Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Learning something new (machine applique)

Hello, everyone.

At the monthly meeting of Sewing Club (so called here) we learned about machine applique--one of the members had requested it--and carried nascent projects home to complete.

In the process, I learned more about my older sewing machine, a computerized Kenmore that is actually made by Janome.  There was a sampler of stitches made:

View of the front of the stitch sampler, with the stitch numbers written by the rows

The reverse side, with both sets of sample stitches showing.
The sampler's orange-plus-white rows were done first, and the orange bobbin thread pulled up to the top of the fabric. (Also the zigzag row tunnelled a lot because there wasn't enough stabilizer underneath.) Thinking it over, I realized that I'd used shiny embroidery thread on top, with dull regular thread on the bottom, and they just aren't the same weight and stiffness of thread. I switched out to a bobbin loaded with the blue shiny embroidery thread and the stitches were a lot better.

They did still pull through a bit--even though the thread tension on the top thread was loosened.

I settled on the "star" or "snowflake" stitch for most of the work, and one of the "buttonhole" stitches for the part of it that just wouldn't work out well with the stars.

The top side, stars around the ironed-on heart. Note the basting stitches holding the two layers of stabilizer to the underside.

This is how the stars came out on the underside.
 The button hole stitching, apparently, missed its date with the camera. It was put on the edges of the ironed-on letters spelling a name. There were just too many and too sharp of curves on those letters to use the stars.

The actual project, for which I shopped the stash, is a pillowcase. I used quilting cottons. The red in the picture above is a Kona cotton solid. The heart is one of the many, many fabrics in the printed cottons stash.


Friday, September 15, 2017

New hiking socks!

Hello, everyone.

The old hiking socks, both the 4 pairs of gray liner socks that walked through Portugal and the new 3 pairs of "original weight" socks that started to walk the Camino del Norte, were feeling confining on my toes lately. Maybe they shrank--well the gray ones had been subjected to the automatic dryer at least once and probably have. Certainly the original weight new ones were making my toes noticeably wider inside the boots.

And I'd gotten some toenail stuff going on the first day of the walk from Irun. (They're growing out but they're still a wee bit weird.) I got to thinking about toes and toe boxes and socks, and realized that this pair of boots is at the upper bleeding-edge limit of the old socks' size. That number is not at the very edge of the next size up, however. This seemed like a thing to try out.

Behold the new, size Medium, Injinji socks: one liner (gray) and one "lightweight".


They have each gone for one neighborhood walk. (That's pretty much all that's happening until DH gets his foot cleared for action.) They've also gone through the washer and then been drip dried. *Always drip dry hiking socks!* The darned things shrink.

They were comfortable and didn't get all bunched up inside the boot. More information may come later, after they get more use and longer rambles under their belts.


Thursday, September 7, 2017

A neck chain for the shell pendant

Hello, everyone.

As mentioned a few days ago, there has been a project to get the bead-woven shell element back into use.

Thanks to this entry on Pinterest, and a careful study of the beads available in-house (that means stash usage) a neck chain was woven and put onto the shell.


The lobster-claw catches are on the front, not in the back. It means adjusting the routine when adding it to an outfit, but that way the chain can be completely detached if there should be a reason to do so.

Beads used: silver bugle beads from the craft store, silver-lined 15-count rocailles and blue 11-count Delicas from Fire Mountain Gems. Strung on 6 pound Fireline. (I love working with the Fireline!)

Monday, September 4, 2017

So I tried another Pinterest idea

Hello, everyone.

It's been purging season around here. (For non-US readers, purging means throwing away a lot of stuff.)  And purging includes trying to pretty up a bathroom.


This also counts as stash usage! The tray was lying around the house, and the cotton ball cup and toothbrush holder were already there, but not well displayed.

The swab-jar used to hold olives. I used a bit of steel wool to roughen up the paint on the lid and applied two coats of gold spray paint. The knob was floating around in my toolbox.

It really holds the swabs nicely, don't you think?


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Beading, re-using a piece and using up stash

Hello, everyone.

Y’all may remember the peyote-stitched shell image that I had made and hung on a purse in 2014…the purse was just the right size (too small for a lot of junk) and I liked it a lot. Unfortunately, it became dilapidated over time, and I had to get a new purse. The new one has no place to hang the blue shell dangle.

So the shell, after being cut off of the old purse, has been sitting around in the assortment of bead things that need to be dealt with. 







Thursday, August 17, 2017

Starting another fidget mat

Hello, everyone.

Fidget mats are supposed to be very useful (at least for people who were fidgety before they became ill) to assist dementia patients. There are lots of them on Pinterest.

The mats are also great ways to use up stash! This time, the base fabric is cushion cover fabric, a poly-rayon chenille design of assorted circles and squares. Very modern! The color tones are browns and creams.  The zipper element thus got a contrasting color for its flanges.

While applying the zipper to the mat, I noticed that the pins were difficult to remove.

It's good to have a tweezer around! It worked really well to just nip those tips in and pull the pin out, and even to then insert the pin into the pincushion on the machine.

The zipper element, a fairly common part of fidget mats, is there for the sole purpose of being opened and closed. This one got a small blue heart added behind the zipper--three cheers for bead stash!--so the person can find something under there besides the base fabric of the mat.

The mat is presently ready for binding.


As y'all can see, there are a lot of neutral colors in this one. The flowered circle is a re-used piece of embroidery, which has been backed with muslin and made into a pocket, with a little bit of lace added to ground the circle a bit. The ribbons sticking up from it hold a cheerful button that can be slid back and forth along the ribbon. The animal print at top left is faux-fur, and it's really soft! The chenille pattern gives texture all by itself, and some of the design elements were outline quilted to increase their prominence. There are buttons to the right of the pocket, some with beads on top of the button, and a dangle loop from the red rosette holds an enamel cross (removable for laundry.) There is also a sprinkle of beads in the circle next to the fur, and the green dangle can be moved around, as well as allowing a person to slide the silver-colored tube bead up and down a little bit. The zipper tape is left over from one of the Fabulous Pack Duffels made last spring, with an extra pull added so it's a usable zip.  (ByAnnies.com has directions on how to do this.) Also the red-ribbon rosette, which sits around the shiny gold button but is't sewn down, can be spun.

All the mat needs now is bias tape around the four sides and it can be given to the person. (There are two more chunks of this chenille fabric waiting in the wings to become mats also!) I'm thinking that if there is enough red bias that would be perfect.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Sharing the fun (embroidery)

Hello, everyone.

Recently there arose an opportunity to share the fun of embroidery with DGD--who is just about kindergarten age.

This Pin had been saved with the hope of future use--and the source site talked about using the method with children about the same age. So we were off to the races!

There was a stack of foam plates in the pantry. There was a large assortment of DMC thread wound on cardboard bobbins. And there was a packet of size 22 tapestry needles. (Big enough for the whole 6-strand thread, not super-sharp, and easy for her to hold.)

First she tried a couple of random stitches to get the feel of sewing with the needle. (Which isn't all that different from the cardboard sewing cards in her toybox at home.) Then she traced the outlines of  a heart, to practice following the line, and then her initial. After that, she moved on to a more-complex piece: a flower with 4 front petals, 4 back petals, and a center.

The reverse. Freezer tape used in lieu of knots.

The front.
With this age, even if they can thread the needle themselves once in a while, it's still just at the edge of their coordination abilities, so an older person needs to help with that, and with keeping the floss from making a knot on the back.