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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Debbie Bliss jackets

 I got sucked in badly with some Debbie Bliss yarn on special at Loveknitting. I have three drawers of wool and had vowed to buy no more until I am down to one drawer.  But I caved and bought enough to knit each of my daughters a jacket from the pattern book conveniently marketed alongside the yarn.
When it arrived I was determined that this would not end up in the drawers with the rest of my yarn, so set to straight away.  So anxious was I to ensure I knitted it that I did not stop to photograph the first (purple) one at all. I thought I had taken photographs as I ironed the pieces, but no evidence exists, so I must have dreamt that. Progress on knitting projects does not, I think, make for much of a narrative, but I regret failing to photograph anything at all of the purple jacket. 

It knitted up beautifully. I usually go for fully natural fibre yarn for knitting, so this is a bit of a deviation for me. It produced a completely smooth fabric. You have to look closely to discern the stitches. 

My only complaint about the pattern is that the instructions for making the buttonholes is added to the end of the instructions for the fronts - well after you have knitted the rows where the holes should go. Fortunately it was not difficult to separate the knitted yarn and buttonhole-stitch in appropriate places.

I was pleased to make use of some buttons I had collected - paua shell for the purple one and soap stone ones on the green -both from  New Zealand.
The pattern has a neat cuff turn-over designed for a contrasting colour, but I stuck with the same.
The finished product is not so easy to photograph. It has a nice swing shape.
As I had more than a ball of the purple left and two balls of the green, I made cowls, with a simple lace pattern and then fingerless gloves. 
I ran out of purple yarn before I finished the gloves so ended up undoing one and reshaping a little. They will, as my mother would have said, pass with a push (no photograph!).

 The green ones made it without manipulation.

I have enjoyed getting back into knitting I have so much wool in my stash that I could knit for years, but with more embroidery classes giving me ideas there is a bit of competition!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hems and Finishes class at Embroiderers' Guild of SA

When the Embroiderers' Guild Class program for the second half of this year came out I debated whether to enrol in Gay Sanderson's class on Hems and Finishes for counted thread work or whether to launch into completely new territory with Glenys Leske's Seascapes - creating scenes with layers of fabric and embellishment. I decided I should push my boundaries and go with the Seascapes. However, when I received the requirements for the course I chickened out. It was the sprung hoop for machine  embroidery (plus the machine itself) that decided me. I didn't want to go there. So I swapped my enrolment for Hems and Finishes.

This is a challenge of a different kind for me. I have done a reasonable amount of counted thread work over the years and enjoyed it. My eyes, however, find it a challenge, and the level of accuracy required is not my natural inclination. On the other hand, I love the effects achieved and I also love the history of various kinds of counted work.

So I took a deep breath and got on with the preparation work for the two day workshop - four pieces of even-weave linen to be tacked up in colour-coded machine thread - tacking to be three fabric threads under and over.

At the same time that I was doing this, I was also preparing a piece of linen for Project 5 of Basics to Beyond - a counted thread sampler (more in another post).  I figure this is reinforcement and will maximise my learning.

The class is over two Sundays, and I am writing this after the first of the two days. I simply loved it- which is just as well, because in attending I missed my grandson's Under 12 football team win their Grand Final and my grandson being awarded Best on Field!

 Gay is a great teacher - clear, organised, experienced and knowledgable, disciplined and pragmatic. I respond to her capacity to adapt within the framework of her skill and knowledge - which is huge.

Her projects are also really well designed. They teach specific techniques in a logical way, with completion of discrete steps. We worked a sample of pulled and drawn stitches on one piece of fabric before putting them into practice on a second piece, providing us with both a complete example and a sampler of the stages for future reference.

Some of the techniques we learned were hemstitch, antique hemstitch, creating an internal selvage  and mitred corners.

Even though I find the tacking preparation tedious, I love the way the tacked lines turn into the framework for the edges. It is so purposeful and rewarding,

I also enjoy the company of a group of embroiderers focused on the same task, sharing their struggles and triumphs. This is only possible because the project is well designed and Gay's methodology allows for learners of various skill level. The class then becomes a learning community and we all thrive.

Although our only homework was preparing a couple of very small pieces for next week's class, I couldn't help myself, and finished the edge on the second piece. It has the calming effect of a meditation.
I also blocked it. This seemed a better
proposition than ironing.

 I'm looking forward to the second day of the class next Sunday.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Shiburi cloths

Friends who recently visited Japan brought me back a pack of 3 shiburi cloths. Each is about 40cmx30cm, lined and hemmed. 
The pack comes with 3 hanks of thread, two variegated and one plain. The plain is bright pink and the variegated brights and autumn tones respectively.
I found myself visiting my daughter with the pack in my bag to show her and no other project to work on, so began work on the simplest of the three cloths. I used the bright variegated thread for these flowery balls - a bit like balloons. It is, of course, addictive. 
I found it difficult to stop when I got home, so turned my back on my longer term projects, and began the leafy cloth, using the autumn coloured thread.  After several days I mislaid the autumn thread - so started on the third flowery cloth using the pink and bright variegated threads, then worked the autumn one using stranded and perle cottons.

I eventually found other thread to finish the autumn one - and, of course, when it was finished, found the lost one!

I plan to use these to wrap bread when serving at a meal, or as food coverings. I might try to give these a crocheted edge using similar thread perhaps with some beads for weight - like the milk jug covers my grandmother made.

Many thanks to Barbara and Kenneth for the gift.