December 18, 2015

Dec 18, 2015

Sewing has stopped for the time being so work can continue on the sewing room. The mini kitchenette area is being worked on by my husband with “help” from me. The sewing machine is covered by it’s carrying case and a sheet totally wrapped around it to protect from the little bit of sawdust that is being generated. Most of the work is being done outside so I get to be the “runner” between the saw outside, the storage shed at the far end of the property and the room. Knee surgery still is taking it’s toll on Craig’s abilities to move quickly or up and down stairs without some pain. Good news is that even if I can’t sew I am using my time to learn more about the capabilities of EQ7 on the computer. Angie Padilla’s book on AppliqueDrawing from EQ7 is taking me step by step through the drawing. I don’t generally like to take the time to learn those things that are not directly related to what I want to do. I like to start at the back or middle of a book and work through it as it interests me but now is the time to take time. I am finding it is generating ideas and I have almost learned enough to draw out an applique Christmas tree skirt that I designed the old fashioned paper and pencil way last summer. As soon as I get the figures drawn it will be a good design for sharing on this website….for next year’s tree.

kitchenette

Pillows

Using my long ago learned directions for making a lap back pillow (4-H) I made five for my Texas sewing room sofa.  No ordinary pillows for the sewing room though.  I did bobbin stitching on one-it’s been about 25 years since I did that and here it is coming back in popularity. Another I sewed improv tucks on and then cut to the pillow form size.  It’s always good to renew machine embroidery knowledge and CREATE an otherwise plain background. Playing with stripes is also a good exercise in figuring measurements and proportion to create an interesting look.

If you haven’t tried bobbin work it is done by winding a thicker decorative thread by hand in your bobbin and then making tension and stitch length adjustments.  I used size 8 decorative yarn, set my tension from a normal 4.4 down to 3.0 and stitch length from a normal of 2.5 to 4.0.  Then sew on the wrong side of the fabric so the decorative stitch is on the right side.  My settings gave me a textural stitch that I liked on the linen fabric.

The improv tucks were made just as if making tucks only I paid no attention to grain or even width for tuck.  Cutting extra width is again necessary so the finished work can be trimmed to correct size after stitching.

What fun on a rainy day.

pillows

Dec 11, 2015

Dec 11, 2015

The last of the monthly wall hangings to brighten my mother’s care center room has been received. A year of projects that brightened her room seemed easy as an idea in December of 2014 but did take some time to figure out a monthly block that would trigger memories of family life over the years. It was fun for me to think about and create, to determine the fabric and colors that would please and brighten and to reflect on family memories as well. February’s “You Are My Sunshine” and May’s “Graduation Basket” were the most liked by mom and were also fun for me to create. She seemed to like those designs that had lots of interesting detail to be discovered in the fabric and/or design so that will be the focus for 2016. Most important for the 2015 project was the opportunity to reflect on the past and to share memories with those who came to visit—friends, relatives and staff.

Now, what to do for next year because the expectation is that the monthly creations will continue in some way. I will be away from the sewing machine in 2016 due to extensive travel plans so have decided to make one wall hanging with twelve blank 6 inch blocks that will be filled with embroidered design blocks. The wall hanging will be mailed in January with the first block. The blocks will all be made before we leave our winter home so they can be mailed each month, regardless of where we may be. That statement will be one of my sewing resolutions for 2016. Need to review 2015 resolutions, oh my!

Dec 10, 2015

Dec 10, 2015

We went into town this morning to get haircuts and groceries, mundane errands, huh? But we drove by a garage sale just getting started so made a side stop. I still need to find some items to re-purpose into sewing room storage doubling as furniture. A great item presented itself in the form of a horizontal locker. It could be painted in the coastal color scheme and needed just a little work to firm it up for stability, had six drawers, perfect. No price, no one to ask so we browsed for a while until figuring out who was having the sale. Price was quoted, negotiation tried to no avail so browsing continued. Another find, my favorite, rayon damask table cloth and eight napkins, probably never used or little used as there was no wear, no stain but in a pile of “stuff”. Perfect for dyeing and repurposing. There was no price so search for owner(s), price quoted. One dollar, yes. Back to the storage unit, perhaps we can negotiate with the other owner. No, the price had even gone up, hmm. Friday offers more garage sales that boast linens and kayaks and furniture. Maybe we’ll get lucky.

Snowflakes Keep Falling

December, 2015 wall hanging is machine embroidered snowflakes. December is mom’s birthday month which often means lots of snow and cold but it also reminds me of the December when the school busload of kids was stranded at the house because of the snowstorm that came so fast and hard. Was that 1963? I can’t remember for sure. It was just before Christmas as I recall and I’m sure we didn’t have the weather reporting equipment that is very useful today so schools let out early enough to avoid being stranded. That busload of kids at our house did not include my brother, sister and I as we were stranded at another house about three miles away with another bus. Lots of snowflakes and snowbanks that winter!!

Snowflakes also remind me of the winter games we played as kids—fox and goose, snow angels, snowmen and just playing on the snow drifts, hoping they would hold us up as we climbed around and about on them. Snow was fun as kids, not so fun when, as an adult, there is work associated with it–scooping, shoveling, driving,etc.  Perhaps we should take some time to enjoy the beauty of it and recall the simplicity of it as seen through the eyes of children.

texas snowflakesHoffman fabric, Anita Goodesign embroidery pattern (Snowflakes of Rohan)