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September 2018

August 2018


Our tele-communcations tower took a direct lightening strike on Saturday.  No internet, no phones limited TV.   We haven't had a storm in months.   But it is back today.  Everyone one the island sighed a great sigh of relief.

I have done hardly any work over the last couple of weeks.  The pain level in my joints and muscles has got so bad that I have frozen up.  It got so bad I actually went back to my old doctor in town.  He went into overdrive.  Tests, scans, etc etc.  But some of the results show that after I had Barmar Forest Virus I caught Ross River Virus and Glandular fever.  No wonder I have been a cot case.

There are still a lot of tests to go but one thing he did for me was to get me cortisone injections in my shoulders.  There are working a lot better now and as a little bonus my legs are back in action.  I was actually able to reach down and touch the floor with no pain.   The effect only lasted a couple of days but I am loved every moment of my pain free status at that time.

I would like to finish my quilt but don't want to over do the use of the rotary cutter which makes me feel as if my shoulder will fall off but it is all sitting there and tempting me.

So I thought, maybe just a place mat or two.  This one isn't bad.

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But it still hurts.  Better give that a miss.  I have a Kogin class to teach this weekend and with the loss of the internet I have a lot of work to catch up on.


 A great big Zero this week.  I have been travelling up and down to the city seeing Doctors.  I did see a magpie who had stollen another birds nest.  He looked pretty pleased with himself.

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The cushion back

There are a number of different ways to insert an opening into the back of your cushion.  Because I am using different weight fabrics in the two pieces, hemp and cotton, I find that this method is simple and works well.

I cut my backing piece using the measurements below.

Screen Shot 2018-08-20 at 4.19.52 pmI then measure down approx. 4" and cut across the width so that there are two pieces.  Marking the middle I then add my zipper using the same method used in making pouches.  (tutorial here.)  I leave the seam 2" on each end of the zipper open.

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Then turn down a pleat in the fabric and pin in position.

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I then sew along the pin line.  Here I have used a darker thread so that the stitching can be seen.  This closes the ends of the fabric and the zipper sits inside the fold of fabric.

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I then trim back the excess fabric so that the front and back pieces are the same size.  Placing the right sides together I pin the two pieces together, making sure I open the zipper first.  Because I used a dark thread that would show I forgot that this wouldn't be visable on back of the front panel.  So Here I have tacked it in position.  Usually you can see this stitching and use it as your guide when stitching the front and back together.  Use your zipper foot again to do this and run your finger down the side of the piping cord so that it sits proud and stitch on top of the line where you attached to piping to the front panel.

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Because I am using hemp fabric for the front panel I have to make my seam allowances a bit bigger, about 3/4".  (If I didn't do this it could fray.)  And, also because of the hemp I have to neaten the edges with a wave stitch.  (If I used the overlocker I could do damage to the cutting blade.)

Screen Shot 2018-08-20 at 4.11.49 pm If I was using two pieces of fabric of equal weight I would use a 1/2" seam allowance and overlock the edges.

Turn your work through and add your pillow insert,  go up to the next size if you want the cushion to be plump.   I have left the dark thread in place so that you can see the stitching on the back.  With a self coloured thread you wouldn't see this.

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The pillow front is an old Kogin kit I finished ages ago .  It isn't my best stitching but works well as a sample for showing how to put piping around a cushion.

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Putting piping on a cushion

One of the classes that I teach is Machine Finishing for Embroiderers'.  It is all about how you get a good finish when you make up your work.  Now some embroidery doesn't need you to use a sewing machine to put that work together but things like cushions or anything that needs a zipper is something that does.  A shoddy finish can spoil all that hard work.

One of the things that I often get asked is how do I put piping around my cushion?  Well, first you have to ask are you using commercially bought piping or making the piping yourself?  It is a lot cheaper to make your own, if a bit fiddely, and, you can match it to the back of your cushion.  So here is a short tutorial on making and attaching the piping.  Tomorrow I will post one way you can insert a zipper and attach the back of the cushion to the front.

1.    The first thing I do with the cushion front is mark the distance I want to leave around the embroidery on the fabric.  I use tailors chalk to do this.  Then I measure how much piping I will need using this mark.  I always allow extra fabric and cord.  You can cut it off but it is hard to add it on.

2.    The next thing is to cut and join the bias strips needed to cover the cord.  Make sure these are cut on the true bias and that they are joined on the bias.

3.     Using my zipper foot I sew the cord in the bias strip to make the casing.  Not up too close, leave a little space for movement.

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4.    Leave the ends un-sewn so you can join them to fit.

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5.    Most instructions will say "Pin the piping into position just inside your marked line."  Now that leaves out a lot.  Just how much you need to use will have to take into account the thickness of the cord and what about the corners?

Square corners can be done but it is easier to round your corners off.  When you do this make sure your 'snip' the casing so that the piping 'walks around' that corner.

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6.  Now  that you actually know how much piping you will need to go right around that cushion you have to join the ends of that bias strips, on the bias.  Why don't you just sew it straight across?  Doing that will restrict movement of the piping and could pull it out of shape.

7.  Put some sticky tape on the cut ends of the cord so it doesn't fray out.

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8     Put the ends together.  Sometime if the cord is very thick or I think the ends will pull apart I will put in a hand stitch to keep them together but most commercial establishments use this end to end method without hand stitching.

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9.     Finish by sewing the casing in place.  I then attach this to the cushion front.   Using my zipper foot I stitch  just inside the casing stitch line.

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Now I am ready to attach the cushion back.


Such little output!!

Me who is always on the go and doing things.  Still there are a couple of positives.

I finished the Kogin Cushion for my student.  It wasn't as straight forward as I would have liked and the different weights of the Japanese cotton and hemp fabrics added to the level of difficulty.

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And  I  found some lovely Japanese fabric in my stash for the back.

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And those patchwork blocks I spoke about yesterday.  Looking at them now I see that I have added a row on the side of each that I should not have done.  So these are going to be dispersed among the others.  Actually looking at this I have done a lot more than I thought I had.

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The blessing of friends.

It is now over a week and Typepad was unable to address the hyjacking of my blog.  I have been with them for over 10 years now and all they can give me is "it must be your fault."  This has led to total frustration.  But this morning they got back to me and I am back as me not some widget.  (Big sigh of relief.)

I have had a few days away with friends up at Toowoomba.  This is the first time I have been away from home since the end of February.  I was a bit worried if I would be able to cope with the driving but I made it up there in one piece, even though I had to stop during the day and close my eyes.  I stayed an extra night so that I would be fresh enough to drive back.  Wise decision because once I got home I just sat and read a book. 

It is such a blessing to have friends.  Angela and Allan looked after me as if I was a princess.  Home grown and cooked meals, my lunch boxes prepared, (as were all my other meals) and just such love and care.  Plus the friendship and care shown by the ladies from the Zinnia Quilting group.  Also friend Teena who kept texting me to make sure I was alright.  I am so grateful for the love and friendship extended to me.  Millie the cat was not put out too much by all the attention I was given.

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I did find however that I couldn't use my rotary cutter for too long, my shoulder just froze up.  Still I got a lot of work prepared and have made some progress on my sea side quilt.  I also realised that you really shouldn't work while you are ill.  Oh the errors I have made.  Still, they are going to stay as a reminder of the Barmar River Virus.

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A second childhood

You know I wasn't the kind of child that played with dolls.  I liked bikes and train sets and those kinds of things.  But now as I slide into old age I find I love dolls and knitted toys.

Much to my delight I find that "Little Cotton Rabbits" has some new patterns for clothing for the bunnies.  I love the toy bunnie in the pocket.

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There is a group over on Ravelry where you can check out what everyone else is knitting and ask advice about the projects. 

Now, I just have to get some of that other knitting finished!!


I have the Kits for the next Children's Class all finished and packed.

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I haven't finished my other knitting but thought I would start something else because it took my fancy.  The other one will be finished for next year.

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Next I am working on sewing up the work of a student.  She wants it to be a zippers pillow with cording around the edge.  Hope that this is alright.

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Getting more kits together for September and October Classes and find that my computer files are corrupted so I will have to do some of the drawings again.

I am off to Toowoomba this weekend so I am busy preparing my sewing for the weekend. 

Hey this is a change, I'm actually multi tasking again.


Marshmellow is not my favourite sheep at the moment.  In fact I am giving him the cold shoulder.  He was so cute as a lamb.

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Now I'm not talking to him.  He got out of the yard the other day and after nearly getting run down by a car I finally got him home.  I had to put down my phone to open the gate and he tried to eat it.

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The screen is cracked and the case is cactus!!!

Still cleaning up the sewing room

This job seems to go on for every!

It also brings with it a whole lot of difficult decisions.  Should this left over fabric go in the bin or should I try to reuse it?  Back some time ago this year I was suppose to make bags for my patchwork's groups Mothers' Day present but I just couldn't get my mind to work.  Then I went downhill and that fabric just sat under a whole lot of other fabric.  Now I had to decide if I put it in the bin or make something with it?  I'm sick of cleaning up so I decided to put on some music and sew this material into place mats that I will donate to charity. 

The music?  Anderson & Roe Piano Duo "The Art of Bach

Screen Shot 2018-08-05 at 4.28.57 pmHere is a You Tube clip.  I can highly recommend this Duo. 

I cut up the pieces of fabric, found some left over batting from those quilts I had finished then I started sewing.  Just ordinary old place mats.

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Quick and simple to make.  Just a front, back and batting. These are the measurements to cut out

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Sew three sides leaving the end open, turn through and slip stitch the open end closed and iron flat.  Finish by top stitching the edges 1/2" in.  I did get carried away with one place mat and quilted it. 

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In fact I might make some more and use them to practice some "ruler work".  (Hell, Typepad has got gremlins in the engine all the spacing is out on this post!  Blame the gremlins, not me.)