Embroidery Feed

More Books

I find I can't read for too long so these books are perfect, lots of pictures.

I have bought the Japanese version of Yumiko Higuchi's books so when I saw an English edition I thought it might explain some of the Japanese text I couldn't work out.

Screen Shot 2017-06-21 at 7.17.16 pm

I bought my copy from Amazon but I think it would have been cheaper at the Book depository.  The difference in price seems to be caused by the exchange rate.    The format of the book is a lot bigger in the English version which is great for seeing the stitching and using the patterns but the Japanese books contain a lot more designs.  I found that I had translated most of the requirements but am still a bit in the dark about the type of linen fabric that she uses.  The images in this book are of a very high quality and this is a great big plus for me.  All in all I can recommend this book.

The next book is by Sharon Boggon, "The visual guide to Crazy quilting design".

Screen Shot 2017-06-21 at 7.34.14 pm

Now, there are a lot of books on Crazy Quilting but not that many that focus on how you design your pieces.  This book is really dense with information on all that stuff you need to think about before you stitch and it also has lots of stitches.  So much so I might even consider doing some Crazy Quilting.

And the third book is a how to book on Marketing by Teena Hughes.  50 Marketing Secrets of Successful Women.

Screen Shot 2017-06-21 at 7.42.08 pm

There are lots of tips on how to market your products from women who are doing it successfully.  The women who have contributed come from a number of different countries and it is a great resource to help you get your product or service out there.  If you have a small business this is a most helpful book. (And I am one of the 50 women quoted in the book.)

Save


WIPW

The stitching of the "field of stars" is now finished, all eight stars.  (I still have to remove the tacking.)

Screen Shot 2017-06-18 at 8.58.05 am

No 7 is nothing like the pattern.  I made a mistake and kept changing it.

Screen Shot 2017-06-18 at 8.57.53 am

No 8 is perfect, not one error.  (I finally got it right after all those attempts.)

Screen Shot 2017-06-18 at 8.57.40 am

Now I have to assemble them.  I am now starting a trial of what I think I want.   It is rather like a round pin wheel on a string.  The join is going to be the challenge.  This is the backing fabric which was a gift from my friend Angela.  I have been waiting for something special to use it on.

Screen Shot 2017-06-18 at 8.58.19 am

Save


Learning to stitch - No 1

My daughter-in-law was off to give a paper at a conference and I have been baby sitting for a few days.  For me that means moving house over to the mainland.  My grand daughter, Monique, who is 6 y.o. has asked me to teach her to embroider.  Her nearly 5 y.o. sister Jasmine insists that she wants to learn as well.  I have been waiting for this moment, which is very significant for me.  I was taught by my grandmother and we started about the same age. 

Screen Shot 2016-09-15 at 8.15.20 pm

We have been working with a plastic needle and lacing cards up till now and I have put a lot of thought into how I will teach her.  Now, I have taught lots of kids to embroider but when it comes to my own I want them to love what they are doing and that it become something special to her, like it is for me and was for my grand mother and her Grandmother.

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 7.16.36 am

  I have so much at risk here if I don't get it right.

Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 4.03.12 pm

I have decided that I will start with a running stitch sampler.  I have selected an 8 count Aida cloth, 22 tapestry needles and No 5 Perle thread in shades of her favourite colour, pink. .  To this end I have a frame to put it in when it is finished and they will sign their name and the date. 

But the best made plans are often not what actually happens.

Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 4.03.40 pm

I have drawn where to start and finish the stitching on the fabric. Then when we looked at the fabric, she and I, I became aware just how stiff the fabric was and that the hoop was too big.  Because I had used a water soluble pen  I removed this with water and this softened the fabric.  I also reduced the size of the hoop which gave me a practice piece of fabric which I cut off to use as a book mark.

When I started to think this through, it became obvious that starting stitching is quiet complicated. The book mark has become the first project because it can be finished in a few sessions and it is something they will use.   Both girls needed a project bag to put their work in so that had to be made as well.

Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 7.52.51 pm

Here is my ten step lesson plan and what actually happened.

  • Step 1  Wash your hands
  • Step 2  How to divide and store your threads. - 
  • I ended up having to do this myself,  also, we had to learn about the length of the thread they would use and how you measure it.
  • Step 3 How to cut a thread.  - 
  • This is hard for little hands.  They can easily cut the thread when they are finished but it is a bit difficult to begin with.  I have cut all their threads to a length that they can handle so this is will be something we will work at.
  • Step 4 How to thread a needle -
  • This is going to take some time.  Demonstration and trial and error with this one.
  • Step 5 How to locate the centre of your work.-
  • We got that straight off although I know this will vary from child to child.
    Step 6 One way of starting the stitching.
  •   -.  I decided to start with a knot.  We will try other methods later.
    Step 7 How to manipulate the needle to do running stitch.
  • - I started with the smaller piece of fabric and an un-threaded needle.  Just working out how to put the needle in and out of the holes took a whole session but when we came to stitch with thread it payed dividends
  • Step 8 How to sew a row of running stitch and then repeat this in another row  keeping the count even.
  • -  They did this almost with no help at all.  Accompanied by the singing of happy songs.  I think they like stitching!
  • Step 9 How to finish your thread.
  • - Just a back stitch.
  • Step 10 How to store your work until you are ready to stitch again.
  •   Those project bags now hang on the handles of their bedroom doors.

So next week we will finish the book mark.  They read books every night so this is something practical they can use.  Then we will start the sampler.

 

Save

Save

Save


Just something to wind left over thread on.

I remember that my Grandmother had this star shaped thing with a leg that she wound left over thread on.  As she told me, she had lived through three depressions and you didn't waste thread or fabric.  All was unpicked and put on that funny star.  I saw a picture of a similar one on Pinterest but it wasn't quite the same.

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 8.34.26 am

Then I found out it's name. "Odradek".   It appeared on one of the knitting blogs I follow written by Kate Davies.  It has quite a story and that story has raised a lot off questions.  The first being where did it come from to be in my grandmother's possession?  It's source seems to be Eastern Europe and I know some of her relatives  came from Poland but that isn't even close.

The next was who is this wonderful artist I have never heard of before, Albert Anker?     I love his work.  Someone else to investigate.

Save

Save


A bit of an oddity

The Q'ld Embroiderers' Guild has an extensive collection of embroidery from this state and considering that settlement was later here than elsewhere in Australia and life was 'rougher', that there is so much to collect is amazing.  Embroidery is a tool that women have used to help 'normalise' their lives.  But, I have to say that I find embroidering with fish scales both odd and interesting and it isn't unattractive.

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 7.44.07 am

It was usually worked on a back or blue background and the edges of the scales were 'worked' to shape them.

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 7.44.48 am

The mind has trouble accepting the amount of work that would have gone into collecting and then preparing each scale.  This piece is made from the scales of two different fish but the main one appears to be barramundi.  Being a fresh water fish it would have a clearer a lighter colour to the scales.

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 7.44.35 am

These last pieces were donated by a member and were stitched by her grandmother.  Life would not have been comfortable for those early settlers who came after the penal colony was closed down.  Travel was difficult and Queensland has always been a long way from the southern states.  Most settlers would have sailed up the coast because the terrain between here and Sydney is difficult, not to mention the many rivers that would have to be crossed. 

I look at these pieces and think of those women.  The men wrote of their adventures and what they did and saw.  The women wrote their stories in this kind of embroidery and it is just as interesting and adventurous..

Save


War Quilts - 5

This quilt (or table cover) is the second of two that were made by a tailor(s).

Screen Shot 2017-04-16 at 4.43.46 pm

Screen Shot 2017-04-16 at 4.42.10 pm

This is the work of a very experienced stitcher or stitchers.  No soldiers sitting around and sewing in their spare time here. Although, it is made from the same woollen fabric as those in use in the English Military at that time.

In the central image, (that was copied from a painting) you can see the face of every person and put a name to each face the images are so good.  The whole of that image is inlaid work, not applique.  This is similar to the Prussian Quilts and although no one knows how these techniques moved from Prussia to England this quilt was made at the time by a tailor with a German name surname, Zumpf ,when Queen Victoria and her consort Prince Albert (who was German) was on the throne.

What I was attracted to was the two outer borders which were first inlaid with fabric and then embroidered with silk thread.

Screen Shot 2017-04-16 at 4.43.08 pm

The inlaid work gives the perfect shapes but laying the silk thread and then embroidered.   The satin stitch over it is perfect and would have taken a lot of skill.

Screen Shot 2017-04-16 at 4.42.56 pm

All the details are so perfect on this quilt.  The horns of plenty that have been placed in each corner mirror each other to perfection.  Even to the use of a lighter green thread on some of the tips of the fronds.  The silk shading manages to give dimention to some of the flowers.

Screen Shot 2017-04-16 at 4.42.35 pm

There must have been a strong tradition in the German States of this kinds of work for some time.  This level of skill and finese doesn't just appear from nowhere.  Then it is blown away with the tides of history.  The unification of the German States, industrialisation and the World Wars.  We are left to sit and wonder.


More effort needed!

Last Sunday friend Janey invited me to an embroidery class that was being held in the Brisbane City Library.  This was an event to celebrate Harmony Day and Nowruz , (Persian New Year).  We joined the Iranian Society of Queensland for a 'hands on' introduction to coin embroidery (sekkeh doozy), traditionally used to make decorative objects.  Let me start by saying I was hopeless.  It wasn't that I didn't know what to do it was just that I couldn't get those threads to stay put on the coin.  But I am not giving up.  I will keep trying till I am an expert.

I made sure that I took some photos on my phone for future reference.  This technique is similar to the Indian 'mirror embroideries' but is more decorative.  There are a number of ways that you can attach those coins.  When it came to keeping them in place on the fabric a spot of glue was used to keep them still.

We were to make this embroidered bracelet.

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 7.49.00 pm

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 7.48.41 pm

We started with the dingle dangles and these were the ones I found difficult.  The thread provided was just too slippery and had too much give in it.

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 7.48.51 pm

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 7.47.01 pm

The stitches are mainly based on button hole and needle weaving.


Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 7.48.31 pm

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 7.48.20 pm

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 7.48.10 pm

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 7.47.17 pm

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 7.47.26 pm

 

English is a second language for  Shabnam  and she was not a trained instructor but we all learnt so much. (Some more than others.)  There is a series of videos on their Facebook page that I intend to sit and work through.  I am starting to save all those 5 cent pieces now that I have a great use for them, other than clogging up my change purse.

Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 7.43.48 pm

You know, we are so lucky to live in such a culturally diverse society.  We have access to so much of other cultures all of  which enriches ours.

Save

Save

Save


Teaching

I had a beginners class on Saturday.  It was full of students who were quite accomplished embroiderers.  They though that because they were 'self taught' they were beginners. 

I often wonder why I put so much work into preparation of my lessons.  I revisited the small booklet that I give to students in this class, along with some of the samples I include.  Part of the revisiting included updating the web links that I include.  I check that the web addresses are active and in doing this I realised that there has been a shift,  from 'printed resources' to 'video resources'. ( I only give 4 links,  you could give a whole list but if you keep it simple I find people will visit the sites.)  It is interesting how we are slowly moving away from the printed word. 

The four sites I use are;

needlenthread.com  this has lots to look at in the Tips & Techniques section including some good 'how to' videos' at the bottom of the page.

Screen Shot 2017-02-18 at 8.17.46 pm

Pintangle's Stitch Dictionary. It you ever want to look up a stitch this is the place to go.  There are 100's of stitches and images of different variations.

Screen Shot 2017-02-18 at 8.21.00 pm

The Embroiderers' Guild of the U.K.  There are some nice videos with Nicola Jarvis demonstrating different techniques.  This site also has lots of interesting links.  One could waste a lot of time just exploring here.

Screen Shot 2017-02-18 at 8.32.48 pm

And finally, DMC U.K.  or DMC USA

Both sites are similar with the USA site having more video tutorials.

Screen Shot 2017-02-18 at 8.35.53 pm

With the samples I include in my kit I usually put a free pattern from Bronwyn Hayes of Red Brolly but her webpage and Facebook pages have been removed.  Bronwyn is fighting caner at the moment and her family want her to concentrate on that.  I really miss her breezy blog and all the lovely patterns she includes.

Screen Shot 2017-02-18 at 8.46.16 pm

So why do I put so much effort into preparing a class that is free for new members?  Well I love embroidery and I like to share that love with others.

Save


More Loot

On the road again and this time the destination was Toowoomba.  Always a good hunting ground. There are lots of interesting shops, artists, gardens and Op shops.

The Op shops were first on the list after I had attended to business.  I was looking for a small bar tin for baking.  My husband thought the other was old so he threw it out.  It was one like my Mother had and not easily replaced.  I found a tin but not the one I wanted but I also found lots of things I hadn't even thought about. Like these lovely little Japanese dolls.  All $2 each.

Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 12.27.31 pm

And another bunch of things that I can't show because they are going into the Christmas draw.  But let me say that I spent another $20 on 5 presents!

Then I saw there was a sale on at Hana's, which is a family department store.  I only bought 2 shirts but I have noted lots of things for my next visit.  Out to the patchwork shops where there were sales but everything I liked was full price.  Some nice Moda fabric.

Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 12.31.45 pm

Just some top ups on Shadowplay.

Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 12.31.54 pm

Some nice 'boy' fabric, small scissors and thread.

Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 12.32.02 pm

Then onto the craft show.  It was very hot by this time and I think I parked my car illegally under some trees at the University but I wasn't booked thank goodness.  Here I caught up with lots of people I knew and found some bits and pieces I have been looking for.  New blade for the rotary cutter and needles which I keep dropping and can never find again.  (I'm sure there is an imp that collects them.)

Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 12.38.25 pm

Some Japanese thread I want to trial.

Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 12.38.35 pm

A stand for my rulers.

Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 12.39.05 pm

I think I could do with a second one of these as I have lots of templates still in packets!

Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 12.39.12 pm

That was all stuff I needed.  The rest is, well I wanted it.  A lovely hand turned bowl in Campher Laurel.  The smell is divine.

Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 12.38.55 pm

Finally I am starting to find some Australian wool producers.  With all the wool the country produces it is a crime that we have to buy from over seas.  I only bought the one hank of wool to trial.  We will see how it goes.

Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 12.38.47 pm

Good thing I remembered to put the trolley in the car boot because I would never have got it home otherwise!

Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 12.50.56 pm

I think I had better stay home for a while to let my wallet recover.

 


A Schoolgirls Work

I received a lovely book as a gift from my friend Angela.

Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 9.42.05 am

I had a look on Amazon and I can see that it is quite sort after, prices starting at $125 US!

It has some really interesting work in the book and I see that most of the samplers, which start from 1710, are silk stitched on linen.  But there was one unusual sampler which was wool stitched on linen.  It was stitched in 1809, and the wool hasn't been eaten or even looked at by moths.  So it is possible that stitching in wool could last.

Scan 4

When I said unusual, I meant the inclusion of a steam engine in the piece.  There are a number of motive here that I could use and I love the borders.  This book is full of great inspiration, no wonder it is sort after. (I have put this image in at a higher resolution so if you click on the image you can get a close up.)

Now why am I worried about moths?  Well in my old house they ate through 2 Harris Tweed jackets, numerous woollen cardigans and a babies Hap.  I continue to keep an eye out for them.

Save