Friday, September 23, 2011

handwork opportunities

while being on bedrest has not given me empty hours on end (i do still homeschool, interact with my children, and try to run the house from here), i certainly have a bit more time on my hands than i did previously. those hands are itching to do some sewing while i lounge around incubating. tuesday i finally removed the outer border from "taite" that has been holding back my progress on that piece for literally months. i have those baby blankets to edge and i pulled out my abandoned heather bailey pincusion, but this isn't going to occupy me very long. not for 7 weeks. i am kicking myself for not having a baby quilt ready for handquilting. that would be perfect right now! handwork i can do laying here. too bad i can't use the machine, too. it's really niggling away at me whenever i think about how i have all this time and i can't use it like i want to. so i try not to think about it. i keep trying to figure out how maybe i could use the machine for just a little bit, make it okay, justify myself. but i can't. i'll just have to let it go for now. and all those darling baby projects out there are simply not for me.

today i took a stab at the seed stitching on my strawberry pincushion. it wasn't quite as easy as it looked. simple enough, but the instructions heather gave were not completely explicit. firstly, she said to add the seed details after the leaf top was on. that doesn't make much sense to me since you're supposed to hide the thread ends under the leaf. next time (and, yes, i'll probably make a few of these while laying here) i'll do the seeds first. secondly, i found i didn't make the stitches small enough or space them far enough apart. way too many unevenly-sized seeds:
completing the stitches only took about 10 minutes (probably less), which was nice. but it looked dodgy to me. so i decided, what the heck? i'm stuck here in bed anyway, might as well try again. i unpicked all of it and started over again with a better idea of how to proceed. now heather said to space the seed lines by following the tips of the leaf, which kept the lines more or less properly spaced apart, but she didn't say a thing about seed size or number. i thought my stitches looked too big and too many.

second time around i made the seeds smaller and only four per row. and i hit on the idea of using the string lined up from the leaf tip to the strawberry's end to guide my lines so they wouldn't wander. you can see here i held the excess floss in a straight line then simply followed right next to it with the needle, completing several stitches at once. i was just a little more careful to make them small and really watched where i put them. since some of the rows started from the "outy" point of a leaf and the alternate rows were lined up with the "inny" point of the leaf, i also alternated the seeds in those rows so that from one to the next the seeds were not across from each other, but rather in between where those in the row next to it were placed. i hope that makes sense! a lot of blather about five minutes worth of seed stitching.

my second attempt pleased me more than my first, but i still could have done a better job. heather's sample on the packaging looks so much more professional and polished than mine, which is, i guess, to be expected. i'll just keep practicing. to finish off my bitty project i only need to add the blossom and another leaf.

maybe i can try some of the other fruit shapes from the pattern, too. this could be good handstitching practice for me. sure wish i knew how to make some bigger projects by hand though. i know you can handpiece quilts, i just am not sure how. all the instructions i ever read for patchwork were for machine stitching. even if you are going to do the quilting portion by hand, the piecing part is always by machine. it should be simple enough to piece by hand, too, but i have no idea what stitch to use to make it sturdy enough. anyone know how or where i can find instructions?

maybe i should go crazy with yo-yo making. lots of fun scraps in my box to work with. that's an idea! anymore small and simple projects anyone can suggest for a lady stuck in bed doing only handwork?

 it's almost enough to make me take up knitting except i just can't make that leap. i live in the desert. we were knit goods for a few weeks a year and i simply can't make the investment to learn for something not practical for me. i guess i'll be sticking to pincushions for a bit.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not an expert but I handpieced and quilted my oldest a patchwork quilt before she was born. I just used a straight stitch.
    As for yo yos I'm making a table runner. You could make one with me!


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