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Beginnings

Many of my earlier stitching works were done as special pieces for family and friends - to mark events like weddings, births and major wedding anniversaries. Much of this work was cross-stitch with a few speciality stitches.

Since moving to Wellington, I have attended a number of embroidery workshops, both at conferences and through the local embroidery guild. From these I have learnt a range of skills and techniques.

Fabric Books

More recently I have made several fabric books, All of these have been original designs.

The first two were for my grandchildren to develop their skills. One was based on developing practical skills such as using zippers and domes and tying shoelaces. This one also included shapes, but reflecting now,the two themes would have been better as two separate books. The next book was a counting book (1-10), using New Zealand themes, for an overseas grandchild.

Then I made two books, based on one I had seen in an embroidery exhibition, celebrating 80th birthdays, first for my mother-in-law, then for my own mother. These involved learning how to best print photos onto fabric and some crazy patchwork skills. They also needed some input from family members in helping find suitable photos. For one, I was able to include some of the recipient's own crocheted pieces which was special.

My newest fabric book is a combination of stitching and family history. It is a collection of century old school sewing samples, the work of a dear great aunt who also wrote a brief family history. I have been able to incorporate relevant portions of her writing with the samples. I now feel the writing style I used for these words throughout the book is not as clear for readers as I had hoped. It has been interesting to note the reactions of people viewing the book as they frequently begin to tell of their own family collections of sewing samples.

See the full book at Hilda's book. To look through the book move your mouse pointer to one of the corners and drag it across to the other side.

Feltwork

I loved the appliqué work in felt that I learnt at a workshop with Rosemary McLeod. I have done a couple of pieces using that technique.

In Finland in 2007, I attended a 2 day course run by a local community college in a provincial city. This was a basic felting class involving making, then using, felt in a very traditional way. The locals made slippers, mittens, hats, coffee pot covers, all of these seamless. One lady made a very large rocking chair throwover. I managed a hat and a pair of tiny slippers to learn the technique. Back in New Zealand I see that some of these 'standard' techniques are now being taught here as new ideas.

Counted work

One thing I have noticed in my own work over the years is the Home Science influence. This means I like a neat back to my work and at times this has restricted my progress, but it has meant I enjoy counted work, including samplers. At present I am polishing my Hardanger skills, trying to learn Hedebo. and am working on a sampler (cross stitch and satin stitch) which is a copy of a sampler in the V&A museum.