Work-in-Progress Girl


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Sunday Stash: Strawberry Patch

Winter for a Year

So I don’t know if you know this about Canada, but sometimes we get snow. And sometimes it lasts forever and ever and ever and ever. It’s May, yes, but it’s been snowing again. Normally when we get snow in May it hits the ground and melts, but it’s only melting on pavement and sidewalks, so the trees and grass are all white and wet and it’s gross and depressing and this winter just won’t end. A month ago I kept taking pictures on Instagram and labelling them #ohmygodawinterforayear, which was a reference to an Arcade Fire song, Winter for a Year:

But the other day I had some mail arrive from China with various different cuts of strawberry print fabrics. Summer in a brown envelope! I’d ordered it because I was participating in a Strawberry Dumpling Pouch swap on Instagram/Flickr (#strawberryswap or Dumpling Swap), but it didn’t arrive until after I’d finished sewing the project with non-strawberry fabrics. Sigh. Thanks, Canada Post, for holding it in Richmond for a couple extra days after saying it’d been processed through customs!

Strawberry fabric

Now that I don’t have a need for strawberry print fabric, I’m wondering what the heck I’m going to do with the stuff! I need a second strawberry swap just to use it up… But then again… WordPress is telling me that yesterday was my 3 year anniversary on WordPress and this is going to be my 222st entry (which I’ve been watching/waiting for), which means it’s time for a giveaway!

Per usual, I’m going to do two giveaways and they’re going to be as follows:

1. A $25 giftcard to my favourite Canadian fabric shop, Mad About Patchwork. You could pick up this Mormor bundle from the Designer Bundles section or Spring Forecast from the Curated Bundles section or, you know, you could get five-sixths of that Shot Cotton Sampler from the Stash Bundles section. (It’s really too bad there’s not a $30 gift certificate option – it’d open a few more doors!) Or you could do like I always do a throw in a little of this and a little of that. I recently picked up a selection of Essex Linen blends and you could too!

mormor-bundle28991665 spring-forecast29391148 1049-Shot-Cotton-Sampler-2981

2. The second possibly more boring giveaway will be a hand-made pouch or drawstring bag made with some strawberry print linen, as seen above. It’s not made yet, so you’ll just have to imagine it in your mind’s eye! The winner can choose between a zipper pouch (likely the wide-open pouch from Noodlehead, but it could be a dumpling pouch if you’d like something tiny) or a drawstring bag from the In Color Order tutorial. I will also include some charm squares, cut from my own stash, in the colours of your choosing and, well, who knows what else… something, surely.

I’ll be drawing two names, the first one drawn will get their choice of prize, so if you prefer one giveaway over the other make sure to mention it in your comment. (If the first winner doesn’t mention a preference, than the second name drawn will get their first choice.) Otherwise just leave a comment of some kind and something other than “thanks for the chance!” You could tell me about the weather where you are (though maybe I won’t want to know, if this snow doesn’t go away…) or you could tell me why raspberries are better than strawberries or you could give me your favourite strawberry-based recipe or you could tell me about your favourite place to shop online or what kind of swaps you like to participate in or share some of your favourite music with me or whatever….

The winners will be drawn on Saturday, May 10 and will be announced on Sunday, May 11 in my next Sunday Stash post, so enter the giveaway by Friday, lest you miss out! You don’t need to be a follower of any kind of be entered, so if you’re popping by from Molli Sparkle’s Sunday Stash or from Fabricholics Anonymous, feel free to enter.

Molli Sparkles FabAnon

And speaking of Fabricholics Anonymous? Well…… this was an April purchase and it’s not something I pre-planned and it’s not something I “needed” to finish a swap requirement (I’d planned to use it for a swap, but I got by without it when it didn’t arrive in time and would have got by without it if I hadn’t bought it at all). So I guess that’s another month in the failure zone. (And if you’re a close reader, you might also have noticed I mentioned recently buying some Essex Linen blend fabric. So you know. There’s that.) I’m really not very good at this not-buying-fabric thing. Maybe May. Actually, no, not maybe May, because Pink Castle Fabrics had a big sale on all their bundles and I am weak. Maybe June.

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Brown Paper Packages, Tied Up With Strings…

Sorry for putting that song in your head. The instant I opened the box this came in, that song sprung to mind and I haven’t been able to shake it since:

Brown Paper Packages...

I shopped at Warp and Weft for the first time ever a week or so ago. As quilt stores go, I found the website a touch sluggish, but their product a cut above. By which I mean they have a few of the standard big name lines that are out right now, but they also sell a number of very unusual but really wonderful lines that I’ve never really seen anywhere else. They have an embroidery section with some really lovely Sajou products that you don’t tend to stumble over in your average shop either. I really like finding a shop that veers off a little from the standard path because it really opens up other options you might never otherwise find. And a lot of what you’ll see inside the brown paper package are things that are unusual choices for me, colours and combinations that I tend not to gravitate towards, but which really appealed to me somehow.

Fabric Stash

Purples, blues, and browns, all stacked so neatly into place. And one rogue bit of linen that just stumbled (ahem) into my shopping cart.

Sajou linen in Sepia

It’s a much stiffer linen than I’m used to working with. It’s true I’ve mostly used Essex linen lately, which is a cotton/linen blend, but even the real linens I’ve used haven’t been as stiff as this. I’m not sure if it’s starched up with sizing or if that’s its natural feel, but I think it’s going to be really lovely to embroider on regardless. And LOVE that colour.

Stash

And then three kind of random half metres of fabric I picked up. The Anna Maria Horner one is such a strange print and I waver back and forth between liking it and hating it, so finally I bought it so I can stare at it for a while and decide what I really think. (Right now I’m falling in the “My god, it’s really kind of ugly” camp, but I’m still attracted to it, somehow, so who knows.) The other two really were quite random – they seemed to be very unusual fabrics and they’re colours I don’t often buy. They’re designed by Dan Bennett for his Ruby collection. The purple print is just so fascinating and sort of strange – you’ll look at it and think something looks like a peacock, but it’s just random fringe attached to random waves, there are bits that remind me of owl eyes, and other things that feel like underwater life-forms. I don’t know, there’s something very dream-like and fantastic (in the fantasy sense, not the ‘hey that’s awesome’ sense) about it. The lime one just attracted me by it’s colour and those little orangey-red specks.

A quilt kit for the Hexagon pattern up top

The largest part of my purchase was a quilt kit, using the Rosalie quilt Sewing Card by Valori Wells. The bottom row of fabrics are quarter yards (or metres, probably, I didn’t measure them) including Anna Maria Horner’s Sundials and Feathered prints, Plankton from Dan Bennett’s Ruby line, and the remaining three (the purple, brown, and teal floral) are from the Bromley collection by Victoria & Albert Museum for Rowan Fabric. The middle row of fabrics are half yards, including several of Dan Bennett’s Ruby fabrics – Tattoo (purple), Helix (lime), Coral (the off-white with multi-coloured bits), and Feathers (jade, far right) – and a couple more Anna Maria Horner prints – Cell Structure (light purple background) and Mind’s Eye (pink on navy). The background fabric is that kind of taupe brown on the left and the backing fabric is Divinity in Brown from the Bromely collection.

These aren’t really a combination I would normally gravitate toward, brown, blue, and purple with splashes of lime and pink, but I was drawn to it. I don’t generally buy quilt kits – I’ve never made a single one I’ve bought (and I’ve got three that I can think of off the top of my head!) so I’ve started staying away from them. But yeah, this one caught my eye. I’m excited to try out it. Here’s hoping this crazy mix will come together into something interesting!

Rando FQ

The last thing in the box was this Fat Quarter, also from the Bromley collection, which was a gift included with purchases made in September. (Was it their 1 year anniversary maybe? I don’t recall.) Anyway, it’s not something I’d have normally picked out, but maybe I’ll include a little of it when I finally make that hexagon quilt – it’d fit right in!

Linking up with Sunday Stash from Finding Fifth, hosted this week by Emily at Sew E.T.:
Finding Fifth


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Random Thursday

Is this supposed to be a link-up or is it just really… Random Thursday? Well, here’s a few random bits and bobs:

1. Next project

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I spent an embarrassingly long time sitting and staring at that one hexie yesterday trying to decide which way to go with it. The Paper Pieces package recommends sewing through the paper, but I want to use them multiple times and so I can’t help thinking it MUST be better for the paper not to sew through. The package does say you can keep reusing them anyway, but don’t they get all damaged in the corners where the stitches go? I don’t know. I’ve been planning today to watch a few videos on YouTube to see if I can decide which looks a more likely route for me.

2. Birdie Sling

Birdie Sling fabrics

Not sold on the denim yarn-dyed Essex Linen. I like it, a lot, but it feels too pale compared to the darker blue, maybe? (Special thanks to Michelle for her contribution to these fabrics being in my stash! :D) I thought from photos online that maybe it would be a darker blue than it is. I think a bag looks top-heavy if you put the darker fabric on top, and I could switch it so that the print fabric is on the bottom, but honestly I don’t want that much of the print on display. The bag on the pattern cover has a darker top band, but I think that large print on the bottom (with the smaller print up top) counter-acts the top-heaviness. I’ll have to think about it. I might have some Kona Nightfall fabric that would probably work (maybe?) and would definitely be darker. I don’t want to have to buy more fabric, in any case.

3. Leftover bits from something I’ve been working on.

Liberty Scraps

Liberty scraps. I’m not a big fan of Liberty (by and large I find their prints to be overly fussy, but there are a few I do like, even though they are fussy little florals), but wanted to see what the Tana Lawn was like to work with. I’m not 100% on board with the thing I made that generated these scraps (photos later – I want to be more happy with it before I share) and I wound up putting interfacing on the fabric because it was too light-weight (compared to the linen I paired it with). It also smelled a bit of bug spray – I have to assume that’s the fault of the seller, not the fabric maker, but I’ve been airing it out and can’t smell it any longer. (Also, I could smell bugspray at work the other day where no bug spray existed, so maybe I had some crossed wires in my brain…)

4. The solids Churn Dash.

Churn Dash

Just need a few more… Well, I need one more row’s worth, plus I’m waiting for 2 that will be sent to me. Love how this is coming together.

5. Some of my problem spots with the FMQ on the Star Surround project. If you have suggestions or advice for avoiding, please let me know!

008

There’s lot of little things to nit pick with this one, which I will nit-pick in other photos instead, what I took this photo for was the kind of jerkiness of it. I didn’t get a smooth loop at all on that top one, which was just me needing to stop and get my hands in a better position (but just pushing through anyway). What really bothers me is the stitches just before it goes from a straight(ish) downward line into the loop – you can see a spot where I went from vertical almost immediately to horizontal, and although I mentioned this was a spot where I’d needed to reposition my hands, I ALSO had that same issue in places (sometimes) where I did come to a complete stop, and then started again. Sometimes I could get a smooth restart and then other times I’d go off in a completely different direction than I really “should” have. I KNOW that it’s not going to show much in the grand scheme of things (which is why I didn’t pick out any of my stitches, except where there were thread breaks and the one time I had a toe catcher), but I’d still rather learn to prevent it.

011

Okay. Quarter-inch stitches vs sixteenth of an inch stitches. I know this is about the speed of my hands relative to the speed of the machine, but… how should I sew into a curve to keep my stitches smaller and more uniform? I know, practise. Yay, practise. But should I be giving it a little more gas at the beginning of the curve or easing off…? Move my hands faster as I go into that motion? I don’t know. As with all my other little issues, they seemed to hit intermittently – every time I congratulated myself for a particularly well done bit, I’d wind up doing something dumb 😀 (If I hadn’t used such garish fabrics, I’d show you my practise stitches! My best rows were the first two, before I started paying attention to what I was doing, before I remembered to turn my stitch length to zero even!, then they got progressively worse for a bit while I figured out what to do to improve things, and then they started to get better again. My one practise row of stippling is… appalling. There’s a reason I haven’t done it for realsies yet. Definitely need a whole practise sandwich just for that! But I want to go through Leah Day’s method of practising in stages – u shapes, lobster claw shapes, etc. – before joining it all up in a properly random stipple.)

009

Okay, this doesn’t show super clearly because I could not convince my camera to focus on the problem spot rather than a spot an inch above it. But that particularly long looking stitch kind of in the bottom middle of the lower loop… My machine skipped a stitch. It only happened a couple times in the whole quilt, but I seem to remember reading something somewhere about what that means, but I can’t seem to find any information on the topic now! (I tried googling FMQ skipped stitch, but that didn’t help. It’s possible I just got bored of looking for answers, though, so I should probably search it again now that I’m not so focussed on getting that quilt done done done!) A couple of my skipped stitches, I went in with a needle and thread and couched the skipped bit (didn’t want to unpick, also didn’t want to leave a loop big enough for a kid’s finger to go into), but I didn’t do it every time. (It was awkward! And I don’t know how stable that couching will be, it’s not like with embroidery where you can secure it really easily on the back.)

010

Okay. You can see a bit of this in most of my photos, but the bobbin thread is even more visible in this photo because the darker part of the variegated thread is on the bobbin thread here, with a very pale part on top. I always thought this was a tension issue, but my machine is set at almost the highest tension available. I didn’t adjust it to the higher setting because it didn’t do this all the time I was FMQing, so I wondered if something else was at work?

I don’t know. If any of you do much FMQing and have thoughts or suggestions, let me know! I know it’s not easy to diagnose when you can’t see what I do when I quilt, but I figured someone might have thoughts.

[Also, I’m linking up to Free Motion Quilting Friday at Leah Day’s The Free Motion Quilting Project. If you want to see the finished quilt which has all these flawed bits of stitching on them, you can find it here.]


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Stitch Stitch Stitch-along…

You could be forgiven for thinking I haven’t been doing anything other than stitching up Doctors for the Doctor Who Stitch-Along because I really just keep talking about that and pretty much nothing else. But I have been up to other things! Just, you know, not much. I spent five hours at the hospital one night! But, oh wait, no crafts there. I worked 7.5 hours overtime last week! But, oh wait, no crafts there. I found out my wasting-my-brain job might be an even bigger waste when the company got bought out by another company and the only thing everyone can agree on is that if they retain us employees, they’ll probably roll back our pay by 20-30%. But again, oh wait, no crafts there. Nope, all of that just generates stress, not crafts.

But to de-stress, I’ve been doing some crafting, and virtually all of has been hand-crafts, that most zen of the crafty things I do. I used to find hand-crafts so boring, but there’s something enjoyable and kind of soothing about turning off your mind and just stitching a hundred granito stitches, one after another, in a couple square inches of fabric.

Granito Stitch Fill

This is the first of three stitches to be shared by &Stitches for their June Sampler-Along. I’m not sure why they’re only doing three stitches, because the pattern has room for seven stitches (or eight if you closed up the loop, which I know isn’t very visible in my photo) and now I’m going to have to come up with four other options to fill in the holes.

June Sampler-Along

So that’s basically the whole project. The pattern is a circle (or a donut, almost), cut into seven segments, with a hollowed out area in the centre and an empty eighth segment (you might be best to go see it at their site because my lines are so very, very faint – that linen did not want to absorb the pen marks). I’m planning to use the seven threads on the right and that piece of Kokka fabric will be part of… whatever I do to turn it into a mini-quilt (wall-hanging or mug rug, I dunno). The threads are all from Sublime Stitching thread packs, the colours (from the top): Velvet Curtain, Absinthe, Amazonite, Fainting Couch, Tassel, Corset, and Bell Pull.

Sheaf Filling Stitch

I’ve only just gotten started on the second area, which houses the sheaf stitch, but I think I’m going to pick it out and start again. It’s just a bit… well, weedy looking. I think I need to use one more strand of thread in the needle, and I’ve got to figure out if I want them all in neat little rows (the granito stitch I didn’t – I wanted it more or less in rows, but with some offness to them, and maybe I should aim for the same thing here). I think the paleness of the pink against the darker “natural” colour of the linen doesn’t really help, but it needs something to help it pop out a little more.

Two stitch-alongs weren’t enough, though. No. The Doctor may be time consuming, but he’s not everything, and the Granito stitch might have given me some moments of calm, but the Wild Olive Summer Stitching Club looked like it was going to be cute enough to warm even the most curmudgeonly of hearts. The pattern is made of hexagons, of which twelve will have cute things stitched on them. Hexies are a thing I’ve never done, so I appreciated the chance to try out a new thing, while working on something kind of low-key and easy.

I haven’t gotten started on my hexies at all yet (haven’t even picked out fabrics yet, except for the three different scraps of linen I’m going to use for the pieces with stitching on them), but I’ve got the first two patterns stitched up:

Sunglasses

I’ve decided to do them primarily in back-stitch, since it’s a stitch I pretty well never use. I think it works for this project though, so I’m going to keep it up.

Sun

The third pattern will be for a cute little smiling bikini, and hopefully I’ll get started on that soon. It seems like a fair few participants have already got the background hexies finished and I haven’t even chosen fabrics yet! I’m a bit nervous about making the hexies, since I don’t know how, but so many people seem to find them addictive, and hopefully I will too! (Or, anyway, addictive enough to get me through making the quilt top!)


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My Embroidery Toolkit (Such as it is…)

[Gah! Where have my pictures gone? In the meantime, feel free to click through to flickr, but I’m going to try to fix it. Fixed, I hope.]

& Stitches blog is running a little contest where people can write a post about their embroidery toolkits and get entered to win a pretty awesome prize. I think I’ll probably be too late uploading this – I cared less about the opportunity to win than about my opportunity to sleep after work this morning (still tired – why’d I have to wake up at all?) – but it’s an interesting enough idea that I’m going to post about my embroidery stuff anyway. Maybe I’ll get it done in time, maybe I won’t (the clock is tick tick ticking), but it’s all good either way!

&Stitches tool kit competition

One of my greatest irritations in life is just how very different I am at home from how I am at work. At work I’m a hyper-organized, oft-accused of being OCD neatnik and everything has a place and if it’s not in its place, I get fiercely, intensely, anger-inducingly annoyed. I work with someone who is a bit of a don’t-give-a-crap slob. There is a small mountain in the corner of our office where if he wants to store something, he stores in on top of everything else he’s already storing. It seems to grow every week. If he ever gets transferred, 90% of it will go in the recycling or the garbage, but he’s my boss, so I can’t do it so long as he’s in charge! He teases me that if I annoy him, he’ll turn half my channel locks (bits of plastic with notches sticking out one side) the opposite direction from the rest in the stack. (That WILL stop me in my tracks and make me stand around sorting them back out so that they’re all facing the same direction.) There is a running joke that I will punch in the throat whoever doesn’t return my department’s handheld computer TO MY DESK, INSIDE THE COMPARTMENT, TOP RIGHT CORNER before I ever have need of it again. I’ve been having a running “conversation” with one of my co-workers, via notes in red pen, about how her not having enough time to write me a note rather than leave a box of plants, dirt containing plants, ON MY DESK (DIRT!) is kind of bullshit because I don’t have time to clean dirt off my desk either, but I still did it anyway, because it’s courteous not to leave piles of dirt on people’s desk. I’ve framed coffee-spills people have left on my desk with cut out cardboard and put notes about modern art displays on it until the a-hole who did it finally had the sense to clean it up. (Seriously, who spills coffee on someone else’s desk and walks away?)

Anyway… I like knowing where things are. It makes everything easier. I get things done faster because I don’t have to go searching for anything. It’s just right there. In the top right corner of the upper compartment of my desk. For random example.

But when I’m at home… somehow all of that disappears. It’s like I walk out the door of the building and my boss’s general don’t-give-a-crap slobbishness descends on me like a heavy fog that just won’t lift. In theory, I have three drawers in a rolling cart devoted to embroidery supplies. Everything SHOULD be in there, but should and is are two very different things.

These are the three drawers:

003 005 004

In practise, they seem to contain Stuff I’m Not Currently Using And Have Probably Not Ever Used, though one should be the thread drawer, one the cloth and tools drawer, and the other the patterns drawer.

Assorted Embroidery Threads/Kits

This first drawer, the thread drawer, does in fact contain a fair bit of thread, mostly crewel wool, but it’s also got a project (Taliaferro pattern, with thread pack), a Wool and Hoop project pack containing thread, fabric, pattern, and probably needles. There are thread packs from Sublime Stitching. Under the heap of crewel wool is a bag containing some crewel wool I bought online, which turned out to have an odour and which I haven’t decided what to do about (in the photo above, it’s the green threads – super musty smelling). The Singer needles really belong with my general sewing stuff, since few of them are special needles for embroidery. The folded up bit of paper is an iron-on embroidery pattern for a table cloth I’d like to make, but probably never will. (I was looking for that, two months ago, and couldn’t find it! Why ever would I have thought to look in a drawer full of embroidery stuff, as clearly I did not!)

Assorted Embroidery Tools

The second drawer contains a pack of zippers which should be with my general sewing stuff. (Anyone need 24 zipper pulls with octopuses on them? Apparently I did!) My original pack of stuff from Sublime Stitching, still with the project inside (a tea towel, if I recall) and probably my iron-ons and I think the only thing I took out of the bag was the first bit of thread they sent out and my scissors, which move from place to place and are never where I want them to be. (They were on the floor in my bedroom, with a second pair of embroidery scissors, Fiscars ones, that my Grandma gave me when she saw something I was working on. You’ll see those somewhere below, along with all the stuff that’s “stored” in my bedroom.) There are iron-on patterns from Wool and Hoop, a pile of needles from Wool and Hoop (on loose cards in the middle of the photo), chenille needles (what? I don’t even know what you use those for), thread and needles and fabric for sashiko, as well as a quilted sashiko project my mom bought me in Hawaii. Gold thread. Scroll frame knobs for a scroll frame I don’t use. (I should put them in the box of scroll frames, which is downstairs. My sister does use them for cross-stitch projects, but we didn’t have enough knobs for two people to use the frames – we have multiple sets and various sizes – at the same time, so I bought them and then realized I despise scroll frames.) And tacks, which I use with my Evertite frames, which I do love. Also, a set of Needle ID cards, which are very useful if you’ve got loose needles and no idea what type of needle they are.

The third drawer actually does contain fabric:

004

A yard of rather nice linen, and some assorted bits and bobs of thread, which were sent to me by someone online.

So that’s all the stuff I don’t actually seem to use much. If at all. The rest of it is mixed in with in-progress projects, most of which aren’t currently being worked on, but which were stashed in four different places – the heap of crap on my floor of my bedroom, the heap of crap on my bedroom desk, a plastic bin in my sewing room, and the sewing table in my sewing room.

This is most of it:

Embroidery Projects/Tools

(Oh god, why didn’t I at least smooth the wrinkles out of the sheet on my bed before I took this photo?)

The only currently on-the-go project in that mess is a Super Secret Project, which is part of the only just announced Doctor Who Stitch-Along. I’m doing two different patterns for the project, and that’s all you’re going to see of it until… sometime in the future.

DW-SAL-Badge

Doctor Who Stitch-along

Why yes, everything IS strategically placed so as to hide the relevant bits. Okay, pattern on the far left. Black with shiny threads was my first two practise runs with one of the patterns, including multiple attempts at one particular part of it. I’m not going to be using the shiny rayon thread, so the Essex linen is what I’m GOING to be stitching on. Underneath it is a gorgeous Hardwicke Manor hoop, which I so love working with. So smooth and nice to touch! The tic-tac container gets filled with the little bits of threads I trim off while I’m stitching, so they don’t migrate around the house on my clothing. I don’t tend to use a needle threader, but I had to when I was working with the rayon thread, so it’s attached to the fabric along with my needle.

I was slightly appalled by my fabric scissors sitting on top of the pile like that, which is exactly where it was in my bedroom when I gathered everything up. That’s just a snip-in-the-middle-of-a-project waiting to happen. Normally I use my little pink handled scissors from Sublime Stitching, but I couldn’t find them and had been using the fabric scissors instead. Now that I know where the pink ones are, I better swap them out. Those at least I keep in the sheathe when they’re not in use!

It’s not particularly visible, but in there is the Sewline chalk pencil I use to transfer patterns. (I do sometimes use a water-soluble pen, but I tend to default more often to the chalk pencil. I also sometimes use a very fine-tipped Micron pen for pattern transfer, but my current one is out of ink, so.) And oh, yes, the painter’s tape. This is not my usual solution for keeping fraying threads in check, but I’d used the window as a light box and all that tape was already on all four sides, so I just turned it over and sealed off the edges. Most of that will get trimmed away before it gets sewn into its final quilt, so I’m not too worried about it leaving residue. (Though maybe I’ll un-lazy myself soon and stitch a proper edge on that instead.)

There is so much more to show, but I wound up posting this so that I could squeak it into the & Stitches Show and Tell, and this is as far as I got! I think it is the most relevant bits, since it includes the thing I’m actually working on with the tools I’m actually using, everything else below this will be added after-the-fact.

Okay, more from my messy bedroom:

Tulip slip kit

This project is mostly finished, I just need to actually stitch the tulip stitch to the fabric. I’ve never used real metal thread, though, or done much appliqué and I’m scared! What if I ruin it? That bitty little stitch took AGES and was hard on my eyes! And it’s made with the most gorgeous of threads!

You’ll notice that I tend to keep everything (except scissors) for each project all clumped together. Each project has a needle woven through it somewhere (the needle for this is inside the pack of threads, woven through one of the plastic bags inside the main plastic bag). And everything has its own hoop – this one a cheapie plastic one.

Daisychain ABC sampler

This is my Nearly Done alphabet sampler. You’ll note the needle woven through the fabric, also the hoop underneath. This is another Hardwicke Manor hoop, but I think it’s a 4-in one. (The one with the Doctor Who stuff is 8-inch.) I was skimming other people’s posts earlier and noticed that some people put twill tape around the outside ring of the hoop, but I’ve always done the inside hoop. I don’t know why, it just seemed like the way to go when I did it, but nobody ever told me which to do, just that it should be done. Now I’m questioning my very existence! Or not, but I am curious if it matters which gets twill taped? Why the inside one or why the outside one? Does it actually matter?

The tulip slip project wasn’t shown with a zip bag, but everything gets stored in zip bags by the project, I just kept the bag out of the photo that time. (Everything’s back inside it now though!) They don’t photograph well, though, with all that light bouncing off of them.

The one project I have that’s not stored in a zip bag is this future-project, which has many, many specialty tools (needles, anyway…):

Crewel Twists project-to-be

This project is being stored in a box that contained pre-wrapped chocolates. It was the right size and had a see-through lid, which was convenient while I was collecting threads and wanted everything where I could see it so that I could order needles from place A, threads from places B and C, and the pre-printed fabric (silk!) and beads direct from Hazel Blomkamp, who is the author of that book. Which, if you’re at all interested in Jacobean patterns, or crewel embroidery, or adding beads to your embroidery projects… definitely check it out. Everything in that book is beyond gorgeous, though some of it feels very beyond me (I think of the stitches that make a lace-like fill). Hazel does everything with embroidery threads, rather than crewel wool, so if you don’t like working with wool, it could be a good fit for you. Even if you don’t like Jacobean design (which I do), I think it’s a gorgeous book to look through and there’s a lot to be absorbed, even if you don’t love the patterns themselves.

Anyway, I haven’t started this project yet because I don’t want to start it until I finish the ABC Sampler, so it’s just sitting around waiting, waiting, waiting. Anyway, I include this because… can you tell I really love Bohin needles? I started out with some of their needles for crewel embroidery and every time I’ve needed a different needle type since, I’ve gone on the hunt for a Bohin version of it. The Crewel Twists project will need several needle types (because it includes beading, etc), so I had to source four different needle types – I think the furthest flung ones came from Florida – but they’re such high quality needles that I don’t regret it at all. LOVE the Bohin needles. (In fact, all the needles threaded through all my projects are Bohin needles. Once I found them, I never went back to anything else. They just feel good in your fingers.)

I should skip these because they’re not tool-related at all, but they got gathered up in the Great Embroidery Tool Treasure Hunt of April 2013:

Canevas Folies Topiary kit Future embroidery patterns?

A couple more future projects from my bedroom floor. On the left is a kit I recently picked up. It’s this very pretty, kind of intense looking little sampler using stitches I’ve never used before and some hand-dyed threads. On the right are two projects I never quite got around to – the Edward Gorey picture I wanted to stitch (someday, someday!) and a fandom pattern I was creating for a challenge that finished in January. If you don’t recognize it, that’s Maurice Moss from The IT Crowd, with a quote of his from one of the episodes. Love Moss! I never quite figured out how to integrate the words with the picture.

And finally, after all of that (and, oh, I forgot all my needlebooks, I used to have none and now I have three!), there’s just one more heap of crap to go through.

Assorted Embroidery Stuff

All of this was in a plastic bin in my sewing room, under various heaps of fabric, also unsorted, and some unfinished quilting projects. The Wool and Hoop stuff, top left, is actually a finished project – well, the project is long gone in the mail – and just the thread scraps left from that. I should really get rid of all of it (except for the threads – I might use them someday). Below that is a collection of threads I bought for a project I haven’t quite got around to yet, which comes from New Crewel: The Motif Collection by Katherine Shaughnessy. (Seriously! So many projects! I SWORE I wasn’t going to collected so many Works-in-progress with stitching as I’ve got with quilting!) All the stuff on the right belongs to the same project, a needlebook with birds on it that I’ve never finished. I was doing the class at Mary Corbet’s Needle ‘N Thread, but crapped out when I had problems with the second bird.

You can’t really see it, but the stitch is on one of my sets of Evertite frames, which are FANTASTIC. The yellow t-bar tool on top of the stitch is what you use to tighten the frame (and create the tension). There is a needle threaded through the project at the very bottom right corner of the stitch, but all the rest of the needles for the project are in some luscious, lovely wool felt inside the bag on the right.

I should really make a plan to finish all these projects, maybe work on consolidating some of these tools into just one place…

I think the big lesson here is that
1. I talk too much – what a ridiculously long entry!
1. I don’t really have a tool-kit, so much as a tool-dumping ground and a tool–or-three-for-every project

My god, how do I generate so many unfinished projects? How do I generate so many piles of crap? Why can’t I bring my super-organized work-self home with me? It’s ridiculous! Maybe I need to be on the clock to ‘waste’ time on organizing. Maybe I should charge myself $25 an hour to organize and donate the money to charity, so that the longer it takes to get things in order, the more it’ll cost me. (Of course, I’d need someone to make me be accountable…) Hmm, thoughts…


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WIP Wednesday: Tulip stitch

WIP: Tulip stitch

This little tulip project comes from Thistle Threads. The pattern can be downloaded there for free, but I also bought the kit which comes with 34-count linen and Au Ver a Soie’s Soie d’Alger threads. So lovely!

I’ve been working on it since I took the photograph and all the dark green is done now, so it’s just that one lonely leaf that’s left to finish. And I want to fix the red on the main petal – I lost a stitch or two in there somewhere and the vein isn’t quite right.


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TTMT 85: Stitchy McStitcherson

In which I show off the last two quilt blocks I made for my Livejournal Birthday Blocks group, as well as two stitching projects I’m working on, an alphabet sampler and a tiny little tulip done in tent stitch.

All my Birthday Blocks blocks for 2012 can be seen here.

The Daisychain ABC Sampler came from Posie Rosy Little Things. (If you’re interested in making your own, you can buy the PDF, the preprinted fabric, and the Appleton Crewel wools to make a kit for yourself or any of the three that you need. The PDF has DMC conversions, if you’d rather stitch with embroidery floss.)

The Tulip kit can be purchased from Thistle Threads for a limited time (basically until they run out of kits, I think), though the pattern can be found for free at any time. A portion of the purchase price is donated to the MET Ratti Center, which is a textile museum (well, I don’t know if they have a museum proper, but they collect, study, and store textiles to preserve them and learn from them). The kit has the most lovely supplies – lovely 34-count linen and Au Ver a Soie’s Soie d’Alger silk threads – and you can buy a finishing kit to turn it into a tiny pillow or pincushion.