Sunday, February 27, 2011


first posted by flossbox

You already know what I am thinking.........
"I love me some turkey work!"
Just look at that sweet squirrel's tail! Stumpwork with turkey work included. Heaven for me! Flossbox always has something beautiful to admire.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

To get you in the mood

Not THAT mood! The bead throwin', king cake eatin', hurricane sippin', party before we fast mood!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Still stitchin'

The little pink basic yoke from here is completely smocked. Now I have this little bishop almost smocked. Just a couple more rows and some accent stitches. I planned to do all the hand work first on my current to-do pile and then do all of the construction at one time. This little bishop is the Children's Corner Bishop I have used several times, made from poly/cotton Skip Dent available at BessieMary and smocked with overdyed flosses. The overdyed flosses from Needle Necessities are no longer available, I have hoarded them for quite some time. I decided there is no sense in them dry rotting in the bin, might as well use them. It is an aqua overdyed and a pink overdyed. The smocking plate is Woodland Fairy from AS&E Issue # 49. Another baby gift almost complete. Two more to go.

Parting shot:

Someone was much happier today. In the past week she has become much more active. Look out. She is wearing a daygown that was posted here. I made this daygown with a newborn's layette in mind. It just now fits! She is 7 and a half months old and 20#. I'm thinking the sizing on this one missed the mark. The sleeves are three quarter on her but it fits in the neck and chest perfectly. It just wasn't meant to be newborn sized. I wasn't a big fan of the gown out the duck pique when I first made it. It was too much duck. But on a 7 month old, the duckiness of it looks cute. Some things just need to wait for their day.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Busy Stitching, How 'Bout You?

I have been busier than a one armed paper hanger! Or so they say. I have never met a one armed paper hanger, so I have no idea how busy he would be. If he is as busy as I have been the past few days, he's busy! Since Saturday, I have pre-constructed three bishops, cut out one pleated romper and one newborn basic yoke with slip. I have pleated two of the bishops as well as pleated the basic yoke. The embroidery on the yoke and slip is complete and as you see above, I have the smocking on the basic yoke 98% complete. All it lacks are seven little rosebuds. There has been a population boom lately. I have lots of baby gifts to complete quickly so I can get back to Princess's summer wardrobe.

In addition to all of that sewing room work, I had dinner with a friend and her husband on Saturday night.


This friend! You may recognize her as Bessie Mary. I forgot my camera Saturday, so I am blatantly admitting right here that I STOLE her picture right off her blog!! She's going to shoot me. :) But she has already left town so she can't smack me in person. We had a great time over dinner. I just wish we had had longer to sit and visit. She and her husband were traveling through town and we grabbed the chance to get together. Take it from me, she looks great! It was wonderful to get a chance to hug her neck.


I also had dinner with 3/4 of my children and a couple of significant others on Sunday after church. So I got to see this little "Miss Crabbypants" as her mommy sadly called her. She was feeling kind of puny. That second tooth was giving her fits and consequently giving everyone else fits as well. She looks kind of pitiful, I don't think she even realizes her ear is folded in half. She was in quite a good mood on Saturday though.

She's got her party on! Mommy said she had a ball at the photographer's playing with all of those beads.

So I am smocking like a madman for National Smocking Month. What are you smocking? I am off to stitch those little rosebuds while I watch a little TV. Keep stitching faithful reader.

NOTE: Janie asked if I prewash my fabrics. How loudly can I say YES!!!!!!!! All if takes is having one garment shrink to almost unwearable after spending many, many hours stitching. I was making a First Communion dress for my Goddaughter out of Swiss batiste. Against my better judgement I didn't prewash the fabric. It shrank FOUR INCHES after it was completed. I am not even 100% sure she wore it. I was sick. Of course I finished the dress four days before the event. So there was no time nor $$$ to redo it in time. So yes I always prewash fabrics in warm/hot water and throw it in the dryer.

Janie also asked if I mix fabric contents in the same project. I have on occasion but don't usually. As stated above I preshrink all my fabrics so if I do mix them, uneven shrinkage is not usually an issue. The main reason I wouldn't is to keep that care of the entire garment the same. But if all I have on hand is a different fiber content and it is perfect for the job, I will use it.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Got Questions?

It is that time again. Time to answer the questions that have piled up in the comments. I choose to answer them here for many reasons.
  1. If you are like me, you have forgotten what post you asked the question under and therefore don't know where to go back and see if the blogger answered there.
  2. Also, if one person has asked a question, then several others had the same question but didn't ask.
  3. There are lots of visitors/commenters that don't have a blogger profile link to be able to contact the person who asked.
  4. Last reason is, I often get questions emailed to me.
  • Aunt Honey asked about the cover on my pleater in this picture from this post. My father is a woodworker and made that for me. He let me know he would never be making another because those angles on the top were a boogabear to do. It is much prettier in person. I can tell from this picture it needs to be oiled.
  • Sara, tongue in cheek I think, asked where she could sign up for my "village" also in the post mentioned above. Not telling for for anything! No, just kidding. To be honest. I asked. My daughter had expressed a desire for more bishops than I could produce last fall when I was feverishly working on the baby's christening gown. So I humbly asked a couple of friends. They came through in spades and have continued to do so. If you need a village. Just ask around. Sewing friends are the best.
  • Lisa asked if I pre-wash my embroidery threads. No, I do not. The only exception to that is if I am using overdyed flosses in a really strong color. Like reds. Other than that I do not. Mass manufacturers USUALLY treat their threads to make them colorfast. Now if you are using floss that you inherited from Great Aunt Myra who died in 1960, I would test them before I used them. Wet the floss and let air dry on a white towel or white paper towel. If you see color bleed, set your color with either a hot water and vinegar mix or I have heard salt. I have never used the salt method. I have used the vinegar. My preferred suggestion would be to put Aunt Myra's floss in a pretty glass jar and set it on a shelf in your sewing room to admire and buy new for your project. It is a small investment and worth not having the worry.
  • I was asked by both Val and birdymommy, if I made the cute bunnies in this post.  No, I did not. I just stumbled across them surfing google images one day. I couldn't even find the blog where they were originally posted.
  • Lois asked if I had ever done a tutorial on the madiera applique featured on the above Wee Care gown in this post. Yes Lois I did, you can find it here.
  • Roxann asked where I got the buttons for the jacket in this post. Since this was a class project, the buttons came in the kit. But Gail did tell us that she has gotten them from Hancock's and Joann's I believe. They are by JHB. I have been able to find every color but the yellow. You can also contact Gail Doane through her blog Lulu and Annie through her etsy shop here.
  • Finally ztasewer asked if I ever sleep. Yes I do, what I don't do is cook, clean or do laundry. Now of course that is not 100% true but it is much more true than my husband would like. And when the mojo is on, you have to run with it. Once the mojo leaves, a vast howling wind can blow through sewing room for months. It's on, I'm going with it.
There are sometimes specific techniques from certain teachers that I have been asked to do a tutorial on. Out of respect to those teachers, I have not done so. There have been a couple of instances that a teacher has specifically asked me not to feature a tutorial on a technique. If there is a technique you would like to see done as a tutorial, don't hesitate to ask. If it is a standard practice I would be happy to develop one to share. Otherwise I would have to contact that teacher and ask their permission. We all want to help one another increase our skills. At the same time, teaching is the bread and butter for some and I don't want to take away from them.

Thanks as always, faithful reader, for your comments and questions. I thrive on them. Thank you too for your kind comments about the most beautiful baby in the world. At least our world.

And because I can

Friday, February 18, 2011

Let the Good Times Roll!

Or as my mother would have said it, "Laissez les bons temps rouler!" It is Mardi Gras season. FYI: Mardi Gras season officially started January 6th with Epiphany or King's Day. In Mobile parades started the first weekend in February. In New Orleans, parades start tomorrow. So get your party hats on, get your Hurricane mixes ready, have your moon pies ready to toss, it is time to party!

Our baby may have a tooth but she is not quite ready for moon pies. She does need a new frock for her first Mardi Gras.

Won't she be cute? The fabrics are apple green lined pique from Farmhouse Fabrics and grape pima cotton gingham from Bessie Mary.

The pattern is Lucy by Children's Corner. I used a size 12 months but I did shorten it about an inch and a half to add the ruffle. Mom wanted it to hit above her knees. The bloomers are also a Children's Corner pattern. Frannie Baby. They are nice and full with a wide enough crotch to accomodate a cloth diaper.

The applique came from Planet Applique. It was a challenge to find a design that was Mardi Gras and youthful enough at the same time.

I am all for having something for Mardi Gras, but I am a practical Mimi as well. 

So to extend the wear, it is reversible. The second side is the grape gingham with a precious baby girl hippo.

The hippo is a from the Babycakes collection by Sew Many Designs. She is stylin' with her hairbow!

One of the challenges was the straps when making it reversible. I could have just had the straps button in the opposite directions when using the reverse side. That wasn't working for me.

So instead there are buttons on both sides of the strap. That can be kind of tricky. It is a little fiddly to stitch them both on and still form a thread shank for each button. But they look cute.

Are you ready for Mardi Gras? Here is a link for a couple of songs to get you in the mood!

Click here!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Another Sweet for Valentine's Week

I finished my Buttons and Blossoms Jacket from my chapter's workshop with Gail Doane. I love this little jacket. I have the matching bishop cut out and ready to pleat. The embroidery is just fun and reminds me of Mary Engelbreit illustrations. Maybe that was the designer's goal, I don 't know. I just know I love it. I can't wait to get the dress done to match.

This jacket is made from Dakota pique and trimmed with black microcheck. This picture is not the best, I didn't have my photo taking mojo on that day I guess.

I love the shaped yoke and the back pleat. I have made a size 12 months. It is a little roomy on our baby right now, but will fit nicely into the spring for when mornings might still be a bit chilly.

Parting Shot:

She is getting so big and has a tooth now!! Those big blue eyes melt a lot of hearts around here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The bestest Valentine ever!!!!

Sometimes the simplest things in life make you smile from the inside out. DH and I received the sweetest Valentine. Nothing fancy, made from card stock with a sweet sentiment inside the heart. That is adorable, but you know what makes it best?

It is a real live tracing of our precious baby's hand!!! How adorable is that? Life doesn't get much better.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Be Mine Valentine

I hope you and your valentine are planning some fun times together.

Happy Valentine's Day, faithful reader.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Seriously? Seriously?

You know when you come across a product and just say......... seriously? Really? What were they thinking? Well that is what made me backup and do a double take the other day in my local Walgreen's.

It took everything in me to not laugh right out loud followed shortly with shouting "are you people kidding me?" Now I am known for having some very lazy tendencies. But I don't think I need "a car wash for your feet!" The advertisements and propaganda speak to it taking too much time out of my day to wash my feet.  Yes I am busy, but I think I might be able to squeeze in a moment or two out of my hectic schedule, to wash my feet! Or that it is too dangerous to try and wash your feet in the shower. For an elderly person I could maybe see that. And no comments from my kids, I am not elderly yet! I can still bend over and wash my feet for pete's sake!

If you are the cousin/brother/mother/girlfriend etc. of this inventor, do not write me about my cruel and harsh comments about your loved one's newest get rich scheme. Kudos to you for supporting them in the face of a serious, "Are you out ya mind?" moment.

This shot was a stitch as well. I spent years trying to get my kids to keep their feet OFF the walls, I certainly would not want to encourage it. And aren't these kids a little big now to be sharing the tub? Babies sure, even toddlers, third graders? Not so much.

If nothing else, this discovery has given me many moments in the past few days, the chance to have a good chuckle. Maybe this will be my barometer for when I need more care, I won't be able to wash my feet or I have gotten so desperate that I bought a car wash for my feet.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Applique Cord- A Tutorial

Applique cord is an heirloom technique that results in the look of entredeux being inserted into the fabric. It can be done as a stand alone element or it can be combined with other embroidery techniques as a compliment to a design. It is achieved with a pin stitch or Point de Paris stitch. A pin stitch is a pulled thread stitch. No threads are withdrawn.

It is a magical technique that looks much more difficult than it is. It is great TV work. You don't have to count stitches and it is very rhythmic. If you need to, start on a scrap and get your groove going and then move onto your project.

Pictures tell the story. As always, you can click on the pictures to enlarge them. An no judgements on the "manicure," or lack of one.

The supplies needed:
  •  Fabric. This is often done on linen, but can also be achieved on other natural fiber fabrics. I used a scrap of what Jeannie Baumeister calls "Fairy Fabric," an unltrafine Swiss batiste, because it would be gauzier and easier to show you the "holes" that appear.
  • Fine sewing thread. Examples are Madeira Cotona 80 wt, Sarah Howard Stone's prewaxed thread, or a 50 wt thread such as DMC if that is what you have. (If doing this technique on a bold colored fabric you may need to use one strand of floss to match the cord you use, but wax the floss and keep your threads 18" or less. You can also use a 60 wt thread to couch with. Both the floss and the 60 wt thread will be a bit bolder heavier in look.)
  • A cord.  Tatting cord, cordonet, or perle cotton. If I were going to use perle cotton, I would use a size 12 or 16. NOTE: Usually your cord and sewing thread color match your fabric. There is no law saying that has to be so. If you feel adventurous mix the colors, just know that your stitches are going to show more against the cord if you use a contrasting thread. The charm of this stitch is the seeming magic with which appears on your fabric. 
  • Wax for your thread. This is very important since this is a pulled thread. It strengthens your thread and makes it last much longer. If using Sarah Howard Stone's prewaxed thread, you won't need this of course. 
  • A fine tapestry needle for working the applique cord and a chenille needle large enough to thread your cord through for sinking the cord to the back.
  • Blue marker or pencil for marking your design.
  • LIGHT and MAGNIFICATION. Stop pretending like you don't need magnification and just sucumb. You will be glad you did.

Mark your design. I have simply marked a curved line. Applique cord can make all kinds of curly q's. It doesn't have to be done only in a straight line.


You will be stitching ON your marked line and couching the cord above and below the marked line. I have used obnoxious purple in a larger than usual size so you can see. Lay your cord along your design line, leaving a generous tail.  You can knot it with an away waste knot if you would feel better having it secured out of the way. Thread your tapestry needle with your waxed thread. I have used a #26 Tapestry which is a small needle. Make an away waste knot with your waxed thread.

This stitch is worked in hand, over your finger. A finger shield is beneficial for you finger under the fabric. Hold the cord just above your design line taught using your middle finger and thumb as shown.

Bring your thread up, JUST above your cord. You are now ready to begin pin stitching. Go down into the fabric at "A" and back out at "B". Pull your thread through.

Go back down at "A" and now come out at "C" which again is JUST above your cord. (The distance between "B" and "C" is only a couple of threads behind the cord.) I have acutally overshot with my "C", ideally you want your "C" right above your "B". Pull your thread though and give it a snug tug.

This will pull your stitch together forming the holes on either side. Those holes are what you are aiming for. The ones above the cord will melt away as you stitch. Continue along your design line in the same way, Into "A" out at "B", back into "A" and out at "C". With each stitch, your OLD "B" will become your NEW "A".

When you get to the end of your design line, you now need to turn around and do the other side of the line to complete your entredeux look. I take three stitches at the end of the line to secure  and curve the cord as it wraps the corner. Turn your work and head back in the direction you came from.

The second side stitches much more quickly than the first. The last hole left from the previous stitching will be your "A", the second of course will become your "B"

and again you will stitch "C" just above the cord. Continue back to the beginning.

Voila! Your corded "holes" in the fabric.

To secure your cord, thread each tail into your chenille needle and sink to the back.

Sink your working thread to the back, fold your cord back onto the back, following the cord on top. Tack ends down with your working thread picking up the couching stitches or BARELY one or two fabric threads behind the appliqued cord. Tack for about a half inch and cut your cord. Repeat for second tail.

If your corded design is free standing begin and end on a side about an inch from either end. That way you get that curved finished end on either end. If it will be covered with embroidery at the end, you can begin and end at one end of the line and then secure your cords. If you end on the side, fold back each tail in opposite directions and secure.

I hope this takes some of the mystery out of applique cord. Try it and let me know what you think.

About that village

My friend Dawn made this beautiful bishop for our princess. She is quite pleased as you can tell. 

It is made using the pattern for Beginnings from Australian Smocking and Embroidery Issue number  #73.

It is smocked with Rainbow Hearts by Ellen McCarn. Dawn removed a few rows to adapt for a baby size. The fabric is Skip Dent from Spechler-Vogel in a pale blue. Both plate and fabric came from Bessie Mary.

Also in the package, was this adorable pair of pink overalls. 

 They are made using Children's Corner William and Winnie.

The fabrics are an embroidered corduroy lined with a pima cotton gingham. Corduroy is the perfect choice since it is 10 degrees here today!

Too stinkin' cute!

She needed a shirt to go with them. Mommy has had a difficult time finding onesie type shirts that fit. So Mimi to the rescue. The shirt is made from cotton interlock.

I used Kwik Sew #3375. I added 2 inches to the body length to accomodate our tall girl and the cloth diaper. I also trimmed 1/8" off the collar so I could pipe the collar. I used Gail Doane's block method of doing the collar even with a knit. Worked like a charm.

Thank you, Dawn. She loves them as do her Mommy and Mimi.
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