Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I Don't Like Bologna

My Mom fixed bologna sandwiches for my school lunch and I ate them even though I didn't like them.  But, there was no choice - eat or be hungry.  So I know from experience that bologna can be a meal, even if it's not your "meat" of choice.  

Are you wondering yet why I'm sharing my feelings about bologna?  Well, I've come to the conclusion that felt is the bologna of the fabric world.  Little things chopped up, mushed together and pressed down flat.  That's how both bologna and felt are made.

I know I'm going to get in trouble for this.... but felt, even if it is 100% wool felt, IS NOT the same as felted wool. Do you remember last year when I made the Urban Owls quilt designed by Wendy Williams as a block-of-the-month project?  Felt was included in the kit and in the spirit of learning new things, I used it and blogged about the pros and cons.

Wendy has designed another beautiful quilt, "While The Cat's Away", offered as a BOM through Material Obsessions and I enrolled.  The first month included felt to make flower centers and once again I cut them out, appliqued them together and haven't added any embroidery stitches.  Why? Because other than the bright colors they look really flat, just like the bologna.  And now that I'm a grown-up I have choices.

I'm going to substitute the bologna, I mean felt, with lovely, soft, textural, felted wool.  After the final month of the BOM I will have a give-away here of colorful felt that you can use for a sandwich or a craft project.

The kits are expensive and there is part of me that thinks I should use what is in the kit but my justification is that I don't like it and I'm not going to work on a beautiful quilt with fabric I don't like.  (at this point imagine me with hands on hips and a pout on my lips.)

Hopefully I will get some blocks finished next week that I can share.

p.s.  for all of you that are offended because you love felt and/or bologna, sorry.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Honey Flow

In early spring beekeepers ready their hives for the upcoming summer months in anticipation of sunny days and flowers in bloom.  When the fruit trees and flowers bloom there is an abundance of pollen and nectar for the bees to gather and store – more than they need for their food supply.  This abundance is called the “Honey Flow” which I thought was the perfect name for my quilt with the abundance of blooms, birds, butterflies and yes, a few little bees.

There are 59 Hexie Flowers  appliqued onto a dotted fabric surrounded by the appliqued border.   I used a variety of Kaffe and Kaffe-like fabrics, fussy cutting some for the applique.

 I thought my quilt was beautiful until I took it to Cindy Paulsen at Quilted Connection to work her magic.  Cindy's quilting is amazing and I just wish the photos could show it better.

Gather your bright fabrics and during those dark, cold winter days start creating your own garden to welcome spring with The Honey Flow.

Patterns are available in my Etsy shop by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Transfer of Skills

As much as I would enjoy spending each day creating and stitching, it's just not meant to be.  My husband and I have a new project, a studio for his woodcarving that has been built in our back yard.  That's my husband with Mickey and Juno on his new porch.

The exterior is all finished and to save some money we are doing some of the interior work ourselves.  Now, if you have ever purchased a pattern or kit from me, chances are my husband may have folded the pattern and stuffed it in the bag, cut threads or wool, and may have even folded the fabric in just the right order.  He has helped me and my sister, Paula, pour and label thousands of lip balms, made soap forms, shrink wrapped Heel Thyself and stirred soap.  It's only fair that I help with some of his projects.
To finish off the interior of the studio we needed to insulate the walls.  Sounds easy, right?  Yes, that is one of my cutting boards and rulers topped by a big roll of insulation.  

My fabric cutting skills were invaluable as I cut off sections to fit between the framing boards.  A rotary cutter wouldn't work as this stuff is thick and required a tough box-cutter type thing with sharp razors.  I cut and trimmed through 11 rolls, 32 feet in each roll.  Then, I helped staple the pieces in place.

At the end of the last 2 days I was so sore and tired that picking up a needle seemed like too much physical labor.  But.....sitting under a quilt with a book was perfect.

I have one more give away, another project that is started and up to one of you to finish.  I will have the pics and information here in a day - or 2.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Sweet and Simple winner

It didn't take long for Rebecca to send me her address and claim Sweet & Simple.  The give away has been given away.

The More Cleaning Give Away

If there is a prize for the biggest, best blog give away I'm going to win.  My Dear Jane blocks are in the mail to Vangie and I'm finally going to admit that I won't make the Sweet & Simple quilt either.

  • I like this quilt.
  • I like it so much that I purchased kits for every block for a total of $180.00 plus fabric for the setting strips.
  • I like it so much that I made 5 blocks.
Then, I put it away.

This is too nice of a quilt to just sit in my closet, sadly calling my name, and being ignored.  After all, no one likes to be ignored.  Perhaps you ask, "if you love it why don't you make it?"  Well, there is only so much time and I have many more projects that I like even better.

So, here's the deal:  Be the first to send an email to kerrystitchdesigns@gmail.com with your name and address (USA only) and next week you will receive 5 completed blocks plus their patterns, 25 pattern and fabric kits for the remaining blocks and the fabric for the setting strips. 

That's it!  Easy! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Dear Jane

Dear Jane,
My blocks have found a new home with Vangie.  My love for your quilt is only exceeded by the knowledge that the blocks won't be calling to me from the sewing room any longer.



Thank you to everyone that responded to my call for help, literally from across the entire country.   I'm still cleaning so check back for more give aways.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Dear Jane, I'm sorry


 Dear Jane,
I'm sorry that I will never finish your quilt.  You inspire me as I think of your dedication to create all these little blocks and oh my, those triangles in the border.  I've thought of you often when a block has been particularly challenging - knowing how you must have saved every little scrap and worked to hand piece and applique without electric iron, spray starch and rotary cutter.

Yes, I'm a failure.


OK, now that the letter to Jane is complete,  let me explain.  I started the Dear Jane quilt many years ago and after 25 blocks decided that I would never finish and gave the blocks to a friend.  Last year I saw the beautiful finished quilt made by Bonnie Quigley and was inspired anew.  I asked my friend for my blocks back - since she hadn't done anything with them I was of the opinion they were still mine - and made 27 more.  That is 52 finished blocks.

I was ruthless last week in cleaning out the closets.  All spring/summer clothes not worn this year, all winter clothes not worn last year, and coats from many years past were given to a local charity.  With a renewed fervor I moved to my sewing room.  Sometimes you just have to be honest about:
  1. What can really be accomplished in your lifetime.
  2. What you don't like anymore.
  3. What were you thinking when you bought this fabric?
  4. Why do I try to make a Civil War quilt?  I've never been a fan of the Civil War fabrics so why did I ever try to talk myself into the Dear Jane quilt?
If you are interested in 52 Dear Jane blocks please send me at kerrystitchdesigns@gmail.com with your name and address and I will be thrilled to rush to the post office and send them to you.  The book will not be included but you probably have your own :-).

Is this the easiest give away ever?  No clever comments, slogans or begging.  Just your name and address.

In the event that I receive more than 1 email the first one received gets the blocks.  If I don't get any emails by Saturday, well, you probably don't want to hear what will happen to them.

Friday, October 3, 2014

More Enchantment Progress

I was excited to get started on these 3 flowers.  They are just so cute at the end of the vine with all the little leaves.  Here is how I stitched them:
  • The vine was made with a Clover Bias maker, the "only" way in my book to quickly make stems and vines.  I cut a strip about 3/8" wide on the bias of a batik print, sprayed it with starch and pressed it until dry.  Then it was threaded into the bias maker, the end pinned to my ironing board, and quickly pressed into a perfect vine.
  • As you know, I'm hooked on Bullion Knots and here they are again outlining the pink flowers using Silken Pearl #5, Hollyhocks & Hummingbirds.  All of my Silken Pearl is hand-dyed by The Thread Gatherer.
  • This same thread was used to stitch along the sides of the orange center section in Basque Stitch.
  • Two rows of Back Stitch were added using Thread Gatherer Sea Grass, Limelight.
  • Pistil Stitches in groups of 3 were added to the bottom edge of the flowers in Silken Pearl #5, Phoenix Rising.
  • Circles at the top of the flowers were covered with Whipped Spider Webs using Valdani Pearl Cotton #8, color M26.
  • Believing that you can never have too many Bullion Knots, I used the M26 to surround each leaf and then added Fly Stitch in the center.
  • French Knots were added to the tips of the Fly Stitch using Painter's Thread Pearl Cotton #8, colors Marianne on the 4 leaves closest to the flowers, Mary C. on the 3 leaves in the center section of the stem, and VanGogh on the top 3 leaves.
A few honey bees will be added around the flowers and perhaps something along the sides of the vine.

We have been very busy the past few days, trying to catch up after our trip.  I'm hoping to steal some time for stitching this weekend.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Enchantment - slow progress

We just arrived back home after visiting our friends in Oklahoma and my husband taking a wood carving class.  There was a little time for stitching and I'm thrilled to have made some progress on Enchantment.

I'm debating on adding something to the red or just leaving it to be quilted.  Yes, more bullions!  I love stitching them and their versatility.  The flower is outlined in Bullion Knots using Silken Pearl #5 in Sunflower and French Knots in Painter's Thread Gimp in Matisse.  Seed beads outline the red flower using a Coral Stitch in Painter's Thread Braided Metallic, Picasso.

More Bullion Knots surround the flower center using Silken Pearl #5, Mermaid Shimmer, Fly Stitches in Silken Pearl #5, Chartreause filled with yet another Bullion Knot in Silken Pearl #5, Hollyhocks & Hummingbirds.
Both Leaves were outlined with...... you guessed it Bullion Knots using Silken Pearl #5, Granite.  The lighter green leaf layer on the top leaf was outlined using the same thread and Chain Stitch.  The flower petals are Double Cast-on stitches using Silken Pearl #5, Hollyhocks & Hummingbirds.  Between each petal is a small Bullion Knot in Sunflower Silken Pearl #5 threaded with Mermaid Shimmer Silken Pearl #5.  Fly Stitch in Granite Silken Pearl #5.

Again, the lighter colored layer on the bottom leaf was outlined with Chain Stitch using the Granite colored thread.  I continued the Chain Stitch down the center and one side to add veins, switching to Camoflage Silken Pearl #5.  Back to the Granite Silken Pearl #5 for Colonial Knots.

I've made good progress on 3 little flowers and will share soon.

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