Sunday, December 25, 2011

Looking Forward to 2012

Well, it looks like we all survived crafting during the holidays. I know I made a ton of fun things for friends, family, and especially grandchildren. There were bags made for gifts, superhero capes, pillows, aprons, centerpieces, and more.

It was a blast and I thoroughly enjoyed using both of my new machines this year to make these wonderful projects. The Bernina and Babylock serger made sewing/quilting/home dec projects quick and easy and beautiful.

In 2012, I've joined four groups that involve monthly projects: A hand stitched crazy quilt block; a free motion quilt block; a strip quilt block, and a monthly machine embroidery class. It will be a busy year for me but these are things I really hope to accomplish to improve my quilting skills.

What are your stitching plans for 2012?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Cookie Exchange Centerpieces

This was a fun project that my daughter and I did. She asked me to make a couple of folded bags for the two centerpieces she volunteered to do at her church's cookie exchange. The colors were red and silver.

Let me tell you, there is no Christmas fabric to be found in December! I wanted some red fabric with a little silver accent or contrast running through it. I couldn't find anything so I decided to make my own. I found a pretty red fabric, sandwiched a lightweight batting in between the front and back, and went to town adding some stitches from my Bernina 830. The red fabric was slippery and I thought it might be a little tricky adding a binding or trying to fold it over. Instead, I used a beautiful wave stitch on my serger with red and silver thread. It's a little hard to see in the picture, but I think it turned out great.

The key to making this bag, is that it has to be square. Then you fold it in half, corner-to-corner, and stitch both sides. Turn it inside out and you have beautiful bag.

My daughter made the beautiful wreaths in matching colors and filled the bags with mints.

By the way, the cookie exchange was fabulous. Good food, good fellowship, and good music.

Each table was decorated by different women using the same red and silver colors and they all looked beautiful.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2012

I just signed up for the 2012 Crazy Quilt Journal Project and I can't wait to get started.

Years ago, I was an avid hand embroiderer but sort of lost touch with it somewhere along the way. I just recently began hand stitching again and even joined my first Crazy Quilt Round Robin.

I'm so excited to be doing this again. There are so many beautiful threads, fibers, motifs, and ribbons available to play with.

Keep watching for pictures and progress posts as the CQJP 2012 begins!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Christmas Wallhanging is Finished

Yippee! I finished the Christmas wallhanging. I think I'll take it to work and hang it there so I can enjoy it between now and Christmas.

Here it is:

Friday, November 18, 2011

All I Want for Christmas Is . . .

. . . a gift card from my local quilt shop!

DH - are you listening?

Machine Embroidery Tips Recently Learned

I learned a few new things while I was stitching out the six designs for the Christmas wallhanging.

Metallic thread can be a little tricky, LOL. As everyone knows, it wants to curl as it comes off the spool and not feed correctly through the machine. I tried placing the spool higher and lower, in the front, in the back, and off to the side and a number of other ideas to try to keep the thread coming off evenly at a constant speed without curling too much. I even bought a separate attachment for my machine but I couldn't get it to fit correctly so I'm taking it back this afternoon.

Finally, this is what I ended up doing. For any given area of the design where metallic thread is used, there are usually only 500 to maybe 3,000 stitches to the next thread change. I unwound some thread from the spool - just using my best guess of length, and ran it gently through my hand to kind of relax the curl. Then I rewound it back onto the spool. I placed the spool on the table just to the right of the machine and almost directly underneath the spool holder. I ran the thread up through the two loops at the top and then straight into the machine and manually threaded the needle. I never had any problems stitching after that. I'm using a Titanium Organ needle and it seems to work just fine with metallic thread.

It may sound like a little extra work but for me it's better than having to stop and re-thread the top and bobbin thread every time it breaks during the stitch-out of a design.

The other thing I figured out was that these designs stitched out much prettier if I used extra stabilizer. I know, I've seen many videos and heard many people say that it's all about the stabilizer and I believe that. What I didn't pick up on was that it isn't just the type of stabilizer but also the number of layers. I learned while stitching out these six panels, that my machine combined with these designs, stitched much better and looked much nicer if I used three or four layers of stabilizer depending on the density of the stitches.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

6th Panel in Christmas Wallhanging

Yippee! The sixth panel is done. Now I'm going to use a "quilt as you go" method and stitch all of the panels together.

5th Panel in Christmas Wall Hanging - Modified

I completely changed my mind about the fifth panel. I tried adding another motif next to the drum and didn't like the way it turned out at all. Instead, I decided to use the pinecone motif. I think it fits the panel much better and it is a very pretty design.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

5th Panel in Christmas Wall Hanging

Here's the fifth block. It's cute and stitched up nicely but it needs something more. Compared to the other blocks, the drum is too small and doesn't quite fill the amount of space that the other designs have. I think I'll add one or two small designs to this block and see how it looks. It just needs something. . .

4th Panel in Christmas Wall Hanging

Here's the fourth panel for my Christmas wall hanging.

Some of the areas of this design are very dense and even though the 830 does a fantastic job of stitching, I slowed the machine down - just in case. I didn't want any trouble with the bobbin or the metallic thread. It stitched out beautifully. It will be even prettier once it is pressed and the hoop marks are gone.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

3rd Panel in Christmas Wall Hanging

I'm so glad that changing the bobbin on my machine did the trick. This rocking horse is very pretty and it would have had a completely different look without the metallic thread. There are three more panels to be stitched for this wall hanging. I can't wait to finish them and put it all together. I think I may hang it in my office for a while during the holidays just so I can enjoy it!

2nd Panel in Christmas Wall Hanging

Last night I was able to stitch out two more panels for my Christmas wall hanging. If I have enough fabric, I may restitch the candy cane. My thread kept breaking so I swapped out the metallic thread for a plain gold thread for part of the design. To me, it's very obvious and I'm not real happy about the look. After the thread broke again, I swapped out the bobbin and the machine stitched the rest of the design beautifully.

Monday, November 14, 2011

1st Block for Christmas Wall Hanging

I'm so excited about finishing the first embroidered block for my Christmas wall hanging. Isn't it beautiful? It is from the 2011 Holiday OESD design pack. I will be making six blocks for a wall hanging and I think I'll use a quilt-as-you-go technique to sew all the blocks together. It shouldn't take too long to finish. Last night I cut the fabric, applied some fusible stabilizer, and downloaded all of the designs I want to use to my machine. I got the idea from an embroidery demo I attended on Sunday and I couldn't wait to begin.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Countdown to Christmas

OK, who put that Christmas countdown on this blog?

Oh yeah, it was me. I thought it was cute at the time.

Now it taunts me as it slowly ticks away the short bit of time I have left to finish my Christmas presents.

Tick Tock Tick Tock.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Baby Gifts

I drive through McDonald's every morning and get a soda on the way to work. There are a couple of young girls who work there that I've gotten to know and they recognize me and my car and know exactly what I want without having to say anything at all. They are very sweet and I enjoy our brief chats in the morning as I drive through.

One girl is pregnant and due in a couple of weeks and I wanted to do something nice for her so I made the following gifts for her new baby boy. I hope they enjoy them. I embroidered a couple of bibs, made a couple of burp cloths, and had a blast sewing up a taggie blanket.

Making baby things is always a lot of fun. This time I was able to use all of my machines - embroidery, sewing, and serger. Woo Hoo!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I Have Everything I Need Now

I created this blog so that I could share my stories about using my new embroidery machine. Having never owned one before, I thought it would be interesting to write about and share pictures as I learn all about machine embroidery.

Not very far into this journey, I was able to attend a hands-on embroidery seminar and for the very first time, was able to try using a serger. Well, once I used it, I couldn't figure out in my whole life I have been able to sew without a serger. It is a fantastic machine!

I've made clothing, home dec items, quilts, costumes, wedding veils, and so many other things - all without a serger. So I decided to start asking around and doing some online research into sergers to find out more about these machines.

For years, I was afraid of sergers - everyone who had one complained about how sergers are difficult and hard to use. That was enough for me. I didn't want that headache and figured I was doing just fine without one.

That opinion changed earlier this year. After all my research, I decided to go with a Baby Lock. I picked it up this week and haven't even had a chance to take it out of the box but I have cleared a special spot for it in my sewing room and am about to embark on yet another sewing adventure.

More to follow.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Crazy Quilt Round Robin

I just got involved in a crazy quilt round robin. This is the very first one I've done and I'm super excited about it. I finished my naked block and am mailing it out tomorrow. There are five of us in the group and we'll each mail a block to a person; work on it for a month; mail it to the next person who will work on, etc., until it ends up back with the original owner.

I'm am looking forward to receiving my first block. There's no telling what colors it will be or what I'll be inspired to stitch and that's why it will be so much fun.

Here's my blank block:

I decided with my blocks that I would make them very neutral (black/white/grey) hoping that everyone will be as creative as possible. Only one block is sent to the others in the group but I made three altogether so that I can make a wall hanging to put in my sewing room.

More pics to follow as our round robin gets underway!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Quilting Community

I am loving this online quilting community. Everyone is so helpful and willing to share their tips and tricks, ideas and patterns. You are a great group of quilters and I appreciate all that you do for the online followers of your blogs and websites.

Thank you!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Inspired to Create

Last week I attended a Bernina event in Chicago and was totally inspired to come home and try all the new things we learned during the 2-1/2 days of non-stop fun.

I have been practicing some of the techniques we learned and am using new attachments and presser feet in ways that I hadn't thought of before. It is so much fun to color outside of the lines and step outside of the box and try new ways of putting things together. Most of the time, they turn out to be fabulous. Occasionally, they flop but all the time, they are tons of fun and help generate new ideas to explore on my Bernina.

Thanks Bernina for a great event and for opening my eyes to new and creative options in sewing, embroidery, and quilting!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sewing on Laminated Fabric

I've been doing as much sewing as possible lately. I want to try out all the stitches and different feet for my machine.

While in the quilt store the other day, I purchased some laminated fabric and a non-stick foot. I wanted to make a diaper changing pad and small pouch.

The non-stick foot was a breeze to use and really did make the stitching smooth and effortless. I still have a little of the fabric left so I may make a couple more small pouches.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hard to Concentrate on Work

Real work, that is. All I want to do is sew and here I am at work trying to be productive. There are so many things I want to be working on right now but for some reason, my regular job is a higher priority than sewing (lol). You can bet the minute I get home, I'll be at the sewing machine and enjoying every minute of it!

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Most Interesting Gift Idea

Any idea what this might be?

Does this help you figure it out?

Believe it or not, it is a wrap - a toilet paper roll wrap!

My daughter received a request from a friend for this fun 1st Wedding Anniversary gift for her husband. They've been married one year and the traditional gift for one year anniversaries is paper. What a cute twist!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it for her. This could also be a fun housewarming gift too. I think I'll make a couple extra for my daughter to sell on Etsy.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Letting the Young Ones Help With Sewing

I love this picture. It's my youngest granddaughter sitting on my lap at the sewing machine helping Bahma sew. We were ruffling a ribbon and she helped me feed it through. She'll be two years old in July and loves to hang out with Bahma and help me do whatever it is I'm working on.

My hope is that she and her sister will continue to help me stitch and sew and that they will learn to love it as much as me and their mommy does.

My daughter wasn't that interested in sewing until she grew up and got married and started having children. Now she is quite the crafty one and I have to work hard to keep up with her.

We all have a lot of fun and I really do hope that all the girls stick with it because it's so much fun!

Monday, June 13, 2011

20 Quilt Blocks Finished!

 It took all week, but I just finished all 20 12' blocks for a quilt I'm working on. All blocks were made with 2.5" strips in five different color sets. When I put the color sets together, they seem to make an 'X' and an 'O' pattern and I haven't yet decided how I will put them together. Here are a couple of ideas:

There are four blocks of each of the five color sets. I could also break them up into four block quilts with large borders and give them away as baby quilts.

I'll have to think about it for a few days. Please leave a comment if you have any suggestions or like one more than the other.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Hello Stitching Bloggers!

I'm creating this blog to share some of my stitching creations. I love to sew and enjoy working on all types of projects. I've made tons of clothes and costumes, items for my home, gifts for friends, quilts, pillowcases, and many, many other things.

I just purchased an embroidery machine which opens up a whole new world for me. I've never done any machine embroidery before and I'm excited to begin this journey.

There are a million projects forming in my head so I must get started right away. Please join me as I share my embroidery/sewing projects with all of you creative bloggers.