Rainbow launched!!!

For me the hardest part of a project is doing the initial groundwork....the ideas are easy....Once I have something going where I can work at it just by picking it up, I am fine.. So I was at that awkward stage with my rainbow jacket and plunged ahead this morning.

First I made some modifications in the pattern and then traced it on muslin for the foundation...and am not cutting it out.....leaving plenty or room around the pattern.  I am doing the pattern in a size larger than I need because I know things "shrink" with lots of stitching.  It is much easier to cut something back then add extra later....  I almost goofed and drew 2 right sides...  Only the body of the jacket will be CQ...the sleeves will be vintage lace doilies.

These are my rainbow colors and I need to find a LOT of coordinating fancies now.. and that will take a while.  I do have a bit of rainbow ribbon left over from Morris's book which will be perfect here.... 

Right now I'm thinking I will hand applique the patches to make the best use of my silks.  I'm miserable that the flip and stitch method. (that is why I always paper piece)  Maybe I don't like piecing because I am bad at doing it.

I immediately thought of a book I've had for years (and years) which I always have wanted to use as a resource for vintage reproduction of needlework.  It is filled with hundreds embroidery patterns collected by Virginia Baskervill who live in a plantation home, Waverly Honor in the mid 1800's.

A antique quilt Allie posted on facebook recently inspired me.  I do want bright colors which are way out of my comfort zone but what I like the most is that it is all embroidery.... no charms, lace etc. Also by using only embroidery, I can do a lot of it on a hoop which will reduce the shrinkage.  So you see with this project  I'm not straying too far from the Victorian era I love.

Here is another example of a quilt from the same era that is also all embroidery but more subdued colors that are in my comfort zone.. but rainbow it will be.... My Carole Samples stitch book will be my bible throughout this endeavor..  I'm sure you could find every single one of the stitches on these quilts in her marvelous, inspiring research.

Allie called these colors "musty" which is so appropriate....


The bluebirds have landed and the popcorn ritual...

All the bluebirds are stitched on the anniversary quilt. Once I finish the foliage I can start on the embellishment in earnest.  I have a large collection of my most special treasures saved for this piece.

I have the dubious talent of turning a simple project into something complex and time consuming.  I had planned for just two birds and now I have 8. Now I want the foliage by the birds similar to  the foliage in the focal point which will mean about 400 French knots.

But for a couple days it is going to get a good stretch and rest on this foam thing I found in the barn..

It is something left from days we had a booth and it folds.. It opens quite large which is great as this piece is too large for my bulletin boards.  Sorry about the lighting.

Our dogs love popcorn and my husband has preparing it down to a fine art and he shares with the dogs.  They eagerly watch while he is popping it and the minute he sets 2 paper towels on the floor, they position themselves and wait... They each get a few kernels in turn until it is all gone.  They wait patiently for their turn and stayed glued to their spot...


Time for a new CQ jacket

I do have a CQ jacket I made over 20 years ago and although I still love it, it  sadly shows its age and wear.  It has been all over the US, Australia and NZ and hand washed many times.  It is covered with everything relating to gardening and my travels, plus a lot of "witty" garden sayings... I made it during the years I used to speak at a lot of garden show and events.. It was my "uniform"  We often had a booth at these things as well and when it was time for me to speak I could just pop on my jacket.. 

But besides being old, it really had no style or shape and was made with vintage linens and  was too warm to wear in hot weather... So if I'm going to make another one I want:

1. for it to be lightweight so silks would be great
2. for it to have a little shape or style
3. suitable for indoor wear.

But on the other hand to be suited to CQ, the pattern has to be quite simple and that has been the problem... Every few years I would get the urge and search for the "perfect" pattern but to no avail.. They all needed major restyling so the project would be shelved again.

But the other day I think I have found the "nearly" perfect pattern, Butterick 5789.  It has some shape and still is very simple construction...  The only problem I see is that it is too long in back and that can be fixed.. It's especially too long for someone as short as I am and also I don't want to be sitting on stitching.

So I will probably make a trial version with old CQ pieces to iron out any problems before I make the "final version."  And the final version is going to be rainbow colors.  My rainbow door has made me smile all year and I think it would be fun wearing a rainbow coat  to make others smile.  So join me as I start this journey toward "Gerry's coat of many colors."


Back to anniversary/hanky piece

Now that the suffrage piece is finally done I can start thinking about what is next in line.... First up is back to the hanky quilt which is really my anniversary piece.
I have all the additional stumpwork bluebirds done and ready to cut out and applique onto the doily areas... I worked on them while sitting with mother...
In case you had forgotten, I posted a sampler I did in 1976 to commemorate our marriage.  Since we are coming up on our 40th anniversary (40 wonderful years I must add) I wanted to do a special piece of needlework that incorporated both CQ and bluebirds... plus lots of hearts and flowers...  Hopefully I'm starting soon enough to take my time to add all the special detail I want and also to get it done in time. 


Done at last!

The last stitch, the last button, and the last detail...  My eyes are so sore tonight that after I have a large gin and tonic I am going to put ice packs on them... I decided to have it professionally photographed because the lighting for all the black on black is beyond my skills..  It has been a long journey...over 3 1/2 years since I started collecting the images.  I still love every one of them.  But I will never start such a elaborate piece again either.

The earliest posts go back back to Oct and Nov of 2010..... and here is the photo of the materials as I was gathering them together..  all sepias, browns, and blacks...


Cording Technique

 I went to see Allie on April 6th and have worked non stop on the suffrage piece ever since and now on the last step...the corners. I basted the batting, quilted all the layers,  did border, border lace, border trim and then proceeded to add the cording around the whole piece...Here  I ran into problems... The cording has 3 ply and a good deal of elasticity.  If stitched too tight it causes the piece to buckle and stitched too loosely it causes the piece to have a wavy edge... plus you have to watch it closely as the twist will twist!!!  I didn't want  the couching stitching to show so I was "floating " stitches between the strands.
I initially did it too tight and had to take a good deal of it off and redo it...   Found if I pinned it like so I could avoid the twisting and also keep it flat.  I was worried I wasn't going to have enough cording on my spool and I made it by about 1"... too close for comfort.
I found if I inserted the needle at a 45 degree angle from the top (between the strands) and then moved 1/4" to the left and went straight back through that NO stitching showed on either side of the cording... Always working at 45 degrees from the top...



Almost done

The velvet border, border lace and gimp, and the binding with its lace is now on.  Today the cording and this label go on...  Only one more step....the corner motifs...


Have critters?

If you have deer or gophers or both then you must have this plant in your garden...Hellebore  It has so many positives qualities.

It is hardy zones 4-8
Nothing eats it
Blooms early along with daffodils
Has handsome leathery foliage
Is extremely drought tolerant
Medium size
Non invasive
Comes in lots of colors

I first became familiar with this plant because I needed to fill fairly large area with attractive foliage and needed something that was critter-proof and drought tolerant.. I planted the common variety Hellebore foetidus which is attractive but not too pleasant a smell...  which explains why nothing eats it.  I do cut it though and put it in bouquets with daffodils.

I seldom see it in gardens and I'm not sure why because the number of gorgeous hybrids are breath taking...

Just check out the selection at this nursery... http://www.thimblefarms.com/hellebore.html  


Just because its old doesn't mean it doesn't work!!!!

Among all the other things I collect,  I love antique tools.  Many years back I spied this and knew it had to be a hand siphon.  Doing the research I found it was patented in 1882.  I had it hanging on a wall in the barn.. You can see it obviously had a useful life and had been repaired often...

Last fall a friend gave me some help with my tractor and I offered the siphon to him..  He is one of the few people I know who would appreciate it... He was going to hang it on the wall of his shop.

Now I have his UNDYING GRATITUDE.   Last month we had a big snow and rapid thaw.  Everything was flooding.  He went out  to find 6" of water inside his shop, and more rushing in.  The drain was blocked and his  electric sump pump wouldn't run.  He thought he'd have to go to town buy a new pump right then  The siphon I gave him caught his eye, and he made holes in a 5-gallon bucket, wrapped it with ground cloth, and set the siphon up inside, with rocks holding it up.  He ran 150 feet of garden hose out to the low spot in the pasture, and  started the siphon by pumping the wooden plunger.  It  pumped over a thousand gallons of water at last estimate. 



"1,2,3, prick" did the trick!

In order for my suffrage quilt to qualify for entry in some shows it must be quilted through at least 3 layers... so I set about to do that.
To have virtually NO stitching be visible on top of the quilt.
All the stitching showing on the back of the quilt to be tiny, even, and visible.
I haven't hand quilted like this for 30 years...
My hands are crippled and my eyes are shot.
When I inserted the needle in with teeny stitch on top I couldn't see where to come up. (I started using transparent thread but it reflected light so I took it all out and went to black thread.)

So here is what I did:

I decided to use tiger tape (9 stripes to an inch) as a guide as I use it on my CQ seams and love it.
At first I tried using my thumbnail on the reentry mark. But if I lost focus and moved my finger at all I lost my reentry point...

So after I brought my needle up, I counted over 3 strips and made a prick... went down on the next mark and up on the mark with the prick.  Even if I left the frame I could always come back and see where I was. 

At first I actually counted 1,2,3, prick but soon it came automatically and the quilting went quite rapidly.  You can see a strip here with the pricks and how visible they are.  I could reuse a pricked strip 2 or three times.

This morning I took it off the frame to rotate it as I have problem stitching vertically and am quite pleased with the result. There is NOT A SINGLE QUILTING STITCH visible on top of the quilt but all the quilting on the back of the quilt is even and tiny. Well quite good enough considering....

With my eyesight problems I can definitely see a use of pricking strips in CQ seam work.

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