Monday, October 28, 2013

Bernina Accessories

My striped green place mat was just not working with my new cover so I whipped up this awesome mini-quilt mat for my Bernina machine.
I as I dreamed up this mat I determined I wanted to make it small and just fit the foot print of the machine base. I don't need extra fabric in my way when I sew. I also decided that I need to make it slip proof. After spending a few minutes seeking the best option from the fabric closet. I noticed a bag of moving packaging junk. This drawer liner stuff in the top of the bag was perfect. Disclaimer: This is not the prettiest thing I have ever made. The bottom wont hardly ever be seen and I need this machine to budge. I have to push hard to get fabric to move through a machine sometimes, and no one wants a Bernina to hit the floor. 
I used a Quilt-as-You-Go method. The Missouri Quilt Company has a nice youtube tutorial. I have no experience with this simple quilting technique and wanted to start small. I cut the backing attached the non-slip drawer liner and batting the same size as backing then sewed strips on. The first strip is tacked to the left edge face up. Then the next is face down lining up the edges. I smoothed the backing and hand pressed the previous strip over. I also varied the sizes of the strips. I do recommend pinning and ironing if you are making anything larger.  This method would make great table runners or placemats.
Of course, that black and white safety pin fabric was too busy so it got chopped up and delegated to the binding.
It turned out lovely. I think I am getting a hang of this binding thing.
Oh and I whipped up a pin cushion that has steel wool inside and hair band and button closure. I might end up remaking it. For now I love the collection.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Crochet Christmas Gift Ideas

Can you guess?
I think they'll be super cute.  

Another hint, these scrappy strips will help them from melting.

Sewing Machine Cover

I made this awesome cover today for by beautiful new-to-me Bernina. She was missing her original case when I purchased her. I don't feel the need to have a hard case since I don't plan to be moving this door stop often.
Lucky I bought this perfect fabric a few years ago in North Carolina. "Sew Happy" Monaluna for Robert Kaufman was created for my Bernina! I had always wanted to make accessories for my sewing machine. It just took me the inspiration to create. So I set off to make a machine cover.
I wanted it to cover the attached table, since I always have it on the machine. So the cover need to be an odd shape. I measured the machine twice and wrote down my measurements on a small sketch of the cover. It ended up being three rectangles on the front top and back while the two ends are large trapezoids. 

I even put this awesome pocket on the end. I used a high-loft batting and quilted it to create stiffer plannels so it would stand up on its own.
I put a simple loop on the top along with a wide trim.  I simply wanted to get all the fabrics in there but found the black and white super distracting.  I need to cut it up smaller and decided to brake it up with a trim.  The stripe down the middle of the front and back plannels came about because the white fabric was not wide enough by only 2 inches.  Therefore I threw in the red button strip. I find that working with 3 complementary fabrics are easier to design with than 2 or 4. I am so happy with this awesome item. 
I liked making this cover because I created the pattern and I was able to use many different stitches on the machine and I practiced the free hand quilting. I quilted the black Saftey pin pocket with a simple straight stitch but for the other pannels I used the darning foot and did some tight curly cues around the buttons on the red fabric. For the white fabric with the sewing machines I whent a bit bigger with my loops and curves. I used and awesome zigzag for finishing off the bottom edge. 
The machine did great piecing together the pannels. My old machine would have binded up in the corners. The Bernina never faultered. I am in love. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Stamp Layering

I was rather sick to my stomach this morn so I stayed home from work today and made soup. I got a bit bored of my cycle of pintrest, TV and books.   I recently admired Genine's stamps and had wanted to carve some up for my Christmas cards this year. Last year, I did the water colored scene. I loved those, but wanted to change it up a bit.
I started by sketching designs on to a larger index card since that would be the general size of the overall image. I ended up wanting to make a scene that only could be achieved by making multiple stamps to layer to create depth. I went for a mountain scene with moon and trees. I decided on simple designs that I can use at later times, other than for Christmas cards.
I made the simple triangles stamp first. I free handed the triangles onto the master carve based off the earlier sketches I did. I am not a skilled carver so I started with the basic exact-o knife to cut straight lines into the master carve, trying not to go too deep. I took thin layers of the background off in small sections. I tested it out many times. Cleaning it up as I went along. As seen above, on my test scrap I sketched in the mountains and moon onto the opposite side of the master block from the trees. This master carve block is so thick and expensive ($35 for a 8x11 thick sheet).  It helps me get more stamps and I know it will be the same size to match up the images.  
I used a rollerball carver on the mountain side, trying to do continuous cuts in order to keep the lines smooth. As you can see I don't always keep true to the ball point line. The extra bump in the middle mountain felt natural when I carved and looked great when I tested it. The fine tip helped make the fine valleys. I started clearing the sky with wide curve tip with the intention to take it all out. I kept with the line of the mountain I had cut first and created these great curves. I did a test and loved the effect it left in the sky. Cleaning out high spots until I liked it.
I started layering it up with the triangles. I love the placement. I will say that working with double sided stamp is messy and I now have ink all over. It would be best to have a similar size of cardboard to sandwich between your hand. The ball point ink will come off in the first few stamps but, will soon fade. Also, working with exact-o knives and rollerballs is tricky, always point away from yourself and go slow. The top middle one in the image above was the final stamp.
I am known to mix inks which eventually dirtys the lighter colors. I always lay the stamp face up on the table and apply the ink pad with my hand. I think most people do it the opposite way. This helps me mix colors on the triangles to look like trees in the above image. Also, I could make the moon or half the triangles a diffrent color or achieve shading in the right spots.
Here are some awesome triangles by themselves will make nice wrapping paper. I ended up switching colors and getting kind of purple trees. This can be avoided by stamping off all the ink on scraps. I like when there traces and it creates variation. It also allowed me to see that the triangles in a  non-Christmas color are an awesome pattern to have as a stamp.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Pumpkin Basket

I have crocheted pumpkins before. I gifted those cute guys to my Mom a few years ago. I decided I wanted some in my home again.  I loved this thicker natural orange in the store more because of its color. When started to make my basic pumpkin and realized that I could create a rather cool basket due to the thicker yarn keeping its shape well. I stopped when I felt I had a good size and created a handle out of the green that was wider at the bottom than at the top. I ended up with a bit of orange yarn left over and decided to make the baby pumpkin, which I stuffed. Of course, I didn't use a pattern and ended up ripping out my stitches when it wasnt the right size. I enjoy this process of figuring it out on my own and making it my very own style.
 I filled the basket pumpkin with candy which made it a fat ole' pumpkin, when it is empty it is a bit floppy which I like. I hope to have these awesome pumpkins for a long time.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Sewing Loves

This is the tree right down the street from my house. There are a lot of beautiful trees in town right now. I love this one in particular. The blue sky against the orange leaves. Very nice indeed. As long as the Oregon rain is holding off, I am enjoying this fall weather.
I am planning ahead for the rainy season and purchased a beautiful vintage Bernina 930 record. I have dreamed of owning a Bernina mechanical machine and this is about as expensive as I can go in the Bernina world. Its amazing to think, a 1984 is consider vintage and it is still worth a nice chunk of change. She was serviced regularly and had one owner.
I found this beauty on craig's list this weekend and jumped on it. The purchase included 12 feet, the manual, original bobbin case, a walking foot, table extension and so many other goodies. The machine was 6 blocks away, the whole time!  The slightly dissapointing items missing from the sale were the case and knee lever, which I may have this welder guy I know make for me. It would cost over $200.00 to replace these missing items through a dealer, so I think that will have to wait a bit. This is a very expensive machine for me but, I think it is a true investment.  I feel if I keep it in great running condition it will hold it's value, if not continue to rise.
Stay tuned to see what projects I come up with. I have quite a few planned. I love the way the machine sounds, much like a ticking clock. I still cant believe it is mine. She is so strong and lovely.