Saturday, March 18, 2017

Saint Patrick's Day Table Runner

After seeing a Saint Patrick's Day table runner online, I decided to make one for our kitchen table.  Based on the size I had available on our table, I worked backwards to determine the size of the blocks (8" finished), sashing (2" finished), and binding (.5")

  • Shamrock (Greenwork) from Embroidery Library (I did not stitch out the stars)
  • Shamrock Wreath from Embroidery Library
  • The clovers are built into IQ Designer on my Destiny II machine
  • The background stipple was also done using IQ Designer on my machine.
  • Three 8.5" squares of white background fabric
  • Ten 2.5" x 8.5" strips of contrast green fabric
  • Eight 2.5" squares of white background fabric
  • Backing fabric
  • Cotton Batting
  • Insul-Bright
My fabric choices - found at my local JoAnn store.

Preview of table runner done in Electric Quilt 7.
To Make the Table Runner Top:
  • Embroider each large block.

  • Use 1/4" seams.
  • Stitch two green 8.5" strips to the left and right sides of each wreath-embroidered block.
Make two of these.
  • Stitch two small white 2.5" squares to both sides on four green strips.
Make four of these.
  • Stitch two of those green/white strips to each of the wreath-embroidered blocks to complete them, matching up seams.
Complete two of these blocks.
  • Stitch two 8.5" green strips to top and bottom of the 8.5" center block.
Center block.
  • Stitch the center block to the adjoining wreath-blocks (matching up seams)  to complete your table runner row.
Complete table runner top.

To Quilt:
  • Lay the backing fabric, face down on your cutting surface.
  • Add a layer of cotton batting.
  • Add a layer of Insul-Bright to allow it handle hot dishes.
  • Lay the table runner top on top of this.
  • Pin-baste the quilt sandwich.
  • Quilt as desired.  😃
    • I hooped the quilt sandwich for each main block and used my Destiny to scan the hoop.
    • Based on embroidery design, I used IQ Designer to draw an outline around the embroidery and added stippling around the design inside each large block.
    • I re-hooped and scanned the quilt sandwich for each block and added the small clover built-in design.
After my quilting.
Close-up of in-the-hoop stipple quilting.
Finishing the last of the self-binding.

You can see this table runner's embroidery has extra dimension for the extra layer of insult-bright fabric that was added.  I like it!   ☘️

Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Golden Tapestry Finished! and The Real Cost

I have Good News and Not-So-Good News.  I have been meaning to post this, to show I can actually finish a bigger project.  😉

First the Good News...  It's finished!  Took me the whole year, and needed over 2 million stitches.  I had the design and main silk for a few years and made it a resolution to complete this project in 2016.

My finished tapestry of gold metallic thread on dark green silk. 

I modified a quilt label from embroidery library and happily stitched the label for the back.

I finished it at the end of December - just in time to hang for Christmas. Resolution Complete. ✔️

Now the Not-So-Good News...  I now know how much I spent on it.

Do you know the cost of your projects?  I recently went through the records I had for this project, and totaled up the cost.  Time invested is priceless, but the material costs really add up too.  I knew it would be pricey because of the silk and metallic thread.  I must admit, the total was more than I thought, probably because I purchased some things before and had them on hand, so I didn't think about their prior cost.  I also spent a little extra on purchasing gold silk samples in search of the perfect shade of gold border to match this project.

Here are my costs (rounded to nearest whole dollar).  I tried to shop sales and uses coupons/codes where I could:
  • Anita Goodesign Golden Tapestry Embroidery Designs -  $74
  • Main Fabric - Dark Green Silk Dupioni - 3 yards - $57
  • Border Fabric - Soft Gold Dupioni Silk - 1 yard - $35
  • Backing Fabric - Forest Green Cotton - 3.5 yards - $18
  • Bobbin Thread - Brother 5-pack of 1200 yard spools - $38
  • Embroidery Thread - 6 spools of Pacesetter Deep Green 1100 yard spool - $37
  • Metallic Embroidery Thread - 9 spools of Floriani 880 yard cone - $126
  • Fabric Interfacing - Armo Weft fusible - 20" x 10 yards - $42
  • Batting for quilt top and sandwich - Pellon Nature's Choice Cotton - 90" x 2 yards - $11
  • Stabilizer - Floriani No-Show Mesh - 5 rolls of 12" x 10 yards (double layer in hoop) - $70
  • Quilting Top Thread - Sulky King Size Clear polyester - $7
  • Quilting Bottom Thread - Gutterman 500 M Dark Green SewAll -$5

  • Machine Needles - Schmetz 75/11 Embroidery - $15
  • Gold Border Fabric Swatches - $27
My total material costs:  $562 

If you are looking to make this project and wonder what exactly I bought and from where, I have a PDF copy of my actual costs and resources here.

I don't usually track expenses for a particular project, but this one was such an undertaking, that I happen to save the receipts.  Not sure I will do this again - I don't think I want to know.  😉   But this does show that hand-made quilts and projects like this are expensive to start - not including the time invested to create your masterpiece.

I totally love my Golden Tapestry and proudly hang it in our living room.  I hope it will be passed down for generations to come.

Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

What's been under my needle

Been doing a variety of stitching lately- several small projects.  Remembered to take pics of most of them... What's been under your needle?

Monogrammed Vera Bradley totes used for bridesmaids' gifts:

Did an in-the-hoop large pumpkin placemat from Kreative Kiwi Embroidery:

Made three birth announcement stuffed bears for a request:

Make an in-the-hoop quilted mirror and case for a request.

Made a large in-the-hoop cross-body bag for my sister-in-law's birthday:

Made a wristlet for a friend and former coworker:

Make several in-the-hoop Halloween Trick-or-Treat bags from the American Sewing Guild:

Plenty of projects going on.

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Singer Featherweight Maintenance Class

I was in Williamsburg this weekend, and had a great full-day hands-on workshop on maintaining our beloved Singer Featherweights.  Nova Montgomery is on her Autumn tour and hosted the workshop. Having gotten my particular Featherweight for restoring purposes on eBay, I thought I knew my machine since I restored it.  Turns out, there is always something new to learn, right?

Getting ready to start the workshop.

A basic tip I remember from the workshop on how often to maintain your Featherweight:
  • If you do not use your machine - once a year.
  • If you use your machine once or twice a year (to take to retreats or bees for example) - every 6 months.
  • If you use your machine regularly for sewing - after every major project.
Another tip is to replace your sewing needle after every eight hours of use of your Featherweight.

A photo with me taken by Nova and shared on her Facebook page.  :-) 
Products for routine maintenance:
  • Kerosene (clear) - used as solvent for cleaning inside parts
  • Sewing Machine Oil - used to lubricate joints and moving parts of machine
  • Featherweight Lubricant - used to grease the gears and motor.
The workshop went through the entire cleaning and maintaining that should be done on a Featherweight.  The class followed Nova's Maintenance card, which was included in the workshop fee.  We covered every part and piece that needs regular attention.  I loved that the workshop was hands-on on our own machine - getting hands dirty with the gears.

Here are some pictures from the workshop:
Gears under the thread spindle plate.

It was sometimes easier to stand and work on our machines.

Adding grease lubricant to the gears.

Lead pipe that protects the wires.  Build up that I didn't want to touch previously.
Same lead pipe after a little soft brushing with Kerosene and a toothbrush.

Checking the motor brushes.

One thing I learned about my particular machine that I had missed when I restored it after purchasing it...    Can you see it in the following photo?
A problem with my electric receptacle.  Can you spot it?

The electric receptacle had been cracked and reglued.  It is easier to see the glue line from the bottom under a spot light.

Nova said this is very common thing to happen.  It usually happens when the plug hits the side of the Featherweight case when it is being put into the case for storage.   So be careful when doing this. :-)

After replacing the glued electric receptacle from my machine, Nova could tell that my particular part had cracked because it had caught fire!  At some point, some one had put grease into a hole on the receptacle, and it heated and caught fire with the electricity coming through.  Interesting!! Well now that part is fresh and new and my machine is cleaned, oiled, greased, tested and stitches wonderfully.  It's a such a great machine.

Panorama view of class from my seat.

Very happy to have taken this workshop.  Would definitely recommend this class if there is one near you.

Featherweight is all happy and ready to sew!

 Happy Stitching!!

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Easy Singer Featherweight Case Tote

I made a new tote for my Singer Featherweight Case!

I am looking forward to taking Nova Montgomery's Featherweight Maintenance class next weekend when she comes nearby on her Autumn Tour.  Because of the age and weight of my Featherweight, I do not like to rely on the case handle to tote it around.  Although my case is in good shape, I would just rather not put the pressure on the handle anymore.  I have a large canvas tote bag that fits the Featherweight case very snugly.  I thought I would make a similar, but nicer tote bag for my Featherweight that matches the Singer Featherweight look.

- 3/4 yard of black Double-faced Quilted Fabric (I purchased this one at my local JoAnn store).
- 4 yards of 1-1/4" black Belting (Mine was $4/yard, but I used a coupon at JoAnn).
- Black sewing thread

- Gold or similar tone embroidery thread for embroidery.
- Singer Featherweight decal embroidery design (I used the "Tall Bed Decal" from Jen's Vintage Sewing)
- The "Singer Featherweight" wording I did on my computer using a "Shelley" font. (.PES format is here for FREE - disclaimer - please test stitch your design first.)

1. Fold the fabric with selvage edges together.  Cut a 16.5" strip across the width of the fabric.  This is the body of the tote bag.

2. Cut a 9" strip across the width of the fabric.  Cut this long strip in half, so you have two pieces, each 9" wide.  These will be used for the side panels of the bag.

3. Straighten out the edges of the fabric and trim the selvedge.

  • A. Place the Featherweight case in the center of the large panel and gather the edges together to get an idea of where you would like your embroidery placed.

  • B.  Mark the center for embroidery.

  • C.  Edit the design as desired.  Hoop the fabric and embroider using your center mark made earlier.

4.  Pin the cotton belting to the front of your tote panel. I pinned mine 3" from the edge.  Start the belt at the bottom of the bag (center of the tote body panel).

5.  Pin the belting up the side of the body panel, give 24" for the handle, and continue pinning back down the other side of the panel.  Across the bottom, and up the panel, giving an equivalent 24" for the other handle.

6.  Pin the belting back to the beginning, overlapping a good inch.  Cut the excess and fold the edge under a bit for a clean look.

7.  Sew on the belting.  Start at the bottom, zigzag across the folded edge and box stitch the overlap for reinforcement.  Sew along each edge of the belting, a scant 1/4".

8.  Stop sewing the belting 1" from the top edge of the tote.  We will be folding the top 1" of fabric over at the end of the construction.  Box stitch the belting at this point for reinforcement.

9.  Find the center of the long edges of the tote body panel, and the center of a 9" side of each side panel.  Pin a side panel to each side of the body, matching the centers, right sides together.  Baste or sew each side in place, 1/4" seam.

10.  Pin the side panel long edges to the sides of the tote body panel, right sides together.   The side panel will be a longer than the tote body - that is OK, we will trim it later.

11.  Sew a side panel to the tote body panel, using 1/2" seam.  Start from the tote's top edge, go down, around the bottom (where it is already sewn in step #9), and back up to the top.    Repeat for the other side panel.

12.  Trim the side panels top raw edge even with the top of tote body panel.  Fold the top of the tote fabric down 1" all around (wrong sides together) and sew to secure.  Turn your tote right-side out and push out the bottom corners.  Top-stitch around the top of the tote, 1/4".

The Singer Featherweight case fits nicely inside!

I added snaps along the top of the tote for a neater look.  These snaps are functional for when the case is in storage, as most will pop open when carrying the tote in transit.

I now have a complete 3-piece set for my Singer Featherweight.  I have a tote for machine, a tote for the extension table, and a matching apron to wear.  All set!!

Happy Stitching!

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