Friday, February 1, 2019

I did it! 30 Daily Stitch Meditations!

The first 30 Stitch Meditations for 2019

Here’s a look at all of them. I’m going to explore with you some of hat them in more depth as we go along. Some I like more than others; some have taught me valuable lessons about myself and my style. But the first ones I’m going to cover are these.
Recently a friend was giving away strips of fabric she wanted to get rid of. They had been decorated by students at a workshop she taught. I took 3 of her strips but had no idea why.
Then I started researching an idea I had to see if anyone else was doing it. Well you know what happens online in places like google; Pinterest; Flickr and the likes. Rabbit holes are all over the place! I stumbled on this technique and realized that was what was going on with those fabric strips.
About the same time I came across the Stitch Meditation group on Facebook. I joined in and started creating little mini fabric collages which became a perfect place to use pieces of the strips. I’ve indicated where the strip was used on each piece.
First up are the “whole cloth” ones, only stitches were added to these and sometimes some buttons and lace. 
One took on the appearance of a fan.
Fan shape with lace trim
Another one had faces looking out at me. 
Faces one side view one straight on

One spoke to me of a summer cloudburst. 
Summer cloudburst over the hills

And then there was just stitches wandering around buttons and space.
Stitches and buttons wandering around

Placed with other fabric they blended in sometimes just a square in the middle,
Square in the middle
sometimes most of the middle,
Most of the middle section
or on the left side.
On the left side
One even joined with a piece of felt leftover from a stitching project my 4 year old granddaughter and I made.
A piece of felt and lots of stitching

Now back to the rabbit hole:
The process is simply using pre-washed fabric, rubbing alcohol and Sharpie pens. You can do it flat or place the fabric over a jar or some type of container and then use rubber bands to hold the fabric in place.
You color the fabric with two or three markers and then spritz it with a little rubbing alcohol or use an eye dropper to drop the rubbing alcohol onto the colored area. Then be patient and watch the magic happen. The color will start to spread. You can add more rubbing alcohol if desired or wait for the fabric to dry (takes just minutes) and then add more color and/or rubbing alcohol.
Some Sharpies will not work; like the ones made for fabric or the fast drying ones.
This process requires experimentation, patience, and imagination. The fabric should be heat set with an iron for 5 minutes (keep moving the iron to keep from scorching the fabric and use a press cloth), or it can be placed in a dryer.
It is best to use this fabric where it will not require washing.


Monday, January 21, 2019

Too Practical? Maybe

Okay so now here’s an idea for those of you who use a sewing machine. Remember I warned you that some of my tips may be out there. This one may be going a little too practical.
You know it’s recommended that when you go to change your thread that you snip the thread up by the spool and then pull the loose thread out through the needle. If you pull the thread back through the machine thread lint gets into the machine. Not good. Now if you rarely change your thread like only when the spool is empty or nearly so – no problem. But if you change colors a lot like I was doing recently it seems like a waste of thread to do it the correct way. Do I just throw it away? Chop it up for the birds? Wad it up and store it somewhere – say in a baggie – until an art piece comes along where I can use it? All good ideas but then another one hit me.
I make a lot of yoyo’s, sew on buttons, and hand stitch stuffed things closed, etc. I looked at the length of thread snipped off when changing threads and realized that it’s about the length I use for hand sewing. What if I kept a few empty hand sewing needles near my machine? I could thread them with my snipped off thread and I would be ready to go next time I needed to do some hand sewing.
Thread Saver and Needle Safe

I double the thread and knot it with a single knot at the very end. If I want to sew with a single thread I just cut off the knot and re-knot one end.
Storage for me wasn’t a problem as I keep a needle safe loaded and ready for yoyo making. But I didn’t want to clutter up my sewing area any more than it already is, so I added a piece of felt around an empty spool and stuck my needles there. When I get several threaded I’ll add them to the needle safe and reload my felt with empty needles.
You could also put the felt around an empty medicine container and that way the inside of the container could hold broken, damaged, used needles and pins.
Felt and Empty Medicine Container with Needles

Enjoy stitching!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Well, Well, Well,

It’s Monday night and I have a tip for you. Well that is if you are doing French knots. Talking embroidery here.
I frequently use a lap pillow when I’m doing handwork to support my hands and wrists. 
Lap Pillow for Handwork

But when I started doing the daily Stitch Meditations I grabbed one of my small block/applique holders to contain the small pieces I was working with. These holders are just made from the purple insulation boards or foam-core boards that are then covered with either batting, felt, or flannel. I made these many years ago when my son helped me put up my design walls. We have small pieces of the purple board left over so I covered them and used duct tape (the fancier kind) to hold the fabric down and to neaten up the edges of the boards. 

You can see I have several sizes.
So one day while I was using the smaller one, I started making French knots and just happened to stick my needle into the board. The board held the needle while I tightened up my thread before I pulled the needle and thread all the way through. I found that I could even lift the knot and fabric up to the top of the needle before removing it from the board. This made for some much neater knots and more consistent knots.

Needle stuck in board while making French Knot

Pulling the thread taut for the knot

Knot ready to be finished

The finished knot:
Completed French Knot

Now if you are wanting the looser, sloppier knots this probably won’t help much. But I’ve found myself using this method more and more. I may even modify the pillow pattern to put a pocket on the bottom to hold the small board so I have it when I stitch other places than home.

And that’s my tip for today. I’m not sure I will have a new tip every Monday (some of them may seem a little far-fetched I guess) but you can always search my blog for some of my older ones.

Happy French knots!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Finish It Friday Is Back!

Well technically Finish It Friday is to be something I finish on Friday. This kinda is since it is Stitch Meditations for Week One 2019-
I'm actually planning on posting these every seven days so I am a little late with the first seven for 2019.
So here they are:
Fabric samples from long ago plus some old variegated threads

Background fabric hand marbled by my son 30 years ago, dk pink scrap left after cutting out petal for an applique rose design. Looked like a footprint to me!

Scraps of fabric and a couple of buttons.

Background fabric was cut from a piece of Sharpie/rubbing alcohol treated fabric gifted to me. My son mentioned a fan I had when he was a kid and this piece turned into a fan with a little stitching and some lace.

Scraps of random fabric stitched together, some more of the Sharpie/rubbing alcohol fabric plus two commercial fabrics. This is one of my most favorite works so far. So much so that I scooped up what little fabric I had of these and stored them away for a future small art quilt I want to make.

Just some scraps of fabric, a yoyo someone else made and a button tied together with some sweet light pink thread.

Scraps of fabric and two buttons. Love the slightly bohemian look of this one.


Tuesday, January 1, 2019


And welcome back to my blog! I haven’t been blogging for quite awhile but it is something I enjoy doing so I’m going to give it a go again.
Enjoyment comes from writing down ideas, projects, thoughts, hints and tips and whatever else comes along. I don’t know how many posts I’ve written in my head but never but down to keystrokes or even handwriting. It’s time to get it out of my head and down where someone else can read it and maybe be blessed by it. But even if that doesn’t happen it is good for me to be able to look back on what I have accomplished. So here goes.
Lately I’ve been thinking of a new way to increase my income (if you are on a fixed income you probably understand the need to at least consider). In doing some research I came across a group on Facebook called Stitch Meditation. I decided to give it a go and am actually enjoying it. The basics of it are simple just spend 15-30 minutes a day hand stitching. Now I’ve done that in the past with my embroidery just to get me to finish things. It worked quite well and so it is doable for me.
There are no real rules to it – well really only one rule – you are not to take out any stitches you make. Not even the un-perfect ones. And I’m okay with that because I think those are the ones that make the piece uniquely yours. We are encouraged to stick to a small format –
About 4X4 inches although some are working on much larger pieces. Another encouragement is to spend no more than 3-5 minutes getting you pieces of fabric, threads, trims, etc. together. Many of us are setting up small “kits” ready to start stitching.
I worked up 17 pieces doing one a day. One day I missed but that’s okay. I’m planning on trying to get 365 of these little collages done this year.
One of the questions I get asked is “what are you going to do with them?”. The short answer: Enjoy.
That’s my word for the year Enjoy.
I enjoy hand stitching.
I enjoy collage work.
I enjoy using up bits and pieces (and I have a lot of those!).
I enjoy sharing my work with others and encouraging and inspiring them.
I enjoy all of the likes, hearts, comments, and compliments I receive.
So for now I have no plans for them other than to take them out and enjoy them. I do have thoughts as to how to use some of them in the future.
For now just enjoy them along with me!

My first six stitch meditations
These are the pieces I made in 2018. I will post new ones here and on Facebook and elsewhere.
The Christmas Series
And the last for 2018

Keep on stitching (and collaging)!


Monday, February 19, 2018

Ribbons, Ribbons, Ribbons

It’s been over a year since I posted anything on my blog. This is like starting all over again. So here goes –
Mondays have always been dedicated to hints, tips, and tricks. This Monday I’m going to show you one of my storage ideas.
I have a lot of ribbon, I use ribbon but not every day. I’ve tried keeping them in various ways but nothing seemed to be working for me. I tried ribbon racks, ribbon bars, putting them in various containers, etc., etc., etc., you get the picture.
They just kept getting jumbled up or the ribbon would spin off the spool.
Container of empty spools
Then I ordered some acid free cardboard that are 6X6 inches and I found a container that they would fit into.
I removed the ribbon from the spools they came on and wound the ribbon onto the cardboard keeping them organized by color.
Imagine my surprise when I saw the end result. 
Side by side containers for ribbons
The empty spools take up a lot of room (I should have taken a picture of the big container they resided in before I started this project). All the ribbon from these spools fit into the small container. 
View of all the ribbons
And the best part is I just remove the lid from the new container and I can see exactly what I have. No more digging around in the spools looking for the one I want. I have room for more cardboard in this first container and I will add more ribbon to it as I come across them while I am cleaning and organizing.

Keep on stitching (and organizing)!


Thursday, January 26, 2017

From a Child’s Mouth

So yesterday I spent most of the day with my grandchildren at my daughter’s house. While I was there my five year old grandson wanted me to put a certain program on their TV. Now they have at least three controls that operate their equipment and each is different and none of them worked the same as the controls I use at home. And although I am up in years I have a lot of background in computers and such, so it's not my lack of ability to understand but I just never paid too much attention when his mother explained their different controls and what each one was used for.

So I wasn’t having much success in filling his request and he was getting impatient and I was getting frustrated. So in frustration I just said “I don’t understand how these work, you’ll just have to wait until your mother can help us”.
 So from there this is the conversation between the two of us:

Him: Well why not? You’re an adult you should know everything.
Me: Yes I am an adult and I know more than a child but I don’t know everything.
Him: Oh, like I know more than Samantha (his two year old sister).
Me: That’s right.
Him: And Samantha knows more than baby Dean (Dean is a 4 month old baby who my daughter and her husband have welcomed into their home with his mother while she gets her world in order).
Me: Yes exactly.
Him: Except God, He knows everything!
Me: Yes that’s right!
Him: Cause he made everything.

So we have a problem that needed a better solution than the one I gave him. He didn’t tell me to pray about it, he didn’t tell me how ignorant I was, or how bad I was. He didn’t call me names or start saying ugly words to me. What he said was:

“Maybe you should move in with us and learn how to use them.”

In other words maybe you should do something that would solve the problem or at least try to help solve the problem.

I don’t know if anyone will understand why I posted this or not but I hope at least a few get it.

And no I’m not moving in with them to solve this problem. What I did do: I waited until his mother arrived and asked her to tell me again how to use the controls to get to his programs. And this time I paid attention. I listened. I let her explanation sink in. And this time I think I got it!