Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts

Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts
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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Crafty Geometry

Crafty Geometry that explains how scientists are using knitting and crocheting to visualize scientific principles. Quilters have long known that they use the principles of geometry for much of their piecework, but seeing some of the designs in this article made me really appreciate the skill that goes into knitting and crocheting three-dimensional shapes. What an idea for teaching simple geometry to students!

Freezer Paper Stencil

Hoping this link works. It is a cute idea for using freezer paper to make stencils for decorating a onsie (or any other fabric). I found it in a blog called Crafty Daisies .

Moving my Sewing Room

I've been packing up my sewing room and moving it off to the new house. Of course, I would like to be working on a project but it would be a little difficult as cutters and scissors are packed plus some of the fabric and all my idea books. I didn't get any new sewing books for Christmas, but did get a Barnes & Noble gift card and then Barnes & Noble sent me a $10 off $40 coupon which needs redeemed by the 17th. which means I get a new book or two as soon as I can get to the store.

I want to wish all of you a very Happy New Year full of fun sewing projects and joy and peace in your home. Don't forget for your pattern needs to visit our store. As soon as our move is over, I have about 500 more patterns to add plus a lot of vintage sewing patterns. During our move, we are keeping our store open and don't anticipate any significant shipping delays.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Glass Dresses

Now here is a new concept. Make your dress out of glass. Actually this is an artform and you will need to click on each picture to see each of Karen Lamonte's creations in better detail. They are incredible! I saw mention of this site from one of my favorite sites: Dress a Day which is also an incredible site expecially if you love sewing or just looking at vintage dresses. Erin, the author of Dress a Day blog has an absolutely magical way of writing and you will soon get hooked. Too busy to visit these sites right now? Bookmark them for when you need some 'me time', you will be glad you did.

Monday, December 18, 2006

A New Christmas Apron

Perhaps it is because I didn't have a huge list of sewing projects to make this Christmas, but all of the sudden it seems I'm doing a lot of Christmas sewing in the past week. It helps to have the pressure off of having no 'MUST DO' list. Today I made a butcher style apron out of the most glorious Christmas fabric--bright red poinsettias on a black background with gold highlights. I used eyelet lace with red ribbon threaded through it and tied in a bow to decorate the pocket. I have to have pockets in my aprons.

I was a bit nervous when I saw the curved parts of the side that I would have to seam down. However, as it was bias cut, pressing the seam allowances under twice and then setting the needle to hit right on the left edge of the fold produced a beautiful seam. It will be fun to have a bright new apron to wear while serving dinner. Of course, after finishing the apron. I realized that the pot holders I made last night don't match the apron, but since they do coordinate fairly well, I should probably skip trying to make some matching ones.

I think at this point I have to get back to sewing curtains. Bathroom ones this time. Hubby wants something sumptuous.

Quick Christmas Gifts

After working on several huge, time-consuming projects, it has been a pleasure to sit down and make some quick Christmas gifts. Just in the last couple of days I have made 7 potholders/hot pads and three rice bags to stick in the microwave or fridge for soothing warmth or cold for boo boos and sore muscles. In between those I have made three flat valances for my sewing room that will be gathered on the rod.

Potholders: Take two 6 1/2" squares of matching or coordinating fabric, padding or backing (I had left over pre-quilted fabric) and a 25" strip of 2 1/2" fabric to bind the edges. Pin the fabric on either side of the batting right side out, sew a line of stitches diagonally from corner to corner--a good place to have fun with decorative stitches. Iron your 2 1/2" strip of fabric wrong sides together, fold about half and inch of the beginning of the strip to the inside for a clean finished edge. Place the strip behind your potholder with tops and edges matching and sew it down with about a 1/4" seam, then flip it over and sew it down on the front with a seam near the edge. Do this on all four sides and you will have a potholder. Repeat until you are out of fabric or out of your mind! If the corners are hard to stitch down due to the bulk of the fabric, just start where you can and then turn it around and finish sewing from the opposite direction. I had a head start on the potholders because when I opened my box of Christmas fabrics, I found leftover pieces from various projects including sufficient strips for the binding.

Rice Bags: I have made these in several different styles, but this week was a simple one. Take two wash clothes (I found a batch for something like 18 for $3 at Walmart) and sew around three sides. I used a triple stitch for extra security. then sewed up the middle of the bag and then at about the middle between the middle and the edge, ending up with 4 channels. These I filled about 2/3rds of the way up with cheap rice. and then sewed the top shut. Not exactly pretty, but very functional. You can heat them in the microwave for a couple of minutes to get them nice and warm and apply to whatever part of the body needs the soothing heat. Conversely, you can keep them in the freezer as handy ice packs that are reusable.

Happy sewing!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sewing Techniques

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to purchase a huge stack, 10 years worth, of back issues of Threads Magazine. I enjoy reading them and learned lots of sewing techniques that I had never known before. It hasn't been until the last couple weeks as I have been doing a flurry of sewing that I realized how much useful information I had retained from reading 9 months ago. My sewing has definitely improved and I have learned to take advantage of some of the neat things my Janome 6500 can do. This may sound silly, but I never realized what the big deal was about changing the position on your needle was. My way of sewing was aim the needle where you wanted the stitches to be, why change the needle position. Why? Well, by changing the needle position, you are leaving more fabric under the presser foot for more even feeding of the fabric. This of course means more even, straight stitching, and no more falling off the edge of the fabric. I've been hemming an immense about of curtains and have found this to be a very practical item to know.

Anyhow I just finished sewing 2 valances for my new sewing room. I decided not to do full length curtains as I don't want to spoil my spectacular view. I'm using a chunk of fabric my husband had bought me as a gift several years ago--white background with multi-colored Morning Glories as the print. The selvage edge calls it Potpourri, 100% white weight cotton. It should add a nice fresh accent to the room which is painted a very pale pink.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Another Big Project Finished

Last night I finally finished the quilt I was making for my father-in-law for a thank you gift for helping us build our dream home. It is a scrap quilt using the strip piecing, sew and flip technique. Each block was sewn with the batting and backing intact so that when I was done I had 96 blocks to attach to each and TaDa a finished quilt. I used instructions from Sharon Pederson's Reversible Quilts and More Reversible Quilts books. Attaching the blocks to each other in the beginning was very easy, but as the sections got larger I had a lot of weight and drag that I was coping with. I remember when I was on a cruise with Doreen Speckman she equated machine quilting to wrestling an alligator. I felt like I was wrestling alligators last night. I think part of the problem will be solved by my new sewing room that I will be moving into soon where my sewing machine can be set up with more room to spread out the weight of a quilt. Up to the very end, though, I did enjoy using the technique and plan on trying it again only probably with a smaller nap or lap sized quilt.

The big surprise with this quilt is, as usual with a scrap quilt, you really can't judge what it is going to look like until it is done. I wanted a predominately a light and dark blue quilt with a touch of red for an accent. When it was all put together, the quilt shouts "here I am" and the red is what you see. It is such a bright and busy quilt, I hope he doesn't have problems sleeping under it.

My wonderful husband gave me my Christmas present yesterday. My own Log Cabin quilt that he had made out of granite and marble! Yes, you heard that right! At the bottom of our staircase in the new house is a landing that he cut up all these pieces of dark granite and light marble into a perfect rendition of a Fields and Furrows Log Cabin quilt. It is fantastic and a present that I'll always have to cherish--once we are in this house, I have no intention of ever leaving.

I've been very busy selling sewing patterns out of our store and I suspect a lot of people are going to find new pajamas, robes, scarves, hats and mittens under the tree made with loving hands. Things have finally slowed down a bit and so I have time to touch on a few things I've been meaning to post. The Embroidery Library has posted their new December free designs (see I told you I'm running behind) and one of the designs are some applique ice skates. This would be useful for trimming a gift for the young (or old) ice skater in your life. They are also offering a Christmas trio of a snow man, Santa Claus and a reindeer all together with a "Merry Christmas" greeting on it. I also just this evening got an email from Zundt Design and they have a lovely Freestanding Lace Angel for download. It really pays to sign up to be on the mailing list of your favorite design sites, as you never know when they might offer a free design that is just what you are looking for. I was able to decorate some new towels for our house with a great free monogram design that I had gotten from Gosia Embroidery Design and knew it was exactly what I had been looking for.

Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Replacing things

Why is it when something has given you years of service, when it finally breaks you can't find the same thing again. Companies seems to tweak and change those items that work perfectly well. Why my mini-rant? After many years of service, my rotary cutter died on me. It had seen me through what felt like miles of fabric and many quilts. It was comfortable in my hand, and did what it was supposed to. Do you think I could find the same one again? Hardly! I went on line and tried to research the latest rotary cutters and they all had good and bad reviews. Anyhow I had a chance to get to JoAnn Fabrics today and found a Fons & Porter cutter made by KAI (like my last one) the handle feels comfy. It was on sale. I also found a Fiskars cutter that was cheaper but looked like it would be comfortable to hold. With arthritis in my hands, comfort is the optimal word when picking out a rotary cutter. Since I had a 40% off coupon, I went ahead and got both for basically the regular price on one. Now when I have the energy I can try both out and see which works best.

Even with my cutter broken, yesterday I managed to make some trip quilted blocks for the quilt I'm working on. They still need to be trimmed down and so it will be a good test of the new rotary cutters ability.

I had lunch with my mom today and in her late 70's she has taken up quilting too. So nice to have a quilting buddy, but very weird to have the woman who taught me how to sew asking me the questions now.

Friday, November 24, 2006

One Huge Project Finished!

Finally after several months of work my bedroom curtains for our new house are finished. I just finished the valances about a half hour ago and they look great. Once we move in and I get them hung, I will try to post a picture. I have never seen window dressings like these so I feel very creative! I took such a long time because of the massive amount of machine embroidery (about 20 hours worth) plus my own physical limitations (I can only sew for about an hour at a time). I have a great feeling of accomplishment and can hardly wait to hang them up.

Now to finish my father-in-law's quilt, curtains for the new bathroom, the sun room, the sewing room, living room, kitchen, office, other bathroom and so it goes. And somewhere in there I would like to make myself some clothes. Selling patterns everyday, I keep running into ones I'd like to sew but just haven't had time. My new sewing room has a huge picture window and I'm scared I'm going to be so mesmerized looking out the window into the woods that I will forget what I'm doing!

Holiday Craft Projects

Still looking for some great ideas for holiday craft projects? I found a site with a huge amount of project ideas. Check out This link to see all the great designs. They are based on machine embroidery and embroidery fonts. Even if you don't have machine embroidery capabilities, you could still use the ideas and decorate with decorative stitches, lace or appliques.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all. I did my cooking yesterday and have had time for a nap, a little reading, some sewing and some time updating my blog into the newer format. I'm looking forward to being able to add some extra content without the need for all the HTML!!!

I am so thankful for a wonderful hubby, my kids and family, a roof over my head, food in the pantry and hobbies that take my mind off of my infirmaties. God is so good.

Just a reminder for those of you how don't really like going out and facing the crowds shopping, we have some great items for sale in MoonwishesStore including lots of sewing patterns for great gifts, some premade items that you just have to add some embroidery touches, and counted cross stitch and needlepoint kits. Well, some of those kits might not be able to be made in time for gift giving, but everyone needs a chance for a little down time.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Free Standing Lace Nativity Set

Another internet search at 4 in the morning, but finally had a chance to check out The Embroidery Library latest newsletter. Just when you think they can't push the boundaries of machine embroidery any further, they come up with this, a Free Standing Lace Nativity Set! I can't seem to publish the picture, but it is worth it to visit the site to see. An industrious person could get this set sewn out in plenty of time for the holidays. The set comes in two sizes, for 5 x 7 hoops and 4 x 4 hoops and in multiple machine formats.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Couple of Neat Sites

The other night, I was hurting quite badly due to my arthritis and couldn't sleep so figured a change of position might help. I ended up in front of the computer at 3 in the morning and somehow found a wonderful blog called A Dress A Day. Not only was it informative, it was funny and after about a half hour visiting there, I was ready to go back to bed and was able to sleep. Anything that relieves pain and helps me sleep is a good thing and I thought some of you might like to check it out.

I found another wonderful site today -- can't even remember how I got there (oh the wonders of the internet!). It is called The Frock and contains detailed photographs and descriptions of vintage designer garments. It is a wonderfully laid out professional site that could probably keep you drooling over the clothes for hours. The best part is you can actually purchase these clothes. They aren't in my budget, but to see the lovely pictures should be inspirational in our own sewing.

On the home front, I finally finished embroidering all 16 motifs on the valances for my new bedroom curtains. At that point I had an urge to do a little quilting so made four more quilt blocks for the quilt I am making for my father-in-law. Maybe tonight I can get back into the sewing room and work on finishing the valances so I can move on to other projects. I liked doing the embroidery, but realized it was a long stretch without doing any quilting.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Busy Summer!

What a busy summer it has been! If I wasn’t sick, I was busy packing and getting ready to move (hopefully in just a few weeks). We will be moving into a house with a lot of windows, so I have been working on making curtains. Since I’m not one to change decorations often in our home, it took me awhile to decide what I wanted to make and then do it. So far for the bedroom, I’ve made lacey sheer under-curtains, curtains with a two fabric border and now I’m working on valances. As the main curtain fabric is black with beautiful flowers all over I’ve been embroidering bunches of flowers at intervals on black fabric. Total of 16 motifs to embroider, each taking an hour to sew out assuming everything goes well!

I had read in one of my embroidery magazines that picking your embroidery thread by the color spots on the selvedge edge of fabric is a good way to be sure your threads match or coordinate with your project. I tried that and it has worked out well. It is hard for me to embroider the same thing over and over without changing so I, of course, ended up switching threads and thread types. This in turn has taught me more about tensions and directions of the spool of thread while sewing it out. I also learned that embroidering on black with lighter, finer weight threads didn’t give me the coverage that I wanted but I found by re-embroidering those areas in the same color before moving on, gave much better coverage and a brighter look to the embroidery.

One thing that I really wish my Janome 300E would do is signal when the bobbin thread is low. Unfortunately it doesn’t, so you find out that your bobbin thread is out when it runs out. When an embroidery motif takes over an hour to sew out, it is very hard to estimate if you will have enough bobbin thread. This may be an area if you are looking to purchase an embroidery machine that you check to see if it has a low bobbin indicator. I notice that Janome has come out with another embroidery only machine, but the ads don’t mention a low bobbin indicator. I’m not sure why they left off this essential item as many of their sewing machines have this technology.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Plus Sized Patterns

The August 2006 Sew News magazine came loaded with good information. The best was a review of Plus-sized sewing pattern companies. At our store we have over 200 plus sized patterns, but if none of those are what you are looking this list would be great to check out. I'll admit I went to every site and spent a couple of hours oogling. For your convenience I posted a links in their own section of my SquidooLens as a permanent resource for all of us nicely endowed ladies! Click Here and you will be taken to GaileteSews and the list.

While you are there, take a look at all the machine embroidery design sites that I have listed. Send me an email if I'm missing any of your favorites so I can add them to the list. I love using the Squidoo site for making permanent clickable lists as I tend to lose track of my sites.

If you have a plus-sized child, the current Sew News has an article on altering their clothes. This is something you don't see written about much and plus sized clothes are hard to find. Even while we have been stocking our ebay store, it has been very hard to find plus sized children's patterns. We have some, but not as many as we would like to see. If anyone knows of a good source for them, please let us know.

There was also an article on making your own dress maker's dummy using a garbage bag, duct tape, and paper tape. My hubby has already promised when life slows down a bit for him, he will help me make one!

Well my heading has been spinning with ideas after getting so many sewing magazines in a row (and I didn't even get my Threads magazine yet). I never even realized how many magazines I got till they came all at once and I tried to absorb all the information. My next project that I'm planning is making an embroidered coin purse in the hoop. This will be a first for me, and I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

This has been the week for mail which meant lots of new ideas for sewing or embroidering. I received my copies of Designs in Machine Embroidery, Creative Machine Embroidery, and my package of Creative Expressions with Jenny Haskins for resale in our store (I get to keep one copy for myself). Yet again, so many ideas and so little time. Plus our big library had it’s Friends of the Library sale where I got a lot more craft books and magazines. I need a couple of more lives to do all the projects that I would like to do. This why I sometimes get behind in blogging, I have way too many projects to do.

My latest personal project was making tassels out of pearl cotton to hang from some light fixtures in the house we are hoping to move into by Christmas. I’d never made tassels before, but it was a fun project except when the cotton got tangled up. I used about 10 different but coordinating colors to match some fabric that we will be using in the living room. The fabric we got was $10 at a yard sale for about 6 yards of great upholstery fabric and the pearl cotton was 80% off at our JoAnn’s Fabric store that has just gone out of business. I’m going to miss that store—I’ve shopped there for almost 30 years. All in all, the tassel project was an inexpensive one, yet it will add richness to the room.

In the latest Designs in Machine Embroidery, they have a great article on embroidering on blue jeans, including how to get around the pocket problem. Especially if you have a young girl or teenager in your life, you would appreciate the advice in this article. In the Creative Machine Embroidery magazine, they have all their usual great articles, but one really jumped out at me. It was about embroidering fabric to make unique piping. I probably wouldn’t use the idea for a huge project, but for something small like a pillow or one-of-a-kind purse it is a terrific idea. Creative Expressions with Jenny Haskins #11 is another great magazine with a special feature this month. The cover project, a topiary wall hanging, has not only the instructions for making the project, but a link to the FREE embroidery designs for making the project which makes this magazine an extra value! We only have 5 available in our store and you can get them by clicking here. We still have one copy left of Creative Expressions #10 as of this writing that you can purchase by clicking here.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Keeping lists

One of the difficulties I've had with using this blog is being able to have a coherent listing of embroidery sites, great books, etc. Well I think I've found an answer for that problem. Check out Gailete Sews at Squidoo. It was easy to set up and is much easier to update embroidery sites as I find them. I don't know about you, but HTML isn't my first language! Let me know what you think. If you want your own Squidoo spot, click here!

The Secrets of Embroidery

The Secrets of Embroidery is another must check out site. It is a portal into a large group of talented machine embroidery digitizers. I have found some lovely designs at this site. Be sure to sign up for their newsletter as it will clue you in to when new designs are added and when new freebies are added.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Responding to a Comment

“I have a singer 306 given to me by my grandmother. She took a great deal of care on this machine and I follow in her footsteps. My machine sews through delicate laces and into hard thick denims with a beautiful stitch! I still use it today as the machine is better than modern ones in many ways. It is in the original cabinet, additional feet, manual and even 30 extra fashion disks to go with it. There are so many variations with these disks that I could consider it also as an embroidery machine. Currently I am on a quest to find a book on using these additional fashion disks. Why can't they make sewing machines like this anymore? This is perfection!”

That is a good question to ask about a lot of things! My mom’s Singer broke down years ago although I still own it. The Singer I got last summer is still waiting to be repaired, so in the meantime I use my Janome 6500. I am hoping that once I get the old Singer repaired to use a vintage sewing pattern, vintage style fabric and vintage trims to make something on the machine just to see how it sews. With my old Singer I was very impressed with the manual as it taught me some things my manual for my new machine didn’t have.

I think that is the point of my comment. Just about every sewing machine that is for sale currently has decorative stitches and/or utility stitches. But the manuals never tell you what they are supposed to be used for! It is a case of trial and error and hopefully running into a good book or magazine article that sheds some light on the topic. I think that is why I have been so impressed with Jenny Haskins’ and her son Simon’s books. Even though they use lots of machine embroidered designs, they base most of their designs on stitch building—using all those decorative stitches together in unique ways—that makes their projects a work of art. I also like the book All About Machine Arts: Decorative Techniques from A to Z, which has a glossary of different decorative stitches with suggestions for usage.

Of course the best way to learn how to use those stitches, is stabilize a chunk of fabric and sit down and start sewing! I did that the other day and ended up with a decorative stitched pocket and front bands for a sweatshirt jacket. Since I used variegated threads of colors I usually wear, this jacket goes with most of my clothes.

Still I too, continue the quest to learn more about those amazing stitches! Anyone with suggestions, please post. If possible, I will get a copy of the book and post a review here.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Embroidered checkbook cover

I used to sew large projects and found great satisfaction in finishing a king sized quilt or having a marathon sewing session that resulted in an entire wardrobe at the end of the week. Well my strength has ebbed and yet my desire to create is just as strong. I have found great delight in reading about others accomplishments, looking at sewing patterns and dreaming of how I would make it (if only I had the figure for it!), or reading books about sewing and telling you about them. But nothing equals actually sitting down at the sewing machine and making something.

After years of always getting a new tacky plastic checkbook cover with every new batch of checks, I’ve discovered that this isn’t happening anymore now that all my checkbook covers have completely worn out. This gave me a perfect excuse to make my own checkbook cover. I discovered a couple of things along the way so that the next one will go a little smoother, but for now this one is good enough and gave me a lovely sense of accomplishment. I used some blue and white stripped fabric that I had around the house and the design is from Janome’s Victorian Rose designs only I changed the colors. This was my first attempt at machine embroidering a design on a patterned fabric. Might not be the right mix of colors, but my next try will be better. I hate wasting good fabric and thread when I’m just experimenting.

I also wanted to share and machine embroidery link that I’ve come upon, it is Sew Swell. Most of their designs are a mix of machine appliqué with machine embroidery. The mix of the two makes your embroidery time go a bit faster. They have designs that fit up to a 6” x 10” hoop. They also have a lot of free samples so you can judge for yourself whether or not their designs and instructions are right for you. When you visit the site, be sure to sign up for their newsletter so you don’t miss out on their special deals and newest freebies.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Email & Newsletters

I’m sure everyone out there with an email address gets their fair share of junk mail and spam, so it is always fun to get emails about things you are truly interested in. Today I got several. First I got a newsletter from Kenny Kreations about a new quilt design they have for purchase. It is called Time for Bed, Ted and it is adorable. It features an Irish Chain style quilt with Ted (a teddy bear) in different poses under his blanket. Ted can also be converted into a girl bear too. The Ted design is partly machine appliqué, and partly machine embroidery. A sew in the hoop bear also comes as part of the set. This would make an awesome gift for a baby or toddler. To see Ted and also to get links to the other creations at Kenny Kreations, click HERE.

The other newsletter I got was from Hatched In Africa. The designs these girls make are absolutely awesome. Many of them are heirloom quality and most of their design sets have a freebie to go with them. With their newsletter today came a link to a Mother’s Day gift of an entire free alpha-bet for immediate download. Also there were links to their two newest design sets—both with freebie designs. When I get to the Hatched in Africa site, I get mesmerized and could look at designs for hours as they are so beautiful. But of course that doesn’t leave me any time for sewing myself or any of the other things I need to do. If you would like to visit Hatched in Africa, click HERE.

Both of these machine embroidery sites have newsletters that you can sign up for and I encourage anyone who likes a particular site to sign up for newsletters from the site. You never know what kind of goodie you will get such as the free alpha-bet that I got today (sorry I’m not allowed to post it’s link) or notification of special sales, and of course notification of the newest designs.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Machine Lace Embroidery

Mother's Day is coming and even though we don't make a huge deal about it in our family, we do acknowledge our mothers and like to give them a little something. I knew I needed something flat that would fit in a card to mail as I won't be able to visit my mom this year. It is a sad state of affairs when the daughter feels more decrepit than the mother. Thankfully she understands and I'm sure she will appreciate something 'handmade' by me.

For once I didn't procrastinate! Last month I found some enchanting Machine Lace Embroidery Bookmark designs and sewed them out. I used variegated orange thread for one and pink for the other. Using heavy duty Solvy stabilizer, they were a breeze to stitch out.

I love the look of machine embroidered lace. It seems impossible that it would hold together, but it does. It is great when you need to coordinate the lace with a project, as you can pick out thread to use that matches or compliments the project.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Dollar Days

From May 10 – 16, 2006 Embroidery Library is having a Dollar Days sale on some great new designs. Quick to stitch with only three-color changes these designs will make quick work of decorating your summer wardrobe. You can buy each design separately or in design packs. There are design that would be great on children’s clothes and best of all a lot of designs for guys including playing cards, motorcycles, cars and musical instruments.

If you don’t do machine embroidery, our store Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts, has just uploaded lots of new counted cross-stitch kits, needlepoint kits and needlepoint canvases. We also made a huge purchase of almost 6000 patterns this week (about 4000 more than we were expecting) and so over the next few months look for great New, Uncut patterns in our store, including formal wear and LOTS of costumes and new craft patterns.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

New in the Store

Just wanted to update everyone about some new items in our store. We were fortunate enough to get some brand new counted cross stitch kits, needlepoint kits, needlepoint canvas, and embroidery purse kits. We have them uploaded and in the store now. One of the items I'm really excited about are the embroidered purse kits. These kits include a completed purse, pearl cotton embroidery floss, needle, plus instruction for completing a design. These would make great gifts for teen girls to introduce them to the fine art of embroidery with an up-to-date fashion accessory when they are finished with the simple embroidery. You can see and purchase the purses here.

Tomorrow we will be picking up a new bunch of sewing patterns. We will have them uploaded as soon as possible. We are very excited about being able to add more sewing patterns to our inventory to offer our buyers the best selection possible. Don't forget, we can packaged between 6-8 patterns in a Priority Mail envelope for $5.50 shipping and handling!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Threads July 2006

What a fun surprise yesterday when my latest Threads magazine came in the mail. A letter that I had written to the editor was published! I really enjoy this magazine and have learned so much about sewing from reading it.

This latest issue focuses in on inspiring and teaching new sewers the basics, including a pull-out section in the middle of the magazine to use for reference. There is also an article on basic hand stitches showing the most important stitches you may need to do with a hand needle and thread for that extra special touch in finishing a garment. There is a quick to make article on making a gypsy tiered skirt, one of the latest fashion must haves. The instructions show how to make the skirt without a pattern, but if you want a pattern for this type of skirt try our store.

For the expert seamstress or those who want to be, there is a great article on finding and fixing patterns before cutting them out. I’ve always assumed when my garment pieces didn’t match, that my sewing was at fault. It is nice to know that sometimes it is the pattern itself that had the error. I did find when sewing a top last summer that the cutting diagram was wrong which meant I cut out two left sided sleeves—I was sure glad I had plenty of fabric for that project! Another article for the expert seamstress is on eliminating separate facings in a top with a couture lining technique. The technique looks like it is a bit time consuming but gives a lovely result.

For the machine embroider, there is a very interesting article on embroidering off the edge of a garment. In this case a collar was featured with part of the flower coming off of the collar edge. It certainly gives a high fashion look that is easy to achieve by following the simple steps.

For those who really have difficulty envisioning a particular pattern on themselves, there is a great article on drawing your own croquis, using pens and markers to figure out if a pattern is in the correct proportion and style for you. It is a great way to take those tall skinny models and bring them down to your size.

Friday, April 28, 2006

The Latest Fashion?

Although I’ve always kept and eye on the latest fashions and tried not to be to terribly ‘out of it’, I’m now at that point in life where comfort rules. I’m in my 50’s, have chronic sore joints due to arthritis and although I hate being hot, I can’t stand cool air on my joints. As I have time to sew I have been making more and more of my clothes to conform to my lifestyle. Most things I make are easy on and off, no buttons, no zippers, nothing that takes fine motor skills for sore fingers to accomplish to be dressed.

Some of my favorite things to wear are lightweight jackets made out of sweatshirts. I slash then up the front, attach decorative bands to the front and add pockets. With the many variety of sweatshirt colors that can be combined with fashion fabric and machine embroidery, the possibilities for designs are endless. I just finished a gray jacket this week. I used my Janome 6500 to sew lines of decorative stitches in variegated thread to white bands and then attached them to the front. As I don’t us buttons or buttonholes, the jacket was essentially done, but I always like a pocket or two. I took more of the white fabric and sewed line after line of decorative stitches. What a fun way to try out different stitches and see how they stitch out with different variegated thread. When I finally had a big enough piece, I cut it into a square, lined it and sewed it to the front of the jacket. This was a very easy project for me to do especially since I didn’t need to construct the sweatshirt. I just got to do the fun decorative stuff. I’ve lost track of how many of these jackets I have made, but I’m determined to make sure I have a lot of them stashed away for when the day comes that I can’t sew anymore—hopefully not for a long time!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Speed Sewing

Speed Sewing: 103 Sewing Machine Shortcuts by Janice S. Saunders. 1982 1st Edition Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, ISBN 0442224885, Illustrations by Alan Clever, photographs by Nicholas Yadlovsky, Design assistance Elna Sewing Machines. 144 pages, black and white photographs and diagrams, includes index.

In this age of computerized sewing and embroidery machines with mega hoops for embroidery, it seems that many books and magazine articles focus in on providing information on the use of these top of the line, expensive machines. But I am confident that out in the world there are many sewers who only have older model sewing machines with limited stitches and capabilities. These people need guidance on how to get the most from their machine. This book answers many questions that a seamstress may have on several different techniques.

While this book is limited in scope (it doesn’t take you step-by-step from pattern cutting to finished garment), it is always mindful of the different kinds of machines on the market back in the 1980’s and is still relevant for today. There are three types of sewing machines: the straight stitch, the zig zag, and the reverse action machine (the basic model in use know in the 2000’s—many with computer interfaces). The author explains the types of stitches available on each kind of machine and what they are used for. There are diagrams of the different stitches so you can compare them to your own sewing machine. With the current machines that can run up to several hundred decorative stitches, I’ve had difficulty figuring out which utility stitch is the most practical for my projects, this book is a very good reference for the use of the most common utility stitches

Each technique the author explains gives the details of which pressure foot to use, which stitch to use, and what stitch length and width to use for each type of sewing machine. The book is set up systematically to give you a speedier way of making your garments, featuring seam finishing, buttons and buttonholes, pockets, hemlines. There are also sections on recycling old clothes including furs to make something new or more in styles, how to use the different stitches and needles to make decorative finishes and machine embroidery. There is also a section on machine maintenance—but always refer to your own sewing machine manual if available for proper maintenance of your machine.

All in all this is a well thought out book with plenty of tips and techniques especially for the beginner and average sewer as I suppose a highly advances seamstress knows most of this information. I know I gleaned several useful hints that will help me with my own personal sewing that I hadn’t known before. This would be a good basic book for your sewing reference library.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Altering Men's Shirt Patterns

One of the things I have noticed as I have been reading lots of sewing books, is although there is lots of advice on altering women's patterns, there is nothing about altering for men. The latest Sewnews June 2006 has an article on Altering Men's shirt Patterns by Anna Zapp. If you sew for men or have a fitting problem for guys shirts, you may want to get a hold of this issue for reference.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Simon's Folly and Mar Jen for Error

After waiting over 3 months since I ordered them, Simon's Folly and Mar Jen for Error books are here. I have really enjoyed reading my copies today and have a synopsis for you now. I also have a review of another Jenny Haskins book The Millenium Quilt: Romance 2000.

Creative Expressions Special Edition Simon’s Folly Quilt with Jenny Haskins: a quilt by Simon G. Haskins. Included is a Design CD with 25 machine embroidery designs in formats for Bernina, Elna, Husqvarna Viking, Janome, Pfaff, and Singer. As a Janome owner, I can note that the Janome designs are in .JEF format, not .JEF+ and there are 3 designs in .SEW.

Simon is Jenny Haskin’s son and apparently decided that if he was going to work for the company, then he needed to make a quilt also. And he did! It is a beautiful quilt using both designs on the included CD and the Victorian Antique Cutwork Lace Design CD by Jenny Haskins. The colors used in the quilt are soft greens and pale pinks. Not only did he use machine embroidery designs to make his quilt squares, he used lots of stitch building using the decorative stitches on his sewing machine. This is one of the things I especially enjoy about Jenny Haskins publications is that not only do they have lots of beautiful full color photos of the work, but detailed instructions and for the stitch building, there are illustrations of each stitch used so you can use something similar. There is also a pull-out section in the magazine with templates of the included designs, and placement guidelines for the templates and quilt blocks.

As if that weren’t enough, six sewing machine companies (Bernina, Elna, Husqvarna Viking, Janome, Pfaff, and Singer) contributed a cushion (pillow) decorated with machine embroidery and a free embroidery design or two or three to make them up.

This is a lovely magazine that has much in the way of ideas, projects and instructions to make lovely heirloom quality projects. Currently we have two copies of this magazine available in our store. To purchase, click here.

Creative Expressions: Special Edition, The Mar Jen for Error Quilt by Jenny Haskins and Marti Mitchell. Includes bonus instructions for Beyond the Color Purple.

In this lovely magazine format, Australian quilter and machine embroiderer teams up with American quilter Marti Mitchell to make this wonderful quilt: Mar Jen for Error. This is a stripy quilt that features Dresden plate and fan blocks and long strips of machine embroidery roses. This quilt uses an abundance of beautiful rose printed fabric that is fussy cut to emphasize the design and the fabric. The machine embroidery made use of Art Nouveau Series: Spring Flowers CD by Jenny Haskins and the Dresden plates and fan patchwork pieces were cut using Perfect Patchwork Templates: The Dresden Plate Set by Marti Mitchell. Although simple in style, this quilt really shows how with extra care and time you can make an exquisite quilt.

Also included in this book is the Beyond the Color Purple quilt that was originally published in Creative Expressions #1. That magazine was completely sold out and is now out of print, so Jenny decided to republish the quilt and instructions again. This quilt makes extensive use of machine embroidered appliquéd flowers. The design softwear used in the quilt if Beyond Color Purple CD and Victorian Scrolls and Curlicues CD by Jenny Haskins.

There is a pull-out insert in the middle of the magazine to help with templates and setting your blocks as you make them. Currently we have two copies of this magazine available in our store. If you would like to purchase, please click here.

A Millennium Quilt: Romance 2000 by Jenny Haskins. Master the techniques of machine embroidery. Create this heirloom millennium quilt and other projects. This out of print magazine is packed with ideas for making the best of your embroidery sewing machine and the decorative stitches on your sewing machine. To welcome the year 2000 and the new millennium itself, Jenny Haskins challenged the most popular sewing machine companies to design three separate quilt blocks with each one to represent a different aspect of machine embroidery: texture, machine feet and stitches, and three-dimensional appliqué. Bernina, Brother, Elna, Husqvarna, Janome, Pfaff, and Singer answered the call magnificently. Not only did they produce their three blocks, each company designed an additional project which is also featured in this magazine.

Even if you don’t have the latest and the greatest in the way of computerized embroidery sewing machines, as long as you have a machine that makes decorative stitches, many of these projects will be within your capability. I am only familiar with the Janome sewing machine family and their projects were made with the Janome 9000.

I purchased this magazine new at a store where it had been hidden for years under other sewing magazines and it has obvious shop wear to the cover. However, the content is fabulous and worth your purchase for what you can learn about using your sewing machine and lighting your creative ideas.

This magazine is currently up for bid at eBay if you would like to purchase it. Just click here to get to the listing. Hurry, auction ends April 21, 2006

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Vogue Sewing Book Review

One of the joys of blogging is being able to go off on tangents from your own original intentions of what to blog. I started my blog about machine embroidery, one of my passions, but have found that I can’t separate machine embroidery from my love of quilting and sewing, so this blog is turning into a sewing blog.

My husband and I run an on line business selling books and sewing patterns at our store Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts Sales. The more patterns we handle, the more questions we get asked on line about sewing and my own personal sewing projects has lead me into a search for some good all round sewing books to recommend to sewers and would be sewers. Recently I have purchased some sewing instruction books on line, picked up some at estate sales and then got to peruse some of the newest ones at Barnes and Noble. I found some to be utterly worthless. Some books although supposedly for beginners would have left a beginner sewer sucking their thumb and babbling in a corner. I did find several good books and due to finances (wouldn’t it be nice to have unlimited funds to buy books and sewing stuff!) and actual inventory at the store, only got to bring one home.

My choice was Vogue Sewing (2000). It included several things I had personally been looking for in such a book and it is very thorough in its approach. This book included over 1800 illustrations, updated with the latest tools and notions available to the home sewer, and it is interesting. Interesting is a good thing in a sewing book as many can become as dull as dishwater.

In my first glance through the book, I found a fashion glossary. As we (mainly my husband) have been describing fashions on pattern envelopes, all the pictures and descriptions in the glossary are a great resource for us. That sold me on the book right there as I was tired off trying to remember what a particular type of sleeve or collar was called when hubby wanted to know. Now he can just look at the picture.

There is a section on body shapes and picking flattering styles. Only female shapes are used in this section. Is there a sewing or book on fashion that covers children’s and men’s shapes? There is also a color wheel with explanations about choosing colors. There is also a section on fibers and their weaves and care.

One particularly interesting article is on the process of how a Vogue pattern comes into being. I was very impressed to learn that the pattern tissues are cut 1300 layers at a time! And that a machine folds them and puts them into the envelope. No wonder it is next to impossible to refold them!

One section that I have had to refer to several times already is the sizing section of the book. I have had several customers email asking for recommendations for sizes of Vogue patterns to purchase and I’m happy to let them know Vogue’s official sizes according to body measurements. The entire size charts for Misses’, Women’s and Today’s Fit are included in this chapter as well as a discussion on wearing ease and designer ease. I had been sewing for years before I ever realized there was such a thing as wearing ease.

The book at this point goes step-by-step through the pattern envelope explaining each item and then the pattern instruction sheet and finally the tissue pattern piece. Then you find out about fitting the pattern and making the pattern up. Many, many illustrations help you to understand each sewing technique. With sections on tailoring, special fabrics and even one on sewing the Very Easy Vogue patterns, this is a very well rounded book. If you can only afford to buy one all purpose sewing guide, this should be one to consider.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Just In

I love getting my newest sewing magazines and always lay them aside until I have time alone to peruse them. I like to first take a quick run through the magazine and then after seeing the newest projects, I take the time to read through the magazine reading the editors comments, the letters to the editor (taking time of course to mentally agree or disagree with comments about the content), and then read the feature articles. After that I go back through and read the instructions for many of the projects. Even if they don’t apply to any current project, you never know when a gem of information will come in handy to know.

The latest Designs in Machine Embroidery(May/June 2006) just landed in my mail box today. The big feature article was on decorating denim blue jeans. And not just decorating them, having a get together of teen aged girls to machine embroider, bleach, glue rhinestones and anything else they could think of to make each pair of jeans unique. Not only did the girls have a fun time, but they were learning that ‘sewing’ wasn’t just for old grannies. However we can encourage the younger generation to take up needlecraft arts the better. Needlecrafts whether machine or hand embroidery, sewing, knitting, crochet, needlepoint, etc. help to reduce stress and gives us a calm relaxing activity that produces something lovely and unique when finished.

I have been a fan of Creative Expressions with Jenny Haskins since I stumbled upon the first issue at my local Barnes & Noble. Since then, it has been a constant struggle to find the latest issues. If I wasn’t at the store at the right time, I missed out. I finally solved that problem with getting on a subscription list to be able to sell them through my store. Now I get my copy every quarter and a batch to sell. Currently I have only three copies of issue #10 (the latest issue) left in the store where you can purchase an issue if you like Click here to purchase.

Creative Expressions is an Australian magazine, filled with wonderful colors, photos, and machine embroidery and quilting projects. Most projects are frilly and ultra feminine in nature with an abundance of flower motifs. I love all the wonderful ideas in this magazine and most especially I like the parts of projects which show stitch building. Taking decorative machine stitches and sewing them closely together to create an even bigger pattern. Even if you don’t own an embroidery machine, as long as you own a sewing machine with 20-30 decorative stitches, you can build on the ideas in these magazines. Appliqué ‘fussy cut’ flowers onto your fabric, follow the stitch building guides (substituting your own stitches as needed) and you too can have delightful results.

I have found that as newer and bigger embroidery machines come out, that those who only have an older model or no embroidery capacity at all, get left out when it comes to projects and ideas. When I got my latest sewing machine it had a couple of decorative stitches that for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what I would ever use them for. Well those same stitches (or ones very much like them) were used in stitch building in two separate articles in this issue. Now I know what I can use them for!

That is what I love reading my magazines for—Knowledge! By writing this blog and through selling needlecraft books in My Store I too hope to help impart knowledge about my love of sewing in all its forms.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Where do the days Go?

It seems like there is just never enough time for all the things I want to do. Unfortunately for me, most of those things have to be scheduled around when I am feeling up to doing them, so even less time. Oh well, such is life. I finished some Project Linus quilts and turned them in--thankfully they collect them all year, as I had a flare-up and didn't get them finished on time. My latest project is my Easter dress. With all the Vogue patterns that we have up for sale, I found one in my size that looked easy to make, comfortable to wear and easy to get in and out of. I have it all cut out at this point and now have to find the time to sew.

I had been having a particularly bad week with no sleep and hubby went out one day on an errand and came home with a new quilting book for me and a bunch of spools of Robison-Anton thread in colors he didn't think I would buy for myself. He was right! He got me some really beautiful colors for machine embroidery, that I usually forget I need. I love pink, so I tend to always buy pink thread and then I never have the contrasting colors I need when embroidering a project.

I am waiting and waiting for some books to get here from Australia. They seem to have been waylaid. One is by Jenny Haskins son, Simon's Folly and the other is the Margen for Error book. I'm hoping they will get here soon so I can review them for you. The Simon's Folly book comes complete with a CD of embroidery designs. I ordered extra books, so they will be available for sale in our ebay store. I have also subscribed in bulk to Creative Expression magazine, so once they start coming, I will have extra issues of them also in the store.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Busy Busy Busy!!!

I think I mentioned in my last post, that we were expecting a large influx of sewing patterns that we would be uploading to our store. Not only did we get about 2500 Simplicity, McCall's and New Look patterns, we had an opportunity to purchase about 2000 Vogue patterns! Needless to say, our little house is filled with boxes and boxes of patterns. Thankfully hubby has organized them, scanned most of them, and typed in many of the descriptions. As my health allows, I am adding them into our eBay store. We have also changed the name of our store to Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts Store as that better reflects what we currently sale and also aspire to sell.

Saturday we had an opportunity to go to an estate sale that was selling out a champion knitter's stash. When I walked into the house, I felt that I had met a soul mate. Shelves and shelves of knitting and crochet books, skeins and skeins of yarns, and boxs and boxs of back issues of craft magazines. Almost the same thing you would find if you peeked into my craft room with two difference: my books tend to focus on quilts and machine embroidery and my stash of stuff is not nearly as neat as hers was! Many of those knitting and crochet books will be available for you to purchase in our at Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts Store just as soon as I get them uploaded.

My personal find of the day was the first 60 isssues of Threads magazine. In my spare moments I have been looking through them and find I'm learning something from every issue. I have found the very act of listing sewing patterns for resale has taught me so much about pattern design and looking through these magazines will continue my learning. Now that I'm over 50, I have to keep my brain active or it starts turning into sludge!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Sewing Patterns

It's been a while since I posted, but it has been a whacky and busy time the last few months. I spent most of December having arthritis flare-ups, one right after another and then hubby got sick for several weeks. It between all this we have been trying to build up inventory in our eBay store. We are pleased to announce the addition of around 600 new and uncut McCall's, Simplicity and Vogue sewing patterns with another 3000 on the way! Although not all of our patterns are flagged in the titles as being uncut new patterns, the majority of them are and we are constantly on the look out for more like them.

Many of the patterns we have just uploaded have been featured patterns in Sew News, Designs in Machine Embroidery, Creative Machine Embroidery, and Threads magazine. Due to the time involved with the listing, I couldn't list which magazine they appeared in. If you have been looking for a particular pattern, now is the time to go looking. Once you enter our eBay Store, there is a search box on the left hand side of the page. Enter the pattern number you are looking for there and if we have it, you will see the listings we have for it. Don't forget that we have a lot more patterns coming and we will be posting them as fast as we can, so put us in your favorites and check back often. We always combine shipping and handling if you want more than one pattern.

Before I got too sick, I did accomplish my Christmas goal of making a gift for my husband, two boys, and my new daughter-in-law to be. I haven't felt up to doing that in a long time and it was fun to see their faces Christmas morning as they opened their gifts.

My last project was making two rice bags that can be heated in the microwave for about 2 minutes and then I can hold them in my hands to help relieve the pain in them. They are a bit smaller than rice bags I have made before and are great for being able to get whichever hand joint is aching the most. I used some UFO quilt patches, put some batting and a backing piece behind and quilted them together, trying out different stitches from my sewing machine. Trimmed the pieces down to the right size and sewed them right sides together leaving an opening. I filled them with about a cup and a half of rice and then sewed the opening shut. I have found when making rice bags that having them padded with a bit of quilting makes them much more comfortable...And that's the whole point. If you weren't aware of it, rice bags are also good for cold packs. Just keep one in the freezer and pull it out when needed. They hold the cold for a long time and no drippy water or ice melt. Making a cold pack/rice bag in child friendly fabrics would ease those little ones injuries with a familiar 'BooBoo' bag.

I'm sure I have rambled on long enough for today. But I hope to be back more regularly again. I have some new books to review and a great new embroidery site to talk about. Stay tuned!