Unreal expectations

Sixteen place-mats to whip up in a few days.  It is not going to happen.  I have so over estimated what I am capable of.  I have now quilted the first 6 of the 16.  That has taken 2 days.  And let me say 2 full days.  I am pleased with the quilting.  Six different designs all done with my walking foot.  All that practice has payed off.

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But I haven't thought this through.  I still have all the bindings to do and all that hand sewing takes time.  I knew what I was doing with these mats.

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With the next 10 I am going to be in new territory.  I want to use my Bernina quilting rulers and my free motion sewing is not good.

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Thinking about it, if I want to catch up on the number of mats I need to finish I might be better to stick with the walking foot quilting.  I might be able to finish this lot in a week or so.  I still have another 14 to go to get to my projected total which has to be finished in November.  I can complete this lot using a technique I am familiar with and take some of the pressure off myself, then learn something new when I have a bit more time.  (I have had a couple of visitor to my sewing room who would like to buy these.  It's the cat thing.)



I have a major recycling project on my hands at the moment.  I had to pull out my spare sewing machine to lend to a friend (her machine had completely frozen,  I think it might be rust.)  And when I got it out from under the bench I found 2 big bags of scraps from my last quilt.  I'm glad I didn't put them in the bin because I have been able to make 16 place-mats from those bits and pieces, or I will once I get them going.

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I have now pieced all the small pieces of wadding and off cuts and layered my mats ready for  quilting.

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The first 6 are from a piece I found at Vinnies a while ago.  It was a cat print, so not technically part of my off cuts, but it is recycling.

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I am way behind on my 50 place-mats for charity but this effort, when I finish, should put me within striking distance.

Brooch No 2

This brooch is far more acceptable.

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Firstly, I used a high count dressmakers linen as the base for my embroidery.  Not nearly as bulky as an embroidery linen which meant that it gathered better over the base.

I managed to replicate the 'doming' on the front by building up the layers of wadding.  I used three sizes and glued them one on top of the other to the base starting with the smallest.

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I then glued a piece of the same fabric I used for the embroidery over this.

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This meant that there was no glue anywhere near the piece of embroidery but the pale colour of the wadding didn't show through.  After this had dried I flexed the card by putting pressure with my fingers on the outside edges.  This resulted in the dome becoming a bit more pronounced.

I then gathered the edges of the embroidery and stretched it over this base.  Because the linen is thinner there wasn't very much bulk to begin with and I flexed the edges again to pronounce that dome.  When it came to sewing the beads onto the edge I fixed them to the very outside edge of the brooch.  This helped to accentuate the dome.  (A bit of an optical illusion.)

I then sewed the pin in place at the top of the brooch.  (Thanks for that tip Queenie.)

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I was right in saying the doming of the piece and the size of the pin were the two areas that were the main problems.  I think that you could cover your base with wadding and then leave an opening to stuff this with fibre fill or maybe lambs wool.  You would have to manipulate it a bit.  I will try that way in the future.  Repositioning the pin over came that problem without the need to buy a longer pin.  This is a far more acceptable result.   

The next one is going to be smaller in size.

A Yoko Saito book

This is the last of my purchases for a while.  (I hope these are not famous last words.)

Yoko Saito's "Beautiful Bags, Pouches & Quilts".

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I have been a fan of her work for years and I love the way she combines quilting, applique and embroidery in her work.  Last time I was in Houston her work featured on display and it was beautiful.  Also at that time she was talking to Martingdale Publisher and a number of great videos went up on You Tube.  All her work is done by hand and she is so fast. 

There is also a good video of her technique. 

Her applique stitching is so well considered and she is able to see in layers.  This simple design of wheat heads is given such definition by the use of simple embroidery.

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And that little bird applique sitting in the tree on the book cover is so small and perfect.

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I may never stitch any of these projects, although I hope I do.  However, the pleasure of just looking at such beautiful work is worth the purchase price.

Playing with threads

I have started to play around with the DMC Lurex thread.

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It is different to the old variety in that it is easier to handle.  It still frays where you bend the thread at the needle when you thread the needle, so I am not using so long a tail to save wasteage.  I cut my thread at about 35cm in length.  Any longer and it starts to break down.

I reduced a Japanese pattern to experiment on.  (The original was about 10cm square down to 5cm square.)

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Then I tried a number of stitches.

running stitch      good

back stitch    no good

any stitch whipped     no good

straight stitch    alright in one direction, if you go back and forth the light shows shiney and dull threads.

French Knots     good up to 3 wraps

Stem stitch     alright if you make your stitches a bit bigger.  (You can see that the bottom wing is smaller stitches and this is very untidy.  )

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It 'feels' very comfortable to work with but it does have limitations.  Still, it's a great improvement on the old Lurex thread.