Sunday, January 26, 2014

Needlepoint Bracelet

 I think I am becoming Queen of Small Finishes! Here is another very small project I made - a needlepoint bracelet.
 This started when I found this small kit at the thrift store.  For $1.50 what do you have to lose?  And the idea intrigued me.  When I got it home and opened it everything was there although it had been started.
 Granted, it was started with the wrong stitch and there were huge knots but the good news was it was not far along so I took that out and still had enough thread left to work the whole project.

The whole thing is worked up pretty quickly with stripes using continental stitch and six strands of floss.

The back is finished with a piece of satin ribbon stitched around with small tacking stitches, with the canvas edges turned inside.

 Beads are sewn all the way around where the ribbon and canvas join and then a button on one end and a loop of beads on the other end for a closure.

It's an odd project but it is finished and because I had it in my purse the three hours I spent waiting at a doctor's appointment this week weren't totally wasted.  It opens up a lot of possibilities too.  Imagine it in different threads and specialty stitches.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Six More ATCs

What a hoarder I am - saving every little bit of fabric and thread!  I had this little sample piece of canvas that was my practice piece of flower pounding and of course I found a way to use it up.  When I measured it, it could be divided up into six pieces exactly the right side for ATCs!

Since I have been feeling like I would like to try more canvaswork it was a perfect opportunity to experiment!
I tried this one using a free cross stitch pattern.
 Of course, I had to use my beloved Valdani variegated perle cottons.
 This was the only one that disappointed - it is supposed to be a tassel.
I tried making geometric designs and really enjoyed that.  I can see why people get hooked on canvas.

Friday, January 17, 2014

WIP Wednesday

 I picked up this half finished needlepoint kit at the thrift store the other day for 50 cents.  Ugly, right? Well, the idea is that if I finish up the background, and tea dye the whole thing, it may be suitable to try to transform it into a Christmas ornament along the lines of the lovely ornament I was gifted with (below) in the EAC Winter Ornament Exchange this year.
 Although this ornament I received was not an upcycled item, when I first saw it I thought what a great way to use old needlepoint pieces.  So, this experiment is in the works.
 So is this lovely stitched card I received this Christmas.  Doesn't it cry out to be turned into an ornament to be enjoyed year after year?
As you may have guessed, when I packed up Christmas this year, I didn't quite manage to get it all in the boxes.  Some items stayed out because they inspired me to do a little experimentation!
 I picked up this cute little knit ornament this year and it inspires me to see if I can make some with my collection of old sweaters...
 I actually made a bunch of these tiny mitten sets with their dummy strings years ago for my Christmas tree and they still charm me when I unpack them every year.  I think I would like to make some more, perhaps to tuck into next year's Christmas cards.
 I bought this little cowboy snowman a local craftsperson made a few years ago and I have always wanted to see what I could do making little snowmen using it for inspiration.  Isn't it clever?
 I received this commercially made ornament as a gift and thought it would be fun to see what I could do with the idea of pinkeep ornaments so this one stayed out to remind me.
This is the last item I did not manage to put into the boxes.  I bought it this year on my way to Louisville because I need ideas to use up some of my button collection.
So, this is what is occupying me today - this little pile of ideas on my kitchen table.  Now to get started!

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Bit of Cross Stitch

I needed to make a two inch piece of stitching for a group project (more on that later) and so I thought I would do a bit of cross stitch for it.  This is a section of a Just Nan 15 sided biscornu pattern I bought and one of the sides worked out perfectly for what I wanted.  It is worked with good old DMC on some nice linen.  I really enjoyed the stitching and the colours and now I think I will have to put the whole biscornu on my to do list!  lol  The linen and pattern came out of my stash but I had to buy the threads so not much stash busting in this one.  You can never have too much DMC though so no worries.  I'm getting in my stitching time every day anyway. I really feel counted work, particularly cross stitch, calling me back lately!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Another Small Finish - Fleece Blanket with Braided Edge

 When I went into my sewing room a few days after Christmas, what was the first thing I saw?  Yes, you guessed it - this 2 meter piece of fleece I had intended to make into a nap blanket for my horse-crazy daughter in time for Christmas.  Didn't make it this year but have it done now in time for next Christmas.  I have made lots of these and around my house we call them nap blankets because they are so nice to pull over yourself when you are dozing off in front of the tv.  The ones I have made in the past were always fringed and knotted but this time I thought I would try a finishing technique on the edge that resembles a braid.  You can find tutorials around the internet.  This is how I did it.
 First I straightened the edges and cut off the selvage edge.  Then I measured a two inch square in each corner and cut it out.
 I love painter's tape for this and use it to keep my cutting lines straighter.  I went around all four sides cutting a fringe two inches in depth and as wide as my tape.  Measure a 2 inch piece of tape and keep reusing it til it won't stick and then use it to measure for cutting the next piece. Try to use some sharp scissors so you don't wear out your hand.  It feels like forever when you are going around all four sides.
Now you need to cut slits in each piece of fringe  They should be about 3/8" slits cut about 1/2" in from the edge.  The easiest way is to fold over the end of the fringe about 3/4 inch and make a cut 1/4 long - this gives you a cut of about 1/2" in 1/2" from the edge.  Don't go crazy with the measuring - this isn't rocket science and the fleece is very forgiving.
 If you have a crochet hook handy it will make your life a bit easier.  I didn't so I straightened out a paper clip and used that.  You need to go around the whole blanket again. This time you will be putting the paperclip through the slit and hooking around the next piece of fringe and pulling it through the hole.  Then you pull the adjoining piece of fringe through the hole in that piece.  And so on and so on and so on around til you come back to where you started.  When you come to the end you can cut down the middle of the last piece of fringe and tie it through the adjoining bits.  You end up with a small knot but it isn't noticable.
And here is a section of the finished blanket so you can see the braided effect.  I think it works well with the western theme fabric - reminds me of braided leather in horse harness etc.  Anyway, it was a change and quick and easy!

Monday, January 6, 2014

CQ Pansy Box

Another finish and another upcyled item and two more small items out of my stash!  This little crazy quilt pansy jewelry box started life as a round robin block made for me by Carolyn which I absolutely loved, especially the velvet applique pansy, and an ugly jewelry box from the thrift store. I will run through how I did the transformation below. Once you see how it is done, you should agree it is a real "trash to treasure"!
 I am always on the lookout for wooden boxes at the thrift store that will accommodate a piece of stitching.  Here is the jewelry box I found in all it's ugly glory.
The exposure on this photo is off a bit - the inside is actually jet black velvet with spaces for rings, chains, etc.  It appears to have never been used.

 If you find something like this and want to try it, you will need to gather a few very high tech tools such as a butter knife to pry off the ceramic tile.
 Step 2 is to toss the tile in the next box going back to the thrift store so someone else can do something crafty with it.
 More high tech tools... a pencil and a piece of cardboard.  Trace around the tile on the cardboard.
 Do a trial fit to see if your cardboard fits with enough room for the fabric to be laced onto it.
I used felt between the cardboard and the fabric to create a cushion.  Use pearl cotton to lace back and forth in both directions to securely mount the stitching to the cardboard.
Do another trial fit to make sure your mounted stitching still fits into the box lid.  Turn it over, liberally apply glue and weigh it down with books overnight to make sure it all sticks securely.  The glue will hold the cardboard as well as your mounting threads.
As the last step, I glued a gold braid around the edge of the block to cover the small gap between the box and the stitching - it covers a multitude of sins.  Here it is in all it's finished glory!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Little Stashbusting... A Little Upcycling!

 One of the gifts I gave my daughter this Christmas was a body pillow but I neglected to give her any pillowcases for it ...oops!!  I went up to "the room" to see what I could find in the way of larger pieces of fabric that would work and came across a Daisy Kingdom wall hanging panel.  I cut down the sides and added it to the ends and then added a flannel cuff and voila!  - body pillowcase #1! I love that it says "Love Will Keep Us Warm" on it and that it is made of such nice flannel.

Body Pillowcase #2 was made from a large tablecloth I picked up cheap at a garage sale because it had a couple small stains.  I was able to trim them off in the cutting out of the center portion of the tablecloth for the front of the pillowcase.  The back is made of two strips from the side pieced together.  Easy peasy and it made a very pretty pillowcase.  The tablecloth had a lot of embroidery and lace inserts and was very pretty. My daughter is happy and I am happy because two items moved of my stash and into a useful life.
So, although it was on the sewing machine, this was my stitching for yesterday and today.  I broke my glasses today though so can't do any real stitching until I can get them fixed - hopefully tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Years - Some Goals for the Year

I wish everyone a Happy New Year and all the best in 2014.  January 1st is always a time of new beginnings and setting our sights high.  In recent years, it has been my tradition to set some stitching related goals for myself and to share them here.  I didn't do it last year and I wonder if that is why it seemed to be a "lost year"  as far as getting anything accomplished.  So, this year I am mending my ways and getting my goals down in writing here.  I usually aim high and then am happy with whatever I manage to achieve.  Sharing them here helps keep them in mind and keeps me honest.  So, without further ado, here is my yearly very long, very boring post!
2014 GOALS
  1. Stitch for 15 minutes a day - every day.  This is the best goal I ever set for myself and has kept me on track more than anything else I have done.  If you stitch for 15 minutes every day (yes, set a timer!) you will likely keep stitching longer on a lot of days.  Even if you don't, you will be stitching 1-3/4 hours a week which isn't too shabby.  Also, and most important, I know that if I don't stitch today, I likely won't stitch tomorrow and before I know it the trend snowballs and I'm not going to be stitching at all.
  2. Blog regularly.  I fell down on this hopelessly this year and as a result only a couple of diehards are still reading my blog - thank you both of you!  lol  If I post what I am stitching I can see that I am accomplishing something and that is all good.  It is another tool to keep me going which can be difficult as I cycle in and out of the depressed state which is par for the course for me.
  3. One show or exhibition this year!  Doesn't have to be big (it won't be) but something to get me out there at least locally.  It doesn't have to crazy quilting either - just some sort of art or craft.  I am dabbling more now with other things which is fun and helps to get all the stash under control!
  4. Write at least two articles and submit them for publication.  It's another way to get yourself out there and the research is good discipline.  Lord knows I need discipline! lol  Once again, I don't expect to get two pieces published, but I would like to at least write them and submit them - that is the goal.
  5. Start taking EAC correspondence courses with the goal of getting my Teacher's Certification from EAC.  This will be long and drawn out - there are quite a few courses needed but this year I will actually start!  We'll see how far I get.
  6. On a similar note, I would like to get back into teaching stitching which means getting some teaching proposals organized and getting them submitted in time for fall deadlines.
  7. This year I am going to aim at entering at least two competitions with my stitching.  Not as ambitious as my related goals in other years but for the queen of procrastination it might be more realistic.
  8. One item made and donated to charity each month.  This will be more difficult now that AAQI is over and done with.  I have been making them little art quilts for some time now and it was a charity that was a perfect fit for me. Expanding to other forms of stitching and crafts will make it a bit easier to accomplish though.
  9. You get from something the amount you put into it so I will continue to try to "pay back? through my involvement in The Embroiderers' Association of Canada, the new EAC Virtual Threads cyber chapter and The Calgary Guild of Needle and Fibre Arts.  I am toying with the ultimate payback - teaching youth to stitch.  This is pretty scary for me to contemplate - the ultimate commitment because you can't go around letting kids down once you commit.  I will continue to mull this one around in my mind though and see where it takes me.
  10. This next one is totally predictable - "the room".  I will take up a seam ripper and get in there and get it organized and under control so I can work.  Right now it is just the biggest stash closet imaginable!
I am stopping there.  Ten goals is a lot for one year and I will have to discipline myself to accomplish everything there or at least make a good stab at it.  I will report on my progress here so that I can keep myself accountable.  I usually only make stitching goals but have two non-stitching goals in mind for this year as well - the totally predictable wish to have a healthier lifestyle being first and foremost.  Wish me luck!