Saturday, 16 April 2011

Pink in Bloom part III

This may not have been reported worldwide but on the day of one month anniversary after the earthquake and tsunami, Japan was hit by another big earthquake.  This time it was slightly smaller, magnitude 7.0, but still big enough.  I can only imagine, no, I cannot imagine how frightening it must have been for the people already suffered. 

In 869 A.D. on 13th July in Gregorian Calendar, the same area had been hit by the big earthquake, it's estimated as magnitude 8.3 (I have no idea how they estimate it, though) and the castle excavation site on the hill shows the watermark left by subsequent tsunami which tells how far the tsunami had reached inland and how high it had been, and the disaster and loss of people was recorded, too.  Although the death toll was one thousand in the record, the number just signifies the great number of people was lost and not a numerical accuracy I suppose.  This is said to be one of the biggest earthquake and tsunami in that area in the recorded history.  After over a millennium, we had a very similar disaster last month with 13,591 deaths and 14,497 still missing (as on 15th April, 2011).  Everyone knows what missing means at this late date, but we won't call it dead untill the body is recovered.  Would you please include us in your prayers?
The cherry blossoms will be gone soon.  It's spectacular when these little pink petals dance in the wind.  Please visit Beverly's How Sweet The Sound for more pink.   Wish you happy Pink Saturday.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

pink in bloom part II

A tad late but cherry blossoms are in full bloom. The little flowers only last for a few days and they'll be all gone with wind. There is a saying that the flowers are beautiful because they will just go and don't linger...
We had another big aftershock the night before yesterday.  This one was quite big but no tsunami this time.  It has been nearly a month since the Big One.  With the help from all over the country as well as overseas, the things in the affected area have been improved a little.  Some of the towns affected had huge dikes, one of them being 10m in height, which should have withstood tsunami but they didn't.  Whether the affected area is suitable for human habitation remain unclear.
Beverly at How Sweet The Sound is hosting another Pink Saturday this weekend, too.  Please visit her blog and see how a bunch of us concentrate on something pink.  Wish you Happy Pink Saturday.

Friday, 8 April 2011

arrow's shaft feathers design, or quad coloured scales

Nat, one of the readers asked me what the design I showed you (the third design diagram in this post) actually looks like on a real thimble and here it is.  This is quad-coloured scales, or period of four scales.  Although it's one of the scales design, the separate name of "arrow's shaft feathers" or just "arrows" is given to the design.  The design looks nicer when the angle of the thread is sharper although sharp angles require you to space your stitches with care.
I tweaked it a little so this is no longer a arrows design or scales.  I miscalculated a little (happens a lot) and it didn't turn out the way I thought it would be, but this is not too bad, if I may say so myself.  I will see if I could refine it a little.

By the way, what do you think about calling a period of four design as a quad-coloured scales design when it is stitched with only three colours?  The same issue arises in Japan, too, but no one has not concluded what is what.  "A period of eight scales in four colours" is more accurate and clear to understand, on the other hand it is not easy if you do not know what the period means.  What do you think?

Saturday, 2 April 2011

found something I could do, too

This is my second post today.  If you are visiting for Pink Saturday, please scroll down.  Thank you and wish you happy pink weekend.
I subscribe several (perhaps many) newsletters and one of them told me this morning that a craft organization was collecting tote bags to send to the children in affected area.  The organization, Japan Handcraft Instructors' Association, was asked by its member in the affected area to see if they could collect hand made tote bags for children because they lost almost all the belongings as tsunami hit the area, let alone school bags. 
As soon as I read it, I started digging in my hoard of fabric.  The one I used for the bag is something I have been saving for something special as it was the last of the bolt at the store and I was told that it had been discontinued so no more was available.  I found it's a perfect occasion to use up one of my most coveted fabric.  The instruction given on the web page along with the specification looked easy enough so I took out my machine and started sewing.  It took me five hours to finish because, as I told you several times, I am not very good at machine sewing.  It didn't help that the bag has to be made of quited fabric and I didn't have ready-quited fabric at hand.  Over all, I am quite satisfied with the finished bag and I hope the new owner would like it, too.

The organization is one of the government registered organization and reliable one, I believe, to entrust my bag to deliver to the children in the coastal area in Fukushima.  The nuclear complex is focused at the moment but the area was also affected by tsunami.  Tsunami was the reason why we have problems at the power plant, to start with.  If you would like to join to make bags to the children, here is a link to the details.  The problem is that their English page tells you nothing about the project but the general information of the organization and their activities.  The closing date to receive bags is 15th April and it won't give you much time to send them from abroad, I am afraid, and there is an issue regarding tax/duty.  I know there are several readers who live in Japan.  Perhaps some of you could participate in the programme I am hoping.

Pink in Bloom

It should have been cherry blossoms in this time of the year but we had unusually cold weather (for Japan) recently and not much to look at at the moment on cherry trees.  We will need another week, I am afraid, to give you decent cherry blossoms.  In the meantime, I would like to share my pink roses with you.  It has been for a while since I last posted something pink to participate in the Pink Saturday programme hosted by Beverly.  Her blog post, How Sweet The Sound has a large list of links of the participants of the scheme.  Please visit her blog and have a look.  You would be amazed to see so many things in all pink assembled at one place. 
Wish you happy Pink Saturday.

Friday, 1 April 2011

How I make my thimbles - design period

***** update *****
It came to my attention, thanks to Laura B, that the link I put in the post didn't work.  It has been remedied and now working.  Please try again.  Thank you.  Chloe P.
***** update ***** 

As promised in my last post, I am going to explain what a "period" is.  A period, or design period, is the number of sections your thread travels, from top to bottom, and coming up to top.
The above is a design diagram of bi-coloured scales.  The first path, in red, travels one section when going down and another one going up, so total number of sections traveled is two, thus the period of this design is two. 
This one here is a diagram of quad-coloured scales.  It looks busy but please concentrate on the red line.  It travels two narrow sections when descending, and another two going upward, so the period of the design is four sections.

You now know what a period means. Very good. Then, you might wonder what the difference between "period" and "repeat". A good question, indeed.

A design repeat is a minimum unit of design as you know, while a period is simply the number of sections the thread travels as explained above.  It sounds exactly the same thing, I know, but let have a look at the diagram below.
This is, too, a diagram of quad-coloured scales, only in two colours instead of four.  Placing two colours alternatively like this results in a very unique finish typically called "arrow's shaft feather" or just "arrows".  Although the design is given a separate name from scales, it is still a quad-coloured scales design.  You can see each thread travels four sections, so it's a period of four while the design repeat is 2 sections.

Make sense?  Can you see the first two sections (in pink) of a period is exactly the same as the latter two sections (in light blue)?  These two sets of two sections are identical therefore the smallest design unit is two sections instead of four only because you chose to arrange thread colours this way instead of four different colours, or red, red, blue, and blue and the design repeat would be four sections which coincides the number of sections which consist of a period.

Then, this leads to something called "rounds".  When you experimented on the number of sections, you noticed that your stitching path did not always come back to the starting point until it made another round of stitches or two.  For example, design period of four, like quad-coloured scales, fits nicely on even numbered sectioned thimbles, like twelve sections, with only one round.  On the other hand, it won't fit on, say, fourteen sectioned thimbles until it make two rounds of stitches.  Please have a look at below diagram.
When the first path come back to the first section, your stitch is located at the bottom instead of on top side and you have to make another round to finish that row of stitches.  Please note that there are only two stitching paths, red and green, even though the period of the design is four sections.  A "row" is stitches you make from starting point until it comes back to where you started and "round" is number of rounds you have to make until you finish a row of stitches. This fourteen sectioned thimble with the design period of four sections requires two rounds of stitches to complete a row.

I can give you another example where period and repeat do not match. Here is a thimble I used to explain how to simplify the diagram last summer. It is 28 sections in total with period of eight sections. The design looks far more complex than four coloured scales above, but the idea is the same:  the second half is just a second round and a design repeat is four sections while a period is eight.

You really do not need to know all of this, but understanding the make of the design will help you to deviate to more complex designs.  Next "how I do" will be about cheating a little to simplify the markings.  Keep you posted.

Share Your Thimble April 2011

****** updated ******

I feel the need to tell you the definition of scales design. The scales design is made when each stitching path is done alternatively and each path in solid colour. Either the number of sections or colours used doesn't matter. As long as all the paths were stitched alternatively, it's a scale design. I am not very sure if "arrow's shaft feather" should be included, especially a path makes rounds, but I decided to include it, too, at least this time.
Thank you. Chloe Patricia
****** update ******

Since suggested, I have been toying with the idea of Monthly Challenge.  When I firstly started the photo sharing at Flickr, my intention was to start from the simple bi-colour scales and to proceed to the more complexed designs.  However, I soon realized that it wouldn't work like that.  My photo sharing is not a monthly subscription programme which allow anyone start any time from the very beginning therefore choosing one particular design may exclude some people from joining the group and it's not my intention at all.  My group has to be something everyone can join.

After considering the options, I have decided to have our first challenge this month, the challenge being scales designs.  This may not be what you have expected.  I understand that challenge is something worth challenging and scales is just scales, the most basic design.  One of the reasons I chose the design is my lack of preparation time however, the main reason is I feel scales design is underappreciated and you might enjoy re-discovering the possibility of the design and of course scales design can allow the new people join the group with their very first bi-coloured scales, too.

For the people with advanced skills, I would like to suggest to try the narrower sections.  The above picture shows you my contribution this month and it's 32 sectioned thimble with period of 8 sections in three colours.  I can tell you it's a challenge to have a marking paper sectioned into 32 and stitching with eight thread simultaneously. 

To make the challenge worthy to be called a challenge, I would like to restrict the size and shape to a thimble and thimble only this month. 

Here are the rules:

1. The thimbles have to be your own work.

2. For the sake of the challenge this month, the rings you make have to be thimbles.  That means the size of the mould should be about 5-6 cm in circumference.

3. As stated above, they have to be your own works however, you can use the thimble base from the kit if you choose to do so. It may not seem to be fair, considering I sell the kits, however, they are many other kits available (at least in Japan) and some of you may be able to obtain them, and it is definitely not fair to exclude the people who is brave enough to share their first work with us from the group.

4. The design has to be scales.  The number of the period of sections is up to you from bi-coloured scales (period of two) to whatever you would like. 

5. You can use any material, and in any colours, you would like.  Please note that you do not restrict yourself to use four colours for period of four design.  Two colours or three colours, or even single colour will work just fine.  Mine in the picture is period of eight sections with only three colours.  Please experiment on the colours, you would be surprised to discover the possibilities there.

6. Please state the size of the mould on which you formed your thimble base in the description field of the photo, either in millimeters or in inches. Please also mention what threads and padding you used, too, so that we could compare notes. In case you bought my kit, it is 50mm in circumference and Tire Silk size 9 and floss silk padding. 

7. You can upload as many photos as you like. You can upload several photos of one thimble if you choose to do so.

8. The closing date is 21st of April 2011, Japan time. Please note that we are 9 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) in Japan. You can still upload your photo after the official closing date and share it with use since I do not close the photo sharing pool.

Now you can start uploading your photos from here at Flickr.

I am sorry but no lucky draw this month.  Not that I do not want to give my contribution of the month away.  Although the photo sharing has been successful, we seldom have a new member and I am not very comfortable to keep a draw in such a small group as most, if not all, of the participants have already won at least once.  Until we have a large number of the participants I will withhold the draw.  However, the discussion board is open at Flickr for this month's sharing.  Please feel free to leave your comments there once your thimbles are up.

Will you please invite your friend to join the group.  Thimble making is not particularly difficult when compared to other needle crafts and it does not need much material to make while it's fun.  For those of you who have not made one yet and wish to start a new hobby (mind you, thimble making is addictive), I have sort  of tutorials under the tag of "how I do" and for those of you who are wondering what "period", I will publish a post and explain it within a few days, so please be patient with me.