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Hem 5

My TAST hems for March were all based on a simple drawn thread method.  Nothing fancy here but they still require you to spend the time on preparation. Firstly tacking out the hems and then withdrawing the threads.


Then the removal of one thread followed by the weaving in of the second thread so that there are no holes in the hem. 



I find that if you remove one thread and then weave in the next the fabric sites better. 




This is even more important when you want to remove more than two thread.  Make sure that you begin in the middle of the row to remove the thread and then withdraw each end.


The thread is started by hiding the back stitch under the turned over fabric and then stitched from left to right gathering three threads at a time.   Two threads doesn't really show the stitch to the best advantage, expect when you are using a corse fabric, and four threads is just a bit much unless you are going to split the bundles later.


 When I come to a corner I take 2 small hemming stitches to hold the hem firm.


If I want to have a more linear finish I take my thread down to the bottom edge through a stitch and then stitch the bottom of the gathered thread into the main body of the fabric.  Making sure that I pick up the same number of threads all the way around, I find that 2 threads works well.


If I want a zig zag appearance I withdraw 4 threads and then make each bundle an even number so that they are balanced when split.  I take my thread down the length of the withdrawn threads and catch it into the first stitch on the fabric side picking up 2 threads.


Two threads from each bundle are joined in the same way.  That is working left to right and picking up two thread of the fabric.


This is an easy yet attractive hem finish.


So these are the three hems I have used and they are relatively quick and easy to stitch.  I have to admit these are the hems I use the most on my work. 

New Samples

I am working on some embroidery designs for the Saturday Children's Creative Embroidery Classes.  In the process I'm trying to build in some structure to the learning and document how they should be taught and why, whilst still allowing choice for the students.  Difficult when you have a range of abilities and ages, from 8 years to 14 years. 

After our holiday class which was based on a sampler I have decided that the children could select a shape and then fill it with different stitches.  This could then be used as a panel in a small bag to hold their stitching.  I selected a bird shape but it could be any shape that you can draw lines in.  I also selected a cotton Osnaburg fabric which is inexpensive and almost an even weave.


Because the fabric is such an open weave I layered it over a piece of very thin pelum and put it into a hoop for stitching.


The other thing I have found is that most children like stitching in an embroidery hoop.  But there are a few things that must be taken into consideration.

The hoop should be no larger than 16cm (61/2") in diameter.  This will mean that the child will have to move it around the fabric to stitch.  In reality this means the tutor or parent will need to do this.


The embroidery hoop should have a screw that can be tightened with a small screwdriver so that the work can be held tight.  Again, this will require an adult with a small scredriver in their sewing kit to help.


Because this piece is for children I used lots of bright colours in No 8 perle cotton and a crewel embroidery needle.


( Download Untitled     I have enclosed a copy of the pattern which has a heavy outline, no need for a light box.)


DSC03569I really liked those elephants around the border of the Kantha Quilt yesterday, so I did a drawing of one to embroider.  Here it is as a free download. Download Elephant

I never meant it to happen, but I have collected a small herd of elephants over the years.  Statues that is.  They come from India, Thailand and Africa and some from various airports in south east asia when I didn't know what to buy as a gift.  I also stitched a whole section of my 'The devil is in the detail'  challenge that was based on elephants, here, here, here, and here. 

I saw this elephant in Rajestan, live,

and this one painted on the wall of one of the hotels we visited.

 I have two painting on silk of elephants I bought in India as well.

The other day reading Pam's blog and her video about the embroiderers of the Tambani project I remembered that I had bought 6 of these embroideries from Ina in Houston a few years ago.  Amongst them was an embroidery of an African Elephant and the story that went with it.  All the embroideries have stories from the Venda people of South Africa.

Isn't he the most excellent elephant?


Each embroidery comes with a copy of the story that the embroidery illustrates and a small card about the stitcher.  I found this stitcher's story touching.  It was only a few words but it showed her as a person of great resourcefulness and a great faith.


You can buy these embroideries online at their website.  After going back and reading some of the stories I see that I have to buy more embroideries,  just to have the whole set for each story that is.  They are very special and I intend to tell my grand children all the stories and also about the women who stitched the pictures.

Threads exhibition 2

There was one section of the exhibition that featured Indian embroidery, much to my delight.  I love Kantha Quilts and there was one there, worked on silk.  It didn't hang very well as the fabric had dropped on one side and viewed from a distance it wasn't striking.


But up close the stitching and designs were wonderful. 

The acknowledgement with the quilt is a bit blurry but readable.


It was the detail that was stunning.

The border design where running stitch is used so effectively.


And those wonderful motives, all of which could be an embroidery composition in their own right.


In amongst all this detail I found one panel with birds, parrots I think.


I have added these to my collection.  I'm designing a piece using all the birds I have spied. 

Here is the first one as a PDFDownload Indian bird 1

Embroidery Designs

I went back to those old cushions and had another look at the birds.



The wool have been attacked by moths in places but I think that they would look good embroidered on a tote bagNot in wool but a thick cotton.  So I've drawn them out and intend to try stitching up a sample. I have also drawn out the design which is available  as a free download.   Download Woolen stitched birds

There is always a first time.

I've heard of it happening to others but this is the first time for me.  The dye in my embroidery thread ran into the fabric.  I was using a good quality thread that I normally love by Threadworxs and just because it ran this time isn't going to stop me using the thread, but, I will be more careful in future.


I stitched out this pattern in two sizes the larger has a 4" (10cm) diameter and the smaller a 3" (7.5cm) diameter.  The smaller size was stitched in DMC stranded cotton and I had no problems with this.


I dug this waffle weave fabric out of the bottom of my stash.  I bought it at least 10 years ago.  I put it aside because I didn't think it was of a good enough quality but I was wrong, it is perfect for hand towels. I have washed both towels and they perform well, being very absorbent, plus you don't have to iron them.  Now that's a bonus.

DSCF0005 DSCF0001

I have now included both sizes on the pattern PDF  and have used DMC threads.

Download Antique Hand Towel - No 4

Antique Hand Towels

I have six hand towels in all that I want to draw up and then stitch.  This is No 3.  It was very difficult to get the photos of the stitching onto the PDF and I think the roses need a close up of the finished stitch.  They are worked the same way you would work woollen roses only in two strands of cotton. The old story, a picture is worth a thousand words.  I have been digging in my stash and found the other waffle cloth that I was looking for.  (I knew I would need that one day.)  It is 150cm (60") wide so I can get four towels from the width.  As I said before, I am changing each design, just a bit.

Download Antique Hand Towel No 3




Antique Hand Towels - Design No 2

When I drew this design I thought I would stitch it out straight away.  It had been worked on a waffle weave fabric and I had some of that in my stash.  Unfortunately the fabric I have is too good.  The 'waffle' is just too high and I can't stitch on it.  It feels soft and absorbent but no good for stitching.  I think I gave away the cheaper fabric.  Looks like I will be stash digging tomorrow to see if I still have it.  That sounds like a good excuse to do some tidying up.

I have changed the design  and made the outer ring an embroidery stitch rather than a hem stitch with lace attached to it. 

Download Towel No 2


Antique Hand Towels

All the hand towels that were donated I took photos of because I don't need the old towels myself but would like to use some of the motifs on gifts.  These patterns are no longer available but just to be on the safe side I have decided to alter the design so that I do not breach copyright.  So, today I started to redraw them so that I can use them on gifts for friends at Christmas time.

This group of towels have been worked on Huck, which isn't easy to buy any more.  You can purchase the toweling on the role that they produce for use in public bathrooms but not the quality that used to be available.  I have a stash of fabric that I put aside sometime ago so I will be able to use that.  This is the first towel that I have used as the basis of my design .

Download Towel 1