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  04:19:00 pm, by Airycat   , 255 words  
Categories: Projects, Machine Embroidery

Meme Project #2

This is the other notebook cover that I did. It was another learning experience. (Maybe when I have done five, I will know what I'm doing.)

This is the machine embroidering the iris on the front cover.

And this is where the machine started to misbehave.

The whole cover pieced and embroidered and attached to the backing and batting.

It still need binding.

Making sure it fits the notebook.

With its binding, beads and sequins added. Front



Ribbon and bead bookmarks, and closure added.

Closeup of closure.

Inside front cover with bookmark

I had originally thought to put a photo of the recipient on the back cover, but the fabric I chose made her look like a tattooed lady. I realized any of the fabric I had chosen would do that, so I opted for her LJ icon. It was small and looks really unclear close up. (I assume because the embroidery program had to enlarge it to create it.) However, it looks pretty good from a distance. I debated what to do with the picture and finally decided to put it on the inside front with a ribbon frame. I did not sew it, in case she didn't like it. It's attached with 505.

Because of the machine problems happening after I started the embroidery, it was a little off. I simply redid it freehand in those spots.

Over all, I think both covers came out well and I'd gladly have kept and used them myself if I hadn't promised and personalized them.


  03:09:00 am, by Airycat   , 226 words  
Categories: Needlework, Projects, Machine Embroidery

Meme Project #1

Last spring on Live Journal I did a meme in which I offered something made by me to the first 5 people who commented. Two people commented. I think I changed my mind about three times before I finally settled on what I would do. By then it was January of this year!

I asked each of them what they liked and tried to do something to make each personal to the recipient. I had no idea what I was doing, really. I pretty much made it up as I went along.

This is the first one I made. (Click for full size photos)

Here are progress and detail photos. Not all are good. Some are very blurry. Clicking will take you to full size photos (and won't improve blurriness).

I learned a few things buy doing this (and the one I'll post about tomorrow). Although I really like some of the stitches on the sewing machine, they do not make good CQ seam stitches. Of course, part of the problem here is that I didn't choose a contrasting thread, but they still don't quite work. They are too lightweight for the most part. I think too many of them are too small, too. Maybe they would work on tiny quilts. Anyway, in the future, if I use them, I will augment them with hand stitching, too.


  02:49:00 am, by Airycat   , 724 words  
Categories: Needlework, Quilting, Hand Embroidery

A Whole Bunch of Stuff

Such a literate title! &amp;#59;&amp;#41; First item on the list is that I added some photos to the Needlework Photoblog in the Quilting section (here). "Machine (I think) pieced" means I just don't remember and I can't tell without opening it up, which I don't plan on doing.

I am thoroughly enjoying my GIMP For Textile Designers class with Sharon B over at Joggles. I have spent much more time playing with GIMP than on any kind of needlework, this past week. I suspect that will be the case until the class is over.

While I was at Joggles, I ordered a couple of basic Zentangle books and some pens. I've been wanting to do Zentangles for ages and ages. I tried one on my own and it just didn't look right to me. I'm sure that part of the reason was that I was using colored pencils, not the micron pens. After I did my first one with the book, I realized that the one done with pencils didn't have enough contrast. I haven't tried shading on either type, yet, but I know they will look even better then. This fits on the needlework blog, because I'm hoping to make a Zentangle suitable for embroidery -- machine and/or hand.

I'm going to Zentangle the hand.


I'm way behind on all my blog reading. I really don't know how people with a ton of "friends" manage to keep up. I know that ADD and all its distractability exacerbate the problem, but it still annoys me that I can't do everything!

Talk about distractability!! I got to my third blog, one I got to through stitchin fingers (Puncetto lace ? my sad first attempts), and that was the end of blog reading for today! (Tuesday) I saw only about half of the video before I was interrupted to do something for my husband, but that was enough. I remembered when I was doing some shisha stitching (except on a shell, not a mirror) that I thought "This could turn into lace." So, without even consulting the video again I proceeded to try making a bit of lace. I can't say my attempts are perfect, far from it, but it did work!

The first one, I attached to a card, which created the loose thread at the top. Other than that and the fact that I couldn't see the threads very well, I think it came out well. This was crochet cotton, but I lost the wrapper, so I don't know the size.

For the second one I thought I'd try a circle and finer thread, so I used a single ply of some 4 ply bamboo yarn that I bought to play with. (I love the silky feel of bamboo!) Much harder on the eyes!! When I tore these two from the card, this one unraveled. I don't know if it was the way I attached it (since the other did not unravel) or if a thread broke when I pulled.

So I did the third one with two bamboo plys and no card. It was easier than I thought it would be without the card to anchor it. I wanted to keep going, but the thread was too short. (I'll definitely need to look up how to add a thread.)

The fourth pic is another rectangle (top on right side), or maybe a shell, made with one ply bamboo. With a lot of patience and perhaps a magnifier in addition to my stitching glasses, it can be done.

All of these are buttonhole/blanket stitch. I'm sure some kind of pattern would help. I did figure out that I should count the stitches. That was enough on the rectangle, but I was not adding enough stitches for the circle, so it doesn't lie flat.

Lest you think these are large items, here's a another look at all four.

I really enjoyed doing this and have a few ideas to play with it again.

Well, maybe this hasn't really been "a whole bunch," but whatever else I was planning to write is gone, now. I watched a movie with my son between the time I started and finished this and it's past my bedtime ... again!! [OH! I remember what else it was, but I'll make a separate post tomorrow (I hope) about that.] All pics are clickable for larger view.


  09:17:00 pm, by Airycat   , 607 words  
Categories: Needlework, Chitchat, General Sewing, Clothing, Sewing for the Home

This 'n' That

After I did the tablecloth (previous entry), I got to work on my curtains. I got the first pair finished! :good: Have I said my name is procrastination? That pair was waiting for hems and rod pockets for months! I had hoped to get the second pair done by Monday, but, have I said my name is procrastination? Again, it's the hems and rod pockets to be done. Then I have four floor to ceiling shades to do. Here's the finished pair.

Hmmmm... this could use that distort button I learned about in GIMP class.

Actually, I don't know how much is procrastination and how much is distraction. There are so many things to be done!

On Monday I was in a frenzy of cleaning. Frenzy for me, anyway. I know some people clean like that regularly. I had to replace the filter in the vacuum, and in typical me style, it took forever to get a new filter. It was so nice to see the family/sewing room floor again! Three cats and a dog have a remarkable ability to change the color of carpeting -- and furniture -- fast!

I also sorted out and disposed of two boxes of "stuff." (After watching a couple of Episodes of Hoarding: Buried Alive I'm trying to be better about not saving unnecessary things.)

And I started the laundry... which leads to the relevant aspect of housework.... mending. I forgot to get a picture, but I patched Alex's jeans and did some machine embroidery on them. He didn't want anything too strong, so we decided on an outline of a tree that I got from www.sewterific.com. Both of us liked how it came out. I'd get a pic now, but he took them with him to Portland. I have two more pairs to patch.

Over at stitchin fingers a while back Sharon asked everyone to show their needle cases. I've never had one, but I was inspired by looking at them. The first part of that was gathering all my needles. I have so many!! I keep finding more. They were in pincushions (sometimes buried), in thread spools, in paper folders and in my cross stitch bags. I don't know where else. At first I put then on pieces of the fabric that I'm using for my blessings sampler. Not so good. That frays too much. I found a piece of batting and they work nicely there. Now I need to design a cover for them. Currently they are "bound" with safety pins. &amp;#58;&amp;#41;

Regular sewing needles
More regular sewing needles, different sizes

The top two rows are quilting needles, sizes 12 and 9, I believe.

I think the sideways needles are for beading. They are very fine.

Sharp point embroidery needles
Blunt point embroidery, craft (and possibly upholstery) needles
Upholstery needles
Temporary binding

Gosh! I have a lot of needles.

I really like the idea of keeping all my needles in one place. I think I'll make one for my random knitting needles and crochet hooks, too.

All of that (laundry, mending and needles) took me through Tuesday and into about half of yesterday. After that, I spent most of yesterday playing with GIMP. Just playing. I didn't even get to my lesson. I need to get ink. My printer won't print if one cartridge is empty. I hope to work on the lesson a bit tonight, but I need to watch the clock. I get so involved that I end up staying up all night. I was supposed to go to Portland today, but going to bed at 5 am and not sleeping well kind of blew that plan. So I will try tomorrow.


  12:24:00 am, by Airycat   , 514 words  
Categories: Needlework, Sewing for the Home


Several years ago (before 2000, but I don't know exactly when) my mom got an older quilt that had been made simply by sewing two fabrics to batting. She decided she wanted a duvet cover instead and she carefully removed all the batting by opening one end and pulling all the quilt stitches out. She did that here in Oregon while visiting my sister. That was as far as she got before she had to return to NY.

When I moved here in 2004, my sister gave me a lot of fabric she didn't want, plus a lot of mom's fabric, since she would be living with me. This past week, mom said she didn't think she really wanted any of the fabric. She'd rather paint than sew. (I've never known my mom to sew much at all -- curtains, simple draperies, and an occasional chair cover --but if she could do it without sewing, she did.) Anyway, I was looking through the box and spied one I thought would make a lovely tablecloth. It turned out to be her "duvet."

Actually it would make two tablecloths that would look great in my kitchen. I checked it against the wall color and against the still-unfinished-curtains. Although the pattern is totally different from the curtains, the colors match exactly. Woohoo!

So today I worked on one of the tablecloths. I took the floral design and this is what I ended up with:

I just love it! I also made six napkins. I have enough for more, so I may make two more, but maybe not. Six is all we can fit at the table at this size and the cloth won't cover the table if it's expanded. I may use that fabric for another project instead. Don't know what, yet.

Here's a closeup of one of the napkins:

This is a photo of the teapot that was part of my inspiration for choosing the colors in my house:

Pretty much all the same colors!

I hope to do the other tablecloth (yellow check) by the end of next week. Maybe even tomorrow. I also want to get my curtains and shades finished. It has taken me forever to do them and I haven't even half finished. The other project I had hoped already to have finished is the cushions for the outdoor chairs. I don't know if you can see them in the second photo, or not, but they are old and drab and splitting along the seams. I have a gorgeous red hydrangea outdoor fabric for them. It would be nice if I could finish all these projects by the end of July. My workspace is a lot more comfortable now.

I didn't work on the fairy quilt again. This time it's because I took my machine into the shop. I was going to use the Husqvarna, but that would mean rewinding all my bobbins because the two machines don't use the same size. Since I have these other projects to work on, I figured I'd just wait for my own machine to work on the quilt.

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