Teaching Feed

Another revision

This Machine Finishing class for embroiderers is still consuming my thoughts.  I have returned to the first project.  I finished the little bag and as I worked through the process of construction and analysed how I would teach it I came to the conclusion that it wasn't as easy as I had first thought.

So back to the drawing board. 

Question: What did I want to achieve? 

Answer: A quick easy project that used straight stitch only

Why straight stitch only?

Well it gives me a chance to see who knows how to use the stitch and their machine.  That way I can take any remedial action right at the beginning.

It gives the student a quick outcome with a finished item.

Two or three ideas came to mind but this little mini purse, I think, is the best alternative.

The pattern fits on an A4 page. 

It only uses straight stitch.

It can have multiple uses. 

It makes a quick and easy, yet useful and attractive gift.

There are also one or two tricks I can demonstrate that they might find useful in other projects.

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I am using this sample to keep my bus and ferry tickets handy.

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I put a tab on the side to that I could add an attachment. 

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For this example I have added a ribbon so that it can stay in my handbag and is easily pull out when needed.

The hardest part was adding the push clip.  I have decided to invest in some plastic clips and a tool to attach them.

I can now move onto the next technique.

 

 


Some feedback

I got some lovely feedback from one of my students, who is also a fellow tutor and judge and who's work I greatly admire.  Alana sent me an image of a piece she had stitched in an advanced class I taught on Kogin using one of my own designs.

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I had stitched it in the traditional blue and white but I just love the pink addition here.  Then she took the pattern and turned it into her own original design in yet another colour way.

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That is the ultimate compliment for me.


All ready, nearly

I have impressed myself here.  All the kits are complete, with the exception of the right size hoops and those have been dispatched.

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I delivered the kits for the volunteers on Saturday which gives them a month to finish their stitching.  Considering that I timed the stitching and it shouldn't take more than a day I am really pleased with that outcome.  The other good outcome has been that I have sold all those extra hoops to another tutor.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do with those.  Plus, today I got the BBQ cleaned.  Sunday was Father's Day and the family were all here.  Lots of preparation and lots of cleaning up.  But Bill had a great day so it was worth it.


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.


New course starting Monday

I really enjoyed my Art on the IPad online course.  I learnt lots of new skills and it has opened me up to learning even more things.  With this in mind I have enrolled in a Future Learn course about the Book of Kells.  It is being presented by Trinity College in Dublin and starts on the 18th of March.

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There are lots of great images in this book that could serve as inspiration for some interesting embroidery.  I know that has been done before but I think I would like to focus on the fish.  So look out for a fishie something or other in the not too distant future.


A new sewing machine

My eldest grand daughter turned 8 in December.  This is the time to start to teach her how to use a sewing machine.  Small problem.  I could give her one of my machines but mine are Bernina's and that means that they are heavy and I don't want to give any of my machines away.  I did have a Husqvarna Machine, but I have lent that one to a friend and I know she uses it all the time.  Only thing to do was to buy a new one for Monique.

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I am not familiar with the Janome but an entry level machine is less than half the price of the equivalent Bernina.  It is also far more intuitive and quite light to move around.  It has all the stitches that a beginner sewer would need, including some fancy ones.  Grandma just has to work out how to use it so she can teach Monique.

Being a sewer myself I also know the extra things you need for the machine.  Like bobbins, cutters, extra feet, needles etc.  So, I purchased these along with the machine.

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I found the little bag on sale while we were in Caloundra.  I bought it not knowing what I would use it for but it is perfect for all these extras.

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When her sister turns 8 I will buy her a machine as well.  I remember that I hated having to share my mothers machine between her and my sister.  A girl should have her own.  I hope she likes this.  It is not something that you can take for granted.  I taught my daughter to sew at the same age and she loved it and has always thanked me for teaching her.  Fingers crossed.


An alternative to computer games

Through this illness I have used computer games to keep my mind working when I thought it might shut down.  Now that is fine but I find that I am becoming addicted to the darned things.  So I have come up with a nifty plan to kick my addiction.  (Or perhaps make me do something else before I play, I do like these games.)

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This involves learning to use my Apple products properly.  I have a desktop Mac, a Laptop, an Ipad pro, an Ipad mini, an Ipod, an iphone and an Iwatch.  I have never had a lesson on any of these devices, I just muddled through teaching myself.  Having said that I use everyone of these devices but I think that I could improve HOW I use each one.  Come to the fore my friend Teena Hughes, who is not only my friend but a computer wizz.  She pointed in the direction of a free newsletter called "Mac Most".

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I am finding that the tutorials are short and to the point and I am learning 1 or 2 new things from each one I watch.  It is early days as yet but I think I might learn a thing or two and be less dependent on the old computer games to keep my mind focused and active.


WIPW

Another relapse but I have bounced back better this time, fingers crossed.  Still not completely back to normal but I was able to go into the Guild this week.  I drove myself into town and back home again.  So fingers crossed.

I also finished the sample for the "introduction to applique' workshop.  It is a cushion cover.

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I have included 7 different applique techniques in this piece so participants can have a taster of some of the common methods in use today and I plan to add a tassel to each corner of the cushion. The design is based on a bird I saw in Quatemala.  It looks nothing like the bird in question but is my representation of how I think it should look.

This is the male,

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and this the female bird.

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I thought these birds looked kind of royal, hence the crown.  I also included the colours of Guatemala, like the ones we saw in the thread shop.

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I realise now the these threads are for weaving but I am experimenting with making some tassels with them.  They are about the thickness of  2 strands of embroidery floss but have a higher twist.  This is going to be a slow job. 

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First you have to work out just where to undo the knot, like all of these things there is a knack to knowing just where to pull it apart.  I have it around the back of two chairs, just like my mother would have done when balling wool.  Then the very slow process of winding the thread around the base frame.  I hope they work out alright.


Normality

 I am still searching for that.  Just when I think I am starting to recover this virus comes back and reminds me it still has the upper hand.  I have got lost in this fog.  I know I first started feeling ill back at the beginning of March, I'm still not sure if it was some new medication or the virus at this point.  But by the 19th of March I was ill.  It is now May.  That is only 8 or 9 weeks!  It seems like years.  Writting that down gives me some hope.  I keep thinking that I am going to die.  But not yet, not yet.  It is now the most perfect time of year and the island is so beautiful.

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Even though I am not well enough I prepared a class for the Guild to teach yesterday.  I had most of the notes already prepared but I had to put the effort into preparing the kits and supplies.  I enjoy this activity.  I like to think my students will be surprised and delighted by the little extra's that I add to the kit.  I am unable to just give a list of requirements,  I always found that such a chore to get it all together.  Far nicer to get a surprise bundle.

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So off I headed into the city.  I enjoyed teaching the class but boy I was tired when I got home.  Still it was worth the effort.


The two finger tassel

Quite a few years ago I decided I needed to have every colour of DMC stranded cotton.  Back then I was stitching other peoples designs and only dabbling with my own.  I thought that I had a full set and then DMC added new colours to the range and discontinued others.  At that point I decided I didn't need a full set of threads.

 

So what to do with all these threads, boxes of them?  Some I donated to the guild but I still have a lot that I will never use.  That is where the two finger tassel comes in.  One skein of thread is just the right amount to make a nice little fat tassel.  Now you could use three or even four fingers to make the tassel but they get a little thinned the longer they get.  You could use a piece of cardboard as a template but this little tutorial is just for fingers.

You will need 1 skein of stranded cotton or the equivalent amount of left over mixed cottons.

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A large needle with a big eye, a pair of scissors AND 2 fingers.

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Take the paper wrapper off the thread  and cut one small (1 round approx.) and one large length(6 rounds approx.)

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Then, with your two fingers slightly apart, lay the short thread along you index finger and wrap the main thread until it reaches the thickness you like.  This could be all the thread left or just as much as you want.

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Slide your fingers out and tie a tight knot with the short thread.

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Take the longer thread and make a slip knot in one end leaving enough length in the short end to blend in with the tassel.  (I had to put my pen through the thread because I couldn't take a photo and hold the tassel with one hand.)

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Pull the slip knot tight to make the head of the tassel and then wrap this firmly. 

Thread the end of your thread through your needle.

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Work you needle under the wrapping thread, working from the direction you finished wrapping.  I finished at the bottom so had to work towards the top.

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Work your need up and down behind the wrapping threads a number of times finishing with the needle towards to bottom of the tassel.  Notice that I work this on an angle and be careful not to pierce the strands of cotton.

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Now cut your thread at the length of the tassel and cut that folded thread along the fold.  At this point it will look a bit ragged.

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Use you scissors to trim it up.

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You could use it just like this but I have used that left over thread to make a longer hanger.  I threaded it through the top knot and made a secure knot.  You could make it fancy by using a twisted thread if you wanted to.

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First time I made one of these it took me about 15 minutes, I now have that down to 5 minutes.

Quick and Easy.  Uses up my extra threads and this is just right for the zipper pulls on all these bags I have been making.