Search This Blog

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Grab and go: Duftin Bag and hardanger ornaments

Now that  my crocheted cushion is finished I have grabbed an easy and undemanding project to work on in between getting my sewing room organised and unpacking my more substantial works. I am rethinking the way I got the removalists to set up the second and third bedrooms in the apartment and think I will get them back in January to swap the furniture over in the two rooms.  I am also trying to make the transition from a desktop to a laptop computer. This will save me space, but I am having some difficulties loading the data from the desktop to a drive accessible to the laptop. Once this is sorted I can dispose of the computer and the room swap will be easier. In the meantime, I don't want to unpack too much of my stitching gear.

So I have been working on a couple of simple projects - another Duftin bag,
as a Christmas gift, and a set of hardanger ornaments I bought as a kit somewhere along the line, to hang on my tree.
Tha bag is progressing apace. It presents no challenge and keeps my hands occupied.

Tha hardanger isn't hard, but requires focus and good eyesight - which, of course, rather rules it out as a grab-and-go!

My first attempt would not pass muster with the Guild. It will, however, glitter and hang sufficiently joyfully as a Christmas decoration for a couple of years.
I hoped to improve on the second one but alas, it was not so. I did not photograph it, even for learning purposes. My heart was not in it and my count even further out.  I abandoned the attempt and hung the first ornament on its own.
The bag, on the other hand, went from strength to strength and was finished in good time. All credit to Duftin who do a good job of these practical and easy-to-stitch bags. They are old friends to me - clearly what was needed in the lead-up to Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Scottish Diaspora Exhibition in Adelaide

I am grateful to Junette Steffensen, from the Embroiderers' Guild for reminding me to get to the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry Exhibition before it closed at the Burnside Town Hall in Adelaide last Sunday. I got there on the last afternoon and was so glad I made it.

A brainchild of the Prestoungrange Arts Festival in Prestonpans, the Scottish Diaspora project aims to involve communities around the world in celebration of Scottish heritage and culture, the people and places which connect Scotland to its global diaspora.
After the success of the Prestonpans Tapestry, the community set about planning the Diaspora project, identifying 25 communities world-wide and engaging them in an exploration of local Scottish connection and story, followed by design and stitching of panels to be collected into another large tapestry. A number of Australian communities were involved, and an exhibition of the completed panels is touring Australia this summer, beginning last month in Goolwa in South Australia, where a number of panels were contributed.
There are panels from the Baltic, Western Europe, the Americas, Canada, Asia, Australasia, Africa and the British Isles. Some are broadly community based, some family specific.

I'd have liked to have gone back to look more closely at the New Zealand panels. 

I was fascinated by the Italian ones. 

I had not done my homework before going, and was unprepared for the scale and impact. The whole tapestry can be explored on the project website - and is well worth the investment of time.

I love the capture of local stories in the panels. The consistent template design allows for local interpretation, but also provides a unity over all - evident when standing back and looking at the gallery of panels. Making the panels would have given local communities, especially stitchers, much to think and talk about as they designed and interpreted. It will continue to interest and engage both local and international communities in consideration of the contribution of Scots to civilisation and community.
It would have taken me days - even weeks - to do justice to all the panels on display. It was overwhelming in scope. If I were still teaching high school history I'd be using this tapestry with students.

I focused on the Australian panels, a scan of all and a bit more protracted look at Canada.

I felt privileged to have had this opportunity - and inspired on a whole lot of fronts. If you get a chance to see it don't miss out.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Crochet cushion finish

I've been working the back of my crocheted cushion. I decided to forego the wave and do straight lines in the full range of graded colours. My first attempt ended up with the rows getting shorter and shorter. When about half way through, I realised I was losing a stitch on the end of each row. I also realised my original row was too short. I pulled it all out, started again with a longer chain and compensated at the beginning of each row to ensure it continued straight.  This time, after about six inches, I realised I had made it too long, so undid it and started again.  Measurement isn't my forte.

Third time lucky - it fitted! By now, however, I had lengths of different colours, all joined together but not matching the ends of rows. I decided to use it as is - allowing the colour change where it fell.
I then joined the front and back - using single crochet through both pieces on the inside.

Yesterday - my settlement day on both the sale of my house and the purchase of my apartment - I dashed to Spotlight and bought a cushion insert. While waiting on the call from the conveyancer I inserted it and crocheted up the last side. I considered lining the cover but didn't in the end. I didn't think the show- through was sufficiently noticeable to warrant lining - and would make washing more difficult.

So here is the finished item - now in my daughter's family extension.
It's been a long and comfortable project to work on while downsizing, packing, moving and settling in. I shall quite miss it. How appropriate that I finished it on my settlement day. The settlement, by the way, went without a hitch. I now own the apartment and someone else owns the house. The cushion sums up my feelings!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

On a mending roll...

One of my 8 year-old granddaughters has worn one of her smocked nightdresses almost to ribbons. The yoke tore and the gathers at the back came apart. She kept wearing it so I undertook to mend it.

She remembered to put it in her school bag to give to me after school last week. My new apartment is within walking distance of their school and they are very proud of walking here on their own.

In the chaos of my new sewing room - with plastic boxes packed up inside the wardrobe, I managed to find the small piece of leftover fabric, now several shades darker than the nightdress.

I was able to cut out a new yoke and hand- stitch it over the  back yoke. I then stitched down all the torn edges on the underside and cut patches to cover the tears.
Hopefully, this will extend the life of the nightdress for a few weeks - enough for me to get my apartment organised and to make another round of nightdresses. Niamh was happy with the result!

The is not the most exciting of posts - my time has been consumed by downsizing and moving - still cleaning the house, trimming the garden ready for settlement in a few days time  and learning how to organise the apartment. Yesterday two friends came to sit and stitch - a milestone.

After settlement on Friday I will be more relaxed!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Bag mending

I have a very lovely leather bag made by the Nancybird company. Nancy Bird was a pioneering Australian aviator, whose granddaughter set up a company in her honour, manufacturing bags that were, at least originally, reminiscent of the bags Nancy Bird carried as an aviator. Many of them are a mixture of leather and fabric.

Jim bought me two Nancybird bags. The first of these was a lovely pale green leather with tan trim and two useful small pockets on the outside. It was lined in fabric which became soiled. The fabric lining on the flap also wore through. 

I really did not want to abandon this bag. Although I could see how to take it apart, I knew I would not be able to stitch it back together through the leather. Eventually I took it to a shoe repairer who cleaned and treated the leather, washed the lining and suggested removing the torn lining of the flap to expose the interfacing.
When I got home with the bag I dug around in my stash to find some suitable strong fabric with which I could reline the flap. I found some strong, hand-printed fabric in appropriate colours and set about fixing it to the inside of the flap, over the interfacing.
It wasn't easy stitching and I did not achieve invisible stitches, but I think the result works and will prolong the life of the bag. As well as being fond of this bag and finding it useful (which is why it wore out!), my parents and grandparents were all menders and it pleases me to remember my grandfather and father mending shoes, bags or straps, tools or equipment, my grandmother darning socks, unravelling cardigans to re-knit, my mother extending the life of clothes or linens. This bag looks used. It has been my organiser and companion throughout my current move.

It gives me great pleasure to repair and renew a useful object - more pleasure than I would get from replacing it.

I hope Nancy Bird would have felt the same.