Thursday, February 26, 2009
I was inspired by an article in the latest issue of MaryJane's Farm. Karen has just started carrying this magazine in the shop and I am very happy about that. MaryJane is an amazingly talented woman and a good friend. Her magazine makes you feel all warm and cozy inside. We all need a little more of that in our lives. Anyway, the article was about MaryJane's mother and her fascination with hexagons. Well, you just know that any hexagon maven worth their salt is going to have made a hexagon-patterned quilt. Helen Butters made a beauty.
Going to the website, I downloaded the pattern, enlarged it to the size I wanted to work with and printed it out on card stock. Many, many scissor cuts later, I had enough hexagons to get me started.
Now, I am a novice quilter. I do not know all of the ins and outs, but I am trying to learn. My first foray into quilting was through Strip Club and I have been quite content to perch myself in front of the sewing machine and stitch merrily along straight lines to the sounds of Pandora Radio playing in the background. This business of hand-stitching a quilt was a bit intimidating to me. What if I make a mistake? What if my sides don't line up? Ack! I wonder if MaryJane's mom felt this way?
Choosing fabrics from my stash was the easy part. A few choice vintage pieces mixed in with scraps from other projects seemed to just fall together nicely. Reds, yellows and blues abound in merry combinations. This will be a happy quilt.
My first few stitches were a bit timid. "Am I basting these correctly?" I had no idea. But, I plowed ahead and soon a small pile of fabric-covered card stock hexagons began to accumulate.
The itch to make them into a flower was too much for me and I gathered together six small "petals" and a center and began to stitch them together, side by side by side. It was then I realized what I was doing. I was carrying on a tradition of making something by hand of cloth, needle and thread and a whole lot of determination.
I thought of the woman who first cut out this pattern and the thrill she must have felt as it all came together, piece by piece, blossoming into a thing of beauty. I pictured other women doing exactly the same thing- plunging their needles into scraps of cloth and making them into something that would comfort and warm their families and decorate their homes.
The fact that women still turn to that simple, homely task today is a bit of a thumb-of-the-nose at progress. Oh, computerized sewing machines are wonderful (and fast!), but they will never be able to replicate the tiny, irregular stitch created by a woman's hand. Nor should they. When you tug at the seam of a vintage quilt you see them, each one a labor of necessity and love.
I am pretty sure that I will be working on this quilt for a long time. If this past week is any indication, I will probably finish it somewhere around my 52nd birthday. I won't tell you how far away that is, so don't ask. But, finish it I will and hopefully it will live on long after my lifetime and warm future generations of children, grandchildren and so on. A work of art left for them by me, made with a silvery needle and sturdy thread.
Have you created a handmade heritage yet? If so, we would love to hear about it!
Saturday, February 14, 2009
He' s a pretty mean sewing machine repairman as well.
Thanks for visiting with us!
Friday, February 13, 2009
Because I had the supplies on hand, ten minutes later I had one of my own.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
It is cute, simple and extremely functional. (In addition to making a sweet birthday or Christmas gift!) You may not be like me, but when I am embroidering or hand sewing, my tiny scissors have a tendency to wander. Anywhere but where I want them to be, like under me or what I am working on, caught in the folds of the bed clothes or slipped behind the TV remote on the table. To solve this problem, I made a little pocket that hangs about my neck and holds my scissors at the ready. Without the need to search high and low or receive an unwelcome poke in the bottom.
What you will need:
This is the template you will use to cut out your pocket pieces. Just right click and Save As "template". It will print as a photo and you will want to adjust it to a custom size- 6x8. This will give you the proper pattern size with 1/4 inch seam allowances.
Choose five or six compatible scraps, about 1 inch wide and varying lengths (no smaller than 3 inches wide.) Strip piece these scraps together in two groups using a scant 1/4 inch seam. Spray with starch and press seams in one direction.
Cut two pieces from a lining fabric. You will not see this as it will be enclosed in the pocket. But for photos, I had to use something pretty.
Lay your scrap pieces and linings WRONG sides together. Run a stitch line across the top of each section, to prevent the scissors from poking through.
You will have a little sandwich that will look like this. (Oops, I took this before I stitched across.)
Using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, stitch around the sides and bottom of the pocket.
Your pocket will now look like this. Cute, huh?
To finish the top binding, unfold it and sew a 3/4 inch straight buttonhole, lengthwise, in the center. Repress the binding and attach to the top as you did on the bottom, being sure to fold in the sides. (If you are attaching the binding by machine, sew from the edge to the beginning of the buttonhole, stop, move the needle to the opposite side of the buttonhole and begin to stitch again.) The buttonhole is where the scissors will sit. Hand stitch the sides of the top binding to keep them sharp.
Attach to the back of the pocket with a sturdy stitch and cover with a button, if desired. Buttons are always a welcome addition to any sewing project, I think.
And voila!! You are done. Wear your Embroidery Scissor Pocket the next time you start a project and you will never sit on or misplace your scissors again.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Karen Taylor, the vibrant owner of the shop, grabs the attention of the strippers the moment she steps to the front of the room. This girl knows how to hold an audience! The first order of business is to give everyone the heads up on new fabrics, tools and classes that will be coming to the shop, as well as showing off the creations made by the staff and friends.
The next portion is my personal favorite- sharing our quilts with each other. The Scarlet Strippers are made up of women with varying quilting experience. From beginner to expert, we cheer each other on, ooh and ah over what has been accomplished and encourage each other with advice and compliments galore.
This is Gwen, who has not sewn since high school. Obviously she had no trouble finding her sewing mojo. Just look at her quilt! The ease of strip piecing makes it accessible for anyone to make a quilt in no time. Even if you think you have forgotten how to sew.
Each quilt is as individual as the woman who made it. Like fingerprints, no two will be alike. They will be similar because of the fabric choices, but the end result is an intimate view into the creative flow of each creator.
That creative process, combined with an achievable goal, delivers stunning results each and every time. The women who come early on that first Saturday morning leave with a sense of accomplishment and camaraderie that is unsurpassed.
Did I say women? Well, occasionally we will have a male stripper come visit as well.
Of course, the whole reason we gather is to hold that kit in our hands, read the new pattern over, in detail, with Karen and finally be able to see the quilt we will be making during the next month. You can actually feel the electricity as the moment of unveiling approaches. Trying to hold the suspense for as long as possible, Karen is compelled to reveal the newest piece of art with a cry of, "Will you please let us see the quilt!" Thank goodness she complies readily.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
We hope you will come and visit often, to read about what is happening at the shop, get ideas and tips and maybe learn something new here and there.
Imagine yourself as a single thread, weaving yourself along the warp and weft of life. Singly, you are a thing of beauty, unique and strong.
Joined with others, you become a part of a bigger design. Your individual qualities combine with other's to create a picture with more depth and color. The more you mingle together, the more you find yourself appreciating your commonalities as well as your differences. You start to reach out to these women beside you, learn from them and about them.
And then a magical thing occurs- you become friends. It is inevitable, because you have a common bond. In this case, it is quilting, sewing, a weakness for a soft piece of cloth or brightly colored threads. You know the feeling, don't you? Your heart beats faster, you find yourself picturing the exact spot where that fabric, or that one, will work best.
The only thing better than feeling such exhileration is to find a place where everyone feels the same way. That's what we see every day. Women who come through a door searching for a piece of cloth and leaving with a friendship, quickly and tightly woven together.
So, come back and visit often. We just love making new friends.