Monday, May 31, 2021

Memorial Day 2021

Remembering and honoring the fallen who served our country. Our freedom does not come for free.

Red, white and blue hexagons.


Sunday, May 30, 2021

A needle book for EPP

When I rediscovered English paper piecing [EPP] during the 2020 pandemic lockdown, I began following several EPPers and EPP stitch-alongs on Instagram. I picked up several handy tips and was amazed by the clever piecing these EPP experts shared on line. I was also in awe of the beautiful, handmade needle books they showed. A needle book was destined for my EPP future!

The pieces of my new needle book are waiting to be assembled.

Needle book progress

This weekend I decided to work on my Needle Book and I've made great progress: 

  • a zipper is installed,
  • four pockets are appliqu├ęd,
  • several wool felt squares are hand stitched into place.

A few kinks still need to be worked out: 

  • how to assemble the signatures (saddle stitching or coptic binding??),
  • how to attach the book cover to the signatures, 
  • and I need to devise some kind of closure for the book.

I know I'll get a lot of use out of this needle book, so I hope this will be a Make Nine finish very soon!


Sunday, May 23, 2021

Slow Stitching Mindfulness

"Hand stitching is for people who like to be busy,
but busy in a calm and relaxing way."


I saw this quote on social media recently. Those of us who enjoy handwork can identify! With that, I thought I'd inventory and share my current hand stitching WIPs [work in progress].
Seed stitches with perle cotton on a garment-to-be.

Mix-It top
I'm using the rice stitch or seed stitch to add color and pattern to a new Mix-It top [The Sewing Workshop patterns]. The base fabric is from the Denim Studio by Art Gallery Fabrics. It is a nice weight for hand stitching and needles well. I do use an embroidery hoop for this work.

Hand seed stitches on a cotton from the Denim Studio by Art Gallery Fabrics.

Big Stitch quilting
The Sandy Creek print from M&S Textiles Australia is perfect for adding colorful accents of 8wt Eleganza perle cotton [WonderFil Specialty Threads]. I've combined free-motion quilting by machine with big stitch hand quilting.

Big stitch quilting.

By echoing the lines of this Sandhill print [M&S Textiles Australia], no marking is required! Gotta love the organic patterns in this fabric collection!

Big stitch quilting.

Hand embroidery
Just a little more embroidery to do on this Bee Kind canvas tote bag panel [Northcott Fabrics]. I also have the September Morning panel waiting in the queue. You'll love stitching through this canvas substrate.

Hand embroidery on a canvas tote panel.


Visible Mending

This is a visible mending upcycling project—the proverbial Boyfriend Shirt

8 wt. perle cotton for stitched embellishments and visible mending.

Paper piecing
I'm still enjoying my 100 Day Project of focus cutting three-quarter inch hexagons. 

English paper piecing.

Threads for hand stitching projects
The threads I've used for these hand stitching projects include:

8wt perle cotton by WonderFil Specialty Threads.

If you haven't tried Valdani Wool Thread (100% virgin Merino wool) for embroidery, I suggest you give it a needle. These threads were recommended by my friend, Vicki McCarty at Calico Patch Designs. This thread has a lovely loft and springy-ness that comes with being a wool fiber. The stitches sit higher from the canvas, giving the work more dimension. The variegated colors are especially appealing.

6 strand embroidery floss and Valdani Wool Thread for hand embroidery.


The weather is beautiful here today. I just have to decide which mindful stitching project to take outdoors with me.

Combining free-motion machine quilting with big stitch quilting.

Enjoy a little bit of nature—whether outdoors or on your stitching projects.

Garden blooms.



Sunday, May 16, 2021

Completing The 100 Day Project: my thoughts and observations

Back in January, I committed to participating in The 100 Day Project. It started January 31, 2021. The 100th day was May 10. Here are the results of showing up every day for 100 days

243 three-quarter inch, selective-cut, English paper pieced hexagons.

243 hexagons for The 100 Day Project 2021.

My thoughts about The 100 Day Project

It takes commitment to "show up every day" for 100 days! This was precisely the point of Michael Beirut's assignment to his graphic design grad students. Through this project, I discovered I had just enough stubborn tenacity and focus to see it through. Here are my thoughts...
  • The 100 Day Project does take commitment, but it is rewarding.
  • It is about the process, not necessarily about the results. You often have to make bad art before the good stuff surfaces. It's about the practice of making.
  • I began to look at fabric in a different way. Searching for small motifs to selectively cut, or larger motifs that could be partially cut or subcut for an interesting pattern.
Selective cutting partial motifs.

  • I learned to notice the color value of fabrics, especially when laying out the hexies all together.
  • I liked the frugality and recycling aspect of using small fabric pieces, swatches and especially trimmings from other projects. 
  • At first, I thought I'd do much more glue basting on these EPP hexagons. I found myself enjoying the thread basting and did handwork for most of these, especially the last 25-30 days.
  • It's OK to switch gears! I also thought I'd do just one hexie a day and have 100 at the end of the project. That was a self-imposed rule up front which I abandoned early on. Glad I did.
  • It got to be fun finding corresponding backgrounds on which to photograph the hexagons.
Finding fun backgrounds for the hexagons.

More interesting backgrounds for the hexagons.

  • I found myself trying to come up with interesting layouts for photographing the hexagons.
Various layouts for the hexagons.

  • Occasionally, the commentary accompanying the daily IG posts reflected on real life.
Some days you need a crystal ball and some days you wish it was a caldron.

  • Admittedly, there were days when it was challenging to find the energy to stitch at least one little hexagon. So, I'm glad I chose a do-able project and one that was also portable
  • It is often said, if you work on something for short periods of time on a regular basis, a lot can be accomplished. Every little hexagon made a contribution to the whole.
In the end, I was rewarded with 243 of these fun little fabric gems, daily photo documentation, and milestone blog posts of the project. 

A possible option for using the hexagons.

Now that the 100 days have concluded, I don't know how (or if) I will put these hexagons into a final project—or multiple projects. But I consider this project a success—and even a "finish"—because The 100 Day Project is all about the process.

I showed up!

----------
Milestone progress photos of my 100 Days of Hexies can be found in these blog posts: 7 days33 days50 days, 75 days, 90 days.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

At 90% of The 100 Day Project

It felt a bit "draggy" around the 70-80% mark... and I was pushing myself to stick with it... but now, at over 90%, I can't believe it's nearing the 100 Day finish line.

221 three-quarter inch hexies at day 90 of the 100 Day Project 2021.

At the 90% mark, this is 221 three-quarter inch hexagons for one of my 100 Day Projects

Past mileposts are: at 75%.

Day 75 of the 100 Day Project 2021.

At 50%
Day 50 of the 100 Day Project 2021.

At 33%
Day 33 of the 100 Day Project 2021.

After the first week.

The first week of the 100 Day Project 2021.


And, the 2021 Stitching Success Tracker has moved into the month of May.

Starting May 2021 of the Stitching Success Tracker calendar.

The background fabric is a canvas panel called "September Morning" from Northcott Fabrics. I'm contemplating a slow stitching zipper bag or possibly a combo of hand and machine stitching. Mood and inspiration will dictate.


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