Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Sewing Thoughts - Hexagons and Hand Sewing

I eat, sleep, and breath hexagons. I've been working on a hexie charm quilt for a long time now and am on the home stretch. What that means is that I have about 6 months to go before I finish it! Thousands of 2-1/2" hexagons, none duplicated (unless by accident) have been a part of my life for a while now. Sheesh. Will it ever be done? And will I start another one? The answer to both questions is yes. It's what I do and I love having something to take with me to work on, especially now that I no longer have carpal tunnel!

Which brings me to thoughts on hand sewing. Over at SewDaily.com, there's a great blog entry about hand sewing.  I agree whole heartedly that hand sewing is a completely different "animal." I get into the zone when I have a needle and thread in hand with my thimble tight on my finger. I can take my time and plan, cut, sew, measure, re-measure, and get back to the cut and sew part over and over again.

Rose from SewDaily.com mentions that hand sewing is quiet. Maybe that's part of what I like. It's me an my needle. Anything else is superfluous. I tend to hand sew while watching TV when I'm at home. It's almost a diet aid as I never eat while I sew. You want that quilt done? Then there will be no kitchen raiding! That's not really quiet, but it's my time.

She also stresses portability. I've found that to be one of the most wonderful aspects of hand sewing. I always have a hexagon or Cathedral Window project going - they both use small pieces of fabric, they both require hand sewing, and they both have prep work that can be done before you travel and pack your sewing tote. For now, it's hexagons. Always hexagons.

On a side note, I did go dish towel crazy! I ended up making five of them. I did one with hot air balloon fabric, with leftover red/white/blue binding, with an open cutwork piece I got at a yard sale, the one on the dish towel blog entry, and another one I can't remember. CRS syndrome. It was a fun thing to do. I had an old towel and never began to think about how many dish towels it would make. I just sort of started cutting and sewing. Sometimes, you just gotta do something off-the-cuff like that.

Happy sewing. I'll be traveling for the next several days. I have my hexagons all packed and ready to go with my little portable sewing kit. I'm hooked/doomed/addicted - however you want to classify it.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sewing again! Dish towel fun.

Two things:

First, it has been a while since I've been able to sew. I had a trigger finger and my carpal tunnel syndrome repaired. that meant that I had to hold off on doing any real sewing. I'm able to sew again and that makes me very happy.

Second, I need dish towels. Rather than run out and buy some, I decided to use an old bath towel that has seen better days. I cut out two pieces that were not damaged, serged the edges, and then tried to decide what to do. I had a smidgen of a cutter quilt left, so I cut out hearts and zig-zagged them onto the dish towel base. I try to make sure to sew over each old original seam; they're hand sewn and prone to come apart. Plus, these towels are going to be used and washed, so it's best to reinforce every seam I can.

I used a tight zig-zag stitch to applique the hearts in place and then applied Fray-Check for good measure.

I went through my leftover bias tape and found a length of red. I also zig-zagged that by machine and that was that.

Now I have a dish towel and one more blank ready to decorate. I have three more patchwork hearts, so I'll probably use those, but in a different arrangement somehow.

Lesson learned is that our bath towels are not dead when they're about ready to be retired. Take a look and see what you have. This was a quickie afternoon project, but you can make it as fancy or as simple as you like. The bottom line is that it's a true scrap project. I bought nothing. (I don't count the thread; I always have thread on hand and I wasn't as concerned about a 100% match for these.)

Now that I have a healed hand, I am finding I have a better than healed hand. I can hand sew again! In a very short while, I get to try embroidering again, and that makes me more than happy. I haven't embroidered for almost 30 years. And guess what? I have lots of old DMC floss, so I'll be scrap stitching then too!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A wondrous thought

It just dawned on me tonight that I may be able to hand embroider again after my hand heals. I had carpal tunnel and trigger finger surgery last Friday. I'm doing great, but it's amazing to me to think that it took me years to have this done. I have had symptoms of the dreaded carpal tunnel for 20 years, at least. It is 100% gone, even as I heal. It was gone when I came out from anesthesia. I hope to be cleared for sewing and scissors work next week when I get my stitches out. I am having withdrawal from my needle and thread!

P.S. Good thing I've never gotten rid of my basket of DMC floss!