Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Classic Pincushion Revisited

I am constantly trying to find new designs for my Etsy Shop. I have made thousands of pincushions since 2009. Perhaps the most accommodating and most innovative designs comes from the simple Classic Pincushion. What is that? Well, it is simply 2 circles of fabric, sewn around the outside, stuffed and then closed with a mattress stitch. What comes next is totally up to you. I just want to show you a few ways I have taken that simple design a few steps further.

You can add a button to the middle as shown above and you have a lovely pincushion. It provides lots of room for your pins and needles and its easy to make. You can find my tutorial on the classic pincushion on my tutorial page.

Like the pincushion above, I added another layer of functionality and fun. The top layer of this pincushion has 2 layers, a beautiful print and a layer of cotton blend batting. Before putting the top to the bottom, I added lots of free motion stitching around the print's design elements. It holds your pins firmly and keeps them from migrating to the inside polyester fiberfill.

You can use patchwork for the top and or the bottom to create a pretty pincushion. This pincushion is double sided! Just flip it over when you want something a little different!

My favorite and most popular pincushion has lots of embroidery. I divided the top into 8 sections. Each section has a different flower embroidered with embroidery floss. I've made so many I've lost count. There is a complete tutorial on my blog which starts here. I'm considering putting this pattern and all of the embroidery together in one place and adding it to my Etsy shop. I'd love your comments on that. It is obviously free here, but due to my lack of expertise on how to create better organized, multiple posts, I've made it a challenge to follow here. Sorry. Wish I had the time to figure that out. I'm not even sure on how to do a pattern on Etsy, but I promise, in my slower times I'll work on it. This version was requested by a lovely client of mine and I think it is stunning in all purple! Gosh I love the collaborative process!!!

I altered the circle shape and created a classic oval pincushion. Layers of applique with an adorable kitty print made all the difference. You will find more of these in my shop as time goes by. They are just too fun to make.

I found a lovely set of vintage napkins with pretty applique. Where the silverware went, I just left it open so you can put your seam ripper somewhere handy. I know I use my seam ripper a lot!

Here is another vintage version. This time I used a pretty vintage crochet doiley on top of a pretty solid fabric. I just love the red and cream color combination. Its just so stunning and simple.

This version has a crazy patch top with lots of embroidery, vintage bits and pieces and some beading. I wanted it to have a more modern look with a generous nod to the past. I love how no matter how much things change, they always stay the same.

If one layer of pincushions is good, how about 2? This one also has a vintage crochet frilly embellishment. Wish I could find more because I'd love to make more of this version. As the vintage trend goes on, I'm finding that it gets harder to find the really special pieces I love to use. Wish I lived closer to a small town with lots of real antique stores to scour. I love hunting down treasures to repurpose.

This next pincushion takes the construction a step further. I created a gathered strip of matching fabric, oh, about 1 3/4 inches wide and 3 times as long as the outer dimension of the circle. I evenly gathered each edge. To make it a bit easier to put together, I always stabilize my gathering with a basting stitch. that way it stays gathered evenly while I put the top and bottom layers together. This pincushion has a quilted top with free motion stitching. A few sparkly beads adorn the top design. I try to let the fabric talk to me. It often tells me how to design.

Speaking of the fabric speaking, sometimes a simple design offers great results. I love this nature printed fabrics. I love birds and often find ways to add them to my work. Here is simply added some embroidery stitches to the bird print to give it some texture and dimension.

If a circle is great, why stop there? The same construction can be applied to a square or a rectangle. Again, just let the fabric guide you.

I could go on and on. The classic is perfect for teaching someone to sew and for giving yourself a few great sewing tools for your next project. Try using vintage or orphan quilt blocks in your next pincushion. Make a matching needle case. Just dive into the joy of designing. There are many ways to skin a cat and many more ways to make a pincushion. Please note, no cats were harmed in this blog post. But a few kittys were used to spark my imagination.

Have fun! check out my Etsy shop and see what other designs I am working on. I'd be happy to help you with your sewing projects so don't be afraid to request a tutorial. If I can find the time, I'd love to share my ideas with you!

Happy sewing!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Just a Few Peaceful Thoughts

I listened to the news this week and its really hard not to feel uneasy, afraid and yes, alarmed. I remember in grade school practicing our atomic attack drills, as if ducking under our desks was a real way to survived the unimaginable. I feel that same fear, but now that I am older, experienced, and informed, I find that my feelings are deeper and multi-faced. I rarely speak of politics. I try to separate those views from my shop and my creativity but its time for me to speak a bit of mind.

I work and chat with artists and clients from all over the world. Its one of my favorite parts of what I do. I've shared the work of Inna Bird from Russia, I was featured on Homespun Magazine in Australia, my pincushions have flown from all over the United States to the United Kingdom. The pincushion below was a collaboration from one of my dearest customers in Japan. She is lovely and I think of her my dear kindred spirit.

I think we all have so much more in common than we are told we do. I for one, believe in creating. Destructive words and deeds have no place in my heart or my life. When I hear the leader of my beloved America speaking with so much hate I want to cry. I want to have a world in which my grand daughters do not cower under their desks. I want them to have lovely, untouched land to visit and protect. I can't think of a single corporation as a friend or yet as a person who's voice is more important than my own. Yet our bank accounts carry unequal weight with our leaders and I don't consider that an equal right. When Trump speaks, I am embarrassed and very afraid. There are many more people like myself than those who support his ignorant and divisive rhetoric.

I hope we stop talking with so much hatred and venom. I worry that this leader has no commonalities with my values or my aspirations for my country. In this world at this time we all have to connect on a human level. If I do my part one stitch at a time, well I think that helps me sleep at night. If telling you that I want peace and prosperity for all, is one small step, well that is where the longest of journeys begin.

I don't want my readers from other countries thinking that all Americans only love those from America. Those would probably account for less than 1% of our population. We were built and have gained strength and beauty from the many cultures and peoples who have come to our country. We are all immigrants. We are brothers and sisters and we had better start acting like it if we want to survive. At the very least, let us respect, communicate and try to understand each other as human beings. We all just want to live a better life. Do unto others never gets old and it is after all, the golden rule.

Well, I guess that is all I have to say. Welcome to Fiberluscious. I am happy to meet you from where ever you come from.
Peace be with us all.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Inspired by Fabric

I'm sure I am not alone if my fabric addiction. Who can walk through a fabric store and not fall in love with the colors and prints? A promise to stay on budget is swayed by the dreams of the fun projects you dream of? I know I am a sucker for a sale and my fabric budget seems to grow each month! I started my Etsy shop, Fiberluscious more to fuel my addiction than to make any money. I seem to fall into the red more often than not, and my fabric shelves over flowith with yards of fabric fun.

Above is one of my new designs. I found this adorable cat print at my local quilt shop. I just knew they were perfect for applique. Each kitty has its own personality and each one is inspiring a fun new pincushion. I've had a few cats in my life. Most have chosen me as I am more of a dog lover. I know that cats are so darn human and they all find their way into the hearts of many.

Here are my 1st two pincushions. Its so easy to see that even though the shape is the same, the fabrics are so very different.

I love the oval shape. Why does a pincushion need to be round? I love to hand applique. I bought a temporary glue baste with a tiny, long applicator and while it is nice to keep each layer in place, I didn't care for how it stiffens the fabric. I watched someone use it for the tiny edges but I think it takes away from the softness of hand applique, much like a fusible does. To make each layer of applique dimensional, I added a layer of batting to raise each level allowing for texture and functionality. You can purchase either design in my Etsy shop Fiberluscious.

Here are some of my newest fun fabric finds. I hope they inspire you as they inspire me. I hope your stash is filled with colorful wonders.

Don't forget your solids!

If you find yourself wanted to design a pincushion for someone special, like you, but you just don't have the time to sew. Drop me a line in my Etsy Shop Contsct link.
Give me your ideas, and I will put together some combinations you may like and off we go. Together we can design something just for you.

I hope you don't save your favorites- Use them! I have learned that hoarding leads to heartbreak down the way. You may want to use them in a future project and need a bit more. Once a fabric is out of print, it is gone. Play now! Enjoy! And as always Create!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Rooster Pincushion and Curved Piecing

This is my newest pincushion. Once again, I wanted to tackle a technique I was afraid to try. Its the dreaded curved block. Guess what, it isn't so bad. It is a bit fussy and it took some practice, but I really love it. My inspiration to give this block a try was a chicken quilt block, well, many chickens. They are adorable and I wanted to design something Fiberluscious. Here is a bright rosey version.

Okay, I make tiny blocks. pincushions are normally 5-6 inches square or round, so to get 4 blocks in a design, the blocks need to be small. I totally recommend starting bigger. Most of you are probably quilters so you have that luxury. I kind of like the challenge.

I also recommend downloading or purchasing a template.I just couldn't find one for this small of a block. I'm sure if you do a search you will find a great one. To make mine, I started by drawing a square the a bit larger than my finished block. I'd love to walk you through this but I think you would enjoy this block so much more if you started with a template and watched a video. Thank goodness for the internet and all the wonderful quilters out there who are both capable and generous with their knowledge.

Well, lets instead talk about the design process. I think we all see ideas on the Internet and think how can I make this my own. That is what we creative souls do. The hard part is figuring out what that is. I was going for whimsy. So I added a big old beak and a gathered comb to the back of my rooster's head.

The hardest part was figuring out how to fit them into an already bulky seam. My tip is to just give it a try. I just added a 1/4" seam to my shapes. I cut out 2 layer, sewed the shape, trimmed the seams. I turned them right side out and pinned them to the seams at the front and back of the head. I don't think this design would be the same without the way they stand out from the rest of the block. Too fun!

I finished the block by adding some nice big back stitches in #8 Perle Cotton. I tend to fall to my embroidery techniques when I quilt. I find it easier to get regular stitches. I have no idea how hand quilters get such beautiful stitches. I think it is so lovely and I hope that the tradition never ends.

Well, until you take on your next challenge, you will never know if you can do it. So just dive right in! It feels so great to do something you didn't think you could. Its the little victories in life that bring satisfaction.

Well, I better get to my shop orders.
You can find these pincushions in my Etsy shop Fiberluscious. They are still there today but I'm not sure how long they will last. If they are gone, give me a shout out on my Etsy shop and I will set up a listing for you. The blue version is here and the pink rose version is here.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

New Apple Pincushions!

I just had to bring my apple pincushion back. I loved my old apples so much but the embroidery was just too hard on my hands. Working perle cotton on woven cotton on a 3-dimensional shape were the triple wammy. So I just put the pattern aside. I don't know why... they are just as sweet with fun fabrics. I hope you agree.

This one uses some of my favorite soft rose prints. I called this one Golden Delicious. Yummy!

I used my Kathy Davis "Scatter Joy" fabric for this apple. The print has so many fun elements I didn't need more than one piece. You can find butterflies and big bold blossoms. I embroidered the feather stitch while watching "Alice in Wonderland" so this one is my Lady Alice Apple.

As shown on the top of this post, I used some fun, bold rose prints in pink and white to create my Pink Lady Apple. I just love all puffy and fun these pincushions are. They all are weighted with emery so they won't tip over as easily. The main apple is stuffed with polyester fiberfill.

I wanted to share some other new pincushions in my Etsy Shop.
Here is my round patchwork pincushion in a variety of modern prints.

I also found a lovely vintage set of napkins with pretty applique. There was an opening in the applique for silverware. I think it would be great for your seam ripper. So if you find a funky vintage item, keep your mind open and use that element!

Well, I am off to the sewing machine to try some new patterns. Have fun and happy sewing!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Wool Love- A quick share

Hello All!

Its so hard to keep up with my blog and I wish I had a clone to do it for me. Since that is one thing I just can't figure out how to make, I will try to add a few quick posts here and there. I am in a lovely creative pool right now, just swimming around. I've had some creative time on my hands and that is such a wonderful gift! Soon the garden will be calling so I am just loving this time.

You all know that I have a love affair with wool. I have tons of roving in so many brilliant and complex textures. It is fun to felt, it feels so good in my hands and it gives me the feeling of painting. Something many fibers just can't do.

My latest creation is above. I think this is a one of a kind because it is filled with little experiments. It is made from layers and layers of hand dyed wool. This makes it an ideal pincushion. Wool has natural oils which will lubricate and polish your pins and needles. However, stitching through all of those layers is a bit hard on the hands. I have a few new callouses and indentations on my fingertips to prove it. Pulling perle cotton through wool is easy with a few layers, but many..well, next time I think I will alter the design to make it arthritis friendly. In fact, I have another on the way with those elements in mind.

If you have never worked with wool, I so recommend it. Try to purchase a nice little scrap pack and give it a try. Quilting Acres on Etsy. I get a lot of my wool from there and it is top notch for felting projects.

Here is a picture that shows some of the many layers of wool, especially in the sun and sky. That lovely blue came from another shop-Ruby Mountain DyeWorks.
You can purchase this pincushion here. But once it is gone, it is gone. I'll try to recreate it but not in this method.

My last quick share is a new version of a pincushion favorite in my Etsy Shop, Fiberluscious. I used lots of rich earth colors in my Wool Leaf Pincushion. You can purchase it here. I even have one ready to ship!

If you have some roving and wool fabric on hand, I recommend using a very thick wool to section off some of your shapes. It gives a nice break and allows for even more embroidery. I have a nice selection of fluffy wool and mixed fiber yarns in my shop called the Thick and Chunky Colorway. You will find lots of fun yarns in a number of bright colorways in my shop. They are only $15 each and you will get a lot of yarn to play with for your smaller projects. Ask me to create your own colorway. I'd be happy to put one together in all one fiber, one type, or one color.

Well, I have to go. I'm on grandma duty today. My little ones are my favorite creative endeavor. Oh the fun we have. They bring me joy which enables me to share my joy with you!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

New Fabrics- New Blocks- New Fun!

I have been so darn busy since the holidays. It seems so many have saved up some fun projects for me to create. Now that I am caught up a bit, I wanted to share some of my new fabrics and the fun pincushions they inspired!

This is a new pincushion in my shop. I made it with a line of fabrics by Kathy Davis called. "Scatter Joy". The name is perfect for these prints. Just when I think I have them all, a new bunch comes in. Here is a bunch straight from the fabric store!

Here is another in that same fabric line. I simply used some free motion stitching to outline the print. I added a layer of cotton blend batting so the surface has a soft touch. I like quilted pincushion tops. The pins and needles stay up so nicely and are less likely to migrate to the center of the cushion.

Sometimes i just enjoy trying a new quilt block pattern. I was watching Fons and Porter's "Love of Quilting". Dodi Poulson was on. She designed a block called the Shattered Dresden. It was so pretty. It contains short and long dresden fans all in one block. The quilt she brought had another dresden which was more suitable for making a pincushion. She simply created a larger center circle. The fans were fatter. I used 12 in my block. I drafted the pattern using a protractor to create 12 equal sections. I then cut out one of the sections and added a 1/4 inch seam to both sides and the top. The smallest part of the fan is under the center circle so you can just lop off what you don't need. Here are a few versions of this pincushion.

I think my favorite is the modern rose print in yellow, pink and blue. Those are Mary Rose prints by Quilt Gate. I hand appliqued all of the petals and centers. I find applique so satisfying. I do use the fusible interfacing trick to make the round center. I just find it to be so fast and easy. The softer rose prints are more monochromatic so I found that some embroidery around the edges brought out the block pattern better. The first one I made was the bright modern print version with the yellow dotted center and the navy background, (its another "Scatter Joy" print!). They all came together quickly and it is always so nice to try something new.

I had a few fun requests. One is from a dietician who wanted to know if I could make some brooches for her to use on her job. She asked if I could make her some veggies! Well, you know me. I can't resist a challenge. I can't believe that I forgot to take pictures of them before they shipped. Luckily, I did have pictures of a corn cob brooch I make about 3 years ago.
I had a lot of fun designing it and I sure didn't mind a creative rerun.I also redesigned one of my wool pea pods. If I get another done, I promise to take pictures next time!

I really love working with my customers. The bring me so many wonderful ideas. Everything we design together becomes on of my new favorites. I have been working with a lovely woman in Japan for the past few months and she keeps me busy. I enjoy our conversations more than I can say. I am certain there is an automatic translator involved because things always some out in an interesting way. We both laugh! These are the things that bring me happiness and satisfaction in my work. Here is a pretty rose pincushion she requested.

My last thing I'd like to share is another non-traditional creation from this year. I used to make crowns and tiaras. I really loved the designing process. No two are ever alike. This one is for a lovely young mom who ordered one for each of her children. This tiara is for the newest one who I hope will come into this world knowing how much she is loved.

I hope to translate this design into a pincushion soon. The linen background and hand painted silk velvet play so beautifully together. I love the way the dye works on silk velvet. Its like a watercolor painting. Free motion stitching gives it even more of a painterly look.

Well, that's all I can squeeze in tonight. There are more orders to fill and I'm nearly done with a few. I hope you come and visit my Etsy shop soon. I have so many things ready to ship. I am also ready to work with new ideas!

Happy sewing!