Thursday, June 09, 2022

My One True’s Gift

I would do anything for you

I would climb mountains 

I would swim all the oceans blue

I would walk a thousand miles

Reveal my secrets

More than enough for me to share

I would put roses round our door

Sit in the garden

Growing potatoes by the score…

Monday, May 09, 2022

A Crack At Making A Knitting Belt

Finished Object. 20 x 9 cm plus loops. For info regarding their use, go here.

After questioning everyone for information (thanks everyone) regarding the use of knitting belts, I have had a go at making one. Much to my disappointment, I had neither horse hair nor coconut fibre at hand, to stuff it. Unusual that I don't have everything I need in my room!
(I've used other stuff now. Pictured below).
I contemplated using a heavy, raw silk fabric (cut into strips and shoved in tightly). Silk was used in ancient armour because it has the ability to slow arrows and swords and such like. I haven't tested the theory so don't try it at home, but it is a gritty, fine and dense fibre. 
Mozzie's won't bite you through the finest silk cloth.
But, I thought, the needle may need to be held somewhat, by the stuffing. So I'll wait (I didn't wait). I looked inside our vintage 1950's lounge suite (it has a massive tear in it) but they've used cotton rag stuffing so I couldn't raid that either. (I later wondered if it might work after all, but too late).

Oh, that's right! I can use sisal and will go immediately to cut a piece off some rope! (I did).

I thought I'd share the process:

I've left the stitching open here, waiting for stuffing. You can see the silver studs or rivets at the ends, through the four thicknesses of leather. Tuck the loops in the ends and bang a stud/rivet through all 4 layers. I did this first, before stitching, so I could stitch right up to the gaps.

The template is 20cm long and 9cm wide. The holes are roughly 2.5cm apart down the centre, then the outside rows of holes are in between (staggered) and roughly down a line that runs between the side and centre lines. Push a chalky pencil (or poke an awl) through these points to mark the leather, then punch the holes for your needles. Mine are small holes, maybe 3mm at the most... even a little less... because the leather isn't stiff (as it probably should be) so they will stretch soon enough.

I decided to put loops at the ends. I might have had one end with a long strap and a loop at the other, but I don't have a long strap's worth of leather. I'll find something, a cord, some bale-twine. I figure if I have a loop, I can pull the long end through and tuck it anyway so whilst I have plenty of little buckles, I didn't intend to use one. (Update: I purchased a belt strap from a leather worker at the Vic Market for $11 AU, my only cost).

This stitch I know as Glove stitch. I pulled 3 strands of strong linen, together, through a bees wax candle. I left enough at the beginning to secure later (so I could stitch it to itself). 
Bring your needle up through the first hole, now wind around and back and up through the same hole. Next, go around again but up into the next hole. Hold it in place as you go and be firm. Repeat. 
It might have been sensible to run a bead of glue down, inside, before I stitched it... but I didn't want to have a sticky mess.

My pictures are working backwards...sorry about that... 
I punched the edge holes on the smallest setting, then marked the other piece through them, to be sure they lined up. I didn't bother measuring these edge holes, just so long as they are the same top and bottom (wrong sides facing).

My father was a fireman so I never burn candles in the house. Maybe it was our housefire when I was little that put me off? But this little beauty is very handy for things like this or to strengthen thread for quilting  (if I did quilting anymore that is, and I might yet).

Careful not to mark them one way and then try and put them together the other way, like I did. The holes didn't line up!

I've ordered long double pointed needles in a couple of brands (ok, three brands. 40cm and 35cm. It's my birthday next month so I crumble willingly over the Paypal button). 

I'm looking forward to trialling the method. I've been noticing that when I use dpn's, I 'prop' the right needle a bit already, so it seems a natural next step.

EDIT: Here we are, I found some stuff! Jute from a coffee sack, nylon tulle cut into 5x5cm bits, heavy linen (heavy rug hooking open-weave), strands of jute from a coffee sack and some ancient (possibly) mariners (or fireman's) rope from my (fireman) Dad. 
Ready to go, after I pulled the rope bits. Yay!

Next, obviously, stuff it. Poke the filling down with a blunt object. Do a little at a time and compress it firmly as you go (don't wait until it's all in before shoving it down).
Now finish off the stitching or binding and secure your ends well.

I have made a template in pdf but have to figure out how to add it.... in the meantime, here’s a pic. 

My Neighbour's Family Treasures, Part 2.

 These embroidered cloths are from the home (pictured below) in Dunblane, Scotland that was a family holding of my neighbour Al McInnes. The same family responsible for the horse shoe jumper posted some time back (on Facebook, but also pictured below).

Young women of old were required to have a basic repertoire of needlework skills and to produce embellished tableware, bedding, undergarments and children’s wear for their families. Starting before marriage with their ‘hope’ chest and with school samplers, these amazing skills we now cherish and continue, though without the expectation. I'm sure the love was always there, in the making, but op shops are full of old doileys (for example) that nobody wants (except for all of us) and nobody uses (except us).

I’ve always been hugely inspired by what my foremothers considered the ordinary, basic skills of their domestic life. 

We watched our grandmothers and the old women knitting and ‘doing’ the whole time and thought nothing of it, not realizing the incredible structural engineering and intricacy of such ordinary crafts. Obviously we do understand it. Obviously we knew what we were looking at but I've had many a comment about my embroidering or knitting being a granny's thing to do. Not as cool as painting or printmaking (which I love). I've had plenty of eye-rolls when people ask what I've been up to. The whole craft world has gone (largely) under the radar of the art world and this might be the boon! The incredible disguised as the ordinary.

My ‘If I was stuck on an island and had to choose one book’ is the Encyclopedia of Needlework by Theresede Dillmont. In it are all the things you will need as a conscientious home-keeper. My copy is worn and earmarked and precious.

It's difficult to see with my rubbish Ipad camera (I have a whiz bang camera still in the box waiting for me to grow some whatsits and fire it up). This piece of Netting Work if the only I have ever seen where the net is hand knotted before being embroidered.

Even what may appear to be a simple dinner table or bread basket cloth has a lot of work involved. These edges were compulsory fare when I started High School. Sooo boring, I thought then. But underneath it I was interested and henceforth noticed the work in these everyday objects. Respect!! It takes forever.

The embroidered band here reminds me of a (much borrowed) book on Yugoslavian embroidery, which I used in my crazy quilt.

Another dinner cloth with hours and hours of edging work. Each leaf will be pad stitched underneath before the satin stitching on top.

Dunblane, Scotland. The Horse Shoe lace jumper below was made here too.

Thanks to Al McInnes for sharing these amazing pieces.

Monday, September 06, 2021

Magnolia Inspiration

 I can’t remember it’s name, but we saw this magnolia yesterday on our 5k lockdown walk. Sooo beautiful! The colours cry out to be knitted. Or, really, I think I like the project of organising possibilities in its own right.

So I’ve grabbed out my Jamieson’s of Shetland Spindrift samples and had a play. The colours aren’t exactly right, but in mixing colours or stitching close by, you can create another colour and I think you could do justice to nature in that way.

Besides, it’s a starting point.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Picked Up The Cabinet... Trial Run For The Diorama

I’ve just temporarily arranged the vintage millinery flowers from l’ucello in Melbourne. The darling kid I’ve shown you before. I know some of you feel a bit weird about it but the poor things (twins) were stillborn and not murdered, and I think it honors their beauty. The lovely fellow who made the case is Ben at Wunderkammer’s dad (sorry, I can’t remember his name). It’s so beautifully made. 

Hubby wants to do diorama’s and immediately spotted the old op shop tapestry, so we’ll adjust it to sit behind. Very happy and it’s exactly the size of our bookcase so will have a special place. In my heart.

 These two shops are a must see for touring Melbourne. Or for locals. 

Saturday, June 05, 2021

The Evolution Of Hanky Boxes Into Yarn Bowls And Beyond

This time, after shoving my yarn baskets into dilly bags (because it’s handier to work from a bowl than a bag, but you can’t carry them about....) I thought I could combine forces and turn a bowl into a bag.
So, this bowl is fairly big, 17 cm high and 30 wide, and I’m making some granny squares to sew around the lip. Not quite sure after that. I’ll do some crocheted rows maybe before and after then a strap or two. I’m sure it will become obvious.
This was a calendar and is lined with old wallpaper. I’ve also used a heavier card to make it quite sturdy. 
All this because my knitting requires concentration to fix a mistake. Good old procrastination huh?
Everything is from my stash. Using up embroidery threads, Australian Tapestry Workshop wool, crochet cottons bought years back for face washers. Oh, plus some new Frangipani gansey wool, which is sturdy and a gorgeous dusty pink and will be great as the handles etc.

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

This Article Fron Inspirations Magazine Newsletter

SALs, Samplers and Stitching Spots
We’ve covered so many topics in All Stitched Up! over the past few weeks, it is not surprising that we’ve received a delightfully mixed bag of responses from our community. We love how different articles will inspire different people and, sorry to be repetitive but we have to say it again, we never get tired of hearing from you!
The article about stitch-alongs in All Stitched Up! issue #270 is still garnering responses, and as we believe you can never discover too many stitch-alongs or online stitching communities, please keep them coming! 

This week, we heard from Shalaya who brought our attention to the SAL from A Steady Thread. It is a floral blackwork SAL which, Shalaya reports, offers so many creative opportunities for colour variations and different sizes. 
The start of the Embroidery Motifs from Old Dutch Samplers SAL
Victoria Wakefield sent us a fantastic story about her own SAL experience. She had never heard of SALs until she discovered a Facebook page called ‘Embroidery Motifs from Old Dutch Samplers’. They were just about to start a SAL, designed by Robyne Melia that was called ‘Song of Solomon Ship Sampler’. Most of the motifs came from the book that gave the Facebook page its name, but the designer selected a range of historical patterns, themes and ideas to create a stunning project.
Embroidery Motifs from Old Dutch Samplers SAL
Participants were encouraged to use linen and threads from their stash to complete the piece, so Victoria stitched on a piece of linen shoe lining fabric she had purchased years before and used DMC threads from her own collection.
The completed sampler, stitched by Victoria
The aspect of the project she enjoyed most of all, however, was being able to speak with stitchers from all over the world and to share progress. 
She even learnt some new terms, such as ‘frogging’ or unpicking one’s work – a term which is said to come from having to ‘rip-it, rip-it’! 
But it is clear from the pictures, Victoria gained so much out of the experience. If you want to try this stunning design, Robyne Melia has it available for purchase on Etsy.