Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Panier Quaker

Les instructions sont maintenant disponibles en fran├žais pour vous. Cliquez ici.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Quaker Basket Project Now Available as Over-1

Many thanks to Saho-san for letting me know that some of you may not have access to high counts of linen and would really like to stitch this project over-one. We have gone back to design and created a completely over-one project option for you. Those of you who have already purchased the chart can log back into the sharefile and download the two new over-one files also, one is PDF and one is for Infinity users.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

The Quaker Stitched Basket - DMC Colours

The stitched Quaker Basket Project is now ready for you. There are three files to download: a PDF chart which everyone can use; those who have the Infinity Software will also be able to download an editable JGG file; and there is a PDF for making-up instructions also. Because of the amount of time involved in making this project, there is a charge of £5, $8, 6 Euros or 800 yen. I hope you have many delightful moments working this lovely heirloom project.
For your download just click here.
I have chosen space-dyed threads because they give an interesting old feel to projects but you can use any threads you prefer. Here is a conversion chart for the threads - please note that it is not possible to obtain an exact match since each of the space dyed threads embraces a number of shades.
The Gentle Art:
4 metres (5 yards) Banker’s Grey; DMC 646
4 metres (5 yards) Sable; DMC 779
4 metres (5 yards) Peacock; DMC 3809
1 metre (1.25 yards) Butternut Squash; DMC 3322
4 metres (5 yards) Gold Leaf; DMC 729
7 metres Gingersnap; DMC 3826
2 metres (2.5 yards) Shaker White; DMC 3033
1 metre (1.25 yards) Tarnished Gold; DMC 434
Weeks Dye Works:
4 metres (5 yards) Charcoal; DMC 844
Crescent Colours:
4 metres (5 yards) Ye Olde Gold; DMC 832

Monday, 21 September 2009

Beautiful French Finish from Aurore


Another stunning basket finish - this time from Aurore in France. I hope that working with the card has been a useful exercise in understanding the construction of the baskets, so that when we come to start the stitched example you will be feeling very confident about how to progress. In a way we are following the Lancastrian system. Joseph Lancaster, a Quaker, formulated a process of instruction for larger classes. One of his innovations, along with those of Dr Bell, was to employ the monitor system. The teacher organized and managed the class, while senior or more competetent students, the monitors, took on the role of what we would call today classroom assistants. And in schools following the Quaker Joseph Lancaster system of education, each stage of needlework taught was completed first using paper. Only when the student had demonstrated her proficiency was fabric allocated to her for stitching.

Monday, 14 September 2009

A Blue Gingham Basket Finished

It is a pity we won't be able to put all our baskets out together and make a display for an exhibition - again these are all going to be unique and lovely. Saho-san has now finished the final stage of her basket project. And yes, I do wish I had chosen dark blue and gingham also....and when we see the beautiful ones to come in ceam or gold or yellow or green, we shall all wish we had made ours like those also....what are we like!Saho-san told me something very interesting - if you tie the bows upside down, they work better. I am going to try this right away.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Choice, choices, choices!

A long time ago, I learnt tambour beading at Libertys in London. On the first day I was surrounded by an impossible choice of the most beautiful beads you can ever imagine. I felt I had a one-off opportunity to make something which had to be perfect. But where do you start when there is unlimited choice? I sat and gazed for too long, struggling to make up my mind. At length the teacher came up to me to find out the reason for my paralysis. I explained. In response she smiled, licked her finger and stuck it in a pot of beads without even looking. 'This is how to start,' she said. 'Pick up a single bead at random, fix it, then pick up another bead that goes with the first, fix it, then pick up another bead that goes with those first two, and if you listen and look you will have a piece that is perfect for you.' And I learnt that it is not by looking over other people's shoulders and copying them, it is by being 100% absorbed in one's own decision making that results in the best and beautiful - because it has integrity. And the experience of that absorption, of listening, looking, responding to what has already been placed, is totally unforgettable. It is like surfing with the wind and the sea all working with you. By all means look over other people's shoulders, we can always learn from others and admire their personal beauty, but don't stress yourself by feeling you have to compete with or emulate them. If you do, you might come up with something that seems pretty for a while, but afterwards you will feel that it is derivative, that it lacks life - because it lacks your life, it doesn't come from you. Variety and choice is near infinite when you are designing. Celebrate your own choices, and get to know and appreciate the wonderful mysterious source from which those choices spring. I so look forward to admiring your baskets.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Finishing Your Basket

If you have just arrived at this project, then please scroll down the blog until you find the first instalment and work forward from there as there are stages prior to this which are necessary for your finish.
To be ready for finishing you need to have 12 side panels each taped around their 2 sides and base. You will also need the hexagonal base taped around all 6 edges. When you have these assembled you are ready to begin.
I have spent weeks on and off trying to find a nice small gingham check in pale grey and white. I had absolutely no luck at all, either in London or locally - or on eBay - so I chose some plain grey linen from my stash to which I am not only reconciled, but am delighted with - there is a lesson in there somewhere. In fact, the fabric is hardly conspicuous - and I think whatever you use, it will not be a deal breaker.
In addition to fabric, you will need approximately 2 metres of bias, folded in half lengthwise and steam-ironed flat to make it easy to stitch; plus 2.4 metres of ribbon the same width as the folded bias tape - so that it will extend nicely from the tape and not be much thicker or thinner than it. Cut it into 24 pieces, cutting on a diagonal.
To make a cutting pattern you will need a double spread of decent broadsheet newspaper and a soft pencil- I cut out without a pattern, but then I had only a short time to complete, and unless you are very brave, I would spend time making a pattern.
Again because time was short, I confess that, Heavens to Murgatroyd, I machine-stitched the top edging. You may prefer to continue in back or running stitch. If you do use a sewing machine, the thing to remember about stitching card is that you are perforating - and little perforations as we know from stamps and cheque stubs, tear very nicely indeed. You cannot undo stitching through card so go slowly if you are using a machine and use a fairly long stitch.
You also cannot tack or pin. Just fabulous! So what do you do to stabilize everything while you work? Another confession, I used smidgeons of double-sided sticky tape - five to a panel and seven for the base. (A smidgeon is English for a soup├žon.) Tip: Stick the tape to the card first, it is difficult to peel off the backing if you have stuck it to the fabric first. You will stick the backs of the cards to the fabric when you have everything positioned. I also used some low tack draughting tape to temporarily stick the trailing ribbons out of the way of the stitching - because your basket goes through a multiple octopus phase in its life-cycle and one things is certain, the ribbons if not kept under control will drive you to distraction.
A last point on ribbons. On the original model the bases of the inside panels are ribbonned up. You can do this if you want the full alien experience, but the ribbons are not necessary. It is up to you. If you do go with these ribbons then you will need another 1.20 metres of ribbon, cut into 12 pieces on the diagonal.
Start off by sorting your panels, have two cups of tea, juggle and make up your mind sometime where you are going to put each panel in relation to the others. When you have done that attach a ribbon to the reverse of each base corner of the outside panels - these are the panels which won't be on the inside (!) with the hexagon.
Next, lay out the hexagon and six side panels the on newspaper to make a pattern, or on your fabric. Do not do what I have done - you need to leave a smidgeon more gap between the bases of the side-panels and the hexagon, for a more easy fit. Mine is a bit of a tight fit. But hey, isn't it good I got it wrong, so you can get it right? All is well. When everything is stable, draw round the outer edge, marking a straight line between the top edges of adjacent panels (see first photo). Cut out the fabric.
Now reposition your pieces on the fabric matching top edges. Once positioned, start to work on the double-sided tape to fix everything in place. Tape near to each corner - this will stop the panel pivoting while you are stitching.
Once you have completed the front, turn the work over carefully and match up the side-panels on the reverse side to the panels underneath at the top edges. Then stick them in place also. Use low tack tape to hitch the ribbons up to the centre of the panels out of stitching harm. Now carefully turn over. You will need 12 more smidgeons of double-sided tape. This is to position the top ribbons on the top edges of the cards, pointing down and out, so the edges and tape will all be hidden inside the bias tape trim.

Anchor the ribbons out of harm's way with low tack tape. Now starting on one of the uncovered fabric pieces (so that the join will be less visible) stitch the bias tape all around the outer edge, using whatever stitching means you feel most comfortable using, making sure that all the top ribbons ends are securely stitched in. When you have stitched all the way round, cut the bias tape with a centimetre to spare so that you can fold over the tape and stitch over your starting edge. Trim any threads. Tie the top inside ribbons, then tie the bottom outside ribbons. Admire and fuss with the ribbons for at least half an hour. Have a cup of tea. Fuss some more. Take a picture. Send it to me.....please.
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