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41  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Tutorial - Starting a Stitch on: September 10, 2011 01:57:00 AM
On Thursday I went to a demonstration/class in Blackwork, at the Needlecraft Guild I belong to, and the teacher, Dee Appel, showed us how to start a stitch.


It assumes you are using a double strand of embroidery floss.
You first take a single strand which is double the length you want to use.
Fold it in half and thread it onto the needle so that the folded end with the loop is farthest from the needle.


Next you pass it up from below (Fig. 1) and then back down through the next hole (Fig. 2)



Now pass it through the loop at the end of the thread (Fig 3).
   When you pull it up you have a neat first stitch (Fig 4) and no loose end to worry about. 

I thought it was a great idea as I am all in favour of anything that neatens the wrong side of my work.
Maybe this is all old hat to the serious embroiderers out there but it was new  to me.

42  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Nyan cat cell phone slip case on: September 07, 2011 10:16:29 PM




This cell phone case was made for my son who likes Nyan cat.  Although I took in-progress pictures I forgot to take one when it was done so had to get him to take one with his phone and send it to me. 


I was inspired by modgeeks nyan cat cross stitch although the pattern I actually used was by moon princessluna at deviantart.
I copied  the stars from this picture at Know Your Meme

Materials:
I didn't have any dark blue even weave fabric and I couldn't find any in the shops.  So I used some 18 count  Aida and fused navy blue chiffon to it with iron-on bonding web.  I could still clearly see the holes for making the stitches although  only in good light. 

The Purple and the blue of the rainbow were done by candle light during a power cut and they are very scruffy.  I do not know how our grandmothers managed to sew by candle light.  I certainly cannot.

The colours I used were ones I already had. 
For the rainbow:   Red DMC 666; Orange Semco S.118; Yellow Coats Anchor 290; Green Coats Anchor  number unknown (because the number band is missing); Blue DMC 995; Purple DMC 792
The biscuit:   Fawn outer edge DMC 437;  Base pink unknown make or number;  Sprinkles  Clarks Anchor 842
Cat:   Grey DMC 169; Cheeks Coats Anchor 08; Black outline and features DMC 310;  Eye and Stars  white Clarks Anchor 402

Modgeek complained of puckering of the fabric and I also found this with my first rows of purple and blue. 



I then changed my stitches so that going one way I stitched across and going the other way I stitched down.  The back view shows how the threads form a square  and I think that worked a bit better. Having said which, when it was all finished and I ironed it all the wrinkles disappeared anyway.
For the lining I cut up a hotel shoe polishing mitt.

He didn't want any fastening over the top so I made the case to fit the phone quite tightly as it is only held in place by friction.  I'm tempted to make another one for myself as I like the way it turned out.
43  FIBER ARTS / Weaving: Completed Projects / Another ribbon weave QR code on: September 04, 2011 10:47:46 AM
 Many years ago, soon after we were married, my late mother-in-law bought us this winnowing basket from a street vendor.  She liked the sentiment but also the spelling mistake.
  We also loved  it and it has been beside our front door ever since.

I recently took a ribbon weaving class and, inspired by Trekkys QRcode, I decided to up-date the basket by replicating the message, complete with misspelling, in a ribbon weave QR code. http://azonmedia.com/qrcode-generator was used to create the QR code from the text.


I pinned  a piece of iron-on interlining with the glue side up onto a cardboard base, pinned my white ribbons on top and then wove the black ribbons going the other way.

I found it quite difficult as the QR pattern did not really lend itself to regular weaving.  Some of the white ribbons were left hanging for several rows.  This picture shows where I cheated and cut the black ribbon and attached white to either end just so I could weave it on top of the white to hold it down.  Also the satin ribbon was very slippery and really did not like to stay put if it was not being held down by regular over and under weaving.

When I had finished I ironed the ribbon while it was still pinned, to fix it to the interlining.  I then removed the pins and carefully flipped it over to iron on the reverse side, to make it more secure, and finally used some black satin scraps to make a border.  It is backed with some old calico and the edges are bound with black satin bias tape.  It needs ironing again and I will need to frame it  if I am going to hang it outside next to the original.


The silly thing is that, whereas the basket can be read by anyone even with its misspelling no one in our household has any way of reading the QR code.  Huh  So I don't even know if it has worked.

 Perhaps the old ways were better after all.   Undecided


P.S. The spider is not real. It is a metal work spider my daughter put there to scare me.
44  FIBER ARTS / Weaving: Completed Projects / Ribbon weave evening bag on: August 22, 2011 11:58:47 AM


A few weeks ago I attended a ribbon weaving class and this is the fabric I created. 


I am afraid I havent any pictures of the weaving process as I didnt take my camera.  All the pictures I have were taken after I brought the work home.
Each person used  a base board which was either something like a large 40c by 40 cm cake board, or one made by stapling three layers of corrugated cardboard together.  (Not expanded polystyrene as you need to iron on it afterwards)
Onto this was pinned a 30 by 30 cm piece of iron-on Vilene with the glue side uppermost. 
Then we pinned the ribbons to make the weft (or is it warp I can never remember Undecided) and cut them short before weaving in  the ribbons that go across, using pins to secure the ends of the ribbons.
When we finished we first ironed the ribbons on top with the pins in place and then took out all the pins and carefully removed the piece from the cardboard, flipped it over and ironed on the back to set the  interfacing.
After I got it home I also machined around all four edges to secure it further.

This is the back view showing the iron-on interlining.
 

I had no idea what to make with it but when I got it home and thought about it for a bit I decided a little evening bag would be nice.  I  lined it with a scrap of black satin I happened to have, and used some leftover ribbon scraps to make little loops for the chain.

 
  I had to buy the chain and lobster claw catches. The fringe of ribbons happened because there wasnt enough brown ribbon in the kit supplied but that was okay. I think it is pretty that way.

I couldnt decide how to make a fastening so in the end I just left it as it is.  I dont intend to use it for anything important just as an evening bag for holding tissues and a comb perhaps.  If I have to close it I might use something like a butterfly hair clip
45  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 65 ENTRIES / Tissue box cover on: August 07, 2011 11:25:14 AM

My brother died 18 years ago in the last week of July so I always think of him around this time of year.  When I saw this challenge it inspired me to do something I had been meaning to do for ages, which was to try and create a font based on his handwriting.  I did this at http://fontstruct.com.
It probably took me more time than all the rest of the project put together as I had to first scan his writing, then select individual letters into Paint and finally copy them block by block into Fontstruct.  It was my first time to do this and  so it is not perfect but it is recognisably his handwriting.  The main problem is that it is too small/fine so in order to use it I have to increase the size to about 36 and Bold it as well but it does work.  Also some letters like Z and q I had to create from other letters as I didn't have examples.    If you want to see the font you can look for it in the Gallery at Fontstruct.  It is called David's Hand by egret.


The writing is 2 strands DMC embroidery floss no.  310 (black) in a mixture of backstitch, straight stitch and whatever looked right.

The clouds were two layers of navy chiffon and two layers of white organza edged with blanket stitch in 2 strands of DMC embroidery floss  - colours: 414 (very dark grey),  413 (dark grey),  169 (pale grey),  168 (very pale grey).



The raindrops are shisha work using 2 strands of DMC  168.  The mirrors are from old coasterised CDs that I cut up.  I do not recommend this generally as although I love the iridescence of the CDs they are very nasty to cut up.  I've tried using tin snips, side cutters and my old kitchen scissors and some worked well on some types of CD/DVD and some worked better on others.  All of them tend to shatter and crack when you first start to cut them and the splinters are needle-sharp. 



The dancers are copied from a print called The Charleston by  Ty Wilson. They are embroidered in one strand of DMC floss -  colours : 310, 168, 972 (Yellow), 666 (Red),   E168/5283 (Silver) and Gold I've lost the band and can't remember the number.  The white was Anchor 0402. Mostly satin stitch but French knots for the shoes and earring and chain stitch for the necklace of beads.

 I'd like to state here my immense respect for people who routinely embroider in satin stitch.  I found it extremely frustrating trying to get it to lie evenly.  I'm more of a counted thread worker myself.

The quote is altered from one in an article I read in a magazine in a doctor's waiting room recently.  Apparently it is quite a well-known sentiment but this was the first time I encountered it.

Thinking about my brother and how he coped with his long illness made the quote very appropriate for me although I do not know if he'd ever heard  it.  I made this as a tissue box cover because when things are difficult you often need a tissue.
46  CROCHET / Crochet: Completed Projects / Butterflies on: July 20, 2011 11:41:56 PM


I recently discovered lovely butterfly patterns by Apak at crochetville.  She made them as bookmarks but I just love them as butterflies. 



I first tried the large butterfly pattern using plain polyester sewing thread the red butterfly;  and then using a single strand of embroidery floss  - the blue and green butterflies.  The crochet hook has a number stamped on it but I cant tell whether it is a 3, a 6 or an 8, nor what system it belongs to.  These used about four  metres  of thread per butterfly but were extremely fiddly and caused a degree of eyestrain!   Each one took me about 20 to 30 minutes to do.



Next I tried it with a 3.5 Aero hook and three strands of black polyester sewing thread which gave a rather lacy effect.



But then I lost my heart to some  balls of DMC 5 Perle cotton that looked like jewels and went mad, buying 5 colours and making both the large and the smaller butterfly in all the colours.

 

And mixing the colours.



The hook I am using for the DMC 5 is a size 14/2mm Aero.
I have learnt quite a lot from this pattern,  particularly since Apak gives  it both in conventionally written out form and also as a chart so I have learnt how to read a crochet chart.  For  a piece like this a chart is quite helpful as you get an idea of how it is supposed to turn out.  I still do not know if  I am ending my picots in the right part of the stitch as they all seem to have a twist in them and I am not sure that is how they are supposed to look. But at least they all look the same.
47  CLOTHING / Clothing for Curvaceous Craftsters: Completed Projects / Red and pink cotton knit striped suit on: July 10, 2011 04:04:45 AM
I bought this fabric because I liked the stripes but I did not like the circus clown effect of the stars.  So I got enough that I could make a top and skirt using only the stripes. 



I've always been a bit nervous about sewing knit fabrics as I do not own an overlocker - but I bought a book called Kwik-Sew method for Easy Sewing by Kerstin Martensson which has master patterns and easy instructions for how to do various necklines for example.  And you don't need to have an overlocker so long as your machine has a swing needle. Using this book I have learned to make t-shirts with round ribbing or self fabric necklines and for this skirt and top I wanted a V neckline. 

Whilst cutting out the pieces I realised that having it all stripes would be a bit too much - so I cut strips for the neckline from the circles pattern next to the stars.  I am so pleased with how it turned out - particularly the v neck.  It was relatively easy to follow the instructions and it has turned out flat and even.



It is comfortable to wear and looks perfectly respectable.  I often have problems with t-shirts and they end up looking rather "home-made" but I am very happy with the way this turned out.

48  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Curtains with replaceable lining on: May 25, 2011 12:52:20 PM
I really hate sewing curtains especially large curtains especially large lined curtains. Angry

I could have  them made up professionally but the people who did my motherin-law's curtains reversed the fabric so each curtain has the pattern going up one half and down the other half. Shocked 

So I am a little nervous about getting  a "professional" to do them.

Also I want the pattern to line up exactly where it joins. 



Yes.  I know it makes more work.
Yes. I am fussy about these things

The first curtains I did for our living room I did properly. The lining was sewn down the sides of the curtains and tacked in place at intervals all down the inside.  It took ages to get the pattern to match at the seams and also because I needed to use the whole floor to lay the curtains out and get them straight with the linings. 

After they had been up for a year or so I discovered that, even when the curtains are drawn back, there is  enough sunlight catching the edges to rot the fabric.  As you can see they just ripped.



I needed to replace them at least the lining - but I really did not want to go through the whole process again.  But if I don't line the curtains then the curtain fabric will rot.
So what I really needed was an easily replaceable lining. I thought of just tacking it in loosely at the top but with large curtains the lining would be too heavy and the stitches would likely fail fairly soon.

The solution
 I was able to buy 10 metres of hook and eye fabric in a pale lilac which doesn't match anything but it doesn't show so it doesn't matter ( I'm not that fussy Tongue)



I attached one side to the top of the curtain and one to the top of the lining and it has turned out fine.  The lining edges only need to be loosely tacked to the edges of the curtains and they hang perfectly well.


When the lining rots I can pull out the tacking down the sides and unhook the hook and eye tape.  The tape will still be fine and I can use it for a new lining. At least that is the plan.
49  PURSES, BAGS, WALLETS / Purses, Bags, Wallets: Completed Projects: General / monster laptop cover on: May 24, 2011 01:43:42 PM
I was inspired by the beautiful monster iPad cover made by Heresy http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=362868.msg4260494#msg4260494 to make a cover for my son's laptop.
 I couldn't find any fur fabric but this slightly hairy brown fleece has turned out okay.  I also couldn't find a long enough zip.  In the end I discovered that a local upholstery fabric shop could make me one so long as it was either black or white. The lining is red satin.
My son is extremely chuffed with it.
50  CLOTHING / Shoes: Completed Projects / Insoles made from carpet underlay and black fleece on: May 20, 2011 03:25:12 PM
So I have a pair of shoes that I am very fond of.  They are comfortable but a little bit too large.  I've been wearing them with insoles.  Then my insoles wore out and I couldn't find another pair as good.  I tried cutting insoles from fleece but although they are comfortable they wrinkle up when I walk so that didn't work. 

Then I remembered long ago we'd had some special non-slip underlay for our rugs to prevent them from creeping across the carpet.  There was a small square left over so on Tuesday I cut out two insoles from the underlay - using the old ones as a template - and two from fleece.  I was going to machine them together but we had a 17 hour power cut and I was too impatient to wait for the power to come back on, so I blanket-stitched them together all round the edge with some DMC tapestry cotton.
 
The picture shows the black top and the grey underlay underside of the insoles.

And here they are in the shoes.
They are very comfortable and do not slip or wrinkle when I walk.  I like them better than the bought ones I had before and they are washable.
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