Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Block 1 - Miss Carole's Influence

There is a little story to go with this motif. Last night, Miss Carole, as she will on occasion, emailed me about some eye-candy on eBay (a circa 1880-1900 crazy quilt). Several seam treatments caught my eye and I did some rough sketches. Then I noticed this motif. Having studied Miss Carole's Treasury of Crazy Quilt Stitches and having purchased her marvels of artistic engineering, the Dream-A-Seam Templates and the workbook that accompanies them, I got brave and decided to try out my newly learned techniques! I got out my graph paper and managed to draw out the motif. I got so excited that I stitched it before breakfast! Thank you Miss Carole!

Sorry about the fuzzy photo on this, but this little heart applique must be shy - it didn't want it's picture taken! I back stitched around the heart in 2 colors of Perle Cotton 5. The seam to the right is a stem stitch in Perle Cotton 5 wrapped in silk buttonhole twist.

The chocolate wrapper wisdom today reflects a part of my philosophy of life (oh doesn't that sound pretentious)! "Smile at yourself in the mirror." I believe that we must be our own best friend and remind ourselves that we like ourselves. I also believe that, no matter how rotten a day you expect to have, if you start smiling at yourself first thing in the morning every day, a positive thought process is set in motion and will soon be carried with you all day.

Organization Challenge

The October Challenge for the CQforNewbies group was to get organized. While I am not yet totally organized, I have made a good start on getting my CQ act together. My DMC floss, silk floss, silk buttonhole twist, silk ribbon, Perle Cotton's, EdMar threads, DMC Broder Special #25, Floche, Flower thread, Metallic threads and blending filaments are all organized. It seems like a lot, but then I notice all of the fabric, lace, buttons, beads, charms and other goodies still to organize. I promise myself that I will keep working on it. After that comes all of the non-CQ fabric, machine embroidery supplies, smocking & heirloom patterns, books and magazines. Maybe by 2010 I'll be organized!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Successful Dress Hunt

There has been no time for stitching the last 2 days (sigh). I decided that I just had to find a dress for my brother's wedding! I finally met with success at Carson's big mark-down sale. My husband actually liked the dress and and was even happier that it came at a very attractive price. The wedding will be in New Orleans on November 11. Now, if only Mom and sister Julia would find their dresses...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Block 1 - A Little More

Forty-five mile an hour winds today managed to clear most of the leaves from the front yard. While I am sorry that they are now in a yard somewhere else and someone else will have to rake the leaves, I did not miss raking leaves today! It was so cold out in that wind!

I made time for a little stitching this evening and completed 2 more seams. Again, I was using Perle Cotton 5. On the left is a row of alternating chain stitches. The chevron stitches on the right are woven with 4 mm silk ribbon.

Joyful stitching to all!

Friday, October 27, 2006

SAGA Wee Care Service Project

While cleaning and organizing my needlework and sewing supplies, I came across a group of UFO's that cried out to be completed. I had found 3 Wee Care gowns for our SAGA Service Project that were very close to completion. I just had to finish them. These particular gowns are sized to fit babies who weigh under 1 pound. I cry while making each gown, thinking of the babies who will be wearing them and thinking of what their parents are going through.

Wee Care is the Service Project of the Smocking Arts Guild of America (SAGA). SAGA members sew gowns for babies in neonatal units to wear and to clothe babies who have died. These gowns are either smocked or embroidered. Some of the chapters also make bonnets for the babies. These gowns are then presented to local hospitals.

If you are interested in more information about the Wee Care program, the link in the sidebar will lead you to the SAGA home page. Click on Wee Care Program. This will bring you to a history and description of the program and a link to contact the Wee Care Chairman.

SAGA is not just smocking. SAGA is hand embroidery, cut work, silk ribbon embroidery and a whole host of other needle arts. The purpose of SAGA is "to preserve and foster the art of smocking and related needlework for future generations, through education, communication and quality workmanship."

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Progress on Block 1

Today was a grey, gloomy, cold and wet day, just the kind of day to stay indoors and stitch. I completed the stitching on 3 more seams this afternoon and evening.

The top right seam is sheaf stitch alternating with a cross stitch, both done in Perle Cotton 5. The cross stitch is crossed with another tiny cross stitch in orange silk buttonhole twist. This tiny cross doesn't really show up in the photo, but it is there!

The center seam is a herringbone stitch unadorned and waiting for some beads. I'll be adding beads after I complete all of the stitching on the block. In the bottom right hand corner is a woven running stitch. Both of these seams were stitched in Perle Cotton 5.

A friend of mine, Miss Freda, warned me (as did several others) that this crazy quilting was addicting and I was a bit sceptical. I now have to admit that all of you were right and I am now addicted!

The chocolate wrapper must have known about today's weather! "It's definitely a bubble-bath day" it says!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Block 3

Today was spent on an unsuccessful hunt for a dress to wear for my brother Jim's wedding down in New Orleans next month. (sigh) I did, however, manage to find an outfit to wear to the rehearsal dinner. So the day was not a total loss.

No stitching today, but I did finish sewing Block 3 for the table runner. The machine embroidery design is from the Husqvarna Viking Colors of Autumn #153 embroidery CD.

Chocolate wrapper wisdom of the day "Follow your instincts."

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Block 1 - Adding Texture

I love the swirls in the fabric on the bottom right of this block. I could not resist using embroidery to add textue to the piece. Using silk buttonhole twist, I stitched the outline stitch over every swirl printed on the piece. It took some time, but I am very pleased with the results.

Ah! My chocolate wrapper speaks wisdom again! Make "someday" today.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Block 1 Update

Two days of working on this cascade of colonial knots and I am not quite sure if it is completed. I think I will live with it a few days before I come back to contemplate it again. I added a splash of red, but it could be that it needs a bit more of the fall red. Yep, better live with it a bit. The leaves are all variations of detached chain stitches and all stitches today are using perle cotton 5.

I also added just a bit of orange to the seam treatment below. It just seemed right (no pun intended). The seam that is partially in view at the top right is only just begun. More on that seam later, since I have no idea right now where that one is going!

My chocolate wrapper is telling me - "Be mischievous. It feels good." Ah yes, but that has gotten me in trouble before. Not everyone understands my sense of humor.

Can there be blogging without chocolate?

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Even though I didn't make time for stitching today, I thought I had accomplished quite a bit. I did some housework, upgraded this blog a bit and I organized my needlework stash a bit. The CQForNewbies Yahoo Group is having a challenge this month- Get Organized! I was feeling very proud of myself for managing to dig out all of my perle cottons and getting them into one storage container. I decided to take a break and cruise through some of my favorite blogs and sites.

Lots of wonderful eye candy and inspiration. And then, (gasp) I arrived at Charlene's blog When This You See, Remember Me (see side bar). Miss Charlene has photo after photo of how amazingly organized she has all of her crazy quilting stuff. I now see how she manages to get so much done! What wonderful ideas for organization she has!

I now see how far I have to go. So I gathered up all of my CQ and embroidery books into one location and felt a little better about my efforts. Such a long way yet to go!

Just Get Started!

I took a deep breath, then took the plunge and just started stitching. Once I got started, everything became much easier. Maybe I was thinking too hard about what to stitch!

The seam to the right of the pumpkin is an unadorned feather stitch. To the left of the pumkin are blanket stitch wheels with colonial knots. At the lower left corner, I tried mirror-imaging an uneven line of blanket stitch. I have used Perle Cotton 5 for my stitching

So far, I like my results. At the same time, I ask my readers to remember that I am very much a newbie at crazy quilting. Costructive suggestions will be listened to, but I will always tend to stitch as the spirit moves me.

I have had an e-mail from Mom - Thank you! I'm glad you like my blog. And from my daughter Caitlin requesting a CQ project for her (one project at a time for the moment, my dear). And from Miss Carole - Thank you so much for your encouragement and kind words!

Joyful stitching to all!

Friday, October 20, 2006

My Second Block

All sewn together and waiting for attention! Here's my second crazy quilt block! I really like the way that the colors are coming together. The lighter brown print is reflecting a little more light that I wanted but then, I am just happy to be able to get the photos taken and posted! It is a little darker in real life.

The centerpiece is machine embroidery from Husqvarna Viking #51 Countryside Treasures. Another stray piece of fabric has found a home!

Yes Kyle (my son who graduated from U of IL, got a real job, and moved away), Mom can do this internet stuff!!!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Beginning

Here begins a new adventure for me and for anyone who wants to join in.

I love fabrics, laces, and threads. Coming from a long line of needleworkers, I suppose that it must be genetic by now. Sharing my love of the needle arts on this blog will be an extension of what I have been doing for years, both as a student and a teacher of various needle arts. I hope to share with you my new projects and learning experiences along with the never-ending task of trying to complete some of the UFO's (unfinished objects) that seem to be constantly increasing (sigh).

My newest project is crazy quilting. This wonderful artform allows me to combine all of my loves in one project!
Building my stash of fabric (so you guessed that I already have a head-start on this one), lace, buttons, fancy threads (that's right another head-start) and all kinds of useful goodies is all part of the joy.

This is my first CQ patch, waiting for embroidery and embellishment. I think I am listening for the block to tell me how it would like to be dressed. I decided that I wanted to use some of my machine embroidery stitch-outs (it keeps them from just hanging around with nothing to do). The design is from the Anita Goodesign Fall Splendor embroidery CD. This block will soon be joined by three others. It is hoped that they will all play nicely together and will become a table runner, at least by next fall. (I'm being very realistic here! I have decided that the days of tall tales in needlework projects are over for me.)