Carole’s Cabbage

I must say that thread painting a cabbage had never crossed my mind.  However, Carole had found a wonderful watercolour study of a cabbage by a Melbourne watercolour artist, Fiona McKinnon.  This is a birthday gift for her niece.  We decided to combine thread painting and stumpwork techniques to produce this wonderful piece.  You will find you look at the humble cabbage quite differently now!


The large leaf has been worked on fused silk organza, wired and cut out (including the holes!).  I don’t think the photo shows how raised and fluted the leaf really is!  It is amazing!


 The half cabbage was worked on a fabric slip and partially felt padded and thread painted, then applied with felt padding underneath.  We finished it Friday and it is now at the framers.


Design Your Own Stumpwork

At Koala Conventions in Brisbane I bravely ran a ‘Design Your Own Stumpwork Class’.  I have to admit to some sleepless nights before the convention wondering how I would time the class so that no-one was sitting around waiting.  We had 7 in the class (a perfect number) and had 4 days to stitch and we all had a wonderful time!  What a joy!  I had discussed with each student what they would like to achieve and I am very proud of our progress.

Claire wanted to work a 3-dimensional humming bird feeding on a Calliandra.  We worked the Calliandra in frayed organza ribbon and she also worked the hummingbird body and had started the wings.  Hopefully she will send me a photo to show you when the project is finished.



Miriam wanted to work a Fringe Lily.  I have to say that this added to my sleepless nights but I think we achieved the desired results.  I am sorry that I didn’t photograph the Lily so you could see the scale.  It was close to life size so each petal was about 1.5-2cm long.  The fringe edge was quite challenging to achieve but I can see lots of use for the technique!


Kerryn from ‘All Threads’ worked an auricula.  I have been dying to work auriculas and have killed several trying to find time to stitch them.  We started with scans of the flower petals and work a life size flower and then simplified the design to make them easier and faster the work.



The students were heard to comment on how long this ‘design process’ takes - welcome to my world!!

I will show you some more student work next blog.


Autumn is my favourite season.  As I drove to class on Saturday morning the light through the pinoakes was breath taking and I couldn’t resist a shuffle through the leaves!  Every one of those leaves was asking to be stitched.  I will be teaching oak trees at Koala Conventions in July in Brisbane.  I have just finished a extra little autumn embroidery for a surprise (I will tell you about that later) but thought you might like to see the results:


Autumn is a fleeting season in Australia and can be over in the blink of an eye.  It is important to appreciate every second of it and not let them slip away.  Only a few trees change colour and it is certainly a pale reflection of a northern hemisphere fall.  I was lucky to be in Rhode Island 18 months ago in the middle of fall and if my few pinoakes say stitch me - what inspiration there is  these photos!




I am missing America and all my American friends - did I mention I will be back at ‘Sewing at the Beach’ in Myrtle Beach in January next year!

Buttons of Love

I teach for Shirley Sinclair at a wonderful shop called ‘Bustle and Bows’.  Last November, her son Brett (38), was killed in a tragic accident.  While minding the shop for a few weeks, I had a customer come in for advice on a project for her sister’s 6oth birthday.  She had asked all of her sister’s friends to give her a word which described her sister and a button which represented her.  She came to ask advice on how to put the project together because she couldn’t sew.  She called the project ‘Buttons of Love’.

I thought this was a wonderful idea.  The students who come to the classes and stitching groups at the shop and the regular customers who visit the shop were devastated to hear of Shirley’s loss. I wanted a project that would allow everyone to express their sympathy and love to Shirley and her daughter Rachel.  ‘Buttons of Love’ was the perfect project.

I set up a piece of antique linen and embroidered part of the reading from Brett’s funeral on the outside edge and ‘Buttons of Love’ in the centre and asked everyone to bring in a button to add to the piece.  This was the perfect request to embroiderers who all have a ‘button stash’!  I had no idea how many buttons I would get or what type of buttons or how I would put them together.  I finished the piece today and will take it to the framers next week.  Here is the result:


Many buttons came with stories and little notes to explain their significance.  Brett had loved drawing birds and insects so many depicted this love. I stitched on a needle and threadwinder to represent Shirley and Brett’s father added a little red car (a love they shared).  Many were precious buttons from grandmothers and great grandmothers.  Judy gave ‘Bashful’ - that last dwarf button from her childhood dressing gown.




I think this is a wonderful project that could be used to celebrate significant birthdays, weddings and wedding anniversaries or just as a wonderful way to display a beautiful button collection - rather than having them sitting in a box. I am now thinking of designing a project that could be used for displaying a button collection.  I’m looking for a verse about buttons that I could use around the outside edge.  Does anyone have a suggestion?

Panda for the Zoo

I had hoped to get a panda and a hippo stitched today for the zoo project.  The Tuesday girls have given me a very long list of animals they want for the zoo blanket.  I hope this will keep them happy this week!  I think the panda is very cute but a little perplexed!  I might work on the eyes and mouth a little more.  Then again, maybe pandas do look perplexed!!!


Zoo Animals

I know that I still have to show you the lavender quilt.  Next post!  I have been stitching madly to create some new blankets and have started on the zoo animals.  Here are the first 2 animals - the giraffe is causing me a bit of trouble!  I know that Helen has plans for embroidered zoo gates and lots of animals!  I guess this is a start.  I think the monkey is adorable but I think he needs a tail!


 Success!  I have done the giraffe.  What do you think?


Shaker Box

During my last visit to America I met Keith and Mary at the ‘Waterford Festival’.  Keith makes beautiful shaker boxes and I asked him to make me a box with a lid that I could mount with embroidery.  Here is the result.  I am very pleased and will e-mail him today with the pictures.  I wanted it to look like the toadstools had grown on the lid.  I think I have been sucessful!





Stitching Lavender

Not many more days now until my teaching schedule starts and I am looking forward to seeing everyone again.  One of my projects over the holidays was to put together an embroidered and patchwork quilt for Margaret. She had embroidered her 93 year old sister a beautiful lavender blanket from Heather McCallum’s wonderful patterns and wanted to do one for herself but will smaller wool panels, so I came up with the idea for a quilt using some of Heather’s designs and some of my own.  Now the results are wonderful but I cannot show you until Margaret has see it - Next Tuesday!

It did get me buzzing about lavender and I have been researching all the different types and have come up with the starter block for my own quilt.  I am going to be teaching this a Merimbula at the end of February and I am pleased to say that it is all written up but not yet proofed!  I have drawn up the other blocks but will see how far I get in the next few weeks!  Here is a peek at the Lavender and it has already got me thinking about free standing versions! I also need to work up some bees and butterflies to add.


The Pear Tree

I have been stitching  frantically to get the projects ready for Merimbula.  The pear tree is finished and I have loved stitching it and I am very pleased with the finished results. I will be dashing off to the framers next week so I can have it ready when classes start in February.  However…..I fear it will be too large for many people to attempt so….. I am designing a smaller one without needle lace …. keep watching!  The trunk and the thread painted pear are done……………



Thankyou to the four blog reader who have obviously kept checking in my absence.  It was great to get some messages!


Back Blogging


I went to see the movie ‘Julia and Julie’ and it gave me a push that I have neglected my Blog this year!  I am very sorry but life seems to have overtaken me.  But enough of that!  Sewing Blogs are not for complaints but for fun.  I loved the ‘Julia and Julie’ movie and it strikes me that writing a cooking blog must be so much easier as the results are much faster cooking that sewing!  However, I did like the idea of a bit of a challenge.

I have to have some samples for Mandeni Needlework for classes at the end of February - I must have some lavender samples and a pear tree.  Let’s see  if I can do it!!

I have started the pear tree.  My inspiration was a 350-year old piece I photographed at Williamsburg two years ago. 


I have started my research on making the pears.  The historical piece used little turned wooden pears (I know I can buy wooden apple beads but not pear shapes!) and Jane Nicholas made “Fimo” pears for her design in “Stumpwork Embroidery Designs and Projects” but I thought that I would try felt pears.

I decided to research and develop with a slightly larger sized pear and then to work my way down in size.  I also tried some new hand-dyed thread by Pam at ‘Cottage Garden Threads’ which I loved.  I am also using her thread for the trunk of the tree.  I think the results look great!


Then I go smaller and I am still happy!




The I got to thinking that not everyone wants to needle lace. It makes some students cry!  So maybe a thread painted version is also a good idea?


Next Page »