I’m In Heaven!

Or should I say Heaven and Earth?  That’s the name of the design company from which I bought my most recent cross stitch chart and spoke so passionately about in episode #71.  Talk about instantaneous gratification too!  I paid for the chart with my PayPal account, then downloaded the PDF file to my GoodReader app on my iPad.  Because this chart is an all-over design, it’s presented in “pages”.  As I stitch each ten-stitch by ten-stitch grid on the page, I have the ability to highlight each stitch completed in a chosen color, and with another color, I can highlight where I’ve “parked” my thread in the next ten-stitch by ten-stitch grid.  My favorite part is the ability to pinch my iPad screen and enlarge as much of the chart as I want.  SCORE!

Here’s an example of both the grids and how the threads are parked:

DSC04350

The photo below shows my first completed grid! I chose to use a mechanical pencil to lightly mark my grid, instead of stitching it with fine fishing line.  Most of the marks will be covered up by stitching.  The remaining lines will be carefully erased, and the rest will surely disappear with a gentle washing after the stitching is completed.

This type of cross stitching blew me away.  The designs are stunning, intense and so gratifying to stitch up.  But….I had to let go of some of my died-in-the-wool cross stitching rules.  I’ve always stitched as though the back was just as important as the front.  I wanted it to look neat.  Stitching by grid and parking my threads, meant that a neat back was impossible.  In the linked video below, Carolyn Mazzeo gives an excellent tutorial on how she parks her threads.  When she mentions that she doesn’t carry her threads more that twenty-five stitches on the back of her work, my eyes bugged outta my head lol!  I was uncomfortable carrying my thread more than THREE stitches!  I’ve actually been freed….whether I complete each stitch individually or stitch multiple stitches in a row of a particular color (cross country stitching), it all works!

Here is Carolyn Mazzeo’s video on her parking technique from her YouTube channel.  Thanks to her excellent tutorials and inspiring works of art, here’s the design I bought and am stitching now.   She’s a mini chart-225 stitches by 337 stitches, called Mini Andromeda.

img_7232-1

Mini Andromeda

I’d loooove to hear what you think.  Would you like to give an all-over crossed stitch design a try?  I’ll keep you apprised of my progress.  Wish me luck!

Hugs and happy stitching,

Dori

Like us on Facebook: Hobbies Up To Here

Subscribe to us on iTunes: Hobbies Up To Here

Check out our YouTube channel: Katie V. with Hobbies Up To Here

Tune in for some Periscope fun: Katie V.

And follow us on BlogLovin: Hobbies Up To Here

Pop by on Instagram: Hobbies Up To Here

TGIFF: My First Dresden!

Having my mom as my partner in crime is definitely a blessing in disguise because she’s constantly trying new things and it encourages me to step out of my comfort zone and do the same.

Now my husband may disagree only because when I get motivated to try something new that means trouble for our bank account. NEW FABRIC!!!! Must have rulers!!!! Oh he must cringe when I tell him I’m trying something new and I must go shopping! Ha!

In all honesty, he’s just as encouraging and supportive even if he’s cringing a bit inside. Thanks, love!!!

Before the holidays hit, my mom attempted her first Dresden in the form of a baby quilt/wall hanging. I was so taken with how quickly she put it together and how beautifully it looked that I had to try my hand at my own Dresden plate project. So, I started to cut into my Joyeux Noel set to make my own holiday wall hanging.

I pushed to have it finished before Christmas so I could use it and I literally finished it Christmas Eve!! And I took that thing with me to each of our holiday parties so I could display it.

Christmas Eve binding!

When it was all said and done, I was in love!!!

This project took on a whole different look once it was completed and I was so surprised. It has a rustic charm to it and it looks really well done even though I can see a few areas of improvement. But the overall effect is a well put together piece.

I used a different binding technique which was new for me. I did the double fold bias tape method. I have mixed feelings with this. I think it works BUT it could use some work. I think what saved my crooked lines is that I used a thread color that closely matched the binding color. Had I gone with a contrasting color, my mistakes would have stood out boldly and made the overall look messy and amateurish.

I have to say my favorite part to all of this is my quilting. Yes, I’ll toot my own horn. I LOVE MY QUILTING!!!! The echoing pattern radiating out from the Dresden really seals the deal. Again, my lines aren’t perfect and my start and stop points are messy but the choice to echo outward to the border and then leave the border plain with only a single framing stitch around the edge brought the whole thing together.

I love it! It’s tight, neat, and clean without being too busy and burdening the fabric with too much of a quilted pattern.

Now as I said, there are areas where I could use some work. First, my start and stop points. There was A LOT of nesting issues and I know that’s more an issue with me than with my machine. My machine works perfectly still and I make sure to clean it out, dust it off, and I switch out  my needles regularly so that it stays in tip top shape.

This is an area that I do need some help. I want the BACK of my quilted pieces to look as good as the front. Luckily this is a wall hanging so it will most likely be seen from the front only. If you look closely in the picture below, you’ll see how on the back my starting/stopping points are messy, bunched up, and there are some stitches that have even come undone due to not being totally tacted down.

While I wish the stop/start points were neater, the back is probably my favorite part. It looks to me like an art deco piece. And even though I LOVE the back and how it came together, I forget that I have the option to use two different colors, one in the bobbin and another up top. While this looks good to me, I’m still curious how it would have looked if I had used the deep rusty red thread in the bobbin that I used along the binding.

IMG_8654

So many things to think of and so many options for next time. And there will be a next time. I’ve fallen in love with Dresdens and I can’t wait to make my next one!

Check out our side bar for some great link ups around the web. And don’t forget to share your recent finishes that you are proud of!

Like us on Facebook: Hobbies Up To Here

Subscribe to us on iTunes: Hobbies Up To Here

Check out our YouTube channel: Katie V. with Hobbies Up To Here

Tune in for some Periscope fun: Katie V.

And follow us on BlogLovin: Hobbies Up To Here

Pop by on Instagram: Hobbies Up To Here

Hobbies Up To Here Episode #18

It’s been two weeks TOO LONG but we’re back with episode #18!

IMG_6544

What we learned from this episode is that we don’t do well with late night podcasting! This one goes off the rails a bit but hang with us and enjoy the wild ride!

Hope everyone enjoys the weekend! We do celebrate Halloween and we’re looking forward to the costume parties and parades and all those goodies!

IMG_8073

Our Hobbies Up To Here Sew Along is all done! We’ll be posting the official finished products some time this weekend. For now, check back to watch our progress on our table runners for Halloween!

Week One
Week Two
Week Three

If you haven’t discovered Periscope yet, we highly suggest checking it out! It’s a free app that allows you to watch or broadcast live content and interact with your viewers at the same time. Dori and I both have discovered a love for Periscope.

The #honestcraftroomies hashtag on Instagram helps you to link with other quilters and see the weekly schedule for the Periscope hop that has been taking place Tuesday and Thursday evenings. We’ve had such a positive response to the hops that we’re now broadcasting two nights a week!

Check out our side bar on the right for some great website and link ups around the blogosphere to enjoy!

Like us on Facebook: Hobbies Up To Here

Subscribe to us on iTunes: Hobbies Up To Here

Check out our YouTube channel: Katie V. with Hobbies Up To Here

Tune in for some Periscope fun: Katie V.

And follow us on BlogLovin: Hobbies Up To Here

Pop by on Instagram: Hobbies Up To Here

Side Stitches: Reversible Tote Bag

The end of the school year is drawing near and like years in the past, I get this itch to make gifts for my son’s teachers. These plans don’t always work out the way I want them to but I always have the best of intentions.

IMG_1133This year I decided to make Jake’s teacher a reversible tote bag with some bright primary colors as a thank you for all her hard work this year. I got the instructions from here. They had me at “simple”.
IMG_1132The outer bag is a cute hand print design with lots of primary colors. My choice as I thought she’d appreciate the symbolic nature. Then I had my son pick out the inner lining and he went with this nice goldenrod yellow material with orange and red polka dots. At first I didn’t see the combo working but let him choose anyhow.

IMG_1135

The project was simple and I was able to simplify it even more. It called for cutting a 13.5 x 14 square of fabric and sewing closed 3 sides. Well, I could do that but instead I just cut a folded piece of fabric and sewed closed two sides. Super simple. I used the folded edge as the bottom of the bag and it worked fine. My favorite part was making the little pocketed corners so that the bag had a flat bottom. It’s kinda like my mitered corners. I loved learning how to make mitered corners as complicated as it can get and it’s my favorite technique when I quilt. These corners were simple yet effect, giving the bag more dimension and structure to the bottom. Again, a technique that is worth learning and adds so much to my sewing.

The handles came out pretty cool too! I originally made my seam too thick so I ripped the first one out and restitched it with my needle shifted closer to my foot and my fabric running right up the outer edge. In the end I had perfect little straps! I loved this part even with the ripping out of the seams. The process was simple just fold and press, fold and press, then sew together and VOILA! You have a strip that when cut in half gives you two clean straps. I used the inner lining material for these and I think they came out great. Then… The snag…IMG_1139Making the straps was awesome and by this point in the evening I was feeling pretty confident in my progress. I had two bags with corners all made up and some cute straps to match. The next step had me placing the bags together with the good sides matching up. Then I had to attach the straps. While the instructions had pictures and a well described blurb about what to do, for some reason I couldn’t visualize this step. The point was to attach the straps about 2-3 inches in from the edge in between the good sides of the fabric so that when you turn it all right-side out, the handles would be attached seamlessly into the bag.

IMG_1141Humm… Well this kinda looks like the picture in the instructions… Turns out I did have them attached facing the right direction and I sewed the whole damn thing only to find out I was wrong. The straps had to go BETWEEN the good sides of fabric, not inside the whole bag. Ugh… So I put it down, went to bed and promised myself I’d take it up the next day.

IMG_1142I did just that and STILL attached them wrong! I ripped out the original seams on the handles and when I went to attach them, I had them on the right sides of the fabric but facing out instead of in, leaving the handles in the wrong direction when the bag was turned right-side out.

IMG_1143I got so frustrated turning this bag around to only find out I had done it wrong AGAIN that I ended up with a pile of sad, wrinkled fabric all twisted and messy. I was about to give up. But I didn’t. I took out that seam ripper and went at it again.IMG_1144MUCH BETTER!!!! This time I got the handles in the right spots, on the correct side of the fabric and facing the right way! When I was done, I tangoed with the fabric to get it turned around and was tickled to see everything was in the right place and looking so adorable, albeit a little wrinkled after all the tugging. And, the lining my son chose ended up being a great combo with the hand fabric on the outside. The whole thing looks so cute and very teachery!IMG_1146 After all the seams that were ripped out and after three attempts to get the damn handles in the right spots, it all came together and looked so nice. The husband even told me it looked store quality. What a sweetheart. As the creator I could still see a few areas of improvement but the overall effect was wonderful.IMG_1149
This morning my son and I gave it a test run with his library books. The bag ends up much bigger than I expected which is a great. Big enough for her to tote her papers to grade and books to read. It’s very cute and I’m super proud of this finished product. So much so I’ve already cut the material to make another, bigger bag with the same material. After that I may make a smaller one for Jake with some dragon material for a lunch tote. Something easy to wash when it gets dirty.

My mind is popping with ideas for bags of different sizes and shapes now that I have worked with this particular pattern. It’s so simple to adjust to your needs that I can see it being used in different ways to make different bags for all kinds of use.

Sew Fresh Quilts