Thursday, November 27, 2014

Continuing to learn...

It's a blessing to be able to teach or share the skills or shortcuts I've learned about embroidery, fabric, sewing, threads and quilting here on the blog!
But did you know that I enjoy learning new things too?
In fact, a couple of weeks ago I purchased a Sue Spargo Embroidery Class on Craftsy. Her style is very different to what I do - she works with textures and layering, and I simply love her eye for colour and detail!

I don't think we ever know it all, and it's easy to fall into a rut as a designer - in fact I see some stitchery and fabric designers whose work has a sameness about it these days and I'm not excited by them anymore.
I pray I don't fall into that description, but it takes more than wanting to stay fresh - it takes looking at new things I can learn and experiment with, then using that knowledge to push the envelope with my own style of design in years to come. Does that make sense?

Anyhow, I'm excited about Sue Spargo's class and will be making an opening in my diary each week for the rest of the year to work through them one by one. There's 7 lessons in this class, so I should be pretty much ready to experiment in the middle of January!

I'm sharing this news today because the Sue Spargo class was $40 when I got it, but over Thursday and Friday this week Craftsy have ALL their classes priced at $19.99!

If you're after a great Christmas gift for a fellow crafter, or would like one for yourself, just go HERE to browse through the classes available:

You can choose from -

Cake Decorating
Jewellery (another I'd love to do!)

You know, until recently I had no idea Craftsy offered so many craft courses and supplies!

Head over HERE and start browsing - your next craft adventure is waiting!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

TUTORIAL Wednesday ~ about binding...

I'm not going to share another tutorial for making and attaching binding today because I have one HERE, but what I am sharing are a few very simple things you can do for a clean finish to your binding, as well as some binding options you might not have thought of before.

 So you've finished your quilt, wall hanging, table topper - whatever project you've made that has a binding edge  - and you've made your binding and attached it to the outside front edge of your quilt.
 The next step is to press the binding over the raw edge to the back of the quilt for hand-stitching.

Help Number 1:

I used to pin my binding in place, but tended to stab my fingers with the sharp pin points along the way, so I stopped pinning a few years back and just stitched slowly while I held the binding down with my left hand. By the time I'd finished sewing down my binding, especially on a large quilt,  my left hand thumb would throb for days, but all that has come to an end! 
Recently I discovered these incredibly useful little Wonder Clips that hold the binding for you as you stitch!

Wonder Clips are on sale at Massdrop right now, and so much cheaper than anywhere else I've found! Go HERE to purchase a 50 pack of Wonder Clips for 45% off. I love a bargain!

Help Number 2:

When you sew down your binding be sure to anchor your thread in the seam you've sewn when attaching the binding to the front of the quilt. Sew into the wadding, under the seam stitch line, then up through the edge of the binding...

Help Number 3:

Always choose a sewing thread as close in colour to your binding fabric as you can.
It gives an almost invisible finish...

Binding Options:

Quilting fabric is almost always the choice we make when planning to bind our completed quilts or similar items, but for some projects I like to use lace.

When I designed and stitched "Family & Friends" in 2012 this elegantly beaded project was given an extra touch of beauty with the neutral toned 60 year-old lace as binding...

 Lace is not  folded in half as cotton quilt binding is. 
Just sew it around the edge of your quilt with a 1/4" seam, turn to the back and stitch down. As this kind of lace is very fine you only need a 1" width...

For a sturdier project crochet cotton lace is a great option!
This is my "Summer Mellow" mini quilt from a 2013 set of four redwork seasonal quilts...

I chose regular 1" wide crochet cotton lace for the binding, which is commonly available at most sewing stores and online, as it added a touch of vintage to 1930's repro fabrics used in the mini quilt piecing.

Opposite binding...
With "Summer Mellow" I wanted the scalloped edge of the crochet lace to feature on the front of the quilt so I sewed the straight edge of the lace along the back of the quilt first, then turned the binding lace over to the front - opposite to how you would normally attach your binding.
Using a cream Perle #12 thread, I sewed the lace down around the front edge with running stitch just inside the scallop of the lace.
The effect was really cute...

The binding is the final step of a quilt and deserves as much care and fore-thought as the quilt itself in my opinion, so I hope those simple ideas have been of help, or given you food for thought with binding options for future projects. 

The PDF patterns for "Summer Mellow" and "Family & Friends" are both HERE.

If you've used something other than fabric to bind a quilt would you leave a comment and share your idea with us, please?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

UFO Finish Tuesday...

It's that day again!
Are you enjoying these UFO Finish Tuesdays?
It's been great for me, and also given me a different direction in creativity because I'm not thinking of new designs, but using old orphan stitcheries instead, and planning how best to display them.
Last week I showed you a number of old Bronwyn Hayes redwork blocks I stitched in 2006. 
I decided to frame the four 'girlie' hexie blocks, and had almost finished a table runner with the long floral blocks. 
If you missed that post you'll find it HERE.
Well, I've finished the table runner, all nicely hand quilted and bound during a long drive with Mr E to Cairns last Thursday...

It wasn't until we got home from Cairns on Saturday that an idea for using the hexie blocks became clear, and then I was on a roll!
I decided to feature them on a set of hanging pockets...

My French General stash once again came in handy. This Rural Jardin red & cream print was perfect for the main feature fabric....

I think the addition of three red hexies across the top, centred with some vintage buttons, added something special to complete this sweet project, don't you?

But this still left me with one redwork framed hexie to find a home for.
A strong coffee and my brain cells began to communicate!
Within 30 minutes I had made a small single-pocket hanger...

Love the addition of narrow cotton lace to tie the little metal quilt hanger in place; such a simple thing, but very effective...

 Not sure I want to part with either of my pocket hangers, so I might just give them to myself for Christmas!

UFO Finish Tuesday's could be my best idea this year...

What have you made from your UFO box this week?
Leave a comment and share the news! I think we all deserve a pat on the back for our finishes, don't you?

NOTE: The Bronwyn Hayes (Red Brolly) stitcheries I used in this UFO are no longer available, but visit Bronwyn's blog HERE because you're sure to find lots of other lovelies there!

Now to go and decide what I'll finish before next Tuesday...


Monday, November 24, 2014

Just a quiet day at home...

Monday morning: Townsville, Australia: cloudy and 32C.

To Do List:
 Catch up with housework, finish a UFO for tomorrow's blog post, cook something yummy for Mr E.

A quiet day at home. 
I really am a homebody, and not having to leave the house all day is a joy for me.
 Maybe later I'll get a little more stitching done on this. An episode of Hercule Poirot will keep me company...

May your new week be filled with joy & peace, a rested and hopeful heart,


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Look what's been made?!

Do you enjoy seeing how my friends and fellow stitchers have made an Elefantz Design
their very own?
I love it!

Here's the latest batch of pretties...

Christine has used a Holly Bird design (pattern is HERE) as the feature on a gorgeous door hanger ornament...

...and Melody has stitched one of the designs from Month 2 of the Stitchery Club (pattern is HERE). It's sooooo pretty!

Melody has also been stitching Holly Birds - this time onto pretty tea towels for Christmas giving.
(pattern for this version of the Holly Bird is HERE)...

Jan has been stitching the Poinsettia blocks from Month 1 of the Stitchery Club as Christmas cards.
Wouldn't you love to receive one of them?!
(the patterns are HERE)

 If you've been stitching my designs be sure and email me a photo or two so I can show off your work here on the blog!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ideas for using vintage linens...

I love vintage linens.
I have an obsession with them I think. 

These are just a few I've collected over the years. Once upon a time they would sit neatly inside this plastic tub, but now they spill over and find themselves stored in all sorts of hidden nooks and crannies...

I enjoy finding uses for them.
Some have been been revived in baby quilts made for friends. Both the blue and the yellow quilts below were made in 2008 so I only have a few photos and they're not the best - however you can see the use of vintage linens among the patchwork, applique and embroidery....

The quilt below is one I made last year but it's been hidden away by Blossom for 'one day'. She's not letting me give it away to anyone but her...

It's quite nourishing and comforting to the soul when using aged linens by unknown hands to create something new - to know that their handwork is once again 'on display'. It carries forward a gentle promotion of their skills, often times with appreciation and awe!

A few years back I shared THIS tutorial for making little journal covers and soap sachets from embroidered linens. They are so easy and perfect for gift giving at this time of the year...

As I gently folded a small pile of white doilies the other day I thought how lovely it would be to use one as the background for a new design which will feature in December's Stitchery Club set.
Isn't it sweet with the blue floral 30's fabric?

The new design has been traced onto the centre of my pretty doily, and the threads are waiting for me to bring this project to life.
A stitchy theme seemed 'just right'...

I thought you may like some more ideas for using vintage linens?
Here are some that made my jaw drop they are so beautiful!

Found on Pinterest...

Is it time you made a cup of tea and sat with your vintage linens for inspiration?