Thursday, September 5, 2013

Needle Book

Ever since I learned how to use a sewing machine , the thought or mention of hand-stitching inevitably produced a grimace on my face.  Who would want to spend all that time sewing by hand when you can zip through a project on a machine at lightening speed?

As I've come to expand my horizon, an appreciation for a little hand-stitching has developed.  I have to admit that it kind of snuck up on me.  The first couple quilt bindings I did on the machine looked absolutely dreadful.  A few months ago, I finally gave in and hand-stitched a binding on a small wall quilt (Keef's quilt: previously showcased).  It wasn't perfect, but I certainly saw potential in that almost invisible stitch.  The cosmetic case I made and wrote about a couple weeks ago was another recent "finished by hand" project.  When I saw Lindsay Rhodes's instructions to finish the case by hand, I'll admit to putting the project on the back burner.  But eventually I gave in, because it's just too cute a thing to ignore.  The result made me smile, and I made 2 more cases the following day.  I must confess that I did machine-stitch some fold-over-elastic for the binding on one of the 2 extra cases.  It didn't look nearly as nice as the two that were hand-stitched with a traditional binding.  That's what I get for being impatient.

Hexies were another thing I dreaded.  Thanks to my local Modern Quilt Guild Chapter, I was sort of forced into giving those a go as well.  The gang at were generous enough to donate a whole stack of little hexie templates to our guild a while back.  Our Events Officer handed them out at a monthly meeting at the beginning of the summer and challenged us to try them out and make a hand-stitched project to show in September.  Those who participate in the challenge will be entered for a prize drawing at our September meeting.  I ended up appliquéing a couple of my hexie flowers onto one of my Cinch-It-Up Market Bags.  They are just too cute and incredibly addictive.  What a great little project to take along on a road trip or to the in-laws for the weekend (where I am sadly deprived of my sewing machines and don't know what to do with myself when I don't have a piece of fabric in my hands - I'm sure they think I'm crazy).

Wow, I really can go on about almost nothing, can't I?  I should get to the point of this whole story which is...

This evening I made this:

It makes me so happy that I get a funny little tickle in my tummy.  I'll be off to Sewing Summit in a couple weeks, and I was determined to have an incredibly fancy Needle Book to take with me.  I stitched up a plain and boring one a few months ago when I got hooked on the hexies, but this one is infinitely better.

I gather that drinking tea is a little trendy almost everywhere nowadays - must be all the antioxidants and the increasing obsession with health food.  Growing up in New England, however, means that coffee  (the anti-tea) was somewhat foreign to me.  When you go to visit friends and relations in Maine, the first thing they offer you when you arrive is a cuppa tea and somethin' sweet to go with it.  I get a kick out of watching Downton Abby with all the tea-times, because that is what it was like for me in Maine (except without all the fancy hats and sitting straight as a board with your ankles crossed).  And we drink our tea in mugs.  I will admit to having a strong affinity for fancy tea cups and pots, though.  Frannie ("Queenie") surprised me last summer by letting me have most of her (now 54-year-old) Bone China tea sets that were her wedding gifts.  They are (collectively) one of my favorite things.  Once in a while when I'm feeling the need for something a little fancy I make an entire pot of tea (in a fancy teapot) and take it down to the shop with a fancy little teacup.  It goes great with the Oreos.

Blah blah blah...hence the teacup paper piecing patterns on my new Needle Book.  I love teacups.  There you have it.  They don't have much to do with sewing, but what the heck.  They're cute.  I drink tea while I sew, so I guess tea and sewing go together in my world.

I found the teacup paper piecing patterns for free at  Click here for the direct link.  I used Lindsay's vinyl zipper pocket method from the Cosmetic Case.  Instead of the traditional Button & Loop closure you find on most needle books, I used a couple Poly-Resin snaps, because they are fun and I have a ga-jillion of them.


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