Sunday, April 22, 2018

Slow Stitching Sunday - April 22, 2018

Wow, fast week!  Work is heating up on the usual monthly schedule and there's another (minor, thankfully) project heading my way.   So crafting time will be light on the ground this week.  I'm not setting any goals for myself, because any crafting time I manage will be a hit or miss thing.

I do have progress on all my Slow Stitching projects for this week, though;  first up is knitting.  With the finishes on the Tanglewood set last weekend, I'm FINALLY back to the blue socks.  

When they got interrupted by the test knitting, the first foot was done all the way down to the start of the toes, and the second was just at the end of the gusset decreases.   Got half of the foot on that one done, and figured out that I want to do round toes on this pair.  BTW, I promised to show the yarn management system for these.   The cuffs, heels and toes are one yarn - a long color change yarn called Vinca, and it is also one of the four yarns that make helical stripes throughout the leg and foot.

As you can see, I have the yarns partitioned off; with four yarns and four needles (one quarter of the sock on each needle and knit with the fifth needle in the set), I change yarns each time I change needles.   I just set the bucket in front of me with the current working yarn closest to me and rotate the bucket a quarter turn counterclockwise with each needle/yarn change.   This keeps everything tangle free, though I have to be careful how I set down and pick up the sock so as not to let anything get out of place.  (This care is why this project can't travel.)

Needlework kicked off a new project this week.   I picked the last of the Silver Needle camp projects in celebration of getting my registration in for the one this fall!   And it's going crazy fast.   Here it is at two hours.  Now, that does include the time it took to add muslin to all four sides of the linen so that I could use my Q Snaps to hold it.   The linen was just a smidgen too small for the qsnaps, but the design is too large to fit into even my largest spring hoop.    This is 18 count over 2 with perle cotton; and all I have left is the scarecrow and the petals of the sunflower there in the center.

And last but not least, good progress on the EPP section of the sampler quilt.   I decided that I wanted three different blues, so I replaced one of the dark rosettes with one made of one of the new medium blues, and I got more of the fill in neutrals done as well.   I'll use the other dark rosette on the back somewhere - maybe on the label?  I'm going to need to baste more neutral pieces this week.

I hope you've enjoyed the update; thank you for dropping by.  Please also visit the other Slow Sunday Stitchers who linked up on Kathy's blog this week.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Finishing Friday: Needlework that isn't in a frame

Most knitting and crochet that I do just takes running in the ends and blocking.  When a quilt binding is stitched down and the label is on, it's ready to put on the bed.  But let's face it.   When you put the last stitch into a piece of needlework, it's still not 'done'.   What do you do if you have a lovely little piece of needlework that isn't quite 'frame worthy', you have an ornament exchange coming up, you are out of space on your wall, you want something for a display shelf or vignette?

I have to admit, my love of needlework vies with my "un-fussy' decorating style, and I have a 'stack' of finished but not framed needlework in the cedar chest.   I don't have all THAT much wall space in a 900 square foot Craftsman Bungalow with lots of windows and woodwork.

But I've been to two years of Silver Needle camp now (and just put my registration in for year three this week) and one thing that store does VERY well is finishing.   Mona is their finisher and finishing instructor, she's very talented.  

There are also some great tutorials on the web.   So nothing I'm writing about is new.  But I want to keep a record of "how to and tips" as I learn how to do my own finishing.   Every now and then, I'll do a write up (and/or link round up) of finishing techniques that I'm using and post it on a random Friday.  

So, what are your options to get that 'finished' needlework to 'Finishing Finished'?

You can frame it, of course.   That gets pricey, and eventually you do run out of walls.   And not every piece of needlework needs to be framed.   Here's some other ideas
  • Ornaments - not just for Christmas, think of using them on all types of seasonal garlands, wreaths, package toppers.  There are many different types of ornaments from flat finished to dimensional.
  • Cards - if you finish the edges, the recipient can remove it from the card and use as an ornament. 
  • Bookmarks
  • Needlework smalls - needlebooks, pincushions, scissor fobs, etc.
  • Covered boxes and caskets - either just the lids or all sides.  Lots of cute designs for topping Altoid tins, btw.
  • Lined boxes - wood, metal, paper
  • Cubes, boxes, open triangles and closed triangles for display - rotate them out as you change seasonal décor, much cuter than something purchased from a big box store
  • Pillows - tiny ones hung from doorknobs to big ones on the couch all use similar techniques
  • 3D objects - weight the bottom so they don't tip over
  • Trays - if you put the needlework piece under glass or Plexiglas, it becomes a functional tray that you can also stand up or hang to display.
  • Flat Fold stand up - have a stiff 'prop' on the back like a stand up picture frame.  Folds flat for storage.
  • Easel stand up - front and back the same size, hinged across the top. 
  • Duplex and Triptych standing frames - like picture frames, can include photos - either framing needlework inside of a purchased frame or hinging two or three flat ornament pieces together.
  • Repurposing - almost anything can have a piece of needlework mounted in/on it.   Pie tins are cute.  
  • Christmas stockings, bags, pouches, purses - the needlework piece becomes or embellishes a fabric container for other things.
I'll add to this list, I'm sure, as I learn more.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Needlework Rotation: TW Y2K progress and Plum Street Scarecrow Introduction.

I have a solid ten hours in on Teresa Wentzler's "Millennium".    I got the rest of the over one on face of the right hand angel done, and all the back stitching (face, hair, upper wings, hands, hourglass, robe, torch) on that side done down to the page break.   Other than the beading and blending fiber that will be added at the end, the top half of this project is completed.

Here's where I started:

And here's where I am now.   In addition to finishing up on page 2, I started to establish some of the lower robes on the right side.  

When this project comes back up in rotation, I'll do the same on the left hand side.   There are at least a dozen blended shades each in the upper robes, the under tunic and also in the lower wings, so it will be a while on those two sections.  

In general, I think I'll work from both sides in toward the middle on page 3 and 4.  There's a landscape section in between the two angels and then a bottom frame similar to the upper arch with foliage sections and a verse in over one and backstitch.   Still a very long way to go on this piece.

The next slot in the rotation is my slot for modern samplers and smalls.   I still have one project from last fall's Silver Needle camp.   So I picked that one from my list of 'possiblities'.  The designer is Plum Street Samplers; and we are again extracting a section of a larger chart to make a small décor piece.   This one will be finished as a 'open ended triangle' and will use the scarecrow, fence and corn rows from the bottom right side of the "Cinnamon Stars" chart.

Nice 'autumn' pallet on this one.  Looking forward to starting it this week.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching - April 15, 2018

So many things to report this week.  

First up - finished the knitted cowl.  Which also finishes the Tanglewood set.   Flip top mittens, slouchy hat and cowl.   All embellished with vintage buttons from my mom's button box.  I was so happy to find that I had five matching buttons in there!

The buttons on the back of the mitten wrists hold the tops back when they are in fingerless glove mode:

Needlework is at a rotation changeover:   I finished ten hours on "Millennium" designed by Teresa Wentzler.   In addition to all the backstitching that I reported on last week, I got the lower robes sketched in on Archangel Raphael.    As you can see, three hours doesn't get me very far with the confetti type stitching that this designer uses.   When I pick this back up, I'll start working on establishing a similar 'outline' on the left side.   
I get to start a NEW project for the 'modern' slot in my rotation.   Whichever one I choose, getting it set up and ready to stitch this afternoon will be fun.  My choices are:
  1. The last of the class projects from last fall's Silver Needle camp - an extract from a Plum Street Samplers chart
  2. The 2nd of the "Elements" series from Victoria Sampler - hardanger and special stitches in a band sampler format.  (I have the first one done from an online class and the other three in the stash.)
  3. An Elizabeth Designs Teaching Sampler that's been in my stash since 1999.  "Garden Delights".
  4. A Silver Needle "Gnome" with fun fibers (fluffy beard). 
The stash is deep and wide.
I want to do them all, so this might be a preview of the "modern" slot for the next several rounds! 

And finally, my handwork on the current quilt continues to be hexis for "It was the 80s".   I have about 30 of the neutrals prepped and am starting to put everything together.  I was originally going to make this section oversized and just cut it to 6.5 x 18.5 inches, but after some reflection, I think a better plan is to EPP to within a partial hexagon of the edges and applique the panel to a neutral background.  Since the quilt will be machine quilted, the extra layer won't bother anything.
So that's all my hand stitching goodness for this week; drop by Kathy's weekly link up party to see what all the other Slow Sunday Stitchers are up to. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Quilt WiP: "It was the 80s" - Block 17

This is a 12 x 12 block.   I still have a bunch of 12 inch (finished) blocks from the old quilt, so even though I really like Pat's block with it's 'birds in the air' and 'hourglass' units, I'm going to sub in this Shooting Star block.  
sub for Block 17

The remaining blocks actually have almost a half dozen 'stars' with potential to go into the top; the rest will find a place on the pieced backing.   Most of them, though, have quite a bit of the bright rose solid that I'm trying to minimize in the top.  This one uses the bright rose print and one of the 'Bonnie Hunter neutrals' that hasn't seen much use.   I'm trying to use the 'minor fabrics' at lease three places in the top so that they don't look quite as much like an afterthought.

Star blocks are a theme in this quilt, which is one of the things that drew me to the design and layout.   Since the original quilt class was a gift from my late husband and with Walt being an amateur astronomer, stars are so appropriate.  Other star blocks so far: Block 2 - night into day star*, Block 15 - precious fabric* and there are a couple more to come.

Side note:  This week's 'basement box' yielded the notebooks from the original class.   The self-published paperback "Your First Quilt...and More" by Virginia Robertson was the main book for the class.   A glimpse of it above.

The Solstice Quilt on Pat Sloan's blog with the blocks and layout.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Quilt WiP: " It was the 80s" - Block 16

Pat's next block is called "Friendship Block".   There are a ton of quilt blocks with that name, but this one actually reminds me a bit of "Card Trick", though it's much simpler to put together.   I salvaged part of another of the dark 9 patches for one of the fabrics in this block.

The 9 patches are only four and a half inches cut (four inches finished), and I needed five inches cut, so I pieced the larger unit.   But if I had just added on the half inch, that would have meant that the 'extension' seam and the 'actual' seam would be practically on top of each other.   So I moved the extension seam up to 1.75 inches from the bottom of the piece.   I chose that distance because that is the width of the side piece with one seam sewn.    Hopefully that will make the 'extension' seam less obtrusive.   Of course, with fabric this busy, your eye doesn't see the seams anyhow.   But I'm fussy that way.  LOL.   12 x 12 inch finished block; though the grid is not immediately apparent, it's actually a 16 patch.

I didn't, by the way, piece the medium blue.   I wanted to preserve as much of that print as possible.  It's an interesting large scale tone on tone 'cabbage rose'.  I wish I had enough to fussy cut a bit, but I'm already down to just about a fat quarter with another 9 blocks and a bunch of sashing to go.
Block 16

The Solstice Quilt on Pat Sloan's blog with the blocks and layout.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching - April 8, 2018

First of all, I get to celebrate a page finish on Teresa Wentzler's "Millennium"!   Here it is at 7 hours and all the back stitching is done on Archangel Raphael down to the page break.  Other than beading and blending fiber that will all be added at the very end, the top half of this project is finished. 
There will be metallic gold beaded "berries" in the foliage and crystal beaded "stars" plus blending fiber cross shaped "stars" in the heavens.   And the broaches will get a bead in each one.  Even though the broaches are stitched from metallic fiber and should, therefore, have been left until the end, I went ahead and put them in because there was backstitching around those areas.  I will leave the sword blade and its backstitching until the end, though, because that is a huge area of metallic.
Since I still have three hours left of the ten for this project, I'm going to keep working along the right hand side.   You can see the gap by the purple/blue robe trim where I cut off right at the page break.  That's the first section to work on.  
When stitching on a project with multiple colors like this, I do one color at a time, marking off a working copy the chart with a pencil as I go.  But that means that I will occasionally have sections like over on the far lower left where there's a 'confetti' scattering of stitching in a partially worked area and I won't always have a clean 'stopping' spot at the end of the ten hour rotation.  

Quilting, as I mentioned last week, is taking a detour into a small bit of handwork for my sampler quilt that is not primarily a hand stitching project.  It is machine pieced and will be long arm quilted.   Here is the first of the two hand work areas on "It was the 80s".   This will be a section 6 x 18 inches in English Paper Piecing.  The original design for this area is a simple 2x2 inch finished checkerboard.  Where's the fun in THAT?

I'm going with traditional hexagons because there was a block in the old quilt that used hexis; I was able to salvage a good bit of that area.  I took it all apart and chose a smaller template so that I could re-use the fabric pieces.  I'm using a Fiskar's hex punch to make my templates.   They are 3/4 inch along one side and about one and a half inch across (point to point).   I'm punching all the advertising junk mail that is on cardstock, which is weirdly satisfying!  So the neutral hexis that look stained just have a dark paper shadowing through.

If I've measured correctly, three across should be just right.  The rosettes are all put together, but I have just barely started basting the background hexis.   I am using a variety of all of the neutrals that are in the quilt, including the ones that I just have scraps of.   The more places I can marry up the old and new fabrics the better.   This time instead of basting through the papers like I did for "Aunt Lottie's Garden", I am tacking the backside and will leave the basting in and just pop the papers out.  I pulled out the centers on the three rosettes and they did come out, but it was a bit of a struggle.   Good thing it's a fairly small section!

Finally, on the knitting front I cast on the cowl to match the Tanglewood Hat and Mitts.  I'm just using the stitch pattern from the hat and dropping it into a cowl pattern that I've used before.

Linking up with the folks over at Kathy's for some Slow Sunday Stitching.