Monday, March 10, 2014

Embracing my madness...

I received a few encouraging comments to my post yesterday, and it got me thinking that I should be embracing my madness and posting more on here about the things I've tried and what works and what doesn't, in the hopes that it will help a few stitchers out there.  

A little while ago I purchased this Vera Bradley laptop bag, the older version, in the Frankly Scarlet pattern for about $11 on eBay because it was used, but still in perfect condition.  Now, knowing I work on 12 by 12 stretcher bars, I had to find a bag that was wide enough, definitely, and this one fit the bill.  Plus I like the short rolled handles.  And there is a front zippered pocket that fits my other supplies. But I do not like the fact that about 4 inches of the top of the stretcher bars sticks out of the top of the bag.  But this is a great bag for carrying my stitching from room to room in my home, and traveling with it to stitch nights and retreats.  

So, I decided to do some searching for another Vera Bradley bag.  I just love Vera Bradley items.  Very good quality and patterns.  My cell phone case and purse are both Vera Bradley!  So, I said, okay, I need to find a bag that is at least 12 inches wide by 12 inches tall, as I wanted the stretcher bars to completely fit in the bag.  And I wanted those short rolled handles.  Now, I knew this might be a long shot, but off I went to look on the Vera Bradley website.  I found the Two-Way Tote, which is 13.5 by 12, with the short rolled handles!!!  So, off I went to eBay to search for the cheapest one I could find, while still liking the pattern.  I found this one for $30, including shipping.

I also like that this one has various inside pockets.  These will come in handy.  So, when I get this bag, I will post pics and my review on how it works.  

OK.  So, I was able to get my next project all prepared and even started.  Here are pics of the stretcher bars with the fabric attached.  You can see that I pin the fabric on the BACK of the stretcher bars.  And I use as many tacks as I can, as it makes the fabric drum tight.  Take your time doing this.  

Here are the tacks and tack pusher I use.  The tacks have a magnetized head and the end of the tack pusher is also magnetized, so the tacks will stick to the tack pusher and make it easier to push them in the stretcher bars.  But a word of advice:  If you buy the tack pusher as a combo that comes with a set of tacks, make sure the tacks have a completely flat head.  If not, toss those and buy another set of tacks that have a flat head.  The tacks that came with this tack pusher were sort of rounded and the tacks would not stick perfectly to the tack pusher and it made it very difficult to push them in the stretcher bars how they should be pushed in.  I bent many tacks and much cursing ensued!!!  

I also liked this container because the lid screws on instead of just pushing on, and just yesterday I was trying to carry everything downstairs to prep the project and I dropped the tacks, but none came out because the lid stayed on!

Now for the bobbins.  I love the plastic bobbins!  They are virtually indestructible, unlike the cardboard bobbins which can peel and wear down after time.  The only thing is you cannot write on the plastic bobbins the DMC numbers, as they can rub off or smear.  So, when I wound the 19 bobbins I needed for Faerie Summer Love yesterday I carefully cut each number off the labels and used clear Scotch tape to tape them onto the bobbins.  Make sure to use the crystal clear tape, not the cloudy tape that is used for gift wrap and such.  You want to be able to clearly see the numbers.

And also be careful when you cut the numbers.  Now, I had never used these plastic bobbins until yesterday.  The VERY FIRST ONE I cut it flew up in the air and I thought behind my head.  I could not find it.  I said to myself you have got to be kidding!!  I even had my husband looking with a flashlight under my recliner.  We could not find it.  I had checked in my hair and my clothes.  And I thought, okay, I will just need to type the number on a piece of paper and use that.  But the OCD person in me thought, no, I want all of the bobbins to look the same!!!  So, after winding a few more bobbins I decided to look in my sweatshirt hoodie once more and it was in the fold at the bottom!!!  I laughed for like 10 minutes.  But at least I found it!  So, be careful when cutting the numbers!!

Now, right now I just put the bobbins loose in the front pocket of my Vera Bradley bag, but I will be receiving today in the mail the handmade floss organizer I purchased off of eBay a few days ago, so I will post about how that works also.  

I put the rest of my supplies in this Walker zipper mesh bag.  I put scissors, retractable highlighter (love these as it does save time from having to pull off and on the cap on a normal highlighter), beads, spare beading and stitching needles, tacky bob for beads, the pattern key, and whatever bobbin color I am stitching with at the moment, as I try to pick one symbol and stitch a large block of that before going on to another color.

Now, here is a pic of the small bit of stitching I did get done last night.  Imagine the piece of lined legal pad paper is my pattern.  I have a few of those Accoutrement Designs needle magnets and I will fold my pattern to the part I am currently stitching and hold it on my fabric with one of these magnets, so the pattern is right in front of my face.  

That is all I can think of for now.  

Until next time...


  1. I'll have to take a look at your tacking technique, I think we need a group stitch date!

    I have noticed that the old cardboard floss bobbins are much sturdier than the new ones, they are so thin. I might have to try the plastic ones when I need them next time.

  2. Holy cow, I never thought of using the magnet to hold the pattern! That is brilliant...I am trying it tonight! Thanks for showing that!