Monday, October 30, 2017

It's Time For October WIPocalypse!

So I was looking for something in the closet in my craft room and guess what. I found a WIP, all kitted up and started! I have no idea when I started this or why I stopped stitching it. I do like it though, and it's perfect for this time of year.
It's "Be Ye Thankful" by The Cricket Collection. When I unearthed it, only one side of the house had any stitching on it. I added a few more stitches the other night. Yes, this is going into the WIP pile!

At Stitch Day this month, I worked on "Scaredy Cats" by Mill Hill. How optimistic I was that I would have this done by Halloween. Ha ha ha. Oh well, one can dream.
I'm a stitcher who doesn't mind stitching Halloween things in February and Christmas things in June. I'll keep up the stitching on this for Halloween 2018!

I also put a few stitches into "Christmas Sentiments" by Stoney Creek.
Now that I have all of the threads for this, I can keep going.

Finally, I have an almost-finish!
It's "Snow Much Fun At The North Pole" by Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery, and can be found in the 2017 JCS Christmas issue. A few more stitches and I'll be ready to do some finishing. The fabric is pale blue, but looks white in this photo.

And that's what I worked on this month. All of my other projects fell by the wayside temporarily. That's ok. They'll get back into the rotation.

Question of the month: How did you begin stitching? I got interested in needlework at a young age when my mom taught me how to embroider, mostly things like pillowcases. Then I found embroidery and crewel kits. When cross stitch started becoming popular, I jumped on the bandwagon and haven't jumped off!

I'm posting this as part of the WIPocalypse, a WIP rotation SAL hosted by Measi's Musings blog.
I just saw that the WIPocalypse will happen again in 2018, so if you want a little push to get working on those WIPs, you might want to consider joining. Click the link to find out more!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Pinterest Project - Project Bags!

Since I joined Flosstube, I noticed how popular project bags are. Stitchers are either making them or buying them. One stitcher said that she uses dollar store zipper bags for most of her projects, but wants a few pretty ones "just because". I get that.

I've made small zip bags in the past, more of a size for accessories.
These were fun to make, and they turned out really well. One thing that bothered to perfectionist seamstress in me were the unfinished edges inside. I knew that there was a neater alternative out there somewhere.

So I set out to find a tutorial for a pretty, lined project bag that was fairly easy to make. First I found The Twisted Stitcher's tutorial for a project envelope. I like the way this one looks. Instead of the zipper, this one closes with a flap. I must have been in a pink mode when I went to Joann's for the fabric for this.
This was so easy to make thanks to Vonna's instructions. She doesn't leave anything out, showing the viewer all of the steps used in making this envelope. I really like using the fusible fleece which gives the envelope body.
And on the inside, more pink. Ha ha ha. But look at how nicely everything is finished. No raw edges or fraying threads. I even made the pattern for this out of poster board so that I can make more of these. And I did make another one!
I absolutely will be making more of these. They are very easy to make and you don't have to be an expert seamstress to put these together!

Let's move on to zip bags. "Whitney Sews" is a Youtube channel that has a lot of fun and useful sewing ideas. Whitney's video tutorial for an "Easiest Lined Zipper Bag" is quick, but clear. She solves the problem of unfinished raw edges inside the bag by using French seams on the side seams. This is actually a great idea. My mistake when making this bag was using super-heavy interfacing. The tutorial instructions don't say anything about using interfacing, but I do like the bag to hold its shape. However, I should have used a lightweight interfacing to avoid bulk in the seams.
And wow, did that heavy interfacing create a LOT of bulk in the seams. I also cut the fabric to a weird size resulting in an odd-shaped bag. But that's all right. I can use this one for smaller projects. No problem.
Yes, I would definitely use this technique again, but of course with lighter interfacing. So if you want to sew an easy, uncomplicated bag, check out Whitney's video.

OK, now for something slightly more complicated. Averyclaire Needlearts has an online tutorial for a zippered project bag which looked promising. Then a fellow Flosstuber, Lisa, AKA Kindred Stitcher, went one step further and showed us how to make this particular bag in a video! You can find her video HERE. I'll admit that I had some problems with this project despite the clear instructions and Lisa's step-by-step video. First of all, I had trouble sewing the zipper in because it wasn't visible during the sewing process. That resulted in my sewing line getting too close to the zipper teeth in some places. Also, when I made my top stitch line by the zipper, I didn't catch the lining material. Both of these errors caused the zipper to get stuck because both the main fabric and the lining fabric kept catching in the zipper. Ugh. Definitely user error.
Cute, but yes, stuck in the closed position.
My sewing machine also balked at sewing through so many layers of fabric and interfacing at the top (the side seam above the zipper). It pretty much said, "uh-uh, not doing that". And my machine isn't particularly wimpy. I finally got a seam sewed up there, but it wasn't easy and it definitely wasn't pretty. So I had to put my problem solving skills into play and figure out a fix to this mess. Right now I'm in the process of removing all of the top stitching by the zipper and removing some of the stitching where the zipper is sewed in to close to the teeth. My plan is to restitch it and see what happens. I'll let you know in a future post.

Would I use these instructions again? I don't know. I definitely like the detail of this bag in that NO raw edges show on the inside! None. Now that I'm aware of the sewing-too-close-to-the-zipper-teeth problem, I can be more careful with that. But I don't know how I can get my sewing machine to neatly go through all of those layers.

And that, my friendly readers, is my project bag review. I have to admit that I did have fun making these and learned by making some goofy mistakes. How about you? Do you feel like getting crafty and making your very own project bag? I've provided several different options for you, all of them good. Which one do you think you'll make? Let me know if you do!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Some Sad News

We lost our sweet little Cosmo cat last Thursday. When he was diagnosed with cancer last November, we had no way of knowing how much longer he had to live. His life since then had been pretty good despite the diagnosis. He still ate, drank out of the faucet (his favorite), sat on laps, and trotted for treats. Then about two weeks ago, we noticed a decline. And last Wednesday, a further decline told us it was time to see the vet. After a long talk with her, we came to the decision that all pet owners dread. He lived a long, happy life and that is what we will be glad for. We'll have many happy memories. Even so, it's just a sad time. Thanks for listening.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Stitching Update

I've been happily stitching away lately, and I'm here to show you my progress. The amazing thing for me is that I have a finish and two starts since I last posted.

First of all, the finish. It's Joyful World November by The Snowflower Diaries.
I'm very happy with this finish because: a) I actually finished something, and b) It's stitched in time for the appropriate month! Yay! I continue to enjoy stitching these, but I think that I need to use some different color fabrics for some of these. I was determined to use the 25 count linen that I have a ton of, but the white stitches are extremely difficult to do on it. I can see the white flower outlines and snowflakes in this photo, but in real life they barely show up. So which one do I, as a slow stitcher, do next? March? April?

Scaredy Cats by Mill Hill is coming along nicely.
This picture was taken at stitch day for my group, The Sisters In Stitches. I worked on Scaredy Cats exclusively last Saturday, and got a lot done.

So for the starts. I started "Christmas Sentiments" by Stoney Creek last week.
I'm stitching it on 28 count lugana in the color lambswool. This is the fabric color that it calls for. Now for this one, I'm really happy with the way the white is showing up on the fabric. Plus, the white thread is #8 pearl cotton. Love it. You can see I've barely started, but I know I'm going to like stitching this one.

My next start is "Snow Much Fun At The North Pole" by The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. The chart can be found in the 2017 JCS ornament issue. I'm stitching it as part of a SAL in the Facebook group Candy Cane Stitchers.
I just started this one last night. The fabric is 28 count pale blue linen that I had in my fabric stash. I think it was in one of those ornament fabric packs that you can buy so I don't know the exact fabric name or color name. 

So I've been making some pretty good stitching progress. Yes, I do have some projects that I haven't touched for a few weeks, but I'll be picking those up again soon.

Also, Victorian Motto Sampler Shop blog is having an awesome giveaway! You can find out the details HERE!

Thanks for visiting! I can also be found on Youtube, where my channel is CraftyCat Stitcher. On Instagram, I'm craftycat_stitcher. Check back soon. I hope to have a Pinterest attempt post up in the next week. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

September WIPocalypse!

I'm here! I'm here! September proved to be a weird month in many ways, and thankfully it's over. I did get a bit of stitching done and moved through my stitching rotation pretty well!

This is the September installment my WIPocalypse progress. WIPocalypse is a blogging community group which encourages rotating our WIPs in an efficient and enjoyable way. You can find out more about it on the Measi's Musings blog.

I did a little more stitching on Rainbow Row. I think the thing that amazes me most is the ease with which I'm stitching on 32 count fabric! It's two over two, but I always thought that 32 count was too small for my eyes. Nope. I like it a lot and will use 32 more in the future.
It's starting to take shape, with the perspective of the tree in front of the building. I've made the decision to stitch one page at a time, and that includes all of the backstitching. That will give me a sense of completion as I work on this big project.

My little Halloween/fall project, Mill Hill's Scaredy Cats, had some stitches added to it.
Awww, aren't they cute? Working on this one slowly but surely. The beads will be last, and I am looking forward to adding those! I like having this project in the rotation because it's such a change from anything else I'm working on.

A few more stitches went into "The Light Upon The Lawn" by Blackbird Designs.
I'm stitching this on the fabric that I dyed with tea and coffee, and baked and basted. When I originally started it, I was stitching 2 over 2. But I quickly figured out that the stitches looked weird, kind of big and just strange. So I converted to 1 over 1 and like it a lot better! I love the colors in this.

My November Joyful World (Snowflower Diaries) is coming along nicely. I really want to complete this by November! Do you think I can?
I am pretty sure that it will be done in time to display in November. I like these monthly designs, and am happy with my method of stitching these - not in month order. This will be my "priority stitch" in October.

Goals for October: Definitely make "November" a priority, with the rest of my WIPs taking their turn. I plan to add at least one new project. I've joined a SAL on Facebook in which we choose an ornament from the JCS 2017 ornament issue. The FB group where more info can be found is Candy Cane Stitchers. What a great SAL for a slow stitcher like me! I also may start another Christmas project, but we'll have to see if that happens.

Question of the month: Which floss (or color of floss) do you adore and want to stash constantly? I am a big fan of DMC. I have most of the colors and just enjoy stitching with them. Another favorite is Gentle Art Sampler Threads. I have a pretty good collection of them, but definitely not all. They're wonderful to stitch with, and the colors are gorgeous.

I may be late posting to this group each month, but I am truly enjoying being here. It's very motivational and encourages me not to get "stuck" on a particular project. Plus I like seeing what everyone else is stitching!

Thanks for visiting today! 

Monday, September 4, 2017

August WIPocalypse - I Know, I Know

Soooooo, I was just going about my business last Friday. It was actually both a fun and productive day. At some point in the evening I looked at my watch and saw the number "1" in the little date box. I am not kidding. This is when I realized that it was September. And on top of that, it hit me that I forgot the August WIPocalypse last week!

Better late than never, right? For those of you who aren't familiar with the WIPocalypse, please go to the Measi's Musings blog to find out about it. Today I'll update you on my stitching progress during the month of August.

I'll tell you right off that I didn't work on Rainbow Row or Joyful World November calendar piece at all. I won't even post photos of those this month. I plan to bring both of those to the front of the stitching line during September.

I continued to work on Tulip's Praise, and bought a new gadget to make stitching this one easier.
Yes, I bought a Rolaframe after hearing how wonderful they are. I had resisted because I'd tried roller frames in the past and ended up with my stitching loosening little by little. I was also not a fan because they tended to be awkward and a little heavy which wasn't good for my oh-so-delicate wrists. However, I am really liking the Rolaframe!! I purchased the 7" side bars and 20" roller bars. It was easy to load the fabric, especially after I watched The Twisted Stitcher's video showing the how-to's of loading fabric onto the Rolaframe. To find out more about Rolaframe, visit their page on Facebook.

I started a new project last month as well.
I had attempted to start this Mill Hill kit a couple of years ago at a stitch retreat. But then I took one look at those two bags of mixed-up beads and was immediately intimidated. So the project, Scaredy Cats, was put away until a few weeks ago. One of my Sisters In Stitches, Thea, gave our group a great idea about separating the beads to make it easier to stitch these projects.
I think I showed you this idea in a previous post, but it is worth repeating! First you have to take the time to sort the beads. I did this while watching a movie, and used my beading tray and mat. Then you group the sorted beads onto your Tacky Bob and put the symbols by each corresponding bead. I just drew mine and cut them out. Cool idea, right? I will do all of the stitching first, and then do the beading.

Another start for me was "The Light Upon The Lawn" by Blackbird Designs.
As you can see, very little has been stitched so far. I'm stitching it on the fabric that I dyed using coffee and tea. 

And here's big finish for me! I completed "But First Tea" by Zindagi Designs on Etsy.
The frame is an old trivet. It had a ceramic tile with a weird 1970's design in it, but Mark easily got rid of that. The stitched piece has to be inserted into the "frame" from the front, so it was kind of tricky. I used the thin Terrifically Tacky Tape to keep it in there. Will this fall out at some point? I don't know, but it was worth a try. I love this finish and will find it a place of honor in my kitchen.

Question of the month: How do you get yourself out of a stitching drought?
This is easy. I watch Flosstube videos, go to the stitching pages I joined on Facebook, and read stitching blogs! Without fail, I always get inspired by doing these things. Warning! These inspiring places can also be enabling!

By the way, both the "I love cross stitch" and the Munsters needle minders are from the SandbarMermadeShop on Etsy. Take a look! Besides needle minders, Sarah makes scissor fobs and earrings.

Well, that's about it for this month. Looking back, I really have made some good stitching progress! Please consider visiting me on Flosstube where my channel is CraftyCat Stitcher. I have also caved and joined Instagram. You can find me there at craftycat_stitcher.

Thanks for visiting today. I welcome and enjoy comments. Also, welcome to my new subscribers!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Pinterest Adventures Are Back!

You probably noticed that I took a bit of a break from my Pinterest attempts. I decided to start them back up this month, but I may not be doing them on a monthly basis. It'll most likely be a random thing. But still fun!

My latest Pinterest-inspired project is "Make Your Own Basket Out Of A Box". Yep, sounds crazy, but it did look cute in the photo. The instructions seemed fairly simple, so I gave it a go. You can find the original instructions HERE.

All you need for this project is: a cardboard box (whatever size you want), some fabric, some twine or rope, and hot glue. The most difficult thing to find was the rope. I finally found some at Wal-Mart, and it looks pretty much like the rope that is used in the instructions.
This twine-like rope was pretty stiff, and gluing it on turned out to be a pretty time-consuming task. It was easy going along the sides of the box, but turning the corners took a bit of work. Each time I turned a corner, I had to hold the rope on both sides of the corner until I was sure that it was firmly stuck on.
I just ran a line of glue where I wanted the rope to stick. I started at the bottom and worked my way up to a point where I thought the fabric should cover it. Plus, a LOT of hot glue was used. I only burned myself once. But I was happy with the final result of this first step.

Next I cut the box flaps off. You can do this before you start gluing the rope, but I was too lazy.

Now it's time to cut the fabric. Here is where I deviated from the instructions. I'm not a fan of hot gluing fabric because I've never been able to do it where it looks good. So I thought that just folding the fabric over the sides of the box would be good enough. I cut the fabric as follows: the height of the box + the measurement of the outside fold-over that you want + 1" + about 3" to go on the bottom of the box. The one inch is to fold under so that you have a clean edge on the edge of the fabric. That's for the height of the fabric. For the length (that will wrap around the box), simply measure around the outside of the box and add 1-1/4".

I sewed a seam on the short side with right sides together (1/2" seam) and then I ironed a 1" fold-over on one of the long edges. It was time to put the fabric on the box! See how I folded the fabric over the rope edge? That 1" fold is on the bottom. I didn't take a picture of the inside of the box at this time, and I should have. If I did though, you would see the extra 3" laying on the bottom of the box. Messy looking, you say? Nope.
I cut a piece of cardboard the dimensions of the inside of the box. Test it out to make sure it fits before you cover with fabric. I fastened the fabric to the wrong side of the cardboard with double stick tape. You won't see this side.
Then I inserted the cardboard piece into the bottom of the box. Presto! You don't see those messy looking fabric edges laying on the bottom of the box!
I didn't glue the covered cardboard piece to the bottom of the box, but if you want to do that, go ahead. The original instructions don't do this step at all, but I wanted a nice, finished look inside the box.
So there it is. Useful for so many things.

Would I do this project again? Yes, but I think I would look for a rope-type material that is more flexible, resulting in easier-to-turn corners. Maybe something like cotton clothesline would work and look good too? I guess I need to look in more places for something like this. But the result is cute and useful at the same time. Plus it's inexpensive to make. Depending on the size of the box, not much fabric is needed. It's a great time to use those remnants!

Hot glue is, well, hot. Take the Martha Stewart advice and keep a bowl of ice water at hand and stick your finger in there if you burn yourself. 

I hope you liked this demonstration. Check out the original instructions from Living Well Mom by clicking the link HERE and decide on the steps you'd like to use to make a fun and functional basket!

Thanks for visiting today! Any comments are welcome, and please consider becoming a follower of my blog. Welcome to my new followers! Also, remember that I'm on Flosstube on Youtube. My channel's name is CraftyCat Stitcher. Go over there and take a look! See you soon!