Sunday, December 29, 2013

Bean Pot

Six of 20 bean pot blocks. I'd like to say that my miniature piecing skills have improved with each block, but I don't think that is the case. Well, they all measure 5 inches square and that is what they are supposed to be, so I'm not complaining. Fun to make. I added some blue fabrics because my original fabric choices of dark greens and browns just ended up looking all dark and not very interesting. I'm going to use a few brighter fabrics like the blues and probably some reds to see how that looks. Working on this small scale you don't really see the prints so much as the overall color. Well, that's what I think right now, I'll see when I add the sashing.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Little Things

This little embroidery is a transfer pattern from Sarah Jane Studios that I bought at Maine Quilts last summer. It was really fun to stitch. The stitches were mostly stem stitch, lazy daisy, and french knots. There are a few buttonhole stitch circles as well. Isn't it sweet? I framed the piece with blue cotton and the same fabric on the back. I have wanted to make a fabric book using some of my embroidery pieces, some little quilt blocks, and other odds and ends. I'm collecting them together and will try to make them all roughly the same 12 x 12 inch size. Maybe you have seen some of the lace and doily books on the internet or the fabric journals, that's what I'm modeling my book on. I think it will be fun and instead of these pieces being stored away in a drawer, now they will be stitched together in a book. 

My next little thing is a 5 inch block from a book I bought at our Back Roads quilt show in October. The book is Civil War Legacies by Carol Hopkins. I'm starting with the first pattern in the book. It is called Alexander's Bean Pot. This is known as the Rolling Stone quilt block. the light corner triangles are cut from 1 1/4 inch strips and the dark blocks are only 2 inches square, so you can see the pieces are very small to work with. I put in my straight stitch needle plate and the foot that goes with it so that the needle doesn't get sucked down into the bobbin. This makes it much easier to sew the seams.

Not absolutely perfect, but it is very close to 5 inches square. Practice makes perfect and I have 19 more blocks to make for this little quilt. I'd like to make all the little quilts in this book. Let's see if I can get one done. 

We are having freezing drizzle in Maine now. Everything is very monotone so it is good to be inside working on a colorful quilt. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hoffman Challenge 2014

Here's the 2014 Hoffman challenge fabric. I don't always like their challenge fabric, but this one is a beauty.

Monday, December 9, 2013


Christine Barnes + Color! Wow, I would love to explore her color theory work more hands on. It would be fun and so beneficial to take a class with her. Watching her videos on the Quilt Show has given me a whole different take on what fabrics I want to buy. Hand dyes, batiks, ombres. 

Take a look at her website here. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas Ornament tutorial

Here is a lovely Christmas tree ornament from CroutonJack on YouTube. It is made from 2 circles of fabric, 1/2 yard will make about 12 ornaments. Use up a few scraps and make someone happy! Enjoy!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Wishing each and every one of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!
I am thankful for all my quilting friends; you are all so dear to me.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Doll Update

The next step in making my Izannah Walker dolls is applying the stockinette to the head and shoulders. You cover the face and chest with glue, then lay the knit fabric on and smooth in place.

I chose this doll of the three I have made for my first attempt to apply the knit fabric. She doesn't have much of a nose and she looks a wee bit off kilter. 

The ears are made of a tube of knit fabric coiled around and glued in place.

Of course there are folds in the fabric as you draw the fabric in. You trim these darts and butt the edges of the fabric together. Not too successful in the back here. 

Tomorrow when the glue is dry I will apply gesso. Maybe that will cover up the hideousness. Well, my first doll will surely be a doll only a mother could love. I bought some fine paint brushes today so I can paint the face. 

New Ironing Board Cover

I'm going to do this someday. Surely there is some old batting I could use....and some fabric.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Quilts from Tokyo

Luana Rubin from equilter shows quilts from the Tokyo Quilt Show. In Japan all the quilts are stitched by hand and many of these quilts are 6 feet across. Circles are the dominant trend-just wait until you see what's been made!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Dolls in progress

Here are my first three Izannah Walker dolls with a layer of paperclay over the head and shoulder plate. They baked in the oven at 200 degrees for a couple of hours.

Next day I was ready for session 2 and realized that I could have added the facial details in the first bake. Oh well. Here's what it looks like at the beginning. 

After some smoothing and pinching they are ready for another bake. I'm using an angel food cake pan that worked out quite well. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Crazy Quilt Sewing Kit

Two posts in one day, I'm on a roll.

I bought a pattern for a sewing kit at Maine Quilts this summer. I did not make the inside the same as the pattern. There is a little pincushion, a gathered pocket to store a thimble and small scissors, a big wool flap for needles, and another larger pocket.

I really struggled with how to apply the patches. Since the kit folds in three, I would recommend making three separate squares with a center patch and the patches stitched around that center. A ribbon could separate the three squares.

Silk ribbon roses on a luscious gray green ribbon. The embroidery across the center is Chevron stitch which is embellished with lazy daisy stitches and beads. 

The bow is made from blue silk ribbon couched with silk ribbon french knots. The pink bow is done in stem stich. 

My dear daughter made this face out of polymer clay. I love it and placed it on the front flap surrounded by a ring of beads. 

A little butterfly stitched on the back with green beads scattered on the background. I loved using these "silk" flowers, too. So much fun, but I'm glad it is done; now I get to use it!


At Maine Quilts this year I purchased a fat quarter bundle from Pickering Farm Quilt Shop. On display was a rail fence quilt made in 8 1-inch strips. I started to make something similar but added a couple of my fabrics. Today I remembered these applique blocks and played around on my design wall using them in a wallhanging with the strip blocks. I like it! Not sure what I will use for the setting triangles. I will have to finish some of the applique, too. These applique pieces have been languishing for several years so it will be good to finally use them in something special.

It is a gorgeous fall day here in Maine. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Crazy Quiltin'

I bought a pattern for a sewing kit at Maine Quilts this summer. The cover is done in crazy quilting and there were no directions for that. The sewing kit folds in from the right and then in from the left, so there are three sections. The size is 10 x 18 inches. I found it took me a long time to figure out how to make all the patches. 

I signed up for Allie Aller's Crazy Quilt class on Craftsy. I have her book and really, she is teaching what is right there in the book, but it is so good to watch her explain what she is doing. I already had the patches sewn together when I started the class. If I had watched her (yes, or read the book) I might have made the top in three sections and started each section in the center. 

I bought all of these flowers at our Back Roads auction last spring. I'm sure everyone thought I was crazy but I knew what I was going to do with all those petals!

Chevron stitch and detached chain with beads. Buttonhole stitch in a circle with a little flower bead on top.

I ironed knit interfacing on the back of the patches. Allie Aller recommends to do that. She says she does it so she doesn't have to use a hoop to embroider. It does help. 

In progress...

A ribbon bow with french knots holding the blue ribbon in place. Then twisted silk ribbon in lavender on top.

Stay tuned, more to follow!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Beads and Dolls

Beads and Dolls, what's not to love. Isn't this exquisite? How much fun would it be to make dolls like this?

And here's another one that is more my speed...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I just bought this book from Amazon. It is by J. Marsha Michler who has written a good crazy quilt book, too. She had a beautiful crazy quilt in Maine Quilts this summer. This is a book of transfer patterns that can be used for silk ribbon embroidery. She also suggests other techniques, too. I decided to try one little motif. The motif is only about three inches and quick to accomplish.

I tried it first in silk ribbon. The sprays are in ribbon stitch. Lazy Daisy/Detached Chain stitch between the sprays. The centers are done in French knots and stem stitch. I used a light turquoise cotton fabric for the ground fabric. 

Next I tried embroidery floss. The sprays are simple straight stitches. Detached Chain again in between the sprays. the center flowers are buttonhole stitch. So simple and quick!

Lastly, I tried crewel threads on linen. These are lovely wool threads, just a joy to work with. This time I used french knots and stem stitch for the centers again.

I bought a crazy quilt sewing kit pattern at Maine Quilts this summer. I would like to use the ribbon motif and the floss motif in that project. 

Lots more inspiration in this charming book of transfers. I'm working on a little fan right now. It has a ribbon bow that I am making out of narrow silk ribbon couched with white beads. So sweet!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


August 17, 2013

Happy Camper

On the bridge on the Telos Road. Telos Lake on the right, Chamberlain Lake on the left. 

Misty morning on Pillsbury Deadwater

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Crazy Quilt Block Finale

I've finally finished the crazy quilt block for the Back Roads quilt. Monday night is our annual picnic and I will be taking my block. I hope to see other blocks, too. So exciting. 

I've made some changes since my last post. We were asked to add our initials to our blocks, so I added mine to the lower left block. The block in the upper right is a chickadee, just outlined with stem stitch. Chickadee24 is my gmail name and I'm on Ravelry as that, too. Besides, I live in the Pine Tree State and the chickadee is our state bird. I sewed gold beads all over the green velveteen patch. 

The light green patch in the center had a different arrangement previously but I took it all out; I just wasn't satisfied with it. The mauve flowers are spider web roses done with a tubular ribbon. The leaves are silk ribbon stitch and I embroidered feather stitch all over and embellished with cream beads. The seam line for the block is basted around all four sides. Eventually the blocks will all have black velvet sashing. Won't it be gorgeous? 

My block features the tea rose done in a very luscious peach ribbon. I took these photos outside in the early evening, hence the shadows. 

I will be trying my hand at more crazy quilting in the future. I really enjoyed working on this piece. I hope you have enjoyed looking at it, too.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Long overdue catch up!

My daughter and her boyfriend were visiting from North Carolina this past week. Now that my vacation is winding down and their visit has come to an end, it is time to catch up with all my doings over the past few weeks. 

Are you on Pinterest? I really enjoy pinning items to my boards. My biggest board is my craft board and I think it is time to break that down into subcategories. It is fun to look at all the gorgeous things I've found on the internet and use them for inspiration. I also like to pin items from craft shops that I might like to purchase in the future. 

Recently I found some gorgeous beading on Pinterest and it led me to buy Heidi Kummli's book The Spirit of Bead Embroidery. I really enjoy her work combined with her Native American heritage. It has inspired me to try some bead embroidery and the above piece is my first effort. I'm using larger beads than she recommends but this is what I had on hand. My daughter makes polymer clay pieces and she is going to send me a few items that I could use in a beaded piece. The blue is ultrasuede which was quite nice to work with. 

I've done a bit more work on my crazy quilt block.  The flower above is stitched with pink pistil stitch with a stem stitch stem and fishbone stitch leaves. Chevron stitch for the seam detail. The motif in the pink patch was created with stencils I bought from Sharon B. over on Pin Tangle. These clear acrylic stencils make it easy to design all sorts of shapes and patterns. 

Here is one stencil with some pencil doodling underneath. Fun to experiment with and the stencils come with a pdf full of more ideas. 

 Did you go to Maine Quilts? I went to the champagne preview on Thursday night. What a good time to go to the show! Not so many people and it is fun to see all my quilting friends. I bought these crazy quilt "silks" from Thread Express from right here in Maine. They have all kinds of gorgeous threads and goodies. They also had on display the same crazy quilt that we are making in Back Roads!

Last Sunday I took a class at Maine Quilts. Silk ribbon flowers by Faye Labanaris who is from New Hampshire. She sells her books and lovely ribbons on her website. Faye is a former biology teacher and you could tell she had teaching experience as she led us through a fun fast paced afternoon of making ribbon flowers. These are flowers that you can sew onto hats, purses, whatever you want, not silk ribbon embroidered flowers. We used wired ribbon and non-wired ribbon. I was going to say "plain" ribbon, but there was nothing plain about these ribbons! So gorgeous and lovely to touch.

The first thing we did was to make the green leaf which was very easy to do. Then we used the same method to make the five petaled pink flower. Faye showed us how to make a puffy round center for that flower. Mine was less than successful, but it is only a matter of practicing the technique at home to get it right. 

the orange and green pansy on the left was next. It was made in parts using the wired ribbon on the right. We also made the red knot roses in the lower left using silk pique ribbon. These need beads attached at the center. The dark burgundy flower was one of the easiest ones we made. It is made with wired ribbon and the flower is made by gathering the ribbon along one side. Our grand finale was the off white rose at the top. This one has not been sewn together yet so the shape is a little off. The ribbon is 2 inch wide buttery soft silk. 

Here is the book Faye wrote and we used during the class, although she had handouts that covered each flower, too. Lovely clear photos and instructions, highly recommended.

Whew! I hope you enjoyed my review of what I've been up to. Now I see goldfinches at the feeder and some new bird I can't identify has shown up, too. There's always plenty to do here on Quilt Island! Enjoy!