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Friday, June 23, 2017

Blackwell Roundel Box

This week the parcel arrived, securely and neatly packaged. I rushed to the Post Office to pick it up after finding the delivery card in my letterbox. I had been home but possibly missed hearing the buzzer. As I had hoped, it was from Jenny Adin-Christie, the box for my Blackwell roundel from my Spring Retreat with the Crewel Work Company. At home, out of the tightly taped post bag, here it was, waiting for me to open the box.
It was lovely. So lovely I forgot to take a photo. It was my grandchildren-after-school day and had a meal to prepare. I had to put it aside until evening.                                                                                     The kit had come with the backing fabric and the box came with a mounting board. When the family had gone I got to work.
The back was a little bulky - two layers of silk organza, backing silk and its cotton lining - but it worked fine. I added a circle of pellon.
The box is beautifully crafted - so smooth and lovely to hold.  The mahogany is perfectly matched to the colours in the embroidery.

The interior  mount-board backing is held in place with tiny brass screws.


  I'm not sure what I will do with this. I have more boxes than I know what to do with. This one is special - so beautifully designed and crafted.

I'm sure I'll find someone to use and treasure it.

It can sit here for a while, on my sewing box.

Thank you Jenny Adin-Christie!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Project 5 - B2B- Embroiderers' Guild of SA

It's been a year since I posted about my progress on Project 4 of the Guild's Back to Basics Program. This is because I had not made much progress. The group meets once a month, and closes over the Christmas/January period. Between my knee reconstruction and trips away my progress has been slow. 

The group has even changed it's name since I last wrote about it. There are five projects in the program and members take varying times to finish. Some slow down towards the end, because they do not want to leave the supportive and educative group. So we re-named the group Basics to Beyond. We can keep the B2B abbreviation and members can stay on 'beyond' the basic course.

Much of my time in the group last year was spent getting the layout and dimensions of the Project 4 bag right. The course places a lot of emphasis on construction, including accurate measurement - an area where I need to improve. I've had to re-do my initial attempt at tacking the boundaries of the embroidered panel and the side panels of the bag. I've learned a lot from this process. 

My first attendance this year was in April, and I could finally begin the embroidery. Our designs for this project are based on our initial, and I had planned to use the curves in trees and plants to give me my J.  This project also requires the incorporation of texture to the embroidery.                                                                                                                                                                               I used what I had learned from tree limbs in my Robins quilt to put in my first tree trunk.I then began to add smaller branches, building up the framework of the tree (and incorporating a few more Js!). 
Once the framework was in place I added leaves, and whipped some of the branches to get the grey-green colour of many Australian trees, including the red flowering gum that I wanted to construct here. It isn't easy to achieve this in a single colour thread.

One of my daughters had given me a year's subscription to a quarterly thread package and my first package contained a length of red chenille thread, which I cut into pieces to form the flowers. I like the result.

The other side of the embroidered panel is framed by a wattle tree. I found a photo of an interesting wattle tree on the Australian Geographic Flickr site and based my wattle tree on that. This gave me the opportunity to use some  cane toad leather, purchased from Alison Cole and to practise my couching. Once again, I worked the framework of the tree, then added the flowers - using Ghiordes and French knots.

My progress is largely down to a recent trip to Sydney and the NSW Southern Highlands. It was a good 'grab and go' project.  I could work it within the framework I have established without reference to a pattern or charts. It has given me the boost I needed to move the work forward.

This is where I am now.  I intend to put a layer of grasses and Flannel Flowers on the ground but it can wait a bit. I now have the energy - and motivation - to attempt to finish the Whitework project from the March Retreat.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Mending slippers

Last year a much-travelled friend gave me a pair of knitted slippers she had bought in Uzbekistan. I had admired hers and she kindly sent me a spare pair she had. They were truly charming and very comfortable for wearing on my carpeted floors.
They even won me a prize in a photo competition promoting Bundarra clothing!
However, my fondness for them produced holes in both heels and they looked like unravelling. Drastic action was required - and some of the skills of my grandmother and mother. 
 It was easy enough to pick up the unravelling stitches.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   I had a good supply of oddments of 4 ply wool in the right colour from Fair Isle jumpers made many years ago, so I could construct my set of bars across the hole and weave my patch.
The result was pretty neat (and on the underside anyway).

For good measure. and longevity, I added a couple of little felt patches over the mend, both on the inside and outside.

I'm very pleased with the result.
I'm happy to be able to continue using my lovely slippers, pleased to have preserved both a gift and a treasure. I'm also pleased to have used the skills given to me by my mother and grandmother.

Lots of wins for many women.