My Embroidery Feed

A Disarster Averted!!

Oh dear, I am still shaking at what might have been.

I was teaching a class on Saturday at The Embroiderers' Guild and being the weekend the ferry and barge time tables change.  No barges till 8am and the first ferry is 6:45am, which is the one I had to catch.  When I lived in town and was teaching I just carried my requirements out to the car and drove to where I wanted to go.  Here I have to walk 1k to the ferry and then 900metres from the ferry to the car.  On Saturday I was talking to another resident on the ferry and up the jetty and I got held up.  Then I rushed up through the park to get to the parking area over rough ground because it was threatening to rain.  My bags were held on the trolley with a 'bungy strap' but the bottom bag must have slipped out somewhere along the way.  (In fact it dropped out behind the public toilets where I had taken a short cut.)  The strap was still tight when I put the trolley in the car and I didn't realise that I had lost a bag.

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Realisation dawned when I went to put up the display of samples for the class.  No samples.  This was all my TAST work from 2010 - 2015 plus other embroidery samples I had made.  All I could do was ring my husband and send him out looking.  He had no luck.  So, I put a post up on the island Facebook page and within 5 minutes someone was posting that they had found the bag and handed it to the Post Mistress.  Then the Post Mistress was on the phone to say she had the bag and would deliver it to my home. 

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There are great advantages to living in a small community.


Class preparation

My life has been taken over by preparation for an upcoming class.  I wasn't sure that it would go ahead and suddenly there was a rush of enrollments.  This project includes 26 different colours of thread.  For a participant to have to buy that many threads would make the cost prohibitive so I have bought the thread and will divide it between those doing the class.

This little bundle was $190 then there was another $60 of thread I got from England, plus the linen fabric.  Granted I have paid retail for this.  I am going to have to be more careful with my needles as they now cost $1 each.

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I have a great stash of threads that has been fed constantly over the years and haven't noticed how much it cost.  I look at the cost of embroidery kits and think how expensive they are but after this exercise I will look with new eyes.  Embroidery is an expensive hobby.

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Peace Embroidery No 3 March 2017

This design offered so much promise but I did it all wrong.  I think it would have been a lot better if I had just used a simple outline stitch instead of arguing with this #*% of a piece of embroidery.  (I might still do that just to see if it would work.)  Don't get me wrong, it isn't that bad, I just think it is worse.

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The other thing I am struggling with here is the light.  In my old home the light came at just the right direction, not so here.  I think that I am going to have to construct a light box for taking photos.  More research needed.

I took another photo of the piece hanging on the wall but the light was even worse.  That is really a fairly light coloured grey linen from Ikea backed with Amourweft interfacing to give it some body.  I used 2 stands of a DMC cotton.  And that is a whole other story! I used thread from my stash but didn't have enough.  Went to buy more, but, the colour has been discontinued.  So I had to use something close in colour. (The embroidery complained.)

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Still there have been some positives.  By the time I got to the final few leaves my satin stitch was smooth.  Now that has to be good news.  It has taken me a life time to get to this point.

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Not keepings up

I am one of those people who likes to write.  Every piece of embroidery I design becomes an entry in a journal.  I used to keep a daily journal of my life but now it is down to 'notes'.

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But I have kept some of those old journals.  When we moved I had nowhere to keep them so all except the most precious were consigned to the bin,

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At one point I thought I would make covers for everyone but they took up too much space in the book case.

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So the one I am working on at the moment has a tattty old cover.  It is a piece of wool that I was experimenting on regarding how to sew up the covers.

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Actually this journal is about the book cover I have been working on and talked about in my WIPW post.  I think this is the most detailed account I have ever kept of a piece of work.  I have pasted lot of bits and pieces in the pages and I will need a rubber band soon to close it.

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At the front of the book I write my musings about why I am stitching the piece.  Well it actually started as a bit of rhyming verse.  The question I asked myself was "when I look out my window what do I see?"  Kindergarten stuff.  I find the more I write the more images come into my mind.  (I think in pictures.)  This piece is beginning to feel that I haven't scratched the surface as yet.  I walk around the house looking out every window asking, "what am I seeing and how does it make me feel". 

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Yesterday I started taking pictures.  Of the scene I have just finished stitching.

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To some ideas about future stitching.

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Doing this I managed to get photo bombed by a dragon fly.

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From the back of the book I write the nitty gritty of what I am doing.  Threads, stitches, how I changed the stitch, what to expect when I use that stitch that way.  

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I put a full copy of the stitching in there along with the drawings and then take each part and write how I stitched it.  That is great if I then teach a class about that piece.  I am able to assemble the notes easily and it is a great memory jogger when asked a question.

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My friend said I should make a book out some of theses journals.  Now that is food for thought.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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And finally, DMC U.K.  or DMC USA

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

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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.

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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.

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Peace Embroidery No 2 Februrary 2017

I have to say that I have not resolved my issues with the piece I was working on.  We are working towards a resolution, but who knows when this will happen.  A very sad situation having such a head-strong piece of embroidery who argues all the time!   So while negotiations continue there is a new piece for February.

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I found this design hidden in an old Quaker sampler.  It originally said "Peace to my friend" but I liked friends better.  My piece is worked on 28 count linen.  The thread I used was Danish Flower Thread No 226 and I worked the design over one (1) thread.

( This one already knew who it was and everything went smoothly.)

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WIPW

I had a great day yesterday at the Children's Class. There were times when I got a bit wobberly but I got though alright.  Or I thought I did.  I haven't been too good today so am taking it very quietly and staying in the air-conditioning.  That is why I am late with my Work in Progress.

And there hasn't been a lot to report.  I have started on a new teaching piece because the one I had was too hard.  But I don't like the background linen.  I might bleach it or switch to a white linen but then that isn't very practical for a book cover.  I will have to see where this one goes.

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The February 'peace' embroidery doesn't have a voice at all.  I am outlining the design, slowly, and there isn't a peep from it.  I thought it would have told me what it wanted for the filling but not a word.

Peace

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Language difficulties

It is so difficult to view a Japanese site using Google and I have to use Google so that I can have them BADLY translated.  I came across a reference to a Kogin stitching competition that was held this month (I think).  From what I can gather it will be in the Amuse Museum in Toyoko.  All that aside, there was a reference to the work of a "Mr Kamata Hikariten" and some illustrations of his work.  Lots of curves.

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And the other images show some fantastic work.

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It is so frustrating just getting glimpses of this work and not being about to find out more.  I suppose that's how the other 80% of net users who do not speak English feel as well.


The month of experiments

This month is turning into 'The Month of Experiments'.  I have lots of ideas that I want to test out. 

I haven't used any of the Hishi Sashi patterns in my work for a while and in another piece I am designing I thought the smallest, 11 count patterns, would work well.  The only draw back is that there are a limited number of designs in this count.   Because they are small it takes time to cover the fabric.  It has taken a day to finish this small swatch. 

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Then I had to deal with the limited number of designs. Queenie sent me a comment about my last post on swatching that got me thinking.  Maybe it would be alright if I 'adjusted' some of the designs I had to expand the range of designs available.  So I did.  Oh the guilt I felt!  Just shows how 'brainwashed' I am about following rules and regulations.  All those years as a school teacher had an effect.

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Straight lines & Curves

I have thought of a new design for my next Kogin project but I am finding it difficult to realise it.  The problem is that Kogin embroidery is all about straight lines.  All the designs are mainly based on a diamond pattern.  There are some patterns that are used as borders and again these have straight edges.  My pattern is about curves.

I have drawn out a template of the curve and then tried drawing this using my computer program.  It looked fine but experience has taught me that what might look fine on the screen might not translate to the fabric.  So I have been 'swatching' and I can see that the bottom edge of that curve needs some tweeking.  I may have to look at stitching through a thread.

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The other problem to be solved is that the design has to go across a seam.  I have drawn this so that when the seam is sewn the missing parts of the design on the left of the pattern will be stitched in.  This part of the pattern will appear on the far right of the printed design.

One of my goals for this year is to get the first draft of my book on Kogin Embroidery completed.  I have this project on track.  But the more I think about it I am understanding that my experience of this typed of embroidery is very coloured by my Western Culture.  My Embroidery looks like the traditional technique but the experience of stitching it is totally different.  Trying to use curves where there are usually straight lines just highlights this.

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