Happy New Year!

A quick post to wish you all a Happy New Year and kick-off the blog in 2016 after the long break.

The second half of 2015 was brim full of family happenings – some wonderful, some very sad and some super challenging. Just life really. Cross fingers as things are starting to settle down and I’m hoping to have some more ‘me’ time.

Do you like owls? I love them and am always really excited and happy when we see one on our walks. For this post I’m sharing two stitched owls. The design is from the book Mollie Makes Embroidery and the designer is Michelle Galletta of Kiriki Press. The autumn colours give the design a strong graphic effect:

Autumn Owl

and here’s the baby version

Baby Owl

This is an easy beginners project as the basic stitches are straightforward – straight, chain, buttonhole, fly & satin stitches. I’m having a hard time deciding whether to finish them as softies or use them as decoration on pouches. What do you think?

Ciao Carmen

Funky Threads

I’m a fan of the Down to Earth blog which is full of warmth, common sense and information about how to live in a more sustainable way.

This is something that really interests us. So when I was going through some clothes and sorting out old socks and track pants that really needed to be thrown out I decided to see if I could recycle them into something useful. The fabrics restricted the options but some funky cloths for wiping down benches etc emerged from the scraps.

Here are the first results:

Recycled Textile 1 by Carmen Zanetti

I drew the design onto the black track pants fabric using a Clover White Marking Pen. This worked well after I realised that you need to wait a few seconds for the fluid to dry and be visible. The design came from this awesome book….

Animal Kingdom book

The socks were a bit more of a challenge but these two pieces emerged from a pair with huge holes around the heel area…

a rather ragged cat from the heels and soles..

Recycled Textile 3 by Carmen Zanetti

and a kantha romp from the top of the socks…

Recycled Textile 2 by Carmen Zanetti

The threads came from this mug full of odds and ends left over from various projects…..

Group of Seven Mug

And it all led to a conversation around the family table about whether it’s worth all the stitching time to create this recycling. The answer for me is ‘yes’ and this is why….

  • there’s so much repetitive, mindless housework that has to be done everyday that it’s great to be able to use something that gives you pleasure when you’re doing it and the stitching on these cloths does that for me.
  • fine, complex embroidery takes a lot of planning, time and concentration to make it happen. You have to set aside some large chunks of time and that’s not always possible. But there are lunch hours or in the evening where you can pick up one of these cloths and just do simple, fun stitching. Playing with colour is just the best! This is my equivalent of the basket of knitting or crochet by the chair…
  • I’m so lucky to have inherited two trunks full of embroidery from three generations of women in my family. It’s exquisite work but so beautiful and fragile that it really can’t be used and so it sits in the trunks. It’s treasured and loved but rarely seen or handled. So I enjoy having these very simple embroidered cloths that can be used every day without having to worry about what happens to them.

Hope you’re having a lovely day…….

Wildflower Garden WIP Finished!

Hi again. An unexpected break in posting because of a bad bout of bronchitis.

So here’s a quick post about a WIP I’ve managed to finish. It’s fun to work in a group and so in August 2013 I joined the first Stitch of the Month series of classes run by Robyn Duncan of the local ACT Embroiderers Guild. Robyn’s a great teacher and she’d designed an abstract pattern for a book cover and we were supposed to use it as a guide for placing stitches.

I just couldn’t get into the abstract design and my piece looked more and more like a jumble. So I started again and drew a wildflower garden for the Sampler and off I went stitching. This is the result..

Wildflower Garden Sampler

There are over 25 different stitches in the Sampler!

Here’s a closer look..

Detail 1 of Wildflower Garden Sampler by Carmen Zanetti

Detail 2 of Wildflower Garden Sampler by Carmen Zanetti

Detail 3 of Wildflower Garden Sampler by Carmen Zanetti

All embroideries have a story and parts of this Sampler were stitched during long hours spent in a hospital ward last year when my Mum was sick. It started an ongoing conversation with hospital staff, other patients and their visitors. Quite a few added a stitch here and there!

The bullion knots in the above  flower head drove me crazy because the poor hospital lighting and no milliner’s needle meant they turned out uneven and messy. I thought about pulling them out and starting again so many times but just couldn’t face the thought of re-doing all those bullions again.

And now I’m glad I didn’t because family and friends who have seen the Sampler have been drawn to this flower head as a favourite element. Who knew!

Here are a few more close-ups..

Detail 4 of Wildflower Garden by Carmen Zanetti

Detail 5 of Wildflower Garden by Carmen Zanetti

Detail 6 of Wildflower Sampler by Carmen Zanetti


Detail 7 of Wildflower Garden Sampler by Carmen Zanetti

I enjoyed experimenting with different approaches to long & short stitch in the clover leaf and the art deco flower head was great fun to design and create. LOL it’s a bit warts & all seeing the stitching in such detail but part of the adventure is learning from the mistakes :)

The next step is to turn it into a cushion cover – I’ll share a pic when that’s done.

Bye for now!

Making Threads Count – SegoLaine

Hello again. The AQC also included a small show of the work of French textile artist SegoLaine Schweitzer. She focuses on repurposing wool to create decorative crazy quilts and panels.

Her work is a lovely mix of soft, subtle colours, complex layering of fabrics, appliqué and delicate embroidery. She has a real sensitivity to fabric and yarn and how to put these together to create an interplay of colour, narrative and texture.

Sharing some eye candy with you – first a crazy quilt:

Crazy Quilt by Segolaine

and a close up of some of the hexies…

Detail 1 of Crazy Quilt by Segolaine

Detail 2 of Crazy Quilt by Segolaine

Detail 3 of Crazy Quilt by Segolaine

and now for this decorative panel…

Tree Quilt by Segolaine

and a some close-ups of a branch and the funky, gnarly tree trunk…

Detail 1 of Tree Quilt by Segolaine

Detail 2 of Tree Quilt by Segolaine

You can see more of SegoLaine’s artistry on her website here