Thursday, August 31, 2023

August Recap

It was another busy month and once again not with all the things originally planned.  There was a lot of cross stitch, a little quilting and a new addition to my quilting arsenal!

Cross Stitch

I had signed up to participate in the Colorado Stitcher's Cross Stitch Summer Camp.  She holds these in June, July and August with a themed prompt for each month.  I was already doing something else for June and didn't have anything for the July prompt as well as having quilty plans for that month.  However August was up for grabs as she had always made the prompt "Try Something New" for that month.  Since I am still a relatively new CSer, pretty much anything I do is new-to-me!

I had two potential options for that one.  The first was this Halloween kit I had picked up on eBay:

I had chosen this one as my first "Halloween Stitch" (it seems that CSers are big on stitching Halloween projects) and also as my first "beaded embellishment" stitch.  This "kit" consisted of the pattern and the beads so I was going to have to source the fabric.  I liked the color of the "called for" fabric in the pattern picture but not so much that it was for a 32 count Belfast Linen.  I was already working really slowly on a project stitched on an Evenweave from "Stitch June" so wasn't sure I wanted to commit to that.  However, I really wanted to try to see some fabric in person.  

A couple of "near me" shops I Googled turned out to be needlepoint shops not needlework shops and I learned that there is a big difference in what is carried in each.  I wasn't sure about ordering online since the color I was trying to match was not one that I have any immediate plans to use again in the future and most of the ones I saw that had potential called for ordering a fairly large piece.  Additionally, you know how it is when you order something online:  I didn't want to order and if the color that arrived didn't work, have to make additional orders until I got something I liked.  Unlike with quilting, I am not trying to build a cross stitch fabric stash!

As such, I tabled that in favor of working on a "Stitch June" project that I hadn't gotten to:  Mani Di Donna's "Right To Vote":

This meant I'd be challenging myself to working on Linen after all since I had purchased the "called for" fabric of the same stitch count for this project.  Well if I thought stitching on Evenweave was hard, Linen proved to be even more challenging!!   

I will admit I'd pick this up, struggle to do very little (or a lot of ripping and re-stitching) and then put it down, sometimes for more than a day or two before getting back to it.  As I came into this last week, as much as I felt like I was finally starting to get the hang of it, I also realized that it was going to take a lot more time than I had left to focus on it and get it done.  So I only got as far as this for the month:  

Oh well, at least I now have a better idea of how working with this type of fabric is executed.  What was a lot easier to tackle was the Summer Camp badge issued for this year.  I stitched that on a simpler 18 count Aida and while easier to stitch, I did flub some of the pattern counting and there are some motifs that are a bit off.  The finished badge will also be larger than patterned since it was designed to be stitched on 25 count Lugana (Evenweave).  

I worked on the badge between the times I tried to work on the Linen project.  Even so, I still have flowers to add to the wreath and a stitched border to finish this up so it too will remain on the stitching docket until it gets done. 

And More Cross Stitch!

As I noted in a previous post, the founders of my community garden are very craft and art focused and like to program workshops for creative endeavors that can be hosted in our garden.  I had done an EPP workshop for them back in 2020 and was asked if I had anything for this year.  

Right before that, I had come across a cute (and free) little pin pillow pattern with a Lavender theme.  I got excited because I knew we had a lavender patch in the garden so thought it would be cool to stitch this up and harvest and dry some of the garden lavender to put in it.  

It wasn't much of a leap to think about how this could translate into a class so I proposed it and the proposal was accepted.  Of course then I had to actually prepare for the class which presented its own issues and a bunch of work to be ready for it on the last Sunday of the month!

I finished stitching the above samples early in the month then spent the rest of the month sourcing materials for kits for the class attendees that would include little mini project bags.  I wrote up an information packet that summarized some of the basics of the stitching techniques, supplies used and sources and a glossary of common terms and acronyms used by CSers.  

Unfortunately, our garden lavender patch was a little worse for the wear.  I have since learned that is because we never pruned the plants.  I will work on rehabilitating it for next year but now that also meant sourcing dried lavender to turn these little pillows into sachets.

The class went well although many found the concept of cross stitching a bit challenging.  However a good time was had by all and we have scheduled a follow-up session to see if everyone was able to complete their stitching and to go over how to finish the pieces.   

A Little Bit 'O Quilting

The only quilt-related thing I worked on this month came about because I needed fabrics to provide the workshop attendees backing squares for their little pillows.  To that end, I remembered a set of fabrics I had purchased to make a doll quilt for a (now deceased) aunt of mine.   I found the batch of leftover fabrics that had lavender motifs on them but also found the remains of the project that had been my first attempt at making that doll quilt.  

Back then, I had worked up a design in the Quilt-Pro design software I had at the time and had started piecing the nine patch blocks for the center.  

However when I went to cut fabric for the outer round of blocks, I wound up not having enough of the large floral fabric for both the blocks and the outer border of setting triangles and at the time didn't have the budget to purchase more.  As a result, I had taken what fabrics had not already been cut up and used those to make an alternative "Twister" quilt design for her instead.  

Coming across the remaining fabrics and the nine patches that had been pieced, I realized I still very much liked the first design I had come up with.  I wondered if even though all this time had passed, I might be able to A) get more of the border fabric and B) finish the piece.  I really was interested in doing this because I knew it would now coordinate with the fabric I had purchased back in April for doing Angela Walters "Floral Frames" free-motion quilting challenge.  That would give me a coordinating quilt to go with the challenge quilt when(ever) it gets finished.

So I worked up the design again, this time in the EQ8 software I have now.  I added additional borders to the design to make it big enough for a wall hanging and used the software to confirm how much fabric I needed to have.

Lo and behold, I was able to source more of the floral fabric even after all these years!  However that led to a new problem:  I now also needed more of the blue leaf fabric I had planned to use in the outer nine patch blocks because I had used up most of what I originally had when making the "Twister" quilt.  Unfortunately, more of that fabric in that color could not be found anywhere!  

However, in the course of sourcing more fabrics for the class project backings, I picked up some promising prints that I thought might now replace the old blue fabric I couldn't find.  I realized that I no longer needed the quilt to be strictly and primarily blue and white (which had been the colors my Aunt liked) so could introduce a little purple into my version.  I found the leaf print from the original fabric line in purple and one of the cross stitch backing prints looked like it might work.  I also picked up another blue flower print that I hoped could be another potential alternate.  

I made up a few test blocks including some with what little I had of the original blue leaf fabric.  I'm still not sure which works for me so this project too is now on hold.....

Last But Not Least:  A New Addition!

A BIG change to the quilt studio happened in August:  there has been a changing of the guard!  The Brother Nouvelle 1500 machine that I had purchased used back in 2019 unfortunately was determined to have breathed its last (well, actually it needed a replacement part that could no longer be procured).  

Fortunately the machine repair shop I had taken it to was able to give me a great deal on a demo model of the machine I had always wanted in the first place so I am now the proud owner of a Juki TL 2010Q machine!

I am thrilled but once again am now in the position of needing to get used to working with a new machine.  The good news is that this has pretty much the same "stitch feel" as the Brother did without the problems I had with the other machine being periodically unresponsive.  

This means I may finally be able to really settle in on getting my quilts quilted up faster.  I do like that the Juki has an adjustable speed control, a needle threader and that the thread cutter can be activated from a button on the front or with the foot pedal.  Also just like when I purchased the Brother, the Juki offers the ability to be put onto a long arm frame if I ever get the space to do so in the future.  So a new adventure is a foot!  

Looking forward to seeing what September and the Fall bring in!! 

1 comment:

Fortuna said...

Thanks for your dedication to helping us understand this topic