Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Last Post in 2008

Time flies and it's already the 53rd Tuesday of 2008. This is my last post in 2008 and above is my last sewing in 2008, too. Can you guess what it is? It's a bag cover but not for storage purposes. You know how the security check at the airport and this is my answer to those severe abuse on bags.
I will fly to London tomorrow for winter holiday and will be back home on 27th January. I am not sure how often I could submit new posts but I try my best. So, everyone, thank you for reading my blog this year and wish you a happy and prosperous new year.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

First Sale at Etsy

I made my first sale at Etsy yesterday! I believe I posted this thimble before but I am so happy that I want to share it with you all again. To be precise, it was not my very first sale, but my first at Etsy, however, it doesn't matter, I made my first sale!!

I set up my shop at Etsy about a month ago. Although my listings have been collecting reasonably satisfactory viewers, I have received no enquiry or sale at all. I was kind of disappointed, not much but a little, because my thimbles do not have practical use for most people and I didn't have high expectations, but still.... Then, out of blue I got enquiry message and voila, it's got sold!

I am so happy that someone I don't know, haven't met before, and most likely will not meet ever, liked my work enough to pay for it. Now, let's cerebrate!

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Three Pink Rings

I have already shown you my pink Kelly bag on Tuesday so I have to think of something else. I have to confess I do not have much pink in my household. Don't misunderstand me, I like pink all right, it's just that pink is not really my colour, that I don't look great in pink.

Those are the rings special ordered the other day; the mother of two daughters ordered three matching rings for her daughters and herself. I make a point to take pictures of everything I made, for the record/reference as well as sentimental reasoning and I should have taken the picture of three rings instead of the original thimble (left one) and two rings, but I wanted to make the difference clear from a thimble and rings. It was quite a challenging order because the size of the three rings were different while the design had to look the same.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Kelly Bag

What do you say? This is Kelly Bag from Hermes. You know, that Hermes, French big name saddle and bags maker. Well, it was made of paper, though. I have got this cutie from their official web page. If you would like one for yourself, you can jump from here. You are going to be directed to the official site of Hermes. If you want to buy the real deal or have loved one buy for you for Christmas, go to the on-line boutique. If you are happy with the paper version, then go to the World of Hermes. In the World of Hermes page, you can find a white Kelly bag there, you may need to scroll down a bit to get to it. In that white Kelly bag page, they are offering six Kelly bags in pdf file. You can choose even white one so that you can draw the picture of your own.

I printed on the ordinarily paper but if you use the glossy paper (you know, the one you print the photographs on) your bag should look much nicer.

Look, there is a safety pin at the bottom of the bag! Enjoy!

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Pink Scales Thimble

As promised last week, here is a thimble in scales design. The scales are basically continuous triangles as you see here, well, technically, a single triangle can be called a scale, but it's rare and usually the minimum number seems four triangles. You know what, these four triangles are called "three scales" instead of "four". I don't know why, but suppose three triangles (forming one big trianble) makes sequentially the fourth one in the center and only outer three count, perhaps. Where design is concerned in Japan, the scales almost always mean serpents or dragons' scales, and dragons in general in Japan are not evil creatures like in Western world. You'd be better off to find some books in anthropology section in your local library about Far Eastern mythology than listen to my explanation about imaginary creatures in Japan and Far Eastern societies.
Now back to the thimble. I used three shades of pink and white to form quad coloured scales however, the scales are traditionally bi-coloured, like white and silver, red and gold, and black and silver, so my pink one is rather unique :)
My thimbles are hand made, or rather, hand stitched, but it may not be very clear for you what "stitched" means. So here are some pictures to show what I mean "silk stitched".
The Japanese style thimble is basically a ring and you put it on the first knucle of your middle finger. The base is made of stiff paper. You wrap a mold (I use a tube of lip balm) with bias tape once as a lining. Then cut the paper into thin stripe and wrap the paper around the mold (on the bias tape) tightly. Make sure you wrap the paper really tightly otherwise your base becomes dodgy. Turn the both edge of the bias tape up/down and stitch the edge together (herringbone stitch is preffered). Now, you have a base as pictuered below.

Next, you wrap another paper around on the base. This paper (not shown here) is for the guideline of the surface stitch. You measure the circumference of the base and cut the paper into the same size and mark the paper at the certain intervals so that the circumference is evenly devided.

On the marked paper, apply the floss silk as shown above so that the desired thickness is achieved.

Here, you got yourself a nice base.

Now, it's fun part. I divided the circumference into sixteen and following the marking on the paper make a tiny stitch at the top and bottom like zigzag. I should have taken a picture with only one thread instead of after all four colours were done, but you can see what I mean by zigzag? Make stitches with silk thread around the circumference and change to another colour, and then another, and another. Then go back to the first colour and repeat the process until all the segments are filled with stitches (and consequently all the body of the base is filled with thread).

Above picture is after third round.

Now, halfway through.

Almost there.

You got it!
It took me about two hours to to finish this one. This is not a tutorial. I just wanted to show you how the thimble was made. If you are really interested in making your own, please let me know and I may be able to whip up more detailed instruction.
I have created some more blue wave design thimbles and intend to put them on the shelves in my Etsy shop this weekend. If you have time, please have a look and let me know what you think. Thank you.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Red Harlequin

I call this design Harlequin because it reminds me of the costume Mother Goose's Harlequin wore in the book my mother bought for me when I was a little girl. Actually both the costumes of Harlequin and his girl friend, Columbine were illustrated as diamond patterned. The cover of Agatha Christie's "The Mysterious Mr. Quin" is also diamond patterned and Mr. Quin "seemed dressed in rainbow coloured" (or something like this, I cannot remember precisely). Although since I started to make this design, I tried a lot of colour combinations in order to find the most beautiful dress for my Mr Quin, so far not very successful.

This red and white diamond patterned thimble is my best seller. I sold six so far I believe. You can see how small my business is, six sale and it's the best seller :) but it's partly because my thimbles are usually one of a kind and I do not duplicate unless when I got special order or I found people really love one particular design in particular colours. And people love this one. Today I stuffed it with a tiny woollen cushion so that it makes a really small pincushion. It's too small and too light to use as a primary pincushion however, it's really handy for quick sewing job. I always use it when I do embroidery. You know, the embroidery cloth has to be as taught as a drum on the frame, you are not supposed to put anything on the cloth. Still it's light enough and small enough not to disturb the tention on the frame.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Pink Blue Wave

Pink Blue Wave? Pinkish blue? Pink and blue? No, it's blue wave in pink. Layered concentric circle design is called blue wave and this design shown is modified the circles to pointed peaks but still called blue wave design, hence blue wave in pink. Blue wave (regardless of the colour) is one of the oldest and most traditional design and you can still see it everywhere in Japan, well, not everywhere but very popular especially where kimono is concerned.

This design looks like fish scales, doesn't it? However, there is actually a design called scales (another old and traditional one) and I will show you next Saturday, of course in pink.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Pink Drawstring Bag

I have been browsing many bag making blogs and wanted to make my own. Since I am not an expert at sewing, I thought it was prudent to start with something easy, hence a simple drawstring bag here. I lined the bag but didn't attach any pocket on inside, the fact I greatly regret. A simple slip pocket wouldn't have been much trouble to make I suppose, now that the bag came out reasonable satisfactory. I have got enough fabric left so perhaps another bag, maybe bigger one, with a pocket inside would be practical for travel. I am going to have a trip to Europe from the end of the year. Matching bags in the suitcases would look really lovely (and tidy) don't you think?

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

It's too early for spring, but...

It's not too bad down here; usually the winter is relatively mild and virtually no snow. And it's still autumn, not winter yet. Last night I made this thimble and thought of spring, however.

Last Saturday I participated in Pink Saturday and a lot of people visited my blog and I received many kind comments, thank you. Several ladies mentioned my thimbles unusual in shape. Yes, they are unusual. Although they look more like rings than thimbles, these ring shaped thimbles have been norm for centuries in Japan. As a matter of fact the thimbles we are familiar with are new addition to Japanese sewing world, introduced probably a little more than hundred years ago I believe.

They are made of paper for base, cotton fabric(although I use cotton/poly instead) for lining, floss silk for padding, and silk sewing thread for surface stitches. Perhaps it may be difficult for you to obtain floss silk, but you can substitute it with cotton wadding. Actually I use cotton wadding when I received orders for rings although I do not encourage to use them as rings. You see, they are all made of the things which do not go well with being wet, means you can't wash your hands.

I am working on a drawstring bag now. If it turned up presentable, I will post it next time. See you then.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Pink Thimble

This thimble is the same design as the first one I showed you last week but you see how the colour affects the result. This is on a modern side colour scheme and the other one was rather traditional. Don't equate "traditional" to "subdued", though. Bright light green and red is traditional colour combination for young girl's kimono and no one can call it subdued, can she? Anyway I like the result and pink cheers me up, everyone needs something to cheer her up, even if it's so tiny as to a thimble, when the day is getting shorter and shorter.

I am setting up my shop at Etsy. I have just signed up and that's all so there is nothing to see there now, but I intend to list some thimbles there later today. When my shop becomes presentable, I will let you know and I would appreciate it if you could pop in and have a look at and tell me what you think about it.

Post Script I: It still needs some cosmetic touch up, but my Etsy shop is kind of soft open: Please have a look and visit with me here, I listed five thimbles including this one.

Post Script II: There has to be a way to put the permanent link on my blog, but I cannot find it yet. Perhaps someone help me?

Sunday, 9 November 2008

How to use a Japanese thimble

I showed you a Japanese silk stitched thimble in my last post however, I didn't tell you how to use it.

A Japanese thimble, whether it is silk stitched or not, is basically a band instead of a cap, so you put it on your middle finger over the first knuckle on the hand you use to hold a needle like this picture.

The silk stitched thimbles are made of stiff paper for base, bias cotton fabric for lining, and floss silk for padding, and silk hand sewing threads for surface stitching. Here are another two I made recently:

Friday, 7 November 2008

My First Post

I have been wondering for a few days what would be my first post and came up with this thimble. It doesn't look like a thimble with which you are familiar, does it, because it's a Japanese Silk stitched thimble and I made it myself.
These silk thimbles had been used when sewing silk kimonos (kimono sewing are all done by hand, no quick machine stitching) however, people started to wear less and less kimono and there weren't many people who made silk thimbles which are very suitable for delicate fabrics until a few years ago. Until one clever lady whose grandmother had taught her how to make these lost arts published a book. Of course I bought the book and started make them by myself. I am not much of a dressmaker but I find it really useful when I do embroidery pushing the needle through back up to the front side of the fabric on the frame.
I am not sure how often I could update my blog, but I will try to add a new post once a week. So please come back next week.