Sunday, August 26, 2018

What sewing tool do you carry everywhere and why?

Let's find out what sewing tool our teachers take with them everywhere.

Judith Adams:

Tapemeasure. So when out shopping I can measure clothes. My kids give me orders for shirts etc. when I am away so this way I can compare to ones I know fit.

Kathy Awender:

I always try to keep a measuring tape in with me. It has come in handy so many times for so many reasons.

Jeannie Baumeister:

My most favorite stitching tool (besides scissors and needle of course) is the Thimble. I carry it with me for any type of sewing.  I don't know how anyone stitches without one.  It makes your stitching so much faster.  I think everyone should use one.  If you learned to use a fork….you can learn to use a thimble!

Tess Ellenwood:

Scissors.  You never know when you’ll need to cut something. I once got stopped at a security check with six pair of scissors (dress shears, not little thread snips) in my purse. The officer knew there was something wrong with me; but back then, scissors weren’t against the rules, so they let me go. I had been teaching a class at lunch.  You can never have too many scissors.  My name is probably still on a list somewhere.


Cindy Foose:

I am never without my sharp-pointed embroidery scissors. The crown jewel of a stitcher’s treasure chest is a fine pair of scissors sheathed in a pretty case. Actually, I usually have a couple of different kinds of scissors at the ready. Why? Snipping close and with precision is paramount for many finishing techniques.

Susan O’Conner:

Well I can’t say scissors as you still can’t carry those on Australian domestic flights so I would have to say a needle.

Vaune Pierce:

A 6 inch ruler and a pair of small embroidery scissors.  Because you never know when you are going to need them.  The craziest place that I had to make use of them (the scissors) was when I was boating on Shaver Lake with some girlfriends.  We had stopped the boat near the beach and spent the afternoon chatting and (of course) eating.  When it was time to leave, we realized that the anchor rope got caught in the propeller and we had to go underwater and cut the rope a little bit at a time so we could free the propeller to get home.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Quilting British Soldiers

Quilts from the 19th Century are fairly commonplace both in the USA and UK, but there are some quilts that have a mystery about them, like the quilts once believed to have been the work of recovering soldiers, stitched in a far off corner of the British Empire.

It was said that the fabric for the quilts came from the uniforms of fallen comrades (a way to remember them) and the skills from the occupational therapy received in the clean environment of the well-maintained army hospitals. The quilts have been referred to a 'convalescence quilts', showing that the injured soldiers of Queen Victoria were well looked after.

That is what the story used to be, but after further investigation, Annette Gero, an international quilt historian has found out the real story behind the quilts. It is not know who actually made each quilt, apart from the fact they were, indeed, soldiers, but why or what they were used for and how they had the skill nobody really knows.

The quilts were made using many tiny squares and triangles of thick woolen of military uniforms in rich primary colours. Sometimes a hem or buttonhole and outline of pocket can be found. Whether the material is from scraps left by the military tailor or they are from discarded uniforms we do not know.The quilts are geometrical and stitched together with whip stitch. No two have been found with the same design, making it less likely that they were the product of occupational therapy. Some are crude while others are very complicated- the work of a professional, such as the military tailor. Some are from the Crimean War (more drab fabrics, less bright) while others are from time served in Indian (colourful and brighter).

There is evidence that injured soldiers did stitch in their beds as paintings from the time show this, but they also show the patient in a clean, well ordered environment, something totally different from the truth. The paintings were to reassure the public the that the troops received good care. Conditions in the areas where the fighting was, such as the Crimea, South Africa and India were far less sanitary and soldiers often died from infections due to the poor conditions.

There is also no evidence that the fabric came from the clothing of fallen soldiers as none of the quilts show the signs of having distressed fabrics in them. They are too clean to have been made from cloth retrieved from the battle fields. If they were made by bed ridden soldiers they would have to have been taught by the military tailors and supervised.

It is more likely that the quilts were made by soldiers who were bored and needed something to do when not off fighting. The only choices were drinking and gambling after drill practice, which in India took place in the early morning and evening due to the heat. Although that doesn't explain where the skill to make the quilts came from as most men could sew very little. They were supplied with a 'housewife' (hussif) sewing pouch with needles and thread, but to make such wonderful quilts they would have needed to be taught. It might be that they did receive some training to help relieve the boredom and keep the drinking and gambling to a minimum as

idleness was thought to lead to disobedience-not a good thing in your fighting troops.

Unfortunately it is the story of the wounded, recovering soldiers used for propaganda that is documented rather than the real story of the men who actually made the quilts.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

What is the biggest enemy to your creativity?

So today we find out what it is that hinders our teachers in their design work.

Judith Adams:

Probably time. Design Show used to force me to create a special garment each year as I felt it was both a wonderful opportunity and it was a tangible way for me to support SAGA. This year felt very strange as I did not have the panic of creating a garment in perhaps the month before I left for Convention! And this year was the only year I had actually planned what to do 12 months before and designed it in my head after buying a heavily embroidered ribbon at the Houston Quilt Show. The dress with the smocking echoing the design on the ribbon-,that would in turn be the sash looked wonderful in my head! Perhaps another year!

Kathy Awender:

Time. There are so many things I want to stitch, and I keep adding to the list, but I never seem to have enough time to catch up.

Tess Ellenwood:

House work!

Cindy Foose:

Housework and the computer. Dust, dirty dishes, and laundry all work in tandem to stymie my creative efforts along with the time-gobbling gremlins of email, Pinterest, Facebook, online videos and an occasional game of Candy Crush.

Susan O’Conner:

Not enough time.

Vaune Pierce:

My biggest enemy to my creativity is not having enough time, as I am sure we all can relate!  When I am designing something, I usually have the basic idea at the beginning, but as I work on it, my best creative work comes as I am sleeping.  The ideas that I get when I am sleeping are what make my designs go from good to great, at least in my eyes. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

SAGANews Volume 39 Issue 3 is in the mail!

The latest issue of SAGANews is in the mail and this is the cover to look out for.

If you really can't wait for it to arrive then you can view and download the PDF version from the SAGA website (, but remember you have to be a SAGA member to receive the magazine and to be able to access it online!

Friday, August 3, 2018

SAGA Feather Stitch Video

Another SAGA tutorial video has been released to YouTube!

This one is Susan O'Connor demonstrating Feather Stitch. So if you have ever wanted to learn this beautiful stitch often found on baby garments and bonnets, then follow the link to the You Tube video!