Textiles in Canberra

After my Stitching Delights in Melbourne blog post, I thought “what about all the stitching delights in and around Canberra?”  Some people know that I spend a bit of time at the Australian War Memorial, where there are numerous examples of textiles and embroidery, such as:

Tapestry @ AWM Based on oil painting by Imants Tillers

Tapestry @ AWM
Based on oil painting by Imants Tillers

 

This tapestry, entitled Avenue of Remembrance, was commissioned by the AWM from the Australian Tapestry Workshop, and completed in 2015.

It is based on an oil painting by Imants Tillers, and took master weavers over 2,380 hours to complete. The poetic landscape is reminiscent of wartime roads on the Western Front, and the many Avenues of Remembrance planted around Australia after the end of the First World War.

Tapestry @ AWM Based on oil painting by Imants Tillers

Tapestry @ AWM
Based on oil painting by Imants Tillers

 

 

 

If you would like to find out more about the making of this beautiful work of art, click here, where you can see the full scale and detail of the work.

 

 

 

 

Have you heard of The Digger’s Dress?  It was made by three double amputees while they were in hospital in London during the First World War, and presented to Mrs Minnie Rattigan, one of the founders of the “ANZAC Buffet”, which provided free meals and entertainment to Australian servicemen.

The Digger's Dress  @ AWM

The Digger’s Dress @ AWM

The tabard features hand embroidery, and the skirt has appliqued unit colour patches. More detail can be found here.

That’s just a very small taste, so here’s a challenge – visit the Australian War Memorial, and look for some of my favourites:  patriotic crocheted milk jug cover; Rising Sun flag hand embroidered by veteran in hospital; woollen army blanket covered with embroidery by WW2 prisoner of war;  and much, much more on display.  Warning: might entail more than one visit!

And while I’m talking about the AWM, and it’s school holidays, there are some Drop-in Craft sessions, where children can enjoy making their own colour patch, bookmark, or poppy to take home.

Women employees of the Australian Glass Manufacturing Company inspecting their knitting, part of their donation to the Woollies for Britain Appeal. 1944 (141750)

Women employees of the Australian Glass Manufacturing Company inspecting their knitting, part of their donation to the Woollies for Britain Appeal. 1944 (141750)

And not bragging or anything, but our own Guild has participated in a number of Projects of National Significance.  Which reminds me, we must add Princess Charlotte’s Blanket to the list.

Enjoy!

Gail

Greenhills 2

Greenhills kangaroos

As promised, here is the second instalment on the fun and creativity at our annual stitching weekend.  The mother kangaroo and her joey were spotted on the lawns while we were outside at afternoon tea.

 

Blackwork by Christine Bailey

Blackwork by Christine Bailey

 Deceptively simple, Christine Bailey says small blackwork samplers are quick and easy to do.

 Susan Douds brought her Blue Wren, designed by Lesley Turpin-Delport, which Susan had started in a workshop at Beating Around the Bush in Adelaide.  In these photos Susan had just finished the ribbon embroidery and had started inserting some real “whispy” feathers.

Blue wren 1 by Susan Douds

Blue wren 1 by Susan Douds

 

Blue wren 2 by Susan Douds

Blue wren 2 by Susan Douds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here is the finished result, a spectacular example of mixed-media, dimensional embroidery.

Blue Wren worked by Susan Douds

Blue Wren worked by Susan Douds

 

Sadly I didn’t manage to get a photo of the real blue wren (also known here as fairy wren) family that was playing in the bushes outside, so here is a picture from the CSIRO.  The girl is the dull brown, and the boy gets the fancy plumage!

blue wrens

Jillian Bath had brought in another Lesley Turpin-Delport design, Nesting Weaver.  If you’d like to find out more about this designer and her designs, click here.

Nesting Weaver 1 by Jillian Bath

Nesting Weaver 1 by Jillian Bath

Nesting Weaver 2 by Jillian Bath

Nesting Weaver 2 by Jillian Bath

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jillian always seems to have a selection of lovely accessories with her whenever I see her.   Just how many do you have, Jillian?  Never mind, don’t confess anything…

Jillian Bath accessories 1Jillian Bath accessories 2

 

 

 

 


 

Smocking by Liz Bell

Smocking by Liz Bell

 

 

Liz Bell had moved on to some smocking

 

 

 

 

 

Robin by Libby Williams

Robin by Libby Williams

 

 

 

And Libby Williams was working on this Nicola Jarvis Studio design, a Morris-inspired crewel work

 

 

 

Towel with roses by Alice Keeley

Towel with roses by Alice Keeley

 

 

Then Alice Keeley was busy working on small towels to become Christmas gifts.  Isn’t it lovely that ready-made rosettes combined with simple stitches create something so effective?

 

 

 

There was also plenty of Hardanger happening around the tables…

Lel Whitbread and Susan Coates were working on a project from Hardanger for the Horrified (great name!) by Jane Greenoff

Hardanger by Lel Whitbread

Hardanger by Lel Whitbread

Hardanger by Susan Coates

Hardanger by Susan Coates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hardanger by Lesley Jenesen

Hardanger by Lesley Jenesen

Hardanger by Tina Korda

Hardanger by Tina Korda

 

And some more Hardanger by Lesley Jenesen, Tina Korda, and Brenda Phillips

 

 

 

 

 

Hardanger cloth by Brenda Phillips

Hardanger cloth by Brenda Phillips

 

Margaret O’Beirne was working on a canvaswork kit Tuscan Midnight by Kathy Rees of Needlelights Originals.

Canvaswork 1 by Margaret OBeirne

Canvaswork by Margaret O”Beirne

Canvaswork by Margaret O"Beirne

Canvaswork by Margaret O”Beirne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kay Reid had brought in a canvaswork begun on her latest cruise.

Canvaswork by Kay Reid

Canvaswork by Kay Reid

There was just so much going on at Greenhills, I think I’ll have to go on to a third blog, but finally for this one, just another taste of Ruth Ellis‘s fabric baskets.

Basket by Ruth Ellis

Basket by Ruth Ellis

Basket by Ruth Ellis

Basket by Ruth Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a great stitching weekend.

Gail

 

 

 

Pat’s Solvy Landscape

Hi everyone

Today we’re going to share a landscape that Pat Bootland stitched on Solvy water soluble backing. This is the so cool embroidery that emerged when she dissolved the Solvy.

Trees in Landscape by Pat Bootland

Detail 1 of Trees in Landscape by Pat Bootland

I love to watch Pat as she works on these dense, free form areas of stitch such as the tree canopy and the undergrowth. It’s random purposefulness!

Here are some close-ups…..

Detail 2 of Trees in Landscape by Pat Bootland

Detail 3 of Trees in Landscape by Pat Bootland

Detail 4 of Trees in Landscape by Pat Bootland

 

Enjoy!

Carmen

Badge of Honour

Hi everyone

Well after the last post which was super long here’s a very quick one.

In this post we’re sharing a wonderful postcard from the 2014 Creative Challenge Stitching Love and Hope to re-interpret WW1 Silk Postcards.

This postcard was stitched by Dorothy Brann and honours her grandfather.

2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Dorothy Brann

The central emblem of the postcard is the cap badge of his regiment – the Sherwood Foresters Regiment (1881-1970)

Detail 1 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Dorothy Brann

The symbolic elements on the badge include the Maltese Cross, an oak wreath and a white hart (large male deer).

Detail 2 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Dorothy Brann

This postcard is deeply personal, evocative and very moving.

Enjoy!

Carmen

Bird Cage

Hi everyone

I’ve just been looking through the awesome program of workshops & classes for the Embroiderers’ Guild of America’s Seminar 2015. It’ll take place from 28 October to 1 November in San Antonio, Texas.

One of the classes that caught my eye was a Bird Cage by Australian designer Gary Clarke. In the class notes it’s described as a needle accessory disguised as a grand Victorian 3D bird cage.

As it’s Australia Day later this month it’s great to be able to feature an Australian designer. We can do this because the super talented Jillian Bath has stitched this piece and her husband Stewart has taken some fantastic photos. There are some great close-ups of the needlework for those of you who love a really good look at the detail.

So here’s the eye candy

Bird Cage stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 1 of Bird Cage stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 2 of Bird Cage stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 3 of Bird cage stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 4 of Bird Cage stitched by Jillian Bath

Deatil 5 of Bird cage stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 6 of Bird Cage stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 7 of bird Cage stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 8 of Bird Cage stitched by Jillian Bath

Exquisite isn’t it? Thank you Jillian & Stewart for sharing the beauty of this design with us.

If you’d like to read more about the EGA’s Seminar 2015 then go to their website here.

Take care

Carmen

Happy New Year!

Hi everyone

Wishing you all a Happy New Year.

As a treat for the start of the New Year here’s an update of the following galleries for you.

Blackwork

Canvaswork

Contemporary Creative Embroidery

Crewel & Surface Stitchery

Cross Stitch

Fibre & Yarn

Hardanger

Samplers

Seasonal

Enjoy!

Carmen

Siennese Illuminated Treasure

Hi everyone

I hope you’re really enjoying the lead up to Christmas.

In this post we’re sharing an inspiring piece that celebrates Goldwork and Stumpwork embroidery. It’s an Alison Cole design called a Siennese Illuminated Treasure and it’s been stitched by Fran Novitski.

Siennese Illuminated Treasure stitched by Fran Novitski

When I studied the photos I could just imagine this gorgeous box being tucked away in the saddlebags of the Three Wise Men on their way to the Nativity. What do you think?

Here’s some wonderful eye candy for you thanks to Stewart Bath’s photographs:

Detail 1 of Siennese Illuminated Treasure stitched by Fran Novitski

Detail 2 of Siennese Illuminated Treasure stitched by Fran Novitski

Detail 3 of Siennese Illuminated Treasure stitched by Fran Novitski

Detail 4 of Siennese Illuminated Treasure stitched by Fran Novitski

Detail 5 of Siennese Illuminated Treasure stitched by Fran Novitski

Detail 6 of Siennese Illuminated Treasure stitched by Fran Novitski

Detail 7 of Siennese Illuminated Treasure stitched by Fran Novitski

Thank you Fran for sharing this exquisite treasure with us and Stewart for the great photos.

Enjoy!

Carmen

Sashiko Sampler Quilt

Hi everyone

This post is specially for those of you who love Sashiko.

I’m sharing a Sashiko Sampler Quilt designed and stitched by Jennifer Zanetti. It’s a large quilt that would easily fit a Queen size bed and is an absolute tour de force. Here it is hanging to give you an idea of the size:

Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

It’s full of detail and in real life the visual effect is that the Sashiko Samplers seem to ‘float’ on the surface of the quilt.

Sashiko

The word Sashiko means little stabs or little stitches.It is a traditional form of Japanese needlework that evolved in the Edo period (1603-1867).  In this period there were sumptuary laws that delineated class lines by defining what people could wear. Only the nobility could wear silk, bright colours and large patterns. Commoners (merchant and peasant classes) could only wear homespun fabrics dyed with indigo.

Cotton was imported and beyond the means of ordinary people. So they spun cloth from hemp, wisteria and paper mulberry. It’s thought that the original fabrics had a loose weave and the warp and the weft provided linear patterns for the running stitch. At this time cloth was a precious commodity because it was time-consuming to produce so it was imperative to find ways to conserve scraps of old clothes and re-purpose them.

So the origins of Sashiko are utilitarian and developed out of necessity. It was used to strengthen cloth, quilt layers together to create warmth and to mend and recycle worn out clothes. The indigo dye was durable and thought to repel insects and snakes.

The Sashiko patterns also had a spiritual significance e.g. where the threads of stitches cross over is called the me which in Japanese means ‘the eye’. These ‘eyes’ protected the wearer and in the museum examples of the garments worn by fishermen and farmers you can see that they are densely stitched with Sashiko patterns and hundreds of ‘eyes’.

If you want to read more about the history of Sashiko there’s an interesting essay here by Michele Walker who has worked with the last generation of women to practise Sashiko in Japan.

You’ll find a really useful set of tips on Sashiko plus a great listing of other resources here.

Sashiko Samplers

Now for a closer look at those  Sashiko Samplers and some awesome eye candy. Here’s a striking combination that deploys the Asa no ha pattern between two fans:

Detail 1 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

and closer

Detail 2 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

This next one is a variant of the Schippo tsunagi pattern

Detail 3 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

While the next block is a more complex variation of the same pattern:

Detail 4 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

and this is for all of you who love to look at the stitching in detail:

Detail 5 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

The last in the indigo series of Sashiko blocks is this Maru-Bisha-Mon:

Detail 11 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

The variation in the blue is due to the light sources in the room. On the quilt block it’s a uniform colour.

The indigo blocks are balanced in the quilt by a series of Sashiko Samplers in white with an added decorative theme. Jennifer has added a stitched bird to all of these white blocks.

We’re starting with  the  Hana-bishi pattern:

Detail 6 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

and then on to the Nowaki pattern:

Detail 7 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

and then the Hana zashi pattern

Detail 9 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

and this pattern which I haven’t been able to identify:

Detail 10 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

The final white block has the Seikai-ha pattern with a quilted panel as contrast:

Detail 12 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer ZanettiThere are also Sashiko quilting elements in the design which create a visual and textural effect:

Detail 14 from Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

Detail 15 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

I really haven’t done this quilt justice as the overall design is incredibly intricate and complex. Jennifer’s choice of fabrics complements and in some cases echoes the Sashiko samplers. The geometry and spatial configuration of the blocks alone deserve a blog post.

But I have picked out one of the many decorative blocks in the quilt to share with you as the end note for this post:

Detail 13 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

Enjoy!

Carmen

Counting Threads

Hi everyone

I hope you’re having a great weekend. In this post I’m going to share two works that use different counted thread techniques.

Blackwork

The first uses Blackwork which is an embroidery technique that dates back to at least the 16th century. It’s also called Spanish Blackwork because it’s thought that it was first brought to England by Catherine of Aragon. It became very popular during the reigns of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I as a decorative element on clothing but gradually lost ground in the 17th century.

If you’ve read The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer you might recall that he describes the clothing of the miller’s wife in this way:

“Of white, too, was the dainty smock she wore, embroidered at the collar all about with coal-black silk, alike within and out.”

The stitches that are characteristic of this geometric technique are Double Running Stitch (also called Holbein Stitch) and Back Stitch. It’s usually stitched on an evenweave fabric.

Flight of a Butterfly

Flight of a Butterfly  is a beautiful Blackwork and Goldwork design stitched by Sharon Burrell. Sharon began this piece as part of a class with Tanja Berlin at the 2013 Koala Conventions. She says that it was the first time she’d done any Blackwork and she absolutely loved the experience because Tanja was such a fantastic teacher. Sharon also found Tanja’s class notes really helpful for finishing the embroidery after the class.

Here’s some awesome eye candy of Sharon’s lovely stitching:

Flight of a Butterfly stitched by Sharon Burrell

Detail 1 of Flight of a Butterfly stitched by Sharon Burrell

Detail 2 of Flight of a Butterfly stitched by Sharon Burrell

Exquisite!

Now to the  second counted thread technique……

Wessex Stitching 

When I first came across this technique I thought it looked a bit medieval and assumed it must be very old. The ‘Wessex’ name also adds to the aura of history because during the Anglo Saxon period it was a centre for embroidery and illuminating.

But no it’s actually a more recent style that was created by Mrs Margaret Foster (1843-1936) who lived in Bath, England. Very little is known about her life but her technique, Wessex Stitching, has endured because after her death her sister donated all her notes and the 300 pieces she developed for an exhibition to Gawthorpe Hall.

Gawthorpe Hall has an awesome collection of lace, embroidery and other textiles. It is absolutely on my bucket list. You can read more here.

Wessex Stitching combines a limited number of stitches in a wide variety of patterns and colours to create a decorative effect. It’s also usually stitched on evenweave fabric.

The Broken Window

We’ve been progressively sharing with you the postcards made for 2014 Creative Challenge  Stitching Love and Hope. The postcard we’re sharing in the post is a wonderful modern re-interpretation of the WW1 Silks.

It was created by Catherine Fetherston and is called  The Broken Window. It was inspired by photos of church ruins in France in WW1. The embroidery technique used is Wessex Stitching.

I find this postcard very moving and profound in its understated elegance. The colours and design Catherine has chosen are very evocative of a stained glass window fragmented and yet still splendid in its beauty.

Here are some photos:

2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Catherine Fetherston

Detail 1 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Catherine Fetherston

Detail 2 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Catherine Fetherston

What do you think?

Enjoy!

Carmen

Some Stitchy Insect Goodness

Hi everyone

Hope you’re having a fun weekend with some time for stitching. Here’s some eye candy for you to enjoy with a cuppa or a glass of your favourite drink.

Pat’s Reverse Applique

In August the Creative Group had a session on reverse appliqué and Pat Bootland had fun creating this piece:

Reverse Applique with Ants by Pat Bootland

Here’s a closer look at the insect embellishments……

Detail 1 of Reverse Applique with Ants by Pat Bootland

Detail 2 of Reverse Applique with Ants by Pat Bootland

Detail 5 of Reverse Applique with Ants by Pat Bootland

Detail 4 of Reverse Applique with Ants by Pat Bootland

Detail 3 of Reverse Applique with Ants by Pat Bootland

Cool aren’t they?

Jennifer’s Elizabethan Panel

Now I’m taking a chance in sharing  this next piece with you.

I’m currently in North Queensland visiting family and I’ve been very lucky to enjoy a wonderful Elizabethan Panel designed and stitched by my sister-in-law Jennifer. It’s done in silk threads on silk and  measures 1.55m by 0.6m so it’s an amazing work. The central design revolves around 14 birds in padded needlelace.

This embroidery is a tour de force and is embellished with an awesome selection of antique beads and gemstones.

I hesitated to show it to you because it’s not yet blocked and stretched and because the photos are taken with my point and shoot camera – so there’s a lot of finessing still to do.

But it’s very doubtful that I’ll ever be able to show you this piece framed and photographed by Stewart Bath as it’s a long way from the Atherton Tableland to Canberra. So I’ve decided to jump in and share some small design elements.

Here’s a small section of the whole:

Section of Elizabethan Panel by Jennifer Zanetti

and here are some stitchy critters and flowers:

Detail 1 of Elizabethan Panel by Jennifer Zanetti

Detail 2 of Elizabethan Panel by Jennifer Zanetti

Detail 5 of Elizabethan Panel by Jennifer Zanetti

Detail 3 of Elizabethan Panel by Jennifer Zanetti

Detail 6 of Elizabethan Panel by Jennifer Zanetti

Detail 7 of Elizabethan Panel by Jennifer Zanetti

Detail 8 of Elizabethan Panel by Jennifer Zanetti

Detail 9 of Elizabethan Panel by Jennifer Zanetti

Detail 10 of Elizabethan Panel by Jennifer Zanetti

Detail 11 from Elizabethan Panel by Jennifer Zanetti

Cross fingers, toes and everything else that we might be able to share the whole piece sometime in the future!

Take care

Carmen