages.  Painted papers were combined and added with highlights, then worked from the back to create serendipity collages.  On the second day,  black and white papers were combined with added colour and  oil pastels, and washed with water based mediums.   Selected areas were then found using a moving window shape.  Finally, students were let go to create a number of collages based on a theme.

As an interlude, Carolyn presented an overwhelming number of samples and journals and discussed her methods of working.  There was a brief discussion on adding embroidery to the paper based works and using the collages as inspiration for a textile work.  Carolyn was generous in sharing her works and ideas with her students.  It was a truly inspirational class.

Carolyn's work can be found at:

During the break, Jenny had been knitting. This is the front of  the new jumper she is making for her Hubby. Knitted in 'Savanna - Harbour Blue', a 70% wool, 30% alpaca yarn  from Bendigo Woolen Mills. The pattern is Sirdar 9248 purchased from Patternfish. The back, front, and one sleeve have already been completed. It will be finished shortly, ready for our Australian winter in a few months time.

Annette, although not being able to join us on the day, had been busy stitching. 

This canvas work robin was worked by Annette. Inspired by a Christmas card 'Robyn' by Richard Spare 2005, a hand coloured dry point print. Worked on 14 count canvas with tapestry wools using a variety of canvas stitches. The background has been worked in pattern darning.

This little monkey is Annette's attempt to crochet after a break of 40+ years. A soft toy worked in double crochet using 4 ply cottons and wools. He is stuffed with fiber fil and stand approx 30cm tall.

As you can all see, although we may be spread far and wide, have transport issues, personal issues, and for the moment a varied meeting place, we can all still create with fiber, fabric, thread, yarn, paper, paint, or whatever else may take our fancy. So come visit us again in February to see what we will get up to next.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

November 2016

Our November meeting was held at Gerri’s home in the beautiful seaside village of Catalina, on the southern coast of NSW.  Five members travelled to Gerri’s for a full weekend of stitching, eating and enjoying the area in and around Batemans Bay.

As usual, our meeting began with show and tell.  Wendy and Ron returned from a European adventure which included a 14 day cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam.  They were able to visit galleries, gardens, cathedrals and castles in small medieval towns and large Baroque cities.  There were factories (Faber Castell), markets, restaurants, wineries and coffee shops taken in.  The trip was a glorious ‘Golden October’ of magnificent colours and textures.  We wait for the stitching inspired by this visit.

Gerri had completed these Oma and Opa blankets.

Annette completed a kit in the form of a counted cross stitch scissors keep.  She purchased the kit at Portsmouth when she and Dennis visited the museum.  The ‘Mary Rose’ was still under restoration at the time.  The scissors keep is now a lovely trip memory.

Annette also showed a partly worked piece inspired by an article in ‘Quilting Arts’ magazine in 2012.  An old linen serviette has been hand dyed and junk from a ‘what to do with this stuff’ box in Annette’s sewing room have been used.  The objects are back-stitched around with hand dyed thread.  The piece is backed with a piece of old wool blanket.

Susan continues to work on her ‘Memory Quilt’.  Compare the current photo with the last update in September.

Robyn’s sugar skull is ready to be attached to a denim skirt.  Then she will finish the remaining stitching through the denim to fully integrate the design into the skirt.

Robyn also showed her canvas work in progress in which she is using any stitch and any thread.

Sheila and Brian have been visiting family in Melbourne and attending exhibitions while there and during the journey.  The foremost exhibition was the ‘Making the Australian Quilt’ at the National Gallery of Victoria.  Sheila purchased 2 post cards of quilts that have awed or inspired her.

Sheila was also lucky enough to see a retrospective of the work of Annemieke Mein.  Sheila especially enjoyed viewing the sampling pieces that were on display giving a sense of the amount of preparation work required before a work is started.  The large size of the works was another eye-opener.

On the return journey, Sheila went to the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize at the National Archives in Canberra.  The exhibition always provides so much inspiration that could push embroidery outside the box.

Then, a big thank you to Katrina, Gerri’s daughter, who provided a scrumptious lunch.  We ate it without taking any photos!

The highlight of our day was the official opening of Gerri’s studio.  Gerri’s home and studio reflect her Dutch heritage.  We were greeted with a sign and printed ribbon with Gerri’s motto.

The studio was officially opened by the president of The Embroiderers’ Guild NSW Inc, Wendy.  Gerri’s family and cousin from the Netherlands joined in the celebrations.

Gerri presented all of us in attendance with a lovely gift.

Gerri booked a local restaurant for dinner that night with family and partners.  An enjoyable evening and excellent day ended fittingly with fireworks.   We think Gerri organised the fireworks but there was rumour that the bridge over the Clyde River was 60 years.

Although unable to attend the weekend due to other family commitments, Jenny had still mananged to complete her jumper that she began back in August. 

Jenny has also started another jumper, this time for her partner. This one is also knitted in the same "Savanah" yarn from Bendigo Woollen Mills, just in a different colour. The pattern is a Sirdar one, purchased on-line through Patternfish.

2016 has ended with fireworks for our group.  The lack of a fixed meeting place has pushed us out of our usual territory and hopefully pushed us out of our comfort spot with respect to creative embroidery.

We are already anticipating new endeavours in 2017.  Like all members of the Embroiderers’ Guild, we are looking forward to the completion of the renovation of headquarters perhaps in July.