At a normal Children's Class day the assembly of the projects seems to be where we have all the hassels. Everyone finishes around the same time and there is such a rush. I have been looking at the Pin Cushion and can see that this is going to be one of those "bottlenecks" near the end of the class. So, here I sit pre-assembling 40 odd mice.
That is 80 individual ears that have to be stitched then attached to the head and then 40 heads to be attached to bodies. See what I mean about potential bottlenecks? I am in the midst of all these little pieces so I thought I may as well put up the pattern for the mouse and a tutorial on how to make it.
All the patterns and instructions are included in the Download - Pin Cushion but I thought I would show you some of the techniques I used that might make it easier to put together. Also a picture is a lot clearer than words.
Don't try to sew those tiny pieces separately, you will go mad. What I do is trace the pattern pieces onto my double thickness of fabric and sew the seams BEFORE I cut out the pattern pieces. Make sure you reverse at the beginning and end of each seam so that the pieces don't pull apart when you turn them through.
You could trim your seams and notch them to turn them through but this takes time. Another way is to reduced the length of you stitch and then trim close to the seam.
I find that doing the seams this way makes it easier to turn through, in fact it is twice as quick as the traditional method.
The trick with turning these small pieces it to turn your fabric at the seams and then partially turn them through .
I then run the rounded end of a crochet hook around the seam and you have it finished.
You don't have to hold them open just give them a shot of steam with the iron. (I find that if I use a fabric with a high thread count like a batik it is a lot easier to handle.)
When joining the ears to the head I prepare the ears by ironing them down the middle. This makes it easy to fold them in place.
Just make sure you attach them to the back of the head with the side you want to see facing down to the right side of the head.
Joining the head and the body.
Really fiddly. Getting it all set up before you stitch is the key to not having to unpick. Pin the centres and then the sides together, and then pin again between the sides and the centre with the pin point towards the seam.
This way you should be able to sew over the pins. Also turn up a small amount of fabric around the base. I find that finger pressing it does the job. Doing this will make sewing the closing at the finish a breeze. Because these pieces are small and curved they can be difficult. If you have the head piece on top it is easier to sew because the larger body piece will stretch slightly. Before you stitch check that those ears are going to be slightly apart at the centre. Now is the time to fix it before you sew.
The rest of the construction is straight forward. Put the two side seams together and sew by machine or by hand. Turn through and stuff. Match the centre of the body with the side seam and wip stitch close making sure you attach your tail first.
My friend has just returned Kythira in Greece where she attended the wedding of her daughter-in-laws sister. I think I would like to visit this Island after the wonderful time she had there. I also have another friend who's father comes from this same island. (This is one of the wonderful things about Australia. We have immigrants from all over the world and this access to so many different cultures enriches ours.) My friend liked the island so much she nearly missed the plane home. She was sitting on the beach relaxing when she got a call from her son saying why wasn't she at the ferry to get to the airport for them to fly out!
She brought me back a selection of embroidery patterns and a piece of fabric that is made from hand spun yarn. Before I embroider it I think I will wash it because I think it might shrink.
One of her hosts gave her a crocheted mat. Now at first glance it just looks like a simple piece of crochet but on close inspection it is very cleverly constructed.
The piece has been crocheted in two pieces that meet in the middle and are joined.
You really have to look carefully to see the join. The pattern is joined with a slip stitch across the end in one direction and then back again from the opposite direction.
I had to really look hard to see how this was done. The whole piece has a lovely even tension and the way the clusters have been worked along the edge has formed a perfect edge for finishing with another row with picots.
I also like the way the simple tassels have been used to finish the ends.
I have been invited to look at the work of another family member here in Brisbane and am really looking forward to seeing that.
In the mean while I am continuing to assemble the 40 odd kits for the Children's Holiday Class. There are lots of pieces, some of which I am pre- sewing to help speed the assembly. Hopefully it will all be finished tomorrow and I will be able to get to my own sewing.