Monday, December 31, 2012

Bye 2012. Welcome 2013!

Reflecting on 2012 it was a year full of pleasures, thankfulness, and love. Oh sure it had some bumps and disappointments and mistakes (my life seems to have a lot of these) but all in all I’d have to say it was a very good year for me.

Some of the pleasures:
Jaden
I loved having my grandson Jaden in my life on an almost daily basis.
Watching him grow, and change is delightful. Seeing the looks of joy, fun, amusement and wonder; hearing his unique laugh; seeing how much fun he can get out of the simplest of things; all bring a smile to my face and warmth to my heart.
Mama Marilynn
 Watching my daughter get a deeper meaning of what being a mother is brings back memories of when I first became one. Her writings still enthrall me and I encourage you to visit her blog: Little Girl Dancing and read for yourself. They are simple writings that touch the heart and tug at heartstrings. If you have time leave some comments as all bloggers get encouraged by hearing when something they wrote touched someone else. And even though she has a full schedule with work, husband, child and friends she still finds time to do a lot for her parents. When she cooks she always makes extra and then delivers them to us. I told my husband he has his own personal meals on wheels!

Shayne
 I have to mention Shayne, my son-in-law, too because he always comes to the rescue when it comes to the house or car. I don’t tell him often enough but we sure do appreciate his being a part of our family. His mom and dad have become great friends too!

Samuel Kainoa
 And no I can’t overlook my son. His growth in so many of life’s areas has been amazing. He has always had it in his heart to help those less fortunate than himself. Now he does it on a much larger scale, feeding the homeless, encouraging the youth, freely giving of his time and energy, visiting and distributing shoes to orphans in Uganda, working with the people of Guatemala.

What joy my heart feels when I think on these things!

I’m thankful for all of this and for Facebook which allows me to be in touch with family and friends, both near and far, some who have always been in my life and some whom I’ve just recently reconnected with. It’s fun seeing your children and grandchildren, where you’ve been and where you’re at in life. 

I’m thankful for my quilt guild in Arlington and my former one in Hawaii, for the online stitchers, teachers, quilters, and crafters who share so willingly.

I’m thankful for Creekwood Church in Mansfield and the teaching of pastor Stephen Nutt. We are so fortunate to be able to attend the church of our choice and openly worship our Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ!

So now I bid 2012 farewell.

Welcome 2013! I have plans for you but don’t worry I had plans for 2012 too. Some worked out, some didn’t. I expect the same to be true with 2013 but I’m looking forward to getting started.


Happy New Year everyone and

Happy stitching!

Rose

Monday, November 12, 2012

Paper Embroidery Tip

Need to punch holes in paper for paper embroidery? I was doing this recently for the online class (An Embroiderer’s Ledger). The paper in my journal was quite thick and I was having difficulty getting the needle through. After nearly creasing the paper a few times I decided there must be a way to make this easier.

Small padded surface

I grabbed a small padded surface I had close by and put it behind my page. Now I could just push the needle through the paper into the padding. Worked great!

Black foam pad

I now use a piece of thick craft foam (from the children's craft section) for this process but a piece of dense foam, thick foamcore board, or a handmade padded surface would also work. A flat piece of Styrofoam would also do the trick. Of course some of these would begin to crumble or become unusable if you use it a lot.

And some of these would dull your needle faster so you may need to sharpen your needle every now and then. You could use one of my needle candies for this!

Happy Stitching!   Rose

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Finally Getting Started…

Workbook entry for Embroidery Ledger class

Several years ago something had happened (I don’t remember what) that made me begin to ask God to show me why I became so upset over criticism both good and bad. Didn’t seem to matter my blood would begin to boil. As I prayed, a day in my life came to mind, one which I had totally forgotten about, well at least conscientiously.

I was back in first grade. For some reason the school had decided to combine some first and second graders into one class. I think it was to be a combination class of some kind not two separate classes. I don’t think the teacher was too happy about it and was teaching us as two separate classes.

One day she told the first graders to color in their workbook while she worked with the second graders. I tried to get her attention but she told me to be quiet and start coloring. So I was obedient.

Well a little while later she came by my desk picked up my workbook and held it up to the class “Look what Rose did, she colored everything yellow.” Well of course the whole class, first and second graders laughed. I came from a rather large poor family. What they didn’t know was that was the only color I had that day and that is what I had been trying to tell the teacher when she hushed me.

I wanted to cry, I was so embarrassed. Since then I have been super sensitive to other’s reactions.

Once I realized what was the root of my feelings I was able to overcome my super sensitivity and accept and value the opinions of others.

I have been considering doing something with the color yellow ever since then. A body of work called “Look, she colored everything yellow!”. It will be at least a quilt, a collage, and an embroidery piece. I love the color yellow! So in the Embroiders Ledger Class that I have been taking I started a page based on the color yellow with only black and white added. I’m really enjoying how this project is turning out. It will definitely have an influence on the body of work I will do. Stay tuned as it progress.

Close up of workbook entry



Flowers

I’ve done the buttonhole wheel cup stitch. I like this stitch I’ve done it before in my Brazilian embroidery work. This time I just scribbled a few round lines and then did a yellow buttonhole wheel cup stitch in the center and a different colored one around the yellow ones. Then I finished off the line with a green buttonhole stitch. I considered doing the detached buttonhole with it also but decided not to since I still have two other stitches to complete in order to catch up.

Now I’m caught up! What a good feeling.

Leaves

The closed base detached needlewoven picot was fun to do. I can see this with a whole field of them. It took a while to do the really long ones but it was worth the effort.
Flags 

The open base detached needlewoven picot stitch first made me think of doing a lizard with the tongue as the stitch. I decided instead to try and make little flags. They came out okay except I would have liked the tips to be more pointed. When I did the first one I wasn’t too sure of how they would turn out but now that I’ve done the whole string of them I rather like them. I do love to weave!

Happy Stitching!
Rose

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Forced Hiatus

No posting on projects since July. What have I been doing? Well I’ve suffered from eye allergies since moving to Texas. It isn’t the eyes so much as the skin around the eyes. I tolerated it, used allergy medicine, tried cortisone like the doctor suggested and experienced some relief but then it became intolerable and infected. I could only focus on my close up work for brief periods. Finally I went to an eye doctor. She changed my prescription for eye pressure and gave me an antibiotic for clearing up the infection. My eyes became better but the antibiotic blurred my eyesight I could see okay to drive but still couldn’t do close up work. Then finally they were okay, I was back to normal. That is until it flared up again. Then my son requested prayer for me at a healing service and now I’m doing fine.

I did manage to help my daughter and her friend make some banners for a baby shower. That was a fun day and it reminded me how much I enjoy sharing my crafting knowledge with others.

Next it was getting busy for my grandson’s first birthday with a few more banners including a name one. Don’t the lions look cute!


And of course he had to have a birthday outfit. My daughter requested a onsie with a tie and suspenders. I used a pattern from WinterPeach to make it. Then I did a second one. Good thing too since the first one
got extremely dirty from the cake smashing!


Finally I got busy on the TAST 2012 stitches. Seems like I get caught up and then I’m behind by three. Sometimes they are done but I just haven’t photographed them. So here are the latest ones I’ve done. (I’m still behind by three and of course there is a new one this week so I really have four to do.)

Algerian Eye

This was a new stitch for me and a challenge as I wasn’t sure how I wanted to do it. If you’ve been following me you know I’m doing most of them using my continuous line scribble technique. But occasionally a stitch just doesn’t work in that mode. I had a piece of fabric that I had done a design on using the zentangle type concept. Outer borders plus strings were done but that was as far as I had gotten. Maybe I could do the Algerian Eye in those spaces. I did them with a black thread.


Then I tried to continue doing them with color but the black was being lost so I finally did the colors as a satin stitch. Using pearl cotton I did the yellow, blue, and then green. Oh that is color mixing! So I continued with that adding the red and purple. Now I needed a red-violet. It took a while to find the right red-violet color so that delayed the finishing. But I’m happy with the results.


Additional stitches completed:

Cast On

Drizzle
Pekinese
Linked Double Chain
Knotted Buttonhole
Sheaf


Pistil
Now off to try and catch up once again. I’ve enjoyed TAST2012 but I’m not sure if I’ll do all of 2013. It has introduced me to new stitches and gotten me to work with stitches I’ve known but not used very much in my work.
The intent was to expand my portfolio of stitches to use on my crazy quilts but now that project is way behind too! So I’d better get busy. I’ll keep you posted!





Happy Stitching!

Rose

Monday, October 22, 2012

Watercolors


While working on an online class assignment I had to mix watercolors. Now I’m not a watercolorist. I love watercolor and may someday take a class but for now it’s an inexpensive set of watercolors. I mixed my paints and got the colors I wanted for my samples to match my source.


When I later went to do some design work I had to mix the colors again. I realized I should have made some notes the first time. Problem was the set was not labeled. The color names were on the back of the label but they didn’t even seem to be in the same order as the paint colors. So here’s what I did:
 First a good photo of the paint set.


Then I loaded the photo into Photoshop, assigned a number to each color, and printed the results. (You could use any program that will allow you to type over the photo.)


Now as I mix I can make a notation such as 12+4+1. So the next time I need more of that color I know which ones to use. I also list the numbers in order of most used to least used. Now I know this isn’t exact and there are tools and books to guide you through all of this but I’m not at that stage yet.

Happy Stitching!   Rose

Monday, October 8, 2012

Introducing My BFF …


Well in the workroom that is! It’s my IPhone! Sorry should have said best helper rather than friend. Here’s why:
The Alarm – if I only want or can only spend say ½ hour on my project I can set the alarm to alert me when my time’s up.

The Stopwatch – if I want to track how long it takes me to do something I can use this tool. This is good because if I get interrupted I can pause it and resume it when I’m back on task.

The Apps – oh yes the apps that are available, some are free and some you have to purchase. I’ve already mentioned the Thread Tracker app I use. Here’s another good app called aNote (Awesome Note) for capturing ideas, organizing information and tracking projects plus a whole lot more. There are many more apps maybe some even better than the ones I’ve found.

Voice Memos – can’t forget this either. I’ve used it to capture a recipe someone is sharing (and I don’t have paper or can’t write fast enough!), record notes to myself as I’m working. Wish I would have remembered this one last night when I was mixing watercolor paints – lol!
And of course you can have music, surf the web, Oh wait! I forgot I should be working in my workroom.
OK back to work. Hopefully I’ll be back tomorrow with an update on my projects, until then …

Happy Stitching!

Rose

Sunday, July 29, 2012

For the Lefties


This week we were assigned the Oyster stitch. Despite the good instructions on Sharon’s website and the great video on Mary Corbet’s website I couldn’t get the hang of it. I tried all the normal tricks for left handed people like flipping the pictures or turning my laptop upside down but it just wasn’t working. I don’t remember how many times I ripped out my stitches and started again. Finally I took a long hard look at the pictures and started again. I decided that maybe I was going in the wrong direction so I switched the way I was working my scribble. Then I realized my twist wasn’t correct. It was twisted but the starting thread was on top and in looking at the pictures it should have been underneath the second leg of the chain. Of course I wasn’t trying to do single stitches either, I wanted to continue with my scribbles and so I needed to do it as a chain.
I finally got the hang of it and after doing quite a few of them I decided to take pictures of my steps. I’m sharing them here just in case there is another lefthander that is still struggling with this stitch. I really like the way it came out although they aren’t all perfect. But perfect is overrated right? 
Click on any photo to enlarge it for more detail.

Step one: 
Bring the thread to the front of  your work. If you are working a continuous line you only need to do this at the start and when you have to end a thread and start a new one. The only time you anchor the last step with a small stitch is to end a thread or when you have finished the line.

Step two:
Starting the twisted chain
Make the twisted chain. Place the needle a little to the left and down a thread or two from the starting thread. Bring it back up a short distance on your line. This will depend on how long you want the stitch to be.

Wrap the thread over and under the needle

With the thread to the right of the needle wrap the thread over and under the needle. Pull the needle through the fabric. 
Before tightening the stitch

Twisted chain stitch
This should be a twisted chain. Be sure the thread from the beginning of the stitch is underneath.

Step three:
Going under the starting thread
Now bring your needle up to and under the beginning thread. Do not go through the fabric. Check the direction of this stitch, the loop should be on the right of the stitches.








 Step four:

Step four
Next take the needle down into the fabric inside the loop still keeping to the right of the stitches and near the starting point. Bring the needle back out at the bottom of the stitches but not inside the loop.

Thread is now on the left of needle

The thread in the needle should now be on the left of the stitches, you can tighten the loop some but not too much.









Step five:
Loop the thread under the needle and pull the needle through to finish the stitch. If needed give the stitch a little tightening. Be sure not to pull it too tight.
Thread is looped under the needle
Finished stitch!

You are now ready to start the next stitch. If you are doing a line go to step two. If you want a single stitch anchor the last loop with a small stitch.

If this has helped you with this stitch I'd love to hear about it so leave me a comment!

And here's my finished TAST2012 Oyster stitch scribble!

Oyster Stitch Scribble

Happy Stitching!

Rose

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Some Updates



These are continuing and I’m doing my scribbles with them. The last three are:
Bonnet Stitch
Bonnet Stitch
This is an old stitch that is not too well known. I had never heard of it but I managed to do it. I thought I would have a difficult time with it but it actually went quite well.
Up and Down Buttonhole Stitch
 Up and Down Buttonhole Stitch
This was a little more difficult for me to get going on. I had to view a video of someone (Mary Corbet of needlenthread.com) working this stitch with my laptop upside down to get the left hand aspect of it. Worked it awhile before figuring out the best way to hold my hoop and work the stitch. Now I like it. Oh the joys of being left handed!
Basque Stitch
 Basque Stitch
I watched a video (Mary Corbet of needlenthread.com) for this stitch too. It actually went quite well. I left my scribble mark so you could see the way the stitch went around the sharper points. I only had one line not two lines to stitch between.

FLOSS BOBBINS
 In my last organizing post I talked about the plastic bobbins made to wind embroidery floss on. I said I preferred the DMC ones and I still do but I have to report this incident. I needed more floss boxes to store my floss bobbins in. So, I went in search of the larger boxes. I didn’t find any but at one of the craft stores I found the regular boxes at a good price and with 50 free bobbins included. They were being sold under the DMC brand so I thought great and bought a couple of boxes. Was I disappointed – the “free” bobbins were not the same as the nice DMC ones I had previously bought. 


These were in fact far worse than the other brand I had purchased. You can see in the photo (you may need to enlarge it) that they had all kinds of problems even the slots for anchoring the threads were bad. Tsk, tsk, DMC, maybe it would have been better if you had sent them back to the manufacturer as inferior quality rather than offer them to your customers as “free”. Now I’m nervous that they are dumping their high quality products for cheaply made ones. I hope not!!

EMBROIDERY HOOPS WITH SCREWS

New Oval Hoop
Oval Hoop with Plastic Cover
I recently found two new oval hoops. I prefer the oval shape when stitching as my hand can hold it better. These secured the fabric better than my wood ones and all I had to do to protect my threads from the screw is cut a longer piece of the plastic tubing. The only think about this style of hoop is the ridge on the inside ring. I would not leave my fabric in the hoop for very long. (You are should remove the fabric at the end of your stitching session anyway.) But it you stitch for a long period of time I would recommend releasing the fabric every now and again (30 minutes?). Sometimes though I set mine down to do something quick and don’t always get back to it like I had planned. I’ll let you know how it works – I will be damp stretching my work for sure.
Inside hoop

NEW PROJECT

Yes you read right, as if I didn’t have enough going on all ready! But I took another online class, what can I say the price was right! This one was from Big Picture Classes called “Happy Go Lucky Stitchalong “ taught by Amy Powers. We’ve been working on a grid of 25 1 and ½ inch squares using mainly six strands of floss. I’ve never worked that small and I’ve never used that many strands at once. So this was a new experience for me. I’ve only done 5 of my squares. I’ll post more about this project later.

Happy Stitching!

Rose

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Organizing is a Hard Word For Me!

Not in spelling or saying but in doing and maintaining. I have people around me who are good at organizing. The problem with that is they don’t always organize for the way I work. But something has to give. I know I would get a lot more done if I could only get to a more organized, less cluttered state. Now I’m not talking minimalist here just a somewhat state. Plus my grandson is crawling now and he knows “Tutu’s Room” is full of neat, interesting stuff. So I have to be able to at least close the door.

So I’m starting and I plan to share as I go along. Maybe you’ll be inspired by something I do. I’m starting small. I have a lot of different materials to organize, threads  (both sewing and needlework), yarns, beads, buttons, buttons, and more buttons, books and magazine, tools, just to name a few. So I’m attempting to clean off my sewing/work table. Next I’ll tackle my cutting table and then the floor. Yes the floor! In the process I’m going to investigate others methods of organizing and see what might work best for me. Staying flexible is a must here!
Floss
For the organizing I’m starting with my embroidery floss. Remember I said I’m starting small. I’ve attempted various solutions in the past.

Floss on Sewing Machine Bobbins
One time I started winding partial skeins of floss on empty sewing thread bobbins. I had discovered I was using the wrong type of bobbin in my machine. Unfortunately I had purchased a lot of them. So I thought this would be a good way of using them. Not so.  For one thing I did not know the brand or color number once the floss had been removed from their packaging. So I abandoned that idea. 





Floss Bags
I’ve also tried the plastic bags on a binder ring (too bulky and the bags deteriorate over time).








Floss Bobbins

 Another attempt was bobbins made for floss which could be stacked. Same problem as my sewing bobbins although these closed so that the floss didn’t unravel. 










DMC Thread Store Displays
Another way was the old DMC store displays (a wood box with drawers that were divided to hold individual colors of floss). I was fortunate to get three of these boxes when I worked for Walmart. These are not convenient for finding colors and the floss is not protected from dust, etc. I’ll use those for something else.They hold my cards of rickrack, binding, etc. just great. 
Another idea was to wind the floss on old wooden sewing spools but I have way too much floss for this to be a good storage solution. Although they do look cute as a d├ęcor item. So you can see I’ve tried a lot of different methods.



This is what I’ve decided to do: I’m using the little flat plastic floss bobbins and the number labels (DMC).
I’ll wind the floss on the bobbin and store it in a plastic box (or 2 or 3 or 4) made for these bobbins. First I will store them by number and later by color groups. By numbers first so that once I’m done I can check my IPhone app to make sure it is up to date and accurate. And then I’ll re-sort them by color because that is the way I work. If I ever need to find a color by number I can go to my app and look up the number, that will give me a color square and name so I know where to look for it.

Thread Tracker Logo
This app Is called Thread Tracker and is for DMC floss and lets me track how many I have of each color (or if I don’t own it) and I can add it to my buy list so I know which ones I need to buy. Also if I’m at the store and see that floss is on sale I can whip out my phone and check to see which colors I need or which ones I don’t have yet. They also have apps for other types of threads so it's worth visiting their site for more information about the apps including one called Thread Replacer.

I do have some floss that does not have the number and brand notation and some where the brand is no longer being made. I am winding these on some cardboard bobbins (I bought these before I found out how thin they were). I do not recommend getting the cardboard bobbins, there are two different brands of plastic bobbins that I’ve found. The DMC brand is thinner than the other so they will take up less space. Consider this if you have a lot of floss to store. Also the other brand I have has little burrs, spots where they were punched out. DMC ones have very smooth edges.

OK this is my floss storage and the beginning of my organization story. I still have ribbon for ribbon embroidery for which I’ll probably use the same method.  You can write the color and number on the bobbins. My thread for Brazilian embroidery which is a rayon thread will be stored in the floss bags for now. That leaves my metallic floss and specialty threads to store and organize. I think the bobbins will not work well for these threads. Any ideas?
How do you organize your threads?

Next I'll be working on my fabrics. Stay tuned!

Happy Stitching!

Rose

Happy Stitching!