Monday, June 18, 2012


Some of my regular followers may remember when I received the pattern and book from Nancy Zeiman regarding T-shirt adaptations.  If so, you may have wondered if I am ever going to make something with it.  Here it is!!

Funnily enough, when I bought the book & pattern, I also bought several yards of a lovely wedgewood blue knit that Nancy recommends  for this project.  When I searched my stash for that fabric (and found it, BTW),  I came across this lovely muted purple that is soft, fine, and has wonderful drape.  I could not for the life of me remember buying it!!  It didn't appear to be a remnant of another project (fairly straight-cut edges all around), but it is of such sumptuousness, that I can't believe I didn't buy it with a project in mind.  Maybe I did.  who knows??
Anyway, by then, I had decided which shirt I wanted to make from the book, and there was more of the blue than I needed, but not enough for 2 projects for me, but the amount of purple was ju-u-u-u-u-u-st right!  It was then, that an idea was born.
I wanted to start experimenting with design alterations with the simplest to do - the surplice wrap - but I wanted something more interesting than a solid-colored surplice shirt.  That's when I decided to embroider it.
I selected a simple-seeming trail of flowers, and decided to use just one color of thread for the design.  I love the purple/green combination, and this meant that the shirt could be worn with many more skirts and pants, than solid purple might.
This design, however, elevated my simple shirt to not-so-simple embroidery.  The embroidery design is straight.  Neither my body, nor the shirt's front are.  Would I successfully angle the flowering vine across the left front, without running across a boobie, or stitching off the edge of the fabric???

It took some hard thought - but I did it!!

First: I fused a piece of lightweight knit interfacing [from - Thanks again, Pam] to the one sizable scrap I had, then I used tear-away stabilizer in my embroidery hoop, increased the image by 20%, and stitched the design.  Perfect!!!
After cutting away the excess stabilizer,  I put more stabilizer in the hoop, and using the sample as a guide (that is: placing the sample over the exact interfaced spot on my shirt that I wanted to embroider), I carefully positioned the shirt's LF in the hoop, such that the curved shirt front, was straight, but not quite straight-looking.  I knew it was right because I had my sample to guide me.  {Okay, I'll admit, I crossed my fingers, and held my breath until it was done}

The stitching came out of the hoop perfectly positioned on the LF, and on my frankly zaftig chest.

However, I had some tension issues during stitching, and, despite careful stabilizing, there were some bare patches in the center of a couple of flowers.  Distinctly white little spots in some, but not all, of the flowers.  Again:  not a problem!  I had intended to embellish each flower's center with a tiny green crystal bead, anyway.  I did SO!  The pretty green crystals covered the tiny oopsies perfectly.

I am very happy with the results.  All of them.  The pattern adaptation was a breeze thanks to Nancy Zeiman's very excellent instructions.  The tricky (for me) embroidery went well, also thanks to Nancy.  This time, help came from her book Machine Embroidery with Confidence, which I recommend to anyone who has an embroidery machine.  She covers every situation, question and problem that might come your way, instilling confidence all the while.

I have worn this a couple of times to rave reviews from all  --  except my husband, who bought me the embroidery machine in the first place!  Go figure!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Acronyms & Terms of Qrazy Quilters

This was handed out in our local quilt club meeting this week.  It is too wonderful to keep to myself!

BBT = Be Back Tomorrow
BOB = Beginner's Only Block
BOM = Block of the Month
BOW = Block of the Week
BRICKS = 5in x 9.5in precut fabric pieces
CHARM PACK = Package of pre-cut charm squares
CHARMS = small pieces of fabrics cut into squares, or, sometimes, hexagons
COC = Cream on Cream
CT = Connecting Threads
D4P = Double 4 Patch
D9P = Disappearing 9 Patch
DESSERT ROLL =  5in x WOF strips x 10 strips
DIC = Double Irish Chain
DIMES = 10in squares
DIY = Do It Yourself
DSM = Domestic Sewing machine
DWR = Double Wedding Ring
EPP = English Paper Piecing
EQ = Electronic Quilting Software
F8/FE = Fat Eighth = 9in x 22in cut of fabric
FAD = Fun And Done
FABRIHOLIC = This is not a word.  No one who sews, mends, quilts or crafts can have too much  fabric.  If this were a real malady, there would be medical studies and government programs available.  I am not in denial, because you can't deny a problem that doesn't exist.
FART = Fabric Acquisition Road Trip
FQ = FAT QUARTER =  18in x 22in cut of fabric
FFP = Finally Finished Project
FIU = Finish It Up
FLIMSY = Finished top of quilt, not yet quilted and bound
FM/FMQ = Free Motion Quilting
FOUNDATION FABRIC = The fabric on the bottom of your stash that supports the weight of all the piles of fabric on top of it.
FROG STITCHING = removing stitched seams (rip it, rip it, rip it)
FS = Forgotten Stash   If this tragedy ever happens to you, you must immediately put your house on the market, and go buy a bigger one. Or, kick out the two oldest children - your choice.
FW = Featherweight
FWS or, FWSQ = Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt
GFG = Grandmother's Flower Garden
GTG = Get ToGether
NICKEL = 5in x 5in square cut of fabric
PIGLET = See: F8
WOF = Width Of Fabric

Most crafts have their own language.  Ours is as colorful as the clothes and quilts we make!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

W/E project.

Let me begin by saying, "Weekend project my 3rd leg!!!"

Any sewer/quilter/knitter/weaver/crafter with a modicum of experience knows that when a pattern promises that you can complete a project in a weekend, they are assuming that your weekend starts when you get home on Friday night, ends very late on Sunday evening, and that you do nothing between the two than WORK ON YOUR PROJECT.

That said, I didn't expect this little table runner to take 3 weeks to complete!
Understand, there was nothing wrong with the instructions --  they were well-written, concise, and easy to understand.  Every part went together easily.  The problem was mine.  My life is sometimes complicated.  Even my days off are rarely [read: VERY rarely] labor-free.  So, an entire weekend to cut, stitch, quilt and bind, even something small, simply wasn't to be.  Still  -- it was a very pleasant 3 weeks!

I was inspired by this project from the Summer 2012 issue of Stitch.  Stitch is a fun new-to-me magazine that features full instructions and patterns for fun, quirky projects for person, home, pets, and gifts.  In each issue there are garments, decor, practicalities, and great, great ideas.  As soon as I saw this table runner, I wanted to make it.  However, when I sorted through my stash to find bright, bold fabrics with which to duplicate the runner they had made, I found this collection of strong, Fall-like fabrics that I had won in a raffle at my local quilt club.  I love the way the colors worked with each other.  I only had to buy the solid  to complete the project.  I chose a very pale muted yellow by Moda.  I thought that the yellow would contrast nicley with the reds in the prints.

There was nothing tricky about construction.  Follow the instruction given, checking your work as you go, and it assembles easily, even though, at some points it's hard to see where this is going.  [I wish I had taken more pictures of the process.  mea culpa.]

If I had a complaint, it would be that while the pattern is reversible (as promised), once it is quilted, I only like the way the quilting looked on the 'diamond' side.  Maybe a more subtle quilting stitch would have made me feel different, but, I am very happy with the results anyway.  I didn't really require that it be reversible.  If I decide I am tired of looking at it, as is  --  I can always whip up another table runner some weekend  .  .  .