Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Welcome Back

 Hello Everyone   If you are a returning visitor, I'm glad you're here.  And, welcome to new readers that have found me.  I guess I haven't  posted since blogger switched to this new format, and it was a stretch for me to get the photos into my blog.   Hopefully they will publish at the right size.   

This is one of the quilts that I made last year.  This is a pattern by Cluck Cluck Sew, and it was a fun, easy stitch.   The Welcome sign came from Joyfully Said in Middlebury, Indiana.   I'm really missing my annual fall trip to that area of our state, and I know those of you that gather in Shipshewana for our Jane Stickle retreat are missing our time together, too.  

I have to confess that I haven't really done much quilting since last winter.   I've done a few things, but I have mostly been doing counted cross stitch.  I am a returning stitcher from back in the day when it was really popular.   The difference to me now is that there are patterns out there that don't take months to complete.   There are a lot of small charts out there to stitch, and there are also a lot of charts posted on line for free.  

The photo below is from my Drawer of Shame.   I stitch these things and put many hours into them, and then they immediately go into a drawer so I can move on to the next project.   Those of you that stitched years ago know that we would stitch on one project and then take it to a framer to be framed.  If we stitched something that was a standard size, we would go and buy a frame and mount the stitched piece on sticky board and frame it ourselves.   Today, there are all kinds of things that people are using to mount their cross stitch.  Then there is usually a bow and a decorative pick inserted somewhere on the piece.  Sometimes the bow has a covered button in the center or other little do-dad.   Soon I will start to finish these and post them when they are completed.   If I don't get a move on, that October piece will be useless until another year rolls around.   

I have a box of cross stitch things from years ago that I've saved.   These 3 pieces below were in that box.  Do you think it would make a cute wall hanging using all 3 pieces, or would you frame each one individually?   

The box of things I saved had about 10 bread covers in it to be stitched.  I have some old patterns from back then, too.   I hope to stitch several of them.  

I watched a video about dyeing cross stitch fabric in a pickle jar.   After I watched it through the first time, I waited for a week or so and watched it again.   I already had a couple bottles of dye and decided it was worth giving it a try.  This is really addictive, and you can probably tell by looking at the photo, I have accumulated more than the first two bottles of dye that I started with.

I have made some project bags.  My friend, Michele and I make 2 of the same bag and trade.   That way we both have a nice variety, and it's fun to see what fabric combinations the other comes up with.  

If you are cross stitching, let me know.   I've hesitated to post cross stitch here because even though this blog is called Loose Threads I have mostly posted about my quilting in the past.   I'll get back to it again some day, but right now I am having lots of fun dyeing fabric and cross stitching.  

Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

I hope you are finding some time to stitch today.  

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Are You Stitching?

Hello Friends

Right now most all of us are in some stage of a stay at home order or quarantine.   So I'm wondering if you are stitching and being productive or if you're in the same boat as me.  I seem to flit from one project to another and can't seem to settle on anything that will hold my interest for more than 10 minutes.  It really irritates me that I have all of this time on my hands and can't seem to focus.   I have to tell you that I really admire all of you out there that are plowing through your UFO pile and finishing things.

You already know that there's a whole range of emotions that go along with everything going on.  My friend, Val, sent me a funny message the other day that she found on the internet:

I've joined along with a number of you, and I'm making masks.  The first few I made were from Patriotic fabric.   Then I read an article where batiks were a stronger fabric and would be better to use for masks.  I also read where there should be a different fabric on each side so when someone wears the mask, takes it off, and puts it back on they can tell which side was nearest their face.

If any of you are making masks, you know there is some elastic to be found now, but not much.  At first there wasn't any.  So I pulled out my bias tape maker and made ties.  That is really time consuming.  And you're wondering what the problem was with that because I had the time.   I don't have a good answer for that......      I can tell you that I find the mask making process just a bit depressing.  Some days it's really depressing.   I know that there are people out there that want and need these, so I keep making them.  At first I made a few masks and then I'd make a box of ties with my bias maker and then complete the mask.

The mask part isn't hard to make.   It's simple sewing, ironing in 3 pleats and then top stitching.   After making a bunch with ties, my friend, Rosemary, sent me a couple packages of elastic.  That makes things go so much faster.  She sent me 20 yards so I made 50 masks with that.   I've donated to a lady setting up a homeless shelter in an old hotel, neighbors, relatives, etc. whoever wants or needs them.

I just scored 40 yards of elastic from one of our local quilt shops, so I can finish sewing the 100 masks that I have cut.  I was just about ready to get rid of my batiks before all of this happened because I just never use them.   I'm glad I still had them.  

And then there is food during quarantine.  Do you know how easy it is to wander into the kitchen and just grab something to munch on?   We don't normally even eat bread, but there is just something about being home that makes me want to bake.  I know I'm not alone.   

I thought I was pretty well prepared for all of this.   I watched this virus go through China and then Europe.  I figured we might be in here a week or two, so I bought a few extra things - including toilet paper.  I probably don't need to even tell you about grocery shopping in a pandemic.   I go on line and click the items that I want, drive to the grocery, and someone brings the bags out and loads them in my car.  This whole process is kind of like playing the lottery.   You pick a few things and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.   Either way, I think we are all learning to get by with less (or at least substitutions).

You might know that I wasn't the only one in town that thought making bread sounded like a good idea.  So every time I put yeast on the list, there wasn't any.  Amy and Trudy, friends from Michigan and New Jersey both mailed me a baggie of yeast so I could make bread.  That was really nice, and the bread tastes so good and makes great toast.  The two loaves on the left are banana bread because I don't let bananas go to waste.

That yeast bread above really lopped over the pan edges.  It wouldn't fit in the toaster without trimming it.  So I put a little bit larger bread pan on my grocery order, and it's just the right size.

I've been cleaning and sorting through my sewing room hoping that something will spark joy.   (I couldn't help myself.)   I found a bag of Peanuts fabric that I'd bought to make Christmas stockings to donate to Quilters United.   I used some batting scraps and other Christmas fabric for lining and made 24 stockings.  

One thing I've been doing is counted cross stitch.   I used to do it years ago when it was popular and have some pretty large pieces that I've done.   Here is one I finished a couple weeks ago by Country Cottage Needleworks called Holly Jolly.   My friend Michele gave me several different pieces of the cloth to stitch on.    If I remember right, we called it Hopscotch cloth back in the day.  I found some Christmas fabric in my stash and will make this into a pillow.  

At first I spent a lot of time looking out the window like I was waiting for a space ship to land or something.  Now going down to the grocery to pick up an order is exciting because we get to go on a car ride.  My last time shopping inside a store was March 11.  That trip was to JoAnn fabrics to get some colors of DMC floss and a couple of extra pieces of cross stitch cloth just in case I was in here a week or two.  

Now that I look back on the last couple of months, I wish I would have journaled all of this because we're living in history.   Our state is beginning to open things slowly in 5 phases.  
My age group will be one of the last ones to be turned loose.  So until then, I'll be sitting here on my porch watching the ducks and cross stitching.   Please everyone stay well.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

I hope you are finding some time to stitch today.  

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Doing Lots of Hand Work

Hello Dear Readers

It's a beautiful day here in Indiana.  It's a bit cool, but the sun is shining and that makes everything better, right?  Of course it does.   I saw Patty on Tuesday, and she said she enjoys reading my blog.  It's always nice to hear that from a reader, so thanks Patty!

I've been using these winter months to look through my stash and decide what I think I will really use and what I can part with.   I have a whole lot of stash in containers in my basement, and they have kind been out of sight --- out of mind.  So that's where I've been working.  The fabrics that went into the "can live without" pile have been cut into pillowcases if they were large enough.   Some pillowcases have already been sewn and donated along with fabrics that were too small for pillowcases or charity quilts.  I've cut over 100 pillowcases, and those of you that sew pillowcases know that each one has 1 yard of fabric.  I know that's a lot of yardage, but I'm not alone, right?

I've been doing some embroidery.  I started these little baskets awhile ago right after the pattern came out.  I put them away and just recently started working on them again.  I've joined the Knotty Girls group at my local quilt shop, Back Door Quilts.  Since the group only does hand stitching, I decided these baskets would be my take along project.  And, as my friend Helen tells me - it doesn't do any good to take them along if you don't work on them.  By the way, Helen has done her 20 baskets and her quilt top is put together.   It's gorgeous.  I got a little sidetracked ……..

I think I have enough basket bottoms sewn to do 16.  I might make 4 more and do a 4 X 5 setting.  Some quilts are fine being square, but I mostly like to see a rectangular quilt unless it is a medallion style.

It was fun picking out the fabrics, and I fussy cut the fabric whenever I could.

The basket below is the one I'm working on.  It's almost finished.

You can see in the photo above that I'm using a product called Transfer Eze to do my embroidery.

Transfer-Eze (no affiliation) is an easy way to transfer an intricate design onto your fabric.  You simply place the design in your copier and a piece of Transfer Eze in the paper tray.  Then you peel the backing off of the transfer Eze sheet that has been printed with your pattern and stick it to your fabric.   The sticky part is very light, but if your needle begins to drag all you have to do is clean the needle.  Those little bottles of hand sanitizer come in handy for this.  It's available at your local quilt shop or from an on line source.

Transfer-Eze Transfer Paper (30pk) 8 1/2" x 11" Sheets for Easy, Fast, Do-It-Yourself Transfers for Embroidery, Applique, Punchneedle, Quilting and More.
This is the Antique Baskets pattern.  The pattern was copyrighted in 2015.  That's just over 4 years ----not long enough to be officially labeled a UFO.

In this post, I wrote about a trip that I made with friends up to northern Ohio to the Sue Spargo store. Helen made these amazing blocks using wool and fabric and beautiful threads.  She has started me on these patterns, and this is my first one.  I don't usually do much folk art, but this will give me a chance to work with some of the beautiful threads I've been collecting.   I think that will be the fun part.

That's a lot of what I've been working on.  I'll show you the rest in a few days.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

I hope you are finding some time to stitch today.  

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Fussy Cutting Class Fun

A couple of weeks ago I taught a fussy cutting class at Back Door Quilts here in Greenwood, Indiana. I enjoy fussy cutting, talking fussy cutting, looking at fabric for fuss cutting....    Well, you get the idea.  I enjoyed getting together with others that are interested in learning.   I cut kits for the class and included paper pieces, templates, marking pen and fabrics.  

Here are some examples of some of the French General fabric that I enclosed.  I showed a 1" hexagon, 1" jewel, and 2" 60 degree diamond.  I also basted 3 hexagons for each student.  One was thread basted through the paper, another had the fabric tack stitched at each corner, and the third was glue basted.  

In these photos, I show you how you can fussy cut a hexagon.  This is the same hexagon, but in this second photo the hexagon pieces have been turned 180 degrees. When you baste your hexagon pieces, take time to audition them in different arrangements.  Sometimes you end up sewing the pieces together in a different way than you intended when cutting.  I call that a "happy accident".  In the photo above, you end up with the white lines creating a secondary design that forms a wonky star.  In the hexagon below, at first glance you see a white circle in the center. It all depends on which way you like the best.   In fussy cutting there is no right or wrong way to sew a block together.

Here is the example of the 60 degree diamond.  Sewing it together as in the first photo, there is a red circle with a blue center.

But in the second star you get a red flower in the center with a white star as a secondary design.

The last shape we worked with was the 1" jewel.  Below the 1" jewel is shown with the points together.  This layout ends up the same size as a 1" hexagon flower.

Here the 1" jewel has a hexagon in the center .  You can see how you get a totally different look depending on how you arrange and sew your pieces together 


 This is the first hexagon that we worked on in class.  I love how the two stripes in the outer round gives the whole block a totally different look.  

I also included some Di Ford fabric to make the hexagon in the center below.  That fabric (I have it in both color ways), is really great for fussy cutting.  

Below is the same fabric in the teal color.  

Here is another example that I took to class.  I also took along several different quilts to show examples.

The table topper below is made from my Sunburst Dresden Table Topper pattern.  It is available in my Etsy shop or at Back Door Quilts.  I made this as an example that you can fussy cut shapes other than those that are for English Paper Piecing.   

Every one also got the fabric and pattern to make this snowman mini quilt.  The snowmen are fussy cut from a fabric that I bought at Back Door Quilts.  

Here is another shape that I fussy cut.  These paper pieces were a gift from my friend, Rosemary.  Right now I don't remember the name of the paper pieces.  

 The first block of my Antique Wedding Sampler has a bit of fussy cutting.  The pattern for the quilt is in Di Ford's book, Primarily Quilts.  I love every quilt in that book, and I have a lot of the original border fabrics that she used in her quilts in the book.  

Here is another block from my Antique Wedding Sampler.  The center is fussy cut.  I ended up hand piecing that little star.  It's pretty tiny.  

I am kind of addicted to sewing hexagons.  I keep some basted and stored in this case below in case of emergency.  You never know when you're going to need a hexagon to sew.  I have 2 more cases like the one below.  One has bright 1" hexagons and the other has 3/4" hexagons.

I've been cutting and sorting some of my stash.  I cut, sewed, and donated 30 pillowcases
 to the group at church that sews charity items.  

I sewed with Quilters United yesterday and turned in 30 Christmas stockings for next year, 12 burp pads and a few quilts made from kid friendly fabrics.  I've been keeping pretty busy.

Here are the links on my blog to my fussy cutting tutorials:

Fussy Cutting Tutorial

Lucy Boston Framed Tutorial

Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

I hope you are finding some time to stitch today.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

And The Stockings Were Hung....

A belated Merry Christmas to you.   I had planned to post this before Christmas, but time got away from me.

As you can see, the stockings weren't hung by the chimney with (or without) care.   I believe one of the last times I hung our family stockings on the fireplace, one of the filled stockings fell on our cat who loves to lay in front of the fire.  Another year I put some chocolate in the stockings.  We have a gas fireplace, so it comes on as easy as turning on a light switch.  That chocolate was pretty squishy after a night hanging over the fire.

For a few years, our stockings have remained in the box in the basement.   Then I saw this idea on Pinterest.  (I somehow have 2 Pinterest accounts.   One has no pins, and the other is linked here on my sidebar.  You can see my pins by clicking the link on the right.)   I had the ladder in our bedroom with a crocheted piece on it, so all I had to do was put lights on the ladder and tie the stockings on with ribbon.


You can see the cat's blanket in front of the fireplace.  The bubble lights on the fireplace have been around for ages.  I love the decorations from back in the day.  I crocheted the tree skirt in this photo and the photo below.  I enjoy knitting and crocheting in the winter.

The photos are kind of dark.  It looks like I took them at night.  The tiny tree on the right (below) is for my grandson's room.  Someone at their house ran over the cord with the vacuum, and the lights quit working so I ordered another string of the fairy lights and fixed it.

The quilt on the wall is from a pattern linked on my sidebar.   You can find it by clicking here.  It is a Moda pattern that I made with smaller blocks.  The table topper pattern is my pattern and is available in my Etsy shop here.

I make these little quilts with 1 1/2" half square triangles.   They measure about 12 1/2" when finished.  You could put Insul Bright in them so you could use them to hold hot dishes.   The knitting needle tree is something I remember from when I was younger.  My Mom always had one of these, and I would help put it together.   I did a post and showed how I do my knitting needle tree here.

This tree is in our entryway with another tree skirt that I made.  The pattern can be found on my crochet blog at this link.

I have a few of these signs around my house.  They come from Joyfully Said Home in Middlebury, Indiana.   When I get to Shipshewana, I usually go there to shop.

Here's a ceramic Christmas tree that I made years ago along with a cross stitched sign from my childhood friend, Sharon.   She and I used to cross stitch different Precious Moments cross stitch pictures and gift them to each other.

I wish you all a healthy, Happy New Year with countless blessings.

Thank you for stopping by for a visit.

I hope you are finding some time to stitch today!!!

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