Monday, July 20, 2015

A finish and a bit of weaving...

I mentioned in my last post that I was very close to finishing a project a started years ago. it is!

It is One Nation by ByGone Stitches. The flag stripes are the 50 states in the order they joined the Union. It's a big one and now has a home on one of our walls. I purchased this chart because I was in a shop that had it framed and waiting for a customer to pick up. I actually walked right by the chart on display, mostly because the photo on the front was pretty dull looking. Hopefully my photo shows it off a little better!

I needed to finish this because I had scheduled a four week beginning weaving class with the Weavers Guild of Minnesota. That class is now complete and I can show you what I accomplished.

This is my first piece. It was completed on a rigid heddle loom I borrowed. The loom had issues (as did the weaver!) and the piece is a little wonky. I decided to not correct my mistakes but to leave them in.

I have a large Beka loom I purchased from a friend a couple of years ago, but wanted to do my next project on something a little smaller. Sooo... I purchased a 15 inch Cricket loom from The Woolery along with an extra heddle.

I found a book at the library that is full of patterns just for the rigid heddle loom and decided upon a log cabin pattern. Instead of using the same two colors in both the warp and weft, I chose two different combinations of dark and light to give it a more subtle look. So far I think it is going well and isn't as wonky looking as my first attempt.

The biggest issue I've had so far is knowing how much yarn/thread I will need to wind on my shuttles. I found this handy calculator online at Weavolution. If you fill in the blanks it will tell you how much you need for both warp and weft and is mostly math free for those who dislike using a calculator. The only calculation you may need to do is to figure out the yards per pound of the yarn/thread you are using, and that is a pretty easy calculation.

Will I become a master weaver? Probably not, but I do enjoy the process and have a few other projects in mind. So far I've used only a 3/2 perle cotton, but plan to explore other, finer thread options.

Next time...the other class I took at the Weavers Guild with a friend.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Two new starts...

You may remember that I was planning a seminar for our Heartland Region EGA. The event was held in April and was enjoyed by all who attended!

While there I took two classes, each with a teacher I hadn't learned from before.

The first two days I was in a stumpwork class called Black Magic. The end project is a little black purse. I'm not certain how I will finish it. I may do it as a purse, but I may add a few bits to it and frame it instead. We'll see when I get there!

This is the limited progress I made during those two days. I missed a bit of class because of my duties with the seminar, but Celeste is an excellent teacher and I was able to work almost everything on a doodle cloth so really didn't miss any of the stitch instruction. I did miss the purse assembly but have two other local friends who will help me with that part.

You can read more about Celeste Chalasani at this link.

The other piece I started is called Jasper and was designed by Toni Gerdes. I just fell in love with the colors that she based upon pieces of jasper stones. Included in our kits was a little bag full of these stones, complete with holes for stitching, that we can add as we like to our finished work.

I was able to spend more time in this class than in Celeste's class so made a little more progress. She used an interesting variety of thread in the piece, including one that is soy based. We started a number of stitches during class so that is why you see all of the spaghetti on the project.

You can read more about Toni Gerdes at this link.

For now, I am very close to finishing a project I started several years ago.More later!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

EGA Projects

Some of you may remember that I am working on the Master Craftsman for Counted Thread, which is an EGA program. There are Master Craftsman programs for a  variety of techniques. They have recently posted the requirements for Step One of each program. Click on this link to learn more.

I finished Step One awhile ago and had put Step Two, Assisi, on the back burner. Well, I finally completed it and it has been evaluated and returned to me. I passed, so my next step will be Blackwork. It may take me awhile to finish that one as well!

I started with a photo a took of the Sanibel lighthouse a couple of years ago.

With a bit of artistic license I came up with this design done in the Assisi style.

I also completed two Group Correspondence Courses through EGA. More information can be found at this link.

The first was a course that was retiring and I wanted to take it before it was no longer available. It is an Italian drawn thread piece called Angelina. It has been sitting folded up for a few months so is pretty crinkly.

The second is a Teneriffe piece I just finished. I've been keeping it in a plastic CD case so it is still in pretty decent shape!

Next week is our Heartland Region Seminar. I will start two new projects while there. We'll see how long it takes until I finish those!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Valentine Freebies!

I was online looking for something completely different and found a few free Valentine projects you may enjoy. If you are speedy, you may have them finished by Saturday!

The first one is a quick to stitch quilted heart from Nancy Zieman. You can check out Nancy's blog here.

It is a paper pieced pattern and Nancy provides a quick tutorial on the technique.

Next up is from one of my favorite blogs...Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread. If you haven't already checked it out, be sure to go there and sign up for her email.  The Love embroidery can be found here.

And, one more embroidery piece. This set of paisley hearts should be quick to stitch and looks really nice in overdyed floss.

The last three patterns are for cross stitch pieces. As a policy I do not post photos of actual charts so you will need to follow the links to see what they are!

First is a darling Quaker Heart from Tempting Tangles. The link will take you to the Wichelt website, but for more on Deb's designs please check out her Tempting Tangles website. 

There is another small Quaker style valentine on the Embroiderbee blog. She offers a number of other free patterns as well.

Last, but not least, is a lovely valentine from Stitching the Night Away, another blog well worth your time!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

New Year...Big Project Finished!

The last couple of months were quite hectic at our home. We had a slight issue when our new gas fireplace started a fire in the exterior wall of our new home. Everyone is fine and the restoration process continues at a snail's pace.

Fortunately I had finished, and delivered, a big project I had been working on for my brother and his wife to give to their first grandchild. They had saved their daughter's baby clothes with the plan to make a quilt when she had her first child. I was able to participate in the gift by creating a scrap quilt from that clothing.

If you have a similar project in mind this may be helpful to you.

I started with the bag of baby and toddler clothes.

Baby clothes are made from a variety of fabrics, many of them stretchy and of varying weights. They also are small, so between the many seams and baby stains, the usable pieces are limited. I decided the perfect answer to finding a quilt pattern that would work was to search my scrap quilt books. I found a basic pattern that I liked and then modified it to fit what I wanted for the end product.

I decided to use a pattern that incorporated a variety of blocks. All were cut to a 6.5 inch size with a quarter inch seam allowance. For the super stretchy fabrics I made a foundation base of a plain white cotton and marked the strip lines. This allowed me to cut those stretchy pieces...

...and then pin them down and sew them without a lot of movement.

There were some awfully cute parts to some of the clothes that I decided could not be cut apart or left out, so I made some blocks that were either a full 6.5 inch cut of fabric, or as in this example, I cut out the bibbed part and then stitched it onto a piece of white cotton.

One additional block I used was to cut a heart shaped piece of fabric, center it on a 6.5 inch piece of white cotton and machine applique the heart. You can see those blocks in this photo. I used the same white cotton for the triangle setting blocks.

I really wanted to include hand quilting, but you can imagine what it would be like to hand quilt through the fabrics found in baby clothes! So, I compromised and machine quilted in the ditch between all of the blocks.

Then, I hand quilted in the borders and in the triangle setting blocks.

There were several t-shirts that I wanted to include but they were too large for the 6.5 inch blocks, so I incorporated them into the backing. You will see that I made sure to position them where there would be machine quilting. Hand quilting through t-shirt fabric would have been difficult! You will see in the lower right hand corner the quilt label. Always remember to include one on any quilt you make.

And here is the finished product!

My brother and his wife saved the clothing for their other two children as well, so I look forward to those future projects!

Monday, October 6, 2014

And...I'm back!

Had you thought I disappeared? No, I'm still here!

I've made my move to my new home and over the last few months have had family visiting. Remember how I was trying to really go through my stash and get rid of things? I had the builder recreate the sewing room from my old house, shelves and all. Funny, but even with a slightly wider closet and getting rid of what I thought was a lot of stash, I still find that my shelves are brim full.

In addition to moving and enjoying family visits, I was able to finish a model for Northern Expressions. This is the link to her blog post when it was released this summer. Just scroll down to read about Shades of Red. Here's a quick photo I took before sending her off to the designer:

I've also been keeping very busy as the chair of the EGA Heartland Region 2015 Spring Seminar. We just announced our classes this weekend. You can see photos of the class projects and download registration information on the St. Paul Needleworkers website. Just follow this link.

Here are a few photos of just some of the ten projects:

Abalorios Azul taught by Deanna Powell

Black Magic taught by Celeste Chalasani

Grace taught by Terri Bay

Dresden Doodle taught by Marion Scoular

Jasper taught by Toni Gerdes

Next time I will finish my update on Sampler Symposium, though I imagine at this point it is more of a historical piece than an update!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sampler Symposium 2014: Part 1

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had the opportunity to attend The Attic's Sampler Symposium in January. The Attic was my LNS when I lived in Mesa many years ago. Over the years it has moved a couple of times and morphed into what I consider to be the premier shop for samplers and high count stitching.

This year's symposium began on Friday evening and continued until Sunday afternoon. We were treated to wonderful lectures and also had some great instruction on a couple of special projects.

One of our presenters was Claudia Dutcher of Dutch Treat Designs. She is the proud owner of  a sampler from the Bristol Orphan House in England. She lovingly charted a reproduction of the Emma Sanford 1867 sampler which can be purchased through your local shop or at The Attic. As participants in the symposium we received a copy of the chart. I then purchased the 52/60 fabric and Tudor silk to stitch it. I like the way the ladies at The Attic mark your purchase so you can remember exactly why you have that particular piece of linen. My piece has not only the name of the sampler I will be stitching, but it also indicates which side is the 52 count and which side should be vertical.

Below is the original Emma sampler along with the start of  a stitched reproduction using Tudor silks on the same linen I purchased.

I find the story behind these "orphanage" samplers to be quite fascinating. The orphanage was started by George Muller who never asked for payments or donations to care for the children, but rather prayed for the money to come in. The girls needed to learn a variety of skills that would help them in their likely future in domestic service. The boys learned a trade but still were required to knit 3 pairs of socks before they left the orphanage. These samplers were done mostly in red, but you can find some stitched in blue. There are rare examples completed in multiple colors. You can read much more about the Bristol samplers history on the Fitzwilliam Museum website by clicking this link.

One interesting tidbit Claudia shared is that sometimes you will see numbers on the Bristol samplers. These numbers represent the bed number and orphan number of the stitcher. There were hundreds of children who lived at the orphanage. It makes you wonder where all those samplers ended up.