Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The World's Thinnest Needleroll

I actually did it - I finished my first needleroll for the Monthly Finishing Challenge. The chart can be found here. I have to say I probably wouldn't have tried making one for quite some time; they looked so daunting, especially the hemstitching. I forced myself into doing something new by signing up for the challenge (even though you don't have to do every one, I figured I might as well see what I could learn to do). I used the clear as a bell tutorial that was posted by Anne S. and she made it so easy to follow that I had very little trouble doing it. I even enjoyed the hemstitching process. Not that this needleroll is perfect by any means, in fact, I have some tips for anyone making a needleroll for the first time. You can learn from my experience!

DOs and DON'Ts for Making a Needleroll:

DO: Make sure you leave enough fabric on the sides of your design so that your needleroll has adequate width to it (see title of this post for the reason why).
DO: Stitch along the edges of your linen first so that you don't lose a good 1/2 inch of fabric on either side due to fraying (see post title again).
DO: Take special care to line up your hemstitching properly along where you will make the French seam, so that the hemstitching on either side meets in the middle properly (at least the seam is in the back).
DON'T: Use your 30 year old sewing machine that can't handle tension correctly (the only tension you'll have is your own!)
DON'T: Forget that you don't have any polyfill so you have to cut up lots of tiny pieces of batting with which to stuff your needleroll.
DON'T: Let your son burst into the house from outside leaving the door open, causing your dog to escape and run crazy around the neighborhood, interrupting your finishing for far too long while you chase him.

If you can follow all these instructions, you'll have yourself a needleroll!

I'm not the only stitcher who made their first needleroll for the challenge - take a look at Kim's gorgeous creation, which she designed herself using motifs from some favorite designers. Isn't it beautiful?

I wonder what challenge will be next...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Now for the hard part...

I finished the stitched part of my needleroll. I like the way it turned out, even if one of the zeroes is a little crooked - it's the fabric, not the meticulous stitching ;--) that caused it. I'm glad I still have about three weeks to tackle the finishing part. It'll probably take me two of those weeks to screw up my courage to try pulling the threads and doing the hemstitching. I just have to keep reminding myself that making the pinkeeps wasn't nearly as hard as I thought they would be, and hopefully I will not only find this to be true with the needleroll, but also that I will enjoy doing it. It makes me feel a bit better that fabulous stitchers like Staci and Vonna have also expressed some trepidation about this challenge.What is a needleroll for, anyway? Is it purely decorative or does it have a function? It took me awhile to find out that bicornus can be used as pincushions, but I haven't been able to find an explanation of a needleroll. Anyone know? Of course, just having an addition to the basket of smalls I am starting is reason enough for me!

Friday, April 4, 2008

My New Blog Header

Some of you probably know that since I began my blog I've wanted to find out how people get such nice headers on theirs, but I've been unable to discover the secret. Yesterday I got an email from Staci's sister, who had taken some of the pictures from my blog and created a header for me! Staci had told her how much I liked the one she did for her, and so she took the time to make me one. I am so delighted with it! She picked the perfect font for my blog title (doesn't it look kind of like floss?) and my projects look great all lined up at the top. I'm so grateful to this talented person whom I've never met, and to Staci for her role in making this happen.

My needleroll is coming along, though one of those birds has been troublesome - I've frogged some or all of it three times! And I'm nervously watching one side of the linen, which I didn't stitch along (my sewing machine is broken) so it keeps losing threads. Hope I have enough left for putting the needleroll together. Of course it could be an excuse not to make it, but I promised myself I would try.

This morning I went to Borders and had coffee and read the British cross stitch magazines, which I enjoy perusing. Nothing caught my eye enough to buy one, but it was fun looking. And Borders had a copy of the Reader's Digest Big Book of Cross Stitch Design, so I got to see all the great designs that are in it. I didn't buy that either, but I have a small gift certificate to that just may end up being put to good use...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Needleroll Start

With trepidation I have taken on the needleroll challenge and started a stitched piece to use. It's a German freebie I found. I like it a lot because it reminds me of Pennsylvania Dutch artwork (I spent a lot of time in that area growing up). It remains to be seen how well this will turn out - I cut one side of my fabric pretty close to the design, so it may turn out to be a very thin needleroll, that is if I can manage the thread-pulling it will require. And hemstitching - oh my goodness I am really in for it now! But I like having to make myself try new things. I tend to be someone who sticks with the familiar, so this is a nice opportunity for me to spread my wings a bit. The frog has struck a number of times already but I keep shooing him away. I'm hoping to be done shortly; then the fun starts as I attempt to learn how to actually put this together. Stay tuned!