Monday, July 13, 2015

OK It's Monday Night Time for a Tip

Recently I've been working on this little project.
Sunflower applique
I finished doing the leaves and petals and am about to do the center. As I looked at it I realized the fabric I had originally intended to use for the center just wasn't working for me. It seemed too busy.
So I selected a few other choices from my stash but was having a hard time deciding what to use. So I thought it would be a good idea to make a color copy of my work and also a second copy of the black and white pattern I had been using. With those in hand I thought I could cut the middle section from the black and white paper and use it as a guide for cutting out the center of the color copy of my work. Then I could audition fabrics until I found one I liked.
Well because I also make a lot of fabric yo yos I could have just cut the circles from the fabric and made yo yos from the ones I didn't use. But then not everyone likes to make those and I thought this would make a great idea for my Monday night blog post. So here are some photos to show the results. (Sorry the photos are not that great but I think you will get the idea.)
Photocopies of the project and pattern
Original fabric choice
Fabric is too light
Color doesn't seem right
Fabric is a little bit better
Planning to use this one because I want it to be dark.
So there is where I'm at. I think I may look through my stash for some more dark browns to try. I definitely want a dark brown.
I could also have just scanned the fabric in and used my computer to try out different ones but I didn't have my computer with me so I did it this way.
Happy Monday

Friday, July 10, 2015

Just Another Friday Post At Long Last

It’s Friday Again! Let’s Move It Forward and Finish It.
Oh hello there!
I haven’t been around blog land for some time now. Some of you know I’ve been going through some different seasons in my life and well blogging just got moved aside. But I’m back!
Seasons have different phases and this season is no different. From caring intensely for a loved one to losing that loved one to a better world to trying to find where I want and where I need to be, this has been a trying season. I’m not sure where my writing will lead. I may even start a new blog, a new page so to speak. But for now I think I will just try and get back into the habit of blogging.
So since it is Friday here’s where I’m at stitching wise. I haven’t finished anything but I have moved forward on a few items. Funny when I started my Finish It Friday posts based on words of wisdom my paternal grandmother imparted to her family (see this post) I thought I was being different. I almost wrote unique but really is anything really unique? Since then I have found other bloggers who have being doing a Finish It Friday style post for years.
Well back to mine. I didn’t do any stitching for about 3-4 months. Why? I don’t really know. But I finally did get back to picking up needle and thread. Hand-stitching is my focus right now because my sewing space is in a mess due to reorganizing and relocating it. My machine is not set up so I can only move things forward to a certain point until I need to sew on the machine.
I took a workshop class through my quilt guild on back-basting applique taught by Barbara Eikmeier. I pulled it out and started working on the class project a little bit at a time. (Well I’m trying to do my 15 minutes a day method but some days I don’t manage any stitching and other days I’m at it for an hour or more.) Here it is in process.
Sunflower Applique
Today I will finish appliqueing the petals down. Next will be the center and then some embellishment. You might notice in the lower right hand corner that I have a little challenge. When I was adding the border applique I cut it in the wrong place and so I have a little dip that should not be there. What will I do? The choices are:
  1. Leave it
  2. Cover it up with some embellishment/applique
  3. Un-stitch it and redo it
What will I do? Stay tuned to find out.
Summer Hexagon Wall Hanging
Next up is my Summer Hexagon Wall Hanging. This I started a few years ago with embroidery designs from Wild Olive to which I made my own changes. I’ve now finished sewing the hexagons together and will be layering it with batting and a backing and then hand quilting.
Hand Embroidered Doll Faces
Oh yes and I’ve embroidered some more doll faces. Just need to rework the body pattern, cut and sew.
Shashiko and Butterflies Wall Hanging
While moving things around in my sewing room I came across a piece I had started when I still lived on the Big Island of Hawaii. I’ve decided to continue on with it since it requires some handwork. I’ve debated back and forth about the butterflies. Should I embroider them or should I applique them as the pattern called for? When I took it out to look at I was surprised to see that I had started to back-baste the pieces down just like the workshop instructor I mentioned above taught. I know the original instructor for this piece had us using a different applique method. How did I get started back-basting it in Hawaii? I don’t know. But I’m moving forward with it.

Until then,
Happy Moving Forward and Finishing!


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Long Overdue Recap of WWW!

Wow the last WWW (What I’m Working On Wednesday) was in January and here March is coming to an end. Where does the time go?
Ok so I mentioned back then the Quilters’ Guild of Arlington’s postcard for the annual festival of quilts show. Done:

Then I mentioned crocheting drink cozies for the “Meet Samantha” party. Here are the photos of the drink cozies, the mini crochet dresses and some bunting made for the party:

The cloud and hearts mobile for her room still isn’t finished (just need to go over the hoop with another coat of white paint). Now how hard can that be. Not hard at all, just have to remember to do it!

About the fingerless gloves I had listed as a FIF project, they really did get done and turned over to my son to use.

At that same FIF I had mentioned some smaller microwavable fabric bowls. They were finished and the whole set was given as a gift.

So what else have I been up to? Well I made myself a needlework pillow to support my hands and arms when I’m hand stitching. Where’s the photo you ask? Well I left it where my stitching group meets so I will have to wait until I get it back this Thursday. I’m really pleased with it!

I finally got some headpieces finished for my granddaughter and a friend. Similar ones are being listed in my Etsy shop

Oh and I’ve also finally finished the little embroidered pendants and listed them in my shop also.

Recently I took a class on back basted needle turned applique. So I’m practicing that technique.

And I almost forgot the Wounded Warrior Quilt. I’ve finished piecing it together and will give it to a longarm quilter this week. I’m attending a retreat this week and will try and get a good picture of it while I’m there.
And I’m slowly (very slowly) getting my workroom back to some sort of order. And I think that’s enough for now, although I feel like I’m forgetting something!

Happy Stitching (on Wednesday and every other day)!


Monday, March 23, 2015

Just Bobbing Along

Homemade Bobbin Holder 
A long, long time ago I asked my husband to make me something to keep my sewing bobbins on. I had a lot of them and they were always getting tangled up because I kept them in a drawer or on my sewing table. I had purchased one of those blue bobbin keepers but I had way more bobbins than it could hold. So he put his creative head to the task and made me a holder for many, many bobbins. More bobbins than I had and then he bought me more bobbins. I used to do a lot of sewing with different colored threads so they came in handy.

Then a long time ago I found out I was using the wrong bobbin in my sewing machine so I bought some more bobbins of the correct size. But I had all of these already filled bobbins and couldn’t bring myself to waste them or the thread that was wound on them. So I carried them from home to home.

Bobbin Holder Hanging on Pegboard
When we put up pegboards in my sewing room in Texas I hung my thread racks and then figured out a way to hang the bobbin rack my husband had made for me.
Recently I was packing up a “to go” project (in this case it was making fabric yoyos or Suffolk puffs). I was adding thread spools to my small carry case and thought there should be a better way because the spools took up a lot of room. Then I spied my incorrect bobbins with thread on them. Perfect I thought I’ll start using that thread up. 
Bobbins with little thread, poorly wound thread, and wrong size
Then I realized I had some correct bobbins that only had a little bit of thread left on them. Now you know if you use those in your machine sure enough you will run out of thread before you finish sewing the seam. Ok I can use those up too! And then there is the few where the bobbin didn’t wind properly. Add those to the mix.
But I didn’t want to just put the bobbins in with the yoyos because the thread would just get all tangled up. What to do? Remember that blue bobbin keep I mentioned earlier? Perfect.
Blue bobbin keeper with threads
Now I’m making use of the bobbins and thread and the blue bobbin keeper.
What will happen though to all the empty spindles on the tool my husband made me? Well as you can see by my photos small spools of thread fit on them nicely.

Happy Bobbing Along!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Why I Keep Blue Painters Tape in my Sewing Room

 Aha you thought I forgot about my blog!
Not so. I check it every now and then and think “you know I really need to start posting more often”. Well here I go again and since it is Monday and that means hints and tips here goes.
I started making a project that required layering the top fabric, batting, and a piece of muslin. Does that sound like a quilt? Well not exactly. The pieces were only 18 inches square but they did need to be quilted. But the quilting needed was only 4 inches apart. I really didn’t want to mark my lines with anything other than my trusty Jergens soap sliver. Won’t go into all the reasons why here but I didn’t want to wash the square before I completed the project and washing it after was possible but not likely to happen. Only problem was I couldn’t find my soap sliver. Ok now what. I have a quilting guide that might help if only I could find it. Does that sound like someone needs to do some serious cleaning and organizing? Not going to happen right now I want this project done. Well I did find the guide but it wasn’t going to give me the 4 inch spacing the pattern called for. Now what to do? And then I spied my handy roll of blue painter’s tape.

Using blue painters tape to mark stitching lines
That will work just lay it down straight and stitch along the edge. Worked like a charm. Just watch which side of the tape to stitch along to get the desired spacing. I was done in no time.
And I won’t waste the tape. It won’t be thrown out until I’ve filled it up with stray threads. Yup it does double duty as a thread catcher. You can also write notes on it. I have a piece stuck to my machine right now to remind me what settings I need on my machine to do my ¼ seams.
Okay I’m planning to come back on Wednesday with some photos etc. of what I’ve been working on lately including this project (which is now finished).

Happy Crafting!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Starting and Stopping

It’s Friday Again! Let’s Move It Forward and Finish It.
Last Friday I had every intention of getting a few things finished. That didn’t happen. Some were moved forward but nothing was finished. I will say in my defense though that this little girl has my priority. 
Fast asleep on Tutu Rose

So a lot depends on her and how much she sleeps. When she’s awake and not being fed we are playing and talking together. Not that you would understand our conversations because they are in baby speak but she and I understand each other. We have a lot of great conversations!
So here’s the plan:
Last week I intended to finish these items:
Fingerless gloves. 
Fingerlss Gloves

I started knitting these in response to a request from my son. They just need to be stitched up along the edges. Not a real time consuming task really. You can read about this request in an earlier post.

Bowls being quilted

Microwavable Fabric Bowls. Okay so I showed a set of these that I had finished in an earlier post. Well at the time I started those I also cut out three more of the smaller ones to be able to give a set of four. Last week I intended to get these smaller pieces quilted. Well I did that and then assembled them and all I have left to do is press and top stitch them. Almost done!

The other item was some knickers for the rag doll who is waiting to get dressed. 
So this is where I am at now:
Still need to do the fingerless gloves, finish the small fabric bowls and the knickers. But I also want to finish some work I started this week.

First Cupcake Hat
Cupcake Hat

I made a hat for Samantha when she was first born but she didn’t get to wear it much because it was a little small for her. So I started another one. It needs a cherry yet and the ends tucked in but I have a mistake on it which I will correct first. Just waiting for her arrival so I can check to see how it fits her. I’m also making some slippers for her using the same yarn.

New Cupcake Hat

Rag Doll
Second Rag Doll Face

I started another doll face. All it needs is some more eyelashes and then she will be ready for damp stretching. After that I need to make a modified pattern for her body and arms. And I have another face ready to be embroidered. This one will be blue eyes and reddish brown brows and lashes. Trying to decide if I want to stay with the red lips or try out some pink ones.

Today I will be watching my granddaughter Samantha so some of my progress will depend on how much she sleeps today. When she’s awake she has my full attention!
Oh yes and I did clean my cutting table and set it on bed risers to make it easier to cut without having to bend over. But alas it once again needs to be cleaned off.
If I don’t make it back today with an update I will try and do one tomorrow.
Until then,
Happy Moving Forward and Finishing!


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Fabric Bowls are Done!

Well I didn't get back in here yesterday but the Microwaveable Fabric Bowls did get finished! But not the doll or the cleaning. No surprise there.
Fabric Bowls
What I like about these bowls especially the smallest one is that they work for cold food too. Think a bowl of ice cream without getting cold fingers!
I'm still experimenting with the making of these and I'll share some tips and tricks later on one of my Monday posts.

Done is a good four letter word!

Friday, January 16, 2015

It’s Friday Again! Let’s Move It Forward and Finish It.

Today I will be watching my granddaughter Samantha so some of my progress will depend on how much she sleeps today. When she’s awake she has my full attention!
For today I’ve decided to try and finish something I started just before Christmas. Microwaveable Fabric Bowls.

Small Microwavable Fabric Bowl
I made a few to test the process and see if I liked them and then I started another set to give as a gift. The project got waylaid and so now I’m back working on it. I’m trying to streamline the process and make it a little easier but so far I haven’t really done much. I did decide to do a little more quilting on these. The test ones I made just had stitching from corner to opposite corner. The pattern said that was all that was really needed but after I washed them I felt that more quilting would be better. The finished blue one had quilting in both directions and it has been washed. The rest are just having diagonal quilting as I want to see the difference, trying to decide how much quilting is needed. You could also free motion quilt and I might try that on another set. That would be a good way to practice the technique.
Bowls in process
The other thing I would like to try and work on today is my rag doll. Either her hair or some clothes to wear.
Rag Doll waiting for hair and clothes

Hope to be back later with a photo or two.
Oh yes and I have to pick an area to order, clean, and organize. That just might be my cutting table as I need it to work on my Saturday projects.
Until then,
Happy Moving Forward and Finishing!


Monday, January 12, 2015

It’s Monday and I have a tip for you!

Well that is if you are in to crocheting or knitting hats with earflaps that needs braids. I was making one of these for my granddaughter this December.
Grandson wearing reindeer hat I made him
The first one came out a little too small and the second one was a little too big but that’s okay because she will be able to use it at the end of this year too! Then I made a third one for a friend’s daughter.
Many strands are needed for the braid
While working on them I struggled with the yarn for the braids, I think I used a crochet hook the first time to pull the yarn lengths through the opening in the crochet. Then I thought there must be an easier, faster way of doing this. I considered using a yarn needle or some form of large eyed blunt needle but I still wouldn’t be able to pull all 12 strands (three of each of four colors) through at the same time. What to do?
Then I remembered I had purchased these:
Floss Threaders to the rescue
I planned to use them for something else (I think it had to do with threading needles) that didn’t work out. But I thought they would be perfect for the task at hand. And they worked!
I love when I can take something intended for another purpose (in this case cleaning teeth) and use it for something entirely different. Has this ever happened to you?

Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

WWW Where Do I Start?

Should I just do a recap of what I’ve been up to since October 15, 2014? What? October 2014! Ok so I’ve posted some things in my FIF posts so I won’t bore you with those again but I have done some things during the holiday season that I will share with you.

First I worked at getting the bookmark for our 2015 quilt guild meetings designed and printed. I’m happy with the results. 

Me taking photos
I also took photos of the donation quilt that will be for the guild’s 2015 season. I needed photos for the postcard I create for the quilt guild’s annual festival of quilts show. When I get those I will post a picture of the front and back.

Besides working on those I crocheted 20 drink cozies for the “Meet Samantha” party. I thought I took a photo of them being used but I can’t find it so I will have to do with this shot.

Pink, Grey, White Drink Cozies
This was in addition to the 24 mini crochet dresses I showed in an earlier post. And then I put together some bunting/pennants/banners things for the party. These will be used to decorate Samantha’s room.

Flags getting ready to string together
 Oh that reminds me I made a cloud and hearts mobile for her room too (well that’s not completely finished but close!). And again, no photo.

In addition to all of that I managed to get the final blocks for the 2014 block exchange at our guild finished.
Christmas block

Civil War Reproduction Block
 Then my son asked me to make some finger-less gloves for the homeless they planned to feed on Christmas day. Well he asked for knitted ones like I had made as a gift for him last year but when I started I discovered it would take too long (this was a last minute request). Plus my right hand is not taking too great of a liking to my marathon knitting or crocheting. In the meantime my son and friends felt led to do a much larger scale meal for a low income housing unit. So he really needed more than 10. I got the bright idea to use fleece and so I made 40 sets of fingerless gloves for him to give away.
Some of the fleece finger-less gloves
 And let’s not forget there is the doll I’ve been working on. I have another one of those ready to embroidery the face and I’ve been playing with hair on the original one.

One other thing I started was some fabric microwave bowls. The test ones are okay but when I washed them they didn’t look as great as they did when they were first sewn. I’m still experimenting with the size for these. I did make one that is great to hold my small bowl of ice cream so I don’t freeze my fingers off. So they are good for other things than just the microwave. I’ll share more about those on another day.
Reindeer hats being worked on

Oh yes and I made some of these hats but I will share more about those on one of my Monday tips post.

Okay that’s enough I think to show I really have been working.

Happy Stitching (on Wednesday and every other day)!