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

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Surprised by needlework on a family reunion tour

This weekend I was in High Point, North Carolina for a reunion of the Mendenhall Family Association. When I was actively doing family research, I followed the line of my great-grandmother, Sarah Ann Mendenhall Mount, and found other Mendenhall researchers. I was a charter member of the Association when it formed and have attended all seven reunions held.

The Mendenhall's were among the first to buy property from William Penn in his new American land grant named Pennsylvania. Four siblings, John, Benjamin, Margary (Martin) and Mary (Newlin) moved there in 1684. I'm descended from John and his grandson James, who in 1862 moved to Guilford County, North Carolina, where many Pennsylvania Quakers migrated and settled. They were millers, farmers and very active in education. The little town of Jamestown near High Point was named for James. His grandson Richard built a plantation house there which is on the register of historic places and was on our reunion tour, along with three local Quaker meeting houses and Guilford College.

Okay, I'm getting to the needlework. There is a tiny little museum at the plantation containing some artifacts of the time period (late 1700s-early 1800s). First thing that caught my eye was this stunning dress.

I don't know if this was worn by Quakers; they did sometimes dress less plainly than commonly thought, but this is very "not plain." Here are some close ups of the lace and embroidery trim.
The pretty coverlet is in a case.
In another building on the site, there was a poster display about Quaker dress, which had these two interesting photos.
We then moved on to the Springfield Meeting House which maintains a larger museum of period artifacts. Here is a Quaker wedding dress.
Plain, but lovely. And there are these two other examples of nice needlework in the museum.

What fun to find such unexpected and lovely needlework on a family history tour. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Big Honkin Needle Circle finished

I've been working slowly lately, but have finished the circle part of my quilt from the Betty Pillsbury workshops.
I continued the pansy theme with a beaded pansy from a pattern in The Beaded Garden by Diane Fitzgerald, Interweave Press LLC, 2005. I also titled the block "Big Honkin' Needle" because that is Betty's term for the size chenille needle needed to work with chenille. It's a size 14. I used it for the chenille flower inside the heart on the left.

Betty is, besides a crazy quilter, a herbalist. During informal discussion at the workshop, cleavers was mentioned. It's an interesting plant that makes tea said to aid weight loss. I pulled out my Petersen's Guide to Edible Wild Plants and used the line drawing of cleavers there to add a picture of it to the block.

I added a third dragonfly; this one with woven picot wings and a couple of 7 mm silk ribbon pansies.

I plan to set this circle into an asymmetrical border, inspired by a couple of Betty's quilts she had on display during the workshops. I'm putting it aside for now, though. I'm feeling the pull of my Pink Flower Garden quilt UFO. It's a big one and I plan to work on it until I get bored, then take up my CQJP blocks again. Follow your bliss.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Big Honkin' Needle

My local Embroidery Guild of  America (EGA) chapter (Constellation, Baltimore, Maryland) last week hosted two crazy quilt workshops by Betty Pillsbury. I was especially happy about this because I had gone to workshop Betty gave at the Adventure in Crazy Quilting retreat in Connecticut in 2011. She is good: clear instructions, interesting projects and fun. It was there we first heard her refer to using a "big honkin' needle" for embroidering with chenile thread. We used it again at the Constellation chapter workshops.

The first workshop was entitled "Motifs from Antique Crazy Quilts." Betty has a wonderful collection of antique crazy quilts from which she selected three to teach. I might have named this class "honkin' big motif" because they were, at 4x6 inches and 5x7 inches, way bigger than I have used on my quilts. After this class I will think bigger.

The first motif was a sprig of goldenrod worked in chenile on velveteen using our "big honkin' needles."

We were supposed to use silk chenile thread for this, but it was somewhat hard to find and I used rayon. It is a flat thread, whereas silk puffs out around the whole center. I like the way the rayon looks fine, but you can see the difference by looking at the lemon colored french knots in the lower center of the motif. These are in silk thread I got from a friend.

A second motif was also done on velveteen, a palette.

The flower on this is made with wired ribbon

Third was a pansy made of silk dupioni with ribbon stem and leaf.
I worked this on a crazy quilted 15" diameter circle I made up for use in the class.


This is it after the work from the second workshop entitled "Notebook Sampler." Here are the motifs made in this workshop:

A 3" flower made from silk essense fabric.
A 2 1/2" pansy  made from wired ribbon.
Two flowers with  needlewoven petals and two beaded dragonflies.
The green dragonfly is from a kit Betty provided.
Spiderweb made with metallic machine embroidery thread and 2 bullion roses.
These were two wonderful days of learning and fun with friends.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

CQJP2012 May and July

At last "Barefoot Girl," my May crazy quilt journal project block is complete. And here it is almost May again. Can I finish this project in 2013? We'll see.

I have blocks June through September pieced, but I have mislaid a piece of yarn I need for June. So I am working on July entitled "Independence and Creativity in honor of my nine year-old granddaughter, Lorelei, who was born in July. I's her infant "I am woman" pose featured as a silky on the block.
Independence is for the birthday of the USA and creativity is for my granddaughter's because she is a very creative person. I love that about her.
The red circle at the top left is meant to be a balloon, but it needs a different highlight to look like one. It will be one of 3 in red, white and blue. There will be mice on the block, because Lorelei has been a mouse enthusiast since she got two as pets for her fifth birthday. She still draws them often and they populate her fantasy place, Meek World.  Other ideas will come in the crazy quilting way as I work along on the block.
I'm wondering how all these blocks in different color ways will go together at the end. Hmmm.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Progress on CQJP 2012 and some beaded flowers

Progress on my Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2012 is not so great. I'm still working on May: Barefoot Girl. But I'm enjoying it and getting some good advice from the women in my EGA crazy quilt interest group.

This block's theme is another memory from my childhood on an Iowa farm. I was a barefoot girl in the summertime and sometimes so early in the spring my feet would be cold, but not cold enough for donning shoes. In summer the soles of my feet would get so tough I could race over rought terrain without any discomfort. And bare feet are very useful for climbing trees. I spent a lot of time in trees, eating mulberries, challenging myself to new heights and just sitting and swaying. After a rain, bare feet in the mud are a delight and help to dam up runoff rivulets.

I confess, I've never given them up. I still have my shoes off as much as possible. That could be why yoga is my exercise program of choice after walking. I don't wear shoes when I go into my backyard or visit the neighbors in theirs. And, I'm particular to have my shoes as comfortable as possible when I must wear them.

Here is my progress on my CQJP 2012 Barefoot Girl block. The photo of the girl is not me, but it could be. I found the image and the one of the dangling feet on the internet. I regret to admit I can't find them again to attribute them. I definitely will start making a habit of recording attribution for photos I use in the future.

I need to finish needle painting the cows and add a branch on the right to support the cat face (suggestion from Susan of my CQ group). The end is in sight. Following is a close up of the chicken group in the foreground.

I indulged a diversion while I was in Portland, Maine, to visit my my 9 year-old granddaughte, Lorelei (and her parents) during her school break. I took along the new-to-me book, The Beaded Garden, by Diane Fitzgerald, Interweave Press, 2005. I made a few of the flowers from the book with no particular use in mind. Lorelei gave it a try, but decided it wasn't for her. The beads were too small and she didn't want to try size 8 which I had. Here are the flowers I made while listening with Lorelei to Jim Dale read Harry Potter on audio.