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Year: 2015

20 Days of Crafting in Pictures

I’m going on holidays tomorrow so this post will be short on words but big on pictures. Here are the crafty things I’ve been up to since I last posted. I’ll post more details on the techniques and gadgets when I get back.

Doctor Who bunting from Spoonflower

1: Doctor Who bunting (using this fabric from Spoonflower). I backed mine with plain calico since it will be hanging against a wall and ended up with over 4 metres from only half a yard of fabric!

Iron Man pencil case

2: Avengers pencil case. The bottom is straight, it just looks wobbly because of the boxed corners.

Twin Needle Stitches from the Singer 401 - Page 1

Twin Needle Stitches from the Singer 401 - Page 2

Twin Needle Stitches from the Singer 401 - Page 3

Twin Needle Stitches from the Singer 401 - Page 4

3 – 6: Two needle stitching on my singer 401. I’m going to make a whole stitch book for 401 owners to download after my cam #17 arrives. When I do, I’ll tell you what all those letters and numbers mean 🙂

Pintucks on the Singer 401

7: My very first pintucks!

Couching on the Singer 401

8: Couching on the Singer 401 using the all purpose foot works really well. The only yarn that tried to escape was the metallic knitting yarn.

Thread Test with the Circular Attachment on the Singer 401

9: Auditioning threads with the circular stitcher attachment

Circular Couching and Appliqué on the Singer 401

10: Couching and appliqué using the circular stitcher.

Satin Stitch Flower on the Singer 401 with the Circular Attachment

11: A slightly wonky flower using, you guessed it, the circular stitcher attachment. I love this thing 🙂

Appliqué Flower on the Singer 401 with the Circular Attachment

12: At this point I realised my presser foot screw had worked it’s way loose, resulting in an even wonkier appliquĂ© flower using the circular stitcher. I’ve since found out about some templates I can make to ensure everything lines up. I’ll make a post about those later with some downloadable templates.

Those wrinkles at the corners on the petals could be eliminated with some steam pressing BTW.

Circular Pintucks on the Singer 401

13: Circular pintucks made using the circular stitcher attachment. I took photos for a tutorial.

Multiple circular rounds with the multi-stitch zig zag on the Singer 401

14: and finally I played with working multiple rounds with 2 needle stitching. My thread kept breaking for two reasons – it’s rubbish thread and I accidentally left the top tension set tight for pintucking. Oops.

The result of all this sewing is that I’m totally in love with this machine, I already learnt a whole bunch of new techniques and I’m totally enamoured with both two needle stitching (using 2 needles side by side or a twin needle), and I want to sew circles on everything.

In fact, I made this pinterest board on making things with the circular stitching attachment and flower stitcher (I have one of those too). I had no idea you could use it for so many different techniques!


My New Sewing Machine

After old Mr Stitchy the Brother embroidery machine cost me a bucket of money for repairs, he decided to depart in spectacular fashion by blowing a circuit board. A circuit board that is no longer manufactured and of which none existed in the country. Possibly on the planet.

I decided computerised sewing machines suck (the money from your wallet far too easily and often) and to replace him with an all metal Singer. So I bought a tan 306K at the op shop. It sews beautifully, though it has a couple of issues that need a repairman, a can of oil and more knowledge than I have.

Vintage Singer 401G sewing machine

This is not it. This is the Singer 401G that I found in the table I wanted to buy for the 306K. For $25. With all the attachments that originally came with it. For $25.

Twenty five dollars.

After reading about the 401 and it’s reputation as the bestest sewing machine evar, I decided to get it serviced before the 306K so some sewing could be done ASAP. The 306K sews amazingly but the needle position lever is seized and I use that a lot (I like top stitching all the things), so I thought this would be the best option for my budget.

Then I blew my budget buying cams for two needle sewing and attachments, which was fun.

As you know, I’ve been sewing up a storm with it already and you can see a new project underway. It’s almost Christmas, so of course I’m making Doctor Who bunting from this great fabric I found on Spoonflower. Because what is more Christmassy than looking forward to the Doctor Who Christmas special?

That’s right. Nothing.

Since she’s a vintage German Singer, I called her Marlene. She already sews better than Mr Stitchy ever did, even straight out of the box. My sewing machine repair guy almost did that tweenage girl thing where you stand on your tippy toes and clap your hands. I see this as a good sign for the future.

I hope I’m not wrong. I have a lot of Craftsy classes to catch up on!


Christmas Spirit

I know I promised a post about my new sewing machine but I’ll have to keep you in suspense just one day longer because the NBN installation guy is due here any minute (fast intarwebs, YAY!) and I had to put all the sewing away.


I mean really, who does that? Usually not me, that’s for sure.

But I sure have been using the machine a lot. Aside from the three cushions I’ve already shown you (plushy and Christmassy), I’ve also made a pencil case and two Christmas stockings.

I don’t have a photo of the pencil case but here are the Christmas stockings.

Two retro look Christmas stockings.

I found the fabric panel for sewing the stockings at the local op shop (thrift store/charity shop) and thought they were hilarious so I knew I had to make them up. Poor Santa is being sent off for a liver function test this afternoon. I think it’s packed it in, poor fella.

For my thrifty friends who are interested in such things: everything was from the op shop except the thread. Fabric panel, lining, batting, bias binding used for the hanging loops, sewing machine, the sewing machine table, that Christmas card covering up the sticker mark on the sewing machine table…

Now I’m off to find the goo gone to remove the sticker residue before I get started on some Craftsy classes that I bought before old Mr Stitchy blew a circuit board and took a jolly trip to the tip. At least I will be after the NBN installation guy does his thing as all my sewing gear is currently hiding in the bedroom.


Charlie’s Teacher’s Gifts for 2015

Every year our son Charlie likes to make presents for his teacher and their assistant. Last year they were woven, this year printed and sewn.

Charlie printed the fabric using acrylic paint mixed with textile medium and I sewed the finished fabric into a couple of cushions (with zippers thanks to my new old sewing machine. More about that tomorrow)!

Hand printed Christmas cushion

Hand printed Christmas cushion

He’s got a great printmaking technique for a kid who hasn’t even turned seven yet 🙂


TAST Samplers for Weeks 19 and 20

After having so much fun with my plushwork embroidery over the past few weeks I have a little catching up to do with the Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge. Here are my samplers for weeks 19 and 20, bullion knots and butterfly chain.

Bullion Knot Embroidery Sampler

Whilst I’m quite fond of working bullion knots and I think most of mine came out great (thanks to using a milliner’s needle and smooth threads), I think the bullion knot is best suited to flowers. The couching is a lot of fun but I’m not sure where I would ever use it.

Confession time: I tried to work a bullion rose but it just looked like rubbish so I made the 6 pointed star to cover up where I ripped it out so many times 😛

I ripped out the threads I didn’t like,  and the ones that are left are:

  • Centre caramel and navy circle: size 5 perle cotton.
  • Aqua flower and purple oval: tapestry wool
  • Star trail: silk ribbon
  • Everything else: 6 strands of stranded embroidery cotton.

I worked:

  • Regular bullion knots
  • Looped bullion knots (the brown ones in the centre of the variegated orange flower).
  • Looped bullion knots couched down (in the green and purple flower).
  • Lots of bullion knots couching down other threads.

Next is my butterfly chain sampler

Butterfly Chain Embroidery Sampler

Obviously this would make great borders on lots of things. I like the thicker threads the best.

From the top row:

  • Size 5 mercerised cotton for both stitches and tying strand.
  • Size 5 mercerised cotton for the straight stitches and 3 different cottons for the tying.
  • Fingering weight knitting wool for the straight stitches and glitter knitting yarn for the tying.
  • The same glitter yarn for the straight stitches and cotton/acrylic for tying. I shouldn’t have used the cotton/acrylic as I’m allergic to acrylic and paid for it with a rash up my arm for two days!
  • All cotton/acrylic. For the tying threads, I slipped the second one under the knot made by the first instead of making another knot. I tried both ways and this looked much nicer.
  • Next row: Size 3 mercerised cotton for both. This is my favourite thread for this stitch.
  • Pink size 3 mercerised cotton with a finer cotton and beads for tying.
  • For the square the lavender is size 3 mercerised cotton and the orange is finer (I’m not sure what number as I never had the skein band).
  • And finally the small purple section is again size 3 mercerised cotton.

I suspect liking purple glitter yarn this much when you’re older than 5 is illegal.

Now onto the knotted cretan stitch. I thought I had already done some on my cretan stitch samplers, then I remembered that I purposely didn’t because I knew it was coming up a stitch for it’s own week.

Some useful links:
TAST on Facebook
Sharron’s TAST FAQ on her website, Pintangle.
Free vintage stitch book downloads.
My TAST Pinterest Boards


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