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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

ems January International RR (Part II)

I am so relieved that I'm done with this. It really challenged me in every aspect of cross-stitching; right from the drawing board (well ok, from the graph paper) to this. There were days when I refused to pick up the square to stitch as I was just stumped - colour wise and design wise. The most difficult part was getting the facial expressions right. With deadline looming, I was left with no choice but to plod on. Gosh, I can sleep easy now.

This square represents the interesting mix of our different races comprising the ethnic Malays, Chinese and Indians that live harmoniously together, work together and celebrate an endless of festivals together - the very essence of unity. Here they are dressed in their national costumes - (L-R): cheongsam, sari and baju kebaya.

Patti's square
Theme: Friends Across the Miles

With only Heather's RR to go, we're heading for the home run!

Category: [cross stitch]

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Love At First Smock

It was love at first sight (hic
, smock) when I chanced upon this issue of the Australian Smocking & Embroidery some 9 years back. The dropwaist on the front cover beckoned me to "look at me, buy me and stitch me". I did all of the above even though I had zilch knowledge on smocking for I was so fired up to learn. I'd self-taught myself by following the step-by-step instructions in the magazine. Thank you, Country Bumpkin.

Of course, it would be too ambitious of me to start off with the dropwaist as my first project so I opted for an easier piece. This was what I had chosen; one that does not require pleating in its actual sense. Next on my agenda was to shop for the material. Sometimes you can't explain life's happenings. There I was window shopping at the then Yaohan at the Mall (next to Legend Hotel) when lo, I saw the exact material used in the magazine being sold at its handicraft section! Grapped it I did and once home, I immediately started on it. And voila, here it is... my very first smocked dress for my DD.

Confidence gained, I gave in to my whim. I had to smock the dropwaist next. This began the frenzy to contact Country Bumpkin so I can order a pleater. Reason being, I'm not about to do it my mother's way - manually placing dots row upon row on the material and do running stitches picking up the dots for pleats. At the same time, I took the opportunity to order most of the back issues. I was estatic when they finally arrived. They dined and slept with me for more than a week (frankly, they still do some nights). Next was material stashing. I'd landed with quantities that could keep me smocking till my next lifetime!

Given that the dropwaist would be a challenge, I hmm... made it 2-size bigger than DD in anticipation that it would take me ages to finish. Finished I did and all in good time too. New broom sweeps well mah. Tried it on DD but she looked frumpy. I didn't want to keep it till DD grows into it so I gritted my teeth and gave it to a colleague's daughter. As she's older and lankier, she should do justice to such a beautiful dress. Here... my second attempt at smocking but first at stitching bullions. (I would advise those who have never sewn a dress before not to attempt this for it would really test your skill and accuracy as the front bodice and sleeves were made up of separate panels joined together with lace).

I didn't have enough of a good thing so I took up a subscription when Country Bumpkin had an offer of 5 issues for the price of 4. You know how reliable our postal system is - I'd only received the first and the last issue of the subscription! I must thank the people at Country Bumpkin though as they did replace the missing issues but alas, it benefitted more people at the postal office. Grrr!!! Guess they couldn't resist the beautiful mags showing through the transparent plastic sealed bags they came in. All was not lost as I'd just to fork out more money by buying them at Cottage Patch. Since then, either Alice or Wai from Cottage Patch will give me a call each time a new issue arrives. I do feel the pinch with the Aussie Dollar being so high but who could resist such beautiful mags! Sigh... but hang on, some of the issues I have are deemed as rare issues. They are being retailed as high as AUD60 per copy and I have about 10 of them!

More smocking came albeit at a snail pace and these are some of them:

Black sheep of the family: This dress here was not smocked but surface embroidered - Old MacDonald had a farm... I've had kids singing each time DD wore it. It also had me perfected my French knots as the sheep were all done with it. I'd had hours of pleasure in embroidering this and I foresee there might be a repeat of it when I'm a grandma. Lol.

DD is going on 13 this year and dresses (and boys, phew) are
taboo now. I have set aside smocking for the time being UNLESS my colleague who's pregnant with twins has girls. I'll know in November...

* click on photos to enlarge

Category: [smocking]

The End.