Thursday, October 22, 2009

Did you see that dress?

Okay I admit I am a huge fan of Glee!, call me weird, I can take it. Last night's episode was wonderful but the highlight for me was the wedding dress that Emma wears in the dress shop. OMG, I loved it. Very Jackie O or Audrey Hepburn. I only have one daughter left to marry, but oh I loved that dress. Its the back I really love and I can't find a good picture of it yet.

I haven't given up, just have to attend to some domestic duties and don't have time to look right now. If you know where to find a better picture of the back, put me out of my misery and let me know.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Just a stitch or two

Not much to say, and since I just proclaimed that I wasn't leaving town anytime soon, my DH decides to make a liar out of me. Headed out of town this weekend. Have several stitching irons in the fire, this is just one. A kit from AS&E. Man do I miss my seamless pleating. Working over the seams has been a bear. I wanted to preconstruct this bishop but since I was going to have to stitch over the visible seams, I couldn't put the neck band on until it was smocked. Rats!

Later faithful reader.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Gives one pause, wearing your passion

First posted by Giggly Mama

Even I have my limits. Now I love all things embroidery as much if not more than the next person, but in my Southern Matriarch world, this is going too far. A tattoo? Really? A tattoo? She has done some cute embroideries but I just can't wrap my head around this. She is probably one of the nicest people you would want to meet, most needleartists are. Maybe the idea will grow on me, or not.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Attaching lace

I have moved on with my OFB gown from convention. I am up attaching lace to the rolled and whipped edge. This will be the ruffle at the bottom of the gown. I will admit that I have been more successful than in the past with this project. As I responded to Robin in the comments, the things I have done differently this time is to use a TINY needle, and to mark the seam allowance on the fabric before I started rolling and whipping. The edge is much more even and doesn't look like a drunk striped the highway. Remember to click on the pics to enlarge. If you look up in the right hand corner of this picture you will see the needle highlighted in reference to the markings on the pinning board. I wasn't kidding when I said tiny, a 12 between.

Some other things that are important to use, a very fine thread. I used Madeira Tanne 80 thread and instead of beeswax, I have had better luck with Thread Heaven. Another secret to my success this time is to pin down the pieces that I am working with to keep them straight and somewhat taut. I by accident discovered this when attaching the entredeux to the yoke piece and it has served me well in attaching the lace. See the above picture. I did not pull the lace, as that would stretch it, but smoothed it out and pinned it down. There is a certain amount of tension applied to the rolled and whipped edge though. I found it easier to run my needle under that roll if it was taut.

Before each stitch I run the point of my needle under the roll before piercing the roll. This has ensured that the needle exits the rolled edge at the TOP of the roll, thus eliminating, or at least minimizing stitches showing on the front. The bane of my existence when it came to French Handsewing in the past.

Do you see those stitches on the front? And it looks like I used knitting yarn to stitch them with. Now admittedly this is a tiny peek at a very early FHS project. But this is not what you are striving for.

Back to the task at hand, here shows the needle exiting the top of the roll and catching the header of the lace. I have pretty much but not slavedly (Is that a word?) followed the whipping stitches made to stitch my rolled edge. Because those stitches are pulled snug, it naturally makes little dimples that my needle falls into when attaching the lace. If I didn't land on each stitch I didn't worry about it.

Here is a closer picture from a slightly different angle to show the needle exiting the top of that roll and catching the lace header. 

There is a method that Jeannie showed us to simultaneously attach the lace while rolling and whipping the edge. It wasn't working for me. I had better results and it seems to be going quicker doing them separately, for me at least.

This is the wrong side of the rolled edge with the lace attached. I almost dare you to find the thread on there. That 80 weight thread just melts into the lace header.

And this is the front edge. Looks a LOT different than that early example. Thank goodness, since that early example is 25 years old. I hope I have gotten better. So yes Jeannie, I am happier; much, much happier.

Eye candy galore

 first posted at Elemental

As you know faithful reader I am not a die hard quilter. I can, but isn't my first go to place. But I LOVE me some eye candy and the Houston International Quilt Festival is overflowing with it I am told. If you want to get a peek into the window of Quilt Market go to Jona's at Stop Staring and Start Sewing, she has done a great job of giving you a tour of the market. So many cute booths.

Friday, October 16, 2009

This is truly magic

Once again a case of blog surfing sickness. It started here,  which led to here. Click on the British flag in the upper left corner. Scroll down the page to the heading "How Its Done", click on Video and you get a whole host of places to travel. Look for Puncetto Valsesiano and it will lead you to this delightful video on YouTube. Prepare a cup of tea, sit back and prepare to mesmerized. At first I thought she was just tying off her thread. Little did I know that is where the magic started.

Happy Birthday to our #1 Girl

Happy Birthday honey! Of course we have to have the obligatory first birthday cake fest. What did I think that teeny bib was going to catch?

See how much your mother loves you? She has been off of bed rest all of 24 hours and gives you a party. Anything for you babe.

Why am I wearing a ::gasp:: dress and who made this lame butterfly cake. Where is He-man and Star Wars? Your mother wants to know who hung those ghastly brown drapes?

Uncle Ed was never that thin again and your brother couldn't help himself. Thirteen, and now you are as I said, on the shady side of THIRTY +, how did that happen?

And we will notice not wearing a mommy made in any of them. Too busy populating the world to sew I guess. Hope you have a wonderful day and know that I am so thankful to be your mom.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Rolling, whipping and a wedding

I am not leaving to go anywhere for a while now. I hope. Quick trip out of town for the wedding of my son's best friend. It was like watching one of my own, (I admit to being a bit misty eyed) they have been best buddies since they were sophomores in high school. Fun, but tiring. The above is not the best picture, but my two youngest kids are sure having a good time. They could take their show on the road I think.

And as always I stitch in the car. I think I get more stitching done there than anywhere else. And since it was a get out the door quick, the closest thing at hand was my bag of convention projects. So I worked on this gown from my class with Jeannie Baumeister. I talked about the class in this post.

My rolling and whipping doesn't look too bad. The is the bottom of the ruffle. It is quite even and straight if I say so myself. I have used Madeira Tanne 80 weight thread and a 12 between needle. In other words a TINY needle. But I prefer that. 


 The sleeve is only gathered the tiniest bit and then attached to the beading that will have ribbon run through it to gather it a bit more.

From the front you can see a few stitches showing but not many. I really had good luck pinning it to my lace shaping board next to one another and stitching it together that way. When I attach the lace to the ruffle I will try to remember to take a picture of it.

Later faithful reader, what are you stitching on? I may have to put this aside to whip out another baby gift.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The precious doll quilt

Not really sure doll quilt is the right name for this. It uses the patterns from Kreations by Karon, which in spirit are miniatures of little girls smocked dresses. Our chapter smocked, embroidered and constructed the quilt to be our convention basket for SAGA convention. We also hold an annual auction every year as our major fundraiser so a second quilt is in progress for that. If you would like raffle tickets for that email me through my profile.

Each block is a different smocked dress. THe little bishop is the dress that I did, I talked about it here as the tiniest smocked bishop. I loved working on it. It is a lawn. I put a tiny bit of tulle in the sleeves so they would puff.

We used lined pique for the blocks themselves. A dream to work on.

The pink pinafore dress above has the teeniest tiniest rick rack trimming the pinafore. So cute. Kudos to the member who worked on that block.

The committee selected fabrics, made up kits and passed out kits at a chapter meeting. As each member completed their block, the committee constructed the quilt top. A chapter member's mom hand quilted it for us. In record time I might add.

I love the basic yoke with the white collar and cuffs. And the sundress is a cutie too. 

This is a great project for a group to work on. Or to recreate some of your favorite garments. Since I bought the first few patterns I notice she has added christening gown patterns. Now how fun would that be!!! As a raffle basket at convention this was very popular. The box was stuffed full of tickets. A member of the Midnight Oil Smockers in the Houston area won it. Lucky girl!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Saga fun continued...long

Lets see if I can get this post up before the power goes off. It is storming like a son of a gun at my house. That picture above is a young friend hard at work during our intensive roll and whip adventure. Enough of that, moving on!

Thursday night is one of the big reasons I love convention. It is Design Show and Show and Share. I love the inspiration to be had. The original ideas that are showcased in the Design Show just always blow my mind. And I love to see what other stitchers have spent their time on that is shown in Show and Share. Both of the items I brought were from last year's convention classes. I am on a mission to finish things.

This year was even more of a surprise and fun, I won Viewer's Choice in Show and Share. Talk about total surprise!!!! I think it is an adorable jacket and bonnet, but certainly wouldn't have chosen it out of all the items there. So another ribbon for my "love me" wall in my sewing room. And this one is a beautiful pink color with long ribbon tails. If you are going to win a prize I want it to be a pretty one.

Friday's class was a short one, a 3 hour class called Itty Bitty Bunnies. Another word for this class is QUICK!

Because I am finished with the smocking already. Now to construct the doll dress. I am not a big doll person. I don't mind them, but it isn't usually my first choice. But this was quick and fun. My Itty Bitty Bunnies are ready to go, hopping along the bunny trail. 

If you do not have a local heirloom, smocking source in your town then Friday afternoon is for you! Market. Some people love to line up outside of market to be the first ones in, I am beyond that. No I am not too good to stand in line, it is because there is not a thing I NEED. Not a thing. I won't sew up all in my sewing room before I go to great stitch-in in the sky but I do love to go. There are vendors from all over. Pattern designers there with new patterns and samples. New fabrics to be seen, buttons, laces and ribbons galore.

Plus you get to see a little glimpse of heaven when a stitching friend lovingly shows you the scissors she bought that were a gift from her recently deceased Dad. When cleaning out his home she gathered all the change she found and it was just enough for a coveted trio set of Dovo scissors in the leather case. Her Daddy was giving her a gift she wouldn't have otherwise bought for herself. Now that will bring a tear to your eye I don't care who you are.

My meager market loot. OFB's new patterns, a length of fabric with matching entredeux, a kit, a couple of packets of lace and two patterns from a young new designer. Many who know me me be shocked to know that there are NO buttons in there. I am a sucker for Old Fashioned Baby's buttons.

Saturday's class was a notebook class with Cindy Foose. If you ever have the opportunity to take a class from Cindy, don't hesitate. You can never take too many. She is a former contributing editor for Creative Needle Magazine, (Insert a moment of silence here, we miss you CN) and an awesome teacher. It was construction techniques for a basic yoke smocked dress. I always feel like my finishing could use some tweeking. Just watching her attach piping to a smocked skirt in 30 seconds (yes you read that right.) is worth the class time. We'll see if I can recreate it on my doll dress.

And if you haven't had enough fun getting together with like minded stitchers, going to market, learning new things then hang on Saturday night is coming with the Annual Banquet. Great time. They install new officers, announce Design Show and Show and Share winners, hand out Artisan certificats and give out RAFFLE BASKETS! OMG to watch hundreds of grown woman make absolute fools of themselves it worth the price of admission. Chapters, groups, shops, teachers and individuals from across the country contribute raffle baskets. This is a huge fundraiser for SAGA every year. Thousands of dollars are raised.

Above is the Delphi Heirloom Sewing and Smocking Forum's basket for this year. For several years now, members have joined together to create a stitcher's paradise in a basket. Silk sewing companions are embroidered and assembled with some scrumptious goodies like those Dovo scissors mentioned above and many many other things to make a very coveted basket. This year's theme was "Stitcher's, Thread Your Needles!" in homage to the Indy 500 since convention was held in Indianapolis this year. The colors of red, black and white were chosen. A silk reticule, sewing hussif, needlecase, scissor hussif, tape measure cover and many more items were made. The results are stunning.

Isn't the embroidery gorgeous? 


Attendees are huddled around the tables bearing these wonderful confections, carefully placing their tickets in the boxes hoping to win. 


This is a horrible picture but you get the idea. This is a friend who was fortunate enough to win the above basket. Can you tell how excited she is?  I have pictures of my chapter's basket I will post tomorrow. It is the doll dress quilt that I have given you peeks at before.

Sunday morning was the last day of classes. I took flower smocking with Nona Pontiff. Nona was a great teacher but dang was that room cold! It was a great choice for a Sunday morning. My sample is coming along nicely. I will post a picture as soon as I get it stitched.


Have I meantioned how glad my kitty is for me to be home? He won't let me out of his sight. And yes that is a gathering thread hanging from his mouth that belongs to the bunny doll dress. Bad kitty. Its hard to stay mad when he won't stop purring.

Now that I have given you a glimpse into the fun of SAGA convention I hope you will consider joining us next year in Norfolk, VA. I am sure it will be just as fun

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

SAGA Convention, the story continues

Ahhh the fun continued. Wednesday and Thursday. I did not take any pre day classes this year at SAGA convention. So the first day of classes for me was Wednesday. For those that don't know or haven't been, at SAGA convention, there are classes each day. Wed., Thur. and Sat. These are 6 hour classes with a long break mid day for luncheon. On Fri. and Sun. are three hour classes. My absolute favorite are two day classes that span both Wed. and Thur. LOVE IT. You don't have to pack up your belongings, you feel like you are able to pace yourself at a more leisurely pace but at the same time also accomplish something. On the flip side of the coin, I am a project person. Not a real fan of classes that involve doing "samples." Just my preference. So my process of class selection is, what is offered as the two day classes and then what are the projects?


I am not letting out any secrets when I say I GRUMBLED about this particular class. It was a French Handsewn Daygown with Jeannie Baumeister of The Old Fashioned Baby. French handsewing involves rolling and whipping the cut edges, roll, whip and gathering, hand stitching the French seam, inserting the entredeux by hand. Did you get all that "by hand" business? Now I LOVE hand embroidery, love it. But I had warned Jeannie in several emails about the amount of grousing she could expect out of me about this rolling and whipping nonsense. I have rolled and whipped in the past but have not been happy with my results. I will admit that this time I was happier. So perseverance does pay off. And a TINY needle. I got an "award" for the most improved attitude.

I can't wait to finish it so I can wash it. Not sure why it looks as discolored as it does. The thread wax does discolor it some but not as much as this picture appears.

This is what I am attempting to achieve. This was Jeannie's sample gown. I have my yoke roll and whipped, and the entredeux 75% attached. Then to inset it into the gown front. We'll see how I make out with it.

Another technique that will be used on the gown is a gathering technique called snail shirring. It is relatively quick and very simple to do. This was just my quick sample on a scrap. It is fun.

One of the wonderful things about attending something like this is the inspiration that you get from the other stitchers as well as the teachers. Jeannie has a wonderful gown "in progress" from back in the 30's. I promised I wouldn't post any of those pictures of that gown. Jeannie wants to adapt a design from it. So out of respect for her I won't do that. But the above pic is just a teeny peek at the edge of an eyelet that was on another piece by the same embroideress of the 30's. That is a handmade eyelet! Isn't it amazing?

She did say I could post a picture of the bag! LOL

At almost all of the meals during convention are little table favors. Now we already know what a sucker I am for table favors. So at lunch on Wednesday was a tissue case trimmed with pearls and a skein of floss. Considering how stinking cold that building was the tissues came in handy.

Wednesday night we went out to dinner and I discovered my new favorite cocktail. I have been a Grey Goose Cosmo gal for years, but that all changed in the blink of an eye as soon as I had this delectable little treat. A watermelon martini!!!!!!!! OH MY GOSH! I have said a hundred times it was like drinking a melted watermelon Jolly Rancher.  It may be said that I probably embarassed myself licking the edge of the glass to get every bit of heavenly goodness. We ended the night, laughing, cutting up, stitching and staying up way too late.

I'll be back tomorrow with the next installment of how to have more fun than the law should allow.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Home again, home again jiggety jag

Whew!!!!!!!!!! That about says it all in one word. Had a great time, even though I felt way behind before I even left. Just not enough hours in the day. I got home last night from SAGA convention. It was a blast as always. It will take me a couple of days to chronicle this oversized stitching slumber party as it deserves, so bear with me. If you have never been to a stitching "gathering" whether it is a class given by a shop in your town, workshop hosted by your local SAGA, EGA, ANG or ASG, or a large convention such as this, I encourage you to do so. I frantically left home after our local SAGA chapter meeting the night before, slung my belongings together and drove to Indianapolis. I was met at the front door of the hotel by three friends. They were there before the bellman had my carp out of the car. It might be friends you only see once a year, but oh the fun you will have.

My intentions were good to take photos and blog every day while I was there. Well you already know that didn't happen. I was too busy laughing with my friends, running my mouth, eating out, having impromptu show and shares to find my "round tuit."  BUT, I thought of it everyday; does that count?

The first evening there we helped set up all of these for the Wee Care Display. The dress stands look much better dressed. It is really remarkable the awesome gowns some of our members lovingly make. Some are very basic and others are quite elaborate but all are beautiful.

There was a welcome reception of finger foods and saying "Hey" to everyone you hadn't already seen and listening to a few words by one of our long time members about the beginnings of SAGA 30 years ago. It was SAGA's  "Pearl" anniversary this year.

Then it was onto dinner with about 10 of us. It began a week of laughter, friendship and comraderie. Then back to the room for the first of many show and shares. You have to bring goodies to share with one another. It is how we are inspired. We assembled Wee Care bonnet kits to give out in the hospitality room.

 I also passed out the ear plugs. Just in case you have a noisy room mate. Thankfully none of us were that way, but just in case. The girls I hung out with had two rooms next door to one another. We just flung the bar into the door and traveled back and forth between the two in our pj's. There may have been some chocolate and liquid refreshment on occasion. MIght have been, not real sure.

We giggled like school girls, caught up on everyone's lives, gathered our supplies for class the next day and got to bed way toooooooo late.

Stayed tuned for the next installment.
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