Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I'm home but


....I am stitching at the speed of light! Here is a teeny peek at some featherstitching. This is a rough pic taken with my phone. Sorry for the quality, the card in my camera was full. I will be back in a few days with lots of pictures to show for my efforts.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sorry Gail!

Sorry Gail. As my loving daughter, AKA the typo police, has noted; it is Gail not Gaul, Doane.
Remember I am keyboard challenged here until I return home and can correct the typos. Carry on.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

SAGA Convention-Day 2 and Redneck Embroidery

Well today was a lot of fun. The day started with turning in my contribution to Show and Share. I entered The Coming Home Dress our baby wore. One of the greatest gifts of SAGA Convention is the inspiration of seeing what others have made. Every year there is the Design Show which showcases original designs. These could be entered in either the Professional Category or Non-Professional. There are items featured from breathtaking original christening gowns to the fun and funky smocked converse tennis shoes. And everything in between. The red smocked Converses were a show stopper!

For those wanting to share but not have their submissions juried enter them in the Show and Share. There are always lots of things to
see and be awed by. This year was no different.

I digressed though, I was telling you about my day. After I turned in my Show and Share it was time to wolf down the muffin and tea my roomate so graciously brought back from the Starbucks. Good thing I didn't make her sleep o the floor! Then off to class.

Today's class was with Gaul Doane. "Floral Embroidery Pique Wrap Dress" Adorable. Gail's classes are always fun and so informative. Learned a new stitch, double cast on stitch. I was all thumbs. The funniest remark was from Gail; this dress features fun, colorful but bolder embroidery. Gail calls it "Redneck Embroidery!" I love it, I laughed right out loud. It will be a fun project to finish.

Thursday of convention also includes the Annual Meeting where the brass tacks of the orginazation are talked about. One of my favorite parts of the annual meeting is the Presentation of Wee Care items that are collected at convention are presented to the local hospitals. The final number of convention collected items is not known yet but across the country over 7,000 Wee Care items have been donated in the name of SAGA. That is awesome.

After viewing Show and Share/Design Show several of us went out for dinner to celebrate a friend's birthday today. The hilarious thing was her husband sent her flowers. But he purposely didn't sign the card as a joke. She thought we (a group of friends here) gave them to her. Since the group of us weren't collectively together all day each of us told her oh" you're welcome" thinking someone other than themselves sent them from the group. Imagine our surprise and hers when finally tonight we were all together at once and realized none of us did!!! A lot of laughs were had over that. Wonder what her husband was thinking all day when she never called to thank him! I bet he signs the card next time.

That is it for this rogue reporter tonight, I need to sleep in a hurry to do it all again in a few hours.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I told you!

Imagine my surprise in reading my published post when I said I was a fetal phobic!! Iphone's spell check strikes again. Make that DENTAL phobic. Carry on.

SAGA Convention- A Rogue Reporter

Okay here goes. I will try my best to give you an early report for the SAGA 2010 Convention. "Tidewater Treasures." This is on the fly and in my phone. I won't be able to upload pictures until I return home. Also excuse the more than usual grammatical and spelling errors, keep in mind I'm typing with one finger on a 2" screen.

I arrived early evening on Tuesday. My roomie and I headed to our room to find only one king sized bed. Oh well, she looks harmless. Just kidding, but really how much time do you spend sleeping? Not ideal but we managed. Besides, she is younger than I am so if there had been a fight, she would have been on the floor!

We arose early, REAL early, to zip down to the registration desk and find a quick bite. My first class was Beautiful Bows with Judith Adams. It is a basic yoke dress smocked using some beads and has an English netting lace overlay on the yoke. Squint your eyes and imagine you see a picture inserted here.

I had a little personal hiccup this morning in that I lost my crown and had to beat feet to find a dentist who would recement the crown back where it belonged. Add to this that I am a fetal phobic of biblical proportions and you have a recipe for a stressful morning. A kind dentist, some Valium,(I told you I was a phobic) and a limit cement and I made it back to the hotel in time to grab lunch.

Upon returning to class I had some catching up to do. Judith was wonderful. It didn't hurt that the dress size I chose was a size 6 months either. I wad able to pretty much catch up with the rest of the class. It shouldn't take long to finish once the christening gown is done.

One of the most wonderful things about convention are the people you meet. I don't see the majority of these people but once a year but we are able to pick right up where we left off. We decided to grab dinner at the hotel restaraunt. That was good for lots of laughs. Then we usually converge in someone's room
to chat, stitch and laugh. Tonight a couple of us even visited with a friend for some awesome milk punch!! Who knew that linen, lace and bourbon could mix? I only had one.

It's like a giant slumber party with classes thrown in. I usually attend the region meetings as well as artisan meeting. Tonight I was just too wrung out from my day. Tomorrow is class, luncheon and lots mote laughter.

There are other treats for the day as well.

This reporter is headed to bed early tonight. More to come tomorrow. Again, I'm sorry there are no pictures.


One of

Monday, September 20, 2010

Do Overs-And the Winner Is....



Jo. Jo I really hope you are out there. My email address is listed under my profile. Or click here to email me your contact information so I can get this awesome giveaway sent to you. Here is what Jo had to say:

Jo said...
Hi, Martha! I really enjoy reading your blog. My most difficult project was a picture smocked top I recently made for my daughter. I had never done picture smocking before, and it is much harder than geometric! I am waiting to hear from you.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Becky?? Are you out there?


Becky? Are you out there?  If I do not hear from Becky by Monday afternoon, I will draw another winner of the Sew Beautiful Blog Tour Giveaway. I drew your name as the winner. I am waiting to hear from you. Stay tuned faithful reader.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Padded Satin Stitch

As I was stitching along on the christening gown today, I had an aha moment I thought I would share with you.

I am using floche on silky voile for the gown. In stitching these "flourishes" on the gown, I was reminded of something I had forgotten. Floche is a soft twist fiber. It covers nicely for padded satin stitch as well as shadow work. I will admit that it is not always my first thread of choice, but it seemed to be working well for me. It's  also no secret that I am under the gun with this project. Sometimes when we are under the pressure of a deadline we tend to try to take shortcuts or not go back and fix stitching we aren't happy with. That was my dilemma today.


See the curly q on the top left? That was the last one I stitched in this group. See how smooth the top and edges are? Well that is the look I was going for. If it had turned out as lumpy and frumpy as the first two I probably would have left it.  But since it didn't I was in a quandary. Do I take out the good one to make it match the two "carpy" ones? Of course not! So I either left them looking decidedly different, or I had to take out the first two to make them match the look I was going for. So some reverse stitching was in order. (Always be careful when removing stitching. Go slow so you don't snip the fabric instead of the embroidery thread. Ask me how I know.


As I said, floche is a soft twist fiber. You can get it to unfurl or flatten out by either threading one end in the needle over the other or you can untwist it as you stitch with it. Since I can never remember which end is which, I just uncurl as I go. In the picture above I have done this. Just simply twisted in the direction needed to get the individual fibers to separate and be more ribbon like.


In this picture I have done the exact opposite. I have twisted it to make it more rope like. When trying to satin stitch, the tighter twisted thread will result in the more jagged edges seen in the first photo.


Here are my curly q's restitched. The edges are smoother. They still aren't perfect to me, but this picture is taken through the magnifier. After it is washed, the fibers will fluff up even further. Finally when it is draped down the front of a moving baby, or hung on a wall, those edges won't look as jagged. I am not as happy with the stems, but twice is my limit for removing something.

DISCLAIMER: A friend and I have had several conversations of late about the popular opinion that there is only one "right" way to do things. There is NO ONE RIGHT WAY to do anything! I don't care what book states what method, or what method one pattern designer uses over another. I am sharing with you, what worked for me. I am not a self professed authority on anything. Nor is anyone else. Sure some stitchers have more experience than others, but everyone has their own approach. A more experienced stitcher is just that, more experienced. Remember your mother always telling you practice makes perfect? They have just been practicing longer. Don't let yourself be sucked into thinking there is only one correct way or for that matter into thinking that your way is wrong. If we are striving to enhance our skills then we are all learning from each other. I happen to like tiny, tiny bias binding for instance; you might like a larger bias binding. Its not right or wrong. It is all a matter of preference. Not authority. So don't let anyone rain on your parade.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sew Beautiful Blog Tour Winner


The winner of the first Sew Beautiful Blog Tour is

Becky!
Becky said...
Thanks for being part of this blog tour. What a neat idea. My most involved heirloom project was a dress I started for my daughter at a Martha Pullen school. Even though we got a nice start on the dress at the school, I had to take a whole week off of work to finish it. I believe I invested a full 40 hours in the dress, but it turned out beautifully and I finished it before my daughter outgrew it. :)
Congratulations Becky, please contact me within the next 48 hours through my profile. I will make sure your awesome giveaway package is on its way. I hope everyone enjoyed the blog tour and learned something new along the way. Now back to my chair and the stitching on the christening gown.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Just a Peek


Just a tiny peek at the progress of the christening gown. This is a portion of the embroidery. I have made more progress since I took this picture a couple of nights ago. It always feels like slow going at this point. I am desperate to make good progress on the hand work this week. I am leaving to go out of town next week for SAGA convention.  Sorry for the horrible picture, I took it from my chair at night, hence the ginormous shadow in the right hand corner.

Did you get a peek at the christening gown that Jeannie B posted over at the Old Fashioned Baby Sewing Room? Mine won't be anything like that, but man oh man is that a work of art! And a true family heirloom.

 Found here

I also found this gem on Flickr. I love silk organza. I am not sure if this is silk, but it would be scrumptious made of silk. So pretty.

Thank you for your patience. I will be back soon with another peek to share.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

To answer a few questions


First of all, a thank you to you faithful reader for all of your kind words and compliments. They mean the world to me. I have received several comments and emails this week with questions about either the gowns our baby has worn or about my sewing room.

We'll tackle the the gown questions first

  • Cynthia G asked about the gown featured here. She was wondering which issue of Creative Needle the gown was in. The handsewn gown was  a pattern provided by Jeannie Baumeister of The Old Fashioned Baby. I am not sure if it was featured in Creative Needle or not. The pattern was part of a class from SAGA convention in 2009.
  • Betty asked what the fabric the handsewn gown was made with. It is made from Swiss Nelona. A 100% cotton fabric that is wonderful to work with.
Questions about my sewing room


  • Rettabug also asked what I meant by "carpy." I think she was hoping it was a typo. No, it was just a nicer way of saying what I really think. I'll let your imagination run away with you.
  •  Cynthia G asked what are the dimensions of the sewing room? The room is  a tad over 12 x 14. Not really big by some standards but for me its the largest sewing room I have ever had.

  • Sarah emailed to ask about my sewing machine table and the turntable I talked about. The turntable is part of the cabinet/tabletop. See the black knob in the left picture that is to the right of the machine? Pull that knob over to the left and it swings the back machine to the front and vice versa. No need for an additional table.
I was also asked to identify my stash. Here goes. Click on each picture to enlarge.


This is the right hand side of the closet. The bottom two shelves.


This is also the right hand of the closet but the upper two shelves.


This is two of the three shelves on the left. The very top shelf (not pictured) has two bins that contain some tulle ad organza plus a small basket with a few fat quarters and some small pieces of quilting cotton. That pima cotton bin is bulging. I will have to use more of it sooner.

My stash has diminished greatly but I am a okay with it. I love being able to see what I have without digging through it. I don't do well at stores like TJ Maxx or Big Lots because I am not a "digger." If it is not right where I can see it, I don't look too far. So now my stash doesn't have to be dug through either. There is only one piece of fabric that I don't really see having a use for. It is a piece of purple silk with silver embroidery. My girlfriend sent it to me from Africa. I kept it because I love her and it is a very unusual piece. Other than that, I can see using all of these fabrics before I am too feeble to know how. This has been very freeing for me.

Lest you feel too sorry for me, there is some fabric that isn't shown here.


It lives in two different dressers in the other bedrooms. The right hand one above is one of them. It is full of class kits and Wendy Schoen's Embroidery Club. Almost all of those have fabric with them. So there is additional fabric. I'll be fine.

My patterns are stored in the left hand dresser. Again in the other bedroom that was my former sewing room.


This shows two of the drawers with my patterns. I credit my daughter for this idea. I would have crammed them in the closet with my fabric. This is a much better solution. Again very little digging. They are sorted by designer.


If you look closely you will see dividers between the patterns. I found these great spring loaded drawer dividers at Target. They were a little pricier than I wanted to spend ($16 per box) but they work great!! I used to store my patterns in those pattern boxes commonly seen in fabric stores. This is much nicer. No longer am I pulling out box after box to dig through and then have to replace in the closet. I just shut the drawer.

I hope that answers your questions. Feel free to ask questions if I neglected something.

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REMINDER: Don't forget only a couple of days left to leave a comment for the Sew Beautiful Blog Tour giveaway.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Makes a Mimi's Heart Sing


Our Baby Mommy came over today with little bit and this is what she was wearing. I could have just pinched both of their cheeks. Don't you love the look of that tiny hand trimmed in lace and silk satin ribbons?


I love this gown. It is sewn completely by hand. I posted about just the gown here. It was a convention class from the 2009 SAGA convention. What is even more special about this gown is, it was the project I was working on last Thanksgiving when we first learned of little bit's impending arrival.


I know we are obnoxious fools for this baby, we can't help ourselves. I loved being a mom more than anything in the world, but I love babies! I have been waiting for another baby in the family since our youngest child was no longer a baby.

                    Mr. Magoo                       Popeye!

And not only is she beautiful, but she is entertaining as well. Okay, I'll stop now.

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Don't forget to enter the Sew Beautiful Blog tour giveaway. Go here to leave a comment. Winner to be drawn September 15th.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sewing Room Tour-LOTS of pictures


Welcome to my new sewing room. In no way is this room opulent or over the top. I just wanted a larger space that was less cluttered. Since the room I had been in will be a guest room, my craft/painting supplies remain in the previous closet. And the dressers in there hold patterns and kits. I will share that with you another day.

The wall color is "Stillness" by Valspar available at Lowes. As I posted before, I was going for calm and serenity. The laminate flooring is Vera Mahogany by Pergo, also available at Lowe's. I showed a couple of before pics here. The "Victoria Secret" stripes on the walls were a challenge to cover but they have been replaced by this seaglass aqua blue color. I really like it. So for a little tour. Remember you can click on the photos for a closer look.


This is what you see when you first enter the room. My machine table has a turntable in the center with my Bernina 1130 on one side and my hated Elna serger on the other. I can turn the table top to switch machines. The box on the corner is a jewelry box my father made for me. I don't have a lot of jewelry but I do have several pairs of scissors. So scissors are stored in there.
 

On the far side of my sewing table are mostly heirloom sewing and embroidery books.  Tucked on the left side of the center shelf is a basket of my treasured antique buttons I use on most of my baby things. I need a larger basket. The thought scares my husband.


This is a before shot. The curtain or "scarf" as you will, is the fabric I used for the new curtains. That is kind of misnomer. Window covering is a better term. No the word fabric is the misnomer. Spun plastic is a better description. Some kind of cheap polyester that I whacked into two pieces, hemmed and put back on the rod. I wanted something breezy and light. And free was even better.


This ancient cabinet is screw together furniture at its best. It was originally purchased as a pantry cabinet when we moved into base housing that had no pantry. Almost 20 years ago. It now houses my magazines. I had planned to paint this white before it went into the room but it came down to wait 6 weeks to paint it or finish the room. You see what choice was made.


Continuing around the room is a carpy "bookcase" and a TV that says "look at me!" Don't send a man to the store with the scant instructions of "Buy a small TV for my sewing room." I could host superbowl parties in here with this monstrosity! At least it is mounted on the wall and out of the way.


The bookcase for lack of a better term will be replaced soon, just haven't had time. It holds pictures of the kids, class notebooks, vintage hankies and some miscellaneous things. In the tins are my DMC 50 weight, rayon andmetallic machine threads. Sitting next to the shelf is a Longaberger sewing basket, a well loved American Girl doll and a vintage sewing basket.


Meet Gertrude. She came to live in my sewing room when DD #2 used to work in retail. Now she holds my convention name tag holder and some chatelaines my girlfriend and I made together. Next is an extra chair. I never seem to be alone in here so I might as well give them a place to sit. On the chair is a Jan Kerton teddy bear blanket.

As seen in the picture above with the stadium television is my cutting "table." It is made up of inexpensive storage cabinets from Lowe's. My DH and son screwed them together and placed a 4 x 8 piece of laminated MDF on top. It holds my large cutting mat. It is wonderful and also hazardous. I am dangerous around a horizontal surface. I can fill it faster than you can blink.


The cabinets hold an assortment of supplies. The cabinet on the far end holds what my daughter calls "construction notions."


The center front cabinet holds ribbons and lace. There is a dead space behind here where a large tote holds batting and poly fibrefill. The two small cabinets on either side of this one holds ironing supplies and the other serger threads and beads. In one of the drawers are my rotary cutters and pattern weights. The other drawer holds plastic baggies in assorted sizes.


The cabinet on the other end was dubbed "embroidery." It houses flosses, threads and hoops.


On top of the cutting table is my pleater to the far left, rulers and pincushions. To the right of that is my love me wall of prize ribbons. Most of these are from the State Fair. I didn't enter anything this year, way crazy summer and everything I would have entered was being worn. So I am ahead of the game for next year! That small stack in front of the pleater is christening gown fabrics, pattern etc.


There is a small wall space between the door and the closet. You have all seen what a clock looks like, but the ugly little monkey above it is very dear to me. It belonged to my best friend. It hung over every bedroom door she had save one until her death in 2004. He looks a little tired for his 53 years, but there he shall remain.


Next comes the closet. Many of you have heard me talk about or read about my paring down of my stash. I am amazed at how small it is compared to what it used to be. I was able to keep the floor of the closet fairly clear and leave the hanging rods in place.


This is the right side of the closet. My fabrics are sorted according to type. We'll visit the kinds of fabrics in another post. Ignore the broom handle. The bins that store my fabric were purchased on sale several years ago at The Container Store. I never realized, or don't remember knowing until now that there are two different sizes of them.


This is the left side of the closet. Hanging on the rod are class garments that haven't been grown into yet, or items from my children. In the center are a couple of christening gowns awaiting return to their owners.


The bins on the center shelf hold works in progress. I decided to mount the thread racks on the closet wall to keep the room itself less cluttered. I haven't mounted the button bins yet.


In keeping with truth in reporting; in the first pictures you might have spied my ironing board slid in next to the pantry cabinet. There is a space for it but to be honest, it will rarely live there. Here is where it will live. I sew with my ironing board right next to me at a 90 degree angle to my chair. It sure saves time.

Another item I purchased was 3 additional trash cans for this room. Target had them for $2.50, so I bought three. I am a trashy person in my sewing room evidently and the can was constantly overflowing. Perhaps having more trash cans will help that.

I am loving having the flooring in here as opposed to carpet. I can slide all over that room in my chair and a quick "swiffer" clears the floor of debris. I would like to say that my space will always look like this, but you would hear my family screaming if I did. They know better. For now it is clean and tidy.

I hope you enjoyed this little tour. More to come. Keep stitching faithful readers.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Where's Waldo?


Who is Waldo anyway? Looking for me? This is where you will find me. Now I KNOW this baby has been expected for months, I KNEW she would be needing a gown and the christening is October 3. I COULD have started this gown back in March, but...... I don't operate that way. Just isn't in me. I no longer fight it. I no longer beat myself up over it. No one will get a lick out of me in the next 4 weeks (except for a week of SAGA convention thrown in there.) because I will be right here stitching away.


Here is just a tiny peek. I told our Baby Mommy she wasn't going to see big pictures of work in progress because I want it to have some element of surprise to it. She chose the designs she wanted in the embroidery and the base gown she wanted to use. I was even instructed NO color! Shoot, she even quoted scripture about that whole business of being clothed in a white garment etc. So I will only give you tiny peeks in the coming weeks.


But here is a bigger peek at our princess. She is wearing Old Fashioned Baby's Priscilla's Layette gown shown here. She weighs almost 12# and the gown still fits wonderfully and will for a few more weeks.  She is laying in the floor of Mimi's sewing room while Mommy sews for her. She looks quite happy about it. How cool is that Boppy thing she is laying on? Why didn't they have those when I was having babies? She thinks she is sitting up. Fooled her!

Tomorrow I will finally post pictures of my sewing room.

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REMINDER: Sew Beautiful Blog tour giveaway ends soon. Go here to leave a comment.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ready for Baby Brother

No we aren't having a baby brother but a a delighful young man I know has a new baby brother. I made his christening gown featured here six years ago. It is shown here in my very first post. Baby brother was born in June and it is time for him to be baptized so..


the gown has been washed and ironed to be made ready for this weekend. I am sure it will be a joyous occasion.


I have worked on many gowns, but I have to admit that it is one of my favorites. Something I am very proud of. It is a combination of patterns and designs that mommy chose. The base pattern is from Australian Smocking and Embroidery.

First posted at Country Bumpkin

It is "Eternal Love" from Issue #42. I love this gown.


I smocked only the two side sections, not the entire width across the skirt. It has lace and tucks on the bodice as well as the hem of the skirt. The neck binding and piping are both a satin fabric for just a touch of shine.


The center panel is  a compilation of several designs. The shadow work ribbon and many of the curly q's are based on the christening gown featured in Wendy Schoen's Creating Heirlooms for Baby. I simplified the ribbon and bows since this gown was originally made with a boy in mind. The other embroidery I gathered from antique designs, the internet and clip art. There is high relief satin stitch, applique cord and surface embroidery featured on the front panel.

front panel before construction

I personally like to include references to the sacraments in the embroidery. The shell and water is for Baptism, the doves for Confirmation and the wheat and grapes for Eucharist. And then a Christian cross.

In MY opinion, a christening gown is a pretty androgenous garment. A baby boy is just as angelic in a christening gown as a baby girl. My son wore a gown and was never accused of being a sissy. And I hear the first wearer of this gown gave the little neighbor girl a bloody nose today much to his mother's dismay. I have been widely quoted as saying to the young men who dated my older daughters, "If your son can't wear a christening gown, you need a new girl!" Thank goodness both of my son in laws knew I was serious. Hopefully any future in laws will also believe me.


I also embroidered baby brother's name on the gown. This is not the best picture and I blurred the kid's last name. I embroider the name on the gown as opposed to the slip because often over time the slip can become separated from the gown and that history is lost.


I replaced the ribbons in the sleeves. I had used a poly satin ribbon the first time. The ribbons just did not look as nice as I would like so I replaced them with silk satin ribbons. They hang much nicer.

After a good soak in Biz to rewhiten the gown, it was starched, ironed and delivered today to the baby's mother.

Now back to our baby's gown.

Don't forget there is only a few more days to leave a comment on the Sew Beautiful Blog tour post here to enter the giveaway.