Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sew: A Needle Pulling Thread

“Doing your own thing” is a generous act. Being gifted creates obligations, which means you owe the world your best effort at the work you love. You too are a natural resource. –Barbara Sher

I've you're visiting from a linky party, welcome! This is sort of a hodgepodge of things I've been up to this week. Please scroll down to the hot pads, which are my finish for this week.

20 Stitches Per Inch
I usually sit with LadyBug when she does her homework. On the days when she just wants me there for moral support and doesn't need a ton of help, I work on an embroidery project of some sort. This year, she's had to do a book report each month. The genre is assigned, but she can choose her own book within that genre. Recently, she had to read a historical fiction book and we chose the first book in the American Girl series, Meet Felicity. Felicity is a bit of a tomboy and hates to sit indoors and practice her writing or sewing. Her mother scolds her about some sewing she was doing because she had to take it out. Felicity had not done 20 stitches per inch.

A few days ago at homework time as I was pulling out some embroidery floss and a needle, LadyBug asked me if I could do 20 stitches in an inch. I replied that I didn't know, but would give it a try. The bottom row is my first attempt. Not to be beaten by a needle and thread, I tried again. And again. And again. I was stuck on 15 stitches per inch for a while, until I realized that it wasn't so much stitching as it was weaving. Getting stitches that small is a matter of catching a few threads of the fabric in your needle. I finally made it to 20 stitches, but perfection it is not :lol:. As I worked to get just a few threads of the fabric in each stitch, I realized that I was only working with one layer of fabric. I couldn't imagine taking such small stitches through two layers of fabric to make a seam. Still, it was a fun experiment and made me glad that I only sew by hand for fun.

Police Chief Swan: Revisited
One of the things I worked on this week was adding a few finishing touches to a block for my Twilight quilt. The block itself has been pieced for quite a while {read about it here}, but I wasn't quite sure about what to include in the embroidered details. Eventually, I decided on a composite of the two official badges from Forks.

I marked the blocks quite a while ago, chose a pretty gold floss and started to embroider. About 4 stitches in, I realized that my thread did not stand out enough. I put it away. I got it back out this week, determined to get the embroidery done. I pulled out the stitches and tried a different color combination, which also did not work. I pulled out the stitches again and tried five more color combinations, all of the unsuccessful. 452 colors of DMC floss {all of which I have} and none of them worked :rolleyes:. While the thread colors I was choosing were bright, they were the same tone as the silver Fairy Frost and once I started stitching, they blended in.

After trying so many color combinations {one of them twice} and then picking the stitches back out, LadyBug finally asked why I didn't just go with a different color. I explained that I wanted it to be gold, but realized that if I hadn't already found the perfect color, I wasn't going to. Resigned to using a blue that would match the fabric in the word “Police”, I put it back away and moved on to winding the last few skeins of floss onto bobbins. And there it was. A deep gold thread, which I thought might work. I added two strands of gold blending filament to give it a bit of shimmer, and voilá. I think the embroidery is just the right finish to this block.

Poultry in Motion: Hot Pads
For Christmas last year, I made a table runner with roosters for a family gift exchange. It was one of those exchanges where you steal gifts from each other in an effort to go home with the best gift. There was a bit of a kerfuffle over the rooster table runner, which is the point of these kinds of gift exchanges. There were four rooster panels and I only used three in the runner, so I decided to make a hot pad for the person who did not get the runner. She has chickens and roosters in her kitchen and I thought it might be fun.

The hot pad turned out rather larger than I expected, so I made a panel to go across the back so that you could slide your hand in and use it more like an oven mitt. At first I was going to just do two layers of fabric for the back pocket, with a small panel from a different print in the fabric line, but then I decided to quilt it. I had the whole thing assembled and the binding part-way on when I came to the conclusion that the pocket the back was not working; it was simply too big to work as an oven mitt. I pulled it apart and designated the large rooster hot pad to be a table topper or trivet of sorts. I used the already quilted pocket piece to make another hot pad. It was awkwardly shaped and didn't really work to trim to a square, so a rectangle it was. I used Insul-Brite, which is a little bit thicker and a little bit stiffer than Warm 'n Natural. I really like how much dimension it gives the quilting.
Brought to you by:

My 2012 Finishes Little Quilt Monday

Giveaway Goodies
Last month, I hosted the Leap Day Giveaway Blog Hop. It was a huge success and so much fun. I was amazing to see what everyone was giving away. I offered a retro inspired apron and Nancy was the winner. She was very sweet to send me a photo of her in her apron! Thank you, Nancy!

I won a little something, too, from Richard and his wife Tanya. Their son, Jared, did me a solid and pulled my name out of the hat. I was able to pick from eight different prizes they were offering. Richard made the hot pads and the granny squares {which I will probably turn into hot pads}. I was also happy to take a gently used rotary cutter off his hands. My rotary cutter is 20 years old and I still love it, but I thought it would be fun to have an extra on-hand. Thank you, Richard and Tanya!

This week I got a really fun package in the mail. Clear back in October, Lori Holt announced a giveaway of her fabric line, Daisy Cottage, as well as some of her new patterns. I was one of the winners and she gave me my choice of any three of the new patterns designed for Daisy Cottage. I picked Home Sweet Home, Ring Around the Rosy and Daisychain. Lori told me that she'd send the patterns as soon as the covers came back from the printer, in about 10 days. The package never arrived and I got busy with holiday sewing. I would think of it off and on and finally while cleaning out my inbox a few weeks ago, I timidly e-mailed Lori to ask if she'd ever sent the patterns. She had, but they were lost in the mail :Unhappy:, so she sent me a new set of patterns and some fat quarters of Daisy Cottage :clap:. I am so thrilled. And now I'm kind of wishing I'd have picked the diamond ruler that Richard and Tanya offered as one of their giveaway choices so I could start working on the Daisychain quilt :lol:.


Shay said...

I have some of the daisy cottage line too. I love it.

Good on you for giving the 20 stitches an inch a go. Thats the kind of challenge I like to do myself but honestly I dont think I could master that!

Teresa in Music City said...

Wow - that's a lot of work for a potholder! LOL! I can't imagine having to get 20 stitches to the inch on a sandwiched quilt...unbelievable!

Love Love Love the Daisy Cottage fabric!

Richard Healey said...

Oh love that gray flower material. That hot pad you made is amazing. I might be able to make a lot of items but your stuff is just so much more amazing then I could think to make. I guess that's why I follow your blog to be amazed. Did you hand or machine quilt that by the way?

P.S. Glad you liked what I sent you.

robin said...

I always wondered how it was possible to do so many stitches per inch, but the lady at the local fabric/notion store told me it's both back and front, so 1/2 as many needed as I thought!

Heather said...

What a fun post! Your hotpad looks like a work of art. I'd have a hard time using it! lol :o)

Anonymous said...

The extra rooster block turned potholder should be displayed in a museum! Much to nice to actually use.

Paulette said...

Last things first, congrats on your sweet giveaway winnings! Swooning here, over your Forks PD paper piecing. I mean, come on, it's fabulous! Forget 20 stitches to the inch, you rock at 20+ little pieces of fabric pieced precisely in a couple square inches of space, in an altogether awesome design! What else...oh yeah, the quilting on the hot pads is amazing!

Kat said...

I've read that book with my daughter and when she asked if I could do 20 stitches per inch, I just said "no." LOL

I love the rooster quilting. You are very talented!

elizabeth said...

The quilting in your potholders is amazing! I'm getting better, but still have a long way to go.

I do a lot of hand work, and definitely can't do 20 stitches per inch, especially with quilting a bunch of layers. However, if you look at your 10pi and count the spaces as stitches as well it would add up to 20 :)

elizabeth said...

I can't imagine doing 20 stitches per! Great post : ) Love the hotpads

Jill said...

I love the hotpads, too! I've already started using them, and they have a cute spot next to the stove when they aren't in use (can't shove them in the drawer!). I am careful, though, not to use them with sloppy things like lasagna. Don't want to have to wash them too often! Thanks, it was a fun suprise!