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05/21/10

  02:20:00 am, by Airycat   , 257 words  
Categories: Needlework, Machine Embroidery, Fabric Art

Machines Revolt!

In my typical ADD fashion, I started another project I was thinking about. This one is the sewing machine cover.

felter

felting machine

husqvarna

embroidery machine

Debie's machines have covers to keep put the dust and cat & dog hair, but mine doesn't.

kenmore

g machine

So I figured I whip something up. Nothing ever whips up for me. I wish I'd remember that everything takes more time than I think it should. The idea of what I wanted it to look like has been in my head for a while, but the execution is not as simple as I thought -- especially when the machines are uprising (or staging sit-ins).

So, I'm zipping along and I managed to get this far:

This is how far I got before I discovered the tension had gone out.

And then I discovered this:

no tension

The back of the 'hand' embroidery has no tension

I tried to figure out what went flooey with the tension and couldn't. (I did finally figure out how the button holer works -- I think.) Then, when I tried to raise the feed do to see if regular sewing was off, too, that didn't work either. Well, it is past due for routine maintenance. Hopefully that won't take forever and cost an arm and a leg.

I came up and did some sample stitches on my Blessings sampler book.

Now I'm going to bed because I have to take the quilting machine class with Debie all day tomorrow. I'll have more about that machine at a later date.

  12:10:00 am, by Airycat   , 120 words  
Categories: Needlework, Hand Embroidery, Blessings Stitched Fabric Book

More Starting

I started with a stitch square rather than a blessing square. I will probably do a few more of these randomly before I do my first square. My first herringbone is not too great because I didn't mark my lines, so it's a little wonky. It makes me think of a lopsided cross stitch. I'm using two strands of DMC floss, since that's what I have an abundance of.

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(Click for a larger view.)

You can see the fabric threads a lot better in the full sized photo than I can when I'm stitching!! I wish I could see them this clearly. I'd have a much neater stitch if I could count. I wonder if a super magnifier would help.

05/19/10

  11:30:00 pm, by Airycat   , 738 words  
Categories: Chitchat

Blahs, List, Ideas

It seems that my trip to Mexico derailed me and I'm finding it hard to get back on track for some unknown reason. The ideas are there, but the get-up-and-go has got up and gone. I don't know why. I quite enjoyed the trip and was well rested... at least until I got back. It might be the sunshine. I thrive on sunshine and next to Mexico, ours is paltry and wan. It's been around, which is very good for Oregon in May, but, oh, I loved the bright heat of Mexico.

Another thing is that I probably have too many projects going at once. I don't know if it's me or the ADD, but some part of me seems to think that if I think of something, it should be done. (Yikes! That sounds awfully like a god complex!)

  1. Cherubs cross stitch to finish -- about 2/3s done.
  2. Kitchen curtains/shades --way past due.
  3. Fairy Quilt -- long term project. I should make a notebook for it to keep all my ever changing ideas. Trouble is I get them as I'm falling asleep or waking up, neither of which is a good time for me to try to write.
  4. Blessings sampler book -- this is probably going to be long term, also. Calculation errors turned it from 100 to 320 squares!! I will do at least 100 blessings, maybe more. The rest will be stitch samples and experimenting.
  5. Purse -- nothing concrete yet, but I found some soft faux leather that would look lovely embroidered (probably machine embroidery for this -- gotta test it first).
  6. Gnome dolls -- these are a fabric panel, but I thought I'd make one for the grandbabe, and one for me and there are some mini prints of the front, too. I want to embellish it, though, not just sew and stuff.
  7. Pin Keep -- after seeing all those on stitchin fingers, I want my own. No plans yet, however.
  8. Sewing machine cover -- just thought of this today, although it's been in the back of my mind for ages. An idea came to me as I was surfing the needlework blogs, today.

There are probably others, but this is all I can think of at the moment. I'm also tracking down various things I've made and photographing them for the needlework photoblog (above link).

I have seen several references to art and/or needlework journals. I want to look into these. I'm not an artist in the sense of drawing. I have, on occasion, drawn something that passes for good, but mostly my drawing is not even close to art. My sketches for things, when I manage to do any, are stiff and mechanical looking. I remember my 8th grade art teacher trying to get me to see things artistically. I learned a little, but I still don't really see things the way I want to interpret them.

I'm a little better three dimensionally. That art teacher actually kept my balsa sculpture (with my permission). I think it's the dimensional aspect of needlework that is part of its attraction for me. Even traditional quilting and "flat" embroideries are more 3D than drawing. It's the texture. And my favorite needlework is the more 3D and textured kind -- crazy quilting and stump work and ??? (new, creative stuff?).

I was looking at a piece of crazy quilting recently (probably Sharon b's sampler or "I Dropped the Button Box" quilt, or Susan's Alice quilt) and it came to me that I love them, in part, because I love the texture, the busyness of them, the "clutter," if you will. I can appreciate spare, clean lines and sometimes even love them, but if you show me two quilts, for example -- one simple, even in bright bold colors (my faves), the other a CQ with plenty of lace, ribbons, embroidery, and buttons & trinkets, I will choose the one with the more to see -- the CQ -- even though it may be the color that initially draws me. This makes total sense, when I think about it. I've always liked the cluttered look in decorating (though not the over cluttered mess things are in around here right now). I like to have my pretties (and "interesting-ies") around me. So it's no surprise that I want to do art quilts with a strong 3D and CQ effect, stitched books, and dolls. (Can't forget the dolls!)

OK, I've psyched myself. Now I need to clear off my work table and work on something!!!

  01:23:00 pm, by Airycat   , 282 words  
Categories: Needlework, Hand Embroidery, Blessings Stitched Fabric Book

Whose Masochistic Mind...

... came up with stitching pictures in itty bitty inchies?!?!? LOL I didn't realize how small they really were until I finally got started on the stitching. I am so glad I got new stitching glasses!

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I only just got started and I made a rather shocking discovery. I don't really know how to embroider!! I looked at that first square and had no idea how to start it. I know how to cross stitch (counted), and I can usually follow directions in crewel kits. I can do running stitch and an OK satin stitch. Backstitch comes with the counted cross stitching. I'm pretty good at French knots. But... I don't think I know anything else. Soooo...

After finishing that one little square, I started pouring over Sharon b's Dictionary of Stitches for Hand Embroidery and Needlework. I think this little book will also have squares of sample/practice stitching in it. I knew there was a reason I wanted to do this project (other than artistically enumerating my blessings), and I've always considered it a sampler even in it's future book form. Maybe that's why I planned for way more than 100 squares -- not so inadvertent after all. I did know that I had not done a lot of embroidery. I was just surprised at how limited my knowledge of the variety of stitches was. My brain knows, but my fingers don't.

So that's where I stand. If there is a deadline on this project, I seriously doubt I will meet it. I promise myself it will not sit as an idle UFO, though.

I think I need to borrow my sister's stitch encyclopedia so I can have instructions with me as I stitch.

05/17/10

  12:15:00 am, by Airycat   , 492 words  
Categories: Chitchat

┐Oh, Where...

┐Oh where can my needles be? I'm totally frustrated abut them. I knew on Monday (5/3) that I would be going to Mexico on Wednesday (5/5). I had just gathered all my needles into a baggie with some fabric to make a needlecase and thought I'd throw the baggie into my tote bag and take with me. When I arrived in Mexico, I had no baggie, no needles other than the one on the cross stitch in progress. Now, back at home, I still can't find them. When I say my needles, I mean all my hand needles, every single last one of them (with the one exception). This means all my sewing needles of various sizes, all my quilting needles, all my embroidery needles and all my miscellaneous, craft, upholstery and needles and three crochet hooks!!

I was going to practice some of the stitches Sharon has showed us over on Pin Tangle. I have a project that requires beads and sequins to finally finish. While my fairy quilt is still in the machine state, it will require some hand embroidery. To say I'm frustrated is really an understatement. GAH!!!

Okay, I was getting frustrated just writing about it, so I went in search of some graphics to use on this blog. That took maybe 1.5- 2 hours. Then I made omelet burritos for dinner for the three of us (Kiddo is in Portland). After that I went and looked in my sewing area again. Nada. I looked around the kitchen (where I was packing my tote bag). Nada. HoneyBear gave me some cookies and I decided to come back in here (the Red Den) and finish this. This room is a disaster and, unfortunately, has been for some time. I was looking around trying to decide where to start cleaning it up when I noticed something under the pillow on the recliner. Beats me how it possibly got there since I haven't sat there since at least a week before I left, but there were my needles! Woohoo!!! TBTG! I am relieved, to say the least.

I managed to get a little work done on that cross stitch piece I had, though not as much as I would have liked. The danged ╝ stitches are a pain to stitch and my pattern shows them in a different color from the x stitches, so I often 'finish' a section having missed all the ╝ stitches and I had to go back and do them separately.

We saw a lot of lovely things there. I ended up getting a simple dress that is embroidered. It doesn't look that good on me since it's totally shapeless, but it's too pretty to be simply a nightgown (which is what it reminds me of). I think I will cut off the bottom part and turn the top into a shirt. I haven't decided what to do with the bottom, yet. Maybe make another shirt.

Here are some views of the embroidery:

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