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

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Two UFO finishes.

"Finished" is not strictly correct, as these two items still have to have some kind of border and backing on them, but at least the cross stitching is complete. This round robin sampler has been hanging around since 2003, and I am so pleased to see it out of my WIP basket! This is the sampler that will have a border of Aboriginal design fabric. I've got that out on my desk, ready to go, so hopefully I'll get it done this weekend.
I started these chooks on a whim a year or so ago, because I just love the design. I don't know what I'll do with it yet. Once I attach a border it could be a placemat, or maybe part of a larger wall hanging with other patchwork and stitchery projects using chooks and roosters. Time will tell.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Another project from "Fabric Art Journals".

I borrowed this book from our local library about 3 months ago, and bookmarked half a dozen projects I wanted to do. Luckily for me, our library has been closed for renovations, and all the books out on loan keep getting extended automatically, because the renovations are taking longer than expected! But I had better buy a copy of the book for myself, as the more I look at it, the more I want to do, and it is getting in the way of my cross stitching and patchwork WIPs and UFOs.
This little project is based on a photo in the book, which actually illustrates the tea-dyeing fabrics technique, but I wasn't interested in that; I just liked the way they used layers of fabric and embellishments, to make a picture. I pulled out some scraps of fabric, buttons, laces and ric rac, and laid them out in a preliminary order. The two smallest printed fabrics are from ties that I cut up ages ago. Starting on the blue version, I tacked lace around the border of the dark blue fabric. Then I placed all the fabrics on top of each other to see how it would look. Tacked the lighter blue piece on top of the dark blue, so the lace just peeped over the edge, then tacked the white piece over that. Decided the blue in the dog pattern clashed with the blue background, so swapped it for this teacup, where the pale blue background stripe was a better match for the background fabric. That meant I had to change the red buttons I'd picked out, for pink buttons. No problems, I've got plenty of buttons. Used Herringbone stitch to attach the teacup, added the buttons and ric rac, and Voila! Isn't that sweet? What am I going to do with it? I have no idea. But I'm happy now that I've done one, and will no longer keep looking at that particular page in my library book!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Quick cross stitch gift

Lately I'm discovering that some of my friends have a thing about dragon flies. I think Val is one of them, so I stitched a little fridge magnet for her this week, for her birthday. The design is from a book of Oriental Cross Stitch designs, and the Chinese characters are supposed to represent 'gentleness'.

Monday, August 16, 2010

My Linen collection is all sorted out!

It has taken me nearly a month, but I have finished sorting out my linens, and now I know where everything is, and have weeded out items that I no longer wish to keep, as well as a few pieces that I have doubled up on over time. A new antiques and collectables store has opened locally, and the owner has already bought some of my linens, and wants to buy more, which is a real bonus, as I was just going to give them away! But she won't take everything, so I will still have a few left for the giveaway I promised on this blog last week.
A few weeks ago, I posted a photo of the cupboard where I keep my embroidered tablecloths. I hang them on plastic hangers instead of stacking them on top of each other on shelves or in boxes. But my collection also includes aprons, teacosies, pillow and cushion covers, and doilies in a large variety of shapes and sizes. I have an ongoing problem with storage, and would welcome feedback from anyone reading this, who also collects linens. How do you manage your collection?
I am lucky that I have a spare bedroom dedicated to keeping my collection, but apart from the wardrobe, there are no cupboards, so a lot of it is still in boxes. My own embroidered work is framed and hanging on the walls. As well as the cloths hanging in the wardrobe, I have pillow shams and pillow cases hanging up. The embroidered aprons are folded up and kept in a large cardboard box. The unworked aprons are in another box. The teacosies are laid out flat in a large cardboard box, with the smaller cushion covers with them. Large table runners and panels of embroidery are either laid flat or rolled up on cardboard tubes, and in a suitcase, lined with acid free tissue paper. Hand towels are folded on a cane shelf unit where I have other ornaments. The Tallboy/dresser has four large drawers and two small drawers, all lined with acid free tissue paper. The small drawers hold handkies and other small items. The first large drawer holds teatowels, tray cloths and napkins. The second large drawer holds large centrepiece doilies and sandwich tray doilies, all lying flat. The third large drawer holds more large centrepieces and small round and square doilies. The bottom large drawer holds the Duchess/dressing table sets consisting of a larger doiley with matching small doilies. I have a large collection of all kinds of items with peacocks embroidered on them. Regrettably at the moment I have nowhere to store them, so they are rolled up/stuffed into a large plastic bag. I was going to photograph each collection as I have described it, but haven't had time to do that, so if anyone is interested, post a comment and I'll get around to taking some pictures.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Vintage bedspread and Mystery item.

In the final days of clearing MIL's house, I found a few more bits and pieces in the laundry, that I thought were worth rescuing. One was an ivory brocade bedspread which at first glance looked unsalvagable, it was so badly stained. But I left it soaking in the bathtub (it was too big for the laundry tub) in a strong Napisan solution for a few days, and it cleaned up very well indeed. I hung it on the clothesline, but after a day of heavy rain, I had to bring it in and put it through a spin cycle again, because the weight was threatening to bring down the clothesline! I have had it draped over the clotheshorse for two days to dry out, and last night we lay it on our bed to see how it looked. I asked MIL about it when we were talking to her on the phone, and she said she remembers it on her mother's bed, and that it was in her mother's trousseau (gosh you don't hear that word much any more!). Now MIL's poor mind these days is apt to be confused, so we don't know for sure just how old this is. If you click on the photo, it will bring it up closer so you can see the embossed design on the material. Do any of my readers know something about this style of bedspread?

As well as that, I found this mystery item. It is made of calico, hand stitched, and bound with bias binding. It measures 37 inches across by 21 inches down. It appears to be a kind of storage wall hanging with pockets, as there are loops at each end and in the centre, to indicate where a rod would go through to hang it. Ken wondered if it might be a Masonic apron belonging to his father, but I didn't think so. Not that I know anything about those things! Again looking for clues from my blogging friends!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Here they are!

With the trimmings (ric rac, lace, ribbons) machined on: Rough edges trimmed: (Hey! Where did that rubber band come from?) OK Annie and Jane - you are two of my most imaginative and creative cyberspace buddies - what would you do with these priceless objects d'art? In the book where I found this idea, it suggests making a journal using these to decorate the front cover. I'm not into journal making...I've got enough journal-type books to write and draw in to last me for many years. The other idea was to decorate a tote bag. Yep. Got heaps of them too. But I have a few denim and calico bags that could be prettied up. Hmmm....food for thought. It was a fun process though, whatever I end up doing with them. Now back to those cross stitch UFOs...

Monday, August 09, 2010

An All Sorts day.

Cindy over at Cindy's Stitch In Time wrote a post about tidying up her box of ric rac. I've already got my ric rac neatly wound around cardboard in one box, and my laces neatly wrapped around cardboard in another box. I had decided today was the day to mess around with fabric scraps and trims, but when I looked in the box and saw this tangle, I decided to sort that out first. I keep cereal cartons and flatten them out - they come in handy for all kinds of stuff. So I cut strips of cardboard... ...and wound my ribbons etc. around each strip. Doesn't that look better? Much more manageable anyway.
I borrowed four craft books from our local library two months ago, and they are due back this week. I had heaps of projects marked to try, and have done a few, but am running out of time. So today I thought I would do this one. It involves pinning random scraps of fabric onto a foundation piece of material, and machine-sewing them on. The next step is to sew ribbons and other trims down the length of the whole piece, thus making a kind of patchwork that can be used for...well, anything you like! I'll be finishing these off tomorrow and will post pics of them hopefully tomorrow night.
Remember this patchwork mat that I made a few months ago? It has been lying around in my UFO basket, and as I had the sewing machine out today I decided to finish it. My old Singer does not have extra bits to do proper quilting, but this is only three thin layers, so I just started at one corner and zig-zagged across it until I couldn't go any further, and much to my astonishment, it looked okay! (to me). I'd used a piece of gingham for the back, and it looks all right too. I used commercial bias binding to finish it off, but don't look too closely, it is a bit messy. What the heck - it's done!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Giveaway or exchange?

I meant to say something about this on the previous post, but decided it was a completely separate subject. In my tidying up process, I am culling some of the linens that I don't want to keep any more, because they aren't up to the standard that I want my collection to be. When I started actively collecting other people's embroidered stuff, I bought everything I could find at opshops, garage sales, and on eBay, regardless of how well or how badly it was stitched. Now that I have so much, I can afford to be selective, so the not-so-wonderful items can be discarded.
I see lots of ideas on the net and in magazines and books, how to use old embroidered items in patchwork etc., and I once thought I would save all my old bits to use, but I just haven't got the space to store them. So I was wondering if any of my blog readers would be interested in taking them off my hands? When I have completed my linens re-organisation, I will take photos of each item and post them on here so people can see if there is anything they fancy. If I don't get a response here, I'll leave them in the remnants bin at our Guild, as I'm sure the ladies there will snap them up to recycle them in some way!
If you think you would be interested in having some of my leftovers, leave a comment on this post, stating what you might do with them. I will keep a record of who has expressed interest, and we'll go from there. I am not insisting on a swap, but if you have something you want to get rid of yourself, i.e. charts, magazines, fabrics, perhaps you would be happy to throw them my way in exchange! If you don't, it is not going to influence my distribution of my linens. Just a thought! Oh by the way, I'm not limiting this to Aussie bloggers; I'm happy to send linens overseas, as it weighs hardly anything.

A satisfying exchange.

Sylvia over at Linens & Royals is a keen collector of royalty memorabilia. While I was tidying up my linen collection, I came across this George VI cushion cover and decided it would be far more appreciated at Sylvia's home than in mine, so I emailed her to see if she would like it. She was delighted to accept, and offered to exchange some of her linens for my cushion cover. She sent me two lovely vintage aprons which you can see on my Aprons blog here, and this beautiful Breakfast tray cloth and matching napkin.
...as I was saying, tidying up my linen collection. It has been in a huge mess for the last couple of years. Every time I take cloths or aprons to show somewhere, when I get home I'm too tired to put them all away neatly, so they have stayed in bags and boxes, which have been piling up until there is no room to move in my 'linen room'. It is taking me a long time to sort it out, but I am determined to do it properly, and try to keep it in order in future. I've spent the last three weeks organising the tablecloths into sizes and categories. Here they are hanging neatly in the wardrobe - all 200 of them.
I have found all my embroidered tea towels, hand towels, tray cloths and napkins, and put them away in the tall boy, and have now started on the centrepieces, or large doilies. Here is a pile to be sorted, but there are more to be found elsewhere in the room. At least you know now why I haven't been stitching!