Monday, August 29, 2016

Of Birds and Stitching.

The wee bird feeder we bought has worked so well that we are getting loads of tiny birds settle on feed. These are tiny little wax eyes and yellow hammers . At times there  are up to 5 on the little purple rod. The rod comes from

 I decided it was time to make more seed cakes. I made some following some online advice using fat and wild bird seeds.  I melted the fat and then added seeds to the mix to harden. I find adding the little seed cakes into mesh bags - like onions and oranges come in - help prevent wastage. It does not seem to bother the birds who eat though the mesh. I think setting them in little silicon baking cups would make it easier to pop put making the cling film not necessary.

My stitching lessons on Jude Hill's site continue and yesterday I basted the two thin fabrics together using the invisable basting technique she shows on her site. This joins the two background fabrics together using little puckered stitches.

I then followed one of her 3 examples of how to do a background - using weaving of fabric strips together and stitching down. This was new to me and I found it created an interesting very tactile background. I especially love the frayed edges. I tried to pick old recycled fabrics in softer tones so as to not dominate any applique I added to the top.

 I am hand quilting the woven fabric down after pinning it. I am using lots of tiny quilting stitches down with DMC floss. With each layer the fabric thickens and feel different under my hands and yet is soft and beautiful. The strips have come from old pillow cases , some faded floral fabric and Greg's old flannel shirt. I love the softness of the old flannel under my fingers. It is comforting somehow.

I like how it is evolving and how much I am learning. I have to reign in my desire to rush ahead and do more without savouring the process. It is in the process that my spirit finds the calm and healing it seeks.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Starting my Spirit Cloth 101 workshop

I have been reading and watching the videos / audios  ( ) and have been gathering my supplies so that I am ready to start my sewing. It is important to me to use what I have and to use things that have meaning. I want the process to be thoughtful and intentional.

So I have used a small basket given to me by my mother from Malaysia . It was from a trip she did many years ago and bought from a street market. It is a simple heart shape with some  Raffia flowers.  It is hand made and I have always loved the baskets piled with needlework that I remember everyone used to have. No posh , compartments or styles. Just simple and handmade.  I have used this to place my sewing tools and supplies as suggested by Jude Hill on her blog ( Spirit Cloth ) . It is old and comforting and reminds me of happy times.

My threads are very much in a nest . A Collection of DMC embroidery threads saved from other projects. I find it interesting to note that Jude Hill also describes her thread nest. It is somewhat exciting to pull colours from this nest and see if it is long enough to be used. I would have loved to keep my thread nest in a lovely wooden bowl hand turned by our friend Joy Cowley . However a nest of threads may be too much temptation for my cats. So instead I have opted for a red woven basket box that once held candy from my partner's mother. A welcomed gift on a visit. The candy lasted only briefly - the box endures to remember the gift. I wonder if I am like other women. I can't resist old tiny tins , baskets and boxes. Maybe its a Squirrel like instinct. Maybe is simply hoarding!

I have a wee container of pins stashed in a little Mary Englebright  box . It was a gift from a online friend. I really love it. A little hand turned needle case made from New Zealand Kauri. and a scissors which must be now over 20 years old. The black handle now scratched  to silver.  I had to add my two pin cushions. One a little owl made and stitched by me  while  the other a lovely patchwork one made by my friend Georgina. A lovely lady who makes the most wonderful cloth dolls. We used to do a little sewing day once  a week and a wonderful charity shop excursion from time to time. It was friendship forged from living so remotely in the country.  The pin cushion was a parting gift when we moved.

I also have a tiny notebook - one I remember so well from childhood for its 555  logo on the front. I don't even know if they are made anymore. I will use this for ideas and thoughts as it fits nicely into my basket. Last of all is - a flat hard board to use as a hard surface for stitching . This was a treasure found dumpster diving after a friend moved. Crafters and Artists we are a shameless lot.

The fabric I am using to stitch on is one of Greg's old shirts - its thin and soft and well used. the backing fabric is from an old pillow case my mother embroidered on as a Christmas gift. I saved the embroidery and torn apart the soft cotton fabric. It has a discolouring that comes with age and I love it.

In one of her videos /audios Jude Hill talks about the idea of coming up with a theme or meaning to the work. A purpose . An idea. I have given this some thought and scribbled some ideas. It does control my tendency to just jump into a project thoughtlessly and then lose interest. . I want to make something useful for my stitching- maybe a pouch or needle case . Not too big but something easily carried in a basket or my handbag. I thought of the theme of flowers or cats could do nicely - but was unable to decide between the two. So the idea of flower cats came up. Cats with flower faces or petals and stems . It amused me and opened a whole lot of ideas to think about. Maybe this is the point of making a deliberate plan.

My first task is to  to baste the two fabrics together using an invisable basting stitch. Jude demonstrates this in her video. It is interesting to note she describes the way the fabric then feels different after stitching the two parts together. I like this deliberate tactile observation.

So I am off to baste the fabrics and plan for the next section.I am eager to start sewing.

If you want to follow the class . it can be found on