Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts

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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.