Friday, May 15, 2015

Morning Surprise

 Each morning after breakfast, I have a cup of coffee while reading Mary Corbet's Needle n Thread daily newsletter.  What a surprise to find that she mentioned me in her post today.

Whether your embroidery leans to embellishment like mine, or stitching on fine linen, Mary's web site is a must-read.  Her tutorials are the best with close-up photos and video.  I bought an Ipad just so I could have her in the chair with me!.

Remember, you may want a thicker thread and bigger needle to stitch on wool than those Mary uses on linen.

Thanks Mary for your inspiration and sharing my blog with your readers.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mug-Wump Patterns

The Mug-Wump notebook cover was designed as a teaching project for my recent class at the American Quilt Retreat.  100% felted wool was used for the background and applique motifs, with a cotton fabric back cover and binding.  When the applique is completed 14 different embroidery stitches embellish the design.  The pattern includes a diagram for stitch placement and a listing of stitches and threads used.

The pattern is sized to cover a composition-type notebook, 9 3/4" x 7 1/2", which is available at all office supply stores.  I stock up on them at WalMart when all the school supplies are on sale.

If you would like a pattern, they are now available in my Etsy shop by clicking HERE.  The pattern is a download so you can start making it today.


Monday, May 11, 2015


Beginning today my husband has a guest wood carving teacher for a 5-day class at our home.  The teacher is our friend, Chris Hammack, a well known carver who stays in our home with us.  I prepare the lunches each day for the 8 students and have received several requests for their favorite home baked cookies.  In between, I'm sneaking in a few stitches.

When teaching, I'm often asked how I decide on what stitches and which threads to use.  The truth is that I often unpick several times before I find the right combination.  

I only used 2 threads on this flower, Silken Pearl #5, Hummingbirds & Hollyhocks, Painter's Pearl Cotton #8, Grandma Moses.  The flower was outlined with a chain stitch then back-stitched through the center of each chain stitch. 

The petals were adorned first with a feather stitch with a daisy (detached chain) stitch at the ends. Next, I filled in with colonial knots.  

The flower center is surrounded with bullion knots and a hand-dyed button was sewn in place.

A combination of Valdani and Colour Complements #8 pearl cotton were used for the flowers and stems with Silken Pearl #5, Summer Verdigris for the bullion knot outline.

The flowers are daisy stitch with colonial knot centers, top branch is wheat ear stitch which was then back-stitched through the center.  The bottom branch is closed fly stitch, whipped in the center, and the dark pink buds are oyster stitch.

 There are a lot of leaves on this project and I needed some inspiration.  My "go-to" place is Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread web site.  Mary's tutorials are easy to follow and she shares ideas for combining simple stitches for amazing results.

Recently, Mary published an e-book, "Stitch Sampler Alphabet".  If you're not familiar with the term e-book, it just means that you purchase it through Mary's website and then you down-load it to your computer.  Don't worry, Mary gives good instructions on how to download and will even help you out if there are problems.  Once it is on your computer you can print out all the pages or just a few.  I printed the entire book and had the copy store spiral bind it so I'm never without it.

This book isn't just for embroidering the alphabet - I used ideas from the book for the flower and leaf shown above.  It is a great bargain so click Here to get to Mary's site and buy the book.  While you are there sign up for the daily newsletter.

Now, I need to make a confession.  Remember how I was ready to start the Lollipop Trees?  Here's the first block:

 That's right - I changed my mind again and started the Roseville Album instead.  I love the Lollipop Trees but decided that the blocks were too similar and I would get bored.  No boredom here!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Enchantment Stitches

Have you ever made yourself a promise?  I'm  not talking about the one to lose weight.  No, the "I am going to get this project done by such and such date" promise.  If you're like me you really mean it - until something else catches your eye.

My Enchantment quilt is definitely in this category.  I started it about a year ago and my progress is shameful.  But.... there is some progress.

Sometimes the most difficult step for me is deciding what stitch, thread, and color.  Here I outlined the red portion with Silken Pearl "In The Reds" using Coral Stitch.  The center pink section is surrounded with Silken Pearl "Hummingbirds and Hollyhocks" Bullion Knots and Double Pekinese Stitch "Midsummer Vineyard".  A Whipped Spider Web using Valdani M69 adorns the berry.

Four Double Cast-On Stitches in the center of each wool circle using Painter's Pearl Cotton, "Picasso", with 4 Pistil Stitches and a Bullion Knot in Valdani color #12.  Surrounding the wool circle is Cast-On stitch in a Valdani color that unfortunately, has been discontinued.

The dark green leaves are outlined in Bullion Knots using Painter's "Boucher".  Around the cotton center is Chain Stitch using Valdani "P1" and then I whipped the outside edge of the Chain with Valdani "13".

Here you can see the flower, leaves and berries together.  On this section of branch there is 1 more flower, 9 of these leaves, and 6 more berries.

My latest deadline to finish has passed but I'm still determined.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Mug-Wump #2

A few weeks ago I told you about my class at the American Quilting Retreat where I taught how to embellish the Mug-Wump block.  After class I had another finished block, but what to do with it?

 I added some wool and cotton strips to colorful binding making the block fit the cover of a large Yazzii bag.  I stitched the block to the bag and appliqued dotted ribbon to cover the handles.

I added a beaded button-hole stitch along the seam line.

 Beaded zipper pulls on the bag's exterior.

This beaded zipper pull spells out my name.  Believe it or not, these letter beads are from WalMart.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Stitching on Enchantment

There are a lot of leaves on Enchantment - really, a lot of leaves.  Three vines are hanging from the tree on the right side of the quilt. A simple Closed Fly Stitch with Painter's Thread #3 Pearl Cotton in Rousseau on the outside vines with Lazy Daisy in Painter's Shimmer Floss Rousseau on the center leaves.

Unless I break up stitching on leaves this poor project will be put on the shelf so next I stitched a flower.

The flower center is a Spiral Trellis using Valdani Pearl Cotton #8.  Unfortunately, this color has been discontinued so I just use a little bit at a time.  Sea Grass "Butterscotch" in the closed Fly Stitch and The Lavenders Silken Pearl #5 for Bullions.  The flower was outlined with Valdani 0244 Pearl Cotton #8 using a Pekinese Stitch.  Tiny seed bead flowers are stitched on each petal.

I think another flower before more leaves........... 

To see more Enchantment photos check out my Enchantment Board on Pinterest

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Back to Stitching - I hope

Do you remember last fall when we built a new wood carving workshop in the back yard?  The project didn't end there.  With the arrival of spring weather we have been working to restore the landscaping around the workshop.  My husband has had to do the majority of the heavy work; taking up brick pathways and laying them back down, hauling wheelbarrows of sod, dirt and top dressing from place to place.

Last week we visited the nursery and purchased plants for a new flower garden.  Here in the Salt Lake City valley, it can be a bit tricky to find just the right plants.  They need to be hardy enough to withstand sustained freezing temperatures in the winter and searing sun with low humidity in the summer.  In fact, this part of the yard won't be watered by our sprinkling system so in addition, they need to cope with very low moisture.

I am most excited about a new (to me) plant named Red Bird In A Tree.  Doesn't that sound like the name of a quilt?   The stems will be about 24" tall with red blooms that look like little birds.

After this project, my husband and I have agreed that we are too old for this type of work.  Oh, the aches and pains!  I'm hoping that the swelling in my hands will subside enough today that I can hold a needle.

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