My SAL Journey Begins

I love sewing, quilting, and anything fabric related….lately I’ve grown a little obsessed with embroidery stitch patterns and colorful thread! I’ve learned to make more time in my busy craft schedule to squeeze in some cross-stitch and embroidery. Lucky for me, this lovely group of stitching ladies have welcomed me into their SAL group 😀 – and so my SAL Journey begins!

For this SAL, or Stitch-A-Long, the group and I will post every third Sunday about our work in progress or about a new project that we will be working on. Joining a SAL group is just the right motivation I need to stay on top of my projects. Whether it’s a little or a lot, any amount of stitching is welcome with open arms and words of encouragement. It’s not a race and there are no deadlines, PERFECT!

With that, these are the projects that I’m currently working on:

  1. Moda Bakeshop Summer Sewing Camp – Bee-utiful QAL (embroidery blocks). I’m on block 4 now and there are already 6 blocks released.
  2. Cross-stitch – a series of potted, blooming cactus ❤ 1 out of 5 complete. The second cactus is in progress.
  3. Cross-stitch UFO! I’ve been working on this pattern for 3 years –ish… I think I went one whole year with hardly any stitching on it. Here’s my original post for more information. Since this pattern is so big and you actually don’t see that much difference, even when I do get to add on to it, I’ve decided to post quarterly on this. I’m setting myself some realistic goals to motivate me to work on it. It’s a beautiful pattern and I can’t wait to get some major progress on it! I think the main reasons I don’t take it out often is the size, the massive amounts of various green flosses, lol, and my frame. It can get a little boring when you’re on your 5th shade of green 😉 I also want to look into a standing frame. Where I can easily sit up on the couch to work on this. My current frame is a lap frame and the only comfortable way I can manage to use it, is on the floor with my back to the couch. My bum gets sore and the cats want to hangout under the frame on my lap for a nap…either frame won’t deter the cozy felines, but one battle at a time!

Bee-utiful QAL

Block 2 – Bee Productive

Here I used EPP hexies, instead of wool cut outs. The bee’s head is filled with French knots and I used a variegated yellow thread for his body. I need to work on my blanket stitch spacing and decide whether I like small or large stitches. They vary a little from hexie to hexie, but that’s okay 🙂

Bee Detail_french knotsBlock 2 Bee Productive

Block 3 – Bee Lovely

Starting to get a hang of this! Made a couple of changes to the original directions on which stitch to use, which is great news. It means I’m learning my stitches and feeling my own creativity come out onto the designs. I bought some of this adorable shimmery thread…and I’ve read how some of you struggle with it, but I didn’t quite understand until I tried it. The thread is coarse! The micro-filaments from each ply even unravel. So strange…but if you look at my last flower in purple, I’ve discovered that simply embellishing with an interlacing of shimmer works best!

Block 3 Bee Lovelyflower details 1flower details

Cactus #2

Small progress, but still worth sharing.

Cactus Cross Stitch

My Scarlet Quince Pattern

If you liked what you saw here, I definitely encourage you to go check out what the rest of the SAL group is stitching up! Click on the links below to see their latest updates.I know I can’t wait to see what they’re up to 🙂

AvisClaireGunCaroleWendyLucyAnnKateJessSueConstanzeDebbierose

Question for my SAL group and my readers: How often do you change your stitching needle (from old to new)?

 Happy 4th of July!

Blocks 1-3 Beeutiful QAL_2

Gone Stitchin’

I took some time away from the sewing machine and have been doing a bit more stitching. It started out due to a cold and I needed something creative to do while I rested. So, I pulled out my cross stitching supplies and worked on a small pattern of blooming cactus that I found on pinterest. I was able to complete 1 out of 5 of these potted cuties and am eager to move on to the next one.

cross stitch cactus 1_2cross stitch cactus 1_3

This past Friday, a QAL was presented on the Moda Bake Shop and it’s absolutely adorable! I’ve been eager to start embroidery and have many books on my Amazon wish list. This QAL mixes embroidery and quilting all in one Bee-utiful quilt! The pattern is by Pamela Morgan of Sweet Little Stitches. If you have room for another QAL/SAL or looking to build those embroidery or quilting skills, I definitely encourage you to join along! We’re only one block in, but will jump into blocks 2 and 3 this week!

Luckily I had a handy embroidery book that I borrowed from my mom over a year ago…and haven’t returned. It’s been super helpful! So far I’ve learned various pattern transfer methods and the Stem Stitch. I brushed up on my back stitch and satin stitch, but there’s definitely improvement that can be made on my back stitch. Here, you can see my desired method of pattern transfer – light and tracing 🙂 – along with my progress shots!

 

Last night, I completed block 1!

Beeutiful QAL Block 1_2Beeutiful QAL Block 1_3Beeutiful QAL Block 1

 I absolutely love it! I will be so eager to get started on block 2, but my goal this weekend is to complete my Dinosaur commissioned quilt. Maybe I can sneak some late night stitches on the couch 😉

Work in Progress

I can’t believe it’s June already! Time is really flying by this year. I’m still working on my three baby quilt commission and all three tops are complete with raw-edge applique names. In fact, I’ve completed the baby girl quilt entirely. I will wait to photo all three completed quilts and share the finale with you before washed and gifted.

For the lettering, I chose three different fonts to match the look and feel of the quilt. I didn’t have my mom’s LED light box this time, so I improvised using a desk spot light and our glass side table! Since the fusible paper is ironed to the back of the fabric, I traced my lettering backwards, this way the cut out letters on fabric will be facing in the right direction. Jolie’s here took me a little longer than the boy names because I couldn’t pass up this adorable font ❤

Fused Name

I hand-stitched around Jolie’s name and machine stitched around Jase’s and Jude’s names. I’m currently quilting Jude’s quilt and am almost done and ready for binding. Stay tuned!

Around mid-May, mom and I took a class on foundation paper piecing. The focus of this class was on the pattern by Judy Niemeyer, Desert Sky. The pattern can be a little intimidating for a beginner at foundation paper piecing, but luckily we had an instructor who specializes in Judy Niemeyer patterns and paper piecing techniques. Deborah Brizendine was a great teacher and walked us through every step of the pattern. You can check out her website to learn more about her and her services 🙂

Originally mom and I had planned to use up her oriental scrap fabric that was given to her from our friend Glenda. Lots of fabric! We though surely it would be enough… We sorted through the fabric and separated in lights and darks. Unfortunately, for this pattern it was pertinent that we had complete fat quarter sizes for fabric cutting directions and mom had just enough for one quilt. So, mom and I gathered our modern fabric fat quarters and picked out my combinations of lights and darks for my quilt. This was totally last minute, but with a little bit of wine and a little bit of laughter, we were able to get all my fabric cut the night before class 🙂

In class we worked on one set of nine blocks (there will be 4 sets of 9 when complete). We were instructed to complete one block entirely before the end of class so that we could walk through all the steps and ask the questions we had while we had Deborah available to us. She also showed us how to chain piece the rest so we could continue the pattern at home. The curves were definitely a challenge!

Our first blocks that we completed in class! Mom’s oriental fabric to the left and my modern fabric to the right:

Our fist blocks

Here’s the rest of my first set:

These were so addicting to make and I’m eager to get back to the other sets! ahh…so many projects on my UFO pile and I’m sure there’s more to come.