Sunday, 27 May 2007

Stitch Combinations 10

Here is a Feather Stitch and Fly Stitch combination. First I work the Feather Stitch (coming up on one side of the seam, and going down on the other - makes it a bit "wigglier").

Then I work back along it doing a Fly Stitch that has the point of the "V" about half way along the arm of the Feather Stitch. (Although sometimes it is lower down.) I come up inside the stitch and go down on the other side of the arm when finishing the Fly Stitch. Not that I think that is critical - just to be consistent.

Stitch combination 9a

This one is finished with a French Knot with two wraps of two threads of Finca #16 perle.

I'm off for a few days now - hopefully I will have done heaps more when I come back.

Kumihimo blog

There hasn't been a lot around on the net at kumihimo - especially not Kumihimo blogs. So I was delighted when Trish Goodfield left a comment on my blog. Do pop over and have a look - and she is Australian, to boot.

I've played around a little bit with Kumihimo in the past - makes lovely small cords for bags. Must dig mine out again.

Trish has some interesting threads and fabrics available too.

Friday, 25 May 2007

More sewing baskets

Maz over at Crazy Haberdasher has posted some antique sewing baskets and contents. I really like the sewing stand.

She has a card of pins that reminded me of these, which are from Old Gippstown.


When you get up close enough, with the larger one, you can see the names of some of the Australian states on those very macho men. So it dates from around the time of the Australian Commonwealth being formed, in 1901. The coat of arms is an early one, and was later superseded.

Can you imagine pins being produced these days as a souvenir????

Seeking Beauty?

Seek you something Beautiful to Adore????

Drop over to the sampler at By the Bay Needleart. And click on the bottom photograph.

Thanks to Margaret at Life, needlework and everything for the pointer.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Dragon Vest continues


Here is the section of my Dragon Vest on which I am currently working. And, before you rush into raptures about my work on the dragon - it ain't mine. It is the work of the incredible M3.

I have just been working on the seams around it, trying for a sort of embossed effect, but in a way that does not detract from that beautiful little dragon.

In the end I decided she needed something to look at, so I have been auditioning charms. This one is my favourite at the minute.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

My old Needlework Box

This is an old needlework box I actually own - not one from a museum. It was found on a junk stall in the 1970s.

Unfortunately it is split along the lid, but is still a beautiful piece, made of hand-tooled leather, I think with a wooden frame, and lined with leather.


Inside are all sorts of little organising sections on the lid, and a little box/shelf that lifts out, with a pincushion in the centre. It is the ideal size for cotton reels.


This strikes me as a fairly complex and expensive box - I wonder where it has been?

has left a comment saying she has a number of baskets too - for those who do not know her blog, there is some lovely stuff on there about needlework tools. Hopefully when her renovations finish (hint, hint), we may be lucky enough to see them.

If you have an old sewing basket / needlework box, you might like to drop across and post a picture on the Flickr Group Sewing Baskets.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Wemyss' Basket

Here is another old sewing basket. This one belongs to my friend Wemyss.


We had one like this in my family when I was young, and it came to us as an old basket in the 1960s. That one was made out of the same split red cane, and had Chinese money sewn to it for decoration - the round brass sort with a square centre that you can still find around.

Wemyss has kept this one intact since it was passed to her after the death of a relative. It is currently on display in the Stratford Museum, where I work Tuesdays.


I like the way the needlebook that on top has been made, from folding upholstery tape. So far I have resisted the temptation to pull everything out and document it all.

But I did have to photograph this little flat pin cushion.


It is really simple - the little flowers are cut from felt and just sewn down in the centres.

These have all been posted to Sewing Baskets - and I have one more for tomorrow. Anyone else got any photos of old Sewing Baskets???

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Old Sewing Baskets

I have just been reorganising my photographs of Sewing Baskets, and created a set HERE.

And then I went searching on Flicker, to see if there were any groups - and I couldn't find a thing. So I have created a group called (wait for it...) Sewing Baskets.

Just in case anyone has their mother's, or grandmother's sewing basket, and would like to share it with everyone else.

I'm off for a few days now - when I get back I may have photographed two more baskets. Well, one is a box, but I reckon that fits in too. Anything a woman would use to store her hand sewing in, before, say, 1970. When plastic started to take over.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Three Bears Porridge Dolls

How many people, I wonder, remember the Three Bears Porridge dolls? These were around in the 1950s, and the front of the bags were all like this:


It made you want to eat your porridge very quickly, because the more you ate, the sooner Mum would order another bag. Because this is what was on the back:


And I think these were the first thing I ever sewed up on Mum's sewing machine. Because they were really special. I was probably between eight and ten at the time. And we were living up bush, and the groceries were ordered, once a week, over the phone, and came up on the mail car.

I wonder if my mother ever said "one bag of porridge, and is the back of the Dutch Girl there yet?"

These are from the collection of the Stratford Museum. I have seen flour bags from America that actually have patterns printed on them - Mum was given some by an American friend. I don't think we ever had them here, but I wonder if people elsewhere (waving to those in the USA and Britain), had these dolls?

Sewing Basket from the 1860s

I thought people might like a peep at this little gem - a sewing basket surviving from the 1860s. It is made of plaited raffia woven on cane, with a cane finish.


Unfortunately it has had a bit of a hard life, and the blue kalcomine (which is a water-based paint, and sometimes all that was available) doesn't show it off to its best advantage. But it is still a little gem, and may have been the most precious item (maybe outside of jewellery), that its owner had. Because although sewing machines were around, at the time this was made they were not all that common.

It is in the collection of Old Gippstown.

Friday, 18 May 2007

Stitch Combinations 9

The Dragon Vest wouldn't be me if there wasn't a bit of Chicken Scratch on it. So here it is - as a band along a piece of velvet ribbon inserted when I was piecing.

Stitch combination 8

Chicken Scratch is usually on gingham - so in this case I had to work the evenly spaced crosses on which it is based, using waste canvas. I like the ribbon as a canvas for the stitch.

That's combinations finished for a while - not sure where I am off to next.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Stitch Combinations 8

One of the stitches I use continually, and seek to vary, is Feather Stitch. Sometimes the variations are very slight. One day the Heavens will open, and I will have worked the perfect variation. Trumpets will sound and the Angels will exalt.

It hasn't happened yet, but I have at least grouped them together in my Stitch Combinations at Flickr.

Stitch combination 5

I don't mind the top one, it also shows off well as it is on a plain background (I needed to break down a big patch). I use that combination of a Detached Chain with a long closing stitch, with a Fly Stitch worked over the top a lot. I came up with it one day out of nowhere, and love it.

Not so keen on the one below.
Stitch combination 7

Back to the Vest. In some ways it is very like another one I did many years ago.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Stitch Combinations 7

The Dragon Vest is still on top of the pile, but I can see some other stuff working its way up.

At the moment I am working by putting a basic stitch along a seam, and then trying to work out how to vary it. That is - Herringbone, Chevron, Cretan and Feather Stitch.

In this case it was Cretan stitch, the green first.

Stitch combination 6

Then I duplicated the Cretan stitch in yellow. (If it looks a bit funny, I have realised this picture is actually upside down. It doesn't usually matter - you can get the general idea).

Then I came along with the light green and worked a detached chain above each set of arms and a Fly Stitch below it, with the "arm" going down between the two arms of the Cretan. Then it was just a simple cross on the other side in the same thread. I'm considering a French Knot between the arms on the other side - have given up on the idea of beads as this seam is almost under the arm on the vest.

I've posted this over in my Stitch Combinations set at Flickr - there are a few in there I might revisit soon.

On the other front - I think I have solved the comments problem by changing the e-mail address - looks like my crummy server was losing those posts in its spam filter.

And I'm off now for a few days - Talk to You when I get back


Hi Everyone,

Thank you to everyone leaving comments - it is nice to know you are all still out there.

Unfortunately the gremlins are not sending them to me by e-mail (despite my having the settings to send them to me). So I try and remember how many comments are on, say, the three most recent posts.

But at the moment, unless I work out what is going on, if you ask a question on an older post, I am just not going to see it. Sorry. :(

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Future Directions

I am still enjoying working on my Dragon Vest. And thinking about future directions.


After much thought, I am going to see if I can survive without buying anything more. I have enough threads and beads and fabric to last me three lifetimes. Yes, a girl can have too many beads. I think. And too many threads. And far, far too much fabric.

No - it is no use asking me to send it to you. I am not that serious. *grin*

With the Dragon Vest, I am actually working with just using crochet cotton. You can see it in the box at the front. I almost like the austere, textured look to the work - it makes me think about the stitches, and I can't just resort to sewing doodads on there to try and fill it up. And it complements rather than screams for attention with the beautiful dragons.

And I found I couldn't really tell the difference between the Gumnuts silk and the crochet cotton when the stitches were in.

I have never really been the sort to fill stuff up with heaps of luscious silk ribbon embroidery. So I might go off in towards austerity for a while. Which seems rather weird in crazy patch.

But I wonder can I do without buying more books. Probably not!

Today I was out at Old Gippstown again, where I have been working. Cheral and I were picking out a building in which to do some stitching. We have picked out a lovely one, and will head off there soon for a sewing day. More about that soon - but if any of the locals are reading, and want to know when - drop me a line.

Thank you to all who have swung by to welcome me back - life remains busy, but I am getting a little more stitching time again.

Friday, 11 May 2007

Getting Organised

We are moving a bit of stuff around, as my Beloved has some new toys in his woodwork shop. And new shelves. I have been getting organised. There was a broom cupboard surplus to his requirements. So I had to claim it.

I have a beautiful old cupboard with adjustable shelves that came out on a sailing boat about 150 years ago. It is really substantial, and they used it to pack the dinner set, etc in. So we duplicated the system of movable shelves, and Voila!, I have a new cupboard.


Doors? Who needs doors. They just get in the way. They have gone off to be used elsewhere.

So this is what my space looks like at this house. My real stash (ie fabrics, lace etc) is at the other house. In a shed. Here I just have the embellishments and WIPs.



Which started me off on the perennial subject of organising work and storage space. There are a few groups on Flickr. I like these three: Sewing Rooms, Craft Rooms (that one is big!), and Pretty Organized.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Back Again

Hi Everyone,

I am back again, although not as much as before. Few family issues control me at the minute, and very busy workwise.

But doing a little stitching again:

Just filling in seams on the Dragon Vest. But it is getting me going again. Notice half the bead seam flipped over as I was scanning this - that's life.

*waving to everyone*