Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Perfect Embroidery Machine Mat

My large Baby Lock Destiny sewing & embroidery machine sits on a table in my sewing room.  I have heard from others that a mat under the machine reduces noise and vibration.  I have found the perfect mat for my my needs.  It is the perfect size even with the embroidery arm module attached.

I looked online to see if there is a commercially made mat for sewing machines.  There are of course, and Brother makes one in the correct size for the large machines:

But this mat looks like a giant mouse pad to me.  You know the kind with the fabric covering a black rubber base.  I read that this giant machine pad has a strong rubber smell - enough to give you a headache.  

I went looking at my local hardware store, and found this foam kitchen mat at Home Depot for under $20:

The foam is thick - does not smell, and I love the linen-look of it.  Even looks good without the embroidery unit attached.

Just wanted to share this find with you. πŸ™‚

Happy Stitching!


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Monday, October 30, 2017

Mom's Needlework ❤️

Thought I would take a moment to share my mom's needlework.  She is 87 years young, and I absolutely adore my mother!

Mom working on the table topper.

Mom enjoys needlework, so for Christmas last year, my sister and I gave her a Nob Hill Fall Blooms stamped embroidery needlework ensemble. There is a Nob Hill "Blooms" set for each season.  We liked the colors in the Fall ensemble, and we figured it would give her plenty of time to work on this project before fall actually arrived.  I see mom regularly, and often times when I visit, I find her like this photo.  Busy working on her projects.  ☺️

She completed all three pieces from this set, which included a pillow, table runner and the table topper.
Fall Blooms Pillow

Fall Blooms Table Runner

Mom is an excellent seamstress. Although she only sews occasionally now, I have fond memories of coming home from school, and she would always be downstairs at her sewing machine, working on something and wearing a tape measure draped around her neck.  She sewed most all of her clothes.   I never caught on to sewing when I was growing up.  Mom always did it for me, and I did not take advantage of learning her skills while I was at home.  She made all of my dresses, skirts and tops when I got my first real job out of college, as I didn't have money yet to buy a business wardrobe.  The outfits she made were tailored and fit me to a tee.  I still have them hanging in my closet even though my size is not what it used to be - I will not part with them.

When I finally bought my first sewing machine, as an adult, I quickly fell in love with it.  I came to mom for many questions while learning, and I wished I would have paid more attention to learning from her years ago.

She still comes to my rescue when I need help:
Mom helping me in my sewing room. :)

I brought her a new type of project at the beginning of this month to try - Diamond Painting.   It is like paint-by-number or mosaic painting, but it uses small diamond-like facets.  I haven't tried it before, but I saw the Hummingbird Calendar Diamond Dotz kit at Mary Maxim, and thought mom might like it.   Mom loves birds - especially when the hummingbirds come visit.   She got right to work when she opened it.
Diamond Dotz craft

When I visited her a couple of days ago, the hummingbird project is complete.  I definitely think her continued interest in her hobbies helps to keep her mind sharp.  Time to find another project for her.  πŸ˜Š  I am so blessed to have her for my mom.

Happy Stitching!
Warm greetings from Mom and I.❤️


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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Weighted Blanket for Teen or Adult

DIY - How to Make Your Own Weighted Throw-Size Blanket for Teen or Adult -

The first project I did at our retreat this summer was a calming weighted blanket for my nephew.  He's a teenager with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  I recently saw a post online about weighted blankets and how they may have calming effects for  people with sensory issues, sleep disorders, ASD and other issues.   It is thought that a weighted blanket may help, and they are expensive to buy already-made, so I was happy to try and make one for him.

The weighted blanket is supposed to be 10% of the person's body weight.  Since he is only 15 years old at 125 pounds, I figured he's still going to grow, so I went with 13 pounds of beads.

*** I followed CJ's post on how to make a weighted blanket.  
*** I also recommend watching CJ's video on how she does her child-size blanket

Determine blanket size.

  • I wanted to make a throw-size blanket that can be used either on the sofa or on top of a bed.  Finished size I was aiming for was about 50" x 65".


  • FABIC:  For the fabric, my nephew's favorite color is red, so I looked for a wide-width flannel.  I figured the flannel would be soft yet sturdy.  I found a 110-inch wide Quilt Back Betula Flannel in red at  I ordered 2 yards of this extra-wide fabric.  With the extra width fabric, you can fold the length in half- and one side is already closed.  
  • WEIGHTS:  The weight is done with polyester pellets.  I looked for pellets that were round or smooth in shape, as well as washer and dryer-safe.  I need at least 12.5 pounds of beads, and ebay turned out to be the best place for me to purchase them.  I purchased 13 pounds of plastic poly pellets.  You will also need a food scale that can measure ounces.
  • BATTING:  Along with the pellets, some fluff is added to make the blanket soft.  I used Poly-Fil fiber from a 5-pound box I purchased at my local JoAnn store.  I think I used less than half of the box to complete this blanket.  
  • THREAD:  I used regular Coats Dual-Duty thread in a complimentary color.


  • The blanket is made by sewing column channels down the length of the blanket.  Beads and fluff are added to each column, then the row is created by sewing a row across the blanket to seal in the beads and fluff.  See the video for a demonstration of how this is done.
  • You need to determine how many rows and columns your blanket will contain.  It is recommended that the width of each column be at least 7" to allow for easier stuffing.
  • My fabric is 110-inches wide, which I fold in half, so it will become a 55-inch wide blanket.  I decided to make my columns 9 inches wide.  This will provide 6 pockets across.
  • Plan for the weighted throw blanket. 7 rows of 6 columns each equals 42 pockets.
  • The length I wanted was about 66 inches, so I decided my rows would 9.5 inches tall, except of the top and bottom row, which would be 9". 


Create the blanket tube:
  1. Fold the 110" fabric in half (right sides together) so it is 55" wide.  Cut the length at 66".
  2. With the right-sides of the fabric still together, sew along one short and the open long side to make an open-tube.   Use a 1/2" seam allowance.  Go over and sew another seam again at 1/4" to make sure the seams are strong and no beads will break through.  Press and turn it right-side out.
    Sewing the side seams.
  3. At the top (open-end) of the blanket, fold over the open rough edges a 1/2", so you will have a clean edge when it is sewn together.  Press neat.
Create the column channels and row markings:
  1. Using a chalk pencil (or other marking item that can be removed), mark columns down the length of the blanket at 9" apart.  Sew these lines across the complete length of the blanket to create the channels that will be filled.  
    Sewing the columns down the length of the blanket.
  2. After marking and sewing the columns, use a chalk pencil to mark where each row will be on the blanket.  
    Marking where the rows will be.
Determine the amount of weight per pocket:
  1. To make sure the weight is evenly distributed, divide the total weight of the beads by the total number of pockets.  Based on the plan above, I have 42 pockets to fill on this blanket with 13 pounds of beads.  13 pounds / 42 pockets = 0.31 pounds per pocket.  Multiply that number by 16 to determine the number of ounces of per pocket.  0.31 * 16 = 4.95 ounces.  I decided to measure 4.9 ounces per pocket, as that is what my food scale can do. 
Measure, fill and sew the rows:
  1. Measure 4.9 ounces of beads and pour into the first channel.  Add Poly-fil (about a handful or so) to add loft and softness, and to keep the beads from rolling back out.  Repeat for each channel.
    Use a food scale to measure out the correct amount of beads for each pocket.
  2. When the row is finished with filling, use straight pins to pin the fabrics together along the marked row line.  Sew along the marked row line to close this row and seal in the beads.
  3. Repeat these last two steps for each marked row of the blanket.
    Continue stuffing and sewing each row across.
Sew the top seam secure:
  1. When the last row is stuffed, pin the open (folded over) edge close and sew this final seam closed at 1/2".  Sew another seam line at 1/4" to make sure the beads are secure inside the blanket.  
    Two seams on the final edge to finish the blanket.
You are done!  πŸŽ‰

When I made this blanket, I wasn't quite sure I had enough thread to complete the whole project.  It was close, but I made it!  :) 
I made it with just a bit of thread to spare!

It is quite heavy to carry around, so I found a large hamper basket at Target to store this blanket.  Put a big bow on top and gave it to my nephew.
Ready for giving.
I have heard it has helped him sleep through the night and that he enjoys having it.  πŸ˜Š

Happy Stitching!

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Summer Retreat 2017

Earlier this month, we had another annual summer retreat for our Northern Virginia chapter of the American Sewing Guild.  I secured our venue at the National Conference Center in Leesburg, VA.  Three days of nothing but sewing fun with like-minded friends.  Sounds awesome, right!?!

We had a very large space again.  We were able to give everyone two tables for their workstation - set up like an "L".  Four "L" workstations are grouped together to form a pod.  We even had one 5-worktation pod.  These pods were scattered around the room.

A view of our space from up above.

I brought a few projects to complete over the 2.5 days.  I finished 1.5 of them.  I was glad to get the work done that I did.  (Blog posts on these projects coming soon!)
My workstation setup and working.

There was a bright separate room on the far side that we used for cutting tables.  Iron stations were set up along each wall.  There was a smaller room in the back which we designated as the Fitting Room - complete with a long mirror and a platform on which to stand.

A panographic-view of our retreat space this year.

Our retreats are fun and you can come in as early as you'd like to work on your projects, and you may stay as late as you desire as well.  Myself, and a few other Midnight-Stitchers, were the last to leave that Saturday evening.
Midnight Stitchers!

For the enjoyment of our retreat attendees, there is even a 1-minute video of our retreat weekend.  They are always so much fun!


Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Christmas in July Santa's Ride Bowl

My second Christmas in July project.  Started in July, finished in early August.

This a a free standing lace bowl from BFC Creations called Santa's Ride.  This is an expensive set for an embroidery design, but it seems to be 70% off a couple times a year.  So if you like it, just wait for a sale price before paying full price.

I made it in the largest size they have.  It is very stitch intensive as it is viewable on both sides so top and bobbin thread must match.  They stitched out very nicely.

I think the panel with Santa is my favorite.  Loved the bright colors.

All panels stitched out as well as the bottom panel.  I rinsed the Santa panel first, which makes the color look a shade darer than the others.  Then I read the directions which indicated that the bowl should be stitched first, before rinsing the stabilizer out.  Should have read all the instructions, but it wasn't a big deal.
All panels stitched out

The panels are joined using a regular zig zag stitch with matching thread on the sewing machine.

Each side panel is attached to the bottom panel first, then attached to its side neighbors.

One done you have a big floppy bowl.  πŸ˜„
I rinsed the entire bowl under the faucet and draped it over a towel over a small lamp. Let that dry completely.

I sprayed a bit of Best Press and ironed it smooth once it was dry.

Ready for Christmas!

Happy Stitching!

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Christmas in July angel

I tried to get a couple of Christmas-themed projects completed in July.  Finished one on the last day of July, and the other completed shortly thereafter. It has just taken me a while to share it here. :)

First up was a 3-dimensional free standing lace and organza angel.  This design is from emblibrary.  I used Madiera Viscose (rayon) thread in the top and bobbin for a high sheen.

The design is done as several free standing lace designs.  A layer of organza is added to the front and the back of the wash-away stabilizer during embroidery.

The organza is cut to size using  a template ahead of time, and may not always cover all of a FSL piece. I had a bit of an issue with the organza not always catching under the tack-down stitches.  This resulted in it being pulled away from the edges after washing away the stabilizer.
Organza pulled away from edges.
To remedy this, I found it better to cut the organza pieces slightly larger than the template  and just trim it after being tacked down.

The pieces looked so pretty as they were being stitched!

These designs were stitch intensive and I was happy to see the smiley face when done. πŸ™‚

Emblibrary has printed instructions here for doing this design, as well as stitching the pieces together.  I stitched as much as I could by machine, then the final pieces by hand.  Love the way it came together. πŸ‘ΌπŸΌ

Happy Stitching!

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Young Etsy Seller

A few months ago, my daughter had an idea to make a pillow from a photograph she took of our Shadow.  She had so much fun doing it that she wanted to make more.  I created a listing on Etsy on her behalf.

She has had several orders, and I love to see her working on them.  She is my young Etsy Seller.  Here she is stitching a pillow of a pug/terrier mix named Marvin.  He looks so cute!


So cute!

Happy Stitching!

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Monday, July 24, 2017

First Place at the Fair

Our county fair began this week.  I have never entered my work into any type of judging before, but was so very happy to see my Golden Tapestry with a blue ribbon on it this morning.  πŸ˜Š  That has made my day!  You can see my work and progress on this Anita Goodesign tapestry through several posts here.

Loudoun County Fair 2017 - Blue Ribbon

 Just a few other quick projects done lately...

Made a few mug rugs.  This one with the sewing machine is for me.  I have it in front of my machine and I use it as a tool mat while I work.  The in-the-hoop embroidery design came rom AppliquΓ© Corner, and the sewing notion fabric came from JoAnn's.

I made a couple mug rugs for two ladies at the conference center who are working with me to plan our annual sewing guild's summer retreat.  This in-the-hoop embroidery design is free from Sweet Pea Embroidery Designs group on Facebook.  I edited it a bit to remove the name and flower that was on it, and personalize the name and add a different flower.

I found a cute tag on Pinterest to go along with a mug rug, just in case the recipient has never heard of one before.  I typed them up and printed on card stock and tied it to a goody bag.
Ready to go.  Explanation tag included. :)

My neighbor asked that I personalize a blanket for her nephew going off to college.  She brought me a nice twin-size Land's End fleece blanket.  She wanted a large monogram in the center, and the college name in the corners.  I found a large circle monogram font that goes up to 7.5" from The Itch 2 Stitch.  Also from a large Times Roman font on Etsy from Digitizing With Love.  Both stitched out nicely.
The circle monogram is a large 7.5" diameter.

I monogrammed a soft minky baby blanket from Target, and made a few in-the-hoop fuzzy bunnies to go along with a baby gift.    The bunny designs came from Artistic Threadworks on Etsy.

Made a few more zipper cases to give as simple gifts.  These are by Anita Goodesign and are their small (the zebra one) and large rectangle bags with a lining.  Along with a coordinating tissue pack cover for the larger bags.

That's about it for now.  Still have a Christmas in July in mind, but July is ending soon.  Hope to start it this week anyway.

Happy Stitching!

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