Saturday, 29 May 2010

Bassendean Community Craft Workshop II

Miho and I went another craft day on Thursday.  It was really fun and the project we made were dily bags. A dily bag is a bag usually made from woven reeds or grasses and is used for transporting foods such as berries and the like by the traditional Australian Aborigines. I made mine with a red single ply raw natural fibre that felt a little rough in my hands especially seeing as I usually stitch with perle cotton, rayon or silk. The little bag was about credit card size... my niece and I thought we should take it to the river and try to catch some little fish or prawns with it because it looks like a cute little fishing net. 

I was surprised how much fun (and how easy) it was to make.  We made the top by wrapping the thread around the template twice and securing with a knot.  Then it was a simple process if making blanket stitches all the way around the thread line and then continuing with rows around the template stitching into the loops from the previous row. I am not going to master this technique anytime soon but it was certainly an eye opener.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Phew! Too busy!

Thimble 12 and 13 are finished, and number 14 should be done any time now... which means 1 more to go until I hit 15 and can confidently show my original thimble failure.  One interesting thing with the last thimble: I have noticed is that by keeping the thimble stuffed with some firm padding I have better grip on it and stab myself less often. My moulds are too long to stitch on and I don't use marking paper on the base so after the first round on each path is stitched I slide the ring off the mould.

I don't actually use a thimble when I stitch, which shows fairly poor judgement as I am constantly stabbing my finger tips with the needle (either the point or the eye end as I push the needle through the base).  I don't own a finger tip thimble but it is probably a wise investment. It seems ironic to need to wear a thimble whilst making a thimble. (A bit like the argument over the chicken or the egg coming first... I need to have a thimble to make a thimble but I need to make the thimble to have a thimble...) 

Thimble 12 and Thimble 13

I have been busy this week. Still working on my current C10 ball and about to mark up a 32 ball to stitch a NanaAkua pattern with Jane C.  Then there is a C10 project that is still sitting as a post in draft mode (in Blogger) since May 6th that has just become an item of discussion on TC (from memory it is Pattern 84 from the TK pattern listing - a stain glass ball). I have also been following along with Terry's C10 Tutorials on TK. I can mark a C10 but I am always eager to compare my method with those of other temari makers to see if tweak my technique. Goodness me so many projects...  Also this week it is my DH's birthday so I'll be cake baking tomorrow and working on my very long chore list. Thursday I hope to go with Miho to the last session of the Bassendean workshop. Next Monday I am doing a final class with the Yr10 Japanese students, and on the 6th my new round of temari classes begin. Then on June 17th I am doing a one day Temari workshop with a local lace makers guild to prepare them for their big trip to Japan in July where they will be taking Temari and Kumihimo classes. I think I need to take a few deep breaths....

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Bassendean Community Craft Workshop.

A distraction from temari/thimble making this week.  My SIL (sister in law) asked me to come to a workshop she had stumbled across during one of her long walks. I was intrigued when she described it to me. A group of 1/2 a dozen ladies sitting out on the lawn in front of the community center making things out of recycled scraps of fabric, rope, bits of grass, leaves and twigs. My mind boggled. What exactly could you make with all that junk? Well last Thursday I found out.

The ladies were making everything. Baskets made from coils of twine made from grass and twigs, pots, bags and bowls made of fabric strips which had been plaited or twisted into strings, and a lovely tapestry using the same string made from fabric, plastic and rope. It was really quite unbelievable and the ladies showed Miho and me how to make the scrap strings.  We had a lovely time - but Miss D (my 2yo niece) did ask several times (very politely) when could we go home to play Lego and eat lunch. She is so cute.

Next week they are making little beaded pouches. Something that you could hold a cabochon jewel inside. Perhaps the same idea could be used to hold something larger too, like a credit card or a mobile (cell) phone.

Town of Bassendean (see page 5 Upcoming Events) I wish I had taken a photo... of course I forgot, but hopefully Miho and I can go next week and I might take some then to add to this post.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Thimble Eye Candy

I haven't stitched a lot lately.  After my recent bad cold I have been getting tingling in my arms when I stitch for too long.  I think I put out the top of my back or shoulder joints from hacking (coughing) away all those days before finally giving up and going to the doctor for some antibiotics. So while surfing the net (looking for inspiration or maybe just wasting time) I came across this awesome site. I have added the link and translated the Kanji so you know what each title means.  (The site details are below the pictures.) But first I want to share my favorites from this site.  Just a small sample of what you'll see when you visit.  By the way my #1 pick is the group image at the bottom, it only just edges out the top left thimble which has me lost for words... except for... wow!

These hearts reminded me of the Debi's recent blog post with her virtual stitching.
店主のギャラリー Owner's Gallery
ゆびぬき  Yu Binuki
 ・うろこ模様 - Scale pattern
 ・青海波 - Qinghai-wave
 ・矢羽 - Flight
 ・金魚 - Goldfish
 ・元禄・縦うろこ  - Vertical scales Genroku  
 ・市松と鹿の子 * Checkered and Kanoko
 ・阪神シリーズ - Kobe Series
 ・応用デザイン - Application Design
 ・花シリーズ  - Flower Series
 ・その他 Others
This site sure does give me something to aspire to.

I have nothing of my own to share today.  Sorry, but I do have 2 projects in progress which I will put up later in the week... or when they are completed.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

C10 Project from Cosmo 6

This is the 49th post for 2010 which equals the number of posts for entire year in 2009. Only 2 more posts to make 100 altogether. How did I find so much to write about? Because this post is special I decided to post something a bit different.

I have decided on my next temari project.  It is a C10 from Cosmo 6. It is pictured as number 4 on page 25 (pattern on P26/27).  It is on my temari to do list - so I am glad to be reducing this long, long list.  The first job to do even before making the base is to try to establish how to stitch the temari.  In this case what the pattern is saying.  Sometimes a temari can be reverse engineered (worked) from just a photo (often there is no pattern when we see a temari we want to make so it is our only option).

If you have never seen a Japanese pattern before this is what it looks like. Now I don't speak, read or write Japanese fluently. In fact I only know just enough to get me into and occasionally out of trouble. But even with my basic understanding I can gain a lot of information from 'reading' this pattern. First off the text runs right to left top to bottom when printed vertically. When printed horizontally it reads left to right the same as English. Members of Temari Challenge have access to a nice English/Japanese conversion sheet for common terms.  There is also something similar on the Temarikai website but it is a little more difficult to read. Sometimes I even use google translate to type in English words I think the printed text might mean and see if I can find the same kanji in the translations offered.

Straight away I can see from the larger text the name of the pattern (flower and star - it is just lucky I know these particular symbols: first symbol is 'flower', the middle one is 'and' or 'with' and the last one is hoshi which means 'star') and under the name is reference to the page number (25) where the colour image can be found in the book.  From the text under the picture I can see it is a C10 division. Sometimes you can easily tell the division from the picture alone - but not always.

The first line of text (I mean the far line just to the left of the picture) tells me the circumference (33cm) and diameter (10.5cm) of the base mari. The usual size of temari that I gravitate to (what feels comfortable in my hands) is between 24 and 26 cms so all the blanks I made last week are too small. Thankfully I had one a little larger (28cm) that was still wrapped in wool so I added on a few more cms and got it up to 34cm - but then it actually ended up at 31.5cm as I think I was a bit stressed when I wrapped the final thread layer so it is a little firmer and more compacted than usual. This means I will need to adjust the number of rows I will use.

The second sentence tells about the thread wrap colour.  It is a Cosmo brand thread in white.

The third sentence tells me that there are 4 Cosmo perle 5 stitching thread colours used. The colours being pink tones from light to dark 206, 204, 112, and 111. Also a gold metallic thread is used. I plan to use 4 blues on a white ball with silver.

The next section of text relates to Jiwari (marking lines) and Kagari (stitching) directions.
[1] Says to mark the mari into C10 with Gold thread.
[2] Says in the 6 part triangle add extra marking lines to make a total of 12 lines. Extend the lines into the pentagon areas so they end near the short lines out of this center. The place to aim for seems to be 1/2 way along the short lines from the pentagon centers.
Now this is where it can go a bit pear shaped - translation wise. So what follows is my best estimate of what is written in Japanese.  This is a bit harder because my computer has lost it's ability to use Japanese characters since it was repaired - so no easy google translations unfortunately.

[3] Goes on to describe measuring a 1/2 mark on the added lines of the 6 part triangles and stitching around the path of 6 points starting at the point that looks like a sloped T and to the right around the points back to it. This forms a hexagon. 3 rows of pink in the lightest colour then 4 rows of the next lightest colour. Repeat steps 2-3 until 20 hexagon shapes on the ball are completed. Now I am not sure if it says to continue until all the hexagon stitching is done OR if you should stop here and come back to finish it after stitching the flower shapes. I am being honest here. My feeling is to come back to it but it doesn't seem logical to do that. Also it would involve weaving under the flower shapes to complete the hexagons.  ***
[4] In the 12 pentagon areas stitch 2 rows of pink followed by 1 row of gold. Start about 0.2cm from where the added lines on the 6 part triangle join the short lines from the pentagon.
[5] Starting on the inside edge of a pentagon side kiku stitch a 6 point flower over the top of the hexagon areas.  Inside points should be about 0.3cm from the hexagon pole. So that is the jist of the first sentence, but I can't make out the next 2 apart from the talk about the flower being stitched with 2 rows of darkest pink and one row of gold. There is a lot of Kanji text here that I can't read and I am sure the key to the whole pattern must be in this section.
[6] Inside the pentagons add some small stitches to the center in gold thread.

So here is the summary from the second picture near right of diagram:
On the 20 Hexagon shapes stitch:
3 rows lightest pink then
4 rows of light/medium pink then
4 rows of medium/dark pink then
1 row of darkest pink.

On the 12 Pentagon shapes stitch:
2 rows of darkest pink then
1 row of gold

On top of the hexagon shapes stitch:
Using kiku herringbone stitch
2 rows of darkest pink then
1 row of gold

Inside the center of the pentagons add extra gold stitches near the pole to create flower centers.

*** My plan is to completely stitch the hex and pent shapes then do the flower shapes on top. This will mean I will need to open up a gap in the 2nd and 3rd colours of pink in hex's to layer the meeting points on the kikus.
Here is my progress shot. I am using blue tones.  Don't look too carefully or you'll see how dodgy my uneven marking is and of course as I am practicing with this one the colours I chose are a bit off... the light blue is too light, dark blue is ok, but the two medium shades are too close in value to be seen in the photo. I am not being too fussy because this is about working out the pattern. The next time I make this I will ensure all these points are better taken care of.

Generally I do ok, when I can I humbly ask my SIL to glance over the Japanese pattern and then I suggest what I think it means.  She usually needs to give me several corrections... usually the points I miss are vital to the outcome.  Such is life.

Such is life is an Aussie expression which is used when expressing the acceptance of a frustrating circumstance. Usually said in a sighing tone. It is believed that these were the last words of  Australia's most famous bushranger Ned Kelly who was hanged at 10 o'clock on the 11th November 1880, at the Old Melbourne Gaol. His last words before he was executed were, "I guess it has come to this." and shortly after "Such is Life."

Saturday, 8 May 2010

More thimbles.

I know I promised to make a C10 next (which I am about to start) but I had finished these and not photographed/blogged them so when I noticed it has been 6 days since my last post I thought I'd better add something for you.

I have made 11 thimbles  now (only 4 to go until the big unveil of my dodgy 1st one). Honestly you can't comprehend just how dodgy it is. I should call it a thimble wreck in homage to my favourite baking site.

Number 10 (on the right) was made from the first thimble kit sold by Ma Mercerie.  The pink/white one is number 11 and is an attempt at Debi's pattern. It is a little different because my base is 1cm longer (and perhaps a little taller) so I think there is an extra repeat and I swapped the colours for the final stitch on each path. My stitches are still a little rough (gappy) along the edges.... I must work harder on getting this right.

I had read that the silk floss (Chloe Patricia - on the Yahoo group?) gives a softer base when used as padding compared to the sewing thread we have been using.  I thought about this a lot and compared the 3 thimbles from Ma Mercerie with the bases I had made.  I agree, it is true, and I like the softer base much better. 

I did buy a bag of wool roving when I first learned about thimble stitching... but I don't really like my chances of grooming it into place so it is still in the bag. On the pink one featured in this post I used some white felt scraps I had been hoarding to use as a temari core. (You may remember the Christmas post which showed the little felt stockings hanging on our tree.)  I cut it to the length of the base and about 2/3rds of  the thimble height. I tacked the ends together and added a few long stitches around the thimble to keep it anchored so it would not slip around while I made the first few rows.I actually like the softness felt adds to the base, but it will take a bit of practice to get the stitch tension right when using this as a base.  Also I need to establish the best width to use to cover the base... too narrow and the curve of the thimble looks odd but too wide and I will be catching it in the stitches and going nuts.

Well that's all folks. Tomorrow is Mother's Day and I am hoping for pancakes for breakfast... but I will be happy with drowned cereal or burnt toast. I hope your day is lovely with your own mum/children if your country is celebrating tomorrow (and even if your not).

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Thimble #7

Well today is May 1st and now that my Mum has her gift it is time to share it with you too.  It was made with a kit purchased from Ma Mercerie.  Last year I made my Mum a temari set in Black, White and Pink so this follows the same colour theme.

I am quite pleased with it although in such a large close up it looks kinda jagged on the edge.  Still there is definite improvement since the 1st thimble I made almost 12 months ago. 

I have committed myself (no not to the nut house - surprisingly) to sharing a picture of my 1st thimble when I get to number 15.  Only six more to go and I am actually getting excited about it.  I first tried thimble making about 3 months before the Thimble group started on Yahoo.  It was so awful that I never let anyone see it.  But I have kept my little shameful thimble to serve as a reminder of how persistence and practice in the face of utter failure makes us better at whatever we are trying to achieve.  I also have my first sad attempt at temari making too... but that is a whole other story... perhaps I might share that one day too.