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.

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

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

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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.

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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:

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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…).

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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.

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An easy roll-over over to finish the edge:

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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!

Lysa’s match needle book

Here it is! This is the result of a pattern I tested for Lysa, the most generous gal to have given me a free kit to make my own (serious goodness, right there!). I truly felt that this little needle book was one of the most clever things I’ve seen around. I just had to have one, and I am so grateful she is so awesome to make that happen:)

Here you can read about the SMS Giveaway she hosted with books she crafted herself. I did not find the pattern troublesome so I am optimistic that she will have it ready at her shop soon enough so you can make your own match needle book! I also enjoyed using such a thick stabilizer; I had never used anything other than stiff interfacing and having something like stiff felt was brilliant. I am going to totally look into this option for future projects.

(Read on if you wish to hear a story about lightning, the evil doer.)

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This project was also perfectly timed. It is late June, but Mother Nature doesn’t realize it, so we have been enduring storm after storm after storm (I am listening to thunder as I write this). Thursday circa 9pm, lightning hit our house. Of course, Boy has installed all the high end surge protectors one could possibly own, but lightning is a force in itself. Apparently, and who knew, lightning can use the internet back door. It looks as if Comcast (the cable internet people) did not ground the cable outside our house, and the jolt of electricity came in that way, zapping anything directly connected to the internet (the modem, router, all the switches and miscellaneous devices to make the internet work in the house, the Vonage phone box, possibly the main phone, a smart tv, a PS4, and two media boxes). So, without the ability to do much work, or watch movies on Netflix, or play video games, I sewed!

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We thought it had also damaged our Wii U, and PS3, but when Boy brought home some equipment from the office the next day to get back online, they both magically turned on and were also able to connect to their networks. Phew. (Seriously, is there anything worse than losing all your saved games??) Now, something we cannot figure out is why our Onkyo receiver is fried as well, not being an internet device and all. But, who can say we puny humans will ever understand the force of lightning?

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Keeley is DONE

Soooo long in the making, but I was stoked to finally ship her off to her creator. I’ve posted about her here, here, and here, but here’s the final piece!

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Also, I had a dilemma to solve – how to add her “pow” markings by her fist? I knew my embroidery skills were not up to the task. Then I had an epiphany – I could draw them on the plexiglass that frames her! I tried my favorite over-the-counter pen (Pilot’s Precision V5) and a trusty sharpie, neither having the results I envisioned. Then I dug around my craft room and found black puffy paint. Bingo!

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Keith blogged about her here, and you can see in the first shot that I had trouble getting her in the frame without bunching up the background. But under the right lights, that isn’t noticeable. If I were to do it all over again, I would have a lot more structural planning. For this project, I just jumped right in. I had no plan on the outcome – I was relieved that it fit in a standard record frame, but that was utterly by accident. Without planning for how it would end up, I made due with what I had. And I would totally do this project again – Keeley is one of my favorite things I have ever done!

Felt Keeley progress

She is coming along quite fantastically! I tried my hand at a few different methods to “ink” her outline. I settled on couching black yarn with black thread. Originally, the yarn I bought was way too thick so I had to trade that in for something thinner. I wish now that I went with more of a rope than yarn because of the fuzzies up close, but from far away (as she will be hanging on a wall) she definitely kicks butt like the superhero she is.

Felt Keeley Comic practice Good news, Keith will be in town in August so I have a solid deadline to get her finished. Sometimes I need that, you know? And thanks to my “step-grandmother-in-law” Ruth for the giant embroidery hoop!
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This type of embroidery is new to me. Usually, my left hand is under the fabric and I can feel when my thread gets caught. Couching the yarn, however, means my left hand stays on top to guide the yarn as my right hand works the thread around it. As such, the back of this piece is horribly embarrassing – but to allay any doubt in your mind that I am making the awesomeness that this is and not faking it somehow through photoshop, I thought I’d share:

Felt Keeley Comic practice