Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ten Good Reasons to Thread a Needle

Recent studies have shown that sewing can actually help you relieve stress and lower your blood pressure.  

Wow. I know I love fact I don't think a day goes by that I don't thread a needle for some reason. So I thought I would share my favorite reasons to thread a needle...just for fun. (And by the way, my blood pressure was 120 over 70 yesterday.)

1. Sewing can be so creative. creatively!

2. Sometimes, it's just necessary--repairing that hole in your daughter's dearly loved shirt.

A little pink needle book--stitched quickly together.
3. It gives variety to life: sewing pieces of fabric together...cross-stitching...embroidery...sewing patches of knit squares together to keep you colorfully warm...quilting...mixed media stitching...sewing on paper for many ways to stitch!

4. Stitching gives you a little control in a big crazy world. You pick the thread. You guide the needle.

5. Sewing has a magical way of lifting away cares and offering some peace.

6. Make a doll for a'll never stop sewing.

7. Take a few little squares of fat soft felt, and some hot pink DMC floss...embroider a flower on the front, sew the three squares together down one side, and you have a little needlebook--buy some of those gold embroidery needles to tuck into it. A little bit o happiness. Perfect gift to tuck into a card!

8. Cross-stitch a heart and feel the love.

9. Make friends. An old-fashioned sewing circle...a workshop...a class at your fellow bloggers who love to stitch! Get together and make girlie aprons!

10. Teach a friend. Meet for coffee, give her a needlebook you made for her, and give her a gift that keeps on giving.

Inside the little pink needle book.

Beginning work on a bunny peep cross-stitch.
 Oh and a bonus:

11. Quality alone time. There's nothing like sitting on a sunporch, a sleepy cat at your feet, ice tea, your thoughts, and your stitching.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


"Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the 'ape' in apricot? What have they got that I ain't got?"

--Lion, The Wizard of Oz

Monday, March 5, 2012

Afternoon Plans

What are you doing this afternoon? Don't you love afternoon plans? I don't know why, but when the sun is out and my greenhouse is warm and lit up, I suddenly have the urge to do so many things. First, I want to gather up my stitching and bring it out to that lovely long sunporch called my "greenhouse" and put my feet up and cross-stitch for the next two hours with a big glass of iced tea and lemon, and the cats playing and enjoying life.

It's just for days like this that I keep a little butterfly cross-stitch kit, I made up myself, hanging on a handle by my sewing table in case I get the urge to see a butterfly come to life on a piece of aida cloth. But, unfortunately, I don't have the luxury of stitching for two hours--so I can only wish. I am caught up on the laundry (that usually lasts for five minutes) and the house is not in bad shape. I need to practice my violin, plant more tomato seeds, work on revisions in my play, find my pedometer for a walking competition that starts tomorrow, get a few things at the store including some free Silk almond milk--one of those coupons that  doubles to the actual price of the product!--clean up my desk, sew the straps onto my latest girlie apron, and embroider two new designs I'm working on. Well, I guess that's enough for an afternoon! And, sadly, I'm not even sure what I'm fixing for dinner. But I'm thinking that a big salad and some chicken cordon bleu sounds lovely.
First I have to wrestle the ribbon away from Joseph.

Now, I know if I get started on cleaning my desk, I will without a doubt do a little piddling. I was piddling  through some stuff the other day and found this 1948 falling-apart fat encyclopedia hiding in a drawer. I remember encyclopedia salesmen in the 1970's selling whole sets of big, slick heavy black-cover books of knowledge (pre-internet), so this old fat thing is kind of a wonder. I snipped off some ribbon to tie it up and put it out in the open somewhere. It is funny to look things up.

This old encyclopedia is fun to look through--but I'm too busy!

Oh to be Minnie, without a care in the world!
So, I will be fortunate to check one or two things off my list today, and thank goodness that the chicken cordon bleu is frozen! But I'm definitely going to need some tea! It's only Monday.
Eat well. Write often. Dream big and little. Stitch's good for the soul.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

She Got a Little I-Cord Happy

Knitting an i-cord is so fun and incredibly easy! 

I learned how to knit i-cords because I wanted to use them as the arms and legs of my cuddle creatures. But as I began knitting the i-cords, I sort of got addicted to it! Basically, you just cast on a few stitches onto a double-point knitting needle (I cast on five stitches for my creatures) and then knit the row, slide the stitches to the other side of the needle, and knit another row. Just keep doing this, sliding it back and forth, and you will have stockinette stitched a tube. (without going to the trouble of stockinette stitching, because you were sliding it back and forth, so all you had to do was knit)

Finally the day came when I had knit all my cuddle creatures that I wanted to knit for gifts and for the house (I may knit more later). But I wanted to knit more of those i-cords! So I did. Then I started looking at them, laying there side by side--this time I had cast on seven stitches for each i-cord--and I realized I wanted to sew them together in sort of an i-cord patchwork and make a little tote bag. It would either be lots of fun, or a disaster. But I did it anyway.

I-Cord Heaven!

I used lots of different varieties of the cotton sugar and cream yarns.
I think I had knit about 24 i-cords when I started putting my tote bag together. It was fun to lay it all out and see how these colorful cotton cords would go together to make a nice, thick, wonky little bag. With the same yarns, I just started quickly stitching one cord onto another to complete each side of the bag. Then I stitched the whole bag right sides together.
Lastly, I stitched on i-cords for the handles. The bag has a nice, sturdy feel to it, so I'm ready to make a bigger one! This was the test. I like how it turned out. It looks like something I bought at a street fair or something. Very fun! Here are more views of my little bag.

So, be sure and stash a little ball of yarn and your double-pointed knitting needles in your go-bag--you can knit on your i-cords while waiting in line, riding in the car, or visiting a friend. So fun!
Ahhh...a chair full of embroidered pillows!
Eat, write, dream, and stitch an i-cord, or maybe 20!