Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts

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Friday, March 17, 2017

A Stitch In Time Saves Nine!

 I was very much a 'tomboy' growing up. My favorite sport in school was kick ball that helped ruin many hard to find shoes for my big feet as well as ripping out hems from my dresses. I was in school during the era that all girls wore dresses or skirts in elementary school and even physical education and recess were spent wearing dresses. I remember once doing the 600-yard dash wearing an A-line dress and good, what might be called now Sunday shoes. Believe it or not I beat all the girls as well as all but three boys. I wonder how I would have done if I had been wearing sneakers!

Anyhow, in the midst of me ripping out lots of hems, my mother, who made most of my clothes, hemmed my dresses by hand using two threads in the needle, and that is how she taught me to hem. So then comes Home economics in 8th grade. Unlike the dumb stuffed animals my boys had to make, I had to make a dress, including set in sleeves, back zipper, handstitched hem, etc. Well the zipper the teacher made me take out and put it back in several times which is why to this day every though they are easy to do, I shy away from putting zippers into anything. I can't even begin to zip up a back zipper anyhow as my hands don't even begin to touch in the back. When it came to setting in sleeves, on the first garment I made at home, my mom left the house and sink or swim I did it on my own.

The tricky thing for me was dealing with hemming my dresses that I made in class. I consistently put in 2threads and my teacher consistently marked me down for not doing it right. I knew if I only did the one thread hem I would rip it out in no time. So, on that my teacher and I agreed to disagree (More or less I can't remember the grade I got in class). I was one of the few then that came into class knowing anything about cooking and sewing back in 1967. I'm not too surprised that so many kids these days know nothing about cooking or sewing and anything I can do to encourage them, I will.

Well, I didn't stop ripping out hems in 8th grade. I still rip things out, so I have had to find my own solutions minus my teacher. One thing I have had a problem with is straight skirts with slits on the sides. With two artificial knees, I do not do graceful entrances and exits from cars and if I'm not careful, I can and will split those skirts right up the slit to rather risqué height! The skirt shown above really had a nasty tear but thankfully it was just the stitches that popped not the fabric. I don't know what I did when taking the photo, but that skirt is black moleskin so why it looks gray is beyond me. Going to need to ask hubby for some instructions. Anyhow this is what I do when making skirts such as this myself. After sewing the seams, you can put one of those satin stitched tacks that some sewing machines have, or I prefer to use one of the other decorative stitches that are on my machine - and boy to I have a lot now! You could also, embroider a small design at the end of slit as long as there are enough stitches in the design to make splitting the slit difficult.

On this skirt that I made several years ago, I missed a trick when doing this and you can see that there is about 1/4" of seam that could split at any moment and the seam is already shredding (the things a camera can see that you don't notice at the time!). Now what I do is sew the decorative stitch starting 1/2 -1" above the end of the slit and when you are at the end, if you have the ability, while it is still stitching press the lock stitch button and at the end stitch the machine will stop and lock the threads - and with my new machine the Janome Skyline S9, it will trim the threads the the presser foot will lift. Love it!

As I was photographing this skirt anyhow, I thought I would bare all and show you the mess I made while sewing a decorative line of stitches along the bottom of the skirt. If you look closely, you will see some of the stitches are spaced properly and others got all jammed up. I couldn't figure out what was happening until I realize that the skirt, as it was feeding through the machine (my 7700 at the time), was bumping into the wall behind the machine and not feeding smoothly. If you find you have stitches that are looking less than perfect, double check that nothing is hindering the flow of the fabric, and that you are stitching at a consistent speed as well.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Catch Up Time


The last few weeks have been busy and I haven't been able to post much. Hoping that will change since I now have the taxes finished! Yeah for me :) . In February for our anniversary, my hubby allowed me to swap out my Janome 7700 for the new Janome Skyline S9 which is both a sewing and embroidery machine. I still have my 300e, as I haven't had time to put it up for sale yet.

Did I really need a new sewing machine? No, of course not. However as this arthritis takes more and more out of me and makes common things painful, I found when test sewing on the Skyline that it has features that cause it to be a very good machine for those with disabilities. One of my favorite features so far, is the button in the front of the machine to press to lift the presser foot, although you can still reach around to the back to lift or depress the lever for the presser foot. You can also use the knee lifter as well. Since the outer sides of my knees are numb from my knee replacements and those knee lifters take me immediately back to 8th grade home ec I tend to push it when I want to go faster which doesn't work out so well! LOL. When I was doing some 'trying out the machine' sewing the other day, I lost track of the time and an hour had passed! For the past several years 20-30 minutes at a crack was about the best I could do sitting at the machine.

Over the years whenever I traded in a machine for a newer model, the learning curve wasn't much of a curve. I was up and running in minutes. This machine is going to take some time to learn all the great new features. I've read through the manual several times and have tried some of the new things that I now have access to, like 9 mm wide stitches - yahoo! I am planning on having an exclusive page in this blog for hints and tips and problems as the Skyline and I get aquainted. One thing I am needing to go visit Super Stitch about is threading the needle. I've seen it work and it is easy, but I think I am just tall enough that I can't see the whole threading path at the needle junction and am missing something.

My hubby had to help me get the design transferred right for my first embroidery project, but then it was terrific. No jump threads to trim, When the design is finished the presser foot raises and the thread is cut cleanly. I was doing a set of 6 placemats with the Inky Heart G8912 from Embroidery Library . After the first one finished and I went to do the next one, I was all set up and ready to go. I couldn't do them all at the same time, so almost a week later when I went to do some more, the first thing that popped up was the same design all ready to go. Check them out! I did use iron-on tear away Solvy on the backs of the placemats. I'm not sure if I really needed to, but I wnted to make sure these would turn out well since eventually they will be given as a gift or used for charitable purposes.

The placemats I used were from Amazon and they are called  DII100% Cotton, Ribbed 13x 19" Everyday Basic Placemat Set of 6, PrintedHearts . I got them through the Amazon vine program. I have gotten quite a few 'blanks' this year and for my review, I like to show them embroidered and 'fancied' up. I have a whole stack of things now to embroider that I don't have to make before or after the embroidering. Embroidery Library has come out with some really gorgeous designs lately that I have wanted to try, so looking forward to the next project. I used Robinson Anton cotton thread (Foxy Read) until the spool ran out and then I fortunately found a substitute thread of an unknown brand that was close enough you can't really see the difference in colors. I always use Schmetz needles with my machines with no trouble - just need to remember to change them as needed, usually after about 8 hours of sewing or less than that if a giving them extra hard use like embroidery or quilting.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

It's March and that means New Free Embroidery Designs!

Embroidery Library has always given out some great free designs each month, and so since it is March they have posted two new designs. They are free for only the month so don't forget to get them.

The first design which is my favorite is this filigree butterfly design. Isn't it gorgeous? It comes in four different sizes which you can download all of them.

The next one is this Shamrock. I don't go in much for Shamrocks, etc. in March, but if you do, this is a lovely one. It comes in two sizes. So these two designs give you 6 actual free designs. I have a huge collection of embroidery designs from saving all the ones I have gotten from Embroidery Library over the years, and I recommend downloading them even if you don't have machine embroidery capabilities yet but think you might in the future.

If you didn't get February's free designs, they are still posted so you might be able to get them yet today. I only had a chance to glance at the email that I got from Embroidery Library today (it is my day to go get my IV so I don't have much time) but it looks like they have some beautiful new designs, including some lovely cutwork.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Jewish Holiday Machine Embroidery Designs

When I see new machine embroidery holiday designs that come out, I have noted for years that there is a bit of a lack, actually for some holidays a BIG lack, for those other than of the Christian faith, or those of no faith that celebrate the traditional US holidays anyhow. Embroidery Library, that anyone reading this blog know that I love, has some great new, quick sew out Christmas Doodle designs. If we can get past the name Christmas for a moment, there are several designs that are perfect for Hanukkah designs as well as some designs that have nothing to do with Christmas but just winter in itself such as snowflakes, ice skates and hot chocolate.

There are more designs than those pictured that you can get. Right this weekend, they are on sale for $1.25 for each design and they come in four different sizes. You can also see the large selection of Chanukkah embroidery designs here.  We hope that bringing these designs to your attention will help you in your celebration this year and many more to come.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Keeping Busy!

I have been doing so many things, that I tend to neglect this blog, but following the library sale and the acquisition of lots of new crafting books and magazines, I had to go through them all and then after several forays into Erie which had me stopping at the Salvation Army and Goodwill I ended up with even more items to look through and process. In my office, I am surrounded by sewing patterns, craft kits, Christmas fabric project panels and other assorted items. I go as fast as I can, but I also had a lousy month physically and got behind. Some of my great deals was a very large 4-5 yard chunk of a turquoise fabric as well as more batik or hand dyed fabric chunks. I found Fabric in all sorts of colors and designs that I would normally never touch.

I have found that buying leftover quilting fabric at places like thrift stores, I get a lot of fabric that I would have never bought at full price. The photos above, are just a small amount of fabric I have found at thrift stores! That was just one trip! Some of those fabrics have already made their way into my current quilt project! One fabric in particular is that mustardy brownish color that reminds me of what breast feed babies produce. Yet when cut up into smaller pieces I found it went very well with another print. When I have time I will be taking some photos of these quilt blocks as they are part of the article or book that I am slowly trying to write on color and quilting. This will be from a different perspective with not a color wheel included!



Many of the pieces in this quilt that I am working on come from my pre-cut pieces stash, or the pre-cuts that I make as I go along. One of the things that has really been helping me square up these 8 1/2" unfinished blocks was a Get Squared 8 1/2" ruler than you can see in the photos of the squares. As I make many of my blocks, for many different projects, I thought the 8 1/2" size would be perfect to have and it is immensely helpful. Because of the many lines on it, it is much easier to get the block as centered as possibly. It will also come in handy when I start in on my project of machine embroidering the center square of a block and then trimming it and adding pieces around it, the embroidery won't be off kilter. The Get Squared ruler comes in different sizes so you can get whichever sizes you need most. I also make heavy use of my 8 1/2" square rotary ruler that I bought at Joanne Fabrics. I have gobs of rulers that I have bought or been given over time, but some I just consistently go back to.
I am enjoying working on this quilt and it is paring down some pre-cut scraps that have been hanging around for a very long time. Time for some new scraps to take their place.
Just a reminder that if you still need patterns and supplies for your holiday sewing to check out my store: Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Christmas Gift Sewing #1 - Sweatshirts

With Christmas and other Holidays coming quick it is always nice to find some ideas and instructions for projects to make and give. Embroidery Library has produced a great digital Lookbook on embroidering on sweatshirts and ways to decorate them. You can see it here.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

I Love Library Book Sales!

I live in a lovely town 'where everyone knows your name', or at least they recognize your face. As someone that is on a low income, my town has two places that I especially love to go to. One of them being our thrift store where I have found many terrific deals. I've picked up spare pieces of silverware that even if they don't 'go' with my silverware, they coordinate. My set of silverware is an Oneida brand, and buying replacement pieces is expensive, so finding more Oneida spoons, forks and knives in great patterns for 10 cents a piece is a huge deal. And yes, I meant 10 cents a piece! Anyone that has tried buying replacements from Oneida knows that they are costly. I buy clothing there both for me and my husband. After seeing a neat apron project using men’s shirts at Embroidery Library, I found some shirts in plaids that I liked, I bought them and hope to have those posted here soon. I find books and magazines at reasonable prices as well. My biggest thing at the thrift store is all the crafting supplies I have found. At this point I can do just about any needlework project from the supplies found at that store and I have mentioned some of those deals before.

The second place that I love to go is my library. I have spent a great deal of my life in libraries as either a patron or as an aide. From 8th grade through college and then while in nursing school, I worked part time in all my school libraries. With the arthritis, I have in my hands, reading books is getting more and more uncomfortable for me, so unless it is truly a favorite author, I use my Kindle to read regular books on. However, when our twice a year Friends of the Library (FOL) Book Sale takes place, unless I am dying from pain, I’m there. If I can bring Steve to help so much the better. Some years I don’t find much of great interest and then other times I feel like I have struck a gold mine. This was one of those years. I found stacks of knitting, embroidery, quilting books and magazines in like new condition. Even though it wasn’t bag day ($1 a bagful of books) I bought all that I could find.

Because of the subject matter and the condition of the books I figured such a donation was due to one of two things. The crafter had either had to enter a nursing home or had died. While looking through the books I found the receipt for when she bought them and then looked her name up. She had died the year before. I hope that she would be happy to know that her donation made many excellent books available to someone like me that doesn’t have the funds to pay full price for those books and magazines. I have had the opportunity to buy a woman's crafting refernce libraries prior to this and I remember these women that I didn't even know fondly, knowing we would have found plenty to talk about.

I’ve spent a happy week going through the books/magazines. Some of the knitting magazines made me wish I could knit but I must be stern with myself and not take up any more hobbies, although I thoroughly enjoyed reading them, especially the Downton Abby Knitting magazines as well as a Harry Potter knitting magazine. Those I put up for sale at competitive prices on Amazon, as selling on line is part of how we literally pay the bills. I have been trying to learn more about embroidery and so to find some excellent books. One book I had bought to resell years ago and averaged a sale price of $70 per books (the price has come way down now). That, by the way, is MORE than I spent on all the books I got last week. Not only did I get that book, I got 3 others in the same series. I found books on stump work. I found old sewing and quilting books that included a lot of history of quilting and sewing over the centuries. Many of the quilting magazines had quilt patterns that would be suitable for Project Linus quilts or a quilt that would use a particular fabric stash that I have.

You never know when something is going to drop into your lap and solve a problem for you. I have seen a photo of a scrap quilt that had been on the front cover of BHG Patchwork & Quilting. I’ve never run across the actual issue or pattern, but I did find a good enough photo of it that I scanned and made it large enough to see which types of blocks I needed. Without knowing for sure what size the original blocks were, from what I could tell an 8” finished block would do the trick. That is until I got to one block that had a 9-patch section in the middle of where a 4” finished piece would go. And then I had to get out the calculator and try to figure out what size I needed to cut these squares of strips for quick piecing. Then I was looking at one of ‘new’ magazines and what did I find but a 9-patch that went where a 4” finished piece would go. My math hadn’t been far off, but it was enough that it would have never looked right. So, with that puzzle answered for me, I have continued piecing the quilt.

I’m not sure how some people function without books in their lives to help provide inspiration and knowledge. I know I couldn’t get along without them! I’m so happy that I could go to this sale, help support my library, help support myself, gain a lot of inspiration and knowledge about the things I’m very interested in.