A Little Inspiration….

Wow, the summer is almost gone and I still have so much I wanted to accomplish.   However, I had a great summer so I’m not complaining.  I promise to get back to more regular posts this fall.  Everyone deserves a summer break, don’t they?

In order to get inspired for writing up some new patterns and tutorials, I decided I needed a little inspiration.  The sewing room is looking a bit drab because I haven’t made the curtains yet (which will be in a very vintage and cheery looking Minnick and Simpson fabric).  So I decided to create a sewing machine cozy!

Sewing Machine Cozy

The tutorial is from Strawberry Patches and I figured this would be the best way to bring in a dash of cheer and inspiration to the room.  Once the cover was completed, it seemed like it was missing something, so I decided to applique my favorite sewing slogan on it – and voila! –  a constant and fun reminder of how to approach life.

For the applique, I used Steam a Seam 2, which is double-sided fusible web.  I cut out the letters, fused them on, and then did a basic zigzag stitch around the edges to hold them in place.   I love how it turned out!

Keep it Thimble!

Hand or Machine Applique?

Which do you prefer – hand or machine applique?  Machine applique is faster, and if you get your machine settings right, you can get that hand-appliqued “look.”  Hand applique looks nicer, especially if your stitches are small and neat, but it takes more time to do.  This method is also portable, but it can be hard to do in places where the light is poor or there is limited space.

Sweetheart Vine Applique Runner

This is my first non-wool applique project and I am experimenting with both the hand and machine method.  I think both methods look fine, especially when you are not looking at it closely, but so far I have enjoyed the process of hand applique better.  It’s just very soothing to sit down in a chair and work on this in the evenings when all is quiet.  What do you like to do?

Keep it Thimble!

Two Pillows – Finally Finished!

First off, here’s my monthly stash reduction report for February 2012:

  • Used the last month: 4 yards
  • Used Year to Date: 5 yards
  • Added in the last Month: 2 yards
  • Added Year to Date: 32 yards
  • Net Used for 2012: +28 yards

As you can see, I had a much better month then January, since I actually used more fabric than I bought.    My overall net went down by 1 yard, so surely by the end of the year my net fabric used will be running in the negative (that’s the goal).

Wool Rabbit Throw Pillow
Wool Rabbit Throw Pillow

I also had time to finally finish two pillow kits that I’ve had for at least 4 years!   The first is a cute little wool bunny – perfect for Spring. This kit is from a LQS (local quilt shop), and I think the owner of the shop drew the bunny pattern.  This is wool applique on top of one of those colorful cotton dishtowels.  The trim is a cream colored fringe that sets off the pillow perfectly.

Fourth of July Pillow
Fourth of July Pillow

The second pillow is from a Crabapple Hill pattern (I think it was a freebie pattern she offered a long time ago).  It is stitched with Red, White, and Blue perle cotton.  I love the fireworks!

What projects have you been able to complete this month?  What are you working on for Spring?

Keep it Thimble!

Wool Applique Project Notebook

I always have a few wool applique projects in process at any one time.  I usually cut out all the wool pieces, get the embroidery floss, and the put everything in a Ziploc bag so it can be worked on later.  They are great to stitch on in the evening when watching TV or just hanging out.  As you can imagine, there are a few Ziploc bags sitting in my closet!

Sharon of Liberty Rose has a great idea for organizing all these items!  This project notebook features wool applique on the front and inside cover (so you have a place to keep your needles and pins) and it pretty easy to sew together (I plan to post a tutorial about how to cover the notebook sometime before the end of the year).  The notebook contains zippered pouches that are the perfect size for carrying all your project supplies.

Project Notebook

The notebook is standard 3 Ring binder.  I ironed fusible fleece on my stitching fabric so that the cover is more durable (especially since it will be used a lot).   I did some basic applique on the front and and inside cover.

Project Notebook - Inside

I didn’t go too crazy with the embroidery embellishments, since the main purpose is functional, not decorative.  My embroidery time is better spent finishing up the wool crazy block that was started a year ago!  A pocket on the back inside cover can carry larger pattern books that won’t fit in the pouches.

Project Notebook - Back Pocket

Now, when traveling, I just take out a zippered project pouch, throw it in the suitcase, and am good to go.  Talk about Keeping it Thimble!

In other news, look for details in the next week or so on my first published pattern.  In the meantime, here are some sneak peeks:

Pattern Sneak Peek 1
Pattern Sneak Peak 2

Keep it Thimble!

Tomato Penny Rug

Tomatoes always remind me of summer time and sewing!  I’m sure you can remember your grandmother’s well-worn tomato pincushions.  My friend Liberty Rose loves tomatoes pin cushions so much, she made this delightful pattern for a tomato penny rug.

Tomato Penny Rug

I started this project last summer and it is listed as one of the UFOs to finish for this year.  It can now be crossed off the list.  Right now it is sitting on top of the antique spool chest in my sewing room!  This is the fifth penny rug I’ve made in the past few years.  These little projects are fun to make because you can easily carry a few pennies around in your purse and stitch on them when you can.  Pennies are also fun because there is so much you can do with this as far as embellishments and embroidery!

I have a few ideas for my own penny rug designs based on Liberty Rose’s basic template (with her permission of course). I plan to get the patterns finished up by the end of the year as part of the pattern line I am creating.

Also, I have decided on the date for the quilter’s yard sale – July 23rd from 8am – 12pm.  If you want to do some virtual shopping, just let me know.  For those of you in the area, stop by (email me offline for my address).

Keep it Thimble!

Crow Pillow

Renee Plains is one of my favorite designers and I have been meaning to make a project from her “Bird In the Hand” book.   This little pillow attracted me because it was small and featured needle-turn applique – a technique I’ve been wanting to try for awhile.

Crow Pillow

The original project features the word “Bird” across the top, but I change mine to say “Crow.”  I also made the linen square in the bottom left larger and embroidered the word “buttons” – I thought this added a nice touch.  Finally, I added a few french knots on the strawberry so it looked like it had seeds (the lighting is not so great so it is hard to see the berry agains the red background).

Sharon at Liberty Rose was kind enough to show me the basics of needle-turn applique, and it is really isn’t as difficult as it seems.  I do agree it will take some practice to get good at it so that my appliques look nice and have tiny stitches.  However, if I can learn how to do it well, it will save me a lot of time!  I have done both the templar/starch method (tutorial by Suppose Quilt Boutique) and freezer paper method (tutorial by the Golden Thimble) and find these both to be time consuming since a lot of time is spent “prepping” the shapes before they are sewn onto the background.

Both of these methods are easier for newbies to use since they eliminate a lot of the guess work of how much of the edge you need to turn under before you sew.  One reason why I really enjoy wool applique is because you can just cut and stitch – no extra steps to get the shapes ready – so projects can go pretty quickly.

Also, I have been doing a major clean out of my sewing room and will be having a crafter’s/quilter’s yard sale in a few weeks.  I plan to sell off part of my stash and other miscellaneous crafting supplies that I haven’t used for at least a year.  If you are interested in finding out the details, please email me (email link in the upper right of my blog).

Keep it Thimble!