Magazine Monday

Mag Cover-Primtv Qlts-Wntr 2017While I was busy hosting Stitchin’ Camp this weekend, the winter edition of Primitive Quilts landed in our mailbox. Anxious to look through it, but at the same time wishing to be able to give it my full attention, I decided to wait until Sunday afternoon, after my nap of course, to look through its pages.

Sometimes, magazines will offer several projects within their pages, but only one or two that will tickle my fancy. In this case, my wait was welcomed with a magazine brimming with projects that I wanted to do. Mag Cover- Primtv Qlts-TabsI use sticky flags to mark the projects that interest me, so my copy now sprouts nine colourful flags, each marking a must-do project, out of the 16 projects included within its covers. Not bad! In addition to the projects, there are many other useful tidbits included in each issue. I was pleasantly surprised when I read the books reviewed in the Book Nook section as the shop has, or has had, all but one of the ones listed, and I have a special order request for that one book which I’ve not yet had in the shop. Needless to say, I’ve already sold out of a couple of the books that were reviewed, yes, they are that good, but I can always “buy more” as Nathanael used to say when we’d tell him that we’d run out of something, including money.

Now, you might say that “primitive” is not your style. Well, it’s not really mine either. I’m a Victorian kinda girl. But, thankfully, I had a grandmother who was a seamstress by profession. She taught me at an early age to ignore the fabrics used on a pattern, usually dress patterns, and to look at the bare bones drawing at the bottom of the catalog page instead. From her I learned that while I might not like the fabric shown on the cover of a pattern, all I had to do was change the fabric in order to have something that better suited me. She taught me how to visualize the dress made in my choice of fabric(s) instead of the fabric used in the cover photo. At the time, I didn’t realize just how valuable that lesson was. Now, as a shop owner, and creative person in general, I would say learning to look beyond the visible and being able to visualize the possible is a lesson we all need to learn as it can help in so many areas of our lives with one of the most important areas being personal relationships, where looking beyond the outside covering of a person into the depths within can mean the difference between being saved from a bad relationship or making a forever friend.

As one might guess, the colours used in the projects of this issue are mainly warm, cozy colours. While I might make one or two of the projects using similar colours, I will most likely brighten them up just a tad. Instead of using dark greens, browns, and navy, for example, I will probably use bright reds, turquoise, and lime greens. Who knows, I might even throw in some purple along the way because I do have purple ornaments for the small tree that sits on the library table in our hallway. In my book, purple is a valid colour for any time of the year. Of course, there are all those variations-on-a-theme possibilities as well. I can see extracting parts of projects to make a smaller version, especially for gift giving, or mixing and matching bits and pieces to my heart’s content. Oh, dear…here we go…

If you’ve never looked through a copy of Primitive Quilts you can visit their website and see the projects included in the winter issue. You can either order a copy online or visit your nearest bookstore for immediate satisfaction. I really think you’ll be hard pressed to ignore this issue once you’ve taken time to look through it and imagine the projects in your own favorite colours. As always, feel free to share what you’ve made with us. I’ll do that myself, once I decide on just which project to do first. Those who know me well know that decision making is not my strong suit, so it might be next Christmas season, or winter, before I actually have anything to show. Remember though, patience is a virtue. Knowing me will no doubt help make you a very virtuous person indeed.

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There’s Still Time!

Proj-2015-RudyNeed a really quick and cute project to make before Christmas Day? We have just the thing for you then. This little stuffed reindeer can be made in just a few hours, and you probably already have everything you need on hand.  Is he not the cutest thing?!  And at about 6-1/2″ tall he’s small enough to fit into a little a little basket or on the branches of your tree.

As with most projects I do using someone’s pattern, I don’t follow it to the letter. In this case, rather than using freezer paper to make my template I just made a copy of the pattern and cut the reindeer out on the outside edge of the black line. I placed my fabric with right sides together (or print sides together for those who know there is no wrong side to any piece of fabric as both can be used equally well by those who are willing to do so) and pinned the pattern to my fabric. I then sewed along the edge of the paper pattern, cut away the excess fabric ¼” from the stitching, and snipped the curves so it would lay well once turned inside out. There were a couple of places where I stitched through the pattern, but I was able to pull the edge of the pattern out from under those stitches and can use it again to make more reindeer if I so desire.

I gave my little reindeer button eyes and a ribbon that was a bit narrower than the one specified by the designer. The designer by the way is none other than Miss Anne of Bunny Hill Designs. The little snowman in the mitten that I shared in a previous post is also from Bunny Hill Designs. Yes, you might say we like her designs quite well and have lots of her patterns in the shop. Not all have been made into samples mind, but we do love her work.

Proj-Snowman Candle MatWhile I was stitching my little reindeer by machine, Miss Martha was stitching a candle mat in wool felt by hand. It turned out quite nicely, but I’m not sure I want to hide the snowman’s face in the Proj-Snowman Candle Mat CUmiddle by actually putting a candle on it. It might just have to lie around and decorate instead of making itself useful being what it’s supposed to be.  I mean, look at him, would you want to cover up that cute, cute, cute smiling face?   This mat is a nice size, around 11″ give or take.  It still needs three little buttons going down the front of the center snowman according to the pattern by Penny Lane Primitives… or does it?  Our wool felt is the good kind and comes from National Nonwovens.  We love this product so well that we have close to 50 different colors on the bolt.

We will be making kits for the snowman candle mat and could easily put one together for the reindeer as well if you need it.  Patterns at present are limited, so let me know if you want one, or both.  Since you’re coming down to the wire where making handmade gifts is concerned, a kit will make it much quicker to accomplish your goal of giving nothing store boughten, as the old folks around here use to say.

 

 

New Projects and Giveaway Winner!

First, I’d like to announce the winner of the sweet sixteens set I used to make the first block of Moda’s Sampler Block Shuffle. Now the winner can make one just like mine, or some variation thereof. The winner is…Janet! Congratulations Janet! While I didn’t say you had to use your new fabrics to make this first block, I do hope to see something that you’ve used them in…eventually.

Now, on to our projects. Miss Martha has been keeping herself busy making new samples for the shop. The latest two are both geared to winter which is fast approaching. The first project I’d like to share with you is actually the last of 12 in the With Thy Needle series that we’ve been doing this year. These are made from wool felt, and we do have kits for each month available if you didn’t participate but would like to. Just give me a call and I’ll put a set aside for you.
Pic-December
This last installment showcases a boot which has been filled with holly, greenery, and candy canes. It can hang from a background designed to be changed out each month, made into a wall hanging, or framed. It could also be turned into a small pillow or hung from a wire hanger. At only 8″ square you won’t need much room to display your handiwork once finished.

The second little project is just too cute! Made from wool felt, and measuring around 4″x7″, you can whip this up in no time. Not only is it quick, but it is a very versatile project as well. So, just how versatile is it? Well, let me clue you in.
Pic-BHill-Snowman in Mitten
The original intent is of course as a tree ornament. However, you don’t have to just hang it on a tree because you could just as easily hang it on the door knob of a kitchen or bathroom cabinet, or the knob on a dresser in a child’s bedroom. Anywhere you’d like to put a little color and cute into your décor would work.

Maybe you’re not one to buy lots of presents and have gotten into the habit of buying gift cards instead. Let’s face it, when you have teenagers on your list it’s usually the best way to go these days. If that’s the case, you could make just the mitten and put the gift card inside. That way they get two gifts in one. They can still hang the mitten on the tree to enjoy long after the gift card has been used up. You could even include the date on the back of the cuff or stitch the recipients name to the front of the cuff in the event you make multiple mittens for the same family. You could also include the snowman if you’d like depending on how much time you have to work with and whether or not you think the recipient would appreciate your efforts. A gift card could easily slid in behind him.

The snowman isn’t attached to the mitten. This means that he can be made as a stand alone ornament by attaching a small loop to the back of his head. Better yet, why not make him into a pin that can be worn all winter long on a coat, toboggan, or purse. Snowmen can be displayed and enjoyed for several months you know.

Maybe you have smaller folks for which to make gifts. This little snowman would make a great finger puppet by leaving the bottom open. With a little imagination you could make a whole snowman family. Make two snowmen the size given in the pattern for a mom and a dad and then shrink the pattern just a bit and make a brother and sister, or maybe one for each member of the family that you gift the puppets to depending on the family’s configuration. What better way to foster a child’s imagination than with finger puppets?

We have a couple of kits ready to go with plans on making more as soon as we get more patterns. If you think you need help making this project, we can set up a time for you to work one-on-one with Miss Martha at no extra charge. While this project is something you could do in an evening or two, especially with all the fabrics on hand, you don’t want to wait too long to get started. I mean, who’d of thought it would be November already!? That means December is fast approaching and will be here before we’re ready. I know that for a fact because it always does. Agreed?

Another Cute Spider!

Oct Spider
We’ve never celebrated Halloween as a family. No, our poor, poor deprived children never went trick-or-treating, but they also never lacked for candy because I would go the day after and buy candy I knew they actually liked for half price. They had a lot more candy and it was all eaten as opposed to being thrown away. Of course, since we homeschooled, our children could dress up any day of the year that they liked. They didn’t need a special holiday for that either. Personally, I think they came out much better than their peers in the long run.

When you own a quilt shop you don’t always have the luxury of skipping some holidays. That’s because we sometimes pick a set of patterns by a designer who likes holidays that we the owners might not put too much emphasis on, if any. Because of that, you invariably end up with a project that has icons of a holiday that you’re not keen on. Such is usually the case with Halloween and Christmas especially.

This year we did Buttermilk Basin’s With Thy Needle series when Miss Martha came back to work in February. While the designer used wool for these 8” square projects, we used the much less costly wool felt. After all, we have 50 colors from which to choose. Anyhow, Miss Martha took off like a shot with these little projects and we found it difficult to keep up with her. You’d think she missed stitching while she was retired for one year. She should be finishing up the projects for the last two months here before long. In truth, it’s been a joint effort between her and Victoria, with Victoria packing the kits and doing some of the embroidery work while Miss Martha stitched down all the big pieces.
With Thy Needle Base
The base pattern for this group gives you three alternatives for displaying your handwork. You can frame it in a wooden frame, stitch it into the center of a wall hanging, or make a hanging that allows you to change out the project each month while also keeping track of your needles, pins, and scissors. My plans were to do the latter because I liked the idea of hang the larger piece from a yardstick. Notice that I said “plans”. I’m sure you’re not surprised when I tell you that I’ve not made the background that these projects are supposed to hang on yet. No, I knew you wouldn’t be.
With Thy Needle-Oct
The project for October has a jack-o-lantern wearing a witch’s hat. While we don’t push either of these symbols we can’t dictate what others choose to do. After some debating, we went ahead and made the project as it was designed. Well, we sort of made the project as it was designed. I thought that there should be more light shinning through, so our pumpkin’s eyes and mouth are reversed and have more yellow than black. The kits are packed so that you could do whichever way you prefer. After all, flexibility is a good thing when it comes to stitching. I do have to admit to liking the little spider hanging from the hat though, along with his web in the corner. Being a crazy quilt fanatic I relate those two things with good luck, which I need heaps of these days. It appears our spider has lost a couple of his legs though, so some of his luck may have run out. I sense a fix in the near future.
With Thy Needle-Oct
This is how our version turned out. Didn’t they do a great job!

Even though this series is quickly coming to an end, we do have some kits left if you’d like to claim a set for yourself and get started. Miss Martha is especially pleased with the colors of the one for November and should be bringing the one for December in soon. I’ll try to remember to post those as well, but in the event that I forget, or find something else to post, you’ll just have to come in and see them in person. Trust me, they’re much better in person than they are in a photo.

We Have a Winner!

BlueRibbonBefore I could even get the shop door opened this morning, I had someone parked out front waiting on me. That someone wasn’t here just to shop either. No! That someone brought her finished quilt for the Row by Row Experience contest. Yes! Now we have a WINNER!!! And yes, our row was amongst the eight that she included in the quilt. Super! Who is our winner? Her name is Stacy Houk. She’s a local supporter of the shop and has been ever since we bought it back in 2004.

Stacy had help from her daughter in obtaining rows from outside of our area and in deciding which rows to put into this quilt. The quilt will eventually make its way to her daughter’s house, but for now it will be on display here for all who visit us to see and marvel over. Then I think she needs to enter it into our local county fair, or better yet into the Tennessee State Fair.

One of the criticisms that has cropped up with regards to some of the first quilts to be submitted to participating shops is that the quilts haven’t been completely complete. While the quilts are quilted, bound, and do have a label per the contest rules, many of the appliqué elements aren’t necessarily stitched into place. Sometimes none of them are. They’re just ironed on with a fusible webbing product. Anyone who’s worked with raw-edge appliqué knows that if it’s not stitched down it will eventually release from the project and might even fall off completley. Ask me how I know this. If you don’t believe me I can show you an example of what happens to a quilt when the appliqué elements are not stitched in place.

MermaidBubblesI can honestly say that every element on Stacy’s quilt was stitched in place as it should be. In fact, not only were all the appliquéd pieces stitched down, she even added quite a few extras. For example, the mermaid has some lovely golden tresses thanks to the Razzle Dazzle thread that has been couched down. Even her eye and lips are stitched around as are all the little bubbles.
LemonadeH2O Bottle
Then there’s the sugar bowl. It has “sugar” beads pouring out of it and into the lemonade pitcher. The pitcher looks like glass because Stacy used a clear plastic for the pitcher. The bottle of water that helps to make the lemonade was also made using that plastic. Look at all those little drops of water pouring out of it that were stitched around, not to mention the stitching done on the lemons to make them look like they’ve been sliced. Makes my fingers tired just thinking about it.

The first row had lots of raindrops. All those raindrops were pieced! It would have been much easier to make each raindrop from one fabric, but I love the effect of the pieced raindrops much much more. In fact, I love that technique so much that I’ve been working on a project that does something similar with a couple of the appliquéd pieces. That will be show-n-tell probably when the snows of winter are falling.
HOQ SunbrellasStacy even got extra creative with our row. The designer had used a blue fabric for the background and we had suggested you could also use tan to simulate sand thanks to a suggestion from Jo. The first weekend of the RxR hop a lady came in and suggested that the row could be split in half lengthwise with tan (sand) on the bottom and blue (water) on top. What a great idea! I wish I’d of thought of that. Stacy took that idea a bit further and split the row into three parts – sand, water, and sky. I love it! She said she carried out my idea of using scraps in the sunbrellas and pointed to a bright piece of fabric with jungle animals that had been used in a special quilt that she’d made. You can see it in the circle on the sunbrella as well as in the section on the right of the photo.

There was another row with pieced umbrellas and she hand embroidered the handles on each one of them. The more I looked over her quilt the more I wondered if she’d even been sleeping for the past several weeks.
Pic-Winning Quilt-Label
Last, but not least, her label listed the name of each row, the shop it came from, and the city and state of the shop. The edges of the border around the label were stitched down by hand with a blanket stitch. I told her Miss Martha would be proud of her because I know for a fact she would.

You can tell Stacy put a lot of time and effort into her quilt. She’d hoped to get it further along with the rows she had on hand before her daughter and grandson visited in July but said she spent too much time cleaning house. Why do we do that for our children? It’s not like they’re real company or anything. But I digress… Amazingly, even with the welcomed distraction she managed to get her rows put together, embellished, and quilted before anyone else around here. Yes, I am impressed to say the least. Can you tell?

Now, before you get the impression that Stacy is Wonder Woman, I must tell you that the quilt was actually quilted by someone else. Yes, Stacy had it longarm quilted by Rhonda Griner who did a great job, as always, and got it done in record time. I don’t even want to think how much more difficult it was for Rhonda to quilt given all the little extras Stacy added, but she rose to the challenge and did a fantastic job. Well done Miss Rhonda!

So, put your hands together and join me in a big round of applause and a heartfelt congratulations to Stacy! Oh, yes. Feel free to give a long and loud whistle while clapping if you know how. If you don’t know how I’ll be glad to teach you next time you visit.

Winning QuiltWinning Quilt-Stacy

Freebie Friday!

Here it is, Friday yet again. While it’s the first Friday in December I bet the last Friday in December will be here before we know it, and definitely before we want it to be. Being that it’s Friday I thought I’d share a few more freebies that I’ve found either through e-mails that I’ve received or while surfing the internet. It’s true that surfing the net can be fun and entertaining, but it’s equally true that it is one of the biggest time sinks now known to man, or woman as the case may be. Sit yourself down in front of the computer and before you know it that hour that you were going to spend sewing just got spent on surfing instead. If you’d spent that time sewing you’d probably have more to show for it, but then again, on occasion, you do have something to show for surfing. Like the following…

I’ve already shared Peck’s Pieces with you before, but when I went there today to get the last of the Halloween blocks (are you surprised that I’m behind on that? Didn’t think so…) I found that Miss Marjory is offering a new free project called Santa in the Pines. This is a four block wallhanging that should go together fairly quickly. You’ll need to scroll down to November 13 to get the beginning instructions and first block. If you scroll down to October 16 she shows you a mug rug that she made using one of the blocks. That would make a great, quick gift for the coffee or tea drinking fan on your list. Pair it with a mug, a half-dozen cookies, and some coffee or tea samples and you’re all set.

Speaking of cookies, I got an e-mail from Better Homes & Gardens with a link to lots of cookie ideas and recipes. Of course, the chocolate ones grabbed my attention immediately. I kept thinking, if only I had another cup of tea (yes, I’ve already had three cups of Barry’s Gold this morning) and some of those chocolate cookies. What a grand lunch that would make! I am definitely a cookie-holic, and I’ve always blamed it on my great-grandmother who would give me cookies and a glass of water when I walked next door to her house. Oh, the memories…

Anyhow, I was thinking that a body could spend every day of December baking cookies just from this one website and never get through all those recipes, but wouldn’t it be fun to have the time and energy to try. Maybe one of these years we’ll spend the whole month of December baking cookies here at the shop. We could have a giant cookie exchange! Think you’d be interested? We’d have to diet all year long before and after in order to do it relatively guilt free. Actually, now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever felt guilty when eating cookies, only satisfied and comforted, so maybe I wouldn’t have to diet after all. As they say, any excuse will do when you don’t want to loan out your mule…

Last, but not least, I thought I’d share another quick and easy project that would have the added bonus of allowing you to practice your machine quilting while making something for your own holiday table or to give as a gift. This pattern comes from Linda Visnaw by way of Fabri-Quilt’s blog. Click on the link and you’ll be able to download a PDF file for the pattern. It would be a great way to use up scraps of fabrics for the backgrounds, the stars, the binding, and backing. Oh yes, let’s not forget to mention batting scraps as well. Shrink the idea down and you could make mug rugs to match. Get those creative juices flowing and see what you can come up with. For instance, how about a feather tree design. I can see it, can you?

Now for a biggie…how about a FREE week in France?! Paris to be exact! If you win, I get to go too! Thank heavens I took two years of French in high school… How do you win such a wonderful trip? All you have to do is share your needlework story in 250 words or less between now and January 31, 2013. DMC will be collecting submissions and a panel of judges will select the winner. All you need to do is fill out this DMC Memories Contest Form. In order for me to join you, and play interpreter (please quit laughing…), you’ll need to mention the name of the shop on your form. In addition to getting to go to Paris we’ll get to tour the DMC factory. Can you just imagine all the wonderful colors we’ll get to see! I’ve heard Paris in springtime is lovely, maybe that’s when we’ll get to go. Start writing!!!
Holiday Lane Rooftop
Before I leave you I want to share a little more of my Holiday Lane project from last week that I’m still working on. It’s always challenging to me to decide just how to finish the edges of a raw-edge appliqué project. I can blanket stitch the edges, but that’s not always the best way to finisheverything. In this case, I started with the rooftops of my houses. I wanted them to look a bit more interesting than what plain old blanket stitching could do, so I borrowed and idea from Stacy and did this instead. I used the Ricky Tims Stable Stuff on the back because I shrank the stitch down to as small as it would go. I tried one rooftop without it and while it did all right it seemed to pucker just a bit whereas the ones with the Stable Stuff stayed nice and flat.Holiday Lane Roof Close Up

It takes a bit longer to do this type of stitch of course, but I think the end results are so much better. If you have a good imagination you canHoliday Lane - Snow on sill just see the snow piled up on the roof of each of those houses. I did the snow on the window sill as well. It gives it a 3-D effect. Now to decide what to do with the tree and window. I have a new stitch that I’ve not used before that I want to try on the houses. I’ll show you that in a future post. Since I’ve never done it before I need to practice a bit first before I try it on my project. Taking out decorative stitches is not always easy and rarely fun. Trust me on this one…

It’s my turn!!! The day I’ve been waiting for (and fretting over) has finally arrived. Ever since I ran across this pattern on Jill Finley’s website last year I have wanted to make it. Did I get a round to it? No, of course not. Soooooo, when I discovered that there was going to be a blog hop and the main attraction was going to be this pillow I decided I’d better sign up or the project would be one more thing on my wanna-do-one-of-these-days list. Yes, it is a very, very long list.

Finding time to make the project now proved to be just as difficult as it has been all year, but remembering the words of my high school band director, Mr. Lambert, I decided that results, not excuses, were what I needed to strive for. Of course, I had to make the project my own and change some things. I know you’re not surprised. Before I tell you what I changed though I’ll show you the whole project. Cute, huh!

Now, to explain the changes and why, just in case you’re interested. The main thing I changed was the construction method of the project. Rather than doing the piecing I turned the project into an appliqué one. Why? Well, first because all this time that’s what I thought it was to begin with. No, I had not looked at the actual instructions until it was time to start working on the project. Secondly, and more importantly, because I greatly dislike sewing on a drawn line and flipping back corners. Yes, I dislike it enough to prefer the “A” word technique. I used the measurements of the rectangles given for the houses and drafted my appliqué patterns accordingly…with one exception. You see, I prefer smaller projects and really didn’t need such a large pillow. You may not have been able to tell it from the photo, but I shrank the houses so that they’re only 2-1/4” wide and their height is half of the measurements given for those rectangles in the original pattern. Of course, I then had to draw my own rooftops and trees, but that wasn’t too difficult, even for someone like me who has trouble drawing stick figures that are recognizable.

I decided that instead of having a black background I would use a lovely night sky fabric that we have on hand and Michael Miller’s Fairy Frost for the snow covered ground. I mean after all, if there’s that much snow on the rooftops there must be snow on the ground. Right? Then I decided I didn’t want dark windows but lighted ones, hence the golden glow emanating from two of the houses. I also thought it might be kind of interesting to look into one of those houses and see the occupants’ tree all decorated up. Last, but not least, I made one of the houses yellow because I’ve always wanted to paint our house yellow. I doubt that it will ever happen though. It used to be a medium shade of green at one time many, many years ago. We found evidence of that on the part that was built in the 1850s.

My project ended up measuring about 11”x16” (I didn’t measure it after it was put together) and will be a wallhanging instead of a pillow. Then again, I might get creative and decide to use it as the center, or one section somewhere, in a larger wallhanging and add some of my favorite wintery things in other blocks. Talk about getting the creative juices flowing!!! I think I’ll live with it as is for the time being and just ruminate over it a while. As they say, you can’t rush greatness…

Many thanks to Miss Jill for so generously giving us her pattern. I love her work and plan on making several projects from her latest book…one of these days. Thanks too to Mdm. Samm for all she does to promote and encourage our creativity and to Miss Pauline for cheering us on and answering question after question for this technically challenged person. Be sure to visit each and every one of the blogs listed below because without a doubt you’ll find even more inspiration. That’s what it’s all about; inspiring and challenging each other to explore areas that are interesting but maybe a little scary were it not for the reassurance of like-minded individuals, of which there are thankfully many.

Words and Stitches
Trying to Blog
Peanut’s Patchwork
Moosestash Quilting
A Loose Thread
stitch, stitch, stitch
In Stitches and Seams
Hooked on Quilting – Enjoy!
A Reformed Heath’n
As Sweet as Peaches
Geema’s Wonderings

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