Tuesday, March 30, 2010

transfer technique talk time

Okay so, I finished the embroidery for one of my calendar samples - yea! Does anyone recognize this children's book illustration? Anyone? It's from a book called Seven Simeons. It's a Russian folktale and this particular edition was written and illustrated by Boris Artzybasheff. It's also a Caldecott Honor book. I picked it up at a used bookstore and immediately fell in love. The illustrations are so intricate and detailed - all line work in just three colors. You know what it reminded me of so much? The US postage stamps that came out a couple of years ago with the king and queen on them. The style is very similar but with much more decorative detail - absolutely gorgeous. Of course I am dying to embroider some of this but can't figure out where until I start thinking about my calendar examples. As a side note: I am not selling this one - it's mine, all mine folks. I would NEVER use a book illustration for an item I was selling! So this little illustration from the beginning of the story fit perfectly and I could not wait to start stitching.
These are tiny lines here and I was a little bit stumped on how to transfer the image. A fabric pen was never going to work and my usual iron-on tear-off stabilizer was looking doubtful. (picking off bits of stabilizer between those itty bitty lines - I don't think so). So - I tried something new. I picked up some washway foundation paper made by Dritz from the quilting section of my fabric store. Have you all tried this? You can print your design right onto it from your computer - this was very appealing to me - no tracing! When you are done stitching the paper dissolves in water - no picking!
Here are the parts that made me nervous: The paper seems a little on the brittle side so I felt like I had to be very careful with it. The more I stitched the more comfortable I became with it and it really wasn't bad. I have a feeling that if I had had to take out stitches and re-stitch an area I would have been in trouble. I just don't think the paper would have held up. I also wasn't crazy about basting the paper on but again, the more I stitched, the more secure it became.
So, now comes the fun part - removing it. This part made me so nervous! I just wasn't sure what would happen. The instructions that came with the paper say to put your item (they are referring to a quilt - since this is a quilting product) in the washing machine and all the paper will be removed. I tried to avoid that but in the end I did end up putting this in the wash on a gentle cycle. After soaking it for a bit I could still see some of the paper left in some of those really tight stitches so I figured that maybe a trip through the washer could get those.

So, here is is all done - no foundation paper. Would I use this transfer method again? Yes but it's not without a few setbacks. Personally I feel like there are still some teeny tiny bits of that paper in some of those teeny tiny stitches although Vince says he can't even see it. If this has been stitched on a darker fabric I fear that those bits would show.
Has anyone else tried this product for hand embroidery? What are your thoughts?
I still have some work to do on this calendar but hope to finish it up and share later this week. See you then!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

how do i know that spring has arrived?

There's a bike in my dining room.And the porch and the basement and the hallway and on and on. Are you asking yourself how many bikes a person really needs yet? (I've already asked - the answer is "many"). Vince is a very bike-y and I will soon be resuming my role as 'bike widow'. It's alright though - I have more alone time in the evenings for crafting and he is a much happier husband when he starts riding again - win - win I say.
Spring break week is going well. We kicked it off with a cousin sleepover. So I had a house full of boys for 24 hours or so. Wait, make that "more full of boys" as that is the norm here anyway. We had fun and the weather was nice so there was a lot of fresh air to be had (I don't do sleepovers in the Winter for just that reason!). The cousins (and Peter) grumbled when it was time to go so I take that as a sign that they had fun. I hope so!
And this is what's getting stitched right now. This is the BACK and I kind of love it. It looks so sketchy and cool. I'll be sharing the front soon so stay tuned. It's one of my calendar panel examples and I am so excited about it - I've wanted to stitch this for months. Can't wait to share more!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

it's oh so quiet

Is it just me of has this last week seemed very quiet? You could have heard a pin drop over at SeptemberHouse - not that it's usually a whirlwind of activity or anything. Even in blogland things seemed to slow down. Things became more quiet around here because I think (crossing fingers) that Adam is back on the nap wagon. Hooray! He is a stubborn little guy and we had rough go of it trying to get him back in the groove but it seems to have worked.
I had a chance to finish up the pj's from One Yard Wonders. I am actually really happy with how they turned out. They weren't too difficult to make but I did have to tear out and re-sew a few seams here and there. I don't sew that much so this is par for the course for me. A more experienced seamstress could knock these out in no time flat. Now we just need some warmer weather!
I am expecting my first calendar panels for 2011 to arrive from Spoonflower this week too - so excited! I have my example calendars all planned out in my head now I just need to get those panels in my hands so I can start stitching. I wanted to have them in the shop by the end of the month but...um, it might be April before they get there.
It is also Spring Break this week so I am not sure how much crafting will get done. I'm looking forward to the coming days though. This will be a nice preview of of what to expect over Summer vacation. Yikes, did I just write "Summer vacation"? It will be here before we know it!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

swap share 4

Somehow in between tending to illnesses, struggling to get my toddler to take a nap, and a birthday celebration (Vince finally turned 36 last week so I am no longer with a 'younger man') I managed to get a swap embroidery done. The theme for this one was "under the sea" with Heather Ross's mendocino fabrics as an inspiration. I decided to try to incorporate some of the patterned backgrounds from the fabrics as well as some of the animals. From there I departed a bit though hopefully I didn't wander too far. - I'm never sure. I'm quite fond of those turtles, I must say. My doubts are in the colors. It's funny, that's where I always have my doubts and sometimes regrets. Color is not my strong suit so I'm constantly wondering if a different combination might have worked better.

I'm also sharing a little 'good thing' (I'll borrow that from Martha today). Santa brought new sheets at Christmas this year and let me tell you, those plastic packages they come in are wonderful for project storage.

They are clear so you can see what's in there, they zip up, they even have a little clear pocket inside so you can tuck your scissors and floss in all safe and sound. So, when new sheets come your way save those packages.
Oh, and have a lovely day too.

Monday, March 15, 2010

raise your hand if...

you and your family managed to stay healthy all winter long only to be slammed by some kind of nasty ick right before spring arrives.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

time to open my mail brag

I admit, sometimes I try a little too hard to come up with clever titles and I fear I miss the mark entirely. "Mail brag" - get it - it's like "mailbag" but with more boasting and gushing? Just humor me, please, I know it's bad!
Anyway. I am sharing a little Etsy love today from a shop you are going to really like. This pretty little print arrived from Junecraft last week. I just love it! Take a looksee over at the shop - there are so many lovelies. This one is now in the 'waiting to hang in the studio, assuming one day I will have a studio' pile. I know, I know, that is a sad little place to put it but it gives me something else to look forward to. And then the next day this arrived:
A gorgeous sampler stitched up by fellow swapper, Aneela of Comfortstitching fame. What an extremely talented woman! Am I a lucky girl or what?

Check these stitches folks! I love it, don't you?
I am totally inspired to start my next swap embroidery now and have been sketching for the last few days. I hope to have it done in the next week or so and I think it's going to be a really fun one. What are you stitching these days?

Friday, March 5, 2010

domestic distraction

What an odd week. Most of it has been spent dealing with domestic issues - some fun, some ...not so much. Adam really only took one nap to speak of this week. I spent it sewing - yea! After my kick start tie I started working on some cute summer pj's from "One Yard Wonders". So far they are coming along okay but I am not done yet. If Adam ever naps again maybe I'll get back to them. We are transitioning to a "big boy bed" - thus the sleeplessness. I am hoping that if I have to sacrifice time I will be able to at least gain some space. Progress on the boys' room has been slow but it is still coming along. Here is where is stands presently:
My in-laws spent a weekend here not long ago and they really helped move this project along. Are they awesome or what? Maybe by summertime we will be moving the boys in?? I'm crossing my fingers.
Thanks to everyone who left such encouraging words about the Spoonflower design contest. I did not make the final 16 but some of my favorite designs did (there is a fern design there that I love!). Check out the finalists here.
Maybe next week I'll venture back over to poor neglected SeptemberHouse. I miss that place!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

kickstart complete

I did it! I picked a project and made it! whoohoo. (edited to add: I made the tie - not the shirt - I could never make a shirt like that!) This was probably a really good choice because it was very short and sweet - near instant gratification. I used this tutorial from the amazing folks over at the purl bee.
Please note that yes, I did grown up in the eighties when it was perfectly acceptable for girls to wear ties. So, I HAVE been taught how to do it, but my tie-tying skills are a little rusty.
I decided to make this for Peter because he occasionally likes to "dress fancy" for school and the one sad little clip on tie he has is taking a beating. Plus, I thought he should have a 'real' tie. Don't you love how fun this fabric is for little boys? With all those colors he could wear it with any color shirt. Now I just need to round up some penny loafers as he has been asking for those as well. And don't get me wrong, most days he is perfectly fine wearing ripped jeans and the most faded and worn t-shirt he can find.
Maybe now I can try another sewing project without so much drama and debate. I don't allow myself much time for sewing so it feels like such a luxury to me. It's like if you were on a diet and you only allowed yourself one dessert a month - you would spend a lot of time picking just the right one - am I right? Yes, it's sort of like that. I must say, this was a tasty one but it has left me wanting just a few more bites.

Monday, March 1, 2010

out on a limb

In a brief moment of courage (one that has since faded for the most part) I submitted a design for Spoonflower's latest fabric design contest. It is a collaboration between Spoonflower and a company called Boba. They make a selection of baby carriers. The theme was 'nature' (love that) and the design was geared toward babies (some of my favorite people!). They asked that it also coordinate with their company colors. Easy and fun, right? Well, not easy but definitely fun.
They had so many entries that they are doing two rounds of voting. You can check out all the designs and vote here. You can vote for as many as you want so you won't have to go through the agony of choosing just one. There are so many beauties there, oh my gosh. Even one from Betz White , and Cicada Studio (holy smokes what was I thinking?).
It probably seems like I am asking for votes, right? I promise I'm not, I just wanted to share this endevour with you here. I hope if you were going to vote that you would just vote for the one(s) you thought were the best - seriously, folks. seriously.