Design Feed

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.)


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 bit of shopping

I needed some more supplies for my brooch making so made a trip to Spotlight.  I needed to get some more beads and the pins for the back of the brooches.

I managed to get all the things I needed plus a bit more.

For the brooch I sewed my pin to some wool felt and stitched this to the back of the embroidery.

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It works well but isn't perfect.  When I got home I looked a the brooches I have in my jewelry box.  The costume stuff uses much the same method as this but the good ones are different.  The front of the brooch is domed and the pin runs from one side to the other.  This makes the brooch sit flat when it is pinned in position.

I then did a search of tutorials and those with a pin back were very simple felt type things or they used a commercial frame and backing or a mini hoop.  There was nothing there at all like I want.  So it looks like I am going to have to invent something myself. 

The first thing I thought about was the size of the backing pin.  The largest width I can find is 45mm.  The felt piece in the image above is 50mm, so to get a pin that runs from one side to another, like my good brooches, just isn't there.  I am now on the look out from safety pins 50mm wide.   Also, I'm looking at just how I can dome the top of the brooch.

I have a set of templates I use for cutting my circles and these work very well.

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But whilst I was shopping I found they had a 50% off on Fiskars cutters.  I couldn't let that one pass.  I might have to think about circle quilts as well.

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Back to trying to improve my construction and stitching some more designs using different fabrics.


I have managed to get some close-ups of Larry the lizard.  I think he is some kind of Water Dragon.  Isn't he just beautiful?

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He blends in with the bark of the tree and his colours are the same as the bush around him.

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I was wondering if he would make a subject for a thread painting?  I think it wouldn't be easy.  But he is a beautiful creature.

I got distracted

I was busily drawing my bird women but got distracted.  How does that happen?  I only had one thing on my mind and this other thought came in and took control.  It said you should do portraits of Cats for you applique class.  I have no idea where that came from.

So I put one lot of drawings away and started on another.  I have two cats so far but there are others lurking back there.

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As you can see I was drawing the pieces of fabric, what I haven't put in is the over stitching I want to add for the details.  These cats have definite personalities already!

I know where they came from.  Friend Pammy put up an image of a cat on Facebook.  It must have crept out of the computer into my brain.  It is a great image.

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Looking for a new design

I'm not sure if I want this design for an Applique or an embroidery.  I will have to see where the trail leads.

I have started with Russian Folk Art, which I find a rich source of inspiration and came upon a Alkonost or a bird woman.  These creatures are woven throughout mythology from Rome, Greece, India, Asyrria and other European countries.  It has been interesting to see them linked to Sirens and Harpies,  maybe because they are said to have had the most beautiful voices.  It has even been stated that the Veelias in the Harry Potter books come from the same source.

So what do they look like?  Well this is some of what I have collected so far, manly from Google searches and Pinterest.

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Now I have to start drawing and come up with my own version.

Once I started I couldn't stop

At first I couldn't think of any really easy straight sewing on the machine projects.  Now I can't stop thinking of them!  So, here is a very easy one, some serviettes.  I used cotton quilting fabric, which is a good weight and comes in lots of different designs and colours. 

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Traditionally  the most common sizes for serviettes are;

12" x 12" morning or afternoon tea
16"x 16” Informal Luncheon
20” x 20 “ and 21” x 21” Dinner and for more formal occasions such as Banquet Dinning.

But, my designs is driven by the fabrics I have to hand so I have made mine 12" square finished.  This is  for using for morning tea or lunch.  But I don't think I would make them any smaller than this.  You should find that 1 m of each fabric should make a set of 6.  (I would look out for cheaper sale fabrics.)

I press my fabric on the diagonals to make sure it lines up properly.

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Stitch a 1/4" seam around the edge, needle down to pivot at the corners.

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Leave a 3" opening to turn through and then press down the seam allowance before I do this.

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Snip the corners before turning through.

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Top stitch around the edge using the inside of my 1/4" presser foot as a guide.


Screen Shot 2019-09-15 at 5.13.37 pmAnd that is it.  You could use the same fabric top and bottom or have a different back or even make every serviette different.  I think these will make great Xmas gifts.


Oh No!!!

I just received my delivery of 30 hoops for the next Children's Class and they are all the wrong size!

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Not by much but I have already cut all the cardboard circles to fit in the back of the stitching.

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The other thing that is different is the screw fits a Phillips Head Screwdriver.  I will have to get one of those.  So another order has gone in for the right size.  Good thing they are cheap. (about .95c each)    I think I will include them with the bigger decoration just in case there are students that can't handle the assemble of the two circles.

I tried lots of different ways to sew those cardboard circles together.  There always seems to be more work in the finishing than in the actual embroidery.  Wish I had a little elf who sewed them together over night for me.  Because the stitching is laced together it is helpful, (but not absolutely necessary) that the length of the stitches on each piece is about the same.  If you can make them 'exactly' the same the finish is super neat.  But kids and exactness do not always go together.

So here are three tips that I have found will help.

  1. When marking the outside of the stitching circle do this using some dressmaking carbon paper. ( I like the Clover brand because you get a clean mark,) and a dressmakers tracing wheel.  You can usually find these in the haberdashery section, but you might have to ask.

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2. Sew around the marked circle with your sewing machine using a large needle and a thick thread.  When it is  time to stitch you can remove the thread  and use to holes left as a guide.

3. If you wind a thicker thread onto a bobbin and sew on the wrong side the machine couches the thread in position.  

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I use Razzle from Wonderfil which is a thick rayon thread.  This is about the maximum weight that you can use in your bobbin on a Bernina machine, some other brands will take a bit heavier. 

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You can then whip this, just make sure you tie off the ends so that when you pull on it it doesn't come undone.

Besides Stitching....3

Besides stitching I just relaxed.  I am having trouble walking again but after nearly 2 weeks of restricted movement I was able to get around a bit.  I took my camera around the site and saw all the familiar scenes.

Looking out over the escarpment into the morning mist.

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The trees against the bright blue of the sky.

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A pee wee singing a song.

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And other birds up high in the trees.

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There was quite a wind blowing and this beautiful nest was dislodged.  Poor bird will have to start again.

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And although there is a drought and everything is dry and dusty still there was beauty in what was left of the gardens.  Some of these photos I would like to use as inspiration for my thread painting,  (that is progressing very slowly.)

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Here are a few shots that are contenders.

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And some details within shots that show promise.

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I could smell this Star Jasmine long before I saw it.

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And the bees were very busy.

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Now that I have the images I want I can put them into a drawing program and trace them off, or, just trace them using tissue paper.  But how am I going to work out what all the colour are?  Guess what?  I found an App which will do it for me, then I can match the international colour numbers to DMC threads.  The App is called "Color View Finder".

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Isn't that cool.  You can buy the app from the app store.

Besides stitching.. 1

Besides stitching there was shopping.  Of course there was shopping.  I was rather careful with my purchases.    Fabric for future classes,

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fabric for the girls,

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Embroidery fabric for the stash. 

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See, not out of control at all.

But, when we visited the Danish Flower Shop, I almost lost control.  What I wanted from here was charms to add to the children's Xmas decorations and they had heaps.

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  But, they also have these gourds.

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But they had done other things with some of them and made planters with lots of succulents.

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I don't think they are strong enough to hang but they sit prettily on a table.  I limited myself to just two pots and a few succulents.  Then, when I got home I visited a neighbour , Kurt Buckley, who grows succulents and does great Bonzai type plants.  Just love this miniature Geraldton Wax tree.

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This is a full sized one in someones garden.

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The plants I bought need to grow into the pots but I now have them sitting on my balcony.

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I didn't go away looking for these things.  They were just an added bonus.