Sunday, December 14, 2014

Bev is the Winner

Thanks to all of you who sent in your response to my Berry Bloom Give-Away.  Bev was the winner by over 12 hours!

Let me tell you about Bev.  She is the owner of 44th Street Fabrics, a shop she runs out of her home and is a prolific blogger. Although we have never met, I feel like she is a close friend just through our emails.


 I just bought some of the dots Bev has in stock and there is a lot to choose from.  Right now Bev is having a huge sale - 50% off fabric and 30% off patterns.  Go ahead, indulge yourself with a Christmas gift by clicking HERE and find out how to get these great sale prices.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Hubby moved out!

What a surprise to look at my last blog posting and realize that it was almost 3 weeks ago.  Each day there have been so many things to keep me busy,.....and sometimes frustrated. Two months ago I told you about the new studio we were building for my husband's wood carving.  That project was finished on time and then he needed to move.  Oh my, after a few hours he told me that he might need a new bookcase and a very big dumpster.  No kidding..... it took him almost 3 weeks to completely move.  Now he is gone - but fortunately, just to the back yard.

Since that project was going sooooo smoothly, we decided to do a bit of fixing up in the house, remodeling our bathrooms.  I don't need to tell anyone that's gone through this about scheduling delays.  One day in total frustration I told the workers, "I love you guys but I can't wait for the day you aren't here".  Right in the middle of all of it was Thanksgiving dinner at my house.  Oh well, company was understanding that they had to walk to the basement to use the only functional bathroom.

Finally, it's finished (almost), so why not start painting the old carving room into a new WOW color for my sewing room.  I love the new color, my husband said "Really?" and my son asked "Why?".  I will share pics as soon as they get my furniture moved in.  

While sorting through my fabric, books, etc. I found some treasures that had been "lost".  The first is a complete Berry Bloom Kit, and by complete that means pattern, all the fabric and threads for embellishment.  Sorry, the bee clasp is not included.  I took the clasp off a necklace purchased from Chico's and I've heard you can occasionally find them on Ebay.

Be the first to email me with your mailing address at and I will send you the kit.  My gift to you.

As soon as I can get back to the computer I have another great give-away so check back.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thankful for Friends

I have made many friends through quilting.  Some of us keep in touch often while others may just be happy to meet in a quilt shop or at retreat.  Last Friday I was invited to participate in Moonlight Madness at American Quilting.  The shop closed for a few hours of prep time during which I was able to hang some quilts and lay out samples.  Promptly at 7 p.m. the doors opened to a rush of visitors who won prizes, took advantage of discounts throughout the shop and browsed amongst the bolts of beautiful fabric.

What fun to see quilting friends again and catch up.  My husband joined me and said he had a fun time meeting my friends.  My new quilt, "The Honey Flow", was hanging and the bright colors were real eye-catchers.  More than a few visitors have a pile of hexie flowers already made and bought the pattern to finish the flowers off with an appliqued border.

My "Crazy For Embellishment" sampler was also quite popular, especially when I explained that it was created for my beginning embroidery class.  There was a lot of interest and we scheduled a class in February (see side-bar).

Enough about me!  I want to share an amazing quilt with you made by my very dear friend, Debra Hale. Debra and I met in a quilt class about 15 years ago and have made quilts together ever since.  She is a true artist and makes every pattern better with her amazing selection of color and workmanship.  She adds "little" touches to each pattern that makes it her own.  I'm not at all embarrassed to admit that when we are making the same quilt I let her get ahead of me so I can copy.

Debra started with the pattern "Merry Christmas" by Heart to Hand and made quite a few changes.  The applique is wool on homespun backgrounds and each block is embellished.  The biggest surprise?  Debra selected black cotton velveteen for the border and let me tell you, it was the perfect choice.  A lot of photos follow and you will love them all.

 Each letter is outlined with red beads.

 Individual red beads that reminded me of pomegranate seeds cover the gift .
 I especially love the tree so there are 2 photos! Wool strips were stitched to look like pine needles and then colorful beads were added for the ornaments.

Debra always creates a special label for each quilt.

Debra and I always like to make changes to patterns that personalize our quilts and I hope this inspires you to let your inner artist blossom!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Flower Block Embellishment

Embellishing all of the flower blocks on "While The Cat's Away" BOM was my plan for last week then I went to the dentist for an easy (according to the dentist) procedure.  One week later I finally picked up needle and thread after days of pain pills, antibiotic reaction and a swollen face.

All of the blocks have the stem appliqued and the small leaf stitched.  Instead of the suggested straight strip of wool for the stem, I chose to use Rousseau Ric Rac, by Painter's Threads.  This is really a fun trim with a tiny sparkle.  The small inner leaf was stitched according to BOM directions with a Herringbone Stitch and I selected Valdani M26 Pearl Cotton #8 which I also used to add Bullion Knots around both the inner and outer leaves.  A back stitch with Sea Grass, color Crush Crush adds a bit of color.

The flower center is a fussy-cut cotton print and my first stitch is Italian Knotted Border Stitch which looks a lot like Fly Stitch with a knot at the bottom of the "V".  I used Thread Gatherer Silken Pearl size 5 (SP5), color Phoenix Rising and then with SP5, color Sprite Grass added a Lazy Daisy Stitch.

Now I'm really excited about the next stitch around the pink wool.  I used Painter's Thread Silk Gimp, color Marianne to stitch Knotted Pearl Stitch.  The Gimp is a silk thread twisted around an inner core that almost resembles a flexible wire.  A size 15 Milleners needle is just what you need for this amazing fiber.

The outline around the orange wool is my go-to, reliable Bullion Knot in Painter's Thread Pearl Cotton #8, color Mary C.

Today was going to be an all-day stitch-a-thon but....... construction guys were in and out all day helping us with remodeling the bathrooms.  I'm holding out hope for this evening.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Colors To Dye For

The phone rings:  Hi, what are you doing?
Me:  I'm dying

Geez, don't panic!  I'm fine!  I'm dying wool, and talking on the phone.

I get a lot of questions about dying wool as it seems many of you are interested in giving it a try.  And, why wouldn't you be?  Frankly, I can't believe the price of high quality, hand-dyed wool.  A quick trip through the internet shows prices upwards of $80.00 a yard.  I don't know about you but that kills my budget.  You can expect to save about 75% by dying your own which means hand dyed wool is not that much more than today's cotton prices.

For any of you that are interested in dying your own, I've written, "Colors to Dye For, A Guide to Hand-Dying Wool" that is now available for $15.00 in my Etsy Shop, just click HERE.

My guide includes sources for purchasing high quality wool and dyes along with a step-by-step description of my quick method and recipes for 20 colors.  

Did I say "quick" method?  Yes I did.  If you follow my set up, which takes about 3 minutes, you can expect to dye about 4 colors an hour.  I'm not telling a fib here - last time I dyed 20 yards it took just a little over 5 hours and there might have been a coffee or bathroom break included.

One of my secrets is felting the wool ahead of time in my washing machine to reduce time in the dye bath.  Another tip is that I use my turkey roaster right next to the sink so there isn't any heavy lifting or spilling.

The recipes include a good range of bright, but not neon, colors ranging through yellow, orange, blue, green, pink and purple.  

Here are just a few:

Spend a little, save a lot, and impress all your friends!

p.s.  If you ever have turkey dinner at my house don't worry.  I'll cook it in a different pot.

Monday, November 10, 2014


Life seems to come in bunches and it appears that classes do too.  I haven't taught since the Small Town Quilt Retreat last June but suddenly I had 3 groups call and want to schedule my Crazy For Embellishment class.  Crazy For Embellishment is what I call my "Beginner" class and everyone is amazed, and sometimes a little nervous when I announce that we are going to learn a dozen stitches before noon.

Each student is given a kit containing wool, a variety of threads including pearl cotton, silken pearl and sea grass plus the needles needed.  I love seeing everyone so excited when they finish their first perfect Bullion Knot, whip the Back Stitch, laugh at a Drizzle and realize that yes, they can do it!

I began my trio of classes with the Midway Heritage Quilt Guild.  I have taught for this group before and always have a good time.  This photo is my Crazy For Embellishment sampler stitched by Susan Turpin, a member of the Midway Guild.  Susan does lovely work, finishing several of my patterns.

The very next week a group of friends invited me to teach at a private home and because there were only 4 students it was a very relaxed time with the most amazing lunch.  They were so nice that I immediately felt like I was just spending the day with friends.  And you know, within a short time, I was.

This past weekend found me teaching just a few blocks from home.  Hazel Rimmasch arranged everything for the class and even prepared a fantastic lunch.  Hazel and I met at the Small Town Quilt Retreat when we had vendor booths next to each other.  She loved the threads and stitching and was determined to learn.  The class was comprised of Hazel's friends, several of my friends from my quilt group, and women we met at the Retreat.

A day filled with friends and stitching.  Now that's hard to beat.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Circles Made Easy

The Sunburst Block I showed yesterday has a large center circle and 8 smaller circles cut from cotton.  I've tried many techniques for making my appliqued circles perfect and found a new one while browsing my Pinterest feed.  

Yes, that is aluminum foil on my ironing board and this new (to me) technique is explained by Sarah Fielke in a YouTube video that you can watch by clicking HERE  (sorry if there is an annoying ad, just skip it and get to the good part).

For the large center circle I pressed 4 layers of freezer paper together to make my circle template and used Perfect Circles for the smaller flower centers.  The foil paper method worked great for both sizes.  They kind of look like Hershey's Kisses making it easier to hide chocolate in the sewing room.  An unexpected bonus! 

If you would like to follow me on Pinterest just click HERE or on the icon on top of the right-hand column of this blog. 

Go forth and make circles.

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