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Adding audio

I am playing around with adding audio to my some of my posts.  Bear with me if things don’t go according to plan sometimes.  Just sit and talk amongst yourselves for a while whilst I hash this out.

[audio:http://jerseyisland.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/09-Dont-Tell-Me-U-Love-Me1.mp3|titles=09 Don’t Tell Me U Love Me]

An old machine with a New Life using a Felt-crafting Kit!

On Friday I acquired a very, very old singer sewing machine which was in perfectly good working order and which sits in its own table.   I can fold the machine down into the table out of view and place the cover down and you would never know there was a sewing machine in there.  Now this is an advantage when you have a small bungalow and very little space.  The table is only about 36″ square and can fit under a window or in a corner somewhere.

Bobbin casing is removed from the spindle.I am not going to use this newly purchased machine for what it was originally designed to do. Some time ago I sent away to the United States for a conversion kit which made it possible to change an old sewing machine into a felt-crafting machine.  If you are not familiar with felt-crafting: it is a method of embellishment where you use a fabric like wool and silk upon which you place small pieces of wool or silk of a different colour on top of a different colour or thickness and make a design which becomes incorporated into the fabric by the action of the burred needles moving up and down on the fabric whilst it is being moved underneath these burred needles.  Some may be familiar with felt-crafting by hand already.  I had heard that it was possible to felt-craft using some of the modern machines but was not prepared to continually put the bobbin mechanism in and out all the time in order to do this on a modern machine, plus the fact that I don’t think the action of felt-crafting on a new machine does it any good, so I decided to purchase and use this kit on an old machine  instead.

The Feltcraft Kit attached to the shank

The felt-crafting kit consists of a  special attachment upon which there are six thin burred needles attached.  I can change these needles if they break, using an alan key that is included with the package.  I also purchased some additional needles as I don’t know how many I may break and I would hate to have to wait for the order to arrive from the United States.

Once I had this machine home one of the first things I did was to ask my husband, of many skills, if he could possibly take the bobbin attachments and machine workings out of the bobbin area and just leave the casing and stitchplate in place.  This he did very efficiently, after having established that all the components of the machine were safe, but it did mean he had to do a bit of metal-work,  as the spindle which fitted onto the drive-belt was attached to the bobbin housing, so he had the choice of bashing out the spindle, which might have rendered it useless as it could have become bent, but he decided to use an angle grinder and totally demolished the bobbin case bit leaving a very straight spindle that could be replaced within the drive belt area.  It was fun watching how a workman decides upon next course of action.  I frequently  heard him mutter ‘worst case scenario’ now I have learned that this is the way you work out items of safety by trialling and tesing a piece in situ.  How would the item work and act if it is in that position or this position or another position.  Looking at things from every angle for reasons of safety.  I must say I was impressed!

Once he had asserted that the way I wanted the kit to be assembled was safe for use he proceeded to cut an extra wide hole in the stitchplate, as the new assembly would need a space of approx one inch square.  At this point the shank of the machine was stripped of all moveable objects and the burred needle attachment was attached by a screw and tested and all worked efficiently.  All we had to do was to ensure that the burred needles did not go down into the bobbin area more than a quarter of an inch, as that is enough for the needles to work the filaments of man-made fibres, wool or silk into the fabric cloth below.

The former bobbin casing area is now filled with a special foam into which the burred needles penetrate and this foam also keeps the host fabric straight whilst going through the process of being embellished.  There was just one other thing to do and that was to attach a safety guard to ensure busy fingers did not get injured in an over-enthusiastic attempt to get embellish!  That problem was soon overcome by using the screw that holds the housing for the top side of the machine case.  This screw was long enough to hold the sewing case in place as well as holding a piece of  maleable rounded metal that was fashioned into a guard.

That done!  All I have to do now is use it and produce some arty, farty embellishment on a suitable fabric.  I intend to do some of this today on a practise piece of Moreno wool, left over from a former embroidery project, which was a childs hand-embroidered heirloom blanket.  I intend to use the felt-crafting as a base for hand or machine embroidery.  I am sure I will find a lot of other uses for this machine.

Quilting Workshop: Garden Trellis + chatty bytes

Royal Jelly available from Vitamins Direct

Had a busy week!  The fibromyalgia is behaving, maybe the royal jelly I have been using is making a difference,   so I could get on and do some more unpacking – I had to store a lot of my hobby things away whilst we did some building works – and found some old friends hidden away in boxes I forgot I even had.

The new sewing room is coming on a treat but I must really stitch those curtains which are currently pinned up but hanging at the window,  waiting for me to attend to them.  So I think I will get on with that today, although I have a hundred and one other things to do,  like finish this weeks Workshop Quilt that I prepared for during the last week for a Workshop on Friday.  The quilt is called Garden Trellis.

Jelly Roll Quilts by Pam Lintott & Nicky Lintott

I decided to do this quilt with very little reference to the book, just as well as it did not arrive in time,  and just work on the hand-out at class and the list of supplies we were handed when I signed up for the workshop.  The Class was given by Sue Bone, who is a very able tutor and a good friend – who was sponsored by Caesarea Quilters, a local quilting club with over 60 members.  My only small  regret is not pondering on the title a little longer,  as the reference to the garden would have given me an extra clue as to the design of fabric I needed.  This is not to say I am unhappy with my fabric choice – Moda Vine Creek – as I like the way the quilt looks but it does not look much like a garden trellis – well!  Maybe  a winter flowering garden.  My choice of colour was not my usual with regard to hues and shades, as I normally go for brights.  This time I went for more somber blacks, blues, browns and greens with a splash of creams and reds.

I managed to get most of the blocks assembled at the workshop on Friday  and when I came home I made a meal for the family and rested awhile,  I then  carried on stitching and managed to get the blocks assembled into strips for further assembly yesterday (Sunday).  I managed to finish assembling the blocks.  I still have the border to add but I have to order that fabric from www.fatquartershop.com as I was not sure which of the fabrics I had used within the blocks that I wanted to use as a border.  Sometimes it is wise to wait until the blocks are assembled and the quilt speaks to you and you know immediately the colour and design to use to finish it off.whenI will be attending a meeting of the Caesarea Quilters tonight at one of the local parish halls and my latest quilt top, although not finished yet, will be displayed with others work from othes who attended the class, to show members who could not attend what we have been doing.  It is at this stage I get a bit concerned and inspect my work closely to see if the points have been placed correctly.  Well no doubt someone will find a point here and there that have been cut off in their prime.  I am learning to take care of the points now,  it does  take time and patience but well worth it for a nice crisp design.  If a job is worth doing it is worth doing correctly!  I will make that my mantra for the week I think.

I have also finished the Caesarea Quilt Challenge Block of the Month and this months rendition is the Ohio Star.  This is the Third block in the series and we where instructed at the November meeting by Sue a club member who is also a Tutor.  The next in the series is being demonstrated tonight and the technique is ‘reverse applique.

Two earlier blocks were an appliqued heart which I cannot show because I  have mislaid it.  I am sure it is somewhere close but I will be sorely worried if I have mislaid my heart.  An earlier block, I think it was the October one was the ‘Friendship Star’ which Angela, another club member demonstrated to us.

Should be a good week!  Hope all augurs well for you this week too!

Mo’s Homecrafts

I have decided I should separate my personal blog from the main items in this website as all the various contributions and news is being lumped together and may become hard to follow.  I sought my ‘web gurus’ and friend’s advice this week so you see we have an addition on the Categories Menu where you can see what I have been doing, or not doing, as the case may be  on the home front, regarding needlework, knitting/crochet, cooking,  gardening and computing.

Shelter in the Big Dog Kennel

Flyn Watching Life (birds) Go By

All the above will be done in the company of my two elderly cats Tay and Flynn a mother and son duo that have been in my life for the past 15 years.  Tay, the queen of her domain,  is getting a little frail these days and leads a very sedentary life for a 15 yr old but Flynn, her son who is six months younger than his Mum, has fared better and still goes out on the odd hunting expedition in between regular cat naps  in the  conservatory.

Flynn is very smart and vociferous, if he feels something is not quite right he proudly marches up to my partner or myself and meows indignantly and loudly until we take notice.  The loudest and most insistent  meows are heard when he is hungry.  Then there are the requests to be inspected for those pesky mites and parasites and I have to don the rubber gloves and get the special tick tweezers to remove these horrid things from clinging to his skin.  Now Tay is not bothered by ticks so I can only assume there is something in Flynn’s makeup that appeals to these blood-sucking creatures.  The quicker they can be removed the better for the cat as they harbour disease and infections.  I have tried many things to deter them from seeking accommodation on Flynn by using special medication like Frontline  from the vet and also using a recipe of vodka with a few drops of Tea Tree oil wiped on his lovely silky coat of fur.

Finally today, I am so pleased that the Nature and Wildlife category is taking such good shape.  I know that Yogi Bear has  a lot of knowledge about the island’s natural science and the shoreline and beaches.

Its a Mystery – Happy New Year!

HAPPY NEW YEAR

Well it is all a mystery to me!  I am a crazy quilter.  I enjoy it because it gives me quiet  but structured time and it makes me think.  Today I have decided to take part in a Mystery Quilt.  There is a lady in New York who has designed a quilt for us to make and she is giving us clues every hour, by email, as to how we are to construct this mystery!

7 Clues over seven hours sent by email. The quilt top which has yet to have a border was completed at 11.55pm NYE

Australia has already celebrated their New Year as I have had an email from one of the Mystery Quilt participants to let me know.  So the fireworks have gone off on Sydney Harbour Bridge!  Won’t be long now and I will have my Mystery Quilt finished and we will be celebrating New Year in the Western Hemisphere.

Mystery Quilting is a bit like politics really isn’t it!  You gets snippets of information (Flyers, canvassing notes at election time), you piece together the patchwork of  theories and ideologies  and then wait, and trust – wait and trust – that the quality of the fabric (people you have collectively elected)  are up to standard and will work in harmony.

It does not always happen, as in mystery and any other kind of  quilting the combinations you decide to put together can be disastrous, even make you feel ill.  The network (threads) may be weak!

I think what I am trying to say is – be it in life or in politics – choose well and take time choosing because you are stuck with the results for a very long time.  At least a mystery quilt can be given away and even if it is a disastrous colour it is still useful to keep warm.  I don’t think the same applies to a failed government.

Have a Happy Time celebrating the New Year ‘IN’ and above all keep safe!

Time for Reflection!

“Discrimination lies at the root of many of the world’s most pressing
human rights problems. No country is immune from this
scourge. Eliminating discrimination is a duty of the
highest order.”

Navi Pillay
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Please forgive me if I get a little serious today.   Traditionally,  during the period between Christmas and New Year, it is quite expected that we reflect upon the past year.  I have a lot of reflections – but one in particular is very important to me and that is  my newly found political awareness!

I have had the pleasure of making friendships and  aquaintances within this new political world of mine and I am still finding my feet and wondering which side of the fence I belong to politically.  I hope I don’t get too many splinters whilst sitting on the fence as I ascertain the position I like best.  What I do know is that I have very strong views about Human Rights and the Protocols of the Council of Europe and the Articles of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights .

The quote I use above is from The United Nations Human Rights website.   Discrimination of all kinds is abhorant but it is common in every country.  Of course the Human Rights issues are different depending upon the region of the world  in which we live but every issue is dear the to the person who is fighting for Human Rights.   The needs of a young lady in  Dafur in the Sudan are not the same as the needs of  someone who may be old and infirm and living in Britain.

The two areas I have cause for concern within our island currently are Children’s Rights and Disabled Rights. I hope to spend some time researching these matters and finding out which Protocols and Articles our local Government have agreed to and duly ratified.

For a subject that I consider to be so vital for a New World Order, the whole concept is taking a very long time coming to fruition.  I wonder why Governments are dragging their feet, particularly in the western world,  over some of the issues!  I also believe that education should be the primary aim of everyone who is interested in basic human rights and it is only by educating people that we can ever see things moving more quickly.  Hence my serious ramblings today.  :).  I think Human Rights should be taught in schools.  I am also aware that there are some unscrupulous people and organisations who may use and hijacked Human Rights issues and try to use them in a way they were never meant to be used.  We should always be vigilant and protect the Human Rights issues from being misused.

(My grateful thanks  to the sources I used for this article which can be found in the respective hyperlinks inserted from crisisgroup.org, the Council of Europe and the United Nations)

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