Ben is a gentle, good-natured, friendly sort of dog who loves going out and about making new friends and catching up with old ones. We are used to people who are perhaps nervous of dogs crossing the road to avoid him, but we’re equally used to friendly folk descending upon him and with many oohs and aahhhs making a great fuss of him. But last week was a little different.
Once he was up on his paws again after his operations, I took him out with me for short walks around and about. He still had stitches in his eyes, and his face was partly shaved so he was definitely not looking his handsome best. But still .. I didn’t expect the totally audible comments of “Uurgh, how disgusting” and “Look at that dog it’s gross…” etc etc that he received from one or two people (not his local friends). And whilst he didn’t understand the words, he certainly picked up on the tone of voice, and his tail lost its cheerful curl and began to droop sadly. So I took him home again and he hasn’t been anywhere he might meet visitors for a while – though now his stitches are out and his eyes are nearly back to normal I think perhaps its time for him to venture a little further afield again. And in the meantime I stitched this ….
For no matter how odd Ben’s face looked after his operation, he was still the same loving, gentle dog inside, and as I’m sure we all know, the same is true for humans too. I hope you like it and the pattern will be in the August issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine.
The weather has turned hot and sultry – there was thunder again last night which nearly drowned out the sound of Daisy’s snoring. She is not at all afraid of thunder, no – her worst fear is being left alone – quite alone that is, with neither her Big Bro nor I close at hand to cater to her every whim! She had to be brave yesterday however. I simply had to leave her home by herself for an hour while I took Ben to the vet to have his stitches out as it was far too hot for her to wait safely in the car during his appointment. Everything went well for Ben at the vet’s since as well as being highly skilled, our vet is very kind and patient, understanding that on such a hot afternoon a heavily-coated and slightly stressed large dog needed quite a few breaks during the lengthy procedure.
Today has been much more the sort of day the Newfies love as, after their early morning walk, we’ve spent most of our time in the summerhouse ….
Here’s a very relaxed and cheerful Ben! His eyes are still rather sore and swollen, but our vet assures me they will improve a lot over the next week or so. And notice the untidy muddle on the table behind him! This is what happens when somebody (me) with the attention span of a butterfly decides to spend a hot summer’s afternoon working outside.
On the table you mght spot no fewer than three projects for the August issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine. There’s the lid for my button jar, together with the DMC colour chart to help me write up the pattern. Then there’s my Poppies applique (more about that in a minute) and my current handstitching, as well as a half-drunk cup of tea, several magazines, the house phone, and more. But back to the poppies applique ……
It is of course the centenary of the beginning of the First World War next month and, as all my grandparents’ lives were affected by this conflict, I wanted to create a design to remember that generation. I wanted this design to be simple, but light and airy – reflecting my grandparents’ hope for the future rather than brooding on the horrors of war. To achieve this I chose bright colours and have combined sewing techniques that my grandmothers might have used as well as modern ideas. The poppies’ stems are all chain stitch, and the centres French knots whilst the petals are felt and freestyle machine applique. I think it has all come together well, and I’m planning make the finished panel into a cushion cover that will have pride of place on my living room sofa – well out of that naughty Miss Daisy’s reach.
And thinking of that furry whirlwind – I began this post with Daisy so it seems nice and tidy (unlike my summerhouse table!) to finish with her too……
“MUUUUMMMMMMM!!! I’m sooooooo bored with all this sewing! When can we GO TO THE BEACH???”
I think the question I am asked more often than any other is how I transfer my design from paper to fabric. There are very many ways of doing this, and I talk about a few of the more usual ones in my little e-book “Simple Stitchery” (available on the free patterns page of this site). But often people are intrigued by what appear to be graphite pencil lines (but they’re not!) on my fabric …
I use a slightly risky method to transfer my pattern – I say risky as there is the potential for damaging both self and fabric in the process - which is why I would never recommend anyone else to try it, or at least issue the warning “do so at your own risk!” But it does give excellent results so if you are interested, then here’s how I do it …..
When I’m creating a design like my little Friendly Fox (he’ll be in the July issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine) I first draw him out with pen and ink, making many revisions and using plenty of tracing paper before I’m completely happy with the result. Then I scan the image and clean up any background smudges etc using Photoshop. Although I draw with a fine black pen, I use the colour changer tool to make sure that any lines that have scanned as a dark grey are black as this technique only works with strong black lines. Finally I reverse the image and print a mirror image onto ordinary paper using my laser printer.
Then it’s over to the heatpress. I set the temperature at 195oC and the timer to around 70 secs. The fabric goes in right side up and the paper on top, right side down. Once the fabric has cooled, then I peel off the paper – which can then be used for tracing applique shapes onto my Bondaweb as it’s a reverse image.
I find this method is great for crisp detailed transfer of images onto light coloured fabric. It is a permanent transfer, so you have to be sure to cover the lines with your stitching/applique. Obviously it only works with cotton, linen or cotton/linen blend light coloured fabrics and there is always the danger of scorching your fabric.
I have done many test prints in the past, and it’s taken a lot of trial and error to arrive at the above settings, which is why I wouldn’t advise anyone to simply follow my method. But if you do have the right equipment (I don’t know if it would work with a hot iron or not, I’ve never tried) and are willing to experiment, then you could find the results are well worthwhile.
Sometimes living with two Newfies can be a little frustrating (although I do of course love them very much). They are a breed renowned for their bonding with and love for their humans, and certainly my two are are most reluctant to leave my side. If they anticipate my being in one place for a little while then, with much huffing and puffing they will park themselves in the most inconvenient spot simply so they can be as close to me as possible …..
Which is very lovely of them, but it does mean that getting up to make a cup of tea is a major achievement, necessitating amazing gymnastic feats on my part to clamber over them. But now Daisy has taken this attachment to new extremes…
Yes, a sight never before seen on the internet (and most unlikely to ever be seen again), me in the bath closely monitored by Miss Daisy who knows very well that she is not supposed to be upstairs. I forgot to close the bathroom door and this was the result. I had a nice new magazine on my iPad and had settled down for a lovely soak in my deliciously fragranced Lush bubbles when a black furry face appeared over the side of the bath. So I had to get out, wrap myself in a towel and send the naughty puppy downstairs again where a totally horrified Ben (who is by far the best behaved of the two) had to be reassured that he was a good dog and Daisy’s naughtiness was in no way his fault. Then by the time I returned my bubbles were vanishing fast and my bath water was growing chilly. Ah well ….
But unlike my bath which turned out to be a bit of a disaster, my sewing has been going well this week. I’ve started another – yes another(!) – Esme top from the pattern by Sew Liberated. I love this pattern – it goes together really well, is easy to wear and suits my body shape. This time I’ve chosen a lovely splashy roses print…..
Just the cuffs left to add and the bottom hem to turn up. I am sure that wearing this top will definitely get me in the mood for visiting the wedding florist with Rosie this weekend! And I used some of the scraps in my next project for the June issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine – my Summertime Picnic Blanket …
Here’s the top nearly finished – just the borders to add. I used lots of lovely soft pastels to try to achieve an effect reminiscent of handmade paper when combined into simple patchwork, then added Gershwin’s famous song title. Perfect for balmy summer days ahead!