Tuesday, November 30, 2010

UPS Package Has Arrived

I certainly hope I get more done the rest of the week than I did on Monday. The UPS truck came and left a package...something I have been waiting for 10 days to arrive.
I have wanted a DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera for sometime and have been studying reviews and watching prices for the optimum time to purchase it. I settled on the Canon EOS Rebel T2i and it arrived yesterday on a cold, windy freezing misty day.

I should have let the box just sit on the counter until evening before opening it, then I might have gotten a little sewing done or hauled my Christmas decorations out of the basement and started decorating the house. Instead I started reading the instruction manual, and another book "Canon EOS Rebel T2i/550D Gude to Digital SLR Photography" by David Busch that I also purchased. I have taken photos of my feet, the office, etc. to practice what I am learning and obviously not saving any of them.  It will take a while to remember what all the buttons, dials and digital readouts mean and what they do.  It is amazing how much there is to learn!

So far I am having fun and snapping photos, changing settings and snapping some more. Not sure when I will be ready to use it to take photos to post here though. 

I used a 35mm film camera for years and have missed all the advantages of a single lens reflex camera since I have been using digital cameras so hope I can learn to use and enjoy this camera as much as that one.  I plan to keep the camera I am/was currently using as it still works.  I never know when I may want to use it again or let the grandchildren use it when they visit.

Back to reading and snapping more photos.


Monday, November 29, 2010

More Stockings to Show

 A friend of mine cut out stocking shapes from the old denim jeans and had them ready for her family when they came to her home for their Thanksgiving together.  Their family has a tradition of making some craft when they gather.  This year she had the shapes cut and had gathered all kinds of trims, buttons, appliques, lace etc. for them to use.  The kids are all teenagers and still love to make things at their grandparents home.  What a great tradition!

My friend M. had them use a hot glue gun to attach the decorations and then stitched the stocking front and back together on the machine. She had them fuse the toe and heel pieces onto the stockings just like I did though.  I love the way some of them used fabric through the belt loops.  She did mention that if they were to do it again she would stitch the two layers together before they decorated them as she thought it would work better.   

Doesn't that look like a fun family activity?

Until Later,

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Hanging the Stockings

We have a wooden mantle but I didn't want to put any nails in it to hang the stockings.  I purchased these 3M hangers that stick onto the wood and when you want to remove them there is a way to stretch the sticky stuff to release it.  Should not make any marks on the mantle.

I know you can purchase these heavy stocking holders but didn't want to spend that much plus I didn't want to take up the entire top of the mantle with 10 of these holders.

 Here is what it looks without the stocking hanging on it and the next photo shows my stocking hanging.  The 3M hangers are rated for holding up to 3 pounds so will need to make sure I don't get too heavy of stuff in them.

Later - Lynn

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Two More Christmas Stockings

 While I had the mess of working with the blue jeans I decided to make two more.  These will be used as Christmas gifts for our saddle club party.  I will get a package of mini candy bars to stuff into the stocking and maybe use tissue in the top to hold it in.  Instead of using Christmas fabric I used fabric I had on hand that had images of horses for the toes and heels.

 I think these are my favorite stockings - the variegated rayon thread really is so pretty and the stitches show up pretty good on these two.  I tried, and almost got the horses running level which was a real challenge.

Until Later,

Friday, November 26, 2010

More Stocking Tips, Hints and Observations

Thought I would share photos and clarify a few things I told you about in previous blog entries.    A few of the stocking fronts were kind of wavy on the heel as I had cut them from the back seam of the jeans and either the fabric isn't flat when I cut it or because of all the bias I ended up with a stocking that wouldn't lay flat.

OK, look at the first photo and you can see the extra fabric.  Since this area will be covered with the fused heel piece I just pressed the excess fabric into a fold.  The fused heel will cover it and you don't even know it is there and your stocking lays flat.
The hanger for the stocking is cut from the flat feld seam.  Some may not know what or where to find that kind of seam on a pair of jeans.  The yellow arrow points to a flat feld seam and this seam is usually on the outside of the legs.  This is a bottom leg of the jeans that I had cut a stocking back from.  Cut closely on both sides of the seam and use this strip for the loop hanger for the stocking.  The seam is very thick and sturdy.

I stitched the loop onto the back before I joined the back to the front.  I placed it about 1/2" away from the edge to allow the seam to be stitched without having to stitch through the loop when putting them together.  I did stitch over the ends 4 to 6 times to make sure it would not come loose.

The loop is stitched on side that is above the heel of the stocking.  Let me think, what else....Oh I cut the strips for my stockings 10" long but cut them what ever length you want for your stocking.
I did share that you want to avoid the rivets, and heavy seams or belt loops on the edges where you will be stitching.  On one stocking I had cut it with the loop right on the edge so I just stitched to the inside of the loop then back out to the normal seam allowance. 

I used the zipper area in two stockings.  One stocking only had part of the zipper so I just cut the zipper teeth off and it stitched up just fine.  The one where I used the entire zipper in it was a little trickier to stitch the seam.  I had to use my zipper foot to stitch close even though I had left a 1/4" seam allowance it wasn't quite enough seam allowance on the outside of the zipper.  The seams at the bottom of a zipper are tough to pierce with a needle too and I did break a needle on the tough seam in that area. 

One thing that happens to jeans that have been washed and dried many, many times is that the fabric in the seam allowances gets very stiff and tough.  I ran into those types of seams on several of the stockings but stitched slowly and used the titanium Superior topstitch needle size 90 but a size 100 would have been better.

Maybe you noticed the patched area on one stocking.  I decided that it added a little more interest and didn't even try to cover it up or avoid it.

The names were drawn onto the stocking - learned that worked better than just free handing the name like I did with the first stocking.  John's stocking was my prototype and I had trouble keeping the name straight and the letters even sized.

I  chalked lines on the stockings after that and drew the letters on these registration lines.  It was so much easier to get it all even and was easier to stitch since I could see where I was going next.  I dropped the feed dogs on my machine and used the open toed embroidery foot and set the zig-zag stitch to a width of 2.8.  I went slow and sometimes would go back over the stitching to make it dense enough to show up.

My Bernina has a buttonhole stitch that goes back and forth to make a heavier looking stitch.  I really think the thread shows up more with this stitch than the single buttonhole stitch.  It is stitch 1330 on my 730 Bernina.  The width was set to 5 and the lentgh set to 4.

I touched on thread color before but can not stress how important it is that the thread shows up on the denim.  The jeans I used were a middle value of blue and some thread did not show up well at all.  The green thread is one that I used and basically the stitches really disappear because they are the same value as the blue jeans.  I did find that if I could find a stitch that was more dense it helped those threads but still not the best choice.  You notice I didn't dislike it enough to rip it out though!

One last tip...if you click on one of the photos and it still isn't big enough to see what you want you can try this trick.  This works on PCs but don't know about MACs.  Click on the photo and open it in a new window then hold down the "ctrl" and roll the scroll wheel on your mouse.  If you roll the wheel one way it will make it larger and the other way it will make it smaller.  You can make the printing on most web pages larger or smaller this way too.  To get it back to where it was before just scroll the opposite way.

Did I leave anything out or anything that is unclear on the making of these stockings?  Let me know if you have any questions and I will try to answer them.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Delights
On Thanksgiving Day we’re thankful for
Our blessings all year through,
For family we dearly love,
For good friends, old and new.
For sun to light and warm our days,
For stars that glow at night,
For trees of green and skies of blue,
And puffy clouds of white.
We’re grateful for our eyes that see
The beauty all around,
For arms to hug, and legs to walk,
And ears to hear each sound.
The list of all we’re grateful for
Would fill a great big book;
Our thankful hearts find new delights
Everywhere we look!
By Joanna Fuchs
Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving day....no matter where in this big wide world you are!  Our American Thanksgiving holiday is today November 25th.  Do any of you in other countries celebrate a type of Thanksgiving?  If so how do you celebrate and when is it?

John and I are driving out to my brother and his wife's today and will share a meal together with another brother, nieces and my mother and it will probably consist of roast turkey (yum, yum), dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, squash, some sort of salad, homemade dinner rolls and pie for dessert.  I know my niece is making a pumpkin pie and I will be bringing a cherry pie which is John's favorite.

Our daughters and their families will not be there but we will see them on Saturday when S. will have a big dinner for the relatives to help her youngest son celebrate his 5th birthday.  I can't wait as all the grandchildren will be there and they are so much fun to be around.

My wish for you is to be thankful for the things you have in your life and appreciate all the people that you love and love you.  I know I am thankful for all of you that read my blog and comment along the way.  I never thought that when I started it in March of 2008 that I would enjoy blogging so much. 

It is time to get on the road to that delicious meal and wonderful time with my family.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Until Later,

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Denim Jeans Christmas Stockings

Just photos of the stockings in this blog post.  Remember I blurred the names on all but John and my stockings to keep the names of my kids and grandkids private.  I am having the same problem with photos today so I am not even going to try to double them up anymore.  I would think I could get three to go across the page of this blog but it won't even let me put two of the photos side by side.  Remember if you can click on the photos to see them larger - I hope that feature still works now.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the USA so I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving from my house to yours!

Happy Quilting,

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Christmas Stocking Tips

OK now for some hints and tips that I discovered while making the 10 stockings. The first hint is when deciding where to cut the fronts you need to watch where the rivets, belt loops, zipper or heavy jeans seams are. Your machine will have trouble with any of the metal (zipper or rivets) as needles will definitely break if you hit them. Same goes with the belt loops and heavy seams as some are so thick that needles have trouble piercing them.

Speaking of needles I have been using size 90 Superior titanium needles. They have worked well but I did break two when I hit heavy seams. I just hate it when that happens as I don't want to throw the timing off or mess something up in my machine. I was stitching very slowly too when I broke the needles.

When I had to cross a seam when I was doing the embroidery I used the seam leveler doodad that came with my machine. It is 3 riveted pieces of plastic that you slip under the side of the machine foot that is not lifted up by the seam. Helps to keep the stitching even going up over a seam or coming down.

Will post photos of the stockings in later posts so I don't get too many photos per post.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Christmas Stocking Fun Part 2

The back of the stocking is cut the same way as the front of the stocking except you use the hem of the pair of jeans as the top of the back. Does that make sense?
I do cut the back larger than my pattern by about 1/4" on all sides except the top. I trim the excess off after the front and back are stitched together. It just makes it much easier to put the stocking together and you don't have to be so exact when cutting the pieces to match them up.
One thing I did not tell you yesterday was about the pattern. I drew the pattern I used by enlarging a pattern I already had. I am sure you can find a silhouette of a stocking you like on the internet or a color book, etc.

I decorated the stockings by using the embroidery stitches on my machine and using a variety of thread colors, weights, and finishes. It was fun to use the stitches as I have not used that feature on my Bernina 730 very much. I did have a piece of scrap denim that I would do a little stitching to see how it would look before I did the stitching on the stockings. Some stitches didn't show as much as I wanted because the thread color value is too close to the value of the denim. I used what I had on hand after all I have lots of spools of thread that need to be used. Of course there are a few lines of embroidery stitches that are not the best but on the whole they look good. Click on the photos to make any of them larger.

After I got the embroidery stitching finished I laid the front and back and figured out where the hanger should be stitched. I cut the hanging strip from the flat feld seam on the sides of the jeans. I cut close to the seam on both the front and the back. This is a very thick seam with lots of denim layers and works well as the hanger. I cut my strips 10" long as I wanted to have enough to hang straight. The strips were laid on the the top edge of the inside of back section....whew, what a string of words. I did stitch two rows of stitching on the ends to attach them. Since everything is raw edged I didn't finish the ends.

I dropped the feed dogs on my machine and using a free hand embroidery foot I zig zagged the names on each of the stockings. I chalked some guidelines and chalked the name to give me a guide. I did John's name without guides and found out I could not write with the machine and keep track of where I was and the size of the letters without the guides. I also found out it is easier to stitch cursive writing over printing. I only did two with printing and that was enough. The photos of the stockings I post here have the names blurred out to keep my children and grandchildren anonymous. John and my name are readable though.

Lay the front over the back of the stocking, wrong sides together and stitch 1/4" around the stocking, backstitching at the beginning and ending to secure. Trim the excess backing even with the front of the stocking .....TA DAH it is done.

See I told you it was easy. The stocking doesn't have lining, you don't have to stitch a cuff or top edge, raw edges for the seams and fused toe and heel sections. Best of all they are so darned cute.

Will show a few today and a few more in the next posts. Will do at least one post on hints for a more successful project.

Boy have I had a problem getting the photos positioned. On the screen where I am typing in the information there is no gap between the photos but on Preview there is a I don't know why it is so hard to move and position them. Any hints would be appreciated!

Until Later,


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