Friday, June 29, 2018

Thread Problem

If you follow me on Instagram or read my blog regularly you know I have a subscription to Superior Threads thread of the month club. I belong to the So Fine #50 club and I love getting thread every month. This also means I have a thread problem. Or, maybe just a thread storage problem.
I have several June Tailor Cone Thread Racks that I have picked up over the years. I even used one to have a local carpenter make me a rack to fit this space. Sadly, he thought he was doing me a favor by placing the pegs closer together. That means the cones bump into each other and I can't use some of the pegs at all. We decided to make a replacement ourselves. We picked up all of the lumber I estimate we need. We even picked up a brand new Rockwell BladeRunner Portable Tabletop Saw so we could make the hundreds of cuts we would need to make my bigger and better thread rack. This is the kind of tool we will use again and again.
We did all the cutting on Sunday morning, before we decided it was just too miserable to be outside in the humidity. This is what approximately 428 pegs (each is 3" long) looks like. If it works out, that's how many cones of thread my new thread rack will hold. Next, we need a drill press to drill the 428 holes those pegs fit into. According to Superior Threads' website, So Fine #50 comes in 143 colors. I should be good to go.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

More Little Embroidery

When I saw this design from Designs by Little Bee I was pretty sure it would come home with me. Noting says classy like a poop holder for your hand sanitizer. The design comes in two sizes which is great!
I stitched up a couple and I think they came out pretty great!
Then, I had an idea! I thought stitching a silly monster face onto the holder would be great. I still think the idea is great even if the execution isn't so great. This one is my first try. I decided it needed some modification to the stitches before it would be ready for prime time. 
Here (on the left) is my edited design. As you can see, it isn't better than the one on the right. It isn't a loss, though,. I learned quite a bit about stitch density and what kinds of stitch fills I should and should not use on marine vinyl. Standby for my next try.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Embroidery Design - D20

I've had my embroidery machine and design software (5D Embroidery). I have played with it off and on over the years but it has frustrated me because it doesn't operate like other drawing software (such as Inkscape or GIMP). I decided I wanted to design something badly enough to struggle with the software until I got it do what I wanted.
First I went to find some appropriate art. This is one of the many images available on Game If you're looking for some simple vector graphics to use in game design you should really check them out. Their work is offered for free under Creative Commons.
This was my first stitch out of the design. It was too big for my purpose, but I wanted to see what it would look like.
I made some tweaks and stitched it out again. I didn't see much difference between the two, but a friend pointed out that the lower numbers we're really where they should be. I admit, I put them there as a way to make them fit. In the end I made a design decision to remove the numbers from most of the faces.
The design is a little simpler, but we all know what it supposed to be, no matter how many faces have numbers.
In the end, I think less is more. A nice project, even if it did take me almost all weekend to finish. I think after some tweaks, I might make this available on Etsy for other machine embroiderers to purchase for download. I can't be the only person that wants to make these key fobs.

This design would also work great on a custom dice bag. Check out my Etsy shop to see the bags I have available or request a custom order.

Friday, June 22, 2018


This tote called the Fat Sack by Atkinson Designs was shared on one of the many groups I'm a member of on Facebook. I decided to give it a try.
I found my stack of decorator canvas and colorful denim while searching for some felt I have around here somewhere. I didn't have enough of one print to make an entire tote, so I did a little mixing and matching. It's a quick and simple pattern and if you're looking for a sizable tote it will serve you well. I do recommend using heavier fabrics. The double bottom is genius for grocery totes!

Sadly, it isn't quite big enough to replace the tote I was hoping to replace so I'll have to do some calculations and make another, or two. I'll be sure to share the outcome. I like making bags with different techniques to learn new things and this one certainly fit the bill.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

More Glitter Vinyl Projects

I was so happy when my My PunkBroidery order showed up. This is the glitter pack. It includes 24 different colors of super fun glitter vinyl. I'm ready to stitch out all sorts of glittery fun projects!
To celebrate, I stitched out the same project I've been stitching all week. another pair of sugar skulls using this great design from Designs by Little Bee embroidery. 

I promise I'm moving on to a new project in the near future. I'll be sure to share something new on Friday. 

If you see anything here that you are willing to spend your hard earned money on, drop me a line. I've added a contact widget to the scroll on the right-hand side of the page. I'll reply and we can work on creating your new favorite thing. Afterwards, I can set up an Etsy sale just for you. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Stitching Up In The Hoop

I can't stop stitching up these great snap tab designs from Designs by Little Bee embroidery. This is the Mini Sugar Skull on a dark blue marine vinyl. 
I love these bigger Sugar Skull Snap Tabs, too. These were stitched on glitter vinyl, my favorite. I've ordered more glitter vinyl because it is just so awesome!
The Vintage Camper and that Maneki Neko are awesome, too. 
I picked up some new vinyl colors from the local fabric store. These are going to be fun, too. When the My PunkBroidery order shows up I'm going to be stitching out even more fun. 
I borrowed a friend's KAMsnap tool to finish these up. Definitely a tool I plan on adding to my tool box. I might need to pick up some swivel clasps (affiliate links) to make them more versatile!

Keep an eye on my Etsy shop for some of these to show up. If you want something I've stitched out, by all means drop me a note and I'll set up a sale for you on Etsy. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

More In The Hoop

I recently discovered Designs by Little Bee embroidery designs. These darling and reasonably-priced in-the-hoop projects are just the best! 
I discovered Designs by Little Bee just when they started one of their semi-annual sales. I picked some designs at a great price and got stitching. This is the Maneki Neko Beckoning Lucky Cat key fob. Isn't it the cutest little kitty!
Next was the Vintage Camper Snap Tab. (Note: I didn't stitch out the entire design on this one.) The perfect thing to keep track of the keys for our travel trailer. 
My favorite stitch-out yet is this fun Sugar Skull Snap Tab. I can't wait to stitch this one out in a rainbow of colors on some great glitter vinyl. I buy my glitter vinyl from My PunkBroidery.

Now all I need is some KAMsnaps and swivel clasps (affiliate links) to finish them!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

In The Hoop Embroidery

If you're like me an buy zippers by the dozen, you are left wondering what to make with all those zippers. (If you don't know where to buy zippers by the dozen, I highly recommend checking out ZipIt Zippers on Etsy. Great selection and excellent service.)
I've been fascinated with in-the-hoop (ITH) embroidery projects since I bought my embroidery machine. I found myself over at the Embroidery Library looking at these darling little coin purses.
This is the Slice of Life Zipper Pouch Watermelon. They also have a Lemon and an Apple. The design was relatively quick and an overall easy project. The only thing I don't like about it is that the inside has raw edges instead of a clean finish. I know I can figure out how to overcome this, but I wanted to see how it was done before trying to figure it out on my own.
I also have a couple zipper pouches from Disorderly Threads
This is the High Top Shoe Zipper Bag (5" x 7"). These have a fully finished lining. This was my first of these and I learned so much. Mostly I learned that you should have two projects going on at a time if you want to make stuff like this. The stitching out isn't that much fun.

I've also recently discovered Designs by Little Bee. I can't wait to try out some of their fun designs.

Do you know of some great independent designers I should check out? Share your ideas in the comments.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Churning Fourteen Finish

I started this quilt over a year ago. Check out this post about my Churning Fourteen quilt.
Sometimes people think I get a bunch of stuff done and that I get that stuff done quickly. I'm not a fast quilter or crafter, even if it seems like it. I do work a full-time job, complete with a 1-hour commute each way (that DC traffic is terrible and I do not recommend it). I don't have kids at home. I don't cook. I don't clean. I don't mow the lawn. Those things are done by other people. What I do have is about an hour or two each evening to do with what I wish. I also often have a full weekend to be creative. This means projects take weeks, months, and sometimes years to complete. Did I mention this quilt has been hanging around for over a year?
I decided I didn't want the quilting to compete with the piecing and went with the swirl flower in varying sizes as an all-over quilting design. This design was presented by Angela Walters in one of her early free motion quilting books: Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters: Choose & Use Quilting Designs on Modern Quilts (affiliate link). I love this design because it travels so well around the surface of the quilt and it is easy to fill in large spaces quickly.
If you've been following my blog for any amount of time, you know I use scrappy binding every chance I get. I fold my binding once it is pressed so it doesn't become tangled when applying. Maybe that should be my next binding tip. My Darling Husband has been trying to convince me to make a video of something crafty, maybe that's the project to share.
Labeled, quilted, and bound! Finishing projects is so satisfying!

Interested in the pattern? You should check out Sam Hunter's great website Hunter's Design Studio. There you will find the Churning Fourteen pattern and other patterns that are great for using up that collection of fat quarters you couldn't resist. She is also the author of Quilt Talk: Paper-Pieced Alphabet with Symbols & Numbers (Amazon affiliate link), a book about paper piecing letters to make your quilts really talk. If you order it directly from Sam you will get a signed copy and Sam will make a little more money than if you use the Amazon affiliate link. I used the book to make my quilt you can't take the sky from me. It was also the best instruction I had received about paper piecing. Make your quilts say something!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Knitting Dotted Rays

I started this shawl when I went to the 2018 Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. You can find the pattern in Stephen West's book WESTKNITS BESTKNITS NUMBER 1 - SHAWLS. I picked up my copy of the book at a local yarn shop and it included a code to receive all the patterns in digital format on Ravelry. You can also find it as a single pattern on Ravelry. I love Dotted Rays. Let me tell you a a knitting story (with pictures).
I knit at breakfast.
I knit in the afternoon.
I knit in the car.
I knit in the car some more.
I knit at breakfast again.
I knit in the car. I also knit in the evening but those photos never look good.
I knit until I ran out of yarn and had to dye more to match. This is totally true and one of the best reasons to dye your own yarn. This assumes you can remember how you got that amazing color.
I knit until I had finished the darn thing. This is pre-blocking. Because you can't see the magic of blocking if you don't compare the pre-blocked shawl to the blocked shawl.
I love pulling out the last set of eyelets to make little points on this shawl. It is so much easier than trying to get a gentle curve and I think the shawl has more impact.
Blocking opens up those double yarn-overs.
Each wedge has its own color story.
I used a little over 250 grams of yarn for this shawl. I think it is a great size for a shawl. 
Loads of fabric to wrap up in. I really like the impact of this as a finished shawl. Now, I have to decide what to knit next.

Pattern: Dotted Rays by Stephen West

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Carpenter's Star

This Carpenter's Star quilt was a great stash busting project.
I put this under Sew My Stash 2018 because Other than the backing fabric, I didn't buy anything to finish this project.
I pulled out all the quilting books (links at the bottom of the post) to try to figure out what to do with the quilting.
In the end it didn't end up being fancy quilting, but I think it is effective. Swirls are my favorite!
This is the back of the quilt so you can see the details of the quilting on the center star.
I finished the binding by machine (you can find my instructions on how I machine-finish binding in the side bar and on this page) because it is just so much faster. It is also getting warmer here in Maryland and I have no intention of sitting under a quilt for 4-6 hours to hand-finish binding.
Labeled, quilted, and bound.

Quilting books I have in my library and use as a reference (affiliate links to Amazon):
Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters
Free-Motion Quilting Idea Book by Amanda Murphy
Shape by Shape Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters
Shape by Shape, Collection 2: Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters
Free-Motion Meandering: A Beginners Guide to Machine Quilting by Angela Walters

I also love to look through Quilted Textures from A to Zen by Bethanne Nemesh. Bethanne has so many great designs that really get my my creativity moving. Her work is absolutely beautiful and recommend you check out her work.