This Blog

This is a blog to show off my needlework, mainly crazy quilting, beading and crochet. It makes me happy to create these things and even more happy to share the fun with friends. Pictures of my beading projects are at

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Two Ornaments

Solstice is here, Hanukkah is underway, Christmas eve is coming soon. Best wishes to all of you for these and other celebrations of the season.

This year I made two Christmas ornaments. The first was for my Crazy Quilt Group holiday exchange. I forgot to take a picture, but  Susan took one during the party. Here is her post on the event.
The second one was for my friend Laura. We exchange dogsitting, so I took some pictures of her dog Wagner while he was staying with us, printed them on silk and pieced them into the ornament.

Both ornaments were made with four inch circles pieced on interleaving paper instead of muslin to get enough stiffness to hold the form. The embellished, folded in half and put together like segments of and orange. Laura's has three segments so Wagner's picture shows well. The exchange one now belonging to Maureen has five segments. I rather like the way they turned out.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bookstore Browsing

I have a Nook e-reader and use Barnes and Noble for online book shopping because I want to support their brick and mortar stores. There's little more gratifying to me than a couple of hours browsing in a real bookstore. On Tuesday I did it at the store near the Metro Center station in the district (Washington, DC).

 I did some holiday shopping and bought a couple of things for myself. One I bought for embroidery reference will surprise you. It's Tattoo Sourcebook by the editors of It has 516 pages of mostly tattoo designs. The introductory chapter on tatooing was interesting, but it was the designs that caught my attention. Many of them would make great embroidery motifs. I plan to use some. But not this one:

I do like dragons and here is a sweet one:

And trees. Trees are great on crazy quilts. Here's a nice tree of life.

Here's something very pretty for a music themed block:

The images are divided into categories, each section beginning with a history, paragraph on symbolism and something specific about the tattoos in the category. From this I got some info about symbolism for the "wisdom" block I'm planning. During Betty Pillsbury's class at the Crazy Quilt Adventure in April, I embossed a piece of velvet with the word "wisdom." It's to be part of a block with other words meaning wisdom such as "sophia." I learned that the salmon represents wisdom to the northeast Indians and the feathered serpent was a wisdom god to the Aztecs. With an owl, those images should make a very wise block.

Look everywhere for cq inspiration.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Green Apple Flutter

Last blog I ask for suggestions for a name of my red orange and apple green block. Susan Elliott went on a roll with suggestions as you can see in the comments on that blog. I didn't pick one of hers, but they inspired me and the new name for the block is Green Apple Flutter.

Flutter refers to the butterfly wings featured on fabric in the block from old komonos. Other butterflies have joined them on the block including two stumpwork ones.

I've been flirting with stumpwork for a while. Sadly, sadly missed our EGA chapter workshop by Jane Nickols because I was sick. Very disappointed. But, I have a new book that gives the instruction I wanted: Royal School of Needlework's Essential Stitch Guides: Stumpwork, by Kate Stinton published this year. Mary Corbet reviewed the book recently. She likes it, too.

My butterfly wings were made as "wired fabric slips." They are attached by piercing the block fabric with a stylus or laying tool, inserting the wires through the hole, folding them back and tacking them down. This leaves the wings free for a 3-D look. This close up photo shows I need to do some more trimming of the basic fabric around the edges. The actual butterfly is 1 1/2 inch across.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Silk threads

At the New England Regional Embroidery Guild of America seminar in April, I won an opportunity basket. I regret I can't remember and credit the chapter that donated it, but I thank them. The basket became my granddaughter's Easter basket. The $100 gift certificate to Thistle Needleworks was my treasure. I used it to buy a variety of Soie d'Alger silk floss. This is Mary Corbett's favorite silk floss, as she blogs about here. I selected several runs of one color for use in thread painting. Here is my new stash:

Okay, I had  a little money left so I bought one package of silk ribbon, too. Then it turned out they were out of skeins of several of the colors I chose, so I bought the larger packages of those. Anyway, I'm happy with them. I hurried to try one out on my red orange and apple green block (I need a better name for this block. Suggestions?) Here is a butterfly seam treatment from Carol Samples' book.
I also used it for the seam at the bottom of this picture.
So far, I'm not sure I like it all that much better than DMC cotton floss. Shush! Mary Corbett does say the cotton floss will eventually lose it's sheen. Haven't noticed that.

The stem of the flower above this seam is made of little metal springs my friend Kent gave me. He is an instrument technician for NASA Goddard. These were removed during referbishing from an instrument that flew on a space shuttle.

Another thing I did on the block is enhance the butterfly wings printed on the fabric with couched silver thread, shisha mirrors and beads.

That's my latest update on this block. The too hot weather here is keeping me in, so I hope I can finish it soon. Other projects are waiting.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Red Orange and Apple Green

Here is an update on one of the blocks I took to Connecticut to work on during the Adventure in Crazy Quilting and Sharon Boggon's workshop. The block needs a better name than "red orange and apple green" but I haven't yet been inspired. Marmalade and Green Apples? Citrus Grove? Ummm. I showed this picture in April when I reported  on the retreat.

Folks who looked at this saw spiders in the two major things I had done  on it. I sure hadn't thought spiders when I made them. Well, I don't want this to be a spider block, so one of them had to go. The covered bead is now a flower with heart petals.

The other one, the shisha stitched grow sticker, got legs added to make it into a spider. I hope it's abstract enough so it won't freak out the spider squeamish. I used gold blending filament for the web.
 I also added some flowers a la Allie Aller from her class at the Adventure. I fused fabrics together wrong sides together, cut our circles and then snipped petals around the edge.

I added shisha mirrors to the tips of the butterfly wings and worked a few seam treatments. So here is the status at the end of June.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

June in Carolina Beach

Last week I visited my son Joe and his wife Danielle in Carolina Beach, NC. We had a very nice time.

There are a lot of feral cats in their neighborhood and they love them. They rescued two injured kittens which became house cats. They've captured and neutered several more including the main mother and feed them outside. Here is Joe with one of the outdoors cats. They are all named, but I don't know which one this is. Joe and Danielle do.

When they bought the house in Carolina Beach, it had this striking painted metal salmander sculpture on the outside.

I was surprised to see it in new colors this time.

We spent a pleasant afternnoon in historic Willmington on the river. Here are Joe and Danielle under a sculpture of the endangered Venus flycatcher, now confined to the Carolina coastal area.

We took a ghost tour led by actor John Scott.

Carolina Beach has a summer carnival with fireworks on Thursday nights.

It's a good community I enjoy visiting. Except for having to fly to visit, I'm glad Joe and Danielle moved there.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

CQ Adventure Block Finished

I have finished the block I used for learning stitches and motifs at the 2011 Adventures in Crazy Quilting retreat for Sharon Boggon's class and workshop in Connecticut in April. Sharon does encrusted embellishment on her quilts, a different style from mine. I like the more traditional motif and seam treatment style. So, it was interesting to me to experiment with more encrusting. You'll note I still left a significant amount of lightly embellished space. I ran the encrusting in a swoosh across the block. This doesn't keep the eye inside the block as Sharon teaches for design, but I like it.

I used the French facing technique for finishing after tying the backing to the block. The technique was published by Allie Aller in CQMagOnline. I like the neat look of it.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Hearts and Hands for Sendai block

I've finished my Hearts and Hands for Sendai block and sent it to Leslie Ehrlich, the coordinator. She described the requirements on her blog. Deadline for submitting the blocks is June 30, 2011, so you have time  to make one if you wish. It's a fund raiser for earthquake/tsunami relief in Japan.

Here is mine.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Crazy Adventure and Sharon Boggon Workshop

What an adventure! What a learning time! What great new friends! It was the Adventure in Crazy Quilting and the 3-day workshop by Sharon Boggon of Australia. All were organized and guided by Maureen Greeson and Susan Elliott.
 It was Sharon's first trip to the USA and we were so lucky to learn from her in person, for one day during the Adventure and during the workshop. Of course we're accustomed to learn from her online.
Geraldine Krueger has been demonstrating on her blog how she is using some of the design elements Sharon taught. Keep going to earlier posts to see the series.
Additional one-day classes during the Adventure were taught by Allison Aller and Betty Pillsbury. Awsome line up. I really had a good time and learned so much I can use.
I didn't take many pictures. Others did, but I can't point you to them at the moment. Below is a picture of Sharon Boggon at work. On the left is Susan Elliott, photographer, and on the right, Helen McEntee, student.
Here are pictures of three of the pieced blocks I took to work on. The fourth was my block for the Hearts and Hands for Sendai project. I'm working to finish it and will post about it when I'm finished. It benefits from Sharon's design instruction.
The first is the block I put most of my practice stitches on.
The second is my exploration of orange and apple green. It has shisha stitch on a penny and a sticker I had stuck on with it's own adhesive.
The third is a work in progress: Purple baskets. It's 21 inches square.

After the Connecticut events, I went to Portland, Maine, for the New England Embroiderer's Guild of America seminar. I had meals with my roommate from last fall's EGA National Seminar in San Francsico, Violet Anderson of New Hampshire. It was good to see her again. I did studio time there instead of classes and worked on the Hearts and Hands for Sendai block. That's how it got almost done. My daughter's family lives in Portland, so I stayed with them and had some time for visiting. We had a beautiful Sunday afternoon to go to the Fort Williams shore. My granddaughter likes this scary tunnel in the fort.

Friday, January 14, 2011

EGA Seminar 2010

Classes, volunteering in the bookstore, corset demonstration, side trips - it was a great experience. The Embroidery Guild of America (EGA) National Seminar was in San Francsico, California, September 5-10, 2010.
I took two two-day classes taught by Lynn Payette. She is an artist who was trained by her professional artist parents. She gave very useful design tips about shading, shadowing and perspective. I was impressed with the breadth of her style. She teaches a lot and showed us many project examples.

The first class I took was "Painting and Gilding and Stitching, Oh My!" This was right up a crazy quilter's alley, because she provided tables full of supplies, told us how to use them and set us loose to try them all and develop our own design. I started by trying markers on white silk, making an oval shape swirled with color and a sketchy fish. I don't know where the fish came from out of the recesses of my mind, but it became my creation piece. Lynn provided a lot of papers and I used these for the panels below the fish oval. I'm not sure I like using the papers. Stitching through them can leave holes and tiny tears if you're not very careful.
My birthday was on September 5, during this class so I went to the local Ghiardelli chocolate shop and bought a tin of the dark variety to share with the class. That was a hit and I got a chorus of Happy Birthday sung for me.

During the days between classes, volunteered a few hours at the Ruth Kern bookstore. What a selection! What a temptation! I kept in mind how these books would be in my luggage however and didn't overdo my purchases. Here are some pages from the ones I bought:

Here is a Japanese book whose title I can't translate. It has lots of surface embroidery projects and patterns that are attractive to me and require no translation to do.
The Art & Embroidery of Jane Hall: Reflections of Nature is a beautiful book in which Jane shows how she translates inspiration from nature into expressive art pieces in silk fabric and thread.

I couldn't resist Here Be Wyverns by Nancy Spies. She drafted hundreds of patterns from medieval sources and among these are dragons, my favorites. These of these patterns could be adapted to fillet crochet or just used in surface embroidery.
We were given a copy of the most interesting book, Pani & Fill: Breads and Threads of Italy which illustrates the design similarities between special decorative breads used in Italian festivals and Italian lace. Quite interesting.

I also made an excursion to the "can't miss" fabric and trims store, Britex Fabrics. It's a wonderful place with four or five flours of almost any fabric or trim you can imagine. I only bought these few things. Two silk fabrics in bright colors that will be great for picking the particular color area I want for a project and a length of green silk.

One evening we had a delightful historical lecture and demonstration of corsets by Autumn Adamme, owner and head designer at LeJardin, the premier couturier corset source for Hollywood stars. She claims they are very comfortable. Hmmm. I'd have to be convinced of that.

Then the second of Lynn Payette's classes ended the seminar. It is "California Poppy." I picked it because I was born in Salinas, California. When my parents returned to Iowa with me when I was one year old, my mother brought along California poppies for my grandmother's flower garden. I loved them and they were special in an Iowa garden. I remember being the color Lynn chose for her design although they are more commonly yellow. Lynn has an unusual technique for stumpwork that I enjoyed learning. Here are my completed poppies, framed under glass.

California Poppies