Friday, July 29, 2011

Summer pillow wip - update

I thought I would share a status update on my summer pillow wip. In my last post about this project, I was trying to decide which trim to use for the pillow edges. My favorite trim is pom-pom trim and that is what I had planned to use. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find the perfect size. So I decided to use the pom-pom trim pictured below but as it turns out, I don't have enough of it to go around the pillow. I thought maybe yellow pom-pom trim would work but I couldn't find a good enough color match. Thank you to everyone for so many helpful comments on that previous post - Julia suggested using piping as a trim. I was really happy to find this white bias tape piping. In case you have never seen it, piping is a woven cord encased in fabric. It comes already stitched right next to the cord and then has about a 1/4" seam allowance with a raw edge for you to sew into your seam. I think it is going to look great! I have cut out the front and back pillow panels. They are approximately 14" in width by 12-1/2" in height. I took Wendy's suggestion and did a zig-zag stitch all around the edges of both the front and back pieces to stop all that fraying:
I pinned the piping all around the front panel. I pinned it in place on the right side of the front panel with the raw edges together:
I was a little nervous about sewing around the square edge of this panel and being able to make a smooth corner with the piping. I did a little research and came up with this great tip: right where you want it to turn a corner, snip the raw edge of the piping (carefully!) almost to the stitching. You can even cut out a triangle shaped piece of the seam allowance. Once it is cut, it can easily curve around the corner:
Then I stitched it in place. I actually changed the presser foot on my new sewing machine - I used the zipper foot! I moved my needle all the way to the left so that it could sew really close to the cord on the piping. Here is what the zipper foot looks like with the needle in the left position: I also wondered how to finish the piping when I had gone all around the panel. After searching around on the net, I saw several recommendations for this method. Before you have stitched the piping all the way around the panel and are almost back to the starting point, cut the piping a little longer than you need so that you have a bit of a piping overlap. With a seam ripper, take out little bit of the seam that you stitched where you started sewing the piping in place. Now you have two free ends of piping. Use the seam ripper to take out a little of the seam holding the cord in place on one end of the piping. Cut out a piece of the cord where it will overlap with the other end of the piping:
Fold under the raw edges of the piping end where you just cut the cord and slip it over the piping end where you first started stitching. Now you can sew it in place and have nice, smooth and finished piping! After I sewed all of the piping in place, I noticed that I hadn't stitched close enough to the cord in the can see in this picture where my yellow stitches are not close enough.
I have since stitched around the whole panel again, this time really close to the piping stitching. Now to the back panel of the pillow. I have transferred my patterns and am starting to stitch! I will keep you updated on my progress.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

100 Stitches - Striped Woven Band Stitch

This may look like it was done on some sort of loom but it is actually the striped woven band stitch:
When I saw the illustration in 100 Stitches for this stitch I thought uh-oh! But it turns out that this is a really simple set of steps, it just looks complex.
This sample was stitched with two colors of the six strand embroidery floss and you see what a nice puffy effect it gives:
For my demonstration I am using pearl cotton floss just because it is so much easier to see the steps with the smooth, indivisible pearl cotton floss. I am using two needles and contrasting colors of floss:
I drew two parallel guidelines just to keep everything straight and even. The first step is to make what 100 Stitches calls foundation bars, which are just
evenly spaced
straight stitches:
Evenly space these along the guide lines. After all the straight stitches are in place, come up through the fabric on the left side guideline. 100 Stitches suggested that you use the lighter color of the two colors first so that is what I did. I started with the yellow floss:
Come up through the fabric and go under the first straight stitch - don't pierce the fabric, just slide under the first straight stitch
and pull all the way through:
Now you switch to the other needle. Come up through the fabric:
and this time go over the first straight stitch and then under the second straight stitch. Don't pierce the fabric just slide the needle under the second straight stitch:
and pull all the way through - and pull your floss under the light colored floss:
next, switch back to the needle with the light colored floss and go over the second straight stitch and under the third straight stitch - again not piercing the fabric - just sliding under the stitch:
Pull all the way through and pull the yellow floss under the blue floss:

Now back to the blue floss, over the third straight stitch and under the fourth. I am sure you are seeing the theme here, sort of like over-under weaving:
Just continue with these steps. When you reach the last straight stitch, bring your needle down to the underside of the fabric right below the final straight stitch. You can see the blue is already through:
and now it is yellow's turn:
Bring both needles back up to the first straight stitch and start the whole process again for the next row:
yellow first - under and over:
now blue - over and under:
Just continue these steps until all the space between the lines is filled:
I stitched this band with more spacing between the vertical rows, and you can really see how the floss is woven under and over. Especially with the pearl cotton floss:
I like the blue and yellow color combination. The blue is dmc #798 and the yellow is dmc #727.
Here is a picture of the underside of the stitching. There is definitely a lot going on here!
I really like this stitch and I am excited to try it on some actual embroidery patterns! This is stitch #66 and it is listed in the Composite Stitches section of 100 Stitches.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Autumn Embroidery Pattern

It is a little early to be thinking about autumn...but not if you have autumnal projects to stitch!

I stitched these trees with their leaves in the colors of autumn:

These beautiful trees are from my new "Autumn" embroidery pattern packet. The colors I used for the leaves: yellow - dmc 973, red - dmc 666, beige - dmc 977, orange - dmc 740, burnt orange - dmc 919. The color I used for the tree trunks: dmc 434 and the color I used for the lettering: - dmc 720.

Lots of lazy daisy stitching! This is what the pattern packet looks like:

It is full of fun to stitch images and it is available here!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Finally here!!!

I bought a sewing machine! It has been on backorder and I have been not so patiently waiting for it to arrive - it was finally ready to pick up yesterday! I did a lot of research on what type of sewing machine I wanted and I narrowed it down to the HusqvarnaViking line: I selected the Emerald 118 and here it is! This machine has so many exciting features. It has 18 different stitches, a one step buttonhole process, adjustable presser foot pressure, a see through drop-in bobbin case with an automatic bobbin thread pickup: and a built in automatic needle threader:It came with so many nice accessories - a few of which I have no idea how to use yet:and this model has 8 different presser feet: I am really excited to start sewing, so far I have only sewn basic straight seams with the presser foot that was already on the machine! Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

100 Stitches - Trellis or Jacobean couching stitch

I am thrilled to have learned this beautiful stitch! This is a couching stitch
and it is the latest stitch on my 100 Stitches list
This is actually two couching stitches, the Trellis Couching Stitch and the Jacobean Couching Stitch. Since 100 Stitches counts them together, I am too. The Trellis Couching Stitch can be seen in the center of the pink flower and the yellow flower. The Jacobean Couching Stitch is in the center of the blue flower:
To show you how I learned the stitch, I drew two squares and put straight lines in one and diagonal lines in the other. I am using two different colors of pearl cotton floss so that it is really easy to see how these stitches work:
First I will do the square with the straight lines, this will show how to do the trellis couching stitch. Bring the floss through at one end of one of the straight lines. I don't think it matters where you start. Pull the floss through and go back into the fabric at the other end of the line you started on. You are making long stitches that are essentially laid threads :
Now do the same for the next line:
When you have completed all the vertical lines, come through at one end of one of the horizontal lines:
Stitch a long horizontal stitch on each of the horizontal lines. The next step is to "tie down" or couch the floss at each of the intersecting points.
If you are using two colors of floss like me, secure your first floss on the underside and then switch to your other color floss. Bring the new color floss through at one of the intersections:
Take a small slanting stitch to tie down the intersecting lines:
Head for the next intersection and do the same:
Do this at each intersection. That is the Trellis Couching Stitch:
Now for the Jacobean Couching Stitch. Start by bringing your needle up on one end of one of the diagonal lines:
go back into the fabric at the end of the line you started on:
and just like before, stitch each of the diagonal lines:
Next, tie down each intersection. According to 100 Stitches, the tying down can be done with a slanted stitch or a cross stitch. The 100 Stitches illustration did not show how to do the cross stitch, it just shows a horizontal
straight stitch:
and then a vertical:
straight stitch:
which cross each other:
Tie down each of the intersections:I think these stitches are so beautiful and really easy to stitch. They do make for a little bit of a messy underside however!
I like the way these stitches work as flower centers: These pretty flowers are part of a border from the Ladybug Pattern Packet
These stitches are in the Couching Stitches section of 100 Stitches and are #70 on the 100 Stitches list.