Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Embroidered Portraits

I am loving these gorgeous embroidered portraits by Justin Morin. They appeal to me seeing I do loads of portraits in my own woven tapestry work. When I am weaving portraits, I find that I tend to look at shape in the way to build up the form. I love these as they play up the flat areas and are less realistic and use the uniqueness of the embroidered form.

I love his quote : "What makes embroidered canvasses so special is the behavior of the thread. The same thread stitched in one direction will change color when stitched in another because it catches the light differently."

Anyone that works with thread and fiber relates to this love of material.

Visit the original link here. Justin Morin you rock!

Miss Mardi xxx

Monday, July 27, 2009

I love my boy... I love my ring!

I love my boy, I love the ring!

Yep, my ring is eveything I asked for...
big, kick ass, cat worthy, could take someone out in a fight, rock and roll and very me!
My boy is the best! I love my boy, I love my ring!

A bit of a yarn...

Gosh, I've been so busy with the gallery of late that I haven't been posting. I'm sure that I will make up for it while I'm on three months leave!

The other week I went to the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show. It is soooo much fun, it's a little bit country but also a hell of a lot of rock and roll. There are so many stalls from little farms that spin their own yarn. Last year I found one such stall with this gorgeous alpaca yarn that was incredibly cheap. I was pretty pleased that they were there again this year and I picked up some more alpaca in a lovely army green as I like to describe it.

Alpaca yarn

I'm thinking of an army green beret perhaps... it's very Miss Mollie Moscow of me! There is a beret pattern from the Knit.1 Magazine that calling to be tried out.

I also found a new yarn store by accident on the weekend in the city (Melbourne CBD). Visit Morris and sons at Level 1, 234 Collins Street, Melbourne and be amazed by their selection and knowledge! They also do a stitch and bitch on a Thursday evening I think. Definitely check them out.

I probably should get to and do some projects huh? Especially before the weather gets too warm!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Here is a practical article from Craftzine folk on tension and your sewing machine. Maybe of use to some folk!


Why is it that sewing machine tension can be such a bear to deal with? Here are some symptoms of tension problems:

thread breakage
skipped stitches
knotting or jamming
top/bottom thread visible on the other side of the seam

Many of these problems can be alleviated by giving your machine a thorough cleaning and making sure it's threaded properly, but in some cases there's a bigger problem. Before taking it to the shop, you can change out a few parts to help troubleshoot and isolate the problem.

Plastic bobbins
If you have been using plastic bobbins, they can wear out. If your needle catches the bobbin it can nick it, causing the thread to catch. Swap out your plastic bobbin for a metal one to see if it fixes the problem. Plastic bobbins can be gently sanded with a nail file to get out nicks. Over time the plastic can wear down as well from all the friction of the bobbin casing and thread, putting the bobbin out of commission.

If your needle is bent, dull, or inserted improperly, this can also cause tension problems. A bent needle is more likely to nick your bobbins, so watch out! Make sure you're using the right kind of needle for your thread and fabric; the wrong one can skip stitches (like using a sharp instead of ball-point needle on knits) or break your thread (if, for instance, the eye is too small).

Use good-quality thread. I found a site that shows magnified images of many different brands, showing how tight, loose, or fray-prone different types are. A poor quality thread causes more friction on the plastic parts of your machine and can wear them out prematurely. Which brings us to the biggest and possibly most expensive problem...

Tension discs
Most modern machines are made with plastic tension discs. Metal parts are great for durability and industrial use, but they are meant to be used all the time or they gum up. Plastic parts means a lighter machine and fewer maintenance and lubrication concerns when it comes to less-than-everyday use. However, as mentioned, fuzzy thread tends to wear down plastic parts over time (we're talking years, here). Plastic tension discs can become grooved, meaning you're out of luck when it comes to adjusting it, since they can't get a reliable grip on the thread. The tension discs are usually pretty far inside your machine, which makes it really hard to get in there and see if that's your problem.

NM State has a good guide for regular sewing machine maintenance to help you through the processes mentioned above. If you've tried everything short of taking the machine apart yourself, take it to a professional and explain all you've done. It's possible that your tension discs are fine and your timing is just off, which is relatively easy for a technician to adjust. Depending on the repair estimate, you might declare it time to upgrade to a new machine, vowing to only use high-quality thread (a small investment to protect your new machine). Your model might have easily-replaceable tension discs, but some manufacturers don't sell the replacement part. Thanks to Debbi Schlegel for her help on this topic. If you've got advice about tension problems, leave it in the comments below!

If you have a question for Ask CRAFT, shoot me an email at becky@craftzine.com, or drop us a note on Twitter! We'd love to answer your crafty questions on any topic: technique, projects, crafty culture, or anything else! Each week the answers are here; include your name, where you're from, and your website or blog if you have one!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A sweater for Amy

I think this is one of the best embroidery projects that I've seen for awhile. I always dig a bit of popular culture with some 'nana craft'. Plus I have a soft spot for Amy Winehouse. This project can be found here and is by Andrew Salomone. He decided that Amy is constantly ill as she doesn't dress appropriately for the weather. His tattoo inspired embroidered sweater will solve this problem!
Maybe I should make these for my friends to show off their tattoos in the cold weather?
Miss Mardi xxx

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Art, a banquet & chopstick holders

It was a pretty eventful Saturday, one of those Saturdays where I had planned heaps of things to do and was wondering how it was all going to come together. For a Saturday, I had even set my alarm clock really early so I could catch up on domestic duties! So for a Saturday round up, here is what I've been enjoying!

My friend Bronwyn Rees launched her exhibition of new works at the Firestation Print Studio. As I had so much on, I actually went before the official launch which was great, I could view all the works without the masses and get some insight from Bron as my unofficial tour guide! The exhibition features etching prints, artist books and paintings and is on for the rest of the month! Go see it! It's really beautiful and if you go on a Saturday, you may get the tour with Bron as well!

Brett Whiteley portrait.

We had organized a large group of us (which involved organizing 2 cars!) to go on a road trip to Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery for the 9 Shades of Whiteley exhibition opening. It was wet and rainy and cold but we braved it for the 1 hour drive out there! It was an interesting experience, being a gallery curator as well, I have a tendency to look at the gallery set up, how they installed the show, how they manage the flow through of people and the overall experience. Couple of bad things, the gallery has carpet, ick! and they are pretty light handed on the wines! Great wines though, however we were giggling at many oldies shwiping all the cheese and crackers off the platter and into their purses! Great turn out for the show and some impressive large and important works by the late Brett Whitely.

We all headed back to Casa MaMa to go out for dinner and after we were turned away from the Harp hotel for a table of 9, we ventured to the Cheng Moon for a fantastic banquet and a hell of a lot of laughs! The food was fantastic, service was great and they had these amazing naked bottom chopstick holders!

Thanks to the Crimson Comet for the pics! Here is the gals looking a little full from all the yummy food, especially the satay sticks! I'm sure another banquet will be happening soon!

Miss Mardi

Friday, July 3, 2009

Cupcake exchange

The lovely folk over at Cupcakes take the Cake have a post on one of my favourite cupcake rockers Jess from Sugadeaux. She has recently just got back from many weeks in the USA where she also did a guest baking stint at Sugar Mama's in Austin. Read the article that was originally on Cupcakes take the Cake here. A big yay to Jess and I encourage you all to get some of her amazing cupcake treats! I have to point out that she does giggle at me when I order 12 or 24 cupcakes, I order them as a 'case' like I'm ordering wine. I'm not sure what the appropriate term is?!

close up of sugardeaux cupcakes
Some of the cupcake treats from my birthday made by Sugadeaux.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thursday Love

Bulgari ring

I love this gorgeous ring from Bulgari, it's pretty over the top and I dig that. I'm hoping that someone will buy it for me!

Lovely ladies

I love these lovely ladies locked (lots of 'L's') that my pal Shans put together for me. I think it's really cute and I love the way their little eyelashes link together. It was inspired by the amazing Sunny Buick. Sunny does very cute, retro looking illustrations and tattoos. She is pretty cute herself too!

I'm also very excited as I finally booked and paid for my first lot of accomodation in San Jose for my big trip away. I selected the Hotel Montgomery mostly as it is so close to the places that I will be attending seminars and all that at - I was very pleased to hear that they have a bar with a selection of over 100 vodkas!!!!! You know where I will be!

I love San Jose!

This is a photo that I took the last time I was in San Jose CA, it definitely is a martini city! I'm getting excited!
Miss Mardi xxx
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