Friday, 26 December 2014

Embroidery Accessories I Love!

I love embroidery accessories, and there are some that are more useful than others.  This is a list of accessories that I love and why.

Please be aware that I have linked to particular items - that does not mean I endorse the brand.  It means that this is an example of the item.  I encourage you to use the item, but to shop around and find what suits you best.


  • Embroidery Hoops of various sizes   You can never have too many of these.  I recommend wooden hoops with screw clamps.  There are a number of different types - plastic, metal and PVC clamp types, but I prefer wood.  The wood is as flexible as needed and they are gentle on the fibres of the fabric you are stitching with.  I don't recommend metal at all - it can be too harsh on your fabric, and also many plastic hoops have an inner hoop of metal.  I also find wood grips the fabric better than any other material. 
  • Magnetic Board  If I am working off a chart, this board comes with strip magnets to hold it in place securely.  It also provides a solid surface for me to mark off what I have stitched, or to make any notations about changes I have made.  These boards come in various sizes (this is the largest size).
  • Magnetic Line Magnifier   Another essential for me!  My eyesight is getting worse as the years pass, and this gadget gives a great level of magnification and the line ensures that you don't loose your place in your chart.  
  • Light Box/Tracing table   Do yourself a favour.  Buy one of these.  This will make transferring designs to your fabric simple.  Over the years, I have used a number of different methods of transferring designs to fabric, but this is by far the easiest and best way.  A light box can also be used if you are doing counted work on dark fabric.  Place it on your lap and let the light shine upwards through the fabric.  It will make it easier to see the weave in the fabric. and allow you to count your stitches.
  • Transfer Pen   I use this in conjunction with my light box, or even for drawing a design freehand onto fabric for stitching. Look for a pen that is water erasable as it means that any visible lines can be removed by either dabbing damp sponge/cloth or by running under cold water.  A warning - if you wash this in laundry detergent or hot water, the lines will turn permanent, so always rinse your work in cold water before final laundering when you are finished.
  • Magnetic Needle Case   OK - I have to owe my good friend Ringwar for introducing me to these.  I hadn't seen one before, and when she pulled hers out I fell in love!  All of these cases have a strong magnet in them to hold the needles firmly in place.  The one above is fairly deep and holds a number of needles - plus it's very pretty! The one linked to will also hold pins. The one I have is smaller and only one needle deep and is perfect for me as I use it mostly when I am on the go, and don't have my regular needle case with me.  
  • Needle Case   Which brings me to this.  Thee come in very handy to keep your needles in.  I always drop a little foam in the bottom and top to cushion the ends of the needle and prevent them from burring, blunting or bending.  I actually have a couple of these - one that is similar to this, and a lovely carved wooden one that is considerably larger.  I use the wooden one for my larger and longer needles, and the smaller one for the embroidery needles I used often.  When I buy a new pack of needles, however, I don't immediately put them in the case.  In only add the needles when I have used them.  A needle case is better than the plastic and cardboard boards you buy needles in as they are easier to get the needles out of, and prevent you from sticking yourself as you rummage through your accessory box looking for a needle!
  • Emery Pin Cushion   You will be very familiar with these - the small strawberry shapes that often come attached to pincushions.  Don't be without one of these, and use it each time you pick up a needle to stitch.  These are filled with very fine emery powder and pushing your needle through this before you start to stitch, and after you have finished stitching, will ensure that the needle is kept sharp.  It will also remove any specks of rust or burring that may occur with use.  Using one of these regularly will extend the life of your needles - and pins!  
  • Thread Snippers  Not scissors, or a thread cutter.  Thread snippers are a design that goes back to the ancient Egyptians and examples are often found in many archaeological digs around the world.  This style has no hinge, but they also come with various style hinges that enable more control.  The design of these allows you to slip the threads very close to the fabric, and they can also be used to unpick small areas.  
These are just a few of the embroidery accessories I always have close to hand when I stitch.  Feel free to comment on what accessories you wouldn't be without when you stitch.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

In 2000, I joined a wonderful group of people in a fairly new venture.  The venture was www.bellaonline.com.  It was only a small site at the time, and was looking for women writers to take on specialised topics and write articles on those topics using their experience.

At the time, the internet was full of cross stitch - if you searched for embroidery, all that came up was cross stitch.

I decided to change that, and, with the support of Bellaonline, I would like to think that I did have a hand in bringing the many techniques of hand embroidery to the notice of the internet.

I have made the very hard decision to stand down from being the Embroidery Editor at Bellaonline, not because my love of embroidery has changed, but because my life has, and I cannot keep up my obligations of writing and posting one article per week.  

That doesn't mean the end of my writing about embroidery - it just means it is moving to a different place (here) and I will be able to write at my own pace.

I hope that those of you who have followed me on Bellaonline will continue to do so here, and will share your love of embroidery with me and the world.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

No phone or Internet sucks and History Alive 2010

Well, since 5 June, I've had no internet or phone connection. It took them a week to work out what I knew on 5 June – that's not the modem, it's actually a line problem. As it's a long weekend here this weekend, no chance of a technician until Tuesday. If I'm lucky.


 

Of course, if they don't come Tuesday, then I will probably have to take another day off to wait for them. Added to the fun of, if the problem is actually in the building I live in, then I have to pay $230 for the technician.


 

Just what I needed! NOT!!


 

As a result of this, I've been haunting the local Maccas using their wifi, and have no discovered that BCC libraries now have free unlimited connection (when I last saw the info, you had to book and it was an hour – just like using their own computers).


 

So – library was a bugger to setup (make it easy? Why would they do that?) but now am here and computing.


 

I hope that this gets fixed soon – I am not coping too well, apart from missing Ste so much that I've been crying myself to sleep.


 

Fortunately, this morning at 6.30am (too cold, too dark, but worth it) I was back at Maccas because he could get online (don't go there – he's having computer problems too) and we could talk. Which we did. Until the batteries on my laptop ran out. It was good though. Long, long chat about him moving out here. Am so looking forward and needing that too!!


 

Yesterday, Mari and I went to History Alive at Fort Lytton – and it was fun to go to something like that when I didn't have to garb up, or have any responsibilities. Where else would you see a Roman centurion taking to a WWII digger??


 

The funniest bit, though, was just as the High Medieval (15th century) tourney was starting, a navy patrol boat came up the river! Great fun!


 

It was good to see friends there, although even with sunscreen I go a little burned (yes, Mari. I know), and the rough ground had my knee protesting towards the end (I actually had to go sit down for a while) and I ended up last night using a heat pack on it as I could barely walk.


 

Still – worth it for a good day.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Getting down to cooking...

I am totally in love with the Mixed Box from www.farmfreshcentral.com!


 

For the last two fortnights, I'm getting one automatically delivered and it means I've been doing so much more cooking each weekend – but it also means lots more healthy eating!!


 

The crock pot (slow cooker) is out and has been busy the last couple of weeks. Last weekend I did both Potato and Leek soup and Pumpkin and Bacon soup. Yummy to get home from work and have a nice mug of home made soup!


 

I wasn't as happy with the Pumpkin soup – not enough pumpkin to make it really thick and it was a little sweet (used butternut pumpkin) for my taste. Next time I'll use Kent or Qld Blue. However, the Potato & Leek was terrific (had the last of it for lunch today).


 

Today the crockpot has been really busy making curried sausages and I'm looking forward to some of that for lunch tomorrow.


 

I'm getting a good variety of fruit and vege in each box. There is some wasteage – I just can't eat it all in the fortnight (specially a whole lettuce – I'm not overly fond of lettuce) but with winter a lot of the vege can be turned into soup towards the end of the fortnight.


 

I am looking forward to seeing what I get as the seasons turn!

Friday, 23 April 2010

Fruit & Vege Delivery

I've been a subscriber for a couple of years of Farm Fresh Central here in Brisbane (www.farmfreshcentral.com). Yesterday I decided to give them a go. I ordered a small fruit and vege box ($30.00) and 1kg sausages ($5.00). You see, I don't much like the fruit & vege in the supermarkets, and my favourite fruit & vege shop (Farmer Joe's) has closed due to the Airport Tunnel project. (Apparently they will not be re-opening).

Well, my box of fruit and vege arrived today and I'm really happy with it. A really nice selection – spuds, onions, a leek, a sweet potato, lovely lettuce, couple of cucumbers, beans, half a cauliflower, half a rockmelon, grapes, carrots, oranges, apples and some tomatoes. I had an apple and it was lovely.

I'll definitely be getting this regularly!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Winter Olympics - Opening Ceremony

I am a sucker for big ceremonies like this - I always get a little choky.  This one was especially poingant given the death of he Georgian luge competitor earlier in the day. 

Bottom line:  I loved it! The "Welcome to Country" ceremony was incredible, and I loved that they brought the competitors in right at the beginning so that they got to watch.  I also loved that everybody in the stadium got to participate in some way - even it it was just by banging drums or waving lights.  It's still "participation" and adds to their memories of being there.

I do think that Nelly Furtado could have re-thought her wardrobe - I was just WAITING for her to go A over T in those silly heels and her dress could have been a little less tight.

My kudos for the event, though, go to the prairie indians in those gorgeous coloured outfits. When the athletes marched, everybody was "dancing" - well, more shuffling from side to side, but these colourful guys were jumping and prancing and just throwing their whole hearts into it.  And to do it through the whole parade shows incredible stamina!

And now onto the competition - I love the figure skating and bobsleigh (both of which have Aussies competing), but also have a love for curling (gotta love a game where the sporting implements are a large rock and brooms!). 

Go Aussies!