Tuesday, June 30, 2009

EPP by machine getting easier!

I think I like it! This little piece, which I think will be turned into a table mat, took me about 5 hours to complete. That includes cutting and basting all the hexies, piecing the flower motifs and then sewing them all together with the border. I don't think 5 hours is so bad for this.

Once I got the hang of it, it went much faster. **Note to self: Next time, graph my design out and piece in strips rather than flowers.** In this machine pieced method, I think it would have been much easier to assemble that way. It's just so much fun, though, to see a bunch of flowers put together. I'm glad I now have an alternative to hand sewing my hexies. I still prefer the look of the hand pieced, but if I have to make a quick gift, this is the way to go.

I don't think the stitches are as noticable as they appear in the photo. I think the light from the flash just picked up the monofilament thread. I tried using cotton thread in a sample piece but it was too noticable. I could match the thread to the petals but when it came time to sew around the center yellow hexagon, the colored thread was too much, so I decided to stick with the clear monofilament.

Please let me know if you try doing it this way. I'd love to know how it worked out!

English Paper Piecing By Machine

Today I received my copy of English Paper Piecing By Machine by Julie Higgins. I bought it from an Amazon.com I have no idea why this book is selling for up to $170.00! I was fortunate enough to buy a new copy for less than $10.00!

Anyway, given my new obsession with hexies, I could not wait to get this book. Like me, although this author liked to English paper piece by hand, she wondered if it could be done by machine. I really like the projects shown in this book and I went to work right away to see if I could do it. She happens to whipstitch the pieces together with right sides facing, just as you'd do it by hand, except she does it on her machine. I didn't like the way mine looked because with this method the thread was very visible. I tried it with monofilament thread but because I had to remove the piece from the machine after sewing each joining seam, the monofilament unraveled.

In the end, I decided to assemble the flowers my own way, which is not covered in the book, by butting the pieces together and sewing them flat with a narrow width (2.5 to 3.0) zig-zag stitch with a length of 1.4. I tried them with both right sides facing up and wrong sides facing up. I prefer to sew them with right sides facing up so that the monofilament is coming off of the spool and the regular cotton thread is in the bobbin. This produces the result in picture #4 and in the flower on the right-hand side in the examples below. The flowers on the left-hand side were assembled by hand, the traditional way.

The result was just satisfactory but I did enjoy the speed by which I could put a flower together (about 20 minutes). I will have to experiment more. I think the book is very inspirational and the projects are certainly do-able with this method.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Football camp then Hawaii, woohoo!

My oldest son left for football camp in Utah this morning. He will come back on Thursday and then Friday night we head for the airport for our early morning flight to Hawaii. I'm not getting excited yet. I usually don't until I start to pack, which I always leave until the last minute. I try to make a list ahead of time so it's just a matter of gathering things together, then I pack my list in the suitcase so I don't forget to bring anything home with me. My mom has requested that I bring her some Chicharrones from a Mexican meat market or carniceria that she likes here. Yes, they make Chicharrones in Hawaii but they are more expensive and she wants a bunch. In fact, my cousin, John, who came here and made me some pinacbet, has also requested I bring some for him, along with dried cherries from Trader Joe's. It seems that they are hard to come by (or are too expensive) in Hawaii. A friend at work makes cookies with them and he wants her to make some for him. At least he promised to let me taste them!

I know Anthony is just less than 2 hours away but I miss him. Chris is excited because he gets me all to himself. This is Anthony's last high school football camp and I'm pretending that this is how I'm going to feel when he leaves for college. I don't like this feeling! Can you imagine that he doesn't want to go to Hawaii with me? He wants to hang out with his friends here for the summer. I told him that any of his friends would love the chance to go to Hawaii and that he's only going to be there for 12 days before he has to come home for football practice. This may be the last time I can get him to Hawaii with me as I don't know where he'll be after graduation. I'm hoping he can get accepted at the University of Hawaii so I can make more excuses to visit my family, yet if he goes to the University of Nevada, Reno or even University of Nevada, Las Vegas, I'd be happy to get to see him more often. I just hope he gets in somewhere as his grades aren't the greatest and he hasn't taken the SATs or ACT yet so we don't know what scores we're dealing with. Oh my son! Sometimes I want to smack him for not taking school more seriously! Now that he's going to be a senior he can see what we've been trying to drill into him for years, but I'm afraid it's too late. I know I'm not fun to be around sometimes as I usually get on the subject of school and then it turns into lecture hall, but as a mom, I only want what's best for him.

On the needles/hook? I've been crocheting more pot holders as this is so relaxing to me at night. I've been trying to set more time aside to work on my hexies but the crochet has been winning out. I even went to my opthalmologist to get a different contact lens for my right eye so that I don't have to wear my reading glasses so much anymore. I'm used to the change in vision that the two different lenses cause temporarily. I used to feel a bit nauseous when I first put my lenses in but now I don't. It's great.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Weenie Hut Jr.

The other day, the kids and I were watching Spongebob Squarepants and this episode came on. I remarked how much my little one, Chris, looked like one of the fish in the Weenie Hut Jr., the one with the braces and glasses. Of course, he took offense, and I don't blame him. I think it's pretty cool. I love my Chris!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hot Pads

I saw these two hot pad patterns and just had to try them. They both look way more difficult than they actually are. In fact, once you make one of each you've basically memorized the patterns.

Here is the pattern for the flower shaped Starburst Hot Pad.
The assembly video is a must see as the pattern is not well written.

Here is the pattern for the Crochet Flower Hot Pad.

If you are a Ravelry member, you can see more great examples of both of these!