Friday, December 13, 2013

Ho, Ho, Ho

My father had eleven brothers and sisters, some of my best Christmas memories was renting the local grade school gym and having a huge Christmas dinner. I had over fifty first cousins and my Grandpa would give each of us a paper lunch sack of Brach's pick-a-mix candy and an apple or orange. I love making gift bags out of paper lunch sacks and appliqué fabric motiffs. This year our Christmas stockings are going to be these bags. I use appliqué paper (Heat and Bond) and just iron the fabric motiff right onto the paper bags, quick and easy.

I have also finished another two Roseville Album blocks, six completed so far.

I had a little mishap with my And They Sinned sampler, I lost the thread key on a recent trip. Marty, at Stitch and Frog ( online cross stitch store) where I ordered the pattern and threads, went above and beyond getting permission from the pattern designer to make a copy of the thread key and save me from purchasing another pattern. I am working on the peacocks, I love this blue thread by GAST threads which just happened to be named "peacock".

I wish you all a very Merry and Blessed Christmas,



Saturday, November 9, 2013

Block Play

My burnout on quilting seems to be continuing. I just can't seem to get interested in anything. I have been in the sewing room putzing around with a few things. I drew out an appliqué willow tree block and made a couple of those.

I have also always liked a red and white school house block quilt, but the Y seam piecing was just not appealing. So I played around with making an appliqué school house block.

Still not interested in making a whole quilt out of either of these.

I have been working on the Freelove Hazard sampler, but cross stitches over one thread on 25 count linen can only be done for short amounts of time.

I was looking through some blogs and came upon Patchwork of the Crosses blocks. This quilt is by English novelist Lucy Boston. It is done with English paper piecing. I drafted a 90 degree hexagon and started playing around.

These blocks have endless possibilities and are enhanced with fussy cutting.

This fabric was in a group of 6 inch blocks that I won in a give away by Kathie H over at Inspired By Antique Quilts.

I don't know that I have the fabric stash to pull off this quilt, but it has been fun to play with. Maybe this will be the one to get me back in the quilting mood.

Happy Stitching,


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Working On An Old Friend

I pulled out Roseville Album the other day and actually finished another block. I am machine appliquéing this quilt and I have all the center blocks assembled and just need to sit at the machine and work on them. I noticed the pattern came out in 2009, yikes, I can't believe I have had it this long. Too many great quilts and not enough time. Here are the four blocks I have done so far.


Happy Stitching,



Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Multitasking Stitching

Multitasking stitching, that is probably improper English but that is what I feel like I am doing, trying to keep all of my hand stitching projects progressing. It seems like all of the projects I am drawn to are all hand work. I spent a lot of time on my next Baltimore album block, a bias basket. It was the first one I have ever attempted. It really did not go very well. I glued all the bias strips down, it was very hard to keep them aligned with the pattern, but after stitching it down for a week I had it finished and decide to gently wash it before I proceeded with filling the basket with appliqué flowers. The red dye bled all around the block, I had prewashed the fabric until it rinsed clean, and still it bled-frustrating! And so the washing of the block began. At first I really wanted to try and salvedge the block, but eventually I decided the basket was just not quite right and I would never be happy with it. There was no more of the background fabric however, and I REALLY wanted to save it, so I carefully removed the basket and washed the fabric some more. I eventually got all if the pink out of the background and you will never believe what finally got it out...Dawn dishwashing soap. I had tried everything and the commercial about the ducks that had been in an oil spill being cleaned with Dawn dishwashing soap came on TV. I had some and thought why not try it, and it worked!
Anyway, a week wasted on that block, I decided to go to a different block, a berry wreath block. I have had a ten inch square of this rather strange dark green and orange reproduction fabric for quite a while. I could never find a place for it in the Civil War Bride quilt, but I really like it for these leaves.
I am back basting this block and I will finish the leaves and wreath and then start the 76 berries. SEVENTY SIX berries, on one 14 inch block!
The word that comes to mind is "Endurance", and I think of my sister who just ran a half marathon,
and how unfair it is that my hobby that involves endurance does not burn as many calories as hers- good job by the way Sis.
On to the next hand stitching project, I am starting a new reproduction sampler. This one is a Scarlet Letter project and I just love this little gal because if her name, Freelove Hazard.
She was 10 years old when she stitched her sampler in 1792. I am stitching it on a 25 count linen that I put in a tea dye to make the fabric look older. I really like the way it turned out, kind of blotchy...and I tested it with a final wash in the Dawn dish washing liquid to make sure this color would not wash out, cotton is an amazingly tough fabric.
Well this is an unusually long post for me, but the third hand stitching project I am juggling is, And They Sinned. This sampler is long, I was recently changing stitching frames and took this picture of it on my ironing board.
Here is a close up, I am to the one third completed point.
So my stitching plan is Baltimore album blocks on my weekdays that I am off work when I can get into the sewing room and do some prep work. And they Sinned on week nights, and Freelove is going to be my Sunday stitching project while I am watching Peyton Manning stomp all over the rest of the NFL football teams. (I have been a Denver Broncoes fan for the good years and the bad).

Happy Stitching all,

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Peahen in Crescent Wreath

I have completed Baltimore Album block one. This block was started last November in a class with Elly Sienkiewicz. The padded roses turned out so good. The dimension did not really show with the first layer, the red background of the rose, but when I added the pink top petals, they really puffed up. It was slow appliquéing, going thru the red rose and the batting underneath (see last post), but the end result was great.

I tried to do a lot of dimension work in this block. I don't know if the little yellow flowers have a name, but I made them starting with a 1.25 inch circle. I made a little mini yo yo then brought the gathering thread to the center front of the yo yo and back around to the back of the yoyo at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o clock. I sewed each one down with a red seed bead and just did a little tac stitch on each petal. There were a few more stems on the pattern, but I got carried away with the blossoms and did not put the stems down first. I decided most of those stems were covered with just bits showing thru and the flowers filled the wreath enough. I thought I would just embroider in those stems but I really don't think the block needs it.

The last addition was the peahen which I completed off block on lightweight interfacing that Elly referred to as gossamer in the class. I trimmed the interfacing to an eight inch. It was very easy to turn under the interfacing. I think the padded roses would probably be best done off block also.

I am looking through my appliqué patterns and deciding on what will be block two.

Happy Stitching All,



Sunday, September 8, 2013

Appliquéing Again

After a very long break from quilting I have picked up a Baltimore Album block to work on. I started this wreath block at Elly Seinkiewicz' class during last years International Quilt Festival in Houston. We did some inking and this block has Elly's signature under the inked cartouche, so I would really like to use it in a quilt.


I was a little concerned about this block having a different background but I remembered these three background pieces I bought for a project I never started.

I could get 8 album blocks from each of these for 24 blocks and the class block would be number 25, a good number for an album quilt. So I have the beginning of a plan in my head. I think I am just going to do some of my favorite appliqué blocks from the many different books and patterns I have.

Besides inking on album blocks another focus in Elly's class was off block work on padded roses. This became a problem for me as I found the technique difficult and the results were just not pleasing. I decided to go to my old favorite appliqué technique of back basting but cut out a rosé shape in batting and lightly glued on the rose shape,

then proceeded with back basting and then appliquéing the red fabric over the batting.

There may be a little more of the padded effect when the block is quilted, but I don't know that the "padding" gives that much extra. I still need to quilt in some petal lines on the rose and then I will add the pink petals with a stick and stab stitch which will in effect quilt and appliqué the pink petals in one step. This is the point I am up to this weekend.


I am happy to be appliquéing again, happy stitching all,



Wednesday, August 14, 2013

And They Sinned update

I am working steadily on And They Sinned (Examplar Dames Design) . I am off work for a month after a little foot surgery, so I am getting a lot of stitching completed. As I stitch each motif I realize how much thought went into this design. The top of the design represents heaven in my mind, the little cherubs are fighting off the snakes with their swords. Next comes the sky above the garden of Eden with many birds and stars.

The tree has several different fruits on it, seven of each symbolizing the seven deadly sins. Eve is holding the 7th apple, it looked sort of like a dumbbell to me but it finally came to me that there is a bite taken out of the apple.

After I add the leaves in the tree and the wing to the angel I will have completed page one of this 3 and a half page design. Each section of the sampler has such different designs it is really holding my interest, so for now I stitch on.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Ladies of the Sea (pattern by Sue Garman) is completed and hanging in my living room.

Sea Fever
I must down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must down to the sea again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And all the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must down to the sea again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

By John Mansfield (1878 - 1967)
(English Poet Laureate, 1930 - 1967)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Fun Part of Quilting

It has taken me FOREVER to do all of the in the ditch and appliqué outlining on Ladies of the Sea ( pattern by Sue Garman). I am finally to the fun part of the quilting. I love to do stipple stitching behind the appliqué blocks. I used a wool batting and it makes the appliqués "poof" out. Stippling is mindless quilting for me.
I also like to put  hidden shapes in the stippling that have to do with the quilt, usually humming birds and dragonflies, snails, and other garden findings are in my appliqué quilts. But, Ladies of the Sea opened a whole new hidden object world :)
Starfish, pellicans, sea turtles, mermaids, dolphins are all in the quilt. After I completed the outlining quilting I trace the objects I want hidden in the stippling on tracing paper.
I scatter them over the blocks that will have background stipple  quilting.
I quilt right through the tracing paper and then tear off the paper.
Then I start stippling around the appliqués and my hidden shapes. I even quilted my name in a block and the year.
So background block quilting has gone very smoothly and quickly...and then I started the borders.
They were a nightmare! No picture, it was too ugly. I wanted every half inch gridded lines around the border. I used 1.5 inch painters tape and quilted lines every 1.5 inch all around all four borders and then I started filling in the quilt lines in between. It was awful. Because of the heavily appliquéd border there were just way to many starts and stops, my machine tension was pretty spot on, but when you ran your hand over the borders it felt prickly over the starts and stops where I had cut the quilting threads. After finishing one and a half sides of the every 1/2 inch quilting I hated it and decided to tear it all out. This has taken me 2 months to do. I had to be so slow and careful not to put a hole in this quilt.  After I finished all the tear out I just let it sit a while (actually it was thrown in the corner of the quilt room). This past week I finished the borders with my old stand by, stippling. I do not really think entirely stippled quilts are very pretty, but it seemed like my only option. I am up to the binding, which because of the half square triangle border I am sure will take me a while so that I do not cut off any triangle corners. The end is near, completion pictures in a week or so.

Happy Stitching All,