This is one of the many quilts that hang on my walls. This was created by Charleen Stanfill who was my Mom’s Sewing Sister. She made it in the 70’s (remember 70’s velvet??) and it hung on the entry-way in her house. We would go to Charleen’s house for Thanksgiving and this quilt made me love velvet. Jack (Charleen’s son) gave the quilt to me when she passed away. It is one of my prized possessions.
Sewing Stay-cation Summary:
In a word, it was fabulous! Don’t you agree?? We got to stretch it out to 3 days with no extra charge for the accommodations; I made my first (ever!) pincushions; I remembered how to make a French knot; the snacks were wonderful; and I got to hate and then love the chenille scarf (that will come later). I will briefly go over how the projects ended and try to fill in any important details that I might not have covered.
Signs of Spring Pincushions.
Love them!!!!! I made myself stop at 3 even though I was super-tempted to do “just 1 more!”. Making these pincushions requires very few directions. As you remember, I started with wool scraps and embroidery floss.
Here is the break-down on how to put it all together: Cut a piece of wool the size and shape of your pincushion. Then cut a back. You can use the same fabric for the back or a contrasting piece. If you plan to use the same design I used, cut a smaller heart; a circle; a flower; and leaves (if you want). Then attach them using a whip-stitch. (I don’t recommend using a glue gun to keep things in place because the glue can get in the way of your stitches.) I attached everything in order; first the heart; then the circle; the leaves and finally the flower. You can use a French knot to hold the flower rather than more whip-stitches.
After your front is finished, get a scrap of wool and write your message on it. Whip stitch this onto the back piece. You can make an easy little flower by making a French knot and then straight stitches from the knot out. Now stitch the front and back together. Leave space to fill the pincushion with stuffing material.
How I stuffed the pincushions was the best!!!!! Since the second theme of this stay-cation was “being resourceful” (okay, I just made that up), and I didn’t have batting or fiberfill I decided to improvise. I improvised with a sweatshirt I found in the scrap basket. (Yes, you can oooohh and awwww at my ingenuity. Go ahead, I will wait for you………). I cut the shirt into strips and then stuffed the pincushions with the strips. Score one for Team Resourceful!!!
The Scarf That (Almost) Made Me Crazy….
So when I pulled the scarf out of the dryer this morning, I hated it. I would like to pour some sugar over this and say I was slightly disappointed; I wasn’t in love with it; I thought it was okaaaaaaaayyyy……but. Only the unvarnished truth was, I hated it. And I worried, because I had just told Chris from the ” The Plein Air Experience” blog (her pictures are lovely), that this project was super easy. Super easy?? Well yes, if you mean not anything you would want to wear on your body super-easy. Let me go back a little and explain what happened……
First: What should happen……
Here are the basic directions for a chenille scarf: Start with fabric that frays pretty easily (I used flannel). Use good quality fabric that is printed on both sides and cut 5 identical pieces on the bias that it is the length and width of a scarf (you will have to “piece” some of the pieces together to make them the same length). Stack your 5 pieces on top of each other and starting at one edge, stitch lengthwise though all of the pieces. Continue stitching these rows 1/2 to 5/8 inches apart until you have gone all the way across your scarf (making them narrower was a HUGE pain!) Also, rotate your direction. One time stitch top to bottom, then turn the scarf and stitch bottom to top.
Once the rows are finished you will cut or slash the channels between your stitching on each side ( I recommend using this cool slashing tool that I will show in a minute). To cut the channels, you slip your cutting tool under the second layer of fabric and leave the middle layer intact (this holds everything together). Slash the channels, turn the scarf over and slash the other side. Again, slip your cutting tool under the second layer of fabric and leave the middle intact. After everything is cut, wash your scarf and dry it with some tennis balls. This will make help the fabric to fray and become fluffy (like sheep).
I realize these aren’t the worlds simplest directions, but they are doable. Like I told Chris, it’s a super easy project (really!)
What did happen……
Now, I am not blaming Google. I realize she is busy with everyone in the world asking her questions about COVID 19, but she totally dropped the ball when she told me to make channels 1/4 to 1/8 inch apart…..AND when she said to go ahead and lengthen my stitch to length to 3. No bueno!!!! It was like that time I was trying to find an address for a potluck and she sent me on a road That Wasn’t Even A Road! Google Sweet-heart, you let me down.
I knew I was in trouble when I got to the 16th row of stitches. Remember when I said stitching the rows was easy and soothing? Not after the 16th row. At that point the adjective became “Mind-numbing” or “Tedious” or maybe “Oh-my-gosh-when-will-this-ever end!!!”. Not soothing. However, after going through 4 bobbins of thread and 25 rows of stitching I was finally finished stitching. Great. Now it was time to slash the rows.
As you can guess, slashing is my favorite part. I have this cool “slashing tool” that I bought when I made my first scarf. You stick the little plastic arm under your row and then slide it to the end of your scarf. Fun, slick and an easy way to get rid of the frustration of 25 rows of stitching.
Except………the rows were too narrow. The tool didn’t fit between the channels. Instead of sliding, it got stuck and tore instead of slashed. Slashing is good; tearing is bad. Tearing is when you jump rows and accidentally cut those longer stitches Google told you to make. So then, instead of cute fluffy frays you end up with big unsightly rips….and snags…and ugly pieces. It also means you have to rotate between scissors and your cutting tool, trying desperately not to lose where you are in the layers. AHHHHG!! When I was finished, I washed it, threw it into the dryer with tennis balls and hoped for the best.
What “The Best” Looked Like…….
This was what I saw this morning…….. Oh! It’s painful to post the pictures. At this point, I had a choice. Throw the scarf away or try to save it. I decided to try to save it. To be honest, if this hadn’t been a Sewingjourney project I might have tossed it into the scrap basket. But I didn’t. Here is what I did instead……..
First, I made the scarf longer. I knew that being able to wrap it around my neck a bazillion times would hide a multitude of sins. To lengthen the scarf, I cut it in half lengthwise and stitched the ends together. I decided to stitch by hand so that I could butt the ends together and not have an overlap. Also I had just been reading “Visible Mending” so I thought “What the heck……we will pretend this is mending”. I doubled my thread and used A Lot of stitches.
After lengthening the scarf, I fringed the ends and washed and dried it again. It was MUCH BETTER!!! Then I took my wool pieces and used them to “mend over” some of the rips and tears. At Last, I had something I could wear and wasn’t embarrassed to show you.
Whew!!! That was an effort. You know, our Sewingjourneys aren’t all rainbows and unicorns. Sometimes we have to slog through the mud. Of course, I can’t think of anyone I would rather slog with.
Okay my dear ones. Time to say “Good bye!” Happy St Patrick’s Day. It’s been wonderful sharing a Sewing Stay-cation with you. I will talk to you soon
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.