Friday, October 31, 2014

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Just my thoughts

Today we have had light rain though out the morning and early afternoon with lots of dark clouds passing by. The weather here is expected to turn cold over the weekend with night time temps at 36 degrees, quite unusual for central Florida this early though for me its a welcome change. Any time the weather turns cold for this homesick northerner is always a good thing.

I have been spending some free time working on my embroidery piece I don't have a photo to post but its coming along nicely. I am learning a few things as I stitch the piece, mostly patience when I get a tangle or a knot, or when the stitch goes wonky and I have to carefully tug it out.

Hand stitching the embroidery brings me back to long forgotten memories of when I was a young girl and my grandmother taught me to thread a needle and sew by hand not long after those cute little sewing cards no longer was enough for me. I remember sewing dolls clothes for all my dolls and the tearing out of seams and starting again and again when the piece came out too tight.

Here is my short list of things I can't live without while embroidering:

Good Sharp Scissors.
Needles all sizes from short quilting needles to long doll and upholstery needles.
A small seam ripper.
Small sharp scissors I prefer cuticle scissors.
A black leather thimble.
Needle Threader.
Good Lighting.
And magnifying eyeglasses.

One item I need to add to the list is a comfy chair, which I plan to start shopping for this weekend, I was supposed to buy a new chair last year but never found any thing suitable. My current chair where I sit to read, knit, crochet or stitch is a swivel rocker, it had the requirements I wanted 4 years ago when I purchased it, high back, seat low enough for my feet to touch the floor and it was light in color. Unfortunately I have come to detest the rocking, and the swivel annoys me too.  Perhaps something like this chair in the photo I do love bright colors.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Getting Ready for Snow...

...Snow as in the next word on my embroidery piece. I have completed stitching everything in green and started with the read thread on Friday.  I was too busy over the weekend to put in a single stitch.
The crayon tinting is interesting but next time I think I will color with a much lighter hand, as much as I like the bright colors I would prefer a more subtle tint but that's why I attended the class in the first place to learn.
The use of variegated thread gives the piece a bit of pizzazz and makes the stitching a bit unique here most notable on the green ferns, the embroidery threads are six strand by Cosmo the colors are vibrant and feel like silk (I seem to get lots of tangles no matter what length I cut the thread).

Over all I like how the piece is coming along and the same state of relaxation claims me as I stitch away each stitch.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Crayon Tint Class

Yesterday afternoon was the Crayon Tinting class, it was nice to have more people show up then just myself, it makes for a more lively and active class, everyone sharing ideas and tips and just bits and pieces of our lives.

Several of us were taking the class to update our embroidery skills, it has been a long time for some of (decades really).  Several of us loved to color as children so it gave us the excuse to pull out the crayons, (I know one of us has several mandala coloring books).

Anyway here my piece after coloring and heat setting it with the iron, the same process I have used before in cross stitch:
And here are the first few embroidery stitches I put in:
The embroidery classes are over for now and I'm going to be working to complete this piece over the next few days or weeks, I'm not in any hurry to finish, I have other projects too I want to get a start on and yesterday I purchased some fabric before class started one of those other projects.
the Tomorrow's Promise rose fabrics I think I may use the pink for part of the crazy heart pillow pattern.
The larger rose print is for an idea forming in my head that I'm still working the details on. I also plundered the scrap baskets to add to my collection of bits and pieces for small projects and for my postage stamp quilt.
fat eighths
I like picking through the scrap baskets most of the scraps are 4-5" squares,  when my son was a young boy of 9 every quilt shop visited he would pick out ten or twenty scraps to use in the first quilt he made. I taught him to sew by hand and he would work his pieces while I worked mine.

 Years later I still love picking through those baskets.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Preparing my fabric for Class

I have cut my primary fabric and backing for the Crayon Tint embroidery class, now I am getting ready to trace the pattern onto the fabric.
Instead of pinning the pattern to the fabric I am using painters tape to hold the pattern in place which I think should work, we used this method for the smaller patterns in class.
The pattern shows through quite nicely and I can see it so I shouldn't have any trouble tracing it, I will be using my little Crayola light box I bought last year for another project.
My piece is new traced and ready for crayon tinting, though I may make another and leave off the Merry, Jingle and Snow so it would just read Make a pot of tea Snuggle in a warm quilt and Stitch the winter away! 
I am looking forward to Tuesday's class, another Crab-Apple Hill pattern came in the mail yesterday.
It's a cute heart pillow made in the crazy quilt style which I love so I will be anxious to start this one soon, I have a pretty rose print fabric I think may work for the pillow.

I am nearly finished reading A Single Thread by Marie Bostwick and starting Mary Daheim's The Alpine Quilt.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Over Grown Garden

Today I decided to snap a few photos of my overgrown garden I'm sure I mentioned in a post or two. After losing just about everything last spring that I planted I still don't have much energy to look at it much less pull weeds, which I have done in a few weeks.

I do keep up the watering of the few potted plants that continue to thrive and in the upcoming days while the early mornings are cool I will be outside cutting, trimming and weeding to get things under control.

The shrubs in the front of my house have grown over the roof eave despite trimming them several times during the summer the heavy rains we had throughout  most of September kept them growing.
The side of the house where once I had thriving vegetables now has these clumps or clusters of a weedy grass I have no clue what it is and I suppose I should find out.
The cement block raised bed has more of those grassy clumps and a dried out patch of brown weeds, and the purple basil which I swore I pulled up in August is back again, its one plant I didn't buy from the nursery where I bought all the plants that died out.
More clumpy grass and other various weeds overtaking the two raised beds off my patio area.  As I said after losing the plants this past spring I just gave on the garden and as summer wore on and I had the viral infection I didn't have the energy or the desire to touch the garden beds. The constant rain had the weeds growing faster then I could pull them and yes I had the entire beds weeded in early September.

My work is surely cut out for me and with the days growing cooler I actually look forward to getting outside and cleaning things up, even though the soil test have once again come back fine I have no plans to plant a garden this spring.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hand Embroidery Class Final Post

Today was day two of the Hand Embroidery class I was taking and I have to say despite a few rough starts, some forgotten trimming and some stitch ripping I finished my two projects.
My needle book I think came out right even though we missed the instruction to cut the embroidery piece before construction. This was due to misreading and a several interruptions during the class, yet with a little ingenuity I was able to trim everything to fit rather nicely, I omitted the white hand stitching on the corners because mine are really to small to really get the look. The omitted rick rack I will blame on the book which called for 1/4" which was too narrow for me to stitch to the piece, half inch would have been better.
Pocket inside front cover
Felt piece
pocket inside back cover

The blue fabric I picked up today during class from the charm scrap basket, since the supplies list for the class didn't list the blue fabric I didn't buy any and I had meant to mention it last week after reading over the book but forgot, and of course the blue fabric I have at home was left sitting right where I put it this morning but I like this blue fabric its shot through with gold and really looks great with the green and red and doesn't look so Christmasy.
needlebook back
The pincushion came out nicely when I first stitched it all together I forgot to leave an open space for stuffing the cushion so out came the seam ripper, and then of course I made the opening too small as the ground walnut shells were put into a hexagon muslin liner, so out came the seam ripper to remove a few stitches.
The first time I stuffed the pincushion I had forgotten to turn it back to the right side and I was wondering what happened to all my pretty stitches and gosh it was ugly, then I started to laugh when I realized it was still inside out.
I didn't sew the buttons on the pincushion or needlebook until later at home we were running out of time due to all the interruptions and I wanted to get the needle book done before I left. The buttons on the needlebook should have been sewn on before it was all put together but I managed to sew them carefully under the pocket.

So the Hand Embroidery class is over I learned a few tips, tricks and shortcuts for future projects, next Tuesday is the Crayon Tint Embroidery class and from I hear I won't be the only student this time.  I enjoyed the class and DeeAnn the instructor is a wealth of knowledge and I look forward to taking the next class with her.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Stitching complete

Saturday afternoon I finished the stitching on the project for Tuesday's Embroidery Class, all and all I am satisfied with the piece for the needle book
My stitches are a bit wonky and I ripped several of them out and began again and again, mostly the french knot, some resembled miniature cauliflower heads and some weren't even recognizable as a stitch.
After completing the embroidery I decided to put a full bobbin in my sewing machine and give it a test before lugging it to class, good thing I checked because as quick as it stitched it stopped with a jam so I re-threaded the machine, removed and checked the bobbin and ugh! another jam.
I left the sewing table to take a few deep breaths and thirty minutes later I went through all the steps again and third times a charm I suppose and I had nice straight stitches.

I imagine the sewing machine was feeling a bit neglected, I bought it about two years ago thinking I needed something more modern and manufactured in this century plus light enough to take along to a quilt class, not to mention it would be nice to have 60 additional stitches to play with, yet I have used it 3 maybe 4 times preferring my forty plus years old Kenmore.

But it's time for to climb of my safety rut and start being a little more adventurous again, so tomorrow the Singer machine comes with me to class and when I have the time I am going to experiment with some of the fancy stitches the machine is capable of, it is after all why I purchased this model in the first place, it will be nice to fill my Ort Jar again.
before embroidery project
after embroidery project
Now it's time to drag out the iron to press the pieces to get all the hoop wrinkles to disappear, write a few letters and page through this nifty craft magazine that came in Saturday's mail from my friend, I just love the felt colors.

Friday, October 10, 2014

In between the stitchery

I started the day very early this morning with several errands to run and a list of things I needed to buy but first I enjoyed my morning walk and then it was off to the post office to drop off the packages, after the post office I headed over to Joann's Fabrics.

After much thought and consideration I figured it was about time I drag myself into the 21st century and learn to use a rotary cutter. It just so happened I had a coupon for 50% off and I had noticed this nifty set last week when I was picking up ribbon and rickrack for my embroidery class project.
It comes with a rotary cutter, 18" x 24"cutting mat and 6" x 24" ruler, with the coupon it was under $30.00 which is a great deal, usually the price for just the ruler ranges from $16.00 to $24.00.  I love those 50% off coupons.  

I arrived at Joann's right after the store opened and was in and out before I had the chance to talk myself out of buying it, I think my hands will be relieved when I start using the cutter rather then scissors to cut fabric for my next quilt, with all the troubles I have with my hands mastering this tool should be very helpful.

While at the grocery store I picked up a couple of needle craft magazines and the current issue of Florida Gardening I grabbed at Sam's Club the only place I ever find it. I'm sure there is a project or two among the lot.
On the way home I picked up a two books I had reserved at the library, now I have something new to read when my fingers get to tingly with the embroidery projects.
Right now though I have a few letters to write before it gets too late and I'm too tired after my busy day my motor is just about winding down.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Stitching Update

Well I managed a few hours of stitching today and made some progress on the pincushion piece, though with the photo I can see my lazy daisy are lacking.
I had found a nice flow and stitching was going good until a few snags on my dry fingers kept pulling the thread out of the needle ugh! Oh and I changed to a darker green floss for the center flower stems and leaves the other green was so light I had difficulty seeing the stitches.

All I have left to do is the 2 large flowers, leaves along the dark green stem and a few french knots, then I'm on to the needle book piece which isn't to detailed.
And a look at the back side of the work.
Through out the day I was working on this for about 4 hours.

Stitching Progress

Here is a photo of the first few motifs I have embroidered so far on the pincushion project for the class I am taking:
My stitching, despite the tingling in my fingers is coming along though it is going slowly the stitches all come back to me as the needle flows in and out of the fabric.
I have all the green stems completed and one bird after the photo I finished the flowers above the bird and today I hope to have the piece completely embroidered.  I have to toot my horn and tell you the first French knot I did came out just right I actually amazed myself though I had to check a tutorial to see the lazy daisy being made because I could not get the hang of it, mind you it was just one day after I made several in class to practice. And here I thought the french knot was going to be the stitch I needed to watch again and again.

I don't know if any of you are familiar with Mary Corbet's Needle and Thread blog site which I absolutely love, she has wonderful tutorials on youtube,  I visit her tutorials when I need to refresh my memory or to learn an new stitch.

Anyway that's my progress so far, it doesn't look like I will get everything embroidered by next Tuesday but I'm confident I will.
There are a few other projects I plan to make from the Patchwork Loves Embroidery book so I better get cracking.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Hand Embroidery Class Week 1

Today was the first part of my Hand Embroidery class and I had a wonderful time and made some very interesting discoveries during my first session today, actually even before the class started.  As you may know I have been a quilter since 1980 and most of the quilts I make are made completely by hand, I am self taught and in the early days of teaching myself to quilt I used a template and scissors to cut my fabric pieces, all these years later I still do.

I am inept when it comes to using a rotary cutter, I have two from 1980 along with a little green cutting mat with no grid lines and one a bit larger with the grid lines.  What I realized today is I need to take an up to date beginners quilt class, if for no other reason then to master the dreaded rotary cutter.

Anyway here is a photo of my tracing of the embroidery pattern for the pincushion we will be making its still on the light box (which really helps these old eyes).
I'll start to embroider it tomorrow, the tracing wasn't too bad using a fine micro point pen and the stitches won't be too bad just 5 basic stitches though I have yet to master the french knot which really get me because the first few we quite nice the others had an elusive loop, so tonight I will just make french knots, and let me say this happens quite often when I embroider or cross stitch and I am forever snipping them out.

The next class I need both of my embroidered pieces complete and ready to put them together, here is a photo of the front piece for the needle book though the photo isn't too clear
I enjoyed the class the instructor DeeAnn is a wonderful teacher, knowledgeable, patient and talented her own work is outstanding I should have thought to snap a photo of the pieces she has made.  I did sign up for her crayon tinting embroidery class held on the 21st of this month and this is the pattern we will be making
finished item from website
and to give me the encouragement I bought the kit so when I finish the pieces I am working on I have a new project to keep me busy, I'll use my light box to trace the pattern before the class.
DeeAnn is currently working on the crayon tint pattern for a sample and so far its simply stunning.

I don't know what it is exactly about the Crab Apple Hill patterns that I like so much but I just ordered this pattern from an on line shop to work on after the class since the quilt shop doesn't carry the patterns (yet).

Saturday, October 4, 2014

I have an embroidery class in my future.

During most of September I battled a viral infection my energy levels are returning with every passing day. That nasty infection left me feeling like a limp rag for several weeks some days I was so tired I could barely move and other days I seemed fine. A few years ago I had one that lasted nearly 4 months.
Despite feeling ill all these weeks I have been in a very creative mood and doing a little crafting and needlework here and there, today I drove across town to visit one of our local quilt shops Tomorrow's Treasures to see what's new in fabrics, books, etc. I also wanted to see the classes are offered this month, I had briefly scanned my newsletter for info but a trip to the quilt shop is such a lovely way to spend a Saturday morning. To my surprise and delight there is a Hand Embroidery class offered for two session starting this Tuesday, I signed up and with the supply list in hand off I went to browse the many bolts of fabric for what I need but not before I met the instructor.

I was delighted to learn she was putting together a 'kit' for the class and she put together most of a kit for me so I could purchase it before I left, it includes the book, embroidery floss, needles, a hoop, pearl cotton, wool felt and cream fabric, the instructor will supply the ground walnut shells and fusible interfacing during class. And of course I bought more fabric then I need but really can one ever have too much fabric? Err don't answer that. Here is the kit including the book by Gail Pan
I was surprised with the book, usually when I take a class somewhere I'm given a few printer pages or a little pamphlet so having the book will allow me to make other projects once the class ends. The class will run from 1:00-4:00 this Tuesday and next Tuesday and we will be making this pincushion:
we will also be making the needle book as seen on the book's cover, the samples at the shop were really lovely and nicely stitched. 
If I remember to bring my camera to class on Tuesday with the instructors permission I'll try to snap a few photos of my progress during the class to post here.
Here is the fabric I bought today, the list of supplies are for red and green fabric, after nearly an hour this is what I chose:
The ribbon, rickrack and buttons I had in my stash so I didn't see the point of buying more. I'll check my collection of buttons to see if I have something vintage to use, the shop had some lovely buttons and you can bet I will be purchasing several at a future date. I also bought a grab bag of scraps to cut more squares for my postage stamp quilt or other projects sure to come along.
I am not sure how I will like using the hoop included in the kit so I will bring along one of my trusty vintage metal hoops just in case, it drives me crazy when my thread catches on 
the little spring I can only imagine what will happen when the thread catches on those big clamp handles.
Anyway I am enrolled in the class, bought my fabric, the kit and gathered other supplies, now I just hope enough people sign up for the class.