Friday, December 16, 2011

Sashico (simple is cool)

Some time ago I showed a photo with blue piece of fabric and marked square grid on it (here). And I still owe you the explanation. It's been a while I wanted to learn sashico embroidery. I bought a book that waited for good times and finally here they came :). To give you some insights - the embroidery looks very simple, after all it's "only" a running stitch that has to be made. But the beauty I find in it is how this simple stitch can be turned into sophisticated pattern. And when you combine a couple of different patterns together it is just amazing.

So, at first I chose the pattern that I thought was quite simple and tried this on the small piece of fabric that you already saw in previous post. But when trying this out it came not so simple and I managed to make one or two mistakes. So, I decided to choose even simpler pattern. I started working on this and still I managed to make one mistake. Fortunately, it is very easy to remove "wrong" threads and fix it. After that everything went well.

What is the difficulty in this? I didn't use the ready pattern (now I know they are available to buy) but worked on the square grid. So, the trick is to imagine on the grid how the pattern will look like and where the stitch will go. There are some rules to follow, like the stitch cannot cross, so you have to imagine when they will meet to make it right as well.

The fabric I'm using is the leftover from the roman shade I made for one room. I was left with enough fabric for 2 pillows, so for the second one I'll make another sashico pattern. This time I decided to make a pillow closed with buttons - but this is a story for another post, as the buttons are not so simple buttons ;).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Free-Motion Quilt Challenge

Recently, in one of the blogs I found the link to very interesting event that will last for the whole 2012. It's called Free-Motion Quilt Challenge and the idea is that various experts will show some tutorials on how to learn and improve one's skills in free- motion quilting. Each month there will be something new. I've never tried free-motion quilting, as it looks for me like one giant magic. But I'd love to learn so I decided to take the bull by the horns and I signed up. It's great idea to have it spread across whole year - I believe I'll find some time to play along and follow the tutorials. And what is the icing on the cake is that if you finish the task in time you'll have the opprtunity to win some goodies.

Here's the link if you're interested.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

November FNSI

I know that most of you are sewing things for Christmas gifts. Well, I haven't decied to give presents that I made during Christmas time yet. Instead, I keep moving forward with sewing my first quilt but if I finish it in time we'll have a nicely decorated room. So I might say it's a gift for my house ;).

Yesterday I managed to finish quilting. It was a tough thing for me. In fact it was the most difficult one in making the whole quilt. Now I need to do the binding but I hope I'll do it before the next FNSI, so I'll be able to start on something new for the next event.

I haven't decided yet, how the do the binding - in hand or using the machine. I did binding in hand for the tablemats and there is something nice in it. I cannot express what but it keeps me tempting :). So I might take the longer path.

And now I'm gonna to check out what others made during last night while tasting my delicious apple cake I just made.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hardanger tablecloth {completed work}

Finally, I finished Hardanger tablecloth. When I look back in my posts I started doing this one in May, so it took me 1/2 year to make it. The tablecloth measures about 1,3m x 2,4m and it has the embroidery in the centre. As it is so big, the emmbroidery looks tiny, but in fact it required quite a lot of work to finish it.

I have always the same problem with stitching that I think it will be something fast and simple and it turns out quite the opposite. But hey, we're not doing this to make the time records, right? I spent good time working on this one and this is what counts.

I still have this red fabric in my stash, so will make more of such goodies, but this time wil need to think of other pattern. I'm also planning to make some sort of border around the edges.

And I just finished this tablecloth in time to link it to Celebrate Color that finishes this month.

Monday, October 31, 2011

All goes well till the thread runs out

Today was the perfect day for sewing. Almost. I had a day off from my work, my son was with his grandparents, husband went for mountain walking. There was just me and my sewing machine. All went well till I run out of the thread. Is there some Murphy's law like that? I bet there is. Anyway, today I felt much better when quilting. It wasn't such a chaos like I felt the first time. It is still very hard for me to finish a big quilt like this, but at least I wasn't thinking what the heck am I doing. :)

It's far from being perfect - I can see it's hard for me to push the fabric, so the machine could make even stitches. So, there are places where the stitches are long as should, but some where they are very short as the fabric didn't move properly. And I put the blame for that on me (not machine).

So, the quilt is stil in progress and now awaits for a new thread, but it doesn't mean I have nothing to do. I'm going to learn something new and here is the sampler piece I'm working on now to get the idea. When I do some practice on this I will move on to make the bigger piece. Do you know what I have in my mind? :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

{After FNSI}

Yesterday I did some progress on my first big quilt. The blocks were made during the Patchwork Squared Quilt Along. Some time ago I made the top then the back and I was left with putting this together.
Last weekend I basted the quilt and yesterday started the machine quilting. I didn't do much progress in this, well... it is tough job, especially for a beginner like me. But I learnt some things, as one says that you learn best on your own mistakes.

First of all, the quilt is BIG beast for me and at first I felt I couldn't tame it and begin sewing. But then after a couple of minutes I managed to organize it a bit.

Lesson no.1 - I should have muh more safety pins for basting than I have... I mean much more.

Lesson no. 2 - Using gloves when quilting on machine might be very useful. I didn't have them and now I can see that they may help a lot.

As I mentioned I didn't do much, so probably I will continue this one during the next Friday Night.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


This month I signed up for FNSI to get me motivated for sewing. I have prepared the quilt that I want to finish, so I'm ready :). Are you?
Handmade by Heidi

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Work in progress

The tablecloth I've been working on for some time is almost on the finish. I have one square left for needle-weaving. The original pattern I wanted to do changed slightly over time. I thought of doing all squares the same with greek cross filling but as I started the first one routine took over and without thinking I did something else. So I was in a way forced to make changes, but still the center square will be with greek cross.
I'm also thinking whether to add some sort of border to the edges of the tablecloth. I wanted to keep it simple so I thought of 3 squares in the middle only but now I'm wondering if to add some more embroidery.
And once it's done I'll have to think of some better photographer than me! This fabric is red, threads are red and I have no idea how to make it look the same on the photo as it is in real.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Celebrating Autumn

On the prevoius post I mentioned about Celebrate Color event that is going on for the next 3 months. I love such things, as they are great insiration to me and also quite good motivation to make something new. So, kudos to Rachel for organising this.

Celebrate Color

I was worried a bit that with lack of time I won't be able to join, but I decided to use some scraps to make an Autumn inspired pillow. Once I made such tablemats and I still had some fabrics left + nine patch squares ready for use. So I came up with such a simple pillow that is now proudly decorating my living room. For me personally brown is the first color I think of in terms of Autumn (though there are many more I'd put in this category as well).

Though the pillow is very simple, there were some "done for the first time" things for me.

Instead of envelope closure I added the zipper to it. I wouldn't do it if I didn't find a tutorial. I know there are many helpful tutorials on the Internet for this tricky stuff, but I used this one - thank you Katie :). Another first time thing is I tried to finish the quilt using in-the-ditch method, as I was just curious of how it would look like in the end. It looks nice, but I will wait some time till I try it again, at least when using my sewing machine. I sew on very slow motion, but still it was hard for me to keep exactly along the seam - more experience needed :). So, I'll do some more sewing and then maybe one day I'll try again.

Oh, and in case you wanted to know, the fabrics I used are from Moda Cherrish Nature collection. I also used one of these fabrics for the back of the pillow:

I have also one more pillow in my mind, this time with some hand stitching part. If time allows I'll try to make it for next month' Celebrate Color.

One update to this - as Wendy suggested me, I'm linking this post to her "Learn a New Technique" webside. By the way it's great idea to share our new endeavors in craft :).

The Crafters Apprentice

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Celebrate Color with StichedinColor blog

I have a couple of blogs that I really enjoy visiting. It's to fun to read, fun to watch and LOTS of great hints and ideas for sewing and stitching. One of them is Stichted in Color run by Rachel. She mostly writes about sewing and quilting but she's also fan of stitching and crochet.
Celebrate Color
Starting from today she's hosting a 3-month party called Celebrate Color with fall as the main theme. There will be a lot of inspiration, a lot of sharing our own ideas and some cool contests with prizes as well :). I will be there for sure, at least as the viewer :).

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Trying to keep decent order

The chaos was sneaking more and more into my stitching & sewing stuff. It was so evil that each time I wanted to work on something, first I had to do a turn around all rooms in house to get everything in one place. And finally I said enough:). I could see on the internet quite a lot of boxes that would satisfy each embroiderer's needs to keep all the stuff in one neat place. Forunately the online polish shop where I buy frequently had some of them to choose. I bought 3 boxes where I can keep my threads, bobbins, scissors, cutters, needles and so forth. Yeah, I could do it for a long time... Anyway, they are made by Prym company that has a whole collection called: "click-box". The main idea is that you can buy multiple boxes of different sizes and they can be easily joined together, so you have everything you need together. The only thing I'm worried a bit is that this "clicking" mechanism may get worn out after some time of using. But we'll see. So far so good - the chaos had to move back to the corner of the closet. And I'm thinking of buying more - there are also boxes to keep mouline. I don't use it now, but I have some threads, so it would be nice to keep them in the place designed for them :).

Another story is where to keep my fabrics. I have some for embroidery and some for sewing, the trend is that this pile is getting bigger and bigger, so I will really need some place for this. My dream is to have my own sewing room - maybe something like one of these. Well, dreams :).

Saturday, May 21, 2011

FNSI - after party

This was the first time I took part in Friday Night Sew In but for sure not the last one. It's great opportunity to speed up with sewing. I have two things ongoing that need my sewing machine and I decided to do this:

It 's the last of 4 tablemats that I have to quilt. I didn't do all the quilting last night, but I finished 4 squares where during the week I couldn't do more than one square a day. So, hopefully I'll be able to finish it this week.

Another fun part of FNSI is that it's not over. Now, I'm going to check what other folks did. There were above 100 participants, so there's A LOT to see. Cheers :)!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Friday Night Sew In

Can you see the banner on the right? Yes, for the first time I'm going to join in. I'll sit with my sewing machine and will have fun night :). I need to motivate myself somehow: I joined Quilt Along, which is great for me as I sew much more I would do normally. This FNSI event is another great idea to speed up the pace. So I'll do this: ....or this: Cheers!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mistakes happen

Recently I started new Hardanger embroidery, but a mistake happened. There is a lot of thread counting when you start hardanger, as you have to place the pattern somehow on the fabric. And I did it twice, made sure not to make a mistake...but I did. When I saw what was wrong, I only thought this couldn't go right, how the heck did I count those threads the first time? Here's something for you so you might say - how did she count those threads? The left side is the good one. Those squares should meet right as the navy blue line is. As you can see on the right side they obviously couldn't meet.
But, when you stitch you have to be veeery patient person - so am I. I calmly removed the threads and started all over again. Live.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Quilting around the house

There is not a lot going on with embroidery in my house recently, but there is quite a lot with my sewing machine. So I thought I'd share with you a couple of pictures of what I'm doing. Not sure if I mentioned here already but I fell in love with quilting and now I'm juggling bewteen this and embroidery whenever I have some spare time.

So, quilting - since some time I've been doing the tablemats. Two of them are finished, two of them in the progress. This is how it looks like when done. They are very very far away from perfection, but I'm pleased with them - after all I did them myself :). After joining the blocks I realized that adding the sashing would make them better, but I can live without it.

Second thing I'm doing at the same time is the P2 Quilt Along Project. I haven't heard much about Quilt Alongs and I must admit it's great thing for me. I don't know how it is for you, but it's hard for me to motivate myself and keep on doing things sometimes. So such events are just perfect for me, because they keep me going on without much break :). I was afraid if i could keep the pace and sew the blocks as they come out on the blog, but so far I'm following (heh, probably that's because they had some break now).

Here's the blog Patchwork_2 if you'd like to have a look at this. There's also Flickr page that you can view here . As I'm looking through various pages I can see there is a lot of such events happening and this is just awesome. I'm learning a lot now and just keep practicing, which is so important. I also found Stitch Along event in one of the blogs and probably I'll join this too. It's great to see how huge variety of stithes people can do from one pattern.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Accessories for Hardanger

As for every embroidery you'll need a needle. It can be any that will suit the thread, however if you have a few pennies/ cents to be spent you can buy the needles with a blunt point. They're called tapestry needles. I use the ones with the no. 22 and 24 to match the 5 i 8 pearl cotton threads. So far I only tried the Clover brand so cannot compare to other ones, but I'm pleased with them.
Second thing is the scissors - as the bulk of the work with hardanger is cutting the threads from the fabric. I used the typical scissors for hand embroidery with slim blades. The second cutting tool that I bought and highly recommend is the thread clipper. Not only it's much faster to cut the thread from the ball or skein but it's also very convenient for the drawn-thread embroidery techniques. I bought the Clover one (again) and it was....well, it wasn't cheap. Recently I saw similar one in a shop which costed a couple of PLN (about 1,5$). The difference in price shocked me a bit, but I want to believe that Clover one was worth its price and will serve me for years :). Anyway, regardless of the brand I think the thread clipper is a very useful tool for variety of embroidery techniques.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fabric and threads for Hardanger

When doing the current project - i.e. another pillow with hardanger, I thought of making some sort of step by step tutorial in case any of you would be interested in trying hardanger. So, this is the first part of it.
Before you start any kind of embroidery you need to have two things - fabric and threads. For hardanger the fabric has to be the even weave type. The essential part of this embroidery is removing part of the threads from the fabric so to create the pattern and only the even weave fabric enables that. So far I had the fabrics of two manufacturers: DMC and Zweigart. DMC offers good quality fabrics for a decent price, Zweigart ones are much more expensive but I believe this comes with a better quality. Also Zweigart offers much bigger variety of colors. When you need colors like red, dark green or brown I think only Zweigart offers such.
Another thing about fabric is the number it has. You may see something like 22ct, 25ct and it stands for the number of threads to the inch. This means that the higher the number is the more dense the fabric you get. Also, the same pattern will become smaller on the more dense fabric. The fabrics with smaller number should be easier to embroider, however I would not buy the fabric with smaller number than 20ct. This one is loose enough to cut the threads easily and I'm afraid that the ones with a smaller number wouldn't look nice for such things as a tablecloth or a pillow. To compare - the ecru fabric on the photo is 20ct, the red one 25ct.

Now, the threads. If you read some books you'll read about pearl cotton. It's a thread with 2 twisted stands. You can also read it's doubled mercerised. Till today I had no idea what it means but for purposes of this blog I decided to check :). Here's what you can find in Wikipedia:
Mercerisation is a treatment for cotton fabric and thread that gives fabric a lustrous appearance. The process is applied to materials like cotton or hemp.
The threads also have its numbers: no.3, 5, 8 and 12 - the higher number the thinner the thread. For hardanger you need two sizes of the threads. The size of thread depends on the count of the fabric you'll choose.
As a less expensive replace for pearl cotton I used DMC Petra thread with quite good effect.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Blogger Pillow Contest

It will look like a repeated post a bit but Stitched in Color is hosting a Bloggers Pillow Party so I decided to join in with my recent work. I love embroidery and wanted to try a couple of stitches. You can see the results on the pillow. The stitches include herringbone stitch, greek cross and fan stitch. It was quite fun work for a person with little spare time (= me) as I was able to make it reasonably fast.

Here you can see the stitches in detail:

If you'd like to see other pillows in the contest or join it here's the link. There are already many interesting pillows and I'd like to have at least half of them :).

Blogger's Pillow Party