Tuesday, April 30, 2013

it's simple...

 this morning as i ventured into my sewing room, coffee in hand,
the sun light streaming through the window, coupled with the filtered light through the muslin curtains

creating a delight of sun and shadow

dancing on the contrast of the lace and wood, 
it made me smile... made my heart sing

and i felt as if i had come home

how lucky i am, in my needle and thread

and in reflecting on that luck, it finally dawned on me, what my true calling is

what captures me, captivates me

 i have been waiting so long to know this, trying my hand at many different creative pursuits, dabbling here and there with this and that

 over the past several weeks i have been working my through my white vintage linen, lace and embroidery quilt

loving every single minute
every single stitch

and i realized that out of all the things i have ever tried my hand at

it's the combination of simple embroidery with simple patchwork that i love the most

the ideas never stop
every stitch leads me to another, every detail inspires another

it feels so....so.... indescribable really

when you know the one true thing, the thing that makes your heart sing, it is the simplest thing in the world

Thursday, April 25, 2013

a leaf unfurls...

a rather poetic way of saying the tiny hem kept rolling back

i have always liked poetry, love writing it, reading it... even when it's sarcastic...

these holly leaves were an exercise in patience and frustration

 many years ago i bought a beautiful book on italian cut-work
and the linen and thread to make a small sample

just one hitch....

the text is in italian
and i don't speak it

well, except for linguine, aqua, vino, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera

my plan was always to make a lovely italian dinner, drink some fine italian wine, put the three tenors on nice and loud, and hope all that italian atmosphere would induce a divine understanding....

"tale fortuna"

no such luck

 when i did the embroider, embellish, create class with karen ruane last year i was thrilled to know we would be learning how to do cut-work - i watched the video but didn't have time then to actually do it

 this time around, i was pretty sure i remembered how to do it so it was full speed ahead, scissors in hand....

and it became readily apparent i remembered nothing

i struggled along through the first leaf and than, thinking perhaps, just maybe, i might be forgetting something, i looked at this session's video

and found there was definitely a better way

too late for me though - i was past the point of no return... next time i'll do it the easy way

i used the same batik fabric i used for one of the stars - hand dyed and hand-painted from bali

perfect for the delicate holly leaves i was hoping for

the little berry is a funky puff of linen and lace

i want to make more puff balls in every fabric and lace, of every size - they are truly adorable

and then i put in a little time on the section below

 the fabric tab has stitching on the top and french knots along the edges to add a kind of picot edging
i couldn't remember how to do a proper picot, and as i learn my lessons well... sometimes....

i need to find my embroidery book of stitches

my english embroidery book

the creamy heart is made with damask, appliqued and outlined with chain stitch

there was a tab above the green french knot heart but it was far too wide so i removed it...toying with ideas now for it's hanger

next up is a little something to keep my favourite holiday memories in...

 i am going to miss this cloth when it's all done

(i'm in the process of adding blog lovin' for those of you who follow blogs through their platform and will get the links etc. up soon!)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

when this old world....

starts getting me down

remember that one?

"up on the roof" i think it's called

how that popped in to my head when i looked at this photo and thought it was upside down i will never know... but there it was, and it won't leave... i'll be humming it all night long

you should click on the link and listen to it so you can hum along too

{i wish they had widget you could add to your blog so you could have a little ball that would bounce over the words on occasion}

(i think it might be fun someday - me, a psychologist, and a few ink blots....)


upside down, right side up - i don't care - i like this section a lot

i have been bound, bent and determined to make a bullion knot i like

so last night i sat down and made several -  three bullion knots, three french knots, over and over again,
a patterning i find i really like

with one of the french knots being blue, of course
i like that even better
no idea why, but there it is

 and as that went so swimmingly well, i added a chain stitch outline to the appliqued hearts

and got started on embellishing my faux prairie points

oh, i can do a bona fide prairie point just fine....

one of my first quilting projects ever was completely outlined with them - they're adorable

i just don't like the bulk they add to the seam, especially in this kind of delicate work i am doing of late....

so i cut the corners off several napkins and made faux points

i also added buttonhole stitch to the straight edge of the lace, which has the effect of "pulling" the lace into the cloth, figuratively speaking

i'm always surprised by what i see each time i look at all the sections i have begun, what i think to add, and what i want to leave be

when is enough enough, and when is there always room for one more little bit of something pretty?

always evolving, ever changing

Sunday, April 14, 2013

making a wish...

there are so many ways one can make a wish...

first stars

 birthday candles


wishes are as important as dreams, and i have been inspired again...

 this week's lesson was on adding bumpy bits to our cloth:
appliqueing a shape and stuffing it lightly

 i pondered what might be a good shape for a bumpy bit, having had enough of hearts for now, and not feeling up to the intricacies of a tree.... i came back to the star again

this time i wanted colour though so i searched until i found the perfect icy blueish-greenish-grey

and then decided the wrong side was actually the perfect lightness

 as i wanted more than one star i dug even deeper and found a batik fabric that was even lighter and with an interesting branch-like design

then to decide on a layout... not the easiest thing when you want to stuff them slightly

i liked the grouping above but decided to go for something a little simpler

makes me think of falling stars
appliqueing them and stuffing them was easy enough - the hard part now is deciding on which stitch to use around the edges

this stitching is actually important; it pulls the stars into the cloth and makes them a part of it

 no longer just perched on top

the stitching will make it seem as if they are emerging from the fabric

 i tried chain stitch, french knots and feather stitch - yuck, yuckier and yuckiest

then i tried herringbone
oh yes!

and now for the little guys - i started out with herringbone using only one strand
i like it but i'm not sure if using the same stitch on all three stars wouldn't be a bit much

one of the ladies in our class suggested couching
and i am thinking that just might be the way to go

i'll be playing with that for the next little while

trying to make it just right
 these are wishing stars after all

when the stars are all finished, when the whole cloth is done, before it gets layered and quilted

i will turn it over and embroider three wishes on the backs of these stars

tucked safely in layers of warmth, known only to the maker

and though they will not likely ever be seen, it is my wish that they will all come true, for all of us

Thursday, April 11, 2013

is it warm where you are????

spring, my foot!

it's cold out in these here parts.... today was actually a beautiful sunny day, but oh my, the wind was cold

i was in my sewing room all morning working on class projects and such, and this little card was one of them

i wouldn't normally be working on wintery things at this time of year but my class posse demands christmas projects all year round and i am always happy to oblige

i do think they'll like this little guy....
although they have been known for deigning not to make the project at all on occasion...

one person won't do anything with points
another won't do anything by hand
two aren't allowed anything that resembles glue
two more will only work together, one reads the directions, the other interprets them
and one only comes for the food

but as they point out... as long as they pay for their seat, and are happy, who cares if they actually make the class project?

they are such a fun group and they are the reason i keep teaching, even when i am sure i've had enough

let the games begin!

Monday, April 8, 2013

a pocketful of dreams....

the latest addition to my white cloth...

a heart-shaped pocket

inspiration came quickly, what i was already working on was set aside

i'd been meaning to add a pocket to this cloth for some time now
but wanted it to be special, to have meaning

and as i had lately been adding hearts to it in applique, a heart shaped pocket came to mind

 i drew a heart on light-weight muslin with a wash-out pen

and started adding scraps of fabric with pretty edgings

bits of lace, small fragments, leftover from larger sections

adding another layer of interest with embroidery details
french knots, lazy daisy and cross stitches

basted, layered, stitched and turned, a scrap of lace closing the scar on the inside

appropriate don't you think?
all hearts have scars on the inside

i was going to take a picture, but then i decided not to... i think not everything has to be shared to be understood...

placed on a section of my cloth i haven't really been all that happy with up until now, stitched into place with buttonhole stitch and french knots, both within and along the edge

 buttonhole edging along the top as well, to add sturdiness and to carry the stitch along

as i stitched i thought of what karen says a pocket added to her work signifies,
and what mine would mean to me

i kept thinking it was a pocketful of dreams

for a moment i wished i had embroidered some of those dreams on the lining fabric
and then i thought it was better that i hadn't

dreams change

some achieved, others let go of
the dreams i hold on to now are not the same dreams i dreamed 30 or 40 years ago

 nor are they likely to be the dreams i will hold dear 20 years from now

 i'll stitch my dreams of today on little scraps of linen

 and when my cloth is complete i'll tuck them in here

safely held

 and as this is going to be a christmas quilt, i am thinking of beginning a new tradition with it, as i bring it forth each year

to look at the dreams of the past and reflect on their relevance for the year to come

 to acknowledge them, and let them go if need be, and to embrace new ones, stitching new linen slips to add....
after all, if you don't have a dream, how can you make a dream come true?

Thursday, April 4, 2013


i feel like a broken-down old record.... all i am showing on here these days is the progress i have made on my two big projects right now...

we have a big quilt show happening here in june and i wanted to make some special things for it
original, pretty things

to me a quilt show is like a fancy-dress ball
get out your prettiest pretties...

this week i have concentrated my efforts on the white-ivory-new-vintage-lace-linen project
from the embroider, embellish, create class with karen

i am appliqueing hearts here and there
i wanted to do stars but just couldn't face all those pointy points

"my heart wasn't in it"

after the applique was finished, i added french knots all along the edges of both of them, spaced not quite 1/4" apart
connecting the ones in the outer row with straight stitches, to add a kind of lace-like stitched edge 

 the centre heart looks a little "loose" right now, but batting under it to stuff it slightly and give it a padded look will sort that out

with web stitches and frothiness to be added all around it, so it doesn't look so lonely there on the cloth...

the little bits of eyelets you do see are part of the original stitching on the napkin

old and new

this is the rest of the section

cascading corners, cut from several different doilies and napkins and then layered

 smyrna crosses added by me
(thanks again for the waste canvas marj - so very much appreciated)

i've left the corner above free so it can be lifted back
whilst i think about what i want to stitch in this space

something special, for any that are brave enough to reach out and try to lift a corner

i hope some do...

my other project, the frost queen, got put aside for a while 
kind of like writer's cramp, only with needle and thread
i have posted about it all above so if you are interested, click on 
"the frost project"
under the banner

yes, i pulled a prince and changed the name...
to nothing

"the frost queen" was too limiting and i liked it less and less as time went by
i think it was premature to name it before it was done... like putting the cart before the horse 
 but now i am sorting it all out
getting there...

in the meanwhile i knocked four things off my unfinished list
the original list - oh, i've added to the pile in the last year, to be sure

but the original list is the official list and that's what i'm working off!

and even though i did pitch six items as they were deemed not worthy of the energy, spirit nor resources it would take to finish them, i am down to 42...

yes, 42, from 101

oh, the lessons i have to learn...