Monday, September 16, 2019

How Many Thimbles Do You Own?

I have a total of TEN thimbles. To my knowledge, I only bought one. I don't know how I acquired the rest. For years and years, I resisted using thimbles. Usually I tape a small piece of masking tape over the finger I want to protect and that was my thimble. Lately though, I've started using thimbles when hand sewing. What triggered it was hurting my hand - my maker's hand. Thimbles I've realised are pretty useful. They don't just protect the skin, they make me think about which muscle I want to use or not use. Like if I were sewing without a thimble I would use a lot of fine muscles to pull the needle through. With a thimble, you have the option of using your wrist muscle to push the needle through. As I age, I start to think more about my muscles...

I'm not sure if this is called a Tailor's thimble. It's the most common thimble. I have one but it doesn't fit my fingers. If I use a plaster to tape it to my middle finger, I can use it. But I haven't quite got the hang of it. I think it's a fit issue. If the thimble is more snug, it'll probably be easier using it. Watch this video and this other video really opened my eyes to thimbles.

I have a sashiko thimble which I've used on and off.

The only issue I have with this thimble is your fingers get all weird due to the position of the thimble.This thimble doesn't work if you use a small needle. Watch this video if you're wondering how to use this thimble.

Since I sew a lot of running stitches I thought I had better find a thimble that I'm more comfortable with because using a gigantic sashiko needle is no joke.  This is the thimble I bought. It's Prym Ergonomics Thimble which I bought for SGD4.50. I bought size S thinking I have petite fingers but I should have bought M to fit my middle finger. Anyway, size S fits my ring finger so it's all good.

This is how I use my Prym thimble. I love it. It's the best SGD4.50 I've ever spent.

I have this thimble meant for the middle finger, I think. I haven't quite got the hang of it. I use it for small needles. I'm thinking I wear it too high. I'll try wearing it lower and see if it works.

And this thimble is insane. It's looks so interesting but my brain refuses to understand how to use it.

Anyway, these are the thimbles I don't want because I either have duplicates or can't quite figure it out. If you live in Singapore and want these, let me know and I'll send them to you.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Double Zipper Pouch/Crossbody Bag Pattern

So I dived into my archives and saw this bag pattern which I wanted to publish in 2011 but I kept procrastinating. Anyway, here it is. It's a beginner bag focused on 2 different ways to install a zipper. You can make it as a pouch or a crossbody bag. I personally prefer it as a crossbody bag. Well, make both! If you want the details, please click through any of the pics and it'll take you to my Etsy shop.

Am I forgetting something? Oh yes, all the bag patterns in my Etsy shop is currently discounted at 25% off including this new pattern. Sale ends next Wednesday.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

A Rescue

So, this started out as my usual embroidery on linen cotton slated for a drawstring pouch. (like these) (In case you're interested - chain stitch for the petals, colonial knots for the center and stem stitch for the stems.) But I made the error of using fusible interfacing on the fabric. Based on my experience, fusible interfacing and hand embroidery don't go together. Why then did I fuse interfacing to the fabric forgodssake? Well, I have some newly bought supremely lightweight fusible interfacing, light as feather and I thought surely, surely these will work. I was wrong. The end result? A million puckers around the embroidery. I steamed and unsteamed (?) the fabric but everything I did made the puckers worse. It was ugly. What to do? I didn't want to throw it in the storeroom because that would increase my UFO stash and since I've put in so much work on the embroidery, it would be such a waste to throw it away. And I never throw away anything embroidered, that's my rule.

I couldn't think of any other solution but to make it into a small art quilt. Since the puckers were the problems, why not make the puckers part of the solution?

The first thing I did was to sew running stitches across the linen cotton. I used some cheese cloth as interlining. Once the running stitches were in, the puckers no longer stood out. Next I put in the borders. I'm really pleased with my border because I was going for beige-ish tones and most of my scrap stash is colourful. I have 50 shades of yellow-green, green-yellow but beige? After much digging, I managed to assemble a very pleasing (in my eyes) scrap combo.

As a nod to Janet Bolton, my applique hero, I've included a sun that rose from the ground, gravity defying trees and I finished the quilt using the method taught in her books which is an easy going method. Fold the top to hide raw edges. Fold background to hide raw edges. Put top on background and sew together. Of course the stitches will be visible on both sides. Brilliant!

I used a Lizbeth size 20 multi coloured thread to sew the top fabric to the background. I love the different colours so much that when this thread runs out I'll cry because I bought it really cheap and I didn't think to buy more than one ball. This thread is meant for tatting so it has a nice texture. If you run your fingers over the stitches, you can feel the rough texture of the thread which is really nice.

I have some regrets about the leaves. The one with thick sashiko open fly stitch - I thought the stitches were too thick and maybe I should have picked a different colour like gold or gold yellow. But I couldn't be arsed to cut out the stitches.

Can you spot what I put here?

I used a loosey-goosey method of cutting my applique. I draw a shape on freezer paper, cut it out but not necessarily following the drawing and fuse it to fabric. then I hide the raw edges of the fabric using the freezer paper as a guide. Sometimes the freezer paper falls off but I just keep going.

For the backing, I used batik remnants my mom had given me. I have no idea where she gets her fabric but it's clearly someone else's scraps because the cut is all weird. I have 2 colourway and I hope to use them as background fabric. I added a casing to the background so I can hang the quilt. (as if)

Overall I'm pleased with the result. It looks clean and minimal. (to me) Originally I was going to add a flower pot. So glad I didn't. Less is always more with me. I didn't use up much scraps as the size of the quilt is only 11.75" all round. What do you think of my rescue effort?
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