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Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Shisha Workshop at the Guild

Last Saturday was a Certificate Course Workshop on Shisha Mirror Embroidery taken by Christine Bishop. 

The project was a tiny purse - of the folded-in corners variety. The starting square was 10cm. Christine, who often goes for pastels, argued strongly that this should be in bright colours. I had brought along strong colours, but she kept advising me to go brighter. I adjusted a bit when I got home, but I'm satisfied. 
I've used shisha mirrors before on several projects, but I'm not convinced I got this one in absolutely securely. Time will tell!

To line it I found a piece of silk left from a dress I made in the 70s and a partial cowrie shell as a catch.

I  spent a few hours more on it at home and I'm happy with the result. I love this pouch design. It works regardless of the size of the pouch. This is about 7cm square.


It's a cute little pouch that will come in useful to hold a gift of jewellery. 

A good, fun workshop and end product.

Monday, July 11, 2022

A use for some chicken prints.

Earlier this week two prints I ordered from Tatiana Popova arrived. These were art works by Marina Popova, printed on to fabric for embroidery. Tatiana and Marina are Ukrainians who have sought refuge in Australia and hit the ground running with art and craft.

I wasn't sure what I would do with the prints - but I do like a good chicken. Maybe a pouch.

When they arrived, I decided against embroidering them. They are lovely, and printed on to cotton using the panels you use to print on to t-shirts. I have used these on t-shirts. They work well, but the resulting surface is not one I fancy embroidering on. 

It occurred to me that these panels would work well as patches on some of my t-shirts that have those pesky holes from zips. I have a several of them, so dug out a couple that fitted with the chicken colours.

The chickens were just the right size for the job, so I tested the size, cut them, backed them with iron-on fabric adhesive and ironed them on.

Oddly, this worked well on the red top, but the adhesive didn't take on the cream. Maybe it was something I did in the process, or the composition of the fabric. In any case, I stitched around both of them. 

Hopefully both will hold for a couple of seasons of wear. The red, which has adhesive as well as stitches, might last longer.

I have put the patched tops away until the weather warms up a bit, but I'm pleased to have two more tops that I feel good about wearing outside the apartment - and I've found a way to display these very attractive chickens.

Makes me satisfied and happy.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Blanket finish

I took my finished blanket into the Junior Embroiderers' meeting to ask their advice on whether I had enough horses on it - and to get their tutor's advice on washing it! The girls thought there were enough horses, and Margaret's advice was to hand-wash the whole thing, spin it dry and hang out. So that's what I did. It has been raining in Adelaide, but I got 4 hours in the middle of the day - and it dried.    

I wasn't entirely satisfied with the coverage, so consulted Niamh and Veronica who agreed it needed a few more in the corners.

So I added a few more. 

I've got used to these little horses! 


It is almost impossible to photograph the whole blanket. Maybe I need a drone! I tried a few different angles and directions, but it is all partial and the light isn't good enough. 

In the end I made a little video - more for my own record than for sharing. 

I had promised Bernadette, who helped me choose threads for the text, that I would take it in to show her at Create in Stitch, so before delivering it to Brigid, I duly called in on Tuesday to discover she is returning to her dressmaking career and now longer working there. Di Kirshner's class asked to see it, so we showed each other our work! Loads of fun.
It was while doing this that I realised I hadn't signed the blanket, so brought it home again and added our initials and date to a corner.

I delivered it on Saturday night and Brigid is pleased. She is house-sitting for the next few weeks and has taken it with her. It is very warm and cosy - I miss it over my legs while stitching - so will not go unused in our current chilly winter.

I tried inserting the video here for my own record - I didn't expect anyone else to view a video of a blanket!  However, as I have found with video before, it took far too long to load, so I have abandoned that idea.  

It's been 15 years from conception to making and I am delighted to have delivered.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Another needlework roll

While looking for fabric for the Boro workshop at the Guild last weekend, I came across another cotton banner that Jim had bought for me while he was on an official visit to Japan around 1996. These are lovely, but I hadn't found a use for them until I thought of using them in embroidery rolls - the device preferred by embroiderers to roll, rather than fold, work-in-progress (another benefit I derived from the Guild's Basics to Beyond Course).  Although having more rolls will only encourage me to have more works-in-progress, I felt that was preferable to the banner going unused in a drawer.

I had the inner cardboard from a roll of hand towel in my store of items-that-might-come-in-handy, so got to work while the mood was on.

The banner had quite a bit of plain green fabric at both ends. One formed wide hem into which the roll was inserted. I cut a strip about 6 cm wide from the other end, and from that cut two circles. Using a row of running stitch around the outside edge of each, 

I gathered them into balls which I filled with wool stuffing and inserted into the ends of the roll once it was inside the hem of the banner.                                .

I then stitched it around the edge of the tube to hold it in place.

The result is another useful roll. The banner will be admired, and the gift appreciated, each time the roll is used. 

Feels like progress to me!

Monday, June 27, 2022

Boro Pocket - Guild Certificate Course

This month's certificate course workshop was taken by Barbara Mullan, focusing on Japanese Boro Embroidery.  It was a lot of fun. 9 of us met with Barbara, all armed with scraps of fabric and some sturdy cotton threads. I had a pair of jeans with me, just in case I was moved to cut them up. They are in good condition, but are now a size too big for me. I've run elastic around the waist so they are wearable. As it happened, Barbara had strips of denim for us, and others had brought along various bits of usable denim. 

It was very much a design-you-own piece workshop although Barbara had included a design for a pocket in the notes. I worked on a pocket to fit my mobile phone using one of Barbara's denim strips and my own patches. Some worked on larger pieces for bags. There was a lot of sharing and ideas flying. I love these workshops.

I was very pleased with mine.
When I got home I tried it on three summer dresses that don't have pockets, which really limits my use of them, since carrying my phone on my person is a high priority for me. I have managed to insert a small pocket into the side seam of the dress on the left, but it won't fit my new phone.  It isn't a bad blend, but I preferred the pocket on the ikat dress on the left - the red in the pocket picked up some colour from the dress. The third dress is black and white so doesn't work at all.
I had originally intended to line the Boro piece with denim, and use the dress fabric as the back of the pocket, but decided the ikat cotton may not be strong enough, so made a pouch from the denim fabric and lined it with some Japanese indigo fabric I had.                                                                                                    This gave me a fully lined pouch that I could attach to the dress along the seamline to give it strength.                               The back is plain   

However, after attaching it by machine, I realised that washing would present a problem. The thickness of the pocket and the dyes of the threads would not work with a dress requiring regular washing.  So I removed it.

I measured the pouch up against the ones I already have for buttoning on to leggings and pants without pockets and added loops in the same place, so I can use it on the same buttons.

As I was adding this after I'd lined the bag, I covered the loop ends with a bit more fabric.This is now the completed pocket.

It's not quite the end of the story. Since I had begun and failed to add a pocket to the dress ( and the dress fabric is not strong enough to take the button solution), I went hunting for any left-over fabric from when I had made it. I didn't find any of the ikat, but I did find the plain maroon. So I now have a pocket on the dress ready for summer!

I've also found just enough fabric to add one to the black and white dress I have without pockets. The third dress was bought, so I don't have that fabric. I'm sure, however, I can find something suitable. One day.

This is quite enough from one Boro workshop!

Sunday, June 19, 2022

More Pretty Little Horses

I have progressed the horses since my last post. As you can see, I have reverted to using the Sulki outlines. Having placed them around the blanket, I thought I'd try stitching through them once again, and found it worked without any trouble getting my needle through. Maybe my needle is sharper!
I've also varied my stitches. Herringbone is emerging as my favourite. It gives a good fill as well as texture. With a variegated thread it is especially effective.

Chain stitch is also proving interesting and pleasant to do. 
                               My favourite effect is two colour chain stitch. It's more difficult to execute (especially in wool, because this stitch is hard on the thread) but a great rendition of 'dapples' I think.

I've moved to Mogear threads.They have some lovely pastel colours. I tried using them for two colour chain but soon gave up. They catch and tangle. Instead I am using two colours together, not as spectacular but an even better dapple!

By far the easiest and fastest fill is herringbone. 

I now have 38 horses on the blanket. I may yet add more if I decide they are needed for the overall effect.

I cut 38 shapes out of pink blanketing to match those already embroidered and have begun to appliqué, each of them to the back of the blanket to cover the back of each horse.  


The first eight are in place. I'm quite pleased with this as a solution for covering the back. I don't want to back the blanket with a lining. I love the feel of the blanketing. Even if I backed it with blanketing, I'd have to quilt it to hold it in place and I don't want to do that. This method covers the stitching on the back, so it won't catch, but retains the feel of the blanket.
Once I've appliquéd all the pink horses, all I have to do is dissolve any remaining Sulky and blanket stitch the edge (!). That'll be another post!

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Another phone pouch

This week I bought a new phone. I've kept my old one for over 5 years and it had begun to disconnect while charging. Over the long weekend, when it hadn't charged overnight, I decided I had to bite the bullet and replace it. I rely on my phone as an emergency connection to the world - as well as a regular connection and carry it at all times.  I've been contemplating it for some time. I am a heavy user of the camera on my phone, and have had my eye on the latest with a 4x zoom. I don't need all the other features, so it's an extravagance and I've been considering that. I could get a phone for half the price that would do everything I want, except the zoom. 

I bought the phone. 
It is only marginally larger than my old phone - maybe 5mm each way, but the tabbed pouch I made in 2016 to attach my phone to trousers without pockets  was a tight fit for my old phone, and won't fit the new. 

So today I made a new one.

I used wadding, and another square of the same fabric bundle I had used for the old one - from the Aboriginal Fabric Gallery. I needed a longer zip but otherwise it was a pretty much the same as the old.

I lined it with another square from the bundle.

The tabs need to go on the outside, so, as before, I tidied them up with a small patch of left over fabric - none at all left over now!

Finally, I quilted the fabric, wadding and lining together by hand with some running stitch around some of the pattern. It is hard to see on the pattern - but that's what I was aiming for!

These days I don't buy trousers, or even leggings (thanks to Ink and Spindle!) without pockets, but I can now be sure of having my phone on me while wearing any of the backlog of pocketless pants in my wardrobe!