Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Embroidery Idiot

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That’s me!  I’ve only hand-sewed just a small number of items in my lifetime, mostly buttons on my husband’s shirts and the binding on my first quilt (it took only one quilt for me to switch to machine binding!). 

Being under the weather lately and mostly confined to the bed or couch, I was going through sewing withdrawal.  So I pulled out a magazine from 2012 called Make It Yourself (published by Better Homes & Gardens), which had an embroidery pattern in it that I’d earmarked to make for my beautiful blond middle daughter…someday.  It only took a day to stitch, but what a difference a day can make in my embroidery know-how!

For example, notice how chunky the stitches are in the hair? 

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When I got to the nose, the thread was too thick and made the nose look just like a brown blob.  That’s when I remembered that embroidery thread can be divided into strands.  I tried and I tried, but the thread kept breaking apart into small fluffy sections.  It took about five tries (I’m not always a fast learner) but that’s when I realized that I was using craft thread that I bought for the kids, not embroidery thread.  I was also able to note, thanks to an informative night about thread at my local guild meeting, that craft thread has a very “short staple.”  Thank goodness I had some actual embroidery thread on hand to finish the project.  I used three strands for the rest of it.

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I quickly relearned how to do French knots and learned the “lazy daisy” stitch from the instructions in the magazine.  The pattern is called “A Mother’s Blessing” and is by none other than Sarah Wright, aka Sarah Jane! 

My daughter really loves it and wants me to turn it into a small pillow, whereas I envisioned a picture hanging on the wall in her room.  Now we just have to come to an agreement so it can be done with.

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Shirt Fabric Salvage

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A few weeks ago I saw a beautiful quilt made with shirt fabrics on Red Pepper Quilts.  It made the cogs in my brain slowly spin, and a few days later when, serendipitously, my husband was cleaning shirts from his closet to donate, I grabbed a few before they were already loaded into the trunk of his car.  Wouldn’t it be a great project to save fabric for the next few years to make each girl a quilt from daddy’s shirts?

Unfortunately some of the shirts I grabbed weren’t 100% cotton.  Just to err on the side of caution (and because I have absolutely no natural sewing instincts—wait till you hear in my next post about embroidery!) I didn’t cut up any of the shirts with stretch or other fibers besides cotton.  There is one mystery shirt that my husband says is cotton, but I’m pretty sure it has silk in it, and it’s a custom shirt so there’s no tag.  But the fabric was so soft, I couldn’t pass it up!

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Here’s to the start of another project, he he!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

100 Quilts for Kids

The DC Modern Quilt Guild is collecting quilts once again for 100 Quilts for Kids.  This year I was able to make some blocks for a group quilt, and finished up one new quilt to be donated.

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I had some premade binding left over from another donated quilt that looked pretty good with the top and backing, but of course it was about 12 inches too short to fit.  It would have felt great to use up, but it wasn’t meant to be…

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The rainbow striped fabric is just as cheerful!

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The backing is a fabric that’s been in my stash for years and years.  That felt good to use!

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The front of the quilt was made using up two fat quarter bundles my mom gave me for Christmas a few years ago.  There are no scraps left over!

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And I used Connecting Threads cotton thread in Persian Blue for the quilting.  I decided to do straight lines on my DSM and seriously, about 6 inches in, I started to doubt my decision.  I could have stippled the quilt in a quarter of the time it took me to quilt all those straight lines!

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This quilt was mailed off today to be donated together with the other DCMQG quilts to Carpenter’s Shelter.

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Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Cotton + Steel Giveaway

It was my birthday this month, and one of my daughter’s, too.  Luckily her birthday is just four short days after mine so her special day eclipses mine, which is just how I like it now that getting a year older isn’t quite as fun as it used to be.  I treated myself to lots of quilting related presents this month…

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Did you know that you can get a pair of Gingher shears on Amazon for between $20-$23, which is a lot off the price at craft store?  Amazon has other pretty good quilting deals.  A pack of 5 Olfa 45mm rotary cutter blades will only run you $14-$15.  Add them to your cart and watch the price fluctuate up and down, then snag them when you think it’s a good price.

Speaking of scissors, I tried sharpening my old pairs with the tin foil and sandpaper methods, but neither worked.  The Gingher shears are much heavier than the Fiskars brand I used before, but they slice through several layers of fabric like a hot knife through butter.  Plus I’m pretty sure my husband can sharpen them in our electric knife sharpener if they go dull. 

In the spirit of birthdays, I thought I’d give away 4 fat quarters of my favorite prints from the Cotton + Steel fabric lines that came out earlier this year, a little thank you for reading my blog!  Your comments really brighten my day and encourage me to keep creating.

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So if you’ve left a comment on my blog in 2014, leave a comment here to be entered in the drawing.  This giveaway is open to all followers, US and international.  The winner will be drawn on Wednesday, October 1st.  Thank you for reading my blog and good luck!