Teaching Feed

Normality

 I am still searching for that.  Just when I think I am starting to recover this virus comes back and reminds me it still has the upper hand.  I have got lost in this fog.  I know I first started feeling ill back at the beginning of March, I'm still not sure if it was some new medication or the virus at this point.  But by the 19th of March I was ill.  It is now May.  That is only 8 or 9 weeks!  It seems like years.  Writting that down gives me some hope.  I keep thinking that I am going to die.  But not yet, not yet.  It is now the most perfect time of year and the island is so beautiful.

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Even though I am not well enough I prepared a class for the Guild to teach yesterday.  I had most of the notes already prepared but I had to put the effort into preparing the kits and supplies.  I enjoy this activity.  I like to think my students will be surprised and delighted by the little extra's that I add to the kit.  I am unable to just give a list of requirements,  I always found that such a chore to get it all together.  Far nicer to get a surprise bundle.

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So off I headed into the city.  I enjoyed teaching the class but boy I was tired when I got home.  Still it was worth the effort.


The two finger tassel

Quite a few years ago I decided I needed to have every colour of DMC stranded cotton.  Back then I was stitching other peoples designs and only dabbling with my own.  I thought that I had a full set and then DMC added new colours to the range and discontinued others.  At that point I decided I didn't need a full set of threads.

 

So what to do with all these threads, boxes of them?  Some I donated to the guild but I still have a lot that I will never use.  That is where the two finger tassel comes in.  One skein of thread is just the right amount to make a nice little fat tassel.  Now you could use three or even four fingers to make the tassel but they get a little thinned the longer they get.  You could use a piece of cardboard as a template but this little tutorial is just for fingers.

You will need 1 skein of stranded cotton or the equivalent amount of left over mixed cottons.

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A large needle with a big eye, a pair of scissors AND 2 fingers.

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Take the paper wrapper off the thread  and cut one small (1 round approx.) and one large length(6 rounds approx.)

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Then, with your two fingers slightly apart, lay the short thread along you index finger and wrap the main thread until it reaches the thickness you like.  This could be all the thread left or just as much as you want.

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Slide your fingers out and tie a tight knot with the short thread.

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Take the longer thread and make a slip knot in one end leaving enough length in the short end to blend in with the tassel.  (I had to put my pen through the thread because I couldn't take a photo and hold the tassel with one hand.)

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Pull the slip knot tight to make the head of the tassel and then wrap this firmly. 

Thread the end of your thread through your needle.

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Work you needle under the wrapping thread, working from the direction you finished wrapping.  I finished at the bottom so had to work towards the top.

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Work your need up and down behind the wrapping threads a number of times finishing with the needle towards to bottom of the tassel.  Notice that I work this on an angle and be careful not to pierce the strands of cotton.

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Now cut your thread at the length of the tassel and cut that folded thread along the fold.  At this point it will look a bit ragged.

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Use you scissors to trim it up.

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You could use it just like this but I have used that left over thread to make a longer hanger.  I threaded it through the top knot and made a secure knot.  You could make it fancy by using a twisted thread if you wanted to.

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First time I made one of these it took me about 15 minutes, I now have that down to 5 minutes.

Quick and Easy.  Uses up my extra threads and this is just right for the zipper pulls on all these bags I have been making.

 


Applique - 2

Another friendship block to finish for my patchwork group and this time I have just put my fabric onto a double sided heat and bond and then assembled on a piece of bake paper.  After this it is easy to lift off onto the background fabric and fuse into position with the iron.  That sounds easy if you have done it before but there are a number of steps.

Firstly you must reverse your pattern then trace it onto the heat and bond and then fuse this to the back of your applique piece.

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Cut out your shape and then score the paper with a pin to remove.

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If you have a pattern place this under the bake paper and then assemble your pieces on top and fuse together on the bake paper.

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These will then just lift off as one piece and

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you can then  fuse them to the base fabric.

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But I see a problem straight away with my cup cake.  I should have backed the icing on the cake with another fabric to get rid of that shadow.  Still I have a crafty plan to deal with that.


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Next I zig-zagged the edges down.  Before I did this I put a piece of interfacing on the back to stablise the stitching and before I actually stitched I did a few practise lines to get the width and density of the stitch correct.

 

I pull my bobbin thread to the surface to eliminate tangles.

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Bottom and then the top.

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Then turn to the back and cut away that interfacing.

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My crafty plan for that shadow was to embroider and embellish the design.  It takes your eye away from the shadow.

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I used straight stitch, pistol stitch and French knots.  The fabric for the icing is by Odile Bailloeul, I just love her fabric designs.


Applique

I am in the process of developing a class on applique and want to include a number of different techniques.  I had to make a friendship block for my friend which used a technique I think I will include.  It is a good method for larger pieces of fabric.

You will need a base fabric to applique it onto, applique fabric and iron on interfacing. 

Make sure that your pattern piece is cut on the bias because this will make it turn through and stitch in place evenly.

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Put your iron on inter-faceing  with the glue side against the right side of your fabric.  Trace your pattern onto the wrong side of your main fabric,

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then sew around this line.  DO NOT IRON.

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Trim back your seam allowance.  Turn to the interfacing side and make a small slit in this.

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Turn through to the right side.  DO NOT IRON.

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Roll the edges between your fingers to get the edge to sit straight.

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It is never easy to pull your points through.  You could use a collar turner.

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Or put a thread through the corner

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and then pull the corner out when you turn it through.

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Position your applique piece onto your base fabric and now iron in position.  Once you iron there is no turning back so make sure you have it in the correct position.  Slip stitch the edges into position.

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This method works well where you have larger and regular applique pieces.

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A cutting tip

I have been working on my 'A good idea at the time" bags and have been asked  how I get pattern on the fabric to match so well.

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I don't do any thing fancy like pattern matching, I just put my selvedge edges together and cut through both pieces.  I am only using the fabric the way it was printed and it is usually printed edge to edge.

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But beware of the fabric where the print runs in the other direction, it just will not work.  You are going to have to pattern match this one.

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I think I am back!

This last week has been so intense that when I sat down to write this post I thought it had been weeks since I had been here not days.  I have such a backlog of tasks to catch up with and a huge pile of others waiting to be attempted.  What has got me so off balance you ask?  Those Children's Classes! 

On reviewing  I feel that the embroidery designs were good but there was too much to do in the making up of the projects, especially that purse frame.  I still have a small bundle of purses to put together and post out to students.  That has only happened once before.  I think the problem was that we had such a large class and I 'assumed' that my volunteers knew more than they did.  That is one to put down to experience.  Having said that those children were delightful.  I do like teaching kids no matter how frazzled I get.

Starting with my big girls, who are now on the brink of becoming young women.  (How time flys.)  They were not very taken by pineapples.  So, out came the books and they came up with something that suited them.

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Another crop of stitchers who have great skills to now move on into the world of embroidery.  This is what teaching is all about.

The younger ones did like pineapples and they stitched their little hands off.  Some stitched so fast I had to quickly come up with a design for a back panel to keep them busy.

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The images are not as good as I would like.  I have a new camera and getting the images onto my computer is a unfamiliar process.  Plus, Apple keeps sending through more upgrades to the operating system and I have to work out how they work!  They say they are improvements but I'm not sure.

I have a break now till the next class and this time the assembly is going to be a simpler.


WIPW

I am trying to get ahead with my samples for classes I will teach in 2018, with the Children's Projects top of my list.  I completed the first sample and the older children would handle this with no problem but I'm not sure about the little ones.  I am going to look at how I can do this kind of theme in cross stitch, which might be easier.  (This will be made into a pocket to go onto a small pin cushion where you can keep a pair of scissors and maybe some other tools.)

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Because 2018 will be the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Embroiderers' Guild in Queensland I want all the projects to link into this in some way.

The next project will be a small purse and here I have drawn a tropical theme of pineapples, palm leaves and another tropical plant leaf.  I want to introduce the students to the use of other threads to achieve texture.  So far so good but I will have to stitch fast as I used a fading pen.

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WIPW

Well I made it.  The sample,  poster, instructions and 35 kits are finished and delivered.

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There are 5 flowers in Mary's garden and the students will be asked to plant some more along with other things that are in her garden.  Such as birds, insects and any other fantasy items they can imagine and stitch.   There is a selection of fabric colours available along with a mixed variety of contrast trims.  So all the bags should look different.    `

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But that isn't quite it.  I have come up with some other designs for this bag.  Not for this class but I will put them up later as a free download and tutorial.  Tomorrow I intend to clean my sewing room and relax.

 


Really Tired

The "Children's Classes" were a great success last week, but coming on top of my surgery and then getting a wog,  I found that I was really tired after it all.  It isn't helped by that fact that I have to add 4 hours to each day due to travel.  It was catch the 5:30am ferry to the mainland, drive to the city, find a park, drive home and get the 6:00pm ferry home. (Then prepare dinner and wash up.)  The first day I managed to get a parking ticket  because I couldn't see the little buttons to key in the number plate.  (I did manage to get that reversed.) The Second day I parked in a nearby suburb which meant I had a bus trip and a bit of a walk added to the journey.  My watch told me I had averaged 12 Kilometres each day.  And to think I did that most days when I was teaching full time.

But despite all of that the kids had a great time.  I just wouldn't have got through either day without the help of the volunteers, they are worth their weight in gold.

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We had students ranging in age from 5 years through to 15 years and all kinds of ability levels.  It turned out our little one was the first finished.  She had been watching her older sisters stitch and was right into it.  One problem we encountered was that some children rushed in to trace their design onto their fabric and it wasn't properly centred.  It is amazing what you can achieve with a few stars and some glue.

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The 5 year old had the same problem but insisted that the stars had to go all the way around and she wanted a teddy bear on the lid and it must be kept covered to keep it clean.

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We had a table of boys, all about 8 or 9 years of age and they were well behaved and great students.  There was, however, a lot of knots to get out on the threads there.

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We teach the children to use a hoop right from the beginning and the mechanics of that often take a bit of getting used to.

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All three of the designs were popular.  Some of the older students and some volunteers liked the poodle best.  These are samples stitched by our volunteers, great exemplars of what can be achieved.

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I was really pleased to see that lots of students choose Chopper. 

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There was some lovely neat stitching.

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And Choppie shone.

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Now it is time to start testing some designs for the next class in September. 

But I almost forgot what happened at the end of my day.  I walked up the jetty from the ferry, dragging my feet, and a magpie did a poo right on the top of my head.  Welcome Home!!

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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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