Monday, August 11, 2014

And Now For the Rest of the Story:

Or how this piece evolved.
Scribble Leftover Embroidery

If you read my blog you may have read this post or this one. When working on a project I will cut off a working length of floss and then separate each strand and combine the number of strands I want to use – usually 2 or three (floss normally has six strands). I then slip the unused strands through the hole on the thread bobbin.
Cut floss on bobbin hole

This works fine until I am finished with that color on that project. I’ve tried putting these leftover threads on carbone rings but I wound up with several rings hanging around and the thread not being used. 
Leftover floss on carbone ring

I then considered leaving the extra threads looped on the bobbin and just wrapped around it. That was okay until I finally got around to putting all of my (well most of it) floss on bobbins and storing them in plastic boxes. Organization here I come! Oh happy day! But the extra thread didn’t work well in the boxes so it was back to the drawing board.
Cut floss wrapped around bobbin

Then it came to me! Use it up! Of course! But how? If you’ve seen any of my embroidery work you probably know I love to use scribbles. They are the perfect use it up solution! I can happily mix colors and since it is all abstract I can pretty much do whatever I want on them. It would also be a good way to see how colors work together – or don’t. And these would be the perfect spot to use up all of my “I don’t know what brand or color number this thread is” floss. Or I can try out or practice stitches on them. Or I can do all of the above.
So that’s how this piece got started.
Working embroidery scribble

First I grabbed a piece of fabric and a marker and scribbled. I used a hoop I planned to use for framing to be sure the scribble would fit inside.
Then I did a backstitch and a Rose’s illegal backstitch following the lines of the scribble with black floss. I had thread left over from the butterfly vest project which I’m almost finished with. (I’m just adding some glow-in-the-dark thread, a few sequins and some beads and then I’ll be ready to line it.) 

So I started with that thread and one of the inside sections of the scribble working an uneven running stitch (I’m not too good at keeping my stitches even – lol). When I ran out of one thread I started another. I decided to stick with just straight stitches on this scribble. Once that section was full of running stitches 
I went to another section and did an almost satin stitch leaving gaps in between each row. (I drew addition lines with my blue marking pen just for guidance.) 

Next I went to the smaller inside section and started using a scattered seed stitch changing colors as I went. I noticed the effect I was getting with the different combinations of color. I will definitely use this technique in other projects!
Seed scatter stitch
While I was working on this someone mentioned the scribble looked like and onion and an eggplant. So I decided to use a concentration of purple for the rest of the scribble to enhance the “eggplant look”. I did dip into my collection of unknown threads for this part. 
I needed another type of straight stitch to use and I wanted to use something I had not done before. I thought about my long desire to learn the short and long stitch. I’ve checked it out before but for some reason the directions in my stitch books just didn’t clue me in (it was more my lack of really concentrating on the instructions that jammed me up). So I picked up my favorite book, The left-handed embroiderer’s companion by Yvette Stanton, (she has it for right handed people also). Flipped to the page for the stitch and saw what to do. Mainly because she used a different color for each row and she shows several rows being done. 
Wonderful! I started out at the top narrow end and worked a few rows. I was delighted! This is definitely going to be one of my favorite filler stitches. I was so happy with it I had a hard time putting it down after working for fifteen minutes (this was one of my fifteen minutes a day projects).

Gap in the stitching
 (click on image to see it better)
Due to the irregular shape of the scribble I had to do some fiddling with it and probably should have started in the middle of each row and work my way to each side but this wasn’t aimed for perfection, this was a learning work. I did wind up with a few noticeable gaps but it was easy enough to go back and fill them in. 

Towards the end I decided to try switching to another shade of purple and then a third one. That worked out fairly well also. This was definitely a worthwhile project not only for using up leftover thread but also for trying something different.
Changing shades of purple on eggplant
Oh and one more thing. Here’s a picture of the back of my work. 
Back of embroidery work
Now I don’t often show the back since I’m not a stickler for no knots or that the back should be as nice as the front. I don’t use the juicy fat knots I was taught as a child but I do knot my thread with a simple overhand knot pulled tight and clipped close to the knot. And I do knot at the end also. But anyway notice on the back of this piece the double line of black running stitches? This was caused by my “illegal backstitch”. And I like the look of it so I took a photo just to have it to remind myself that I would like to try that look on one of my scribbles rather than a solid black one.

You may need to click on the photo to enlarge it in order to see the details.

Happy creative stitching with leftovers!

Saturday, August 9, 2014


Embroidery finished and hanging on my wall

Well I almost made it! Fell asleep while waiting for the glue to dry completely and so I am a little into Saturday with my Finish It Friday project.
Note to self:
Don’t forget to sand the hoop before painting so the paint will adhere better.

Trying to paint before sanding the hoop

Second Note to self:
Be sure to check the size of the fabric to the size of the final hoop before starting. Note the one edge that barely has enough fabric on the back side. Not easy to work with. 

Fabric too short on one side of the hoop
I did happen to have another 5 inch hoop that was a wee bit smaller than this one. I almost didn’t buy it but changed my mind at the last minute and purchased all of the “5 inch hoops”. Good thing! Of course that meant I had to paint another hoop before I could continue. 

See what I mean: sometimes even the seemingly simple finish becomes complicated!

Finished It Friday (well almost)!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Hello, Hello? Anybody here?

Oh goodness! I haven’t posted anything since the end of May and even worse nothing in my Finish It Friday section since March. FYI though I have been stitching, cleaning, entertaining, playing with my grandson, in other words I have been busy. And I’ve probably composed at least 10 blog posts in my head – just haven’t typed them out. Maybe I should practice using my Dragon software! Oh yeah and then there’s the photography work to add visual content so you can see what I’m talking about. So I’m going to start again and see if I can’t do better.

Since this is Friday I’ll start with my Finish It Friday post. The hard part about the FIF posts is finding items that are close to being finished, close enough that I would actually be able to finish them on Friday. Mostly I seem to just be advancing them forward. Partly because I miscalculate the amount of work to be done or I change my mind about how I want to finish it.
Today though I think I can finish this:
Small Scribble Embroidery with Left Overs

A small scribble embroidery which I plan to expand upon on Monday in my Tips and Tricks section. For now the embroidery is finished; it’s been damp stretched and now I’m going to mount it in a wood hoop that measures 5 inches. I’m painting the hoop purple and once it is dried I will glue in the embroidery, cover the back, and hang it on my wall.

Ready to paint

Check back later for the final photo.
Here goes!

Happy Finishing Friday!


Monday, May 26, 2014

Creased Wrinkled Fabric

Wrinkled fabric
How to avoid this when you're washing your fabric. 
Deep wrinkles with hard to get out creases

Okay now I know some of you don't wash the fabric before you start working but I do. Here's why I do:
 1. Eliminate shrinking
 2. Avoid having dyes running and ruining my fabrics
 3. Remove chemicals put on the fabrics in the process of making and/or shipping.
Some of those chemicals are harmful to us and so we need to remove them from the fabric.
Now if you'd like to keep the crispness of the fabric then you can always starch it as you iron and restore that crispness.
Okay so when washing the fabric how do I avoid getting all those nasty wrinkles? Well the first I always cut the corners of my fabric or pink the raw edges or surge them. This is just to eliminate any fraying that might occur in the washing and drying process. After I've done that I will take my selvedge edges and stitch them together to make a loop of my fabric. If I don't have selvedge edges then I just take two of the shorter raw edges and stitch them together again creating a loop of fabric.
Then just throw them in the washing machine. Don't forget your color catcher if you think you have some fabric that might bleed a little bit. Wash and dry them. You're ready to go. This is what they look like afterwards.
Very few wrinkles and no creases

Once they are dry all you have to do is trim off that little sewn selvage edge or the raw edges and you're ready to start creating.
Whatever wrinkles left are much easier to iron out of the fabric. Use starch if you wish.

Happy creaseless sewing!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Here We Go Again!

Oh goodness I've been missing in action for so long.  I have been busy, I have been doing things. Here are some of the blocks that I've made for our guild monthly block exchange.
Red and White Block for April

Flower Basket Block for March
This is a little card that I worked on for another on-line exchange I participated in. I was late with it as I forgot what the deadline was and thought I had longer to work on it. Oh dear. But I did get it done.

Postcard for online swap

The project was to do a postcard that included paper and embroidery so I designed this little card. I had some postcards for my inkjet printer that I had purchased a long time ago and then never used. Perfect. Then I remembered my sketchbook with a little flower design I had worked on, again some time ago. I thought it would look great as a card. The other part of the challenge was to focus on the word create so I added some words to the card. After I printed the design I decided to color in the flowers with some markers.  Then came the fun of deciding what stitches to use and then piercing the paper. About halfway though I remembered I like to keep the first of any new idea I make. So I printed another card and this time added the hummingbird to it (another one of  my little sketches!). When it came time to embroider the hummingbird I opted for some metallic thread. It was a little tricky to work with but I love the results.  I received this one from my exchange partner who lives in England.
Postcard Exchange from England
I'm still trying to straighten up and get somewhat organized in my "studio room". I may have a new idea to share later about fabric scraps. Testing it out now. 

I've been rather busy with my quilt guild lately, mainly working on promoting the show that took place May 1 and 2. It was a good experience for me and I also got involved in the take down. What a lot of work goes into putting on a show! I still have some things to finish for the guild and we are already talking about next year's show.

I haven't done any Finish It Friday posts because I haven't finished anything on Friday lately. (Well I haven't started anything new on Friday either!)

For my 15 minutes a day project I've been concentrating on this vest.
Butterfly Denim Vest WISP

I've blogged about it before here. One thing that I keep reminding myself of is to keep track of the thread colors I'm using. I started this about 15 years ago - what!!?! I can not find the blue thread that I used on it to begin with. I have found a DMC light effects thread that comes close but that thread is a little more difficult to work with than the regular floss. But I'll manage. Right now I'm concentrating on doing an irregular running stitch on the lines within the butterflies. Here is a view of two butterflies, one has been stitched and the other one has not. I think doing the stitches adds a lot to the look of the butterfly. Why an irregular running stitch? Because I don't seem to be able to keep my stitches perfectly even in length! Plus I think irregular is more interesting than perfect. 

I keep thinking I need to add some flowers among the butterflies but that will mean an even longer time before this is finished. I do wear this vest every once and awhile just because I can.
Well that's just some of what I have going on at the moment. 

Happy Stitching!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Done and Done!

Despite problems with my sewing machine I managed to finish the three flash cards. So now I have four shape or geometric flash cards. The question is will I make more? I didn't plan these very well and did not leave enough room top and bottom of each design when I printed them on the fabric. I will be more careful with this if I decide to make more. I will continue to use an additional black and white fabric with as close to the shape in the card as I can find.  The circle fabric was a little too spaced out so it only looks good on the top portion.
Shape Flash Cards
The embroidered petroglyphs are also finished. I had to do some more painting first on the inside of the outside hoop. I realized when I went to put them together that it would show the original wood finish if I didn't paint. Then I placed the embroidery in the hoop and tightened the hoop as tight as I could. After letting it set for a while I loosened the hoop and removed the inside hoop without disturbing the outer hoop. By letting it sit for a while an indentation was made in the fabric that I could use as a guide to replace the inside hoop once I had placed glue around the outside of it. After placing the inside hoop back on the fabric I tightened the screw on the outer hoop and let it sit to dry. (I used a fabric glue that works as quick as a hot glue gun without the mess and heat.) 
Embroidered Petroglyphs
The back of the petroglyph embroideries had a fusible interfacing so I decided I would not need to cover the back of the stitching with felt as I have on other projects. I also may go back and add some narrow rickrack on the back of the hoop to try and hide the cut fabric. I've done that on other hoop projects too.

For close ups of these projects check out my Flickr account.
Now to get ready for next Friday!

Done feels good!

Wow it’s Friday already! Time for FIF:Finish It Friday!

I’m back to trying to finish some items on Friday. First up are the three Flash Cards I’ve been trying to finish for several weeks now. So fabric in hand and sewing machine at the ready here we go!

Flash Cards to finish

Next I’ve selected some embroideries I had done since April of 2011. Yes 2011 and the only thing they needed was to get permanently framed in hoops. Only thing was I wanted the hoops to be black. When I first tried painting a hoop the paint didn’t take well so I laid it all aside. Now I’ve sanded the frames, painted them black and I’m ready to go with the finishings. 

Embroidered Hawaiian Petroglyphs

I’ll be back later to show the results (hopefully).

Happy Finishing Friday!