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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Tea Wallet Prototype

I kept instructions from a Handmade magazine last year for a project I thought looked interesting and useful. My interest was sparked by the crocheted edge. I am interested in progressing my newly acquired skills in reading a crochet pattern and one of the reasons I wanted to learn this was to crochet edges. While I don't carry teabags around with me, I know people who do, so thought this might make a pleasing gift.
So recently I dug around in my stash for suitable fabric and came up with the bottom of a dress I made and wore in the 80s - a Paisley Liberty cotton. It needed a bit of unpicking, but yielded a piece of fabric the required size - 27.5cm x 59cm.
I also found interfacing - but then forgot to use it - folding the fabric, stitching and turning it inside out without the interfacing. I'm quite pleased I made this mistake because the fabric is firm enough without interfacing and better, I think, without the bulk.
In line with instructions, I buttonhole stitched around the outer edge of the folded fabric using ecru crochet cotton and crocheted a chain on top of it.

I then followed the crochet pattern to finish the edge. It actually worked!
This is what it looked like.
It folds neatly into three to form a handy pouch, or wallet.
I used an odd piece from an earring as a fastener. I undid my stitching of the fastener three times before I got it in the right place!
I like the finished effect. I don't, however, think it works as well as it could for teabags. It would be better to be narrower - the width of - well, a teabag... As it is it might be more use for holding a comb, nail file and a small packet of tissues. I like the concept however and am now in the process of adjusting the size to fit teabags more precisely.  More on the results soon.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Back to Basics Project 3: Hussif

It is quite a while since I posted any progress on my project for the Embroiderers' Guild Back to Basics Group. I am still working on Project 3, a hussif and scissor case. I finished the scissor case in September last year and have been working on the hussif since then. The group meets once a month,  but did not meet in December, January or March due to the Guild Christmas closure and our Exhibition.

Back to Basics focuses particularly on basic stitches, construction and presentation. The stitches for Project 3 requires a specific range of loop stitches - buttonhole, feather and/or fly stitch. The embroidery is on a specific panel of the hussif.

I finished the embroidery last year, using stitches, threads and a design that match the completed scissor case.

That was the easy bit. I was quite challenged by the construction. The piece has a large pocket under the embroidered section, and two smaller pockets at one end. The other end was left blank, so I decided to add pockets to hold packets of needles. Gay, who runs the group, suggested a pocket for a small metal ruler. It took me a bit of undoing to achieve this neatly (I had, of course, rushed into putting it together the moment the stitching was finished!)

My next issue was getting the border turnover even. I stitched it by eye - not a good result, so out it came. Using the metal ruler I had purchased produced a satisfactory result! I even made good use of one of the tassels from Christine Bishop's Italian Style tassel workshop last year to stop the ruler from disappearing from view inside the pocket.

This project originally had a small Dorset button closure. I am submitting it without that, but intend to add a large button closure when I put the hussif to use.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Certificate Course workshop: English Paper Piecing

Last Saturday I attended the February workshop for the Embroiderers' Guild Certificate Course, this time on English Paper Piecing with Melissa Walker. 
Melissa provided a choice of projects  - both pincushions: one hexagons, the other mixed shapes. Because I had paper-pieced the bed quilt in hexagons three years ago, I chose to work on the mixed shapes. We began with a sheet of template shapes on heavy paper to be cut out, then cut our fabric and glued the fabric shapes around the paper. This is the first time I have used glue to secure the fabric to the papers.  It was a lot of fun.  
Left to my own devices I'd have tried to glue down the little tails on the diamonds but they fit neatly together under each other.                                                                                     
I was using a couple of small squares of hand-dyed fabric I bought at a market day.  It gave me plenty of scope for mixing colours within a palette. This was a well designed project. The diamonds form the top of the pincushion, rectangles the sides and a hexagon the bottom.
It was, as always, a great group of students, sharing their work and encouraging each other.   Melissa was an attentive and knowledgeable teacher.                                           This was pretty much where I got to when the class finished at 2pm.
At home I added the hexagon and joined up the sides

before removing the papers.
By the time I left home that evening for my first Adelaide Festival of Arts commitment, the pincushion was finished - my idea of a great teaching/learning project.

I had had a great day, learned the skills of glueing papers and managing diamond corners - and ended up with a finished product.

I have given this pincushion to my granddaughter Niamh. She is 8 years old and has joined JEMS - the Junior Embroiderers' group. She has made me two pincushions but does not have one herself.

Niamh's take on this? "If you don't want to be a Nana you have to stick your pins into one of these, otherwise you stick them in lounges and things".

Oh dear, I'm very much guilty as charged I'm afraid!