leather book cover

This project has been floating around my house for quite some time. Frankly, the idea of sewing leather was scary to me, so I hemmed and hawed a lot, but eventually I got through it! I had a swath of green leather from years ago, waiting for an interesting project so when my friend asked to make a book cover for her to keep records of her weaving endeavors, I decided now was the time.


I had the feather inspiration from Maureen Cracknell Handmade, and used hers as an outline. My version is intentionally not as delicate as hers with the idea that the chunky-ness would work well with the leather. Now that it is done, I am not so sure, but I would rather not copy someone else’s work exactly anyway.


My first hang up was cutting the leather itself. See, as I mentioned, this was stored in my closet for years, so it wound up with some creases and wrinkles. Can you iron leather? I am not sure – the internet says yes and no, so I tried a few methods on some scrappy edges and just couldn’t tell if it was working or not. Another problem is the nature of the leather itself – there are parts of it that just do not lay flat because that was not how the leather grew… I did have enough of it where I could cut a fairly flat piece out, so that is what I did (it was not the way I would cut if I was trying to get the most out of my yardage, if you know what I mean!). I will say it cut like butter, though:)


I used my rectangle hoop to stitch the feather onto the leather after I had embroidered it. I delayed here for a long while also because I was not sure how I wanted to do the outline. I tried a few methods on a scrap piece, and settled on using an outline stitch that I had just properly learned for the Zelda crest mug rug I recently made. I did vary between six and three strands, but you can’t really tell. I am still learning embroidery, you know. Plus, I could not find a hand-sewing leather needle that was straight. Mine was not only gently curved at the tip (a feature I actually fell in love with and will search for embroidery needles of like kind) but also had a 90 degree bend before the eye. That made the motions a bit trickier, as you can imagine.

leather_book_cover_4 leather_book_cover_5

Then, I delayed even longer yet because I was not sure my machine would appreciate sewing through leather. I did buy heavy duty needles, but since they did not specifically state “for use with leather”, nor did they have a cutting shape to their point, I was concerned – but it was all I could find at the store. Lucky for me, my leather was very thin and supple, so as long as I went slowly over where the leather was folded, it sewed great! I used my little clothespins to hold the layers together. Since both the leather and fabric was thin, I used a heavy-weight stabilizer to make it feel sturdy, and a brown ribbon for the marker.


I used my quick & dirty method so I only had to sew two straight lines, adjusting for the size of the notebook obviously. I only chose this method because I didn’t want to put my machine through any more torture than necessary.


I included a standard composition book; in the event she fills one up and needs to add another, it will be easy for her to find a notebook that fits.

leather_book_cover_9 leather_book_cover_8

It feels really nice in your hands! The leather gives a nice grip but is so very soft!


And now, I embark on another hexagon project! Yay! This was the first time I have ever cut squares in bulk – I felt like a quilter. While cutting, I asked myself if I would like to quilt yet – my family all does it so maybe I should join them. But the idea of having to cut more than this tiny stack (which felt monstrous while cutting) still has me holding off on that venture… for now.


zelda crest mug rug

Boy and I both adore the Zelda games, so this is really for both of us, though I tell him it is his:)


I got the pattern from Our Nerd Home, and embroidered it over break. This one is really thick compared to my first attempt! I used three layers of fabric all told, with some thin batting and stabalizer between the first two (the third simply covered my crazy embroidery backside). It has a really great heavy feel to it, I love it.


It was, however, the first time I tried using bias tape, and I could certainly use some more practice!

chocobo mug rug

Do any of you know what a chocobo is? It is a bird from one of my husband’s favorite game series: Final Fantasy. I came across this image from HowToDrawManga3D.com and decided to try  my hand at a mug rug one day over break.


I embroidered the chocobo onto some yellow fuzzy fabric I had, and for the first time, I experimented with different number of strands. The bird was mostly done with 6 strands, but the beak and feet were done with one. I was impressed at how much of a difference that really can make – not necessarily with this since it was on fuzzy fabric and all one color, but for adding texture in future projects.


I really did not know what I was doing with the mug rug, so I learned a lot here. I made it up as I went with whatever materials I had handy. (What I mean is, I did not spend time planning it, which is noticeable!)


For the binding, I had to sew two strips of fabric together (I used some left-over canvas from the applique piece I recently did). I also decided to quilt the mug rug after I had sewn the chocobo to the front, so I had to be tricky and hand-finish some of it to complete the look without sewing over top of the chocobo.


He loves it and I have more planned. Maybe, since my in-person classes got cancelled this semester, I will complete a few more!

First applique experience

I finally wrapped up my sister-in-laws 2-year-belated wedding present and gave it to her. In this post, I am going to talk about the process. When she sends me over a photo of it hung on the wall in all its glory, I will post the final look.

I learned many things. One, I like appliqué as much as I like hexagons. For her project, I used all free materials, except we purchased the background (a nice canvas for structure) and the trim (upholstery piping). The rest came from her grandmother who has passed away, her stepmother (my neighbor, a quilter and giver-of-scraps), and what I had in my stash (some gifted from my friend Leslie). I used a template I found on the internet, but for the life of me I cannot find its source again. Grr! I did not use the giant one, mostly the three on the left and a few of the one on the bottom right.


The process was simple – cut paper templates out, baste stitch around the edge and press.


Oh, so two, I learned the difference between ironing and pressing. And three, that you can burn your ironing board cover :(


Kaite was very lax about what she wanted. Or where she wanted to put it. So, I tried to stick with neutrals and her general house colors, but she also said to make it a bit fun. I selected a rainbow of colors and fabrics.

applique_flower_hanging_2 applique_flower_hanging_3 applique_flower_hanging_5 applique_flower_hanging_6 applique_flower_hanging_7 applique_flower_hanging_4

Not all of them made the cut once I started putting them together. I think I only used about half of the ones I had prepared. Here is a look at all of them:


My inspiration came from this image, I found through a foray into Pinterest (I do not have a Pinterest account, for the record – but I scope it out every now and then. But not having it prevents me from locating this art’s owner…).


A long time ago, I bought this rectangular embroidery (?) “hoop” (is lap-quilt frame more appropriate?) for a project that I hope to embark on soon for a coworker of mine. (See a theme here about belated projects?) It worked out really well! I pinned the petals in place, and then appliquéd them on one by one. And four, let me tell you, Star Trek TNG is starting to get really, really good. I am almost on Season 4 and I am just now starting to understand why the internet thinks Picard is such a badass (when I was little, he was just the old man!). Now, I know.


An easy roll-over over to finish the edge:


Even with the original choices for this pattern, not everything made the cut in the end. You’ll see that in the finale in the next post.

Then, some embroidery for the bride and groom – standard backstitch in a complimentary brown.


I had to cut it to size, and I lost some of the petals here. It was slightly crooked so to square it off; more got chopped off than originally planned. Then, of course, adding a quarter inch seam all around ate some of the real estate too.


I had another piece of canvas for the back trimmed out with pockets for a rod – to either be hung vertically or horizontally (the embroidery works with both!). And, to either be hung so you do see the rod, or with spaces so you can use rod hangers behind the whole thing so the hardware doesn’t detract from the view. I wasn’t sure how they would hang it, or if they would want it hidden or not. I sewed the front and back face-to-face and left a fairly large hole to turn it out. More pressing and ironing. Then I sewed the trim to the backside (I was too afraid to try to get it perfect whilst sammiched inbetween). I also wanted to hide the edges of the canvas for the rod pockets, but with them being that small, I could not get them to turn out. The sides are nicely hemmed, but the bottom isn’t. And ironing them was a pain also, so I went with fray check (the darkened line across the bottom). I mean, it’s the back, right?


See those sweet scissors? Boy got them for me for my birthday! He says no embroiderer is complete without gold swan scissors. He admires them for their engineering and is sad he is not allowed to use them (he’s learned the hard way about my sewing sharps!). I should mention he is the one who picked out the background and trim for Kaite’s project. He’s very proud of that.

Hopefully she will send me pics along soon to show you the front so ye can be dazzled.

I also learned finally how to not end up with crazy knots all over the backside (in all of that, I had one knot – in the embroidery – and I was able to get it out before I tied it off!). I was so proud of it I took a photo, but the thread is too much the same color as the canvas and you can’t tell what’s going on. Just believe me. It was cool.

Crafternoon: Felt flowers

Over the weekend, I hosted another crafternoon. I printed out several templates from around the web and between my friend Ashley and I, we supplied felt, scissors, glue, thread, needles, buttons, and beads. Sites included How Joyful, Make & Do Girl, Lines Across, and some general ones I found through google image search that I can’t locate the original site for.


Everyone also brought a snack. We had cheesy turkey quesodillas, blueberry muffins, peanut butter and chocolate cupcakes, zucchini chocolate muffins, fresh blueberries, and fresh chips with queso and salsa.

There were four of us, a small group, and I wondered at how many I had actually invited and what would have happened if that number had been doubled. Out of everyone I know, I have the largest table (easily seats 8), and we certainly filled it with just the four of us!

Ashley made flowers to match the theme of a shadow box she is making and sent me a photo:


Some flowers were much more time intensive than others, and so I decided I am too impatient to make the more complicated ones. I did enjoy learning some new tricks, like how to make flat 2D flowers more 3D. Oh, and how easy some of them turned out to be!

Mine were just randoms, so I could learn the process, though I might use that embroidered one for a book cover:


I forgot to take photos during the crafternoon, so I do not have any more to share. Katie made her new niece and nephew (twins!) a little gift: flowers for a headband and a small little bowtie. Courtney was creative and made the little cloud flower out of two different colors and added a button in the center, then she stacked a bunch of complimentary colors together for one of the 2D versions. Everyone’s flowers was pretty awesome and it’s a shame I didn’t take photos. Hopefully next time!

If you’ve been following, my hexagon pillow top is complete, and I bought a pillow form. But life came up and once again, it looks like I will not be finishing a project for a while. We have changes around the house (siding, windows, HVAC system, and a lot of other smaller jobs), I am in an intense gross anatomy workshop, my summer class began about two weeks ago, and it dawned on me the other day that the fall semester is almost upon us and I still have classes to prep for that. Oh, yeah, and a grant application for an archaeological project.

But I hope to squeeze time for some crafternoons, at least once a month. We floated around several ideas and it looks like paper quilling might be next!