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1  Re: Setting the Miniature Scene - Gallery in The Swap Gallery by elderflower on: August 21, 2015 01:25:14 PM
My parcel from  tendstowardschaos  arrived at the post office yesterday and I picked it up this morning.  Although I took photographs straight away I couldn't post them on the gallery earlier because today's power cut lasted from 6 am to 9pm.  I am hastily putting them up now in case we get another long power cut tomorrow.  Sad
It was such an exciting parcel, multiple small parcels inside a sturdy box so nothing was broken, and she included lots of explanatory notes about everything.
My theme was the 19th century peasant/working class home and she sent me so many lovely things for it.

She painted this me beautiful miniature copy of Old Battersea Bridge by James McNeill Whistler.  I happened to have a miniature easel which fits it perfectly.  I love this picture and am so thrilled to have this brilliant miniature version.

She had some old clay beads made by a friend and made lovely hand-dipped huckleberry scented candles for them  to turn them into adorable rustic candlesticks.

She bought me some miniature bread and cheese and then crocheted a lovely bread basket to hold them all.

Then there was a set of beautiful  tapestry cushions

followed by a hand carved log chair. It must have taken you ages to carve that out of a single piece of wood.  It is so perfect for a humble cottage.

From the same wood as the chair she then carved me a set of bowls, including a serving bowl painted with a pattern from an 1875 Norwegian bowl.

And also for the kitchen she added some tiny glass bottles, one with micro beads that could be dried peas.

She found a dear little sewing machine for me

and as if all this wasn't enough she then threw in a packet of little charms, which can be used as ornaments, and a little brass house sign.

And here is a picture of the whole lot together.  Thank you so much tendstowardschaos . Truly I have been so spoiled by you.  Thank you for stepping in to angel for me.  Actually I think this was an archangel package.  Cheesy
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2  Re: Setting the Miniature Scene - Gallery in The Swap Gallery by elderflower on: August 07, 2015 05:33:28 AM
My partner received on the 12th July but has since then been very ill and not able to post pictures.  I hope she gets better soon and in the meantime I am putting up the pictures I took before I sent them away.

She asked for fairy garden items so I first made these 1:12 scale garden tools.

The metal parts were  cut from the lids of a baked bean tins and the handles are bougainvillea twigs from my garden.  The stable broom head was cut from one of those toothbrushes that some airlines give you when you travel.

I also made these 3 flower pots using the quilling paper technique. The trowel was also cut from a tin can and has a bougainvillea thorn for a handle.

I made three packets of seeds by scanning packets I already had and reducing them.  This is where I learned the difference between "vector" and "raster" graphics.  I filled the packets with tiny seed beads as I wasn't sure that  real seeds were allowed to travel between countries.

This 1:12 rustic chair was also made from bougainvillea  twigs, and with banana fibre, again from the garden, for the riempies (not sure what the English word is) and for tying the bent twigs that make the (vaguely) heart shape of the back.

I also included this little wire bicycle.  I did not make it. These wire toys are made by young men and boys in this country for play and for sale by the side of the road.  It is a lot smaller than 1:12, perhaps 1:24.

As I hadn't made miniatures before I used several sites on the internet to learn how to make these.  In particular http://miniatures.about.com/od/miniatureprojects/ where I learned how to make the garden tools and the rustic chair; and http://1inchminisbykris.blogspot.com/ which showed me how to make the flower pots from rolled paper strips.

I was also nervous about sending plant material to another country so I boiled everything first for an hour and then dried it in the oven overnight.  That ought to kill anything.
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3  Somerset Star pot holders or hot mats in Quilting: Completed Projects by elderflower on: June 04, 2015 11:34:46 AM
At one of our monthly Needlecraft guild meetings a few months ago we had a tutorial on these Somerset stars.  Our committee members had put together kits of ready cut pieces in lovely fabrics. The kits were $3 each for guild funds and were very popular. Lots of people wanted more than one kit.  I ended up making 3 of them.  

It is a very simple pattern and can mostly be done by hand. The only word of warning I have is to be wary of using thicker fabrics particularly on the pieces that will be around the edge.  My dark blue with the pink bias edge had thick chintz pieces for the outer edge and although they were a very pretty pattern they were murder to sew through all the thicknesses. And I had to stretch the bias tape; as you can see it does not look very neat at all.

This is a great way to use up scraps of leftover fabric from other projects.

(The pictures jump around between the three stars as I didn't always remember to take in-progress photos for every stage.)
Two Circles: Cut one large 19 cm or 7 inch diameter circle in any plain fabric such as calico, to be the foundation.  Cut another large circle in pretty fabric to be the back of the Somerset Star.
Optional : Cut one small circle (9 cm or 3 inches diameter) in pretty fabric. This will go in the middle on top of the foundation circle and underneath the central four points to show through any gaps between the central points.
Oblongs (20 altogether):
small  10.5 by 6 cm (4 ⅛ by 2 ⅜ inches)
medium    11.5 by 8.25 cm ( 4 by 3 inches)
large  13 by 10 cm (4 by 5 inches)
In three contrasting fabrics:
Cut four of the smallest oblong and 8 each of the two larger oblongs.  Using different fabrics emphasises the star especially if you choose alternating dark and light or patterned and plain fabric.
Tack or pin the small circle to the centre of the foundation circle.

Fold each  rectangle in half lengthways and then fold to a point in the middle.  I tacked mine down but you could probably get away with just ironing them flat.

The small circle is pinned to the centre of one of the large circles and then the four smallest points are placed in the middle with the tips  meeting in the centre. Catch each tip down in the centre with one or two tiny stitches.  Catch the pieces down again at the centre fold of each point and where the edge of each point touches another.
The picture shows the centre points stitched in place with the second layer being pinned into position.

Pin the medium points with their tips about 1.5 cm ( inch) out from the tips of the centre points. The tips lie along the folds or between the edges of the centre points and can either overlap clockwise/anti-clockwise or in an alternating pattern. These are caught down with tiny stitches at the tips, folds and edges.

The last layer of the large points is again placed 1.5 cm out from the tips of the medium points and caught down as before.

The square edges of the large points will stick out beyond the edge of the circle.

This picture shows the back of the work after all the points are stitched down and before the overhanging edges have been trimmed off.

Tack or pin the backing circle to the back of the foundation circle and trim off the overhanging edges of the last layer of points.

Machine stitch bias tape around the edge on the front and finish off with small hemming stiches on the back.

I attach a pdf of the templates.
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4  Re: Finished flowers (w/pattern) in Crochet: Completed Projects by elderflower on: June 01, 2015 09:16:56 AM
I just finished making one of these flowers and since there are no pictures here I thought I would post  a picture of mine.

It was quite hard work in the later rows because you are making lots of increases so the number of stitches increases almost exponentially. I used  a variegated yellow acrylic crochet thread for the centre (chain and first 3 rows), plain white crochet cotton for the base of the petals (next 2 rows), and a variegated red acrylic thread for the edges of the flower, the last 4 rows. All Size 5 and with a 1.7 mm hook.

In progress picture. I have finished the white rows and just started the first red.
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5  What is the best needle to use for a seam that varies widely in bulk? in Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions by elderflower on: May 25, 2015 03:31:01 AM
I needed to sew a double welt pocket with flap in a pair of stretch denim breeches.
The final seam starts out on a double layer of lining fabric but then goes up and through the clipped corner and end of welts which amounts to about 8 layers of stretch denim, plus interfacing as well as the lining fabric.
The very thick layers needed a size 110 needle as anything less would break, but this size would have punched huge holes in my satin lining fabric.
I ended up changing needles part way through the seam on both sides of the pocket but it was messy and I wish I knew a better way to do it.  The pattern of course, while full of helpful diagrams was absolutely silent on that sort of practical advice.

This picture shows how untidy the whole thing turned out even though I tacked the seam by hand first.  It was very difficult dealing with both the slippery lining and the very bulky stretch denim.

I'd love to know how the professionals manage.
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6  Re: DIY circular needles from dowels w/pics and tutorial in Knitting: Completed Projects by elderflower on: May 24, 2015 01:53:51 AM
Thanks for this very useful tutorial. With my son's help I made a pair of large diameter (13.2mm) circulars that I could not find anywhere.

They worked beautifully.  I did give them a coat of polyurethane after sanding and then one final sanding, and had absolutely no problems knitting with them, even when using three strands of yarn.
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7  Asymmetric Cowl in the 'Hunger Games' style - now with pattern in Knitting: Completed Projects by elderflower on: May 24, 2015 01:50:04 AM
My son is on the committee of his University  Archery club.  At the beginning of the year they had a kind of fair for all the new first years to see what clubs are available. For the Archery club some of the members manning the stall wanted to dress up a bit and I offered to knit an asymmetric cowl like the one from the Hunger Games film.
I had to make up the pattern (and guess at the sizing since I didn't know who was going to wear it) I couldn't find any large gauge circular needles in my local shops but, inspired by this craftster tutorial, I got my son to make me a pair.

It all worked out in the end and I also learned a new stitch Herringbone stitch which is very attractive.

This is the young lady who dressed up as the character from the Hunger Games.

And this my circular 13 mm(-ish) needle.

I started writing the pattern down as I was going along but find I have forgotten one or two  things so I'll work on those and try and get a pattern up here later.

Okay. I have added the pattern as a pdf file attachment. I realise that this means only Craftster members can see it or download it but it is really  much too long to put in this post as it also has several pictures to illustrate things.
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8  Stitcher's Alphabet in Needlework: Completed Projects by elderflower on: May 17, 2015 07:22:53 AM
This was my entry for this year's Needlecraft Guild competition. We were having a fun competition this time to celebrate our 25th anniversary. So the theme was just '25' and people interpreted it anyway they wanted.
I decided to do an alphabet using the Gothic Alphabet which has 25 letters, making one letter do the job of 'I' and 'J'.

Technical details
Most of the squares came from the wonderful Stitcher's Alphabet by Brooke Nolan at http://www.brookesbooks.com/CrossStitchFreebies.html 

I had to design the I/J square myself of course, as hers was a 26 letter alphabet. I made a filet crochet Gothic I/J in variegated blue machine thread.  I stitched it into the centre of the square, first with a blue cross stitch that was pretty invisible and then with the decorative stitching and then I cut away the fabric behind the crochet. (And used lots of Fray Check because I just didn't trust my join).  Around the crochet I drew out threads and wove them back into the fabric at the corners and inserted a 2mm wide silk ribbon.

I also made a different design for 'O' as she had O for Over-dyes and I thought O for Openwork was more interesting although I did use over-dyed thread for the Hardanger. It was also a more difficult square  as aida-type fabric is really not the best for cut work.  Again I used a lot of Fray Check. 

The upper case letters I got from a sampler my grandmother did in the 1920s at a college for missionaries' wives.  Her work didn't have all the letters so I had to design  some in a similar style.  The lower case letters in the title are from an antique DMC booklet 'Bibliothèque D.M.C. - Alphabet de la Brodeuse' downloaded from  http://www.antiquepatternlibrary.org/

The hem has mitred corners and is done in what is called by some, Danish hemstitch.  There is a picture of the stitch here.  https://theshopsampler.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/new-years-resolution-so-far-so-good/blackwork-danish-2a/

The fabric I used is not actually proper Aida. I've no idea where I got it from as it has been in my fabric hoard for years. The thread count is wider than it is long which worked out okay because the individual images were actually oblong so in my version they came out more square.

I include thumbnails for all the other letters in case anyone else is doing this design, because when I was stitching this I would have liked to have been able to look at clear pictures of how some of the designs would look when completed.  I did change some colours and I didn't use as much beading as the pattern called for because sewing on beads takes forever and I got bored with it Wink

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9  Re: Yet Another TM Patch Swap R3!- Gallery in The Swap Gallery by elderflower on: December 18, 2014 03:20:11 AM
My fabulous package arrived today from madcrafter.
She posted it on 22 November and the notification arrived yesterday - so I guess airmail  isn't what it used to be  Wink
But it was truly worth waiting for.  She made patches on my theme of sunsets and had the most beautiful fabrics and embroidery.
I love this one with its fire at sunset. The fabric just brilliantly evokes a bush fire and the chenille stitched sun is glorious.

The other patch she sent is this beautiful Van Gogh style sunset in chainstitch.  I am so in love with the colours and the way the stitches flow around the sun and across the sky.

She also sent me one of her stunning paper cuts.
I am so thrilled with this and love all the little details that I keep finding the more I look at it - like the cats on the fence and the rabbits in the grass.

And as if all this wasn't enough she also sent me a wonderful patch making kit with fabrics in my favourite colours and needles and threads and beads.  I'm particularly intrigued by the unusual threads as I can't find that sort of thing here and I'm really looking forward to using them
 Altogether a fantastic Christmas present. Thank you so much madcrafter. Definitely worth the wait.
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10  Red-checked apron with crochet motifs. in Clothing: Completed Projects: General by elderflower on: December 08, 2014 06:38:18 AM

I made this as a gift for our Needlecraft Guild Christmas dinner where we each bring a hand-made gift and these are randomly assigned to guests.
The fabric is not a true gingham but a fabric printed to look like gingham.
The hem is finished with five motifs crocheted in Coats Red mercerised cotton size 8 with a 1.25 mm hook. I ran out of red and used white to finish the bottom edges of the motifs. 

Close up of one of the motifs.
The pattern comes out of an old handicrafts book that I borrowed from our Guild library.  Unfortunately I can't remember the name of it but I can find out if anyone is interested.
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