Life is indeed a stitch!
Berryhill Heirlooms and Susie Gay present techniques, heirloom sewing, hand embroidery and other musings that you will enjoy and appreciate. Come and join in the fun with Susie, a Home Economist, and savor a little rest from your hectic day...and yes, it's a Degree she uses every day!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Valdani Pearl Cotton

I saw a friend smocking a Wee Care gown (a program of the Smocking Arts Guild of America) with perle cotton at a sewing retreat last February. I thought that was interesting instead of using 3 strands of cotton embroidery floss: perle cotton was faster and looked great. Now it's not a substitute for the floss as it doesn't lay flat (like you need for picture smocking). I had purchased a ball of really pretty pastel Valdani variegated #12 perle cotton (M20) on my trip to Keepsake Quilting a year ago....so I took it out and started smocking on a Wee Care gown,
I really liked it! It was fast. I showed the results to my SAGA Guild members and they loved the thread... and asked to buy some. So I tracked the Valdani pearl cotton down to a distributor in Canada. I learned that Valdani is made in Romania. It is colorfast. Valdani also manufactures floss, silk, pearl cottons of various sizes....but I'm only interested in #12 for now. The #12 perle cotton balls are solid (no plastic core in the center) and have 100 meters on them (that's 109+ yards). There are lots of solids and variegates, so I chose a few of the variegates to stock. Oh my!!! It was like Christmas when they arrived.

Here's a smocked sampling of the colors on Wee Care Bonnets.
And a closer look at each color: M20, a not-the-usual pastel mix: lime, yellow, blue and pink.
M24, light blues, teals and greens.
M38 consists of baby soft pastels: coral, green/turquoise and yellow. 
M49 is white, ivory and cream. This looks beautiful with ecru lace and ribbons.
And I added two more colors: M42 named "Summer Sky" because of the sky blues.
And O557 "Rose Suave", a very subtle baby pink variegate. I can see this on Wee Care gowns and smocked infant dresses.

They are available on my online store if you want to try something different and new with your smocking, or any other needlework that requires #12 perle cotton.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Button Brooch

It's done. Finished....yeah!!! One goal completed. The RSN "Scabiosa" Button class (taught by Jenny Adin-Christie) I took at their Williamsburg classroom is completed. Here are the steps:

After very carefully cleaning the piece and drying it for several days I cut away the linen and backing from around the button (the fabric that held the embroidery in the hoop). You can see the sheer fabric in this photo that was left. Then the instructions said to sand the acid-free cardboard disk to bevel the edge. I next applied a cotton pad to the disk (again carefully trimmed) with supplied archival glue.

Here the piece is pinned to a tan linen backing, centered, and I started stitching a gathering (running) stitch around the button with the supplied Nymo thread. The running stitch was positioned about 10cm from the ladder stitch edge to allow for turning over the cardboard.


The the gathering stitch was pulled up and over the edge of the padded cardboard with the design centered on the front side. The padding is against the wrong side of the embroidery. After gathering it up, the lacing was begun with the Nymo thread. Lacing is done going back and forth around the circle, say, from 12:00 to 6:00, then 1:00 to 7:00, and so forth, circling around the disk until it's perfectly tensioned around the circle. The last step was to sew a brooch pin to a pre-cut piece of wool felt I had on hand, and then glue and slip stitch that to the back of the Scabiosa button.

Here's the finished project!!! I'm so pleased with the results. I learned a great deal from Jenny's wonderful classroom instruction and fantastic written instructions.


Monday, July 30, 2018

Another Heirloom Machine Mat

I've finished another Heirloom Machine Mat. It's going to be part of a Raffle Basket for the upcoming Smocking Arts Guild of America Convention in Winston-Salem, NC. It was a great way for me to check my pattern instructions while making it since this is a Berryhill Heirlooms class, too.

I love the color choices: pretty florals in yellow and pink with a little Liberty Lawn thrown in for good measure. Here are most of my choices:
It's so much fun to sew up! The Liberty fabrics are from a pack I bought at Liberty in London in the very early 90s. Even the solid pink and yellow are Liberty lawn. I just love the idea of using small, precious bits of fabric to make something so pretty and functional!

The pockets were stitched with fabric strips, Swiss insertions, lots of entredeux. The pink Swiss beading is ready to be sewn down.
I designed the Thread Catcher flat against the mat so it wouldn't stick out too much. I just love the gathered lace attached to the Swiss beading. It hangs from the mat by loop and button. 
Little bits and pieces make up the cute pincushion. A lace flower and another mother of pearl button decorate the top. It can be attached to the mat with hook and loop tape.

I think this will make up a very nice Raffle Basket for the SAGA Convention.  Now, what else shall I add to the Basket?