Disclaimer: From time to time we may mention and/or include links to the websites of particular designers or shops. This would only be done where we think the additional information would be helpful to readers. Neither the Guild nor any author of Blog posts derives any financial benefit from these references/links.

The Blog is Back! April 2020

Due to time and volunteer pressures, our Blog has been idle for quite a while. However, while in the current circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 virus we are unable to all meet in person, we have decided to share some of our members’ recent work here.

Royal UFO

At the moment there’s an exhibition celebrating the Queen’s Coronation showing in the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace. It’s been curated by the Royal Collection Trust and includes dresses, robes and uniforms. Here’s a link

So it’s just the right moment to share a delightful story with you about a UFO (unfinished object) celebrating the Queen’s Coronation.

In 1952 one of our Guild members, Annette H, was a young teenager and her great aunt who was also her godmother gave her a tray cloth to embroider. Not just any tray cloth but one to celebrate the Queen’s Coronation the next year.

Annette remembers that her great aunt was part of a large, lively family and that all of them were talented artists, artisans and stitchers. She was also very much a royalist and decorated the family home’s front windows with a flower display in red, white and blue for the Queen’s visit to Katoomba (part of the Queen’s first visit to Australia in 1954).

To encourage her Annette’s mother crocheted the edging around the tray cloth before she started the embroidery.

The tray cloth was started but became a UFO not long afterwards.

Then last year the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations were in the news and Annette remembered her UFO………and that’s how it came to be finished 60 years after she started it!……….and here’s what it looks like finished:

Coronation Tray Cloth by Annette Horvath

What’s even more amazing is that she used the same needle she was given in 1952 to finish the embroidery in 2012.

Needle detail of Coronation tray cloth by Annette Horvath

Annette thinks the tray cloth was a Semco design but can’t be absolutely sure as all the labels have been lost. Here’s a detail:

Detail of Coronation tray cloth by Annette Horvath

What makes this story so memorable is how a love of stitching and craft is shared across generations in a family through a very special textile.

It’s a reminder of how important and precious textiles are in adding richness and depth to memories and family history.

What do you think? Do you have a treasured textile in your family?

Looking over Shoulders 2

Well I’ve been at it again – this time looking over the shoulders of the Monday morning group.

Are you comfy? Because this is a bit of an epic post and it’s still only a tiny glimpse of what goes on in the morning group which is large, enthusiastic and incredibly productive.

All this stitching is done over lots of laughter and chatting with the occasional pause for concentration over a tricky stitch or complicated bit of a design.

If you’d like a closer look at any of the work just click on the image to enlarge it.

Fran’s Stumpwork and Goldwork

In the previous post on Looking over Shoulders you saw the meticulous work Fran was doing to prepare the elements of an Alison Cole design called A Siennese Treasure. Elizabeth Braun of the sew-in-love blog commented and expressed an interest in seeing how this work progressed.

So here’s where Fran’s got to now:

Fran Novitski detail of A Siennese Treasure

and a closer view….

Fran Novitski Close up A Siennese Treasure

What do you think? Isn’t this exquisite?

and yes Fran goes to both the morning and evening group sessions because she’s our President.


We have the most amazing group of people who do awesome hardanger. They’re enthusiastic, active and happy to share their skills and knowledge with everyone including people like me who are complete newbies to this technique.

Here’s some of their work:

Evelyn B had just begun her piece and you can see the geometry of the counted work emerging:

Hardanger in hoop Evelyn Bardara from Queanbeyan

Avis had combined her favourite hardanger designs to create a piece that skilfully balances elegance and precision. Here are some elements of her design:

Hardanger X by Avis Gesling

Hardanger diamond by Avis Gesling

Hardanger edge by Avis Gesling

Doreen McG was working on this piece with a lovely repeat pattern of a flower motif:

Hardanger in hoop by Doreen McG

Hardanger lacy detail by Doreen McG

She makes it look so easy….

while Meryl F was almost finished this beauty:

Hardanger rectangle in progress by Meryl Fellows


And if all that eye candy isn’t enough for you here’s a sample of the other stitching going on……


Sandra M was working on this delicate piece of Schwalm in a lovely soft palette of colours:

Schwalm work in progress Sandra Minns


Val W was adding a real pop of colour as she knitted this jacket in angora wool:

blue knitting Val Woodward

Hatice who’s visiting from Turkey was also knitting – a very pretty cardigan for a lucky little girl:

Pink childs  cardigan with grub roses by Hatice Canturk

Now and then she’d also pick up this cross stitch and make some more progress:

Geese x-stitch by Hatice


Cross Stitch

Talking of cross stitch Barbara B was working on this very striking flower pattern called Bloomtime:

Red flower x-stitch in progress Barbara Bailey

While Faye had finished this trio of birds (Goldcrests I think) designed by Valerie Pfeiffer. Her trick of adding beads for eyes really brought these little birds to life.

Three Goldcrests finished x-stitch by Faye Guy

And Helen N transformed this small bunch of flowers into a neat biscornu:

xstitch squares by Helen Nastopoulus

Flower biscornu stitched by Helen Nastopoulis



Hazel was almost finished this wonderful Celtic Knot design in Assisi work. It’s a kit from Mary Hickmott’s New Stitches magazine.

Assisi work in progress by Hazel Frances


Vintage Embroidery

Floriana had been rummaging in her stash and found this cool vintage embroidery of a gondola. While she liked the retro look of the design she decided to add a modern touch with the fresh colours.

Vintage Gondola in progress Floriana Basilisco

Diana was also taking a vintage pattern from a 1973 Coates publication called Mix and Match in Embroidery and giving it a contemporary look with her choice of colours:

Vintage cockerel stitchery by Diana Churchill


Jenny H was also using colours with a real pop in her stitchery:

small embroidery with DMC threads Jenny Hutchinson

while Louise W had begun a delicate traditional embroidery bought on one of her trips to Germany:

German Surface stitching in progress Louise Willey



Anne D was shading this Roseworks bloom in subtle tones of red and pink:

Reddy pink crewel flower by Anne Dowling beside her Barbara A was stitching away at this design in shades of blue:

Blue and pink crewel in progress Barbara Adams


Creative use of fabrics

and on the other side of her Irene B was cleverly creating these teddy bear ornaments from a fabric pattern:

Irene Burton 4 teddy bears

not far away on another table Dorothy R was sewing ric rac on this pretty butterfly block:

Butterfly block Rhonda

and Lynne B was working away at these hexies for a bed cover:

Hexies by Lyn Baldwin



Meanwhile Lesley E had just finished one of her cute babywear sets of bib and vest embroidered with bees and eucalypt flowers. Watching her creating bullion bees, animals and flowers is like watching magic!

Baby bib and singlet Lesley Edwards

Bye for now!

Italia Invita 2: Competition winners

Before starting this new topic I’d like to go back to the previous Italia Invita post on the Japanese quilt artist Noriko Endo and confetti naturescapes.

Carolyn Foley of the Caro-rose blog commented that Noriko Endo and an Australian quilter, Ruth Bloomfield, began working on confetti quilts at around the same time and independently of each other. She includes a link to a behind the scenes look at Ruth Bloomfield’s work in her comment – go to the comments section of the previous post and check it out if you’re interested in a different approach to this technique.

Now for the competitions at Italia Invita…

Cerchio Internazionale/International Circle Competition

This was a national needlework competition for embroidery, lace or weaving. The requirements were that participants interpret their idea of internationalism in a circle of textile material or woven fibres of different kinds. The work had to be original and not previously exhibited.

There was a very interesting range of entries.  Each work was about the size of a dinner plate.

First prize went to this work called L’albero/The Tree by the group Atelier Merletto di Orvieto.


Circle with tree in Orvieto lace from italia Invita 2013

Orvieto is a small city in Umbria in central Italy and has one of the most dramatic locations in Italy – it sits on top of vertical cliffs that rise up over the surrounding plain. Because its setting made Orvieto a fortress it has rich layers of history – Etruscan, Roman, Medieval and Renaissance. It’s also part of the very rich needlework history of Umbria.

Merletto is an Italian word for lace. Orvieto lace is a type of crochet lace with strong bas relief (raised) elements in the designs – in this case the tree motif.

The traditional bas relief motifs for this type of lace are based on those on the facade of Orvieto cathedral and include leaves, acanthus, vines, flowers, animals and figures. The bas relief effect is achieved by shaping the motifs with special irons. This must be a risky and difficult process for a beginner!

This competition piece was exquisite. The jury notes comment that it takes traditional needlework and interprets it in a contemporary way relevant to the theme of the competition. They also liked the  refined three dimensional presentation of the tree motif.

The Atelier Merletto di Orvieto had a booth at Italia Invita with beautiful work on display as well as information on their classes. Unfortunately they also had a sign up asking people not to take photos so I can’t show you any other examples of their lace.

Second Prize went to a very different kind of work:


Green circle with smaller circles from Italia Invita 2013

This piece was called ‘Ma che strano questo mondo..’/But how strange is this world… and was by Emanuela Micucci. The jury commended it for the originality of its design and colour composition and the fact that it was a fusion of different techniques.

Third prize also went to a contemporary piece called ‘il sole luminoso, vitale e internazionale’/ the sun – bright, vital and international by Maria Grazia Giacomini.

Orange contemporary lace circle from Italia Invita 2013

The jury highlighted the range of natural and metallic fibres  and weaving techniques used to create a very original work.

There were a couple of other entries in more traditional Italian styles that also caught my eye:

Lace circle with heart from Italia Invita 2013

Colourful embroidery circle from Italia Invita 2013

Thick geometric lace circle on net Italia Invita 2013

Art Quilt Competition

The theme for this national quilt competition was La Quadratura del Cerchio/ Squaring the Circle and here’s the winner of the art quilt section.


Art Quilt of globe from Italia Invita 2013

Free Pattern for heart scissors keep

If  you’re looking for a small project to do over the weekend then head over to Anna Scott’s blog and her post of 3 September. She’s gifting readers a small hearts and flowers design for a scissor keep, Christmas ornament or whatever takes your fancy!

Have a great weekend!

Weekend Wonderfuls 2

On Sunday afternoon the Young Stitchers got together for their monthly stitching session. There was lots of energy, chatter and stitching going on around the tables.

We have two Georgina Hs who very competently ploughed ahead with their projects…

Georgina H1 managed to finish her elephant which was awesome.

GeorginaH 1 elephant in hoop close up


Georgina H1 Elephant in hoop

The elephant was designed by Jillian Bath a member of the Guild.

Georgina H2 worked very expertly at making a dresden star for a school project and used her huckabuck pincushion for storing her needles and pins as she went along.

Georgina H2 Dresden Star

Georgina H2 Huckabuck pincushion

After learning some of the basics of this Swedish Weaving technique the Young Stitchers are encouraged to use the traditional stitches to create their own designs.

James stitched away at his birds and here they are finished. High 5 James!

James Birds on line

The birds are from the book A Rainbow of Stitches by Agnes Delage-Calvet.

Claire had her mouse and heart along with her mat for everyone to see – soooo cute.

Claire mouse and heart

Claire square

The mouse design was adapted and simplified from a pattern in Australian Embroidery and Cross-stitch while the mat comes from Embroidery: A Beginner’s Workshop by Jock Levinson 1992

Claire and Tovah also used the lightbox to prepare some new projects.

Young stitchers using lightbox

Tovah worked hard to finish a school project of a corset for her doll and then showed us the super softies she’d made at the Guild classes (Chihuahuas) and at home (furry key ring & pincushion).

Tovah doll corset

Tovah doll with corset

Tovah softies on A4 sheet

The design for the Chihuahuas comes from the book Felties by Nelly Pailloux

Koki stitched  away really neatly at her chicken scratch heart while her pretty pincushion was being made up.

Koki heart chicken scratch in hoop

Koki huckabuck pincushion

Yasmine’s design and colours for her huckabuck pincushion worked really well and the pincushion looked great when it was sewn up.

Yasmine huckabuck not made up

Yasmine Huckabuck pincushion made up

Emily worked away on her chicken scratch heart while we peeked at her huckabuck needlebook and very cute fox feltie.

Emily Huckabuck needlebook

Emily fox feltie

The foxy feltie comes from the magazine Molly Makes.

Kimberley stitched her new rabbit project while we photographed her pincushion and mat – not to mention the awesome yellow cushion waiting to go into her rainbow bag.

Kimberley square and Huckabuck pincushion

Kimberley yellow pillow and rainbow bag

Melanie sewed on the star beads for her very pretty purple heart while we had a close look at the felties she’s made at the Guild which are cute as……..

Melanie purple heart with beads


Melanie felties

The babushka and panda come from the Felties book by Nelly Pailloux.

Guild Exhibition and Young Stitchers

You’ll be able to see the work of the Young Stitchers at the Guild’s Exhibition at the Albert Hall from 27-29 September.


Weekend Wonderfuls 1


The Creative Group meets on the first Saturday of every month from 10.00 – 2.30 p.m. to play with fibre. For the last couple of months they’ve been experimenting with paper – mainly making cards and book binding.

Here are some of the results:


Dorothy Rudling bird card

This bird card was made by Dorothy R who was busy splashing paint, stamping, stitching and generally manipulating paper.

Pat Bootland card green pouch and sishas

I couldn’t resist taking a photo of Pat B’s card with this pouch of crocheted sishas. They add a real pop of colour.

Dimity family hstory card

Dimity was experimenting with making a card that included a photo of her mum – her work really sparked some ideas for presenting family history photos in a fresh and relevant way.


Doreen Grey purple flowers notebook

Last Saturday everyone tried their hand at bookbinding. Doreen G brought in some books she’d made for inspiration – look at this beauty.

Pat Bootland Heart notebook

Pat B used handmade hearts paper for her book.

Glendas book with green leaf

At one point Glenda was about to give up on the whole process but kept at it…..and look what she produced! The leaf detail is really cool.

Fran Novitski Monet notebook

Meanwhile Fran upcycled a flier from a newspaper into an arty notebook.

Next Meeting

The next get together of the Creative Group will be on 5 October and the business will be entrapment. This is putting found objects between layers of fabric. The possibilities will only be limited by your imagination.

Come and join in the fun!

Italia Invita: Noriko Endo, Quilt Artist

The 6th International Italia Invita Forum of Textile Creativity was held in Parma, Italy from 10-12 May. I was lucky enough to be there for the whole three days. This is the first in a series of posts on what I saw there.

At one level Italia Invita is a Quilt and Craft Fair with suppliers from Italy, France, Spain and Germany. What makes it so much more than this is the fact many regional associations, specialist museums and Italian needlework schools have booths showcasing their traditional needlework and collections.

There were also two competitions with entries from Italy and some featured artists and displays. It covered two pavilions and was sensory overload and just wonderful.

Noriko Endo, a Japanese quilter, was a featured artist at Italia Invita. There were four of her works on display in an alcove in the first pavilion.

This display was not curated and so the only information available were the names of her quilts. In the end this turned out to be a positive as it meant I could look at her work in an unfettered way – without preconceptions about her technique, history or context in the quilting world.

…. and this is the first thing you saw as you walked through the turnstiles:

Cherry blossom quilt by Noriko Endo

her quilt, Cherry Blossoms #3.

This quilt has a luminous quality which drew a continuous stream of people to it. It captures the intensity and exuberance of Spring but there’s also delicacy, restraint and stillness. Here’s a closer look:

Close up cherry blossom 3 quilt Noriko Endo

The sakura or cherry blossom has a depth created by a layering of the flowers. There were also areas of colour in the surrounding space that suggested blunt brush strokes.

Here’s another of the quilts on display Sylvan Ambience

Sylvan Ambience quilt

All four quilts were very thin. Looking at them closely (there were no rope barriers) suggested a painted surface which had then been densely covered in free motion quilting for texture. Machine embroidery usually in metallic threads was added to highlight features such as the tree trunks in the following details of birds in the quilt Guest Appearance

Bird detail Noriko Endo quilt


Two birds detail Noriko Endo quilt

The painterly quality of the quilts turned out to be an illusion. When I came back to Canberra I did some research and discovered that Noriko Endo invented a quilting technique called Confetti Naturescapes.  As the name suggests she creates the picture by cutting fabric into small pieces (some as small as matchsticks) or shapes (the cherry blossom flowers) and then laying these out in the elements of the image. These are overlaid with tulle and quilted. Several layers are built up to create the colour and complexity of the scenes in her quilts.

The fourth quilt in the Italia Invita show was a tour de force called Peony:

Peony quilt by Noriko Endo

It had the added graphic element of the tree trunk and peonies in the foreground against the rich background of the raked stone garden and forest. The effect created was almost three dimensional. Peonies brought back memories of Kyoto and early morning visits to the stone garden of Ryoan-ji.

If you want to see more of her quilts Noriko Endo has a website with an extensive gallery.

She’s also published a book

Noriko Endo book

which thanks to Jan H will soon be in the Guild’s library.

And while we’re on the subject of things Italian…..

Jeanine of the Italian Needlework blog has recently written about Valentina Sardu and her blackwork  designs. If you’ve been looking for a fresh take on blackwork then it’s worth checking out Jeanine’s post and her link to Valentina’s on line shop.


Looking over Shoulders

One of the best things about writing the blog is that I get to look over everyone’s shoulders to see their work in progress.

Here’s a sampler of the work in progress in the evening group over the last 3 weeks:

Sam iphone case

Sam was working on an iPhone case from a kit by Make It


Tam was using an incredibly fine hook to work this crochet blanket

Tam needlecase

I wondered if I could sneak away with her needlebook when she wasn’t looking…

Heather stitch on paper

Heather was just beginning one her stunning stitched works on paper. You can see the vibrant blue tones she’s painted the paper and the start of the stitching.

Frans Stumpwork in progress

Fran was meticulously creating stumpwork elements for a project called A Siennese Treasure. This is from a class by Alison Cole at the South Australian Guild’s Summer School

PrueParterre Canvas work

Prue was working on her own canvas work design called A Kitchen Garden. Her parterre design and the summery but soft colours give it the relaxing quality of a real garden. You’ll be able to see the finished work at the Guild’s Spring Exhibition at the Albert hall from 27-29 September.

Detail of Elvis Panda blanket

Elvi was nearly finished the cutest panda baby blanket for a very special new addition to her family. It’s a kit from Windflower with easy stitching and applique. You’ll also be able to see this in the Spring Exhibition

Detail Tasmania Anne Ecclestone 1950s Semco tablecloth

Anne E is a magnet for vintage embroidery as she’s passionate about saving these pieces and giving them a new lease of life. This piece is a 1950s Semco map of Australia – here’s the detail of Tasmania

Rosie Diane Lampe in progress

Rosie was finishing a piece her Mum started – it’s a cottage garden design from Diana Lampe’s book Embroidered Garden Flowers published in 1991.

Pat Bootland beading in process

Pat B was beading away on one of her own designs and making us all laugh with her stories about the latest crazy adventures of her dogs.



Portuguese Embroidery

Portuguese Whitework

Last weekend a dozen or so of us joined Yvette Stanton at Gorman House for a workshop on Portuguese Whitework.

Yvette provided the kit which included her book Portuguese Whitework……and of course we all lined up to have our books signed.

Yvette Stanton signing books

This style of embroidery is intricate and Yvette deftly steered us to the right way to draw threads, introduce new threads and do the bullions that are a feature of Guimaraes embroidery. The buzz over coffee was her very clever tip on how to do eyelets.

Here’s a sample of the work in progress:


Close-up Portuguese whitework hoop

Close up Portuguese Whitework 2

Close-up Portuguese Whitework 3

Thanks Yvette for a great workshop!

If you want to know more about Portuguese Whitework then head over to Yvette’s blog White Threads

Portuguese Redwork

The latest issue of Inspirations magazine (No.79) includes a traditional Guimaraes embroidered bag from Portugal in redwork.  If you’d like to try this other style of Portuguese embroidery – see Inspirations Magazine

This bag is stitched by Meri Almeida of the agulhas da méri blog. She’s incredibly knowledgeable about Portuguese embroidery and very generous in showing readers how to do the various stitches. She writes in English and Portuguese so her blog is easy to read.

Have a great weekend!





Springing into action

Spring has arrived – the days are getting warmer and longer, the light is changing……the signs are all here that the long Canberra winter is coming to an end. Blossom and Spring flowers are everywhere

photo of spring blossom

Spring blossom

Floriade can’t be too far away

photo of tulips at Floriade



So what better time for a new project – our new website and blog. All the work for this website has been done by volunteers. A great example of the spirit and sense of community in the Guild. So a BIG thank you to everyone but most of all to Sharon Boggon.

We couldn’t have built this website without Sharon’s expertise and design flair. Sharon’s Pintangle site is one of the most loved and admired on the Web. So if you haven’t done a TAST (Take a Stitch Tuesday) or enjoyed the eye candy of Sharon’s crazy quilting and sampler then head over here and enjoy!

This is the beginning of our journey with the new website. We’ve only just begun to add the photos to the members gallery. When Sharon comes back in November from her amazing overseas trip we’re planning to add more galleries, features and newsy items.

In the meantime please be patient with us as we find our feet in this very new world of WordPress. There are bound to be some thrills and spills!

Now to other news! On Monday we had the last celebration for the Guild’s 50th birthday – a morning and evening tea. As usual there was the most amazing spread of food. Then our President Fran sprang a really cool surprise – a gift for everyone!

Packet Mogear mohair threads

Pack of Mogear mohair threads


photo of Mogear threads

Mogear threads in delicate jewel colours

It was a pack of mohair threads in delicate jewel colours from Mogear. These threads have a local story as Mogear is based in Yass and owner Jenny Findlay has dyed all the threads herself in 90 shades – all of them lovely. So a BIG thank you to Jenny for an awesome gift and if you want a colour chart or more information then contact Jenny on 61 2 48458257

Bye for now!