Friday, May 25, 2007

Taking a break.....

I am taking a 'blogger's break' for a week. I will be off to Germany (Mosel region) and then France (The Alsace) for a little rest and relaxation. I am, of course, taking along a small stitching project to work on and should be able to share that finish with you upon my return. Appropriately, it is a simple yet pretty little French design. I will be back with you all next Friday and in the meantime, enjoy the grapes and Vosges mountains of the Alsace from a photo I took back in 2002. Have a wonderful week!

Thoughts of a good friend.....

Today has been an emotional day listening to a good friend of mine talk at her mother's funeral. I wanted to let her know through reading this how I cherish our friendship. Yesterday was her birthday and today her mother's funeral. Her mother lost her fight with cancer. There were all red roses at the services and I felt this painting of Thomas Kinkade's "A Perfect Red Rose" could give me that chance to say to her how sorry I am for her loss. Your mother will always be with you in your heart. Look for her there!

She told me while her mother was so ill that reading my blogs each day cheered her up. I met Sonja a number of years ago as we both took lacemaking lessons. We hit it off very quickly and I also discovered we share not only a love for lacemaking but also for stitching. We enjoy getting together for an afternoon, drinking tea and working on lace or stitching. Knowing that my blog was able to help her see some joy in difficult times really touches my heart! I hope sincerely that we will continue to share our hobbies and friendship for many years to come dear Sonja!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Scissor holder

A very talented friend of mine, Francoise, shared her scissor holder with us on our stitching list. I have made the same scissor holder and thought I would show it to you. It was going to be the idea for the next project with my quilt group but as I wrote at the beginning of the month, I changed my mind at the last minute. Not everyone likes to stitch in the group so I thought this was not a good project to use. Instead, I am making a patchwork holder for a larger pair of scissors. I will share that with you during the first week of June along with placing a tutorial online showing how to make it. For now, here is the holder for a pair of embroidery scissors.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Monday needlework quote

"All my scattering moments are taken up with my needle."

~~ 1851 diary of Ellen Birdseye Wheaton ~~
Painting: "Young Woman Sewing in the Garden" by Mary Cassatt

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Friday's blog entry

For some reason the blog entry on Friday for Beatrix Potter did not allow comments. I have no idea what happened but we did just switch to a newer computer. I did a blog entry on my other blogs and they both did allow comments so I cannot understand what has happened on this one. I spent the weekend working on the top right corner's half motif which is almost finished. I hope to really make progress this week.
I normally put my handwork on this blog but did an entry on my other blog today in answer to a question. You can see a piece of my bobbin lace at .

Friday, May 18, 2007

About Beatrix Potter and sampler SAL progress

Margaret Lane's description of Beatrix in her biography:

"It was now that Sawrey began to be familiar with the spetacle of Miss Potter, at any season of the year and in all weathers, going about her affairs in the village with sturdy preoccupation, indifferent to appearances. Her feet, like Mrs. Cannon's would be thrust into the leather~topped, wooden~soled clogs of the district which kept her dry and could be kicked off at the doorstep; her stout tweed skirts would be double or triple, according to the cold; and over her head and shoulders, if it were raining, she was more likely to throw a sack than a coat or shawl. There was something about this little figure, now in her forties growing plumper but still very rosy of cheek and blue of eye, which was singularly attractive; and her forthright unpretentiousness, and the common~sense practical vigour with which she shouldered her growing farm,made Sawrey feel (as she passionately felt herself) that she belonged there ~ regardless of the fact that she really came from London, and in spite of the north~country preference for distinguishing newcomers for at least a generation as 'off~comes', which can be fairly closely translated as 'rubbishing foreigners'."

"Beatrix Potter was in love with her lifein Sawrey, and with the whole of Hill Top. Prudently and steadily she increased her holding there ~ a few sheep, an extra cow, another field: even, as they came into the market, two other little farms in the village, with fields adjoining; and a white~washed cottage here and there, and a small stone quarry; until, in the course of a few years, she had come to own half the village, and was a person to be reckoned with in Sawrey. But she was not yet free to live the life she loved, and there was no immediate prospect of her being so. 'I am on the committee and a determined person,' she wrote to Millie Warne in 1911, describing the village row over the coronation celebrations, 'but ~ unfortunately non~resident.' She regretted it from every point of view, and must have envied Bertram, with his growing farm and his independence, comfortably out of sight in the Border country; but there were her parents and the dosmestic life of Bolton Gardens to be considered: and the London of her 'unloved birthplace' was still, for three~quarters of the year at least, her home."

Photos of Beatrix Potter in younger and older years.

Here is a photo of my progress on the Beatrix Potter sampler for the SAL. I completed 2 1/2 motifs this past week. I had hoped to have the third motif completed but have been working intensely on the quilt for the part few days. I plan to stitch digantly on this over the weekend.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A very large UFO project

After seeing how quickly my mother crocheted me a granny square afghan, which is in the mail now on its way to me, I decided the quilt for our bed had to move from UFO to finished status. I started quilting this by machine yesterday and have it almost at the halfway point now.

I do not like quilting on the machine but this was the only choice seeing how large (2,70m square) and very heavy this quilt is. If I did this with hand quilting, I think it would fall apart within six months of use. I kept putting off the quilting even though it laid batting and all ready to start for about half a year. I was certain it would not work or look okay and I would quilt a few lines and rip it all back out again. I have been pleasantly surprised with how nicely it is quilting on the machine. No, it does not have that special quality that I think only hand quilting can give but I am overall happy with it. I planned from the start that this quilt would have a simple and vintage look to it. I wanted to quilt little x's in each square when I started the patchwork. If you click on the photo, you can see it in more detail.

Some time ago, I was searching on eBay for a quilt for our bed. I found one which was $240 plus the shipping to Europe. While really looking closely at it, I thought to myself that I had many fabrics in my stash that looked similar to that quilt. I got out all that I had and added some more that I felt enhanced the floral fabrics with this being the result. I did not spend a penny as it was all fabric I had and was pleased with myself. But then comes the time for quilting and I have my moments that I think, why did I not just buy a quilt.

Seeing how it is coming along is encouraging and I know it will be worth the struggle to fit this large quilt under my sewing machine in the end. I hope to be able to show you the finished quilt on my bed in the next week.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Marquior Marie~Rose part one

Last Friday, while going through blog links, I found this sampler which has just started as a 9~part free chart. I decided right then and there that I want to stitch this to add to the list of historic samplers I want to make and hang in our home. This is being charted up by Anne~Valerie who's step~mother's great grandmother stitched this sampler back in the 19th century. If you would like to read more about it or stitch it check out her at: .

I am stitching mine on 36 count Irish cream linen. I changed the colors to deeper shades using DMC 3688, 3347, 3802 and 3808.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Beatrix Potter SAL progress and Hill Top Farm

It is once again Friday and I share a new photo of my progress on the Beatrix Potter Quaker sampler. The passion flower really seemed to take me forever to stitch. I do love it though now that it is finished. I also stitched the little flower to the right of it and have started on the small half medallion next to that flower. Hopefully, I will be able to catch up on a couple weeks of the SAL assignments now that this large motif is complete. I still feel as though I am desperately behind the others. *sigh*

Since today's quote will be about Beatrix's purchase of Hill Top Farm, I thought I would show you a few photos I took from the book "At Home With Beatrix Potter" by Susan Denyer. This is a such a pretty book and you never tire of looking at the incredible photographs in it. Here is a view of Hill Top Farm and the village of Sawrey. The next photo is the bed at Hill Top and Beatrix's patchwork quilt. I love this quilt and would someday love to create a miniature example of it.

From Margaret Lane's biography:
"In the summer of 1905, during the long family holiday at the Lakes, Beatrix Potter had taken the unexpected step of buying a farm. Her earnings, together with a little legacy from an aunt, had accumulated into a comfortable sum which it seemed prudent to invest; and this common~sense aspect of the affair, as of a sound speculation, made it possible for her to complete without much remark a purchase which, to her, had a far deeper significance."

"The buying of Hill Top Farm was more, however, far more to Beatrix Potter than a speculation. It was a symbol, representing more than one smothered element in her nature. It stood for important decisions and delicate choice, and though decisions and choice produced their fruit only after many years, her emotions about Hill Top were to the end so complex and intense that the sensation of that first break~away, that grasping of life in the country that her heart chose, perhaps never completely faded."

Quilted WIP roll finished

Here is the quilted WIP roll completed. I finally sat down last night and sewed the bias binding on. I really love this! It contains some of my favorite fabrics in my stash.

Inside I used some of Moda's sampler fabric which really comes out best used in something like this with a larger area where you can really view the various sampler prints on it. I had this in my stash also.

What a special way to store any stitching while you are waiting to finish it. This idea was something that my friend Diane found online on a French blog. She sent me the link: and I thought it was so adorable and yet so simple that I would make her one. I will be making one for myself now. The top is sewn together and I have to cut the lining and start quilting it.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

New stash items

This is the last of my new stash to show you. I ordered these items from Homespun Sampler. There are three charts including Carriage House Samplings "The Kingsford Sampler" and two by Brenda Keyes (The Sampler House) "The Hetty Child Sampler" and "Kind Fond Love Sampler". The linen contains 32c. Belfast/Autumn Sunrise , 30c. R&R overdyed/Creme Brulee, 36c. Irish Cream, 30c. R&R overdyed/Old mill java, 32c. Belfast/Cinnamon roll and 28c. Cashel/tobacco.

Monday, May 07, 2007

More stash items

The next bit of my new stash to show you was an order from Mary Kathryn's wonderful eshop I ordered two of the LHN/CC thread packs: Plums and Strawberries and a LHN chart called Geranium House which is an adorable little sampler. I also order three pieces of the hand~dyed 28c. Jobelan. The colors are Queen Anne's lace, Thyme and Pink Dahlia (which is just amazingly beautiful).

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Pretty stash

Don't you just love getting stash that makes your experience of needlework more pleasant! I really love the thread keepers that Jodi sells on her website .
Her father handmakes these wonderful creations! You have seen the bird which I am have to keep the thread I am using for my Beatrix Potter sampler. I ordered the rabbit and he arrived at the end of the week. These are beautiful on the photos but much better when you actually see them. They are so dainty and pretty to see sitting on the table with my needlework.

My granny square afghan

I just came home from my weekend at our cottage and my mother sent photos of the completed granny square afghan. This will look really nice with my bed quilt when I get it finished. Maybe knowing this is coming will give me incentive to get that bed quilt done. I have put it off far too long.

I love the nostalgic look of granny squares. I decided to search online for some information about the origins of this afghan. I found an article "The Glorious Granny" written by Carol Alexander. It is very interesting for all of you also bitten by this granny square bug lately.

Here is a small excerpt:

"Thus, it’s a well-drawn conclusion that someone, somewhere, must have finally taken the transplanted lace crochet techniques and experimented with a bit of wool and the thickest of the small lace-making crochet hooks. Not only was the wool easier to work with, its pliability and warmth made it easily adaptable to making functional, much-needed family items such as blankets and layettes for babies, shawls, scarves, afghans, rugs and clothing. The discovery that materials other than fine linen threads could be used for crochet created an overwhelming demand for the development of new wools and larger-size crochet hooks. Manufacturers happily complied and soon a variety of yarns and hooks made from bone and wood began to appear."

Read the full article here:

Friday, May 04, 2007

Beatrix Potter SAL progress and Mrs. Tiggy Winkle

Sadly, my progress is not great this week but it is Friday and time to show you what I have done this week on the sampler and share some more Beatrix Potter tidbits. As you can see, the leaf border is stitched but I am still working on the passion flower.
Excerpt from "The Tale of Beatrix Potter" by Margaret Lane:
"By this time a new book was under way, inspired by an encounter between Lucie of Newlands and Miss Potter's tame, affectionate, much travelled hedgehog, Mrs. Tiggy Winkle."
"Within a few days she was making her first drawings of Mrs. Tiggy Winkle, who did not care overmuch, apparently, for posing. 'Mrs. Tiggy as a model is comical. So long as she can go to sleep on my knee she is delighted, but if she is propped up on end for half an hour, she first begins to yawn pathetically, and then she does bite! Nevertheless she is a dear person; just like a very fat, rather stupid little dog.' There was no question of dressing up such a difficult model in the print dress, mob cap and apron which she wears in the story, so a dummy had to be constructed to serve instead. 'The hedgehog drawings are turning out very comical. I have dressed up a cotton-wool dummy figure for convenience of drawing the clothes. It is such a little figure of fun; it terrifies my rabbit; but Hunca Munca is always pulling out the stuffing. I think it should make a good book,' she added, 'when I have learnt to draw the child.' (She was well aware of her weaknes in drawing human figures and faces, and indeed Lucie, though she took infinite pains with her and used several models, is the book's only failure.)"

On a personal note, I really think the drawings are all wonderful and this is one of my favorite stories she wrote. I think Lucie is adorable in these drawings. I have included a few in case you may not know them. See for yourself...

"Lily-white and clean, oh!
With little frills between, oh!
Smooth and hot—red rusty spot
Never here be seen, oh!"
Lucie, knocked—once—twice, and interrupted the song. A little frightened voice called out "Who's that?"
Lucie opened the door: and what do you think there was inside the hill?—a nice clean kitchen with a flagged floor and wooden beams—just like any other farm kitchen. Only the ceiling was so low that Lucie's head nearly touched it; and the pots and pans were small, and so was everything there.

"Who are you?" said Lucie. "Have you seen my pocket-handkins?"
The little person made a bob-curtsey—"Oh, yes, if you please'm; my name is Mrs. Tiggy-winkle; oh, yes if you please'm, I'm an excellent clear-starcher!" And she took something out of a clothes-basket, and spread it on the ironing-blanket.
Then Mrs. Tiggy-winkle made tea—a cup for herself and a cup for Lucie. They sat before the fire on a bench and looked sideways at one another. Mrs. Tiggy-winkle's hand, holding the tea-cup, was very very brown, and very very wrinkly with the soap-suds; and all through her gown and her cap, there were hair-pins sticking wrong end out; so that Lucie didn't like to sit too near her.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Granny squares afghan WIP

Here is the latest progress on granny squares afghan my mother is making for me. She was originally planning on sending me a few squares at a time and some yarn for me to sew them together. She has now decided to crochet them together herself instead. She is talking about adding a scalloped edge to it after all the squares are together. It is fun watching this take shape through the photos. I love it.

There was a comment that it looks like my mother collects sheep when I posted the first photo. Yes, she does. She buys the most incredible wool here from a lady with sheep on her farm here in Holland and has started collecting sheep. I think she needs a real one in the yard to 'mow' her grass for her, don't you?

Tutorial for 1800s heart pincushion

Thank you for your kind remarks on the pincushion project I showed yesterday. The quilt evening was great fun and most people had their pincushions done when they went home. They really turned out so adorable. Thankfully, we got the printer working again and the newsletters were finished in time to pass around. By all means, Deb, do use this for your newsletter. It is so much fun to make and even more fun to share the technique.

Here is a tutorial to make this 1800s heart pincushion:

Cut an eight inch square out of your fabric of choice. (In the original pattern, this was made using a handkerchief.) This can be made with any size square but I did my first sample in this size and found it to work perfectly. I would not go much bigger but think smaller ones would look adorable.
Now cut this square in half diagonally.

Sew the triangles, right sides together, leaving an opening on the top seam (long side of the triangle). This opening is shown on the photo between the pins. Clip the corners.

Turn your triangles right sides out and stuff. This should not be fulled stuffed so the two points can be easily turned up. Keep turning them up to see if the pincushion is stuffed to your liking.

Sew the opening shut by hand and then turn the two points up to each other and tack them together.

Now tie any ribbons or lace to cover the tacking and your historic reproduction pincushion is ready to use. These are even adorable to use for decoration. What about filling them with some lavender mixed in with the stuffing for a nice scent in your room?

I hope you enjoy making this very simple project. It can be done up in an afternoon with very little sewing experience required.

Note: This can be adapted to use two stitched triangles if you would like.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Quilt group theme project for May

Nothing like changing things around at the last minute! I have had the May project for the quilt group ready for a month now so thought I was well prepared. I decided very early this morning that I did not like my June project or the set up of the monthly newsletter. I have to have things prepared and give them a list of needed items a month in advance. I got up at 7 am and redid the newsletter. Now my printer is acting up and I have only 6 of the 14 newsletter printed. I have to wait until my husband who is the computer wiz gets home to see what is wrong.

I took a picture of the project right after I finished it. It is based on the heart pincushion pattern that Eliza Leslie used in her book "The American Girl's Book" in the 1800s. This pattern is so simple and fun. I found it in the magazine "Early American Life". You could also used a stitched triangle. We are making all our accessories to match for the quilt theme so I used a piece of the fabrics I picked out for this year. Next month, I will show you a photo of all the items together again. This year will end with us sewing a 'huswif' or 'hussif'.