Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Shuttlebug December Potluck

Our December potluck meeting was held at our usual meeting place at the Greenwood Recreation Centre.

Jacki showed off the socks she knit with the yarn handpainted at a spinning and knitting retreat a couple of years ago. We handpainted sock blocks that were knit with two strands of sock yarn. When the yarn was unravelled, two identical balls of yarn were yielded.
This was a beautiful wet-felted flower from a workshop at Gemini Fibres.
This bag was also created. The closure at the top is made from metal tape measure.
And here's the back.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Pyjama Pants

I usually make Scooter and Skip pyjama pants for Christmas or birthday.

I've used this pattern for Scooter several times.
I was smart and wrote pertinent info on the pattern envelope.

I always pre-wash and machine-dry flannelette because I want the final sewn size to be right. This pattern calls for elastic across the back and twill tape ties attached to each side of the elastic. I also anchor the elastic by stitching through it and the waistband down the centre back seam. I usually try to match the horizontal lines but this fabric only had vertical lines so I didn't have to do that.
I also ironed in this label, created for me by Jen1's dad for a quilting project they worked on. I hope the ink doesn't wash out.
Skip wanted pockets in his pyjama pants so I used the same pattern for Skip's pants. I just made them a size larger by just eyeballing extra width when I was cutting out the pieces.

I liked the Thunderbird motif and again, didn't need to worry about matching horizontal lines. Skip also got a nifty label for the centre back.

More Sewing Lessons

Jen1 came over on Friday to learn how to make a lined, zippered bag. She brought her sewing machine so I could make sure it was in proper working order and could show her some of its features.

She was very happy to finish the bag so quickly and easily.
She learned that directional fabric should always have the top at the zipper. She picked really cute fabric.
Then I taught her two ways to box the corners so it would stand up on its own. To give it some stiffness, we ironed fusible medium weight interfacing onto the wrong side of the outer fabric.

I then made a really skinny folded strip (like double fold bias tape but on the grain), poked it through the hole in the zipper tab and tied a knot. It's a perfect pull tab for the zipper.
After lunch Jen wanted to make a grab bag. She did a great job and learned that clipping the curves makes things lie nice and flat for topstitching.
She only stabbed herself once so a minimum of blood was shed. Here she is proudly showing off her reversible grab bag/project bag.
She went back to the fabric store and bought some more fabric to make more bags. She's on her way!

I had a scrap of Star Trek fabric left over from another project so I made Jen a pincushion for her wrist.
I used two juice can lids and some 25cm elastic. I cut a circle of the yellow fabric and stitched around the edge, inserted one of the metal lids and then pulled on the thread to encircle the lid with fabric, pulling tightly. I cut a larger circle and ran stitches all around its edge. This time, I stuffed it firmly with fibrefill and then inserted the other lid and encircled it by pulling on the running stitches. I then criss-crossed the stitches to make it really secure.

Using the yellow lid, I cut the elastic to fit around my wrist and added 1/2". I then sewed it into a circular band, zigzag stitching the ends together.

I then glued the two lids together sandwiching the elastic between them and set them between two books to dry. It was really easy and turned out great.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Another Finished Ornament

I've been wanting to finish this ornament for a while. It's from the 2004 Just Cross Stitch Christmas issue. I stitched it last winter when I was in TX. I hunted high and low for styrofoam so I could wrap the stitched piece around the front and the accent fabric around the back but couldn't find any to buy.

Since I had 9mm ribbon to wrap around it, I decided to cut two pieces of 5mm foam core and glue them together, then wrap the fabrics around them. Then cover the edges with the ribbon.
I like that the beads of the notes are actual beads.

I'm glad I finally found all the things I needed to finish this one.

I'm still trying to decide if I'll participate in the ornament exchange with my embroidery guild and if so, what ornament I'll part with.

Monday, 4 December 2017

I Thought This Only Happened in Movies

My sister's first husband and father of her children, Jaime, was up from Mexico visiting their daughters and and families this summer. It was a pretty long visit but Skip and I never got to SW Ontario to visit the family at all because I had many monarch larvae to feed and no one to look after them during our absence.

About a month ago during an exchange of Facebook Messages my sister, Valerie, mentioned she was working on some paperwork and anticipating a return visit from Jaime. When I enquired further, she informed me that they were remarrying - pronto. It was a BIG surprise for me because I had no inkling that this was even being considered as they'd been divorced for 40 years, and I'd not seen them interact in the summer.

So this weekend, Skip and I attended the remarriage of Valerie and Jaime at the home of their elder daughter, Tay. They have a lovely, spacious, new house which accommodated all of us comfortably.

The Mexico relatives didn't come up (the wedding couple's son, wife, and their three children) but all of the Canadian family except one of their grandchildren who is away at college were able to attend.

Here was the lovely couple exactly 50.5 years ago. The civil ceremony had taken place a month before. The traditional Mexican church wedding took place on May 4, 1967.
And here they were on Saturday.
Their two daughters stood up for them and acted as witnesses.

We took the opportunity to take a family photo afterwards.
Although it's taking us a while to get used to the idea of Valerie and Jaime being together again, we are happy that they are happy.

And it's always nice getting together with family.

Ornament Finishing

Many stitchers have lots of ornaments stitched but not finished into anything. Last week I had a couple of people over to finish some Christmas ornaments.

Jeanette showed us a bin of her finished ornaments. She also provided lots of useful tools and templates.

Barb is a new stitcher and did a beautiful job on this snowflake ornament.
Marilyn stitched this cute Santa. I love the different texture of his moustache.
She also got the hardware onto this bellpull sampler from Prairie Schooler.
I was so busy I didn't get any pics of Jen1's  ornaments that day but she went home and finished a bunch of other ornaments that could be used as gift tags. The dove on the bottom centre is the one she did at my place.
The next day, I finally got one ornament finished. It has a little bit of Hardanger on it so it needed a fabric behind it.
I used this nice burgundy fabric for that and also the back
and made cording out of DMC floss using my fringe twister.
As you can see, I stitched it in 2011. It's about time I got it finished.

I think we should have a couple of finishing days every fall. It was lots of fun and we got a lot accomplished.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Down the Rabbit Hole

Jen3 invited me to attend her rug hooking guild's meeting this month. It was their Christmas potluck as they won't be meeting in December and it would give me more information about rug hooking - which I am considering.

While there, I bought a punch needle I'd been looking for, a puffin rug canvas, and a rug hooking frame. The frame is an old one but is in perfect working order. It also came with a pink cover. But I can see making quilted covers for the sides which can be used during hooking narrower things and to protect my arm/hand from getting scratched.
The top and right side bars tighten to keep the canvas taut.
Jennifer tells me that some hookers add pieces to their smaller. canvas to go beyond the confines of the frame so all 4 sides can be anchored.

I had purchased a couple of kits years ago and got one out, started, and completed it last night. It's a 3.5" x 3.5" coaster. The back is kinda messy so I'm not showing that. I was glad to have this little piece to practice on. Now I need to finish/bind it.
I have another kit with 4 coasters that is hooked with wool yarn.  I'll see how I do with those.

Now I have another thing to look for when I go to fibre festivals. For now, I'm happy working on kits with the wool already included.

Cuddle Quilt

We are expecting a new baby in my extended family and will be seeing the expectant parents on the weekend.

I made another cuddle quilt - this time using dimple fabric and a cute flannel print.
Once again, I used the self-mitering quilt idea. I also stitched in the ditch along the miters and a big 'x' in the middle to keep the layers from shifting.
I ripped along the weft to make sure the flannel was square before pre-washing it.  I then stitched a 1/4" hem (straight stitches) before doing the miters. After getting everything tucked in and anchored with pins, I used a decorative twig stitch to finish the edge of the flannel and anchor the dimple fabric.
So there's flannel on one side and soft, dimple fabric on the other with a flannel frame.
 Easy peasy.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Needleroll and More...

I am trying not to buy any more magazines unless I can get them in digital format. However, I found 2 projects in the current A Needle Pulling Thread (Issue 45)  that intrigued me.

The first was Christine Baker's coneflower appliquéd quilt on the cover. It looks like something I could certainly do and features batik fabrics.
The other intriguing project was Kim Beamish's 'Leaves Needle Roll'.

It took no time to stitch up. I used 32count linen and substituted a couple of colours for ones I didn't have. I also noted that the leaves (centre) part of the chart is rotated 90 degrees from the needleroll in the photo. I made my own adjustments.
What a quick and satisfying little project! I liked that there were some pulled threads and buttonhole stitching with perle cotton. I whip-stitched the piece into a tube.
After weaving the ribbon through the open threads, I packed it tightly with fibrefill. It's SO cute!!!
I will be looking for more fun and easy projects like this to take south with me.

I also started another punch needle project. I'm using No. 12 perle cotton that I happened to have on hand and discovered I could thread my needle and stitch right from the ball. This made the punching so much faster since I didn't have to stop and re-thread frequently.
Once again, I traced a pattern onto the fabric with a permanent fine point pen. I got a lot more than this done last night before I went to bed. I suspect I'll get it finished today and then pop it into a frame.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Punch Needle Poinsettia

Last night I started a small punch needle project - a poinsettia pin. It's a free pattern from the Plant June website.

The finished project is 2.5" wide. When I first printed it on my printer, it was 4" wide. I divided 2.5 by 4 to get approx. 65% and shrunk the image on my printer to print out the right size (top image).
I then fed the paper in the other way to print it again so I could put the DMC floss colour numbers right on that image.

I dug some Monaco cloth out of my stash, I used my iPhone like a light box and traced the pattern onto the fabric with a pencil, then over the pencil with a fine point permanent marker.  The image is reversed as the needle punching is done from the back. I then found appropriate colour floss, substituting 815 for the 3777. It really stitched up quickly and I got it all done last night.

I then covered the back in white glue and sandwiched it face down between two pieces of waxed paper and covered it with a couple of books to hopefully have it dry flat.

This morning, I removed the books and peeled the waxed paper off the back to let it finish drying. This evening, I snipped away the fabric (now set with the glue) and will back it with black felt before putting a pin on it for wearing.

A white edging was suggested by the designer and I would definitely try that next time as it would make the snipped fabric edge disappear. With the black edging, I'm thinking of making it disappear by painting it black.

It was a quick and easy project. Now to find some more patterns.

I've been scouring Pinterest and other pages for ideas and techniques. As the punching is done with three plies of floss, it is easy to blend colours. I can also use #12 perle cotton in the needle I have.

I haven't tried 6 plies in my needle yet. There are sets that can be obtained commercially but I'm going to wait until I'm in the US to order one as the shipping is much cheaper domestically.

On another website, a stitcher dipped her floss skeins part way into walnut dye to darken them a bit, set them to dry, and created tonal floss. What a fast and easy way to customize one's flosses!

I'm also intrigued with rug punching as it's basically a bigger needle punching into monk's cloth with yarn. However, the punch I've been looking at is about $50 so it's not quite on my docket yet.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Punch Needle

I purchased this punch needle kit a few years ago and did most of it then set it aside. I finished it today.
It's a punch needle embroidery kit from Dimension - Cup of Java.

The kit came with the floss, directions, and the fabric with the design printed on the back but not the punch needle. I purchased it separately with two threaders.

It was pretty fun and easy. I'm not sure why I abandoned it as over half of it was done. I'm glad to have another UFO finished. I plan to stretch it and frame it in a 4" x 6" frame.

Now I'm in search of weaver's cloth which is a blend of cotton and polyester and some designs to make some more cute punch needle pieces. I can see how this is a stepping stone to punch rug projects, then full out hooked rug projects. Down the rabbit hole I go.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Placemats and Napkins

On one of my previous visits to JoAnn's in the US, I bought some fabric with placemats and napkins in mind.

Last night I used that fabric to make reversible placemats.

This afternoon I made the napkins. This video outlined an easy way to miter the corners.

Trillium Embroidery Guild November Meeting

Last week our embroidery guild met. We had a pretty good turnout for our 'make and take' program where we created a Christmas card using paper with perforations and embroidery floss.

I picked the one with the Christmas trees. It had 6 small adhesive pearls, and a gold seal. We stamped a Christmas greeting on the white card that was then affixed to the gold seal, then with puffy stickers, attached to the front of the card. We then attached the trees by backstitching them and then folding up the sides.
Inside, we covered the embroidery ends with a piece of paper and stamped a greeting inside the card.
A graphic insert was put into the envelope and voilà! it was done. If I sent Christmas cards, I would have picked up a couple more kits.
There was lots for show and tell this month.

A sampler with charms
Jeanette finished stitching this at the Elim retreat, then finished it at the Toronto Embroidery Guild meeting. She said it only took a few minutes to do the finish.
Sue started this a few years back and finally got it finished and framed. I like all the leaves around the border.
Sue also finished this stamped cross-stitch wolf piece.
Laura embroidered this beaver using a backstitch and several patterns.
Shelley created a beautiful music-themed quilt for her daughter's university graduation.

It was machine quilted with musical notes.

Hardanger table cloth
Beaded and stitched Christmas ornament
Laura also created this adorable bat needle keep.

Jeanette got to display her cabinet with the drawers adorned with her embroidery. We got to witness the drawer pulls being attached at the retreat.
Next month we will meet a week early for our potluck Christmas celebration with finger foods.

Next Sunday, Kim is having a bunch of us over for a free Zentangle session and the week after  a few stitchers are coming over to finish some Christmas ornaments.