Fun times with handwork!!

Over the last few months I have posted about my enjoyment of doing various types of handwork….starting with beading and embroidery.  I have shown snippets of these, but as Quilt Show Chairman I made a badge for each of my 34 Chairmen and Co-Chairs.   I think that they turned out great…..

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….and were even nicer when Claire helped to put the ribbons on each of them…..

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They looked super when they were all finished…..

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….and the recipients (who did an AMAZING job) seemed to enjoy having them to wear during the show…..

Over the last two (or maybe it is three) years, I have worked on a Needlepoint design from Kaffe Fasset.   It was fun to work on the funky flowers in amazing colors…..

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I gave it to my son, Brian and his wife Amber when they purchased their first house and it is now residing happily in Amber’s art studio!!

And now, I am moving on to  Hand Applique.

The few times that I have tried Hand Applique, I have really enjoyed the sewing process but was never happy with the way that I prepared the pieces beforehand.   I had tried Needle Turn but that did NOT work out well!   I tried gluing the edges down, ironing them down and folding them over a piece of Freezer Paper.   I even tried it wth TWO pieces of Freezer Paper ironed together to give it more body.   But nothing really worked!

When I was at the Quilt Show in Houston, I spent a few minutes listening to quilter, Karen Kay Buckley, talk about her method for preparing applique pieces.  She advocates using heat resistant Templar plastic to form the applique pieces.   Rather than using glue, she suggested brushing the edges using Magic Sizing…..

IMG_7659.jpgShe even suggested spraying a small amount in the cap and using a brush to coat the edges….img_7661.jpg

…and then ironing the edges in place….IMG_7663.jpg

Karen says to use a dry iron but I found that it worked much faster if I used a minimal amount of steam.   This revelation came when I “thought” that I had turned the steam off but, in fact, had only turned it to the lowest setting.   So, lowest setting it is!!

The plastic is removed and the result is a piece all ready for sewing down…..img_7666.jpg

I thought long and hard about what I wanted to start with and my mind kept coming back to 70’s Mod Flowers.   The good thing about these flowers is that they are mostly gentle curves and I think that will be a good thing to start with.

I am also using Buckley’s circle templates to do the flower centers…..

img_7667.jpgThis technique involves sewing a running stitch around the fabric, brushing the edges with Magic Sizing…..

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And then pull to make a perfect circle…..

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I have absolutely NO idea what these will be used for, but I have started making blocks and am loving the process…..

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These two went together without any problem and I am now working on a larger block with two layers of petals.

I have also added a couple of things to my sewing corner…..ie my recliner with a table to hold my cup of tea…..IMG_7804.jpg

The biggest addition is the lamp that folds over my shoulder and does a fantastic job of illuminating my project without putting out so much light that it disturbs Michael as he sits next to me. This lamp is the Slimline LED floor Lamp made by Daylight Company.  I especially like it because it folds back on itself which means that it isn’t a super obvious intrusion into the room decor when I am not using it.

I first heard of the lamp from Bonnie Hunter in one of her blog posts.   She not only extols the benefits of the lamp but also gives some great tips for how to make assembly easier.   You can check it out here……   https://quiltville.blogspot.com/2016/10/find-simple-pleasures.html

Tbe next addition was a wicker basket to hold all of my “stuff”.  Previously I had just set it directly on the floor but felt like it made my area look cluttered.   I am MUCH happier with this solution.

The only problem now is that I can hand sew the flowers pretty quickly but am fairly slow at getting the pieces ready.  Hopefully I will get better at that soon!!   And one of these days, I MIGHT try making a leaf or a stem or something else flower related.   I will keep posting as I go.

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Even more handwork…..

Since I have now decided that handwork can be fun, I realized that it was time for me to get my thread and bead supplies organized.  After looking at lots of options, I finally decided to use cardboard “Floss Bobbins” and spent MANY, MANY nights sitting in front of the TV and winding bobbins.

Then I had to find something to store them in!!   A friend had mentioned that Harbor Freight had tons of storage items so I went shopping and came home with the perfect solution……

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Isn’t all of that color scrumptious!!!

Next, I needed to figure out how to store my beads so that they were easily accessible.   Previously I had them stored in small plastic bags but it was way too hard to find what I wanted AND then I still had to pour them out into something to be able to use them.   SO, back to Harbor Freight I went and came home with boxes that each held 24 smaller snap-closure boxes…..IMG_6489

PERFECT!!!!!

Now, I am currently working on another “secret-ish” project and am having a great time working with my hands.   I based the idea on Cleo’s quilt project by fusing a 1.5 inch circle in the middle of a 4 inch square and then adding embellishments.    Here are a few of my favorites so far…..IMG_6491

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I am SUPER happy with how they are looking and am truly enjoying using thread and needle again!! 

This has also been a good project while my shoulder is recuperating.   I have had very little pain and every PT session allows me to move my arm more freely, but there is still quite a way to go before I can return to all of my tasks…..especially machine quilting!!  So for now I am content with handwork and a little bit of strip piecing.

AND, I am already thinking about what I want to work on next!!

Handwork is fun…..who knew!!

As I mentioned in the last post, my Creative Group has been working on a handwork round robin.  Since they are still in process, I can’t show you full photos, but maybe can show a few highlights of what I have seen (and done) so far.

The first project that I received was Brenda’s……IMG_5340

She went with classic crazy quilt blocks…..one for each of the 8 of us.  She also provided a large box of Perle cottons.

It took me a long time to decide what I wanted to do but I finally just dove in and started stitching!!IMG_5365

It was a bit nerve racking, but in the end I was happy with my block.

Next I received Cleo’s piece.   It started out like this…..IMG_5281

….with the idea that each of us would decorate 2, 3 or more of the squares. I really enjoyed this project and found it easier to figure out what to do and get started on it…..IMG_5493

Next was Denise’s project and this is the one that I had been dreading most!!  She presented it to us like this…..IMG_5279

….with the thought that it was a marsh scene.   It think that everyone in the group took a sharp breath when we saw what we were going to be working with! 

Interestingly, when I got it, I immediately knew what I wanted to add….IMG_5530

It was fun to look thru my threads to find something that would look like tree moss…..IMG_5527

I received Fay’s as soon as we returned from China and unfortunately, I managed to hand it off (THIS MORNING) without taking a photo of it!!!    This is what she gave us…..IMG_5278

….a simple embroidery outline.  When it came to me, I embroidered the two smaller flower/leaves.  I think that this will be a really fun piece when it is finished.

The latest project that I have received was from Linda and I had been looking forward to it…..IMG_5277

Several fun things had already been added but I felt like the trailer  was floating off of the ground and needed to be grounded so I added touches that would do just that…..IMG_6471

It has been interesting that each project has been easier to start and even more fun to work.   I cant wait for the next two…..

Deb gave this to us…..IMG_5276

It should certainly be fun to play on!!!

And lastly, Ruhanna provided this Autumn offering….IMG_5275

As a result of this project, I have started my collection of Perle Cottons and cleaned up my other threads….but more about that in the next post!!