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Showing posts from January, 2010

Buttonhole Stitch

I've been doing the buttonhole stitch recently.  I'm mentoring in a Basic Hardanger Class for the Yahoo Group StitchMAP and the current lesson is on the buttonhole stitch.  I thought I'd better refamiliarize myself with it in case I get asked some tough questions.
The buttonhole stitch is used for blanket edgings and wool embroidery for appliqueing:

I've also used it on crazy quilts:

In these cases, the buttonhole stitch is free-form and fun.  In Hardanger it is a bit more precise.  Always over 1 thread across and 4 threads down (except when turning corners).
I've done alot of buttonhole edgings:

Althought tedious, they look great, especially filled with eyelets. 
The first inch went slowly.  I found myself getting off, sometimes over 3 and sometimes over 5.  I started over and kept going.
The next day I didn't pick it up - everything else on my to do list looked like more fun.  Time for some serious will power.  Whenever I want to stitch, I will pick this up first a…

Painting Perforated Paper

I've been making ornaments on perforated paper recently and I'm getting tired of white and brown.  I know you can get other colors, but I'm ready to try something different.
Easter is coming and I'm thinking of tie-dyed easter eggs.  Yes, I could stitch with overdyed floss on white performated paper but why not switch things up and use a solid floss on a painted background?
Some investigation is required to answer important questions:
1. How shiny is the perforated paper?  Will paint even stick to it? 2. If it is paintable, will the paper stay flat or will it all get wavy? 3. Will the paint come off on my hands while stitching?
Well, only one way to find out ... do it!
I pulled out my white perforated paper, basic school supply watercolors and experimented.
The results are that yes, the paint does stick to the paper, the paper gets slightly wavy (but it is ironable) and it doesn't appear that it will transfer to my hands.
My first attempt was a bit bright so I watered it do…

Alphabet Heart

Alphabet Heart, my latest design evolved from my Red Flowers design.  As usual, my mind wandered as I stitched the Red Flowers.  I imagined it stitched with overdyed floss instead of plain old DMC floss.  I also realized I was not restricted to a square or rectangle.  The colors reminded me of Valentines Day and I remembered a heart shaped Altoids tin tucked away in a drawer.
Sidetracked, I abandoned my stitching and rooted around for the tin and traced it onto graph paper.  I transferred the flower design into the heart outline.  The next challenge was colors.  I knew I had the perfect overdye.  I found it right away but was dismayed to find there was no tag on it. 

I went to the local needlework store to play detective.  It is definitely silk, not cotton.  But, nothing at the store was the same colors - I must have gotten it in a kit.  I passed on an Internet search.  There are so many flosses out there and identifying it based on a picture seemed unlikely even if I stumbled across t…

Red Flowers

Red Flowers was an experiment.  I started by making various flower shapes on graph paper.  Then I put them in the computer so I could "play" with them.  The first thing I noticed while copying, pasting and moving flowers was that the shape of one of the flowers formed a pattern when it was repeated next to itself.  So, I made a background of just that flower shape in a size to fit in a 4 x 6 frame (I had an empty frame to fill - why not make the stitching fit the frame instead of the other way around).

Then I filled in the background with random flower shapes.  If you look at the upper right flower, you will see that it recedes into the background because it is sitting directly on the background.  All the others pop out at you.  I added some stems to connect the flowers and I was done designing.

There was nothing fancy about stitching the pattern.  I used a remnant of Aida cloth and DMC floss.  I was afraid that the background would be tedious to stitch, but it wasn't.  I …

Paper Hearts

I've been making paper hearts for Valentine's Day.  The patterns for these hearts are available on

I started with an empty sheet of graph paper and drew hearts.  They are not symmetrical.   I doodled all kinds of patterns in these hearts.  Then I colored them with red and purple colored pencils.  I picked out my 3 favorite to convert into cross stitch patterns.

Every time I pictured these hearts they where red and purple on a white background.  But as I was searching for perforated paper I found brown and I remembered several pink and brown quilts I had seen over the summer.  The colors looked great and I filed them away in my mind for a future project.  The brown paper shows off the pinks wonderfully.

I think this is one of my easiest designs yet.  They stitched up very quickly.  I think I'm going to make my samples into Valentine's Day cards.  They would also look cute glued on to the cover of a photo album or notebook.

I still think t…

Winterberry Finishing - Fused Fabric Frame

Finishing - it is always a challenge!

Sure, putting something in a frame is easy, but it can get expensive.  So, I'm always looking for new ideas.  Winterberry is small, about 3 x 3 inches and for something that size I usually make a box top.  But, I don't have any suitable boxes right now.  I've been playing with fusibles and interfacings so I thought I'd try to make a fabric frame.

I started out with a simple cardboard frame that fits around the design.  I made another piece the same size for the back and one 1/4 of an inch smaller for the inside.

The next step was to find the perfect fabric and fuse it to the front of the cardboard.  Then I had to carefully miter, cut and fuse it to the back.

The result is a fused frame that fits over the design perfectly.

The mentally hard part was to cut out the design and fuse it to the inside cardboard.  Once it's cut I can't go back and frame it traditionally.   I cut a square of fusible web and cut out the indside so that j…

Diverted by Frost

It's cold outside!  Low last night 6 below.  It is now 8 above, but that's probably just sun shining on the thermometer.

The joys of an older house - frost on the windows.

I love the curliques, swoops and other shapes.

If I was going to stitch frost how would I do it?  I'm sure the finished work would be white on white.  Maybe a touch of metallic thread.  I wonder if I could find some pulled stitches that could mimic the frost?  I'll add this to the infinite list of projects.

Working on a Quilt

I'm working on a quilt, finally!  I started this in August and haven't gotten back to it till just recently.  I forgot how relaxing just feeding the fabric through the sewing machine can be.

This quilt started out as selected charm squares from two different packs.  I pieced them into quarter square triangle squares and squared them to four inches. Since I want a quilt bigger than a wallhanging I'm using them as centers for nine patches.

My current favorite fabrics are very light colored busy prints.  I like using them as the background fabric.  In this case I'm using them as the medium fabric.  When I unfold the finished nine patch to iron it I like to see what color/texture combination  have come up with.

Sometimes the result is high contrast, sometimes low contrast.  But so far, they have all been interesting.

I have 37 of 90 blocks done so far.  Just enough to see how my plan will work out.

It's going to have a very subtle background with the charm squares making sp…