Monday, February 6, 2012

A couple of projects completed

I wanted to make a new table runner and found a charm pack online at Nancy's Notions called "Le Petite Ecole" which looked like blue and red and cream and when I got it, it was more gray than blue. In the dead of winter I really need something bright but since I had the fabric, I went ahead and made it up. I had bought a book a while back called "Piece In the Hoop" which contains instructions and a CD with design files for piecing quilt blocks using the embroidery machine. I thought this would be a good time to try out those designs. I watched the video (basically a "Sewing with Nancy" type format) and read, or rather flipped thru, the book and got started.
Rather than make the test block and start with the simpler projects, I thought I would jump straight to the more complicated designs (the Log Cabin Block) (mistake #1). Also, wouldn't it make sense to make ONE block first and make sure all was going as planned? (mistake #2) Instead, I made up about 10 Log Cabin Blocks, trimmed them neatly, admired them for a while, then proceeded to make the Snowball Blocks with the embroidered chicken/rooster in the center. Then I cut all the plain pieces to fill in the other squares. It was only then, when I went to sew them all together, and the blocks didn't all match up, that I realized I'd FAILED to READ and FOLLOW directions. What I thought was the CUTTING line was actually the STITCHING line. So... I'd cut off all my seam allowances on the Log Cabin blocks (ahhhh!!!!!), which meant I had to cut down all the other blocks, and it snowballed from there. Disgusted, I wanted to throw the whole mess out, but I kept going. The casual observer can't see that the outer row on each Log Cabin Block is a wee bit narrower than the rest.

These pictures are dark because my dining room is dark, that's why I need bright cheery fabrics!
This table runner did provide a lot of really good practice. It was not a quilt as you go project. I used the "stitch in the ditch" for the log cabin blocks and for some of the plain blocks I used a design on the CD which kinda looks like candlewicking. For the rest I just did plain old machine embroidery.

Had I followed the directions it would have been a fast and easy project. The blocks stitch accurately every time. I can only imagine what it would have looked like if I'd tried to piece them myself!
The other project is a lingerie bag, ordered by a woman who buys toddler dresses from us. She has a lingerie shower to go to and had an idea of what she wanted and basically sketched an envelope shape with the recipient's monogram. She provided the cotton outer fabric and a flower button. The cotton wasn't sturdy enough for a bag so I created quilted fabric by using sew in interfacing as the bottom layer, thin poly batting in the center and the cotton on top. I drew chalk lines 1" apart, in a diamond pattern and used an olive green embroidery thread on top. The quilting was easy and very fast. I loved the way it turned out.

The fabric is so busy I knew a monogram would be lost on it, so I used a "frame" of a light ivory and fuschia fabric (which I also used for the lining). I used Monogram Wizard to create the monogram. The frame is an applique also done in the embroidery machine.

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