Monday, December 26, 2011

A Great Find

Last month my friend, Teri, went to Idaho with me for some classes.  She told me about a cute tote she was making for her iron, and I'm thinking "that's nice" with a sarcastic tone in my mind.  But then she showed it to me and I was so jealous I made her stop on our way to Idaho to buy fabric so I could make one.  OK, I made 6 because I bought great fabric and planned to give them as Christmas gifts.

Am I the only one that wonders how to travel home with a hot iron?  Can you say, "melted floor mat"?  The tote is lined with heat resistant fabric so you just put the hot iron inside and go.  The tote fits full-sized irons so you can have a "real" iron at class.  I like to take my Rowenta so there is plenty of weight and steam for those seams.  And, what's more (sound of drum roll), when unbuttoned, it is an ironing pad!  Wow, I'm still excited!

You've got to be curious by now so here they are:





 
Yes, that's just 5 but I made two of the gray/red poppies and you guessed it, I'm keeping the one with bees.

The tote takes about an hour to cut out and sew plus a bit more time to add the binding and buttons.  The instructions are easy to follow, just draw lines with a pencil and sew on them.  I used 505 spray to hold my layers together and just pinned the corners.  This photo doesn't show the sewn lines very well because I my local store only had pre-quilted heat resistant fabric.

You want one, don't you?  I have the patterns available on my Etsy Shop and the non-quilted heat resistant fabric is included so you don't have to find it at the fabric/craft store.  After all the holiday preparations you just took care of you deserve to make something for yourself.  And remember, it's not too early to get started on next year's gifts.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

I'm busy cooking our Christmas dinner with everyone's favorites.  My husband just left for the airport to pick up our son and in about an hour we will be able to just sit down to relax and enjoy. 

My thanks to all of you for giving me the gift of your kind words, friendship and support this past year.  May you all have a wonderful Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Restless Hands Syndrome

I've never understood how anyone can be bored.  With Christmas and all the fun projects I find, who could get bored?  I just wish I didn't need to sleep.  This little bag is a Christmas gift for my friend, Teri.  Don't worry, the surprise isn't ruined, I already gave it to her.

I used Sue Spargo's Tulip Sack pattern and instead of tulips, mine has hollyhocks.  The bag is about 10" high and 12" wide with a square bottom and a cute Kaffe lining.  I quickly cut out the circles by first cutting a square and rounding off the corners and made a  freezer-paper template for the leaves.  The applique was completed very quickly, including the rick-rack to cover the bottom of the stems and seam.

Oh, I love to embellish!  I used size 5 silk pearl thread for all the stitches.  Bullions around every flower plus double cast-on and a drizzle in the pink flowers, back stitch in the burgundy, and french-knots on the peach.  I used a fly stitch on the leaves.  Sue's instructions make adding a zipper very easy and I tied on a small roving ball for a zipper pull.

I also made a few projects I can't show until after they have been delivered.  But let me tell you, they are cute and practical.  Check back  in a few days to see them.

Tonight I hope to finish adding bullion knots to the border of the Imperial Blooms block-of-the-month.  And, just to make certain I don't get "bored", here's a sneak preview of my new pattern, "Gather".  I'm still working on the pattern and will post some close-up photos in a few days.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

More Needle & Friends

Lisa sent some photos from the Needle & Friends Christmas Brunch last week.  Everyone waited patiently for brunch to be served.
Each table was decorated with a centerpiece of hand-made birds,
and my quilts were all in order for the trunk show.

To see all the appliqued needle cases given as favors, more birds, and the beautiful quilts made by guild members, visit the Needle & Friends Blog.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Needles & Friends Quilt Guild

Last week I was fortunate to attend the Christmas Brunch of Needles & Friends Quilt Guild in Logan, UT.  When Debi Booth and Lisa Garlick asked me if I would attend their guild's Christmas party and give a trunk show, it was early spring.  I can't believe how quickly that time passed!  Logan is about 100 miles from my house, and includes travel over the mountains.  Of course, that was the only day it has snowed in over a month!  Driving in the snow scares me to death but I took deep breaths and started out early in the morning.  Two hundred miles round trip in snow, fog, and even a few brief glimpses of sun.

I was very impressed with this group of friends that enjoy a common passion.  There were almost 90 women in attendance and each received an appliqued needle keeper.  We enjoyed a yummy brunch and then members showed both finished projects and some still in the works.  This group is very active including a musical fabric exchange - similar to the game musical chairs, a round-robin quilt, mystery quilts, wool projects and classes.  There are some very talented quilters in this group and after seeing all their beautiful projects it was a bit daunting to stand in front of them and show my quilts.

I was welcomed warmly by the group and enjoyed meeting new quilting friends.  I'm looking forward to joining them again in February when I will teach my Blossom Sewing Tuck.

On my way home I made a stop at Shepherd's Bush to buy a few gifts and enjoyed visiting with Teri and her staff. Back in the car and just down the road to Sweet Lavender where I found the most wonderful Japanese fabrics.  I try so hard to stick to my rule of only buying for a specific project, and failed miserably when I saw the Lecian bolts and some silk.  Oh well, I've forgiven myself already and will use the fabric sometime.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Crimson Tweed for Christmas

Yesterday we decorated our Christmas tree and hung up my Crimson Tweed quilt which is a perfect complement to our Christmas decorations.  We are quite traditional and decorate the mantle and piano with Santas my husband has carved, stockings, a tree skirt, table runners, and quilts that I stitched.  Many of the decorations on the tree were hand-made or were gifts from friends.  Decorating brings back the memories of when we made each decoration and of the times we spent with our friends.  Our home at Christmas looks the same each year but rather than finding it to be boring it is a comfort.  Our son will be home for the holidays this year and I think he will love walking in the door and finding it to be the Christmas he remembers.

Crimson Tweed was Sue Spargo's 2010 block of the month and her fantastic design was made even more perfect with amazing quilting by Cindy Paulson, of the Quilted Connection.  I asked Cindy to quilt a multitude of background designs and quilt more designs on the applique.  I was almost breathless when I saw her work.






When the Christmas decorations are put away I will miss my Crimson Tweed but will look forward to hanging it again next year.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Swiss Christmas in Midway

Thursday afternoon my sister, Paula, and I will be loading up our cars for the short drive to Midway, Utah for Swiss Christmas where we will have a booth selling our In Your Bonnet  natural skin care products.  In addition to our regular selections, we have been busy making small sizes for affordable gifts and have special $5, $10, and $15 gift bags already wrapped with decorated containers and holiday ribbons.  Our Utah honey is bottled and when paired with a loaf of bread you have a great neighbor gift.

Stop in to say "hi" and after visiting our booth enjoy the other vendors offering food and fun holiday shopping. 

Swiss Christmas will be held in the Midway Historic Town Hall and community center, 130 West Main Street, Midway, Utah and will be a very different experience from Black Friday at WalMart.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Yes Sir, Yes Sir

Do you remember the nursery rhyme that goes, Baa, baa black sheep have you any wool?  Yes sir, yes sir, 3 bags full. 

I have 8 bags full of little pieces, sorted by color.  I have never been very good at keeping cotton scraps - they just get thrown away.  But wool is expensive so I started keeping every tiny piece a few years ago and find that the bags just keep getting bigger - not smaller!  When getting ready to applique I always look into my scrap bags first and find that most of my needs are met right here.  I take them to classes and share with friends, and they just stay full. What a great use for those zippered bags that new pillow cases come in plus the ever-versatile zip-lock bag.

The sewing room organization is still underway and I couldn't resist these cute doorknobs at Joann's.  They don't help with organization, but they look great on my well organized closet.  Now, if Ikea would just get the shelves I need back in stock.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Classes at The Gathering Place

Last Thursday my friend, Teri, and I drove to Rupert, Idaho where I was scheduled to teach 2 classes and give a trunk show.  It's getting to be winter in our area and we were anxious to beat the snowstorm that was headed our way.  We stopped at Sweet Lavender on our way and I found some unique fabrics that will be perfect for some Christmas gift projects.  It was a beautiful trip watching the storm clouds gather and the colors change.  Luckily, we made it to Rupert before the storm.

Rupert is a small rural community with a HUGE quilt store - The Gathering Place, located right on the historic town square.  If you want it - they've got it.  Joyce and her helpers welcomed us to the store and directed us to our room across the street.  We stayed at the Drift Inn which is on the second floor in the old First National Bank building.  We had a beautiful room with quilts on the bed.  Even though we were on the town square, there is no traffic at night, so we were able to open our window a bit for some comfortable night air.  In the morning it was snowing.  Each day we had breakfast at Cathy's Diner where they serve meals that will satisfy a hungry lumberjack.  We were immediately pegged as out-of-towners and everyone took a good look at us as we walked to our table.

On Friday I taught the City Bucket and Country Bucket to a fun group.  Most of them were new to wool applique and embellishment and we had a good time.  In fact, I was so busy having fun I forgot to take photos!

Saturday morning we started right in on Acorn's Promise, selecting and sewing strips.
This class keeps everyone busy to create one block, but once the first block is finished the remainder are easy.  Here we have the first block finished modeled by its beautiful creator.
Luckily, the snowstorm had left town by the time we finished our class giving us an uneventful trip home.  If your travels take you along I-84 in southern Idaho, be sure to stop at The Gathering Place - you won't be disappointed. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Embellishment Class

My friends at Elaine's Quilt Block asked me to teach an embellishment class before Christmas.  Elaine's is a wonderful shop near my home that was recently featured as one of the "best" in Quilt Sampler Magazine.  We are going to work on a quick little project, perfect for Christmas - or anytime - gift giving.




We will make these little purse-sized notebook covers.  I have one in my purse for jotting down little notes and love that it's not just a paper notebook.

I know, just the notebook would be quite practical, but who wants practicality when you can have beautiful?  One of my favorite quotes is, "make necessity beautiful, make beauty a necessity".  We need beauty in our lives and can make the necessities, like a notebook, beautiful.

If you live close, and by that I mean within 50 miles, join us at the class.  Just call Elaine's 801-947-9100 to register.  I think the tuition is around $25, but the pattern and good time are free.  Do you remember who said, "What is 50 miles of good road?  Yes, I call that an easy distance indeed".

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hey Hookers - Rug Hookers, that is.....

I love the look of hooked rugs and even tried making one with wool I dyed myself.  OK, enough of that!  The wool was the wrong color, the rug was a mess, and now I just have a perfectly good strip cutter for sale.


I just listed this Fraser model 500-1 strip cutting tool on my Etsy site for $125.00 which is a great price.  I found an online source that is selling the same cutter for almost double.  My cutter has one cutting head that will cut 2 strips at a time that are about 1/4" wide, and the instruction booklet is included.

The Etsy site charges shipping but if you buy the cutter and include a message that you saw this on my blog I will refund the shipping charges.

Amazing what you find when you clean out your sewing room closet.

Blasphemy! I Don't Have a Stash

You heard me right - no stash.  I used to be a fabric junkie, buying fabric, books, and kits, certain that I would make beautiful quilts "someday".  Eventually I realized that nobody lives that long and I started feeling pressure to use the fabric that I had bought.  I know, I'm a bit odd, but I feel like if I bought it I had to use it, and if I didn't then I couldn't buy more. 

My first step to recovery was:  No more shopping until I had used up what I had.  For the next few years I only bought fabric if it was absolutely necessary to finish a project.  After piecing or appliqueing a quilt I sewed matching pieces together for the backs just to use up more.  Some of my fabric was used in four or five quilts and it was making me crazy and bored.  I was good for quite a while but just couldn't use that fabric anymore.

Step 2:  Join with some friends to have a fabric yard sale.  What great fun and we sold a lot of fabric, kits, books, and even some quilts.  Then I gave the rest away.

Step 3:  A promise not to buy fabric I wasn't ready to stitch.  It is almost impossible not to acquire additional fabric.  It seems that there is always some "leftover".

The exception to all the rules:  I can't give away my wool and there are several cottons that I've been hoarding because I love them.

Last week while cleaning my sewing room I gave away a few more boxes of fabric to a friend who is just learning to quilt.  I'm happy and she is thrilled.  What's left?  A few bins of wool, my bags of little wool scraps, one bin of Kaffe, and the 2 cottons that I'm hoarding.  So to be honest, I don't have a stash like some of my friends, just a tiny one.

I don't feel guilty, my room is clean, and I'm ready to stitch.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Bit of Stitching

 I started designing a table runner a few weeks ago, making good progress until I hit a glitch!  I made the mistake of going into my long-neglected sewing room and found that someone had been misbehaving.  Books were stacked on the cutting table, the sewing machine was barely visible under piles of wool, shipping boxes and baskets were on the floor, and the closet - well the closet can't even be described.

Who would do such a thing?  You guessed it - me.  I have a friend who is very tidy and refolds each piece of fabric after cutting then returns it to its proper place.  Oh, wouldn't that be nice?  I promise to be tidy but then, when I'm choosing fabric I just can't take the time to fold - I need to grab the next piece, or 10.  Even I have a limit so last week I cleaned up and am happy to report that everything is folded and color-coded.  Even the floor was vacuumed.

 
 I did sneak in a bit of time for stitching on my table runner.  I pleated a wide silk ribbon and appliqued it to my background, then secured the pleats with french knots.  The stem is raised stem stitch using a silk/linen blend.
  French knots stitched with silk ribbon make beautiful seeds in the large velvet flower center.  The petals are embellished with 2 rows of bullions using silk pearl thread.  
I woke up one morning knowing that I had dreamed of what to stitch on these leaves - but I couldn't remember the dream.  I joined my husband and our dogs for a walk and the cold morning air must have jiggled my brain, because I suddenly remembered.  Double feather stitch with lazy daisy stitches and french knots.  I added a palestrina stitch around each leaf.

There's more stitches to add and I'm hoping to finish before too much longer.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A little bit of astrology

Two weeks ago I taught a class on tote bags at Sages Creek Quilt Co., in Pocatello, Idaho.  Terrie, the shop owner, provided a wonderful space for our class and treated us to a delicious lunch.  Students chose their project from my March Hare, Teri Traveler and Butterfly Journey patterns.  Since my original March Hare was given to a friend, I made a new version for the class.  The bunny is the same but the bag and applique are much brighter than the original.

Would you be surprised to learn that my astrological sign is Gemini, the twins?  A major trait of Geminis is two sides to your personality.  Perhaps that explains why there is a City Bucket and a Country Bucket, an Acorn's Promise in dark and light, and two versions of the March Hare.

I'm a firm believer that "more is more" and different colors makes it even more fun.

Inspiration

Do you ever have days where you don't think you will ever have another creative thought?  Me too!  I stopped into Sweet Lavender, a wonderful quilt shop in Roy, Utah a few weeks ago, thinking I would buy some fabric.  But then, on the table, were some wonderful books.  I started to browse through them and thoughts of fabric disappeared.  I had to have these books.


The books are published by Quilt Mania with instructions in French and English.  They are filled with incredible images and wonderful ideas.  I was intrigued by the fish purse for April Fool's Day in France.  The use of ribbon and simple embroidery stitches sparked my creativity and I can't wait to try some new techniques.  This sounds crazy, since I don't speak French, but, I like to read the French directions too.

Back many years ago, when I attended school, we didn't learn the metric system here in the US.  Both of these books have instructions for seam allowances and cutting in centimeters.  Luckily, my phone has a calculator that will convert inches to centimeters to give me an idea of finished sizes.  You can purchase metric quilting  rulers which would take out the guess work.

If you're looking for inspiration or just a relaxing afternoon with a beautiful book, I recommend both.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Give-A-Way Winners

Thank you for your nice comments about my new blog.  I couldn't decide who should win so you are all winners!  Jill, Baukje, Judy, Joanna, Lizzie, Mindi, K, and Quilts, please send your address to me at kerrystitchdesigns@gmail.com so I can send your prize.  No, I'm not forgetting Lynda (my sister) and Amalie (my niece).  I know where you live and will send your gifts too.

The new logo took more time than I thought it would - of course.  I finally have all my patterns updated with the new look and will be able to get back into my sewing room.  There are some new designs in my head and I hope to get them made up soon.

Again, thank you for your comments and following. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Welcome To My New Blog Give-Away



Don't these beautiful threads and embellishments make your heart sing?  Some of them can be yours because I plan to give them away.  Here's how to enter my Welcome Give Away:

See that little "Followers" button on the right side of the blog?  Click on it and sign up to follow this blog and leave a comment about my new name and logo.  It only takes a minute and means that you will receive immediate notice each time I post.  I will send a gift of threads to the first person that registers to follow and comments and I will select 3 other lucky followers that include a comment about why they would love these threads.

It's time to quit being an anonymous blog-stalker and let me know who you are.  You just might receive a nice gift.

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