Thursday, September 26, 2019

More Sewing Around

With my BERNINA back in place after a long over-due servicing, I was back at my curvy project from a couple weeks ago using The Learning Curve trimming tool.

Last time I played with "Method 6" from Linda's instructions. This time I'm playing with "Method 3."

Whenever I can, I like to use scraps for a project like this plus a bit of yardage. However, the fabric size i need is 5-1/2" long. My ScrapTherapy scraps are cut 5" square. Most days, I can't get 5-1/2" out of a 5" fabric square.

So, I decided to do a little experiment. . . .

For my first attempt, I decided to cut the light blue dot (yardage) according to the instructions. The 5" scrap square is cut into two pieces, but is 1/2" narrower than recommended.

So when I lined the pieces up, I centered them on each other, then used the tool to make the cuts as directed.

I followed the same process as with the smaller Method 6 pieces to find the center with a quick crease.

Then match the creases, pin, sew . . .

 . . . and then press, toward the scrap fabric in each case.

. . . Then I used the tool again to trim down to size. Plenty of room to make a good cut, even if my scrap was smaller than the called-for size.

Linda recommends using a 1/8" seam allowance rather than the usual 1/4". If I follow the inside edge of the quarter inch foot, I'm coming pretty close to that 1/8"

There are lots of lines and dots on the tool to make sure you stay on track.

Next, I sewed two halves together to make the Method 6 unit.

They're a little wonky, but not bad. When the experiment with the 5" scrap square went well, I decided to cut both pieces - the scrap (already cut to 5" squares) and the light blue dot fabric.

Without that extra quarter-inch on either side, I may be losing a little bit of the stability along the curved seam. If that's true, it's a trade off I can live with.

I need to make a few more of each unit to have enough for a table runner, then I have another idea to complete all the pieces I need.

Stay tuned! I might be a while!

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, September 19, 2019

So-So No-Sew

My BERNINA went to rehab last Friday. It was long overdue for it's not-so-regular freshen-up. I've been without a sewing machine for my daily hour or two sewing sessions to start my morning for about a week now. 

Simple enough, I grabbed my year-long alphabet stitchery project. I would have enjoyed relaxing in my comfy chair in the living room rather than my sewing cabinet chair. . .

However, Doodle and Woodstock (the two conures) like the morning routine AS IS. And they like to spend the daily morning sewing time in their cage in the sewing room. To change their routine would subject me to noisy squawks as they made their annoyance with a change to their itinerary known.

I know, it's crazy, but it's just easier this way. Some days, I'm grateful that THEY let US continue occupying the house with them. 

As for the stitchery project. I'm on the letter S for Sheep and spiderweb stitch which is giving an added fluffy dimension to the sheep. As I've been discussing in this newsletter from time to time, I've taken a departure from the execution of this pattern to add quilty elements to the project.

If you're interested you can grab the original charts here

With just a few letters left, I am looking forward to sharing more on the final stages of this project soon.

To keep things interesting this week, I switched things up a bit to add some beading to the stitchery routine.

I think I shared a similar starfish project a couple weeks ago. My embroidery guild is making some for a holiday tree charity event at the local art museum. Unfortunately, I don't have permission to share those pattern notes here. 

However, even better (I think), I am happy to share this YouTube video that walks you through all the steps to create this two-sided version of the starfish. I like this version even better because the starfish are finished on both sides.

Now, if you're not familiar with beading, these instructions may not make much sense.

The two-sided starfish feel a bit more 'stable' than the one-sided version making them a bit more versatile for things like zipper or key chain fobs.

Here is one I attached to my purse zipper with a jewelry ring.

Next week, maybe I'll have a few more sewing machine things to share. . . or not! You never know what will turn up around here.

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

A Curvy Treat

Once the kits for The FLOCK ship  around the 12th of each month. I sometimes find myself with a little bit of extra time in the sewing room.

With the September FLOCK shipment running smoothly and slightly ahead of schedule, I was able to pull out a cool tool I purchased earlier this summer at a quilt show from Linda Warren Designs. The tool is called The Learning Curve. (By the way, not an affiliate, just a fan.)

learning curve ruler

I've been aching to play with this nifty trimming tool for a while now. A couple of projects seemed to override my curiosity. So this week, I grabbed a bit of my morning sewing routine to give it a go.

You know I like scraps! So I started with my ScrapTherapy bin full of 2" and 3-1/2" square pre-cut scraps, and grabbed about a half-yard (for now, just to get started) of a light aqua polky dotty print (not shown here).

The tool comes with real basic instructions. More pictures than words, and that's okay. The tool is pretty intuitive. You make the block elements in pairs; they are oversized, and you use the tool to cut the curves and trim them after sewing. I started with a pair of 3-1/2" squares, one scrap and one polky dot. Stacked them, then trimmed for "Method 6" on the instruction sheet.

There are a bunch of different block options this tool can do, identified by 'method' number.

Okay, so, yeah. This is curved piecing. But Linda makes the whole curved thing very easy and forgiving. She doesn't necessarily advocate aligning things or using pins, but this 'old dog' likes the comfort of a few pins in the set up so the sewing is mindless--the pins aren't necessary , but they are just my preference . . . I started with the two curved pieces (the 'pie' and the 'crust'), then made a pinched crease on the curved edge in the middle of each.

I placed the two pieces right sides together (yes I switched fabric colors on you for my photos), pie-shape on the top, crust on the bottom, and one pin to line up the middle.

I then added two more pins on each side of the curve, easing the fabric edges around and securing them.

Notice that the pin points 'point' to the location of the soon-to-be seam. But they are far enough away from the fabric edge so I won't be running over the pins when I sew. That way,  I can leave them be and take them out after the sewing.

Next I sew along the curve. Linda recommends an 1/8" seam and a short stitch length.

I ease in any edges that get a mind of their own as I go along. But as previously stated, the curve is gentle and forgiving, so you can be a little off and you'll be fine.

Now, after pressing the seams to one side (either side will do, but I pressed toward the scrap and away from the dotty yardage fabric) I have what looks like a hot mess. ends don't match, but the curve looks pretty good. . .

Enter the trimming tool (the well-marked dots on the tool (red arrows) are the key to success!) to turn the hot mess into a nicely trimmed. . .

 . . . 2-1/2" square (for 'method 6'). With curved-pieced center.

You make the units in pairs, and pretty quickly, there are enough to start to see bigger units coming together. As you can imagine, rotating a couple of these units changes everything.

However, my sewing time for the day was over. So I'll have to continue on with this project when I find another sewing/playing window, hopefully soon!

Overall, I really enjoyed playing with The Learning Curve, and I can see an interesting project emerging. . . slowly and gradually as I can fit it in.

The tool is certainly good for curved piecers at any level, even beginners!

About the only setback I saw was some pretty size-able trimming scraps. But since I started with scraps, I'm good with using them up!

There would be similar fabric usage - or worse - using other curved trimming tools, so the ease of use and the impact here is certainly worth the extra bits of fabric, in my mind.

More on this project soon! I'm kinda itchin' to get back to it to see what's going to come next . . .!

Happy Stitiching!

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Fair-ly State-d

Around here, it's kinda tradition. Syracuse is pretty much the geographic center of the Empire State, so the New York State Fair is just a stone's throw from my home.

Since I was a kid, an annual trip to the fair at some point during the last couple weeks before and including Labor Day weekend is almost expected from central New Yorkers!

Usually State Fair week (it's actually 13 days long) starts the thermometer on an upward trajectory along with high humidity. This year, the weather was a bit milder than usual. So my sister and I set out on Labor Day Monday after a few morning showers cleared away.

Weather or no, one of our favorite stops is the arts and crafts displays.

Everything from quilts to woodworking, all hand made by individuals who live all over the state is on display and in contention for ribbons in a variety of categories. . .

This caged bird was a unique entry. . . and of course its A BIRD! So I had to take a closer look!

Always nice to see items made by someone I know personally. . . . Congrats to all the ribbon winners!

The local news gets into the action too, making this building and display one of the hot spots of the 13-day fair run.

Just outside the building where the quilts and other goodies are, there is a raptor area. Most of the large predatory birds in this exhibit have been injured and can't be returned to their natural habitat.

This bird (below) seems to be jones-ing for an extra mouse with his/her handler. The spotted owl below, below shows off his beautiful feathers and human-like facial features

What State Fair visit is complete without a visit to the animal competitions? By Labor Day, the larger farm animals have already left the grounds, leaving the smaller domestics like poultry and rabbits on display  . . . 

And of course, the Fair food. I splurged on this delicious rib platter from the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que stand.

Need I say: YUM!

Following the main course, you've gotta have dessert. Off to the dairy building (don't you love the cow print on the picnic tables?) for a peek at the butter sculpture while debating which ice cream flavor to have!

Almost every day, the main entertainment stage offers free entertainment. On Labor Day, my sister and I joined a couple thousand of our 'closest' friends to see Gavin DeGraw in concert. He's one of my favorites - blue-eyed soul/pop. The concert was excellent, if you're into that kinda thing. . .

The rainy-day start turned into an absolutely lovely day and evening. As we walked back across the bridge to where the car was parked, the sliver of a moon could be spotted in a colorful evening sky.

A fitting end to a wonderful summer weekend! And so the sun sets on the Fair and the 'official' summer season all at once.

Time to get down to FALL stitchin'!

Happy Stitching!