Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Easter Motifs Part Two

You might remember the three Easter motifs I am working on.  I posted about them here.  This is my progress so far on the first one.  It is a sweet little scene with flowers, grass and decorated eggs.  I used the double knot stitch on the edge of the petals and the seed stitch for the inside.  I am using double rows of stem stitch for the flower stems:

I also have some exciting sewing machine news!  Remember when I bought this machine?  I have loved using it so much except for one thing, I have never had a sewing table for it.  I have been using this on my big work table, and I have been standing up to sew! 

Last weekend, my sister gave me a table she had that she wasn't using anymore.  It just needed a fresh coat of paint:

We had a beautiful warm weekend so I was able to get the table painted.  Here is the before...the table has two drop down leaves so that it can sit flat against the wall:

And this is what it looks like with both sides up and the gate legs extended.  It makes a large circular top.  I think I will always be using it with just one side extended, my machine fits perfectly on it and it is very secure and stable feeling even when I am sewing.  I am so excited about this, I will post the after pictures with the new paint job soon! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Easter Project - Part Three


I finished the stitching on my first Easter wip and I wanted to share this helpful tip.   

When I take the finished stitching out of the hoop, I immerse it in water to remove the water soluble ink pattern lines.  I make sure to immerse it because sometimes, if you just dab the lines with water, a blue spot will appear where the ink wasn't completely washed out.  I have learned the hard way to always immerse my project! 

Next, I carefully squeeze out the excess water. I have noticed that since the heavily embroidered areas dry much slower than the unstitched base fabric, often the fabric dries with a lot of wrinkles.  I always iron my projects but I don't like to iron over the heavily embroidered areas in case I flatten out the floss too much.  So to solve these problems, I try to dry it without letting it wrinkle up too much.  The best way I have tried so far is to use a big absorbent towel and some straight pins: 

I place the wet project on the towel and using the straight pins I pin it into place on the towel.  The pins hold it taut and in place while it dries.  Sort of like blocking wool projects.  I usually keep smoothing the fabric and adjusting the straight pins as it dries.

This has worked really well for me.  When it is all dry, I remove all the pins and you can see it dries without too many wrinkles or the hoop marks:

Then I carefully iron it to remove any wrinkles that did form and here is the result:

I used quite a few different stitches on this project.  Lazy Daisy Stitch for the pink flowers, Roumanian Stitch for the purple flowers,  French Knots for all the yellow and pink dots, Long and Short Stitch for the pale purple flowers, Back Stitch for the flower stems and most of the text - the E is done in Chain Stitch, and Fishbone Stitch for all the leaves:


Here are the floss colors and their numbers I used in this project.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Vintage Resources

As I mentioned before, I am learning how to knit and how to crochet.

Recently, I found some really interesting vintage resources.  First is this McCall's crochet book. 

 This edition was published in 1968.  There are easy to follow demonstrations for all sorts of stitches and techniques. 

And plenty of patterns for dresses and sweaters...

Second is this Vogue knitting magazine.  This is the Fall/Winter 1986 issue. 

it is full of great knitting information and plenty of patterns:

Both of these resources are so helpful and are really fun to read! 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Easter Project - Part Two

I have an update on my Easter stitching.  I have been filling in flowers, leaves and stems.  

I have taken out the pale pink floss on the text, it was way too light for the rest of the color palette. 

I am thinking that maybe I shouldn't have done ALL the lazy daisy flowers in this dark pink {?} but I think I will wait until I have filled in more of the motifs to decide:

You can see I am dangerously close to the end of my dark purple floss {DMC #340} so as soon as I find some more, I can finish this up!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Organization - Crochet Journal

I am continuing on with my organizing - this time it is crochet!  Because I like to keep a journal of my projects and materials, I designed a crochet journal.  

I am learning how to crochet and I already have a nice collection of hooks and a sizable stash of yarn. 

All the pages are printable so I can print out new project pages every time I start on a project. 

I also like recording and having a permanent record of all the measurements I need for myself or if I am making something for someone else. 

It is really nice to keep track of everything

and have it all available in one convenient binder.

I listed the printable version of this binder in my Etsy shop :

With a choice of really beautiful cover colors: 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

100 Stitches - Mosaic Filling

 Time for another installment of my 100 Stitches progress.  This beautiful stitch is called Mosaic Filling.  I should say this is my version of Mosaic Filling.  The written instructions for this stitch seemed pretty straightforward, however one of the in-progress pictures from the book completely confused me.  I will explain why when I get to that step.   I ended up finishing this stitch as I thought was the correct way and mine does look just like the finished picture in 100 Stitches so that is what I will demonstrate.

This is a drawn fabric embroidery stitch and is worked over an area of 12 vertical and 12 horizontal threads. I am using this medium to loose weave linen fabric.  For my floss, I am using perle cotton - DMC Color Variations #4025. 
The first step is to come up through the fabric.  I don't think it matters where you start, the first step is to take four straight stitches in a row - I worked from right to left:

Here is the first straight stitch.  I counted down four threads from where my needle first emerged and went back into the fabric:

Next, I made another straight stitch, one thread to the left from the first stitch.  Notice the needle comes up through the fabric at the top of the straight stitch and goes into the fabric at the bottom of the straight stitch:

I did that four times.  On the fourth stitch, I then came back up through the fabric through the same hole as the needle went into the fabric at the top of the stitch:

I pulled all the way through and then went back into the fabric four vertical threads to the left:

That starts a second set of four straight stitches.  On the fourth stitch, as with the first set, come back up through the same hole and start on a new set of four straight stitches:

Do those same steps until you have four sets of four straight stitches around a center square. When the needle emerges from the last straight stitch, pull all the way through:

and go back into the fabric in the same hole of the first straight stitch for that set and come back out at the opposite corner.  When you pull through, this will make a straight stitch at one edge of the center square.

Do the same thing at the next corner:

and the next:

and the final corner:

Pull all the way through and now the center square is all outlined.  Now go back into the fabric at the opposite edge diagonally:

Pull through to make a cross stitch and then do the same on the opposite side:

And done!  Did this seem confusing? The confusion I had came from looking at the picture in 100 Stitches.  It shows starting the first straight stitch {that edges the center square} by going into the fabric at the furthest right-hand end of the top right side horizontal straight stitch set and emerging at the bottom left edge of that same set.  When I tried that, it just made a second straight stitch on top of the first one.  What am I not understanding? 
Well this is what my Mosaic Filling looks like:   

and the underside of this stitch:

It is a beautiful stitch, if anyone is familiar with this stitch and has some tips or insight, I would love to hear from you!

This stitch is #94 on the 100 Stitches list and is from the Drawn Fabric Embroidery category.