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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hearts and Daisies Machine Embroidery Designs

Ready to embroider something that isn’t Christmas related? Madsen Originals has some lovely new Hearts and Daisies designs that are available for only a limited time, till December 31, 2009. They are lovely machine embroidery designs and bring a breath of fresh air to those of us in the snowy depths of winter.

Madsen Originals has many more lovely designs and a nice selection of Free designs so that you can try out their designs before you buy.

Happy to report that I got my Christmas dress done in time to wear to our Christmas Eve service at church. No pictures of it yet, but as I had to make it with short sleeves, hubby was kind enough to help me make a cozy cover up out of dark green fleece using the draping process. We had a lovely but quiet Christmas as my boys were home and we are looking forward to my one son's girlfriend coming in a few days. Christmas with all adults is so different than Christmas with little ones!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Free Machine Embroidery Christmas Ornament

Visit Snow Lady designs to get your FREE machine embroidery Christmas Ornament and to see all her great designs and other freebies. I don’t know how long this design will be available so get it now while you can!

Started sewing up my Christmas dress the other day and went to make the cut out sleeves and found them to be too small, so I'm stalled between trying to figure out what to do and am also having an arthritis flare-up which is keeping me out of the sewing room. Hopefully I'll get it figured out and have something to wear on Sunday or else I will have to wear my old Christmas clothes that are currently too big for me.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Need Some Last Minute Embroidery Designs?

Need some last minute machine embroidery designs? Check out The Secrets of Embroidery . They are a huge on line mall of many different machine embroidery designers with lots of great ideas and projects, Plus lots of FREEBIES!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Redwork Christmas Quilting Designs

Just visited Hatched In Africa's website and saw the most interesting redwork designs. Taking what would normally appear to be a simple design and combining them, they became lovely quilting squares that look very intricate until you look closely and see the face of Santa Claus or a Christmas candle, etc. If you are looking for some last minute Christmas sewing inspiration check this out.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Over 6000 Listings!

After a very rough year physically and by plugging away on my 'good' days, I'm very happy to say that we now have over 6000 listings in our ecrater store, Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts. Over 5000 of these listings are for sewing patterns in all types and sizes and we have many more to come.

I have also been able to finish two sewing projects recently, one major and one minor. The smaller one is a Christmas Stocking for the charming young lady my son brought home and introduced to us during Thanksgiving. She will be visiting again for part of the Christmas holiday and so of course needed her own stocking!

The larger project was a single sized quilt for my brother in law. I made it out of 8 1/2" orphaned blocks that I had made over the years. It was time to put them together! It was fun deciding the most logical arrangement to make with them. Many of the blocks use what I call 2 by 4 pieces. When I have leftover pieces of quilting fabric from a project I cut it into 2 1/2" square pieces, 4 1/2" square pieces, and 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangle pieces. It is amazing how many quilt blocks use only those pieces in many different formations. This quilt is composed of leftover bits of sewing fabrics from 40 years of sewing. The hardest part was the machine quilting and I don't think I will be doing that again as it is just too hard physically and I made a royal mess of it! I used the Janome Moter Sports Series card to embroider the truck in the color of my BIL's rig.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Last Dress of Summer!

Now that summer is about over, I finally was able to finish the summer dress I have been working on. I used Simplicity Pattern 2615 yet again, as it is a comfortable dress and very easy to make. An easy to make garment allows me the time for some creativity that I might not have time for if the garment itself is a handful to make, especially as I am not an advanced sewer. Even though I have been sewing for the majority of my life, it has only been the last ten years or so that I have been trying hard to educate myself on sewing techniques and to be more careful in what I am making.

Although hard to see in the picture, this dress has a white background and small turquoise flowers and leaves. This fabric has been sitting in my stash for probably the last 15 years waiting for the right pattern as I realized that the project it was originally bought for wasn't going to work out after I made up the pattern the first time. I wanted the dress to be feminine, a little bit special but not over the top. I saw the lace insertion idea in a Sew Beautiful magazine from several years ago and thought that would dress it up a bit. Instead of the neck facings, I used double fold bias binding around the neckline. I like how it turned out, but I did have to refer to Claire Schaeffer Fabric Sewing Guide for information on the bias binding. I have dyslexia and that tends to get in the way of sewing at times especially when I have to do anything 'backwards'. Now the only thing to do is hope the weather is warm tomorrow and I'm feeling well enough to go to church and try out my new dress. annabelle, my dress model, needs to lose about 25# as I did and we don't have her readjusted yet. Yet another reason I like this dress. It can accomodate weight flucuations.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Great Embroidery Digitizer Has Died

On August 4, 2009, the world lost a great machine embroidery digitizer with the passing of Felix Zundt. You can read about this man and the plans for the future of Zundt Designs here. I remember the first time I ever saw one of their designs, I had to pick my chin up off the floor it was so beautiful. When you go to the site to see the biography of Mr. Zundt, you can also pick up a few free machine embroidery samples.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

An 'Ouchy" Day

Yesterday had a problem while dusting and ended up sitting on the floor. With hubby's help after about 5 minutes, I was finally up off the floor and in a lot of pain that continues into today. It is amazing how little it takes to get the old arthritis flare up going! To me it is not only painful but frustrating as there were things I wanted to do such as finishing pinning down and then cutting out a dress. This is a summer dress I'm trying to make and at the rate I'm going it should be ready to wear just in time for Christmas!

I am happy with my little secondary sewing station downstairs though, as I was able to piece a few patches together. Not a lot of progress on this Project Linus quilt but at least I felt like I was doing something.

Except for that little bit of sewing, my sewing time has been involved with reading Kennth King's Cool Couture. This is a book that explains the process of techniques not projects. If you are a beginner sewer, you might want to read this book with an all round sewing book in hand as many things such as interlining, interfacing, etc. are not explained in any great detail. But, what he does explain in detail is very detailed. If you want to do piping, embellishing, pocket making in your sewing, he has some great techniques. He also explains how to sew on some of the more difficult fabrics and what types of fabrics he uses for interfacings and interlinings. There are a lot of line drawings and color photographs. What he does cover in the book is usually very thorough, but after my first look through several weeks ago and then reading through it again, I was left with a "Is that all there is?" feeling. I would have liked to have seen a whole look more techniques covered. Fortunately he also writes articles for Threads magazine so I know he has a lot more techniques up his sleeves that I have gotten to read about, but that doesn't help the reader who only can buy his book. This book definitely has some good ideas, but may not be what you are looking for.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Two by Four Quilts

I have been thinking a lot about what I want to focus in on with my sewing since I have realized that my To Do list will take me approximately 500 years and I doubt that I have more than 40 to go, tops! I don't want to waste my time working on projects that don't give me pleasure while ignoring the ones that do. Maybe I'm the only one that goes through this angst, but once you have chronic health problems, you find yourself being limited in many ways.

I finally realized that when it comes to sewing, number one on the list is sewing patchwork pieces together, preferably using 'scraps'. Scraps to me can be leftovers from any 100% cotton sewing project, pre-made scraps from new fabric, and scraps and leftovers given to me from people who know I sew. One of the things I do when scraps enter my life is narrow them down into workable sizes for quick and easy projects. Most quilts can be ‘quick and easy’ if you do most of the work ahead of time, little by little. So all scraps go through this process. I cut them into 2 ½”, 2”, 1 ½” strips, then 4 ½” squares, 4 1/2” x 2 ½” rectangles, and 2 ½” squares. Odd pieces wider than an inch but maybe having an odd angle, etc. are thrown in my string piecing box which has produced several string pieced quilts. The other strips are carefully places in boxes according to their size. When I have a few spare minutes (or sometimes just a minute!) I use the 4 ½”, 2 ½” squares and/or the 4 ½” x 2 ½” rectangle and design a block then sew it together. I call these my 2 x 4 quilts. I will go through this process until I run low on any particular size block unit and then see what I can make with what is left. When I get to the point that nothing is making a good color match I stop, but at this point I have usually made enough 8 ½” quilt blocks to put together at least a lap quilt or a Project Linus baby quilt. Then I need to do the not as much fun for me part of layering, quilting and binding. I’m currently in the process of machine quilting an over large Twin sized quilt and decided that from now on the majority of my quilts are going to be quilt as you go so I’m not having such an awful time handling a big quilt in my machine.

Up until 2 years ago I lived in a one floor house that permitted me to pop into my sewing room and whip up a quilt block in a spare minute or two. Sometimes I would just lay out a block to let the colors percolate in my mind and maybe when I get back to it I’d swap the smaller squares for something that looks better, or maybe I’d still like it and just sew it up using chain piecing. I realize of late that I wasn’t getting as much sewing down as I used to even with a large, well equipped sewing room. I blamed it on ill health, but that still didn’t seem right. Then I put on my thinking cap and realized that with my sewing machine upstairs, whenever I had a free few minutes downstairs I didn’t have the sewing machine to run to for quick work on a project. This was easily solved with a secondary sewing station as I am blessed with two good sewing machines, a Janome 6500 upstairs and a Janome 9000 now downstairs. Since setting up, I have whipped out over 20 quilt blocks and have had to bring out my box of precut Project Linus quilt pieces to start sewing together. I have enough cut out for probably 4 baby quilts at least and with my new set up, I know I will be able to get more done. Sewing is relaxing for me so I love having a chance to do it while waiting for something to finished on the stove or for hubby to get off the computer and let me use it.

As to what will be going on in the upstairs sewing room, I’m still thinking that through but I’m very happy to be back in the piecing grove again!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My Favorite Sewing Books

This is an initial list of my favorite sewing books at the request of some of the readers on the Threads forum. Since it was a bit of work, I decided to post it here also.. I have a large sewing reference library and have found that some books are better than others. Not all of you may agree with me as to the worth of these books. I suppose part of that is just because of your own knowledge base and experience and some books are better just because of the author and the editing. These books are basically basic sewing and sewing reference books that I have on my own shelves in my sewing room. I have found though that the very best resource I have found for learning techniques in sewing is Threads magazine.

1. More Fabric Savvy: A Quick Resource Guide to Selecting and Sewing Fabric by Sandra Betzina ISBN 1561586625. This book sits right by my sewing machine for exactly what the subtitle says. Whenever I am about to sew a garment in fabric that is unfamiliar to me, I can usually find it in this book. There is a color picture of a garment made in the fabric and on the other page across from the picture a simple guide to how to preshrink, layout, mark, cut, interface the garment. What types of thread, needles, presser feet, stitch length, etc. are also given. Seam finishes, pressing, topstitching, closures and hemming for the fabric are also noted. Each fabric guide sheet is set up the same way, so you don’t get lost looking for the detail you need. I find it extremely handy for the needle size and type, presser foot and stitch length. Of course, this is general information and you might need to change settings depending on your fabric, garment style and sewing machine, but it is nice to have a quick guide handy to get you into the ballpark especially if this is a new fabric for you.
2. Fabric Sewing Guide by Claire Shaeffer ISBN 089689536x. This is a large, heavy book. I have only recently purchased it and so have not looked up much in it. It is cross referenced so that you can look up the information you need by fabric type, fabric structure, fiber content, sewing techniques you want or would like to use. Lots of color pictures and LOTS of detail, some of it repeating itself depending on what part of the book you are in, but that saves you flipping through the book to figure things out. In Claire’s usual thorough style you get check ff sheets for sewing the fabric and fabric characteristics so you can judge if the fabric is suitable for what you are wanting to make. As noted I have only recently purchased this book and haven’t used it much yet. The only detriment for me using the book is the weight of it and my arthritic hands. The content is excellent though. If you don’t have problems with heavy duty books and you sew with all types of fabrics and want a good guide for sewing with them, you will want a copy of this book.
3. Shirtmaking: Developing Skills for Fine Sewing by David Page Coffin ISBN 1561580155. When I first had this book in my hands, it was a library copy. I read the first couple of pages, shut the book and went and ordered in on line so I could read the book at my leisure and be able to refer back to it. Maybe it is just me, but I think more men should write sewing books. Too many books I come across the women writing them make these huge intuitive leaps and assume you know how to get from point A to point G without help. This book was very detailed. I learned things I had never know before about ironing cloth. I got an idea on how to set up my iron spot for more efficient use of my ironing space. I learned about luxury men’s shirts and walked into the closet to compare my husband’s shirts with what David was writing about. You may think that this is a book about making men’s shirts and so doesn’t apply to you. If you ever make tops or blouses or shirts for yourself or others, there are a lot of great ideas and techniques in this book. Very well written.
4. Sweatshirts with Style by Mary Mulari ISBN 0801983924. Is this the best sewing book on the market. NO way, but it is one of the first sewing books I ever purchased that I have used the information in it for years. I like making lightweight jackets out of sweatshirts and this book showed me how. I’m a disabled stay at home kind of person. I don’t need (nor do I like wearing) tailored jackets, but I do like having something lightweight to keep from getting drafts on my joints. I have made many little jackets following the ideas in this book. If you have a loved one in a nursing home type facility a sweatshirt cardigan makes a perfect gift as it can be made to be pretty and feminine and yet is washable and easy care. I’m hoping to have a good supply of these made for myself long before I can’t sew anymore.
5. Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire B. Shaeffer ISBN 1561584975. Many of us have never had any formal training in sewing other than a miserable home ec class way back in the dark ages. Mine in particular stands out due to how many times my teacher made me replace my zipper and redo my hem. Were these classes set up purposefully to get kids to hate sewing? Hearing about couture techniques is not the same as sewing them in action. I have never owned a couture garment and doubt that I ever will. My budget is on the Walmart side if I did shop for clothes so the only way to see couture techniques is to read about them in a book. I enjoyed this book as it not only gave historical information but gave the information in making these techniques ours. We see pictures of designer garments inside out with the special finishes noted, then we are shown how to do them. Obviously you aren’t going to want to use couture techniques on easy to make clothes for doing yard work, but when you are making something special, you want to make it the best it can be and this book tells you how. I love books that inspire me and this one certainly does.
6. Palmer/Pletsch Couture: The Art of Fine Sewing by Roberta Carr ISBN 0935278281. I was very happy to find this book at a library book sale. It also shows many couture techniques only without the background and pictures of designer garments as the previously mentioned book. Instead the author uses garments she has made to demonstrate her techniques and designs. Lots of color pictures and black and white diagrams. Many of the garments are a bit dated looking by you can still see the inspiration behind the designs. There are lots of techniques in this book that can help you finish off your garments in novel ways or just in nice ways so you don’t go around with that ‘dorky homemade look’. I think none of us want our sewing to devolve into looking like something we had whipped up the night before when we should have been in bed. I know I am constantly looking to improve my sewing habits and reading books like this one and taking notes of the ideas have been a big help. I don’t get nearly as many “did you make that?” questions as I used to.
7. All About Machine Arts: Decorative Techniques from A-Z from Sew News, Creative Machine Embroidery and C&T Publishing ISBN 1571202277. This is good basic guide for when you want to make your garment or project have a little more oomph. However, I must caution you, if you are a long time subscriber to Sew News and Creative Machine Embroidery you will find many of the articles have been taken directly from these magazines or books published by C&T Publishing. It is nice having all the information in one book, but if you have already seen most of the information, do you really want to buy the book? If you want to be sure, borrow it from the library first to decide if this is a reference book you want. I know I have referred back to it many times since it is much easier than trying to find the old articles, but I do remember thinking I was losing my mind when I first looked through the book since so much of it seemed familiar. That being said, this book is full of ideas and inspiration in an easy to read format, set up in alphabetical order so it is easy if you are looking for ideas on using entredeux to look it up under E.
8. Encyclopedia of Sewing Machine Techniques by Nancy Bednar & JoAnn Pugh-Gannon ISBN 0806963654. First a note of caution, this book has been published with two different covers. Both have the exact same information. Don’t buy it again if you already have a copy of it—ask me how I know this! This is a great book for checking out how to do different sewing machine techniques. There are a lot of color step-by-step instructions and at the beginning of each section it tells you how to set up your machine, stitches, presser foot, needles, threads, tensions, etc. If you need to make your own entredeux, this book shows you how. If you want to make fake hand loomed embroidered insertions you can learn with this book. Want to learn how to use that ruffler that has been sitting in the box since you brought it home? Again this book shows you how. If you want a handy reference for machine techniques this is a good one. Even though they may not walk you through the entire project using each technique, plenty of pictures of the finished projects are shown so you can make your own version.
9. Fine Embellishment Techniques: Classic Details for Today’s Clothing by Jane Conlon ISBN 1561584967. If you are looking for some unique ways to use beads and braiding on your garments, this book tells you how and gives you the steps to accomplish it. Sometimes it is just one special technique that turns a so-so garment into a wow garment. Beads are all the rage these days and to make a fine bead detail on a special garment is a great idea and this book will give you the great ideas. If there is one thing I was disappointed in with this book is the lack of finished projects using the techniques that were written about. Most of the ‘finished’ garments were just rendered in a color drawing. I would have like to have seen many more full color photo illustrations which would have nudged this book from theoretical to practical. Nevertheless, I liked the great ideas and truly wish I had events in my life that necessitated a garment with this type of embellishing.
10. Sewing Companion Library: Easy Guide to Sewing Tops & T-Shirts ISBN 1561582395, Easy Guide to Sewing Skirts ISBN 1561580880 Easy Guide to Sewing Blouses ISBN 1561581089 Easy Guide to Sewing Linings ISBN 1561582255 the first two by Marcy Tilton and the next two by Connie Long. I’ve included them altogether as they are part of a series. There is also one on pants and recently three of the books have been republished in one volume. These books are all set up the same way and walk you step-by-step through making each kind of garment. No only will you learn the basics but you will learn how to alter the pattern to get the effect you want. You are shown how to adjust the patterns for correct fit. All the techniques are there for making a correct fitting and looking garment. Whenever I’ve about to make a garment, I pull one of these books down to check for techniques I can use to make my project turn out lovely instead of shabby.

I haven’t gotten to the point of all my sewn garments being wonderfully made and fitting clothes yet, but I’m sure past the point were I was 10-15 years ago where everything I made looked homemade. Now of course, since my clothes were made to last, you may still see me wearing the homemade looking clothes, but my newest garments that I have made are much better made that before. I credit these books as part of the reason that my sewing has really been improving. I have been educating myself once I realized that no magic was going to happen when I sat down at my sewing machine. You really do have to plan, measure, study, and take your time if you want a good looking garment. I hope you enjoy this list and that it is helpful to you.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Countdown to Christmas Machine Embroidery Club

Just got an email this morning from Embroidery Library one of my favorite machine embroidery sites. They are starting a new program to help us save money on Christmas designs. Depending on how much you spend with them over the next few months until Christmas, you will receive a gift certificate to spend at their site. On top of that they will be giving out free designs to members who have signed up for the program. Currently a lot of Christmas designs are deeply discounted too. I just picked up over $100 worth of designs for $13.50 including a 60+ design set of the North Pole Santa's Village and Train set. Normally over $70, for this week $12.25. Do I have any affiliation with Embroidery Library? Nope, I just try to urge sewers to check them out as they have been very generous to all of us over the years with MANY FREE designs.

When you see advertisments for new sewing/embroidery machines that have been released, do you get as confused as I do when it comes to comparing hoop size between different models? Some give their hoop size in metric and others in inches and it can be confusing. Embroidery Library to the rescue again. They have a page that lists all the top brands and even some older machines with the size of the biggest hoop the machine can use in both metric and inches. Click here to visit the page.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Bunnycup Embroidery: Designs From the Heart

I've been busy working on a quilt made from UFOs and it is turning out great, catching up on reading some inspirational sewing books I picked up from the library and last night went a little crazy buying books at JoAnn Fabrics as they were having a sale plus I had a 10% off coupon for the total purchase. I have also been really sick which stole a week of time. Anyhow, as usual I got behind on my blog. As soon as I get the time, I'll be posting pictures of the quilt in progress and a simple top I want to work on today. I'll also be posting some book reviews from this batch of books I currently have from the library and my new purchases. I love reading sewing and needlecraft books not only to learn but to be inspired by them. I really wish I could review them in exchange for free books but so far I haven't found anyone willing for me to do this for them so I have to buy or borrow needlecraft books. Hello publishers, send me your books and I'll be happy to share them with the sewing world!

In the meantime, for you out there that do machine embroidery for children and need designs for them, here is a great site: Bunnycup Embroidery. They have a lot of designs, most of which seem geared for children and also holiday themes that you can use in the kitchen and elsewhere. As they have advanced their digitizing skills, they have retired a lot of sets and instead of just taking them off the site, they are giving them away FREE. As of today they had 47 FREE sets! Take advantage of their generosity by trying out some of their designs and then purchasing them as you are able. Although I usually don't bother collecting children's designs, I downloaded a few that I thought I might be able to use in Project Linus quilts and also there were some really cute Gingerbread cookie designs that would be great for Christmas or for sewing them on kitchen towels for great hostess and impromptu gifts during the holidays.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

My New Dress

I'm happy to report I finished a new dress and with very little tweaking of the pattern, it fits! Yahoo! Not only does it fit, it is a comfortable dress and it would be especially so if it were made in a non-staticy fabric. I purchased this fabric normally $10/yard when our local JoAnn Fabrics went out of business for $2/yard. There was something like 10 yards on the bolt and I have plenty leftover. I thought it was a beautiful color and looks great on me. My husband doesn't particularly like the color blue so I usually avoid it, but even he had to admit it is a lovely color as it is a crinkle silky polyester that changes shades as it moves. But, after years of sewing with mostly cottons, I wasn't prepared for the static this dress produced. With no Static Guard in the house, I took some tips from the ladies at Threads discussion forum to help control the static. What really worked for me was lightly moistening a fabric dryer sheet with water and gently patting the dress before I left the house and yet again when I got to church.

I made a couple of changes in making up this pattern. Since I am 5'10" and also starting to 'sag', I lowered the belt line about 2" and also remembered to lower the inseam pocket the same 2". Once I realized if I didn't I would have probably tied the pockets closed when tieing the belt. I also ditched the idea of the collar facings and made self bias binding and attached it to the neckline (the neckline area was stay stitched prior to this to help prevent stretching). Anyhow I love how the dress turned out and I still have about 5 yards of the fabric left. Many people say that with the price of fabric and notions there isn't much savings in sewing, but I beg to differ. This dress ended up costing me, including pattern, less than $15 and that includes the electricity for the sewing machine. I used Simplicity Pattern 2615. I think my next try with this pattern, I might take it in a bit more and have the ties coming from the side seam instead of the patch of fabric in the front. I really don't need anything to draw attention to my tummy!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

New Scissors

I've been looking for a pair of applique or 'duck bill' scissors for several years now as they are always highly recommended in many quilting books for use in applique. Well on Mother's Day my son gave me a JoAnn Fabrics gift card and wouldn't you know I also got an email from them about a 30% off sale including Gingher scissors. Found the scissors and bought them (only had to add in a little S&H fee that the card ddin't cover). In the picture they looked flat like the ones I had seen in the store, but when I received them, they had the bent handles like embroidery scissors. I was happy about that as it seemed that the bend would make them more useful. Looking forward to trying them today I hope. I have an idea for doing some machine embroidery applique designs and want to see how the scissors will work for cutting out the fabric while still in the hoop.

But first I have to finish a dress I am making. I only have to hem it and do a neck binding. The neck is supposed to have facings which I always think looks sloppy and saw an article in Threads magazine on how to convert to a bias binding which I'm going to try.

Wanting to get this book to try out my new scissors!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Kate's Bag, My Version

I was able to pick up a copy of Handmade at my book store a couple of months ago and one of the projects captured me. I just had to make it. Since I rarely do anything but use magazines for my own inspiration, to follow the directions was a real change for me. This crazy patch purse was fun to make and I got to incorporate hand embroidery, patchwork, decorative stitching and regular sewing. I also got to figure out the pattern that was not quite correct and I misunderstood the directions in one spot too, but all in all I think it came out very nicely. It is roomier than it may first appear and it allowed me to carry my essentials plus I was able to fit a bottle of water and my Bible inside to go to church. As I am usually juggling, water bottle, Bible, purse and cane to be down to just purse and cane made things so much easier.

One of the things that I patted myself on the back for was not taking the 'easy way out' and using my embroidery machine to sew out the rose in the middle of the purse. I did it with my own two hand using a stem stitch and a large needle. I found that I can still do hand embroidery if I stick with a large needle and it is fun to have a craft back in my life that I had thought for a long time that I couldn't do any longer.

This project was featured in Handmade, Vol. 26, No. 5 and was called Kate's Bag on page 19. this is an Australian magazine in case you are wondering why you may have never seen it. I'm happy to see that Joann fabrics is carrying it currently.

Thursday, April 02, 2009


I have seen Thimbleberries quilting books and items throughout the years and although they have wonderful designs, they always seemed a bit on the dark side for the types of quilting I like to do. However, after visiting their website, my mind is changing (a women's prerogative is it not?). I found some lovely quilt designs and also machine embroidery designs that I would be happy to sew out on their site. They even have several FREE floral designs in three sizes and in all the regular home embroidery machine formats for you to try out their machine embroidery designs.

Included in their free designs were two quilt labels also in three sizes and all the formats. You can of course, use these for your own quilts or use them in the charity quilting project that Thimbleberries is helping to support called Faith's Lodge. Faith's Lodge is a retreat for parents grieving for a serious ill child or one that has died. An effort is being made to provide a quilt of comfort for each family when they leave the retreat. If this sounds like something that you would be interested in helping with, just click here for more details.

As I have just about enough quilts that are needed for the beds in our home, and other than to replace them or to make decorative wall hangings, I realize that if I ever am to lower the level of my fabric stash it will be with making quilts for others. Perhaps you feel that way also. I know there are many charity quilting projects on the go, so please let me know if there are projects that I can post here to help get the word out. My obvious favorite, for myself, at this time is Project Linus as I enjoy making children's quilts since my boys are grown, yet I have no grandchildren to sew for at this point.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Project Linus Quilt

Well I am done with my Project Linus quilt for this year. It is about 40" x 40" square with slightly ripply edges--OOPS! I used yellow and white gingham that I had picked up one day at a yard sale for $2 for over 4 yards. The Iris design is from Janome Memory card 121 Floral designs, design #12. The swirling butterfly was purchased from Embroidery Library for $1. The threads were from my stash of Robison-anton and Sulky threads. I used a yellow and white varigated thread for the stippling.

After prewashing the fabric, I squared up the gingham by tearing it along crosswise grain. This left me with a square of fabric and great directional lines for placing the designs. I found it was much easier to get the machine embroidered iris designs just right when placing them in the hoop by following the fabric colored line and I didn't need to use fabric markers that I'm never sure will come off right. The butterflies, I just put randomly on the quilt top. If you have never attempted a machine embroidered whole cloth quilt before, I would suggest that you use a woven gingham fabric if at all possible as it really does add in placement. A printed design won't have the same effect especially if the fabric got printed off grain.

I enjoyed this project and hope the baby and parents that receive this quilt will enjoy it also. I don't generally get a chance to do much 'girly' sewing, so this was especially fun for me to do.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cooper's Stitches

I ran into another machine embroidery site today. They have a small but growing site with a lot of sample projects, examples of how to combine designs to make a larger design or quilt block. They have some lovely floral designs (which I'm always a sucker for), animal and holiday designs. There is also a nice selection of FREE sample designs so you can do some stitch outs of their designs before you pay to buy one of their sets.

I think it is very important for machine embroidery design sites to have a good selection of freebies as money is too tight for some of us to buy something that isn't what we thought it would be. I have collected a massive amount of free designs and have also bought sets. I have never, however, bought a set from a digitizer that I haven't been able to do a sew out for free first. Probably one of the reasons I have been using and promoting Embroidery Library since it opened up. They give out free designs every month and they are very well stitched out. I also have bought many designs from them. Currently I'm just finishing up a Project Linus quilt that has a Butterfly in Flight design which was just perfect to go with the iris designs from one of my Janome memory cards. I'm almost done with the quilt and will be posting pictures as soon as possible.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Blog Update

It has been a long time since my last post as I have been BUSY. For the first time in years, I had enough physical energy to really do some significant Christmas sewing. I made my son and daughter in law matching winter scarves using the Funky Snow People from one of my favorite machine embroidery sites, Embroidery Library. These were free designs from last January and I knew as soon as I saw them I wanted to make something with them for my son and his wife. I did the embroidery on fabric and then appliquéd them onto fleece to make the scarves and then used decorative stitches to make snowflakes on them also. Someone had given me some beading supplies and so I used beads to decorate the snowflakes on my daughter-in-law’s scarf. I can see now why people can get ‘addicted’ to beading. It was fast and easy and in my case free. The only cost for these scarves was the fleece (bought as a remnant) and the thread.

As my younger son often uses our computer to check his checking account on line, I had noticed that he carried his check register separate from his checkbook and remembered that covers aren’t given out for free any more, I made him a checkbook cover with his monogram on it. My mother-in-law had mentioned earlier in the summer that she wanted an apron like mine that covered her whole front. I made her a butcher apron and matching potholder. I used a piece of lace insert that I had made earlier when making a top with a V-neckline to put in the V. Not being sure which color would look better, I had made two in different colors. The one I didn’t use I put on the top of her apron for a little bit of a girly look. The lace inserts were also Embroidery Library items although I think I actually paid for them. They were very reasonably priced as are all of their designs.

Knowing there was no way I could top the flashlight I gave hubby last year for Christmas (LOL) I decided that I would make him some throw pillows that would coordinate with the antique chairs he had recovered last year. I had great fun using decorative stitching, appliqué and machine embroidery to make him three pillows. They turned out very nice and he didn’t mind getting something that was really a present for the ‘house’. I also made him 2 pairs of pajama pants trying to use French seams to keep the fraying to a minimum. I discovered that trying to sew fabric with no right or wrong side in a solid color was an immense project for this dyslexic sewer. I didn’t tell him till later that actually the pants had been harder to make than the pillows.

What I did discover while making the pillows that my sewing machine is missing at least 4 of my favorite decorative stitches plus only has a minimal variety within the stitches that are there for when I’m in the ‘fancy sewing’ mode. So, I’ve been trying to find an older used Pfaff with lots of decorative stitches and the ability to create more on your own. I think I would like a Pfaff 1473CD, 1475CD or 7550. But haven’t had much luck with trying to find one to buy within my price range. The one I did buy, the box showed up at the house minus the sewing machine! So while the insurance company and seller battle it out I’ve been looking for another one and haven’t found it yet. If you have one in excellent condition that you would like to sell, please contact me!

Anyhow for me that was a lot of sewing for awhile and I have been very busy with getting our ecrater store up and going so we could leave ebay. Ebay has made so many changes in the last couple of years that it has become more and more seller unfriendly. Today we finally closed our ebay store. We have lots or inventory still to add to our ecrater store—conservatively 8000 more sewing patterns, so if you are looking for a pattern and can’t find it, please ask us if we have it as it could be sitting in a box waiting to be uploaded. Currently our entire New Look and Burda inventory is on line at ecrater and most of our Vogue Patterns. We just got in about 100 vintage Designer Original Vogue patterns that need to be researched and then listed and that should be a fun job. In the meantime, we have lots of McCall’s, Simplicity and Butterick patterns that are waiting to be uploaded.

With this move, I’m anticipating a bit more sewing and writing time as I’m also feeling much better than I have been. All apparently due to a change in the method of administering one of my arthritis medicines. Not completely well, but well enough that I feel like a person most of the time instead of a ball of pain