More Stocking Cheerfulness

UT Snowstorm

Continuing to stitch a few more Christmas items. I was really pleased with the fleece plus cuff combo on the Charlie stocking (and it was so well received by his mom!) that I’m determined to do a bunch in this style. As with the Charlie stocking, an iron on polymesh backs the cotton cuff, cut away stabilizer – with even more temporary spray adhesive – anchors the center stocking designs and Sulky rayon threads are used throughout.

Stickbaer

Tatjana at Stickbaer does wonderful appliqué and in the hoop designs. I’d purchased one of her in the hoop (ITH) Christmas stocking designs and, although it can go to 14 inches long, decided not to use the ITH part of the design. My stockings tend to be about 18 inches long and I like that look.  A tad more space between the bird and the holly matches the slightly longer stocking. Her appliqués stitch perfectly with a nice satin edge that covers all your trimming. Heat n Bond Lite was bonded to the appliqué pieces – and temporary spray adhesive applied to their backs – before they were used in the embroidery. UT Snowstorm close

Urban Threads‘ Snowstorm Santa just makes me smile. I love happy Santas and this one is so perfect, I want to put him everywhere! The word Believe is edited out of their Believe Santa design – it fits beautifully with both. Did use a floater of water soluble stabilizer on top of the fleece to prevent the threads from sinking too far into the fleece – and it worked. I’d thought I might have to stitch this design twice to get it to show up on the fluffy fleece, but the one time was all that was needed – yea!

Back to the machine to stitch even more cheer. Saving the names for last, then I’ll sort who gets which.

Christmas in July – Stockings

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Stockings were also on the crafting agenda. One for me and two for the kitties (I love stockings – plan to make even a few more).

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First, although I have many stocking patterns, was tracing a stocking whose size and shape I liked. The right piece is the back and linings, duplicated that piece and added a tad for seam allowance then cut a cuff.

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In cutting, make sure you flip your pattern piece to give you backs and linings that will all be right side out. Had very little of that bright poinsettia fabric (left over from an apron I’d made and gifted a bit back), thus the backs of the stocking are a different fabric.

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Flannel ‘batting’ for quilting to give them  a bit of heft – I like how they hold their shape when quilted or made from heavier felts.

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Cutting two linings finishes out the prep.IMG_8614

Embroidery included the the paws I’d copied and edited to walk across the top of the stocking and quilting.

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Cut the stabilizer – a tear away – big enough to handle the required multiple hoopings.

EL Snowflake quilting 1

Quilting was edited-for-different-sizes-and-shapes an Embroidery Library snowflake.IMG_8629 (1)-1

There are two of these for the kitties. IMG_8603

And the first stocking I’ve ever made for me 🙂 . Maggie is Rockford font from Meringue designs. A piece of bias tape sewn into the seam provides hanging.

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And here you can see the lining (I’d shared the stockings on a craft board and someone wanted to see the lining – some of you might as well!).

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My brother’s girlfriend had a gold and white Christmas theme going, so I’d stitched these up for them with some brocade fabric. If you’d like to see the ones I made sis and her hubby, just check this post Handmade Christmas Victorian Santa Stockings. Next up are some fun fleece ones.

Handmade Christmas Victorian Santa Stockings

More Victorian – My sister’s town does a Dickens Christmas event (which I think must be so cool!). Used their “proper names” to go along with the times. I might try to make the exact same set for myself for next year – Love them!

Osnaburg (poor man’s linen, a sturdy 100% cotton) is the base, heavy duty cut away is the stabilizer, Sulky embroidery the threads. Stitching the fabric to stabilizer around the design before embroidering (on my machine it’s “fix”) is something I highly recommend.  You remove the basting stitch when it’s done. The designs are from Embroidery Library  (Victorian Santa and Victorian reindeer 1); the lettering for the name is from my machine (Husqvarna Viking).

Pieces were stocking front and back, cuff, lining front and back. (There are oodles of free stocking patterns on the web if you need one). An upholstery weight micro suede (faux suede) is the cuff with a light Christmas cotton the lining (I didn’t want anything that might show through the osnaburg, light color and light design deliberate for the lining).

Using both red and burgundy lets them tie together their new home color and their existing holiday reds. You’ll note I didn’t want a seam along the “front” stocking edge of the cuff, but used one long piece to wrap around.

Stitched the top inside edge of both the stocking (right sides together) and lining (right sides together), then stitched the cuff (right sides together) to the lining and the cuff to the stocking (right sides together).

Fold lengthwise with right sides together and stitch all the way around, leaving a gap large enough for your hand on one of the lining sides. You can see my gap on the calf back.

Pull the stocking through the gap to get it right side out. (Stitchers – are you admiring my collection of embroidery threads in their handy, closable (read dust proof) cases that I pick up on sale (or with coupon) at Joann you get a glimpse of in hte background?)

Then push the lining down into the stocking and allow the cuff to fold  a bit into the lining side as well.

I leave the heavy duty stabilizer in so they’ll hand nicely when empty. I also didn’t stitch the gap in the lining closed – it might be easier a few years from now to press them inside out. If these were for children, I would’ve stitched the gap closed. Next time I’d flare out the stitching for the cuff a tad.

Finger smooth and press the cuff, use an iron to smooth and lightly press the stocking now that it’s right side out. Wrap.

Hoping you’re all having a lovely holiday season! A free stocking pattern is here at Moda Bakeshop. This post is participating in Made by You Monday at Skip to My Lou and Metamorphis Monday.

Handcrafted Christmas – Printed Linen Towels

It’s crunch time for crafters and bakers. Have my elf hat on and been busily working and creating these past few weeks – just haven’t written about it here. Packages must arrive and be opened before I can post about them. 🙂  First up – decorated holiday towels. I love my embroidery, but some images can take as long as 6 to 8 hours to stitch out (egads), printing to fabric goes much faster. It’s not quite as durable in the long run – but for decorative items will last years (and if you’re wanting to print on a shirt for your child – well, one season with washing plus their growth isn’t bad).

1.    Grab some linen or linen blend fabric, preshrink.

2.   Hem for a towel. (See Loving Linen post for measurements, suppliers, complete details plus care of linen information).

3.   Sew a decorative stitch at hem.

4.   Select an image (web search for copyright free images or check out what folks are posting at Pinterest). I manipulate my images plus text in PowerPoint to place on an 8 ½ X 11 page as I work in PowerPoint a great deal. This particular set used the June Taylor prepared for printing fabric but I have used others.

5.   Print to prepared fabric sheet

6.   Fix image per directions (iron a lot, wet, iron some more).

    a.   Had one sheet run at the wet stage, they all bleed a bit. I iron and let sit overnight before the wet step now.

7.   Stitch your image to the towel.

8.   Create a Merry Christmas patch, fringe around patch and stitch patch to towel. Actually, I glued the patches on with Aleene’s Ok to Wash it Glue and I’m a tad worried as I’ve noticed a few items I glued with this came apart shortly after. Will stitch in the future.

9.   Wrap and send to a lucky gift recipient – isn’t this the cutest addition to a Victorian themed Christmas kitchen?

This post is participating in Sundays in My City. Most posters there are incredible photographers, it’s a fun Linky to visit. I’m also sharing at Rednesday, Today’s Creative Blog, Tutorial Tuesday at Hope Studios, Linda at Coastal Charm, Beyond the Picket Fence

Opulence

In my previous post, I mentioned that I like both ends of the jewelry spectrum:  fun, fast, easy to make and inexpensive jewelry as well as something a tad more opulent. So many of us are like little magpies collecting shiny sparkly things for ourselves and our nests. Anthropologists tell us we began making and wearing jewelry 75,000 years ago. Smiths and artisans created jewelry with precious metals and gems in Sumer earlier than 3000B.C. Five thousand years later, we’re still going strong. Treating yourself and loved ones to a bit of luxury continues to bring joy.

 It’s easy to make luxuriant pieces if you’re willing to begin with more precious materials. I prefer to select my more expensive beads in person, although I’ve mentioned I trust Rings n Things and would use them if I couldn’t get to a show for what I wanted.  The San Mateo Gem and Jewelry show in California, put on by International Gem and Jewelry Show Inc, has been the demise of my restraint on more than one occasion. You’ll find readymade jewelry as well as anything you could want to craft your own pieces at these shows.  They host shows from Florida to California, so check their web if you’re interested in finding one locally.

Fresh water pearls are something that can vary widely across the quality spectrum. It isn’t only the size of the pearls that determines their price, but their luster and lack of blemishes as well.  At the California shows (might be all, I just haven’t been to other states’ shows), there are generally numerous vendors with fresh water pearls.  Comparison shop at these shows. This is one of those “if I knew then what I know now” items as I’d purchased strung freshwater pearls in Hong Kong (and comparison shopped/negotiated there) – yikes, found I can get a much nicer quality for one sixth the price in the gem show. For the fashion forward, freshwater pearls are pretty popular in mixed materials necklaces or necklaces with combinations of varying sizes and colors of pearl right now.

I chose a simple and light design – something I love in necklaces. Bulk or weight in necklaces or earrings makes me uncomfortable. More elaborate designs rarely make it out the door or I take them off to stuff in my purse as time wears on. That style is eventually taken apart and redone to simpler designs that are easier to wear. Although the red of the garnets makes this necklace a shoe-in for the holidays, it also wears well year round. The pearls, silver spacers, garnets and clasp were all procured at the gem shows. Other than hand knotting each bead, necklaces are easy. Determine the length you want. Lay out your design, grab your bead needle and cord and string away. Of course, that’s once you know what you’re putting together. That decision of what to combine into a design is the one that slows me down.  

Glass bead items are also perfect at the holidays as their appearance shimmers opulence.  I was lucky enough to spot an ad for a glass bead show by a group of San Francisco glass artists a few years back. That stop supplied the beads for the items you see (plus a few others). Making glass beads from canes is something that a neighbor took from the art department in the community college. If you like glass beads – look around and you may find a local source. Glass can be scratched so I haven’t tried getting these beads mail-order. Rings and Things does sell this style of glass bead as furnace glass beads. I expect they’ve found a way to get them to you in good shape. The weight of this type of necklace demands that you move to a bead stringing cable like Beadalon or Tigertail. Don’t try a bead thread unless you’re hoping to see your lovely beads bouncing across a floor when that necklace breaks.

  

For me, silver and glass go hand in hand. The earrings you see are either one head pin stacked with beads and looped onto an ear wire or the ear wire attached to an eye pin stacked with a few beads attached  to a head pin stacked with a few more beads so you get a bit of movement.  The bracelet is beads strung on memory wire. I’d originally had a few head pins stacked with beads on the small loop created at one end of the bracelet, but found I’m rough on it and that decoration was often lost. Back to simpler and easily wearable.

As much of a magpie as I might be, I don’t wear the glass together as “sets”. I’m not a matchy matchy kinda gal.  It is so striking, I think all of it at once would be a tad overwhelming.

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This post is participating in the linky parties noted below.

Personalizing Gifts: Embroidered Holiday Towels

I do quite a few personalized gifts with my embroidery sewing machine. An easy to follow tutorial for machine embroidering on terrycloth is here at Embroidery Library.  Using a pack of the white Martex hand towels from Costco, I coordinate colors and themes with the bath, kitchen and holiday theme of the gift recipients.

These towels are Retro Christmas Design from Embroidery Library. I’ve debated about adding trim or embroidery to the band but prefer that for folks who grab that towel they have the bottom edge to use.

These were a gift last year for friends who’s holiday decorating colors center on turquoise.  The font is standard with my Husqvarna Viking Designer Topaz machine. The snowflakes include Embroidery Designs  Sew Man Star Snowflake, Pinnacle Embroidery Snowflake, and one of the snowflakes is Great Notions  Snowflakes edited to an individual design I could place them where I chose.

These are the microfiber towels you can pick up that are a bit shorter than regular dishtowels. They have a lined border  (to keep the weight similar to the rest of the towel) with a  fabric border from my stash. The design is again the Great Notions Snowflakes from Embroidery Designs –  this time the design “as is”.

This last one didn’t come up as perfectly as I’d like, but to be used as a large basket napkin for a friend who raises chickens it should still do the trick. The fabric is Joann huck toweling, the rik rak Wrights  and the embroidery design Embroidery Library ‘s  Christmas Chickens with the wording of Merry Christmas added by me.

All the items were sewn with Sulky embroidery threads, 40 weight. I download the majority of the designs in HUS format and need to use my software to convert it to my machine’s VP3 format. My suppliers for designs have changed since I first acquired my machine. I started only using MyEmbroideries as that is what was recommended by my vendor (btw – they have a 75% OFF every design sale though Dec 6th – I’ve not seen this level of sale from them ever). Then added others as I found them. I tend to use Embroidery Library the most given their regular sales and vast selection with Urban Threads and Esque for something a tad different. Moose be Stitchin, Zippy Designz and Oma’s Place all have great “in the hoop” designs to purchase and download at very reasonable pricing – every one of them has stitched out wonderfully for me. I have a few others I’ve found through Yahoo lists that have many sales and freebies. Do check out their landing pages to see Embroidery Garden’s in the hoop Santa Potholder, MooseBeStitchin’s in the hoop Roller Skate Holiday Stockings and Urban Thread’s Gingerbread ornaments (bitten 🙂  ). Many of these folks also have Facebook pages or Flickr groups.

Yahoo groups for instruction or sales that I belong to are; http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EmbroideryGarden/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BFC-Creations/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/embroiderynetwork/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MachineEmbroideryAdList/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SudberryEmbroidery/

ttp://groups.yahoo.com/group/digitizewithhus/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CompuSewwithJan/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/4D_Professional/

No Muffintops

When browsing Williams Sonoma a few season’s back, I’d seen this apron.

I immediately fell in love with the simplicity of it. It can be so easy to go for the cute, busy prints offered for the holidays. But this was subdued and I liked that. It wouldn’t be all matchy matchy with other things I use and it wouldn’t clash.  My friends, relatives and I all prefer the full apron without a cinched waist for the simple reason that none of us have the waist to carry that style off.  Half aprons are cute and fast, but as they say of some in skinny jeans, that would result in a muffintop appearance that is a tad unflattering.  My mom used to call it a “potato sack tied in the middle”. Nomenclature changes but the image is the same. The full apron, although not a miracle maker, can mask all those days not spent at the gym with its simple smooth lines (to a certain degree  🙂  ).

I’d been debating about styles to try out and had also saved this picture of an Anthropologie full apron to try although the Williams Sonoma won out. Again, simple and somewhat subdued was the mood I was in when browsing.

Utilized the same pattern I discuss in Apron Redo and line the apron as illustrated in my Halloween version tutorial. Chose the scoop neck over straight and left the bow off the pocket. The ruffle for this one is not from a pattern. It’s simply a long rectangle about 1 1/3 the bottom length of the apron and about 12 inches high. Fabric was JoAnn. The bias trim is Wrights double wide.

I adore how it came out! It’s exactly what I wanted.  Although I was looking for subdued, my sister’s favorite decorating theme is poinsettia and I found this fabric to use for a gift for her, which was also a hit. The Wrights trim in deep green set it off beautifully.

All of us in the U.S. are pushing to get through our Thanksgiving holiday this Thursday so December holiday projects are just starting to appear, more to come.

This post is participating in the linky parties noted below.