Sunday, October 30, 2016
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 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.
Friday, October 07, 2016
Seeing some posts in the Janome Digest that I belong to, posts about their sewing journey to this point made me curious about when others started needlework, what kind did they do, how did they learn, what is their favorite thing to do. So this is my story, what is yours?
My mom had an old Singer and made most of my sister, mine and my mother’s clothes when I was young. She also embroidered at times and I took that up. I hand embroidered two sets of pillowcases for my ‘hope chest’. My friend at school taught me to knit and after making two potholders, that was enough for me. I also learned to crochet granny squares and finished making enough of them to make an afghan around the time my oldest was born and my ex’s grandmother sewed them all together for me. As they had been made over many years, the gauge had changed and so were all different sizes. I also crocheted a doily using that little green covered book I think it is called Teach yourself to knit and crochet. At most points in my life my local library had very few books on needlecrafts of any type and my mom only knew the basics of sewing and I didn’t have grandmother’s or aunts to teach me. One grandmother’s hobby seemed to be having babies along with making bread. She had I think 14 kids and would make 30 loaves of bread at a crack. I do think I inherited her bread making gene!
I was learning to sew garments at home before I started home ec. I knew more about cooking during that class than the teacher taught as I grew up helping to can and cook. I hated sewing in home ec. And it made me hate installing zippers and hand hemming the rest of my life. I don’t think that was how it was supposed to work. But since eighth grade (age 12-13) I have been making many of my own clothes over the years, but not so much anymore as the clothes I made won’t wear out and the thrift store has had things in my size at a good price.
I was highly influenced by Little House on the Prairie books which I think I lost track of how many times I read all of them after 20 times each for the series. And since you can’t be a clone of Laura and Mary without taking up a needle of some sort, I decided to make a quilt! I’m appalled at what I did to make that quilt. I started it in 1968 prior to the Bicentennial and all the quilting books and fabric that came out at that point). I knew nothing of templates and so cut a square out, laid it on another piece of fabric and cut another square out and so on! Incidentally I was using fabric from my mother’s ‘rag’ bag of leftover sewing bits. So this quilt had squares of upholstery fabric, and lightweight crepe. Lots of cotton/poly blends as 100% cotton was hard to come by. I finished the top right before I left for college. My mom bought me backing fabric and batting and I tied the quilt using red string that I could barely get through the quilt sandwich. However, I was as proud as punch when it was finished. A bright happy quilt that I took with me to college. It lasted about 10 years before it fell completely apart. I ran into some old squares one day and I finally knew many of the things I had done wrong. Those ‘squares’ differed in size by up to an inch! I sewed them together with whatever stitch length my mom had last set the machine, so many of the squares where basted together! I still have a few cherished pieces from that quilt that I insert when possible into very special quilts.
When Log Cabin Quilt in a Day came out, I started making log cabin quilts and then branched out from there. After 50 quilts, I stopped counting! Most were given as gifts or to Project Linus. I also still do garment sewing, Made window covers for several of the rooms in the house, through pillows as well. I do some hand embroidery and want to get more into that as my hands can handle holding the hoop. My favorite thing is reading about sewing, quilting, embroidery, etc. We are so blessed at this point in time to have so much reference material for any type of sewing we want to do. I still remember not being able to find anything to teach me how to quilt. I got to take a quilting cruise with Doreen Speckman using a sign on bonus that I got years ago in 1990 and that was the only in person teaching I’ve ever really had.