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.