Thursday, December 5, 2013
Thanksgiving is over and all that is left is the cranberry sauce, which no one in my family likes anyway. So now it's time to focus on Christmas. I bought this cookie recipe fabric from Joann's last year on clearance, and I thought it so cute I bought all of it, about four yards. When my granddaughter was here for Thanksgiving I made her a three tiered skirt out of it, just copying the jeans skirt she was wearing. It was a snap to make, and of course I didn't get a photo of it. If I can manage to make another I'll get a photo of it. For now I'll make a dress for her Raggedy Ann, then will have to think of something for the rest of it. Any suggestions will be welcome. It's low quality quilting fabric from Joann's, so nothing elaborate.
Two years ago I made a nightgown for her and told you about it in this post. Well, she was deep into her Elmo phase and wouldn't touch it. I don't even know what happened to it. So this year, I let her pick out fabric from my stash for pj's and will make them as shown above. This is a lovely flannel from Chadwick Heirlooms, so I'll take the time to make the pj's really nice. Maybe some pink or white piping to set it off. Thank you to Bunny from La Sewista for the advice on the pattern. I bought several when they were on sale for 99¢ at Joann's so I won't have to trace each size, although I probably will iron it onto lightweight interfacing. I plan to use this quite a bit.
In the last post I showed you the fabric for the aprons, here is mine, with some Battenburg lace from my stash to adorn the pockets.
And all three together. I think we all had them on at the same time for maybe a half hour right before Thanksgiving dinner, so no photo. Maybe at Christmas, as we will be traveling to Colorado to spend some time with them. Of course, that means I'll have to remember to pack it!
These are the patterns I used. I bought them as kits at a quilt show a few years ago, so I'll have to remember to label the fabric so I don't forget what they were for. I modified it slightly by making the ties narrower and the neck strap adjustable. With the wide ties, they just get wrinkled. I cut the ties four inches wide, folded each long edge one inch to the center, folded again and topstitched. this makes a nice sturdy tie that doesn't wrinkle when laundered. I also added the pocket on the bodice, as I need it for my glasses, and dispensed with the Ric Rac. It's a fun little pattern, and takes only a short time to make.
So now on to the pj's.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
The hand embroidery projects are set aside temporarily while I get some holiday sewing done. A year ago, I posted how I made a Raggedy Ann for my granddaughter's Christmas gift. I did mention how I would have Andy finished by the New Year; well here he is, all finished only 11 months late. I'm hoping to make another dress for Ann for this Christmas.
Lately I've been trying to learn the embroidery software for my sewing machine, but I think Andy looks a bit confused by it.
I purchased a five-pack of kitchen towels and embroidered an open design on the three that were flat cotton, similar to canvas. I didn't use any wash-away stabilizer on the top, and I think the embroidery is just fine. But I should have used the darkest brown for all three.
On the two waffle weave towels I used a denser design. The one on the right took over 2 1/2 hours as I was constantly misthreading the machine and creating a bird's nest underneath the embroidery with loops on the top. Once I figured out what was wrong and took special pains to thread the machine correctly, the embroidery progressed fairly smoothly and the second towel came together in less than 1/2 hour. I watched a lot of TV on the laptop while taking out stitches. I've just finished watching all of Sherlock, and noticed that there will be a third season, starting in January in the US.
I bought this fabric last year intending to make aprons. Yesterday I washed and ironed the fabric, and found some ecru Battenburg lace for the pockets. I forgot to include it in the photos, but will with the finished articles. These need to be finished by next Wednesday so my daughter, granddaughter and I will all have matching aprons for our Thanksgiving preparations. I also hope to embroider names on the pockets, which will be the darker fabric.
Thanks to alindbergh who alerted me to The Paradise on PBS. It turns out that I have automatically recorded all available episodes (I think the last one airs this coming Sunday), so I've started watching it. The story line so far is a bit dull, but the costumes are wonderful! The only problem is that I have to be downstairs in front of the TV to watch it, so I usually iron while doing so. Right now I'm pretty much caught up on ironing. My husband only works 2 1/2 days each week, so it doesn't take much time to iron his shirts.
Thursday, November 14, 2013
I'm trying to work an hour or two on the Embroidered Silk Evening Bag every day or so, and I am making some progress. Here I'm working on the second leaf.
Blending in the light yellow green over the darker green.
The tips of the leaves are actually a gold color, which you can barely see. Well, maybe you can't see it, I think I can because I know it's there. I picked up the thread for the stem and used it to make the vein, which I'm not sure is quite right. Do green leaves have brown center veins?
During the class our teacher, Susan, had us start different items on the embroidery so she could touch on the different techniques. Now that the class is over, I'm trying to stick with the order of work in the instructions, so I'll be doing all the leaves next. This will be pretty dull, so I won't bore you with each leaf's progress.
Those little yellow circles were driving me nuts, so I finished them along with the buds at the ends of the stems. As you can see, I've started on the third leaf. I'm sure I'll need to try something else while working the leaves, so I'll probably finish the French knot berries at the top. Those are fun to do, and don't require much concentration so I can watch TV. I've finished with Merlin and have started Sherlock, which apparently is coming back next year for a third season.
Monday, November 4, 2013
This past weekend our local SAGA guild had Susan O'Connor from Country Bumpkin in Australia over to teach us how to embroider this stunning bag, named Caprice. This first appeared in issue 44 of Inspirations, published nine years ago. Susan was on her way home after having taught in New York and at the SAGA Convention. This was perfect for us who didn't make it to the Convention, as we got a beautiful project from an extremely talented teacher and no travel expenses. The photo above is from the magazine.
The photo is a bit wonky as I placed the fabric on the lawn to get the best light. The lawn really needed cutting, so the fabric isn't too flat. Since this design is embroidered on black silk, marking it is a challenge. Susan gave us some Saral white transfer paper for tracing the design on the silk. It comes in several colors and you can buy it at Dick Blick art supply. I first ran the design through the copier onto a sheet of vellum craft paper, then taped the design and transfer paper to the silk and traced away. It really works beautifully, but does tend to wear off. To revive the design, I bought this mechanical pencil, available at Joann's, after the Saturday class. After marking the design, I fused the fabric to a length of interfacing to help stabilize the stitching.
Since we had the actual bag in the class, I had to take a photo, so you can see how nice it looks in real life. Susan had also stitched another variation but had not made it into a bag, but with my poor photographic skills I don't have a good photo of it. I hope some of the other ladies got a good photo.
All the embroidery is worked in Au Ver a Soie, Soie d'Alger, a wonderful silk floss that is a delight to use. There's just nothing quite like a beautifully design stitched in silk on silk fabric. One of the nice things about taking a class as opposed to working the project from a magazine is all of the extra little tips and information you get. Susan gave us quite a few tips on working the various aspects of the bag which I'll share with you as I progress in this.
This is as far as I got in two days of classes, not much, is it? I plan on concentrating on it while I'm waiting for my threads from Australia to arrive.
Lately while I've been embroidering I've been watching TV on my laptop. I just finished binging on Downton Abbey Season 3, and also have been watching the British TV series Merlin. This is a family oriented version which is so goofy I can't even begin to describe it. However, it's been fun except for the last two episodes (after all, we do know what happens). Now to find a new series to watch while working.
Since I really don't care for the name of this project (look up the definition of Caprice and you'll know why), I plan on calling this by the very unimaginative name of Embroidered Silk Evening Bag. Using this name you'll be able to follow along with the project, if you care to.
Friday, November 1, 2013
I've been quite happy lately working on the Celtic Hearts Blanket, adding little rosebuds and leave to the vines. However, I made a very frustrating discovery: I ran out of the thread for the vines. This is Kacoonda Hi Twist Silk thread with very subtle shading. In the last post I mentioned that I ran out of the DMC wool and had earlier run out of the Colour Streams Exotic Lights.
Here is a shot of the whole design. I had less than half the necessary amount of the Kacoonda Hi Twist to finish the design. There are supposed to be vines going around all of the hearts on the outside. So I've ordered several skeins of the Hi Twist, also some silk ribbon just in case I'll need it for the leaves, and more of the Colour Streams Exotic Lights. I want to add some hearts in the corners of the blanket to balance it out a bit. If you would like to see my previous posts on this project, click here.
I find is so very frustrating to run out of threads during a project. I know that many teachers want to keep the costs down on their kits, but I would be happy to pay more to have enough threads to be able to do over some of the work I'm not happy with. But this is ridiculous! There just wasn't enough threads to complete the project. It's especially frustrating because these are threads which are not easily available. I had to hunt for the DMC wool and found it locally, but the others are Australian and not even available in the US. I love the idea of kits, but this one is starting to make me dislike them. Time to calm down.
Tomorrow I start a new project! Susan O'Connor of Country Bumpkin is coming to our SAGA guild to teach her lovely silk shaded purse, Caprice. You can find it in issue 44 of Inspirations, and I'll post photos soon.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
I've been furiously stitching away on the Celtic Hearts Blanket and have reached a few major milestones. In this photo I've finished the tassels. These are worked in Colour Streams Ophir, Antique Ivory and it is a truly lovely thread. The bottom of the tassel is worked in stem stitch, with satin stitch for the band below the ball of the tassel.
Here is the progress so far. I've finished the tassels, all of the outlined hearts, and filled in with the Double Pekinese and Whipped Chain stitch on the wool chains. Next up are the vines with leaves and buds.
What is really griping me about this project is that I just didn't have enough threads. I had to hunt down the DMC wool, luckily I found it only about 25 miles away from my house. Back in 2009 when I returned from Beating Around the Bush, I managed to find a supplier for the Colour Streams threads. I bought what I hoped would be enough to make four hearts in the corners of the blanket, but no such luck. I have less than one skein left of the Exotic Lights, which is used for the Double Pekinese and Whipped Chain Stitch. It takes just under one skein for each heart. The one and only supplier here in the US doesn't have Antique Ivory in stock, so that means ordering from Australia with huge shipping costs. So I have some decisions to make on the corners of the blanket. I do have two skeins of the Ophir left, but I don't need much of it. I'll have to think on this one quite a bit.
But not for a little while. Tomorrow is oral surgery day, ugh! I'll be completely out of commission for at least two days, then we'll see. My son will shop for some nice sharp Cheddar to make mac and cheese. At least that will be a comfort.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
I'm been focusing so much on garment sewing lately and I've become frustrated by not having any embroidery projects in work. Well, I do have several in work, I just haven't been working on them. This is a project called Celtic Hearts from Beating around the Bush way back in October of 2009. And it's been sitting in the hoop all this time! See the band? But if you look in the upper right portion you can see where the fabric is nice and smooth. This is beautiful wool blanketing and the band steamed right out. But it's still not a good idea to leave projects in the hoop, especially for four years!
The chain stitch knot design is worked with DMC wool in color 7746, or ivory. After the chain knot is stitched I'm adding Double Pekinese Stitch using Colour Streams Exotic Lights in Antique Ivory. It's going to be a challenge to figure out how to stitch that after all this time.
I'll add more photos as I progress, I'm determined to get this finished soon.