starting to finish…..

I’m starting the finishing process on my Rabbit and Sheep Greetings make do, so I thought I’d share some of the details because “turning” a punched piece can be quite a challenge.  Here goes:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Above is the finished punched piece.  I’ll be sharing the pattern with you as soon as I find a blank piece of paper and a sharpie.  (how is it possible that there is not ONE unused piece of printer paper in this house?)

After I finish the punching and aging, it’s time to find a backing fabric and pins.

a bit of ticking and some long pins

a bit of ticking and some long pins

Now, place right sides of the punched piece and the backing fabric together….

two rights will make a right!

two rights will make a right!

Here’s the part that makes the world of difference for me.  I make a fold in the backing fabric over the narrowest part of the punched piece.  In this case, the fold goes vertically along the rabbit’s ear….

see the fold?

see the fold?

Then, I take that fold and fold it over itself, again, so it’s a very narrow little roll….

a roll of backing

a roll of backing

(the above picture is not of the rabbits ear, but the roll concept is the same.) This little roll of backing fabric won’t, hopefully, get caught in my sewing machine needle.  Now, I pin that roll to the punched piece…

pinned and ready to stitch

pinned and ready to stitch

Having this little roll of extra backing fabric, after everything is stitched together, makes turning so much easier.

Now to stitch ~ be careful NOT to stitch the roll itself….

stitching

stitching

In the above, you can see that I stitched around the piece twice. (I don’t usually use white thread, but I wanted it to be visible to the camera so you could see the stitches.)  That’s because I put a LOT of stress on the piece as I turn it right side out and I don’t want any seams bursting.   You can also see that I’ve snipped the edges all the way around the perimeter, except by the sheep’s belly, where I haven’t stitched at all.  The belly is where I’ll turn the whole thing right side out.

Now unpin the roll…

roll unrolled

roll unrolled

See how much room there is, now, for turning?

Turn….OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

That’s actually the rabbit’s arm I’m turning in the above photo.  Even with the extra backing fabric, turning is still challenging….OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

…but much easier!

ta da!

ta da!

Now everything’s turned and ready for stuffing.  You may notice in the above that the ends of the sheep’s legs are not stitched closed.  That’s because I want to put wood dowels inside the legs to anchor the stuffed piece to the rocker or whatever I decide to use as a base.

I’ll share the pattern with you, if you’re interested, as soon as I get some paper…. maybe next week?

 

In the meantime, have a blissful weekend!

 

rebecca

 

another way to finish…

It’s been astonishingly lovely here for the past two weeks, and I’ve spent every waking moment outdoors getting things ready for a lazy summer.  My friends, too, have been enjoying the new season, observing all that happens from the safety of their home.

oh boy!

oh boy!

Nothing escapes their notice, especially the bold chippers who stop by for a snack.

eek!

eek!

Of course, all this intense concentration is exhausting for Lilly, Ellis, and Otis, so they finish their days the way cats do:

"i am not asleepzzzzzz..."

“i am not asleepzzzzzz…”

Otis is a professional!

"i am asleepzzzzzzz..."

“i am asleepzzzzzzz…”

"i'm just resting my eyes...."

“i’m just resting my eyes….”

"scooch over otis"

“scootch over otis”

Today, it’s cold and rainy so we’re indoors working or snoozing.  I’m finishing my Angel Sampler, design by Robin of Bird in the Hand Primitives.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve done all the punching and staining, and I’ve chosen some wool to back and edge the Angel.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI left an inch or two of weavers cloth around the edge, snipped and pressed it back.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow, I’ll apply some glue making sure to get under the weavers as well as on top.  I’ll flip the embroidery over centering it onto the wool and let the glue dry.  When the adhesive is dry, I’ll trim the wool close to the edge.

wool trimmed

wool trimmed

I like to have a scalloped edge when I finish a punch needle with wool.  If I want a large scallop I cut a wide strip of wool to sew around the edge, a small scallop gets a narrow strip.  I’m hoping for a larger scallop so I cut a strip of wool long enough to make it around the piece and about 1/3″ wide.  Actually, I tear a strip of wool so that the edges of the strip are soft and fuzzy.  Now, I’m ready to stitch.

starting

starting

I thread my needle with some Valdani perle cotton and stitch from the front of the embroidery.  I leave a little tail of wool to overlap when I get all the way around.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI bring my thread across the wool strip on a diagonal and hold it under my thumb while I pull the thread tight.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPulling the thread tight on a diagonal allows the wool to bunch a bit.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI keep my needle close to the edge of the embroidery, making sure I catch the wool backing.  Sometimes, I catch the wool strip as I stitch, sometimes I don’t ~ if it happens it happens, if it doesn’t it doesn’t.  I don’t try to catch the strip, and I don’t try not to catch the strip.

all the way around

all the way around

When I get back to the beginning, I overlap the wool strip over the tail I left in the beginning.  Then, anchor my thread and cut the strip close to my last stitch.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAll done!  I think I’ll leave this piece as a simple mat, but it could be tacked or adhered to a hornbook or other piece of wood or backing.

Wishing you a warm and creative day!

rebecca

one way to finish…

lilly...

lilly…

Here’s Lilly, and when she’s finished playing with a toy she simply falls asleep.

When I finish punching a piece I sometimes take a nap, like Lilly, more often, though, I try to move on to the next step.

Here, I’m all done punching United, a design by Lori Brechlin from her American Folk pattern book.

stained and drying

stained and drying

And, here, United has been soaked in coffee, squeezed and wrung, and now hangs out and dries over night.  United will be ready for steaming in the morning.

rowenta pressure steamer

rowenta pressure steamer

I’ve had this Rowenta pressure steamer/iron for about five years ~ love it, love it, love it!  I use it for hooked rugs, punch needle pieces and for steaming clothes ~ fabulous for getting wrinkles out of dress shirts!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

First, I steam the back of United, including the weavers cloth.  I move rather slowly over the back, giving the steam time to do its thing.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Then, I steam the front.  I use a much lighter hand when steaming the front, moving the iron very quickly over the surface.  It’s actually not necessary to steam the front ~ I just do it because I do it ~ and, in fact, using too much steam and/or pressure can flatten the loops.  My loops are so short to begin with (because I set my Cameo needle to the lowest setting) that there’s little danger of flattening.

Now, I let the piece rest until cool and dry.

snip

snip

Because, I’m planning to mount United on a piece of wood, I’m going to turn the edges of the weavers cloth back.  I’ll trim around the whole piece leaving an inch or two or three of excess fabric.

folding corners

folding corners

Now, I fold in and press the corners.

edges

edges

Then, I fold and press the edges.

elmer's fabric and craft glue

elmer’s fabric and paper glue

I like to use Elmer’s Craft Bond when I adhere.  It’s non-toxic and acid-free, so shouldn’t yellow over time or cause my Valdani floss to change color.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I put some glue under the turned back weavers cloth so that it will lay flat against the punch needle.  Now, I want to cover the exposed punched bits with another piece of weavers cloth.  By covering the entire back of the piece with fabric, I feel safe.  That is, I feel safe that if I should ever want to remove United from its final resting place (the piece of wood I’m planning to mount it on), I will be able to do so without pulling out all my punching.  When, in the past, I have adhered an unprotected punch needle back to a piece of wood or other surface, then changed my mind and pulled my punch needle off said surface… *pphhhrrrrttttt* …it’s been like pulling out a row of knitting.

under wraps

under wraps

So, I keep it covered.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow, United is dry and ready to get together with a piece of wood.  I’ll use the same Elmer’s Craft Bond to adhere the two together, and next time I’ll show you the finished product.

 

Until then, be well and happy, and thank you for stopping by!

 

rebecca