A Majorca-style embroidered table-runner

I did finish this little piece of embroidery in February, but I had a difficult time trying to get good photos of it, and, truth to be told, I even didn’t know how to begin this blog post… This table-runner is embroidered in the island of Majorca’s traditional embroidery style, which has a particular design (these floral, vineyard-type motives) and a particular technique to execute it. I learned it some years ago while visiting the island, and had always one on the making since. But I’m really slow working on those pieces: I can spend a couple of weeks spending lots of hours on them and then “forget” them for some months until I find the urge / necessity/ inspiration to work on them again.

So, I think I started this one in early 2014. By that time I didn’t have any kind of sewing journal! I did lots of work on it during Summer 2014, left it aside, work hard on it again on Spring 2015, left it again, and decided to finish it during one of my trips early this year.

The embroidery is quite simple: chain stitch and a variation of the herringbone stitch for the filling of the motives, complemented with cross-stitch. The particularity is on the chain stitch: it’s stitched using a small crochet -and an embroidery hoop-. I used the same technique for block n. 11 of The Splendid Sampler and explained part of the process on its blog post here. I just love the motion of crocheting through the fabric and getting those tiny, tight, regular chains. Once all the lines are stitched, the motif can be filled using a herringbone stitch that is subjected to the chain, not the fabric.

The use of only one colour family (with slight variations on tone) is also characteristic; although one can skip tradition and go for multicoloured works, I really like the effect of using one range of colour throughout all the piece. For this one I use the same colour for all the lines, and play with tone variations for the filling.

Also typical are the fillings using cross-stitch. They should occupy all the space, so on the borders they are “cut” by the design itself. There are plenty of options for them (I normally search for ideas on Spanish craft-related magazines…), and on this occasion I decided to use the same design throughout the piece.

For the borders I used a hemstitch. I just love to do drawn thread work (I’m an absolute beginner on that, though), but the piece was too small to do more intricate work than just hemming the borders.

I bought this piece already marked on a local haberdashery, without knowing the fabric nor the marking system. The fabric is not the best quality, but what annoys me is that I can’t remove the markings. I tried washing with hot water, but with no results. Fortunately they are not as evident as it might seem on the photos, so well, that’s it.

I already have a new already marked piece and the threads for it -this is going to be on the blue family-; now I just need to find some time…

Project: Majorca – style embroidered table runner
Size: 30 x 42 cm
Date: Early 2014 – February 2017
Pattern: Piece already marked purchased in a haberdashery in Majorca
Main thread: Cotton perlé n. 12 Anchor 314
Filling thread: Embroidery floss Anchor n. 302, 303, 308, 1002, 275

The Cookbook QAL: 3. Lemon Whip

I’m not following this quilt-along quite regularly, but it’s nice to sneak in to just piece one block. On this occasion I went back to block n.3, although I think it’s turn to work on n. 13…

A couple of things about this one; firstly, I used a canvas fabric for the central flower. I just love this design (it’s from a canvas printed panel), but canvas fabric does add a lot of bulk on the seams, and makes it a little more tricky to sew the units.

Secondly, I’m not quite happy with the placement of the appliqué pieces. I think next time I’ll appliqué them drawing the seam allowances first on the unit – on another matter, it seems I’m pretty fond of appliquéing with a straight stitch…-.

    1. From Porto with love (canvas panel), Sarah Watts, Cotton+Steel
    2. Fusions 4070, Robert Kaufman Fabrics
    3. Life, enjoy the ride; Tina Higgins Designs, Quilting Treasures
    4. Hungarian Blue, Sue Zipkin, Clothworks Textiles

*The background is from the 1000Colours collection, by Lecien, grey n. 501

(This block belongs to a QAL hosted by Amy Gibson –Stitchery Dickory Dock– and based on her book “The Quilt Block Cookbook”).

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 10 revisited

I wasn’t pleased with my fabric choices for block n. 10 of The Splendid Sampler, and I had already made my mind up to sew it again long before the sampler was finished. However, for the sake of fabric management, I decided I wouldn’t revisit any block until the original 100 were finished. Truth is I don’t have much fabric left to choose from, but I prefer this second version rather than the first one. I think the main problem was that the print on the coloured fabric was too big for these pieces -the pattern was too much cut up and looked really messy-.

For a little bit of an update about how the sampler is going, I’m waiting for the sashing fabric to arrive. I will be sashing the blocks while revisiting those that need minor adjustments – I think this one was the only that needed a complete redo-. I’m looking forward to starting working on it again!

Pack your bag n.4 (April): Nylon bag

This month’s pattern for the Cotton and Color mystery Project of the Month program features a really quick project, with the novelty of using Nylon fabric for it. It was really fun trying to sew with a new material, that can’t be ironed and which I preferred not trying to pin. I used the marks on my sewing machine to fold the fabric as it was fed under the foot (fortunately, I could use the regular foot, being a Teflon foot not necessary), and clips to keep everything in place when needed.

This little bag couldn’t have come more handy, as it complements perfectly a birthday present I already have for a friend!

Exterior fabric: First of Infinity fabrics collection, Lecien

Stars-quilt March’17 update

I’ve been thinking of the monthly summaries I’ve been writing recently, and I am kind of feeling like dropping them. Basically, the only project I think worthy to report its state is the Stars-quilt, and mostly because it is a years-long running project. Truth is I have an analogue system based on paper and pen that works rather well, and looking back to the previous posts I find them rather heavy to read and not essential for the blog at all.

I’m not saying I won’t be back to some kind of report / summary / update of different projects, is just that the current one wasn’t working as I would like.

So, the Stars-quilt this month. It has seen little progress, perhaps I should set a fixed number of stars to be done each month?

Stars basted: 84/84 (504/504 templates)
Stars sewn: 84 /84
Background pieces basted: 504/504
Stars completed: 27/84 (+3 from the last stats)

The Cookbook QAL: 12. Plus one

The fabric combination for this block came to my mind the second I saw it on Instagram, so I took a little break from the other projects I’m currently working on and put it together. It is a really quick block to make, and there are several possibilities to play with it (one day I might make the quilt proposed by Amy Gibson here).

I really love the effect of appliquéing using a straight stitch – I just sewed a second line of stitching for the fun of it!-.

1. Cookie Book, Kim Knight, Cotton+Steel
2. Hey Dot, Zen Chic, Moda Fabrics
* The background is from the 1000Colours collection, by Lecien, grey n. 501

(This block belongs to a QAL hosted by Amy Gibson –Stitchery Dickory Dock– and based on her book “The Quilt Block Cookbook”).

(Easy) Table runner

This year Moda Fabrics is running a 12-month contest, featuring a different designer each month. March is turn for Me and My Sister Designs, and I couldn’t resist to take a break from all the quilting that’s going around here and spend some afternoons working on the featured pattern, a table runner.

One of the requisites for entering is that all the fabric used must be from Moda (that makes sense, doesn’t it?). I do have several collections and prints from Moda in my stash, but I decided to play with a Moda Scrap Bag and just go with what was inside (this bag contains left-overs from cutting other pre-cuts, and there’s no way to know what’s inside each one… it’s a lottery!). So, in a sense, I didn’t choose the fabrics for this one… I added some Grunge as a contrasting solids, and a favourite from Zen Chic for the border.

For piecing the strips together, I cut them ½” longer than required, and alternated the direction of sewing (one up, one down) to avoid ending with a curved piece. I broke the main panel into three sections, sewed each one, trimmed to size, and the sewed them together. It worked quite well!

It’s a pretty quick project (I managed to have it completed in four afternoons, quilting included!), and I really like this summer-ly look it has (the weather also helps in that feeling…). It makes me think of picnics with sandwiches…

Project: Table runner
Size: 16″ x 50″/ 40.5 x 127 cm
Date: March 2017
Pattern: Easy Table Runner, Me and My Sister Designs
Top fabric: Coral, Queen of the Sea, by Stacy Iest Tsu, for Moda Fabrics
                  Grunge (several colours), by Basic Grey, for Moda Fabrics
Border, Backing: Hey Dot!, by Zen Chic, for Moda Fabrics
Batting: Fusible Thermolam TP971, Legacy
Quilting: machine-quilted, Star Thread 30WT

A knitted top!

After feeling comfortable working with stockinette stitch (see my first ever knitted project here), I decided to move on onto something a little more complicated. A friend of mine recommended me this free pattern from Purl Soho, so there I went. First gauge ever, first ribbing ever, first yarn-over ever. I must say, this pattern turned out to be perfect for beginners!

There were several ripping moments along the way, and lots of time invested in re-doing parts already knitted. Specially tricky was the neck part, I re-did it three times until I got it right! But this is how one can learn, and I surely learned a lot with this project.

I changed the suggested yarn for cotton (a matter of personal preference). That’s the only change I made to the pattern, although now I regret that the top is a little too short for my taste. For the next one (my big project to come) I will check my own measurements every once in a while and adapt the pattern accordingly.

Finishing this top before Spring was one of my goals for this year, and I’m over the moon I managed to do so and that I’ll be able to wear it in the following months.

Project: Knitted top
Date: August, 2016 – March 2017
Pattern: Cap Sleeve Lattice Top, Purl Soho
Yarn: Catania Denim Originals, colour 0190
Catania Originals, colour 0263 (peach)
Needles: 3.50 mm, 4 mm

Pack your bag n. 3 (March): Luggage Label

These days there are lots of things going on behind the scenes (aka basting and quilting, which seem to take forever!), but I did manage to sew March’ pattern for Cotton and Color‘s Project of the Month. This is a fun and quick project to make, but a little tricky one due to the vinyl for the inside tag. I guess having a Teflon foot would have helped.

I think it can also be used as a tag for Christmas gifts, doesn’t it?

Exterior fabrics: Detour by BoBunny, Riley Blake Designs
Lining fabric: provided with the pattern
Batting: Thermolam TP971 (100% polyester), Legacy