Instead of unpacking…

I’ve been doing a bit of quilting…

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stitching…

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dressmaking…

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and finishing up (VERY) old projects (it’s a weekend bag I promised Andy ages ago)…

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and hanging out with this dude.

photo-5I’ll be sure to update you with photos of the new apartment very soon! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Cath Kidston Stitching

I finished my little embroidered Cath Kidston pouch! It’s seriously a perfect little project, especially for a cross stitching newbie like me.

The pattern is so beautiful (seriously, her designs get me every time!) and fairly simple. I had never worked with soluble cross stitch canvas before and while it was sometimes harder to stitch as precises as I like, I was really impressed by how quickly it dissolved in water. This stuff means you can cross stitch on any fabric!

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Overall, this was a great pattern: it looks complicated and impressive, but is really very simple and just a matter of counting. It’s a great first project from this book. And since all the materials come free with the book, what’s not to love?

The only problem was that I’m apparently much more liberal with embroidery thread than Cath Kidston, because I ran out of thread super quickly. I improvised a bit, using what I had, and changed the pattern a bit. In the end, no one would notice if I don’t point out the differences. Except me, of course!

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To finish up the project, I ironed on some light interfacing to protect the back of the embroidery (this wasn’t in the directions, but I always think it’s a good idea), then cut up all the different elements and sewed the pouch up.

Now I just need to figure out what to put in this little granny chic accessory. Maybe it’ll be my embroidery pouch? Any other ideas?

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On an unrelated note, I’m joining Izzie from Izzie Knits for a knit along! We’ll be tacking the Wolly Wormhead’s Everglade hat pattern. Want to join in? Just let Izzie know!

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My sewing machine is now back in full force after a good cleaning and tune-up. The first order of business was to whip up a pillow cover with the home I embroidered from Anna Maria Horner’s stitching book. So happy with how it turned out!

As I was stitching this, I was also busy looking at possible apartments in Boston (we’ll move out there this summer). Needless to say, I thought a lot about home and what it means. What is home to you? To me, it means:

:: A space to be exactly who you are with the people you love.

:: Surrounding yourself with things that make you smile and reflect your style.

:: Carving out a small area for work and creative pursuits.

:: Relaxing with a cup of tea and too many Law and Order episodes and worn sweatpants.

:: A place for you to add layers of beauty, memories and laughter. #sappy

Leaving Chicago will be hard! We have so many friends here and love them all to pieces. But moving to Boston will be an exciting adventure—and I’m getting so excited to set up our new home there.

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Unlike Anna Maria’s beautiful pillow cover example, I decided not to hand-quilt the top, but I did iron on some fusible fleece to protect the stitching and make the front extra plushy. I cut two pieces for the back to make and envelope cover, using basically the same process (but different measurements) as this tutorial.

After sewing the case, I topstitched twice around the outside, creating a crisp border and adding interest. All in all, I just love how this turned out! I love pairing of this embroidery with the simple, shabby fabric.

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The pillow’s now resting on our bed with an Anna Maria pillow (obsessed much? yes!). It really doesn’t belong here; too much white. But when we get our new dark grey cover for our couch, it’ll be a perfect addition to our pillow collection!

Also, connect with me on instagram! You’ll see some more photos of my creations and many more of Bernie!

Hope you have a great day at home, wherever that may be!

Progress

I’ve been plugging away on a few different projects. They aren’t finished yet, but I wanted to share the progress I’ve made. Some people prefer to work on one project at a time… Obviously, I’m not one of those people! I tend to have a few things in the works and bounce around from one to another. I’m not sure why, but I have so much more fun creating this way than if I feel like I need to stick with one project until it’s done.

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Right now, I’m working on the Nicey Jane quilt, embroidered “home” pillow and my first-ever sweater!

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Since this quilt is super scrappy, I wanted to balance it out with one, big cohesive pattern for the quilting stitches. I finally landed on creating a large diamond that is echoed at different widths. I’m only about 50% done, but I’m happy with how it’s coming along! photo (22)

The cross hatching and corners are my favorite details. Aren’t they pretty? The dense quilting is new for me, but I love it!

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Here’s a peak at the back and the simple, diagonal stitches. I love straight-line quilting, maybe from reading Red Pepper Quilts blog for so long. She’s such an inspiration.

Unfortunately, while quilting away my my mama’s sewing machine starting having problems. Ugh. It’s in the shop now and should be ready to go very soon. In the meantime, I spent lots of time knitting and stitching.

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I’m tackling Quince and Co’s Annabel pullover. AH! It’s pretty nerve-wracking since it’s my first sweater. So far, however, it’s been smooth sailing!

photo (16)Last, but certainly not least, is the “home” embroidery I finished using a pattern Anna Maria Horner embroidery book. Once the machine is back from the shop, I’ll whip this up into a pillow cover to add to our collection on the couch! I’m so happy with this project so far!

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This chilly Chicago winter + having a husband that works late a lot = lots of crafting time! I certainly miss Andy when he’s away, but having lots of projects at hand makes the time go by so much faster. I always love the process of making something and, of course, get excited for the finished product!

How about you? What have you been working on lately? Do you like to work on several projects at once? Or just one at a time? Can’t wait to hear from you!

Stitching Away

Hand embroidery is definitely one of my favorite crafts. One of my favorite activities, even. It’s so relaxing, you can do it anywhere and the results make the slow process well worth the effort. I also love how the natural, human imperfections make it beautiful– you have no choice but to embrace them.

Obviously, it’s much faster to use a sewing machine to embroider, but that’s just not my cup of tea. I love the slow, calm and very deliberate nature of hand stitching.

When I heard that Anna Maria Horner was publishing a book about hand embroidery, I was seriously thrilled. I just love her, her blog, her fabrics and her creativity for pushing the envelope when it comes to hand stitching. Tangent: Andy, my mom and sister love to tell the story of a time they came with me to meet her at her book signing. When she complimented my top, I completely froze up, I was totally star-stuck, and could only get out a few more words. My mom saw how I was struggling and quickly started chatting with Anna to fill the awkward silence. Ah!

Anyway. The point is that I love her work! I pre-ordered her needleworks book and dove into it as soon as it arrived. I’ve taught myself to embroider mainly through trial-and-error, so it’s nice to read her expert advice about specific stitches, fabrics and finishing techniques.

I even took my first attempt at cross stitch after reading her instructions. I found these pretty Christmas star patterns on pinterest. It’ll be a great little decoration, maybe for the mantle or the kitchen. I also stitched up my brother-in-law’s Christmas gift this way–I’ll be sure to post pictures after he opens it!

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I’ve wanted to make a new pillow for our couch for quite a while. A pattern in Anna Maria Horner’s book was just the ticket. I started it a few weeks ago, but it will take lots of time to fill in the “home” lettering. I decided to use a sweet floral fabric from my stash and, instead of using many colors like in the pattern, make all the letters navy blue. Once the stitching is complete, I want to  hand quilt the fabric before creating the pillow case. I’ll keep you posted!

photo-5 Do you like to embroider by hand? Or do you prefer machine embroidery? What’s your favorite type of stitching? I’d love to know!