Wednesday, 31 May 2006

Mirror Block 3


Mirror Block 3 is finished - I am off to work on Block 2. Well, I know what I mean - it is the order I made them in, so they stay that way.

The edges are a bit "wavy", but I am not too concerned, as I reckon they will come into line when I join them up.

You can see the rest in the Flickr set. This one needed two false seams to break up the embroidery - so did the first block.

And I am happy with the tatting, and got some new threads the other day - so I am very happy.

Just not happy with tomorrow, as my car goes to the panel beaters, as some unmentionable person backed into it in the supermarket car park the other day, and didn't leave their details. I don't think I could do that.

Sunday, 28 May 2006

Musings on Museum Collecting

Not a lot happening here of a stitching nature at the minute - but I have been musing about museum collections and women's history. Two of the most interesting things I have found in collections lately are a copper sick (used to stir the boiling washing) and a snakebone necklace:


The copper stick used to be an axe handle - and is not like the sewing machines, where people valued them, and passed them on, so copper sticks are not something usually found in museum collections. This one had been well boiled down, and had quite a few burn marks, so tells the story of what wash day was really like - hard work. Lifting boiling clothes out of a copper would not have been easy - hence the wooden copper stick.

The snakebone necklace is a form of jewellery made locally - at least from the 1930s to 1950s - I won't go into the fun details of how the bones were cleaned - but it is interesting to show a form of craft apart from sewing, that used what was to hand. I'm not sure if they were made elsewhere, but we know of at least two local makers.

And - speaking of museums and sewing machines - I have been thinking of Helena Curtain, killed with her husband in 1901 in a bushfire. The fire was coming, and she went back into their hut to try and save her new sewing machine. Her husband followed her, and they were both caught by the fire and killed.

Would today's woman, with all her gadgets, go back into her home today to save a sewing machine???? I wonder.

Enough musing - I am off for a few days. Back Thursday.

Saturday, 27 May 2006

Beautiful sewing machine

Yesterday was my day at the Museum, where I didn't get a closer look at any quilts. Instead I opted for sewing machines. I am training a new cataloguer, and I thought quilts might be a bit much for him - but when I discovered he was the son of a dressmaker, and grew up using his mother's treadle machine - the choice was easy. We went hunting sewing machines. And had a lot of fun.

The current count is 26! Although one of them I have yet to find, and I am sure there will be more underneath other things.

This one is our favourite:


It is a Bebarfald Bureau - designed to fold down into a beautiful cabinet on which My Lady can also write her letters. And yes - that is leadlight glass in the doors. These are apparently specific to Australia, and were made in Sydney with imported machines.


And aren't the machines beautiful. They are actually a rebadged Vickers, but they have covered them in Bluebirds (you can just pick out five in this view), and called them the Bebarfald Bluebird.

So that is our favourite. But we love this "Cat Back" Jones in Sarah's Shop, too:


It isn't one she would have used, as her very serious Singer Treadle is in there - but so are a lot of other antique machines the Park has collected.

Friday, 26 May 2006

A Gift of Beauty

For several days I have had a wonderful Gift of Beauty, disguised as an ATC, sitting beside me at the computer. It is from Viv, and it is a Peacock.


There is nothing in a scanner that can pick up the magic of a piece like this - the glitter and the dimensions. It is beautiful in the truest sense of the word. So I have not only been given an ATC, which I can touch, and feel and hold. I have been given beauty, which is harder to define.

And I am not good at maths - so all I can say is the picture on my blog screen is larger than in real life - this piece is 6.5cm x 9cm, and wondrous in its tiny size.

At this stage I think I am going to pit it on velvet, maybe black, and frame it with lots of room around it, in a gold frame.

Thank you, Viv.

(For those who do not know Viv, her blog is over at Anlaby House - do drop by)

Thursday, 25 May 2006

Robyne's closeups

If you haven't found her already - do pop over and have a look at the posts from Robyne Melia on Bobby La.

Well worth the journey - wonderful seam combinations.

Sarah is back

The link to the set of Sarah's shop photos at Flickr is back - the strange person was finally removed by Flickr - I could not delete her.

Here are a couple more pictures from the interior, giving some idea of what I have in front of me.


Part of the collection. The exquisite torture is that I cannot even think of cutting anything up


Corner of the shop, with a curtained area where customers could change for their fittings. It is now full of clothes on hangers. I have yet to work out how much is from the collection, and what is reproduction stuff for re-enactments and displays.

It is going to be fun!

Wednesday, 24 May 2006

Uh Oh!

Uh Oh! Something has happened at Flickr, and instead of Sarah Carter's dressmaking shop in my set for there, there is a woman I have never seen before, in party mode, with glass of drink. Thank heavens she is clothed!!!!!

I cannot access the set to get rid of her, and something strange has happend to my photo of the shop as well.

So please bear with me, the links in the post below need to be removed, I think!!!!!

Sarah's Place

I thought people might like to see a little more of Sarah Carter's Dressmaking shop, the collection I am going to catalogue at Gippsland Heritage Park. I am only going to put small pictures on here, but have made a set at Flickr which is not working!


This is the shop. Inside is a counter and a glassed-off work room. This is the counter (and not shown from its best angle, it looks better from the public side):


There are all sorts of gems - this is a workbasket on the shelf I haven't even opened yet. I need to be ready to list all contents before I move anything.


And this is one of the absolute stunning pieces an 1842 cross stitch sampler by Fanny Shelton, aged 8. And I know nothing about her. Was it done here? Did it come out with a family from England? It is hard to photograph, as it is under glass in a glass display case.


Here is the verse:


Monday, 22 May 2006

Closeups of the Quilt

Here are some more pictures of the quilt I discovered yesterday.


There is a large one HERE, and a very large one HERE (do not attempt on dialup)

The reverse is a red flanelette with black spots, faded in places:


There is rudimentary embroidery on a few points, such as this piece, which I am unsure if it was added before or after the patch was appliqued on:


And I have to look very carefully - I think a number of the patches correspond to dressmaking scraps - where you can see what was cut from the fabric to make the scrap.

So - can any of you experts out there suggest a date, based on the fabrics??? Not that I have carried out a serious analysis of them yet. I was just gob-smacked yesterday.

Hey, Googs, you could put off an overseas trip to see this, couldn't you???? I will be there again Friday.

Sunday, 21 May 2006

Old Crazyquilt

Gosh, am I excited!!!!!

The quilt that I got a peep at, at the Gippsland Heritage Park, is a crazyquilt, made wogga-fashion. That is, just roughly appliqued onto a previous bedspread. This is it after I got it out of the trunk and spread it out.


There is a HUGE picture HERE. It is very fragile, and the silk in it is all shredded. And the stitching is very ruimentary herringbone. But probably that is what excites me most, as this was a quilt that was made to be used, not just made to be ornamental.

And I will be back tomorrow with more details and pictures.

More Seams on Mirror Block


Not a lot happening this morning, of a stitching type, so here are some seams on the Mirror block.

On the left is a double Cretan stitch (the two greens), where I slightly offset the top of the second stitch. The pink French Knots are two threads, not one, so they have bulked up a bit, and I like that. The white bits are just a Fly Stitch and a Pistil Stitch.

The seam above the tatting is one I have mixed feelings about. I like pink flowers - the way I work them is to work Detached Chain #1, then #3 (in the middle), and then #2, in the middle of them. Then it is #5, then #4. It is also a good way to go with a variegated thread (where there is only a short distance between the colour changes), as it spreads the colours around.

In this case I have put a Fly Stitch in the same colour between each Detached Chain - they could perhaps be a little further out, and in another block, maybe different colours.

I'm not happy with the green between the pink flowers, but will leave it there at this stage. In another block a bead at the base of them would help, but this is a bead-free zone.

If you would like to have a peep at every missed stitch, the large version is HERE.

Now I am going to finish my coffee, firmly grab the camera, and go out and take some photos of Sarah's Shop.

Saturday, 20 May 2006

One for the Purpleaholics

Hey, Sister Purpleaholics!!!! Go see this!!!!!

Nice seam treatments

Looking for some nice seam treatments???? And a few nice butterflies???? And a little bit of inspiration????

Look no further - pop over and visit Katie's Place.

Rather special.

Friday, 19 May 2006

My News!!!!

Dash and Blast!!!!

For the second week in a row I have forgotten to take the camera with me.

So I have stolen this picture from the website.


This is Sarah Carter's Dressmaking Shop at Gippsland Heritage Park, where I have been helping out with some museum cataloguing. And it is going to be the part that I take a special interest in. Which is going to be wonderful fun.

If I had taken my camera, I could have shown you all the inside, where there is a heap of old sewing machines. And things like an 1842 cross stitch sampler. And lots of other lovely things I am going to catalogue.

So stay tuned. I have all sorts of wonderful things to show you. That is, if I remember my camera next time!!!

(Not one Crazy Quilt to be found in the whole place, but there is one little spot I have an eye on, where I may have spotted a Wogga)

Copying that Feather Stitch

Recently there was a stunning quilt on eBay (and I hope its new owner doesn't mind my sneaking one picture on here). The Feather Stitch on it was most interesting - you can see it here in blue:


The keys to its use throughout the quilt seemed to be it was a thick thread (maybe even what we would call a #5 perle), worked closely with small arms, firstly straight along the seam, and then branches added off them. When I have used any treatment like this, I always ran my branches down to one point at the bottom, making a decided point. In this one, they come off along the length.

So, I thought I would have a go. This is in a #8 variegated perle cotton. Here is my first try, on a Wogga block:


and my second on a Mirror block:


This thread definitely shows up better on the darker block.

And I don't quite think I have got my stitching close enough, or some of the branches long enough yet. But I am getting closer.

One of the great traditions of art, is that when students were learning to paint they were (still are?) encouraged to copy the work of the great painters as a learning experience. I have to say the same should apply in stitching (and sharonb is going to run a further course). It sure makes you look in even greater detail about how they have achieved their effect.

Thursday, 18 May 2006

Just thinking

When I started the Wogga and Mirror Quilts, I was thinking in terms of joining them one block under another. Then I realised I could also join them sort of offset. Which really got me thinking.
So rather than try and explain it - here is what the page of my Journal (which I don't write in every day), looks like for yesterday.


The larger version is HERE.

I have got all sorts of ideas buzzing around in my head, but need to go and do some real work.


And I have got eBay Fever, like a few others. Just over an hour to go.

Wednesday, 17 May 2006

Kim's Pictures on Flickr

Just popped in to say - if you haven't got Kim saved as a contact at Flickr, pop over and have a look at her pictures. There is a good series about the Folded Heart needlecase just up. And I know I have pointed at her pictures before - they really are lovely, and worth a second look.

I wonder if I can run a third consecutive project with the two I have, in jewel colours?

Or maybe I just need to make a bag.

Or maybe I just need to actually finish a couple of things. *delicate shudder*

I'm back in blogland for a couple of days, but without anything to show off. But hopefully some nice news Saturday. No clues......

Monday, 15 May 2006

Blogging in general

Sharlee over on Beyond "The Blank Page" has been musing about blogging, and how a number are taking a bit of a break at the minute, and how much it can take over our lives.

Which has got me thinking a little more in depth along similar lines (Sharlee's place in life is to make me think deeper - she does it well!).

Life is starting to return to normal around here, and I am getting a little more stitching time, although I am still busy in outside life and with non-stitching stuff on the computer.

When I blog, I usually do it of a morning, with the first coffee of the day, at the end of breakfast. Usually I have something in my mind I am going to write about, but if I have nothing to write, or are two busy (read as Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, often), I don't blog. So I do it at a really routine time. And I have got to the stage where it is fine if I haven't done a daily post, and I don't stress about people logging in and finding nothing there. I just periodically suggest they use bloglines, and they will be told when I, or their other favourite bloggers, have something to say.

However I also think that one of the talents that I have, is to write at length about very minor things - like the stitch combinations, and how I am joining blocks - my current interests. And this is good for me, as it makes me think a little more in depth about the stitches, and keeps me practicing my writing.

For example, today I was planning to ramble on about some of the seam treatments where I am working. Where I was getting bored with using the contrasting colours for the Blanket Stitch around the blocks.

The bigger version is HERE.

On the top left corner, I wanted to keep the eye on the section from the original supper cloth, so decided to try a thread that blended in, rather than contrasted. Where I have skipped the leaves, I have sewn the hem down firmly on the other side. When I come to join the blocks I will stitch through that patch there, rather than just catching the blanket stitch.

Then, on the next seam to the right of that, I am experimenting with a variation of what I have been doing on the Blanket stitch on the end - which was previously short-medium-long-medium-short-medium-long etc etc. The idea was then something decorative goes on the long. But sometimes they weren't far enough apart to really play. So I am schooling myself to go short-short-medium-long-short-short-medium-long-medium-short-short-medium etc.

Will see how it works up later.

So they are very minor things - but would have given me a post for today. Sometimes I wonder if people stop blogging because they cannot think of anything to say, or think whatever they do have to say has to be big and important.

That is not to say that, if I am having a lazy day at home with the broadband available, if I come across something great, I don't just hop on there and throw up a quick post.

But I am finding more and more that I blog on about the very small picture much more than I go looking for a big picture issue to discuss.

And that is fine with me.

There are a couple of other seam treatments on there that are new for me - but life calls. Be back Thursday.

Sunday, 14 May 2006

Beary Nice Blog

Thanks to Julia, I have found Bear's Blog.

It is Beary nice. *waving to Bear*

Joining the blocks II


After considering Freda's question yesterday, I have been experimenting with joining the Mirror blocks. Told you I wouldn't be able to wait.

For the two blocks above I have just Blanket Stitched around the edges and slip stitched them together. And I don't mind it. (Memo to self - must check out Glove Stitch)

Yes, the blocks are uneven - you just have to look how the bottom lines line up along the picture. But I think this technique will allow the joins without buckling. And, as I have said before - I am not one who is into straight and perfect lines - Quilt Police not welcome here.

The block on the left is far from finished, so I have to concentrate now on finishing it, before I join any more, and finishing two more. Then I will see what a square looks like, and may be able to resist joining as I go. Maybe.

There is a slightly bigger pic of these two blocks HERE - you will see I have started adding embellishment to the Blanket Stitch - this whole idea depends on that, otherwise the comb-like look of the seams will get to me.

And that is one of the other advantages of this system - I will know exactly where the edges are for the purposes of embellishing before I join. Sometimes that is a bit difficult, especially when using beads and then joining blocks by machine. Not that I am doing that here - using beads or the machine.

Speaking of links - all these pictures go into my Flickr site for the Mirror Quilt (which "Mirrors" the Wogga Quilt)

Next question??? Wool batting in the middle I think, and then hand quilted in the seam between the blocks, through to a plain backing. And maybe old white buttons at the corner of each block.

But that is a long way off.

Saturday, 13 May 2006

Joining the blocks

I've had an e-mail query from Freda (Yes, you do need to register with blogger to be able to comment - you don't have to have a blog though. It is just a way to stop spamming)

Freda asked:
Also your comment on the mirror blocks of stitching around the edges before joining them. I have never even thought of doing this before sewing the blocks together rather then going back and embroidering over the seams. Is it difficult to join evenly once you have all the edges done? Would be easier working on one piece than a large piece of various blocks. Did I misunderstand you or is this what you meant?
Yes - this is what I mean - similar to what I am doing with the Wogga Blocks:


In both I am going to use different colours around them, although I might use a denser crochet (ie no double stitches) on the Mirror Blocks. I am still doing the blanket stitch around the first block there, so I am not sure yet how it will look. In my last post (scroll down), I merely put them together - they are not joined. I think I will still go that way. So each block is framed by the crochet, rather than how they look in the picture.

I have now also moved more towards doing the blanket stitch first, then embroidering the block. It does mean it is more difficult to use a hoop, which I like to do, but the blocks have enough body to go well in the hand. And I find the blocks an ideal size on which to work - I shouldn't join them until I have them all done, but probably will, as I enjoy seeing them grow.

And yes - the blocks are uneven, where the blanket stitch pulls the lighter fabrics in more than the heavier ones etc, but the crochet has enough give to cope with this, so I don't mind it. It kinda looks more folksy to me.

Thursday, 11 May 2006

Looking at Blocks


Not a lot of stitching happening here - well, nothing to write about.

So I have just been looking at how blocks on the Mirror quilt work together - although the lines between them will be stronger after I do their edges. I quite like them - I am enjoying not working with the five-sided section in or near the centre, and I like the overlapping applique piece on the 3rd block - the one on top left.

The other thing is that I have decided to add tatting, but I think they are going to be with coarser cotton, like the two above, as they need to be bulky pieces to hold their own. And I may only use them as white on green, as it needs dumbing back a bit on larger patches.

What I have to do now is edge blocks as I finish them, but resist the pressure to join them as I go. So I can play with all options for the blocks when they are done.

Bet I don't succeed. Bet as soon as I have two edged that I will join them.

Wednesday, 10 May 2006

The Auction is On!

The Flickr quilts are up on eBay. The first quilt is the main one, but quilts two and three are pretty good too.

The thing that is special about them, apart from the obvious fact that they are an attempt to help those impacted by Katrina, is that the larger one is an important record of the main influences of crazypatch in 2005. Never again will there be a snapshot like this of the work of a number of important practitioners, all at that time, and in the one work.

It would be wonderful if it was to go to an institution, where it could be referred to in years to come - but then again - we can all refer to it now on sharonb's pages. Although just imagine how it would be to have the actual, real thing.

This really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to buy something really special, and help others less fortunate at the same time.

Thanks to Sharon, Annie and Willa for all you are putting into this. Annie's detailed description of making up the blocks is now a CQ classic.

Sunday, 7 May 2006

Mirror Block 2

Today has been cold and wet, as we head into winter, so I am enjoying the "springness" of the Mirror quilt, where I am mirroring stitches on the Wogga quilt.


This is block 2 in the Mirror quilt, and I have finally settled on my preferred version of this seam treatment:


Part of the trick is getting the French Knots in the group of three with a little bit of eye space around each one.

You can see the other versions in my Stitch Combinations - I am trying to group like ones together there now. And I am enjoying working the same combinations over and again, with slight changes.

Did you spot that in this case I have pieced in part of the edging of the supper cloth? I am going to enjoy emphasising it.

And here is one other stitch combination, on my Wogga.


I think I am almost happy with this one. The big breakthrough is that I have always started a Fly Stitch group (the green), with the Straight Stitch in the peak. This time I have been working more on starting with the bottom Fly Stitch, then the "top" Fly Stitch, then finally the Straight Stitch. I reckon I get it more even that way.

I'm off now for a couple of days - see everyone Wednesday or Thursday.

Stitch Combinations 3

Not a lot happening here - so here is the latest version of this stitch combination - worked on Wogga block 3.


For this one, you first work the base in green Fly Stitch, leaving two arms on one side, moving across and leaving two arms on that side etc.

Then work back along the Feather Stitch working one leaf in line with the arm of the Feather Stitch, and the other one pointing outwards.

Starting from the bottom, work a Detached Chain (aka Lazy Daisy) in between the leave, close with a Pistil Stitch that has three wraps on the French Knot part. Then work French Knots with two wraps and then one wrap, finish with a Straight Stitch. Work a Fly Stitch where the needle comes up just inside the top of the Detached Chain and goes down at its base.

Move on to do three French Knots (two wraps) on the top arm on that side.

Move across and repeat on the other side.

This seam was worked with perle #8 thread, and I varied the direction the flower spike went each time.

This combination brings together a few combinations from elsewhere - I quite like it.

Now I am off to try and work a couple of combinations from this quilt Marty found.

Thursday, 4 May 2006

Stitch Combinations 2

Not a lot of work done here, but some fun had with stitch combinations. I owe this one to Maia - you can see her block HERE, with the same seam treatment bottom right.

So mine is nothing like that - and in the spirit that I learn as much by failure as I do by success, here are my failures so far:


This one the background is just far too busy. All threads are perle #12, and the curves come from the stencils that Calidore found.


In the one above, the curves are perle #12 and the leaves and flowers are Dentelles (finer tatting thread).

In this case the background is okay, but there is not enough contrast with the green and background. The curves are the same as in the first example.

First thing is I think I need larger curves - so I will photocopy these and blow the size up. Maia has many more Fly stitches in her leaves, so the only way I can go there is to make bigger curves.

But I do have to say I like the idea of repeating treatments over and over again - I learn something each time.

These stitches are also in my Wogga and Mirror Quilt sets, and in Stitch Combinations.

And, in reply to some questions:

Woggas or Bush Rugs are things in which one wraps oneself. They are not something that is put on the floor, as in the case of rugs to some people. I call the things on the floor mats, although I recognise they are rugs to some people. Just not my sort of rug. In the case of this one it will have a blanket in the centre (they were made over worn-out blankets), and probably will be backed with a flannel sheet.

Hope that clears that up - and that blankets and flannel sheets are universal terms.

Wednesday, 3 May 2006

Mirror Block finished

Just a real quick post - still limited internet access.


This block is almost finished - there is still the edges to go, which I may not do immediately.

I have decided I will also use Ginny Thompson Flower Thread on these blocks:


And I have also decided that while Presencia perle #12 is nice, DMC perle #12 is much nicer. But I can only find yuckkie colours in the few places it is stocked around here.

Now I am off to work the "Mirror Block" on my Wogga quilt - which will allow a bit more latitude. On this one I was a little constrained by the prints/supper cloth embroidery. So I will be working seams like this one again:


Decisions so far - I am going to stick with pinks, green and ecrus in the threads. And most seams will only be in one colour, to blend them more into the block. And it is still threads only - I didn't think to leave anywhere for tatting on this block.

Sort of Back

Hi Everyone - I am sort of back, after a few very busy and sometimes difficult days. So not a lot of sewing has been done.

And, to top it all off, DH has put new anti-virus software on his computer, so it is refusing to let mine onto the net. So I am stuck on dialup, with the laptop balanced on the kitchen stool. Not nice.

So if you would like something to amuse yourself, pop over and have a look at your profile, or even mine, on blogger. Click on the links that are interests - it is fascinating to see what other bloggers have the same interests as you do.