Some normality for a little while

I was able to bring my husband home from hospital yesterday.  He is so pleased to be back in his own environment and I don't have that long drive every day.  He has a long way to go before he is back to his old self but every day sees an improvement.   I am the one who will have to adjust to sharing the house again.  I have set myself a routine I like and that doesn't go down to well with him.  You would think that after all these years of marriage we would have all this worked out?  But no, the push and shove continues.  At least it isn't dull.

I am still trying to finish all the kits for the Children's Class.  Everything is just one big mess at the moment.  My cutting table looks like a bomb has hit it.

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If I look at the room for a distance it isn't too bad, but up close uggh.

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And that bundle of completed kits is so small!

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And when I went on my walk to the beach this morning I was hit by the perfume of freshias. 

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I didn't plant my bulbs because I thought it was too warm but the wild ones are all in bloom. Blow!


That Indian theme

I don't know why but this is the second book I have read, and fallen in love with, that has an Indian theme.  I haven't got to the end yet because I am savouring the story.  The book was originally published in Swedish but has been translated into English and quite of few other lanuages and has the long title, The amazing story of the man for cycled from India to Europe for love by PerJ Andersson.  Isn't that a great book cover?

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The title says what the book is all about but there is so much more to this story.  I didn't know when I bought the book but the main character is an indigenous Indian and an artist. One of my most treasured books is by another Indian artist from the same group of people.  The night life of trees. Published by Tara Books.  (There is an interesting piece by John Berger on their blog.  Although I wish people would catch on the fact that there is an older art by Aboriginal Australians that that in Europe. 70,000 year of history in Australian art is slightly more than the 30,000 years of cave art in Europe.)

The main character is from the same group of people.

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No one could make up this story in their imagination.  It goes far beyond imagining.  I bought the book on Kindle but it is one of those books that you need a paper edition of so that you can pull it out and read again or leave in your will for your grand children.


Oh Dear!

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! 

I didn't go to the hospital on Monday.  On Monday I realised that I have just one week to come up with a project for the Children's Classes in the September Holidays.  That is whilst I'm driving up and down to the hospital and everything else going on.  So it is panic stations here at the moment.   Getting the project ready also entails preparing all the kits etc.  I don't know if I can do this.

Anyway, we had decided on making a draw string bag.  Not your normal easy to put together bag, one that is a bit more difficult.  I have had to tweek the design a bit but I think I can come up with something.  Normally this kind of bag is lined.  This will not work on a production assembly line.  All the kids will finish at the same time and we just won't be able to put them together.  Most of the machine stitching will have to be done in advance.  The solution to this problem is my major concern at the moment.

This bag has a round base 7" in diameter.

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The sides are one piece of fabric 20.5" long and 10" deep.  Normally with this kind of bag you would put the seam at the centre back but we won't have time to put the casing on so I have moved this to the side seam. To neaten the top edge I have bound it with a contrasting fabric the same as that round base.

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Then stitched the draw string casing in place, also in a contrasting fabric. (I like to mark my construction lines with tailors chalk because it is easy to remove.)  I think this is as much of the pre-construction that I can get away with.   I have started work on the basic design which is based on yo yo's.  Even beginners should be able to handle this.  The good thing about this design is that it can be extended.  I am just going to do the front designs, the rest is for the imagination.

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After the kids get to this point we will have to sew up the back seam and insert the base. I timed myself and it takes 15 mins to sew the bag together. I think 2 of us will be able to handle this but I might need another volunteer on a machine.  The finish is not what I would like, but it is more important to get a finished product here.  There will be a few of my dedicated embroiderers who would prefer to make the bag in the traditional way so I will put together a few kits with just the components so they can finish their work at home,

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One design down, I need to stitch another.

I have called this a 'Mary Bag' from the rhyme, 'Mary, Mary quite contary, how does you garden grow.'  I have added a lady bug to this one but there are all kinds of creepy crawlies that could but put on, as embroideries or charms.  I know a couple of the boys might like 'dead flowers or weeds'.  I better be prepared for that.

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The snowflake decoration tutorial

I promised to put up this little tutorial some time ago but with all the drama going on here I forgot.

 

You could use this method for any type of round decoration.

For my decorations I used a 32 count linen which is a a bit stiff and a cotton,( with a high thread count) printed fabric for the back.  Other fabrics could by used, some might even gather better than these ones did.  I also used a heavier card  (1 for the embroidery, 1 for the backing)  for the shapes, not the very heavy but an in-between weight.  It has to have enough stiffness in it that it will not buckle.

 I wanted a finished size of 3"  so I used a template to trace the shape onto the card.  I then found the centre and marked the quarters on the card with a pencil.  This is important because there is nothing worse than a piece that has an off centre design.

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I then took a round bowl that was larger than the desired finished sized and marked a cutting line.  Again making sure that the embroidery was in the centre with an equal distance to the edge on all sides.  The back didn't really matter if it wasn't centred so I just marked the circles.

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On both the front and the back I stitched a line of running stitch about 1/4" from the edge.  (I tried doing this with the sewing machine but the result wasn't as good.)

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I put a long pin through the centre of the card and then through the centre of the design and pulled up the gathering thread, it sat just right. 

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I used the extra thread left over from the gathering to lace the fabric in place.  This was repeated on the backing shape.

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I then attached the hanging cord so it could be enclosed between the two sections.

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The back and front were whip stitched together using a cotton quilting thread, which is just a bit heavier than normal sewing thread.  To start the stitching I ran my needle  behind the fabric for a short distance before my beginning stitch and did the same when I finished the thread.

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To stitch Van Dyke stitch I ran the thread in the same way as before using a perle 8 thread.

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This was stitch over the two edges of the decoration.

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Van Dyke stitch is worked between two imaginary lines.  In this case the edges of the front and back shapes become the lines.

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Because I used an even weave linen inserting the needle at a 2 thread interval kept the stitch even.  It was also easy to work around that hanging thread.

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When you use this stitch in this way it raises it up and makes a good edge to attach beads to but can be also used as it is.  In fact using this stitch on an edge defines the edge and gives an attractive finish.  I have used it on needle cases and even pages of fabric books. This method of construction does take some time but gives a good finish to your piece.

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