An embroidery update

Still obsessed with embroidery.  And quilting. And now my Cricut Maker.

I have made some progress on some embroidery projects…

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The Purl Soho sampler got made into a little pillow (AKA “bed parasite” per my husband) that lives on our bed.  I was really unhappy with one of the circles, so replaced with a bit of romance and gorgeous yellow fabric.IMG_4447

And then there is this one – from Tula Pink’s embroidery book.  Slow but steady progress.  And I still love the brick stitch.  And still amazed and proud that I can do that many french knots.  Living the dream.IMG_4459

I am taking a break from the giant rose to try and get this little guy done this week.  I think the finished project with the stripes fabric will look cool.  Or like bad decor from a cheap Florida hotel.  We’ll see.

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I also have been wanting to design my own patterns.  We saw The Post a couple weeks ago and I loved it.  Did a simple line drawing of Katherine Graham that I am hoping to make into a hoop.

And then this beautiful painting by Paul Klee came up in my daily calendar from the Met.  This is begging to be turned into a gorgeous piece of embroidery with pastels and my beloved brick stitch.

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So much to do… so little time.  Goodnight for now, my lovelies.

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style

I adore the Pretty by Hand blog.  Her colors, her patterns, her everything make me swoon.  Sweet little flowers and pink and lace.

But when I try to stay sweet and pink, it feels false.  And modern solids and straight lines aren’t quite me either.

Begrudgingly I admit my style is floral cacophony.  I shudder to say almost boho.  If left to my own devices, it would be all the colors and all the flowers all the time.  Recently, I have been making some things that fit into that style – I am leaning into it, and enjoying it.

I have a whole basket of multi-color florals.  I dug those out and some text grey and creams and have started to cut and appliqué circles.  My technique is lacking, but getting better.

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For this project, I cut some of my favorite floral fabrics (using my Cricut Maker).  I just never could think of a project good enough to use them.  I have moved past that now, knowing that the universe will provide more lovely floral fabric when I want it.  It is almost certain.

And then there is this needle book I made from this tutorial.  All the flowers and all the colors and I couldn’t be happier with it.  This much visual noise makes me happy.

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This little needle minder was a present from my husband for Christmas.  Those adorable scissors are from Purl Soho.  I am going to get them in a different color eventually so that they stand out more from the background fabric.

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Each page stores a different type of needle.  This page is for appliqué pins and needles.  And I know it is for appliqué stuff because there is a wee appliquéd circle on the page.

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This page is for quilting needles and milliner needles (when I get some).  Milliner needles are supposed to be good for English Paper Piecing and french knots.

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This page is for tapestry needles.  And I also am storing my adorable tulip pins here.

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And this page is for embroidery and beading needles.  Love love love.

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And all tied up with a bright orange ribbon.

Here is to finding and falling in love with one’s own style.

 

 

 

Baby quilts

As long time readers know, I make a lot of baby quilts. Lots and lots. Since 2014, I have a yearly goal of how many charity quilts I want to make. I love making baby charity quilts. There is no prescribed palette or style – I can use all the colors and prints I want and eventually the quilt will provide comfort to a child who is sick. Not much better equation for sewing happiness.

I also have the pleasure of working with a lot of young men and women who become parents and need baby quilts. Last year I made 6 baby quilts – and only one of them was a charity quilt. And I didn’t even mean to make it as a charity quilt. I made Fancy Forest by Elizabeth Hartmann. IMG_4042.JPG

A gorgeous pattern – but at the end of making it and basting it, I was tired of the project and didn’t pay close enough attention. Heavy quilting to the rescue!! It ended up being a just fine adorable baby quilt, but too punctuated by error to be the fall festive wall hanging I was going for.

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I want to do 12 charity baby quilts a year.  I haven’t come close the last two years.  Couple that with the baskets and boxes and stacks of orphan blocks and scraps, I set an aggressive goal this year – 26 project charity baby quilts.

I have (had) a backlog of 5 tops ready to go.  So far I have been able to get 2 done and one almost done.

This quilt was originally made for a friend’s baby and then I decided it wasn’t quite right with her colors and style.  It sat for a year+ just waiting for the binding.

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The next one I finished, I couldn’t face doing binding.  I hate binding.  So I finished without binding and then did free-motion quilting on it until my eyes swam.  I know this breaks all the rules of quilt finishing, but I like it.  Cheerful and soft – that is about all you can ask of a baby quilt.

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I have more tops in the hopper.  I have had this finished giant block for 2+ years and am almost done with it.  I quilted with just the batting, and now am tying it onto the back with embroidery floss.  I have now remembered that takes more time than binding!!  Binding isn’t looking so bad now.

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and I also have been setting (and mostly meeting) scrap usage goals.  This quilt top is done entirely from a scrap basket, that still is overflowing.  I love the cheeriness of the blue and yellow.  Total pure fun.

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I also played with interspersing some yellow in the blue blocks and some blue in the yellow blocks, which adds some interest.

 

 

In love and in 2018!

Hello – New year!  I love new years.  I love how bare the house looks after taking down Christmas decorations.  I love new lists, new goals, big plans, optimism.  A new year is a fresh sheet of paper.

For better or worse, I fill my pieces of paper with the same doodles every time.  I am many things – many awesome things – but I still struggle to value, protect, and better my health.  This year, this notebook, this page is not different.

I still am me in that I want to do everything.  Dance, run, speak a new language, make new friends, give art tours, draw, sew, paint, weave, garden.

That is, I want to do everything until it comes time to actually do things.  And here is the reality – all I really want to do is sew.  After work, family, friend commitments are met, I just want to sew.  I have successfully sewn a lot this year already.  A LOT.  I have not exercised once.  Not once.

So the trick this year will be to let myself sew as much as I want to – set as many stitchy goals as I possibly can.  But first, exercise.  It is necessary for my resilience and health.  So other than exercise goals, I am not going to push myself to do anything else.  One distraction from exercise.  One distraction from sewing.

But… man, the sewing be good…  some of my recent endeavors…

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This is a pattern from Purl Soho.  I bought a whole kit, but ended up not liking the color or fabric, so went with a more French color palette.  I love this more than words and really did improve my stitches working on this.  I am not a fan of the circle at the top with all of the fly stitches.  I am going to pull that out and put the word ADORE in the circle.  This is going to be a bed parasite (pillow) in our bedroom, so taking the license to get a little romantic-y with it.  Did I mention I love this?

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Speaking of romantic, I made little felt hearts for this Valentine’s Day tree.  Again, Purl Soho pattern.  I cut them out on my Cricut Maker and whipped them together.  They join some mini flowers and glitter hearts I picked up at Joann.  The goal is to have this tree decorated year round as a festive little thing.

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Did I mention I LOVE my Cricut Maker??  More on that in a later post.

I am trying to make peace with using regular felt.  I have used wool felt for so many projects, that it is hard to not use it.  But unless making a gift for a child, I think polyester felt is so fine.  It is pennies on the dollar.  So it is just fine.  Really.

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This baby quilt was the first draft of this quilt for a bestest friend’s baby.  It was in a magazine and I feel in love with it.  But it ended up not being up to snuff.  I set it aside waiting just for the binding to be done.  Last weekend I finished it and it is going into my donate to Project Linus pile.  I hope to do 24 Project Linus quilts this year.  #morethanicanchew

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Oh, embroidery!   I don’t know why it took me so long to get into embroidery.  I am so in love with it.  Can’t think about much else.  I have so many projects I want to complete.  I started this one and am so addicted.  The pattern is from the Tula Pink book.  Love love love.

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Look at that brick stitch!!  So in LOVE!!

So, I love stuff.  And I am going to exercise.  Happy 2018!

 

 

Sublimating negative emotions

IMG_4276.JPGI have been working on several embroidery projects.  And am falling in love.  Every night I get closer to completing a project, feeling the power of transferring my (at times overwhelming) fear and anxiety in to tiny stitches.

There is some science behind the thought of crafting as a way of working shit out. (link)  I am a true believer.

Today was a pretty bad day.  I came home and hugged my husband, cried a little, did some TaiChi (wonderfully lame thing I have started to do), and embroidered a lot.  I finished the giant peach zinnia and made leaves.  So fulfilling and definitely therapeutic.

As I stitch, I imagine the finished product and how much joy it will give me or the recipient.  And progress reliably comes.  Stitches in, worry out.

 

All about that embroidery

Hello, void.  I hope you are well.  I am ok.  Not making the best choices always.  But never giving up.

A few weeks ago I was at my parents’ for dinner and my mom showed me this cool embroidery project in a quilting magazine.  You melt crayons on fabric and then backstitch around the image.  I loved it because it was a lot of color and only the backstitch is required.  I created this little hummingbird.IMG_4074

I loved the end product – and so made some little cutie pie images using this technique to be included in a quilt for my favorite 1-year old.

I interspersed these with some pieced blocks and made a color explosion of a quilt.  I really didn’t have a cohesive color plan with this quilt – focusing more on the fun i-spy blocks.  The result reminds me of my childhood.  Kids’ stuff was brightly colored – there was no curation – just SPLASH!

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This quilt was a lot of sewing.  I thought this would cure the embroidery bug.

It didn’t.

I found namaste embroidery on the Instragrams and watched her little videos over and over and over again.  And then I watched her longer videos and made her free beginner project.

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Just too adorable, right?  And so so so much easier than I thought it would be.  And so much faster than making a quilt.  This took me about 2 swoon blocks worth of time.  🙂

And then I bought all of the patterns and all of the embroidery thread and delighted in what a cheap hobby this is, especially compared to quilting.  This was the second thing I made, also a pattern by namaste embroidery.

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And now I have two other projects underway.  This darling little succulent and floral pattern.

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And this sweet little christmas pattern.  Based on another namaste embroidery pattern, with some additions by me.  These pine branches/leaves are beyond fun to make.

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I did a lot of patchwork/quilting over the long weekend.  Not abandoning that anytime soon.  But embroidery is the bomb.  I won’t be able to get back to it for a couple days.  Let’s hope I can keep by shit together until then.

Touchstones

IMG_4031Today was hard.  I felt easily bruised, easily offended.  One of those days where being a grown up and choosing not to take my toys and go home was hard.  I have a pit of anxiety that I can’t quite place.  And I am oh so hungry.

I have learned in my baby-steps meditation practice to expand the feeling around anxiety.  Don’t dig in, but notice it generally, as if from across the room.  I am trying to do that with my anxiety and my hunger.  Notice, but don’t fall in.

I am working on having touchstones – everyday activities that can ground me.  Tonight I exercised, sewed, and now am blogging.  I think those transform my evenings from eating or thinking about eating to something else.  I don’t feel exhausted and ashamed right now.

I made this block during my hour of sewing today.  A fairly wonky thistle.  I made every mistake – put the green strips wrong side up, sewed the leaves upside down and then backwards.  When I got everything facing the right direction with the right side of the fabric, I called it.  A little bit wonky, but done.  There is a metaphor there that I can’t find right now.

Talk to you tomorrow.