Stitch Therapy

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Has it been that kind of day for you too? With the increasingly disturbing COVID-19 news and today’s dreary weather, I really needed a pick-me-up and some stitch therapy.

 

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I created these little stitching kits and have been mailing out to my students. It is my hope that they will enjoy this snail mail surprise and lean into their stitching practice as a way to get through these challenging times. Today, I gifted myself one.

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Sitting in my studio watching and listening to the heavy wind and rain, I chose a lemony yellow embroidery floss, stripped it down from 6 to 3 strands, and used both seed and running stitches to bring in some sunshine and texture!

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Shall we take it one stitch at a time? Wishing everyone light, love and creative energy to get through these difficult dark days.

SLOW SPIRITED HAND STITCHING WORKSHOP: Saturday, April 25th, 2020

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I am thrilled to announce my first “Slow Spirited Hand Stitching” Workshop of 2020!
Spring is on her way and it’s time to begin some seasonally inspired, slow spirited
hand stitching!

Join me on Saturday, April 25th, 2020 from 10:30am-3:30pm here in my home studio in Fairfield, CT for a slow hand stitching workshop.

In this workshop, first, I will demonstrate basic hand stitches with different fibers and guide you in creating a mini stitch sampler to keep as a reference. Next, we will move on to begin a sweet, hand-stitched piece that will become your interpretation of “Spring.” I will also demo one of my favorite a fabric painting techniques that you will want to try and include in your stitched “Spring” piece.

All workshop materials are included in the workshop fee. There will be a lovely selection of my beautiful natural and hand dyed fabrics and fibers available to use.

This will be such a relaxing day of slow hand stitching with like-minded creatives! There will be a table laden with healthy, yummy snacks and refreshing beverages to keep you happy and fueled! Should you require a special type of food due dietary or allergy restrictions, please feel free to bring it along.

The non-refundable workshop fee is $110.00 and can be paid in full using PayPal. This fee includes:
– 5 Hour group workshop
– All workshop materials
– Healthy snacks and beverages.

Please remember to bring:
– Reading glasses if you typically use them for close work.
– A small pair of sharp scissors for cutting threads and small scraps of fabric

Please make your full, non-refundable payment of $110.00 via PayPal, using dkrdu@aol.com.
​Upon receiving your payment, I will send you an email confirmation with my street address and other pertinent info. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at etduke44@gmail.com

I hope you will join me for this inspiring and fun workshop

Pouches for Joeys, Wallabys and Marsupials Down Under

Hi Makers! I wanted to share a very meaningful service project I just started this week. The very lovely, kind and talented Sarah of Piccolo Studio has published several excellent tutorials and “printable pattern templates” for making pouches “for dear ones”: vulnerable Kangaroos, Wallabys and marsupials affected by the spreading wildfires in Australia. Sarah is a member of ARC, the Animal Rescue Craft Collective. Her patterns are based on the original pouch pattern by Long Grass Nature Refuge. Her refined patterns are available for free as PDF downloads. I downloaded the patterns and had them copied at our local Staples on sturdy copy paper. The pattern download prints out on letter-sized paper. You do have to trim the tops and left sides and then tape them together. I would recommend putting on some music or as I often do my current audible book. This pattern taping process will be done in no time!

In Australia, far too many people, their homes, businesses and wildlife have greatly suffered due to these spreading wildfires. Regarding wildlife, Sarah points out in her posts that these poor animals require care not just now in this current crisis but year-round under normal circumstances. Animal refuge center are always in need of these pouches. With this in mind, I wanted to share the link to her site. There you will find a variety of pattern templates to make and send. Sarah also provides the mailing address in the tutorial. All of these pouches are manageable for a beginner sewist. The pouches require a relatively small amount of fabric yardage. Sarah has included recommendations for best fabric choices and sewing prep.

This week, I began by downloading the PDF pattern templates, getting them printed and then trimming them down.

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Next I taped them together.
IMG_9747Then I went through my fabric stash. I found some nice durable cotton twills, recommended for the outer pouch pieces and soft cotton flannels, recommended for the inner pouch pieces. I pre-washed, recommended by Sarah, all these natural fiber fabrics.  I laid out the patterns and fabrics and cut out 10 pouches.

IMG_9749 With the long holiday weekend coming up, I hope to get a good jump start on the sewing! Please click on the link, check out Sarah’s story and please consider making and donating a few of these pouches for these very needy Aussie animal friends. Thank you!

Mindfully mending with patches

A friend asked if I could mend a tear in his most beloved white buttoned down shirt. The 6″ rip, was not on a seam rather in a somewhat tricky spot. I decided to give it a go as it posed a interesting challenge in modern day garment mending!

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Step 1 was to remove all the machine stitches in the area needing repair. The industrial machine stitch length used to make this lovely Egyptian Cotton men’s ready-to-wear shirt was quite tiny and imbedded due to wear and laundering. I had to be very careful while ripping out so as not to make the tear worse!

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Since the tear was located dangerously(!) near both the overlap and underlap sleeve plackets, I decided to delicately open up the whole area and fuse a strip of lightweight fusible interfacing on the underside to stabilize, using a muslin press cloth. Here’s the brand and type of fusible interfacing.

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My plan was to create a long slender hemmed patch and to sandwich it between the overlap and underlap plackets. From my wondrous fabric stash I chose a piece of white-on-white Dotted Swiss cotton, perfect in fabric weight and design scale for this patch. Recently I read an article, “Essential Techniques” in Threads Magazine, December 2019/January 2020 issue on page 77, that offered an excellent technique for making small hems. Using a permanent Micron marker, I drew a 1/4″ line on a small piece of card stock. I folded the patch fabric over the card stock, lined it up with my ruled line and pressed into place without burning my fingers! Sewists, you will want to check out this article as it has so many other brilliant tips and techniques!

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Once the patch was hemmed on all four sides, I fused piece of Wonder Under Light, slightly smaller in size, onto the wrong side of the patch. I removed the paper liner side of the WU and fused the patch to the sleeve’s right side positioned evenly over the tear. This may seem like a lot of extra steps employed and products used but by stabilizing the area (fusible interfacing on wrong side) then adding the double sided fusible to the wrong side of the patch (Heat n Bond), the area was well prepped making the final stitching a piece of cake.

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But wait there’s more! Since the owner/wearer of this shirt, a music critic, gave me artistic freedom with this repair, I added a lil’ decorative patch on top of the functional Dotted Swiss one. This small inchie-sized cotton fabric patch (using the same process as the first patch: the card stock for measuring the bitty 1/4″hems and Heat n Bond for fusing into place) has a musical theme.

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So now I was ready to machine appliqué all these elements into place. I installed a new 80/12 Universal sewing machine needle and selected a 2mm stitch length. First I sewed all around the long slender patch, then a couple rows centered over the area of the tear, then stitched the smaller patch into place and finally stitched and reinforced the overlap placket and its peaked “roof.”

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Here’s hoping the repair holds well. I felt I gave it the best support possible with the stabilizing agents. This sewing experience combined function and fun. It also felt very mindful and sustainable as I was slowly and thoughtfully working to repair a garment for reuse.

Make & Give 2019-Day 25: It’s a Wrap!

Well my dear makers and givers, we made it!! (ha ha, pun intended!) Today we celebrate  the good work that we have all done to spread joy with our hand mades. Isn’t it the best feeling to share our time and creative efforts with others? For me, it is both a heartwarming and inspiring experience. My patient and clever son assembled this little slideshow of my 2019 Make & Give highlights. As I write this holiday wrap up piece for you, my daughter turned on the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” for background music…imagine that as you read and watch the show. Thank you all for reading, liking and commenting on my posts. Your interest and support means a lot to me! I am full of gratitude. I am wishing you all a lovely holiday season, time to relax and restore and a most productive, creative year to come! Blessings.

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Make & Give 2019-Day 24: Annual Visit to the ER

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No Make & Give season would be complete without our family’s annual visit to the ER. Thankfully not for medical treatment, but to spread holiday cheer. Every Christmas Eve, my hubs and two children join me as we walk through the wards of St Vincent’s Hospital in Bridgeport, C.T. to pass out treats. We handed out reindeer antlers with jingle bells to the doctors, nurses and staffers and then we stopped in patients’ rooms to give crossword puzzle and coloring books, hand cream, tissues and candy canes to both the infirmed and their families. It’s so heartwarming to us to see their smiles in spite of their situations. I am ever grateful to my dear husband who supports this effort and always offers to wrap every single gift and to our children who always want to be included and enthusiastically greet the patients. Thanks as well to St. V’s Charge Nurse Diane for graciously granting us access to the wards as well as to the nurses who guide us through the wards.

Make & Give 2019-Day 23: For my knitting mentor

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For me, on the off season (teacher schedule!), I attend a knit group on Mondays at my LYS. Our fearless leader patiently corrects all our mistakes, offers design and technique advice. She is so generous and a wonder! Not only a master level knitter, she is a talented sewist and stitcher as well. What to make and give to this creative?! Only a hand dyed piece will do! I gifted her a mulberry colored hand dyed cotton table scarf. I’m so glad she loved it! Thank you so much, Laura for sharing your knowledge, infinite patience and friendship!

Make & Give 2019-Day 22: Open Studio

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Every holiday season I open up my studio for the afternoon and invite my sewing student alumnae to stop by for holiday making. Today was that day! Also, one of my dear students recently got engaged. What a perfect opportunity to celebrate her as we sat, chatted and crafted. I made her a special journal to record stories and events leading up to the Big Day! Onto the canvas journal cover, I stitched one of my sweet heart patches and added a few more slow stitched lines. She then continued on stitching in her own signature style using some of my hand dyed floss. Ahhh, how stitching always seems to connect us all!

Make & Give 2019-Day 21: On the Fringe

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A returning favorite here for today’s M & G: making fringed fleece scarves for ALL the Starbucks baristas in our town, that’s three locations, who are so friendly and incredibly patient with my drink order! It’s a whole lotta cutting and fringing but so work it! Every year when I think perhaps this is scarfing is getting old, I hear things like, “Oh, thank you so much I really need this” or “My daughter/sister/son took last year’s scarf and I’m keeping this one for me” and the like. So off I go into the studio, scissors in hand, singing Christmas carols and fringing!

Make & Give 2019-Day 20: Holiday Nuptials

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For today’s Make & Give, I surprised a friend who is getting remarried on New Years Day.  This lady is a real gem, such a kind and giving woman! I wanted to celebrate her and her upcoming wedding in a special way. For her: one of my annual holiday cloth journals to begin a written record of her new journey, a bouquet of ivory and pink roses and silly 2020 glasses for some New Years fun! She was so surprised and is beyond happy. I wish her and her betrothed every happiness!

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