Years and years ago, my mother used a product call Tri-Chem. It was often referred to as “Liquid embroidery”. It was a “paint in a tube” with a roller ball end. She would “hoop” items that had a stenciled design, and paint over the stencil. I remember the hoops she used had blotting paper behind the hoop. Gosh, Mom had containers of colors and accessories, and she made aprons, pot holders, placemats, toaster covers etc. I still have an apron that she painted. ( I recall she may have been a demonstrator/dealer for the product back in the 60’s.) One other thing she did was make fabric books for my children with Tri-Chem. Not long ago, I was visiting and my granddaughters still have the “doggy” book, that belonged to their mother. (Yes, Tri-Chem is still available). This particular book was made in 1979, on a pellon type product and is “highly washable”. The doggy book has made it thru 2 generations of babies. I think my Mom would love that!
Among other thing Mom would make for my children were fabric panel books and dolls. We have Christmas fabric dolls that come out every year. When my grandchildren were coming along, I decided to make the fabric books too. Yes, it feels nostalgic. My mom never got to meet these great-grandchildren.
Honestly, at the point I made the “fabric panel books”, the grandchildren were putting everything in their mouths, and books made of paper were at serious risk of damage. So, when one daughter was decorating for Christmas this year, out came the Christmas fabric panel books. Her children are beyond the age of these books for any reason other than nostalgia. It is fun, pulling out those things every year that remind us of years gone by.
I have continued to purchased book panels over the years because they are so fun to make. There have been some beautiful designs printed on children’s fabric book panels too.
This year, with a new granddaughter in the family, I decided to make her some fabric books. She LOVES books, and has several commercially made books, that come with teethers and such. For the first book, I decided I would use my embroidery machine and just make a random picture book. I had fun finding bright designs that I could stitch out on various solid color fabrics. (Besides – her mother and aunt were the givers of all that embroidery thread last year!)
As I did the embroidery, you can see that I learned a few things along the way. In the following photo, I learned that my fabric just kept pulling and pulling when I did the cat. It had a heavy stitch count, and I had 3 layers of stabilizers. I am wondering if it was poor digitizing. (Every stitch of the fur kept going back to the edge of the design). So, the cat is the ONE page I am not excited about.
The turtle was a much better design, same stabilizer set up, and so smooth! Like I said, a learning process.
I learned that the “source” where you obtain your designs makes a huge difference in the final outcome too.
The end…..back cover
I spent several weeks stitching out designs. My limit was 2 per day. I went though LOTS of stabilizer and thread doing these pages but it was SO much fun.
Last week, I bought a foam pellon product at the fabric store to use between the pages. Construction of the book with the foam left me some lessons learned. Next time I get this bright idea, I will remember to not make the foam as wide as the page, keep it out of the spine, and completely turn the pages rightside out and close the stitching on the spine edge. I used binding to cover the raw spine edges. I knew better…just didn’t think it through. The other reason is for ease of “STITCHING” the pages together into a book. I had all those layers PLUS the foam and my machine PROTESTED!! I had to go thru with the handwheel to join the pages into the book. OOPS. Then of course, that binding on top (blue) had to be hand stitched down as the machine was NOT going through 4 more layers. Lessons learned.
When I managed to get this book assembled, I got out those other wonderful panels I had purchased, and got busy putting them together.
My “book making” is complete for this Christmas, and I am sure there will be future projects where my lessons learned will be put to use. I think back to the “liquid embroidery” my mother did, the hand embroidery my sister does, and the machine embroidery that I am doing. Whatever your method, I think what is important is you are enjoying the process. As I think back I know that I didn’t give proper appreciation at the time for those things my mother made. As I have learned various crafts, I have figured out how hard she worked at her projects. Those small things I have left from her I do appreciate now. Life lessons to share I suppose. I hope she is looking down from Heaven and seeing that I do now appreciate all her time and energy and crafty goodness. A handmade gift is really a gift of LOVE.
Wishing you a Christmas full of Joy and LOVE!