Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Pattern for the Crocheted Circle

The circle.  It is an important shape. Circles can be joined together to form a larger fabric like an afghan or table runner. It can be the base for a cyindrical item such as a hat. It can also stand alone.

I have a project in mind for circles but it is going to take a lot of them.  Some of my friends are going to help in compiling a stash of circles, so for those who are going to contribute I am providing a pattern for both single crochet and double crochet. 

I have been sworn to secrecy so I can not reveal the project yet.  Soon there will be lots of pictures. I can let it slip that it might just involve some witches and goblins and other nefarious characters - but don't tell them that I told you so! ;)

First some abbreviations:

Chain Stitch
Slip Stitch
Single Crochet
Half Double Crochet
Double Crochet

Simple Circle in SC

Round 1: CH 2. In second chain from hook, SC 6. Join with SL ST into first stitch. (6 SC)

Round 2: CH 1 *2 SC in next stitch* repeat from * all the way around Join with SL ST to the beginning stitch (12 SC)

Round 3: CH 1 *1 SC in next stitch, 2 SC in next stitch, * repeat from * all the way around Join with SL ST to the beginning stitch (18 SC)

Round 4: CH 1 *1 SC in next 2 stitches, 2 SC in next stitch * repeat from * all the way around Join with SL ST to the beginning stitch (24 SC)

Additional Rounds: For each additional round, add 1 more SC in next stitch between increases. Increases are where you are crocheting 2 SC in one stitch. For example, round 5 would have 3 SC between increases then round 6 would have 4 SC between increases and so on.

Finish off and weave in ends.

Additional Rounds: For each additional round, add 1 more SC in next stitch between increases. Increases are where you are crocheting 2 SC in one stitch. For example, round 5 would have 3 SC between increases then round 6 would have 4 SC between increases and so on.

Finish off and weave in ends.

Simple Circle in DC

Round 1: CH 4 (counts as first DC). In second chain from hook, DC 11 Join with SL ST into first stitch. (12 SC)

Round 2: CH 3 (counts as first DC), 1 DC in the same stitch, *2 DC in next stitch* repeat from * all the way around Join with SL ST to the beginning stitch (24 SC)

Round 3: CH 3 (counts as first DC), 1 DC in the same stitch,1 DC in next Stitch, *2 DC in next stitch, 1 DC in next Stitch* repeat from * all the way around Join with SL ST to the beginning stitch (36 SC)

Round 4: CH 3 (counts as first DC), 1 DC in the same stitch, 1 DC in next two stitches * 2 DC in next stitch, 1 DC in next two Stitches* repeat from * all the way around Join with SL ST to the beginning stitch (48 SC)

Additional Rounds: For each additional round, add 1 more DC in next stitch between increases. Increases are where you are crocheting 2 DC in one stitch. For example, round 5 would have 3 DC between increases then round 6 would have 4 DC between increases and so on.

Finish off and weave in ends.

Theresa E.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Crocheting for Charity

For just over a year, I have been the unofficial leader of a crochet group at my work. We do not have a lot of members but we have an open and welcoming policy. Right now we are not very structured, we don't even have a name, but we have plans to help the group grow.

Last year, I was approached by a Manager for ideas on how to  generate a spirit of volunteerism.  I am very involved in a Yahoo group, Stitchmap which is a mentor-apprentice group.  The group's website, Keeping Needlearts Alive by Sharing Stitches is named based on the philosophy of the group.  We think that needlearts are important and that we must make efforts to introduce the arts to new people.  By doing so, we invigorate the art and prevent the skills from dying out in our modern society.  Well you can see that the two ideas merged for me and I suggested that we have some craft opportunity for charity.

Last winter we had a huge success crocheting hats for both the homeless and for chemo patients at our local children's hospital.  You can read more about it in my post Hats! Hats! and more Hats!

For the first part of this year, we wanted to do something especially for women.  There are so many charities, but I am especially pleased that we agreed to do a project for the Women In Jeopardy program that is hosted by YWCA.  Simply put, this program reaches out to women and their children who are fleeing a violent enviroment.  Much of the time, they are fleeing with nothing more than the clothes they are wearing.  The program offers safety, shelter, and assistance with basic needs to these women.  There are a number of contributors who concentrate on the needs of the children but sometimes the women are overlooked.  It is the women that we focused on for the project.

Some baskets
The more experienced crocheters in our group put together 77 crocheted baskets.  Some of us used the Bavarian Crochet pattern.  There  is a U-tube video with instructions here. Others had a favorite pattern that they used.  It was a great way to use of the scrap yarn saved from various other projects.  We ended up with a very colorful selection.

Others crocheted washcloths.  We were able to put two washcloths in each basket.  It was very gratifying to see new crocheters complete their washcloths. They would then move to a new or different pattern and with each completed washcloth their skills and confidence increased.  There are more free washcloth patterns than I have time to count. Crochet Pattern Central has a directory of patterns here. All has a list of over 200 dishcloth patterns on their web site. A search of your favorite search engine like Google or Bing will locate many more.

Our crochet group contributed a lot of the items that filled the baskets.  We were also able to involve others as contributors.  The following list is what we were able to fill the baskets with:

The collection of baskets.

Body Soap
Hair brush and Comb
Inspirational Key Ring
The key rings were the idea of a 7-year old granddaughter of one of our members.  She asked her grandmother what abuse was.  Her grandmother simply explained that the women and children were leaving a place where they were hurt.  The granddaughter insisted on helping.  She told her grandmother that she didn't know how to crochet but she could make key rings.  She then enlisted her mother's help.  Her mother would lay out the alphabet beads into words of inspiration that her daughter had chose and the daughter then beaded and attached to a key ring.

The words were:


Another look at the baskets
For all those who worked on or contributed to the project - Thank you!

Theresa E

Saturday, July 14, 2012

CQJP 2012 May Block

I have finished the work on my May CQJP 2012 project.  I am pretty happy with it.  I think that filling it up more and making bigger stitches has made a difference.
May CQJP 2012 Block
I tried to do a version of a crinoline lady.  I tried to fill in the background with some flower stalks made of buttonhole wheels. There are flower bushes made of French Knots and French knots were also used to embellish the Fly stitch seam treatment on the left. You can also see a closeup of one of the butterflies that I have mentioned in previous posts.  The butterfly pattern can be found here. You can find other butterfly patterns on my Crochet page. Here is a close up of that section:

Close up of CQJP2012 May Block 

I get so much inspiration from the web.  In the picture below you can see the bottom lace piece was embellished with a Cable Chain stitch.  This was the stitch for week 25 of the TAST on Pin Tangle  The pink flowers running vertical along the right side of the crinoline lady were inspired by an article about Granitos on NeedlenThread.  You may like to know, that Mary Corbett has created an alphabetical listing of her stitch videos which she talks about in this post.

2nd View of CQJP 2012 May block

I have really enjoyed this block. Now I am going to get my June block started.

Theresa E

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

And One Thing Leads to Another

Saturdays are pretty hectic at my house. After working all week, it is time to do the house work. House work, laundry, and grocery shopping are priorities, but my family usually likes a good breakfast and then I also get food prepared for the week. I usually manage to get it done in time to do my weekly shopping either at a thrift store or dare I say it, a craft store. I consider it my play.

This one particular Saturday, I dragged my daughter kicking and screaming to Joanne's with me.  I needed some DMC #5 floss and I wanted to pick up a Dresden Plate Template.  While we were there, Assa found some really cute cupcake fabric.  Mom, can I get some, she asked?  I don't normally indulge her because she never finishes a project that she starts.  I usually try to interest her with supplies on hand, but she was patiently walking around the store with me while I took in my dose of color and possibilities so I asked her what she would do with it if I bought it for her.  She didn't know, but she really wanted it.  I bought 2 yards.

It sat around for a while, and I decided that I was not going to let it go to waste.  I have been perusing sewing blogs and Pinterest pictures and I had come accross a pattern for fastest easiest  pillow case everI pulled out my sewing machine and gave it a whirl.  Here is a picture of the finished pillow cases:

Assa's Cupcake Pillow Cases
While I was working on my box which you saw in the last post, I thought I bet I have enough of that fabric left to make her a box too.  I did.  It was a lot of fun being able to give her a box like mine with her fabric choice. Here is a picture of her box.

Assa's Completed Box

Inside Assa's Box

I was able to finish a lamp shade for her too.

Box Finished

I participated in a Box Finishing class that was hosted by Meari of Meari's Musing.  It is a really fun blog where Meari shares her life and love of Cross Stitching with her readers.  She has a regular Marvelous Monday Update and there is always something going on.  On one of her recent posts she won a DMC contest and she shows what was sent to her as a prize. 

The class was a lot of fun and I am sure box tops will become one of my favorite finishes.  There's a lot to be said about a finish that doesn't require sewing! (Said from a tentative-at- best sewer).

We needed a box and a finished piece.  Most of my classmates used a cross stitch piece as Meari is a moderator from the Yahoo group, I Love Cross Stitch. It is a fairly large busy group where everyone can share their love of Cross Stitch and develop online friendships.

We had a little warning before the class began and even though I didn't have a finished piece, I did have a cross stitch that I have been wanting to do.  I also thought that a box top would be a very good finish. The design is titled Dogwood Fan. It was designed by Ursula Michael and the pattern was published in Stitcher's World March 2000 magazine. The design size is 5.78 x 5.78 inches.

Photo of Dogwood Fan in March 2000 Stitcher's World Magazine

My box was purchased from Joanne's. It is 7.25 x 7.25 inches and the bottom depth is 2 inches. The top is inset by .25 inch.

So I got busy stitching.  I made it just in time for the deadline of when a photo of the finished piece needed to be posted.  Here it is, still in the hoop.

Meari provided clear and easy directions to stain or paint the box.  I chose to paint mine white. I am going for a blue and white palette in my bedroom.  I also found some fabric to use in lining the box. It was easy to do just by following the instructions.  Here is a picture of my inside box with the lining and the trim done.

And here is a picture of the finished box.

I love the box.  It is placed on my night stand and it holds my diabetic supplies.  When the class was finished Meari had a little contest to see which three boxes would get the most votes for most liked box.  I had some pretty stiff competition but I placed in the top 3 and won!  I was as proud as a peacock.
Flat Fold Finish 2009

Previously, I had participated in 2 of her other classes.  The first was for a Flat Fold Finish.  

Mail Art Back 2010

Mail Art Front 2010

The second was a Mail Art Finish.

Both of these classes are available as tutorials on Meari's Musing.  I'm pretty sure the box finishing tutorial will make it's way there too.

Theresa E

April CQ Block 2012

I am going to get my blog posts caught up!  I will!  I will! I will!  With that being said, here is a picture of my April 2012 CQJP.

April 2012 CQJP
 The white flowers at the bottom right were crocheted with #3 cotton.  The birdcage motif was really fun to embroider.  I found the image on Pinterest which is a very addictive site.  If you would like to see some of the images I have acquired, you will find a link in the right side bar. 

This block also looks a little bare.  It will benefit by adding some of the crocheted butterflies.  The butterflies are not ready to show yet, but I can tease you by saying that they are crocheted with variegated size 20 thread.

Looking at the block, I think that I need to make my stitches bigger.  Especially since I am using DMC 5 thread.

Also, I see some patterns that are emerging.  I seem to want white in the blue outside corners.  This project is to make 2 pillow shams using 6 blocks each.  There is a least one piece of white lace in each block and I have one embroidered motif in each block.  I have them hanging on my project wall and they do seem to belong together.  I am looking forward to see how they finish up.

Theresa E

Sunday, July 8, 2012

March 2012 CQ

I know. I am getting to this post a little late and it has been a while since I published a new post.  Sometimes, I just don't know where time goes.

Here is a picture of my March 2012 CQ project block.

March 2012 CQ Project
 It looks a little bare in the picture above, but I am crocheting some small butterflies to add to all of the blocks.  I mean to use the butterflies as a unifying concept.  You'll see what I mean later.

For me the best part of this block is the basket of flowers.  You should have seem me on breaks at work cutting out all those little white flowers from a salvaged piece of lace.  I do think they work rather well with the organza spider web roses.

The fan in the upper right hand corner was crocheted from size 20 crochet thread.  Size 10 is more common but I wanted a daintier feel and also I didn't want the finished fan to be too large.  It is really funny that the older I get, the worse my vision, the smaller the thread I want to use. The fan is decorated with bullion roses.  Mary Corbett of Needle n Thread has a nice video tutorial for the bullion rose. The seam treatment is done by whipping two rows of chain stitch which was featured in her series Stitch Play.

What isn't working so well is the V-stich hearts and what is supposed to be the overcast stitch on the lace. The hearts do not make a statement and the overcast stitch looks like a poor example of crochet. The white valley and peaks created with french knots and the pink straight stitch are bold enough in the right hand corner but would have looked better if more care had been taken with getting the original line better defined.

I still struggle with marking my fabric.  I have been using a variety of techniques such as tissue paper, waste canvas, marking pen and patterns. Different needs work better with different methods.  I should also mention that I have created a prick and pounce kit  but I haven't yet made any patterns to use with it.  One thing that concerns me is that the pattern needs to have enough space around it that loose powders are prevented from spilling onto the fabric.  I do have a couple of pages ready to go to the printer for printing on vellum.  I'll let you know how well it works for me.

Chikan Embroidery

In March, I participated in a SAL (Stitch Along) with other members of MAP in a LAB project. As a group we took the tutorial from Artistic Fingers for a Chikan Embroidery project.  I knew nothing about traditional Indian embroidery, other than I follow a couple of blogs which discuss their embroidery for Saris and other traditional uses.  One of my favorite is Hand Embroidery from Sandalas.

Chikan Embroidery is a combination of shadow work, pulled thread and surface embroidery.  Armed with some Batiste fabric and regular stranded embroidery floss, we went to work.  First we transferred the design onto our fabric and then we started with the shadow work part. The design was a paisley which is a traditional design of Chikan Embroidery. We learned the stitch named Double Back Stitch.  It was a lot like working Herringbone from the back.  All of the stitches we used have names from their traditional roots.  It was fun to see how they were alike and how they differed from the stitches that we already knew.

I wanted to do two of the design.  I was thinking ahead to how the pieces would be finished and thought I would like to make a pair of pillows for my daughters room.

Pink Paisley 04/2012
Blue Paisley 04/2012

Once they were embroidered, the pieces kind of sat in my sewing basket.  I'm not really a sewer, but I am trying to learn.  One weekend, I framed them with some matching material, however, I miscalculated the size and they would not work for the pillows I had in mind so I ripped out the sewing and they went back in the sewing basket.  This last weekend, I finally pulled them back out determined to have them finished.

I did struggle.  I didn't have the original embroideries cut, squared and uniform.  I also was not working from a pattern.  The blue pieced together fairly well but the pink fabric was not opaque enough.  I ended up doubling the pink panels.  I was covering a printed set of pillows which I didn't want to show through.

When I sewed the extending panels on, the seams were puckered a little.  I didn't want to pick them out for a second time because I was worried that picking out sewn fabric multiple times would sabotage the embroidery.  I opted for a way of covering the seams. Each project teaches me a little more.  On this project, I learned alot about thread tension on the sewing machine.  I was able to fix the tension problem towards the end by turning the bobbin case thread tension a 1/4 turn.

Finished Paisley Pillows 04/2012
 The finished pillow slips are also just a little snug on the pillows, but they work and my daughter loves them. The backs of the pillows are the same fabric as the ruffled border on the front.  Here you see them being modelled on my own bed.  The blue one matched rather nicely. 

Oh BTW - do you see the lovely blue chenille bedspread.  This was a recent find at a thrift store.  I walked out of the store having spent $8.  My bed is a full size and the bedspread turned out to be a king size.  I can testify to how quickly you can get something done if you want to because I had that bedspread washed, cut down to a generous size and hand hemmed by 9 am the next morning.  This weekend, I was able to sew two matching pillow shams from the excess fabric.  I am really enjoying the bed spread.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

CQJP 2012 February Block

I have finished my February block for the CQJP 2012. It is as much of a surprise to me as it is to you. With each decision I make some new thing emerges. I'm not experienced enough with CQ to have an idea before hand of what the block is going to be. There may come a time when I plan (map, diagram) the block beforehand but for now,it is really fun, exciting and a little magical.

February CQJP 2012 Block
 Part of the magic, for me, is that it all depends on what is in your stash and what jumps to the hand to be used. Accumulating stash is one of my favorite activities.  Money is not plentiful enough for me to buy for each project as it occurs. I am not usually able to make large investments in stash. Rather, I take advantage of thrift stores, garage sales, and repurposing.

I talked about how the fabric for each of these blocks is from table linens collected. The lace is all found treasure. The large blue flowers are from a lei that was 29 cents. Even the yo-yos were bought at a thift store. There was a small bag of them for $1.99. The small butterfly was crocheted from a blue and white varigated 30 weight ball of thread from the thrift store. I also have a pink and white, yellow and white, and green and white that I have a feeling you will be seeing more of. I will probably add another 2 or three butterflies to this block as I get them crocheted.  The heart pattern was found on the internet for free.

I will concede that the threads were bought new, but they were not bought for this project.  There was a sale and I stocked up on stash. I have limited supplies that are hard from this project, but the buttons on my ort bags were collected from the thrift store and so was the sewing thread.  Last time I went to Joann's I bought a spool of all purpose white sewing thread for $2.49.  How I appreciate the gallon zip log bag of Gutermann thread for $5.00 that I found last year. Even the decorator fabric used on my turtle was from the thrift store.Well I am posting this at the end of the first full day of Daylight Savings time. I better close up shop and go to bed.  It a work day tomorrow.

Turtle the Pin Cushion

Those that follow me know that I belong to a group named Stitchmap. Our February challenge was to make a Turtle Pin Cushion.  The tutorial was provided by Kathy Shaw of  It was an adorable project and I had a lot of fun making it.

Turtle the Pin Cushion
I have been sewing quite a bit lately.  I did this Turtle, my Purple Travelling Bag with it's sewing accessories, some Ort Bags, Business Card Holders, pieced my 12 blocks for the CQJP2012 project

Somewhere in all of this, I have been making friends with my Sewing Machine. I have a simple Brother model.  I am not skilled enough to warrant any bells and whistles.

These days, I barely have to think to wind a bobbin or replace the bobbin.  I can change thread and rethread the needle easily.  I am getting the hang of curved seams. I can eyeball when it is the correct time to rotate the fabric for a direction change. I am confident when I change a straight stitch to a zig zag stitch and back again. 

The turtle presented a challenge in getting the seams correct on the small curving seams of the appendages.  Someone even told me that know one would know if I sewed those seams by hand.  I persevered but next time I might just give that a go.

The ort bags gave me a little trouble on the points of the triangle.  I needed to be able to push the fabric through the feeders at the place where there was not much fabric for the feeders to grab.  I know there is a tool for this.  I used my scissors because they were at hand.

There are two other issues.  First, I have not yet changed the needle.  I keep thinking that I should, but so far, there hasn't been any problems with the needle that is in it.  Second, I should have changed the presser foot for the top stitching on the ort bags but I wasn't sure which foot it was.  But the point is - I am using my machine and I am learning how to use it.

My New Ort Bags

I have been using my new Purple Travelling Bag of sewing accessories to take a project with me when I leave the house. I always have something that I can do with those random moments when I am waiting or between tasks. I was able to find a tool set to add to my kit that seemed to be just the right thing. The Donna Dewberry 12 in 1 tool even came in purple. It seemed that it was "meant" to be (or at least I could justify the purchase).

But taking this kit with me to work and waiting rooms, I knew I was still missing a vital component. What could I be missing, you ask? The answer is an ort bag. What is an ort, you ask?  Meriam-Webster defines ort as a noun that came into being around 1500 A.D. that means "scrap" but I personally like the definition that can be found at Needle

Everywhere I go I am looking for a place to put the little left over pieces of thread. I haven't been keeping them but rather just throwing them in the trash. I have changed my mind, however, because in addition to the tidiness issue there have been several times when I needed a piece of thread for just a stitch or two. I've also heard suggestions that the thread pieces can be used to create new fabric, fill a clear ornament and be used in tassels.

What to do with these thread pieces is not a new problem.  Needleworkers have always faced this dilemna and there have been some creative solutions proposed. Mary Corbet at Needle'nThread has a cute blog entry about those pesky pieces that I enjoyed reading. I was able to find a popular style of ort bag from The Scarlet Thread, and Merriment Design. I also found some for sale at and and at Nordic Needle available for around $20. 

Triangular Thread Catcher or Ort Bag
But it was the Triangular Thread Catcher at Needling Things that I knew I had to make.  I saw a picture of this on the Internet and it was my friends at StitchMap that located the tutorial.  I made two of them this afternoon.  The instructions were clear and easy to follow.  I think that this may have been one of the easier sewing projects I have done. It was also very appealing in that I could make one to match my new Purple Travelling Bag.

I have to laugh.  I am remembering a discussion on a newsgroup a few years ago where the name for these left over pieces of thread was a topic for debate.  We had our "Ort" camp but there were also some "Snippet" followers.  Humorously we agreed, that at least for a little while and among ourselves, they would be known as Snorts!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Purple Traveling Bag

Purple Travel Bag
My daughter says she is worried about me.  She doesn't understand the appeal of having matched sewing accessories. She has no idea just how proud I am proud to display my matching sewing accessories in my purple travelling bag.

In fact, before I started updating my blog, I made sure that my current project is in that bag.  I am taking it to work tomorrow to finish once last seam during lunch.  I can hardly wait for my co-workers, who will stop and want to know what everything is, to see my recently finished bag.

Scissor's Keep
I decided to branch out in my choice of color for this project.  I used purple.  When I went to Joann's last week, I found a matching purple thimble.  I also found matching purple embroidery hoops. I even have purple straight pins. I had to settle for a blue seam ripper but I have my eye out for a purple one!

Pin Rollup and Needlebook
The project called for some embroidery.  I found the motifs on Hoop Love.  We are so privileged to live in a time when we can utilize resources on the web.  I used the tissue transfer method.  See this blog post from Mary Corbet on Design Transfer.  It was a good opportunity to try out my light box.  It worked very well.

This was another project that was sponsored by StitchMAP (Stitch Mentor Apprentice Program). I have learned so much from them.  I know that they all appreciate how much fun it will be to show off my new tools at work.  My daughter just asked if I was going to "inflict" my crafting on my co-workers while she is rolling her eyes!
Travel Bag

Sunday, February 5, 2012

CQ2012 January's Block

I am so excited.  I feel like a kid who has just learned to ride a bicycle with no hands!  Can you hear me saying, "look at me"?  What is all the fuss about?  I finished my first block for the CQJP2012 project.  A thank you to StitchMAP for the CQ class that made it possible for me to think I could actually do Crazy Quilting.
CQJP2012 January

Fan Close Up
 I really had fun with this project.  It started out slow.  I found the fan picture on Hoop Love Vintage Transfers. I used tissue paper to transfer the design.  It worked very well.  I used DMC regular 6 strand cotton embroidery floss.  What was so fun is that I experimented a little with Long and Short Stitch on the flowers.  Mary Corbet has a tutorial for the stitch which I had participated in last year.  Also, I have to admit, that I have purchased Trish Burr's book, "Needle Painting Embroidery"  It was such an excellent book that I had to also order  Colour Confidence in Embroidery.  I am still going through these books. I have no doubt they will be important resources for me.
Silk Ribbon Flowers Close Up

After the fan, I used Buttonhole Stitch to applique the lace rose. Because the 12 blocks in the project are destined to become a pair of pillow shams, I have imposed some limits.  I don't want a lot of beads or buttons because the piece will need to be washable.  Also, I'm pretty sure they would not be comfortable.  I originally thought the same about silk ribbon embroidery, but this corner kept calling out to me.  It wanted some silk ribbon flowers and I was hoping to duplicate the flowers in my center piece fabric.  My picture is a little blurry, but how do you think I did?  It is only my second time using ribbon.  These ribbons are actually organza ribbons that I purchased on e-Bay.  That's where I also purchased a laying tool made of bone.  It really does help to keep your ribbon unbunched and full.

The seam treatments were fun. The Buttonhole Wheels were transferred from a pattern by Kathy Shaw.  You can find more information about her book Embellishing Crazy Quilts which contains these templates on her blog, Shawkl. I used waste canvas on the Herringbone Stitch and the Fly Stitch seams.  Kerry Katie Cakes has a nice tutorial on using waste canvas on your crazy quilt block.  She uses it to apply an image.  I used it to build even seams. I first saw the idea on the blog, Kitty and Me Designs.  Pam Kellogg, blog owner, has put together two e-books on seam treatments that are on my wish list. I follow her on Pinterest because I love her work! 

Here is one last look at the block.

Another look at CQJP 2012 January

Monday, January 16, 2012

TAST Week 2 Buttonhole

Just a quick post to show my sampler for Week 2 of TAST 2012 - Buttonhole stitch.

TAST 2012 Week 2 Buttonhole

Here are some buttonhole flowers that I did earlier on my sampler.

Button Hole Flowers on Sampler
Pin Tangle also has a posting of the Week 2 Highlights.

Interesting Links:

Needle N Thread Button Hole Video Turtorial
Sharon b's Dictionary of Stitches for Hand Embroidery and Needlework  - Buttonhole
YouTube - Buttonhole

Sunday, January 8, 2012

TAST 2012 has begun!

TAST 2012 is a great opportunity for me.  I first found Pin Tangle a couple of years ago.  I admired the author's contemporary sampler enough to start one of my own.  I thought then and still think that it is a genius method for learning and recording embroidery stitches.  I couldn't help but also associate the traditional meaning of a stitch sampler to the project.  So with visions of the Lady of Shalott in mind,  I started one of my own. While I have worked on it to try out new stitches, it has not been a priority.  With TAST 2012 beginning and my new enthusiasm for Crazy Quilting,  I have revived my interest.

The first week of TAST 2012 began with the Fly stitch.  The format of my sampler had already been decided.  What I thought about at the beginning of this new project was what my goals really were.  I decided on these 4 main goals that are:

1. Learn new stitches
2. Be exposed to and think about creative ways of using these new stitches.
3. Design CQ seam treatments
4. Learn how to copy, transfer and mark my designs on the fabric.

It is interesting that I would be starting on a striped cotton which was not AIDA cloth.  My striped cotton would not have the grid quality that is so useful although the stripes would be helpful. This means that I would have to mark the fabric to try to get somewhat even stitches and to translate the idea onto the fabric.  This is something that I will need to get much better at. 

Here is my version of the Fly Stitch.

TAST 2012 Week 1 Fly Stitch
These are very basic fly stitches.  Within the group of participates, there were many creative uses. 
Sharon of Pin Tangle and host of TAST 2012 put togther some week 1 highlights.

Here are some other useful links:

Fly stitch from Sharon B's Dictionary of Stitches
Fly stitch Video Tutorial: Vertical Fly Stitch from NeedlenThread
Fly stitch Video Tuttorial: Horizontal Fly Stitch fron NeedlenThread
Bing Search - Images of Fly Stitch

It's a new year. CQ2012 I am ready!

It's a new year.  It is full of promise. Most people start the new year with resolutions and many check off their 2011 lists and compile their 2012 lists while they update their contacts and calendars.  I have added another task.  New Year's weekend, while my husband watched football and my daughter tried to master another round of electronic games, I was busy at my sewing machine. 

Twelve blocks ready for CQ2012.   My blocks are 8 inches by 9 inches.  The fabrics are all from table linens found at second-hand stores. They are grouped in two sets of 6.  The plan is to have a new set of pillow shams to end the year.  Would you like to see them? Honestly, I can't wait to show them!

Pillow Sham-to-be 1

Pillow Sham-to-be 2

They were a challenge.  These are my first cq blocks that have been pieced outside of a class experience.  They are also my first blocks that are part of a bigger piece.  I am so grateful for Allie Allison's suggestion of a design wall.  She may not have originated the idea, but her blog is where I was introduced to the idea. 

Once I could look at the pieces of a part of a whole, things started getting complicated. For example, I had 5 of the 12 blocks pieced when I decided that the four corners had to have a bit of blue.  Then I decided that the piece of blue should be a curved piece. ( I had forgotten about curved pieces).  Of course, I didn't want to discard any blocks that I had already made so I settled for 2 curved and 2 triangular blue pieces in the corner.  I also used three patterned pieces for the centers.  I decided that I had to have 2 blocks of each center color in each of the two pieces.  Then I decided that the two pieces had to make a column.  Try that half way through and then have your 4 corner blocks with defined parameters.

Then I found that I didn't have enough of my first choice main blue and my medium blue to use consistently throughout the blocks.  I had to scramble for other pieces that would work.  I don't think it will be noticeable.  I also found that the sew and flip method gave me less control of the color sections within the block than I would have liked.  I am interested in exploring patterned piecing in the future.

The lace also was a challenge.  Before I could see the individual pieces within the whole of the block I didn't really know where I wanted my laces.  Then once the who block came together, I could see that a bit of lace would be good in this place or that place. I started ripping into seams to tuck in lace and then closing them back up. The only problem was that I had a self-imposed deadline.  I needed all of the blocks to be complete before the end of my three-day weekend.  Consequently, I stopped stitching on the lace for now.  I can add it in later as I do each block.

All in all, I love them!  I can hardly wait to begin working on them.  I have picked January's block.  Here is a close up.

January's Block
Some of the fun is that I am not experienced enough to know how each decision will affect the whole and with each decision a surprise surfaces. I am enthusiastic about the project.  I'll let you know how it all develops.  Don't forget to visit the CQ2012 Blog to see what other's are working on.

2011 is History

2011 is history.  It was a very busy year for me.  I told someone once that it seems like the older I get the faster time goes.  His response was memorable.  He said that it is not that time goes faster it is the older we get the more there is to do.  I have reflected on that quite often.  Especially in my crafting, there is so much that I want to do and that I want to do well. 

A fad that has been sweeping many of my online associates has to do with picking a word for 2012.  I gave it a lot of thought and followed others take on this idea closely.  I did find my word.  Participate.  I believe it boils down to the old adage, that you get what you put into it.  With this in mind, I anticipate that 2012 is full of possibilities and hope.

I think the idea may have started with my association with StitchMap. The group has encouraged me to become involved with the online community of crafters.  It has become a huge part of my life.  I follow many blogs for inspiration, participate in challenges and courses with others,and in turn mentor and aid others.  I am part of a wonderfully creative and giving group of people.  My days have been enhanced and I am so thankful.

Of course, consequently, I come accross many finds. I often use this blog to keep my finds accessible.  Peruse my pages and you will see reference articles, blogs, patterns and other inspirational finds.  Towards the end of the year, I also found Pinterest.  What a delightful tool for organizing and accessing images.


Our charity event with others from my working community was very successful.  We made hats, scarfs and mittens.  We donated so many that every person who wanted a hat from the resources of the homeless shelter was able to obtain one.  I was able to connect with so many more people and saw firsthand many acts of generosity. 

I was even able to get some personal Christmas crafting done.  This year, I focussed on clothespin dolls.  They were dressed in crochet angels outfits.  Here is a picture:

Clothes Pin Angels 2011
The picture shows thirteen dolls but I actually got to 19.  My goal was 24 but I ran out of time.  Time permitting in another season, I will be able to complete the goal.

One day I was looking at my usual blogs and found a link to a blog about clothes pin dolls. Dolly Peg Doll is whimsical and I really enjoyed perusing the blog.  When I stumbled upon it, it seemed that there was meaning and purpose behind it.  It was a very mystical moment.  I realized that it was just another example of connecting to the larger group, the awe-inspiring online community of crafters.