Friday, August 31, 2012

CQ Block for Lois...

This is the last block in an HGTV Message Board round robin swap, and is going into the mail to Lois today or tomorrow.
Here are some close up photos for you too.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dying Lace with Potassium Permangante is Not for Wimps!

Okay...I debated about even posting this adventure. But, if it helps someone else NOT make the same errors, it is worth it.

See is a batch of lace dyed with potassium permanganate. More on that in a minute.
First, let me say that I have purchased some gorgeous lace dyed with PP, and wanted to try it for myself...I'm just a Do-It-Yourself kind of girl! So, I read up on the process.
Found an article in CQMagOnline some time back that included this information:
QUOTE: "I next repeated the process using 1 cup of water with 1 teaspoon of the PP. The results were darker, but along the same colorations. I then decided I wanted to add darker areas, so I mixed up another batch of solution with 2 teaspoons of PP and painted this on the drying lace. The longer this was left in the air, the darker the color became. It did not become very dark, but did add nice shading. I also experimented by painting this on dampened uncolored lace; however, the final result was virtually the same as dipping dry lace in the 1 c water/1 teas PP solution."
 Now, I have no idea what type of lace this lady was dying...but mine were various pieces of venise lace motifs. According to this article, the recipe was "1teaspoon of PP to 1 cup of hot water".
 So, I heated a pot of water and went to get my rubber gloves. Opened all the windows in the kitchen, and drug out my ole trusty bucket for dying. Into it I put all of my lace (first mistake, should have tested one piece!!)...but in my defense...I was trusting of the recipe.
I measured the hot water as I poured cup after cup onto my lace. Soon it was submerged in nine cups of water. To this I added seven teaspoons of PP...while holding my breath, because I do not own a ventilated type mask...and this stuff is super poisinous.
I added less PP than the recipe because I did not want the lace too dark.
But here is what it looked like coming out of the solution, after two plain clean water baths...and I was getting concerned after it was all laid out.
The PP reacts with oxygen, and I did note that some lace pieces were turning brown. But, not very fast...and I was still worried. So, I scooped almost all of the lace back up...
put the pieces into a white pillowcase...rolled the top down twice and secured with safety pins. Put it into the washer...on oversize load...and warm water for wash and rinse. Here is what the RINSE water looked like. That's AFTER the wash cycle had completed...isn't this dark? Good I thought, a lot of the PP is being washed the lace should be lighter...but I hope not TOO light.
 See, I'm a worry wart ...aren't I. Hugs!
After the washing...I took it back into kitchen and dumped the pillowcase contents on to a dry spread out for drying.
Here is what I saw...
In case you have not figured it is a closeup...
Yep, the lace had disintegrated...not just looked like a huge hairball with some tidbits of lace here and there. Awful mess!
 All that sad.
 But, there is more...I used the PP rinse water...which I figured was about 1 1/2 gallons and added 1teaspoon of PP to it. Threw in some trims...(understand that the motifs were in the washing machine, and I had not seen their RESULTS yet...or I would not have tried the trims)
But, here is what I got...and love them! Thankfully...
 The shades are dependent on the type of they should be.
I don't know what went wrong with the recipe...or if my PP is stronger or something...but just BEWARE! If you try this at home...test a piece before you do the whole bucket full of lace!
If/When I do this NEW Recipe will be 1 GALLON of water to 1 teaspoon of PP.
 I'd like to know what recipe you use if you do me if you don't want to comment.
Have you ruined lace in the past...or am I the only "foolish, stupid, unlucky, etc...pick your own word" out there to mess up like this. Geez! can't say I didn't warn you...Hugs!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Conquering the Stem Stitch -- My Way!

Have issues creating a pretty stem stitch? Well, I used to. Here is what I do now, and love this stitch!
First to remember...the thread has to be large enough for you to really see it.
So, use perle size 8 if you have favorite. Or, if you prefer to use stranded floss, three stands is my recommendation for stem stitch so you'll get nice and plump "S" shapes.

Stem stitch is ALWAYS stitched from left to right, and the thread should be below the needle.

Now, having said that...and you do need to keep that "chant" in your head as you stitch..."left to right, thread below the needle".

But, if you stitch towards you or away from you...then your thread will "appear" to be either right or left...however, IF you get confused...turn your work so that it is positioned where you will be stitching left to right...and the thread is below the needle. Now, rotate your hoop as you need to stitch away or towards you are comfortable with...NOTE which direction the thread is will change from BELOW because you rotated your hoop. BUT, it really is still "below" in terms of creating the shape. Just note this and keep going. (If this is confusing...just don't ever rotate your hoop! Hugs!)

Okay, let's begin stitching. Thread your needle and knot the end (or start somewhere outside your stitching area with an anchor stitch, and rework that end under your thread later on).

I'm stitching on my trellis gate design...

Needle up at the beginning of your drawn line...far left point.
Needle down to the right of where you started...I like to have about 1/16th of an inch of space between my Needle Up and Needle Down positions to start. Pull the thread to the back for this first little half-stitch.
 Needle up back at the beginning again for this next stitch. The little first stitch just marks the "middle" of all the remaining stitches and helps to fill out the first stitch. Needle Down about 1/16th of an inch away from the end of the first stitch....which will also be about 1/8th of an inch from the start point.
 Needle up at the same spot as the end of the first little stitch...note the photo below, and you'll see that your needle will be in the middle between the prior Needle Up and this Needle Down...and the thread is below the needle.
 Pull the thread, and Needle Down about 1/16th from the end of the stitches now showing.
 Needle Up in the same hole as the end of the last stitch ended with. Always keep the thread below the needle.
 Keep repeating the stitch. Needle down about 1/16th of an inch from the last stitch, and keeping the thread below the needle, Needle up in the same hole as the last stitch ended in.
As you stitch, you'll start to see a lovely row of perfectly (almost anyway) uniform little stitches with a very pretty little sideways "S" curve to them.
Here's my Trellis Gate all finished. Each line is done in stem stitch. It took a couple of days to get done, but was not difficult...just a bit tedious. So, if you are having trouble ...just keep at it...and before long, you might just be loving this stitch too!

Another note: If you have trouble making uniform sized stitches...take a piece of scrap fabric, fold it once to make it double...use your sewing machine to stitch a straight line. Now, use those same holes to practice your stem stitch in...just sew over the machine thread.
This "trains" your eye to recognize when the stitches are uniform in length...and before long, you'll be doing just fine with pretty little stitches all the same (or almost the same) length.
Edited to add: IF you are a leftie...stitch from left to right, thread always above the the photos (or print) and turn them up-side-down to get the technique then. Hugs!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Free Silk Ribbon Embroidery Basic Stitch Guide

There is a new PAGE on the blog.
Look at the top to find it...right next to the Tutorials page tab...
Read about the Silk Ribbon Embroidery Basics Stitch Guide...
and download your free copy if you like.
Please adhere to the copyright instructions on
the post.
Hope you enjoy it...
As always...sending out Hugs!

Five Petal Monogram - H

Here's another free monogram design for you...
Working our way through the alphabet...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

CQJP - July

Yeah! I'm caught August. Now, if I can get the next block done in seven days...I'll be back on schedule! Ha!
 These white blocks are not any fun for my muse...who complains every month for the last three months! I've got to get her motivated...but fear that I'm overworking her with baby quilts, baby blankets, bibs, and a christening dress...all for my two nieces new babies. My muse needs a rest...or a new challenge! And, she does not want it to be all white! Yikes! (I did sneak in some very faint velvet cording on the lily with very, very faint shades of green and pink in the white)
 The Crazy Quilt Journal Project is my concept and so I think of the challenge as a project "for myself". This is a dangerous prospective...cause I always push my own projects to the back burner to finish things for others first. And I've let completion of my blocks slide to the last thing ...or almost last thing...on my list to get done. I need a swift kick in the get my mojo back! Anyone willing to offer one up?
 Ouch, that one hurts...woe...not so fast! Hey, don't crowd...there is plenty of butt for everyone to kick! Okay, no pushing....Yikes, I've started a real problem here!

Friday, August 24, 2012

FFT#22 - Cathy's Block Finished

Cathy's block is in the mail...headed to Lee for her work next. Here is the block as it left the house...don't all those men's suit fabrics just look wonderful. And, isn't Diane's fan just great (upper right). Mine is in the lower left...and here are some close-ups. Loved working on this block!
Starting at the bottom seam...some straight stitches and detached chain (lazy daisy) to create ovals. These are two sizes...with the direction set horizontal then vertical. I searched and found some silver colored little findings to add to them for some bling. Added another charm of the same style to the upper left corner of the block to provide some harmony.

Next was to finish up my vine of leaves. Added one more leaf...then some bullion flowers and seed beads. Sorry the photo is a bit blurry...must have been "wiggling" when I took this one.

Next to finish off the zigzag seam with some crystals and seed beads. Hoping that this seam helps to unit the two fans as Diane used a lot of gorgeous crystal in her work. The vine stems should also help to harmonize them as Diane also included a vine in the first fan.

Last, to add some seed beads to the white lace and ribbon flower seam. The final piece was some hand dyed lace to the center of the fan. Another tidbit of the same lace was added as a motif to the bottom right hand corner of the block to provide more harmony.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

FFT#22 - Cathy's Block Started

The first part of the week, I put some more stitches on Cathy's block for the FFT#22, round robin at CQI. I love her base block...made from men's suit fabrics. So much texture...and keeping the base colors to gray, black, and neutral was a great idea.
The block includes two huge of which has already been stitched beautifully by Diane. So, of course, I chose the second one to work on.
Starting with a couched down cord (five rows actually) and some lace which I have added silk ribbon flowers. Next, a few beads.
 But, let's start on some of the other seams first...
Here is how I mark on dark fabrics. The stem stitch is already finished on the little vine...but you can see my shapes of the leaves to go down next. I use part of an address label, draw my leaf, cut it out...and use it to trace my leaves down on the fabric with my Quilter's Rule Chalk Pencil (love this pencil!)
 Next, using the Fly Stitch...I finish stitching the leaves.
 Okay, these are all, let's move to the next seam. Here are the dots for the basic zigzag...
and then...some five point straight stitch shapes.
Love this chalk can easily see the marks. And after stitching, the chalk marks are almost worn off...
and a quick spot rub with the corner of a damp cloth...and they are all gone!
I'd love to find more of this pencil...but have had it for years...and am no longer living next to that quilt shop (or any quilt shop) I'll have to go searching the internet. If y'all find it...please let me know...thanks!



Yesterday, I made a quick trip to the post office...and when I came is what was parked next to me. As I backed out, I rolled the window down and took this photo.
The back had "Excaliber" in chrome letters across the trunk.
Thought you might enjoy the picture just never know what you'll see in this little town!