Category Archives: Projects by Craft Type

WIP Wednesday: Helix Nebula #4 & Colorwash Quilt

When this post publishes, I’m going to be sitting in the Portland airport on my way to Toronto, Ontario, to celebrate my birthday with my mom. But before I left, I wanted to post an update on the Helix Nebula cross stitch.

920-helix-nebula

I’m working on page 3 of 12, and you can see how close I’m coming to the far right edge! It’s actually starting to look like something now. I am going to clean up the pattern and plan to release it on Etsy and Craftsy soon.

And here’s what my quilting and sewing space looks like this morning. I finished piecing the top of the cat quilt. I’m waiting for a chance to borrow my mother-in-law’s nice big kitchen floor for an afternoon to baste it together for quilting. In the meantime I started on this Colorwash quilt kit from Craftsy.

920workspace-cutting-table

The cutting instructions leave a lot to be desired, so thank goodness there was enough extra fabric in the kit to recut pieces (and by the way, pattern designers, would it kill you to take ten seconds to put a scale on your printable pattern pieces so I can check that the printer actually printed your templates correctly?) So that setback was kind of incredibly frustrating, but I’ll live.

What are you working on today?

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Filed under WIP Wednesdays, Cross Stitch, Sewing/Quilts

Tutorial: Precision Applique Technique

I learned a lot from my flag-making journey these past few weeks, figuring out how to cut nylon without egregious fraying and also making up my own technique for appliqueing with nylon. I honestly made it up as I went along, which also entailed removing and redoing about two days’ worth of work. So that future flag-makers won’t have the same problem, I humbly present to you my guide to applique for nylon flags.

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Finished Project: Fun with Flags

When I’m not doing something with needle and thread, my other hobby is creative writing. Like everybody else it seems, I am writing a novel. It’s set in an alternate universe, which meshes very well with my spouse’s hobby of designing flags. He’s been begging me for a while to make the flag of Arcadia, the country where my book is set, and I finally did it!

photograph of green, blue, and white flag with eight four-pointed stars arranged in a circle in the center

The flag is 3 feet tall by 5.5 feet wide (about .9 by 1.7 meters) and made entirely of nylon. The stars are appliqued onto the background fabric (a tutorial on that is coming later).

a close view of four of the stars on the flag

I must say that working with nylon is a pain in the butt. I couldn’t cut a good straight line with a rotary cutter, both because of the size of the pieces and because this fabric frays when you just look at it. I read a lot of different opinions on how to cut synthetic fabrics, and ultimately went with using a soldering iron. It melts through the fabric, so you get a clean, finished edge. You need a heat-proof cutting surface and rulers for this to work. I cut it on a concrete garage floor with a metal yardstick. Ventilation is also extremely important, because it smells as good as you would imagine melting, burning plastic to smell.

The sewing was also a challenge, because the fabric is very slippery and won’t hold a crease. Pinning was right out, so I ended up gluing each seam down with a washable glue stick before sewing (but you have to let it dry, or else explain to the sewing machine repair shop why there are blobs of glue inside your sewing machine).

I didn’t want to spring for a grommet setting device, so right now there isn’t a way to hang it from a flagpole. I just hung it on the wall behind my sewing table with some binder clips.

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Filed under 2017, Finished Projects, Sewing

WIP Wednesday: Helix Nebula #3 & Cat Quilt

It’s been two months since the last Helix Nebula stitch update. I haven’t finished the second page of the pattern yet, but not for lack of trying.

photo of partially completed cross stitch of the Helix Nebula

I’ve also been trying to finish the quilt top for my cat-block quilt. I have to finish it so that I can put the big ironing board away and we can get our living room back.

photo of quilt blocks shaped like cats on ironing board

completed cat-shaped quilt blocks pinned on design wall

I have three (of six) rows sewn with sashing. Today I don’t have classes or any pressing homework, so my goal is to finish the rows and (maybe?) start sewing them together.

(Cat-block pattern is from here.)

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Filed under Cross Stitch, Sewing/Quilts, WIP Wednesdays

Couchside sewing caddy

I put a lot of pins and needles in our couch’s armrest, and it doesn’t seem fair to the poor thing. We do celebrate its birthday, after all, and it is just rude to be poking it all the time. So I made a little pincushion and sewing caddy to keep all my sewing and cross stitching supplies in one place, and out of the cushions.

A photograph of a sewing caddy with pockets and a pincushion hanging over the arm of a couch. There are pins stuck in the pincushion, and a pair of scissors and pens in the pockets.

a photo of a quilted sewing caddy with a pincushion and pockets. Inside the pockets are embroidery thread, small scissors, and pens.

I roughly followed this tutorial that I found on a blog called During Quiet Time, with some extra inspiration from Poppyprint’s rendition of this armrest pincushion.

The thing I like most about this is the big pocket for holding bags of embroidery floss while I cross stitch. No more will they be strewn all over the table next to the couch!

Pictures of the work in progress, and notes on what I changed from the original tutorial, are under the cut.

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Filed under 2017, Finished Projects, Sewing, Sewing/Quilts, Tutorials

WIP Wednesday: Helix Nebula #2

With just a week left in #30for30crafting, it looks like I am going to meet my goal of finishing the first page of my Helix Nebula cross stitch.

nebula-2

Incidentally, it is nigh impossible to photograph this thing because of how much black is in it. Unless the light is just right, it looks like a big dark blob.

nebula-1

But I’ve only got a few big sections and all those scattered stitches left to go to finish up the first page! At the current rate, I could probably finish the entire thing in less than a year. Even though it’s as large as the X-Files project, because there’s so many different colors and shapes, so it keeps it interesting.

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WIP Wednesday: Helix Nebula #1

Happy Wednesday everyone! I know it’s been a long time since I last did a work-in-progress Wednesday post, but I’ve started a big new project and I’m gearing up for May’s #30for30crafting challenge, so I thought today would be a good day to start posting my WIPs again!

Introducing my latest cross stitch project, the Helix Nebula:

picture of white fabric in an embroidery hoop, partially covered in cross stitch

This is just (part) of page one (out of 12).
picture of a cross stitch pattern with completed sections marked wiht blue highlighter

The finished piece is going to be as big as my X-Files cross stitch, 270 stitches tall and 234 stitches wide on 18 count Aida (that’s 63,180 total stitches). It uses a lot of colors. Not sure exactly how many but this is my box with threads just for the project (and there’s about 6 more that I have out on my worktable and not in the box):

a cardboard shoe box full of small plastic zip-top baggies with embroidery thread

The pattern is self-made, based on this image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX).

composite image of the Helix Nebula

As you can see, I’m still working on the outer edges and haven’t made it to the nebula yet. Here’s a close up.

N4LRG

Lots of confetti stitches!

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Finished Project: Water is Life

Happy Friday everyone, I’m back with another politically-minded embroidery project.

A photo of an embroidery hoop on a green background. The words "water is life" are embroidered in blue and surrounded by concentric circles embroidered in various shades of blue.

This one is done with three strands of floss in different shades of blue on what I think is cotton (it’s a random fabric from my stash). I intended the concentric circles to represent ripples on the surface of water. I also learned that I can’t freehand draw very even circles.

The finished hoop is available for purchase in my Etsy store. If you like this project, consider donating to Earthworks or Charity:Water, which both work to provide clean and safe drinking water to people throughout the world.

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Filed under 2017, Embroidery, Finished Projects

No Ban No Wall Embroidery Hoop

Following up on my No Ban No Wall cross stitch pattern from a while back, I decided to get back into freeform embroidery and make something similar. I stitched this on some loose-woven linen from my fabric stash with cotton embroidery floss.

picture of wooden embroidery hoop with embroidered brick pattern and the words "no ban no wall"There’s nothing quite like stabbing something a bunch of times to sublimate rage at the state of the world. I stitched this in late February, mostly while watching old (pre-election) episodes of Last Week Tonight. Who knew I would have nostalgia for the summer of 2016?

This completed hoop is available in my Etsy shop.

 

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Filed under 2017, Embroidery, Finished Projects

Kitty Committee Continued: Orange Tabby

I finished another installment in my Kitty Committee series: the orange tabby. I’m not quite as happy with the colors on the orange tabby as I was with the other kitties, but it’s still pretty cute.

a cross stitched hoop showing an orange striped tabby cat

This orange kitty is available in my Etsy shop as a completed hoop and as a DIY pattern.

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Filed under 2017, Cross Stitch, Finished Projects