Boro Stitching

Recently, I have become interested in boro and sashiko stitching. I had been viewing different tutorials and talking to my friends at the quilt shops. Francine, at Las Colchas, offers classes in sashiko. Joy, at Mesquite Bean, got me started on boro stitching. They have a free Tuesday where people can come work on projects in the back room of the store. I had purchased a Moda , boro findings, flax woven messenger bag at the Mesquite Bean. Joy and I discussed how I could boro stitch to decorate the bag. Boro actually means “tattered”, and the original purpose for boro stitching was for mending. However, for the messenger bag, I wanted to use some boro fat quarters by Moda. This was my first attempt, and I totally enjoyed the process. There is something so relaxing in making the simple stitches.
Since the messenger bag is lined, I decided to place the boro fat quarters on muslin and stitch onto the muslin. I then was able to attach the stitched muslin to the bag with an outlining stitch. It started out as a blanket stitch and ended up in some sort of stitch of my own creation, since I didn’t know what I was doing. ūüėĀ I also tacked in with some simple stitches throughout the muslin square.

I made some fabric flowers and now I am trying to figure out how to attach them to the bag.

I am also working on a different piece. This time, I added up-cycled denim pieces to the boro Moda fabric. I do not know how or if this piece will be used.

Small Sewing Tote

In the evenings, I like to sit and watch a bit of television. While I am watching TV, I like to work on small projects. I have started boro stitiching projects. I also like to hand-stitch or embroider small art squares. It was time to organize the items needed for these small projects and have everything in a small tote.
I found a tutorial for making a small sewing tote bag, by Whitney Sews. I had some sewing theme fat quarters, but not enough to make a whole bag. I used different fabrics for the front and back pockets. I had enough black and white polka-dot fabric to make the outer bag. There was enough blue fabric for the lining.  I used Bosal Foam to add shape and form. I followed pattern directions for the outside pockets, and I added inside pockets to the lining.

Then, I found a pattern for making scissor pouches. Daniel Mckenzie has a great tutorial for making this super easy pattern. I wanted to use the remnants that I had, so I changed the measurements given for this pattern. The larger scissor pouch was cut at 8″ X 10″ for the outer pieces; and 7″X 9″ for the Bosal Foam.
The smaller pouch was cut at 8″ x 8″ for the outer pieces; and 7″ X 7″ for the foam. I liked this pattern because it accommodates for more than one pair of scissors, and also different sizes.
There are scissors in the back pockets also.
Now, I am ready to go watch some old movies and work on some small projects. The best part, is that I will have everything I need in my new sewing tote!

Embroidery thread, scissors, needles, thimbles…all ready to go! ūüėĀ

Monday

I’ve been away from my sewing room for a couple of days. After taking care of business this morning, I was able to start working on some fun stuff.
One of my sons lives on the Texas coast and he took this fantastic photo of a Great Blue Heron. This is one of my favorite birds, and I appreciated the photo. I decided to make a thread sketch of the bird. I thread sketched the body of the bird on grey polka-dot fabric that was backed with a fusible batting. Then I cut the bird out. The background scene was made with two blue fabrics and a beige one. I hand stitched these pieces and then I glued the body of the bird. I then thread sketched on the outer edge of the bird and sketched some detail, such as the feather on top of the head, the wing, and the eye. I also thread sketched the legs.

The gypsy wife quilt has been on hold for a bit. Today, I made seventeen of the 23 square in a square block. A few days ago, I had pre-cut the pieces, so it didn’t take long to piece the seventeen blocks.

On my last visit to Las Colchas, my friend, Francine, and I were talking about embroidery and hand-sewing. She showed me this book, The Geometry of Hand-Sewing by Natalie Chanin. I am enjoying learning from this book. Before I bought the book, I had started working on a piece of recycled denim and scraps. I tried out some of the stitches, using the templates that are provided in the book. The uneven hand-sewing on the block, was done before I had the book. It is going to be fun to keep trying things out. Natalie Chanin hand sews designs on clothing, and her work is beautiful.

Exciting News

Last month, I received the exciting news that our family will be welcoming a baby boy in October. After celebrating the news with my son and his wife and daughter, I started planning some quilts and baby things to make.
I started off making bibs and burping cloths. The bibs seem so small, but I measured them against store bought bibs and they seem to be the standard size. I made some with baby themed fabric, and also some Batman fabric.

Burp Cloths                   Matching Bibs                 Bib

At Las Colchas, I found a book, Nap and Nod, by Myra Harder. There are some cute ideas for quick and simple quilts. A few weeks ago, I began on the first quilt, the Gummy Bear. I read that babies prefer black and white because of the contrast. That is why you can find first books for babies that are in black and white. The quilt book shows a white background for the Gummy Bear quilt, but I purchased a black and white fabric. The bears are just enough bright colors…not too much. Francine, at Las Colchas, showed me this alphabet fabric and I decided to use it for the backing. The blanket is pieced but not yet quilted. I added¬† hearts to the quilt top with the left over gummy bear fabric. I plan to use the black and white polka dot for the binding. I made the mistake of folding the top and as you can see it is wrinkled. I am going to let it hang and give it a press tomorrow.

Today, I started piecing the Swimming Lessons quilt. I do not have the fabric for the borders or the backing so, I had to stop for now. The pattern had a totally white background, but I had purchased these blue fabrics the last time I was in Round Rock where Austin Sewing Machine and Quilting is located. In one of my stash bins, I found a multi-colored polka-dot on white fabric that I used for the circle. I made this a little more difficult for myself by choosing a wavy blue fabric for the water. I had to make sure the waves were all in the same direction when I made the half-square triangles. For somebody who is challenged by directions, this took some time. Instead of being able to chain stitch the HST, I had to make them one by one.

I have some other projects planned, but they are on hold while I get other things done.
Another baby…this is truly a blessing for our family.

Tuesday

I spent some of my sewing time fussy cutting fabric for a quilt that I will be making this summer. Three, maybe four, of my friends and I are renting a B &B in La Grange, Texas sometime in July for our own quilt retreat. We are each making the same quilt, The Village, by Jumble patterns. I have been wanting to make a house quilt and we ran across this pattern. We are fussy cutting fabrics with characters to put in the doorway of the house.  We will be pooling our fabric stash for this project. So I started cutting the characters for the doorway this morning.
I also got to work on my gypsy wife quilt for bit. The filler blocks that I made today range from 4″ blocks to 8″ blocks. They are very basic blocks that were quick and easy to complete.
This 7″ flamingo block is my favorite.

The third block in this row has some Aunty Acid fabric that I got when I attended the spring shop hop.
Since I had fussy cut some characters for the house quilt, I decided to use three for the gypsy wife quilt. I don’t know if the character fabric I used in these filler blocks will look right in the quilt. I will redo them if they take away or just don’t look right.
I also made an Aunty Acid pillow cover for myself.

Gypsy Wife Quilt: Filler Blocks

The gypsy wife quilt is coming along. I completed the Old Maid Puzzle.

Now, I am working on the filler blocks…there are quite a few of these. One of the filler blocks is a Square in a Square block. The pattern calls for making 23, Square in Square blocks. I need to take time to read this part of the pattern. There are a lot of directions for making different sizes that become part of different blocks. I am finding the directions to be a bit confusing, so I really need to reread it.
Pinwheel Filler Blocks
Four Pinwheel blocks without borders; two with border

Gypsy Wife Quilt in Progress

There is one more 8″ block for me to piece before I start working on the filler blocks. Yesterday and today, I completed three more blocks.
Nurse Cross

Half-Square Triangle Blocks
I have been studying the pattern to see how these blocks all fit together. It is assembled in 10 sections. I also need to decide what I want for the long strips that hold the blocks together. I have seen quilts using multi-colored fabrics, and some using strips of the similar color tones. Black and white is also an option I am considering. I have to study the completed blocks once I have them on the design wall. Right now, I have another quilt on my design wall. I do not have enough walls!

Gypsy Quilt Blocks

Today I made three more blocks for the gypsy wife quilt. I love making small things, and some of these blocks finish at 5 inches. Making 1.5″ squares can be crazy tedious, but I like the results. The first block I made was the Hatchet, which finished at 6″.
I used some of the sewing themed fabric scraps and remnants that are in my bins. I have plenty of polk-a-dot fabric in different colors that I will be using throughout the quilt.
The second and third blocks are both Puss in the Corner blocks. One is border less and the other has a border. I am inserting special focus items in the blocks that have defined centers.
Daisy Center  Spool of Thread Center

This quilt is definitely a scrap bin buster. The pattern designer, Jen Kingwell, states that the greater the number of fabrics you use, the more fun this quilt will be. I agree. Playing with the different colors is half the fun. I try not to spend too much time deciding on the fabrics. I usually throw some out on the table and choose whatever catches my eye. I do have a type of organization of my scraps in bins. They are sorted by different criteria, such as sewing theme, floral, etc. This helps me choose from which bins I want to choose. It seems that I am constantly resorting my scraps and remnants. Do you have any suggestions as to how to sort scraps? My yardage of fabric is wrapped around cardboard and in bins sorted by color. Storing yardage is easier than storing scraps. Any suggestions on how to organize different sized scraps would be appreciated.

Fabric Face Collage #4

Making these fabric face collages is a learning process. I am trying out different techniques with each one. Last night, I sketched Fabric Face Collage #3…Mari Gloria. This is all trial and error for me, and it is a challenging learning process. These are a few of the steps in creating the face.


This time, I hand-stitched the multiple pieces that I had glued to the fabric to make the face. This helped tremendously when it came time to using FMQ. I am still trying to figure out how to improve the eyes and nose.


Mari Gloria
Former dancer in an international Flamenco group
Retired instructor and owner of a Ballet Folklorico dance school
Teaches the art of playing the castanets
Board member on the city cultural events committee
Makes a delicious paella
Hosts a monthly Margarita and Movie night
Favorite song: Amor de Mis Amores by Augustin Lara

Caution!

Sewing can be dangerous.
Especially if you are working on many projects at one time.
Today, my seam ripper attacked my leg. There is a welt from the point of the ripper sticking into my leg. Note to self: Don’t wear shorts when sewing.
Then, I had two occasions where the needle broke. I kept forgetting to change from zig-zag to straight stitch. The first time the needle broke, it flew and poked into my shoulder. The second time it happened, the needle point hit the middle of my neck.
Note to self: Finish one project before moving to the next. Check your setting!!!!
The last incident that happened today was a slight nip of the rotary blade as I changed the blade.
Maybe I was not meant to sew today.
Or maybe, I just need to PAY ATTENTION! 

Today wasn’t all a disaster. I found this drawing app on my phone, but I realized that I wasted too much time on this device.
It was fun fooling around with images like this on the app, but I rather draw in my art journal instead. So, I deleted the app.

I also managed to complete another block for the gypsy wife quilt. I am enjoying the challenge of this quilt.The Star Block requires piecing 28 triangles.  I am finding it easier to piece more accurately.
Star Block
The black and white rose fabric is one of my favorites. I have had it for awhile, just waiting to be used.
I am also working on some family projects that I will post later. A small quilt is almost finished being appliqued. It is a rather simple quilt.

Another fun project in progress for today is the facial fabric collage. I have sketched one in my notebook, but have yet to cut the fabric.

Safety issues aside, this has been a productive day.