I’ve finished most of the embroidery for my DQS9 quilt (that needs to be in the mail September 1st! Eek!).
There’s actually a fifth piece, but the picture turned out a little blurry. I have two more bits to make for this quilt – I haven’t decided if they’ll be embroidery or… something else. That’s all I can share – don’t want to give away my secret plans.
Last night I washed the disappearing ink off (the slight bluish tint on many of the stitch lines above), and ironed them all out. And then I did some math and figured out exactly what size each piece needs to be, and drew the lines for cutting. (My cutting table is currently unavailable – I have to move this disaster of a dress* before I can cut.)
So, my next step is to cut out the fabric that will frame the squares, and the sashing. I should be able to get that done tonight, even if I do get registered and have to attend class. Wednesday piecing… it should all come together fine.
*I’m not giving up on this one, but I do have to rip out the side seams and try a new approach. I’m hoping I don’t have to rip out the invisible zipper I already sewed in – it turned out really well! I will have to take the front bust apart and re-do the darts (because the whole front bust needs to be about an inch skinnier, and the other option is to put a seam in the middle of the bust, and I’m not a huge fan of that). I may have tried to make too many alterations to the pattern all at once (it was a size too small for my hips, and I moved the waist seam lower – lots of math, and I did it all correctly, I think, but I might have been too generous with my enlarging for said hips). I think it can work, but it will take some time, which I do not have at the moment.
I was trying to keep the giveaway front and center last week, so I didn’t blog on Thursday and Friday. I had tons to say, but I don’t remember any of it. Bummer. I did take some pictures, though. Very random….
Lastly, some pictures I took with my iPhone while drove me home from class last week (we were a one-car family for a week while he had some work done on his car)….
I’ll tell you about my weekend (and a success story) tomorrow!
I heard it. It is an actual possibility this weekend. And that, boys and girls, is why I have not put my seedlings in the ground yet. Minnesota has been uncharacteristically warm for the last month, and I know plenty of people have jumped the gun on gardening. However, the average “last frost” date is May 10, which is next Monday. Since I would rather not watch my new lettuce seedlings (or cucumbers and tomatoes, which have also sprouted) die, they’re still sitting inside, in the sunny window.
Truthfully, I had already picked out this outfit last night, long before I heard the weatherman predict snow (OK, it’s probably slim possibility), but what better way to combat cooling temps (and withdrawal from California weather) than a new spring skirt?
I have owned Sew What! Skirts for… a long time. Over a year, at least. And though it’s a lovely book, and I’ve had fabric mentally picked out to make several of the skirts, I have not made anything from it. That is, until two weeks ago. I finally drafted pattern pieces for the a-line and straight skirt. I cannot begin to tell you how thrilled I was when I tried this on and it fit, first time! I have had a terrible time lately getting pattern-based clothing to fit (and I carefully read the measurements on the back of the patterns, so I have no idea what I’m doing wrong), so I was incredibly pleased.
You can’t tell, but it has a fake waistband. I made the facing as directed, added some interfacing to it, and then sewed it in. Then I did the whole understitching thing, which did make it roll inside so as to be invisible, but I still had a raw edge inside the skirt. I carefully measured and ironed-under the facing, and then from the front stitched it down. It looks like it’s two pieces, if you don’t look too closely. I also used lace hem tape to enclose the bottom hem completely, and stitched it on, visibly, from the front.
I decided it needed a bit of fun, so I added some embroidery to it. I used a pattern I’d favorited on Flickr (details are on the photo pages in Flickr), and some variegated thread I already have. I even used a zipper that I had in my stash, ripped out of a thrifted skirt that didn’t fit. The fabric was a remnant, so the total cost of this skirt was… $1.25.
It took me two evenings to make the skirt, and a few more to finish up the embroidery. It was actually done before we left for California. I washed it up last night, hoping that more of the pattern ink would wash out (it didn’t, but I have hope for future washings that it will eventually fade).
Since I was feeling springy, I decided to wear the butterfly earrings I made a while back (I’ve shared these before).
Monday night I started on the straight skirt (I drafted both patterns at the same time), using this grey stripe fabric [link removed] (also a remnant). Unfortunately, it did not end up fitting as perfectly, and I had to make some alterations to the shape last night (I also had to buy a zipper*, because I didn’t have any more 7-9″ invisible zippers, which are my new best friend). I think I’ve got the shape fixed, and now I only have to finish the side slits, hem it up, and stitch down the facing. The total cost of that skirt will be around $5.50 (more than 4 times the blue one!).
I still can’t make a skirt in under an hour, but that’s OK. Between the invisible zipper, facing, and hemming, that is an hour alone. Plus, I’m watching some excellent TV while sewing, so I’m staying entertained.
*Bonus: While at JoAnn last night, I was able to pick up several clearanced zippers for 50 cents each. They were discontinued colors, I think (dark teal, mauvy-pink), but most were invisible. You might want to check it out if you’re in the market.
To be honest, I almost always read and follow the directions. However, there are certain situations which require… straying from the printed page. For instance, recipes. The number of recipes I have followed to the letter on first try is incredibly small. My most recent stitching project was one such situation.
If we backtrack, you might remember that in 2009 I promised to not pick up any new hobbies. I was incredibly successful at this on paper. However, in February (only the second month of the year!), I discovered crewel. I wanted to try it. I must. I loved it. I could have rationalized that it’s really the same thing as embroidery, but I did not (fyi, crewel is really a subgenre of embroidery, since the same stitches are used, but the work is done with wool thread on linen, whereas embroidery is not picky about materials). I stuck to my guns and drooled over pictures on Flickr, watched eBay auctions (without bidding), and dreamed.
Well, it’s no longer 2009, is it? No, it’s not. So you can be sure that in January, to eBay I went, buying some crewel projects. I had learned that it is nearly impossible to buy crewel wool in stores, so I picked out some complete projects that included the stamped picture on linen and the necessary thread.
The first one I won was a lovely floral motif.
The picture on the auction was terrible (very pale and washed out), so I wasn’t exactly sure what I was getting. Here’s a better view of the photo from the packaging:
What was a girl to do?
Well, this girl decided to hop online, find a store that sold crewel wool, and make some substitutions of her own. It was a bit tricky, figuring out what the colors actually looked like, since two of the stores I browsed had very different photos of the same exact colors, so I bought several versions of the colors I was looking for, and ended up with one of each that would work.
I had decided that the crewel needed to coordinate with the color scheme I’ve been using in the living room. It’s based on Joel Dewberry’s Deer Valley fabric line, and while lovely, I will be honest that these colors are ridiculously hard to find outside of these prints. That red? It’s just a bit more orangey than you might think. And that turquoise? No, it’s actually quite green. (The tans, creams and browns I have no complaints about. They’re lovely.) Sidenote: while shopping at Hancock Fabrics a few weeks ago, I found two lovely remnants of dupioni silk (again! the first time I found a 3-yard piece in chocolate) in this exact shade of turquoise/green. I guess that room can have curtains afterall. (Also to note: you can get dupioni silk for $3-7/yard on the Hancock remnants table. Since it retails for $14-$30+/yard, this is an exceptional deal. Don’t pass it up if you find it.)
After figuring out what colors should be substituted in the pattern, I started working. I did follow the directions as printed, color substitutions aside. Let me tell you that the stamens, all those French knots, that was awful. It took me forever, partly because the wool was rough on my hands and I could only do so much at a time. But, I did finally finish it on Spring Break.
I haven’t decided what to do with it yet. Originally I was thinking it could be used as a chair cover, but all those French knots seem incredibly impractical (and perhaps uncomfortable) for that (it should be noted that crewel is considered to be much hardier than standard embroidery because of the materials used). So now I’m thinking I should just stretch it over a canvas and hang it on the wall. The instructions note that it is not to be washed under any circumstances, but you can take it to the drycleaners. Well, I have no plans to take my embroidery to be dry cleaned, so it will just have to stay as-is. Forever. (Really, who takes embroidery to be dry cleaned? This seems highly impractical. I didn’t want to do the washer-dryer thing, just run it under cold water and let it dry, and then iron the non-stitched parts, just like I do all my other embroidery pieces. Fussy, fussy.)
Would you like, perhaps, a little more fun in today’s post? I thought you would. I have picture goodness to share with you, since I finally got everything uploaded to Flickr.
*As strange as it sounds (and believe, I know it sounds strange), my scalp usually hurts a few days after straightening it, but it goes away if I wash it and make it curly again. I know it doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t hurt right away, so it’s not “trauma” from the straightening iron. I think it might have to do something with combing my hair so the follicles are being pulled in different directions, but I’m not really sure.
This weekend, I finally got around to taking pictures of a pillowcase I embroidered. I worked on it down in Chicago, and it started a lot of conversations. While technically completed in December, I didn’t throw it in the wash until January, so I’m considering it my first finished embroidery project of 2010.
And, I’m happy to announce that our cats have finally figured out the art of snuggling together.
That’s all for me. The weekend was spent doing homework and cleaning and… other boring activities.
OK, I have to admit that as I did each mosaic/collage, I thought to myself, I must have done more than this, but I can’t find any pictures of it! Now that I see them all in one place, it seems crazy to have thought that. With a few [noted] exceptions, I only included finished projects. There are a few projects that I have no pictures of, which is a bummer, but that’s life.
I completed exactly one knitting project this year, a purple “tomato” (eggplant?) baby hat. I have no pictures of it, and finishing it up (it was at least 1/3rd done when I picked it up) spawned a particularly bad tendinitis episode. I don’t see much knitting in 2010.
I hope 2010 can be just as fun (without the mishaps and poor stylistic choices)! I also hope that I will be able to report on having finished those unfinished items mentioned, as well as all of the unfinished pieces that are lingering in my office.
I was hard at work last weekend and Monday through Wednesday evenings working on the ornaments for a swap (that should have been in the mail on Monday, of which I am not proud). They went off in the mail yesterday, and should be arriving at their destinations early next week (except for the two that went to Australia and New Zealand – those might take longer).
That last one there is mine. I had to make up ten, and accidentally made up 11. (Yes, I know if you count up the pictures, there are only ten. I forgot to take a picture of one of them before sealing up the envelope. You’ll have to trust me.) The last one, the tree, was my favorite, and was much more detailed (and therefor took a lot more time) than any of the others.
I used some fabric that I’d salvaged from a pair of pants made me back when I worked in San Francisco (in 1999). I used 1 section, out of four, so I have lots left. The backing (a green Christmas print with horns, quite similar to #4 above) came from a stash of Christmas fabric I bought ages ago, before I knew that fabric could be cool. Maybe one of these days I’ll share my bad taste in fabric of the past. The ribbon, floss, and stuffing (bamboo filler) all came from stash, so I actually didn’t have to spend any money, just time. And time, they took.
My favorite part? The ones with white floss? It glows in the dark! So much fun!
Once I’ve received my ten I’ll have to share pictures of what I received in exchange.
Man, I wish I looked good in hats. Sure would make summer more bearable. Alas, I do not. Someone does, though:
A week or two ago I managed to finish the Summer block of Sunbonnet Sue’s “Seasons.” Those dots on the hat were really much more difficult than I wish they’d been.
This means I only have Fall left to go.
Since I’ve done so very many redwork pieces lately (check out my embroidery photoset [link removed] on Flickr to see proof), I find it much more difficult to work with multiple colors. I really like the simplicity of one color of thread on fabric, and I’m wondering what I can do next to capitalize on this. I have some new transfers from Sublime Stitching [link removed] (as well as tons of others). My recent purchase included the gardening set and the camping set. I was thinking white thread on white fabric (easily bleachable), but neither gardening nor camping seem appropriate for that sort of fanciness.
I might do some embroidery on my new shower curtain (for which I finally have decided on fabrics – very exciting), or the curtains in my office (for which I am undecided), but neither of those are small, portable projects. Maybe my partner’s charms for the next Mini Quilt in a Bag swap will arrive, and I’ll be inspired….
(as compared to needle-in-machine, the theme of yesterday’s post)
Here are the embroidery projects I finished the week before and week of Spring Break. The last two Sunbonnet Sue “Chores” squares are done. Hurrah!
I’m quite pleased with how they all turned out, though if I had it to do over again, there are some changes I’d make. Whatever. I think the end result (a quilt) will be cute. I haven’t decided yet whether to keep it the 10 “chores” 5 1/2″ squares plus the 4 “seasons” 10″ squares, or if I should add in the Sunbonnet Sue and Sam ABCs. Thoughts?
And because it’s good to take a break and work with color, and because there’s a March Needlework Challenge on Craftster, this is what I started:
It’ll be cute, I’m certain, but I’m keeping the details under wraps. I will say that it’s being worked on an “organic” kitchen towel I bought at Target on clearance. These things are absolutely huge, and I got a pack of 4 for $6-ish, I think, and then they went on clearance so I bought another pack. Delightful. A very small weave, compared to the linen I’ve been doing Sunbonnet Sue on.
If you’re wondering if there’s anything I didn’t do over Spring Break (because I have at least two more days of pictures to post of crafty accomplishments), there certainly is. I didn’t do any of the baking I wanted to. So sad. My list of foods I want to make is getting quite long, and there will never be enough hours in the day. That’s probably good for my waist.
As a side note, I currently stink like menthol, because I woke up (again) with a bad crick in my neck, and there’s no time to get a massage in the next week (lots and lots of homework coming up, and a new baby to get to know), so I stocked back up on Icy Hot patches. might complain, but I’d really like to be able to turn my head to the left without pain (because changing lanes is a little difficult).
It’s because I did a lot of sewing this weekend, and sewing is not particularly ergonomically-friendly. I also did a lot of knitting, so my hands and elbows hurt. However, the crick in my neck has finally (mostly) gone away, though a much larger pain appeared in my lower back yesterday, probably from all the compensating I did while I couldn’t turn my head left.
But, you probably didn’t pop over here to hear me complain about weird muscle things.
I got some work done on the Mini Quilt swap. I can’t show you too much, but here’s a sneak preview.
Plus, I finally got around to taking some pictures of the pillowcases I made for (who won them back in, like, November or something). They’re not exactly what she specified (I was trying to not buy more fabric), but they turned out great and I love them.
I’ll post a better picture once she gets them, but it could be a while, since she hasn’t sent me her address yet (hint, hint).
This, however, is what I’m most proud of. I made a tablecloth! And 6 napkins! I gushed all about it on Flickr, so just click on the picture to get the whole story.
And lastly, I finished this bit of embroidery last week. Actually, I finished two (and am almost done with the very last Sunbonnet Sue “Chores”), but the other one hasn’t been photographed yet.
Is it any wonder I’m tired? (Plus, I did homework from about 5:30 until 10 pm on Friday night, with a break for dinner. Less than fun, but nice to have a mostly free weekend and two free weeknights.) Actually, though the tablecloth was a bit challenging math-wise, and was a bit painful (large things are just… awkward to sew sometimes), it wasn’t actually hard. All straight lines. I think I’ll write up a tutorial for it once I get a picture of it on our table. And the embroidery is done mostly while commuting. And the pinwheels… tiny, but fun. Chain piecing. Couldn’t be easier (well, OK, I could have made them much larger, but where’s the fun in that?).
Despite it being a very busy week (and weekend), I managed to get some embroidery done while commuting and waiting for things to start. More Sunbonnet Sue “Chores” squares done:
That was all I had finished by Saturday night, so I thought maybe this week I’d only get the one done. However, I easily started and finished the second one on Sunday, mostly because by Sunday night I’d finished all of my homework except that paper, but I knew I couldn’t get it done in just a few hours. So instead, I got to watch TV and do a little stitching.
Four left (I think)! The one I’m working on right now has Sue planting in her garden. I put them in order of seasonality, so that hopefully I’d be working on the “outdoors” ones when I could be outdoors myself, but alas I’m finishing these pretty quickly. There’s also one where she’s walking outside with balloons. I don’t remember the other two though. It has been such a fun little project, and quite portable, which I really like. The quilt, when finished, should also be beautiful, and I’m excited for that. It’s a long ways off, but someday (hopefully in 2009).
It is week 5 of the “spring” semester, and I am beat. We spent a good portion of the weekend painting over some murals in our house, hoping that some buyer would walk through and fall in love with the plain walls (since no one had fallen in love with the forest or anime shadow). There will be open houses in the near future, something our Realtor vehemently opposes but thinks is necessary in today’s market.
One of the murals was in the bedroom, so sleep was not the greatest. And Friday night was ‘s company party, which was fun, but tiring too. Saturday I managed to squeeze in a desperately-needed haircut and massage (the effects of the latter were short-lived – I spent part of last night icing my neck for some relief), and the ever-present homework. Since the house smelled like paint and furniture was moved, I chose to do my homework at Caribou and Starbucks this weekend, which was fun, in a boring homework sort of way.
We didn’t do our grocery shopping on Sunday night like we usually do, partly because we didn’t finish painting until nearly 8 and were exhausted. Did I mention we finished getting the ice off of our driveway too?
Last night, after dinner we put the house back together. I collapsed onto the bed and started to read over two hours worth of material on our state’s political parties’ platforms. Bo-ring, but also informative. And, at times, amusing. There was a point, however, when I had a headache, and it was late, and I really wanted chocolate and didn’t want to go grocery shopping. I was on the verge of becoming very cranky. And so, my knight in shining armor rode in, saving the day. He went and did the grocery shopping without me, buying me exactly what I asked for, and bringing home chocolate ice cream loaded with brownie bits. Heaven, I tell you.
Unfortunately, my one big homework task for the week, an outline for a research paper on foreign policy, is still undone, and due sometime Friday evening (and tonight is my only free night before then). I really would like to go home and sleep, because I am getting grouchy and easily annoyed. I have absolutely no inspiration for this paper. I’m supposed to pick a topic or geographic location or something, with focus, and then write 3/4 of a page of outline. I don’t even know where to start. My only thought was to do something on genocide, because I’ve already done research on that back when I used to work at the church (yes, it was relevant to junior high youth group, trust me). But I can’t seem to find the right foreign-policy angle. Maybe it will come to me, maybe I’ll need to pick a new topic. Hopefully I can get to bed before 11 (I’d love to get to bed around 8:30, but I highly doubt that will happen).
But, to leave you with something to make you smile, I did finish two more Sunbonnet Sue “chores” squares in the last week while riding the bus or watching the evening news.
Sunbonnet Sue, as I was joking with one of my classmates, only does “appropriate womanly things,” like ironing. Appropriate, that is, if it’s 1920. I still think she’s cute.
She does have some time for fun, though, spent mostly hanging out with her dog.
They’re only 5 1/2″ square, so they stitch up pretty fast. I wish there were more squares of her with a cat, but most have her dog in them instead. Oh well. Only 6 left, and then the Sam and Sue alphabet. I think I’ve got an idea for a quilt layout forming….