I love it all: embroidery, canvaswork, quilting, crochet. So much to do, so little time.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Small Finish

Good Evening Dear Blog Readers,

I recently realized that May was over half over and I hadn't made even one Christmas ornament yet.  Not wanting to put this off and go coocoo crazy in October, I decideded to remedy the situation.

The above is Frosty Flakes, a 2010 ornament of the month by Little House Needleworks.  Their sample was stitched on 30-count linen and all I had in my stash was 28-count.

It finished up a wee bit large, in my opinion, for an ornament, so I might have a doorknob hanger made from it.  I have two other LHN ornament patterns which I intend to stitch on 32-count.

I used small black beads for the eyes of the bird and snowman, and the buttons on the snowman.  And as I'm looking at this photo, I just realized that I forgot to add the fringe on the scarf!  Well, we need to remedy that situation right now, don't we?

There, now it's finished!
(The overcast sky now is making the colors look a little weird.)

I hope everyone has a good weekend, and if you're celebrating Memorial Day, have a good holiday on this first official weekend of summer.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cotton Theory

Good Afternoon Dear Blog Readers,

This past weekend I went to my LQS and took a class in Cotton Theory.  It's a funny name, because you think it would be all about the fabric (although my piece was certainly made of cotton), but the Cotton in Cotton Theory refers to Betty Cotton, the creator of this quilt-as-you-go technique.  The piece we were making was a runner, and we all had one block finished when the class was over.

This is "side B" of the block, but I actually like it the best because it's so much fun.

This is "side A," -- the blocks are completed reversible.  I just think I could have made a better fabric choice here, even though I have yet to meet a batik that I don't like.  The colors aren't working together the way I had hoped.

In brief, you cut the pieces for the top, and the backing and the batting.  The batting is cut 2 inches smaller all around than the top and backing.  Then, make a quilt "sandwich" out of each invidual piece and quilt it (above are the A and B sides of the quilted center piece).  Once all the pieces are quilted, they are all sewn together; then, all you add is the binding and you're done!  The only down side is that you have three times the cutting to do.

The seams are all one inch wide.  They are pressed to opposite sides in a consistent manner, then the "top" seam allowance is trimmed to a scant quarter inch, as in the above photo.  The remaining one-inch seam allowance is folded over the cut seam allowance and sewn down with a zigzag-type stitch.

All the finished seams have folds, so the piece turns out a bit bulkier than a standard quilted piece.  The technique is rather time consuming--this one block took most of us the entire class to finish:  5-1/2 hours if you deduct the half hour we all took for lunch.  And we all had the pieces for the top, backing and batting cut ahead of time!

I had a great time doing this.  As a matter of fact, I'm seriously considering taking the class for the purse that uses this technique.   I am really nowhere near as confident with machine quilting as I am with hand embroidery.  If you get up close and personal to the block, you see that some of the seams look a little funky, but I'm happy with it nonetheless.  When I first saw the piece and found out there was a class for it, I wondered, "Will I actually be able to do this?"  I was very happy to find out that I was.  I think it's going to take me a little while to do the remaining three blocks and turn it into a runner, though.

Thanks for visiting and for all your kind comments. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Good Afternoon Dear Blog Readers,

I finished the Soar sampler today--woo hoo!  I really liked the look of the black ground, but am so happy that I won't be stitching on it after today.

After I finished the piece, I quickly took some snaps and whisked it away to the framers.  One of our local frame shops is doing a promotion this week with our Guild: with a coupon they will give you 10 percent off and also donate 10 percent of the sale to our Guild.  I was the fourth person today who walked in with a coupon, so hopefully our Guild will be earning lots of money.

I was a little nervous about my choice of floss for the adult eagles since the color needed to be dark and (did I mention?) the background is black, but I think they show up well enough.

My first horse turned out a bit skinnier than the horse on the chart (I miscounted).  So I had to make the second horse look the same.  I hope you won't tell anyone.  The triangles on the border represent the 13 original colonies according to Brenda Gervais, the designer of the piece.

The little building is the granary which is near the nest of the real eagles in Decorah, Iowa, which this sampler commemorates.  You wouldn't believe how many times I went over the alphabet (but maybe you would), making sure I had stitched all the letters since they are scattered all over the piece.

The crown represents the majesty of the eagle, symbol of the USA.  Don't you just love the oversized leaves on the tree?

And this is just weird.  My camera was trying to tell me that I didn't have enough light for this angle, but I didn't want to listen so I switched to manual!  I couldn't take photos outside today because it's been drizzling all day--and it's about 30 degrees colder than it was 2 days ago.

That's it for this installment.  I hope it's warm and sunny where you are.  If not, it's a good day to stay home and {fill in the blank}.   As for me, I'll be cutting fabric for a quilt-as-you-go class which I'm taking tomorrow.  More on that in a couple of days.  Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Shams: WOW!

Good Afternoon Gentle Blog Readers,

Today at our monthly quilt guild meeting, we had a sham challenge.  Members were urged to make a pillow sham (design of their choosing) and bring it in this month for display.  It cost $5 to register for the challenge, everyone at the meeting today got to vote for their favorite, and the top three winners got cash and a ribbon.

Without further ado, here are some of the entries:

The numbers on the shams were the ID numbers, not necessarily how they finished.

Hand embroidery on this one!

This one had felt checker pieces and a pocket on the back of the sham to store the pieces when not in use!

And now for the winners:

Third Prize

Second Prize

First Prize

I think that everyone who entered was a winner.  No, I did not enter this year--maybe next year.

That's it for today.  As always, thanks for visiting with me.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Making Progress

Good Afternoon, Gentle Blog Readers

This will be a quick little post today to show you the progress I've made on the Soar SAL.

As you can see, it's coming along.  Brenda says that this Friday will be the last time she will post photos of everyone's SAL on her blog, and I don't see this being done by then.  There are large leaves, small buds, a flag and flagpole, another horse, the roof and windows of the grainery, two rabbits, the year, 21 more letters of the alphabet and everyone's eyes, in addition to the small part of the river that remain unstitched.  (I haven't been obsessing about this very much, have I?)  This week will be a busy one, with trips or meetings or errands every day.  I'll give it a shot, but it will take a miracle for this to be finished by Thursday at 9:00 p.m. CDT - the SAL deadline!  I hope you're not getting the idea that I'm competitive, or anything like that....    (smile)

I leave you with this photo of the brave little apple tree in our side yard:

I had to take a photo of it.  I was so excited to see that it actually bloomed this year.  It's got one or two dead limbs--several have already been removed.  We're lucky if it blooms every third or fourth year.  But it's such a trooper that I would hate to get rid of it.  You go, Tree!

As always, thanks for visiting, and may all your trees bloom.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Stitching for Autism

Good Afternoon Dear Blog Readers,

The embroidery guild that I belong to does quite a few community outreach projects, and yesterday they hosted a workshop to benefit autism.  Everyone participating purchased a canvaswork kit that had a chart, fibers, canvas, needles, everything you would need except stretcher bars.  100% of the workshop fee is being donated to Autism Speaks.

The colors (orange, gold, green and blue) are the official colors of "Walk Now for Autism Speaks," the major fundraiser for Autism Speaks.

The stitches on the piece are symbolic of various aspects of autism.  For instance, in this sqare, the sheaf stitch represents children with autism.  The metallic fibers wrapped around the sheaf represent arms hugging or trying to hug a child with autism.  The satin stich arrows represent the intense focus an autistic child sometimes has on one particular subject.

The workshop was 6 hours long, so why, you may be wondering, did I finish only this small square?  (OK, it's not quite finished, there's a tent stitch background--all the canvas will be covered.)  For one thing, I'm a slow stitcher, I had to frog several times, and then there was a lot of conversation, lunch, more conversation, treats... you get the picture.  It was a very fun day stitching with a great group of gals.  So now I have yet another WIP, and this is one that is just going to have to "take a number"!

In other news from WIP-land, I have made a little bit of progress on my Soar SAL.

We now have mom and dad looking after the eaglets (and a good thing, too, I was tired of their incessant demands for fresh fish and squirrel), and it appears that they may actually be in a tree and not a birdbath after all.  The black ground is really a challenge, but it's not impossible to find the correct hole, just really difficult sometimes.  But I will persevere on this one because it's a SAL.

Last but not least, I visited my LNS this past week to get some overdyed floss to subsitute for several of the DMC colors on the above project, and I seem to have come home with a little extra stash:

"Red Hot Peppers" is a Laura J. Perin design for canvaswork and it looks like it will be great fun to stitch.  "Broom Hilda" is a cute little witch design worked on 28-count linen over 1, made into a whisk broom band.  Everyone needs one of those, don't they?  Brenda Gervais (she of the Soar Sampler) is the designer.

That's it for now.  Hope you are all having a really great start to your May.