Friday, August 18, 2017

Taking the next indicated step

I have always found thread beautiful, so it does not really surprise me that I have such a love affair with fabric as well. Fabric quite simply is woven thread, so I am merely extending my first love of thread. When I was younger, I use to watch my mother sewing or crocheting, one of the only kind things I can say about my mother is her skill with fabric and thread. She had a talent that if given the right opportunities might have changed the course of her life. She never had the self-confidence though to push for it and she began to have children way to young. Let's face it she had just turned 20 the day before she had me. I can look at certain aspects of her life and feel compassion and understanding and yet the one area that still has me is her skill with thread and fabric of any kind. Her skill went more towards clothing she used her crocheting for the afghans and doilies, or angels. Now me, I like the thread or embroidery floss, I don't really work with yarn to much, it seems to thick for me. And though I can follow a pattern I just don't like to make clothes it simply doesn't float my boat.

Clothes are not my joy, but quilts, embroidery those are my favorites. I find that when I began sewing that my patience was not there at all. I wanted everything to hurry up and be finished and be beautiful. I began my journey when making quilts when I became pregnant with my son, but at that point I simply took embroidery kits and made those. Then in May of 1999, I met my soul mate, the man who inspired me to try something different. I am a loner it is not easy for me to ask for help, and I have a difficult time sitting and waiting while someone attempts to teach me through explaining what they do. So, how was I suppose to learn what I wanted to do, I bought books, and I still by books. The only problem with buying books is you have to have the time and patience to sit and read the books in order to use the books. Me, I look at the pictures, and if the pictures entice me enough I might read that section. However, I don't want to copy somebodies else's work all the time, I want what I see in my dreams and my thoughts to come out using the various techniques available. From the books, to the internet I traveled. The next step was to begin, how to begin when you have no one to show you or explain to you how to begin your desire of sewing. There are sew many different techniques and tools out there, and there are also just as many opinions on what is the right way to learn how to do something.

Here are a few tips to start first you really need to understand what it is you wish to do when you sew, do you want to make clothes, or do you want to make quilts, blankets, baby items, toys. Because each one has a few must haves and must not. If your attempting to learn how to sew clothes, you have a whole lot of curves to learn, however the basic width of your seam is either 3/8's of an inch or 5/8's of an inch. Your fabric, well there you get to learn about knits, polyester, spandex, cotton, rayon, flannel, and and and. Yep, there is a lot and the list goes on, but when it comes to quilting you will run into the same issue, however, the most ardent quilters will commence to state to you that you must use only the highest grade of cotton, the kind that only is sold in a Quilter's store. When your new though, the idea of spending up to $15 for 36"  X 42" or 46" of fabric can be difficult to justify.  My suggestion is that you buy a couple yards of plain muslin.

Muslin is 100% cotton, it is cheap and it is versatile. When learning how to sew quilts it is important to remember it takes time to learn how to do everything you want to do. Taking the time to get the basics down is important. When quilting the seam is always 1/4" some will tell you that a seam is better if you take a scant 1/4". But you know you really can't measure a scant 1/4" seam. The definition of a scant 1/4" seam is when you draw a line on your fabric marking the 1/4" seam you sew a thread distance to the inside of the line. The inside of the line is the side farthest away from the edge.  There are other things you need to learn as well, before you really get to sew anything, you have to learn about tension and cutting the fabric. So how to start, you first start with buying the muslin, and cotton thread, either a nice pair of fabric scissors, or a rotary cutter and cutting mat (a self healing mat is best, rather than a hard plastic one), a quilting ruler, either a 6" X 24" or a 12" X 12" one. Pick a ruler that is easily readable to you, don't ask for opinions because you will get all kinds and it will just confuse you more. Go to a local fabric store, either a quilt shop but understand you go to a quilt shop you will spend a lot of money, fair warning. Prices at JoAnn's, Hancocks, Hobby Lobby or others's like these stores are better when your just learning.  Find a brand of ruler's that you like in person, then go online and shop for the best price if you want. General rule of thumb, buy one brand of rulers and stick with that brand. The reason being is that not all rulers are exactly the same. Quilting is all about precision, you strive for precision rather than perfection. You will need some needles and pins, and if you can a sewing machine, but you can learn to quilt without a sewing machine as well.

So those are my suggestions for now. Come back and next time I will go over some basic cutting tips, because come on you really didn't expect me to teach you everything at once right.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

I am not a Squealer! I'm Not! Really

There are many things that I am and am not. One of the things that I am not is I am not a squealer. Now in case your unclear of what a squealer is here is a video of squealing . With this being said may I just say that I also did not jump up and down either as shown in video. But what I did do was I started my Harry Potter quilt and it came out so much better then I could have hoped it would.

 My crystal ball it worked, it really really worked and it looks good it really really does even in a picture it looks good.

So a wonderful lady named Jennifer Ofenstein began creating Fandom quilt patterns and she offers them free here at Fandom In Stitches. I have wanted to do this quilt since 2011 but I have been going to school for so long and I had never done paper piecing and it looked so complicated and what if I couldn't do it yada yada yada. But I did it and it came out it really came out. I have been really tense lately as I have this big test coming up on Saturday and I just know I am going to fail it, maybe I should say that but I just know I am going to and I really am not prone to exaggeration but then again I don't like tests either. But I love fabric, I love Harry Potter and I also love the Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings. There are actually lots of books I really love . So my second block came out well too.
Most people made their books various different styles, but I have always wanted to have a matched library because if all my books were leather bound I would want them all to be similar and have an embossed title on the spine. I am so excited about starting this quilt. I have several ways that I can do the titles, I could embroidery them by hand or machine, I could use my brother scan and cut and cut them out that way.

OMG!! I wonder if I could do a reverse cut with the brother scan and cut and then place another piece of fabric under the block to have the letter stand out. I have to try that. I am off I have to do some ironing before I can start my next block.

Friday, August 4, 2017

I started another Quilt Along

I Wish You A Merry Quilt Along started this week and even though my classes start this month along with my clinical I thought hey that is kind of cute I think I will start this quilt along. I really like applique and this one is a nice design to practice applique with. So if you wish to join along here is the link to I Wish You A Merry Quilt . Now the others chose to do a raw edge applique or they did a zig zag satin stitch for their blocks. I have been wanting to really practice the needle turn edge applique method. Here are some videos on needle turn applique:


So the first thing I did was I downloaded the pattern and I drew out my templates, I used a cut away stabilizer to draw my shapes out on as it is something that doesn't need to be removed from the shape once you have turned the edges and it doesn't create a gummy mess on your needle either. You can draw the shape right onto your fabric if you choose, however sometimes when you do that whatever you used to draw the shape may not come out of the fabric.  Once you have your templates cut out then you cut out the fabric to fit the shape leave at least a 1/4 inch around the shape so that you have fabric to turn. As you see in the pictures below. The template is white and the fabric is a dark stormy blue marble. then you begin to crease the 1/4 inch of fabric over the template. This process can take time, so if you can lower your ironing board down pull up a chair, turn on show, music, or a movie and grab something to drink and relax. Now a nice way to get a really nice crisp edge to this is to take a small open container and spray some fabric sizing into it not a whole lot as it drys out pretty fast. Use a nice smooth paintbrush and brush the fabric sizing along the 1/4 inch of fabric. Once you brush the sizing begin turning and pressing the fabric over onto the template. To get a nice smooth turn use an orange stick or a Point Turner Tool like this one : Dritz Point turner

Once you have your edges turned then decide if your going to sew by hand or use a blanket stitch to attach to the background. As I do want to practice my needle turn applique I chose to hand stitch, I have a project in mind that is just stunning however, the amount of detail in the applique is daunting and I want to have a few practice pieces under my belt before I start this project.

fabric and template cut to size
1/4 inch of fabric being creased over template
edges folded over ready to sew.

So there you have it my completed block without quilting for the I wish you a Merry Quilt Along

Friday, July 28, 2017

Best Laid Plans

     I have always tried to be organized and I also make plans and have all the intentions in the world to follow through with said plans. However, I am easily distracted by life and health, I don't have a large family however, the family I do have is important to me. And I have been attending school and I am a great student, I study hard, turn in all my assignments, and tests terrify me, I probably have the worst test anxiety that anyone can have. These things have always been a part of my life and over the years I have learned how to deal or live with these character defects as I call them. I love to work with my hands and my mind just goes away as I work with needle and thread, it really doesn't matter to me if it is a sewing needle or a crochet needle. I have pretty much taught myself whether it is embroidery, crochet, or sewing I find that if there is enough practice anyone can become adequate in whatever they are trying to do. All to often though in the process of practicing people give up because it doesn't turn out the way the picture looked or how the sample looked. I often hear comments like I use to do that a long time ago but I can't do it anymore. What are you suppose to say to someone who says that, I haven't quite figured that out yet.

    I have been working on my nephews wedding quilt it is well past due lol. However, it is my own design and I needed to have all the pieces flow together in my mind before I started it. It has several pieces that I have never attempted to do, I created the film like sashing around the pictures to match the size of the printed photos. I then had too much white space in the blocks between so I looked through the patterns that I had and came up with doing their initials I got the designs for their initials from this wonderful site Bdieges and then the top design was from this site Collection InĂ©dith . For some reason the idea to hand stitch these design parts seemed like the right thing to do lol. And so I have been hand stitching them down and I should finish them today. And this is my progress so far.

Friday, July 14, 2017


I have been doing a lot of prepping this week for some hand sewing projects. A part of me thinks I should save them for when I go back to classes, however, I have been doing a lot of appointments as well. One of the projects that I have been working on is called the Splendid Sampler, which are 6 1/2 inch blocks a little over a hundred of them each one different it involves paper piecing, applique, embroidery, and regular piecing. I love applique, embroidery, and piecing is nice too, however paper piecing is something that I have not really done so well at, and I know in order to get better at it I must first practice it. Paper piecing intimidates me to no end though.

So the Splendid Sampler information can be found here at this link Splendid Sampler there is also a Facebook page which can be found here: Facebook Page for Splendid Sampler. These are the blocks I have finished prepping this week. We shall see how many I actually save or finish this weekend.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

No Matter What

Sometimes I have some really good intentions and yet, those intentions never turn into action. Ideas for projects go through my head at about 100 mph. Sometimes I get a firm grip on one and I hold on until I can pull the project from my mind into reality. Other times, I see the project fairly clear and I do just the part that is clear and wait for the finished idea to zoom through my head. Then there are those times where the idea is so clear but my skill level is not where it should be, those are the hardest projects to get started. I really dislike caving into fear or trepidation, those were two emotions that held me back for the longest time. I recently had a birthday, it was a nice birthday, I didn't look at what wasn't in my life, I did crave things that will never be. My daughter came over and made little tags for my thread cabinet that my husband built for my studio. I went and picked up my feather weight from being serviced and got to go and eat some Chinese food, it was a bit sweeter then I like but it was nice. I heard from all the ones who love me and wish for me to be in their lives. But most of all I was able to work on some of my projects and watch my best friend and partner work on a project that he has wanted to do for a while. It is really nice when you find that person who compliments your life in every way. With each passing day I am still learning that term "No Matter What".

So here is some eye candy of the projects I have been working on and my new thread cabinet.
 This is my thread cabinet, it has 13 drawers, with a nice natural finish on it, it was designed by my husband and built over time as he does have a full-time job that he does as well as build fun new toys for me.

This is a quilt I finished up this year it is Pat Sloan's Secret Garden  which can be found here: My Secret Garden

And finally a picnic quilt my daughter started several years ago that I finished up this summer as well.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Unfinished Projects also known as UFO's 2017

Every January everyone makes New Year's Resolutions, well people who do crafts do a UFO Challenge and this consists of listing all the projects that they have going at the first of the year and once a month they attempt to concentrate on finishing one of those projects. Like most crafters, I too did a list for this year and this is what my list looked like on January of 2017. Now these are only 13 projects, some of which I had started some of which I had the material but had not managed to do yet.

Project                       Status Before    1/1/2017         Status Now 6/22/2017           Date When Finished

1. Lion                                3/4's sewn                        Still 3/4's sewn
2. Dragon                           1/3 embroidered               closer to 2/3's embroidered
3. Pat Sloans Secret Garden      7 blocks left to piece and border                                        6/21/2017
4. Crocheted Baby Blanket      5 inches left to crochet                                                 1/4/2017
5. Hidden Star Blanket                                                                                                  1/7/2017

6. Splendid Sampler                                   about 95 blocks left
7. 2 halloween wall hangings                       binding left to do                                  1/6/2017
8. Jack Skeleton                                         binding                                                     1/6/2017
9. Mrs. Skeleton                                              binding                                               1/9/2017
10. Peacock                                               not started
11. Pinocchio                                            not started
12. Wedding Quilt                                    not started                                                  6/21/2017 have                                                                                                                                pictures, started quilt top
13. Harry Potter                                 not started

So for the most part I have made great progress on my unfinished projects, and I am still working on the other projects but am having problems deciding how I want to do the other projects, like the peacock, pinocchio, and the wedding quilt. I still need to figure those out, the embroidery project will take me awhile and I don't really see that one being completed this year but we shall see.  Harry Potter is a paper piecing project and that will also take some time and practice. The others I will continue to see how it goes. 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Designing a Special Request

So I have a Disney Lover or two in my life today both girls, and I have been wanting to design something that is one of a kind representing Disney for one of them as a request, they told me that no matter what size I made it they would make room for it. So this week I began to use adobe photoshop to create the pieces that I wish to use, and I wrote to Disney to request permission to use the images. I am not sure if they will allow me to do so but since I am not asking to sell the images and to create an art piece so we shall see if they will allow me to do so. I always prefer to get permission it could take up to 8 weeks for permission.

So I went to Universal Studios this past week for the first time and had a blast with my daughter going through the Hogsmeade and visiting the shops there. It was really fun seeing my daughter finally find her Hufflepuff outfit.

So my idea for the art piece includes Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocohontas, Mulan, Tiana, Rpunzal, Merida, Anna and Elsa and of Course Tinkerbell. And the castle.