Monday, September 19, 2016

In Everything Give Thanks

I decided this year I wanted to find a fun way to teach my son about gratitude. I remembered seeing a countdown calendar with activity cards a few years ago and thought that would be perfect. And then I saw this pattern with patchwork pockets and I fell in love. Patchwork has my heart, it's my favorite.
I had to enlarge the pockets a bit to get the cards to fit and I also made the rows have 5 pockets each (that was a boo boo on my part, but I went with it). Of course I changed the embroidery to reflect the holiday and I also added a rod pocket on the back for hanging. The muslin I used ended up having a more open weave so I backed it with interfacing to help stabilize it better. 

Now that I've made one I think I got all the kinks worked out. I plan on making a Christmas version for both my son and my niece, so you will be seeing more of this cute pattern.
Pattern: Quilted Advent Calendar by Sew Sweet Violet
Activity Cards:  Thanksgiving Countdown Cards by Everyday Celebrations
  • Cream cherries: Unknown designer (found in my local quilt shop's scrap bin)
  • Taupe pumpkins: Home for the Harvest by Heather Mulder Peterson for Henry Glass
  • All others: Welcome Fall by Deb Strain for Moda
  • Background: muslin found at Hobby Lobby
  • Stabilizer: Shape-Flex SF101 by Pellon
  • Backing + binding: Postcards from the Lodge by Pela Studios for Windham Fabrics
Embroidery Floss: DMC 498, 729, 367, 920, and 898
1/2" wide cotton twill tape found here (color: natural)
Stamp set and fabric ink: found at Hobby Lobby (use a coupon!)

Thursday, August 4, 2016

August cottage

I recently finished the August cottage in the cottage of the month series from Country Cottage Needleworks. I'm so happy with how it turned out.

I made a few changes to the original pattern:
- I flipped the clouds
- I used DMC 3022 instead of 3023 for the shutters (I liked the subtle green better)
- I used DMC Variations 4230 for the waves
- I came up with my own sand castle design to use in place of the seashells. Here's a better close up of the sand castle:
If you remember, I'm doing all 12 cottages on one fabric starting in the middle and working my way outward. I'm doing 3 across and 4 down. Here's a look at the two middle cottages all finished.
I've already started working on the September cottage and there will definitely be some changes to that cottage. It's going to be cute!

Pattern: Cottages of the Month by Country Cottage Needleworks
Fabric: 14 count Aida in Vintage Country Mocha found at
Threads: all DMC

You can see my progress through the cottage of the month series here

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Embroidery Floss Organization

I thought I'd share with you what I've been doing for my growing floss stash, in case you need to organize too. :)

When I first started out I used cardboard labels but I've found they aren't very good for long term storage. That's when I switched to plastic bobbins. The DMC brand is pretty expensive and to be honest, not all that  great. I've found that my floss unravels easier because the little slits are not very tight. I ended up buying 250 generic plastic bobbins for around $5 from here and I like them so much better. The slits are smaller which means the floss stays put. I've been putting all new floss on the plastic bobbins and I'm slowly switching over the floss on cardboard.

I originally bought the little DMC number sticker labels when I was using cardboard bobbins, but I've found that they don't stay very well on the plastic. Can't have a number label go missing when working on a project! You could of course write it on with a fine point permanent marker but I liked the look of the printed numbers. So I've been using my label maker to type up the numbers. If you want to do the same here's a few tips:
- Use the label tape that is plastic coated, the paper tape will smudge over time. It comes in white or clear, either color will work.
- I use the smallest font size possible. It's actually the same size as the DMC stickers.
- Between each number I put 4 spaces to allow for cutting and trimming.
- I do large batches of labels at a time to not waste any tape. I keep typing numbers until the machine tells me it can't fit any more, then I print.
- After the numbers are printed and trimmed I put them on the bobbins right away so I don't lose anything. Then whenever I have a few minutes I wind up the floss on its corresponding bobbin. It will take me a few days to get through a big stack but since it's mindless work it can be done while watching a movie.

I originally had 2 plastic bobbin cases that can be found at any craft store. But I needed more space and I didn't like the idea of having stacks of these cases. But I'm so glad to have come across some fellow stitchers on Instagram who get just as excited over organization as I do. I saw someone's stash in this double sided case on their Instagram and knew that was the answer. Apparently it can hold the entire collection of DMC floss (#stashgoals ;) ) You can find the case on Amazon for $15 but I recently found this case at my local Meijers on sale for $6.50!! I may have squealed and done a little happy dance in the craft aisle. So if you happen to have a store in your area, hop on over there and get yourself one. I've barely filled one side, so there's definitely some room to grow.

Hope this helps some of my fellow stitchers out. If you have any questions please feel free to ask. :)

Friday, June 24, 2016

Hand stitching while I wait

We had a cross country move at the end of April and the last stitch I made with a sewing machine was for my dad's quilt. Since then I've been doing a bit of hand stitching until the room where my machine will go is painted. I've been working on my cross stitch cottages of the month. After seeing others on Instagram I got the itch to finish what I started. I finally finished May (only took a year!) and moved on to August. I plan on doing a few changes to August. I already ordered the next two I'll be working on, July and September, and I'm really excited to keep going. These cottages are so cute.

For embroidery, after I got my summer pattern done and framed (I got it framed right before we moved) I started working on the winter pattern. I'm hoping to have it done by the end of winter but we'll see. It took a year to get summer done so eh...I'm not holding my breath. ;) I already purchased the spring and fall patterns so I'll be able to start on them whenever I get done with winter.
I'm hoping my sewing machine will be set up soon because I've been feeling the itch to sit at my machine again. My poor Farmer's Wife has been calling to me and I really want to get back to it. And I finally found a backing for my son's twin size quilt so I really want to get that one finished as well.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

My Daddy's Quilt

I put in the last stitch on the binding today and this quilt is in the wash as I'm typing. :) I can't wait to gift it to my dad.

I used a wave stitch on my machine to quilt it. I just followed the seam line so it's quilted every 2" or so. Of course I had to include my custom labels and my favorite PS I love you tags. My custom labels came from Mad Mad Graphics (they are the vintage care labels) and the PS I love you tags came from my local quilt shop.

Quilt Stats:
Fabric: Cycles of Life by Maywood Studios (top and binding)
          Spot On by Robert Kaufman (108" wide backing)
Batting: Warm and White
Pattern: Jelly Roll Race
Size: approx. 51" x 65.5"

More photos on my Flickr account

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

My latest embroidery finish

I recently finished this embroidery. I started it back in June last year and now it's finally done.

It's still on the Q-Snaps but I plan on framing it. This pattern is part of a four seasons series and I hope to complete them all.
All the raspberries are made up entirely of French knots! I ended up doing them last and I kind of wish I didn't. French knots aren't my favorite stitch and so it became quite tedious. But look at them, so worth the effort!
I did change up some of the stitches. I used very little stem stitch (I substituted with back stitch) and I added on to one of the bunny's ears, it just made more sense visually to me. If you look at the original pattern you'll see what I mean.
This pattern was a challenge to me. I've never worked with a single thread and made such tiny stitches before, but I absolutely love it. I highly recommend it, even if you are a beginner. Just go slow and feel free to substitute stitches if you're not confident on one (but don't be afraid to learn something new either). I'm looking forward to starting my next one, I already bought the winter pattern!

Pattern: "His Mercies Are New" (Summer) by Clementine Pattern Co.
Size: fits in an 8"x8" frame opening
Floss: all DMC, according to pattern
Stitches used: back stitch, stem stitch, chain stitch, French knot, lazy daisy, satin stitch, straight stitch

Check out my Flickr for more photos.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Alex's twin size quilt

I finished the quilt top for my son's twin size quilt. It turned out way more busy than I originally anticipated.

Even though it's very busy, I love all the fabrics in this. I have quite a bit of the older Sarah Jane fabrics, along with some Sweetwater, scraps from Joseph's quilt and other odds and ends. My son helped pick out quite a few of the fabrics and I filled in the rest. I think if I were to do it over, I would make the smaller squares more consistent. Instead of using low volume fabrics, I would use a solid white to break it up and give your eye somewhere to rest. Or just follow the pattern and use a color solid and a white solid. Just a thought.

I'm having trouble finding the perfect backing fabric so this one may be a while until it's quilted. But I'm hoping not too long.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Scrappy Summer by Cluck Cluck Sew
Size: 64" x 88"
Fabrics: Mix of Sarah Jane, Sweetwater, DS Quilts, and others

More pictures can be found on my Flickr with some close ups of my favorite fabrics.