Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ta Da!!!

This is my first project on my new toy. What do you think?
An 8-thread design, that my husband designed and digitized is, admittedly, ambitious for a first project; but this is embroidered on a shirt to be given to our grandson for Christmas (yikes! in 5 days!), so I had to learn fast!
The first thing I learned is that stretchy fabrics are a tad challenging -- fabric should be pulled taut in the hoop, but when the fabric keeps stretching when you pull and never gets taut, when do you stop pulling? -- and then I learned the catastrophe that ensues when the bobbin gets knotted near the end of using thread 7 on an 8-thread design, and rips a hole in the fabric!!
The picture is, in fact, the second attempt.
My next embroidery project will be a one color design on linen. I am searching patterns for ideas now. I think I shall embellish the front placket, or collar of a blouse.
When I know, you'll know.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Linguistic Fun

My new embroidery machine (Did I mention that I recently got a new machine??? Well, I did.) offers the option of taking directions in 11 different languages. (!)

I think I shall create in German for a while, then I'll try French. Japanese will come much later.

Monday, December 14, 2009


I have just spent the past hour playing with my new embroidery machine.
I can now wind the bobbin, and thread the machine.

I am so proud!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Merry Christmas to me!!!

My husband thought of a wonderful and creative gift for us to give our grandson. This gift would involve my custom-designing and embroidering a sweatshirt for HRH Logan. Sadly, I do not own an embroidery machine. UNTIL NOW!!!!!!

My sweet husband cannot always wait for December 25th to enjoy Christmas. A firm believer that it is more blessed to give than to receive, he just a few minutes ago, handed me a huge box and said, "Here: open this." I protested (briefly and insincerely), then tore open the wrappings to discover an Elna Experience 8200!!!!!

This fabulous embroidery machine has PC capabilities. Whatever image I can download from a website, or create with the enclosed software, it will reproduce.

I am so excited!!!!!

Pardon me while I go watch the owner's manual/DVD.

Stay tuned for much excitement in the coming year.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

How I learned about straight grain

My sisters will possibly recognize these shirts as ones our mother made for our father many years ago. they are made of wool flannel, with an acetate yoke lining, and one of them (the green one) has leather patches on the sleeves. I suspect the green one is the older of the two in part because I remember Daddy wearing the red one frequently, but the green one shows more wear. I remember Momma sewing the red one. On this shirt, I learned to establish straight grain.
I must have been around six years old. (I'm not admitting to how long ago this was, but there were only 3 networks on our black-and-white TV.)
I remember helping Momma straighten the fabric by pulling opposite ends (I realize now that I couldn't have been much help with this part), and watching as she played with and placed, and re-placed pattern pieces until every plaid matched perfectly side-to-side, and top-to-bottom. She did this on the dining table while interrupting herself to go tend to dinner. When she was satisfied with the placement of each pattern piece, she pointed out the grain line arrows on the pattern, and the "lines" of the yarn-dyed plaid, and instructed me to make sure that each piece was "on grain".
In retrospect, having raised 4 children, I now know that her primary function on that day was to finish dinner without my being underfoot. I have done this, myself!
Nonetheless, I learned about grainlines; and about matching plaids, taking time to do the job right, respect for quality fabric, tenacity, multi-tasking, and helping children learn new skills. All have served me well.
If you look closely ( I hope that the pictures are of sufficient quality for yu to do so), you can see that, on the inside there is not a raw edge in sight. Every seam is flat-felled, even the sleeve insertion is flat-felled. There doesn't appear to be any interfacing in the front plackets, and yet, the machine-made buttonholes are perfectly straight, tight, and flat. Amazing. These shirts are truly a work of art as well as examples of exacting technique, and I am grateful to have them.
Momma passed away 4 years ago, her sharp wit silenced forever by Esophegeal Cancer. She lives on in the sewing skills she taught my sisters and me (which I have, in turn, taught my 2 daughters); and in the love of reading she instilled in us. Momma always said, "If you have a book, you have a friend." Thanks to great public libraries, I have many friends.
Rest in peace, Momma. We miss you.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Aunt Neno's vest is done.
And while, it is, of course, crass to brag, I must say: I'm pretty pleased with myself.
The closures gave me some concern, but my daughter Katie (of, figured out the perfect solution -- hidden hooks and eyes. Brilliant! I had all ready decided to flat-apply the lining, and bind the edges (instead of the traditional bagging of the lining), so it was a simple thing to machine-sew hooks and eyes to the binding between edge-stitching it, and whip-stitching it to the lining. I used the 'flat button' feature on my Pfaff to sew the hooks and eyes.
Note the perfectly mitered corners on the binding -- kind of my trademark.
Now, may I just say: can I match a pattern on a CF, or what????
Thank you - thank you very much.

Now: on to the gabardine trousers I cut out in September!