embroidery

Giveaway Time!

8:05 AM

It's giveaway time!  I want to say thank you to everyone who follows my blog and to new friends just finding me. I really appreciate your comments and support!

Here's what I'm giving away to one lucky winner:





The pin cushion measures 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" and is completely hand sewn (by me, of course!).  


The beaded apple tree is mounted in a 4" hoop complete with felt backing. 


Here are the deets:


To Enter:  Like me on Facebook  and leave a comment here in this post telling me your favorite cartoon character.  

Contest Ends: February 4, 2012 at midnight.

That's it!  Easy peasy. 

Winner will be chosen at random and posted here on Saturday, February 4th.

Oh, and my favorite cartoon character has always been Hong Kong Phooey.  He's a number one super star, don't ya know. ;)

Good luck!

PS: Make sure you leave me an email so I can contact you if you win! 


***This Giveaway is now closed! Thanks for entering!***

cretan stitch

Take a Stitch - What a Cretan!

10:13 AM

This week's stitch (the Cretan Stitch) for TAST was a real challenge for me.   There are several variations but I liked the look of the closed stitch best.  I thought it would provide an alternative to the fishbone stitch for leaves.

As you can see, I didn't execute the stitch as well as I'd have liked and there was as stunning lack of consistency.   On the plus side though, I really like the look of the variegated thread.

Cretan Stitch Leaves


As you can see by this photo from Needle n Thread, Mary is an expert at the stitch and of course I want my leaves to look just as lovely!

Mary Corbet's perfect Cretan!

I do have to wonder if the even weave fabric above made the difference. I will have to give this stitch a go on Aida in future.



Some of my favorite TAST entries have been done by Chris over at Ella's Craft Creations.  She's doing a set of mandalas which are incredibly beautiful. Please visit and have a peek.

 There are well over 500 people participating so please link to your TAST page so we can all visit your site and see what you're up to. :)

xo

embroidery

Take a Stitch - Feather Stitch

9:04 AM

Week three of TAST is here!

This week I found a lot of inspiration but didn't have as much time as I wanted to explore all the different variations of this stitch.

What I've done here is very traditional feather stitch, but I did try overlapping them, which went against my nature. lol

Seaweed Feather Stitches

I did experiment slightly with the shape a bit here and there, but over all it was a very tame stitching session!


I like how this side turned out!

Sometimes less is more and that might be the case with this particular design.  The right side is much neater and cleaner than the left.


Below you can see that I've used the feather stitch as a filler for her tail.  This close-knit stitching reminds me of scales and even chain mail, which may come in handy to know in the future. :)

Well Dressed Mermaid
I sketched this figure ages ago, not knowing what to do with her.  She's now a permanent part of my TAST 2012 journal.. Well Dressed Mermaid shows off the feather stitch.


One of my favorite feather stitches from TAST is this one by Smallest Forest.  There are way more variations than I imagined and they're all well done.  I especially love the Spanish knotted & the ribbed.  It wasn't until I saw a photo without the ID circles that I realized it spells Feather. ;)

Thanks for visiting and checking out my stitches.  Please leave a link to your own TAST so I can stop by and see what you've done.   ♥

cross stitch

Downton Abbey Stitching

12:45 PM

I am a huge fan of Downton Abbey on PBS.  Series 2 has just started and Sunday is now my favorite day, having supplanted Saturday; whose claim to fame was pizza day.  I watched series 1 on Netflix over the summer and was anxiously awaiting more. And now it's here!

I came across The Sampler Girl's blog while looking for something else online and happily found that she is not only a Downton fan, but had a  wide array of free cross stitch charts.

You'll never guess which one caught my eye...

Cross Stitch Pocket Hanging



I attached the stitching to that bit of green fabric I dyed with Kool Aid last week, leaving the top open as a pocket.   The fabric has since faded to a goldish green, which happened to match perfectly with one of the suggested DMC floss colors on the chart.  They were meant to be together.

I've no idea what I'd put in that pocket.. (my husband suggested a teddy bear.. sometimes I wonder if we're from the same planet) it really isn't big enough for much more than a small envelope. I also think I should have stitched across the top to complete the square, but thought if I did that it wouldn't look pockety anymore.

At any rate, it's the first piece of cross stitch I've done since before my daughter was born (that's 9 years now!) and I was happy to complete it and hang it up.

I'd like to note that I took this down for the photo and while I was fiddling with the pictures my cat Q ate the organza ribbon off it.  What a twit!  Luckily for him I had more. 

All the while I was stitching this I felt like I was going blind.. I could barely see the holes.  This was a bit of Aida I got from someone and I've no idea about the thread count. Felt like 28.. but it could be 18. 

This has also inspired me to do a bit of investigating to see if I can translate some of my patterns into cross stitch charts.  I'll keep you posted on the progress of that.

Already waiting for Sunday again! Happy stitching meanwhile and keep your eyes peeled for TAST week 3. :)


cross stitch

Winning with Stitchin' Momma

12:30 PM

Last week I entered a Facebook contest and I won it! I'm always excited to get things in the mail.. especially presents and this time was no different.

Kelly at Stitchnmomma  made this beautiful cross stitch fridge magnet. I just received it in the mail and it will look lovely on my black fridge.. which frankly could use a little color.


Cheerful, isn't it?



What I love most about her shop are her beautifully hand dyed fabrics. She does Aida cloth as well as even weave linen. She was the inspiration for me trying the Kool Aid dyeing. As she doesn't use Kool Aid to dye her fabric, she has achieved lovely, color-fast fabrics at a very reasonable price. :)  She's even got a newly launched Fabric of the Month club!

Check out this gorgeous medium brown..


Medium Brown, DMC Floss Match 433


And just in case you aren't sure your monitor is showing you the color accurately, she provides the DMC floss color in every listing.   Handy.. and that extra touch makes all the difference. 

Kelly also has original cross stitch patterns as well as finished products. And, since all that talent is really too much for one location, Kelly has another Etsy shop called Buttons by Stitch where you can buy handmade cross stitch and fabric covered buttons.

Oink!

I'm tickled pink to now have my very own StitchnMomma magnet! Thanks Kelly :)     Please visit StitchnMomma and give her a thumbs-up on Facebook if you haven't already.

Keep your eyes peeled, I may have to have a giveaway of my own very soon!


button hole stitch

Take a Stitch - Button Hole Stitch

9:12 AM

Week two of TAST is in mid-swing!  There have been a lot of really great photos already in the FB group, and links a plenty on the Tast page.

The button hole stitch is also referred to as the blanket stitch, which you will mostly see used as edging for blankets and around edges as it gives them a finished look. In the case of felt, the blanket stitch keeps that edge looking crisp.

I've not ever used this stitch for surface embroidery before and wasn't quite sure what to do. I just put some fabric in a hoop and started stitching.  Sometimes the results are surprising!


Button Hole Swamp
I was most intrigued by the button hole bar variation, which is what you see here in blue. None of them came out quite perfectly, but I love the texture of them and this is definitely a stitch I will use more in the future.

Button Hole bars


The button hole wheel is also  stitch I liked, but I found myself having trouble with the tension as I went around. Above you can see I did a partial wheel which seemed to work better.


Button Hole wheel

The stems are a variation of the button hole called the 'up and down'.  I like them quite a bit also and experimented with them in different sizes and different angles.  Fun!

Did you participate in Tast this week?  If you did, feel free to link to your site in a comment. I would really love to see your work!

Until next time.. happy stitching!


fabric

Dyeing Kool Aid Style

2:58 PM

Well that post title almost has a sinister duality, doesn't it. lol.

 Here's my tutorial on how I dyed fabric using Kool Aid.  I've done several colors so far including pink, peach, blue, and purple.  Today I wanted to do green as my previous attempt at green didn't come out well at all.

 


Here's what I use for supplies:


Supplies!

1. Unsweetened Kool Aid Packets -I used Blue Raspberry Lemonade, Lemon-Lime, & Strawberry Lemonade
2. Boiling water
3. White Vinegar
4. Whisk
5. Heat proof dish 
6. Fabric for dyeing*  -- I chose 100% cotton Aida cloth, and a 60/40 Cotton/Linen Blend.

*Note regarding fabric:  I've read that Kool Aid dyeing is not suitable for protein based fabrics like cotton or linen as the color can wash out quickly.

Step 1:  Boil enough water to cover the fabric while in the dish. I used about 2 cups.

Step 2: Pour the water into the empty dish.


Step 3: Pour packet powder into the dish. I used 1 entire lemon-lime packet, 1/2 packet of  Blue Raspberry Lemonade, and 1/2 packet of Strawberry lemonade.

Lemon-Lime Hits Water
Step 4: Whisk thoroughly to fully dissolve powder.  As you can see in the above picture it's really very bright green.. about the color of a 7 up bottle.

Step 5: Add secondary colors and whisk thoroughly.

Blue Raspberry is on the scene

While it's hard to tell, that is, in fact, blue raspberry which is not really making the green less vibrant.


Step 6: Add tertiary colors and whisk thoroughly.

Strawberry Lemonade into the fray

The addition of the reddish/yellow color will turn this more towards olive.  Hopefully.  **I add all the colors separately to make sure I'm happy with the color before proceeding.

Step 7: Add vinegar and whisk thoroughly to distribute.  I used a "sploosh" (or 1/4 cup) for the 2 cups of water.  This is where you lose the fruity smell and get a punch to the face with hot vinegar.

Hot vinegar stinks!
Step 8: Add fabric.
Aida gets a green bath
The Aida cloth was rinsed thoroughly in cold water to rinse away the stiffener. I frankly didn't notice much difference .. I think it's just a naturally dense, stiff fabric!  Also, you'll notice my use of a chop stick there. (Yay for Pei Wei!) I make sure the fabric lays flat in it's bath and I don't use my hands because it's boiling water! ;)

Step 9: Wait!
Insert Jeopardy Theme


Step 10: Become impatient and check your fabric.

Hmmm


Step 11: Decide it's not taking the dye well and while it's still warm-ish throw in another layer of fabric.


 I didn't want to waste the batch of dye so Step 11 is entirely optional. ;)

Step 12: Time's Up!
90 minutes later...

Step 13: Remove fabric to a clean bowl for rinsing.

Look at that gorgeous green! SQUEE!

Step 14: Rinse well with cold water, which will remove the vinegar smell and some of the excess dye.


As you can see.. not much color came out.
Step 15: Assess the pan!

Uh oh
This pan has too much color left in it.  My previous experience with this has shown me that this water should be nearly clear, meaning all the color has soaked into the cloth.  This does not bode well for a decent green in the end.  At this point you could boil this again and re-dye your fabric or just sally forth as I did.

Step 16: Dry the fabric.  For Aida I simply laid it flat until it was dry. I was afraid to put it in the dryer with the cotton/linen.

Rinsed, but wet.

At this point I was very pleased with my green cotton/linen but less so with the Aida. I'll wait to see them both fully dry before deciding though.  I've noticed that applying heat can turn the color much more vibrant than it might be otherwise.

Step 17: Check your work.

Oh well..
As you can see.. the cloth on the farthest right is bright white.. that's what the Aida looked like before the Kool Aid Dye.  The middle piece is the Aida.. which is a very pale minty green, which honestly doesn't look green unless you look at it against something white.  The far left piece is the cotton/linen which has a very interesting greenish/reddish speckling to it.  I'm not thrilled with the dried colors.. the wet were much prettier!


I'll be giving this yet another try because I really do enjoy coloring my own fabric.

Here are a few pics from my other Kool Aid dye atempts.
Ecru Cotton/Linen - Strawberry Lemonade

Ecru Cotton/Linen - Blue Raspberry Lemonade

Yep - it works on hair too!

Despite the boo-boo face, my daughter loves her cherry red stripes.  For dyeing her hair I simply filled a mug with boiling water, put some mix in it and dunked her hair in there for 5 minutes.   This was done on 12/18 and while not as vibrant today.. she's definitely got stripes still.  

Yep.. the dog too! lol
Daisy did not want to be left out.. but only the very tip of her tail went into the mug and only for about 30 seconds.  It washed out during her second trip to the dog park. ;)
To sum up...

The Good
1. Somewhat inexpensive -the Kool Aid mix is about 18 cents a packet.
2. It doesn't take long and clean up is a breeze.
3. The possibilities for color variations is myriad. Experimenting is half the fun!

The Bad:
1. Results vary based on cloth type. It's hard to tell what the finished product will look like.
2. Since results vary you may wind up using more cloth and/or packets than you expected.
3. The dry powder will stain like crazy the second it hits anything wet (other than the dish of course) so be careful with it.  I don't use gloves or put newspaper down on the surface, but I'm a risk taker that way.

The Ugly:
1. The green color I wound up with this time around.  Just sayin'.


Hope this was helpful!   I'm not an expert, but I'll try to answer questions if you have any.

Happy dyeing!
xo

embroidery

Take a Stitch - Fly Stitch

9:41 AM

This year I'm participating in a challenge called "Take a Stitch Tuesday" (TAST).  It involves learning a new stitch every Tuesday throughout 2012.  There are over 500 people participating from all over the world.  The challenge is organized by Sharon from Pin Tangle and you can read more about it here.  And join in, if you'd like!

The first stitch was announced this week and already there has been overwhelming response on the Facebook page!  I thought it would take people a few days at least.. but people were posting their work that same day!

I haven't made a final decision about how I'll showcase my work, but I am leaning towards a fabric book of stitches.  I want to keep it simple and just be inspired by each stitch. 

Here she be.. the Fly Stitch:


I love how the stitch can be used for many things. 

Birds & Butterflies


Flower stems


Wheat & a Kite!


A pretty spring scene

The fabric is a remnant of a piece of cotton/linen blend that I hand dyed with Kool Aid. (Blue Raspberry Lemonade to be exact) I think I will keep to this size and shape which is sort of trade paperback-ish.

We've had too many cloudy days here, which makes for mostly terrible pictures, however, this blue seems best captured on a day like this.

I'm looking forward to next week's stitch and to checking out the many blogs and flickr sites of the other participants. 

Are you stitching along?  Feel free to link to your own TAST, I would love to visit and see what you're doing!

xo

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