Friday, 27 May 2011

a little bit of cheating - this is how I make my thimbles

As announced in my last "how I do" post, I am going to tell you a way to cheat a little so that you can simplify your marking paper. 

The crossing of the threads always happens at the mid-point of two sections.  This is the fact.  When I posted this article, I showed you how to apply this fact to simplify your marking paper, as in 28 sections into simple 7 sections.  Today I am going to show you how to simply your markings of period of eight scales design.  This involves "weaving" so you may not find it simplifying but I will show you how nonetheless.

The weaving is exactly what the name suggests; you weave your thread when stitching.  When you stitch the first path, there is nothing on the thimble body so no crossing of threads at all.  When the second path is stitched, your current thread travels over the thread of the first path and it makes the crossing of the threads and the crossings form the horizontal line on your thimble as you go, to give it a two-scales design.  The weaving is to have the thread travel beneath the existing threads on the thimble body.  How many threads under which your stitching thread travels and where to weave determine the design.
This is a design diagram of period of four scales (four-scales) design.  In order to make it easier and simple, I am going to explain how weaving technique helps you with this design. 

According to the design diagram, you are supposed to start stitching from first path in red, then the second in blue, the third in green, and the last in yellow with the marking paper of sixteen sections.

Now, I will show you how to stitch a period of four scales design without having four-section-marked paper. There supposed to be sixteen sections in total for four sets of four sections (period of four).  Instead of having sixteen-section marked paper, I made my marking paper with only eight sections.  Then, stitched the first path, then the third path skipping the second path.
Here is a picture where I finished stitching first (white) and third (green) paths as if I was going to make a two-scales thimble.
Here I was trying to start the second path.  As I told you, the crossing of the threads always appear at the mid-point of the sections, so the start of the second path should be where the tip of the needle appears on the top side in this photo.
Made an initial stitch and was trying to make a downstroke stitch.  Please focus on the light brown thread and green thread.  In the picture, the light brown is placed on the green one and this will not do.  As the light brown is the second path and green the third, light brown should have traveled beneath the green thread.  Now is the time to use weaving technique; making your stitching thread travel beneath the existing threads on the thimble body.
You slide the needle, the other end, where the eys is, firstly beneath the green thread.  Please make sure not to disturb the padding.  By disturbing, I mean try not to pick any padding material.
Pulled the needle through.  I am sorry the picture is not very clear.  I hope you could see the green thread is on top of the light brown one.
This picture shows it better, that light brown travels beneath green, on the other hand please note that the light brown is on the white thread of the first path. 
Here I made all the stitches of the second path in light brown, traveling beneath the green, i.e. woven, which is the third path and on white which is the first path.
Now, it's time to start the fourth path.  Make an initial stitch at the mid-point of the section.  Make sure that the stitch at the bottom in light brown, the crossing of green and white, and your initial stitch stay vertically at the same position.
I used white for the fourth path so it's not very clear to see, but since it's the fourth path, you do not need to weave your stitching thread at all.  The thread of the fourth path travels on top of all the threads.
Here, all done nicely with only an eight-section marking paper. 

In the same way you can make a period of eight scales (32 sections over all) design with an eight-section marking paper.
Started a new path between path 1 and path 2 of the previous four-scales.  I was trying to make eight-scales so the path 2 was to be path 3 and the new path I was creating in the picture was to be path 2.
My current stitching thread was of path 2 of eight paths so it should have had to travel beneath all the other three threads except the first path because the other three were to be 3rd, 5th 7th path respectively.
The needle is passing beneath the green thread of path 5 and ...
path 7 in white.  The last thread on the thimble body in white was of the path 1, so the stitching thread had to travel over it.
Here the down stroke stitch was made.  Please note that the green thread of path 2 travels beneath firstly light brown (path 3), another green (path 5), and white (path 7), but not the last white which is path 1.
Have done whole row of path 2.
Was starting the path 4 ...
In the same way as before, wove only the 5th and 7th paths, as the current thread was of path 4.
The white between light brown and green was my stitching thread of path 4.  It travels beneath the green and first white but travels on the second white, second green, and light brown and the stitch at the bottom was made. 
Path 4 was done.
You now know the drill.  This was start of path 6.
You know what this was now.  The 6th path in green (second green in the picture) only went beneath the white, and on everything else.
Path 6 was done.
The last path at last.  This is my favorite.  Can guess why?
As this was the last path (path 8), no need to weave at all!
Here all done with only eight-section markings but now the thimble had 16 sections.  
Perhaps you may find this rather daunting and not worth trying.  I felt myself while writing this post that it sounded rather tiresome to determine which thread go on or beneath which.  However, once you start stitching, it is not that difficult.  Just need to make sure which path you are stitching, is all and you will know what to do.  After all, you only have to do this for the first row.  From the second row onward, you can stitch from path 1 to path 8, in numerical order.

I would appreciate the feedback from you once you tried this technique. 

Saturday, 21 May 2011

pin cushion in pink

The design on my latest pin cushion was an experiment and it appeared as I thought it would be, so in that sense it was a success.  However, I find it a little bit too busy.  Maybe in different colours...   Actually it is a prototype of my latest project (aside from new thimble kit).  I thought it would be lovely to have a work tray for needlework with its side finished in the same way as thimbles.  Actually I got around and made one for myself.  That first one taught me I needed to improve how I attache a bottom to the ring.  So I made another tray base, I would say an improved one, last weekend and I have started experimenting in the smaller scales, hence a pin cushion.  The height of the side is 15mm plus bottom, the same as the tray so my experiment can be adapted to the tray easily.  I like the design but it would look nicer when the design is two or three tired with higher sided ring.  I may not pick this one for the tray but I believe I am going to start a new experiment on the design, too, for something else.

Beverly at How Sweet The Sound is hosting Pink Saturday this weekend, too.  She set up a list of links of the participants so that we can visit and see what other people has found for their posts in pink.  I wish you all happy pink Saturday.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Share Your Thimbles May 2011 part II

I have realized that I have not added my thimble for this month's photo sharing yet.  It's now on Flickr as well as Pat's lovely thimble.  There are more than 10 days for you to make your own.  Look forward to seeing your work there, too.

thank you for your support and prayers for Japan

I have planed to post this one for so long but have not got around to do so and I feel really bad about it.  It has been over two months since the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan.  Since then we, who live in Japan, have received a huge support from all over the world and I would like to thank you all for your effort to help us.  We cannot thank you enough but I would like for you to know we in Japan all appreciate all the efforts and all the prayers you made for us.     

Perhaps some of you are wondering what happened the "sending tote bags for school children in the affected area" programme.  It went very good indeed.  They wanted 1000 bags as a first batch to send to the affected area by 15th April but in the end they could manage to receive 59,000 bags!  The first batch of 1000 bags went north from Tokyo on UNICEF's truck on 7th April, and thousands of bags traveled northward to the children in the affected area everyday afterward.  You can read the report here, although it's all in Japanese.  Thank you letters are also posted as well as the list of the name of the participants of the programme. 

I read about a lot of craft people sent their work to Japan for morale support, like comfort quilts and temari.  Big thank you to you.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Etsy meet in Japan + social networking + shop update

As most of you probably know I sell thimbles and pin cushions I made at my Etsy shop as well as "first thimble kit" and silk thread, plus occasional floss silk wadding.  Etsy is an on-line market place concentrated on hand made products and supplies.  I started selling at Etsy shortly after I had started this blog and of course have not made much sales.  I do not make much sales when compared to other more active sellers but I cannot complain as my merchandise is not very popular items.  My sales have been heavily depended on the "word of the mouth" as you call it.  Someone mentioned Japanese silk thimble in their blog post and put a link to my blog for tutorials and I got quite a few visitors and consequently a part of the visitors also visited my Etsy shop and some of them actually made purchase.  I believe this is the way most of my sales were made.

I may have alarmed some of you by my previous post about statistics but I can assure you that I do not have any interest in what you view on-line.  I received about 20 or so unique visitors daily with total 40 to 50 page views according to stats application I installed here and when the number of visitors hit over 100, then it is certain that someone mentioned my blog or Japanese silk thimble with the link to my blog somewhere.  I try to track the source and leave a thank you comment there and that's that and nothing more.  Checking key words sometimes tells me what the visitors wanted to know.  A little while ago the keywords analysis shows "backward" along with my name.  It made me wonder if some of you might have been wondering how to make backstitches.

Then late last month I received a message from Etsy International Team (which I did not even know existed) that a representative would come visit Japan and would like to have a meet with the sellers in Japan.  And so I went the other night to meet other fellow sellers and Etsy people.  We had about twelve participants and it was more than I expected as the venue being not very convenient for most.  I am not sure what I was expected from the meet but I found it quite interesting.  That to know that Etsy would like to expand Japanese market.  Not Japanese customers buy from the sellers overseas, but domestic sales.  At the moment most of the sellers (at least the ones, including myself, who were there at the meet) only sells to overseas.  Not that we do not wish to sell to people in Japan, but simply we do not have Japanese customers.  The language is a huge barrier as well as payment options but the biggest impediment is most people never even heard of a hand made craft marketplace called Etsy, ever.  Etsy has been trying to be multilingual and a few of the European languages have already introduced we were told, but that multilingual features only applies to the public space like top page and help pages and not individual listings.  I myself would not call it being multilingual.  As a customer I find it quite annoying when the language option only available on top page.  Not having a very high expectation about Japanese domestic market but anything to increase sales is welcome was consensus at the meet among the sellers it looked. 

What I really found interesting was that the majority of the people at the meet did say they facilitated Twitter.  Earlier last month, another craft market place called ArtFire with which I have created an account with but never listed anything, sent me a newsletter that they were having a boot camp for social networking and asking me if I would like to join.  As a matter of fact I had opened the account at Twitter about several month ago but immediately after I got myself an account I had realized that I had not had anything worthy to Tweet.  Did you really want to know what I was going to prepare for dinner?  Perhaps you might have been interested in what TV programme I watched the other night.  What do people actually tweet about?  So after creating an account I had put Twitter aside without tweeting anything at all.  So the newsletter last month from ArtFire about incorporating the social network tool with sales intrigued me, intrigued me enough to sign up.  It turned out the boot camp is a kind of on-line discussion.  How to sign up the social network such as Facebook, Twitter, and blog and how to maintain them.  It is actually quite informative for the very beginner such as myself but may not be so for those of people who already had a fundamental knowledge about how they work.

I am still not sure how it works, but I made my first Tweet on my latest listing at Etsy.  It appeared on my account page and there is a link to my shop as well as two photos I uploaded there.  It is actually quite nice and it could be nicer if someone besides myself could have seen it, too.

These four fabrics and a new thimble are now on the shelf at my shop at Etsy.  Please come and have a look at here.

Sunday, 15 May 2011


Although it does not show on this page, I have installed one of these statistics application here.  It shows how many visitors and page view I got.  The reason I installed is not so that I could check the number of the visitors daily.  I know my blog does not get much visitors.  I am an infrequent blogger with a small number of readers and I am quite content with it.  What I want to know is where people come to visit to my blog, so that I could know my reader a little bit more and I do not mean geographically where you are, although the "visitor map" is very fun to look at.  Most of my readers are in Europe and North America with a small number of views from Asia and Australia however, I have recently started to receive viewers from South America, Africa, and Tropical Islands.  Wow indeed although they could be a one-time viewer.  It will make me very very happy if you are the one reading this from Maldive and leave me a comment.  

If not geographically, then what?  What I like about stats is it shows me which web page the visitors come from.  I am not interested in your on-line activities and I do not check where you come from routinely.  I only check it when I got a hike in the number of visitors.  It means someone mentioned my blog somewhere with the link to me.  In this way I now know Russian temari group talk about thimbles as well as temari and British embroidery people had a first view of Japanese thimbles. 

The other features of the stats I like is keyword analysis.  The majority is my blog name and my name, with Japanese thimbles and how to make thimbles but sometime I got something that makes me smile, like "when did photo sharing first started".   It may not have meant "my" photo sharing but someone tried search with that keyword and ended up to my blog.  Amazing.  It's December 2009, if you are interested by the way.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Peonies in Pink + thimble making mumblings

All these pictures are taken in late April and early May but I did not get around to post them until now.  Probably because of the extra harsh summer last year all the flowers are on the smaller side and less in number, but they are lovely nonetheless.

Beverly at How Sweet The Sound is hosting a weekly Pink Saturday and from her web page you can visit a lot of posts in pink.  I wish you all happy pink weekend.

I have received a quick question from Sandi about one of my "how I do" posts.  She left me a comment on the post in question as an anonymous reader so I do not have any means to get back to her except replying here.  Sandi, I am sorry to expose you like this but I really do not have any choice.  Sandi asked for my confirmation if I used a single strand of size 25 perle cotton (like DMC's six strand ones) in the post where I talked about alternatives to silk.  Yes, I did.  A strand of size 25 embroidery floss is close to the size of the silk I use for my thimble making although the cotton perle is very softly twisted that the finished thimble lacks the certain luster of the tightly twisted silk gives.  I would like to wish Sandi happy stitching and hope she would join the photo sharing this month with her new thimbles.

Pat left me a comment on the previous post about her thimbles for April on Flickr.  She showed us two thimbles, one is scales design in lovely pastel rainbow colours, and the other one in brown is called "kanoko" in Japanese.  Textile people would know what kanoko is.  It's a kind of Japanese tie dye design.  The direct translation of kanoko is a baby deer.  The design is said to be resembled the back of the baby deer.  You know, there are spots on the back of Bambi?  By the way is there a designated name for babies of deer, like puppies and cubs?  Anyway her brown thimble is called "kanoko" design. 

I have been trying to assemble a thimble starter kit for you know how long and still not finished yet.  I firstly thought to sell the kit with all the materials apart from scotch tape and machine thread with an instruction booklet for base making and how to stitch two scales design. The booklet contains a lot of photos instructions and the printing cost becomes a problem.  At the moment my draft is A4 30 pages.  One set of 30 pages takes a lot of time with my printer and as I plant to sell it, it's just not practical.  Using copier costs expensive and as my business is very very small, utilizing printing service is out of question.  So I am now leaning to the idea of PDF file so that the customer choose to print it or view it on their PC.  I know not all of the countries use the same size papers.  Does my instruction booklet cause a problem where people do not use A4 size paper? 

I have another idea.  What do you think about on line thimble making courses?  You buy a kit from me and I mail the material and send a PDF file via e-mail.  Then you join the on line group like Yahoo and Google.  You will upload your finished work on the group' photo page and we can have a discussion board over the concern/question/whatever.  I would love to hear your thought.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Share Your Thimbles May 2011

One third of the month has already gone, but I would like to officially announce the start of the thimble photo sharing on Flickr today.   But first thing is first, I have to announce the end of the last month's photo sharing, i.e. our first ever "thimble of the month challenge".  Although we did not have many participants last month, either, I believe it was a moderately successful challenge.  If you have not visited Flicker yet, please pop in there to have a look from here.  You can find very beautiful work there.  Some of them did not fit the challenge, but it doesn't really matter, does it.  The purpose of the group is having fun and not a contest.  Oh, and we have a new member this month.  Please kindly welcome to our group.  Her thimble on Flickr is was not a scales design (it's bluewaves) but beautifully done.  Lydia (Quiltsummes) wondered if her thimble was called a scales design.  Well, it's technically not the scales I expected you to make, but it's also called scales design, "vertical scales" to be exact.  As I told you many times before, collective triangles are called scales in Japanese design and as you can see in her thimble, the triangles are shifted by 45 degrees, hence vertical scales.  It involves back stitches and my complement to Lydia.  I half expected Debi and Dorian would gone for finer scales than period of 32 sections, but their colour schemes are very beautiful: Debi's being with distinct yellow frame and lavender and green composition is very unique, and Dorian's is very bright and festive!  It's hard to believe that these two thimbles are same design, only in different colours.  Natalie (beadturtle) shows us her beautifully done arrow's shaft feather design.  Using the only two colours by placing them alternatively gives the unique arrow design which you can find in many classic kimono.  Pat shared her lovey rainbow colourd thimble and "kanoko" design.  "kanoko" or "hitta-kanoko" is a kind of tie dye design and she reproduced it on her thimble.  Surya's thimble is with repeat of four in three colours which I am still wondering how best to describe the design and her second entry to the photo sharing is a lovely bracelet.  She found something you would like to know about in the process and she mentioned it in her blog post at Sunshine Craft.  I should have included it in the post where I explained about row and round. 

Probably not very soon because I will need some preparation time, but I hope we would be able to have another challenge sometime later.  Now, back to this month's photo sharing.  We are back to regular photo sharing and that means you can share whatever you made using the thimble making technique with the group:  i.e. no size or design restriction applied.  As we are not going to have a lucky draw this month, either, there is no reason to set the closing date but the end of the month.  I have set up a discussion board at Flickr and I would like you to leave a comment there once your photos are up, and that discussion board I will close on the last day of May.

Here are the general rules of "Share Your Thimbles"

1. The thimbles (or any other rings) have to be your own work.

2. Although the name of the group reads as "thimbles", your work is not necessarily a thimble and you can make your rings in any size you would like, as small as a focal beading for a necklace or as big as a bracelet, or even bigger.

3. As stated above, they have to be your own works however, you can use the ring 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. No technique restriction applies. You can use back stitch and weaving in addition to the forward stitch, and even embroidery on the surface if you choose to do so. This is not a contest. You do not need to use these techniques if you are not up to them or you simply do not feel like it. A simple and elegant bi-coloured scales design is always welcomed (and one of my favorite design).

5. You can use any material, and in any colours, you would like.

6. Please state the size of the mould on which you formed your ring 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 one of my kits, here are the sizes and materials: "first thimble" is 50mm in circumference and Tire Silk size 9 & floss silk padding. "small pincushion" is 61mm in circumference and Tire Silk size9 & floss silk padding. "medium pincushion" is 103mm and Tire Silk size 16 & knitting yarn for 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.

Now, please start uploading your photo from here.

Wish you happy stitching.  Chloe P.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

a quick note ...

This is just a quick note to let you know that I will officially announce the start of the new photo sharing at the later date and that you can start preparing your thimbles now.  I got a cold and haven't been doing very well for over a week.  I have much to tell you about but I am still supposed to be in bed, so off to bed I will go now.  Wish you happy Sunday with your family.  Chloe P.