Temari 96- a gift

temari 96 view 1

This temari was made to be a gift for my father. It is a C8 division that is made of six units of interwoven pairs of spindles that make X’s and 8 units of 3 spindles that interweave to make stars.

The dark X’s were stitched with three different hand dyed perle cotton #5 threads, from light blue/green in the center to dark blue on the outside.

The X’s were stitched first, knowing there would be some design element in the almost hexagon spaces, but not know what. After the dark spindle X’s were done, making spindle stars in the remaining spaces seemed like the logical solution.

Three different hand dyed perle cotton #8 threads were used, a different one for each spindle, to stitch the stars. Lighter colors were used for the stars so they would be a secondary design element as they contrast less with the background.  Each spindle color traces a line around the ball, which gives some movement to an otherwise almost static design.

An ecru color was used to outline all the spindles, which helped to emphasize the weaving, at least on the dark X’s.

temari 96 view 2

I am pleased with the finished temari and I am sure my father, a mathematician, will enjoy it too.

Temari 95- blooming

Observing the energy and beauty of Spring season is always a source of inspiration; both to work in the garden and to create art that reflects what I see in the garden.

The last temari, #94, was inspired by ferns unfurling. This temari, #95, is obviously about flowers blooming, with no reference to a particular flower, just symbolic of flowers blooming in general.

temari 95 view 1

This is a C8 division temari, so there are 6 faces that are “square” and the tips of each leaf go to the corners of the squares. See where three leaves meet? That would be a corner on cube.

temari 95 wip 1

The leaves are really just two overlapping pointed ovals.

temari 95 wip 2

An X was stitched across the center of both. The X marks the spot that will be the center of the flower. A pin through the flower and into the center of the X made alignment easy.

temari 95 wip 3

Next,  a long stem lazy daisy stitch was used to create stamens and to secure the flower to the ball.

temari 95 wip 4

An X was stitched in the center of the flower as stitching guidelines.

temari 95 wip 5

The flower center was stitched.

temari 95 wip 6

And the last little finishing detail is the little triangle stitching at the intersection of the leaves.

temari 95 view 2

Hand dyed perle cotton #5 thread was used to stitch the leaves and to embellish the flowers. The flowers are made of hand dyed rayon/wool felt.

Temari 94- unfurling

Here you get to see row by row, how  the spirals in temari #94 grew. Four different embroidery stitches, one crochet stitch, and eight different color threads were used to  create the spirals. The threads are perle cotton in sizes 5 and 8 and all are hand dyed except the red.

The layout of the spiral design is on a simple division, an S4, with no markings.

  1. An open network of thin pale green spirals was stitched with a stem stitch.
  2.  Using a crochet hook, a row of a brighter green chain stitching was added. This gave the next row something to stitch through so the first row would still be completely visible.

temari 94 view 1

3. Next, a row of scroll stitching in a green/turquoise variegated thread was added.

temari 94 view 2

4. Basque stitch in a darker green was used to build on the scroll stitch. With this stitch I was able to vary the width of the spiral lines and create open spaces in the stitching.

temari 94 view 3

5. Another layer of stem stitching was added in a pale bright green.

temari 94 view 4

6. The next round of stitching did not add to the width of the spirals, but added color and interest. Turquoise french knots were stitched inside each of the open spaces of the basque stitches.

temari 94 view 5

7. A row of a peach color was stitched on both sides of the spirals, outlining them with a color that is not quite a complimentary color.

temari 94 view 6

8. The final outlining of the spirals was stem stitched in a complimentary red. I was ready to be finished with this temari after the french knots were added, but it just needed the outlining with the contrasting warm colors for it to appear finished.

temari 94 view 7

Finally, after close to 2,400 stitches, it is done.

temari 94 fininshed

 

 

Thread Button Made

A thread button made today is the start of learning a new skill for me. Although, the embroidery stitching that I have been teaching myself for temari making translates well to making a thread button.

thread button 1 front

This lovely button was made with hand dyed #5 perle cotton thread on a 1″ plastic bone ring. This was the thread that was within arms length of where I was sitting. Using a finer weight thread such as a #8 would give it a different look on the same size ring.

thread button 1 back

I decided to finish the back off to practice making a two sided button. Making a two sided thread button means it could be used for an ornament such as an earring, Christmas decoration, or key fob.  I am thinking that this weight thread would look better on a larger ring for something like a Christmas ornament.

For a first attempt, I am pleased with the results and encouraged to forge ahead making more.

 

Bored on a Rainy Day

No, not me. I am stitching on a temari. It is my dog.

As you can see, someone was politely asking for attention. I thought she was just bored on a rainy day: no sunshine to bathe in and all the lovely scents on the ground washed away, plus she does not like to get wet.

bored puppy 1

Well, polite and patient did not work, so she became a bit more insistent.

bored puppy 2

She tipped my pillow top temari workstation and sent my temari ball rolling. That got my attention. And she was not just bored, she wanted the popcorn that was on the kitchen counter. From her perspective, popcorn is far more interesting than a thread ball.

Of course I had to cater to her wishes.

Because of her, you get a preview of the current temari that is almost done.

Three Purple Temari

Purple: it is a color that tends to show up in my creations quite frequently. These three were not made consecutively. There was another temari that featured felt flowers and leaves which was made after the first one shown, then the next two purples were finished.

There are usually at least two temari in progress concurrently, but mine get numbered according to the order in which they are finished.

temari 90 view 1

This S8 is temari #90. It was designed and created for a demonstration that I gave for the quilt guild chapter for which I am a member. For the demo, it was a work in progress so that people could see how the stitching was done. There were examples of temari in all the stages up to finished to further illustrate the process.

temari 90 view 2

Although this is a traditional appearing temari, various embroidery stitches that are not typical for temari were used in addition to traditional stitching. For example the little flower in the middle of the star utilizes a long stem daisy stitch.

temari 92 view 1

I am not entirely sure of what was my motivation for making this S8 temari, which is #92.

temari 92 view 2

The next temari, #93, is a C8. This one helped pass time while waiting at a couple of doctor’s appointments and was finished this morning. It is always fun to see if anyone will ask what I am making or comment on it when I stitch on a temari to while away waiting time. They usually provoke at least one comment or question.

temari 93 view 1

The open network created by the stitches created a delicate appearance compared to many of my bolder designs. A double thread border was added between the squares and triangle to create better definition of the spaces and eliminated an awkward space between them.

temari 93 view 2

All three of these are made with #8 perle cotton thread that I hand dyed. I just found out yesterday that my source for cones of white mercerized #8 perle cotton thread is out of stock with none in the foreseeable future as their supplier does not have it anymore. I hope to find more  as there are a few colors that I would like to dye to round out my color palette in the weight thread.

The three current temari in progress all have green in them. Each one is taking much longer to make than most of other ones I have made of comparable size. They are labor intensive. One is getting near done, the other two will be much longer until finished.

Mandolin Case

mandolin case

Just a simple mandolin case, that shouldn’t be too difficult to design and make. I quickly became disillusioned of that idea after getting started.

My son has added a mandolin to the growing collection of music instruments that he plays. But, it came without a case. That should be easy enough to make, I thought.

First, I traced the outline of the mandolin and measured the maximum depth so I could make a pattern. Then I rounded up materials.

The fabric for front and back pieces, the zippers and the strap are from recycled luggage. A couple garment bags were purchased at a thrift store and then disassembled for their fabric and hardware. Lots of zippers in a garment bag. It was an inexpensive way to get a long double slider zipper and some heavy duty fabric.

But it required some extra effort of seam ripping and done carefully so as to not ruin the zippers. There was just enough of the dark blue fabric for the front and back fabrics. I was even able to cut out the front piece so that it included a zippered pocket from the original garment bag.

For the side pieces, I was going to use fabric from the black bag, but the fabric has a fairly open weave, which did not seem like a good choice.

I needed less than a 1/4 yard of fabric for the side pieces, but did not have any leftover scraps that would do. This meant a trip to a fabric store. I went shopping with a friend to a fabric store closing sale where I found several yards of a brown fabric that would work nicely. Didn’t need or want that much, but the whole thing cost about the same as buying a 1/4 yard of fabric at regular price and it was suitable for the project.

There was one more material to find and purchase, which was 1/2″ thick foam for padding. The rest of materials needed was just thread, needles, inner fabric and stabilizer; all of which I already had.

patches in her box of fabric

The inner fabric was a scrap that had migrated to the box of fuzzy fabrics that my dog likes to sleep in. It got washed, cut up and stitched into the case. Don’t worry about my dog, she has plenty of fluffy fabrics in her box.

To give the bag some rigidity, a layer of heavy duty stabilizer was added to the bag. The foam was stitched to the stabilizer and trimmed to the same size as the stabilizer.The stabilizer and foam had to be cut to a tad less than the finished size with no seam allowance so that they would not add bulk to the seams.

mandolin padding

Trying to cram stiff stabilizer and 1/2″ thick foam through the machine took patience and a shorter presser foot. The need for a shorter presser foot was an idea that came to me after a long struggle with a regular foot. I used a free-motion embroidery foot since it is a little shorter. Even then, I had to compress the materials to get them through the machine.

The hardware was stitched to the outer fabric pieces. Should be simple enough.

mandolin case handle

Nope, I mistakenly attached the handle to the hinge side of the case instead of the zipper side. That would have not only been inconvenient form my son to have to set the case down and turn it around to unzip it, it could have been disastrous. If the case was not zipped all the way shut when picked up (which might not be noticed since not on handle side), then the mandolin could have fallen out.

mandolin case handle on wrong side

So, back to seam ripping again. This time I had to carefully remove the handle and D-rings (for strap that got omitted from final product), then figure out where to locate handle on the other side and reattach it.

Next, the stabilizer/foam pieces were stitched to the fabric pieces. First to the liner and then to the outer fabrics for the front and back pieces and in the reverse order for the side pieces.

What I did not realize was that the stabilizer in addition to the foam would make the pieces rather stiff. That was a good thing for the finished product to protect the mandolin, but for construction, it made assembling on the sewing machine a physically challenging step in the process.

Flat pieces were not difficult to sew together, but once the thing starting to take shape it was becoming a monster to handle. In the picture below, I had just started to sew the side to the back piece and it was relatively easy going at this point.

mandolin case assembly

I am pleased with the finished product and more importantly, so is my son.

If I had to do this over again, it would be a little easier for the lessons learned and much easier if it could be made on an industrial sewing machine that was built for this type of sewing. This is not a project I would volunteer to do again even though it was worth the effort of making the mandolin bag, both so the mandolin could have a case and for the value of the learning experience.

Of course, there is all those leftover zippers that I am sure will find their way into future projects. Hmmm, I’m thinking of one of my zippered bags which is going into self-destruct mode after many years of service and needs replacing. With all those zippers, there could be different compartments and there could be….

Felt Leaves and Flowers Temari

Looking forward to spring, this temari was inspired by my love of gardening.

illicium floridanum in snow

There is a wonderful bush in our backyard, Illicium Floridanum, also known as Star Anise.  It is a Florida native that is not supposed to do well outside its deep south native area, but for some reason it does well in our yard in Virginia. The picture above was taken this morning and the one below was take in May a few years ago while it was blooming.

illicium floridanum

It has small dark red blooms that are mostly hidden beneath the canopy of the bush’s leaves. The flowers are charming, but not showy. This bush was the original inspiration for this temari.

illicium floridanum

The first set of felt leaves just looked too big for the ball, so I made them narrower. This, of course, made the triangular areas between the leaves larger, and would thus make the flowers more exposed. With the new leaves, the design no longer reflected the idea of Star Anise flowers being mostly obscured by leaves.

temari 91 c8 felt leaves and flowers

With the design change due to the leaves, it seemed appropriate to change the flowers to suit the new open space.The flowers became a brighter, more stylized and more showy rather than representational of star anise flowers.

This is a C8 division temari. The felt is a hand dyed rayon/wool blend and the threads are hand dyed perle cotton in sizes 5 and 8.

Those too wide leaves that were set aside have a new destiny in another temari, which will be in an upcoming post, if I can work out a couple technical issues.

Making a New Cover for a Tailor’s Sleeve Press Tutorial

While cleaning up the sewing room today, I got side tracked by two projects. Both related to the cleaning up. In putting away spools of thread and bobbins, I realized that I could make another shelf for the bookcase where most of my thread is stored. After getting that done, and the shelf contents tidied up, I decided to tackle the top of the bookcase where ironing tools are stored.

tailor's sleeve board 1

I’m sure you see the connection to the tailor’s sleeve press, which resides on top of the bookcase. How I got sidetracked was seeing the pitiful condition of the cover on the old pressing tool. Every time I see it, I think that one day I should make a new cover for it, then forget. But when I do use it, I wish I had already made a new cover.

tailor's sleeve board 2

I rarely sew clothing, but it is a wonderful tool for pressing seams on things like a bag.

So, my cleaning was temporarily suspended for the lure of a new project. Now the tailor’s sleeve press has a new cover and you have a new tutorial.

Tucked away in a box of specialty fabrics under my work table is a large piece of ironing board fabric. This is a 100%-cotton fabric with an aluminized coating. I have used this for making ironing pads as well as quilting it for oven mitts. You can buy already quilted ironing board fabric, but for an ironing surface, I prefer a smooth surface with no quilting.

I took off the cover on one side, placed the uncovered wood on top of the fabric, which was placed wrong side up on my sewing table. The shape of the form was traced onto the fabric. Next, 1″ was added all around. Then this was cut out.

tailor's sleeve board 3

Note: If I had to do the project over again, I would have added about a 1/4″ more all around so that the fabric neatly covered the sides rather than just barely covered the sides.

Fold the fabric in half down the length and finger press a crease on the wide end. This is where the stitching starts and stops so the tie will be at the back.

tailor's sleeve board 4

Thread a cord or heavy crochet thread through a cording foot on your sewing machine. Then, using, zigzag stitch all the way around the piece of fabric, starting and stopping at the crease with a little bit of gap (about 1/4″) between start and stop. The zigzag stitch will create a casing for the cord. Leave several inches of cord at each end for tying off.

tailor's sleeve board 5

In the next picture, you can see that one side has been recovered. The original padding, which I kept, can be seen on the other side. Next to the press is the second cover ready to be slipped on and cinched into place by pulling on each cord end to gather up the excess in the curves and tying off the ends.

tailor's sleeve board 6

So that the sides of the cover does not slip back and forth and to create more tension on the fabric and thus a flatter work surface, the fabric is laced into place on the back side of the board.

tailor's sleeve board 7

The next time I use my tailor’s sleeve press, I will be glad it has been recovered. It was a short project, taking about an hour, so there is still plenty of time to finish cleaning up the sewing room. That is if there isn’t another project which draws me away from restoring order to the sewing room.

tailor's sleeve board 8

 

Hawiian Quilt Inspired Temari

With a Hawaiian name and being a quilter, I thought for many years it would be fitting if I made a quilt in the Hawaiian applique style. Never got around to it.

temari 89 view 1

Traditional Hawaiian quilts are usually a radially symmetric design created by folding the fabric (or paper template) into eighths and then cut along the edges, like making paper snowflakes.

temari 89 view 2

For this temari, a paper template was made to fit the size of the ball. Next, two pieces of hand dyed rayon/wool felt were cut from the template. The felt pieces were appliqued to the ball and then outlined using stem stitch. The thread is a hand dyed 5/2 perle cotton. Little bullion stitches were used in the cut slits for accents in the leaves and seed head.

temari 89 view 3

This temari, #89, is an S8 division with no markings.