Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Finished the First Pincushion Sample and Now Working on a Pattern

I'm not particularly happy with how I sewed this together, but it was begun with a scrap of felt and some new thread and really no thought about anything else.  I just wanted to try out some new Valdani thread and ended up with a finished project because I hate to waste anything.

The "Pins" part of the design was centered on the fabric to begin with.  When the embroidery was finished, the whole thing ended up being off-center in the back because all of that stitching was above the text.  I sewed it together in the back with a feather stitch.  There's a small vine embroidered underneath the feather stitching with silk ribbon flowers, too.

I sewed the sides together with small Czech glass flowers and Japanese seed beads.  Not really crazy about that either.  I would have liked the sides to be cleaner, but it's hard to stitch and turn a seam in felt and not mess up the silk ribbon embroidery.

I'm working on a new pattern now that will include both the rectangular pincushion and a round one.  Still working out the kinks in it.

In the rose-colored round sample, I'm using Robyn Alexander's hand dyed wool felt with matching silk ribbons and silk threads.  It's embellished with Czech pressed glass flowers and leaves and size 15 Japanese seed beads, too.

I plan on sewing this one together with the three-bead picot edge that I learned from Nancy Eha many years ago.  I used this same finish in my Here's My Heart Scissors Sheath.  I'll have to add some of those beads to the embroidery for some continuity to the look.

Here's where some more planning would have helped.  You would have thought that I learned my lesson with the purple pincushion.  The three-bead edge needs to be worked with round seed beads (usually Czech), not the really tubular ones that are great for bead weaving (usually Japanese).  And, I need size 8 because of the thickness of the felt.  Size 11 beads will just look too small.

Fortunately, I found some ones that might work in my stash.  I LIKE IT when I find something in the stash.  I need to pare it down anyway!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Make a Pincushion Fast and Easy!

I have small pieces of pre-washed WoolFelt® that I practice new stitches and ideas on. I've been working on some projects using embroidered text, and I've been using Glad Press'n Seal to transfer the design to the fabric.

Although I love to use Ophir Silk Threads from Colour Streams in Australia, I often use Valdani Threads, too. Ophir is silk and has a beautiful sheen, and Valdani is cotton. They look totally different when stitched. Valdani blends into the WoolFelt®, so the look is very subtle.

I was trying out a new color of Valdani on a scrap of hydrangea felt with some new text. Script is easy to embroider if it's large enough. I did learn a couple of things experimenting with this: 1. Use a heavier weight of thread as the size of the text is increased and 2. Always begin with the darkest shade of the thread at the beginning of the word to give it more definition. In the stitched sample, the "s" looks like an afterthought. The text itself almost disappears into the fabric, too.

I had just received some new, Square Pincushion Inserts from the same company that makes the Round Pincushion Inserts. Because I don't like to waste anything if I can help it, I decided to finish the stitching and make a little pincushion with the new square insert. These are pre-made and filled with crushed walnut shells.

I'm still auditioning beads and ribbons to finish this, but when the stitching is done I will simply wrap it around one of the square inserts. They are filled rather loosely, so I folded it over itself to make it smaller and firmer and thicker.

I'll overlap the edges on the back, and sew it closed with a feather stitch. I'll sew the short edges closed with some of the beads that I used to highlight the embroidery to complete it.

I used these products in this project:

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Found a Forgotten Project That's Now Begging to be Finished

While I was cleaning out some computer files the other day, I ran across this project that I had begun to design in 2008.

The fans were not designed by me.  I don't remember where the original fan designs came from--probably from a vendor on eBay.  I can't even find the original files on my computer now.

From viewing the project file, it looks like I scanned, then traced the designs and re-sized them to fit into 9" squares.  Some of them are a little skewed.  Because all of the fans are set diagonally in the block it's really not that noticeable.  They were probably not all the same size to begin with.

I had gone so far as to design a crazy quilted background block to be used in all of the squares, too. After giving this a second look, I think that the squares should be bigger, too, to set off the fans better.

I got that far with it, then it seems to have been forgotten.  Giving it another look, it now looks like something that's do-able and I'd probably enjoy working on it, too.

I still have a few problems to work out before I begin.  What fabrics should I use?

I sell this beautiful line of silk velvet on my website from Colour Streams.  This fabric is hand dyed by Robyn Alexander in Mullumbimby, NSW, Australia.  It's available in 52 colors, with hand dyed silk ribbon and silk thread to match.  There are more than enough colors for this quilt.

They'll be a lot of embroidery and applique on these blocks, so I need to find something that's really stable for the background blocks.

I still need some other fabrics to blend with the velvets, too.  I'd love to use silk dupioni for the appliques along with the silk velvet, but I don't know how to get around the fact that it's nearly impossible to needleturn to get a smooth edge on an applique.  I actually prefer the freezer paper and starch method of turning edges like the block below.  It's not even difficult to use this method with very detailed appliques like this block from the Roseville Quilt that was so HOT many years ago--it's another forgotten project of mine, too.

The problem with using the silk dupioni with this method is that the silk is stained by the starch and there's no way to get around that.  The starch needs to be spread around the edges of the fabric, and it bleeds into the fabric.  With cotton, it's not a problem.  With the silk, it is.

So, I may have to make up a sample block to try a few ideas out before I begin.

I plan to probably spend the next year working on this.

But first I need to finish a block that I was invited to make for a special project.  I can't share it yet, but I will soon.  I learned a lot working on this special block.  I plan to share what I learned working on it, too.