Project #6: Finished!

It’s done, hooray! And in time for us to go traveling. Unfortunately I vastly underestimated the time required to stitch my wedding card, and the present I stitched and mounted in a frame suffered a breakage en route, so we had to attend the wedding empty handed. But it does mean I can stitch it more carefully and send a perfectly stitched piece, which will be nice.

So, pics of the finished product:

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The opened out case, with the extra pocket and tie detailing, reversed scissor pocket, and adjusted needle book.
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The left hand panel. I added in a tie so I had the option of attaching additional pieces eg: a thread ring that would sit in the pocket but might possibly slide out. I just knotted 4 lengths of perle 5 floss and stitched it in with a loop, also in perle 5 floss.
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The centre panel with scissor pocket and needle book. I reversed the scissor pocket because I am left handed, and also changed the needle book from portrait orientation to landscape orientation. This also allows me to drape the case over a chair arm if I need to.
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The right panel with the 2 pockets.
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The filled case. As we were flying, I tied on my thread cutter in lieu of scissors. I also have a pincushion ring attached. The left hand panel pocket holds 2 project cards of floss, and the right hand pockets hold my metallic floss bobbins (metallic floss doesn’t bear up well on project cards!) and my Thread Heaven. You can see one of my embroidery blocks in the back “project pocket”.

They say pictures tell it better than words, so there you go. Reflections: if I were to do it again?

– I’d consider a contrasting fabric. The co-ordinating colours looked great in the store, but the straps and binding didn’t pop because of that. So while it was a safe option, next time I might consider taking more risks!

– the quilting of vertical lines echoed the pattern so made the outer quite boring. While I am just practicing quilting, it might be worth trying something different on a small item like this where mistakes won’t be as obvious and don’t really matter!

If you are interested, I’ve found the pincushion ring to be invaluable, no more clenching the needle in my teeth while I coat my floss in Thread Heaven! You can find them here, along with an array of delightfully geeky patterns. Jacqueline is just lovely and her store is well worth checking out.

That’s it from me today!

Cat xoxo

Project #6 and #6.1: Travel embroidery case and bias binding.

I really love that embroidery is so easily transportable, especially since I prefer not to stitch in a hoop (because lazy). I’ve found it to be very relaxing and enjoyable. Of course despite being fairly inexpensive and all I really needed to buy was needles (see previous enormous stash!), I still found a way to spend money. The Quilters’ & The Embroiderer’s Store is pretty amazing and the service is great.

Anyway, I wanted a travel pouch that would let me toss my WIP into my handbag and keep my stuff together and minimize the risk of little fingers getting into it. (Sophie. Looking at you.)

Originally I made this needle book, but while it’s an amazing needle book, it didn’t really suit me, as my scissors kept falling out and it was my first foray into mitring corners with binding, and it wasn’t perfect.

Bias tape digression:

If you’re interested, this tutorial on making bias tape is amazing. Also this one, on straight grain bias binding is also good, only I would make one change in Step 3 – when pinning and marking the diagonal. Where she says to pin the bottom left and top right corners, I would reverse that to pinning the TOP left and BOTTOM right of your square. That lets you draw your diagonal line AND stitch the strips together without having to remove pins, like so:

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Also, rather than bust out my iron and risk burning my fingers (I’m left handed and not that proficient with an iron…) I re-purposed my hair straightener with amazing results.

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Finger pressing the seams open.
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Clamping the opened seams. I pressed it halfway first, using my fingers to hold it open, then pressed the whole seam.
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The lovely crisp seam pressed open!

I also used it with my bias tape maker to press the tape – I lined the straightener up against the exit point of the straightener, pulled the free end with one hand and pushed the maker along using the straightener, like so:

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Excuse my photography skills, and the myriad toys in tubs on the floor! It’s hard to see what’s happening but I’m pulling the tape with my left hand to the left, and holding my right hand stationary, which means the straightener is pressing the tape as it exits the bias tape maker.  This maker is a 25mm Clover branded one and SO much better than my previous tape maker, as the plastic guide (the blue part) keeps the strip straight as it feeds in.

I don’t have a picture, but I also used my straightener to make that tape into double fold tape (by folding it in half towards the centre) – the easiest way to do that is to sit the straightener on your knee with the plates facing AWAY from you.  Use both hands to fold a small section of tape (say 10cm) and pinch it together (or pin or clip it together with binding clips), then run the section against the BOTTOM plate only (kind of sawing it against the plate).  That sets it enough and you can run the straightener over it again when you’ve finished. WARNING: straighteners are HOT – be careful and use at your own risk!

Back to the topic at hand. A travel embroidery case. I really liked the look of this case, and I thought the quilting would be good practice. I found some cute fat quarters with co-ordinating colours, and started mapping out which fabric for what pieces

HOWEVER. I wanted to make some alterations. For starters, I wanted a large pocket running the length of the case, so if I had larger pieces of embroidery they could be accommodated. This meant I needed to cut an interior lining for the exterior piece, as well as lining the interior pieces.  I decided to change the interior pieces from 6″ to 5.5″, and also to double that height so I had 3 panels that could be stitched together, then folded in half, creating the lining for the extra pocket.

Unfortunately this meant that I couldn’t follow the tutorial as it was written, and just when I thought I’d gotten the hang of how it would work, something else cropped up.

As a result, this project took way longer than I would have liked, and a couple of sleepless nights while my brain ticked over the logistics. I have finally finished the darn thing (at 1:45am!) after no sleep last night because of it! But it is done, HOORAY! And I can take it with me on this trip to Newcastle.

I forgot to take pics of my process because I just WANTED.  IT.  DONE. But I will post some completed pics tomorrow. Well. Today.  If I get a chance.

Here were some I DID take:

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Pockets with binding attached. The binding was actually what I used for the straps, so ended up being tinier than in the tute!
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I used low tack painters tape to mark my quilting lines for the exterior piece and the batting (I used some leftover felt). I probably should have been more adventurous and tried free motion or a different pattern – because the pattern is vertical as well, the quilting didn’t really show. It was a good learning experience though, and I’ll know for next time.
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The quilted exterior piece and the lining I cut for the additional pocket.

Whew. What a post! Time to turn in.

Cat xoxo