Embroidery Feed

A bit of retail therapy.

Another day of frustration.  I took my phone in to have the screen repaired and told it would take 1/2 an hour.  Three hours later I got to pick it up and pay the $140 for the repair.

Next was a trip to the Quilters and Emboirderers' Store, which is about an hour away.  The business is up for sale and the have discounted a lot of the stock.  When I took my purchases to the counter they asked if I was in the system?  I was, No6.  The first time the assistant had ever seen a single number loyalty customer!  So what did I buy?  Some threads  and cutting blades that were discounted 40%.  I love those watercolour threads, might go back and get some more. 

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Then some Osnaburg and other plain fabrics for future classes.  The Osnaburg had some fade marks so this was even cheaper.  I'm sure I can cut around the marks.

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I came away feeling very pleased with myself.

Laid low

The last couple of weeks have been a kind of  a blur.  I hate being ill, but sometimes it just lays you low and you have to give into it.  For the first time, ever, I have  had to leave the children's holiday classes to others.  I just had to take to my bed.  But they did send me a photo of a finished embroidery. 

Screen Shot 2018-09-30 at 2.15.12 pmI am always blown away with what kids can do.  I gave them the design and said choose your own colours.  Look at this.  Just fantastic.

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.

Talking of Children's Classes

Here I am getting ready for the next children's class and I suddenly remembered I hadn't written about the last one.  There is a reason for this.  After the last class I just collapsed.  I was down for over a week.  (The same thing happened after the applique class but this time it was only for 3 days and this time I postponed the next class so that I will have some recovery time.)  Anyway, the class was successful with everyone either finishing their piece or had got it to a point that it could be finished at home.  One student, who hadn't been before, even stitched this with a caste on her arm!

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The other design wasn't easy to stitch as it was designed for a more experienced stitcher.  But what I like about teaching kids is that lack of experience never is an issue when tackling a new task.  You just find another way to reach the goal if you can't do what the instructions ask.

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Where I had blended the colours to get the effect of the fish, they just selected a multi coloured thread that did the same job.

The ladies in the kitchen served up a delicious healthy lunch for the kids.

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And at the end of the second day those thread boxes looked well picked over.

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Looking at the files on my computer I see I have been designing these classes for 10 years now.  Might have to give someone else a chance at the job soon.

Ethnic Embroidery

These ladies in Romania have a point. 

When fashion houses use their designs for inspiration and make big profits some thing should come back to the original designers.  

This jacket was copied and sold for 30,000 EU.  You can buy an original for 500EU  from Bihor Couture, a company that work with the women who originally made the garment.

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I like this blouse that sells for 40EU.  It is entirely hand made and a lot more work has gone into it than the price being asked.

Screen Shot 2018-07-13 at 12.52.20 pmThis use of ethnic design as 'inspiration', which sometimes means a straight copy, is a problem for lots of communities today.

Stitching birds

My original inspiration for the bird designs has some from those wonderful women in Guatemala.  This woman was selling hand made items in the street.  All the work in the beading and the embroidery.

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Stitching all these birds has really got me looking at feathers.  Their colour, especially the turkeys.  Here are some in the markets in Guatemala.  I don't know how they fitted so many in one basket.

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Here is our one turkey on the island.

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His tails feathers are a delight.

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The range of colours is wonderful.   What stitches can mimic this?

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The more I look the more fascinated I become.

Free embroidery patterns

I was checking out some DMC threads online and came across their free embroidery design pages.  There are over 300 designs and some of them are very tempting to start stitching.


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I have been looking for some Mexican designs and there are a number here.

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Yet another bird.

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And then there are the cross stitch patterns.  I have some ideas for the Children's Classes and this budgie.

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A great resource.


So, not a lot of progress on anything.

I did undo my knitting and knitted it again, so that now I am slightly ahead of where I was before I undid it.

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I am experimenting with shopping bags.  All plastic bags are being withdrawn from supermarkets here in July.  I found that the patchwork fabric wasn't robust enough and that soft furnishing fabric was too robust and expensive.  I settled on some fabric from Ikea.   At the rate I am going I think I might be better off just buying them from the supermarket!

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