Monday, April 23, 2018

A Counted Thread Needlecase


This needle case started life in a workshop way back in 2013. It was a fabulous workshop with a fabulous tutor. It was supposed to be a hussif, a small container to keep all my sewing goodies in, but
I decided right at the beginning that I would turn it into a needle case, I thought I would have more use of it in that form.

Like a lot of things that  do, I will get the stitching done, then they may sit there for quite some time before I finish them or make them up into something. This one has sat for five  years. So why did I pick now to finish it?

Well, I was finishing off another UFO and it needed a closure. I wanted to make a hand made toggle. I had made one  once, many years ago, and was trying to remember how to do them. What I was producing just wasn't quite right. I could still see the base fabric, ( some white cotton tape) underneath. Well, a month ago, I participated in a mini creative exercise with my Stitchers Plus friends, and  I felt sure one of the ladies there would know how to do them. One of them pointed me in the direction of a book which I had a copy of at home. When I looked, the instructions were not quite what I wanted.

So then I asked around at my local stitching group, and was pointed in three different directions. One of the ladies there helped me fix up the dodgy one I had made, and I was also pointed towards one set of workshop notes and two books, all of which I had at home.

The workshop notes were the ones attached to this piece, and they were very clear and precise. So I used those notes to make my toggles on my red needle roll, and my mauve counted thread needle case. So while I was at it I thought I may just as well finish this one off too, it just needed a lining , some needle pages and a toggle closure.

So another UFO finally finished. That's two done for the year, just another eight to go to complete my personal challenge.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Double Eyed Spider Bookmark

Back last year when I was working my yellow lace edged handkerchief, there was a pattern for a book mark on the same page as the edging. I had wanted something little to take to lace meetings, so I drew up the pricking and proceeded to start.

What I hadn't counted on was these double eyed spiders, and they stumped me. I tried so hard to work them out, but my lace meeting was getting closer and I needed something to do. In the end, I changed my pricking and inserted  whole stitch ground  diamonds instead. That book mark can be seen here.

I was going to master these little double eyed monsters, so I tried again, and still had trouble. The pricking was tiny and the lines were fine, so I made a larger version to try to work out the thread path. By looking at this larger version, and also at the photograph in the book, I realised that I had pin holes in my pricking that should not be there. OK, I could just try to ignore them for now and fix up my pricking for next time. One problem solved.

As I continued to work, I still got confused every time I came to one of those double eyed monsters. In the end I came to the conclusion that that there were still pinholes there that should not be. I couldn't figure out what to do with them. Anyway, I got my book mark up to a point that I could take it to a lace meeting and have something to work on for the afternoon. One of the ladies at this meeting had made a number of these book marks, so I had a chat to her and she sorted me out. Yes, those pinholes needed to be there, but as support only.

So behold, my new finished bookmark! It has been made with Guttermann Sulky 30 thread, with a purple crochet thread acting as a gimp down the side. My double eyed spiders leave a bit to be desired, and like the spiders in nature, they are all different. Watch this space for another one when they are all the same.




Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A New Needlecase


Back in January 2017 I was enticed to join and on-line group called 'A Year In Stitches'. The idea of the group was to encourage people to stitch every day. Do I need encouragement to stitch every day? Definitely not, I have been stitching every day for most of my life.

I really didn't need to start anything new, but I did. Everyone in the group appeared to be doing surface stitching of some kind. Well, I am a counted thread/lace kind of person, so I looked in my fabric stash and found a piece of linen that I had bought at a Christmas function with my local stitching group. It was a light pink/mauve colour and had in the packet with it a skein of Waterlilies silk floss that blended. All I needed now was a needle and I could start. But what to do?

My passion is drawn thread work, and for a long time now I had wanted to try some coloured needle weaving. So I began creating the sides of a drawn channel with a 4 sided stitch, using the lovely silk thread that was in with the fabric.

OK, channel edged and drawn, I needed to find some Perle threads that blended to needle weave with. That was easy, I have plenty of left over balls of Perle threads, so enter the blue, pink, and cream.  The coloured needle weaving was fun, and I found it much more practical to run three needles. So much easier than threading & re-threading needles all the time.

The piece grew over time. I added fine borders  that I found in one of my books, decided what to do with corners, and added a black work pattern. With the black work pattern I blended different colours with the silk floss that made it blend in with the needle weaving that  I had done. All the while I kept thinking 'what am I going to do with the piece?'

The piece went on hold while other things took over. Then last year at Stitcher's Plus, we were setting challenges for ourselves for this year. My challenge was to finish some UFO's. So behold, my fist UFO for this year is finished! I have turned my piece into a needle case. I finished the black work stitching, hemmed it with a four sided stitch hem, added some lining and Doctors flannel, then a closure of toggle and loop. There is a hand made twisted cord for the spine with a bottom tassel just to finish it off.



So one UFO done, hopefully nine more will happen over the remainder of the year.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

An ANZAC Tin


My ANZAC tin is number seventeen in my collection. This one I bought a few years ago purely for the tin, though it did contain ANZAC biscuits that were OK. I tend to make my own ANZAC biscuits.

This tin is rectangular in shape, and about 7cm high. The lid is in relief, with a scene from the Kokoda Track, a famous track from WW11 in Papua and New Guinea. My Dad fought in WW11, though not in New Guinea. I bought the tin in rememberance of him and all the other soldiers who fought in the war.

On the base of the tin there is lots of information. There is a story about the history of the ANZAC biscuit, and how it was included in the rations of the soldiers at Gallipoli in 1915. It goes on to tell  how it was the women back home who were baking the biscuits not only for the soldiers, but also to raise money for the war effort. There is also a story about the RSL, and the New Zealand equivalent.

Of course there is nutrition information, and information about the company that made the biscuits, as well as a use by date of March 2013.

I’ve found them on EBay selling for anything up to $30, but I will keep mine for a while yet, it is, after all, in use. 

So what does this tin hold? Embroidery supplies of course. There are embroidery hoops, threads, half finished pieces of work, my good embroidery scissors, threads, a thimble etc etc. I am sure you get the picture. It's a tin I  can pick up and take to group days and I will have something to do on the day.

ANZAC Day will be upon us again  later this month. I must look in the shops and see if I can acquire a different one to keep this one company.


Friday, March 23, 2018

A Little Needle Roll


Nearly a week ago now I spent the day with my creative stitching group Stitchers Plus. They are such a fun group of people and very, very creative. This year we have decided to each take a day and present a little challenge to the group. This little needle roll is the result of one of those challenges.

The challenge was set by Annette. We were each given a little kit that contained the basic makings of this little needle roll. Included were two needles already threaded with fuseble thread, and a blindfold. Yes,  a blindfold!  We had to stitch with the thread provided with the blindfold on! Now that certainly was a first,  a fun and very interesting exercise! Below was the result of my stitching by feel only. Later I added some more to fill in the gaps.


Then came some fun with the iron. We had a few different foiling sheets to choose from, and I actually used two different colours on my sample which produced an interesting result.


That was as much as I got done on this piece on the day, but when I came home I picked out some threads from my stash and started to stitch.. I added feather stitches, french knots and woven wheels.


The kit also included some Dr's flannel stitched onto a ribbon, which I then stitched onto the back of my decorated piece. 


I also added a handmade toggle and twisted cord for closure.

Such a fun day,  with a very creative little needle roll as an end result.





Friday, March 16, 2018

A Toffee Tin

This hexagonal toffee tin is number sixteen in my collection of tins. It is one I have bought, purely for food storage.

It's a few years ago now, we were away on holidays, spending time up the coast for Christmas. I wanted to make some rocky road to add to the Christmas table, but because we were away from home, I needed a container to store it in. I could have opted for a plastic one, but this was a male member of the family's  idea. It was his thought that he could eat all the toffees first, then I could have the tin for storage.

There is lots of information on the base, including a date of 2013. There is also a note telling me the tin and all it's contents is  recyclable. Mmmmm......... not likely, not while I am still alive any way.

I did some research on the tin, not finding any for sale. What I did read though is that the confectionery company that makes the toffees is now using plastic tubs!

My tin is empty most of the time, but is does get used for food storage occasionally.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Another Tea Tin


This tea tin in my collection is number fifteen. It is a fairly recent addition, one I bought from a local Asian grocery store when I was looking for a different flavoured tea. The tea in this one is long gone too, it was an Oolong tea, A Chinese tea supposedly with lots of health benefits. 


The tin itself is wonderful, it has a wonderful shape, gorgeous colouring's, and gorgeous design on the tin lid and sided. On the bottom there are lots of labels, and a date of 2021. That's a best before date, so we can tell the tin is fairly recent.

They are available for sale on the net, though at this stage they are being sold with tea still inside.

So what does this tin hold? At present is is still being pretty on top of my Mum's china cabinet with some of my other tins keeping it company.



Monday, March 05, 2018

A Bushells Tea Tin

Another tea tin in my collection today. This one is number fourteen in my collection, and is one I purchased full of tea over ten years ago. The tea inside is long gone, and the tin still remains empty.

This one is apparently one of three in a series  called "Australian Communities" to collect. I only have this one. It is dated a 'limited Edition 2005'

These are for sale on e-bay and Gumtree and I am amazed at how much they are selling for. Mine is a little rusty on the outside, though still clean and rust free on the inside. I really should use it for something, but is just sits as decoration on top of my Mum's old china cabinet.

Friday, March 02, 2018

A Yellow Lace Edged Hankerchief


Check out my latest handkerchief edge!

I wanted to do another hankie edge, something easier than the last one, so I checked out the patterns I had, and chose this one. I had not done it, but it looked easy enough. Famous last words!

I set about drawing up my pricking, and printed out just a small section around a corner to practice it first. Mmmm........... what I thought was going to be easy turned into a challenge. No matter what  I tried, I could not figure it out. Mmm....... What to do.

I thought about waiting for my next lace meeting and asking someone, but that was ages away. Then I thought I could ask someone on the lace related Facebook groups that I am on. I got lots of answers back, some helped, some didn't, but the one that helped the most was the one that told me it was triangular ground.

Triangular Ground? What is that? So I pulled out my lace books and did some research. Yes I found it, but it didn't really help. What now? Frustration plus!

One of my family members suggested You Tube, everything is on You Tube! So I checked out You Tube, and found a video of how to work two different types of triangular ground. Which one was I supposed to do? There were a number of videos, and they were so good they soon had me sorted which one I had to do. There was only one hitch, The video was demonstrating working the triangular ground in one direction, and I had to work it in the opposite direction.

There was much to and froing from my PC to my lace pillow, much note taking, and finally I produced my little sample. I had to check my notes to make sure that I could not only read them, but follow them again at a later date.

Now the hankie edging was ready to begin. It is worked in Gutermann Sulky No 30 thread, which was beautiful to work with. There were no breakages! Not one!, and  it took approximately 40 hours of work to produce. Now that is just scary!

It will just sit and look pretty in my glass cabinet for a while until I decide what to do with it. I want to make another one in pretty blue colours. Watch this space.


Friday, February 23, 2018

'Umbrella Hills' - A Baby Quilt

Back in November last year I was given the news that a new baby was arriving in the family early this year. I had this fabric in my stash so decided that I would use it to make a quilt.

There was not enough time to piece a top, not with holidays and Christmas in the mix, so I decided to quilt the piece of fabric as it was. I wanted to echo the design on the fabric, so started quilting around the umbrellas. From there I chose a line of the clouds and quilted along those.

I had always been taught that quilting needs a maximum distance of a fist width between the quilting lines. The back of the quilt is in a plain lime green fabric, and the quilting lines I had done already showed up easily. Some of the areas between the lines were greater than a fist width, so some more quilting was necessary. Still working on the back, I put some pins in where I felt some more quilting needed to go. I then turned the quilt to the front, and picked out some more cloud  lines that were close to the pins. After stitching these new lines, all the quilting was done.

The bind is in the same green as the backing, and there is a digitised label on the back saying that I have made it and the date it was completed.

This quilt will now be with its new owner, and I am sure he will snuggle under it in the coming months.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A Bobbin Lace Book Mark

Slowly but surely I have been working through a bobbin lace book I have on Bedfordshire Lace.

This is pattern 6a in the book, and it took me a total of fourteen hours to work, not all at once I might add.

I have been working through this book for some time now, and another lace maker that I know has advised me not to use it because of the shoddy work shown in the book. Well, I love the patterns and designs in this book, and I was not going to be put off. I have not had a problem with the book, until now.

I started this book mark back in November 2017 at my local lace group. I had spent the afternoon winding bobbins, then was just beginning to set up to start when it was time to come home. I packed everything up well, or so I thought, came home and put my lace pillow away. I was about to go on holidays and would not have time to touch it for a while.

It was not until after New Year that I got time to pull it out again, and this is what I found!


Obviously I had not secured everything well enough for the short distance I had to travel home. No, my Fluffball of a Sasha Cat did not get into it and have a play. It was packed away where she could not get to it. In my years of making bobbin lace, I have never had a pillow in such a mess! It took me some time to sort it out and make it neat again so I could work.

OK, so I was all set up to start my book mark. I started reading the instructions in the book, and it was like reading double dutch. I was so confused! I had started two other bookmarks similar to this before, so I ditched the book instructions, pulled out the notes on those other book marks, and figured the start of this one by myself. Once I got the start sorted, I was off and running.

The pricking was drawn up on a 5mm grid, and I used DMC Special Dentelles thread to work the lace. The thread was possibly a little too fine for the 5mm grid, but I am happy with the result. Next time i might try a Perle 12.


Monday, February 19, 2018

Art Journal Page Twelve



Page twelve in my art journal sits across from page eleven, so the two pages are seen together when the journal is open.

The pages had the same treatment, with modge podge, paint, stamping and even down to pen choice and line work.

As with page eleven, I found this page too insipid, so it too got the magazine treatment at the same time I did page eleven.

I only used one page from the magazine for both pages. I had cut the magazine  page into strips, and half of each strip was glued onto one page, and half  onto the other, with a space left between the strips. On page eleven there was some orange, while on page twelve there were mustards, greys and blacks. 
It still gave the page some life and the black from the boat in the magazine picture lifted and accentuated the outline of the number twelve


This was my page twelve before I added the magazine page, while the top photo is the completed page. It looks much better.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

Art Journal Pg 11

Opening up to a blank page in my art journal is always daunting. The last one I had painted green and hated it so I pasted paper over it. The full story of that page can be read here. ( create link)

For this one I mixed colours together again and painted the pre-prepared mod podged page. I have decided my painting skills need work. Once dry, I then proceeded to stamp on another colour with a star shaped stamp I created years ago from a cork.

At least my page now had something on it, so then it was a case of picking out pens to add some line work. I had my trusty black felt tipped pen, but I also looked through all the coloured texta type pens that I had. I found some Sharpies, and also some gel pens, but settled on the gel pen for colour. It was orange, and I thought stood out best on the paint colour.

I used the painted stamp as a starting point, and drew star shapes echoing the stamp, then more lines to repeat and accent the shape. Then I got out the orange gel pen and drew little orange dots between the lines. M...... still not liking the page, I added an outline around the orange dots in my fine, black felt tipped pen. It was better, but still not to my linking. I left the page for ages before I did anything else to it. I added some black dots and circles to the inside of the number eleven, and this seemed to make it worse. Every time I got it out I was trying to work out why I didn't like it.

It was something about the colour. I had picked the orange gel pen because I thought it would contrast with the painted background, but it didn't. It was the wrong shade of orange, and I came to the conclusion that it was a discordant colour scheme, one that I have never taken to.

So....... how to fix it and make it better? I could either paint over the top of it all and start again, or add something to it like I did before with the last one.

I had been going through old magazines and saving pictures that I liked, so I went through them and picked out one that I thought would blend in. The page was from a travel brochure, and was a picture of Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong and the famous red sampan.

I cut the magazine picture into varying width strips, kept the strips in order, and then glued them over the top of my page so there were gaps in between. I cut the strips to length so that they fitted around my number eleven, not over the top.

The end result is much better. My number eleven is still the focus of my page, and the orange/red sail of the sampan adds that splash of contrast that I was looking for. The page to me now feels like a party on Victoria Harbour, something that I have done in real life. So in fact I have created a memory without even realising it.



This is what my page looked like before I added the  magazine strips. I wasn't sure if it was too busy, or what the problem was.  All I knew was that I wasn't happy with it. Now comparing the two, I think I had lost focus when I added the pattern to the inside of my number eleven. I always wanted the numbers to be the focus on the page.

I am content with the finished page. Would I use it for inspiration to my stitching? Not sure. Watch this space to find out.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A Dilmah Tea Tin

Anyone for tea? I love a good cup of brewed leaf tea, and purchased this tin full of tea leaves some years ago. It is number thirteen in my collection of tins. I would have bought it a my local supermarket at the time.

The tin is still on the small size, 12cm square at the base, and 15cm high. There is lots of information on the tin, how and where the tea is grown, how it is packed, information about the Dilmah company, and even how to brew a pot of tea.

I searched on the net to see if I could find one like this for sale. There were lots of Dilmah Tea Tins, but not one just like this. This one has some rust on the lid edges, but the inside is still clean and mark free. At present it still sits empty, waiting for something to be stored in it.