Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I Spanked the French Knots

I'm working on some embroidery. I learned how to do the basics in a summer school class my grade school offered. Haven't done much since then. I picked it up again a few years ago to work on a pillow cushion. And I'm still working on the same one :) Here's the thing, it's a graphic design that is repetitive and done in only satin stitch. So it takes a long time. Well it mostly takes a long time since I can only so one small section without getting bored. Or my hands getting tired from my death grip on the hoop.
I've moved on to work on other things and I bring That One out occasionally. This one is fairly small, it'll end up probably about 4"x5" or so. I sketched out lots of designs until I got to this. Yes, this also has satin stitches, but! they don't have to be uniform which makes all the difference.

While I was brushing up on embroidery I looked at a lot of pics and sites online. I was surprised at how many people are scared of French Knots. I thought, hmm, maybe I should be scared of them, it's been a while since I've done them. So I looked at a few tutorials, each assuring us to "not be scared" they're "not that horrible", "only loose a couple fingers", "or an eye". Kidding. But it just all made me more nervous. Until I told myself to just calm down. If I could do these at about 9 or 10 years old they really can't be that hard. They totally aren't, they're just as easy as all the other stitches.

I French Knotted to my hearts content. And then decided I didn't quite like the colors I'd used so I got out my small embroidery Ginghers (they are small, my fingers are not gigantic I promise). It made me sad to see the knot carnage. It'll look better in the end.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Design Inspiration Pics

On a recent trip to California I kept seeing little bits of design inspiration scattered about. Of course, I usually see quilt designs all over the place :)

Building in LA

 Wouldn't these be fun designs for quilts? Hard but fun. 

Yes, it's a grate of some sort, we won't say what kind, 
but fun hexagons and arrow connections in between. 

This is from an air grate on my sister's balcony. Nice lattice design for a quilt, reminds me a bit of the tilework in the Middle East. If you stare at it long enough, or shift your eyes back and forth,  you'll see secondary spots in the large white spaces :)

Okay, so those are not strictly just sewing inspiration. These are a bit larger than cupcake size and so adorable! From the deli in Palm Springs. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pattern Testing!

I like to volunteer to test people's patterns. I volunteer as many times as people ask for helpers. I figure if it's something I'm good at I can do a great job for them and if I am a beginner at something I'll learn a new skill and they'll get good feedback about how to help others like me succeed.

Of course that was all in theory since no one ever took me up I my offer until now :) Yay! I got to pattern test. The wonderful Ms. Juliet at Tartankiwi let me have a go at one of her patterns.

When I printed it out I almost peed my pants, at least emotionally. Surely those tiny pieces are a printing error?!? They were not. So, I chose colors that'll go with either my Forest Quilt A Long or 3x6 Bee Blocks and got to it. And guess what, those itty bitty pieces were easy to do! The pattern is straight forward and easily read and understood. I think it turned out so well. Since she hasn't released the pattern yet, I can only show you a bit of how it's looking. You should hop over to her blog and check out her Kiwi Bird paper pieced block-I fell in love with it.

Here's a few pics of what I worked on.

Keeping it real-the back which hardly gets shown :)
That white corner in between the minty dots and mushrooms is super tiny
The top of the piece that I can show you, in progress. 

I was so scared of foundation paper piecing before I had done any. Now I really love it. You can get such precise corners, lines and designs done so easily. If you haven't tried it yet, I totally recommend it.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Month Sucker

I got a cold in April. It's now May. Besides doing my taxes, being a mediocre friend and keeping my house clean, the whole of April was pretty much a wash. Only one hive of my bee-mates got their blocks on time, I forgot to post about the Lovely Year of Finishes finish and to set a goal for May. So here are my unofficial goals for May: sew more-I love doing it, bike at least 5 times-I love doing this as well, porch sit, blog more-even if its just from my phone and I can't control where the pictures are oriented (obsessed much?) and definitely not least-appreciate friends by being an awesome friend to them.

That shouldn't be too hard right?

So in keeping with the new goal of blogging by phone when necessary, here are my second set of 3x6 Mini Quilt Bee blocks for the solids hive (and see what fun designs popped up when I folded them to mail them?!) :