My friend really likes Star Wars (Confession I’ve never seen any of them) I wanted to make her an original Star Wars inspired gift that was also practical so I have come up with these coasters.
I don’t know who the characters are of who her favourite is but I have heard her mention Yoda (even I have heard of him) so I traced a Yoda on one side of the coaster. I copied a free colouring in image from online. I wanted only a simple out outline.
For the other side I did wanted a saying. So from what I gather Yoda has a distinctive way of talking where his words in a sentence are back to front in parts. My friend and I are known at times to have text messages sessions where the messages are in “Yoda” style. I wanted something like this on the coasters so I came up with this saying. As I mentioned I don’t have a clue about Star Wars so I’m not sure how correct I was.
These are very basic to make. I just cut 12 squares. On 6 I traced the Yoda image the other 6 I did the words. The embroidery is all done in back stitch. To construct them I placed 2 squares right sides together with a layer of batting on the wrong side of one and stitched around them leaving a turning gap. Once they were turned out I slipped stitched the gap closed then did a simple row of straight stitch to quilt around the edge. All the supplies came from my stash.
I learnt some very valuable with these – To take a photo straight away after I finish an item. I’d actually forgotten too at the time and only remembered that I was meaning too after I had wrapped the present. I had to “borrow” them back to take the photo. From the screaming that came from my friend I think she likes them.
Last weekend a 2 day Embellishment Workshop was run in my local Australian Sewing Guild region. The workshop was run by Rhona Feeney who owns Bernina Sewing shop at Chatswood. Rhona is a very talented person who does amazing textile pieces and has been a member of the Australian Sewing Guild for many years.
During the workshop we worked on turning a simple printed flat fabric panel into a 3D piece of artwork. On the finished sample Rhona had transformed that once flat panel with embroidery, beads and shrinking fabric (texture magic) It looked stunning. There was so much texture and colour in it.
We learnt all about shrinking fabric (which I had never heard of before) and were given a demonstration on how the shrinking process worked. The fabric is plastic and shrinks down about 30% Anything attached to the fabric (ie sewn on to it) shrinks with it. It was like watching a magic show seeing it shrink down.
We started to embellish our fabric using free motion quilting to highlight the different areas of the panel. I’ve done a small amount of free motion before but nothing like this. I’ve only ever used tone on tone fabric and thread to fill in the background of a piece, wanting the quilting to blend into the background and disappear. This time I had to really think about thread colour and where I was putting the stitches. Rhona explained it as colouring in but with needle and thread instead of a pencil. I’ve never been able to stay within the lines. I found this really challenging. I’d try to stick to a feather and go off it. I found myself going sideways across the panel instead of following a line down it. You had to think about how it would look once it was shrunk down. Any areas without stitching would puff up. You had to fill in the area with more long narrow stitches rather than circles and shapes unless that’s what you wanted the final piece to puff up. It was really hard to see your stitched lines so you had to keep turning the fabric over to see where you had sewn. I was happy with the amount I’d gotten done day 1
At the start of the day Rhona demonstrated how to attach beads with a spring needle. Spring needles were again another item I’d never heard of. It’s basically a regular sewing needle that has a spring down the shaft. To attach it you remove the foot shank and insert it in like a regular needle (it has a flat back) The spring needle is the only attachment on your machine. The spring allows you to stitch in the centre of the bead.
We continued colouring in our fabric then had an attempt at beading. At first it feels very foreign. You have to manually turn the handwheel to do the stitch inside the bead to secure it. Once you get your head around it then you have to work out how to hold the beads whilst you stitch them. Tweezers are a must. Even though I’m right handed I’m used to using my left hand so I was able to hold the tweezers with the left hand and operate the handwheel with my right. Once you get the hang of it beading is very fun.
In some areas I was a bit drunken sailor with my stitching, as I mentioned I struggle to stay within the lines. We were told the shrinking process is forgiving and disguises minor errors.
I never got the panel finished but I did get most of the beading done. The most important thing was I enjoyed the workshop. I had an inspirational teacher, were among lovely company and I learnt some new skills. I really like the concept of the shrinking fabric, I brought a piece of it as I’d really like to use it in something. I don’t really do decorative stuff but it can be used in some many ways. Rhona showed up a jacket she had which had a peacock down with shrinking fabric appliqued onto it, a native flower broach where each petal was done with the fabric. I’ll have to put my thinking cap on….
I had a leftover rectangle piece of fabric that had backing embroidery stabilizer on it so I made a pin cushion to add to my Bee Still My ♥ swap. I was looking online for a bee shape when I thought I can draw a bee so I got out a frixion pen, folded the fabric in half and drew a bee onto one half of the fabric. On the other half I free hand wrote some inspiring words (I do love a good pun)
As with most embroidery that I do this is all hand backstitched. It didn’t take long and was a great way to spend a couple of hours in front of the tv. Once I was finished I only had to stitch 3 seams due to the fold in the fabric and fill it with walnut shells. I’m really happy with this. I was using scraps and supplies I had just sitting doing nothing. Pin cushions are practical items for sewers as you can never have enough of them.
This is a little tote bag that I whipped up
On both the sides of the bag is the same stag head outline. I had embroidered it with back stitch. Because the cotton drill was thick and dark it was a little hard to trace the shape on to the fabric. I had to do it in the early hours of the morning before the sun came up with the whole house in darkness so I could get the full brightness from the light box to beam through the outline to trace it. That was the most difficult part in making this bag.
On the handles I have used a serpentine stitch to add strength but also make it a little decorative. I repeated that same stitch as the top stitching around the top of the bag. This extra row of stitching also added strength to the handle ends inside.
I have lined it with a light fabric which matches the embroidery thread on the outside of the bag. I like bags that have a light colour inside it just makes it easier to find things in them. I’m happy with contrast of colours too.
This was a really simple bag which turned out the exact way I imaged it would with the stag images on the sides.
When I first started to get into sewing a few years ago I kept reading about Light Boxes in the different craft mags. A light box allows you to trace designs onto fabric by illuminating from behind the design so you can see it through the fabric. Given they are on the expensive side I wasn’t sure how much I would use it so was hesitant to get one. At my local newsagent I stumbled across this light box for $25 so I decided to give it a try. From the moment I first used it I loved it. I trace all my stitcheries with it and even some patterns. Its great for tracing applique shapes directly onto fabric or visofix. I’m lost without it if I have to trace things at craft events. I know a simple method to trace through fabric is to hold it up against a window but I don’t trust how clean my windows are (I don’t want to dirty my nice clean fabric) plus often when I craft the sun isn’t up.
I’ve had this light box now for about 3 years or so. This one is actually designed to be used as a display board for advertising but it has gotten me through everything I need to do. When this one eventually dies I’ll get an actual craft one which is a little bigger. I know I’m going to use it now so it won’t be wasted craft money.
Prior to the long weekend I had big sewing plans of making a bag but then I discovered that in a couple of weeks Leesa will be doing a bag making challenge so I will make the bag then. Instead I had a very relaxed weekend pottering around working on random craft. Half of the weekend was very wet which was perfect for indoor crafting.
I traced up a few stitcheries so did a lot of hand embroidery. Dvd’s and embroidery the perfect combination. I can’t reveal what these are yet but they are for a couple of Instagram swaps I’m involved in. I can spend hours doing embroidery and love every minute of it. I take regular breaks so my hands don’t get sore. Over the weekend I lost count of the hours I was doing embroidery. I have a few UFP’s now as a result of it.
I got out my sewing machine and worked on some baby blocks which are for a birthday gift in July. Because they are so multi-coloured I decided to use up my random half bobbins so it was a great way to declutter the thread and get some bobbins back. My sewing machine is set up in the middle of my lounge room so it was sewing and tv. I forgot how therapeutic it is just to stitch. 4hrs happened without me even realising.
The wet wintery weather was calling me to work on my blanket so I got some of that done. Again its the perfect thing to do in front of the tv.
I did a bit of organising for upcoming projects so I printed out patterns and looked through mags for inspiration for different projects. I printed all the patterns I just haven’t traced them out yet. At least if the patterns are printed I can trace them out when I get a chance.
I did some online shopping for random craft supplies. Lincraft had a 30% storewide sale so I did go to the shops for that to buy some supplies that I need like zippers and quilting cotton. I’m trying not to buy any fabric but I needed a particular colour which I didn’t have in my stash so I know that will be used up. Also I needed netting for the Sugar Plum Fairy I’m going to make.
Overall I enjoyed my long weekend of random crafting. It was great to spend a few days getting craft done without any pressure to get projects completed. I was crafting all day in my pyjamas and it was brilliant. Last December I gave up chocolate so I was indulging in craft all weekend. It’s better for my waistline.
I finished this back in January but I had to wait until it was given as a gift so I could share it.
This stitchery design I used was a block from ‘Sew and Sew’ by Lyn Briggs in Country Threads Vol 15 No 7. I didn’t use the full design of the stitchery only selecting parts of it. In my scrap stash I found the purple rectangles and pieced them to fit the size of the stitchery.
On the back I found my strips from my stash and pieced them to fit. The binding is yet another scrap strip. The quilting on this was my first attempt at ditch quilting. For a first attempt I was really pleased with it. It’s not a fancy quilted mug rug but I got to try something new, really practice my quilting and make a practical gift at the same time.