Tag Archives: embroidery

My Best of 2016

Ahhh, the time of year when busy is an understatement, yet still the desire to stop and reflect over the past year–perhaps in the twinkle of some Christmas lights with a hot mug of something sweet–is strong. The phase of feeling more stressed than blessed has passed, the excitement of Christmas Eve and morning has calmed, and now I’m enjoying the holidays in a relaxed, family-filled, grateful way. What better time to do some reflection?

best of 2016 meadow mist designsOnce again, Cheryl from Meadow Mist Designs is hosting her “Best of” linky party, inviting bloggers to share their five best posts from 2016, so I thought it was a perfect time to take a look at the statistics and reflect on the highlights of the past year here on Night Quilter. I’ve put together five of Night Quilter’s “bests” for the past year (plus one personal added bonus), and I invite you to reminisce along with me.

Most Viewed Blog Post

5 steps to sewing perfect curves tutorial nightquilterWithout a new baby announcement like last year, this year’s most viewed post was the tutorial on how to sew perfect curves. I’m especially excited about this one, since one of my goals for 2016 was to tackle curves, and I feel like I made great progress in that category. I love this method as much as you do, and I’m so glad I could share this with so many of you!

Most Viewed Non-Tutorial Blog Post

alison glass quilters planner coverSince my most viewed post from 2016 was a tutorial, I decided to also share my most viewed non-tutorial post. In Planning a Colorful Year, I shared the Riot of Color planner cover design I made for the Quilter’s Planner (which is still available for free, here–and fit’s the 2017 Quilter’s Planner! if you haven’t gotten yours yet, I highly recommend getting one here–this planner is life changing!), as well as a giveaway for a planner. It’s hard to say whether the gorgeous melding of Alison Glass fabrics with Essex linen is what drew the most attention, or if it was the chance to win a most coveted planner, but I am proud of this post all the same and I’m glad you liked it, too.

Most Viewed Blog Post
(not including Tutorials or Giveaways)

one hour basketIf you take all tutorials and giveaways out of the running, the one hour basket (that took me six hours to make!) was the most viewed. This was such a fun make, once again featuring my favorite Alison Glass fabrics paired with Robert Kaufman’s Essex linen, but also is a favorite since I made this basket while attending a class with quilty friend Sarah from Berry Barn Designs at one of my fabulous quasi-local quilt store, Alewives Fabrics.

Most Exciting New Endeavor

2016 was a big year of new endeavors for me, so this category requires a tie:

Yvonne Fuchs quilt in Quilters Planner 2017
Quilt by Yvonne Fuchs, included in the Quilter’s Planner 2017

I kicked off my quilt photography business venture by doing all of the photography for the 2017 Quilter’s Planner, photographing 14 quilts and quilted projects in gorgeous natural locations along the coast of Maine. The photo above features Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl’s lovely Starlight Crystals quilt, photographed along the coast in Acadia. Quilt photography combines three of my loves: quilting, photography, and the beauty of nature, so I’m so excited to be offering it to anyone seeking to get epic quilt photos for publication or just for fun.

quilt theoryocean path quilt white brick quilt theoryI was also one of seven quilt designers to launch Quilt Theory, kicking off with my premier pattern Ocean Path. With the enthusiasm and drive of fearless leader Michelle Bartholomew, we are working on our second round of patterns and are constantly expanding the reach of the Quilt Theory pattern cards. You can find much more information and the full line of available patterns here.

2016 Best Nine on Instagram

Instagram best 9 2016 minus repostsSince I love Instagram so, I would be remiss if I did not share my top viewed posts there as well. This collection is a fun one, including lots of posts about my stress-free stitch-wherever-the-wind-blows embroidery hoop, a fun Alison Glass table runner I don’t think I’ve shared here yet, a progress shot of my Eye Spy Picnic Plaid quilt, a progress shot of all of my thrifted City Sampler blocks, the free Safe with Me pattern I made in an attempt to spread positivity and support for those who need it, and a glimpse of one of my favorite quilt photos for the Quilter’s Planner, the epic sailboat shot of Cheryl Brickey’s Canvas Lines Quilt.

Favorite Project

finn milestone quilt 18 monthsTechnically this is my sixth category, but I can’t let my highlights pass without remembering the completion of the Milestone Quilt Blocks for my son Finnian. While the project didn’t make my top viewed posts for 2016, it is still the project that filled my heart the most. My little babe is now 18 months old, walking, talking, signing, dancing, jumping, exploring, and smiling his days away. His quilt top is together, and I hope to get the quilt layered, basted, quilted and bound early next year. There’s something about making a quilt for your child, marking his progress and growth with a bit of stitching, that really takes quilting to a new level. I’m so grateful that my silly husband made the crazy suggestion (fully in jest) on the day our third child turned 1 month old that I should make a quilt block each month for a photo shoot, since without that little laugh-filled exchange, this project would have never come to be.

2016 was a big year, with many new endeavors and a seemingly endless list of fun projects and adventures. I’m still working on the fine art of saying no and understanding my own limitations, since I really truly want to do it all. I’m a maker through and through. I’m hoping to keep 2017 fairly low key, focusing on finishing projects I’ve already begun, and participating in a few sew alongs with a relaxed mentality. Then again, I have some big goals I’d like to pursue, so we’ll see when and if those kick it all up a notch. I’ll write more about that in a future post, since after reflection comes planning and goal setting. I’m so glad I have my Quilter’s Planner for that!

Thank you, as always, for following along with me here, sharing in my inspiration and project progress, and creating the community I hold so dear. I hope you have a wonderful, peaceful holiday season and look forward to a colorful, productive, and FUN 2017.

Stitched Embroidery Hoop Finish

The finish I’m sharing today measures only 4″ across, but probably took more hours of work and provided more peaceful moments than most of my other projects. I’m relatively new to embroidery, with really only my Dropcloth Color Wheel sampler and the embroidery stitching I did on a mini quilt a while back as projects under my belt, but when Alison Glass sent me some of her Stitched fabric, part of her new Seventy Six fabric line for Andover Fabrics, it begged to be… well, stitched.

AG Stitched embroidery hoop aurifil 12wtI’m so happy I obliged, because I just love this little hoop!

nightquilter instagram embroidery beginning
Here’s my Instagram post from the wee beginnings of this hoop, about 12 weeks ago.

When the Stitched fabric arrived, I had just completed my Ocean Path quilt for our big Quilt Theory debut, and I was in the final push stage of finishing a quilt that will be in the February issue of Love, Patchwork and Quilting magazine, so picking up a small, no pressure, no purpose, no pattern hoop of Stitched and my 12wt Aurifil thread stash was the perfect brain palate cleanser.

embroidery back
Here’s the back of my finished hoop—see! I am totes a novice! I think this looks fun, though, crazy as ever!

This was back in September, according to my good ole’ Instagram feed, and since that time, ending just a couple of days ago, I’ve picked this little hoop up for 1-20 minute intervals (and 20 minutes might be leaning on the long end) every here and there: a quiet moment when the kids were all playing nicely together, a few seconds here while having a minute lax time while cooking dinner, or just because I needed to MAKE and had not yet had a chance that particular day.

AG stitched embroidery aurifil 12wtI stitched whatever I wanted, wherever I wanted, and tried many different stitches.

AG stitched embroidery hoop aurifil 12wtI used Aurifil 12wt thread from my stash, in colors (left to right from photo above): 2530-Blossom Pink, 2435-Peachy Pink, mystery orange–the only Aurifil tag that has ever fallen off a spool!, 2120-Canary, 1147-Light Leaf Green, 2884-Green Yellow, 5005-Medium Turquoise, 2540-Medium Lavender, and 2515-Light Orchid. I used a single strand for all except the turquoise x’s, for which I use two strands. If I were to do it again, I would probably stick with a single strand since I love the crisp aesthetic that results.

AG stitched embroidery hoop aurifil 12wt french knotsToward the end, I went a little crazy with french knots, but I do love them so and they make a great “filler” around the edges.

AG stitched embroidery hoop aurifil 12wtSince the pattern is printed on the fabric, there was no actual end, so it was up to me to decide how close to the edges to stitch. At first I thought I’d leave a bit open, but I just couldn’t stop stitching. As it is, most stitches extend to the absolute edge of the hoop. I kind of love it.

finishing embroidery hoop wool feltI finished it using the methods (minus the plan-ahead phase, since I didn’t plan ahead lol) shared in this tutorial on Sew Mama Sew.  I stitched the running stitch around the excess fabric, pulled it tight, knotted and tied it, then trimmed off the extra fabric. Next I cut a 4″ wool felt circle using my Sizzix machine and stitched it onto the back with coordinating 12wt Aurifil thread and a blanket stitch. I’m quite happy with the finish, and definitely plan to make more. In fact, I very well might aim to always have a  free-form brain palate cleanser embroidery hoop laying around, since it really worked wonders for helping me get back into a better mental place during especially hectic, crazy kid, too many (mostly self-imposed) expectations-filled days. Making works magic, doesn’t it?

I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday, and then sending this hoop off to a friend!

Slow Stitching for Summertime

Ahh! Summer is upon us! My daughter has mere days left of school before summer break is officially here! That means all three kids home all day, every day, which in turn means time to take lots of day trip adventures! Summer also means lots more opportunity for slow stitching, and a need to have some hand stitching available at all times. We all know that the day I forget my handwork will be the day all three kids somehow fall asleep in the car on the way to some adventure!

hand stitching epp preparation carolyn friedlander modern hexiesMy portable hand stitching kit this summer consists primarily of English Paper Piecing (EPP) hexies and some experimental embroidery-quilting projects.

After a lull in my Carolyn Friedlander modern hexies project progress, I’m ready to pick it up again and baste more hexies! While 2 1/2″ squares work just fine for EPP hexagons, I really enjoy the neatness that starting with a hexagon of fabric provides.

sizzix fabi die cutting hexagons for epp
Nine (9) charm squares lined up on top of the Sizzix 1 1/2″ hexagon die. Pass it through….
sizzix fabi die cutting hexagons for epp
Viola – 18 hexagons ready for basting

This is another time when the Sizzix die cutting machine comes in handy. It doesn’t take long to cut a whole bunch of fabric and cardstock hexagons for slow stitching on the go. I use the BigZ Hexagons with 1 1/2″ sides die to cut fabric and BigZ Hexagons with 1″ sides die to cut cardstock hexies and I’m ready to roll.

sizzix fabi die cutting hexagons for eppA lovely stack of fabric hexagons ready to baste. I need to cut a few more cardstock templates, but this will do for now!

embroidery quiltingI am also continuing to add embroidery quilting to my Rainbow Hex Star mini, as well planning a couple small embroidery quilting experimental projects. My goal is to find a way to get the back to look as neat as the front. Practice, right?

slow stitching retreat a gathering of stitches maine alison glass chawne kimberSlow stitching on the go is not the only slow stitching I’m looking forward to this summer! I’m also officially registered for the Slow Stitching Retreat hosted by Sam at A Gathering of Stitches this August. I can’t wait to slow down and sew with Sam, Chawne Kimber, and Alison Glass. I’m doubly excited since I will also be leading yoga on the retreat! Just imagine… slowing down, breathing deeply, stretching out, learning from amazingly talented and inspirational quilters, and slowly stitching in the sun, rocking on the rocking chairs out on the porch in the calm, cool woods of Maine. You can read about my experience dropping in on a day of this retreat last summer HERE. I am very much looking forward to spending the full four days rejuvenating my soul with some slow stitching in inspired creative company. Are you coming!? I sure hope so!

What are your summer stitching plans?

Rainbow Hex Star {Sizzix Inspired Project}

Last night kicked off the International Quilt Market, spring edition, which is in Salt Lake City this year. Much of my Instagram feed is flowing with pictures of sample spree booty, gorgeous booths, and peeks at new fabric lines and products. One product that is being introduced at Quilt Market as we speak is a new Sizzix die called Hex Star designed by Victoria Findlay Wolfe.

hex star mini quilt sizzix inspired aurifilI got to play with this die in advance and I’m sharing the project I made with it over on the Sizzix blog today! It included my very first y-seams, rainbow hand quilting with 12 wt Aurifil thread, and a fun go at embroidery quilting (I may have invented that term myself–is it such a thing!?) I share a close look at my hand quilting, a tip for even stitches, and many more photos of the full project here.

hex star mini quilt sizzix inspired aurifilAlthough the mini quilt is bound and finished, I am 99.9% sure I am going to do more embroidery-quilting on the Alison Glass Endpaper outer border. I was debating whether to stick with the colors extending from each arm of the star or to mix it up in the outer border, but I think I’m going to stick with the same colors as the center. I shared more detail photos of the quilting and embroidery in my Sizzix post, so head over to see more!

Here are the 12 wt Aurifil colors I used, just in case you want to try some rainbow hand quilting, too:

5002 – Medium Red
1154 – Orange
2120 – Canary
1147 – Light Leaf Green
4140 – Wedgewood
2540 – Medium Lavender

I’ll be sure to show you when I finally decide it’s really finished. For now, I’m linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts since this mini is technically finished (although is anything ever really fully finished when you have thread in your hand?)

Putting it in Perspective

Earlier this week marked two years since I first began writing this blog. That’s right… two years. It feels like such a short time, yet I feel like so much has happened here–sharing stories and inspiration, making friends, keeping on top of project progress (or lack thereof!), improving techniques together, and so much more. It has been a full two years, and I’m so grateful to you for joining me on my journey.

I’ve always been one to set my goals high, which often is a good thing. If there’s a technique or project I want to try, I just go for it. If I want to create my own patterns, I dive in. If I want to go to QuiltCon, I make it happen (at least last year!). But with lofty goals and high expectations comes that nagging feeling that I’m just not cutting it. There are bound to be deadlines that come and go without the project being finished (I’m still working on one such project). There are goals that I set that just can’t be met, not due to any lack of desire or drive, but because of the many hats I wear as maker, wife, and full time mom. My husband has often commented on how my daily to-do lists assume superhuman ability, and it is important to remember that I am only human. A thrice needed mama human, at that.

With a few missed deadlines and a couple looming ones, paired with the general excitement on social media from everyone attending QuiltCon this year, I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed and disappointed with myself. Seeing the reminder pop up a couple days ago that it is my 2-year blogoversary really helped me back up and put it all into perspective. I’ve been quilting and designing intentionally for only two years. Yet, really, I’ve accomplished a lot! Most importantly, I work daily to balance time with my family with my creative life and I think I’m more consistently finding that balance, and missing QuiltCon this year is a result of that. I would say that’s a win.

Plus, I found that my work is “out in the wild” in a couple of new, exciting places. It’s always fun to see that others are inspired enough by your work to share it, especially in big publications.

amy butler issue 3 blossomMy quilt photography appears in Issue 3 of Amy Butler’s Blossom eMagazine in an article written by Stephanie at Late Night Quilter about the Supernova Friendship Swap that happened last year.

typewriter and supernova swap block 1The above photo is the full title page spread, which is pretty awesome to see.

dropcloth color wheel rainbow quiltThe second fun appearance is of my rainbow embroidery sampler, which is included in an article on About.com. You can visit the article here, and be inspired by all sorts of fun rainbow embroidery projects. Maybe, just maybe, this will be the push I need to be brave, tackle circles, and finish this rainbow color wheel. But not until after I finish my deadline projects. Life goes on. The projects will be there.

I’m sharing my reflection on the whole maker-mom journey in the hopes that it may help you put your own life in perspective when needed. The next time you’re feeling down about the project you didn’t finish, or the technique you just can’t get (yet!), take a step back and look for the good. It’s there. It just has a habit of getting buried by everything else, at least for me. Keep on making with a smile, set your sights high, and take it one step at a time.

Enjoy the journey, and thank you for joining me on mine. I sure am enjoying it!

Surprise Success and Stitching on the Road

I began writing this post this past Sunday, but then caught the cold/fever/cough my kids have been kicking.  So instead of finishing this post, sewing, or blogging, I’ve been sleeping. Lots and lots of sleeping. And of course, making the most of the days with as much energy as I can muster. So pretend it is four days ago, and read on! The best laid plans, right?

Over the past two days, I’ve been driving from Maine to New Jersey with my three kiddos to surprise my mom (Grandma) for her birthday. I’m happy to report that the surprise was a complete success! My sister and brother who live in the area were planning on going to my parents’ house to cook dinner for her birthday, so the kids and I arrived at my sister’s house earlier in the day, then we all met up at the far end of the street before dinner, where I parked. My sister and brother walked in and Lucy said, “I invited a few more people over for your birthday; I hope that’s ok” and then Maddie and Max followed by Finn and I walked in. My mom says it was the best birthday surprise ever. Yay!

grandma's birthday surprise
Who doesn’t love little helpers when it comes to blowing out birthday candles?

Since we will be visiting here for five days before beginning the trek back up to Maine, I packed a good number of hand sewing projects so that my hands (and sewing mind) can be kept busy during the week. I contemplated bringing my sewing machine, but since the entire point of this trip is to spend family time together, I didn’t want to feel at all tempted to duck off to sew in a separate room while here. Hand stitching projects are a solution since they can be pulled out anytime, anywhere, and still ensure that I won’t be left with any thumb twiddling with all of the extra eager playmates for my kids.

I thought it would be fun give you a peek at the variety of projects I brought to satiate my need to create daily.

English Paper Piecing (EPP) at various stages of completion
EPP on the go
Basting. I still haven’t decided whether I like glue basting or thread basting best, so I’m doing both.
EPP on the go
Glue basted and ready to be stitched down.
Needle-turn applique
needle turn applique project ready to go
A new needle-turn applique project ready to go.
Embroidery & Hand Quilting
embroidery
Embroidery on a mini mini quilt
aurifil 12 wt thread for embroidery
I brought a collection of Aurifil 12wt thread for embroidery and a range of 12wt, 40wt, and 50wt for eventual hand-quilting.
Visible mending supplies.. just in case
visible mending supplies
Old cut-up jeans and perle cotton just in case my mom actually wants me to patch her jeans for her.

I’m linking up with Freshly Pieced’s WiP Wednesday, since it’s already Wednesday and these are still very much works in progress. C’est la vie! Good night!

Return of the Rainbow

Do you ever get to the point in a project where you are *so* close to finishing that you sort of let your mind think you already have, and it hops right over and latches onto a new project idea or three? Yeah, me too. I have at least three projects that are in their final stages yet have been put aside for the past month, while I instead started a handful of new projects. Who doesn’t love a new project?! Yesterday I decided it was time to get those nearly finished projects into the finished pile, and I pulled my favorite one to the top to start.

dropcloth color wheel embroidery sampler mini quiltRemember this? Over a month ago, I finished my first ever embroidery sampler, this Color Wheel by Rebecca Ringquist of Dropcloth. I used Aurifil 12wt thread for the first time, learning the stitches as I went, and loved it SO much when it was finished that I just couldn’t let it be actually finished. So I hatched the plan to extend the color wheel using none other than my favorite saturated rainbow: Alison Glass’s 2015 Sun Prints. Putting it aside was not out of lack of love or excitement, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE this project and it feels so good to pick it up again. I just get into spots where the ideas burst and I have to get them started so that they are real. You know what I mean… a project with fabric cut and design sketched and a few stitches invested is a real project. It’s a lot less likely it will sit stagnant in the pool of unrealized ideas once it’s been at least partially begun.

rainbow color wheel processSo back to my color wheel. I managed to match the fabrics almost exactly to the colors of the Aurifil embroidery, which is incredible. It seems like Alison Glass and Rebecca Ringquist and Alex from Aurifil must have all gotten together to design this harmonious flow with the perfect combination of design, color, thread, and fabric, it goes together that well. I wanted to be sure that the prongs of the outer color wheel aligned with the organically drawn prongs of the embroidery wheel, so I scanned my embroidery sampler and uploaded it to Inkscape, the free vector program with which I design patterns. I created larger circles, centering the embroidery, and extended the lines on the sampler to create wedges. I then printed it, cut out the wedges with scissors, and used them as templates to cut the fabric wedges, as shown in the Instagram photo above. I winged it, really, but amazingly it came together beautifully.

dropcloth color wheel rainbow quiltRight now the rainbow circle overlaps with the embroidery sampler’s edges, but don’t worry–I plan to either trim or fold the edge under so that the entire sampler is visible.dropcloth color wheel rainbow quiltIt was an exciting day, since this is the first project sewn on my new sewing machine: a Bernina 560, which I recently purchased during one of their 0% interest, 60-month payment plan offer days.  (I’ll give you a formal introduction soon, promise!)

flatter by soakI also used Flatter by Soak spray for the first time since QuiltCon, and I’m amazed I survived without it. Between the new machine sewing like a dream and the seam-relaxing Flatter spray, this circle came together without a hitch.

Now I am going to study up on circles by watching Cheryl Arkison’s class Inset and Applique Circles by Machine on Craftsy (affiliate link). It’s my first time trying a class on Craftsy, but I hear there are subtitles. I also was fortunate enough to take a class with Cheryl Arkison at QuiltCon, so I have no doubt of her depth of knowledge and skill. I’m really looking forward to trying to attach these circles!

Having never sewn a circle by machine, and perhaps only one by hand, this will be a creation filled with firsts. I’m getting awfully close to completing this beauty, though, and I’m loving every step of the way.

I’m linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for Work in Progress Wednesday.

++++++

Also, for those of you on Instagram, I’m having an awesome giveaway to celebrate passing 1,500 followers, sponsored by Aurifil, Soak, and moi (with a fat eighth bundled pulled straight from my stash favorites, basically this color wheel!). Head over, follow me @nightquilter, and tag a quilty friend to enter. Here are some sneak peeks for eye candy (Note: This giveaway is on Instagram only):

instagram giveaway bundle
Fat eighths bundle pulled from my stash favorites. Giveaway on Instagram only.
instagram giveaway bundle
Aurifil thread set and Flatter by Soak, graciously provided by Aurifil and Soak. Giveaway is on Instagram only.

GIVEAWAY! note for blog and twitter

 

Dropcloth Color Wheel Embroidery Finish… but only the Beginning!

I’ve officially completed my first ever embroidery sampler, and I must say I’m hooked! It has been the perfect project to just pick up here and there while snuggling a sleeping baby and playing with two big kids.

dropcloth color wheel embroidery sampler finish aurifil 12wtI stitched this Color Wheel sampler by Rebecca Ringquist of Dropcloth using Aurifil 12wt cotton in the following colors (for when you want to get your own sampler to embroider, since I’ve had a few people ask about details!):

2884 Green Yellow
1147 Light Leaf Green
1148 Light Jade
4140 Wedgewood
2525 Dusty Blue Violet
2784 Dark Navy
2515 Light Orchid
2540 Medium Lavender
5002 Medium Red

1154 Orange
2145 Yellow Orange
2120 Canary

I love the shine of the stitches created by the Aurifil 12wt, and I’ve already mentioned how nice it was to work with a thread that wasn’t strandy or prone to unravel.

dropcloth color wheel embroider sampler finish aurifil 12wtInitially I thought I might finish the sampler in a hoop and hang it in my craft loft as is, but the colors are just so gorgeous that I feel a strong need to draw them out into an even larger creation. I scanned the sampler and played with it in Inkscape a bit to determine a course of action, and I think I’m going to aim to make a larger color wheel using coordinating fabric–mostly Alison Glass Sun Prints, although I’m sure none of you are surprised at that!

dropcloth color wheel embroidery sampler finish aurifil 12wtOnce I visited my fabric stash and did a trial fabric pull, I was completely convinced that a larger quilted color wheel is the way to go.

alison glass carolyn friedlander fabric rainbow Really, can you blame me for wanting to use these fabrics in every.single.project!?

dropcloth color wheel embroidery sampler finish aurifil 12wt

dropcloth color wheel embroidery sampler finish aurifil 12wtI will most likely include my favorite neutral, Robert Kaufman Essex yarn dyed linen in charcoal as the background, although I’m liking the bright colors’ contrast on a lighter background, too.

dropcloth color wheel embroidery sampler finish aurifil 12wtSo, once again, I’ve finished a project only to turn it into a larger, more complex project. But as usual, I am very excited about this project extension! I will be trying my first inset circle as well as practicing curved sewing, in which I have only dabbled early in my quilting foray. I’m also I’m eager to hand quilt the next phase of the project with the Aurifil 12wt to help tie the entire color wheel together.

dropcloth color wheel embroidery sampler finish aurifil 12wtI’m linking up my Dropcloth Color Wheel Embroidery Sampler finish with Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it Up Friday & TGIFF, even though it’s only the beginning of the next phase of the project. Let the rainbow wheel stitching begin!

Dropcloth Color Wheel Sampler Progress

With an infant sleeping and nursing much of the day, and still the help of my husband around the house, I’ve been making good progress on my Dropcloth Color Wheel embroidery sampler. Over the weekend, I received some new colors of 12wt Aurifil (thank you, Alex!) so I now have all of the necessary colors to complete this sampler. I’m already thinking about what I’m going to embroider next, and can’t wait to use the thread for hand–or even machine–quilting, too!dropcloth rainbow wheel embroidery sampler and 12wt aurifil

dropcloth rainbow wheel embroidery sampler and 12wt aurifilThis is my first time trying embroidery, so I’m learning the stitches as I go. YouTube is an amazing resource, isn’t it!? So far, blanket stitch is still the trickiest for me. My favorites are Algerian Eyes, Coral Knots, and Backstitch. In browsing other embroidery samplers, I’m noticing that there seems to be an endless list of stitches to try, but I want to try them all! Admittedly, I’m a bit frightened by French Knots, but will tackle them next. I chuckled at the fact that I was sewing the couched stitch while sitting on the couch (is there a couch-related reason for the name?).

rainbow of aurifil 12wt threadThe more I use the 12wt Aurifil, the more impressed I am. I’m a complete beginner at embroidery, so there may be benefits of using a floss or perle cotton thread that are unknown to me, but the smoothness of the Aurifil makes it a dream to stitch with. There’s no unraveling or splitting, and the thread is thick enough to make an impact with only one strand. The colors, of course, speak for themselves: vibrant, bold, and shiny.

rainbow of aurifil 12wt thread and dropcloth samplerI have only a few sections remaining, and then comes the fun of deciding what to do with this once it’s finished. My initial instinct is to finish it in the hoop, but I’m tempted to stitch it into a larger mini quilt for a more finished display.

If you stitch embroidery samplers, how do you finish them?

I’m linking up with Freshly Pieced’s Work in Progress Wednesday and Molli Sparkles Sunday Stash (hello, shiny new Aurifil!).

 

 

Nesting with Embroidery

Some people experience nesting before a baby by feeling the urge to clean and reorganize everything. I wish I felt that way, honestly. It would be wonderful to have that “nesting” drive all the time and to effortlessly have a pristine and organized home. Not being the most enthusiastic cleaner, though, I have been nesting by thinking about small stitching projects I can do a tiny bit at a time for once our little bundle of joy makes his appearance.

I’ve been wanting to try embroidery and figure this may be the perfect time! I am hoping that by having some embroidery floss or thread and a ready-to-go hoop sitting on the table next to the glider, I will have a little creative outlet while nursing and rocking and nursing and rocking (with plenty of breaks to gaze in wonderment at my little boy).

dropcloth embroidery sampler aurifil 12 wt thread and needle minderYes, I’ve been nesting. I bought the Color Wheel Sampler by Rebecca Ringquist of Dropcloth, and a couple of adorable needle minders made by Amanda from What the Bobbin (the little house is one of them!). Alex from Aurifil was kind enough to send me a collection of 12wt embroidery thread–the Splendor 1920 collection by Bari J–to get me started in my embroidery adventures. I’m already in love with the smooth, gorgeous thread and am looking forward to expanding my collection (and it just may encourage me to do some more hand quilting, or even try using 12wt thread with 50wt in the bobbin for machine quilting!).

herringbone stitchI’ve been slowly learning the stitches and so far I’ve completed the herringbone stitch section on the color wheel. Embroidery is awfully fun, and quite relaxing.

dropcloth embroidery sampler and aurifil 12 wt thread

aurifil 12wt thread by bari jThe Bari J Splendor 1920 collection of 12wt Aurifil thread is such a gorgeous rainbow of silky thread. After using embroidery thread and perle cotton for my initial embroidery attempts, using this 12wt thread is a dream. I love that it doesn’t separate into strands, and it is silky smooth without being twisty like perle cotton. At first, I thought I might need to use two strands, but one strand ended up being ample to cover the guiding lines. I’m definitely looking forward to working 12wt thread into my quilting projects, too.

dropcloth sampler and aurifil 12wt thread by bari j

dropcloth sampler and aurifil 12wt thread by bari j

For those of you who are seasoned embroiderers, do you have any tips to share with a newbie?

I’m linking up with Monday Makers, Design Wall, and Molli Sparkles’ Sunday Stash, since these are all gorgeous additions to my stash that have not yet been shared, and it seems like this week’s stash theme is thread! As an added fun little tidbit, my baby boy has a good chance of sharing a birthday with Mr. Molli!!