Thursday, 31 December 2009

Last Post in 2009

Time flies and today is the last day of 2009. The New Years Holidays are bigger yet holidays in Japan than Christmas, because Japan is not a Christian country and separation of politics and religions, Christmas is NOT even a bank holiday here. So I do not have much time today but I would just like thank you all for reading my posts this year, am really glad that I could be able to know so many lovely people through blogworld, am very happy that I could be of help for those of you who are interested in making thimbles, and there are so many that I would like to thank about but my family is waiting so I will stop now. By the way, I am having another photo sharing starting tomorrow, details to follow.
Happy New Year. Chloe Patricia

Monday, 28 December 2009

Cosmetic Touch-Up -- this is how I do

I hope you had a lovely Christmas with your family. Now that the holidays are over (although there is still a New Years holiday coming), you may have some time for your thimbles. So today I am going to talk about some cosmetic touch-up.

It would be wonderful if one's thimble turned out impeccable as it is, but most of the cases it needs some tidying up. There is no way to fix the stitches once the thimble is finished, but there is a way to make your thimble look prettier.

Since the stitching thread runs criss-crossing the body of the thimble like weaving, and thus leaving crossing points which should form a straight line. However these crossing points may not always be so cooperative and wouldn't leave a straight line like above picture.

Well, what would you do about it? Pick a thick needle or very fine stiletto and insert the point of the needle between the fold of the thread like above picture, and ease the threads so that the crossing line becomes straight.

See? Much nicer. Although I firstly took this picture, then disrupted the crossing line and took the first picture above, then fixed it in the second picture, because I needed something you can clearly see, but it doesn't matter. You know what I mean to apply a cosmetic touch-up to your thimble.

In this picture can you see where to fix, not as obvious as the first case though? This is what I got after finished stitching, no deliberate disruption like the one above. I really needed to sort this out.

Looks much better. You can use the same needle you used to stitch for this fix but it tends to bend or break so I recommend to use a thick needle or thin stiletto, the one you use for white embroidery. You don't need to wait until you finish stitching, but you can tidy up as you go, as a matter of fact it's better you do it during stitching. However, do not over do or obsessed about it otherwise you can never finish your thimble :)

This is not about "how I do", but do you think you could be more tempted to make one for yourself if I make a, say, "your very first thimble kit" and sell it at my shop? Many people commented on my "how I do's" helpful, but if you have never seen this kind of thimbles in real before, let alone made it, you may still feel reluctant to start it by yourself? I think I would. You may not want to invest on something you may not like it enough to continue making it until you use up all the thread or bias binding or anything. I don't think I would. Perhaps a kit with one finished padded thimble base with enough thread for one thimble, maybe pre-stitched a row or two so that you just continue stitching? I will think about it and in the meantime, I am going to host another photo sharing at Flickr next month. I will post the details in January but the rules should be the same. I look forward your participation.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Share Your Thimbles - December 2009 - closed

Here is another medium pin cushion I made however, it's nothing to do with the thimble pool, just wanted to share it with you, is all. You are familiar with the design but this time I used gold thread. As a matter of fact this is the first time I used gold where weaving is involved and I am quite happy with the result.

I have just closed the Flickr thimble pool. You can not upload from now on until I open it next year but you can admire the works from here. There are total 13 entries, from a thimble to bracelet, by 4 people. However, when I visited the Flickr I found the earlier uploads were missing and there are only 12 pictures there now. Is this because I disabled the upload do you think? Does anyone have any idea why?

To be honest I am a bit disappointed because I know for a fact that there are more than 4 people who makes thimbles/rings among my readers, but then I cannot complain as this is the first pool and it's December with winter holidays and school break and all. I am going to host another Flickr pool after New Year holiday and I would like to expect more entries then.

Now, as I said there are 13 uploads with respective comments on the post for draw. Actually there are 16 comments including 3 non-entry comments. I numbered third comment by Debi as 1 and fifth one by Debi as 2 until the last one by Debi (again) as 13 and the lucky winner is number 5, Meri who uploaded her first thimble for us. Meri, will you please send me an e-mail about which pin cushion you would like and give me your name and address. You can send me an e-mail from my profile page.

As I said before I am going to host another Flickr pool next year so please continue making thimbles/rings. Don't disappoint me, please.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Marking Paper - this is how I do

Two posts in one go, it's unprecedented but it came to my attention that you may have a problem when making a marking paper because I didn't say much about it in my "how I do's".

As I (probably) said before, the accuracy in finished design is up to the accuracy in your marking paper as well as regulated stitching. So, how do we make an accurate marking paper?

First of all, you do not use a measuring tape to measure the outer circumference of your thimble base. No, no, no, no measuring tape. It won't give you the accurate size. Instead use the paper you intend to use for a marking paper, in other word just skip the measuring and make the marking paper directly. Cut the paper in narrow long strip; I use 10mm marking paper for 11mm height core paper. Then wrap the strip of paper around the base and chop off the excess paper. Now you have your marking paper, although unmarked yet. If you intend to use the same mould, same core paper, same bias binding lining, and same thread to secure the lining, then you might want to measure the length of marking paper with a ruler for future use since your thimble bases are supposed to be in the same size.

Then you need to segmentalize it. The easiest way is like below picture.

It's about parallel lines I was taught in geometry class but I cannot remember what it's called. You draw the parallel lines in the same intervals on a paper and place one corner of the marking paper at line number 0 (I haven't numbered 0, though, in the picture), and the other corner at the line with the number your segments would be (mine is 14). Then mark the paper at the parallel lines. Repeat the process for the other side and you got your marking paper segmentalized.

This is how I do, it's easy and accurate but not the only way. If you are comfortable with another way, then stick to it and tell me how you do. I may convert to it, too.
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Meri asked me about the distance between the parallel lines. Actually it doesn't matter really as long as all the lines are parallel but I would suggest for you to try 5mm firstly and see if you like it. When you use 50-60mm mould for 8 to 12 segments, 5mm intervals works just fine. If you require more segments, like 24, or even 36, then the distance between lines has to be smaller. Hope it's clear now and if you need further clarification, please don't hesitate to ask. Thank you. CP

Friday, 11 December 2009

Share Your Thimbles December 2009 - part II

Hello everyone, this is to follow the previous post announcing the thimble sharing pool but I would like firstly to show you my newest pin cushion (medium). Looks rather good, if I say so myself.

Now, I would like to thank Meri in Portugal who responded firstly to my call, Pat for becoming the first member, Debi for uploading the first thimble, and Gloria for her kind word. We are now a group of four including myself and I would like to make some points clear:

Firstly, you can use any kind of thread you like. It does not have to be silk. You can use anything you like or you have in your stash. You can choose two different kind of thread for each colour although it may cause you some problems if the size is visibly different. The reason I asked you to state what you use when uploading is so that we can share the idea of what works well.

Secondly, the design is two coloured scales only. No shading in colour or stripes. Basically you can only use two solid colours. The variegated thread is okay if you like the effect though. The reason why I limit the design to two coloured scales is to encourage everyone to join the pool. If I allow the more complicated design and it's most likely the more experienced people will upload their works firstly, then the other people, who are less experienced or who are making their very first thimbles will not feel very comfortable to share their works. I intend to continue hosting the programme and I may open to more complicated designs like my pin cushion above in the future. Until then, it's two coloured scales.

Thirdly, you only have to leave a comment when you would like to enter the draw. One entry by one comment for one upload. Even if you uploaded multiple thimbles and left only one comment, then it's one entry.

Lastly, the closing date is 21st of December. Please note that I live in Japan and it's 9 hours ahead of GMT here. I am sorry but I cannot give you the exact time when I will close the pool. Most likely in the evening is all I can say.

I hope I made everything clear and wait for your participation.
Happy stitching.

Monday, 7 December 2009

chocolate covered strawberries

I love chocolate covered strawberries. I love it best when the chocolate is still a bit gooey rather than firmly set, so I prepared them just before serving instead of making them in advance.What you need is chocolate and strawberries, it's easy to make and everyone loves them.

Wash strawberries in a cold water and dry them thoroughly with paper towel. Chop your chocolate finely, finer the better. Put them in the bowl and put the bowl over the small pan with hot water until half of the chocolate is melt. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir well until all the chocolate is melt. Dip strawberries in the chocolate. Do not put them in the fridge, the chocolate becomes too hard and loose it's beautiful luster. So essentially you cannot prepare them in advance but it won't take much time. Just wash the berries and store them in the fridge, and chop the chocolate in advance. Just before serving, put the chocolate over the pan of hot water and dip your strawberries. Since the berries are kept in the fridge, the chocolate will very quickly set. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Share Your Thimbles - December 2009

Following the previous posts about how to make thimbles, it's a great pleasure for me to announce that I have launched the first ever Share Your Thimble photo pool at Flickr. This is the scheme where everyone can upload their thimbles for any one's views; this is open to public, both participants and viewers. You can jump to Share Your Thimbles from here although at the moment there are only one picture there.

This is to promote traditional Japanese silk stitched thimbles and to encourage everyone to start making their own. There is only two rules; firstly it has to be a thimble you yourself made which can be uploaded. I don't think anyone would steal someone else's work but just in case. Secondly you will state the circumference of the mould you used, the material you used for the padding, and the kind of thread you used in the description field as you can see in my picture. Other than that, you can upload as many as you would like.

Here is how it works in case you are not familiar with Flickr; as a matter of fact I was not and I still am not, though. As far as I understand, firstly you have to create your own account. Since I had already had Yahoo account, I didn't need to enter much details and I don't think if you do not have Yahoo! ID to start with, it won't require much. Then, upload your photos and when you open the uploaded photo, there is a "send to group" button between the title and the picture.

As this is the first pool, I would like to limit the design to bi-coloured scales only. As I told you before this design is the easiest and at the same time the most difficult one so it's a challenge for everyone, from the very first time beginners to the very skilled thimble makers. To encourage your participation, I am offering a give away. When I close the pool on 21st of December, I will draw one lucky person who can choose one small pin cushion from my Etsy shop, on the condition that s/he will not sell it away. At the moment there are 17 there and even if, and it's a big if, I made big sales, I would make sure that lucky person could chose from at least from a dozen. To enter the draw, please leave a comment here, to this post, that you have uploaded your thimble. One entry per one upload, so if you uploaded two photos, then you have to leave two comments for two entries. Please note, this is not a competition, but a simple draw.

Closing date is 21st of December, three weeks from now. I know for a fact that some of the you are thimble makers and some of you are thinking of making one. I would be greatly disappointed if you won't participate in. This is open to anyone, so please tell your friends and invite them for me.