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CraftAlive kicks off early this year with a return to Dubbo NSW for the first time

in nearly 10 years. 

Dubbo CraftAlive will be held in the Dubbo Civic Centre

from Friday March 4 to Sunday March 6 2011.

 

I will be continuing to organise and conduct workshops and demonstrations during the course of the show and look forward to meeting both new friends and familiar faces in the Crafter’s Workshop Cafe.

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Mildura CraftAlive was held in a new location this year – the Sport and Community Centre at Irymple.  As the show was timed to coincide with the Country Music Festival, there were a large number of visitors in town, some of whom made their way to the show.

One of my students over the weekend was from Queensland….she had been away from her home base for several months and was on her way home when we met.  The fabric postcards concept really appealed to her as something she could do whilst traveling.

Del and her first postcard

Del and her first postcard

Del was hooked from the very beginning and now is very keen to become involved in postcard exchanges. I decided I would make and send her a card from Broken Hill if I wasn’t too busy.

Del's Card

Del's Card

Del’s card had a strip pieced fabric base, a layer of loose threads, braid and ric rac covered with black tulle  topped off with some machine stitched detail. She used a variagated thread that combined lime, yellow and orange which looked fantastic!

Over the past month there has been a flurry of activity on the Fabric Postcard front – I have dispatched a round of cards to friends taking part in the “Stitch Me A Rainbow” swap and I have also sent off my first “Birthday Swap” for a Stitchin’ Fingers  exchange.

In the mail I have received these cards from Rainbow swappers:

Al things Purple from Penny

All things Purple from Penny

Under the Blue Sea from Kay

Under the Blue Sea from Kay

Both of the above cards were made in a “how to class” – the base fabric was made using strips sewn onto a 13″ lightweight interfacing square and flipped…. then they were covered with a selection of knitting yarns and threads.

A layer of black bridal tulle was pinned over and free form quilting/embroidery using variagated threads then stitched. A layer of heavy weight iron on interfacing was applied to the back of the piece before the stitching was started.  The piece was then cut into six postcard sized and further embellished.  This was the first time either of the girls had made cards and I think both Penny and Kay are hooked!

This picture is the card sent to Peggy in the US –  the technique is similar but instead of capturing  the threads under tulle, I stitched each one in place – sometimes using a decorative stitch and/or sewing thread.  Some yarns were stitched in place while the piece was still 13″ square and others were added once the piece was cut down into individual cards.  Decorative embroidery stitches were added to each card individually.

Traces of Teal sent to Peggy

Traces of Teal sent to Peggy

The first card I was to make for the Birthday Swap needed to be into the post quickly as Allyson’s birthday was September 6 – however she is in South Africa and apparently there is a postal strike (at the time we were notified it had been running for two weeks)

Happy Birthday Allyson!

Happy Birthday Allyson!

This card was made using die cut felt pieces I found at OfficeWorks, believe it or not! Each felt layer has been machine stitched in place after the purple ribbon stem had been stitched down. The quilting is a very fine stipple using a Guterman Sulky variagated thread and the centre button hand stitched in place.  Plain Guterman Purple Sulky thread was used for the satin stitched edging.

In class, we plan to explore some Crazy Patchwork techniques over the next few weeks so our next postcard exchange will feature Crazy Patchwork.  It is planned that this exchange will take place by the end of October if there are any takers to join us for this swap.

This weekend is the first of the Craft Alive shows for the season and it will be held in Griffith at the Yoogali Club.

As in previous years I will be conducting hands on workshops, but I have given the whole workshop programme a face lift.  No longer will I be out in the cold – you will find me in the main hall down near the stage area!

I am delighted to say I will be launching a range of preprinted stitcheries that have been commissioned especially for these shows from Ella of Ella and Skysie Designs.  These are not available from any other shops!

little_miss_dot_2

In a couple of month’s time I will be heading off into regional Australia to take part in a series of small craft shows.  At these shows I spend all my time teaching new skills to novice and experienced stitchers alike.

This year I would like to offer my students the chance to make a mystery postcard swap with a fellow stitcher from somewhere “out there”!

If you would be interested in taking part in this once only swap I would love to hear from you!

Your name and address would not be distributed in any shape or form – just added to the postcard made in the workshops by my students and dropped in the mail!  All you would need to do is to return the favour and send back a postcard to your mystery stitcher!

You can sign up for this swap any time until the end of May and all postings will be completed from this end by October ( October is the end of the show season for me!)

Hope that there are some stitchers out there who would like to take part.

These little wonders have been circulating the world through our postal system much to the bemusement of the post office workers.  I have been teaching the fundamentals of making these quick postcards at CraftAlive shows for a couple of years now and prompted by the postings of a fellow blogger, I decided to give these an airing.

postcards_1In the three shown above there are a variety of techniques used – captured thread with machine embroidery, fused applique with freehand embroidery outlining and captured found objects.

In order to make a card that will survive the rigours of the postal system, it is important to ensure that you use the stiffest possible iron on interfacing TWICE… some techniques I have seen described have suggested cardboard as a stiffener but if your card happens to get wet whilst in transit, it is unlikely to survive.

postcards_4A Christmas postcard with a difference can be created using fussy cut pieces of fabric fused and over stitched onto a backing fabric…a simple project for a beginning stitcher!

I use heavy duty “Heat ‘n Bond” for fusing…. again, the stiffer the better! This is a stiffer grade than that normally used for applique in quilting. For writing the address details and the message on the reverse of the card, I use a Zig Millenium fine line pen size 05 in brown and I always heat set my message for permanancy by pressing with a dry iron.

postcards_2When “capturing” found objects or threads, I use a layer of black bridal tulle – the finest and the softest I can find!  I know it is about three times the price of normal netting but the difference in the quality and the result obtained make it worth while….. and you can get a significant number of postcards out of a metre of tulle when the cards themselves are only 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ big!

postcards_3This is a great way to use up left over bits and pieces of fabric…. with one exception, each one of the butterflies on the above card were missing bits of wings and were unsuitable for the task at hand….by layering those bits, the missing bits were disguised and a card created.

Get out your scrap bags, piles of threads and yarns, ribbons and braids, glitz and glitter, favourite embroidery threads and get stitching!  Surprise a stitching friend today with a fabric postcard in the mail.

Some number of years ago, I retired from the rigors of the school room and set about finding a new path for myself in areas that were akin to my interests and skill bases. I have not taught primary age children for many years.

At this recent show, I had the pleasure of the company of a delightful 12 year old in my workshop – not only was she in the company of older adult “students”, but she considered herself a beginner as a patchworker and was keen to get started. I offered her the opportunity to make a simple flannel quilt cover.

She had a great time… she coped well with the distraction of a separate set of instructions being given around her to the other participants and her quilt cover was nearly completed when she went home that afternoon – her skill level had increased in leaps and bounds and I rediscovered the joy of having a willing and enthusiastic child as a student!

I hope that she continues to successfully explore the world of textiles as she grows up.

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