Tag Archive | move

The Sewing Studio – Part One of Sew It Begins

It’s Ready!” That’s what I declared the other day as I looked around my new sewing studio. The machines were in place and plugged in, the notions boxes were empty with the all the notions stored in their appropriate baskets, and the stash was organized. It was now time to sew. After almost a year of not sewing anything, both the husband and myself are in need of new shirts so that is where I decided to start sewing.

You may have noticed that I did not say that the new sewing room was ready for sewing to start. That is because I now have a sewing studio. Now, it is not as glamorous as it sounds. Since my sewing and crafting has now taken up three rooms in my new home, instead on just the one and one-half as in my previous home, I am calling my sewing space a studio. Plus a sewing studio sounds bigger and better and more exotic. Who wouldn’t want a whole studio for their sewing and crafting over just a room.

I started my first sewing project in my new sewing studio by going into the stash room where I found just the right fabric for me and the husband a new shirt and retrieved our basic sloper patterns for the pattern stash in the stash room. After laundering the fabric, I took the fabric to the prep and cutting room, which is also the crafting and amigurumi assembly room. Here, the fabric was ironed and the patterns cut out. Next, the pieces were carried into the sewing room where the sewing machines and notions reside and the sewing of the shirts began.

It took longer than expected to get to the point of sewing again because I decided to unpack the stash from the many boxes it has lived in for so many years. I placed the contents of all those boxes on wire racks so that the stash is fully visable and readily accessible. I gave the “unpacking of the stash boxes” a lot of thought before I started. I had my picture organizing method in place and it had served me well for many years, but as I organized the boxes in the stash room and opening some to see just exactly what was in each one, I realized that having the stash on the racks was a better way of organizing and using the fabric than the pictures. The husband helped be picked the correct size, weigh and style of racks and helped me assemble the racks. It was then my job to unpack the boxes. I had mixed emotions as I unpacked the stash boxes. My emotions ranged from glee and excitement to see all the precious pieces of fabric I possessed, to terror and fear that I might actually be a true fabric hoarder.

It is great fun to be sewing again. Sadly, I feel that my sewing skills had diminished with the time off, but happily, they seem to be coming back quickly. I am super excited to be sewing and crafting again.

Stay tune for details on the new shirts.

Until then, sew forth and sew on!

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Hello Old Friend

Hello, it’s me again.

Did you think that I had forgotten about you?

I did not.

Actually, I have really missed you and I am thrilled to be back with you.

This is the conversation that I had with each of my sewing machines as I unpacked them from their boxes and set them up in my new sewing room.

They made their cross country move over the holidays admirably with very few issues, and are now set back up and ready to start sewing again.

img_1243The sewing machines, sewing tools and notions were not the only thing to make this long move to their new home. The stash moved as well, and lets just say, I am a little more than embarrassed by the enormity of my stash of fabric. As I packed each box and prepared it for the move, I was stunned by the number of boxes I had labeled fabric.

Had I really let my stash get this big? Did I really own all this fabric?

img_1245Buying it a piece at a time, I really had not noticed just how big the stash was getting and how much fabric that I owned. The actual size of the stash was not nearly as big of a problem as the fact that there was no way of hiding the number of boxes I had loaded with fabric from the husband any longer as they were loaded into the trailer to be moved.

I thought for a brief moment about labeling some of the boxes, kitchen or bathroom, but if the husband opened one of these boxes to find fabric, it would be much worse than admitting just how much fabric I have in my stash at this point.

img_1242Luckily the husband is a great guy and he just rolled his eyes as he loaded the multitude of fabric and sewing boxes into the moving trailer. Needless to say, it took an entire trailer just to move my previous sewing rooms contents and the fabric stash. And of course I find myself once again vowing to purchase no more fabric and to just sew items from my existing stash.

img_1246Actually, the entire trailer was not just full of sewing tools, notions and fabric.

The same trailer also carried the yarn stash and my crocheting supplies.

But this really only took a fairly small portion of the available room in the trailer.

 

Crochet hooks are just not that big and I can stuff a lot of yarn into one box.

I am very close to having my new sewing room set up with all of my sewing tools and notions in one place and ready for me to start sewing again.

And I am super excited to get back to sewing again.

Stay tuned to see some my newest creations.

Until then, sew forth and move on!

Triangulating The Joint

P1040340Remember Thready the teddy bear? Sure you do. He was the cute, but bulky teddy bear that I crocheted a while back. He was my first try at making an amigurumi with thread joints. I have been wanting to make another amigurumi with thread joints to see if I could change the things that I did not like about Thready, like the bulky look that he had and to incorporate all the things that I learned recently from making several different types of thread joints. This made picking out my next amigurumi project easy. I found a pattern for a puppy with thread joints, but with a little variation to the joints that I had been making.

P1040350Starting with the crocheting of the pieces, I quickly found out that this was not a particularly easy pattern. I had to watch my rounds and stitch count more closely than usual. This was not difficult, just a pain. Unlike Thready’s pattern, the arms and legs of this puppy tapered in at the ends. I was also careful not over stuff the arms and legs.

The instructions in this pattern for the thread joints were a little different than for the ones on Thready’s joints. This pattern called for a separate piece of yarn to make the joints, not just to use the tail of the yarn left after crocheting. The separate yarn piece was pulled from the bottom of the puppy’s body into the leg but then angled towards the front of the leg, and then pulled out of the leg at the front. The yarn was then reinserted into the leg, not catching the crocheted yarn, pulled through under the crocheting but close to the outside of the leg to the back of the leg. Finally the yarn was pulled out from the leg at the back, then, as before, reinserted into the leg, once again not catching the crocheted yarn, pulled to the inside of the leg where it first entered the leg, then out the bottom of the body at the starting point. This formed a triangle for the joint inside the leg.

P1040227Forming the triangle joint pulled the leg closer to the body, decreasing some of the bulky look. This was a good thing. The problem, though, was that the leg was very loose. I did not feel that it was secure enough to the body to withstand any play or pulling from a child. So, I cut some more yarn and stitched the joints again the same way. While this did tighten up the joint so that it was more secure it caused another problem. I now had a ton of loose ends of yarn to knot and hide in a small space at the bottom of the body.

P1040231The idea of the triangle thread joint was good, but the execution needed to be refined, so when I made the arm I changed it up a little. I had left a long tail at the end of my crocheting of the arms, as I did with the legs but then cut off to use a separate piece yarn for the joint. On the arms, I decided to use the tail from the crocheting for the joint instead of cutting it off and using a separate piece of yarn. I pulled the tail from one arm through the body to where the other arm was to be attached. I did the same with the other arm. Then using the tail from the opposite arm, I made the triangle thread joint in the arm and then pulled it into the body. I did the same thing for the other arm. The arms were so much more secure than P1040343the legs with only one time through. Just to be safe though, I repeated the joints again but with the same thread I was using, and not a separate piece of yarn. I am glad I left a long tail on the arms so I could use it for the joints twice. This worked out great for making the thread joints, plus I could knot and hide the loose end through out the body instead of all in one spot and I only have one piece of yarn for each joint to hide. But more importantly, the arms were very secure whereas I still would have liked the legs to be tighter.

P1040351Even with the tapered and less stuffed arms and legs and the triangle joints that pulled that appendages closer to the body, the puppy still looks bulky to me although much less bulky than Thready. Maybe I just don’t like thread jointed amigurumi’s or maybe I need more taper and even less stuffing and even a tighter pull of the joints. Like Thready though, this puppy has grown on me. He is fun and cute and I hope someone will enjoy playing with him.

Until next time, crochet forth and crochet on.

Thread Joints

P1030815Since I have enjoyed making button jointed amigurumi’s so much, I decided that I would tackle the next type of joints on my to do list, thread joints. Thread joints are actually simpler to make than button joints. Like button joints, the thread joint is made by inserting the yarn through the body to the appendage, but unlike the button joints, the yarn is only inserted into the inside of the appendage then back into the body. The yarn is not pulled to the to the outside of appendage. The advantage of the thread joint is that you can pull the thread through the body and appendage several times in a loop without the limitation of the size of the holes in the button and this makes for a stronger joint. The disadvantage is that you don’t have cute decorative buttons shown on the outside of an amigurumi. But maybe that’s an advantage, since you don’t have to find matching buttons, or have the expense of the buttons added to your project.

P1030816There are many patterns out there for thread jointed amigurumi’s. After reading a couple of these patterns, I decided that just about any amigurumi could be stitched together with these thread joints. All that needs to be done is to close off the appendages when you’re crocheting them and then stitch them on with a thread joint. So, my choice of patterns to try a thread joint was almost limitless, but in the end I picked a teddy bear pattern that was designed to be stitched together with thread joints.

P1030819As usual, I started the crocheting of the pieces for this teddy bear with the appendages. As I completed the first arm, I noticed that the pattern ended the arm with a large stitch count on the last row. The yarn left for sewing was to be weaved through the stitches and then pulled tight to close up the arm. This made the top of the arm flat. I did not really like this look. So I thought about adding more rows and tapering the arm closed or at least stuffing the arm less, but in the end I followed the pattern and made the four appendages with flat tops and stuffed them full and firm.

P1030459The thread joints were easy to make and it made stitching the appendages to this teddy bear quick and simple. When I was done though, I did not like the look of the bear because it looked too bulky to me. Two things were at fault for this bulky look. The first was the flat top of the appendages. If I had tapered the ends of the appendages or stuffed them less, they would not have stuck out from the body so much and looked so bulky. The second thing was the thread joints. Because the yarn is not pulled to the outside of the appendage and then pulled back into the body, the appendage was not pulled tightly to the body. And although the appendages are securely fastened to the body with the thread joints, they are not tight against the body like the button joints of the last teddy bear were.

P1030465Next I had quite a bit of trouble with the face of this teddy bear. The nose and mouth were to be embroidered to the muzzle and then the muzzle was to be puffed up as it was stitched on to the head. After embroidering the nose and mouth, I puffed the muzzle and stitched it on, but I did not like the look. So I decided to use a plastic nose rather than an embroidered one. I attached the plastic nose to the muzzle and then puffed as I stitched it on again. I really did not like the results when it was finished. So, I attached the plastic nose through the muzzle and the head and stitched the muzzle flat to the face. This was still not the look that I wanted, but it was better than the other looks. Because I was disappointed with the bulky look already, I just left the flat muzzle and plastic nose on this bears face.

P1030455The picture of the bear on the pattern is just precious, but my bear just did not turned out to be that cute. He looks sad, and not cute sad, just sad. So I sat this teddy bear on my cutting table and started my next project hoping I could figure out what to do to make him look better. As he stared at me for several days, he seemed to just want some love and he melted my heart and I grew to love his little sad face. I named him Thready Bear, and now he just needs a loving home to go to and for someone to love him.

Button Joints, Gin Joints, and Pin Points – Part 2 – The Sewing

P1030554With all of the pieces crocheted for my button jointed bear, I next started the sewing together process. First came attaching the ears and nose to the head and adding a smile. That went easy enough. Then the pattern called to indent the eyes. I had never done this on an amigurumi before, but I was game to give it a try. I inserted the yarn at the bottom of the head, pulled it up next to the eye, then I took a small stitch and pulled it back down to the bottom of the head. Then I pulled the two yarns at the bottom of the head, causing the eyes to sink into the head slightly, giving the head an even better more bear like shape. At this point I was falling in love with this bear design.

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P1030505Next, was to sew the body on to the head. This is the only place that I deviated from the pattern. I did not like how big the opening was on the body when I started. When I finished stitching the body, I left the sewing yarn extra long. And before sewing the body to the head, I weaved the sewing yarn around the opening to close it up some. I did not pull it closed but instead just brought it in so it was a smaller opening. I had thought about crocheting a few more rows with decreasing stitches to decrease the opening size but I didn’t want to make the body taller and take away from the round body.

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P1030741With the head and body attached, it was finally time for the button joints. These joints are made by inserting pieces of yarn into the body, pulling it out where the limb is to be attached. Then you insert the yarn through the limb, through a button, back through the limb and then back into the body headed to the other side of the body to repeat the process for the next limb. Then you give it a good pull to bring it all together. I was concerned that the entire limb was attached with just one piece of yarn, so I repeated the process one more time for safety reasons. I’m pretty sure this teddy bear is going to be played with so I wanted the limbs to be stitched securely. I did dig through my sewing supplies and found a super long needle to make the joint sewing easier, and it did. The button joints were fun to make and the buttons on the sides of the bear look so cute. It makes it look a little old fashioned and nostalgic.

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P1030790P1030792Now it was test time. How did the joints work and move? And the answer is just great! The arms and legs twist around just fine. And this bear is able to sit, stand and hold his arms out for a hug without any problems. I love the button joints. They were fun and easy to do. The buttons add some cuteness to the amigurumi, and the amigurumi is more fun to play with because of them. I also love this pattern. This bear turned out so cute that I want to make another one.

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And so I did. I went ahead and made another bear from this pattern right away, but he is white and I used my 4.5 mm hook so he is bigger, but still just as stinking cute as the first one was!

Button Joints, Gin Joints, and Pin Points – Part 1 – The Crocheting

P1030553

Crocheting up some pockets pals recently was a fun stress reliever for me. After completing three of them, I was ready totackle a bigger and more complicated amigurumi project. This brought my back to my to do list. On the list was the category of joints. I had listed several different ways to make jointed amigurumi’s. After studying the list, I picked button joints. So my next project would be an amigurumi with buttons joints.

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IMG_3855But first a little explanation is in order. Up until now, I have just sewn the arms and legs on to my amigurumi’s and the position I sewed them on at was the position they were in forever. For example, if I sewed the legs to the front of the body so that the amigurumi would sit nicely, then the amigurumi would sit but not stand. If I sewed the legs on so the amigurumi could stand, then having it posed in a sitting position is difficult if not impossible. A jointed amigurumi would have its arms and legs attached somehow so that the arms and legs are moveable. Another example, with a jointed amigurumi you could either twist the legs so the amigurumi could sit or twist the legs so the amigurumi could stand. And with jointed arms, you could twist the arms forward for hugs or twist them up to play peekaboo or just position them at the side. As I said there are several different things you can use as joints in an amigurumi, and for this project I had picked buttons to use.

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Now, picking button joints over the other types of movable joints was not a totallyrandom idea for me. I was given a great pattern and I have been wanting to make it for some time now. The pattern is a jointed teddy bear using buttons. For some reason I have a thing for bears. So it was very easy to pick a brown Red Heart yarn and my favorite size G (4mm) hook and get crocheting.

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I started with the arms and legs. As I was crocheting, I quickly learned that this project was a stuff as you go project, and I quickly learned not to overstuff the pieces which I am prone to do. The arms and legs needed a taper, more stuffing at the bottom than at the top. The nice thing though is that the pattern was designed to lead you to this taper.

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Next, I crocheted the body and stuffed it as I normally would. My result was a round ball. What? Thiswas a horrible body. What happened? Had I miscounted? No, instead I learned that I had overstuffed the body, and that it too needed a taper. The head of this bear is crocheted in two parts and then stitched together, so after crocheting the head pieces I had two flat head pieces. Wondering how the head was going to look, I stitched the two pieces together and started stuffing. The head took shape and came out just perfect. The head is stuffed firmly with no taper.

You know I still have a lot more to say about the button jointed teddy bear, but for now I’m going to stop the story here. Join me next time and I’ll tell you how I sewed it all together and how it worked out in the end.