Precious Church Baby

flannel blanket for our newest church baby

 

Presenting a welcome gift to new babies at our church is a task I relish.  This purchased flannel blanket was embroidered for little Elise to wrap her in the warmth and the love of our congregation.  I do so love babies!

 

 

The text was arranged in Brother’s PE-Design.  The little angel cherubs are from Petite Designs, Brother’s card #20, one of my most often used collections. It is also available at ibroidery.com here.  The corner embroidery nestled perfectly in my Brother Quattro 8×8 hoop.

 

 

The ribbon designs in each corner and below the text are are featured in  Christening Gown Designs    from Martha Pullen’s Internet Embroidery Club, 2011.  The little bib, bonnet and booties were extracted from Dakota Collectibles  Toddler Trios.

 

 

A few years ago I purchased several of these blankets, described in the package as “Luxury Weight 9 oz Cotton Flannel.”  And they really are luxurious.  I loved the fluffy softness, mitred hem, and the generous 36 x 50″ size.  I prewash each one with a baby laundry soap before it is embroidered.

 

 

The pink flowerette Swiss galoon covered the machine stitched hem, but it also posed a minor problem.  While the hem was nicely mitred, it was not precisely  mitred.  As I placed the trim I saw that centering the stitching on the flowerette would emphasize the previously unnoticed irregularity of the hem.  So I just fudged it, leaving varying distances between the trim and the outer edge of the blanket.

The flowerettes were first basted in place,  then rearranged for the least offensive discrepancy.  Then they were stitched in place free motion with monofilament thread.

I’ve done several new church baby blankets and each one seems to be my favorite as I stitch.  The boy blankets were a very different, but fun.  For Liam his mint green blanket had a baseball theme, his large family’s favorite sport.  But somehow I seem to have lost the photos for that one.

The blanket for this little guy sent me searching for miniature designs that could pass for letters.   I really enjoyed that hunt.

 

 

 

 

This very similar blanket was done for Laura Jane.  White lace framed the blanket while machine feather stitching replaced the straight stitched hem.

As you can tell, I really love embroidering these luscious blankets for new babies in our church family.  As I stitch, I pray for that child.  Then my mind wanders back to the my early days of motherhood and the  overwhelming love and emotions I felt for my babies.  And how it grows every day.

There is just one blanket left from my bulk purchase years ago.  I guess I’ll have to go in a different direction for future babies.  I hope there are many, many more to welcome into our church family.

 

Thanksgiving Table Runner

 

Yes, I know Thanksgiving is over but life has been hectic around here.  I’m waaaaay behind!  But this could easily be made as a Christmas runner.  Keep that in mind.

This table runner was made for Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial.  It included two of my favorite sewing techniques, hemstitching and machine embroidery. A detailed photo tutorial is posted here http://blog.brothersews.com/home-decor/thanksgiving-table-runner/

The hem of the pale sage linen was mitred and then hemstitched.  I just love hemstitching.  It gives such an elegant finish to just about anything.  My Brother Dream Machine (and all of my earlier Brother machines) executes this technique flawlessly.  This linen was fairly heavy so I used a large wing needle.

The embroidery design from ibroidery.com is so nice for the end of a runner.  Only the colors gave it an autumn look and it stitches out perfectly. With other color and different seasonal text it could used again and again.

 

 

The opposite end read Thankful.

 

The companion embroidery was mirrored along the outer edges of the center, leaving room for a center piece.

 

FYI, all ibroidery.com designs are now on sale 25% off.

I hope to make a Christmas runner using these designs, using Christmas colors with Joy on one end and Peace on the other.  An ambitious plan, I know, with all that is scheduled for this busy month.  But I’m a cockeyed optimist so perhaps it will get done.

You may have noticed that I varied the colors in the identical designs.  For my taste, it adds more interest.  I once attended a scrap quilting workshop where the instructor made a comment that has stuck with me.  She said that if every block in a quilt was identical, there was no reason to look at more than one.  I’ve applied that to embroidery and enjoy mixing up the colors.

We had another fabulous Thanksgiving with our daughter and her family at the lovely home of her in-laws.  Carol and Alan are wonderful hosts, offering a beautiful table, a spectacular spread and and a welcoming attitude so relaxed you would have thought they ordered the huge meal from Publix.  But they cooked it all–well we all brought a dish ore two but they provided the lion’s share–turkey, dressing, ham, pork loin, mashed potatoes and gravy, and more.  And the company was as good as the food.

I hope you all had a beautiful, meaningful Thanksgiving Day. It’s one of my favorite holidays,.

In the next post I’ll share granddaughter Vivian Rose’s new “kitty cat” dress which as delivered Thanksgiving Day. It was made from MaggieB’s  great Ode to Joy pattern.  When I walked in with the dress on a hanger, Vivi immediately peeled off her very cute little turkey dress and insisted on wearing the new frock.  Her reaction was like whipped cream on the pumpkin pie!  More on that soon.

Christmas Quilt–Disney Stippled

 

Surely you know that Christmas is just around the corner. In anticipation of the holiday and all the joy that goes with it, this quilt was made.  Quilting, machine embroidery, and stippling combined to make a quilt with which I was almost entirely pleased.  I regretted running out of time before I quilted the green gingham squares along the edges and they waffled.

As a “Brother paid expert consultant”, my assignment was to use the new Disney Mickey and Friends Christmas designs in a Dream Machine project.  As you can see, I chose to make a quilt.

Detailed and photo illustrated instructions are posted here at Stitching Sewcial.

 

 

Six of the new Disney designs were chosen, each of which would fit in the 4×4 frame.  For the other blocks mini designs were chosen so as not to compete with the new Mickey and Friends Christmas embroideries.

 

This is the center block, stippled and in place.

 

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Two-Holiday Reversible Jumper

Same garment, two holidays.  The Halloween jumper reversed to become a Thanksgiving jumper.  Sorry, but the orange gingham hem on the Halloween dress does not show up well.

 

Have you ever heard anyone say that they have too much time to sew?  We all seem to have more projects in the queue than time will allow.  Here’s a tip–sew a reversible two holiday garment such as this.  It’s like a BOGO–buy one get one free.

 

Black pique fabric is trimmed with an orange gingham scalloped hemline. It is trimmed with purple spaghetti bias and an orange button at the peak of each scallop.

 

The reversible jumper is a project I did for Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial.  There you will find step-by-step instructions for this slick technique which I first learned  from guru Louise Baird’s excellent directions in Applique, Martha’s Favorites.  Only 4″ of handsewing is required for the entire garment!

 

This book includes a pattern for a nearly identical jumper as well as a boy’s Jon-Jon.

 

 

The Halloween scalloped hemline border was simply sewn with raw edges to the black pique’ dress.  The top edge is covered with purple spaghetti bias and an orange button at each peak.  The bottom raw edge is later enclosed in the seam which joins the two garments. Continue reading

Feeling the Need

5 banners in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation

 

Have you ever felt called to do something, regardless of the fact that you had little or almost no free time?  And when the nagging feeling would not go away, you just rolled up your sleeves and got to it?  There is a whole backstory to this endeavor at the end of the post.  That story is not about sewing, but about the need  to sew.

That’s what pulled me from my busy-ness to make these five banners.  Five hundred years ago on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the  door of the Wittenburg Castle Church in Germany.  This launched the Reformation, the essence of which is expressed by the five “Solas”  which are illustrated in the five banners.

One side of our sanctuary has 4 stained glass windows, in shades of blue and gold.

 

wall opposite the new banners

 

But the opposite wall is common to the Fellowship Hall so no windows could be installed.  It was just blank, except for two lights and some electrical devices.

So what called me?  Firstly, the blank wall which begged for some visible inspiration.  Secondly, a gut feeling that I had to sew more for my church.  We are commanded to share our talents, but I can’t sing so the choir was not an option.  Sewing is my best gift and I had done some other sewing for the church.  So sewing is what I needed to do.

As I rolled up my sleeves, our dynamic young pastor suggested that a banner for each of the 5 Solas would perfectly match his plan to preach one Sola on each of the 5 Sundays in October.

Okay, now I had a plan.

 

The Celtic “S” in Sola is from Martha Pullen’s  Celtic Alphabet from the 2014 Internet Embroidery Club.  The Bible is a design from Embroidery Library and the text, ” Thy word is truth.”  is curved and abbreviated.  The original cross was removed and replaced with a smaller one from my design library. The original design has 80.093 stitches!  So I converted the Bible into an applique’ with ultrasuede.  That  reduced the stitch count to 60,000 which is still a lot of stitches.  Those roses are very dense.  The gold corners are from Urban Threads.

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Halloween Dreaming

 

My grandchildren love holiday pillowcases.  This set was made for 4 yo Vivian Rose, who loves cats.  I knew she would appreciate the addition of the witch cat to the Happy Halloween design.   Both designs are from the delightful ADP 89 Patrick Lose Happy Halloween collection.

Though her family pet is an 18 yo Ragdoll cat who does little but sleep the day away, this child has an unusual and firm fixation on felines.  Last year at Thanksgiving, as always, each family member at the table offered thanks for those things for which they were most grateful.  Three year old Vivian said, “Kittens.”  When asked was there anything else, she said, “Cats.”  pressed further, her 3rd and last reply was, “Big cats. More more turkey please.”

Along with the pillowcases, I included a sweet birthday card with three adorable kittens.  The card was modified to read “Happy Birthday Halloween.”

She loved her new pillowcases but I think the cat card pleased her more.

Here she is wearing her signature bedtime fashion, nestled in the pillows and holding her cat card.

The sleepwear is from her future Vivian’s Secret fashion line. And yet I continue to smock and sew heirloom clothes for her, hoping for a change in her personal style choices.

 

There is so much puckering in the embroidery!  Every time I embroider on polycotton, regardless of how much starch and stabilizer I use, it puckers.  Do you have any suggestions?

 

 

Cars 3 Fun for Guys and Gals

See detailed instructions for this less bulky tutu skirt here http://blog.brothersews.com/embroidery/cruz-ramirez-tutu-skirt-tee/

 

As Disney/Pixar’s wholesome movie Cars 3 roared through theaters across the nation this summer, iBroidery.com offered a dozen beautifully digitized racing designs.  With so many macho characters associated with the Cars movies, Cruz Ramirex is truly the rising star of gender equality in the racing world.

This skirt features Cruz colors and embroidery. Fabric tutus similar to the one shown above are all the rage with younger girls.  I’ve heard of birthday parties at which each guest makes her own hula-type tutu.  One kindergarten class made these for an end of the year project.

Most of the quick, easy, and fun skirts are simply strips of fabric knotted over a circle of elastic.  Cruz’s skirt is tutu Version 2.0, with less bulk at the waist.  It includes a casing waistband which captures folded strips rather than knotted.  It also features her personal embroidered crest at the center front.  The skirt is paired with a simple white tee embroidered with the equivalent of Cruz’s business card.

 

 

Detailed instructions for this less bulky skirt and more photos are posted here at Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial. Continue reading

Hurricanes and Sewing

This is the view from my San Juan classroom several years ago.  I’m sure it looks very different now.

UPDATE:  Luis and his family were safe in Orlando when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico.  He was trying to get a flight home but I have not heard from him as to his location.  Now I see that there is a dam breach near Isabella, the site of his home and one of his stores.  They have evacuated  70,000 people from the area.  Lord have mercy on the people of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean!

Since I last posted some three weeks ago, so much has happened–lots of sewing and lots more blowing.

As you all know, hurricane Maria  has devastated Puerto Rico and other  Caribbean islands.  The loss of life and property is gargantuan.   The conditions are horrific.

My two teaching trips in San Juan caused me to fall in love with this tropical paradise and its delightful people.  Now I am heartsick with worry about my gracious host and hostess, their family, and the talented students who embraced me with a warm welcome, helpful classroom translations and sincere invitations to visit their homes.

The ladies were all accomplished needleworkers.  Just look at some of their beautifully stitched projects here.   They all loved sewing and they loved their Brother sewing/embroidery machines.  Now, I fear, they may have lost it all.

I was able to send a facebook message to Luis Medina, my host for both events.    It is my fervent prayer that my Puerto Rican sewing friends as well as Luis and his family are safe.   I desperately hope to hear from him that this is the case.  Still, 4-6 months with no electricity is unimaginable.

A week before Maria, hurricane Irma  hit Florida.  We prepared as best we could, boarding up the house, testing the generator and making sure we had ample fuel and food.

 

 

After Irma blew through, many Floridians were left with floods and major damage.  The hardship for our neighbors was significant, particularly one whose generator failed as it was turned on.  She is almost bedridden and totally debilitated with cerebral palsy, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.  The heat, lack of running water and electricity was almost more than she could bear.   The 94 degree weather put her epileptic son at risk for more seizures.   Floridians suffered so much hardship. But neighbors helped neighbors.

A huge fallen oak tree blocked her driveway.  My dear ladder climbing husband removed most of that before his chainsaw broke and another neighbor finished up the job. Continue reading

Antique Featherstitch Extravaganza

“Needlework is a way to capture Love, Beauty, Peace & Time.” unknown

antique woolen petticoat, heavily embellished with surface embroidery, feather stitching and moth holes

 

Antique needlework has always intrigued me.  So when I spotted this petticoat in an antique shop many years ago, the owner was surprised when I smiled and purchased this moth-eaten slip.  Her eyes said “Why would you want that?”  but her mouth said, “THANK YOU!”

First, I’ve always wondered who made this and who wore it?  Whoever kept warm in this petticoat was either a beloved child or a tiny young lady.  The satin waist band measures a scant 22,”  has a lovely hand stitched buttonhole and a pearl button.  The length is 24″.  My first thought was just who would go to all this trouble for a child’s under garment?  Then, as a mother and grandmother who has spent countless hours on a single garment for a precious little one,  I laughed at that absurd thought.  And I know many of you are laughing, too!  At any rate, I’ll never know for whom this was stitched, but it’s obvious she was well loved.

Needlework is a way to capture Love, Beauty, Peace & Time.” unknown

Well, clearly there is little to be done with this moth-meal leftover other than study it.  And it certainly is worthy of careful scrutiny, with the exception of the moth holes.  Just look at the features. Continue reading

Smocking Destash and Restash

Dear Friends,

If you’ve read my blog once  or twice you probably know that frequently I moan and groan about the out-of-control quantity of my sewing supplies.

But I have found a wonderful facebook group, Smocking Destash.  And you can join too!  It’s basically an on-line garage sale for sewing supplies!  You can buy and sell without charges like those on eBay.  The prices and ever-changing items being offered are just fabulous.

The need for room to move around causes me to offer bargains.

 

There are two more bookcases full of fabric, much of it needing a new home.

 

I vacillate between shame and motivation to reduce the amount to a manageable size.

 

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