Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Zippered Wristlets Made with the Embroidery Machine

Over the summer my daughter lived in the dorms during a ballet intensive out of town and I was prompted to make a few things to make life a bit more convenient. I wanted something specifically helpful for trudging down to the laundry room in her building.  I found that the Embroidery Garden In The Hoop Wristlet Set, made in the 5x7 size, is the perfect size for quarters for the machines.  I made a couple because they were so quick and super handy to have.

"In the hoop" refers to 3D finished items made entirely (or mostly) in the embroidery machine.  This is a fully lined pouch and even the zipper is installed in the embroidery machine. (A nylon zipper must be used (never metal) for in the hoop (ITH) projects because the embroidery machine will be sewing over the zipper.)  I took a class with Reen, the owner of Embroidery Garden a few years ago when she came to town.  Her great tip for ITH projects, that differ from her own printed instructions, is to hoop no show poly mesh (cutaway stabilizer) instead of the prescribed tear away.  The no show poly mesh is so soft that it can stay in the project with a window cut out behind the zipper.  (Cutting out behind the zipper is a must in order to turn the bag when completed!)

For this project, the strap was made on a regular sewing machine, however, using modified instructions that are included with the file instructions.

I preferred these without the flower embellishment or the decorative quilting on the file, but I did still use a cotton batting to give it a little structure.

The second one I made was embellished with a file my daughter picked out from Frublomgren on Etsy.  Her fantastic hipster bunnies get the rare distinction of being the ONLY design in my collection of thousands that my 15-year-old liked!

We decided to remove the bubble with PEACE from the original design.  When I edited it out, I also lost part of the circle applique with blanket stitching behind the bunnies.  I wanted that background so my little bunnies wouldn't get lost in the printed base fabric of the zipper bag, so I went on and edited out the circle background too with my Embrilliance software (Essentials module's tools) and then used the Embrilliance Stitch Artist module's tools to digitize a new circle applique with a blanket stitch edging.  Using the shapes library made it a cinch to do!

I used a swivel lanyard claw hook on the strap to finish, a slight modification to the Embroidery Garden instructions.  The strap can be unclipped to be used as a wrist fob for keys.

Quick Links to Blog Mentions:
To see my other embroidery projects and links to tutorials and resources, check out my Machine Embroidery Gallery.  Paper projects can be found in my Paper Gallery.  Soaping recipes can be found in my Soapmakers Gallery.  

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Dorm Towels!

My favorite high school student will be living in dorms this summer for a special ballet intensive.  I picked up some Costco bath towels, hand towels (which my makeup-loving daughter calls face towels), and wash cloths for her to take.

To help her keep up with them, I thought a monogram would be perfect.  Now...you must know that this is a bit of an issue.  Or at least it has been such an issue that I was banned by her from doing three-letter monograms.  And the reason?  Well, a typical woman's monogram is "first name" "LAST NAME" "middle name".  For this kiddo, that would spell:  pMs.  PMS??  What was I thinking?  All I can say is that I was never an expert on monograms and never even had an embroidery machine when she was a baby.  When I was looking at baby names, I remember thinking about her initials:  PSM.  Looked fine and I was done.  But a monogram is not the same as initials!!  The order is different!

So, the only thing she would allow me to do was single letter monograms or we have put her entire first name on things.

That was until I found this new monogram called Massey from Jack N Mack on Etsy

And look how it looks if you use the Two-line Add-on and re-arrange the letters!!! This orders the letters just like initials and I am out of hot water!

How cute is that?  I sent it to my daughter to get her approval -- and she loved it.

I used my Embrilliance Essentials embroidery software to put together the letters (the Massey font is available in BX as well as all the regular formats) and the Two-line add-on.

I used the full monogram for the hand towels and bath towels.  I used only her first name initial with the lines that come with the font on the wash cloth.  What I also love about this design is that you can use two colors because the letters are made with a satin stitch outlined with a bean stitch.  The double dash is just a satin stitch and I matched it to the bean stitch color. The single line details have the bean stitch.

Because these are are super skinny, I used the knockdown feature in Embrilliance Enthusiast. I stitched the knockdown in white to match the towels.

I decided I wanted the "P" on the washcloths to be located on the lower right quadrant of the washcloth.  That way, when folded, it was in the middle.

This is the 1.5" size for the washcloths.

The hand towels and bath towels were different in that they were centered.  The hand towels were sized up from the 4" letter for the last name and sized down a bit for the first and middle initial letters.  The bath towels were 6" for the last name and 5" for the first and middle initials.

I placed the monogram so that the bottom of the basting box would be 1/2" above the top band on the hand towel and 1" on the bath towel.

I hooped tearaway and floated the bath linens.  I topped with WSS but many stitchers feel that WSS is not necessary with knockdown.  I like how it puts the pile in its place for the knockdown.

On pre-washing:  I would normally not pre-wash embroidered towels.  But...I have purchased these Costco towels before and I have found that they are not very absorbent until after they have been washed. I am not sure if they are coated with something to keep them white or what but they are almost resistant to water until that first washing.  Since my daughter is taking these to school, I wanted them ready to use.  No way would she wash them first.  (That idea actually made me giggle!)  That first wash also brings out tons of lint.  After I embroidered these, I washed in hot water again to get rid of all the WSS.  That is another thing I would not do if it were a gift.  I wanted these soft, absorbent, fluffy, and ready to use for this kid.

They are packed in an Ikea bag and waiting with the rest of her stuff. One more thing off the list!

Sources for things mentioned in this post:

This project was stitched on a Brother PE770 single needle embroidery machine with Metro polyester embroidery thread using an Organ titanium needle with an embroidery eye size 11.

To see my other embroidery projects, check out my embroidery gallery.  To see my paper projects, check out my paper gallery.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

The No Good Very Bad Day That Led to My First Monthly Project

This has been one heck of a year!  In February we awoke in the middle of the night to a plumbing catastrophe with a waterfall from our second floor to our dining room, living room, and kitchen.  I have never felt more panicked or more helpless!  We shut off the water, got out shop vacs, moved furniture and belongings, and called the insurance company.  It got worse before it got better.

After a bit over two months of water mitigation, walls, ceilings, and flooring ripped out and replaced and renewed, moving all of our belongings out of our home, and lots of extra projects on my part, we got our home back.  It was crazy because I was still dealing with my knee problems after tearing my ACL, as well as pain in my shoulder, foot, and hand after falling off a ladder before all this happened.  Well, I never thought I would get back on a ladder, but the home repairs and redecorating encouraged me to get back on that horse!  The insurance company paid for some rooms to be repainted and flooring for almost all rooms to be replaced.  I painted many of the rooms that they didn't handle because I figured not having flooring was the easiest time to paint walls.  Drips and spills would not matter!  In the end, I picked new colors and I love it all, despite the horrible and upsetting way it all started.

Aside from the lovely new walls, ceilings, flooring, fresh paint, and new colors, everything naturally is cleaner since it was all ripped out!!  I packed stuff up and movers took it away for two days but I didn't want the clutter back so I took close to 30 minivan loads of stuff to Goodwill before packing.  I had our treadmill picked up by a charity.  I gave stuff to family and friends.  I seriously thought out every object in my home minus stuff in my husband's music room and office, and my daughter's room, which were spared from purging because they suffered no water damage.  I looked in every drawer and cabinet and on every shelf.  I went through my sewing and craft room for days, clearing out and really considering how I now wanted to organize and store things. I re-thought my workflow and storage.  I got rid of more stuff than I can describe!  And now I love it!!  Aside from being clean and fresh and new, everything in my home is organized and clutter-free.  I feel like it was an extra gift from the Home Repair Fairies.  I just figured if we were going through all that pain, we were going to have a better home all the way around as a result.  No more stuff piled on top of any thing-- not my China cabinet, not my counters, not my wardrobes or chests of drawers.  Nice clean lines, a place for everything, and an easy place to live is what we traded for all that extra stuff.

I also decided it was time to rethink my window treatments.  I took everything down, washed what very few treatments I was keeping, and re-hung those.  I made new kitchen window treatments and I have plans for new treatments for my living room and dining room.  My family room was untouched by all the drama, but those windows will also be getting a face lift.  I made new roman shades and a new valance for my kitchen using fabric from my stash.  That's when I decided that I would try to use my stash for all my home sewing projects. This is where I will admit that the only two things I regret getting rid of in all that were two pieces of fabric!!  (I got rid of so much fabric).

The water mitigation people took down all my framed photos and artwork.  I decided they would not be going back up. I decided that my family room is where all my family photos would be going.  No more tablescapes with photos in frames.  No more framed family photos scattered like an 80s living room museum.  Instead the family room walls would allow me to tell the story of our family!  The walls in the rest of the house I wanted for artwork that was all about us too; I wanted things we made.  For my living room, in a corner with my husband's guitars and instruments, I hung framed articles about him (like the front page of our local newpaper's business page that I had framed back when we were dating) and a poster of a big event he organized at Freedom Hall last year.  I wanted my own artwork and my daughter's.  I wanted things that people made specifically for us. I finally framed a St. Francis that my friend Sis Patterson made for me when I became Catholic.  It had been a favorite item for years, but I kept it safely in a drawer.  Now it is in a shadow box on a wall in my kitchen so I can enjoy it every day.

That thinking is what caused me to decide to do a project a month for my walls.  The month of May was a wall hanging I originally thought would go in my family room.  But in the end, I put it in my entry.  It is made using the Anita Goodesign Homestead files.  That is an embroidery file collection that was one of the very first ones I bought when I started embroidery but it always seemed too labor intensive, too stitch intensive.  Giving myself a month to do it, it was very doable!  I started by figuring out the finished size I wanted.  I am limited to a 5x7 hoop so the "D" size was the one I had to use.  I chose a palette of fabrics and a palette of thread colors --all from my stash, nothing purchased.

I made a color copy of the project in the book, then I cut up the paper, choosing which blocks I would use, re-taping it for the design I wanted.  That allowed me a plan to use.

I hooped No Show Poly Mesh stabilizer and cut up a bunch of 5" cotton batting squares to use in step two of each block.

I put every single block through my Embrilliance software.  I was able to get a clear list of color steps and I had space on my print out to make notes related to thread colors I wanted to use, when the color mattered, and when it was an applique step.  Watching the virtual stitchout meant that I knew what to expect on these little blocks, some with over 20 steps.  I started stitching all the animals, then the trees, then the quilts, and ended with the tiny detailed buildings.  Unlike the way I usually do applique, I did not use Heat N Bond Lite.  I did starch my fabrics though.  

I sewed them together to make the strips.  Then I stitched the sashing and border pieces and stitched them all together.

 I added a backing, quilted minimally in the ditch to attach it to the project.

I bound it using tips I learned from Mimi Dietrich's Finishing School class on Craftsy (now Bluprint).  I own that class and have referred back many times (I quilt very rarely so I forget often)!  I love her tips for perfect miters and her trick for meeting the ends of the double fold bias is genius.

I added a piece of wood to the back, hidden with fabric, and hung the quilt using drapery hardware that I had on hand.

I loved getting this first new wall project up!

Having a clean and organized sewing/craft room has made all my projects so much easier!  I have lots of projects to share that I have done since getting my room back that I will be sharing soon.  It has been a productive time in my little studio!

Thank you for checking out my post.  I have to figure out my June wall project.

To see my other embroidery projects, check out my embroidery gallery.  To see my paper projects, check out my paper gallery.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Christmas Journal 2018 Plus Embroidery Gifts

Well, I don't know about you, but I sure am glad 2018 is over!  I haven't blogged since 2017, and I thought that was a hard year!  2018 almost killed me!  It started with my daughter recovering from a second knee surgery, my husband selling one of his companies, and an IRS audit on one of our businesses.  It ended with me falling off a ladder, completely tearing my ACL in my left knee, spraining my MCL, hurting my elbow, shoulder, hand and back.  In between, my husband started a new company while simultaneously a company he started a couple of years ago started to take off as government licenses and labels were completed and approved.  Seriously, it was work, risk, and pain! 

So, here I sit without any New Year's Resolutions but plenty of things that need to improve, after two bad years, and one improvement needs to be finding time to create stuff!  I have missed being creative, making things, and writing about it!  In that spirit, I reversed my decision not to do a Christmas Journal this year and gave myself one day to do it.  I have been doing my Christmas Journals since 2012.  Typically, I work on that year's journal daily.  It really makes me focus on the holiday season and special Christmasy things each day.  This year, I didn't have it in me.  I had to move all the big family celebrations to my cousin's house due to my injuries, I didn't put up a tree until a week before Christmas (and even then it was just lights, garland, and a star!), I missed Black Friday, I did all my shopping on-line or at the gift card display, I made very few gifts, and did almost no baking.  We decided not to see the Nutcracker Ballet (my daughter danced in the Nutcracker at her ballet school in June and was Nutcrackered-out).  Despite all that, I am a serial picture taker with my phone and a list maker.  My Christmas Journal is heavy on both of those, plus journaling, so deciding to make one made sense because I was half-way done!

I decided to use only papers in my stash and to do a simple design that I would bind with my Zutter and wire o-rings I already had.  Some of my pages opened up and some had internal pockets to hold journaling tags.  I ordered my photos via app and picked them up.  Despite having my new Cricut Maker that I won from the company (my Christmas gift from the Crafting Fairy), my Christmas Journals have always been done on my old Expression using carts.  I used it for my tags this year.  The one thing my Christmas Journals always have is a Letter to My Future Self, a prompt from Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas that she sends each year.  Something about that is cathartic so it is a must but I do hide it in my journal in plain sight.

I stopped putting a CD of all the holiday's photos in the back of my journal since everything now is by date and duplicated on Dropbox.  I do, however, still keep all the Christmas cards I received by friends and family.  This year, our Christmas card was one of my pages.

The cover was simply acid free mounting board adhered with regular acid free scrapbooking paper.  I didn't have time for a complex cover so I picked busy paper for the cover and created a belly band (since I knew this thing would be fat and pop up).  I like the idea of a fabric-and-elastic belly band (instead of a card stock one) so that it will hold up with repeated movement as the album is viewed over time.  I used my simple Brother PE770 and Embrilliance software to do mine.

To do this, I merged the 'Lorie' frame from Lynnie Pinnie with BX format font 'Good Morning' from Applique Corner.  I deleted the text from a freebie by Sonia Showalter, leaving the Santa hat.  I moved the hat to the "0" of 2018.  I made sure the "Remove Hidden Stitches" was selected in My Preferences in the software.  I resized everything to fit the width of my hoop.  I stitched it on Vilene, using the same technique I explained in my patch-making post, which can be found by clicking here.  That technique includes adding a piece on the bottom of the hoop to cover all back stitches except the final satin stitches and wetting the finished edge to remove all trace of the Vilene.  I joined a piece of fold-over elastic and sewed it to the patch. 

Finished and final, my Christmas Journal was complete just as decorations were put away-- and I appreciated how little decorating I did once it was time to put it all away!  My husband said he was thinking the same thing!

I will say that I did create time to do a few projects for gifts before Christmas.  Nothing like the amounts of things I normally make, but I was trying to ease back into it and thought it would be easier but I didn't anticipate pain issues from my back.  That made these even more special to me to give.

The first thing I did was an applique project.  

My daughter is a ballet dancer and she gave this to her little cousin, along with a set of ballet student dolls.  I was trying to find something that seemed like something she would give.  This took me forever because the file had missing elements that I didn't notice initially.  Luckily, I always open my file in my Embrilliance software and print out a list of color steps so I can take notes while I watch the virtual stitch out.  I eventually found a format that had all the elements. I am not sure if this was a problem with the file or just my download.  I saw this artwork as a png on Etsy last year so I fell in love with it as a blanket stitch applique!  It turned out so cute with its million color steps!  This was from Alphalicious. It was personalized with Jolsens 231 in .5" size.  Embrilliance allowed me to size it perfectly and curve the text.

The next thing I made was a bed-sized reading pillow for a preschooler.  I just cut the fabric to the size of the pillow for the body of the pillow and for the pocket.  The peeker design was from French Frills/Sweet and Sassy.  The alpha was Itch2Stitch Closer to Free and is available in BX.  I used a 5x12 hoop for the name and Embrilliance split it for me so that I could stitch it nice and big.

Next I tried something new to me:  I opened up the leg on toddler pants to stitch near the hem.  It was quick and painless to serge closed.

I stitched a design to go with a larger design on the top.  These were from Lynnie Pinnie:  mini colorwork ballerinas and matching larger ballerinas.  

Hyperlinks of Things Discussed in This Post:
I have a few other projects from 2017 that never made it to my blog that I will try to post soon!  Until then, you are welcome to view my Embroidery Gallery with most of my projects and links to their posts.  My papercraft posts are on my Paper Gallery. I never posted my 2017 Christmas Journal but these are links to other previous Christmas Journal posts on this blog: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012.

Happy New Year and thanks for visiting!

But wait! There's more! Click 'older posts' above!

But wait!  There's more!  Click 'older posts' above!