Sewing Without Really Sewing

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Yesterday I spent nearly the whole day in the sewing room, but I have precious little to show for it. I spent a good part of the day making up my next embroidery stitchery. It's the "Oil Cans" section of the Vintage Tin Quilt.

It's the long stitchery across the top. I've completed the six smallest blocks down the right and left sides of this quilt. The largest are yet to go. I've been dreading this section since the day I bought the pattern. In fact, it was this quilt that motivated me to begin using Sticky Fabri-Solvy, and it has been a help on these complicated motifs. Mainly, I dreaded tracing them. The Sticky Fabri-Solvy has freed me of that burden, but the stitching remains.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love doing embroidery, and it's a great way for me to start my day. The narrowing of my focus for a half hour or so has a calming effect, and I can move on to the rest of my day with a quiet mind. Nevertheless, I find these intricate stitcheries worked in just one color...in this case, gun metal gray...to be rather tedious. I like the color changes when I'm doing embroidery, and so to work such large pieces all in one color can be boring. Still, I'm so happy to be making this quilt for Erik that it keeps me moving along. His birthday is in October, and maybe next year this one will be finished. We'll see.

So here's what I did yesterday. I needed to print the motif onto the Sticky Fabri-Solvy, and that involved a lot of trial and error. The only other time I've had to piece a design together was when I did An Embroiderer's Blessing this past summer. The design was large enough that it required two of the 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of the Sticky Fabri-Solvy (SFS). When I made up the stitchery, I trimmed the two sheets of SFS so that the edges butted up against one another. That might have been a mistake, because with hooping, those sheets wanted to slip apart. You can see what I'm talking about in the image below.

On this particular stitchery, it was easy enough to make adjustments to my stitching. On this new one I've started, I'm experimenting with the SFS to see if I can keep that from happening again. The Oil Cans are not so complicated that I can't adjust for them as well, but the remaining three stitcheries are a lot more detailed, and I'd like to avoid the separation if I can.

So here's what I did yesterday.

It took 5 1/2 sheets to cover the whole design. I first copied it on plain paper for placement, and then left about an inch overlap on each sheet. You can see the overlap in the image above. I'm hoping that the pieces will provide enough friction for one another that they'll stay in place. We'll see. It's an experiment.

This is a really long motif. The fabric is cut to 14 x 53 inches, and it will be trimed to 8 1/2 x 47. It was a little tricky getting those 5 1/2 sheets of SFS stuck on and straight, but I think I've got it pretty well even.

This is going to take forever. And the other consideration is that it is rolled up so that I can hold onto it. That will either cause the SFS to shift...or it might keep it in place too. As I said, it's an experiment. (Please see my updated post about how this worked right here.)

Of course, I had lots of help in the sewing room yesterday. It was a rainy day, and Gracie and Smitty were inside by the fire for most of the day. That didn't mean he didn't come in looking for some catnip and a skritch every now and then.

As well as purrsonal grooming when he'd been outside. These cutting mats are excellent grooming stations.

Once I had my embroidery piece made, I started on this month's "Let's Book It" project.

I'm making one 36-inch block like this quilt:

From this book:

It's intended to be scrappy, but mine is going to be just a little more organized than random scraps. I made the center pinwheel from a solid green. I'll use that white tone-on-tone snowflake fabric throughout.

I set that solid green aside to use again in some other areas, and then I chose another scrap of green for the next round. I'm working this sort of round robin style.

And that was as far as I got yesterday. I was getting tired of sewing by that time. When I work on this again, I'll be adding in some red, and we'll just see how it goes. It's going to be scrappy, but in an organized chaos kind of way.

This morning I took the first stitches on the Vintage Tin motif. A journey of ten million stitches starts with a single stitch.

I'm having breakfast with Erik this morning, so I'd better get a move on. My in-home lesson on Eliza also happens today, so it's a busy and fun day ahead.

What's going on in your sewing room today?

13 comments from clever and witty friends:

Ruth said...

I have never heard of the sticky fabri-solvy and am curious about it. Do you copy the design on the fabri-solvy stuff and then stick it on top of the fabric? I usually trace the embroidery designs and it can take a while, as in the "Over the River" quilt that I just made. What a chore! In case I do more embroidery, I would like to know more about this. It looks intriguing.

Quilter Kathy said...

That sure is a challenge.. I've never done a stitchery that large before. Also the same thread colour (an grey at that!) makes it not as exciting. One stitch at a time, eh?

Marlene said...

That embroidery will certainly be a labour of love. Your block is going to look great-loving the start of it.What is it about cutting mats as cleaning stations-my little one loves sitting on the mat and sprucing up.
Looking forward to how your lesson goes with Eliza. Have fun learning.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I agree, changing colors is inspiration to get each section finished. I got side tracked today - someone brought me a box of scraps and I just had to play in it.

Michelle said...

Could you baste it around the edges to hold it down?

SJSM said...

Your tin can alley quilt is a marvelous gift for a gear head or road enthusiast. It is unique and will make a loving gift for Erik. I will follow your progress on this quilt to see how it comes to life.

Love those little fur balls. Mine hangs out in a bed next to the window. Presently there is no room on my cutting mat. I'm working on a project for my Fashion Illustration class so it is covered with previous renditions of my project pens, chalks etc. plus my last sewing project I'm trying to complete.

Looking forward to your next post on Eliza.

Diane Wild said...

Good job with that SFS. All-in-all it does the job. I like it but have never ventured beyond the 8 1/2 x 11. Still making bears. Missing my quilt projects.

Lou said...

When I used 2 sheets they kept moving too:( So I just basted them together on the fabric... no more problems after that:)
I have only used 2 sheets though never 5.... scarey!
Good luck!

Calicojoan said...

I love the sticky Solvy. In fact if you ever see Marathon Threads at a show, they sell it by the roll, which is great for printing out those long stitcheries. I did Vintage Tin last year for my hubby for Christmas. After stitching 2 blocks, I decided to cheat. If I can free motion quilt, then why can't I free motion stitch. It worked out beautifully and saved me tons of stitching hours! LOL!

Calicojoan said...

I love the sticky Solvy. In fact if you ever see Marathon Threads at a show, they sell it by the roll, which is great for printing out those long stitcheries. I did Vintage Tin last year for my hubby for Christmas. After stitching 2 blocks, I decided to cheat. If I can free motion quilt, then why can't I free motion stitch. It worked out beautifully and saved me tons of stitching hours! LOL!

quiltzyx said...

I really like the look of that giant Vintage Tin stitchery! Good luck working with only the one color.
Glad to see Smitty's keeping you in line down there in the sewing room. Good job Smitty!
Off to a great start on your giant block too - just look at thpse perfect pinwheel points in the center!! Wow!!!

Kate said...

At least you've got all the marking out of the way and you can sit and stitch on it for a while.

imquilternity said...

I'm making that quilt too and so are three of my friends. So far, I've only got the California license plate done and tomorrow will start on the Ohio one. Although, I'm considering, since I'm not very far along, changing all the Route 66 stuff to Highway 395. That's more "me." I'm using a different product than you are, but it sounds as though they do the same thing. It is a lot of work... I'll be watching your progress! You've done a LOT!!