Sunday, 9 October 2011

Design Memo -- Harlequin (or nine-patch diamonds)

I have received requests now and then for the design interpretation for certain designs, mostly advanced ones, and while I do not wish to encourage you to try the new designs while you are still not ready for it by posting advanced design here, it's not very practical for me to answer to the requesters by sending an e-mail one by one and some cases the requester did not provide me with the way to contact them by leaving a comment anonymously without the link to their e-mail addresses or blog posts/web pages.  So I have decided to give you a design memo of the most requested one today.  Although I freely share the design memo with you, it is still my intellectual property and I would like you to respect it.  It is not my intention to imply that any one of you would abuse it, but I just wanted to make a statement so that no misunderstanding would arise at later date, is all.  You would be horrified to know how serious the copyright infringements are on the web.  Having said that, here we go: 
Skill Level:  Advanced
Required technique(s):  Forward stitch, back stitch, and weaving
Number of stitching path(s):  Two and then later becomes four
Design period:  Two sections
Design repeat:  Two sections
Number of round(s):  Single
Number of colour(s) used:  Four

This design is a kind of my original.  The reason why I affixed "a kind of" before "my original" is I cannot be certain that anyone had ever made it before I did but I stitched the design without referring anything, so this is "a kind of" my original.  I call it "Harlequin" because it reminds me of Agatha Christie's "Mysterious Mr Quinn" which based on the Italian masked character, Harlequin. 

The design consists of the centre part of nine-patch diamonds and framing and you have to determine before you start stitching how many stitches you are going to make in one section.

My framing takes six stitches so subtract six from the number of the stitches in one section and the reminder is the number of stitches you are going to stitch for the centre nine-patch diamonds.  It may not be very convenient number for you to form nine-patch so you have to adjust it by:

1) Adding or taking a stitch or two from the total number of the stitches of the section.  Although this is easiest, you may have some difficulty to pack extra two stitches in a section, especially the section is already too packed to start with. 

2) Changing the number of the sections i.e. narrowing/widening the section.  Please note that the number of the sections has to be an even number as "rounding" will not work for the design.  Also please note that the number of the sections will affect the shape of the diamonds, i.e. the more sections, the skinnier the diamonds become.

3) Making the ring size smaller/bigger/shorter/taller, possibly in conjunction with changing the number of sections.  Although It involves most tedious work, you get the best result.  However, if your thimble has to be in the specific size, then it's not an option for you.

Start stitching with two paths and weave 3x3 as you go to form nine-patch's.  As this is nine-patch diamonds, the colour of the second stitching path appears at the four corners and centre small diamonds, so make sure to stitch with the right colour for each path.

Then start stitching the framing commencing from both sides of the portion you have already stitched, therefore the number of your stitching paths now becomes four, stitching alternatively and all in the same colour.  Stitch a row in the first path with back stitch starting from the left side of the first path of the diamonds, then in the same way stitch the third path, then the second path with forward stitch starting from the right side followed by fourth path.  Thread the different colour and stitch the second row in the same fashion, and for the final third row, change back to the colour you used for the first row.

As I stitch the diamonds portion all by forward stitches so the threads lay slanted in the top and bottom triangles however, if you opted for back stitches, back-to-back with forward stitches, then it appears as V-shaped. 

Wish you happy stitching!

Monday, 19 September 2011

La Chanson Japonaise ... ???

A Japanese music duo was featured in one of the morning TV show a few weeks ago I was told, that they are Japanese but sing in France and that they sang in a TV trailer of Festival Paris Cinema last year.  Must be very talented, I thought.  So, I went and looked for them on YouTube and found them.

Zoun-Doko Bushi by Les Romanesques on YouTube

I do not have a word to describe their performance.  Unusual?  Different?  Humoristique? Peculiar?  Whatever I (and you) think of them, their song sure sticks to you.

Tout va bien-ien-ien, tout les citoyens-yens-yens
Je me promรจne le dimanche matin
Les pigeons picorent des miettes de pain
Je mets mes pieds sur une crotte de chien

The melody itself is of a Japanese origin, but their lyrics are their own I think.

Then there is another song:

Mademoiselles by Les Romanesques on YouTube

Comment allez-vous, 
ma jolie petite fille, mademoiselle? 

They are quite something else.

The picture is nothing to do with today's post, but it's always nice to have some pictures so I thought I should include at least one.  This is one of the "on the process" pictures I took last summer when I made several thimbles in the same design but with silk thread in various colours and gold thread.
I believe I have shown this picture before and some of you might remember.

*** Shop Update ***

The listings of four Japanese print (cotton fabric) are going to expire very soon and as I announced it before I am not going to re-list them.  If you ear-marked them, please go and have a final look.  The listing of a set of 24 silk sewing thread has already expired.  I plan to revamp my shop (not know when I actually get around to do so, though), so it will remain unavailable at Etsy however, if you would like to purchase it I can list it as "specially reserved" for you.  Please drop me a line.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Welcome to my blog

Last week Craftgossip generously featured my last post, in which I listed links to my previously published posts about "how I make my thimbles" so that you could find them easier and friendstitch listed a link to it, too.  Thanks to these two wonderful sites (if you haven't visited either of them, I strongly suggest you do so now.  You won't regret it, I am sure) I received a great number of the visitors and I would like to welcome those of you who have chose to return to read my post, again.

Let me introduced myself quickly.  My name is Chloe Patricia and I live in Japan.  I am a thimble maker (not for a profession, of course) and I make the kind of thimbles in the photo above.  Not looking very much the thimbles you are familiar with, I know.  Japanese thimbles are traditionally ring shaped and not a cap.  There are metal and leather thimbles (also in ring shapes) but Japanese people have been making their own thimbles at home, re-purposing leftover fabric and threads. 

The thimbles I make are the most elaborate form: stitched all over with silk threads.  With less and less people who do dressmaking and kimono sewing, along with factory made metal thimbles, this kind of thimbles were almost extinct after World War II until several years ago it was re-discovered.  They are highly decorative but they are still a working tool, too.  Since the core of the ring is paper, it's pliant enough to re-shape itself to conform your finger as you are wearing it while it's sturdy enough to help you pushing the needle without pricking your finger.  
It requires a little getting use to to make your own, but as I showed you in the previous posts (you can find the links to these posts in my previous post) it's not very difficult once you got the basics.  I would like you to remember that these posts are not tutorials.  They are merely the posts which show you how I make my thimbles.  Please also remember the ways I showed you are not the only ways.  There are other ways and possibly better ways.  If you are happy with the way you do, please stick to it and tell me about it so that I will consider converting to it. 

If you are not quite sure if this kind of thimble making is really your thing, or you would like to try it first quickly before fully committing to it, I have a kit at my Etsy shop.  The kit includes a finished thimble base with starter stitches done and an instruction booklet, so that you can just thread the needle (also included) and carry on stitching.  It takes about two to three hours to finish it. 

I also host a photo sharing group at Flickr where you can share the photos of your thimbles (or anything else you made using the same technique) with the rest of the group, or any other visitors for that matter.  By the way, we have a new member recently there and PokiPaws (alias of the new member) shows us her first and second thimbles.  I am amazed that although she used DMC's 6-strand embroidery floss, the finish has luster as if it's silk or rayon.  It made me wonder if I should re-evaluate the value of the cotton floss.  My photo sharing group is not a contest; I merely wanted to give my fellow thimble switchers a place to show off their work when I started it and it remains the same, no critics either.  The primary rule, aside from the thimbles you upload the photo of have to be your own work, is for you to mention the size of the mould on which you formed your thimble base and the material you used.  The size of the mould does not have to be very  precise.  Just measure the circumference of the tube you use with a measuring tape, either in inches or millimeters will do.  

I love to hear from you and if you have a question about thimble making, please don't hesitate to ask.  You can leave the question as the comment or e-mail me.  You should be able to find my e-mail address at my profile page.  It may take for a while but I will try to answer it. 

Sunday, 4 September 2011

another mumbling with the typhoon gone but a new one approaching ...

The current typhoon is over the island and now on the sea but it was disastrous leaving 21 death and 54 missing.  As I told you yesterday, it proceeded (is still proceeding) extremely slowly and it dropped a tremendous amount of rainfall over Japan, leaving floods and landslide all over the country.  Even it has been over, it still keeps raining, heavily in certain areas. 

We are doing fine, virtually no damage at all, just a heavy rain last night.  Kyoto had been a capital city of Japan for over 1000 years for a reason with less damages by earthquake, floods, and other natural disasters than other area.

However, there is a new typhoon has appeared on the weather forecasts.  It's 13th and is heading to this way ....

This is one of the two thimbles I told you I had made recently with the one I showed to you yesterday.  The technique is the same, but the colour scheme is different and as a result it appears as a different design.  I wanted this one in shades in the same way as the previous gray one.  I used three colours but obviously the lightest in shades is too light and the contrast in colours is stronger than I hoped it would be.  I am going to dig in my thread stash boxes later to see if I can find a suitable one.

I opened one of the word documents I have neglected for so long today.  It is titled "Starter Kit".  As you may have correctly assumed, it's my long standing project of silk thimble starter kit instruction.  I really hope I can offer the kit (or maybe it becomes an on-line course) later this year.  I posted about how I make my thimbles before and you are supposed to make your own thimble following my instruction.  Here are the links to these posts:

thimble base making

marking paper

how to stitch

post script of how to stitch  (please scroll down a little bit since it started with other subject)

tidying up your initial stitch

how to make two-scales design thimble  (one I used to call bi-coloured scales)

cosmetic touch-up

There are other posts tagged as "how I make my thimbles" but you do not need these recent posts, yet, in order to make your own first one.  Please be patient with my English.  I read these posts mentioned above and found a lot of grammatical and typing mistakes.  Also I used to call "sections" as "segments" in the earlier posts until I had to use the word "segment" to represent a portion of the line.  Questions are always welcome.  You can leave a question at either the particular post or at the most current one, it doesn't matter.

If you would like to see what it is like quickly, may I suggest "First Thimble Kit" at Etsy.  The kit includes a ready-made thimble base with two rows of stitches done and a instruction booklet.  So you just thread a needle (also included) and continue stitching.  Please note that the instruction booklet does not show you how to make a thimble base. how to apply padding, or how to mark your marking paper.

Lastly I am still hosting a photo sharing group at Flickr.  Please come join us once you made your own, or just pop in and admire our work there.  Thank you.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

mumbling with typhoon coming and staying ...

It was not very nice to have a typhoon hanging around for a week and finally the 12th typhoon (we don't name typhoons in Japan.  We just give them the ordinal numbers instead) is now almost at the edge of the one of the four main islands and moving northward VERY slowly.  It is said that the typhoon is similar in size to Irene which hit NYC and moving in the speed equivalent to jolly bicycle ride.  The news report said that some parts of the country got half the annual rain fall over the night.  The morning news was full of flood and landslide.  Fortunately for me, the area we live has not affected very much, so far.  It's just like a very windy day now but it's going to be very rough tonight.  It seems that the typhoon got slowed down further.  

The photo is my most recent thimble.  I have made two more in the same design but in different colours.  I like its blue and gray hue.  Since I do not dye my threads, I have to shop looking for the "right" colours.  The haberdashery I frequent only sells Fujix Tire silk thread but about a year ago I purchased other manufacturer's silk thread on-line as dead stock as they were out of business.  The brand name was Hyoutan and their colours are very delicate and in lovely hue as you can see in the picture.  It's quite a shame that they are no longer in the business.

As you may know I have listed Japanese cotton prints fabric at my Etsy shop and the listings will expire on 19th September and I am not going to re-list them.  If you ear-marked them for the future purchase, please have another look at them before the listing will be gone.

Speaking of Etsy, well, I am not very happy with some of the listings there.  It's about copyright infringement.  I switched from paper books to e-books years ago except the picture heavy crafts and cooking books and a few years ago something called "geographic restriction" was introduced in e-books market and you cannot buy certain books if your credit cards are not issued in the correct country.  It's about the publishers and/or writer's copyright.  The certain publishing house only bought the right to sell in the certain countries and if you do not have a credit card issued in that group of countries you are not entitled to buy it in e-book format while you are welcome to import the paper book published by the same publishing house.  It does not matter where you are currently living, it's the credit card which matters.  Weired.  I am not very happy about the situation and I do not fully understand or agree with their reasoning but I can accept it.  The writers' and publishers' rights have be protected after all.  What I am upset about is there are many of the sellers at Etsy who simply scan the paper books and sell it in JPEG or PDF format saying it's "e-books".  It's outright piracy.  What upsets me more is the fact that there have been many people who bought them.  It's quite easy to realize that the "book" was scanned manually because the listed photos of sample pages show the edges of the pages of the book or a trace of shadow which indicate that curved pages at the binding.  It's quite clear that the pages of the books are scanned and they chose to ignore the fact that they were buying the illegally copied books, or just don't care if it was a legitimate book or not as long as it was cheaper than buying from the bookshop.  I have reported several sellers but it's a up-hill battle.  Please pop in to Etsy and search for "ebook".  You would be amazed to find so many scanned PDF/JPEG files among the seller's original patterns and instructions.  When you add "Japanese", then the majority of the results would be piracy.  What the world has become ...