Teaching Feed

WIPW

I am busy sewing new samples for my Machine Finishing class and have taken an applique I did a while ago and turned it into a piped cushion with a hidden zip.

First I had to unpick the old pillow, unpicking is so boring.

 

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This is always a difficult set of techniques to master so I have been on the look out for another way of doing it, and although not simple, I think I have found a new better way.   I'm happy how this has turned out.  There are some improvements I think I can make to the process.

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And how the zipper worked.

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I am also beavering away at my cross stitch and am at the half way mark of stitching the design.

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I also have to go back and have another Covid test.  I'm not looking forward to standing in that line.


Another recommendation

I have had my "Machine Finishing" class brought forward a couple of months so I am updating my samples and notes.

As a trained teacher I am very aware of the "presumed knowledge" that books, commercial patterns and teachers, and in fact all types of teachers, think that students already have.  This also applied in the classroom when I was teaching high school students.  But a lot of basic knowledge has not been passed on to learners, of all ages.  I know my own Mother didn't know how to sew or use a sewing machine and she would have been over 100 years old today.

So, as I am working on my notes all this is running through my mind.  There is just so much basic knowledge and skills that my notes were turning into a "major novel."   On visiting Phillipa Naylor's web site I found that she too has been thinking about this "presumed knowledge"and has called it "Basics".  She has put together a whole series of videos about this for students to read prior to taking her dressmaking course. There is much here that doesn't apply to embroidery but it is all really important information for anyone that works with textiles.

These are presented under four headings.

Equipment

Fabric

Patterns and

Sewing Machine Basics.

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The blurb at the top of the blog says:

Philippa Naylor shares her thoughts and advice on foundational tools and techniques required for garment making. We will be adding new videos to this series as we come across foundational topics which would be usefully covered by Philippa.

All these videos are free

So now my class notes refer students to these videos.  I will highlight the ones I think are pertinent to my class and set them as background viewing.  They are a wonderful resource.  (Not that long ago I would have said background reading.  Haven't times changed?)

 


I wonder if it is the weather?

The weather here has been rather...umh... different.   Huge storms, tornadoes.

Luckily the worst of it all seems to go around us.

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But little Bear will not leave my side, he is like a limpet and I feel completely out of sorts.  My grand daughter returns to us today so it is batten down the hatches time.  I have an extra busy week ahead and am teaching next Saturday so I have been getting all the kits together and packed.

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I have to hide them away because she (Monique) just couldn't leave them alone if she saw them.  The temptation would just be too great.  (I find my Ipad full of apps I have not knowledge of and strange photos on my phone.)

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I have tried doing a bit of painting but to no avail so the board I top my table with had been put away. 

Screen Shot 2021-10-24 at 3.10.08 pm'The heads' that house my succulent plants have told me I am doing a wise thing.  There are another 2 storms about to arrive, Monique and the weather!  And my head aches.


A town with a name like a song.

The experiments with the needle keepers continues and I got to wondering just what the cotton threads I had bought in South America would look like stitched into these Japanese patterns. 

I bought these in the town of Chichicastanago.  (I see there are several songs of the same name.)  I was blown away by the colour and the whole atmostphere of the town.  These same markets have been held for 100's of years before the Spanish arrived.

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There were threads up to the ceiling and beyond and the colours were just so vibrant.  The shop was on the balcony level of the market with the downstairs being for fruit and vegetables.  The markets are held two days a week and the women come in to buy their threads for weaving.

 

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It wasn't until I got to Solola that I realised that the threads in this shop were for weaving, not embroidery.  Everyone was dressed in their best even the shop vendors.  The colours and bling made the heart sing.

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So, thinking I could use these threads for embroidery I bought up big, knowing that I may never pass this way again.  I bought a hank of every colour that was available.

 

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It wasn't until I got home that I realised that the thread was too fine and unmercerized.    But now that I am using a linen base for my stitching my thoughts returned to these threads.  I decided to use 4 strands and got stitching.

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The thread is beautiful.  I am in fact stitching 'needle weaving' and weaving is what it is made for.  I prepared the thread they same way I would prepare a sashiko thread, cutting the hank and plating it.  Worked like a charm.

I have ordered more little bowls as I now have a huge stock of threads.  The bowls themselves are not expensive, but, the freight is.  I will use them for classes and for gifts, they are quick and easy to stitch.  And I was asked by a friend if the lid lifts off for storage of pins below?  It is now, that is a great idea.  This has led to some changes in how I am preparing the bowls.  They come as raw wood and I have been spraying them with a clear varnish.

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I will now spray the inside of the bowls as well so that the pins slide out easily and I will have to look at the finish of the embroidery under the lid.  Maybe a lining?

The next thread I want to experiment with is this one which is resist dyed.

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You would see the men (not the women) wrapping the thread ready for dying.  This was done on a frame and there seemed to be a method in just where the ties were applied.  I think this was done for a form of Ikat weaving.  The ties were not random but they were terrible to get off.

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And what a tangle from the dye vat!! I managed to stab my finger with the scissors tying to do this.  I'm sure they had a method behind all these processes but, as my Spanish is so rudimentary and most of the Mayans speak their own indigenous language and Spanish as a second language, it is all a  mystery to me.

Watch this space.

 


Recovering

I have been really ill for the past 3 weeks but am finally starting to surface again.  I have managed to teach a couple of classes using the mini frames, which are a great way of completing a small project in a half day class.  Trouble is those screws that come with the the frames seem to be very attractive to "Peskies" who really like them. They can disappear in front of your eyes.

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The larger frame (approx. 4cm round)  is the better one for beginners and the linen fabric looks good, but, I am liking the smaller ones as well. (3cm)

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But they are small and the parts are small.  Drop a screw and it is gone forever.  This is stitched on cotton and there certainly is a difference.  I think they should all be stitched on linen.   Attaching the cord is a bit of a problem.  I think that I will need to add a small metal ring over the shaft of the screw, that means a trip to buy some more supplies.

I have some ideas for making a range based on local flora and fauna for sale in our local gallery.   I am thinking of adding them to key rings as another alternative.  I think that I will also start some experiments coating them in clear resin.  They will make a good sale item and are not too labour intensive.


WIPW

I have been in the grip of this bug for 3 weeks now and recovery is sooo slow.  Just when I think I am recovering I find myself laid low again.  I have a class coming up on Saturday so that has been my first priority.

Screen Shot 2021-05-11 at 2.13.57 pmI have partially prepared kits all over the over the place.

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At the last minute I have decided to change thing by including a second frame.  This one is smaller.  This will allow students the chance to repeat the project in another size.

I also was not happy with my knitting so, it has come been pulled undone and re-knitted on a smaller sized set of needles.

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I am much happier with this.

 


Not a good week

I think I will just give up on this week or was it last week as well?

I got to my Quaker exhibition only to find they had closed it early due to work being done to the library.  After all I had to do to get there it was very disappointing.  I have the 1.5 to 2 hour drive to town to start with then because I haven't traveled by public transport for the last year they had taken all my money off my card.  I tried to top it up on the bus but was told all that has changed.  I then had to find somewhere to put some money on the card.  (It is just too expensive to park in town.)  Then when I got there, no exhibition.

The next thing was I have had to have 2 teeth extracted.  I had two root canal treatments about 8 months ago and now my body just rejected them so out they had to come.  The Dentist could find nothing wrong with the teeth at all, still, I have to admit I feel a whole lot better once they came out.  Shame about the $3,000+ that I had spent on the treatments.

The good thing is that now that those teeth have gone my mind is working again.  (Don't ask me what the link was I just don't know.)  I am in the middle of preparing a new class and am really enjoying the process.  Because it will be for beginners from outside of the Embroiderers' Guild and I already teach a class for new members, I had to come up with something different.   It is about learning the basic stitches but I wanted a project that gave them something finished to take away.  My solution was to settle on a set of 4 designs that can be stitched  in the allotted time.  I have actually drawn more designs than the four needed so that there is a lot of choice.  I have put the designs into my drawing program and put different colours behind each design.  Although I am using white cotton/linen fabric I think these could look good on a variety of fabrics.  (I see there is one circle outline I didn't cut after I added the fill colour, oops.)

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I got a bit carried away with drawing botanical things and have another two pages of designs.  They are only small, in circles of about 2.5" or a bit less.  I found I could fit 4 designs on a 6"x6" square of fabric.  I backed this with a fine muslin and tacked the two pieces of fabric together, put this into a frame and stitched.

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Because they are small they are quick to stitch and I am really enjoying this stitching.  When the students have finished this they will choose their favourite and then mount it in a mini-frame to use as is, or as a piece of jewelry.

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I think that I might glue a piece of thin wadding onto the backing board before it is mounted as well and I also think I had better buy some more of these frames because I could just keep stitching.


Big Weekend

I have had a big weekend.  Big in the sense that I had a lot to do and big in the amount of ideas and inspiration I experienced.  Where to start?  Firstly, the first "Embroidery Convention" was held at the Convention Centre in Brisbane this past weekend.  I saw and experienced so much that I will have to break the writting about this over a number of days.

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I attended to demonstrate Kogin Embroidery for the Embroiderers' Guild.  I was so busy that I forgot to take photos of a display of my work.  It was just full on talking to people.  It wasn't a huge convention but it was all about embroidery and textiles.  There were quite a number of traders exhibiting as well, and they were also super busy. 

Having been ill for the past 2 years I have lost touch with the social side of embroidery and textiles.  At this show I ran into so many people that I haven't seen during this time and it made me realise how much I have missed and how things have moved on.  I am seriously behind the 8 ball.  And another thing I had to acknowledge is that I am still not completely recovered.  Yes, I can walk again and think straight but the fatigue sets in after about 5 or 6 hours.  I am not my old self that could work two jobs and just power on.  I have also fallen behind with what is going on in the embroidery world. I was once good at picking trends and where the market was going.  This past two years has put me right out of all that.  I have to do some serious research to catch up.

One of the traders at the show was Kathy Doughty.  Kathy is a quilter who owns and runs a shop in Sydney called Material Obsession and she is an innovator in the textile world.  Now I see she has embraced embroidery as well.  She also writes a great blog which has been down for a while because she has been travelling and teaching in the USA, but is now back online.  (There are lots of interesting links on her last post.)

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Embroidery, on her stand was labelled "the new vintage", it also features on her web page.

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I bought her new book "Organic Applique" which looks interesting although I have only flipped through it.  I have all her other books in my library and if they are anything to go by this should be good.  I see the title also states "creative hand stitching ideas and techniques", lots to discover here.

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Looking back at the traders displays I see a number had the French General sampler prints I wrote about and they were walking out of the shops.  Every one I spoke to agreed that the quality of the linen was good.  Charlie agreed.  I had some trouble getting my piece back from her!

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What we did on our holiday....

I had lots of activities organised for when my grand daughters came to stay.  I also put all my projects away and set out desk space for them to work on.  In fact I had more activities than we actually needed.  There were other families staying on the island and lots of kids to play with and we had to swim and play at the beach, as well as do activities.

There were a lot of plays to be staged, using Grandma's fabrics as props and costumes and I heard some one say "you should see all the threads she has!!!"

We started with pom poms. 

These are not as easy as they look and I made them draw circles and cut out their owns templates before we began.  I used old tapestry wool that I bought from the op-shop.  Just choosing the colours they wanted took forever.

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The second sewing activity involved learning how to do blanket stitch and how to plait.  The plaiting was a challenge for the 7 year old but she got it in the end.

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Since they have left I found that most of my pins have gone out of my pin cushions.  I did see one cat very full of pins being packed away.

The drawing activity I found on Carla Sonheim's web page.  

She has 5 sets of free classes for kids.  We did the first 2 lessons out of this one.

Screen Shot 2020-01-07 at 12.16.51 pmThey had to find animal shapes hiding in the cracks in the pavement.

Monique's story was called "They lady bugs adventure".

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You know, I looked and looked and didn't see the foxes.

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Then they left and I now have my room back and I can't find anything.


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.