A class I want to try

This week at the Embroiderers' Guild we interviewed a new tutor.  Her speciality is Su Sew embroidery from China.  She is in fact Chinese and served her apprenticeship there.  Up to date she has mainly taught within the Chinese community, as her English isn't good, but now another woman, Helen, who also teaches in her studio, will translate for her.  We plan to have her give her first class at the Guild later this year.

This screen is all stitched in silk.  Some pieces have over 1,000 different shades of threads used in the design.

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Source: wikipedia

I am a keen follower of Chinese History and had done some reading about the embroidery of China.  It is in fact a vast field and although the stitches used have different names, e.g. straight stitch is in fact our satin stitch, The techniques are very similar.  What is different is the philosophy behind the work,  that it has a spiritual aspect.  I have found the same thinking in most forms of Asian embroidery.  In the west there are embroideries done for the church but the actual stitching is seen as a task and not of a spiritual activity although I am sure that a lot of embroiderers who stitch for the church do approach their work as a sacred task.

The other technique I find interesting is how the work is painted or printed onto the fabric in the colours to be use. Today western painting are often used as the source of the design.

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Then the threads, in this case silk, are stitched over the top of this to complete the 'thread painting'.  For the beginner these stitches are not dense but spread out.  It is all very similar to western thread painting used in embroidery and quilting.  I look forward to doing this class.


Samples completed

I have finished my trials of the monograms for the next children's class and learnt quite a few things whilst stitching them.  Over at Mary Corbett's blog she has trialed the same kind of designs but on totally different fabrics and for a different audience.  My samples were stitched with children and their abilities in mind.  Firstly, I couldn't afford good quality linen so had to use a cheap alternative. I choose a patchwork linen which was $20 p.m. the weave was good but the finished fabric was weak and rather thin.  It does come in white, beige and natural, which gives the stitcher a variety of background.

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Mary used a good quality homespun on the back of hers but I found this a bit difficult for kids to stitch through.  I settled on Amour Weft dress making interfacing which is iron on and gives the fabric more weight and doesn't allow shadowing of the stitching. 

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I did have to add another layer of white homespun under the white linen so have reserved this fabric for the volunteers who will be able to handle it.

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The A5 book cover is for the beginners.  I tried stitching a close confetti of seed stitch but found that it looked better spread out and the stitches a bit bigger.  (I have tried to match my stitching to that of the proposed students.) The momogram can be stitched in a range of line stitches that therefore will accommodate the skills of a beginner.  For the A6 book cover I used 2 strands of DMC for the monogram but only one for the embroidery.  I choose simple stitches, lazy daisy, french knots and fly stitch but I am sure that the kids with more experience will come up with a design to suit themselves. 

This project has to be able to be finished at the end of the 2 day class so I have simplified the making up.  I have overlocked all the edges of the linen.  This then only requires the end to be folded over to size, a piece of lining fabric place over this and then the top and bottom seams have to be machined, a 5 minute job.  If they want to they can top stitch around the edge, as I did in the A5 version, to give a neater finish. 

Big sigh of relief that I have finished that job.





Week 4 - Placemats for Charity

This week I have commenced work on the bundle of charm squares that I have accumulated.  You know how it is?   You see this fabric you love but you don't have a project that you want to make out of it but must have some of that fabric?  That's how charm square breed!

When I had sewn most of the pieces I was left with odds and ends.  So I have put all the odds and ends together for these two mats.  I am still working with my walking foot on the machine for the quilting.  Firstly just rows even (almost) distances apart.

Mat 7

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And then the same lines over-sewn with a triangle pattern.

Mat 8

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I used the lines as my point of reference to sew the triangles.

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Living in the wilderness

Years ago I read about this family who escaped from Stalin and settled in Siberia.  They lived a totally isolated life in the wilderness and the fact that caught my interest was that they grew hemp for fibre to make their clothes, much the same as the Kogin stitchers in Japan. In fact hemp was the only fibre that would grow in that climate.   Then by sheer chance I came across this video about the sole surviving member of that family.  She still survives on her own in the wilderness, even caring for another man who lives there and she weaves as well.  It is a sad story but quite inspiring as well.  It is quite long so you will need that cup of tea.



Now that I am feeling better I find it is a lot easier to cope with the count on my Kogin bag and the piece is progressing.

Wipw The other piece is a trial for the next children's class.  I bought Mary Corbett's Monogram e-book and she has kindly given me permission to use it for this class.  The monograms are quite small and I think the smaller children will have problems with the size.  So I have enlarged the design and am trialing an A5 piece as well.

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The other problem is the fabric.  It would be lovely if I could use good quality linen but it is just too costly.  This trial is on handkerchief linen backed with some sheeting.  It seems to be working alright in the A5 size but I'm not sure how the smaller one will go.  I think I will try that in the same fabric but with another interfacing on the back.

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