Saturday, March 28, 2015

Pokemon Dice Bags 1

                       Beedrills and Mew

Pokemon Dice bags are fun to make! They're colorful, easy, and you can embellish them any way you like. They make great gifts! Here is one that I made for my son Sean for Christmas I used several patterns for the Beedrills and made a wrap-around picture.

For this bag I used a 14 count Aida cloth in pale blue, then used a cerulean blue acrylic paint to dry brush the darker streaks across the fabric before I started the cross stitch. Then I added water to the paint to thin it out and added more streaks. This not only makes the background more unique, it adds a sense of action for the Beedrills.

The bags range from about 5 1/2" wide and about 6" deep. The bags are good for holding card decks as well as gaming dice. I made this bag for my son Sean.

I did the cross stitch using cotton floss for the main bodies and heads, but the wings are filled in with an iridescent "Light Effects" DMC white floss that is a fiber core wrapped in plastic. It looks really good on the wings! I used a rayon thread for the drills which gives them a bit of a shine.

Even Baby Beedrill wants to 
       get in on the action!

I make the ties using either a fabric that matches the lining fabric or any color that will look good with the bag. Strips can be about 14" long and a about 1 1/4" wide. Fold the strip in half, stitch almost down the middle (you want a little less fabric at the cut edge), trim the cut edge a tiny bit to make sure it will fit inside, then turn inside out.

Now we have pretty little MEW. Mew looks good on a bale blue background with free form clouds of different kinds of white thread, such as the regular cotton, shiny rayon thread (which is a bit harder to work with), and the iridescent "Light Effects" plastic floss. I filled in the clouds with various blackwork stitch patterns so that each cloud is different.

This is the backside. For some reason, when people look at embroidered pieces, they develop this irresistible urge to flip it over and look at the back.

Mew gets a nice pink satin ribbon to set her off. Those blue eyes of hers are complimented by the blue of the bag. This was a gift for Anna Bastis.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Project Board

                  I've decided to ORGANIZE!

So here is what I am using. This is a bulletin board that I made many years go. I got it out and I'm using the backs of my business cards to write down the projects. 

Notice the use of colors: Gules, Sable, Argent and Azure. Where have we seen those before?

Most cards just have one project on them. But if I have several projects that are related, and space left on the card, I'll write down two or three projects.

I I slip them under the grosgrain ribbon, again grouping them in groups of similar projects. If a project is more important or needs to be done first, I will place it by itself, so nothing else covers it up and hides it.

I haven't decided what to do with the cards once I have completed the project - put them in a small box and keep them as a reference?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

  Two For One Special!

Yesterday evening, specifically February 17, 2015, I decided that, since this 6" embroidery hoop was wood, I should do some wood burning on it. Rob did a great job of making this video for me while I was doing some Blackwork embroidery in the other room. Thank you, Rob! heart emoticon 

The Frog in the hoop is a Strawberry Poison Dart Frog done in chain stitch and satin stitch, and the leaf outline is done is stem stitch and running stitch. I still have some spots to go on the frog's back but I haven't decided on what stitch to use. This will be the cover of another "spindle" book that I'm making, like the Heart book.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

So, what's a Biscornu? How do you do it? According to Wikipedia, it is pronounced "bee-ss-corn-uh)". I thought that it would be like "bis" as in biscuit, "corn" as in corn, and the "u" as in you like biscuits and corn. Good enough. It comes from the French word that means "skewed, quirky or irregular." So it's sort of like me.

It's a pincushion, basically, an eight-sided figure that is stitched so that it has eight sides, stuffed,usually with a button or two in the middle to make it puffy, and big enough to fit in the palm of your hand. It could be decorated with tassels and beads, so I imagine, with the shape it takes, it could also be used as an ornament. I will have to experiment more with these.

But until then, this is how you make a biscornu. Enjoy!
First are the embroidered sides. You need two. Mostly these are seen as identical to each other. I used three or four shades of green and two shades of brown. I did the work, based on Elizabethan Blackwork stitching, on 18 count Aida cloth. This was a scrap left over from some other larger project. It's amazing what you can do with scraps!

The square is about 3 1/4" across, or 8 cm.

This is the front and back. I added a running stitch border around both sides to use as a guide and also to become part of the joining stitch.
I pinned down the sides of the top half. This made it easier to match up the sides and bring the running stitches together.

I matched up the corner of one side to the center of the other half. This is what gives it the eight sides and that shape for which it is known.


This is the first side sewn. So far his has been a flat piece. But now each successive side will soon help to give  it that round shape.  
Going around the first corner:

You just keep going around, matching the corners of one side to the center of the other. This piece traveled around with me. It is a small project so it is easy to carry around.

When you are down to the last side, then it's almost ready for stuffing.


These are the tools for stuffing. I used the 100% Polyester Stuffing that you can get just about anywhere, and a stick from a roasted ear of corn that I sanded  down to make sure it was smooth. I've also used chop sticks that I sanded. You just want to make sure that the pointed end is rounded enough so that it doesn't poke through your fabric. This point helps to direct the batting into corners. 

You want the corners to be filled in a little tightly to help hold the shape but don't push in so much that it gets hard. You don't want to pack it in so much that your biscornu isn't soft and squeezable.

     Stitching up the last side.


Now that the whole thing is all stitched up - wasn't that fun? - just add a button on top, or one at the top and one at the bottom. They are  1/4" buttons, one dark brown, one light brown, to match with the acorn colors. 

The design takes on new perspective as the edges and corners turn back upon themselves.

See? Just about big enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

Yep. Reminds me of a biscuit!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Embroidery  Hack 1

In order to keep from having a bunch of floss pieces that I can't match up, I do this: 

I pull out as much thread as I want then cut only as many strands as I need, where the thread comes out from the skein.

I make the cut end near the skein and pull that thread straight out from the rest of the threads. That thread will come out straight and hardly needs to untwist at all. 

The rest of the threads will bunch at at my fingertips, but a gentle pull once the cut thread is free, and the remaining uncut threads all straighten out.

It works best to cut and pull just one thread at a time. If I try to pullout two threads, it just tangles.