Thursday, September 23, 2021

About Time!

The title refers to two different reasons that this is "about time."   First of all it is "about time" that I post a new blog post. I have been playing with the embroidery software learning new things and have not really had anything to show for it yet. (okay one thing, at the end of this post.)

It is also "about time" that I work on this UFO again.  You see, this quilt top was started in 2014.  Yes, that is right seven years ago.  Yikes!  It is about time that I do something with it.  I had three panels- each was a different length.  So today, I made a couple of pieces to make them all the same length. 
I will say "sorry for the bad photo" before I show it. With no design wall - and no place for one - I have to make do.  I use the bed and then stand on something...in this case right on the bed... to take the photo. 

The three panels are laid out horizontally.   The fabrics are from three men's shirts that I wore over the years.  The shirts were 100% cotton, so perfect for quilt fabric.  The colorful fabrics are from Colorways by Vicki Welsh. However, they are her "waste" fabrics that I won in a giveaway.  Vicki hand dyes some beautiful fabrics.  

Each of the panels will be backed and quilted separately then joined in the quilt as you go method that I have used on many quilts.  You can read about how I learned the method from a book by Marguerita McManus in the post here

I think this will make a lovely lap/snuggle quilt.  I may even use some machine embroidery quilting on it.  You see, I learned to digitize edge to edge quilting designs. The fact is, I need to learn how to use them a bit better.  Here is my sample sew-out which is done on cheap acrylic felt. (cheaper than using cotton fabric and either stabilizers or batting.)




Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Pillow with Embroidery

With the nice stained glass embroidery pieces working out so well, I needed to make them into a project. Thus the embroidered pillow was my solution.  I had made four of the design.  For a nine-patch,  I could have used four but five seemed more pleasing to me.  Thus I sewed out the fifth one.  I have already shown the nine-patch top, but now you can see what else I did to make it "more." 

The embroidery pieces are pretty dense so there was no way I was going to quilt over them.  I decided to digitize a simple swirl flower to use as the quilting in each of the four black patches.  With the top and batting basted together (no backing,) I hooped the piece to quilt each of the four sections. 

Then I took the quilt sandwich to my Juki and stitched straight lines to help hold the other portions in place.  I think that it looks really nice.  I do wish that I had added a border to make the pillow cover a bit bigger.  To fill the pillow, I had to make my own pillow form.  That was easier than I thought.  I simply cut two squares the size of the top and sewed them with an open gap on one side for stuffing.  I used some poly-fill that is made for "soft sculpture" to fill it.  Then I sewed that open edge closed with the machine. 

I don't think using the embroidery machine to quilt the black sections saved much time, but it certainly added to the consistency of the quilting design.  It is likely that I will use this technique for other things such as table runners and other smaller quilted items. 


Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Equine Sidestep

Perhaps you remember that I said that I would be using my horse embroidery sew-out as a notebook cover.  It seems that I learned something new and took a sidestep on that.  Instead of using the already sewn horse,  I wanted to try a new technique that allows me to make a two-color motif stitch frame.  

After working playing  working with the design for a while it looked good, so I took it to the machine to sew it.  After sewing it,  I sewed it into the outside cover for a notebook. 
Next up, I added batting and quilted the cover. 
Then I added all the other parts 
(even my label)
and sewed it all together. 

Front

Front and back


Inside - with a pocket and my label. 
These notebooks always turn out so well.  
That is why I love making them. 
Now I need to work on some other projects that are waiting for me. 


Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

What to do?

A local friend has been seeing all of my embroidery sew-outs online.  She asked this "What are you going to do with all of those?  Are you just doing them to see if you can?"     Now, y'all know that I don't like to waste anything, which is why I am overrun with scraps.  So of course all of the good ones will be put to good use.  I decided on a plan  for the ones based on my faux stained glass piece.   That required one more embroidery being sewn out.  (No, I really didn't mind it.)   Then I trimmed them all to 4.5" and cut some black squares to go with them.  I made a nine-patch block from all these pieces. 

I love using black, but I declare that every bit of lint and thread wants to stick to it. 
This fun 9-patch will become a pillow top. 

Meanwhile,  I used the horse idea and redesigned it in an alternate version.  I wanted to use
some textured stitches for the horse's mane.  Here is how it worked out.

I have no doubts about what I want to do with this one. 
It will become part of the cover of a quilted notebook.
My quilted notebooks have sold well for me.
Those with horses have consistently sold out. 
So, it is an easy decision. 

Now I have to come up with a new design idea to digitize. 



Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Three Versions - And Puzzle Finish

Someone mentioned that I am "having too much fun" with the embroidery digitizing.  I don't know that you can have "too much fun" as long as no one else is being hindered or hurt.  But I am having a LOT of fun with it.   I am still having a blast with the "stained glass" design.  I did a third variation, and I love them all. 

Here is number three:

I love the textures in the satin stitches.  And I love the designs in the other areas.  I changed the colors for this sew-out just for fun. Blues, lavender, pink and burgundy make a lovely color scheme. I considered using four colors of blue and making it monochromatic, but I wanted to really see any possible "oops" places.   I don't see any.....so Yay. 

Here are all three versions together:

I would love to know which is your favorite, and why. (think design, not color scheme.)  I think I know which I like best.....but maybe not. Two of the three are saved as stitch files. I accidentally overwrote one of them, but I think I can re-create it. 

Mom and I worked our brains and our fingers and finished the puzzle.  
Of course, I had left my phone at home and had to take this picture with Mom's little flip phone.  Ha ha.  We have another puzzle waiting - as soon as Mom is ready to start the next one. 

And here is an embroidery design I am working on.   I have sewn two stitch-outs but there are still some problem areas to fix.  The design is a nice one, even if it does take a while to stitch. 




Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Update - Embroidery and Puzzle

There is something I have to confess.  I am having a great time using the Embrilliance Stitch Artist embroidery creation software.   I have been saving my files so that as I get better, I can adjust them to make them better. There is a lot of learning happening as I am going along.   Fortunately the company has a number of videos that I have been able to watch as I work on my skills. 

I took the embroidery that I did of the stained glass design and edited it to resequence some of the sewing order.  I also changed some of the stitch types to make it sew out a bit more quickly. I love being able to adapt it to my preferences.  


You may notice that the colors are a bit different than the original.  If you have an embroidery machine, you should know that it is color-blind.  You can use the colors that you want - rather than what the digitizer chose.  The digital file still shows the corners as a yellow/gold thread.  But a nice rich pink worked well with the heart motif that I used for those stitches. 

The blue "wavy" sections now are outlined with a solid line making that section a bit bolder.   
I could easily change this file and make any or all of the sections applique.  But to be honest, I don't love doing applique on the embroidery machine. 

Meanwhile, back at Mom's,  we have been working diligently on the Flights of Fancy  puzzle. Here is where it was when I left. 


One or maybe two more days and it should be complete.   You would think it should be easy to find those "single" pieces  - but we are still trying hard to fill in those spaces. That large open space is all the girl's dress and bedspread.  That part may be the real challenge in completing the puzzle. And did you notice that the big open space is similar to the shape of the state of Texas?   That made me laugh. 

Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Embroidery and Puzzle Progress

While trying to decide on a design to digitize for my embroidery machine,  I came across the graphic for a faux stained glass piece that I created for a theatre production.   One of my good friends in the quilting/blogging world used the design (with my permission) to create a pillow. I loved her pillow.  And that pushed me to use the design for embroidery, too.  

Here is the graphic design- 

I see some errors in this image.  That could account for some of the problem I had with the digitization.  

Here is the sewn out design - 

I did take some liberties with the image and changed a few things.  And I played with types of stitches. 
Yes, I see things that need corrected or added, but I have paid for designs that didn't sew out as well. So, I am still pretty proud of this. 

Mom and I are still working on the puzzle, here is the latest photo.  However, there is a lot more than this done now.  I just didn't take another photo. 




Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Thursday, September 09, 2021

Some Progress

Yes there has been some progress - not sewing related, but on the puzzle.  I have one not so great photo to share with you. 

There are some odd holes that we have tried to fill. Mom has looked and looked for the piece (middle right) that fits in the boombox.  
We have lots of pieces sorted onto the cardboard/mat-board that we use for sorting.  However, there are still pieces in the unsorted containers too. There is a LOT of color in this puzzle and the colors repeat with only slight variations. That makes it difficult - FUN. 

Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Self Portrait in Thread

Every artist should create a self-portrait, or so I was told years ago. I created a carved stamp from a photo of myself. Now I have digitized it into two versions of machine embroidery files. The photo of me was my starting point. Yes, I took artistic liberties.

First up, here are the stitched out designs. One is filled with satin stitches. The other is a "sketchy" design that sews out a bit quicker.

Here are two stamped pieces from the hand carved stamp that I made a few years ago.


And finally the picture that served as the starting point.

I am really thrilled with what I am able to accomplish with the Embrilliance Digitizing software. It was originally created from Mac users. However, they also have a Windows version now. Before you make any purchases, I recommend watching videos about how to use the program on YouTube. I believe in "informed decisions."



Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Monday, September 06, 2021

More Embroidery Work

There are things I just can't resist.  Embroidery digitizing is becoming one of them.  After the first success,  I decided to try creating a quilting design that would look as if it were done as free-motion quilting.  However, I could not resist a "fancier" center for the flower.    I used the "square flower" idea that I learned in a class. (Maybe from Lori Kennedy?) 

 I did a "double run" which means it sews all the lines twice.  I will probably make it a single run if I use it for actual quilting. I will also probably simplify the center of the flower.  

The two successes emboldened me to try something that I think of as difficult but amazing.  I have a fascination with machine embroidered free standing lace.   In the past I have used purchased lace designs, thinking that it was "way to hard" to do myself.   I think for the first time, I did an amazing job. 

It is sitting on a part of a quilt top so that you can see that it is truly see-through and lacy.  This is a present for someone dear to me.  I am happy that it stitched out well enough to be given.  

I can hardly wait to digitize and sew out some more designs.  If I ever get good enough at it, I may start selling my designs. 

Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Saturday, September 04, 2021

Sew Different

Embroidery digitizing has fascinated me for years now.  I have tried several programs that do some things well.  The problem is that they are all made for the Windows Operating System, and I use a Mac.  Then I discovered a program that was made for Mac - although they now have a Windows version also.  So,  I finally said "I will get the entry level digitizing version."  It is the same price to "upgrade" over time as it is to buy it all at once.  I like that business model because it doesn't pressure me to buy more than I need. 

When I first got the program,  I just started playing.  Then I discovered a YouTube channel by the company that has so much good teaching.  It was well worth the time spent watching videos.  

Here it is almost a week after the purchase and I finally sewed out a design that I created - all by myself!

I will tell you that as it sewed out, I realized that I didn't do the most efficient jog of digitizing the design. There is a small error or two also.  But for a first time using the program to fully create a design, I am thrilled. And I can go back and fix the errors in the file -so Yay!

I think it sewed out nicely.  This is a piece I can use in a quilt or in a quilted notebook cover ....or.......whatever I decide to do with it. 

Mother and I have been working on the puzzle and there is more progress but this is the only photo I took.  
This chunk has expanded a lot since the photo.  There is more of the book, her legs are connected and those pillows at her feet are pretty much finished too.  We may end up building a lot of this puzzle from the inside out. LOL.  You are probably laughing too ---if you know that I insist on putting the outside edges together before I will work on any other part of it. 


Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Puzzling Again

Tuesday afternoon Mom said "Do you want to start another puzzle?"  I had purchased a new one in mid-July.  It was there at her house "just waiting" for mom to want to do another one.   It is a Buffalo Games puzzle called Flights of Fantasy. 
It has lots of color and "things" to piece together.  It is 1000 pieces so it is enough of a challenge also.

We spent Tuesday afternoon putting the border together - except for three pieces.  Mom spent part of the time piecing some of the beaded curtain in the window. 

Wednesday afternoon, we went at it again and got the border finished.  We also kept on working.  Here is Mom trying to fit in a piece that didn't go there. Sometimes she has issues with spatial relationships. 

We use pieces of mat board from my art supplies to corral the pieces. We also have two huge ziplock food containers that we use for pieces also.  
Meanwhile, I worked on the girl and the book.  Those other pieces go around the girl except 
for the extra cups that are in the floor of the room. 


We will be plugging away at this puzzle for a while.  I may or may not start/restart one of my sewing projects in the meantime.  

Health update:  I have now lost 20.5 pounds.  I have been able to stop one blood pressure medicine AND cut my blood glucose medicine (metformin) in half.   This is a huge win for me.  I am celebrating it with a healthy but tasty dinner. 


Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Wrapping it Up -Finish!

After finishing all the quilting, it is time to bind the little quilt.   I chose a 2 1/4th inch double fold binding for this one.   After cutting the strips,  I decided to try using a tool to cut the ends for joining. I have this set of Fons and Porter triangle trimmers that I bought and used one time.  

There are other binding trimmers that you can get. I already had this set.  I decided that the blue one would be perfect for cutting the ends of the binding for joining.  The strips were folded so I cut both ends of a strip at once. (FYI - I have NOT tested this with print fabric. I know it works with fabrics where both sides are "good." )   Then I sewed it all onto the quilt and clipped it down. 

I have found that one smaller quilts (i.e. table runners/toppers and smaller) I enjoy sewing the binding to the back by hand.  I tend to work right to left. 
I taught myself to hand stitch it to the back. So I have no idea which is the "normal right handed" direction.  This is what works for me.  Once I get it all stitched, it will be ready for spa day (washing and drying to really pop the texture.) 

Then it was down to just this bit left to sew down. 

I sat down to work and put on a Latino game show on the Roku channel. 
Before long the table topper was all completed.


I think that I mentioned in a previous post that I made this in a quilting workshop with the Gee's Bend quilters.   The fun part is that it is largely scraps and cast off pieces of fabric.  Honestly, I would love to see yardage of my focus fabric.  You see when we arrived in the class, the first day, there was a table piled high with all sorts of fabric. Some pieces were small some were much larger. Interestingly,  the smaller pieces seemed to be the most prized by all the students.   Here is a photo of the table - AFTER- it had been ravaged by 18 or so quilters. 
You can see that in addition to all the fabric on the table, there were boxes, bags and even a plastic bin of more fabric. 

I am linking this post up with Table Scraps on the Joyful Quilter's blog



Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Last of the Quilting on This One

What fun this little quilt has been.  The quilting is finally finished.  And there is a lot of texture in it.  One fun thing that I did was create a grid to quilt another checkerboard pattern.  To do that I use a  Triangular Engineer and Architect Scale Ruler to mark the lines.  I learned that from Lori Kennedy in an online class. 

I simply start with the ruler against a seam and mark the other side of the ruler.
The width is one inch which works well for this.  Once it is in position, 
I press down on the top to anchor the ruler -it won't move while marking.
That is why this is a great tool for doing this. 


Once the grid is marked you are ready to stitch. 


I like to sew along all the lines of the grid -I do that as I am traveling from square to square. You may notice that the left side is special (different ha ha.)  I realized that I had messed up the pattern, so rather than rip stitches (a pain when you are doing this) I  repeated it and made it work. Now it is a design choice!

This quilt has lots of TEXTURE quilted into it.

I love the raised places in the focus fabric. The Hobbs Silk batting really makes them pop. 
Did I have fun quilting this?  Of course I did, because the rules were partly ignored as
long as the quilting looked good.  I have fun playing with design. 

I hope you play with your quilting and find joy in it also


Until Next Time,  
Stay Creative 


Comments are welcomed. I will reply when possible. Of course if you are a "No Reply Blogger"- I can not reply. Links in comments will result in the entire comment being deleted.