Musings from the mind of a modern day Sue.

Posts tagged ‘handiwork’

Emma’s Pillow

Learning a new craft is challenging.  Teaching can also be challenging, trying to explain basic sewing principles in easy to understand terms.  My granddaughter, Emma, has been a willing learner, but she exhibits frustration when she doesn’t do something right.  When that happens, she needs a break and I allow for it.

Today’s project was a small charm square pillow with a hand stitched initial.  Emma has a keen sense of color.  She spent quite a bit of time selecting fabrics from my stash, selecting fabrics that appealed to her and looked nice next to each other.  Today’s lesson involved learning how to use rulers and a rotary cutter, including handling the cutter safely.  We handled the rotary cutter together, knowing that she needs close supervision until she is more skilled.


sewing the pillow together

I also allowed Emma to practice her previously learned skills.  She wound a bobbin, threaded the sewing machine, and stitched quarter-inch seams.  She also learned a new skill: how to use a seam ripper.  Interestingly, she realized during the sewing that she had veered out of the seamline.  She stopped and immediately reached for the seam ripper to tear out part of the seam.  No hesitation on her part to unsew and resew.  That may be the perfectionist coming out in her.

Emma completed the pillow project over the course of the day by taking breaks to do other things.  At one point, I thought that she had stitched enough for the day, putting the project aside and shutting down the sewing machine.  Later, I found Emma back in the sewing room hand stitching her initial onto the pillow top.  It is exciting to see her developing an interest in handiwork.


Emma’s Pillow

She’s already asking what our next project will be.  I’m ready to teach her how to cut out a paper pattern and stitch together a piece of clothing.  I made my first pair of pants in 4-H when I was 9 years old.  My plan is a pair of flannel pajama pants.  Emma is also learning to knit, from her other Grandma.  Someday, she will realize how fortunate she is to have learned these skills as a child, since many of our young people are not learning them.  If you’re a sewist, quilter, knitter, or embroider, pass that skill onto a younger person.  We owe it to the next generation.

Until next time…happy stitching!


Progress on Advent Calendar

I am finally making progress on the Advent calendar wool ornaments. I received a package in the mail today that contained #8 perle cotton thread that I ordered online. I needed some additional colors that were not available at my local quilt or craft shops. I had continued to blanket stitch several ornaments, but was unable to finish many of them without the additional thread colors.

Today, I finished four more ornaments: the candy cane, the gingerbread man, the light bulb and the present.

Candy Cane

Wool Candy Cane Ornament

Gingerbread Man

Wool Gingerbread Man Ornament

You may have noticed that the gingerbread men do not match. I didn’t have enough wool in the same tan color, so made them from two pieces.

Wool Light Bulb Ornament

Wool Present Ornament

Thread color is difficult to match, and even more difficult to match when selecting thread from online. The green color does not match the green wools very well, but I decided to use it anyway. As for the brown thread on the gingerbread man, it was not as dark as I had expected. Stitching all those white stripes on the candy cane was time consuming, but came out well.

I prepared several more of the ornaments, as I waited for my thread to arrive. I should be able to finish several more ornaments next week. Monday, I have a sewing day planned with my sisters. I will be cutting out the cotton fabrics to make the feather tree quilt that the ornaments attach to. I actually believe that I have planned well enough to complete this project in time for my grandchildren to enjoy the Advent calendar this season. Hope you are being as successful with your holiday stitching projects.

Happy Stitching!

Another Wool Advent Ornament

For week two, I was only able to complete one wool ornament for my advent calendars. This ornament was a bit more involved, using three colors and and having smaller pieces to blanket stitch. The candle ornament will add an old-fashioned look to the Advent calendar.

Wool Candle Ornament

Besides completing an ornament, I was able to finally add binding to a quilt my longarmer FMQ earlier this year. This is the first time I have done any significant stitching on my sewing machine in about two months. I finished piecing together two baby quilts in August. Otherwise, my ability to spend any length of time on the sewing machine has been limited since my shoulder surgery. I feel pretty good this evening, so I believe that I could spend more time stitching without experiencing any strain on the joint.

So, now I have binding to turn and stitch. I’ll be back to more wool Advent calendar ornaments next week.

Happy Stitching!

Feather Tree Advent Calendar

Last Fall, I purchased an Advent calendar pattern by Kansas Troubles Quilters. A feather Christmas tree is pieced of calicos, then ornaments are hand pieced of wools with embroidery and blanket stitching. Each ornament is attached with a ribbon loop to a button on the tree. You can read my blog about the Marquette County Quilters Guild show where I purchased the pattern.

I plan to make two of the Advent calendars, one for each of my daughter’s to enjoy with my grandchildren. I determined last week-end that I needed to make at least one ornament a weekday, while using the week-ends to sew the quilt top feather tree, if I expected to finish the project by December. Then, I could present the gift to my daughters for my grandchildren to use during this year’s Advent. So, I got right to stitching and finished two each of the first four ornaments – a bird, an acorn, a decorated tree, and an ornament. Here they are…

Wool Bird Ornament

Wool Bird Ornament

Wool Acorn Ornament

Wool Acorn Ornament

Wool Tree Ornament

Wool Tree Ornament

Wool Ornament 1

Wool Ornament 1

The pattern comes with activities to do each day as the ornament is hung onto the Advent calendar. For example, as the bird is hung onto the feather tree, the grandchildren hang a suet cake onto a branch of an outdoor tree for our feathered friends.

I am enjoying making these wool ornaments. Of course, anything I do for my grandchildren is a pleasure. As you can see, I am hand stitching the ornament to the wool backing with a blanket stitch. Handiwork is one of my favorite activities, whether I am doing wool work, redwork, hand applique, embroidery, or beadwork. The projects are portable, go together quickly, and, I find, relaxing.

Stay tuned for more advent calendar ornaments and Happy Stitching!

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