Funky forest cross-stitch

Well, I've been away from my sewing machine for one month (hard, I know), but I didn't keep my hands idle. 
I brought with me a project I've had for a long time now (well, a little more than a year, but still...).

Satsuma Street's Forest cross-stitch pattern.

Yep, it's a lot of colors.
Each year DMC has a special offer : 3 bought, one offered. And given there's at least 20 colors in this, it was welcome.

The canvas is a 10 count (25 for people across the Atlantic) cotton evenweave.
I used 3 strands over 2.
The end result is about 13cm x 38cm. (5.12x14.9)
The threads around it mark the size at which it will be framed. (23cm x 48cm) Unfortunately I left it at my parents so I won't be able to make a good photo of it before long.
It took me the better part of three weeks, stitching about an hour or two day. (under the watchful eye of my grand-mother)

The pattern was very good and easy to read, given the number of colors.
I just regret there hadn't been a black&white version of it, as I can't print in color. (and had to lighten it so it was not just a big dark grey blot).

Satsuma Street is best known for their city inspired cross-stitch patterns. The reason I didn't do one (yet) is because I can't seem to choose. (and it's so much work I don't think I would want to gift it)

Maybe Tokyo... (souvenirs, souvenirs)


ACorny Quilt, off season.

I began thinking about this design about a year ago.
I wanted something simple, straight to the point.

I didn't feel like piecing the acorns, so I decided to make them in appliqué.
I "glued" them on the top and quilted them directly. (lazy ?)

I made a lot of tests to find the right proportions for the acorns. I even asked my friends which one they prefered. (they don't even bat a lash anymore)

The motif you saw in a previous post on FMQ is actually the one I used all over the quilt.
I decided to add the "arcs" to give motion and break the monotony. (And I thought it was funny, it told a bit of a story there). (My friend Mercredy calls it the squirrel quilt).
It went fairly quickly. Well, once I recognized that my machine was not made for FMQ, and that I would have to look at it from afar.

110 cm x 140 cm. (44"x55").
FreeSpirit solids.
Guttermann thread.
Backing is brown and binding is evergreen.
Polyester batting.


Trousers compulsion.

I need trousers.
I hate shopping for trousers. (you know, this feeling of despair, after you've tried 40 different trousers and nothing fit ?)
So why not make them ?
Because finding a pattern both flattering and modern is difficult.
Because fitting trousers is hell.
Despair or hell ? And why not wear skirts ?
Well, hell it is.

I choose Burda 7250.

The pleats are flattering, the shape is what I would wear (it I could find a good pair in store), and it has good reviews on internet.
I made a first pair as a wearable muslin. I didn't take photos. I followed Burda sizing, and of course, they're too big.
So I made a second wearable muslin, one size down. (hmmm, this sensation when you're destashing). (I lacked fabric, so I didn't cut in the grainline)

The fit is better. It's a bit tight at the hips -nothing uncomfortable but it pulls the pockets open-, and at the knees -it's difficult to bend my legs-.
And I think the trousers are a bit short.
What the photos don't show is bagginess at the seat.

I had two solutions, for a flat butt adjustment :
- fish eye dart (as seen here)
- or simple dart (as seen there).

So, after a FBA and slight widening of the legs, I pulled my bazin fabric out and cut.
(yep, there's an african theme here).

Details of the design.

It fits ok. (I never wished for perfect or even great).
The problem at the hips overshadowed the slight gaping at the waist. (bah, belt).

And now, some truth tea : the reason that all the photos of these trousers have people with hands in the pockets, and feet in high heels is shown on the photo bellow :

Not that flattering. 
But I like them nonetheless.

So much so that I made a third (fourth) in a wax I bought compulsively. (wax in violet and water green, yay !) For later when I can make photos.

Ps : do not wash your bazin at more than 30°C. It's tempting, but no.


Tkaniny !

That's the word you're searching for if you're looking for fabric in Poland.

I had only found three adresses when searching on the internet, but I found many more just by walking in the streets.

The shops are mainly small ones, but they're often well stocked (for the size).
They have very good basics (beautiful linens, cottons, wools), synthetic laces in unbelievable colors, of course the traditional flowery polish fabrics, and lots of printed rayon fabrics.
The only downside, in my opinion, is the "style" of these printed fabrics. They look a bit like new old stock from the communist era. Big flowers, etc. But still tasteful.

I'll only talk about the shops selling garment fabrics. A lot of "tkaniny" shops sell mainly curtain ("firany") and furnishing fabrics.

Open me in a new window to enlarge me and see the names of the streets.

1 - Madec.
Good sized shop. Interesting choice at good prices. A bit of everything. (2nd favorite)

2 - Milanex.
My favorite. The best stocked.  The young clerk speaks english.

3 - Konrad.
The only ones talking about polish linen. (every shop has linen, but we don't know if it's really from Poland). They were closed when I went, but I looked by the window. It's really small. Seemed mostly basics, quality fabrics. The prices are related to this.

4 - Dee Dee Mode.
Very small, a corridor. Similar to the others. (there are several in the same street, so why not check it while you're there).

5 - Kakadu.
Same range as the others. A bit of everything. The largest of the shops in this street.

6 - Zonia.
Didn't go in. (I was short on time) Choice seemed sparse. (same comment as Dee Dee)

The prices are about 20% cheaper than in Western Europe. Luxury fabrics are about the same prices (which is really expensive for the country, I imagine).

Linen fabric is a local product (when I say local, I mean North East Europe). You'll find plenty in these shops. It's often blended with rayon. Konrad is the only shop giving the origin of its linen fabric as Poland.

Fabric shops only sell that. If you're looking for haberdashery, it's a "pasmenteria" you're after. I saw several in the city. One in the center, two in ul. Sw. Filipa, and one at level -1 of Galeria Krakowska.


Free motion quilting, FMQ to its friends.

Quilting in straight lines ? Check !
Now, level up !

As, after having begun quilting for a bit less than a year, I'm 100% sure there's alcool involved in this, discovering FMQ totally confirms this. They have invented a way to quilt while drunk, and make it seems perfectly normal.

I love this craft.

So, I invested in a darning foot.

And I did as aaaaaall the tutorials instruct you : I practiced.

Above is the back of my "test sheet".
As you can see, the first try was awful.
So I increased the upper thread tension.
Then I reduced to 0 the stitch length (I read this in a book, so I tried, even if I don't see how it can change anything).
I changed the needle (from normal to quitling, but I don't really see a difference).
I also reduced the speed. This was, with thread tension, the most useful. (I found a good balance between the speed of my machine and my dexterity to move the quilt in it).

In the end, I could never really achieve perfect tension.
I tried every combinations, but nothing worked.
If I believe Stitched In Color, the problem comes from my machine. Well, I never bought it for quilting after all.

Much better. Acceptable, we'll say.