Posts Tagged ‘finishes’

Queen Sofia Is Done!

You know how some projects seem to go on, and on, and on?  Well this was true for my Queen Sofia project.  But tonight, I FINALLY finished the entire piece!!!  How good it feels to say that and get it crossed off my UFO list.  This project was definitely a challenge.   The first major challenge was picking a completely different pallet of colors, threads, beads and fabric from the original.  The second challenge was assembly of the many components…the toughest of which was the little thimble shoe.  But I am truely happy with the end result:

"Queen Sofia Sewing Bag"

bottom of the bag


Chatelaine Buckle

Strawberry Emery

Scissor Pocket (front)

Scissor Pocket (back)

Needle Book (front)

Needle Book (back)

Thread Pocket (front)

Thread Pocket (back)



Thimble Shoe

Last time I posted about this piece (here) back in November, I had just finished the stitching.  As I worked on the piece, I had decided it needed some “bling”.  I added lots of Swarovski crystals and some beads.  Just enough “bling” but not overwhelming amounts.  And lucky for me my friend Sandie had the perfect shade of plum silk that she let me use to line my bag and all the accessories (thanks Sandie!).

So, does this count as a single finish or nine (one for each component)?


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Pumpkin Harvest Pillow

Tonight I finished my “Pumpkin Harvest” by Trilogy into this long, slender pillow:

It turned out better than I thought it would.  I found the pumpkin fabric in my quilt stash.  It’s almost an exact color match to the over-dyed floss in the piece.  And I thought adding some ric-rac would be a nice touch to an otherwise simple pillow.  I thought about using cording, but the ric-rac adds to the whimsy of the design.   I guess this will get packed away with my other autumn decorations.  Or maybe I’ll just leave it out and enjoy it for a few weeks.

I still have several other stitched pieces that I need to pull out and do the “finishing” on.  I have the next few week nights free, so my goal is to get at least one done each night.  I have a tendency to let my “finishing” pile build up and then get a bunch done at once.  Sort of like laundry…LOL.

The pictures I took last night of the Gardenball have been bothering me, so I messed around with lighting tonight to see if I could get a better picture.  The halogen lights on the ceiling of my room just don’t cut it when I want to take a picture at night.  The images come out kind of yellowish and dim.  Tonight, I leveraged my portable Ott-lite and was finally able to get some decent pictures.  I even took some more pictures of the Gardenball and updated them on my last post.

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Ho Ho Ho & Chilly

Just a quick post to show a couple of freebies that I finished recently.

This first freebie is called “Chilly’s Gift” from Stitchy Kitty.  My friend (Kate) stitched this up a while back for the Attic Needlework’s breast cancer fund raiser.  I thought it was so cute that I had to stitch one for myself.  If you’re interested in stitching it, you can find the chart here.  I finished it as a pillow ornament, using an almost magenta colored silk dupioni. Pillows of any size are not my forte.  I’m still trying to figure out how to get them completely pucker free….it’s part of my obsessive, compulsive personality.  If you have any tips for getting a smoother finish, I’m all ears.

I discovered this next freebie from a French blog, “Mag & Ses 10 Doigt”.  You can find the chart for this one and a few others here.  The original chart had some swirls stitched around the Santa, but I decided to omit those and add some little white buttons.  I also decided to try something different for the finishing.  The size of the piece after I stitched it was too large for a tree ornament, so I thought it would make a nice door knocker/pillow.  I’m please with it for the most part. I stuffed it 3 different times before I was happy with the filling.  The first two times it ended up lumpy…and who wants a pillow with cellulite.  The 3rd time was the charm and my pillow didn’t have lumps, but I couldn’t avoid a little puckering.  Maybe I need to stop obsessing and just convince myself that pillows are suppose to have puckers.

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This past Friday, instead of dealing with the Black Friday crowds, a bunch of my stitching buddies and I spent the entire day in Half Moon Bay at a friends house.  We arrived just after 10:00 a.m. and didn’t leave until almost midnight!  An entire day filled with stitching, eating and merriment…ah, life it good.  I worked on the finishing of an old project, “Where Stitchers Gather” by Victoria Sampler:




As you can see, there are several different stitches and techniques in this piece.  It was a class project taught by the designer, Thea Dueck, back in October of 2006 when I attended her retreat in Victoria, B.C.  It was the first retreat I ever attended and I had such a wonderful time, I went back again in 2007.  Thea and her staff are a group of wonderful ladies and Victoria is such a beautiful city to visit.  I may go back again someday.

This project was debuted at this retreat, but a year or two afterwards, Thea released the chart.  There are some companion pieces that go with this (scissor case, fob and needlebook), but I decided to just finish the pocket.  I only made a few changes to this piece.  The dress of the second stitcher from the left originally called for the flesh color thread, but I changed it to a gold color.  I also replaced the silk ribbon on each side of the pocket used to tie the pocket closed with a snap instead.  I didn’t think the silk ribbon would hold up over time and I would get tired of having to tie both sides to keep the piece close.

In addition to learning all sorts of new stitches, I learned something new this weekend from my friend when I went to “finish” this piece.  Let’s see if I can explain it.  Around the entire design was backstitching, which is used attach the lining and close the sides of the pocket.  The lining needed to be about a 1/2″ shorter in length (not width) than the outside/linen because some length is lost when the piece is folded.  Because the lengths were different, you couldn’t attach the lining all the way around the linen to the backstitching.  So the solution was to attach the lining along the bottom, then around the top and the sides of the flap.  Once that was done, I folded the pocket into place, sewed the sides of the lining together separately on each side, then closed up the sides of the linen.  The lining pocket ends up floating inside of the linen pocket.  This was a different way of finishing this piece that was described in the booklet.  It made more sense to me and I will definitely leverage this technique again.


Another recent finish is this fob.

Last month, I picked up a pair of the new “Mia” scissors by Gingher from Joanns.  I started thinking about the plaid pattern while I was standing in line to pay for them with my friends and said “Wouldn’t it be cute to stitch a Scottie dog fob?”.   Because we all know every pair of embroidery scissors need a fob, right?  And I knew I had several pieces of plaid fabric in my quilt stash, so it was likely I had one to match.  But when I went through my vast pattern stash, I couldn’t find a pattern for a Scottie dog.  Thanks goodness for the internet and all the stitchers out there in cyber space.  A quick search on Google  found the perfect freebie, which you can find here.  I didn’t want it to be too large, so I stitched it over one on some natural linen.  I didn’t have an exact match on the red in the plaid fabric I used from my stash, but it was close enough.

On a final note, I thought I’d post a picture of my Queen Sofia all stitched up:

I’m happy to report that I *did* get it all stitched the night before the EGA deadline and received my golden needle after all.  I still have the beads and Swarovski crystals to attach before I assemble it all together.  And my wonderful friend in Half Moon Bay had some silk dupioni in the perfect shade of purple to line the inside of the bag and another wonderful shade of green to line the inside of the accessories.  So, hopefully soon, you’ll see another post with the finished ensemble. And for some of the pieces, I will be leveraging the pocket lining technique I described above.  So the timing was perfect for me to learn that.

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March Already?

It seems like Christmas was just a few weeks ago, but it’s more like a few months!  Where did January and February go?!   Before you know it, it’ll be summer.

I haven’t been getting as much stitching time in the past week as I’d like.  Work has been keeping me extra busy and most nights last week, I just vegged.  I expect this week to be just as busy.

I decided to start something new last month as my portable purse project.  I had to.  I’ve finished almost all of the small projects from my UFO pile and most of what’s left are too big to fit in my purse pocket.  Also, it’s nice to start a new project amid all the old projects.  So I dug through my small patterns and decided to start the Lizzie*Kate flip-it blocks.  They’re quick to stitch up and I already have the frames for each of them, so finishing them would also be quick.  I started with March and did manage to get all the stitching done before the end of February, but I just got around to stretching, lacing and putting it in the frame today:

"Flip-it Blocks - March" by Lizzie*Kate

Better late the never and I can still display it for another 3 weeks.  On the original design, there was a white blob behind the two blue birds (sample to the right).  I thought it might be a cloud, however, the background was green, not blue and that sort of bothered me.  So I began to ask my friends what they thought it was.  Most thought it was a cloud too, but a few thought it might be tree blossoms.  So, I went with that idea and tweaked the white to look more like little blossoms.

I haven’t started April yet.  I decided I needed to try and catch up on my Merry Cox class piece.  I’m still on lesson 2 (the group is at 4 now).  So, it has become my purse project and I’ve been making slow progress:

Progress on Americana Sewing Case by Merry Cox

"Americana Sewing Case" by Merry Cox - progress as of March 8th

The pattern was charted with the words “Christmas in Williamsburg” along the top of the middle section, but Merry encouraged us to change it. My plan is to change it to “Sweet Land of Liberty”. 

Also this past week, I pulled out on old UFO, “Blackstone Fantasy Garden” by Ink Circles and made a little headway on it:

Progress on Blackstone Fantasy Garden by Ink Circles

Progress on "Blackstone Fantasy Garden" by Ink Circles

I really love this piece and don’t know why I put it away so long.  I love Celtic knotwork and I just love how the areas in between on this design are filled with blackwork in different colors.

I think I’m going to work all of the cross-stitched knotwork and then go back afterwards to fill in all the blackwork.  The cross stitch doesn’t require as much concentration and can easily be done while I’m watching TV.  The blackwork will require me to look at the pattern more.  So that’s the plan now, but I could always change my mind if I get really board with the knotwork.

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This week, I’ve finished four more stitching projects, three PS ornaments and a pincushion. I’ve managed now to finished 10 things this year, but they are the lowest hanging fruit on my long list of UFOs. Pretty soon, the only things left will be the larger projects. But it does feel good to know I’ve finished 10.

Here are the Prairie Schooler ornaments:

2002 - 1994 - 1996 Prairie Santa Ornaments

2002 - 1994 - 1996 Prairie Santa Ornaments

They are the yearly Santas that PS puts out. From left to right, the years are 2002, 1994 and 1996. They’re stitched over one on 25ct New Khaki Lugana. I actually had them stitched in 2007, but never dated them back then. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to do that, being that they are so small and I didn’t want to detract from the design. I had also been thinking about how I wanted to back the ornaments. After some thought, I decided to stitch the back and as the label. I used design elements from the front of each to customize the backs a bit.

Back of Prairie Santa Ornaments

Back of Prairie Santa Ornaments

Yesterday, some of my stitching friends and I spent the day together. Our guild had an outing to tour a couple historic houses in San Francisco, the Haas-Lilienthal and Octagon houses. The weather was perfect and we had so much fun. On the way home, we stopped at the Status Thimble in Burlingame to do a little stashing. I found the perfect item, a shaker pincushion, for my “Red Bird” design.

Red Bird by A Mon Ami Pierre

"Red Bird" by A Mon Ami Pierre

And it was a quick finish. I just had to bast around the edges of the evenweave with a heavy thread, cinch in up around the pincushion insert, then add the cording. Voila, it was done in less than an hour.

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Our part of the state has been getting doused with rain over the past week, so I’ve been spending most of my time indoors.  I’m not complaining though.  We really need all the rain we can get.  The past few winters have fallen short of the total rain/snow fall we need and if we don’t get several more days of heavy rain and snow before this summer, most of California will be in a severe draught and water restrictions will be imposed on everyone.  My husband and I already cut back our water usage last year when water conservation was “recommended” but not mandatory.  By just taking shorter showers and flushing the toilet less (yes, the old “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” saying applies in our household these days), saves us about 100 gallons a day!   Well, enough about that.

With all my indoor time, I’ve been making further progress on my UFO list.   First up is a piece I finished over the weekend:

It’s called “Parfait” and it was designed and taught by my friend Kei Blesch.  She taught it last year at our local EGA.  We were suppose to pick our own color-way,  but Kei had pulled together these luscious colors to make another model for herself and she put together the threads for me (and Kate) too.  I wish photos could capture how sparkly it is with all the metallic threads, but this picture will have to do.   I haven’t done much canvas work (though my piece is stitched on linen), so stitching this piece was a learning experience.  Can you see the areas where there are stitches layered over stitches?   You definitely have to pay attention to the directions and make sure you don’t stitch parts out of order.  I was also really happy to discover that the size of the stitched piece was the exact size I needed to mount onto this little box.  I had bought the box a while back, but not with a particular design in mind for it.  So I was thrilled it fit so nicely.  I’m trying to get away from framing everything I stitch.  In fact, the next piece I finished was initially going to be framed, but I changed my mind and finished it into a pincushion:

The design is “Hearts & Flowers” by The Sweetheart Tree.  I had thought about finishing this piece as a biscornu, but I couldn’t find an exact match in my stash to the linen that was in this kit.  So I settled on this simple pillow style pincushion.  I decided to try beads around the edge instead of my usual cording and I’m pleased with how it looks.  Definitely something I’ll do again.

The next two items were stitched by my friend Kate and the finishing was done by me.


The design is “Be Mine Valentine” by Lizzie Kate.  I did the finishing of the door knocker last year, when I was showing some of my stitching friends how to do the finishing.  And I just finished the fob this week.  I was going to put an edging on the fob, but decided to keep it simple.

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