Thursday, May 19, 2011

Flower Show and Prizes

I knew this would be a slow stitching week and I was right! My schedule this week has been very full and I even had a last minute change from two days of teaching to two days of taking care of my two year old granddaughter who has been ill this week.

First, I’ll share some photos of the beautiful flowers at the Como Conservatory. The senior adult group goes to see the spring flower show every year, but this year we went to the summer show. The flowers were impressive and the weather was gorgeous! I do enjoy helping plan these events for the seniors at our church. It gives me the chance to get out and do a few things with a great group of people.

Como is a great place to take your family. In addition to the conservatory, there is a zoo, a historical carousel, a Japanese garden and a little ride area. They suggest a small donation of $2 per adult and $1 per child.

That same night I went to the annual Volunteer Appreciation Party at the Textile Center. I volunteer in the library almost every week and enjoy coming to the event which includes a light dinner, lots of laughter and the chance to win prizes. I won two prizes this year. One is a beautiful dyed scarf and the other is a handwoven pincushion.

This is a great place to visit if you are in the Twin Cities area. Check out their calendar as they usually have at least two exhibits going on, as well as many special events throughout the year. The gift shop is a great place to find unique and fun gifts.

I have been stitching a new name tag for our guild meetings. I’ll have a photo and a full explanation in the next post. It looks like two days of rain coming up so that should give me some time to stitch.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Organizing and Another Finish

Well, my new storage containers arrived and, as predicted, I was slightly distracted as I took everything out of my old storage units and reorganized. I was delayed in the process because we had an evening of constant sirens blaring and weather radio alarms sounding. The temp hit 88 and we had a number of storms- hail, rain, tornadoes- go through. We were sitting right inbetween two lines of the storm and ended up with nothing but some really interesting views of the clouds to the north and the south of us. I did finally get everything where I wanted, for now, and like the little bit of extra room I have to add more projects, books and fabric.

I had several Art Bin containers and purchased several more at JoAnn’s, either on sale or with my coupon. I then ordered a number of the odd sized ones online at 50% off plus free shipping. They stack easily but I also wanted them to be able to roll. I looked for dollies at the home improvement places and office supply stores, but couldn’t find something that was affordable, the right size, etc. I finally went to Target and looked in their storage area. I found what is meant to be the base of a small shelving unit. It has four wheels and the Art Bin units fit almost perfectly on top. The base has four little “pegs” where the shelving unit is meant to snap on, so I just set my containers on top of those four little pegs. It isn’t perfect, but they seem to roll around without any trouble and the weight doesn’t seem to be a problem. I labeled each container and have them stacked and stored by craft, so, for instance, all of my scrapbook things are stacked together on one of those rolling bases.

As soon as our warnings ended and we were able to move about freely, I spent the rest of that evening finishing up this scissor fob and keeper set. This was from one of our St. Paul Needleworkers programs we did in March of 2010. It was one of the Petite Projects put out by the EGA and provided to member chapters. This was an introduction in Assisi work- the keeper, not the fob- and was followed up in the fall with a program in finishing. The member who taught the finishing portion wins awards at the state fair every year, in large part because of her excellent finishing skills. Her kit for us included three different curved needles. They made sewing the scissor keeper a lot easier than using a traditional straight needle. I should have trimmed my contrast inside lining piece a little smaller. As you can see by the close up the lining is a little visible.

I am hither and yon every day for the next 8 or 9 days, so we’ll see how much stitching I can accomplish!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Few Finishes

What a difference a week makes! Last Monday we had snowflakes and today we are expecting over 80 degrees! I have been working on finishing up some of my EGA projects, but have been somewhat distracted. As I started pulling the projects out I began to reorganize and rearrange things in my sewing room. I started boxing up things that I knew I would never use. I have been going through my books as well. Some I sold at Half Price Books. Others will be traded at Paperback Swap. The books that are left I have been slowly adding to my newest app, Home Library. If you have the newest iPod Touch with a camera or an iPhone, you can just take a photo of the barcode and it will input all of the info about your book. If not, you can just type in the ISBN and it will do the same. All in all, it’s a nice way to organize your library of books and a handy way to carry your inventory around with you so you will hopefully not purchase a book you already have.


But back to my projects! I have finished one of my more recent projects from the Heartland Region Seminar I went to in Kansas City in March/April of this year. It was a one day class and we learned how to make these adorable little stitcher strawberries. The patriotic version was a practice piece so we could assemble one quickly. The light blue one was stitched with one strand over one thread. The top of the strawberry is done in Hardanger. The instructor had ironed fusible web to the back of our stitching pieces. It was a good way to prevent your tiny little over one stitches from slipping through, however, if you made a mistake it was almost impossible to take your stitches out. It was also difficult to stitch because the needle didn’t slide nicely into the fabric hole from the back as it was covered up with fusible. The stitching was even more difficult on the Hardanger piece. I did try to remove the fusible from that one, but it was fused on tight and the part I did remove was super sticky.  The fusible may have worked for the instructor, but I wouldn’t use it again.


My next finish is from the Heartland Region Meeting in LaCrosse, Wisconsin I attended in October of 2009. The project was a three piece stitching set designed by Crossed Wing- a needlecase, a scissor holder and a scissor fob. The fob was the focus of the class. It is made of French knots and colonial knots. The instructor had us begin by doing a few French knots on the edge of our fabric. She then showed us her method of making one and had us do a couple of those. Now, I have always liked my French knots and thought they looked pretty decent, but when I compared the two my first knots looked like they were on steroids! She taught us how to create these knots using one strand of thread, so they were very tiny. The body of the bird is created using French knots and the background is done using colonial knots. We were told it takes 8-10 hours to do one square inch of French knots. I think it takes at least that long! We used Weeks Works overdyed floss for the background, so it has a nice subtle color change to give it some dimension.


I have a couple of other pieces I’m trying to finish up and hope to have them done by the end of the week. We’ll see if that happens. I ordered some new storage containers for my sewing room and if they arrive I will be once again distracted with reorganizing. I also need to go out and sand/paint our bird condo. I may get that done today if the predicted thunderstorms hold off for awhile.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Stitching Frenzy!

I decided to make this a week to stitch myself silly! I am trying to finish several things as well as make some good progress on several others. So far I have finished my batik quilt top and it will soon be delivered to the machine quilter.

I have finished my red bobbin lace bookmark.  I ran out of thread in one of my workers or I would have made it longer. You can add thread when you run out, but I don’t know how to do that yet. I started a new piece at my last class that has stitches I haven’t tried yet. I just bought a pillow and moved that piece to the pillow. I ended up with an extra pin so clearly did something wrong during the move. I’ll need to take a closer look at it later.


I have completed the quilting on the lamb’s body. The rest of the quilting in the main body of the quilt is straight lines, but I still need to decide what to do in the borders.


I have also finished a couple of Madeline projects. I made a yo-yo mouse for her that will go with the yo-yo rabbit I made for her birthday. Plus, I finished a cute pair of reversible pants. I have the fabric to make another pair but want her to try these on first.


Next on my agenda for the week is finishing up several EGA projects from the past year or so.