"It takes ages to finish a quilt you're not working on!"

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Two finished items.

This is the teapot I've been working on for the Cross Stitchin Fingers Round Robin. I'm glad I've finished it, but I'm not 100% happy with my work. I used 3 strands of DMC on 14ct Aida, and it looks too bulky, even after it is pressed. There is a lot of back stitching on this one, and I think I should have used 2 strands for the cross stitch, to allow for the extra thread in the pattern with the backstitching. Ah well, it's done now. I'm not going to pull it out and start over!
This fabric postcard was intended for the Bushfire Victims Group, but I might keep it and do more for them. The reason for that is that the fabric I used for the base has flags and roos printed all over it at random, and when I cut a piece for this postcard, a bit of kangaroo was left at the top. When I stitched the map outline, it ended up with a roo leg sticking up at the top like a chimney! So I decided to poke an Anzac badge in there to cover it, and I can't give it to someone like that! The next one will be more carefully cut out - I might even cut the flag out and applique it on to plain material. Live and learn!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fabric postcards.

I received this FPC today from Doreen in Canberra - she was my Swap partner in the Yahoo FPC group for April.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Wall panel or bedspread over 100 years old.

This item has an interesting provenance. My mother-in-law gave it to me after she moved in with us earlier this year. She used it as a bedspread on her double bed for a short while when she was still living in her own home, and prior to that it was stored, wrapped up in a sheet I think, in her wardrobe. She says her parents had it hanging on a wall in their home for some time. As it has a cord and tassells, I think it was probably meant for that purpose, rather than a bedspread.
The story she tells the family is that it was given to her father in 1904. He came from England to Australia on the Moldavia steamship**, and on the way out here, befriended a Chinese man who was a magician. Ken's grandfather came here to manage the Tivoli Theatre, and I believe he helped his Chinese friend to find work onstage with his magic acts. To show his gratitude, the Chinese man gave Ken's grandfather this wall panel or bedspread, and it has stayed in the family ever since.
I would not dare put it on our bed, magnificent as it is. Topsy (our cat) often sleeps on the bed, and she would only have to sink her claws in once, and that would be the end of the embroidery.
It is all hand embroidered, on silk I think. There is two layers of material and the backing material is almost certainly silk, as it is extremely fine, and has started to tear in several spots. The embroidery has stayed remarkably intact considering its age. MIL has suggested that I donate it to a museum of some kind which specialises in either Chinese artifacts or textiles. I'm going to take it to the Embroidery Guild in the next week or so, and have their Collections ladies inspect it, and advise me of the best thing to do to preserve it. I am very keen to read any response from my blog readers, so please leave a comment if you wish to. **(Moldavia. Steamship, 9500 tons. (Sister Mongolia). Built 1903. P. &. O. Steam Navigation Co. Operated on the Australia run. Torpedoed in the English Channel near Brighton, 23 May 1918. Fifty-eight lives lost. Vessel replaced with a new ship of the same name.)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Today's mail

...brought a beautiful ATC from Juliette in the U.K. (Stitchin Fingers ATC exchange)
and some more FPCs for our Bushfire victims from Joy here in Victoria. Thank you so much Joy - these are stunning!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Not too sick to stitch!

If you have read my other blog (Patra's Other Place), you'll be aware that I haven't been feeling too good this last week. But it's only a cold, so I've made the most of being housebound for most of the time, and made headway on some of my projects which have deadlines coming up. This will be a teapot on a table runner, which is for a Round Robin on the Cross Stitchin' Fingers Group. (Amber and Jane, if you are reading this, I haven't forgotten to email you the rest of those patterns! Hope to do that in a day or so.)
I've finished one side of my Biscornu, and started the other side.
This is the block for a fabric postcard I'm making to contribute to the Bushfire Victims FPC group. I've tacked the ric rac on, and will embellish that in the next few days.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fabric postcard from Jane.

Jane in the U.K. is another kind stitcher who has sent me a fabric postcard to donate to our bushfire victims. Isn't this cute?? And very thoughtful words on the back. Thank you so much, Jane.

Monday, April 13, 2009

My latest Fabric postcard, and updated on TAST stitching.

Here is my finished product - Colours Of The Rainbow fabric postcard. This will be in the mail tomorrow to Doreen in A.C.T. She is my exchange partner in the Yahoo FPC exchange this month. One of the many Groups on The Stitchin Fingers website is called TAST - Take A Stitch Tuesday. A new embroidery stitch is posted on the site every Tuesday, and left there for a week so group participants can learn how to do it, and practice. I kept up to date for the first 9 weeks, then I got sidetracked with other projects, and lost a bit of interest as the stitches became more complex and I couldn't get my head around them! But I've now decided that is a silly attitude, and I've had a renewed go at catching up with the other members who are now way ahead of me. Out of the nine stitches I've attempted so far, four still have me beaten. Here is my sampler showing the other five. Running stitch was a cinch. Who can NOT do running stitch? The woven wheel (green) is just passable, but the woven spider web (red) looks like the spider had been drinking Tequila. That one needs a lot of practice. Basque stitch had me tricked until I changed from stranded cotton to Perle cotton, which made it a whole lot easier. I rather enjoyed Crossed Buttonhole, once I got the hang of it, but again, I need to practice this a lot before I use it on a stitching project. The last "stitch" in green is supposed to be Bonnet Stitch. Yup. Well, maybe one day. That might be another example of something that works better in Perle than stranded cotton. As I wrote on the TAST site, I'm only using stranded cotton for these samples, because I have so much of it, and want to use it up on something.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Small gifts for victims of Victorian bushfires.

So much is being done for the people who lost everything in the Victorian bushfires in February, and sometimes you want to do something but don't know where to begin. There are many crafty people who are busy making quilts and gathering sewing paraphernalia, to donate to our fellow stitchers who may have lost all their gear in the fires. I decided to appeal to the members of the Fabric Postcard Groups on the Stitchin Fingers website. I asked them if they would make a postcard as a small gift for a bushfire victim, post it to me, and I would organise a way of passing them on to those who will appreciate it. You can read what I wrote here on Stitchin Fingers
I had responses from the U.S.A., U.K., India and the Netherlands, as well as all over Australia. This week in the mail, the first of the postcards arrived from Michelle, in New Hampshire, U.S.A. She is a very generous soul - here are her five postcards, all signed on the back from her whole family.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Heaps of stuff to post today!

I have a variety of things I want to share with my stitching friends - everything happened yesterday! I spent the day at the Embroiderer's Guild, and I was given a bag of old linens to finish (ha ha..). The Guild's current exhibition is of quilts made by the members, and I took heaps of photos. Too many to post here, so I've started a temporary blog for you to have a look at them if you wish. As well as all that, two books arrived from Amazon, I started my first Biscornu, and another swap textile ATC arrived.
I'll start with my biscornu. I've been itching to make one of these, ever since I saw them on other people's websites and blogs. I finally committed myself to doing one by putting my name down for a swap in the Cross Stitchin Fingers Group on Stitchin Fingers.. It is only a simple design on 14ct Aida, but once I've mastered the technique, I hope to make some more on linen, which looks much nicer. I have had these two books on my Amazon.com Wish List for ages, and decided I'd better order them while they are still available. I'm looking forward to sitting down with this one for a good hour or so; it is full of pictures of my kind of vintage linens - tea-towels, aprons, and so on! The author's first book was all about aprons, and I bought that as soon as I saw it, a year or so ago. Now this one is the most unusual book I've ever seen on crazy quilting! The author has made everything out of men's ties! Barb of Woof Nanny is a great one for utilising ties in her craft work, and I can't remember if I saw this book on her blog, or whether I just found it by a happy accident on Amazon.com. This textile ATC is from Maya in India. She is one of the five people I have been receiving ATCs from in an exchange group. Like the others, Maya is very creative, and uses all kinds of hand stitching on her work. I love this one particularly because she has personalised it just for me (G for Gina!) And here is what I was given by one of the Guild members (Thank you, J!) I couldn't get them all in, but there are two duchess(dresser) sets and a doiley in this lot. The dresser sets have been just started.
This was very difficult to photograph - a "Bride's Trousseau". One large piece of linen, with a complete set of tea cloths printed on it, which could be cut into individual pieces to stitch. It comprises a supper cloth, sandwich tray doiley, two other doilies, four napkins, a tray cloth and a tea cosy. One napkin has been started.
This is another set, obviously produced by the same women's magazine (New Idea). They called this set a Napery set, and it comprises a tray cloth and tea cosy, and four placemats. The design is the well known Blue Willow Pattern.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

A new slant on tote bags.

Over at Cindy's Stitches in Time, among her many talents, Cindy makes tote bags. But have a look at the additional bits she makes to go in them - "What's in the bottom of your purse" holder!! Some people are so innovative!

Apron photos

For those readers who like to see my aprons, go here to see some more unfinished items.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Reply to Crinolinerose - hope she sees this!

Crinolinerose posted a comment regarding a doiley that I wrote about on March 3, 2008: I loved the embroidery of the cat lying on the couch. It really reminds me of my cat. I was wondering if you could tell me what stitches you used for the cat, and how you did the eyes, they look just perfect. I would really like to embroider the design, could you tell me where you bought the pattern. Many thanks Crinolinerose doesn't have a blog, and didn't provide an email address, so I'll post my reply here and hope she sees it! This is the doiley she asked about. I stitched the cat mostly in outline (stem) stitch, and used straight stitch for the shorter lines of fur. The eyes are done in satin stitch. I didn't buy this. A friend got it from a resident in a nursing home who was giving away her unfinished linens because she couldn't stitch any more. Knowing how much I love cats, my friend passed it on to me. The edge was already crocheted, and the design was printed on. I chose the colours because there was no chart to follow.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Fabric postcard and ATCs

I finished off my Teapot postcard tonight, so I'll be able to post that to Laura in the USA who has been patiently waiting for me to complete our swap! Today's mail brought a pleasant surprise: two ATCs from Mary Lou in Canada. She has used a technique called needlefelting to make these, and she has included parts of old watches to embellish the orange ATC. VERY different!