Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts

Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts
Visit Our Store!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Buying Fabric On Line

After searching our one and only local fabric store for several months for some Atlanta Braves Fleece for my son for a Christmas present, I went on line and tried to buy some several weeks ago only to get the dreaded out of stock box. Well on Christmas Eve, finally got a note saying it was back in stock. I was busy then, but within 4 hours when I tried to buy it, it was back to being out of stock. At that point I did what I should have in the first place and searched the web. I found two sites that had the fleece in stock and plenty of it. Both with lower prices than the other store. Fabric.com won the purchase 'contest' by having the lowest price plus I was able to find an on line 15% off coupon too, so that theirs was the rock bottom price. They also participate in Big Crumbs money back program too! Considering it was Christmas weekend when I ordered it, can you imagine my surprise when it was delivered on Wednesday! I'm always happy to talk about a company that delivers better than I expected and I was very impressed with their service. I'm sure my son will be thoroughly surprised when he gets this gift as he is not only a huge Braves fan but the biggest Christmas snoop in the world. We haven't had our 'Christmas' yet as we have waited for my other son and his fiance to get here. So on New Year's Day we will get to celebrate Christmas knowing it is much more than a time for presents but a time to celebrate family and being part of God's family.

Happy New Year to you all and trusting that it will be a good year for each of you and knowing what trials that may come help to make us stronger. I'm still trying to decide my personal sewing goals and goals for our store. I would love to know what others are working on this coming year. My one really big goal is a wedding quilt that needs done by August.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sew Terrific Embroidery Designs

We have just added another machine embroidery site called Sew Terrific to our Machine Embroidery page. Even though Christmas is just past, they have posted a great set of Santa Claus designs and Free Christmas Tree design in all the popular home machine formats.

We have also added another sewing site to our Sewing and Quilting page. It is Gertie's Blog for Better Sewing with all sorts of interesting sewing info.

We are always happy to learn of new sites to add to these pages as it helps all of us with our sewing.

I was very excited to get Threads magazine's latest issue #153. I have a tip published in it!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Snow Lady Designs

There is still enough time to make another machine embroidered Christmas ornament isn't there? Snow Lady Designs has a fantastic, FREE free-standing lace ornament. Visit this site soon to see what else awaits you and your embroidery machine!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Innocence

If you sew, quilt, make art or just love beautiful things, you need to visit this blog: One Designer's Journey. She has the most incredible quilt called Innocence.

I just finished a little quilted wall piece for hubbies Christmas present. I can't even think about posting it yet after seeing the quilt pictures I just saw. but soon. I tried several new to me techniques in it and that is what I want to be doing, still learning and growing not stuck in a rut doing 4 patch quilting the rest of my life.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Janome Life

I have added a new link on my sewing and quilting page here. It is for Janome Life . It was brought to my attention for her article on using the Janome quilt binder for mitering corners, apparently something that doesn't come with the instructions. I love savings these links and having them handy for everyone because I know if I ever get the money to buy the quilt binder, I will have forgotten otherwise where to find the article.

I also got some great news today. One of my sewing tips that I sent into Threads magazine is to be published! That put a little spark in my step to get that news. Look for issue #153, which is the one it should be in.

Happy Sewing Everyone!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Free December Designs

Embroidery Library has just posted their FREE December winter designs. They can be downloaded for free until January 3, 2011. They also has lots of NEW Holiday designs for your last minute crafting or for planning next year's sewing. Be sure to stop in and visit them and all the other machine embroidery sites that are listed on my embroidery sites page here.

Need a present for a sewing friend (or yourself)? Sew-Retro is a delightful book that anyone who likes to read about sewing and especially vintage sewing would enjoy. I got my copy with birthday gift certificate cards and I highly recommend it.

Woke up to at least an inch of snow with up to eight inches predicted by the end of the week. That always puts me in a sewing mood and I hope it does you also. Happy crafting!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sarah Ann Smith

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I'm grateful for a great husband who was willing to wait several days for the turkey since I was flaring up and couldn't manhandle the beast plus side dishes on my own. In the end, he still had to do the turkey for me but I was able to make the potatoes, stuffing and gravy. It was a simple meal and a simple time but we enjoyed it.

I wanted to add another site to our quilting and sewing resource page. It is Sarah Ann Smith's blog page. Sarah is a great quilter, writer and teacher. She also is a frequent presence on the Janome Horizon 7700 digest. She is a published author and her book Thread Work Unraveled is an excellent resource for doing machine quilting and threadwork. I own this book and highly recommend it either as a gift for a sewing friend or for yourself! Be sure to visit her blog and see what she is up to.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sew Janome

We have just started another page here on this blog as I would dearly love to have this be a great resource for all who sew. We have a page for machine embroidery design sites and now we have added a sewing and quilting site page. If you have sites that you would like to see added, please lets us know!

Today's site is Sew Janome with some great information for Horizon 7700 owners and owners of other Janome machines.

Hope everyone has a lovely Thanksgiving. I'm so thankful for my hubby, my kids and that I have activities that I enjoy while dealing with chronic illness. I'm especially thankful for my Janome Horizon 7700 and 300E as I intend to give them a workout today and tomorrow!

Monday, November 22, 2010

ABC Embroidery Designs

Just added ABC Embroidery Designs to our Embroidery Designer Page. right now you can get a free lovely Thanksgiving design. Even if too late to use this holiday, be sure to download it to have for next year.

I've been working on making Christmas presents, but can't post them since the folks getting them have access to my blog and Facebook account. Maybe after the holidays. So many ideas and so little time and I'm still looking for ideas. It is so much fun to have a girl in the family now to sew for!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Secrets of Embroidery Machine Embroidery Site

Secrets of Embroidery is one of my favorite websites for getting lovely embroidery designs. I noticed that they have a sale going on that you might want to know about. They are offering a 2010 Winter Bonus Set with over 30 designs as a free gift with orders of $30 or more from anywhere on the Secrets site. Sounds like a GREAT deal.

One tip for when you do your embroidery. Don't think that you have everything out of the way when you are setting up an embroidery project. I didn't this weekend. Something fell and jammed my design up and I lost an hour's worth of embroidering. :(  . I did however, put my Horizon through it's paces and hemmed up some heavy jeans of my husbands with the help of a few of my internet friends. I ended up with a bent needle but an old point turner I had gotten free in the mail one day also had a space to tuck in under my presser foot and allowed the foot to go over the bulky seam (except the one that bent the needle). I probably need more practice, but since I'm tall and hubby is 6'2" you wouldn't think I would ever need to hem up pants!

Happy sewing on your holiday projects and enjoy the process!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Cristmas Bag Toppers

What a unique idea that The Purple Hat has for this Christmas season. They are Christmas Bag toppers that you can put treats in a Zip-Lock(r) bag and the topper makes it a gift! Visit The Purple Hat for this and other unique designs.



Monday, October 25, 2010

New Janome Foot

I just got my new O2 foot in the mail for my Janome 7700 Horizon. I haven't tried it out yet, but in comparing it to the other O foot I did notice something that had been brought up in the last Janome 7700 digest. Markings on our machines. Well they aren't on the machine, but if you look at the left side of the 1/4" foot (either one) there are three raised lines. One is exactly to the left of the needle, the other two are both exactly 1/4" behind the needle and 1/4" ahead of the needle so you can use those to help you know where to pivot, start seams, etc. I bring this up because I have been using one of these feet for years and have never noticed the markings. If you need to see them better, a dab of fingernail polish should help visibility. Just being aware of them will help.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Creatively Yours

Just found another machine embroidery design site that you might be interested in called Creatively Yours. They have an eclectic selection of designs, they do have some free designs that you will have to hunt for. This site also does custom digitizing if you need that done.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Designs Sew Fine

Thanks to Joan for bringing my attention to another Machine Embroidery Site called Designs Sew Fine. They have filled designs for all seasons and reasons, lots of redwork and also sufficient free designs to test before you buy from them.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Creative Sewing Techniques by Machine edited by Nancy Fiedler

A review of a book I purchased: Creative Sewing Techniques by Machine edited by Nancy Fiedler. 80 pages ISBN 9781574326680

I'm afraid that after really looking forward to getting this book, I was more than a bit disappointed in it. I'm still trying to decide whether to return it or keep it which is a very unusual situation for me. Although I am a quilter and appreciate quilting designs, I was expecting to see a variety of sewing designs and spiffy projects. After all, this is a book that was edited by a Janome education specialist. Janome, I feel, has always been behind in publishing books of projects to take advantage of their wonderful sewing machines.

In this book, all but one project was a quilt or quilted item, and the remaining project a journal cover. NO garments of any kind were featured. Not many of the projects had anything super special in the way of techniques. Perhaps to a very beginning sewer this book might make more of an impact. I was hoping to see some very creative use of decorative stitching, etc. Instead even those pictures with decorative stitching were done in colors and fabrics that barely showed in the photos. I'm not saying that there weren't some nice projects, just that the projects that were in the book were the same often repeated projects in other books such as, piece a quilt, applique something to the quilt, use a few decorative stitches to sew on the border and maybe do some twin needle stitching.

Several of the projects depended heavily on machine embroidery. For example, one piece showed a bright yellow block which looks like decorative stitching sewn into a block around a quilted design (shown on the front cover of the book). Don't be fooled, the entire block including the decorative stitching look is all pre-digitized machine embroidery. This would have been a perfect time to show just how to make and measure to sew a decorative square with decorative stitches and to do stipple stitching etc.

This book could have been so much more, but with so many different people doing projects, it appears that no one was actually coordinating what they were making. Where is the heirloom sewing project using the many different sewing stitches and presser feet? Where is the simple project of showing how to use the different feet and stitches to whip up a child's T-shirt with some special details to make it unique. Uniqueness is what I was looking for in this book and didn't find it. Perhaps I feel like this because I have read so many books and magazines on sewing, but I think other experienced in sewing will agree that this book lacks that special quality that makes it wonderful.

I would pass on this book unless you have a chance to look through it and know you will be getting some good use out of the contents. I think the problem was the projects were written up by a variety of writers, not just one person with a goal in mind. The editor has two projects in the book, a quilt and the journal cover. All other projects were done by a variety of sewists.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Fortuny Shirt - Threads

The Fortuny Shirt - Threads

Here is a great step by step guide to finishing the inside armhole of a man's shirt by Kenny King. Worth a few minutes to check it out.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Current Project

I'm currently working on a quilting project that I have tentatively named "A Few of my Favorite Things". Hubby did a scan of it for me so the stitches would show better than a regular photo, only it took 8 scans to get it all in and then he combined them. So what looks to be wrinkles, folds, etc. is just the work to get it all showing at one time. I have cropped the picture for clarity.

 I have used several of my Janome Horizon 7700 stitches in this piece so far including couching the ribbon, appliqueing and making the woven basket and doing the foliage for the flowers that I then hand embroidered. I have many more parts that I'm working on separately and then will be attaching them. The flowers if you can't tell at Queen Ann's lace or I believe in the UK it is called cow parsley and the pink flowers are based on the lovely phlox that was growing in my garden this year. I'm hoping to also sew up some three dimensional flowers to add to the basket. I didn't want to get done with the project and not have any intermediate pictures of it in process, so here it is. I have been inspired by many art quilt and quilting authors and by my wonderful Janome Horizon sewing machine.

In this piece, I hope to not only show some of my favorite things but to use some of my favorite techniques and also to try out and learn some more favorite techniques.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Project Modern Quilt

Here is a chance if you are a quilter to try to challenge yourself to make a modern quilt! Hoping I get this button to work correctly so that you can go to their website and find out more. There will be a terrific prize of a Janome Horizon 7700 which is an awesome sewing machine that anyone should be happy to own and work with. Join up at Project Modern Quilt.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Quilt Ideas

Just as I was going to bed last night, I was hit with an incredible idea for the art quilt I am making. Of course, I then laid in bed trying to figure out how I could accomplish it and then couldn't get to sleep. This latest project of mine is so much fun as I attempt to use as many techniques as possible without making a hodge podge of it. The theme is "A Few of My Favorite Things". So far it includes fabric weaving, applique, piecing, decorative machine stitching, hand embroidery, and 3 dimensional work. Lots to do for it yet, but it is so nice not to be working under a time pressure and instead of chopping ideas because of lack of time, I'm eager to work on as many different things as I can. Hoping tonight to finish up a needlepoint piece that will be incorporated into the piece. What fun! Every should have a great creative hobby like sewing!!!

I'm so glad for inspirational books that allow me to dream and then help me to figure out how to make the dreams reality. Quilting Arts is a good one especially as I just discovered the magazine this year. I'm going to try to get the back issues as apparently some of the stories are included in this book which fascinates me.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

ONE Spirit Community needs quilting supplies

My friend Gen has made me aware of a group, One Spirit,  that is in great need of quilting and sewing supplies, and from the sounds of it, material goods of all kinds. Here is part of the note Gen sent me that helps explains it better:

>>>ONE Spirit is the organization I support. They are primarily supportive of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. This is the poorest of the country's reservations. The people work hard to make better lives for their children, but poverty and weather are against their progress. So, everything that is done to help has great meaning.


Recently they have asked for quilting supplies. They specifically make star quilts for all kinds of celebrations -- it doesn't hurt that the quilts are warm and the winters are cold. And it helps bring a bit of beauty to one of the dreariest, most depressed parts of our country.
 
The one thing ONE Spirit has shown me is that whatever little I can do, added to what the next person can do, and the next, and the next -- altogether it makes a difference in lives of such hopelessness I cannot imagine.
 
>>>
 
These people, our native American brothers and sisters, are in need of food, clothing, warm coats, and any quilting items you can share. By clicking on the link here, you can see more about the reservation and see whom to contact to make donations to One Spirit of whatever you can give. They also have a Paypal donation button to donate cash towards helping the people. They use the quilting supplies to make quilts to bless each other during ceremonial occasions. The main quilt type that they make are Star of Bethlehem style quilts. Ask yourself what you can do to help.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Using Machine Embroidered corner Designs

Embroidery Library has a nice article with pictures of some ways to use corner designs that you may have accumulated and aren't quite sure what to use them for. I love their designs as they always sew out exactly how they should plus they are very generous with freebies.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Nine Patch Machine Embroidered Butterfly

If you love butterflies and applique and machine embroidery, then you will want to check this butterfly out. It is made in 9 sections and when finished is 10' x 10". It combines applique, machine embroidery and crystals. You can buy it for $10 until July 23, 2010 at the Purple hat. I've been collecting butterfly designs for years in anticipation of making a butterfly quilt. This great design should help with that project.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Vintage Patterns Wikipedia

If you love to sew with vintage sewing patterns or just to collect vintage patterns and haven't discovered this site yet, you might want to zoom right over to Vintage Patterns Wilipedia where you can find lots of information on vintage sewing patterns including links to vendors who just might have your size in stock. The site itself does not sell patterns as the vendors are independent stores such as our store, Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Countdown to Christmas

For those out there that do machine embroidery, today is the day to sign up for the Countdown to Christmas program at Embroidery Library. This program allows you to buy designs for the next several months and earn points towards receiving a gift certificate at Christmas. Along the way you will receive FREEBIE Christmas designs. Check out their site for full details. Sign up as soon as possible so you don't miss out on anything

Monday, June 21, 2010

Three Projects Finished!

Last week I managed to finished three projects. I got a top finished to match a skirt I made last month. I made a throw pillow as a bit of encouragement for a friend battling cancer. I also cut apart a king size quilt I had made 8 years ago into two smaller quilts and got rid of a part of it that had fallen apart. I now understand why women used to sew beard guards onto their quilts! Enough said.

I gave my new sewing machine, Janome Horizon 7700, a run for its money with these projects. The dual feed set up worked great, the free motion quilting worked great, as did the decorative stitches for applique and as always the straight stitching on a Janome machine was top notch. I'm looking forward to many more projects with this machine especially since I can use the stop start button to sew with so I can keep my feet propped up and avoid the painful swelling I usually get while sewing.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness Embroidery Design

Stitched Impressions has posted some new breast cancer awareness designs. One is a butterfly and the other is a FREE design with the pink ribbon and the word believe shown above. Of course, you can always change out the color of ribbon you use to show support for your cause.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My Latest Quilting Project



I have a friend that is very ill and I have been working on a small project to encourage her. She has sent me notes of encouragement to me over the past year as she knows I also have health issues. One of the notes she sent featured a picture much like this design. I am going to turn it into a pillow and wanting to scan it first before it wouldn't fit flat on the scanner. It was too large to fit all in one piece anyhow. But I do hope she enjoys seeing this and that it encourages her through this very rough time.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Day Poppy Free Machine Embroidery Designs

Embroidery Library is having a special promotion just this weekend through May 31, 2010. Click on the link and when you arrive at Embroidery Library's home page, click on the banner at the top of the page that says "Secret Stitchers Sale". You will be able to download 3 different poppy designs for free including a Free Standing Lace poppy. While there, you can also take advantage of the $1 special they are running and be sure to sign up for their weekly newsletter that lets you know when these specials happen.

Embroidery Library makes many beautiful designs that sew out very well at great prices and they are also very generous with freebies to try out their great designs.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Design Explorations for the Creative Quilter

This is a review of  Design Explorations for the Creative Quilter: Easy to Follow lessons for dynamic art quilts by Katie Pasquini Masopust that I posted on Amazon. I think it is a great book and gave it five stars. If you are looking for help in making art quilts, this book should be a big help to you.

I have long held an interest in quilting after having started my first quilt around 40 years ago. But at this point all the beds have quilts and so do most family members. Time to do some more creative quilting. As I have studied Art Quilts over the last few years, at times I have found myself not understanding at all what the quilter was intending and even why anyone thought that ugly piece was worth a prize. I still find some art pieces to be truly ugly but with the help of instructional books I am beginning to understand more about what the quilter was trying to accomplish and I have decided that I too would like to make an art quilt. So this book along with others got put on my Wish List and this one became a Mother's Day gift to me from my son. Realizing he only got it because of its location on the list and the price, all I can say is he did a great job picking out a book!

This book talks about art quilts in ways that are understandable and then has activities to do to break those binding fears of "I'm not an artist" and "I'm not creative". Reading through the different projects, I realized that yes I could do these things and maybe I too could be successful at making an art quilt. Consider that one of the projects in the book is to paint blindfolded with an assistant playing different types of music and helping you to move and have the color of paint you want for the tune. I'm sure they are also there to keep you from accidentally painting the walls and wayward children and pets but that isn't the point - you will be painting with a blindfold on! Then you take off the blindfold, observe what you have done, find spots on the paper that you especially like and make it into a quilt. I told my husband about this and he got enthusiastic and volunteered to help paint with me and I already have bought my paints. That is just one of ten exploration exercises the author has in the book. The book is filled with many color photo illustrations of the author's exercises and the finished quilts made from them and also her students work.

The only real weakness I found in the book was the actual making of the quilts themselves. I would have like to see more detail in making them as these aren't your typical patchwork quilts, they are basically machine pieced or appliqu├ęd and she only spent 4 pages on that part. However, I have plenty of books on making quilts in my reference library, it is the creativity lessons that I need and appreciated as they give you a jumping off spot to venture out into the great unknown or art quilting.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Toddler Boys Suit

Just listed today, Butterick Sewing Pattern 4355 Boys Size 2-4 Easy Classic Suit Jacket Pants Shorts Knickers Bowtie. this is an adorable outfit that would be perfect for the little boy that is to be a ring bearer in a wedding. In years of selling patterns, this is the first time I have run across it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Janome Horizon 7700 Sewing Machine - MINE!

Hubby surprised me by letting me trade in my Janome 6500 for the new Horizon 7700. This is an awesome machine! Besides an absolutely perfect straight stitch, it has 250 other stitches that can be changed in size, combined together and combined with the alphabets that are included. This is a perfect machine for quilter, crazy quilter, heirloom sewing by machine, garment maker, actually anybody that sews that wants a great variety of stitches for the types of items they make.

But for me the big thing is the ability to sew on a machine with me feet propped up and no need to use my feet at all as it has a stop start button, and extension table to rest my hands and arms on. This is the most comfortable I have been sewing in years and that is the big reason why we swapped out. The 6500 is/was a great machine but with no stop/start button I was forced to use the foot pedal and we couldn't figure out a way to let me sew without involving my legs. As I have bad arthritis, trying to find a machine that is truly workable for someone with a disability. This new 7700 does it for me. I haven't even unpacked the foot pedal that came with it and I don't intend to. For anyone searching for a great machine that can be used without the use of your legs and/or feet this one can do it for you. After years of only being able to sew in 15 minute increments before the pain got to be too much, I'm looking forward to sewing for hours at a time!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Janome Horizon 7700 Sewing Machine

I have been waiting for months to see what's up with the newest Janome sewing machine. They kept feeding us bits and pieces over the last few months but promised us we would be impressed. Well I am. I'm trying hard to wipe the drool off my chin as this newest machine has so many features to love. Several of them that seem so simple will make life easier for someone like me with a disability and has trouble keeping my feet down long enough to sew. Since most sewing machines run by having you press a foot pedal, to have a mchine come out with the stop/start button is great. This is not a new feature as such, but one my 6500 doesn't have, so I have been dependent on using the foot pedal to sew. Days that my feet are too swollen to be down means I can't sew. Well the 7700 has a stop/start button. It also has a new feature that you can calculate how long your line of decorate stitches will be so you can match up the space to fill with the amount of stitches to sew and then the machine stops. How cool is that? Lots of great decorative stitches also - 250 plus alphabets. All my favorite stitches from every machine I have ever sewed on are all on this machine including a bunch that I have never seen. Lots more features to especially for us quilters like an 11" throat. I can hardly wait to go visit my nearest Janome dealer, Super Stitch, and try out this machine. Then to see what kind of swap I can make to be able to afford it. Some girls spend $100's a year on cosmetics, shoes and purses and I'm sure if it was all averaged out, I spend less on sewing machines than they do. Now is that an excuse to get a new sewing machine or not? Vist the Janome website to see all the features of this great machine. They even have some videos for you to see.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Museum Exhibit American Woman at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Threads magazine has a photo selection and the information about these lovely gowns that you can see. If you are a lover of past fashion, then you either need to get to this show or at least go look at the pictures here.

In relation to past fashions, I was privileged to review a book that is soon to be published called A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff. A copy of the review follows.

As someone who has been studying couture sewing by reading about it in books and magazines like Threads I found A Vintage Affair a delightful book to read. After the death of her friend, for which she blames her then boyfriend, Phoebe Swift opens a clothing story that sells only vintage couture clothing and accessories. Her storefront captures the eye of a reporter for a struggling new newspaper and his story about the store brings in business in ways they never expected. Then her store is behind the breaking news story that catapults the newspaper into the news itself.


There are lovely descriptions of the clothes and the stories behind them and how special certain pieces are to people. The different characters are well thought out to the point that you want to slap Phoebe when she takes up with a gentleman that is spoiling his 16 year old daughter rotten. You just know that this isn’t a relationship to get into because his daughter will always be first in his life. Over the course of the book there is healing for many different relationships that have over time become difficult. One of the main themes is the touching story of a handmade girls blue coat that takes us back to WWII and the holocaust.

I found it a truly delightful book to read and only wished that it were illustrated with some of the clothing that was described. The story itself is light reading set in Great Britain. If you love some humor, romance and fashion in the books you read, you should enjoy this one.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Freestyle machine Embroidery: Techniques and Inspiration for Fiber Art by Carol Shinn

While looking through my many needlecraft magazines, I came upon a project done by Carol Shinn that I thought was amazing, so I was delighted to see that she had published a book on her techniques called Freestyle Machine Embroidery: Techniques and Inspiration for Fiber Art. I have been looking for quite a while for a book that showed how to do freestyle machine embroidery which is not the same as doing machine embroidery using digitized designs. With freestyle machine embroidery, you use your sewing machine as a paint brush and thread as the paint, sewing down layers of color to make a picture or design.

In my quest I have come upon books that while supposedly about this type of embroidery, spend half the book talking about painting backgrounds, etc. Well if I could paint backgrounds I think I would stick with painting and forget trying to learn how to machine embroider the picture. This book, however, explains some simple projects that you can do with painting blocks of color (or you could print the blocks out using special ink jet photo transfer paper) and then explains how to use your threads to sew out these simple designs. Once you have learned these simple techniques then you go on to learn how to show transparency of colors in your designs. There are plenty of pictures so that you can understand the step by step process including showing the blocks and the spools of thread used in the project and how they combined.

The author explains the materials she uses and the whys of what she uses and at the same time going on to describe other material that can be used and how you would need to stabilize it. She also spends time on explaining how a design can distort due to the quantity of thread taking up fabric depending on the way the stitches lie. This is the first I recall hearing about the possibilities of distortion from all the books I have read on freestyle machine embroidery in so it was certainly good to know. Along with her own work she shows examples of other artists and explains their basic techniques and philosophy about what they do.

At the back of the book was a page of recommended reading with a long list of books that I hadn’t heard of. I think my wish list will be expanding if I can’t find the books through my local library. All in all this was a terrific book and one I highly recommend if you are interested at all in this sewing technique. Perhaps after reading this book, I will now be able to go back to my other books on machine embroidery and understand the techniques for combining the thread better.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Free Jacobean Machine Embroidery Designs

One of my favorite machine embroidery design sites, Embroidery Library, has a wonderful set of FREE Jacobean flower and butterfly designs. These designs are available for Free through April 25, 2010. Click this link to see them and download these great designs.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Finished My Quilt Top!

Off and on over the years, I have been working on a quilt top for me. One I can snuggle under, is in the colors I like with motifs that I enjoy. Well the top is done now and I'm working on figuring out how I want to quilt it. The center of the quilt is pieced based on a design I found many years ago in McCall's Quilting December 1996. I've used this design in in a simpler format for many of my Project Linus quilts and, of course, it uses my 2 X 4 blocks. The colors range from light pick to dark reddish pinks with some green blocks thrown in for relief. It is the border that I spent the most time on. I have machine appliqued/embroidered roses in each of the corners and resized them to be slighter smaller on the sides of the quilt. The lovely rose design that sewed out like a dressm is from Kenny's Kreations a fantastic Australian website with two great machine embroidery designers. The lace hearts are from Embroidery Library another fantastic site. Sewing out the lace hearts in the same color of thread as the roses gives continuity to the quilt and the border and something you can only do with the magic of home machine embroidery. I also stuck in a little lace butterfly on one of the blocks which came from Janome Memorycraft Card 129 K-Lace designs. Our amateur photography doesn't do the quilt justice especially the colors, but I was very pleased at how the quilt top turned out. Now if I can only quilt it to do it justice I will be happy. This is a long term project for me that I have had to think about each step of the process so that I would get what I want.

On another quilting note, last month I had a goal of making 10 blocks for my latest Project Linus quilt. Well they say if you write a goal down you usually accomplish it. Not only did I get the 10 blocks finished, I made the entire 25 blocks that I need for the quilt top. It is amazing how much you can sew while waiting for food to cook and taking rest breaks while doing dishes, which is about the only time I work on my Project Linus quilts. This month's goal is to piece the top together and quilt it. Currently, though, it is set aside as my son is visiting with his charming girlfriend and things had to be set aside to make room for them this weekend.

On another note we have been busy adding more sewing patterns to our store, lots more retro designs, maternity and plus sizes patterns have been added in the last few weeks. We have over 7000 patterns listed in all sizes and styles. We invite you to visit us at Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts for all your sewing pattern needs. We do have a backlog that we haven't gotten listed yet, so if you are looking for a particular pattern, just ask. however we do need the company and pattern number to to search.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Threads Magazine Back Issues

One of my best and most inspiring sewing guides has been my collection of Threads magazines. It took a lot of work but I finally have the entire collection, as published and have gone through and read them several times. I learn something new every time I pick up a new or back issue of this wonderful and inspiring magazine. In my quest to get one issue each of the entire set, at times I had to buy magazine lots that had an issue that I already had. These spare issues are what I’m selling. They have all been used, many are ex-library and have stamps and markings and wear, there is a possibility of a missing page. However I believe them to all be complete. They are being sold AS IS for the great information contained in them. You can see which issues I have for sale here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Breast Cancer Comfort Cushions

For those of you who would like to use your sewing and machine embroidery talents to help others, here is a project that is worthy of support. Started by a woman who herself faced breast cancer, she developed a sewing charity of making breast cancer comfort cushions, tote bags for x-rays, tote bags for drainage bags, and a small gift that has helped thousands of women. You can read her story here. Embroidery Library, one of my favoirte sites is also giving away a free machine embroidry design to use when making your own comfort cushion and has step by step instructions for embroidering and sewing it on their site which you can see here.

If you know someone recovering from breast cancer surgery, this would be a welcome gift. If this is not something you would want to make yourself, be sure to send the links on to someone who could benefit from this project.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sew Craftful

Hey I think I finally figured out how to use Twitter for myself. Saw a post that looked interesting, clicked on it and found this interesting blog on sewing with vintage patterns, etc. If you are interested in sewing with vintage patterns and other tidbits of vintage sewing information you might want to take a look at Sew Craftful.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Project Linus Quilt 2010


Finally I have the picture of this years Project Linus quilt that I just turned in. It is all made with finished size 2" squares, 4" squares and 2 x 4" rectangles. This is my interpretation of a front cover quilt from McCall's Quilting December 1996. I have made quite a few quilts from this block as it is easy to make, but looks a bit complicated. It is also a great block for scraps as you can control the scrappy look by having one piece of the same fabric of the same size in the same location in each block. Whenever I finish a sewing project that uses quilting cotton, I cut my leftover pieces into 2 1/2" squares, 4 1/2" squares, and 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangles. Do that for a while and when you need a quilt in a hurry it is all basically cut out, all you have to do is decide the location for each fabric and sew them together. In this particular quilt I decided to quilt a block at a time and then join them in the end. In the larger squares I machine embroidered a quilting motif and then stitched in the ditch with decorative stitches, then put the quilt together.

I do most of my piecing for my Project Linus quilts at my sewing machine that is just off of my kitchen. It is amazing how much sewing you can get done while waiting for water to boil or toast to pop and even during those breaks I have to take while doing dishes. Most of this quilt was made in those spare minutes that usually get wasted. I'm doing a different block for next year's quilt and already have 10 blocks finished. I am yet again using my "Two by Four" pieces so they were already cut out and these blocks are going together fast. Perhaps this year I can make two quilts. Having this project in a different location than my other sewing projects, keeps me remembering it (don't want my Project Linus quilts turning into UFO's) and also no need to put it away when I have other projects to work on in my sewing room.

I like making quilts for children to have when they are in need of comfort and I hope it also encourages the parents to know that someone loved their child from afar even before there was the need for the quilt. Because I have health problems that keep me from doing many of the things I would truly like to, I feel blessed to be able to do this for others and that I was also blessed with an extra sewing machine to have this project always in front of me when I am in the kitchen.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Clothes for 18" Dolls

I'm a mother to boys and they haven't yet presented me with grand-daughters so I haven't had much of a chance to sew doll clothes. I know I could make and dress dolls for charity but I prefer making quilts for my charitable sewing. So I have to pass on information about making doll clothes to my readers and let them get the use out of them. Heart N Sole has some great in the hoop machine embroidery doll clothes for 18" dolls. Even if you don't need to be making doll clothes, you might want to pop on over to the site to see what is possible. Machine embroidery has come such a long way since the first home embroidery/sewing machine came out in 1990.

If you want to make doll clothes the 'old-fashioned' way, you can visit our pattern store and see our selection including some patterns that include an outfit for your little girl and her doll. As always from us, fast shipping. Currently we have over 6000 new, uncut sewing patterns of all styles and sizes in our store. Shop with us any time!

Friday, March 05, 2010

In the Hoop Doll Clothes

The Purple Hat now has a set of designs to be made in the hoop of 11 1/2" fashion doll clothes consisting of a skirt, pants, top and vest. If you need to whip up some clothes for your child's fashion doll such as Barbie(R) you might want to check out this set.

Friday, February 19, 2010

New Embroidery Site

Hatched In Africa has come out with a New site called Hatched Embroidery fun if you like machine embroidering redwork and quilting blocks they have some great designs. Although they don't have any freebies at this site currently, they have always had plenty at the regular Hatched in Africa. When visiting there, plan to spend some time as they have many beautiful machine embroidery designs and you will get lots of great ideas.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Nostalgic Designs

Madsen Originals has just released some great nostalgic children machine embroidery designs. Visit them here and take a peek at these lovely designs. They also have quite a few FREE sample designs that you can download to see examples of their work.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fleece Top


Here is my finished fleece top using Butterick Pattern 4361. As noted in the previous blog I machine embroidered the design and the top itself was very easy to sew up. Wearing it was a treat the other day as it was warm and cozy and we are in the midst of WINTER here! I'm looking forward to making my next top and ideas are already percolating in my head.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fleece Top


Well I have had some fun tracking down embroidery designs for the fleece top I was making. I wanted to have the design coordinate with the fabric of a skirt I have, trying to keep Sewing With A Plan in mind. I found a design off of one of Janome's memory cards Floral Design 2 #125 design #7 and some small daisies and a butterfly design from Embroidery Library . Then I tried to match the colors as closely as possible and sewed out the combined design on my Janome 300E. After inspecting it and with some advice from hubby, I dropped one extra color completely and changed a few others around. I then embroidered it out on the front of my top. It was all downhill from there. I couldn't believe how easy it was to sew out the top! I was finished in no time except for blanket stitching around the neckline with perle cotton that I did while watching a DVD with my son. I will post the picture of the top as soon as hubby has gotten the phicture on the computer for me but in the meantime, I'm posting the embroidery design and a swatch of the fabric. Not an exact match for the design, but close enough to go with the skirt and also with another skirt I have. I am looking forward to wearing it as it is nice and cuddly feeling. The only comment I have about the pattern, Butterick Pattern 4361 is that the sleeves seemed to be way to long and as I am tall and sleeves generally are too short on me, this is something you may want to be careful of if you make up the pattern. Now that I have made it once, I plan on making another top with the other chunk of fleece that I have. We still have many months of winter to look forward to and I want some warm tops.


I found Nancy Cornwell's Book More Polarfleece Adventures
to be a great resource and guide while making this top.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Resting Reading Sewing


While running some errands today, I stopped in at my library and discovered that they have a subscription to Quilter's World
Magazine and I was able to check out 3 back issues. Now I'm looking forward to taking a break to look through them. I can only have them for a week, but it is nice to know that I can see it at my library. When wondering if you should get a subscription for a magazine, don't forget that your library may have issues of it that you can preview. There are other craft magazines at my library and I will have to see if there are others I would like to bring home for ideas. I love looking through magazines when I'm not feeling well, so glad to remember that I have another source for them other than buying them.


Hoping today to cut out a long sleeve fleece top using Butterick 4361. Still trying to decide which neckline to use. I'm thinking of using some gray fleece I have. We still have copies of this pattern available in our store if you would like to get one or one of our many other patterns that we have for sale. Currently we have over 6400 new, uncut sewing patterns in stock.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sew Beautiful #128

After weeks of being stuck in the house due to snow, snow and more snow, I finally got out the other day with my son helping me to get groceries. At one of the stores, I saw the front cover of Sew Beautiful
issue 128. It was gorgeous! The front cover featured a beautiful bouquet of flowers made out of ribbons. The whole issue in fact featured ribbons, how to make them into different types of flowers and how to use them to decorate and accessorize. While normally this magazine is full of smocking plates, heirloom embroidery, Christening gowns, etc., this issue encompassed all that while bringing us the basics of creating with ribbons. If you are interested in making ribbon roses and other types of flowers you will want to find a copy of this magazine as inspiration and reference source.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Lovely Butterfly Bag

The Purple Hat as just brought out a great new Made in the Hoop machine embroidery design. It has butterflies and flowers on the front of the handbag and also includes a coin/cosmetic bag and eyeglass case with matching designs. Currently this design set is on sale until January 22, 2010 but should be available after at it's regular price. Stop in and see this great design!