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!!