Archive for March 30, 2005
Thought I’d tell everyone how to make your own finger turning kits. See if you have a hobby store in your town. A hardware store works too but their tubes will be way too long. The tubes at the model train type hobby stores are usually good, they are only about 12″ long. Okay, so I’ve said tubes like three times now- here’s the dope on them … look for a display of brass tubes – some are hollow and some are solid. Buy a hollow brass tube in 1/8 inch diameter, 3/16, 5/32 and 3/32. Then put the smallest one back (I know one was so small it’s useless but I can’t remember which – I suppose it would be the 3/32). Then you can buy or you might even have these already, wooden skewers like you would use for making shish-ka-bobs. You get these at the grocery store. Blunt the tip of the skewer by banging it on something, clipping the tips with scissors, sanding it, whatever works – the idea here is to get rid of the sharp pointed end. You can also cut it shorter to make it easier to use – then sand the end. Voila – your own finger turning kit. You put the hollow tube inside the finger and use the skewer to hold it in place and then push the fabric up the skewer. Like my earlier tutorial says. If you can only find the really long ones at a hardware store maybe someone can cut them for you. Keep reading for instructions on cutting and cleaning.
Okay, so there’s not going to be a picture today. I really like to try to put them up because I love looking at photos of other people’s work, so I figure you do too. But I don’t think today’s experiment would photograph at all. Too reflective. What was it you ask? A couple of days ago I tried my hand at making a little quilt top using Ricky Tims’ book Convergence Quilts. Guess it’s been a while since I quilted and it showed. Of course using scraps that I had no clue which grain was which probably didn’t help. Anyhow, I cut the top into 3 postcards (told you it was a little quilt top) and then did some silhouette type applique work on them. Liked two of them, didn’t care for one. So I took the one I didn’t like and covered it with this pink color-changing cellophane, you know, the stuff you get to wrap around baskets and gifts. Then I free motion embroidered on top of it to hold it in place, zapped it with my heat gun, and waited for the magic. Magic didn’t happen – it didn’t melt. It did tighten up some around the stitching though. Maybe cellophane doesn’t melt or maybe my heat gun doesn’t get hot enough. Dunno. What I do have now though is a card that looks totally different depending on how you hold it up to the light – kind of holographic. Tilt it one way and you see the cellophane and the stitching, tilt it another and you can see the work beneath it. Very cool! See – there’s never mistakes, only opportunities!
The Dragon Ladies are working on a beaded mermaid, a project out of the new book by Margaret Ball, Embeadery. This is the third Sunday we’ve worked on this and we’re still not done. We must be really slow! Actually none of us are beaders but we’re having fun with this. The book is easy to follow and I can see a lot of uses for some of the stitches. Her book, in case you don’t know, translates traditional embroidery stitches into beadery stitches. I have noticed that we do chat more when we’re beading than when we’re working on dolls. I would think it would take more concentration to bead than sew. Kind of surprising. This isn’t a stuffed figure – it’s flat. I still have half the doll to edge stitch, which I’m doing in a modified picot wrap type thing, and dangles still need to be made for her arms. Then if we decide to make the mermaids into necklaces we’ll need to make one of those. At least we don’t have to worry about starting a new project soon!
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Okay – these postcards are taking over. It’s pushed my doll making to the back burner right now but I’m sure it will have an impact there in the future. Yep, keep telling yourself that Jude! I bought ANOTHER book today … actually I bought two, but I only tried sewing a project out of one of them. Tonight’s experiment was with Threadplay by Libby Lehman. She does this cool free motion embroidery ribbon stuff – it’s awesomely pretty. The technique is pretty simple but I can tell it’s going to take practice. My free motion embroidery is getting better but I’ve got a long ways to go. I chose a black background so I could see what I was doing, the pictures in the book are on quilted pieces and it looks much nicer. So for this piece I sewed the outline in a purple metallic, which was pretty easy, and then filled it in with an variegated orange-yellow trilobal polyester thread. It was a 30 weight and it was a poor choice. Too thick. I used a size 16 needle and lowered my tension but it kept shredding and now I have nests on the back big enough for something to live in! Thank goodness the backing goes on last, no one but me will know it’s there. Okay – so you know too, sshh, don’t tell. Then for the highlighting I used one of my embroidery rayons, much lighter, and I didn’t have any problems. Used the same weight for the blues and it worked fine. Stuck a couple of buttons on it to balance out the little blue ovals and called it a night. So here it is … it’s supposed to be a ribbon even though it looks kind of like an amoeba
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I bought a new book, well, new to me because it’s been out for a few years. It’s called Layer’s of Stitch by Valerie Campbell-Harding and Maggie Grey. They do that fantastic surface embellishment stuff that I’ve been so intrigued with lately. Since I’m doing that postcard swap it’s a great opportunity to try out some of the techniques. Now their stuff looks way better than mine but guess that’s to be expected when they’ve been doing it for years and are experts at it. So here’s what I did today …
Worked on the silly computer till about 1:00 last night. Still couldn’t get the embroidery software working. This morning I got an email from the OESD people – I didn’t know they were the tech support for the Bernina software. They had a different, athough similiar, way to install the drivers and software and amazingly enough IT WORKED! Still have a couple of bugs to work out but I’m back in business! Phew.
So I recently bought a new desktop PC to replace the old Pentium II slug that was running Windows 98. It has Windows XP, boots up fast, I have one of those cool flat monitors now instead of one that covers half the desk, and I’m psyched! Until tonight. I tried to use my artista Editor embroidery software, version 3 … nada, niet, no way, jose. Version 3 was written before XP came out. Okay – so I go to the Bernina web site and found out I need a new driver to get the stupid security dongle to be recognized with XP. Loaded that … nope, still won’t work. Next – found another article with incredibly detailed steps on reloading the software. Three hours later, I’ve deleted and reinstalled the software a gazillion times, same with the driver, got into the guts and changed things in the BIOS so the parallel port reads different. Still no stupid software. GRRRR. I give up for today. Computers are a pain in the butt but when they interfere with your sewing, well, that’s just criminal!!#@!@#@!#@$%#@*&(*.
Here’s the latest heads I made for the walking doll. Although the heads aren’t bad they don’t work with the doll. So I think it’s time to set her aside and move on to something else. I thought the one on the left looked like Miss Piggy when I put the blond wig on her. I have this thing about bald dolls – I hate them. So when I work on a doll I always have to put a wig or turban on her until she gets her final ‘do’. I have two little wigs that I use just for that. One of my friends thinks this is very strange and she’s quite amused by it – but, hey, what can I say! Everyone has their little idiosyncracies and this one’s mine!
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The doll on the right has an enormous amount of needle sculpting. The entire
Still struggling with the head for the doll I’m working on. Made another two today and don’t like them. One of the things I don’t like is that the head is too big for the body – and that’s the pattern. So I decided that I’m just going to draft my own head and make it a profile head instead of a flat one. A profile head is one that has a seam down the middle and it has a nose that extends from the face – as opposed to drawing one on. I’m getting tired of these faces. I need to move on. At this rate I’m going to make a headless doll and be done with it!
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Some of the girls in my doll club got together and were making some life size dolls this weekend. As usual talk got around to doll club goings on. Now I wasn’t at this get together but I guess my name got brought up for some reason. Whatever the conversation was .. I was referred to as the head dolly-lama. I like it .. it’s funny! It’s also way better than some other names they could have called me!