Friday, January 30, 2009

Love a quick finish!

I just love a quick finish! I decided to stitch up two of Stacy Nash's Ohio patterns between the larger reproduction samplers that I will be stitching over the course of this year. This is the first of the two. It feels great to stitch up these sweet little charts as they go so fast. Even for me they go fast and I am not a quick stitcher. *grins*

Now I did change the colors just ever so slightly once again because I did not have a couple of the colors and did not want to wait and have to buy new DMC. I so hope that Stacy does not mind. I am leary anymore after the last sampler. I used an overdyed linen and will frame this one instead of making a pillow. I want all the samplers to hang together on my Ohio wall.

Another finish is one I did as a little gift for a dear online friend. I have had the great fortune to meet some wonderful people online and Diane is one of them. She and I met through a Yahoo list a number of years ago and we clicked immediately.

So I decided to sew her a patchwork needlebook to send at Christmas. But this bad old elf did not get it done in time to send with a Christmas card so she got it just because instead. Just because I cherish her friendship! I was happy to hear from her last night that she had received it in the mail.

I used the patchwork block called 'Contrary Wife'. There are four wool felt pages for her needles and a tiny button and satin ribbon to close the book.

I enjoy making these little patchwork needlebooks and sharing them. It is a fun way to keep your needles and pins together when you are doing your stitching or quilting.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The charm of patchwork!

I have been wanting to tell you about my quilt groups theme for 2009 and could think of no better moment than after my last entry. I received such a sweet comment from my friend Angela and it led to a discussion about needlework being a part of daily chores in days gone by. I recommended a few journals to her which I find inspiring. I don't think woman thought of doing their patchwork as a chore. I believe from reading the journals that it was a light part of their existence. Maybe I am dreaming and looking at it all to romantically?

I know they had to have quilts to keep them warm. They were even hung at the windows. I know they did not always have time to think of the beauty of the quilt and yet look at some of the antique quilts found today. It was not only function. And in reading the journals, you feel their excitement as they discover new patterns from friends, family and neighbors.

Our theme this year is charm quilts. Nowadays we think of charms as the packets of squares you can order from quilt shops. But a charm quilt is a quilt made with a one-patch block using a different fabric for each patch. It was popular back in the Victorian times and again in the 1920-30s when times were hard. People would share pieces of fabric with one another. I love the romantic notion the Victorians collected 999 various fabrics for your charm quilt and the 1000th fabric would come from your beloved.

We will be swapping fabrics from our stash this year in our group to help each other gather as many different fabrics as possible. Everyone choose a one-patch block they will use and we measured what size charm they need for it. It will be fun to share with each other. I find this fitting also in a year that the financial crisis has finally hit Holland since this is such an economical project to work on.

I have chosen to make two charm quilts. This is one of them. I am using pinks, soft brown and beige, cream, soft blue, soft green and soft yellow as my colors. All the fabrics are floral, striped, spotted or checked. I want to achieve a romantic and nostalgic look to this quilt. I picked a half hexagon shape. This past weekend, I received an envelope after having sent one to surprise one of the ladies in my quilt group with her charms from me. She asked me what I needed for my charm quilts and in turn surprised me with some too. I have been working her fabrics into my quilt. It is great fun to do and you have no idea what others will share with you.

Now for my dear friend Angela as well as anyone who loves their needle, this quote is for you all! I have always been found of this quote from a favorite novel "The Mill on the Floss" (George Eliot) as it is very amusing...

“Oh, dear, oh, dear, Maggie, what are you thinkin'of, to throw your bonnet down there? Take it upstairs, there's a good gell, an' let your hair be brushed, an' put your other pinafore on, an' change your shoes, do, for shame; an' come an' go on with your patchwork, like a little lady.”

“Oh, mother,” said Maggie, in a vehemently cross tone, “I don't want to do my patchwork.”

“What! not your pretty patchwork, to make a counterpane for your aunt Glegg?”

“It's foolish work,” said Maggie, with a toss of her mane,—“tearing things to pieces to sew 'em together again. And I don't want to do anything for my aunt Glegg. I don't like her.”

Exit Maggie, dragging her bonnet by the string, while Mr. Tulliver laughs audibly.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Old friends.....

During the cold month of January, it seems my needle and thread are old friends. I know many of my stitching and quilting friends feel the same. So I wrap up in a warm afghan that my mother knitted for me in the evenings and stitch each evening. After having spent the day with Carolien which you can read about here, I decided last night to finish the second of my two latest blocks from the Centennial Sampler. I had not quite finished while she was here. I then worked on my ABC sampler and will show you my progress soon.

I am displaying them here with some wonderful gifts that Carolien brought me ~ two wooden spools and two wooden thread winders. I love them and want to once again say a big thank you to Carolien for her thoughtfulness.

I have another Believe ornament finish to share with you. This ornament was stitched and sewn by Letty. Isn't the trim she used for the hanger just so country vintage? You did a wonderful job Letty and thank you for sharing your finish.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Believe ornaments revealed...

Enjoy a few finishes of the first primitive pillow ornament. Thanks to Susan and Linda for sharing their stitching. I would love to include your finish if you decide to stitch along with us. Just send me your photo...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Primitive ornaments SAL - Believe

Over the Christmas holiday, I was visited by my creative muse and got the urge to try my hand at designing my own Christmas ornaments. Now I am a needlewoman who believes that things become most beautiful when shared with others. I would like to share these ornament design with my blog readers. On the 15th of each month, I will put another of my primitive ornaments on my blog for you to stitch.

I have never done this before and don't have any computer programs to design with. For me, it was a pencil and graph paper. I have scanned the pattern for you. Enlarge the pattern and print it out by copying it to Word. I somehow think the idea of a hand drawn pattern fits the whole idea of these little primitive pillows.

If you would prefer a more traditional look to your ornament pillows, change the linen to a white or cream and change the threads to bright Christmas colors. Use a traditional fabric to back the pillow with a ribbon to hang.

Once your design is stitched, simply sew into a little pillow using jute string for hanging.

This design is stitched with two over two. I used 30 count Old Mill Java R&R linen. I used overdyed threads which add to the primitive look. I used red ~ Sampler Threads by The Gentle Arts "Cranberry", Carrie's Threads "Cocoa" and "Antique Gold". Choose your own favorite shades of red, brown and gold from your stash. DMC thread will also work fine for this design.

I hope you have fun stitching this primitive pillow. It is a perfect way to stitch something quick and easy between other projects. By the end of the year, you will have a dozen ornaments to use in a small tree or wreath or perhaps add to your own collection of ornaments. I would love to see a photo of your own finished version. Please email me (see my profile for my email) and I will create a gallery of finishes. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Beginnings and endings...

I have a finish to show you. Well, it was finished for a little while now but needed sewn to fit onto the hanger which I finally did last week. Here is my Santa from 'Winter Fairytale' by Annette Jungmann. A book by Rico Designs. I must use the "C" word again as I changed the recommended browns of Santa's coat to two browns that matched my new couches perfectly. They are a cocoa powder brown.

I had to put this aside of the holidays instead of finishing it as I started something really exciting. I will be sharing that on the 15th of each month all this year so please come by tomorrow and have a peek!

And the beginnings...

Last year, an online friend shared this wonderful blog with our stitching list and I fell in love with this new SAL starting there. I told myself I really did not need to start this and that was that! But it kept swimming around in my mind. I really love anything with an alphabet as you probably know. I planned on starting the next Ohio sampler right away but needed a break after what happened. ** Don't worry, I will be starting my next Ohio project this month too. ** So I thought I would just go ahead and do this SAL. I have planned that I should be able to catch up by the end of part three. I had done the SAL for Alter Echo back in 2006. I loved the look of the colors I used at the time and decided to use the same grey (DMC 3787)once again and this time combine it with two pinks (DMC 223 and 3721). I am stitching this one over one on Lambswool linen 26-count.

I kept trying to tell myself not to start it even as I was putting in the first stitches. *grins* I must admit thought that I am very happy to be stitching it. It is such a lovely design!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Spools of thread

What is it about spools of thread that attract all quilters and stitchers alike? Something that is a practical item used to wind thread for home use has become a thing of beauty! I am going to try and find more wooden spools this year for a fun Christmas project next year. I know this will be no easy task as so many search for them too. This year, I hung wooden spools in my sewing tree for the holidays. They are once again in my vintage sewing accessories cupboard.

But spools are sweet for yet another reason...
...they are a quilt block. I made this quilt back in 2005 to use for a quilt workshop. I was teaching how playing with simple half square triangles, you can create a wide variety of blocks including the traditional spools block. I called the quilt "Sew Many Spools".

These tabletopper quilts are wonderful ways to add accents to decorate your home. I have it in my laundry room now with my antique sewing machine and irons. I continue to use my little quilts throughout my home in various ways each year. By changing them off continually, the quilts all become new again when I get them out after not using them for a while.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

My first finish for 2009

I have completed my first stitching project for 2009. It is the Ohio sampler I was working on since this past autumn. I will not be sharing a photo of this finished piece as I have deleted all entries pertaining to the MB circa 1810 sampler I was working on after receiving an email from the designer late last night, who I do not know, sharing her opinion about my changing a color in the design. This was done not to offend but because the color was not visible on the linen. I am sorry that I fell I can no longer share the photos with my readers. I am however listing it in my blog sideline list as I enjoy looking back at what I have completed at the end of each year.

Instead, I thought I would show an old photo from an entry back in 2006. This sweet little chart was sent to me complete with thread by a dear online friend Joanne. I stitched it up into a pinkeep which is currently standing under my winter tree.

Edit note: Thanks for your supportive and kind remarks. She did thank me for buying her design but I felt uncomfortable sharing any photos after her correcting comments about the thread color. I feel handworkers for the most part have gracious and caring hearts. So that is what I am trying to be after feeling like a child being corrected when I received this email but feel that having photos of it on my blog is free advertising.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Medallion quilt project - part five

Remember our quilt theme in my quilt group last year? I never shared the final borders with you. We are meeting tomorrow evening and will start out new theme so I thought I would share the medallion quilts the ladies made last year. They are all very special since each quilt tells a story...

Don't forget you can click on the photos to enlarge them and get a much better look at the detail.

The challenge for this last border was that each person received a fat quarter from me and they had to work that fabric into the last border. Now for some of them it was a real challenge depending on what fabric they were given. I wanted to stimulate them to have to work with something outside of their safe zone in some cases. It was great fun as I took all their quilt tops up to my studio and cut the fabric which I placed in the folded top. They all looked at their challenge fabric at the same time. Further, the last border was a symbol of their current surroundings and hopes and dreams for the future.

For anyone wanting to reread the previous stories, you can find them here and here and here.

Joke ~ Joke was given a fat quarter of her teal color but one with a more vivid leaf print on it. The challenge was to work in a totally different feel of fabric texture and make it work. She used a number of blocks offset from each other to create the symbols of her last border. You will notice first in the right corner the log cabin blocks which stand for a warm and safe home. The two corners across from each other have the block Card Trick and this shows that life is unpredictable while the Flying Geese in each side are the fact that you sometimes want to get away from it all and escape. Delectable Mountains (top left corner), Compass and Broken Band (either side of Card Trick) stand for the hope that in spite of all the obstacles in life, she hopes to come to calm waters and restore a broken band with her son.

Jacomina ~ Jacomina's fat quarter was a major challenge for her. I gave her a soft blue homespun plaid that was the perfect color for her choice of fabrics. Her challenge was using a plaid which she absolutely loaths. I hoped this would help her to use plaids more. I don't think she will but everyone agreed that the plaid really stood out and made the border come together well. I hope you can get an impression of this in the enlarged photo. Her border was a coming together of everything in her previous borders along with more of the toile fabric of the little boy and girl which are a symbol of her twin grandchildren.

Miep ~ Her fat quarter was a dark green plaid which gave a contrast to the prints and florals she was using. Her borders is a series of "mountains" which represents the highs and lows of life. She used red and black corners to show life's natural cycle of life and death.

Elly ~ Elly's challenge was to use a fat quarter that was biege with pink rose buds which is a bit more romantic than she would normally choose herself. I must say her challenge fabric ended up blending in to her quilt perfectly. Her border is the Cracker block creating a wave around the quilt which stands for the wave of life with all its ups and downs. Her four feature blocks are (starting from the top middle): Dove symbol for peace in the world and among men, House symbol for a safe and happy home for herself and also her 4 children, Wedding Ring symbol for her hope that she will one day marry again, and Grandmother's Flower Garden for her hope to have a beautiful flower garden.

Enny ~ Her challenge was to use a darker shade of mossy green giving a little extra dimension to the last border. She used the fabric in the four corners. She says she just did not have any story behind this assignment other than to do something she thought was pretty. They are interlocking squares. She was so excited to work on it and did not wait so had her last border ready ahead of time.

Saskia ~ Her fat quarter challenge was a piece of blue fabric. She, like myself, is not really fond of blue. She used Flying Geese in all four side of the border to show life is all the corners of the world. The 4 cornerstones symbolize for her (starting top left going counterclockwise): Fortune or CrossRoads meaning prosperity and fortune, House meaning finding her dream house, Pineapple for friendship and Heart for love.

Bep ~ Bep's border is full of various symbols behind the use of Flying Geese. She used the block and the color variations to mean a need for freedom, flying through light days or dark days, the nature and then light days returning home. Home is symbolized by the four cornerstones.