Saturday, December 16, 2006

Hexagon Hussif Part 2

Here is the outside of the hussif, with a finger crocheted loop and button closure.
Fogot to say that the straight side of each hexagon measures 3", and that the "diameter" point to point across the middle is 6" and so that makes it a 6" hexagon.

Hexagon Hussif

Today was the last day for this year at my EG local group, and I took along the makings and directions for this hussif. A friend at our patchwork group had the original concept, but I have modified it. There is pellon sandwiched between the inner and outer hexagons and the outer layer wraps around to "bind" the smaller inside one. I inserted shaped felt needle leaves between the first two "pages" and there is a small pocket between the 2nd and 3rd page which is unfortunately not large enough for needle packets but will fit embroidery scissors and a rotary tape measure. A most useful "housewife" indeed !! Only one more party to attend, although the way I feel right now after a full day down at Linnwood again, I might just give my apologies. Although.....they do serve some really nice finger food at that restaurant venue.... and everyone knows I LOVE my food. Do you ever wonder why there are no photos of me anywhere on the net? You'd be able to tell how much I love my food!!! Our Secret Santa exchange went really well today too, I got a handmade dilly bag for shopping and CHOCOLATES. See they know me really well (and I did hint at what I'd like at the last meeting too, VBG) The miniature tote bag was very much appreciated by the receiver, and they all thought I was a bit mad when they saw the size of the stitches on it. I think I'll need to make another for myself now.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Christmas Holiday Projects

Isn't it funny how Christmas time brings family memories flooding back? I remember how excited my own 4 littlies used to get at this time of year, "How long till Christmas, Mum?" and trying to buy or make the perfect gifts for each of them. One year I made a full doll's cot set for one of the older girls, little quilted blanket (my first attempt at quilting) and pillow and lacy skirt for the cot and all. We still have the cot in the shed, and I found the little quilt the other day in the linen cupboard while putting things away. Over the years I made lacy potpouri pillows for my aunties, homemade lollies, and lots of other things too numerous to mention. There is one WIP gift that my mother keeps reminding me about. I bought her a kit at a craft show when my step father first took ill, thinking she could relax and stitch. It is a coloured candlewicked dresden plate design pillow, quite nice really, but she thought I should do it for her as she couldn't concentrate well. That was 5 years ago. It is still unfinished. My WIP list is 3 pages long you know. I suppose I should get to it fairly soon though, mum isn't getting any younger and I'm sure she would like to see it finished. So would I, so I've moved it higher on the list of to-dos this holidays. I've also bought some fabric and some thread suggestions for an online Round Robin Band Challenge , the first band stitched is due in February so that is also on the list. The fabric is 25 count Lugarna, and these are some of my favourite colours at the moment.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

It can't be December already!

Such a busy time. Parties and gatherings every couple of days, much too much eating and drinking taking place. At least my kids' group had a nice party day, a simple felt Christmas project then we all shared afternoon tea. I put up some decorations in the hall, and asked the kids to all help decorate a little tree. Christmas is not so magical without little ones in the home, so I really enjoy my kids at embroidery group at this time of year. On Monday I had to take a "bag challenge" project to my patchwork group Christmas party. As usual, I had procrastinated over design and fabric for so long that time had beaten me, so on Sunday night I decided to whip up this little miniature tote which will do double duty as a Secret Santa gift for a fellow miniature enthusiast. It measures 1 3/4 inches x 1 1/4 inches, is made of homespun and decorated with some canibalised suffolk puffs
(yo yos) from my mini quilt project. The straight sewing is over 3 or so threads of the fabric (thank goodness for good magnifying glasses) and took about 4 hours to make. Yes, in that time I could have sewn a full size bag by machine I hear you say, but would I have had so much fun ??
This week I have also attended the end of season show for the Dancing Studio I sometimes work for, got a credit in the programme and all. There is a certain amount of satisfaction in seeing your creations on the stage, even if some of the costumes weren't worn correctly !! This weekend we have Open House day at Linnwood, and I have spent several days helping set up an exhibition of all our donations received in the last 4 years. We have some quite delightful groupings of items, clothing and accessories, kitchenalia, war momentos, tools, lighting, handcrafts and laundry items just to name a few. I'll try to get a couple of photos to post on Sunday.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Saturday afternoon's class went well.

Today's class was exhausting. 8 kids who loved the dolly-peg angels but also wanted to make the alternate project as well !! We had several male angels with very dark coloured robes (not dresses, they're for GIRLS!) and short styled hair. They had green and red glitter sticks for their wings, and everyone did a pretty good job. Next time, I'll take craft glue in SMALL bottles which run easily and don't need the nozzle to be unclogged every 5 minutes. Perhaps I can buy some small squeeze bottles and decant the glue so each person has their own. We don't use it very often, after all it is a stitching group, but this was meant to be a quick, easy session. The second project was a little lolly bag made from a felt covered carboard cone, decorated to look like a reindeer. It had little brown ears, and white antlers, goggle eyes and a glitter pom-pom for the nose. The handle was from the same dark brown felt as the body. The only stitching was down the centre back to re-inforce the glued seam, and a couple of running stitches to hold 2 layers of felt together on the antlers to give them a bit of body. They were cute as well, and took about 25 minutes to make including waiting in line for the dreaded glue bottles. I have promised a craft project for the Christmas party day as well, it will have to be a really easy one with NO GLUE. (can you guess I spent 15 minutes cleaning glue off tables and brushes and myself at the end of the session?)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Dolly peg angels for the kids' group

This weekend at my children's group we are making some cute angel decorations. It is inspired by a recent magazine project but I've changed it quite a lot to suit the children's skill level. We will paint the peg first, then they have panties made from strips of cloth wrapped baby-nappy style and glued on. The skirt is just a rectangle, fringed with pinking shears and gathered down from the top. There are arms from a strip of fabric knotted in the middle, a collar of gathered lace and plaited yarn hair wound around the head. The wings are glitter pipecleaners and circle the waist before forming the wings. A simple face and a loop for hanging on the back completes them. I will also have an even simpler project on hand for the littlies or anyone who doesn't want to make a "girlie" thing . I'll post that one up when I've made my sample. Hope they like them!!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Secret Santa idea

Here is my version of a project in Handmade magazine Vol 23 no. 9. Each member of our EG group is making one for themselves and putting their name on it. At our November meeting we will do a Secret Santa draw. Each person will then have the challenge of finding a small gift, or making one, for the person they drew out. Then in December at the Christmas meeting, we will all see how well we know our fellow group members!! One of the ladies also suggested we make a few extra bags, to be filled with some little goodies for residents in aged care etc. We thought that was a lovely idea, so some people will donate the items for the bags while others get to work making the bags themselves. Christmas is now only 2 months away, wow, has the year flown by?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

A Crazy Quilting Christmas project for the kids

This is my class sample for my kids' EG group last weekend. We pooled Christmas fabrics, and I brought along sequins, beads, laces, threads and ribbons for embellishing the raw edges of each patch. There are 3 boys in the group and the average age is 9. A couple of the older girls chose to do the alternate project of a yo-yo Christmas Tree ornament. I wish now I remembered to take the digital camera to class, I really must learn how to use it so I can post up photos of their actual work. The idea of the group is to learn about textiles and fibre so we stitch, weave, embellish, paint fabric and sometimes use glue where appropriate. We attempt a small project once a month, and they usually finish most of the project before they leave the meeting. I sometimes find it challenging finding an inspiration each month, but the results from the kids are the reward I think. We have to design a panel for a group banner for the upcoming EG major exhibition next October, and one child will be selected from our group to stitch it.

Monday, October 02, 2006

I also belong to AMEA in Sydney, although I am not very active at the moment. Here are two mini quilts I have attempted. The hexagon one was completed as part of an EG basic course in 2001, and measures
6" x 6 1/2" (15 x 17 cm) and was hand pieced over cardstock shapes based on an AUS 1c piece. The yo-yo quilt is a WIP and needs 220 puffs for a 1/12th scale double bed quilt. It is currently pinned onto a piece of styrofoam so I can move the colours around. Each puff starts out the size of a AUS 1c piece, then has a narrow hem and gathering stitched around before pulling into the shape. The pattern and the fabrics came in a kit although I have added some of my own favourites as well. There is no lining or backing so it drapes beautifully. I just need to finish the wooden bed kit, and the matress, pillow, sheets and blanket... Now don't send for the men in white coats just yet, this is a long term project and the enjoyment is in the journey, isn't that what they say ? We won't talk about the 200 plus stars and 150 plus hexagons I'm hand piecing for a full scale queen size quilt, or the new one I'm thinking of starting (called Pioneer Braid) which is a scrappy quilt, to use up the leftovers from the star quilt, will we? I do like to have several projects on the boil at any one time, then when I get "creative block" I can switch projects for a while. How many creative people do you know with only one WIP at a time, I ask you? Although I did hear recently of a WIP swap, where people bring theirs along to swap for someone else's. That sounds like fun to me, I could contribute several !!!


Friday, September 29, 2006

Introducing Linnwood

Here is the Grand Old Lady herself, built in 1891 at Guildford, NSW near Parramatta. Prominent architect George McCredie, his wife and 9 children (and probably several household staff I shouldn't wonder) lived here for 12 years before he died, then Susan and her surviving 8 children stayed on till 1912 or so. More reading at Still sitting on nearly 12 acres of park-like land, owned by the citizens of NSW through the Heritage Office.
Here are some photos of the front verandah of an historic house I'm involved with in my area. I've always thought that it looks like someone threw a beautiful quilte down on the verandah. The tiles are from Stoke on Trent in England, and date from 1891. Inspiration for needle lace motifs as well?


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

My children's workshop was successful though only 4 attended, but such enthusiasm! The little girls all left with a woven patch for their library bag or cushion, and I gave out information about my regular group to them. Then came my daughter's 21st party at home, thankfully the last one. 40 people for tea, then more arrived for speeches and drinks afterwards. Her friends did a clean up before they left (saving the oldies from the job the next day). At least I shouldn't have to do too much preparation for a family Christmas at our place, having spend the last month spring cleaning for the big party !! Just have to finish a couple of sewing jobs for customers, including a Santa suit for a country town services club. And decide if I'm going to make any Christmas gifts this year, haven't done that for ages, but feeling inspired by all the great Christmas ideas in the craft magazines around at the moment. Hands and neck permitting, doing some patchwork piecing tonight !

Friday, September 15, 2006

Today has been very tiring, with lots of cleaning and sorting of accumulated "junk" being done in preparation for my youngest daughter's 21st party at home next weekend. Didn't realise just how much we hoard as a family. Feels good to Spring clean, and I've even bought large square bins with lids to finish tidying the work room, so no excuses for not knowing where any fabric, threads and tools are from now on !! Tomorrow I will be doing part 2 of a class at my EG local group, then on Sunday teaching a kid's workshop (only about 6 coming) at a local exhibition. Here is the sample of the project they will be doing.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I am also a member of the Australian Lace Guild, NSW Branch. I've attended several Lace Days at an historic house nearby, I happen to be a committee member of the Friends group and I open up the house for them as well. To date I haven't attempted bobbin lace making, but I have taken several classes and workshops in needlelace and Aemelia Ars style motifs. I actually learned this pattern at the EG as the tutor was giving a workshop there also. She very generously helped me through a few hiccups at the following Lace Day, thanks Margaret S. I was very happy to complete my very first piece of Aemelia Ars style and once I felt confident I added to the pattern a little. The thread is size 80 Dentelles in ecru. I've also started a pink piece, not sure about that!

Stumpwork elephant comprising graduated felt shapes padding under felt body, appliqued to brown velvet background. Embellished with beads, buttonhole stitch over rubber washer on gold net fabric over silk fabric "blanket", needlelace "skull cap" on head, tusk of thread wound card attached on one end only. Worked at Summer School class at Embroiderers' Guild NSW 2 years ago. Yet to be properly framed, still in hoop!

More examples of my work.
Needleweaving on gold painted canvas background representing a forest glade, with eyelet fungi and overhead branches. Silk chiffon inserted into background, titled "Where is Mr Frodo?" and framed in a gilt plaster frame that I've had for ages, it just suited the work. Completed for an intermediate level course at Embroiderers' Guild NSW.

Here is the first photo of embroidered projects I've finished in the last few years. There are many more WIP's (formerly known as UFO's)
The first is an embellished background exercise, comprising silk "patches" attached to a background then embellished with crossed stitches and sequins. Can you tell my favourite colourscheme is mauves and purples :)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Introducing me!

I've been reading other people's blogs and enjoying them so I thought I might try one of my very own. Here I hope to record my thoughts and progress on embroidery, lace making and costume making, my main interests at the moment. I might also throw in a few tidbits about the rest of my life, just to keep things real. Thanks to Jenny B for encouraging me and telling me how to get started on this little journey. More to follow...