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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Hexagons in the Hoop

Since making my BOM blocks that featured hexagons, I have been fascinated with them. Up to then they always looked to be just so much hard work. Then I made my first one and couldn't stop. Just ran into something a few minutes ago, that for those of you that would like the hexagon style but not the by hand work, here is a site that sells a make a hexagon in a hoop machine embroidery designs.


There are 15 components to the design, and several different pack components with different prices. Currently the whole pack is on sale for $23.95 until 1-24-14. They are also reversible. Looks very simple and lovely especially if you take the time to coordinate your colors and prints. The middle portion has different decorative designs while the outer petals have different line designs.

For those that would prefer to make hexagons the old fashioned way, check out my Pinterest board for Quilting -- Hexagons for some great ideas. Or you can check out one of these books on making hexagons that are on my Amazon wish list. If you have any of these books, which would you recommend? I especially am interest in making hexagons with embroidery in the middle. If you know of a good instruction book for that, PLEASE let me know!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and will have a great New Year. This was a really simple Christmas for us. got to see my son Ron and his lovely wife Savannah (he won the jackpot with her!) and our other son Steve. Savannah made us a nice meal since I wasn't up to it. I've been having a rather rough time with a new med>bad reaction>get off new med on top of everything else. Then we opened our presents.

So glad for the internet as I was able to get most gifts on line and it looked like others did too. I feel like I made out like a bandit although probably not a lot by many people's standards but our family stays simple. I got three needlework books as gifts as well as was given a book on Ohio quilts. Steve who tapes Restaurant Impossible and brings it over to watch with us also gave me a cookbook by Robert Irwin. Hubby who has seen how I love the show Call the Midwife, gave me three Kindle books of the series. Other than a DVD, all I got for Christmas was BOOKS and more BOOKS! Yeah. They will keep me busy for at least a week or two. Two of the books are on the history of embroidery (hand) in the 18th and also the 19th centuries. Lots of pictures so you can really follow along with the exquisite work shown, read and learn to improve your own embroidery.

The really big news I'm hoping for those that read my blogs is that we have been able to get whole house WiFi so hubby and I don't have to take turns with the one computer connected to the satellite, now the laptop is as well so I have more time to write and post blog entries much more frequently than in the past. I've been spending this past year trying to improve my quilting/piecing techniques by following a Block of the Month class on Craftys. I haven't quite finished my blocks and still have three to go. I'm 'cheating' on my second Drunkards Path block as I hated the regular technique. If it works out, I will post instructions and pictures here.

Anyone else get some amazing needlework books that they want to recommend? Let me know so I can get it on my wishlist!

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Pillowcase Dress for Women

This past summer, our area had some truly funky weather. A very wet spring that moved into a fairly cool summer and then a week of heat that felt like we were in the desert. At that point I knew I needed another summer dress and I needed one that was easy to make. So I figured that since pillowcase dresses are easy to make for little girls, why not make one for this grown up girl? I pulled out some fabric that has been mellowing for over 20 years that I had bought in Antigua during a Doreen Speckman quilting cruise. I measured how long I wanted it from above the bust line to were it would hit on my legs. Added on enough to make a fairly wide casing at the top for 3/4" elastic as well as enough fabric for a 2" hem. Used my rotary cutter, ruler and mat to cut the piece. Sewed the casing and ran the elastic through it. Adjusted the elastic so it wasn't cutting off any vital circulation and yet wasn't so loose that I would have a wardrobe malfunction. Cut fabric for straps (made from wide fabric tubes) and then with a bra on tried to adjust the straps so that not only would they stay up, but would mostly cover my bra straps. I realize that it is the latest fashion apparently to have all your straps showing, but that isn't my style! Added some patch pockets to both sides and I was done. This actually took me several days to do all this, but actual sewing room time was probably only an hour and half at most. I just run out of steam sooner than I used to.

The nice thing was I actually had several short sleeve tops that coordinated with some of the bright colors in the dress that I can wear under the dress if I go into town so it works very well as a jumper. I'm hoping to make one out of somewhat heavier fabric for winter. It isn't that I don't have some really great sewing patterns that I could use (see my store), but my sewing time is so limited by my health needs that I need to make things faster and easier if possible. So if you need a sundress quick, this is a style to try, especially if you get last minute tickets to a Caribbean cruise this winter!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Janome 15000

Available October 1, 2013, Janome's latest "baby" the new Janome Memory Craft 15000 sewing/embroidery/quilting machine. From what I've seen, I'm getting that "Be still my heart" feeling, especially when I saw it quilting. Although my machine set up is very good at this point, quilting by machine using embroidery/quilting designs is still difficult for me as I only have approximately a 5" x 7" area before I have to re-hoop which ends up with puckers and designs that aren't always precise when coming together. I generally end up doing a modified stitch in the ditch with decorative stitches, especially on my Project Linus quilts. I would love to see what I could do with them with this machine.

I just have to face it. I love Janome sewing machines and the more do-dads and features the better I like them. I am however, waiting for the day they come with the ability to cut fabric and also dispense chocolate! LOL

If you are interested in seeing what this machine can do, here are some links to  YouTube videos of it in action. I'm sure you will be as impressed as I am.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

More Craftsy BOM Blocks finished!

Well I am behind in keeping up with this blog and with making my blocks for the Craftsy BOM 2012 class. I had to stop trying temporarily doing the 2013 class as one class was taking me awhile. I'm on a new medication that is actually helping my arthritis (Remicade), but it involves trips to the doctor's office for the IV infusions every 8 weeks, and since I am feeling somewhat better, I've been trying to catch up with things that haven't been taken care of. My life is a constant round of playing catch up, and just when I think I'm getting on top of things I flare up. Oh well, such is my life.

I'm very proud of some of these blocks even though there are some errors with them. I try and try and measure and do what I think I'm supposed to, but every time I applique something onto a block I get it lopsided. :(  Some of the blocks were very easy and the types of things that I have done before, but others without this class I would have NEVER in my life attempted. That is the whole point of taking these classes for me. I promised myself that this year would be a year of learning and NO skimming something because it looked hard and I'm thrilled with my results. I've made close to a hundred quilts at this point, but I knew I was not doing some of the finer details correctly which was throwing off my blocks. The biggest thing was getting my needle set in the right position so I truly have a 1/4" seam. That is so huge of a point to know when piecing quilt blocks. I wish I had done this long ago. I have my sewing machine set to always bring up the right needle position and the right amount of stitches per inch each time I piece so I don't have to reset everything each time I come back to sew. Saves a lot of grief. On my Janome 7700 it is stitch 93 with the needle position at 4.6 (it barely misses the side of the presser foot.

The really new thing I learned with my April blocks (showing at top) was how to make hexagons by HAND and sew them together by HAND!!! I have never attempted doing English paper piecing prior to these two blocks but with the help of Printable Freezer Paper that can be printed on in my printer and a website that will make up the right size graph of hexagons for you, it became very easy to do. I enjoyed making the hexagons and want to make more of them and do more projects with them including doing something like embroidering on them as I have seen in Pinterest. I just LOVE Pinterest for all it's great ideas! One of the hexagon designs was supposed to be a minimalist landscape but that didn't go with the colors I have been using, so I went for a fireworks type block. It was fun but yet again I had it appliqued off center.

Several of the other blocks involved using what I would consider scraps. Since those blocks started fairly early in the 'year' of this class I was being forced to cut into whole chunks of fabric to get some of the pieces I needed. The whole time I'm hoping that I will have enough of the larger pieces of fabrics as I come to the end of the blocks I have to make. With my BOM 2013  it won't be such a big problem as I'm doing those blocks in florals and will never run out of those types of fabrics. While this is supposed to be one quilt at the end, I'm hoping to be able to make two Project Linus quilts out of the blocks.

Currently I'm working on blocks that are made with Dresden Plates, yet another type of block I have never done and one that would not have turned out at all unless you sew an extremely accurate seam.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Sale at Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts

In celebration of September, National Sewing Month, Moonwishes Sewing and Crafts has all its patterns discounted 10% for the whole month. Except for a very rare pattern, all our patterns are uncut, unused, factory folded. No having to root through a pattern to hope all parts are there and in the right size. We have over 8000 sewing patterns currently in our store in all sorts of styles and sizes. Patterns for Men and babies, boys and girls, pajamas to wedding gowns. Come and visit
soon to see us and experience our outstanding customer service.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Embroidery Library 2013 Christmas Club

It is time to join the Embroidery Library 2013 Christmas Club now so you don't lose out on benefits such as free Christmas designs, discounted prices, and earn points towards a gift certificate to use at embroidery library.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Craftsy Block of the Month March 2012

Okay, I know it is way past March at this point. When I signed up for my classes, I was really hoping that I would feel well enough to do 4 blocks in a month. Unfortunately, I didn't and I just this past week managed to get these two blocks finished from the Craftsy BOM March 2012. I enjoyed making these blocks, but really feel that logically they should have come at the end of the other blocks when there would be a lot of scraps left over and we wouldn't need to scrounge scraps that matched. I was scared I'll run out of the fabric that I have set aside for the other blocks I'll be making (as I get to them). I will be using these blocks in a Project Linus quilt, so they are in bright red, white and blue colors for the most part. Scrap blocks are always my most favorite type of block to make.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

My Favorite Embroidery Books

Not only was I able to buy some embroidery floss as stated in my post yesterday, I was also able to get two more all purpose embroidery books. Why does someone need more than one? Well why not. Also since I review books I look at them in regards to completeness and which one might be the best to reccommend. In this instance, if you have the money, buy all three. If you don't have the money and are a new embroiderer and just learning stitches, then I recommend The Embroiderer's Handbook. It contains several photos of how to make the different stitches and so whould be easier to learn from. The other two books, (my new ones) are Donna Kooler's Encyclopedia of Needlework and Mary Thomas's Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches. Both these books would be a good choice although they do have their differences. Donna's book has a lot of embroidery history, a large bibliography of other embroidery works, several lovely projects and a stitch index. Mary's book has a bit more detail when it comes to the stitches and also something I didn't see in the other books. Her books have what they call composite band stitches. This is the same as what machine embroiderer's call stitch stacking or building. They show combinations of the different stitches that are used to make fancy bands which either can take some of the thinking off of you or inspire you to try bigger and better stitch bands. Each of these books are unique and would be good references for you.

Friday, April 26, 2013

My kind of paint box!

I did a project about a month ago that rewarded me with a very large gift certificate. Let's just say I was in my glory. I have been going through my wish list, checking out the latest needlework books and magazines and also threads that now carries. They have come a long way from just being a media/book store.

I was very happy to find this set of DMC Stitcher's Palette Color Variations - 36 different embroidery floss colors. I had run into these types of floss before at Michael's but couldn't afford at the time to buy more than a few. I was very happy to find them for sale on

The picture of these threads doesn't even begin to do them justice. They are gorgeous. They contain the colors of a wonderful Lake Erie sunset, the color of sand on the beach, flowers and water, trees and sky. I am of two mindsets. I can hardly wait to use them. Or I don't want to use them but just look at them as they are so pretty! Whichever I choose, I know I will have them for awhile as my hand embroidery has to relegated to small segments of time currently as my hands have been hurting a lot lately.

While my box of floss came sealed, it was missing one instruction/graph booklet. It also had a pack of needles and a piece of mottled sand colored fabric to sew on. I had been so excited about finding the floss that I didn't even pay attention to the other parts of the set.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Thrift store score!

Found 12 of these 12 1/2" square whitework napkins at the thrift store the other day!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Craftsy February BOM Classes

I have finished my blocks for Craftsy's 2012 and 2013 Block of the Month. this is great practice for me even though I have been making quilts for a long time. I'm working hard on keeping to a scant 1/4" seam when piecing. I pull out the seam ripper when unsewing is needed. For the 2013 class, I'm having fun using scraps and pre-cut pieces made from leftover projects. I've certainly been enjoying myself. I'm also working on a Stupendous Stitching class, but am still working on my Stitch bible before I go any further with that class. I'm enjoying my sewing, what little I have down, this year very much. taking the time to review and improve techniques is going to really help my sewing in the future. I'm also working on embroidering another set of pillowcases and am learning how to do some interesting stitches instead of whatever is the fastest.

The two blocks that have lots of blue in them will probably be going into a Project Linus quilt. Since my lap quilt that I use all the time is literally shredding and falling apart after many years of hard use, the flowery blocks will go into a lap quilt for me.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Magazine 'Jackpot"

On Friday, I had to run some last minute errands before things like the library and bank closed. when I got to the library 5 minutes before they locked the doors, I returned my library book and checked the shelves of items for sale. I found 17 magazines on quilting and other topics, paid and was on my way. Not only do I love looking through magazines to get ideas, I have found that they are great for taking my mind off of pain in the midst of a major flare up. God is good. He knew the flare-up was coming and provided for it. All told I got 13 quilting magazines, only one of which I had ever seen before, a jewelry magazine, a crafting one and two magazines called Where Women Create. These books are more than just how to set up your sewing, crafting, painting, etc. space, but they also tell about the women that work in them. They tell what inspired them in their work, how they built their business, websites to learn more etc. I suspect I will find them to be good resources for many reasons.

I'm currently in the midst of one of the worst rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups that I've had in a long time. I get them often but not usually to the extent that I feel like I've been run over by a couple of Mack trucks. But if you can imagine that, this has been my last two days. I'm so glad for the provision of new 'picture books' for me as I get over the pain. I've also got a few more books on  my wish list, now that I have seen her magazines and that is Jo Packhan and her books and magazines on Where Women Create .

Now off to a little Pinterest pinning, since I only have to use one finger, and then back to my nest and my pile of 'treasure'.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Won Another Prize!

What fun getting the mail today to discover that I had won another prize in Vogue Patterns Magazine December/January 2013 giveaway. Last year I won an ironing board. Funny thing I had just remembered that I hadn't entered the current issue's giveaway and was just coming down to do it when I saw my prize. This time I won something that would have been truly great when I was traveling on the road a lot more, but it will still come in handy. I won a Eucalan Getaway Gang. A pouch with a nail file, tiny sewing kit (including airport safe scissors), 8 delicate wash packets, 4 stain treating wipes, and 20 lint remover sheets. These are eco-friendly items using natural ingredients. You can find out more about their products at .

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Practicing Circular Stitching

My hubby got me a circular stitcher accessory for my Janome 7700 for Christmas. I had been wanting one since this machine has all sorts of decorative stitches. I had a bit of a difficult time installing it on my machine but that could have very well been weakness in my hands form the arthritis. I had found on the Bernina website a project for learning to use their circular stitcher. I don't care where I find ideas, if my machine can do them, I will try them out. So I printed out the instructions and photo of the project and went to town. What fun! You can do some amazing things with a circular stitcher, but it pays to practice. You have to learn not only how to set up the design, you have to learn which designs work well in circles and how to hold the fabric. Here is part of the sample that I made.

I decided that the smaller circle would look good with a button and since I had just found a little bag of buttons at my thrift store and one was the perfect color, I used it. I have had machines that have had the capability to sew on a button with the included button foot for at least 20+ years and have never sewed a button on with the machine before. I think I was always sure I would break a needle or in some way damage something. Instead I have either avoided buttons altogether or sewed them on by hand, making a mess of knots in the back. I do quite nice embroidery but buttons baffle me. With some directions from The Sewing Machine Accessory Bible, which is a great book on presser feet by the way, I attached that button foot and did a little adjusting and in no time I had sewn on a button. No snarls , knots or tangles on the back either. The only problem that I had was getting the button exactly where I wanted it. It was supposed to be in the center of the circle yet it is off center.

The circle that the button is in is fringe I made with the circular attachment by sewing a close zigzag at 7mm and then sewing on the far left of the satin stitch with a straight stitch. I did get a little wobbly, so yet another thing to practice. After sewing the satin stitch and then the stitch to hold them down, go to the back of the fabric and snip the bobbin thread and if you did it right, you end up with fringe which would make a great flower.

Monday, January 14, 2013

My Sewing ME Year

Most years lately I have been finding myself working on large sewing projects, that haven't left me much time for doing any sewing for me, practicing new techniques or improving my skills. Before 2013 even got here, I decided that this would be my ME year. I want to work on bettering my skills, learning new things, and making projects that strike my fancy and also clean up the clutter in my sewing room.

To begin this quest, I signed up for several Craftsy classes. I signed up for their 2012 and 2013 Block of the Month classes and also Stupdendous Stitching. I spent some time on a Bernina website and found some interesting projects using a circular stitcher that I had gotten for Christmas. Well I have already finished my BOM blocks for both classes for the month of January and am working on a circular stitcher project. The only thing left is to start in on the Stitching class. I have over 200 decorative stitches on my sewing machine and I want to learn how to use them effectively.

My last several quilts, although I worked hard to make everything come out right, my blocks ended up the wrong size. When I started the 2013 BOM block, I did my usual thing and found the blocks were quickly getting to be the wrong size besides I was working with fabrics I didn't really like. So, I took careful measurements and shifted my needles position and set my needle at a 4.6 width instead of the 3.5 and put the cloth guide that came with my machine in place. I also picked some fabric that I liked better and was very happy to make 4 -  6 1/2" blocks that were the right size. Too bad I hadn't done this years ago, all my quilts would have turned out better. But, this is the reason that I need this year to slow down and take my time getting things right.