Hand-Piecing Help

Photo by Lucy of Charm About You

photo by Lucy of Charm About You

Last week, I begged for help with some hand-piecing woes – as much as I love the hand-pieced stars that I was making, I was disappointed in how difficult I found it to actually, you know, piece them.

My good friend Rebecca pointed me towards a tutorial that might help: Lucy from the blog Charm About You recently posted some tips for successful hand-piecing, and her work is truly beautiful.

Photo by Lucy of Charm About You

photo by Lucy of Charm About You

Rebecca was right, Lucy’s tutorial is invaluable! By the time you read this post, I’ll have had a chance to try them out with actual sewing, but I can already tell that this is a game-changer for me: just the way she explains how to deal with seams (or not deal with them, as it were), seems so obvious, but really wasn’t to this hand-piecing newbie. I’m so excited to get back to my stars – thank you so much, Lucy!

If you’re interested in giving hand-piecing a try, definitely check out Lucy’s post, “Hand-Piecing A Quilt” as well as her more recent post, “Homemade Amusements – Dolly”, where she gives a detailed explanation of how to put together a more complex block by hand.

I’ve also been recommended this book, “Quiltmaking by Hand: Simple Stitches, Exquisite Quilts” by Jinny Beyer. I’ve had the chance to sample the book just a bit and it looks like an amazingly detailed encyclopedic resource for making quilts by hand. I’m going to see how the tips in this book work out for my stars and possibly add it to my library!

Freaky Flowers Swap: Venomous Tentacula

Venomous Tentacula - pattern coming soon!

I made this embroidery for my swap partner, Amanda, in the Freaky Flowers Swap over at &Stitches. Amanda mentioned that she is a book lover and a Harry Potter fan, so we were a perfect match! Only a few plants are directly mentioned in the Harry Potter-verse, that I could find, and only this one didn’t have a strong visual counterpart in the movies; I didn’t want to mimic a look someone else designed, I wanted to imagine what the plant might look like myself.

Not much is known about the Venomous Tentacula, except that it is toothy, has grabby arms, and is fully poisonous. I based my colors and basic plant structure on real-life carnivorous plants, the nearly neon orange-red against the bright spring green is a common palette for these creepy plants. And my inspiration was antique botany illustrations, which I absolutely love.

I really hope Amanda liked her Freaky Flower and, since reaction to this little guy has been pretty great so far, I think I’ll add it as a pattern to the Little Dorrit & Co. pattern shop very soon!

Tools & Toys Tuesday – Erica Wilson’s Embroidery Book

Erica Wilson's Embroidery Book

When I first started planning my crewel sampler, I ordered a couple of used (out of print) Erica Wilson books. I first came across Erica Wilson at my lace teacher’s house; she showed me one of her books as something a 1970s-lover like myself might like. And WOWEE, that woman surely did embrace the 1970s in her embroidery!

Erica Wilson's Embroidery Book

If you’ve never heard of Erica Wilson, well, neither had I! Apparently, she was the ‘big name’ in embroidery during the 1960s and 1970s, author of more than a dozen embroidery books, and host of her own stitchery television show, and owner of a needlework shop. Who knew?! I like to picture her like a stitchy Bob Ross, enthusiastically sharing her stitchy love with the masses – but perhaps without the cheese. (We love you, Bob Ross, partly because of the cheese.) I’ll have to look to see if clips of her show are available somewhere.

But anyway, her books: the first that I ordered is about crewelwork specifically and, somewhat disappointingly, turned out to be a really simple project book with not much informational value. Bummer. But Erica Wilson’s Embroidery Book, which I threw into my cart as an afterthought, more than makes up for it. This book is copyrighted 1973 and is chock-full of incredible 70s-ness – which I love – but also shows historical examples of embroidery, both of which inspire me. It is a stitch dictionary as well as an encyclopedia of styles (blackwork, crewel, goldwork, etc) and is definitely my new favorite embroidery book!

Mid-week Break

Every-ish week I share some awesome links from around the intertubes and some pretties from Flickr. Take a load off and enjoy a little break.

Mid-week Break - September 11 2013

1. marinero, 2. Kona Cotton Baby Quilt, 3. By Land or By Sea quilt pattern, 4. FMQC Monkey Business, 5. Pencil Pouch Size 2, 6. Warm Wishes (detail), 7. Untitled, 8. Quilting, 9. Sunset On My Monster, 10. Ferris Wheel, 11. 252 basted 1″ hexies and many more to go!, 12. Love starting a new knitting project, 13. Bambi., 14. Lea Stansal – Trefle 2, 15. Modern Orange Peel, 16. crewel embroidery pillow

DEAR Time: Carrie, Stephen King

DEAR Time: Carrie, Stephen King

It was actually about two weeks ago that I finished Carrie, but I haven’t had time to get into a DEAR time post about it. I picked Carrie to read after The Casual Vacancy because it was basically the opposite: quick, easy, light. And also because I’m so insanely excited about the upcoming remake of the Carrie movie. I love the 1976 film because it’s great kitschy fun, but a few years ago, I learned how different it is from the book and have wanted to read it ever since. This new film looks like it will follow the book more; if you’ve read it, you’ll be able to tell that from the teaser trailer and poster alone. Seriously. I can’t wait.

I’m always totally surprised by Stephen King books, and I think all the films that have been made of his books in the past have really done him a disservice as a writer. They always end up making these corny movies, or try to fit a long book into a short movie and have to trim it down way too much (I’m lookin’ at you, The Shining). When I read Stephen King, I’m always kind of bummed out by those movies, and wish they would just stop it and let the books be good. Horror may not be everyone’s thing, but there’s a reason he’s a bestselling author a bizillion times over.

Anyway, I loved-loved-loved Carrie so much and found it so much more interesting than the old movie. That movie is all about a girl who just wants to be pretty and liked and popular and wear lip gloss, like all girls do really (sarcasm implied), and it all just gets a bit out of hand. Wowee, is Carrie a more interesting character in the book. It’s all about power, who wields it over who (or is it whom?!), how to use it, how to take it away, what it takes from you. Funny, they’re themes not unlike those in Buffy, another of my most favorite things of all time.

This was also the first book I’ve read on my Kindle (bought secondhand from a friend a few months back) and I loved it so much. I know people have been hearting their Kindles for ages now and I’m way behind the times, but I am now totally driving the bandwagon. I could swear it makes me read faster, though I’m not sure that even makes sense, and I’m already excited to save space on less physical books in the house. I love you so much, books, but a girl’s gotta have room for yarn, too.

P.S. – Don’t forget to enter my pattern giveaway!

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