Friday, June 3, 2011

Favourite Things Friday: Needlework

She watched and taught the girls that sang at their embroidery frames while the great silk flowers grew from their needles. –Louise Jordan Miln, The Feast of Lanterns

There is something about taking a needle and thread to fabric that I love. Hand-stitching a binding? You bet! It is one of my favorite parts of the quilting process. Appliqué? Yes, please. Needle-turn or raw-edge; either one will do. Embroidery? I've got an awesome collection of embroidery floss at the ready. Although hand work takes longer than sewing by machine, there is a calming rhythm to it and a huge amount of satisfaction in completing a piece where it was just you and the raw materials.

We all know that I am the queen of works-in-progress. My list of projects started is HUGE! Sew, naturally I have more than one hand project in the works at the moment. I keep each project in a ziplock bag with floss or thread, a needle, and instructions {where applicable}. When I'm in the mood to do a little stitching, I already have something at the ready. I especially love that if I'm going somewhere where I know there will be a bit of sitting and waiting, I can grab a project and a pair of small scissors and have something to keep me occupied.

This is what I'm working on right now; the label for the back of my Snowball Quilt. Somewhere along the way, I decided that embroidered tags were the way to go, even though they are pretty time consuming. I use a word processing program with cute fonts to design the labels. After I have the sizing and fonts and layout just right, I print the 'pattern' out on paper and use a light box to trace it onto my fabric in pencil.

Most of my spare hand stitching time has been taken up with quilt labels, lately. I traced this block out for my Woman's Work quilt in December. The quilt is comprised of needle-turn appliqué and embroidered blocks and I have loved working on it. I had to put it on hold in December for Christmas projects and since then I have only managed to squeeze in a tiny bit of time on it. Still, I'm that much farther ahead when I get back to it {which will be right after I finish my Ph.D. Challenge quilts}.

High on my list of 'what to work on next' is my Boo to You appliqué quilt. This cute little witch is currently in production. I hope to finish the quilt and Zelda's Fancy Hat in time to display for Halloween this year.

This is a previously undisclosed Ph.D. I'm making an Escaping Bug Jar quilt with my mom. Our jar pieces are cut and ready to go and we've nearly finished all the paper piecing blocks. This spider needs his legs satin-stitched on. I added a bit of blending filament to the floss to give it a little shimmer

This panel of trees for my Twilight Quilt is a project long in the making. I started this two years ago. There are actually four panels and each panel has 13 trees. I wanted to secure the trees down with more than just Heat 'n Bond, but I also wanted it to be subtle, so I'm doing a whip-stitch along the raw edges. Each tree takes between 45 minutes and an hour. I'm about a third of the way done with the this little project.

Sew much hand work. Sew little time. I think I'm going to spend my summer doing lots and lots of appliqué and embroidery!

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Paulette said...

You do such nice embroidery work! Love the Rainbow Sherbet label. If I weren't such a lazy butt, I might try it myself. What a cool idea to add a little shimmer to the satin stitched spider's legs!

Kirsten's Cooking said...

I love that this is something you can do with your mom! Does your daughter like to sew?

The only thing I can really do in the sewing realm is to un-stitch. I used to try to make baby quilts and my favorite part was to unstitch in front of the tv - so mindlessly relaxing.

Your talent is much more useful!

Shay said...

I've just discovered the joys of hand stitching with my embroidery project. And I will confess binding quilts by hand doesnt horrify me any more like it used to because it just looks so much better.

I love your quilt labels.They look so beautiful! The complexity of those trees probably isnt for me but they look pretty schmick too!

I agree with you Elizabeth . Hand sewing is relaxing and this is a great FTF!

Larri said...

If my embroidery were as pretty as yours, I'd want to do it all the time. It's gorgeous! I can see why it's a favourite. Thanks for sharing.Happy FTF! :o)

thea said...

Your embroidery is gorgeous! What a great idea to have projects ready to go.

Michelle Ridgway said...

Oh! A girl after my own heart. I know exactly what you're saying. I love hand stitching and I love the peaceful feeling of just quietly stitching....I love knowing there is someone else out there like me. Great FTF.

Annelise said...

ive been in love with that rainbow sherbet quilt from the start, and you just topped it off with a beautiful cherry making that label. love it!

Jennifer Lovell said...

Everything you stitch and sew is beautiful just like your cards of old and other such projects...the world of paper crafting misses you.

Sarcastic Quilter said...

I love embroidery but haven't been doing it. Last week I had been pondering embroidered labels and I think you just convinced me. Good luck finishing those PhD's! I'm working on mine still, also.