Friday, March 21, 2014

A Flat Finish It Friday!

I'm going to walk you through the basic steps of a flat finished ornament. This is Joyeux Noel - the 1st in my Family Tree Series - it was designed for the French branch of my family. This original set was shipped off to them and I managed to take some photos during the finishing process of the 2nd set that I had stitched. Lots of pics! 
I gathered my supplies: cleaned & pressed stitched pieces, backing fabric, ribbons, cotton batting, mat board, acid free double sided tape, and lacing thread along with the other basics (needle, scissors, & whatnot)  

I trim my stitched piece to a more manageable size. Here I was going to show 1/4" all around the ornament plus include 1" for turning & lacing. You may need to trim a bit more off later but it's better to be a little conservative...hard to add that fabric back later! I like to use my quilting ruler on my quilting mat with a rotary cutter - nice clean edges!

I cut mat boards to the desired size for the front & back of the ornament. I place a small bit of double sided acid free tape on the boards & attach cotton batting. The tape helps to stabilize the batting - it won't move around when you are centering your fabrics.

I like to place 2 layers of thin batting on the front side (under the stitching) & 1 layer on the back side (under cotton fabric).

I used to lace the back fabric but have recently switched to holding it in place with the acid free double sided tape. I am not patient enough for glue although that would work too. Tape opposite sides - be sure to adjust fabric that has patterns or straight lines. Tape remaining sides & attach fabric - (you may have to trim out your corners a bit in case you have a thicker or stiff cotton)
Now to lace your stitching. I do a side to side scooping motion with a heavy duty cotton/poly thread. After you lace the 1st two sides, be sure to check the front & make necessary adjustments to stitching. Once you turn & lace the other direction - you are locked into place. Again, I usually trim out my corners a bit -they get pretty packed!
A word about the side to side scooping motion: the needle goes through the linen - in & out on the same side running parallel to the edge. This way you won't get stretching marks on the front where you really pull your stitches tight. (even our needlework can get stretch marks!!!)
Now that front & back are taped or laced you want to attach them together. First, I opted to include a little ribbon for my hanger. That is being held in place with the double sided tape again. You don't have to use ribbon - you may wish to use your cording for the hanger.
You will notice that I stretched my cotton & linen in 2 different directions - this also helps the "bulk" factor when stitching them together - you won't get fat corners. (This means I folded vertical sides on one first & horizontal sides on the other first)
I lace the front to the back using a color coordinating thread. After is down to the fun part! trim, cording, buttons, bells, and all the doodads! I chose a simple black cording & a fun bow for the bottom. (attaching the cording will be a lesson for another day!)
You may have already received the May issue of Cross Stitch & Needlework magazine. The 3rd installment of my series is in it & once again, I am giving you some DMC alternatives. Yours won't look exactly like mine, but pretty darn close.
Thanks for all of the great feedback on this series. I was a little nervous when the editors approached me about doing such a long series but it has been a lot of fun! As I write this, I have turned in all but the last 2 - October & November. I know it sounds kind of weird, but I will be a little emotional when they are all complete!
April: blanc, 519, 703, 741, 319, 3746, 3832
May: 554, 369, 367, 3802, 3713, 961, 722, 433, 437
Have an awesome weekend! I will be painting my son's room. His was the 1st room we did when we moved in 10 years ago & now we are updating a bit in hopes to sell and maybe build after the college years!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Winner Winner!

Thank you to all who left comments on my last blog post and a huge thanks to Adornit for offering up their selection of Chamberry prints as a great prize! I have a winner...but first a few updates! (Would you really read on if I blew the surprise right now?)

It's been busy...heck, it's always busy! Last weekend I was able to sneak away for a short time to attend my annual retreat in Gretna NE. It's not a fancy place, but when I started going 17 years ago - it was heaven on earth. Time away from all the home activities - few even had cell phones in those days. My husband always knows - the 3rd weekend in March come heck or high water, I was Gretna bound. The women that I meet up with every year are wonderful & supportive & it's been so much fun to watch our families grow through the years.

I stopped through Omaha on the way home (I did have to leave a little early this year to go watch Chris play in a tennis meet) & dropped off some models at For The Love of awesome little shop. Judi was my very first "auto" customer & I was happy to lend her some models for awhile. Stop in if you are in the neighborhood...she does mail order too!

I've been catching up on some finishing work & working on a few retreat pieces. Like everyone else, I'm hoping Mother Nature decides that we have had enough winter and are ready for Spring.

Here is a sneak peak of a newly completed project!

This is a current WIP! Look familiar? The bag that I have been using for a model of "Love My Stitching" was stitched by Karen (sewmuch2luv) and I think she would probably like it back! I haven't stitched on evenweave for awhile, I forgot how much fun it is! 
That's what's new with me. The winner of the Adornit fabric bundle and chartpack of Gather Friends Close is Darla! I will be emailing you for your address! Contests are fun - keep following for more!
Have a wonderful day,

Friday, March 7, 2014

Gather Friends Close

Why do I design? I was asked that in an interview not too long ago and it was really difficult to come up with an answer that sounded plausible. I think I just need to. It's my way of expressing myself...telling my story (whether you want to listen to it or not!)

Speaking of stories - there is ALWAYS a story behind every design I release. Sometimes there is even more than one story as in the case of Gather Friends Close. I'll keep it short:

1. I'm a finisher. We've established that. I like to design projects that focus on fun finishes.

2. I like words - have you ever seen a design of mine without words. (Yes, I know the Counted Canvas designs do not have words in them...for now)

3. I became obsessed with the whole "describe your day, life, weekend, etc... in 3 words" idea.

4. I love color. Brights, pastels, soft, sharp, you name it.

5. I just had to have another bullet point...also obsessed with things in odd numbers.

I had been brewing this idea for a series of cushions. I've seen pictures all over the internet of fun small pillow finishes and I thought - 'wow, what if there was a set of cushions that were made to go together and would fill a basket to adorn your house?'

Yes, I really thought 'adorn your house' and magically I found myself in the Adornit booth at the Houston Quilt market (I was working with my friends at Just Another Button Co. at the time). I peeked around at their fabric lines and fell in love with Chamberry...soft but colorful, retro but hip and oh had words on it too! I was in love.

I plunked down my VISA and purchased 9 bolts of fabric (I have such new-found respect for quilt shop owners!).

Then came the design & those 3 words. They finally came at Christmas when I gathered with my stitching friends at my house for our annual "no-exchange Christmas potluck" party. As we were cleaning up, my husband said, "you know it's so nice the way you can gather with your close friends"...see what happened there?

Visit We are cross-blogging today! Give them a follow - lots of fun to see & do on both their blog and website! Great project ideas! 
Here is Part 1 of Gather Friends Close. Each chartpack comes with the designs, hand-dyed rick rack, button & Chamberry fabric to finish the cushions!
I took all 9 motifs & made them into a sampler as well. One-third of the sampler will be released in each chartpack. Here is a close up of how I incorporated the Dames of the Needle/From the Cauldron rick rack & JABC button into the design.
A peek ahead to Part 2 and another close up of rick rack & button.
You can see some close up bits of Adornit's Chamberry fabric.
Adornit is graciously giving you an opportunity to have your own little bundle of fabrics from the Chamberry line! These are the fabrics from the line that I chose for the series. To sweeten the deal, I will also send you a Gather Friends Close Part 1 chartpack.
Please leave a comment on this blog post. If you like...let me know your 3-words that inspire you! Comments will be accepted through next Friday midnight (3/14). The winner will be chosen by random number generator! 
Enjoy the Stitch,