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February 2012

African Embroideries

I ordered these pieces before Xmas and I don't know where they have been but they finally arrived in the post box.  I bought them from Tambani which is a job creation project in South Africa.  They now have a new blog called African Quilts and Embroidery  both sites have wonderful stories of the embroiderers and the stories the embroideries illustrate.

But back to the beginning.  I bought my first embroideries from Ina in Houston Texas at the International Quilt Exhibition in 2007.  I had no idea of what I was buying or the history behind the pieces I just loved them at first sight.  One of the first pieces I bought was these two lions.


Later on I read the whole story of the Lions and the Zebras (which you can read here) and had to have the rest of the pieces.  There is an even better version of the story at the Tambani site under Venda Folktales.

Today this excellent Zebra arrived.  Just look at him he is so arrogant and he is so beautifully stitched.


Both of these pieces were stitched by the same embroiderer. You can read more about her here.


I aslo received this embroidery of the zebras dancing.


This was stitched by Eni and you can read her whole story at the Tambani site.

Oh dear I see I'm missing an embroidery, this one.  I must order it straight away.


There are lots of stories and the embroideries that go with them and they are all available on-line.

A New ibook

 Shilo Shiv Suleman is like one of the mythical creatures that she writes about.  This young Indian woman is using technology to write interactive stories for the ipad.  I have to get a copy. 

First I have to get my ipad back off my daughter!


A new book

I have been making some new clothes for my grand daughter and thought I would buy some new patterns.  That was until I saw how expensive paper patterns have become.  The cost of a dress pattern for a child 1 - 4 years of age was  $24.00.  I can buy a little dress all complete for less than $10.00 at Target and at the rate kids grow if you add the cost of fabric and time to the pattern cost it would be well over the $50.00 mark.

Then I came across this book in my local book store. Cost $29.95.


There are 24 different patterns is sizes 2 - 10 years



They are basic styles that are easy to make.  As I am an experienced sewer I don't really need the instructions but they are clear and easy to follow.


Monique is only 1 year old so these are a bit big but she will grow quickly and I will have them sewn ready for her in advance.  Not only that, I'm sure the patterns will be useful to make clothes for some of my nieces children as well.  I'm very pleased with this purchase.


TAST 2012 February 21st

Week 8     Chain Stitch

I have never really liked chain stitch, although I use it all the time.  I think my ambivalence toward this stitch dates back to the time I was learning it as a child.  When you pulled the thread the stitch was supposed to unravel.  Mine never did.  I can get it to unravel now but it has taken years to reach this point.

This sampler is incredibly 'busy'.  I didn't mean it to be, it just happened. The hems just got out of control.  It reminds me of a circus.  I just couldn't fit everything on the sampler and I left out a number of variations, there just wasn't room.  Of all the variations I think I like the twisted and crested ones the best.

Oh well, into the folder it goes.  It does demonstrate  a lot of stitches and will make a useful addition to my teaching aids.  (The hem is the same as last week, just different decoration.)


Link to Pintangle    Link to Flikr

Bright and Beautiful

I just love the work of Catalina Estrada.  Most of her designs are computer generated and there is a mix of so many influences.  I would always see my luggage on the round-about if I had one of these.


And I love the wall paper.  (Oh that floor !!)


and this floor as well.


There are so many goodies to look at on this site.

I found this video on YouTube of one of her exhibitions.


And this is an interview with Catalina with English subtitles.


Newby Knitting

When I have down time, like watching the news on TV, I knit for the new baby due in May this year.

I found an old book, with no cover, of knitting patterns from the 1950's in an op shop.  It had 3ply patterns for baby clothes and as I had a whole heap of white 3ply yarn in my stash I sit and knit these at this time. 



White is good because we are not being told the gender of the baby.  I am not going to sew any buttons on until I know, then I will customise these cardigans. I have another two to complete so this baby will not be cold and I have used a synthetic yarn so they can be put in the washing machine.  Still, they may stretch but babies grow so that isn't a problem.



A sick puppy

My little dog Charlie is sick.  She has a bladder infection and the antibiotics haven't worked so she has been in hospital having tests.  She will have to have an operation later this week for bladder stones.


It is nearly as bad as having one of the children ill and is going to cost me a whole lot more.  I wish I had taken that pet insurance. 

I thought that there might be more than just Charlie going to hospital after the men got up into the mango tree to pick the fruit.  We have had a bumper season.  I put 20 mangoes in the bin everyday because they have split after falling or have been partly eaten by either the fruit bats or the possums.  We have a Bowen Mango tree, that means delicious.  Even this late in the season they managed to pick another 50 or 60 mangoes.  The problem was that the possums have taken up residence next to the fruit so that when the men climbed into the tree it was touch and go if the possums would attack them.


To stop them falling on the ground when they are cut from the tree you take a washing basket and the best pillow off your bed  and catch them when they fall.


We haven't had such a good crop for years.  Last years floods and the rains this year have meant lots of fruit.

Hem 3

The Hem

I started by tacking out the hems, this time I wanted the hem wider so counted 20 threads either side of the finished size tacking line.  I embroidered the hem before I set it.  I probably could have taken more care in the spacing of the flowers but time was limited and I still spent far more time than I could afford.  (4 hours)


Next I mitred the corners (see hem 2) and tacked the hems in position.  To catch the edges I used an semi-invisible hem stitch.   To start the thread I inserted the needle through the fold and caught it with a small back stitch in the hem, doing the reverse when I finished.


I worked with the edge of the hem facing away from me.  The needle slides inside the hem fold for about 1cm,


and then 1 thread is picked up from the main fabric.


This gives a raised edge to your hem which sits like a frame around your work.