Sunday, 28 February 2010

Your First Silk Thimble Trial Kit

Tomorrow I am going to start another thimble photo sharing group for March and am wondering how many people will join it. The number of the participants for each month are all in one digit and I consider it a personal challenge to increase the number of thimble stitchers.

My first step was to host a thimble sharing Flickr group and I have to admit it has not been working very well, even with give-away lucky draw. So I took another step and have assembled a thimble making kit for the beginners. I have named it "Your First Silk Thimble Trial Kit" and it includes a pre-padded thimble base ring, silk thread in two colours, a needle, and an instruction booklet. The thimble base has two rows of stitches already done for bi-coloured scales design, all you have to do is thread the needle and carry on stitching. This kit will give you an idea what silk stitched thimble making is like.

You can purchase the kit from here.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Share Your Thimbles February 2010 closed

This month there are five participants and 12 thimbles/rings. Our newest participant, Jane from Illinois said in her entry comment that she was wondering if she qualify because she used the kit I had sent to her. The kit in question is the one I am working with for my Etsy shop and consists of the finished thimble base with two rows of stitches started and enough thread to finish it off. Although the rules I posted when I started the Flickr pool this month did not say anything about the finished base from the kit, I should have thought of the possibility of it. Apart from the one I sent to Jane, there are commercial thimble making kits and all have a finished base in it. Since it was I who sent Jane a thimble base I have decided that her thimble qualify the give-away draw. I will change the rules so that next time everyone can enter the draw even if she uses the finished base from the kit.

Now, the draw. We have 12 entries (2 non-entry comments and 1 deleted one) and the lucky number is 9, Pat (palsu34) and her red and gray thimble. Congratulations, Pat, I will contact you by e-mail later.

As I said before I am working with a kit for the beginners to sell at my Etsy shop. At the moment Share Your Thimbles Flickr group has only 12 members and I know there are more people who reads my blog and (more importantly) who is interested in but has not made one yet. To encourage and help you take your first step I decided to sell the beginners kit. The kit consists of a finished thimble base, threads in two colours, and a needle. The first two rows of stitches are already started, so all you need to do is just thread your needle and carry on. I think I can list them at my shop, hopefully this weekend.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Number of Sections and Design Placement on an Oval

What is the best angle to capture the oval shaped object in the photo? How hard I tried, it didn't look like an oval. I tried several, well more than several, but none worked. Yes, I am working on oval shaped rings now. Making ovals is not difficult compared to taking photo of them, I can tell you.

This is the mould I used to form a base ring. It was originally a lid of a toner bottle; I put the glass bottle in the recycling bin and kept the lid in a box labeled as miscellaneous, in hope that someday I would use it for oval shaped rings and understandably I forgot about it. Keeping something for something later can result in an overwhelming amount of somethings stashed in a closet and when you decided to sort out the mess in your closet you might "re-discover" something worth working with and so I re-discovered the oval lid along with the oval shaped plastic shampoo bottle the other day.

As I told you, shaping the ring in an oval is not difficult. When you remove the finished base ring from the mould, you may find it rather fragile but it's workable. The difficult part is (apart from photo taking) design placement. When you work with a circle ring, regardless of the size, you don't need to worry about where you start stitching where the design is concerned. I am happy about the placement of the design; the four petals flowers are exactly where I want them to be however, I may be able to improve the proportion of the flower, i.e. widen the flower a little bit. This ring has 14 sections and I am working one with 12 sections now to see which I like better. Are you wondering why I have skipped 13 sections? This design works on 13 sectioned ring, too, and most probably it might look the best. As a matter of fact, it's easier with 13 sections than 12 and 14, because you only need to work with two threads at a time rather than four. The thing is, what is the best way to place 13 flowers on an oval ring and this is what I mean when I say deign placement. I do not want to complicate it so the flowers have to be in even numbers. If 12 sectioned ring didn't work, I have a few options to fix it; wrap the paper on the mould to make it bigger, wrap an extra layer or two so that the core ring becomes thicker, or making the height of the ring taller or shorter, or give up on the design. Hopefully 12 would work fine. I hope, really.

When I published a post about number of sections and thread angles, SunshineCraft asked me by leaving a comment if I ever change the mould or anything to achieve the specific angles. I really do not like to change the mould, the paper thickness, number of the layers of paper, or the height of the rings, or anything to change the size of the rings so I don't usually, unless I receive a custom order. Most of the time, changing the number of sections will sort out the problems. The number of the sections, i.e. the size of a section, in accordance with the design is an interesting subject and since next month's photo sharing will allow you to try out any design with forward stitches, I am going to start writing a post about it. Happy stitching!

February is not too bad when ...

As mild as it is in Japan, February is still the coldest month. The day is getting longer and the sky looks (sometimes) cheerful and you can almost feel spring being there, and I am well aware that there are a lot of places where people are suffering from a very cold weather, including heavy snow, yet I feel cold down here.

In addition to my "seven days of specialness swap" earlier this month, I have got wonderful surprisings this month, too. The first one was from the last month's winner of Share Your Thimble photo sharing, Kat in Texas, also known as Shidepro. She sent me a box full of embroidery floss. When she responded to her winning notification she asked me if I was interested in trying out the bulky nylon thread she used. When mailman came to my door and handed me a box from overseas sometime later on Sunday morning, being Sunday means no mail delivery unless it's express service in Japan, I was puzzled. Surely I would remember if I bought something from overseas which comes by express airmail. Would I really? I knew I was expecting sample thread from Kat but surely it would be in a normal size envelope and not in a box. Oh, was I wrong. Inside the box there are beautifully carded thread, not only the bulky nylon, but Kat also gave me colourful samples of size 8 perle cotton.

I mentioned that I have never actually seen a size 8 floss, she kindly gave me an opportunity to try them out. The problem is, I am kind of a pack rat, stashing everything and not actually using them. I have pledged that I use (hopeful) many of my hoardings this year and actually make something using them (have you seen my pair of curtains in the last post? I am really proud of my self that I have been keeping my promise - so far), I might decide to use them. But you know, using up thread stash is difficult for me. They are beautiful as they are and I don't want to mess them up. I also have variegated floss from Julie as one of the 7 days swap. I am afraid my thread stash may not be reduced anytime soon.

Then the following day I received a lovely collection of sample floss from Kat, I got this from Jane. She created a fabric book back in last autumn, and each page of the book represented the alphabets. She chose a quilt for Q with nine patch quilt featured on the page and challenged her blog readers how many squares we could find in the page and luckily I won the prize. I have seen many temari before, all of them in the display case at the shops, but this is the first one I actually hold in my hand, let alone own it. For those of you who are not familiar with temari, it's a (obviously) ball; direct translation is a "hand ball", as opposed to a "foot ball". There was a foot ball game played by noblemen more than a thousand years or so ago but the game and the ball were not the one we are familiar with today, not soccer, rugby, or American football. Temari has gone back to a few hundred years I believe and made of a fabric/paper/thread core ball covered by thread wrapped around to form a sphere then embroidered on a surface. Not very bouncing but it was a girls' indoor toy. Today, nobody actually play with them but to display and admire its beauty. I admire mine everyday.
February is not bad at all, not at all, in deed.

Friday, 12 February 2010

A make a month February 2010

I am so proud of myself that I have finally finished the long (not so) forgotten curtains for a spare room. I do not want to say when I bought the fabric so you can assume it was a long time ago. A piece of the curtain consists of four 125m width of the fabric and I used the machine to put the fabric together but other than that it was all hand sewn, including attaching the lining and pleating, as I was taught in the curtain making course almost ten years ago. One of the reason I put off making it is that I have to use my dining table as a working space. It becomes a really big piece of fabric when you put 4 width of the fabric together and it requires quite a big space to accommodate it. I had to use only the very edge of the table for about a week and you can imagine how inconvenient it was.

This is not my first hand sewn curtains, but it's my first time I spaced the pleats so that the same part of the pattern appears at the same intervals; the big flower part always on the pleats and the narrow flowery stripes at the flat part. It took some time to figure out how best to space the pleats but it was worth the trouble.

I am not really good at sewing, machine or hand sewing, but I like matching pattern of the fabric and I did quite well this time, if I may say so myself.

This is the wrong side of the fabric and you can see the pattern match on the seam allowance, too.

I have joined the "a make a month 2010" programme and this is my make of the month of February however, there is still enough time to make something from the long accumulated hoardings, so I may be posting something else at the end of the month.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

7 days of specialness swap part II

Although Chinese New Year's Day has not come yet, it's considered spring according to old Japanese calendar. Occasionally it's got really cold (some of you living up north consider it still mild, though) generally the weather in February in Japan, at least where I live, is not so bad.

I have been a bit lazy and haven't updated my blog to show you what I got for my 7 days of specialness swap for a while.

Julie got me Cath Kidson's rose soap for me on Thursday. Although her fabric and bags etc are available in Japan, soap still is not. I have a tendency to hoard not only craft supplies but also anything smells good, like bath products such as scent sachets, shower gel, and of course soap. I prefer soap to shower gel but in recent years many bath products companies mainly sell shower gel and I have been wondering why for some times. Nothing wrong with a nice bar of soap, regardless it smells like soap or something nicer.

Friday's is a bunny egg cozy.

Very smart, isn't she? The problem is, I do not have an egg cup. So I used one of my sencha tea cups to substitute it. This is the smallest one and it works fine. When I opened the package, my mother was at present visiting with me and she fallen for the bunny and wanted to adopt her. Well, we will see.

Saturday's is one of my loves of my life, chocolate. In my considered opinion, no one can have too much chocolate.

On Sunday Julie got me another knit creation of hers, a cupcake pin cushion, pink frosting with a cherry on top!

On Monday, the last day of the swapping, I dredged to open the last package because, well, it was the last, but opened it anyway and found this very cute hedgehog, the one I coveted so much when I first looked at Julie's weblog but gave up because my knitting skill was not up to it.
I had so much fun and am really glad to have participated in the swap programme by Ali and I would like thank Julie so much to make this month so special for me. I will treasure everything you gave me, thank you, Julie.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

7 days fo specialness

In last December Ali of Domesticali called for participants her 7 days of specialness in February. It is a swap programme, where two blogger exchange small 7 gifts and open the package one at a time everyday in February, the most gloomy month in north hemisphere. I have been paired with Julie of Little Cotton Rabbits and here look at what I got from her:

I forgot to take pictures before opening yesterday's package so you can see one package is already opened.
Can you see the packages are all labeled to which day to open? Julie told me it really wouldn't matter what day I opened which package, but I followed the instruction and got myself lovely variegated embroidery floss. So gorgeous.
Look at this cutie I got for today. I named her Selina and she is currently hanging from the door knob looking at me while I am composing this post. As a matter of fact Julie is offering some of free patterns and you can knit this tiny bunny yourself but my Selina is special and she wears a dress and her free pattern does not include a dress. Please check out her blog and you can find a link to her free patterns page on the sidebar. She is really talented and self her knitted cuties and patterns on Etsy. When I first paired up with her, I checked out her blog and shops to see what to get her and found a little hedgehog pattern and seriously wondered whether to buy or not. Finally decided that my knitting skill was not up to the challenge, but he is really really cute.
I have still got five packages to go and I cannot wait till tomorrow morning!!!

Monday, 1 February 2010

Share Your Thimbles - February 2010

I didn't have time to announce the start of another Share Your Thimbles this morning and I am sorry for the delay.

The same rules as previous months apply:

1. You have to make your own thimbles to participate.
2. The design must be a bi-coloured scales with two colours, no stripes or shadings.
3. Variegated thread is acceptable if you like the effect.
4. You can use any materials you like, thread wise and padding wise.
5. State the circumference of your mould and thread & padding you used in the description field.
6. You can make your rings in what ever size you like. Just state the size as mentioned above.
7. You can upload as many as you like.
8. The closing date is 21st of February 2010, Japan time. Please note that it's 9 hours ahead of GMT in Japan.

Here is a link to Flickr group: Share Your Thimbles

As before we are going have a happy draw and the winner will get the below small pin cushion.

In order to enter the draw, you MUST leave a comment on this particular post. One upload with one comment for one entry, so even if you uploaded three rings but only left one comment, then it counts as one valid entry. Please mention your Flickr user name in your comment so that we can admire your work knowing who made them. To make things easier for me and clearer for everyone, I would appreciate it if you avoid leaving non-entry comment on this particular post.

I look forward your participation.
Happy stitching!