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Thursday, 2 February 2012

Hello from Jennine

Hello everyone. Sorry I havent been able to update my blog lately due to Uni committments. I hope to be a bit more regular in future.  I have been purchasing Ebooks ( and regular books) from a site called  This site specializes in Quilting, Mixed Media, Art etc etc and has a wonderful range of products. At the moment I am researching various methods of image transfers and the free pdf's I have received from this site are wonderful.

I am also testing out some "Portrait Quilt" techniques. Two failures so far, but I will get there eventually...The method I am using was the subject of an ebook called "Making Faces". This involved printing out 3 or 4 copies of a head and shoulders only picture, on my inkject or laser printer, in A4 size.
Four different materials in monotones, ranging from very light to dark were used, and Steam a Seam2, a type of Vliesofix, but double papered, is adhered to the back of all except the lightest material(which is the background). The paper is removed from one piece of Steam a Seam 2, at a time, and one of the print out pics is pressed onto the back which then has another sticky part. The procedure then is to draw around all the lightest parts with a pen and cut them out( from the material and the photocopy) peel the photocopy off and press down onto the first lightest material. On the subsequent pieces of material, the other copies are adhered in the same way, but the next tone up has the next tone cut out of the material and photocopy). This is repeated using all the papers and finally you will have a small portrait with different tones for the different features. Ie, a light background, beige facial features, darker beige shadows etc right on up to dark hair and extra dark shadows. I am having a problem at the moment getting all the different monotones of the materials to look like a set.-Doesnt it always look so easy when other people do it.....???? I used entirely mismatched materials the first time and it looked awful. The second time the materials matched nicely but the portrait does not look like the original in a million years... Well I am still into shadows and reflections for this uni module, so I will get back to it now. Have a look at that site and get some free "how to" articles,  definitely recommend it.

Bye for now,

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Hello everyone, sorry I havent been posting lately, have been extremely busy with my Uni modules.
Am starting this week with papermaking, made my own mold and deckle and have spent all day shredding old paperwork in my filing cabinet. Next step is to do batches with water in my blender, then they are added to a kitty litter tray and sloshed around. After that I will use the mold to place under some of the melted paper and hopefully when I lift it up there will be a nice layer of paper in it. My next step will be to cut up some woollen pieces a bit bigger than the pages. I bought an old woollen blanket at the Op shop and I am hoping that will work to drain the sheets old.

My husband thinks I am mad and said it is like quilting- cutting up things that were perfectly ok to put back together again in a different form, I suppose he is right in a way....
Am looking forward to this whole "Textiles" module. I will also be placing some rusty tools and nails in cotton material and when wrapped will be placing it in salt water for a week at a time. At the end of 3 weeks I will remove the bundle, unwrap and rinse and tralaaaaa... hopefully there will be some interesting patterned rust marks on the material...

My Uni has scrapped the textile units from 2012, which I think is very sad... I have so many ideas in mind I will never get to do them all.

Meanwhile for my Painting module I am collecting photographs, plaster of paris casts of things and all sorts of rubbish for a "body of work" I have in mind. Will post info along the way. what a journey it is going to be..,.

Bye for now,
dont forget you can email me any questions or ask me about solutions to your sewing problems.


Thursday, 23 June 2011

Sending embroidery designs to your sewing machine and using flash drives/memory sticks.

After a number of requests,today I wish to talk about sending your embroidery designs from your computer to your sewing machines.

It is a good idea to have some folders on your computer, with the main one being "My Embroidery Designs" or some other folder you would like. an easy way to start is to go to your desktop and right click,a drop down list comes up, go across to "New Folder" and left click, a new folder will be shown with an area underneath called "New folder".Left click on this area and type in the new name for your folder and press enter.You can save designs directly to that or you can go into that folder and make many new folders to store your designs in with names such as Florals, Laces, Redwork etc. I recommend that you do not leave that folder on your desktop as it starts to get big as it will slow down your computer.Later, when you are used to it you can "Drag and Drop" it into your "Program Files" folder in your "Computer". I use an Iconiser Program called Embird.( This stores all my designs but also shows me thumbnail pictures of every design, which is great when I am looking for a particular design to sew.

Firstly, there are a number of different media that you can use. Some sewing machines have
the facility to read a cd which is placed directly into the machine or to an external cd drive which came with the machine.( My Bernina 200E, has an external  cd drive which is plugged into the sewing machine).
Some older embroidery machines use floppy discs and these work basically the same as the cd,plugged straight into the drive on the side of the sewing machine.Other machines have their own "card" which is read by that brand of machine only.Some machines have various adaptors and boxes that your card has to be plugged into. I used to have a Janome 10,000 and I used their card inside an adaptor which was plugged into my computer. With some older machines, including my Janome,designs have to be put into special folders which are placed on your flash drive( also known as a memory stick).That machine will not read any single design but instead will open each folder and look into it for designs.Read your paperwork to see how your model of machine  transfers data.

The latest modern machines mostly all use flash drives(memory sticks). These are really just miniature hard drives, some are even capable of having a program on ,which can be used in any computer it is plugged into. Keep in mind that ALL electronic items fail eventually. Never store designs or information on a flash drive unless you have already backed it up to a file on your computer or a spare external drive. I have an extrnal drive which I back my computer up to constantly, especially if I have just done a lot of work on the computer. I keep this drive in a seperate place to my computer and in fact, I take it with me if I am going away. I have even been known to leave a copy at a friends or relatives place for safekeeping. You can NEVER be too parenoid about losing your designs. Remember they cost a lot of money and you could never replace the ones that you have bought over many years, especially if you bought them via a computer download online.

My Husqvarna Viking Designer 1 machine requires certain VFD folders to be on the flash drive before it can be read by my sewing machine.These files have to be saved firstly in Disc Manager, a free program that comes with the machine, and then exported to the flash drive by pressing the arrow that says "Write to Stick:".The paperwork that came with that program is really self explanatory.

My Bernina 200E only works with some flash drives, so I found if I put just one design on it, in the
right format (Pes or Art or Exp) it will be "tricked" into thinking it is a Bernina item.

Flash Drives have a capacity and you will find that any that are over 1Gb will probably not work in your sewing machine,. The manufacturers will hopefully change this in the near future as small flash drives are becoming very rare to purchase,. I recently had to buy 2 of 512mb capacity from America via Ebay, as I could find none smaller than 1GB in Australia.

So, to sum up, depending on your brand of sewing machine and also on the type of program you have on your computer to manage your designs, there will be various ways to get the designs to your sewing machine.The easiest way, if you have no programs is to highlight the design with a left click on your computer, then Edit,"Copy", go to your "Computer" section, look for your external flash drive, could be "E" or "F" or "G", depending what you have plugged in, and then highlight that drive and right click and "paste".

Remember "C" drive is usually your computers main hard drive, "D" will be your cd or dvd drive, and letters following will be other drives you have plugged in, which could be an external backup drive or your flash drive. I have a small portable hub which has 7 USB ports that I plug things into, like my cordless mouse etc, so I always have to check to see what drive my flash drive is showing as.

When transferring your designs remember to either write down or print out the colour lists. Some machines like the Brother have a wonderful menu to change the colours to suit you at the sewing machine.Others like my Designer 1, which is a few years old, really cant change colours much at all, and you really cant see which part is sewing in which colour, like you can with the Brother.

Lastly, never remove your flash drive from your computer without doing the 'Safely Remove" procedure. You dont want to ruin your drive or the designs on it.

Happy Sewing and if you should have any further questions please do not hesitate to click through to my website and use the "Contact Us" tab to send me an email.

Best wishes

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Back Home,about Embroidery Machine Formats and using Flash Drives

Hello everyone,
just back from a week caravanning at Mingo Crossing, near Gayndah. That is about 80Km south west of Bundaberg in Queensland. absolutely lovely spot, right on the Burnett River.It was SOOOOO cold, glad I had my, rained for 1/2 the time but still enjoyed the week relaxing and sightseeing.Our caravan group( about 18 of us) had a ball 4wdriving around. We visited Paradise Dam where the ranger gave us a talk about the endangered long neck turtles he is breeding there, and some of the group braved the heavy rain to visit the annual Orange Festival in Gayndah.

Embroidery formats: I wish to talk a bit about embroidery formats. Depending on your brand of embroidery sewing machine, the formats differ. Some of them are the same for different brands.For example PES format is mainly for Brother machines but is also read by some Bernina,Singer and Janome. Husqvarna Viking uses HUS and VIP, whilst Pfaff( which is owned by Husqvarna now) reads PCS (an older version) VIP and VP3.Bernina has various ART formats, but also reads EXP and some of them read PES. Singer mostly uses XXX.Janome use JEF,Sew,Jef+ and some PES. I believe there are also some other formats kicking around. Isn't it a shame that the various companies don't get together and do a "one format suits all" brand.

I have also just found out that my two embroidery machines ( a Bernina 200e and a Husqvarna Viking Designer 1),which I put designs on via flash drives,downloaded from my computer, do not like flash drives that are larger than 1Gb in storage capacity. I have had to especially order two new flash drives via Ebay from the USA, under 1Gb to use in my machines. Whilst the cost wasn't much, it was a nuisance. Apparently I can still plug each machine to my computer by the leads supplied and send them over directly, but I prefer to use the small drives. Usually my computer is downstairs and my sewing room is upstairs, so that would not work for me. I rang a number of sewing machine shops before I bought them on Ebay, and no-one had any for sale of a small capacity.

Next posting I wish to talk about using different iconiser and digitising programs to change formats on your computer.

Bye for now


Thursday, 2 June 2011

What Type of Wadding to use and latest update.

Hello everyone, I will be away for 10 days or so from 6th June.There will not be any phone, tv or internet coverage where I am going, so I wont be posting any updates during that time.I will certainly be going through "internet" withdrawals over that whole time. Isn't it amazing how much we take the internet for granted. My biggest problem is that I always have research I have to do for my Uni course and no coverage means some VERY late nights when I get home, catching up. Oh well, I will try to enjoy the time away with some hand sewing with a glass of wine, under a tree near the river.( With my winter thermals on, as it will be freezing there in mid W Queensland)

I would like today to talk about waddings, also known as battings. This is the internal layer of a quilt.
I mostly use Mini Jumbuck Nu-Wool, this is an Australian 60%wool, 40% polyester wadding made in Narracoote South Australia, by the South Australian Woollen Mills.Sometimes I will use 100% cotton wadding, but very rarely.Mostly, I use the cotton only for cot quilts.

I find the Nu-wool, which is pre-shrunk,mothproof,sanitised and washes very well in a machine, is the best wadding to use for most quilts and wall hangings. The thickness of the wadding does vary between batches. I buy a 30metre roll and sometimes it can be quite thick and other times is see-through. I suppose it depends on the sheep...This wadding does not hang as softly if used on a bed cover, but the advantages really outweigh that problem. With the quilting, a good quality wool wadding will show the quilt stitching as soft mounds of pattern. With a cotton wadding for example, you will see the lines of sewing but there will  be little or no "Loft".These little mountains of loft really make any quilt look magical, without detracting from the actual quilt. I prefer my quilts to have these lovely shapes.Some people prefer a very flat quilt and that is their choice. I encourage everyone to use the product that they are happiest with.
Some battings/waddings come with a "scrim" which is like a layer of mesh over the wadding. This scrim is there for a reason. One of my customers in the past washed her wadding( you dont need to) and the scrim came off in patches. She insisted I used it, but in hindsight I should have refused, as the wadding was very lumpy in patches.I am sure that quilt would have looked terrible after a few washes.Dont go to a lot of trouble to make a beautiful quilt and then spoil it with a cheap and nasty filling.

So, use what you like, but be guided by what your professional longarm quilter recommends. They, male or female, do a lot of quilts and therefore have a lot of experience with waddings etc,

Bye for now, I will write another update when I am back from Gayndah.

Join my email list (see below)and you will get automatic emails of all my postings. If you should need to ask me about any problem you have with quilting, sewing or machine embroidery, please do not hesitate to contact me. Click on the "My Embroideries" link and go through to my website and click on the "Contact Us" button to send me a message. I will try to answer as soon as possible, although if I am "out bush" it might be a while. Best regards,


Monday, 30 May 2011

Beautiful Painted Wooden Buttons

I have just purchased some wonderful wooden buttons. They are about 1" wide and are painted with lovely designs such as butterflies and all sorts of floral designs in different colours.

These buttons are ideal to put on your wonderful handmade items such as sewing companions and sewing cushions etc.I will be selling them via my website for $AU4.00 for a packet of 4, the same or a mixed set. Click through to my website if you are interested.

Pictures below.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Muslin is different in different countries and other news.

Hello everyone,

Didnt update this blog in the last few days as I spent a few days in hospital with a suspected blood clot. Am home and feeling fine now, awaiting further tests.

Celebrating today as I have just finished 2 more Uni modules.Hope I passed ok... they are the
last of level 1. Now I am on to Painting and Textiles.Can't wait to get to the textiles part.
Spent the day sorting out my paints and painting boards and tidying the sewing area ready to go.
I have decided that in between the Uni textile units I will ONLY do ufo's till the end of the year.( Now, don't laugh- I know you are all  rolling on the floor laughing..........).

As part of the requirments for one of the painting modules I had to have 1 metre of hessian and 1 metre of muslin.The hardware stores I rang did not carry any, which surprised me.I spent ages ringing fabric shops who had no idea where I could get it. I found the hessian at a farm supplies store As for the muslin, when I first started patchwork an American magazine said to buy muslin. Of course I went out and bought 3 metres of it. Before I used it, luckily, I found out that what is called muslin in America is called homespun here. It is just a plain woven cotton but much thicker weave than the muslin. Well, I have had it in my "stash" for about 10 years, and it will finally get used....(The muslin and hessian will be glued on to 12mm plywood boards for texture before painting with an undercoat).

I have also found out that muslin is a good base to use for machine needle felting, and in wet felting, which I am dying to try. I purchased a matchstick blind today, on special at Lincraft, was $29.95, today $7.49, so of course I had to add it to the supplies stash at that price. I will definitely have to get to the wet felting one of these days.

I have been reading up on it, and it is much easier to do than I had thought. Basically, you lay out a matchstick blind or a piece of bubble wrap, woollen(you cannot use synthetics) or other natural fibre pieces are laid over the blind (sometimes tulle is placed as the bottom and top layers to seperate the blind from the wool etc ), the blind keeps it all together .It is soaked and rubbed a bit with a very soapy water mix (lux flakes or some other soft soap) and then the blind is rolled up and bashed around, trodden on, rolled etc. It is undone gently several times to check no parts have doubled up and also to rotate the direction of it. I have shortened all the instructions, but you will get the general idea.

I have an embellisher machine that I bought about 3 years ago. I havent actually even turned it on to see if it works and the warranty would have run out by now... Apparently, if you use an embellisher machine,( or one of the sets of needles you can buy now), then you can use synthetic products as well as the natural ones. I have been saving bits of ribbons, tulle,old woollen jumpers,wool etc for a number of years now,just waiting to use it for one of these projects.

I have just finished the 4th "sewing lap cushion",(yes I know they are not a for friends birthday presents. The one shown in the blog has gone to a lovely lady in Burpengary on the north side of Brisbane.

Well, I think thats all the news for today, so I will sign off. Take care.