I thought this weekend I would give you a quick update on a few things I’ve got going on! Unfortunately, not as much as I would like, but sometimes that’s just the way is happens!

First up – a quick update on my Red Fox Coursework for the online course I am taking with Tanja Berlin. The feedback Tanja gives is really fantastic – encouraging, but also pointing you in the right direction where you have gone a little offtrack. The feedback I received was that on the whole the first row wasn’t too bad – I should have added more of the light grey in, and my stitches on the left got a little short. BUT, it is workable – something to remember! Tanja gives her feedback not just by writing it out on the forum, but also by ‘drawing’ on your photos, and ‘showing’ you that way where the stitches should lay, where your long and short rows should be etc. It is very effective! The link I have provided you is a link to her online classes page. If you scroll down through the various courses, you will get an idea of how she achieves this by looking at the various notes.

I have just sent my second row off for critique. I feel I went a little off course with my direction lines in the middle of the second row, and I found that I hadn’t quite packed enough stitches into the first row. This must be the first time this has ever happened to me! About half way through the second row, the concept of the long and short stitch finally dropped – each stitch is (roughly) the same length – it is each stitches starting point that varies and gives this stitch its name. I think in every other piece of needle painting I have done before, my stitch lengths have been rather random, whereas this is very methodical and ordered, and I am only now seeing the benefit of this! I’m hoping this week I will be able to get a few rows done, so more on that and the feedback I get next weekend.

Yesterday also saw the inaugural meeting of the ‘Coffee Cake and Craft’ group. Since moving away from Melbourne a few years ago, one thing I have missed is the opportunity to sit and stitch with other like minded people. Embroidery is a wonderful activity, as it crosses so many borders – backgrounds and age aren’t important. It’s the coming together, doing something you all enjoy, in a relaxing, enjoyable setting, where you can help each other out and support and encourage each other, which is important. Jessica Grimm has written a couple of great blog posts on her work she is doing with some refugee women in her local community that really brings to light just how important and empowering this can be.

Now, my little group is nothing as noble as that, we are just a group of four women who know each other through church (and one’s my neighbour!), and have been saying for a while that it would be great to get together and sew together, as we are all ‘crafty’, so why not! So we met for the first time yesterday, and had a lovely morning together. We decided on ‘craft’, rather than ‘sewing’ or ’embroidery’, as it’s a lot more inclusive, and we want people to feel they can pop along and do something they enjoy, no matter what type of ‘craft’ it is. So we had one lady who was popping out crochet squares for a blanket like it was no tomorrow, another lady coming close to finishing a cross stitch birth sampler for her nephew (with fantastic, bright colours!), another lady who is a very proficient quilter tying off ends and ends on a quilt she is making for an aunt, and me, doing heavens only knows how many French knots for the sheep on the baby blanket! (Lets just say I need a few more of these mornings!). As we were chatting away, I mentioned about the needle painted fox, which fascinated the other ladies, who have asked if I can show them how to thread paint! I’m not nearly proficient enough to teach, but I’m more than willing to give it a go, and pass on the limited knowledge I do have – I think Trish Burr’s beginners book might come in handy!

slow sheep progress.jpg

I’ve also been working on some little necklace pendants with mixed results. I won’t show you anything just yet – but watch this space!

You’re also probably wondering what on earth has happened to my elephant and the TAST stitches. Nothing! I’m just behind as I’m getting excited about a few other projects. I’m hoping to catch up this week, so you might see a few posts this week featuring the elephant.

What are you stitching at the moment? I’d love to know how you are getting on!

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