Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy Holidays to All!

Hope everyone is having a joyous holiday season!  For your viewing pleasure, here is a link to a vintage embroidered postcard uploaded by a member of my Vintage Holiday Greetings Postcard group on Flickr.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

American Girl's Caroline

DH surprised me with AG's Caroline, her cat and parlor for my birthday on Christmas Eve.  Caroline represents the Regency Period and was the perfect choice for me as someone obsessed with all things Austen.  I'll have fun sewing for her!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Two New Santas

I’m back, I think!  I’ve never gone this long without posting!  I have been overwhelmed with business and family issues – and a new family of feral cats, a mom and three babies!  I’m hopelessly behind on the TAST challenge and have only managed to finish two Santas so far, although I have a couple more in varying degrees of doneness.  Pictured below are my Swashbuckling  and Tea Party Santas.  You can see that the Tea Party Santa has traded in his traditional red cap for a tricorne hat.  This past year, I have discovered that hat making in miniature is a very satisfying endeavor...


Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Little More Progress on Swashbuckling Santa

I made the pants from black and white ticking.  The boots were made from a gorgeous piece of distressed faux leather.  That stuff is a little tricky to work with.  In my first attempts, the thread kept breaking.  Then, I did a little research on the web and learned that you must use a heavier thread than usual on the top.  All I had in brown was some old hand quilting cotton - and it worked like a charm.  I also had some problems with slippage but I corrected that by smearing the tiniest amount of Yes glue inside the seam allowances before I sewed.  Now, I love sewing with this fabric!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Swashbuckling Santa Hat

I have had a pirate Santa doll percolating in my head for quite some time (ever since the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, actually) and decided to work on a hat for him yesterday. I adapted a pattern from a great book by milliner Denise Dreher, From the Neck Up: An Illustrated Guide to Hatmaking. This is a bicorne design from the late 1700s – and, although it looks simple, it’s actually quite a little wonder of engineering. I had a blast making this! I even made a ribbon cockade to embellish it using the directions in the book. Although it’s not perfect I love the effect. There’s a whole chapter devoted to making hat trims. All of my fashion dolls are lining up for hats…

Monday, June 11, 2012

Nature Journal: Rose - genus Rosa

TAST 2012: Bullion Knot

Here is a bullion rose garland stitched on wool felt and a couple of samples from the original TAST; a single rose stem and a rosebud on a button.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Nature Journal: Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)

These plants grow in stands all over the yard and can reach over ten feet tall.  Very young leaves are consumed (after repeated blanchings) in the South, but many experts warn against it because of high toxicity levels.  They produce dark purple (almost black) berries late in summer that are loved by birds but the seeds inside are poisonous to humans.  A red dye made from the berries was once used to color cloth and as ink for writing.  “Polk Salad Annie” notwithstanding, don’t even think about eating any part of this plant unless you are an experienced herbalist!  I can’t stop singing that song…
"Polk salad Annie, the gators got your granny (chomp - chomp chomp)
Everybody said it was a shame
'Cause her mama was aworkin' on the chain-gang
(a wretched, spiteful, straight-razor totin' woman,
Lord have mercy! Pick a mess of it)"

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Almost Summer...

Here’s a summer outfit I made for my Götz Little Sister doll consisting of a linen skirt, lined sheer blouse and macramé belt. The fabric was from decorator samples I purchased for fifty cents each in JoAnn’s a few years ago.  Check out those fisherman sandals - perfect miniatures of the real thing!  Purchased them in brown, too.  Couldn't resist!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Party Dress for Jessie

Here’s Jessie modeling a party dress I made for her from a pattern by The Patchwork Pansy.  The fabric was leftover cotton from curtains I made for the bedroom many years ago!  The lace was from my mom’s old stash.  I loved being able to put that stuff to good use!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Jessie's Cami & Triple-Tiered Petticoat

I made this camisole and petticoat adapted from patterns in the book, Heirloom Doll Clothes for Götz.  I love this book!  The cami required a little lace shaping and mitering.  Spray starching and ironing, as recommended by the author, Martha Pullen, really help to coax the lace into position.  Isn’t my model adorable?  She is a My Twinn doll.  These dolls come in a variety of face sculpts and are able to be posed because of an internal armature. They are approximately twenty-three inches high.  This particular little girl has what is known to collectors as the Helen face sculpt. I’ve named her Jessie.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

TAST 2012: French Knots

I worked on my fabric collage a little more, adding French knots to the butterfly.  I used them singly to outline the shape and also in groups of three to create a pattern within the shape.

TAST 2012: Stem Stitch

As I was getting ready to add this familiar stitch to my sampler, I checked it out in Sharon B’s Stitch Dictionary and learned something I didn’t know before. The thread is worked to the right side of the needle.  If it is worked to the left side, it is the outline stitch.  I always interchanged them, depending on the direction I was stitching, never noticing the difference in appearance.  I see it now, although it's difficult to detect in the photo below.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Ursula's New Slip

One of the goals I set for this year was to try French heirloom sewing by machine for my dolls. I purchased a beautiful book by Dr. Martha Pullen, Heirloom Doll Clothes for Götz, and this slip was my first attempt. I learned how to sew lace to fabric very securely and invisibly! I figure that should come in handy for making Santa outfits, too. My little model is a Götz Precious Day doll. She's advertized as being the same size as The American Girl dolls, but she's ever so slightly slimmer. I named her Ursula.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

TAST 2012: Satin Stitch

Here’s a peek at a work in progress, a fabric collage based upon magazine images from a course taught by Susan Sorrell. I usually use chain stitches to fill in shapes (see the iris and pupil), but thought I’d try satin stitches to fill in the lettering.

Monday, April 02, 2012

TAST: Barred and Alternating Barred Chain Stitch

I'm caught up, at last!

TAST 2012: Whipped Wheel

For the first whipped wheel, I used a nylon washer as the base. Not wanting to leave it plain, I covered it with buttonhole stitches to add some color. The other sample is a whipped long arm chain stitch, one of my favorite stitches from Sharon B’s Personal Library of Stitches course a few years ago. It has a kind of nautical look, I think.

Monday, March 19, 2012

TAST 2012: Running Stitch

Still trying to get all my ducks in a row...

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

TAST 2012: More Chain Stitch Variations (and a Little Bit of Couching)

Here are a couple more chain stitch variations; the blossom stitch (which is a combination of the stem and chain stitch), reverse and heavy chain stitch and, lastly, regular chain and zigzag chain stitch (couching novelty thread). The chain stitch can also be used as an outline for appliqué. I keep thinking the heavy chain stitch would make a nice braid trim for doll clothes. And, speaking of doll clothes, I’ve include a photo of an outfit just finished (Simplicity pattern #2296) where I’ve used the zigzag chain stitch to couch rickrack. My model is the adorable Little Sister doll “Tess” by Gotz. She can share clothing with American Girl dolls.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

TAST 2012: Herringbone, Chevron and Detached Chain Stitches

I’m not quite (but very nearly) caught up with my TAST stitching. DH and I have been ill with some sort of cold or flu for the past week or so – stuffy heads and zero energy… We’re both just beginning to feel better.

The first photo shows two versions of the double herringbone stitch, both of which are illustrated in Sharon B’s Stitch Dictionary. The next one shows a couple rows of Chevron stitch combinations. In the third photo, I appliquéd a piece of felt to my sampler and stitched some lazy daisies (detached chain stitches). These flowers were inspired by one of my favorite embroidery books, The Embroiderer’s Floral, by Janet Haigh.

Also, I have been working on a doll outfit trimmed with zigzag chain stitches over rickrack (fun, but time consuming!) I will add a photo soon.

Friday, February 03, 2012

TAST 2012: Cretan Stitch

I’m a week overdue on my TAST stitches! Here is my sampler with stacked Cretan stitches and a row of knotted Cretan stitches. Below, I added a little felted piece with knotted Cretan stitches that I made for the original TAST a few years ago.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

TAST 2012: Feather Stitch

Note to self: Don’t add eyelash yarn to a sampler until you've stitched a few rows away from it. Those strands were everywhere in my way for the first two stitches (closed and up and down buttonhole feathered). The third stitch is my version of the chained feather stitch. It is traditionally worked as separate stitches down the row; each stitch pulled to the back and a new one begun on the opposite side. Mine is worked as a continuous row, more like a regular feather stitch – and it works up very quickly! This might be my new favorite! It's very easy to do and I've photographed the tricky part:

1. Make a chain stitch on the left slanting toward center of row.

2. Proceed to the right and make the loop part of a feather stitch.

3. The thread that would normally anchor the feather stitch is, instead, taken back up and through the fabric just to the left of the rightmost stitch, forming top part of a chain stitch.

4. Hold down the lower loop and the working thread and take a stitch through to the front, finishing the chain stitch.

5. Take thread to the left, make another feather stitch and repeat down the row.

Friday, January 13, 2012

TAST 2012: Buttonhole Stitch

I had done a few variations of the buttonhole stitch on my (still in progress) Stitchin’ Fingers” sampler, but found two more to add to my new TAST sampler. They both call for two rows of stitches and can be used to create nice, thick bars. The second stitch, below, is a variation on the barb stitch adding couched threads.

I will add the buttonhole stitched areas of my first sampler to the Take a Stitch Tuesday group on Flickr.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

TAST 2012

Not wanting to make yet another commitment (kinda swamped here), I tried really hard to resist the temptation of joining the new TAST 2012. (I had participated in the original TAST as well as the Stitch Explorer Challenge – and thoroughly enjoyed both and learned so much!) But, I went over to Sharon B’s blog and had a peek at the first stitch and realized resistance was futile (sigh…). I love the fly stitch! Dang! So, here is a row of simple little fly stitch roses. I had seen this pattern (or something similar) a few years ago in a crazy quilting book that contained some illustrations of easy seam treatments. Unfortunately, I can’t recall the name of the book.

Monday, January 02, 2012

"Love Potion No. 9" Finished

This is the embroidery piece I started last year, all finished except for the hangers. I need to go to the the Home Depot to purchase a couple of nylon washers to add to the back. I used beads, sequins, gold “coins” and a tassel to enhance the Gypsy theme. I added four treasured vintage twinkle buttons from my collection, one in each corner. My favorite one, on the top left, is marked “Czechoslovakia” on the back. I had so much fun working on this - and those coins make the happiest clatter!

Happy 2012!

It's time to put the Christmas toys away and get back to work...