Embroidery Sew-a-Long

Some friends and I have started up a sew-a-long loosely following Sue Spargo’s embroidery book entitled Creative Stitching. We’ve met once to get started and lay the groundwork. It’ll be a rather unstructured endeavor. We will each have our own project to stitch on; none of which is similar to the others. Most will involve applique; some in sampler form and some not. We’re going to start at the beginning and work through all the stitches and see where it takes us. The first stitch is the family of running stitches.

Mine is going to be another trip wall hanging. This one commemorates a snorkeling trip at the Cayman Islands. So far all I’ve got is the water and bottom of the sea. This is a cropped shot to show the stitches closer up.

sea floorLisa has drawn some animals from a Dover book of African images that she will applique in over dyed wool.

cattleKaty’s is an abstract of circles and line. She has included a whipped running stitch, too.

circlesThere was another stitcher who didn’t want her work photographed and a couple of others who want to join in but weren’t able to come the first day. As we progress along, I’ll post more photos.

If any of my readers have the book and want to join us, please comment and post a link to pictures of your work.

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Embroidered Animals

I haven’t been writing much lately; however, I’ve still been stitching, even if only for a bit at a time. So now I have pictures of three animals, four really since there are two penguins, to share. These are destined to be used as appliques on my Australia embroidery. They are all sketched from photos taken on our travels in Australia this past summer. First is the kangaroo.

kangarooI’m not too sure that I like this one.

Next are the penguins.

penguinsI’m happier with these.

And then there’s the emu. He’s my favorite.

emuAfter finishing the penguins, I realized that turned applique around the legs will be tight, so I made the emu’s legs separately.

I haven’t started the actual stitching for the wall hanging, as I was waiting to see what I thought after the animals were done. I’m glad I did hold off because my original plans for the background fabric did not look good with them. I’ve pulled and stacked some alternative fabrics and am thinking about my options. In the meantime, I’ll work on another something that I’ve been thinking about. I do like to have more than one project in progress.

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Every summer I teach sewing lessons to children. I call it Creative Sewing Camp. At the first camp back in 2001, the students each made a rag doll from my pattern. Over the next years they made fairies, mermaids, hobbits, dragons, and even designed their own dolls. In 2006, I added a fashion sewing class which later evolved into a chose your own project class. I’ve missed the dolls.

This year I am going back to how it all began and will have a class devoted to stuffed animals and monsters. Two of the classes will be the usual clothing class, but one week will be Create-a-Critter. I’ve had so much fun working out the patterns and stitching them up. I can’t wait to see how the kids like them! I’m hoping the monsters will entice some boys into taking the class this year. I haven’t had a male student since the very first year. Sewing is such a great skill to have for everyone, not just the females.

What do you think?

critter 1critter 2critter 3critter 4If I had put some teeth on the frog, he’d be a vampire frog! I think the monsters are my favorites. I especially love the bug-eyed one.

Students will make at least one in each of the first three groups. The frog is for fast students with some experience. It has a zipper and bottom gusset, but is not too hard. The critters range in size from 6-9 inches tall. Which will you chose?

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Sewing for Tiny Tots

Is there anything cuter than little, bitty baby shoes? All baby clothes are so adorable. Why is that? Does the size alone make the cuteness factor multiply? Does looking at miniature clothing trigger something in my “mom” brain? I don’t know why, but I sure do think these booties are cute. I made them for a coworker of mine. Tomorrow is her baby shower and I have got them finished just in time. I love the contrasting linings.

baby shoes 003The pattern came from New Conceptions Patterns found here. I made two in the 0-3 month size and 1 in the 3-6 month. I don’t have an actual baby to try them out on and they look a little wide to me, so I do hope they will fit the new arrival.

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The Good and the Bad with Knits

Just when I think I’m back in sewing mode, I hit a bump. I’ve finished up two new knit tops. The first one is a winner; the second, not so much. Isn’t that the way it sometimes works out? Many of the sewers I know no longer make clothing because so often projects come up short. Even with a pattern you’ve used before, a different fabric may end up drastically and disastrously different. This first top was super quick to make and really nice to wear. It is flattering and comfortable. I love it.

DSCN0362I like the weighty feel of this knit. It came from Joann’s and was easy to sew. The pattern is my new favorite, the dolman sleeve that I’ve used twice before.

DSCN0351This top is so saggy and sad looking. I didn’t realize how soft and stretchy the fabric was. It has a lot of drape, hence my use of the gathering at the side. That couldn’t counter the total weight of the fabric and as a result, it looks too stretched out. And this is a pattern I had found to be a little tight!

Despite my 50% success rate, I’m glad I made both of these. Cold weather is on its way out for Louisiana and my chances to wear either are numbered for this season. It will have to be spring and summer wear next time, but I may wait awhile before I attempt more clothing.

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Valentine for a Friend

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. It’s not a holiday that I usually celebrate in a big way. This year, however, I was inspired by a photo of twin granddaughters for my friend Diane. They were only a few weeks old and wearing cute, bright red snuggle suits. The way they had begun to lean over while propped in a chair suggested a heart shape to me and I couldn’t help thinking what a wonderful Valentine they would make. Time for me to break out my paper supplies and make a paper doll!

diane's valentineIt would have worked out so much nicer had my printer not been acting up. Every try had streaks on them.

snow day 2014 024Lola on the left and Lucy on the right. They are precious little girls.

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Old News

I am way overdue for some creative stitching. December was spent making a few Christmas gifts. January, in contrast, has been time off or more accurately, time out. I have been having trouble getting started back into any of my stitching projects. Martha got the flu in the middle of moving from one apartment to another. Burton and I were helping her with the move, so we brought her home for a few days to recuperate. Then Burton ended up with the flu. Somehow I managed to stay well while nursing both of them. But I’ve just felt so worn out, unable to step foot into my studio, or even keep up with my blog. This morning I decided it was time to get busy again.

Time for some pictures that I haven’t shared yet of Christmas gifts from the past holiday season. I made a few potholders for friends.

owl potholdersThese cute little owls are machine appliqued on the front with satin stitches.

And these monster pincushions are for two of my children, Matt and Martha.

monster pincushionsMatt has recently bought his own sewing machine and is doing more than altering his clothing. Back in September he wrote a guest post for me here. Martha already has a pincushion from me, but I figured she could use another since she sews so much. They were both well received. For Alison, my other daughter, I quilted a lap quilt that she had chosen from my mom’s stack of quilt tops. If only I had remembered to take a picture of it before she left after Christmas! So no picture there; sorry.

I do have more stitching in the works and should have more to share soon.

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