October 2012 WIPocalypse update

Not as much stitching done all up as I’d like over the last month, although I’d thrilled to show that I did manage to get one 2-year-old UFO out of the “hiding in shame basket” and back onto the Qsnaps … over the last month I not only managed to put the final stitches into it, but last night I even finish-finished it!  I also stitched a little scissor fob to match it yesterday, but it’s still not sewn together yet.  I hope to do that over the next day or so though 🙂

“Biscornu 458” by The Floss Box
Stitched on 32ct Thunderstorm Belfast linen by Zweigart
with DMC threads

Scissor fob to match Biscornu 458, personalised with recipients details (not shown)

The other stitching I did was to put the bi-cones onto Letter S … still have to add the name to this one, but I’ve bought a frame for it in readiness and need to get this one finished sooner rather than later, as it’s a gift for a work colleague’s daughter (instead of a birth sampler) who has now left work!

“Letter S” by Nora Corbett/Mirabilia
Stitched on 32ct “Secret” hand-dyed linen by Steph’s Fabbies
with recommended threads and beads

Mum came over to visit for just over a week last the week before last – unfortunately we didn’t have a great deal of time together due to not being able to get time off work, but the first weekend she arrived we had a wonderful time and got out and about quite a bit.  We took a drive to a picture framers about an hour’s drive from home, and came home with 9 different frames and 2 huge pieces of mat-board, ready to go crazy and do some framing jobs.  I’m still waiting for 3 of the frames to be made up yet, then I’ll go pick those up … but in the meantime I did manage to frame up the following:

I managed to get this framed while Mum was here so she could take it home with her – she was so thrilled she is going to take it into the rest home where she volunteers to show everyone – it’s lovely when your stitching is appreciated! Freesias are Mum’s favourite flowers, so I’ve always wanted to stitch this for her 🙂

“Trick or Treat Fairy” by Mirabilia
Technically not finished framing yet, as I’m waiting for spacers to be added beneath the glass, then the backing put back one … but I couldn’t resist sharing early, as I just love this one! 🙂

And that’s probably all I have this month for the WIPocalypse … while my fingers aren’t necessarily flying every night (usually just the weekends these days), my stitching still remains my most favourite pastime on the weekends for unwinding from a stressful working week – I don’t know what I’d do without it!  Sadly my hours mean the only blog reading I’m getting to do is on the morning commute, and it’s too hard to comment on my phone, but at least I’m still getting the odd bit of blog reading in – and the WIPocalypse is at least motivating me to post at the moment at least once a month … who knows when that’ll change, as work is particularly stressful at the moment, but “que sera, sera”, “what will be, will be” 🙂

Biscornu exchange and other bits

I’m working some really mental hours at work at the moment with a project not going so well that I’m supposed to be helping with the testing phase, plus another high profile project that’s just materialised where I’ve been asked to be the project lead, another two projects already underway for early next year, an entire overhaul of our main computer system we use (meaning training etc required along with the testing), and my main work colleague off on annual leave (who never provides a handover document) … my brain cells are in overdrive, but on the whole I’m loving it, even though I could quite easily leave the long hours for someone else.  So I apologise in advance for the crappy grammar etc that I’m sure you’re going to find in this post, but I’m about to fall in a heap and get some well-needed Zzzzzzzzz……

I don’t think I ever showed the finished version of my French design purchased on holiday earlier in the year.  Mum helped me by stuffing it with polyfil on her last visit, and I stitched up the seam to put the finishing touches into it.  I need to get a little basket to have it on display with some of my other favourite items in my bedroom.  I think I also need to stitch this one again in traditional red threads.

“Citation de brodeuse no.8” by Brin par Brin

Next up is the biscornu I sent to my partner in the Oz Cross Stitchers biscornu exchange (a Facebook group):

“Free Biscornu #30” by The Floss Box
stitched on 28ct white Cashel linen
with recommended DMC threads, with Mill Hill beads in the whip-stitched border

And here is the exchange I received from my partner:

August WIPocalypse

Too late at night to put any words for now ‘cos I’m going cross-eyed from lack of sleep … will post my month’s progress piccie, though – I managed to finish this little Just Nan piece (stitching-wise anyway).

I also completed 2 biscornu pieces for an exchange, but yet undecided which one to use so I can’t show and tell those properly yet …

Mini finish

Over the last two days I’ve managed to start and finish a small freebie called Coffee Break – such a cute little design, that’s for sure!  It’ll eventually be turned into a scissor fob when I have a finishing frenzy weekend … some day …

Cross Stitch Happy-Coffee Break
“Coffee Break” freebie
stitched on 32ct Lambswool linen by Wichelt
with recommended DMC threads

The freebie is still available from Cross Stitch Happy blog here 🙂

I also managed to find my ornie photo on my laptop, so I can update with that too 🙂

Blue Monday and off to see Jeffery Deaver

It’s been a while since I contributed to the weekly Blue Monday photo meme … seeing as there’s no stitching happening over here, I figure I might as well try and post ‘something’! Here is my choice for this week’s Blue Monday – a blue-filled boat at Niagara Falls, Canada.

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And here’s a crafty item for Blue Monday 🙂

Morning Glory pinkeep 1

Blue Monday

Blue Monday certainly doesn’t reflect my mood today, as I am nowhere near ‘blue’ … today I’m off to my very first book launch by one of my favourite authors, Jeffery Deaver. After reading The Bone Collector I was hooked by his twisted tales of crime, and he’s now been commissioned by the Ian Fleming Estate to write the latest James Bond novel (Carte Blanche) – while my heart will always remain with his Lincoln Rhyme series, perhaps it’s time to branch out and try something new … and what better way to do it than to have a lovely lunch and drinks, then pick up a copy and have it signed … in fact I think perhaps I should call into a book store on the way and pick up a copy of The Bone Collector and ask for that one to be signed, seeing as it was my first Jeffery Deaver experience 🙂

Weekend finishing frenzy

I had planned to get acquainted with my sewing machine over the weekend, but the end results weren’t actually what I’d planned … for some reason I got a serious urge to get some of my finished projects sewn up into pillows etc – it ended up being an exceptionally productive weekend on that score, with 9 pillows and a scissor fob completed, along with a little mini-quilt that just needs the binding to be hand-stitched … plus I also made some minor amendments to a lovely wall-hanging that Sylvia gave me years ago.  Anyway, here are the end results – I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves:

The Stitcherhood-Autumn LizzieKate-Fall Nathalie-Chatrouille freebie
Erica Michaels-Random Hearts LizzieKate-Boo Squared
Peacock pillow Plum Pudding Needleart-Love freebie Heart in Hand Needleart-Wee Valentine Bird Mosey 'n Me-Love February freebie
Pumpkin scissor fob Pumpkin scissor fob

This one just needs the binding to be stitched down 🙂

halloween-mini-quilt

Sadly Sylvia’s lovely wall-hanging was folding up due to the high humidity, so I chopped up the hanger into pieces and stitched it in 4 places directly onto a pretty wee wire hanger 🙂

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This is what first got me into “sewing machine mode” – the first month’s BOTM fabrics and instructions for my Piece and Plenty quilt … sadly it doesn’t come with any specific instructions for each block, and I’ve ended up spending a fair bit of time rummaging through my quilting books and online tutorials trying to work out how to do paper piecing – once I’ve got a bit more comfortable with my sewing machine I’ll be ready to start this one 😀

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Pin Pillow Tutorial #2

Boo-Tyme-pillow

You will need:

  • Stitching for the centre of the cushion
  • Coordinating fabric(s) for side strips and backing
  • Sewing machine with coordinating sewing machine thread to match your fabric(s)
  • Scissors/rotary cutter and mat
  • Pins
  • Ribbon/lace/button embellishments (optional)
  • Polyfil stuffing (or something similar)
  • Sewing needle and thread to close up the seam opening

Pin-pillow-tutorial-2.1

1. First of all trim your stitched piece, and cut your coordinating fabric to your preferred length and the approximate width of your sewing project.  In my case I have chosen to have my coordinating fabric at the bottom of my stitched piece, and I prefer to have the quilting fabric slightly smaller than my stitched piece so it doesn’t take too much attention from the stitching – I have, however, seen some stunning pillows with the stitching taking up just a small amount of room at the top of the pillow.  The only difference is down to your preference, as the finishing process is exactly the same.

Pin-pillow-tutorial-2.2

Pin-pillow-tutorial-2.3

2. Pin the fabrics together, with right sides facing, and stitch a normal seam allowance (alternatively you may prefer to just a quilters 1/4″ seam).

Pin-pillow-tutorial-2.5

3. At this point I cut off my excess fabrics on each side, and trim my seams to 1/4″.  This is also the time when you should open up the seam(s) and give a quick pressing with the iron.

Pin-pillow-tutorial-2.6

4. If you have decided to have fabric on both sides of your stitching (either top and bottom, or left and right) this you will need to repeat the above process a second time for the additional piece of fabric.  Once you’ve finished attaching the coordinating fabrics, check the edges to ensure they’re all even, and give it a quick trim with the rotary cutter if needed.

5. At this point I add any seam embellishments to the pillow front.  For this particular pillow I just wanted to add one row of matching ric-a-rac.  This can either be attached by the sewing machine or by hand (I ended up adding this one by hand, as I didn’t have a matching brown sewing machine thread).  This is also a good time to add any buttons or other trims you want to add, prior to constructing the pillow itself.  Alternatively, you can add your ribbon at the very end once the pillow is finished, but just wrapping it around the pillow and tying a bow to hold it in place 🙂

Pin-pillow-tutorial-2.7

6. Now you need to cut your backing fabric the same size as your finished article, and pin them together with right sides facing together (the right side of the stitching will be on the inside of the sandwich).

Pin-pillow-tutorial-2.8

7. Stitch a seam allowance around the edges, but leave an opening at the bottom so that you can turn your pillow inside-out.  I tend to leave about 1 1/2″ opening and that’s normally enough room to allow for turning.

Pin-pillow-tutorial-2.9

8. I use a chopstick to help push the corners into a nice shape from the outside – you just have to be careful not to force the seam stitching too much!  Once you have turned your pillow inside out, it should look something like this.  Now all you have to do is stuff it to your preferred thickness with your favourite stuffing.

Pin-pillow-tutorial-2.10

9. I close my pillow openings with a ladder stitch – and the following is taken from a previous Christmas ornament tutorial, but is the exact same instruction for closing the pillows.

As you can see from the photo below, I start off by slipping my needle into the seam of the backing fabric, then coming back out about 1/4″ along the seam (about 3mm) and bring my needle out.

Christmas Cheer 20

I then take my needle directly opposite where I just came out of the backing fabric and slip my needle into the linen and follow the seam along for about 3mm and bring the needle back out again.

Christmas Cheer 21

I’ve left the stitches nice and loose in the photo below to help illustrate how the stitches follow along opposite each other, like rungs of a ladder.

Christmas Cheer 22

When you pull the thread tighter, the stitches almost disappear into the fabric, giving a really nice clean finish – this is definitely my favourite stitch for closing up openings for that reason!

Christmas Cheer 23

Once you reach the end of the seam opening, you need to finish off your thread with a couple of teeny stitches – I then bury the needle into the seam and come out somewhere about an inch way and bring the needle back out again – then clip the thread close to the fabric so that my thread tail does’t appear easily.

And here’s the final seam all finished off – see now nice and tidy that ladder stitch is in the opening? :D

Christmas Cheer 24

10. And that is the final step in your beautiful new pin pillow coming to life.  Now all you need to do is to find somewhere to display it where it can be admired by everyone 😀

Boo-Tyme-pillow

Pumpkins-pillow Halloween-pillow P1030899