Sunday, September 17, 2017

Made in the USA

Made in the USA
Laundry Basket Quilts

In an effort to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey, Laundry Basket Quilts is donating money from the sales of the Made in the USA quilt pattern and are collecting quilt blocks to be made into quilts.

When I saw the completed quilt, I thought it looked like a quilt within my skill level and my stash is loaded with red, white and blue and fabric.

No joke about the amount of red, white and blue fabric in my stash.  This fabric came from Whittles--it was half price and I thought it would make a good backing for a patriotic quilt.  

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Fall Preparations 2017

Blackbird Designs
Loose Leaf Pattern #27
Released in 2007
Autumn Song

The official beginning date for Fall 2017 is Friday, September 22.  For me, fall begins the day after Labor Day.  School started the day after Labor Day and for me that marked the end of summer vacation, the beginning of the school year, and a change in the daily activities.  The school year now starts in early August.  The daylight hours are growing shorter, there is a slight drop in the temperatures and daily routines are changing.  Labor Day, a three day weekend, a change to catch up, and catch my breath.

Pumpkin Blossom by Blackbird Designs
Crow Needle Minder by Kelmscott
Acorn floss keeper by Notforgotten Farm

Pumpkin Row

I saw this design in a magazine and thought it would make a great rug for fall and a way to use up my fall colored wool.  

This is my pansy basket I made a few weeks ago, a good walnut stain improved its looks.  Filled with candy corn and happy smiling pumpkin faces.  Makes me want to smile back.

The quilt on the sofa is changed.  This is a Jo Morton cheater quilter, the fabric is either Spice Market or Cinnamon and Spice--one of my favorite fabric lines.  One day, I let my mind wander and doodled the quilting patterns.

Cheater panel:  fabric made to look like it has been quilted.

Hmm, checking my memory bank these are designs from Plum Street, Notforgotten Farm, Chessie and Me and Carriage House.  

Fall colors are wool appliqué they just go together

Jenny Bean
Shakespeare's Peddler 2009

Yes, I change the samplers.  Love everything about this sampler:  the border, the weeping willow, mouse, fish bones and the saying is found on many samplers.

The beginning of fall and so many fun and wonderful events to look forward to:  quilt shows, corn mazes, warm soups, football.  Life is good.

Colorful sunflowers from thoughtful AppleJack

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Shepherd's Needle and Stitcher's Garden

Shepard's Shade
Threads that Bind (Shawn Williams)
Punch Needle

Shepherd's Needle was one of the needlework shops AppleJack and I visited on our AR road trip.  It is a wonderful shop full of models, fibers, linens, trims and embellishments.  I mentioned in an earlier post Shawn Williams, Threads that Bind had taught a class two weeks prior to our visit--I should have planned better.  Shepherd's Shade was one of the many shop models.

I have had the kit for Shepherd's Shade in my stash for a long time.  After seeing the shop model it has given me motivation.  The shop owner graciously allowed me to take a photo I could use for reference.

Shepherd's Needle carries a large selection of linens.  This is an older Lizzie Kate Mystery sample called Things Unseen.  The linen I have chosen is 36 ct vintage pearled barley.  I am not a big fan of mystery samplers and usually do not get on board until the mystery is revealed.

After cutting the linen to exact measurements, the fabric is serged right at the cutting table.  Oaken by Picture this Plus for the Blackbird Design, the Winter is Past.

In addition to great linens, Shepherd's Needle had a great selection of trims for finishing.  These are from Lady Dot creates and Dames of the Needle.  Love the names of the trims:  Union, Chickie, Bear, Federal Gold, Bear and Jack

Stitcher's Garden is located in Conway, AR.  The shop owner recommended we eat at the Hole in the Wall Cafe.  She also had a great selection of linens.  This is chestnut for the design Easter Peep Parade by Brenda Gervais.

Am always on the hunt for great sampler linen.  This is Creek Bed Brown by R & R.

With fall on the horizon, I couldn't resist this Frightful Jack.

When I first moved to Nashville (thirty years ago) there were five needle work shops!  Sadly, the last of those five needlework shops will be closing August 26.  Through the years those needlework shops have introduced me to designers, techniques and my Stitching Sisters.  Shopping on line is just not the same as a visit to the LNS.  There are always great models to see, classes, and words of encouragement.  On the bright side, a new to me shop called Nashville Needleworks will be filling the void left by The Stitchin Post.  Needleworks has an e x t e n s i v e fiber offering.  You name the fiber and I think they carry it.  They will also be carry linens!  Whooooo Hooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!  The best part, Kathy, the framer from Stitchin Post will be doing the framing at Needleworks.  When my stitching sister shared this news with me--I felt like a big void in my life had been filled.

AppleJack has always said "if you want to make Betty happy, just buy her a skein of floss."  Am so happy for shops like Shepherd's Needle, Stitcher's Garden and Nashville Needleworks who promote needlework.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Road Trip

AppleJack and I made the decision earlier in the year we would take mini vacations.  We loaded up the wagon and headed west.  This is one of the bridges which spans the Mississippi River in Memphis.  Memphis is one of gateways to the west.

We were enroute to Little Rock to spend some time with family before school started.  We learned very quickly with Memphis being a gateway city there is a heavy constant stream of  trucks moving freight.

The pyramid which is located near the river is one of the more recognizable Memphis landmarks..

Memphis is famous for their barbeque.  As long as there are people with appetites there will be the great debate:  wet or dry and the best place.  Rendezvous, Interstate, Martin's and Neely's are some of the Memphis barbeque places who have been in business for many years and are some of the more recognizable names.  Ronnie Q's is our barbeque joint of choice and it is not in Memphis but in a small town called Dickson, which is about an hour west of Nashville.  Ronnie Q's has melt in your mouth brisket.  Yum Yum

One of the first things I do when planning a trip is locate the needlework shop(s).

Shepherd's Needle is in Little Rock and is an awesome shop.  Shawn Williams with Threads that Bind had taught a punch needle class the week before our visit.  

From shop models, a huge selection of linens, classes, recent chart releases to the beginning of sampler Saturday, Shepherd's Needle is a great shop.  If the commute were shorter, I would be spending a lot of time at this shop.

I had planned to take a photo of the outside of the shop when it started raining.  It was raining cats and dogs and rain was pouring off the building which looked like a waterfall.  We made a run for the car and got soaked--we looked like someone had poured a bucket of water on us, don't ever remember being any wetter in a shorter period of time.

AppleJack has a very high sense of adventure, discovering new places is also one of the things we do when traveling.

The owners of The Hole in the Wall Cafe had converted an old gin into a cafe.  "Real southern cooking and home of skillet fried cornbread" is how they describe themselves.  We may have been drenched by the rain but it did not affect our appetites.  Turnip greens, (real) mashed potatoes, fried okra, pinto beans, fried chicken, chicken fried steak it was all delicious.  (No one ever said southern cooking was healthy)

The Hole in the Wall had delicious desserts:  Peanut Butter pie, Lemon Ice-Box pie, Coconut Cake.  In the spirit of adventure we decided to explore more of Conway, AR and have dessert at Patti Cakes.  I thought the oversized ginger man cookie cutter was a great way to welcome customers to your bakery.

More yum yum

All to soon, it was time to head east, back across the river to Tennessee.

Part of the Memphis skyline taken from the car while crossing the mighty Mississippi.  See those rain clouds--they followed us all the way home to Nashville.  Mini vacations--I highly recommend them.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Divine Miss M (M Quertier)

M Quertier
Quaker 1799 (Ackworth School)
Scarlet Letter
#103 India ink Gloriana silk floss
Stash Mystery Linen 

Yes, I'm still stitching.  There have been many distractions:  the heat, weeding, grass cutting, canning tomato juice, corn for the freezer, classes (basket and rug hooking) and the regular stuff aka life.

M Quertier's height is determined she is 11 1/8 inches in height.  I finally have the top most medallion and the bottom most medallion stitched.  I estimate four more medallions and I will be at the half way mark.  Whoo Hoo!

While I have been stitching M, I dug through my needlework books and found Jacqueline Holdsworth's book Ackworth School Sampler Motifs.  Jacqueline writes in the book:  It is typical of Quaker medallions to be stitched as halves or quarters.  M has eight full motifs and seventeen half medallions.  Our M was an ambitious stitcher, had a long school year or did she have a strict teacher at Ackworth?

Passionflower Motif--it is big and beautiful and one of my favorites which is surprising because I did almost as much reverse stitching on this motif as I did forward stitching.  This motif is also on the Beatrix Potter sampler and the Beatrix Potter companion sampler.

This is an undated sampler once owned by Beatrix Potter--the passionflower motif has been stitched into the sampler.

Butterfly Motif

Carnation Motif

Jacqueline calls this motif the Crown Motif (I think it looks more like a poinsettia)

While I have been stitching M, I have been re reading Carol Humphrey's book.  Am glad I purchased this book several years when I checked on Amazon it is right pricey.  Thankfully, Carol writes about M in the book:  It was also noted that the Quertiers were a Channel Island family, and in the extracts from the Minutes of Ackworth for 1800 is found this entry:  "Children from Guernsey admitted, one eight year old as a special case."  When I first read this, it made me a little sad.  Someone saw value in M and she is now a part of the Fitzwilliam collection of samplers--our M was indeed special.

The next motifs I will be stitching is a bird, garland and swan.  Am looking forward to stitching M's cartouche with her initials and date.  We are having a summer shower.  Ugh, I think I hear the weeds and grass growing but while the rains nourishes the flowers, I will continue stitching on M.  

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Basket of Zinnias

What do you do on a hot day in July?  Expand your world, challenge yourself, take a basket class.  This is the bottom of the basket.  The test was to weave the basket tight enough so an M & M could be contained inside the basket.

Standing the basket.  
Our teacher, who was wonderful, shared that weaving the first three rows of the basket was the most difficult part.  She was right and she was right beside each of her students, encouraging, sharing tips, correct mistakes.  The water bottle is to keep the reeds pliable so as not to break them.   The fillers sticking out at the ends of the basket became a part of the basket called chicken feet.  Over under, tighten the weave, keep those corners square.

Here is a sampling of some of the completed baskets.  (Mine is the last basket on the left). The handle of the basket is a beautiful oak.  The weaving at the top (x's) reminds me of needlework with its cross stitch.  

It was a fun class and each and every student left with a completed basket.  Am thinking of staining mine with some of the walnuts from our backyard.

Thank you Fran!  You are an excellent teacher.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017


Did you know there are more than 100 different varieties of sheep?  The National Sheep Association classifies sheep into either meat, milking or wool variety.  Merino, Dorset, Shropshire, Suffolk and Jacob are some of the more familiar varieties.  Don't you just love those names?  The Leicester sheep with his curly hair, the Suffolk with his black face and legs, Merino which produces the softest of wools and the Lincoln with those dreadlocks.

This is my first hooked rug.  It was the first rug hooking kit I had ever purchased:  it was small and primitive and had sheep.

This sheep photo has been in my rug hooking inspiration box of ideas for years.  The photo reminds me of the photographs/portraits farmers would take of their prize winning livestock.  I have often wondered how those animals were able to hold up their oversized bodies on pencil thin legs.

When I am lucky enough to find raw wool, I purchase it for filling/stuffing for pillows and pincushions.

Here are some of the things I have learned about hooking rugs:
  • let the holes breathe--every hole does not have to be filled (don't pack the hooking) aka a tight hooker
  • every loop does not have to be even
  • make sure the linen is tight on the frame
  • all tails in one area is the weakest part of the rug
  • pick one and stick with it:  hook on the line, hook inside the line, hook outside the line
  • do not hook in straight lines
  • to keep movement in the background hook in the shape of puzzle pieces