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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Lunch Bag

Another of my Christmas projects was a lunch bag for my sister-in-law. I had some insulating wadding and suitable fabric, but had to buy some waterproof lining, a freezer pack and a water bottle to go inside.

The pattern was from the Design Collective's Lunch Bags book that I have used before.

The process was relatively straightforward. The bag consists of one long piece, and two side inserts. The insulated wadding is attached to the outer fabric.

 The lining is made up in the same way and inserted, with a pocket in the lid to hold a small cold pack, and elastic straps on one side to hold a water bottle.

The shoulder strap/handle is added to the outside. I added a tab on the side away from the bottle to avoid the side gaping.

I hope the bag proved useful to my sister-in-law for taking her lunch to work each day - or for picnics or snacks at the beach.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Pouch from Ottoman Double Running piece

I used double running stitch to applique the Ottoman Double running linen piece to the square I had constructed from the blue denim and maroon batik.

I experimented with a couple of stitches to join the envelope flap pieces together, but ended up using a version to blanket stitch bars used in the original Alison Snepp design.

I kept my bars in ecru only and made them a bit larger than the original. I intended the denim to be undecorated and the focus to be on the batik and linen.

It is evident from the photo that my envelope did not match up perfectly. I initially compensated for this by adjusting the shape of the inset piece.

As I stitched I decided that (1) the denim needed embellishment and (2) I could get a better, and more interesting effect by inserting  a whole additional strip of fabric to make the envelope more symmetrical.

The embellishment would, of course, have been better done before construction, but was not too difficult.

As with the original, I added a two-colour chain stitch border around the opening.

I also constructed a tri-colour cord for the edge.

then decided to add an appliqu├ęd strip to the right hand side to imitate the left.
While this reads as a lot of messing around rather than a planned, designed approach, I really enjoy working in this way - the peasant approach. I have added a blue tassel and one of the needle lace buttons from the Italian Tassels class will come into its own when I get home in a few days time (I'm currently visiting in Canberra).i will also be able to block and iron the bag!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Jedi Jeans

My grandson's birthday last weekend, so I have been embroidering a pair of jeans with a couple of Jedi warrior motifs. I used a publicly available colouring-in page as my starting template. After contemplating covering the whole surface with figures, I settled for two - Yoda and Luke Skywalker.

Reluctantly, I transferred the design using Solvi, removing the latter as soon as I had the outline stitched.  It worked OK this time - I was fairly quick stitching the outline, so the Solvi didn't become brittle.

I used some thread from Denmark, purchase from the Embroiderer's Guild a while back. It was fairly course but very strong and good to work with on the tough surface of the denim. I liked it a lot. I used up the best part of a green hank on Yoda!

The harder one was Luke Skywalker. Firstly, I had overlooked the awkwardness of getting my hand inside a boy's skinny leg jeans!
Then there was the small matter of embroidering a face - not one of my skills.

I adjusted the hair, redid the facial features, took the hair out completely and redid it - then, finally, unpicked the whole thing except for the arm and light sabre! I used DMC neon for the sabre.

I am satisfied with the result. They were well received and looked good when Fionn wore them to the movies on Monday.

Ottoman double running progress

It is a long time since I wrote about my progress on the vase of flowers piece I started with Carol Mullan at the SA Embroiderers' Guild Summer School. The Maharani's Fishpond rather took over!

I did eventually finish the piece - not without some difficulties, mostly derived from lack of concentration.

Much of the design is worked using double running in steps. I enjoyed learning that technique. The artichoke-like motifs afforded me some challenges. I needed good magnification and a lot of concentration to count

 I struggled a little with getting strong enough colour on the linen, which is Permin lambs wool (colour description, not fabric). The single strand colour, although dark, did not make a solid impression on the linen.
One of the techniques outlined in our notes was to overlay the double running stepped grid with double running stitch on the diagonals. Although this does not look as ordered and geometric as the outlined grid, it does afford a sense of solid colour, so I worked this in the larger blocks of the design.                                                                                 While stitching this, I  pondered what to do with the finished piece. Framing does not appeal to me. I've been carrying the piece around in the Ottoman pouch I made from Alison Snepp's design and it occurred to me that this might be a good way to use the piece of linen.

I found a piece of denim and lined it with some batik that had served as a tablecloth for many years until it fell into holes. I salvaged some of it. Although pairing it with the Ottoman double running piece creates a mix of ethnicities, the colours work.

It was tricky to get the size and layout right, so the linen would end up on the back of the pouch and right way up (apologies for the horrible colour of the denim in the photo!).

I didn't succeed in getting it perfectly geometrical, but this is a piece of folk craft and I will adapt as I stitch. 

More on the construction soon.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Futonji Class

Barbara Mullan is offering a set of four classes at the Embroiderers' Guild of SA in Futonji - Nuno Felt, stamp and Decorate. The classes will be one month apart and result, for those who attend all of them, in the production of a long scarf. Dying and stamping are outside my experience, but I thought I'd give it a go. I can only attend the first two classes - but I figured I'd have fun and learn a bit in two classes.

The first class was Sunday last weekend. The six of us attending had a very relaxed day. After going through the sequence of steps that will be needed, and examining Barbara's example, we got to work 'discharging' our fabric samples, by applying thickened bleach, rinsing and hanging them up to dry. We then applied dye to the samples and placed them in plastic bags in the sun to 'cook'.

While they steamed away we chose designs and carved blocks that we will use next month. I went for a simple form with no fine detail while I got the hang of carving with a very sharp blade.

The bag of fabric pieces continued to steam away at home. The fabric pieces were then washed and ironed, ready for the next lesson.

Not all of them worked well, but the effects are interesting and will be more so with a bit of stitching.

Lots of fun.