Since I am in my last week of being home bound, I have been trying to pass the time by trying out embroidery. My Tia Isidra used to embroider beautiful pieces. I especially liked the table cloths she embroidered for my mother. Her embroidery stitches were perfect, both on the front and the back of the piece. My mom also created some beautiful embroidery pieces.
I am thinking of embroidering and thread sketching small pieces and maybe eventually stitching them into a wall hanging or small art quilt. One of the pieces I stitched was inspired by a card that my daughter-in-law sent me. The card had a vase with dainty flowers. I used fabric to make the vase, and then embroidered the flowers.
The other piece I embroidered was that of a Lesser Goldfinch. My friends and I keep a list of birds that we see on our walks or birding trips. I am thinking of drawing and embroidering the different new birds that I see this year.
The third piece I embroidered was inspired by my mom. This week marks the fourth year of her passing. My siblings and I shared some special memories that day. I drew a Robin and embroidered it. Mom used to sing the song, When the Red Red Robin Comes Bob Bob Bobbin’, so I thought it would be fun to try to make one. I used some of the buttons from mom’s button jar for the flowers.
One of the Meemaws shared a free scrappy rectangle pattern. We are planning to pool our scraps and make one for ourselves. I cut quite a few scraps from my bin, and we will start working on this in the spring. In the meantime, I started working on one of the suggestions provided in the pattern. Instead of using random scraps,this scrappy quilt can be made from 18 different fabrics of at least a half yard of each. I have a bin that has some half yard and fat quarter pieces leftover from other projects. I started cutting (1620 pieces) and piecing a quilt for one of my nephews. The color palette for these pieces is mainly blue, orange, brown, beige, and green. I thought it would be perfect for my nephew. I’ve pieced 8 out of 90 blocks, so I have some work to do.
As of today, I am done with anything ending with -inchie. I had two piles of scraps on my table this morning. One was a pile of the tiniest left overs from the Inchies and Twinchies I made. The other pile was the remnants from cutting the straps on the fabric strip bag project. I read that a Rinchie is a one inch circle, so they can fit into bottle caps or pendants. I chose to make mine two inches. After finishing these Rinchies, I unceremoniously threw away the scraps that were left.
It was fun, but now…enough with the inchies.
Last November, I started piecing a quilt using a free pattern by Kelli Fannin. I appreciate the generous sharing of such a great pattern, design, and instructions. The Minecraft quilt front is made of 12″inch blocks representing the characters in this video game. Fat quarters of the Minecraft colors were used to make the blocks. The blocks and the sashing were fun and easy to make.
The major problem that I had was when it was time to sew the rows of blocks together. I sewed the top three rows together, and then sewed the last two rows as a section. When I went to sew the bottom rows section to the top section, I realized that the bottom section was wider than the top section. I do not know where the mistake was made. I checked and re-checked the sizes of the blocks and the sashing, and all resulted in the correct measurements. It was so frustrating. This was right before the Christmas holidays, so, I packed everything in a box and put it away for a better day.
In mid-January, I pulled everything out and started problem solving. I did not want to rip and redo. A bit of trimming helped to make things more square, but the bottom was still wider than the top. I could not cut anymore without damaging the face on the blocks. I put my Math Hat on and started making calculations for taking in seams without having to rip all of the seams. When I had some numbers with which to work, I took the quilt sections to the Mesquite Bean. I knew I would get some excellent advice. Nancy works at the Mesquite Bean, and she is one of my go-to people. We brainstormed and she showed me how I could take in a bit of each seam from the bottom section to make the blocks and sashing line up correctly. There were also other quilters in the store who gave their two cents of information and ideas. I love the way quilters are so willing to help. I know that Nancy likes chocolate chip cookies, so I made sure she got some the next time I went to visit her at the shop.
After the top was pieced, I started piecing the dragon for the backing. The dragon was made in three sections. The challenge with the dragon was the number of small pieces in different colors. The pieces ranged in sizes from 1.5″ to 7.7″ x 24″. Once the dragon was completed, the next problem was building a backing above, below, and on the sides of the dragon section. Once again, I put on my Math Hat. Then I went to Nancy for her to check my numbers. I also needed some fabric for the binding. I had bought some yardage of a licensed Minecraft Fabric. There was not enough for the whole backing, so I had to piece. Even though this was a quilt filled with challenges, I ended up enjoying making this quilt. I always used to tell my students that it is fun to learn, and I found this quilt to be a fun learning process. Now, I have to sew the binding…not my favorite part. But, I cannot wait to see the faces of the recipients of this quilt.
My sister, Emma, and I were having a conversation about Inchies. We were talking about how satisfying it is to draw, sketch, create, something in a small space. She shared with me that as a university senior art student, she created art in two inch squares. This reminded me of a YouTube tutorial by Carrie Chambless…Inchies and Twinchies. Carrie demonstrates using thread scraps in making Twinchies. I, of course, hoard…I mean, save…thread scraps. I have them in jars. In the past, I have used some of these thread and fabric scraps in making a new fabric piece. I then used these new fabric pieces to make journal covers or signatures. I also find myself using balls of thread scraps like a stress relief ball…weird, I know… but it works. Anyway, today I used some burlap and satin scraps, along with thread scraps, to make some Twinchies. I started by backing the fabric scrap with a light weight fusible. Then I added the thread, tiny fabric shavings (which I also collect). Tulle was used to hold all of the scraps in place. Then, I used the sewing machine to free motion everything in place. Embellishing these little squares with more hand stitching and buttons was very enjoyable. I had all my jars of buttons out and tried different arrangements. It just so happened that I had some brooch pins, so I made some of the Twinchies into brooches for Emma. It was a fun and easy process. And, I just discovered Rinchies! Oh, my! I just love this stuff.
In the cleanup process, I found a new pile of scraps sitting on my table. They are what’s left after I cut the pieces into two inch squares.
When is it Trash or Treasure? I was just about to throw away this latest pile of scraps, when they starting falling into place, making a pretty piece. Trash or Treasure? For now, I am leaving the pile on the table. I will see how I feel about it tomorrow. Maybe the pile will transform into a a stack of Rinchies!
One can never have enough totes or bags. Now that I am doing more sewing handwork, I find I have tools and materials scattered everywhere. Some are in small bags, boxes or bins. Others are just strewn all over my side table by my recliner, where I work. I needed one more tote to hold all of these smaller bags and things.
At the end of January, I had prepared the fabric for making a Bali Bag, using the Auntie Two Patterns. I chose to make my bag more of a beach bag shape. This meant that I had to lean the bag to the left as I sewed the strips. This angle makes the sides flair out. I chose this shape because I thought it could hold more, and be more flexible. When I travel with the Meemaws, the Clown Car gets pretty full. This bag can be squeezed into the pile of junk with which we travel.
Preparing the strips is the tedious part of this process. I used a Moda Jelly Roll. Instead of using Duo-Fuse, I used a roll of batting strips. For the handles, I chose to follow directions by Rob Appell of Man Sewing. He has a tutorial for making a folded strip bag, which I might make later on. I like the way he used four strips to make each handle. I added a batting strip to make the handle.
Now, everything I need for sewing handwork is tucked away in this soft, but sturdy tote.
Enjoy the satisfaction that comes from doing little things well.
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
As mentioned in an earlier post, I have been sidelined for a bit. I have one more week of being restricted to staying indoors and off my feet. This is driving me a bit nuts, so I concentrated on doing small things as I rest on my recliner. I have concentrated on hand-stitching, small art, and embroidery. I have cheated a bit, by going to my sewing machine for some thread sketching.
I have been wanting to try Sashiko. A few weeks ago, I found some Sashiko templates. I already had the needles and thimble. After tracing the templates on some denim scraps, I stitched the two different patterns. This is going to take more practice, but I like the process.
Another small project was upcycling a scrappy block that I had in my scrappy bin. I added a black border, then hand-quilted the block. White scraps were used to make a daisy flower that I stitched onto the center.
The 365 Button and Stitch project is still in progress, even though I am still not too happy with it. The other embroidery hoop art project, on which I am working, is more fun. I added a flamingo, elephant, sun, and star to this project. I love the challenge of drawing in a small space with embroidery thread.
The other small project I have become obsessed with is making fabric inchies. Again, the challenge of staying within one inch is so much fun. Today was day two of inchies. I cut two strips of 3″ x 10″ muslin to make a quilt sandwich. I centered and traced a one inch square template onto the muslin. Then I thread sketched birds, faces, and Sponge Bob. After the thread sketching was completed, I added a black backing. Next, I sewed along the sides of the square to make a one inch square. Pinking shears were used to cut the four sides close to the one inch thread border. At first, I was thinking of sewing these inchies onto muslin and making a fabric book. But, from what I read, inchies are used as trading cards or items to share and gift. Mariss
, from Fabrication, suggested a box. I had the perfect box for these. My youngest son is very artistic and good with wood work. He made me a box with a drawer made from a 4″x4″ block of cedar. I had been using it to hold jewelry, but it is perfect for holding the inchies.
I am trying to make the best of this down time. Taking this time to stop and think, has helped me appreciate the small things.
In keeping with my Scrappy New Year theme, I pulled out my bin of tiny scraps. For some time now, I have been wanting to try my hand at making inchies. Today was a good day to start.
For the first inchies I made, I just cut heart shapes and sewed them onto a 1.5 inch block. Then, I started thread sketching a face, elephant, and a person on a 1.5 inch block. I also cut tiny pieces of fabric and thread sketched birds. The inchies range in size from 1 ” blocks to 1.5″ blocks.
Now, what do I do with these inchies? On Pinterest, you can find brooches, jewelry, ornaments, etc. made from inchies. For now, the inchies I made will be stored in a box. I had fun making these.
One of my goals for 2020 is to make this a Scrappy New Year. I am trying to make different projects with the purpose of using up my scraps. I have started a project made of 1.5″ squares. I do not exactly know what kind of project this will be, but I have started cutting and sewing strips of the 1.5″ squares. I have also used scraps to make postcards and greeting cards.
One of the main scrappy projects I am doing this year is making fabric books. As mentioned in an earlier post, I ran across a challenge for making books….#areyoubookenough. There is a theme for each month. I like the idea of a challenge to make books; but I am loosely following the “rules” of the challenge. I wanted to make this more of a personal project. However, I do want to share the #areyoubookenough website for anyone who is interested in accepting the challenge.
I have been sidelined for a week, now, so I had some extra time to get a head start on my book for February. The theme for February is Healing. I found this quote by Hubert H. Humphrey that I thought was suitable for the theme and perfect for a February book:
The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love.
The signatures for the book began with a 4″ x 12″ strip of muslin. Burlap, cheesecloth, satin, and cotton fabric were cut and embroidered onto the muslin. Keeping with the theme of love and healing, I made hearts and used buttons to decorate. I even used scraps of thread to make a heart. Of course, I had to have a bird in this book!
The book cover was made from Kraft-Tex. I have a bin that is filling up with blocks that I am making out of tiny scraps. I pulled one of these blocks from the bin, to sew onto the Kraft-Tex for the front of the book. There is a one inch book spine that I creased onto the Kraft-Tex. After I lined the book cover, I attached the signatures that I had sewn together. The spine was then reinforced with a two inch strip of Kraft-Tex.
I am finding these small scrappy art projects to be very enjoyable and relaxing. It will be nice to have twelve books at the end of the year.
Have you ever had one of those days where everything just comes together? These types of days are rare for me, but today was ONE OF THOSE DAYS.
Last night, as I was trying to fall asleep, I kept getting ideas about making birds…then Valentine cards…then small books. Needless to say, I did not get enough sleep. But it was worth it.
I love making fabric books, and I had seen an interesting post on Instagram. It was a monthly challenge to make books, #areyoubookenough. I liked the idea of making a book for each month, but I was having difficulty thinking of a book based on the January theme of “in between”. I decided to just make a book with no particular theme.
A few weeks ago, Francine and I ( at Las Colchas ) had a conversation about making books. In fact, my interest in books began with a book-making class I took at her shop about four years ago. In our recent conversation, Francine suggested that I just dump my scraps on a table and start playing. That is exactly what I did.
The morning was spent making the fabric Valentine Cards, but I kept thinking of making a book. After supper, I picked up some of the small scrappy art I had started during the week. Then the idea of using some of these pieces in a book came to mind. I also found two very small bird fabric pieces I had made last year. Stitching, buttons, thread-sketching were all included. I made an applique of a bird to sew onto the cover which was made with a 5″ X 8″ piece of Kraft-Tex. The cover is lined and there is a Kraft-Tex piece to support the spine.
Now that the book is complete, I need to clean up my sewing room. Scraps of fabric are everywhere! Once I clean up, I am sure I will get a better night’s rest.
My mother loved birds. She would talk to them as she placed seed and water for them in her backyard. The birds would come to her window and she would tell them they would have to wait, because she was busy. Mom had a bird collection of figurines set up all around her house. Her collection was distributed to her great-grandchildren. Whenever mom would make wreaths, you could bet a bird would be included. There were many shopping trips with the sole purpose of looking for more birds to decorate the house. I inherited mom’s clock that has birds for the numbers on the face of the clock. The birds chirp at the hour and half-hour. It used to drive me crazy to hear the loud ticking and chirping as we sat in Mom’s kitchen; but now it is a lovely memory.
As much as my sisters and I used to kid her about these birds, we are all three enamored by these beautiful creatures. My sewing room has birds everywhere. I often find myself including birds in my art. And, I am fortunate to have my Meemaw friends who love to go bird watching. One of the Meemaws is an expert at identifying birds, so I love to go with her and learn more.
When I was teaching, my students would spend the whole day making personalized Valentine cards for each of their classmates. We would play music all day, and write personal messages to each friend. Parents would donate all types of craft materials for us to use. I miss those days. So, I decided to make personal bird Valentine cards for my siblings. I also made Valentine love pillows for my sons and their wives. I had seen these 5 inch pillows in the Target bargain bin, and thought…”I can make these!”. The pillows can be used to tuck-in personal messages to each other and to hold gift cards.
The Valentine cards for my siblings are all about birds. I’ve been experimenting with fabric collage in making birds. I start by sketching the bird on drawing paper. Then I trace the bird onto muslin, followed by cutting the pieces of fabric to fill in the different parts. Next, I do some thread outlining and thread sketching. Then I cut the bird out as an applique and sew it onto a background fabric. Wonder Under is used on the backing and ironed onto the card. For my brother, I made a Western Bluebird. My older sister is receiving a robin. My sister-in-law is also receiving a robin. Since my younger sister likes sparrows, I made her a house sparrow. On the back of her sparrow card, I printed a poem by Paul Lawrence Dunbar.
A little bird, with plumage brown,
Beside my window flutters down,
A moment chirps its little strain,
Ten taps upon my window–pane,
And chirps again, and hops along,
To call my notice to its song;
But I work on, nor heed its lay,
Till, in neglect, it flies away.
So birds of peace and hope and love
Come fluttering earthward from above,
To settle on life’s window–sills,
And ease our load of earthly ills;
But we, in traffic’s rush and din
Too deep engaged to let them in,
With deadened heart and sense plod on,
Nor know our loss till they are gone.
It has been a great day.
Just listening to music.
Making personalize Valentine cards.
I hope you are enjoying a great day, also.