Little Finger Pincushions Tutorial

I'm knee deep in draperies for my brother...so have been quiet lately. But, last night, I sat and did a few little finger pincushions. These will just be little thank you gifts for friends. Finger pincushions have been around for a long while...and are easy to make. 
Start with a piece of fabric that is 4.5 inches square. I like to use silk scraps, but practically any fabric will do. Fold the piece in half, right-side-together. This will give one folded side, and two open sides. Seam both of the open sides closed...but leave about |------ 1.5 inches -------| at the center of one side open so you can stuff the pin cushion later. After stitching, turn the pin cushion, right-side-out. Stuff the center and bottom point area well. Stitch up the closure on the side. Now, match the two top corners (at opposite ends of the fold) and stitch these together. This makes a "hole" for your finger to go.
  The tack stitches are just regular wrap stitches...just lots of them! You can then cover this area with yarn, ribbon, or more thread wraps if you choose. I didn't and it doesn't bother me...hugs!
Before you ever start...you should decide if you want a plain pin cushion...or a fancy one. These can be "dressed up" by embellishing on the bottom point area...but not too heavy, or you'll never get them turned right-side-out! Hugs! Any embellishments should be stitched before you so any seams of the sides.
Here are some ideas for embellishing.

Wrapped Roses are a favorite...because they hold up well to long time wear. Here, these are done in a rayon ribbon with metallic edges. Detached chain leaves are in silk ribbon. The base (which you can not see) is a five-spoke of perle cotton thread for the wrapped roses.
This wrapped rose is silk ribbon, and includes two French Knot buds, and some detached chain leaves. The base is basic embroidery in perle and chenille threads with a few seed beads added.

Most all of these examples have some added embroidery stitching as a background. These roses are also wrapped...but in chenille cords (like yarn). I got these too close to the fold...and they would be prettier if I had stitched them a little closer to the bottom point. The embroidery is in silk threads with some seed beads added. 

Lastly, this one has eyelash and perle cotton embroidery work with some gathered ribbon flowers and seed beads. Then, the fish and starfish charms were added...and...Yes, it WAS hard to turn out!
 
Finger pincushions are fun to do...don't take a lot of materials...and make really cute little gifts to have on hand for other ladies...especially stitching friends.
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Ooooh...so pretty! And a great deal!


We all love a great deal...so, let me tell you about the one I found. It started as a fluke...during a trip to a quilt shop...while on retreat in Missouri. I saw some thread by Ricky Tims that I thought might be okay for crazy quilt embellishment...but was not sure. So, I bought two spools. I don't remember the price, but it was less than $10 a spool. Finally, I got around to using it...and it was similar to 1/16 braid that I have from Krenik. I checked...the spool of braid was 10 meters...and the spool I just picked up from the quilt shop was 110 yards. Wow! Quite a difference! And the Ricky Tims thread was also cheaper than the Krenik braid for sure.
So, I went hunting for more...and found that Superior Threads makes the thread for Ricky...it is called Razzle Dazzle...and is used primarily for the bobbin work in art quilts. So, hey...before they realize we crazy ladies will use it to...and jack up the price...jump on the train and get you some.
I ordered more...and now have all the colors above. The white spool has 88 yards...but all the other colors seem to come in 110 yard spools. 
I got mine from Soft Expressions for $6.30 a spool. But, you can order from Ricky Tims site too...he sales them for $6.99
The thread has about nine threads in the twist, and holds up really well for seams in lengths about 20 inches long. And, you can even do French knots with it!
I know, I know...I'm an enabler...but, I can't help it...this really is a great deal!

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Paris for Cathy Finished

I've completed my portion of Cathy's block for the CQI Round Robin "Paris". I thought that the center light purple section would make a nice sidewalk...so, I put some edging along both sides, inserted a little flower garden at one sharp curve, and included a little poodle that is out for a stroll. Next to that I put a lovely peaceful spot with a cafe' table and chairs...to enjoy the outdoor scenes. Last, I included a very light seam treatment between the cafe' and the previous embroidery work...that would not overpower. Here are some close up photos...



And, here is what the entire block looks like now that Theresa and I have completed our rounds. Next, it's off to Wilma...and I hope to get it in the mail tomorrow...or the next day.


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2013 Calendar Sale -- At Cost!


Announcing a SALE on my 2013 calendars...just in time for Christmas and for scheduling all of your next year events. I have authorized Mag Cloud to reflect my own profit as ZERO for prints of the calendar...and so you are only paying them for their printing costs. I'm not making a dime off of any calendars mailed out...my gift to my followers.
 
I'm also asked them to provide digital copies...if you want to get one right away...and print it yourself. Set your printer on "no reduction" to get the patterns to come out the correct size.
 
Print calendars are only eight dollars...
and electronic copies are only three dollars and fifty cents...
The calendar monthly pages have large blocks for writing your special dates/events...and embroidery designs for you to use as well.
 
Here's the link:
http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/290523/follow
 
Hope you enjoy them!
My treat to you!
 
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A Sidewalk in Paris?


 Cathy's block came this week...and the stitching already there is lovely...so, I'm checking it all out. The light purple piece in the center area, reminds me of a sidewalk. Hmmm...okay, why not...a sidewalk in Paris...with some edging. Maybe a flower bed of some-sort? A poodle walking? The green and cream center piece would be an outdoor cafe? A table and chairs? Hmmm...we shall see. (In the photo...I've already begun...before thinking to get y'all a photo...sorry.)

 
I began the sidewalk trim...with some "X's" wide and narrow.
 
Then some cast on stitches to cover the wide sections. This part of the seam was in the Country Bumpkin's book "A~Z of Embroidery Stitches 2". Form here on...we differ in our executions. Hugs!
 
 Added some tiny "+" at the small X intersections...hard to see.
Then some stacked seed beads to the outer edge to add a smidge of bling...
Oh...almost forgot...can you see that little bit of light purple along the edge? that is stemstitch...and I did it to hide the applique stitching. It added some texture too...without distracting from the other stitching.
What next?....only my muse knows! And, she is still so full of turkey, I'm not sure she is even fully awake yet!
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Color is Almost Gone

The fall colors are almost gone...but still, Buddy and I enjoyed what was left in the yard this morning during his walk.
 
Aidan has the last of her blooms on the rose tree...
 
and a pretty little flower in the bed...
 
the maple tree has lost almost all of her leaves...
 
and the backyard Bradford Pear trees are turning over their colors...
 
even the littlest one on the end...
 
the large Bradford Pear on the side of Mom's house is in full red...and has been at least five different shades so far...
  and...here is what the front yards looked like at 10:55 this morning, and we were still waiting on 3 more...
Looks like we are having a used car sale! By the time the turkey was carved, we had vehicles lining the street too. Now...we are all stuffed...ready for a nap...hope y'all had a good day too!

 
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Oh My! Breath Taking Embroidery and Art!

Seriously...if you want to see some extraordinary embroidery...in simple white...check out this link. Stay, and look around a while...you will not regret it!
 
http://belovedlinens.net/Embroidery/embroidered-caps.html
 
Absolutely stunning embroidery! 
 
Then, go check out this wonderful artist, illustrator, and children's book author!
 
http://hopalonghollowgazette.blogspot.com/
 
What a wonderful morning just admiring other's talent! 
Another thing to be thankful for!
 
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Happy Turkey Day!

 
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Making Button Clusters - Tutorial

Everyone has their own "technique" for building clusters. Here's mine...and I just adapt this general guide to whatever type of block I'm working on.
 
First...I like to have texture if possible to put my cluster on. A doily, or scrap of lace is my favorite...a place for the cluster to rest. This adds more interest to a cluster...because the rough texture of a crochet doily or a piece of lace makes a great contrast to the smooth surface of the flat buttons used in the base.
 Second...the bottom layer is a group of flat buttons. These are placed in whatever shape I'm wanting to mimic on the block. A long trailing line of buttons...or a circle...an oblong...a triangle. This is where I start to work the general shape of the finished cluster. All of the buttons are stitched down at least three times...more if there is room for the threads...and then on the fourth (or last) pass of the thread...I like to add tiny seed beads. These add more contrast...and interest...AND, have the added benefit of hiding those ugly little holes and thread stitching.
 Third...the next layer goes above the flat buttons...and is a selection of shank buttons. They sit by the sides of the flat buttons...and the flat buttons serve to raise them up...and hold them in place. Again, they are stitched at least three times...more if possible. Each button is knotted off at the back...whether or now I travel the thread. Each button is securely attached...so, no wobbling!
 
Fourth...a layer of surprises. This can be beads, sequins, crystals, ribbon roses, plastic flowers, etc. Something to add a bit of whimsy or just a little glitz is great. But, just a little "surprise" is fine too.
Clusters don't have to always be buttons...they can be acrylic flowers, silk flowers, charms, etc...just remember...more texture is good...more contrast is interesting...and keeping to a general theme will unite the grouping.
Can you spot the layers in these clusters?
 Doily...Flat leaves...Textured Ribbon Flowers...Beads and Charms
 Snippit of lace...Acrylic Flowers...smaller flowers to fill-in...beads and crystals
Doily and lace snippits...Silk petal flowers...ribbon roses...cat charm
Lace motif...flat buttons and flat sequin leaves...shank buttons...cabochon and jewelry pieces...and a pig charm because the owner collects pigs! (Hugs, Thearica!)
Tatted doily and lace snippets...flat buttons...shank buttons...porcelain roses and jewelry pieces...charms, beads, and crystals. Added a little turtle charm for fun!
I hope that seeing my "technique" will help you if you have problems creating clusters that you like...or will just inspire you to stitch. Hugs...and hope all of the USA followers have a great Thanksgiving tomorrow!
I'll be taking a mini blog vacation...and eating too much...and hopefully taking a nap! The favorite past-times for the USA on Thanksgiving! (Oh, and football of course!)
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