craftmas, Cross-stitch and Embroidery

On the fourth day of Craftmas…

…my true love gave to me some cross-stitched ornaments for the tree!

We’re in the final stretch here, folks.  I don’t think it would really be Christmas without at least some sort of cross-stitched decoration, and this year was no exception.

Train Ornament

I found this Dimensions train kit on Amazon and started it longer ago than I care to admit, but managed to finish stitching it this summer.  I cut the backing (which you can’t see in this photo unless you have mad x-ray vision skillz) out of a scrap piece of shiny red wrapping paper, which catches the lights from the tree and lends interest.  For a hanger, I used Kreinik ribbon, and bless my local stitching-shop proprietress for suggesting it when I asked for “a really, really thick Kreinik braid or something”.  Darlings: support your local independent shops.

Penguin Ornament

The penguins were a free kit with an issue of Cross Stitch Crazy, and were supposed to be framed in a 3″ plastic hoop.  The putters-together of the kit neglected to include a sufficiently large piece of aida to actually be able to use the hoop without some sort of sorcery, so I turned them into a little pillow instead.  I spend a good chunk of my Christmas Eve morning finishing the cross-stitching at work (while this reeks of desperation, it’s not as bad as the time I set my alarm for 6:00 Christmas morning to finish stitching, so…), and was pleasantly surprised by the excellent lighting.  There’s always a bright side, eh?

Both are now tucked away until next year, when I’m sure they’ll be joined by others.  Thanks for looking! 🙂

craftmas, Cross-stitch and Embroidery

On the third day of Craftmas…

…my true love gave to me: a shirt with an “N” and a “B”.

Hello, all, and happy Christmas-is-over.  Sorry if that sounds Grinchlike, but there’s something to be said for not panicking that I have to sew-and-bake-and-buy-and-wrap.  But now that (most) of the handmade gifts have been opened, it’s time for me to catch up and post the rest of them.

I’ve stitched railway-themed shirts for my dad in the past, but it’s been a few years and I thought it was time he had a new one to add to his collection.  I didn’t want to do just plain denim again, and when I saw coloured denim/canvas/something sturdy shirts at Mark’s, I knew I had found my blank slate.  I opted for a mossy green one and added the Burlington Northern logo to the pocket – you know, before it became part of BNSF.

This isn’t the best picture, but gives the best representation of the colour:

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And a close-up of the pocket:

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<whispering>I think the liked it!</whispering>  He unwrapped it Christmas morning, and wore it to a family gathering on Boxing Day without bothering to iron it or anything.

I hope everyone had a crafty, happy holiday! 🙂

craftmas, General Sewing, Other Crafts

On the second day of Craftmas…

…my true love gave to me a parliament of owls for the tree!

(You just know I’ve been waiting for a chance to use one of those esoteric collective nouns.)

My Rules for Mailing are pretty simple: any items being sent by post should be easily replaced i.e. not one-of-a-kind or otherwise difficult to produce or procure, fairly inexpensive, and as small and light as possible to keep postage costs down.  With these criteria in mind, it was decided that my friend Jeanette would be getting a coordinating set of felt owl ornaments for Christmas.

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I followed the tutorial found here, with a few tweaks: I replaced the button pupils with black fabric paint, and dispensed altogether with the rick-rack tummy feathers.  And although I’m normally loath to use colour palettes that are too trendy and risk dating themselves, I must admit that choosing these four complementary colours of felt made it easy to make a matched set but keep each individual owl just a little bit different.

They took a moment to pause for a picture in the cedar tree in my backyard before settling into a bubble envelope for their cross-border trip. 🙂

craftmas, General Sewing

On the first day of Craftmas…

Hard to believe that November is almost over, isn’t it?  I had the brilliant idea that everyone on my Christmas list should get at least something handmade (No, this isn’t stressful in the least!  Yes, that was sarcasm!  – Ed.), and decided to post the results here.

First up, a handmade stocking for my newly single friend to decorate his bachelor pad.  We had been at Fabricland this summer when he saw the reindeer flanellette and decided he liked it, and this seemed like the perfect project for it.

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This is the same pattern I used to make my Star Trek stocking last year – which, I’m pleased to report, the recipient is super-excited about hanging up at his desk again this year.

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I used a sumptuous red satin – formerly a queen-sized sheet – for the lining, and I love the luxurious look and feel it lends to the whole operation.

So, that’s one down….

General Sewing

These pajamas are the cat’s pajamas!

Waaayyyy back in March, I finished sewing a pair of emerald-green pajamas for my mom in time for St. Patrick’s Day.  Even further back, in January, I had bought the necessary green cuddle satin along with enough purple to make another pair – and promptly dragged my heels until there were ruts in every room of the house

The pattern I used was McCall’s M4244, as always, and I don’t even want to look at the envelope right now.  I can more or less construct a pair of pajamas from that pattern without the instructions, at this point.

There’s no denying, however, that the purple set is delightfully regal-looking, and make the perfect nightwear as we transition from steamy summer nights into the crisp air of almost-autumn.

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They aren’t nearly as bulky and lumpy as they appear in the photo: when I presented the finished product to her, she couldn’t be bothered with actually getting changed and instead pulled them on over her tank top and cargo shorts.  I choose to interpret that eagerness as a compliment.

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A close-up of the buttons I used, along with a better idea of the fabric’s real colour.

I’d like to think my pajama-sewing days are behind me for a while, but I’d best not speak too soon.  One of my friends saw these and thought a pair of satiny pajama pants “would be all right”.  Maybe for Christmas…

Thanks for looking!

Cross-stitch and Embroidery

Urban Wildlife

I rarely stitch for myself, but when Cross Stitcher included cover kits of a fox and a raccoon a couple of years back, I held onto them, planning to do them “someday”.  These were bold, simple patterns that used only a handful of colours, meaning they’d be the perfect intermission stitch when large projects were making me crazy.  And – and this may be what promoted them from “maybe” to “yes!” – they came with a precut felt frame right in the kit, making the whole affair rather self-contained and all the more appealing.  All I’d have to do is add a hanger of some sort, and heaven knows I have enough different ribbons in my stash.

And so, eventually…in between large projects, Christmas gifts, quick cards…they somehow got finished.  The completed stitching was tucked away along with the frame inside the original packaging until I had a reason to assemble them.  Wonder of wonders, my cubicle wall (fun fact: the proper term for “cubicle wall” is “baffle”.  Who knew?) was painfully bare and in desperate need of a little brightening up!

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To add some interest to the frames, I added a bit of decorative running stitch with my sewing machine.  This wasn’t the best idea I’ve ever had; felt does not pivot as nicely as normal fabric does to ensure a smooth curve, and I had to keep stopping to defuzz my needle and bobbin area.  But they’re done, and give my cube a much-needed splash of colour.

Happy Easter!

General Sewing

Kiss me; my pajamas are Irish…

…and conveniently leprechaun-sized, too!

A few years back, I made the grievous error of (gasp) sewing my mother a pair of pajamas.  Several years before that, she had received as a gift a pair made of this material that was satiny on the outside so as not to cling to the sheets when turning in bed, but cottony-soft on the inside, and she continued to obsess over them long after they had worn beyond use.  Naturally, when I found cuddle satin  – satiny yet snuggly! – at my local Fabricland, I had to replicate them for her.

This was a mistake, as it led to the construction of several more pairs of both the full-length and short-everything variety.  I’m almost surprised I can’t sew McCall’s M4244 from memory.  And so a few months ago, when she started in with, “I could almost use another pair of those satin pajamas…”, I did what I do best, which is to say, I pretended I was immersed in a book and didn’t hear her.  But then Fabricland had a 50% off sale at New Year’s, and my conscience got the better of me, and I took her shopping for fabric.  Six metres for the price of three (in two fabulous colours) was too good a deal to pass up.

But ah, there was a caveat.  She didn’t want a shorts set, but also didn’t want the sleeves, legs, or top to be as long as in the full version.  So, a capri?  “Well, maybe a bit longer than that…”  This was not the kind of thing that the “lengthen or shorten along this line” could handle – I was going to have to eliminate vast-ish swaths of fabric.  Aargh!  After holding the pattern pieces up to her, we more or less agreed on proper lengths for everything.  It was a tight fit on the fabric, too; had they been too short, her only option would have been to shrink.  In the end, though, we seem to have found the perfect balance.

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She won’t be tripping over the hems or setting her sleeves alight if by some odd chance she finds herself cooking over an open flame.  Sounds like an excuse for indoor s’mores to me!

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Aren’t those buttons something else?  I think the opportunity to use green glittery buttons was my primary motivation to make yet another pair of these things.  And this is actually a far more accurate representation of the colour.

There are still three metres of royal purple satin patiently waiting their turn, but that’s a project for another day.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!