March CQJP

Well it is almost March and I'm gathering materials for my CQJP about Morris... On this fabric page Morris is in big trouble as he has been REALLY bad...

He doesn't think he will ever be in my good graces again and I wasn't sure he would be either

But luckily for Morris he had a very special guardian angel.... and like all good guardian angels she has a cloud with a silver lining... Check back as this block develops.

It's all small stuff!!!

I'm packing Janet's blocks to go off to Maire next in Florida... I got a picture in a different light which captures the opulence of the gold braids better than the last photo.

When I had just finished this I was so frustrated with the cording which kept shifting... But now that it has been sitting a week I hardly notice it. And I do like the cardinal..

I have a little book entitled "Don't sweat the small stuff....and it's all small stuff."


Finished Kerry's Fool's Gold

I am fairly certain I finished this yesterday but am looking at it a couple days just in case.. Then it goes to Australia... I love the lace and CQ under the goldwork and even the little lace butterfly... I used a single strand of variegated silk thread for the flower satin stitch and some awful white rayon stuff called "Glossilla" on the butterfly wings. I wasn't sure where I acquired it but it's in the trash now..

I had planned to take it with me to Seattle this weekend.. We were going to go Friday because Snoqualmie Pass was clear and then our room wasn't available so we were going this morning and a blizzard blew in so we are staying home.

The pass is open but chains are required... Last month we were trying to go so we could see our granddaughter's special concert and again a blizzard closed the pass.

Even here in Spokane we've had about 6" and it is snowing hard...in fact the snow is coming down horizontal....


Progress on Kerry's Fool's Gold 2

The leaves are done. I cannot emphasize enough how well the process of laying and aligning the cord works against an outlining of a tight chain stitch... I know I will use this technique throughout this whole fool's gold experiment and certainly beyond as well.... It's like getting a new tool.

I've started this butterfly on gold brocade using this same technique. There will only be a small amount of satin-stitch fill on it as I want the gold brocade to show....

My stitchers are coming again today and I'm excited to see how they did during the week... We'll be starting to work on stitching today and I'm demonstrating and sharing my Carole Samples templates.

Just a note about blogger. I had trouble getting it to work yesterday and even this morning again. So after I had restarted my computer several times and it still wouldn't work, I went into settings and changed back to the "old editor" and it worked...


A source to share....

Pat Winter sent me some  Kreinik metallic threads to try a while back and I love them... But they are not sold locally and I had gone over my budget when I was in LA.  But now I wanted golds and went looking for them on the internet and the prices varied widely... So if you use Kreinik metallic thread I found a great buy....  http://dcbcrafts.com/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=1719_1720_1963 Their very fine metallic threads were just $2 a spool... 

The catch is there is a minimum of 3 spools in any color... but that's a perfect opportunity for a group buy.  Susie and I are combining our order and the shipping rates are incredibly cheap.  In fact if you can get an order to $100 the shipping is free....


WooHoo It works.....

As planned on Kerry's block I'm doing an outline of the design with a chain stitch and using Krienik "Japan Gold" to do it.  It was my hope that I could use the chain to stabilize the cording and I'm happy to report that it's going to work beautifully..  No cord shifting at all...  As on Janet's block I reversed the design and transferred it to the back of the block and basted the outline to the front...... I got up extra early to have an hour's stitching time to see if it was going to work as that is probably all I'll get today..

I 'm in a mood I could stitch nonstop all day but we're having friends over for a fun day... I bought 4 different Krienik golds... gold coin, gold, vintage gold, and Japan gold... For this project I like Japan gold the best as it is the "goldiest"!!!  And BTW I'm loving the look of gold over the lace...  Whatta ya think???


A block on a block

Four or five years ago I did this block for Jo in NZ for a fan DYB RR so this is a 6" block which looks like this when I received it... The fan shape was clearly defined and stitched in place so those decisions were already made for me... I started out to work it as a "block on a block" The tone on tone would be an entirely separate concept and the fan would not connect with it other than the cottage image.

Again it is only a 6" block so it is pretty busy.  The tree on the lower right is all tiny bullions.. But I liked the contrast of the tone on tone against the beaded fan.   I had always wanted to try it again with a different twist..  So now I am going to try it again with Kerry's goldwork 2 block which I received late this afternoon...

I scanned this so the image is not too great but she constructed her block with bridal fabrics and wanted something really romantic.  To  me nothing is more romantic than lace so I am embellishing the  block with lace and white seam work.  I will finish the block as if that were the primary goal.... white on white.  Once I get that done then the "top design" of gold work will be worked over all  the white work.

It probably doesn't make a lot of sense now but you can see it as it develops...

I am doing some of the goldwork on gold brocade and will then attach it with gold cording... I did back the brocade with Allie's miracle knit interfacing and I will do the cutaway tranfer tutorial as promised.

Stitch and they shall find you!

Something like that anyway....  I have been searching for CQers in my area for 15 years and they have come knocking at my door... well emailing anyway....  Here at my table are Kathy (left) Sherri, and Kathy (right)  Kathy (right) and Sherrie were customers and frequent visitors to the garden when I had the rose nursery and just recently rediscovered me in a CQ-related internet post...  Sherrie has done some CQ and Kathy had done none but bought Pat's BoHo Bag book and is eager to make one... They don't even live in my town but in a nearby city and were willing to drive to me.  This is especially wonderful for someone like me who rarely (and I mean very rarely) drives.

The other Kathy (right) has been a friend for years and worked for me when I had the nursery..  She has seen all my projects and when I said I was going to be helping two others, she wanted to jump right in herself... Hooray!  They all had a blank block and after looking at some finished blocks and a tiny lecture. I turned them loose in my stash and they proceeded with the first steps of lace and trims...

They were here about 4 1/2 hours and went home with lots of stuff pinned and ready to secure... Next session will be seams.  An incredible lovely day!!!!!


February CQJP finished

My project will eventually be a CQ  book about my dog...my irrepressible rascal Morris. This "page" is  "Morris loves Bugs"  Indeed Morris is absolutely fascinated by anything that flies or is creepy crawly... so on this page I have managed to include 1 caterpillar, 1 dragonfly, 1 grasshopper, 1 spider, 6 butterflies, 4 ladybugs, 3 ants and 7 bees.. plus you must find him stalking bugs in the daisies

and when you lift the ladybug you see Morris peering back...


You Gotta Love them Needles!


I am so in love with Susan Elliott's little needle book and the whole concept of reverence for needles.. I couldn't sign up fast enough for her e-course.  I'll adapt mine a bit so I can take the broken needles with me rather than bury them here.  And the little poem on her blog is so precious you must see it.
I had read once how pioneer women guarded and protected needles as one of their most treasured possessions and it was indeed a hardship if one was broken as women might have to wait months for a traveling tinker to come by again to replace broken needles. 

I was six when I learned to embroider and it was a set of dishtowels with puppy dogs and the days of the week..  Occasionally I used to run across "Tuesday" so I know I still have it.. The next time I find it I will put it where it won't get mislaid again...

I know most of my readers also read Susan's blog but just in case there is someone who doesn't, check out Susan's e-course and we know anything Susan does is done WELL!!!  I'll share mine when it is finished...



Cording Problem and Word in from Susan

When I did this piece I couldn't remember having any problems with the cording shifting but as I go back and really look at it I see I either:
1. put the flat braid down first and braced the cording against that or...
2. I put multiple rows of cording together which were bracing each other..

If you look closely there are three layers of couched cording on the circle with the flat braid.  So when I design the work for Kerry's piece I will keep that these two things in mind....

Just as a point of interest here, the wings on the dragonfly are wired gold Christmas ribbon..

With the owl I wasn't using cording but I did use two adjacent rows of chain stitching and I believe using chain rows in conjunction with cording would also help...

I kept thinking it was the couching thread I needed to keep more taut but Susan said she thought that it was the cording that needed to be kept taut and sent the following suggestion:

"I put the thread that I am couching on a spool and make it taut.  Let's call that cording and the couching thread, couching thread.  In fact when you wrap your cording around your spool, you should hold the spool in your right hand with arm extended...and cording in left.  Stretch cording until taut between your two arms and wind the spool toward you, wrapping the cording around the spool as you go.  If you need to put a rubber band around it to hold the cord tight until you use it, so be it.

You don't need to keep the couching thread taut.  It's really easier to use this technique if your hands are both free...your right hand to hold your cording spool taut  and your other hand to couch the cord.  I'll be interested to know if it helps."

She also believed working on a hoop with material taut would help which I had also thought would help..... I might have to call in some extra hands or toes to do what she suggests but I sure going to try..  But with her advice and a better design to begin with, it should work better next time...  Stay tuned... 


Janet's Goldwork 1 block

Except for another row of cord around the bells and birds, Janet's block is done.  On the bells I used candle light thread and 2 kinds of Kreinik.  The biggest problem I've had is with the cording shifting after I have it couched in place..  I think there are two possible reasons... the bias of the patches and the Sulky thread. 

On the next block I will put an interfacing on the back first and try a different thread for couching...  I have found though that if I add a second row of cording I can ease the first row back into place...which will put the bells right again..  Right now it is being blocked and I'll let it stay there a few days before I do any more...

It has been great fun testing the different materials... Doing the bird on the heavy silk backed with fusible interfacing REALLY worked well and I am going to explore that more during this RR.  I did the bells on felt without a chain stitch... A chain stitch under the cording would have worked better... Live and learn....


Maureen's bluebird, tutorials and an online class.

I hardly published my post yesterday where I was whinging about doing tutorials and within an hour I received an email from Maureen Greeson that she had used my "birds on felt" tutorial to make a bluebird for her February CQJP ....and a precious one it is.

She chose an excellent pattern for this beautiful bird and shared it with us on her blog... I am going to try this one myself... You must go see it on the block and save the pattern she so generously shared... She also mentioned a problem cutting it out so I will go back and review the tutorial and see if I can solve that problem...  The last post I did on this subject could have definitely had bigger and better pictures.  Every time I review a tutorial I find things I could have explained better and they can always be improved with revisions so I always appreciate your input.

Maureen has asked me to teach an online class and I readily accepted.  Doing tutorials is excellent practice for just such an endeavor.  Cathy L. also commented yesterday that I should have explained how to divide an
an image for doing a cut away transfer and she is absolutely right. So when I redo that tutorial with Kerry's goldwork block "how to section the image" will be my top priority...  AND I will run it past Cathy for her input and approval.

I'm in the final stages of Janet's block and my mind is already rushing ahead to Kerry's.  I would love to use some of the miles of various shades of gold tulle in my stash.  AND I want to keep focused on the "marriage" of goldwork and CQ....  You are going to LOVE what I have in mind for Kerry...  Not much stitching time today..but I can spend some time thinking about an online class while in the car.  It's a Gerry "good-wife" day...


Goldwork update and more on transferring designs..

Updating the goldwork....  I just chain stitched around the "too thin" cording and it worked just fine.  I didn't even pick out the thin cording...  I just chained right up against it.. and the extra weight of the chain worked great.. It would look neater if I had done a chain in the first place...

I used a 3 ply DMC gold thread on a spool... It did have a tendency to separate at the end but made a nice chain...  I will use it again.

I also found a long braid of gold cord which I had salvaged from something... As you can see it's a bit wavy after I took it apart but it's a nice weight and manipulates nicely.  I am using it on the bells.

Now on the subject of transfers...... I use applying the design on the back when I am using black or doing something with an ornate design or with a lot of curves. But by far and away my favorite way (and quickest way)  to transfer a design on something I can mark on is my "cut away transfer" technique which I use OFTEN and I already did a tutorial about it. I use a light box (or window) when I can but usually the thickness of the fabric plus the foundation make that impossible....so my version of cut away evolved.... It is amazing once you get the hang of it and, yes Cathy L., you could even use it to position those fairys' eyes. You can transfer most anything in 3-5 steps...

Kerry emailed me that she wants her goldwork piece to be romantic with "aged" colors along with the gold. So while I was working on Janet's block last night I was thinking and planning for Kerry's block.. What I have in mind is very detailed and will be perfect for demonstrating again the "cut away" technique. 

I wish you could all just gather around the table and watch because frankly doing tutorials is a pain... I do some work, take a picture, do some work, take a picture...etc. etc.  Then I have to edit all the photos and annotate them... so I'm whinging and hoping my efforts are appreciated.  It will probably be at least a week before Kathy's blocks get here from Canada...


Progress on Janet's block and how I transfer to to black

I know others use light colored pencils and chalk through tissue and even stitching through tissue... I don't like the residue of of chalk and pencil and find stitching through tissue cumbersome especially since some of this is velvet... So I reverse my design and trace it on the back of the block.... Then I baste along the design with a light thread.  This time I used gold thread to see how that works....

The basting stitching are easy to follow and easy to pick out...  This design is rather elaborate so this method works well for me.

This whole RR is a learning experience for me and an exciting one at that... I have tried to use different materials for each step so I can decide what works for what.. 

It was hard at first manipulating the cord while stitching it but gradually I have gotten adept (well rather adept) of coaxing and shaping the cord with my left thumbnail.  Not difficult, just takes a little practice.

To complicate matters I have always moved the needlework to accommodate my right arm which is partially paralyzed.. So moving the needlework and doing things with that thumb is like rubbing your tummy and patting your head.  But practice will prevail...

I love the larger cord as it is wonderful to work with...  I have learned to pull each couching stitch tight and secure it often.  I'm couching with Sulky gold thread. If I don't remember to pull the couching stitches tight, the cord will shift later...

The biggest problem so far is the cording pointed to by the arrow.  It is too thin and I need something just a tad larger to balance.  I will be taking it out today and replacing it with a chain stitch and will show you the difference.  The small cording will be useful in another design...just not this one.

The large button in lower left corner is just taped there for an audition.  It will hide all the ends of the cords.

I have finished the Christmas cardinal.  I was debating between single strand silk and Edmar and decided on a lightly variegated silk which was just the color of the silk I stitched the bird on.  And the variation in color gives the bird a vintage look which I think is perfect... I'm especially partial to satin stitch done with a very fine single strand thread.

The cording I love is center bottom and the "too thin" stuff is to the right of the hoop.  I am experimenting making chains with different gold threads as you can see... So far I prefer the Krenik over the Candlelight.  I would have liked to do some of the fill on the bird with beads but 11s are too large and none of my 15s were the right color...

I took my mother to breakfast and shopping this morning and we have leftover halibut cakes for dinner so I have an entire afternoon and evening to stitch.  HOORAY!!!


Morris loves bugs, pies vs. tarts, and so much for Myrna Loy

Managed to do some stitching the last couple days on my CQJP "Morris Loves Bugs" page.  Of course the lady bug is a peek-a-boo and lifts up to show another Morris peering back.  I found that gorgeous sequined lady bug on a blouse from a thrift store in CA... I hardly left the store before the scissors were out.

Lower left among the daisies is Morris in stealth mode... Closing in on him is my wonderful woolly caterpillar which looks much better in person...  I crocheted a length of eyelash yarn and stitched it down and trimmed it short.  The spider web is there but no spider yet... I plan to add ants, more ladybugs, bees, 1 dragonfly and the piece de resistance; "rainbow butterflies.."  This page will mainly be a name and count the bugs...

When I had growing kids I loved to make cakes but mainly just for DH pies are now what I do most.... except I love to do tarts... They look prettier and take less fruit.  This one is a "Sour Cream Apple Tart" about to go into the oven yesterday.   Besides I can remove a tart from the pan and put it in my ancient glass-domed cake stand.  I've had the stand for about 50 years and it always pleases me to see lovin' from the oven in it...

A couple years ago I found this lovely  piece of lingerie at a thrift store.  I had planned to cut the lace from the sleeves.  But every time I looked at it I thought of Myrna Loy (Thin Man series) floating around in an elegant morning gown so I left it hanging on my closet door.  Maybe one day I would wake up 75lbs lighter (LOL) ,and  I could lounge on my brocade chaise (LOL), and my maid (LOL) would bring me my coffee on a silver tray (LOL). But this morning I cut off the lace and so much for my Myrna Loy fantasy.. In the lower right corner you see a bit of one of the dolls I made... She has a quite sinister face and an elegant gown...she's called Arsenic and Old Lace.


My crazy quilting life in one blog post!

Pigtails and Quilts is  having a "Crazy Quilts are Quilts Too" celebrating crazy quilting and I'm pleased to be participating..  Crazy quilters are being asked to tell about their work...show examples, tell when you started etc.

  I live on the "dry side" of Washington State with mountains to the north and wheat fields to the south. If I'm not wearing an apron and cooking, I'm wearing my chatelaine and stitching. I especially love creating art that is functional, dimensional and tactile. I have a huge barn filled with endless bins and boxes of interesting bits and pieces for more projects than I have time left. I live on a farm with one husband, numerous Tunis sheep, three chickens, two corgis and a large garden planted for wildlife

I started crazy quilting about 16 years ago and it was entirely different from anything I do now...  I used a foundation fabric and applied vintage cutter linens and embellishments.. I had just gotten a new sewing machine which did lettering so I had sayings all over this vest for my husband..  It was one of my very first pieces.. We used to have booths at flower shows and this was his "uniform."  There was very little in the way of seam treatments as all the edges were the linens themselves.. and all the embroidery work was what was already on the linens.  I still have a large supply of these linens and would like to do another project using them.  I especially like the saying "I'm a fungi."

This block pretty much defines the encrusted look I love to do..... pieces that the longer you look at them the more you see... And I  like to tell a story with my blocks even though I may the only person who hears it...  I also have a real soft spot for the whimsical and it often shows up in my work.

Even though the traditional lace and embroidery work such as my piece on the left is my comfort zone, I continually try to stretch the limits of what I can do with a needle.... such as on the right.
This quest for challenges is why I love to join round robins.  I'm asked to do things and use colors that I would have never done on my own... Over the years I've been in Crazy Quilt International, I figure I have worked on well over 100 blocks which are now around the world.  Here are just a sampling. Please enjoy and thanks for stopping by.  I would love it if you would become a follower and visit regularly...   Also drop by Pigtails and Quilts and visit other crazy quilters and see what's happening.

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