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Showing posts from April, 2014


April 29th 2014

In September I will be going to a big local quilt show as I do every year, except this year I will be a vendor.  I'm so excited to be involved with this!  I am sewing more and trying to stock up in anticipation.  Over the weekend I was working on some hanging owls.  These look cute hanging on door handles, a hook on the wall or on a Christmas tree!  I have two that hang on the closet doors in my bedroom.  Sometimes if I shut the door too quickly they turn themselves around and face the door.  It's so funny, like they have decided they're done for the day or something.  Each owl has its own personality!  Anyway these are the owls I was working on this weekend....

They are made from a combination of wool felt and wool fabric that has been hand dyed and felted (but not by me!).  The wool fabric has lovely texture, see that blue owl has boucle grey/blue wings?  It feels so soft and satisfying to the touch.  The wool is not quite as easy to sew with as the wool fe…

April Reading

April 26th 2014

This is my reading pile for April.  
Gee's Bend, The Architecture Of The Quilt by  This is a wonderful reference book and one I look through often.  It documents the lives and quilts of the community of women who have become known as the Gee's Bend Quilters.  The women were mostly descendants of slaves and in 2002 their quilts were exhibited first at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and then became a traveling exhibition, showing at other major museums.  The book explores the making of the quilts and their designs with lots of fabulous photographs of the quilts themselves and some really wonderful old black and white photos of life in Gee's Bend.  The earliest quilts date back from the 1920's but it is incredible how vibrant they are and how contemporary the designs are.  Many of them look like pieces of modern art.  
Scandinavian Stitch Craft by Karin Holmberg I have been learning about Scandinavian style embroidery from this book and showed some photos o…

On My Worktable

April 24th 2014

I've been working on several different things this week, not all of them for my shop!  Last summer I learned about scandinavian embroidery from this book, "Scandinavian Stitch Craft" by Karin Holmberg.  I spent a lot of time exploring the techniques on a piece of white linen.  It was extremely satisfying.  I found that I really enjoyed using the wool and silk threads which are so different to use than the cotton embroidery floss I am used to.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with my sampler which measures about 15x12inches, maybe a cushion cover or table center.  

From this project I moved on to embroidering the back of a hooded sweatshirt.  This is a much more challenging fabric to embroider since to try deal with the stretchiness of the fabric I needed to use a cut away stabilizer.  This is an ongoing project!  Maybe I will get it done before next Winter!  If I try this again, I will be more choosy about the sweatshirt I use. This is one I alrea…

Rose Pincushion

April 19th 2014

For the last few days I have been in the mountains recharging my creative batteries.  I did lots of sewing as well as some hiking and reading.  It was lovely!  This is one of the new designs I was working on.

I absolutely love using Pinterest.  I have to be honest and say that I avoided Pinterest for the longest time because I couldn't really see the point.  Then I tried it...... I have found so many wonderful things and beautiful pictures.  One of the people I follow often adds photos of gorgeous flower arrangements and this pincushion is based on one of those.  It was a photo of some old fashioned roses, casually arranged in a galvanized tin bucket.  It was just the sort of thing I would love to have on my big wood dining table if only my cats wouldn't eat the flowers!  In my garden I have some beautiful, highly scented, old fashioned roses and right now they are in full bloom.  I used those roses as the inspiration for the color scheme.   There is a pincushion …

In The Mountains

April 16th 2014

This is where my heart belongs and where I love to be.  This landscape inspires me more than any other.  And it is quiet.  As I sit here I can hear the wind in the top of the tall pine trees.  It sounds like  water rushing over the rocks in a fast flowing Springtime river, much like the one not too far from here.  The sound comes and goes.  Then there are squirrels making their little agitated noises and bird song.  What I don't hear, is freeway noise, trains or sirens.  It is good for me to be here and recharge.  This is where my soul feels a connection and deep down I feel at home.

Today I hiked at the lake, well it was more of a scramble really because the trail was still snowy.  The lake is thawing and snowmelt from the surrounding peaks is rushing down into the lake.  It won't be long and we'll be kayaking.  

I'm working on new sewing projects. I have chocolate. The wood stove is keeping me cosy and all I can see is trees.  Really, what could be bette…

Stop And Smell The Roses!

This time of year we have lots of roses beginning to bloom in our front garden.  They are mostly old, scented roses and are beautiful.  In the back garden the vegetables are growing fast.  The citrus trees are in flower and smell incredible but make me sneeze.  Everything is very green.  Sadly, here in California that won't last much longer.  Our drought is serious and worrying for gardeners and farmers alike.  Every year we have a few weeks of vibrant green before everything is covered in dust.  In the summer I occasionally hose down all our citrus trees to get the dust off them but I won't be able to that this year.  Our neighborhood has a Home Owners Association which has strict rules about how your front garden can look.  I heard on the radio this week that our State Governor has said that Home Owners Associations will no longer be able to fine homeowners who let their lawns go brown.  Finally some common sense!  It has always annoyed me that, firstly, we have to have a la…

On My Worktable...Here there be DRAGONS!

April 9th 2014

For some time I've been playing around with the idea of doing a series of pincushions that feature mythical creatures.  Since dragons have always been a creature of interest in our house I thought I'd start there.  Rather than just show you finished photos, I thought I'd describe how I work through a design.  It begins with an idea, then some sketches.  I looked at how dragons have been depicted through history and at contemporary manga style art before choosing which of my sketches to go with.  I wasn't going for scary!

I draw several 3.5 inch diameter circles to work with because that is the finished size of my pincushions. When I've decided on a sketch, I ink over the pencil lines then I lay printer paper over the design and trace the different parts to make templates.  This makes it easier to reproduce the same designs later.  

I cut out all the little paper pieces and store them in a labeled bag with a copy of the design.  

I struggled with the colo…

OEKO-TEX® Standard 100

April 7th 2014

All the lovely colored felt I use for my pincushions and needle books is made from 100% merino wool (except for the white which is a wool/rayon blend) and is imported from Holland.  The felt is soft and really nice to handle and work with.  The colors are beautiful and consistent.  Sure, I could save a few dollars and work with a lesser quality felt but it wouldn't be the same.  On the bag the felt comes in, is a label stating it is OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified.  Now I'm a curious person and I've seen that designation on a lot of labels and wondered what it meant so I spent a bit of quality time with Google.

It turns out that OEKO-TEX Standard 100 is an independent  testing and certification system  for textiles.  It is applied to raw materials, right though all production stages to finished products.  It was introduced in 1992 by the Hohenstein Institute in Austria.  Simply, it gives consumers a guarantee that items with this label have been tested and fou…