Sunday, June 26, 2016

Signs of Summer Tin and ABC Cubes

A couple of years ago I started stitching Bent Creek's "Signs of Summer" for an Altoid tin top and I just stopped in the middle.  My fabric was similar to the suggested one, but the colors just weren't showing up right.  I tried changing them, but I began to hate the whole thing.  Recently I discovered the half-finished piece while searching for something else, and although I didn't like it any better, I decided to try again on a piece of 28 ct cornflower blue Jobelan.   I'm much happier with the finish this time.   I glued a couple of buttons on the outer lid to hide my messy ribbon gluing job.






I actually had more fun finding applique crochet patterns to decorate the inside lid.  Thread crochet is so fiddly that I had some false starts.  But I finally settled on some patterns that worked.  I don't know if I'll keep the sea turtle in the tin, but he definitely looks cute.  The shell comes out kind of rounded by design, so one could add a little batting for a 3-d look.

If you are interested, these the are links to the free crochet patterns I used:

Tiny round fish
http://bunnymummy-jacquie.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/sail-away-crochet-pattern.html

Long fish
http://mymerrymessylife.com/2012/04/crochet-goldfish-applique-free-crochet-pattern.html

Spiral seashell
http://dascrochetconnection.blogspot.com/p/sea-shell-garland.html

Sea turtle
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/sea-turtle-applique-2




And finally, Ele's ABC SAL is complete!  Here is the final block:

I'm very proud of myself for actually doing the finishing.  This is the kind of thing that can live in a drawer for a long time until the finishing mood strikes me!  I decided to arrange them with the ABC as the top of one block and the 123 as the top of the other. Then the sides are the rest of the alphabet.  The bottoms of each are the remaining number blocks.  I stuffed them lightly with poly-fill so they are scrunchy.   My eyes are really starting to rebel in the evenings so I think I made tons of mistakes in all those seams.  I was trying to stitch by feel and that's really not a good technique.  Not sure what I'll do with these.  I think a baby could rip them apart so they aren't really toys.  I'll just admire them for now.






Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Bird's Eye View Sling Bag

Last fall, I decided I needed a new cross-body sling bag and I stitched up Kathy Barrick's "Bird's Eye View".   This was really a fun stitch.. just the kind I like.  It's very colorful, no back-stitching, and no super-large areas of a single color.  All done in DMC on 36 count linen.  And then for some reason, the design just sat around and I never felt like making the bag.  Meanwhile, the bag I use everyday had gotten increasingly tattered, so finally I took out the time to sew this one up.  I don't know why I hesitated for so long.  It really doesn't take that long to do it.  And I'm very happy with it, even though those colors are not very spring/summer-like.




All caught up with Snowflower Calendar SAL just about in time for the next installment. This June bear just stole my heart.  I first thought the color was too dark and I tried something lighter.  It was too faint and I ripped it out.  So I went with the 839 on the pattern and I'm much happier.  I made the bee hive a little gold-ier,  the apricots a little orange-ier and the bees a little brighter yellow.  Just look at that sweet smile!

Also finished the 4-5-6 block for Ele's SAL.  Only one more block to go and I will have the dubious pleasure of sewing up the cubes.  I wonder how long it will take me to feel like doing that!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Sneak Peek Summer Tin #2

The great rain streak of 2016 has finally been broken here and we've had some sunny days.  Unfortunately, my photos for this post were taken when it was still pretty dreary outside so they may not show up so well.

I completed the second tin for the Trilogy Summer Sneak Peak pair.  The universe was with me on this one.  I was browsing in Joann's fabric store for something completely different when I stumbled upon this narrow ribbon with a watermelon slice print.  I could hardly believe it.  How perfect a trim can you get?  And coupled with the polka dot tan that kind of gives the flavor of the basket, I think it really enhanced the design.  This one contains the flash drive with the whole cast of Peanuts characters.
 

One of the members of the 123 Stitch Message board suffered a serious health problem recently.  Board members banded together to shower her with get-well cards.  I had stitched up this old Chessie and Me freebie some time ago and never used it.  I thought it made a nice, cheery card.  Hoping she recovers quickly.

And the mystery of Ele's ABC SAL has been revealed.  She is doing numbers on the final three squares.  This may make my placement on cubed pin cushions a bit tricky, but I'm not going to let that spoil the fun.  No changes from Ele's design on this.  Only two more to go!


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Sneak Peek Summer Tin

It's been raining here for two weeks, but the sun came out briefly this afternoon to give me enough light for photos.  It was time for a couple of Altoid tin gifts for a couple of summer-loving friends.  The Trilogy Sneak Peek Summer designs are perfect for this and two fit comfortably on a tin top.  I've finished one and will make one more.  I used 36 count light blue linen using DMC.  The little butterfly on the upper right was my addition since it looked so bare on that corner.  I used a motif for the butterfly that Lynn charted and uses in many of her designs. See this example.

The inside has the cutest little Snoopy flash drive.  And they were on a clearance sale to make them especially cute!  The other one has all the peanuts characters on it. Great find at Staples.




I'm caught up with Ele's ABC SAL.  The alphabet part is finished, so I'm very curious to see what the final 3 blocks will be.  I didn't make any changes to the "vwx" block.  The "yz" block motif was the zinnia, but without stitching any words, I was afraid it might not be identifiable.  I went with 'yacht' for the 'y', even though one might wonder why I put a sailboat on a "yz" square.  But 'y' and 'z' don't give one a lot of good choices.   My attempt at a zig-zag failed miserably.  I didn't want 'yarn' since I was avoiding a needlework theme.  Yo-yo was too modern.  Frankly, I got tired of over-thinking it!

And I finished the May design for the Joyful World SAL.  Just a few color changes this month. I  made the orange flowers a little darker.  I turned the white bird into a bluebird.  There is also minuscule back-stitching on the cat faces.  I'm caught up just in time for the new June pattern.. a super-bear!
 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Down in the Valley

So my dear little wrapped 4" wooden embroidery hoop really needed to have its own pouch like the ones I made for the other spring tension ones I own.   Really, I was just looking for a way to finish "Down In The Valley" by Blackbird Designs.  Since it was meant to be a round finish, I thought a hoop pouch made sense. I was considering going completely round, with maybe a zipper, but I ended up with a rounded bottom only.  Turns out to be pretty easy to do that.  I found a bowl in the kitchen that was the right size and traced a semi-circle onto the back of the stitching and finishing fabrics.  That gave a nice sewing line.  You just need to use a short machine stitch and clip the curves before turning.  For once, my measurements came out pretty good and this pouch really doesn't even need a snap closure to keep the hoop in there. 

The top border fabric is the backing fabric as well.  It's really not so blue and actually looks more like the muted colors in the stitching.  The stitching is done on 32 ct natural MCG linen.  That linen is a little heavier than Zweigart and makes a more sturdy pouch.   I mostly used the DMC suggested colors with a few changes here and there.






Ele chose 'thread' as the theme for her "s,t,u" block of the Alphabet SAL.  She wanted to tie it in to the needle on the "m,n,o" block.  I didn't want these blocks to end up with a stitchy theme so I went rogue and found a small chart for an umbrella here.  Ele had thought about going with the umbrella idea, so it wasn't entirely my idea.  I think I've stayed with the flavor of this SAL.  We'll see how much of a SAL rebel I will be in the coming weeks.  


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Double zip pouch and SAL updates

I did a little experimental sewing today.  I've made a number of little zippered coin purses and I use them a lot.  They are handy for carrying my credit & ID cards, some paper money and some change in a compact, light-weight format.  The only annoying thing is that change gets buried at the bottom and it's difficult to see what's there to pick out the right coins.  So I decided to try sewing one that had an outside zippered pocket to use as a separate compartment for the change.  I had always been afraid of doing that because of the added bulk in the seams.  So today's test was just done with quilting cottons and no cross-stitch fabric, interfacing, or batting.  It worked out very well, but next time I'll place the side zipper a little higher.   I wasn't sure where to put it.  The pouch measures about 3.5" x 5", about the size of a recipe card.

I found this You Tube video to be a very clear tutorial on how to do this.  I didn't follow it exactly, but it's more or less the same technique.  I've also found it easier to use a zipper that's too long and shorten it on each end.  Trying to line up the metal pieces at the end of each zipper when you sew it in is just too fiddly an operation for me.




I'm up to date on the Snowlower Diaries Calendar SAL now too.  I made a few color changes to brighten it up, but not much.  That bunny and squirrel are just too cute. 

I also completed part 6 of Ele's ABC SAL.  Why does that peacock look like a dinosaur to me?  We just got part 7 and I I think may be going rogue on that one.  We'll see.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Wild and Crazy Carrot

So after I caught up on my SALS in the last post, I realized that I hadn't planned what project to start next.  I usually have my next project in mind while I'm working on one.  I'm a one-at-a-time stitcher, so no WIP's waiting in the wings.  This happened on the night of the Oscars and I couldn't imagine watching an awards show without stitching at the same time.  I looked through my recent freebie downloads and the CEC Primrose Carrot caught my eye.  It fascinated me because it used a lot of colors, but the chart was in black and white with no accompanying color photo.  I couldn't visualize the completed design at all.  I laughed because the designer encourages you to pick your own colors.  Not sure how I would have been able to that.   Luckily I had an appropriate piece of linen and all the DMC colors in my stash, so it became a mystery stitch for me.  It was so much fun to stitch and see the design in color come to life gradually.  On 32-count evenweave, it's a bit too long for a book mark, so I made a little mat to use as a resting spot for my iPad-mini.  I'm quite happy with it.


And I did one more block of El's ABC SAL. Still love these quick little squares.



Sunday, February 28, 2016

SAL Catch-up

I guess I'm hooked on SAL's lately.  I discovered the cutest ABC prim SAL on Kim's blog. The SAL consists of 12 little squares that can be done as one sampler or as individual blocks.  You can send an email to Ele, the designer, to join in the fun. Read all about it on her blog,  Busy Hands Craft 

She has released four blocks so far.  I'm planning to make cube-shaped pin cushions out of the designs so I modified the border to be the back stitch edge that I will use to whip stitch the sides together.  Not sure what we are really in store for since she has featured nine letters on four blocks, but I trust that it will all work out well.  The color palette is that kind of standard prim muted type, all DMC.  I'm using 32 count Lamb's wool Jobelan.  My photo editing may make you think I'm using different fabrics, but they are all from the same cut of Jobelan.

I like the little touches of interesting stitches.  I had never heard of the Wheat Sheaf stitch, but you can see that below on the side of the house in the third square.   That square is especially fun with a house and the 'h' and 'i' close enough together to spell  'hi' .

So I'm up to date and it be should easy to keep current since the designs are so quick to stitch.


I also finished the March design for the Snowflower Diaries Joyful World SAL.  It's mostly stitched with suggested colors, but I did change some for better contrast and a brighter over-all look.   Again, this is 1-over-1 on 28 ct Tea Monaco.  Do you think we'll get a bunny in April?  We probably ought to have a betting pool!


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Bird Friends Valentine and Joyful World

One last Valentine on the real Valentine's Day!.  I saw this design first on the FB smalls group.  It's a freebie by Kirsi Huttunen and you can find it at the  Merry Cherry Designs blog.  I actually stitched it up when I thought I was sending out two stitched Valentines this year, but the intended recipient for this one turns out to be traveling for the month of February.  So this one will just hang around til next year I guess.  My free-form heart seemed like a good idea, but my hand paper-cutting skills need work.  I'll just consider it to be 'rustic'.  It's stitched on 35 ct linen.


Like many of you, I've been participating in the Snowflower Diaries Joyful World SAL.  I have no idea what I will do with these designs in the end or even if I will have the staying power to stitch them all.   I decided to do them on 28 ct tea Monaco, one-over-one, in DMC.  I'm doing each individually for more flexibility later. I considered leaving off the month names, but in the end I decided I liked them as is.   Even if I never finish-finish them, I'm enjoying the stitching so much that they will have definitely served their purpose anyway.  The designs are just so precious!  I have finished January and February with minimal color changes.  There were a few places that didn't have enough contrast for my fabric.  The two photos below make it appear that I used a different fabric for each, but that's just camera tricks.  The February photo is probably more true to the real life color.

Here's a shot next to a quarter so you can see how tiny and cute these are: