Sunday, November 25, 2012

Portuguese Border Stitch

The green stitches above the straw hat girl (one of my favorite rubber stamps) is this week's TAST stitch. I've been working on other embroidery and quilting projects and have neglected working on the TAST challenge. One reason I wanted to join in this project was because it was pressure-free, join in as the mood strikes or time permits. 

I worked this week's Portuguese Border stitch first in a wool yarn on the right, then with a Very Velvet thread. The base of horizontal stitches done in Perle cotton, form a ladder and the braid is made by looping yarn or thread up the rungs of the ladder. Interesting stitch and fun to do. I had to take care with the tension and some of the rungs show a bit. 

Take a look at more samples at

I made up another block for the Back Roads raffle quilt this afternoon. These blocks are done with foundation paper and are curiously addictive. I really like the precision achieved with this technique including the fact that the block measures an accurate 12.5 inches when completed.

I've been off work for Thanksgiving for five days so now I get to "enjoy" going back to work tomorrow. 6 AM is going to be a shock!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

What to do besides eat turkey

I've embroidered another flower block. This one is Veronica, my own version of the plant which grows in my perennial garden. 

This embroidery features the pistil stitch.

The pistil stitch is a french knot with a little tail.

The leaves are stem stitch and chain stitch. Very satisfying to stitch. I've had some bouts of insomnia lately and have been stitching on this project in the wee hours of the morning. 

Yesterday Bill and I made a very long trip up I 95 to Patten and from there through Shin Pond and onto the Scraggly Lake Road. We wanted to have a look at the campsites available at this public reserve area. It was worth the trip and we will come back in the summer. 

Here is the Scraggly Lake boat landing. There are four or five picnic tables in this spot. You can camp there and have a fire. This end of the lake is just a small portion of the lake. It was a beautiful day, clear and sunny, but cold! I was surprised by how cold it was and really it was only about 42, which will seem warm come January. We brought our camping stove and heated a can of soup and ate turkey sandwiches. We saw a few trucks leaving as we were driving in. I thought we would see hunters because it was the next to the last day of deer hunting season, but we only saw one car parked off the road. We saw a camper trailer in one campsite and figure it must belong to that hunter. 

There was ice on the water in one area before we got to Scraggly. You can see the open water in the middle. With these cold temperatures it won't be long before that is all frozen solid. The best kind of weather to stay home and make quilts!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my quilting friends and neighbors! 

Here is a quilt top I made around 2005-ish. Pies, pies, pies. I really should finish this, don't you think? I think this pattern was by Bonnie Hunter who lives in Maine, not Bonnie K. Hunter. I haven't seen this pattern in my collection for a very long time, so I can't say for sure. 

My Thanksgiving wish for you is that you share a joyous day with your family and friends. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Paper Piecing for Back Roads

 My quilt group Back Roads is making a raffle quilt. We were given paper piecing instructions for making this block. The background (white) fabric was provided and we were asked to make blocks using reproduction fabrics or similar type fabrics. I did the blue block first and it took me a long time, all afternoon to complete. There was a lot of "unsewing" that day.

The second block I was able to finish Sunday afternoon in a shorter amount of time. I can learn! These were really fun to make. The block is 12 inches finished.

I was really interested in trying paper piecing for a full size block. My experience with paper piecing was quite some time ago and it was with little itty bitty blocks. I did not especially like the process, especially putting the blocks together. However, I've been inspired by Sue Garman's quilts recently. She uses paper piecing and what she produces is just amazing.

We are having a half square triangle swap at Back Roads tonight. We are using Edyta Sitar's book "Friendship Triangles" for inspiration. I'm making a little table topper so I prepared five packets of triangles to swap. We are using her half square triangle paper which makes 28 squares. I've kept 6 from each packet and have the rest to swap. Thank you to Ann and Nena for actually swapping the squares!

Here is a little embroidery project I've been working on. You may have noticed that I haven't had anything to post for TAST which Sharon B is hosting on Pin Tangle. Oh I have lots of excuses. Let's pick a few: did not like the stitch that week, too busy, too much bother to take a photo, too much bother to post, etc. Okay, that said I also like making something, not just learning a new stitch. I like producing something. 

So here is my little hollyhock garden made with buttonhole wheels. French knots in the centers. I used a cotton thread called coton a broder. It is a one ply thread that is the weight of two threads of embroidery floss. I really like it because the colors are great and there are no plies of floss that separate and bunch up when stitched. I like the stitch definition with the coton a broder. 

I worked on this at Camp Kieve and added the border with strips from a Robert Kaufmann Kona Cotton jelly roll that I bought recently. 

I'm working on another flower block now using pistil stitch, which is a French knot with a tail. Oh my, I am getting tired of all those knots but it is pretty! 

My goal is to make several flower blocks, add a border and then machine quilt the piece. 

It's a long weekend for me. I'm going for a hike this afternoon with hubby. The sun is shining and it is mild for November in Maine. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sue Nickels and Pat Holly!

TQS just announced the block of the month for 2013. This stunning quilt is by sisters Sue Nickels and Pat Holly. I was fortunate enough to take a class with Sue at Maine Quilts a couple of years ago. She taught her machine quilting technique around applique in that class. I got to see her own quilts up close and was that ever fun!

I've never participated in the TQS block of the month, but this year I just have to! Kits will be offered and I really like this colorway, so I may have to splurge. Looks like a lot of work, doesn't it? The thing I like about these BOMs is that there are monthly videos to go along with the block. 

Do you like it, want to join in the fun? Here's the link:

Enjoy your Saturday and don't forget to "fall back" tonight. Daylight savings time is over. Time for darkness and winter projects.