While I'm busy here, stitching away on the Cottontail quilt, and watching the seasonal changes from the window, particularly the first falling leaves, I am reminded of this past project (from my book Embroidery Craft: Stitching Through the Seasons), which combines embroidery and patchwork using pre-cut 5" charm squares and jelly roll strips. It's a fun and fairly quick project due to the fact that there is very little cutting involved.
And this basic pillow-top also works as a quilt block, and any design can be embroidered or appliqued in the central block to carry out a theme. Nine blocks, sewn three by three, will make a nice sized throw. Yes, even Cottontail bunny (aka Rabbit of the Month), for example could be stitched in the plain squares. I've already constructed my quilt using lattice strips however, but in case you are looking for an easy project to get started on--think holiday stitching . . . well, there you go. Here is another pillow made with a Redwork theme.
Follow this link for the complete how-to: Cozy Up Patchwork Pillow Tutorial
It's official...fall is here and the frost is almost on the pumpkin! So exciting, isn't it? Actually, it's been feeling very fall-like for a few weeks now, putting me in a mind to get back to some of my sewing projects. Of which, I can tell you, there are many. Like the above work in progress; started too long ago to remember when that was exactly. I just need to add the backing, bind the edges, do a little stitch-in-the-ditch, and that's it. I'll be back with a little show-and-tell soon.
I still can't believe I actually sewed something! I feel like celebrating. It's been way too long since I sat down in front of my machine. So long in fact, that I had to thoroughly dust everything first. Ahem.
The foray back into my sewing studio was due to an adorable little blouse (belonging to one of my daughters), that needed a tricky repair. I wasn't sure I would be able to manage it since I have not sewn anything for ages (with my poorly hand still a challenge). But it went pretty well. Better than expected.
So, having done that, I tentatively picked up a cotton print skirt that I'd started back in September (for another daughter) and actually finished it before lunch time. Everyone was so happy! It's great to be back where I belong. And using both hands again. Before I knew it I was right back in there, whipping up these pillow sleeves that I had only been dreaming of and chatting about in the last post.
I think this turned out pretty cute. The "sleeves" were sewn separately and slipped onto the pillow, overlapping in the center, but could also be used individually on a pair of square pillows. The bows are just pinned on and help keep both sections secured in place. This is a simple project that can be adapted for patchwork, crewel, applique, or use a stenciled image or graphic for a modern look. And another thing I love is that, these are easy to store away. Without the pillow they are flat as a pancake.
Hmm. . . I wonder what I shall tackle next?
It's that hustle-bustle time again. There are so many things I want to do! And make. I think I'm almost ready to pick up my needle and thread again. In the meantime, I have found a wonderful little embroidered piece that I was working on a few years back. And since I am running a bit behind on some things around here I thought this would make a fun Bonus pattern for December. So, with a little tweaking, I have combined two stitcheries into one and added a few more characters to round out the theme. The entire sheet can be stitched as a picture, divided into segments, or the motifs can be used individually for decorating holiday linens, napkins, aprons, clothing or whatever tickles your fancy. This is just a preview of some of them.
In addition to the Bonus transfer, the afore mentioned Honeycomb pattern is ready for prime-time now too and will be added come December, along with many more vintage surprises. I have been very busy here! Look for them in the New Additions section of the PatternBee website.
Focusing back on the project at hand, I am thinking about turning these two stitcheries into companion seasonal pillow sleeves. You know, this idea. And over here another one, which also includes where to find that fantastic pattern to make them! (I know, a shameless plug.)
Until next time, be well Stitching Friends!
There's no doubt about it. Fall is here! Well, actually it's been here in our neck of the woods for a little while now, and we have been relishing the glorious colorful landscape. So far the season has been mild, and the leaves seem to be hanging on longer than usual. I hope the color will last through Thanksgiving, but it rarely does as the night temperatures are already dropping to near freezing.
Wait a minute. Did I just say, Thanksgiving? Last time I checked in here on the blog--it was spring, the deer were eating my roses, the garden was waking up, and the jam making had begun. Then summer happened and we traversed through another beautiful season that went by way too fast. It was quite hot this year, the garden flourished, making it a great year for tomatoes. We just brought in the last of them to ripen on the window sill, then pulled up the roots and put it all to rest for another year.
We took some side trips, had relatives in and out, picked more berries and made more jam. And pickles. All the usual seasonal stuff that keeps life interesting and fun. I had intended to update the blog long before now. I really did. Even had some projects, pictures and news to share. Only too little time to pull it all together. It happens. We do the best we can. Yes, we do.
Then about mid-September, I had a freak accident--which has kept me literally home-bound for months. Who knew an innocent-looking twist-wand on a mini-blind could be so hazardous? All I did was reach for the cord to pull up the blind, and the end of that plastic rod rammed into the top of my hand. Apparently, as I have since learned, there's a super sensitive spot on your hand that reacts badly to blunt force trauma. As soon as it happened, I knew I was in trouble. I heard a snap, then watched in shock as my hand swelled up before my eyes, then horrible pain. Over the course of the next few days, my entire hand turned black-and-blue from my first knuckles to my wrist, and remained swollen with a bump the size of a golf ball next to my thumb for eight weeks. I soon discovered, that when you can't use your right hand--you can do nothing. Absolutely nothing. Couldn't dress myself, drive the car or even hold a fork or a pencil. (I hope that explains the sparse chicken-scratch notes that went out with orders these past months. I am sure some of you wondered what was up with that. LOL)
For a long time, all I could do was sit in the sun and tap the screen on my Kindle. A forced vacation that lasted way too long. I did catch up on some reading though, so all was not lost. The silver lining to all of this was my family who went above and beyond the call of duty to keep all the balls in the air, meals on the table and kept the household running. I am so grateful for them. Healing this hand has been my first priority and it's been a long slow process. Still can't quite manage a needle and thread yet. But, I can show you what I was working on before this happened. In fact, I can't wait to show you!
It seems I've been working on this project forever. I started thinking about this idea last year, and then finally got around to getting the designs on paper in February, then printed them as transfers, and then started stitching. The idea was to randomly scatter the embroidered hexies in amongst other fabrics to make a small quilt. I'm sticking with that plan and will move forward, just as soon as I can hold a pair of scissors and cut them out.
In the meantime, since I already had all the artwork done, I created a new pattern; I'm calling it Honeycomb Motifs, and it contains 105 two-inch sized hexagon transfers (fifteen to a sheet), which can be stamped as one unit as shown above. Plus a blank transfer template for creating your own designs, or for adding initials or dates to your hexagon quilts or other projects. The blank transfer template can also be stamped on fabric prints as a guide for cutting out additional hexagons.
Here's one of the promo images that will be going up on the website. Hopefully soon!
And speaking of websites, the new and improved website is nearly finished. Big excitement here! Still working out all the kinks. I've just uploaded over 700 patterns with ease! Yes, the new PatternBee site works like a charm, for which I can take no credit at all, as it has been entirely handmade from scratch, formatted and fully customized for me, by our own dear Miss Grace. She's been working on it for about nine months now. And we are so very anxious for it to be born. So please, keep your fingers crossed that all goes well and the delivery of the new system is quick and seamless.
This is all I have time for today. Before I sign off, I'll leave you all with one more picture. This tree! A work of art. It couldn't be more perfect if I had chosen the colors and painted it myself. It's an October Fire maple, planted a few years ago in our front yard area. Living up to it's name, I would say. I wish it would stay this way forever. But, the forecast says more rain and wind, so we shall see. Time to batten down the hatches!
I've been hanging out with this wild and crazy guy and his band of merry musicians for awhile now, meticulously bringing them all back to life, pixel by pixel. This vintage pattern set called, The Vitamin Ball Orchestra is not entirely new to me though. I've had it's counterpart for many years: The Vitamin Ball Characters (c.1936), that I found as a loose sheet without its envelope. It's nice to see the whole gang back together again.
Thanks to one of my long-time PatternBee customers, Barbara (from California), I almost have the complete set. She shared her find with me, and the best part is I get to share it with you! I'm still on the lookout for that last missing orchestra player though--wherever he may be hiding.
The characters are many, as well as large, and I've divided them into two groups; dancers and players. Both patterns are available on the website under Dancing Dishes and Veggie Heads (page 2 and 3.)
I am still working on a few other pattern projects, the one mentioned in the last post is still on my desk, having put it aside to work on new submissions that have come in. Like this adorable tea-towel set. I love that little house tucked into the woods. The days of the week were added by request, as it seemed a bit sparse on its own. I do love the simplicity of it. More details about Woodland China here.
Oh....passing by the window this morning, I saw this bright cascade of blinding color. Just an enormous burst of golden petals as bright as the sun. Yes, I do think spring is not far off, if not already here.
The daffodils are waking up. The birds and bunnies are out and about.
Look, bunny bookends!
Tag your It.
Hide and seek.
After watching that little backyard drama, I just had to include a sweet little bunny for the March Bonus pattern. And soup! We've made lots of soup these past months and plan to keep the pot simmering for as long as possible.
Make Soup is music to my ears.
The rain is back. It was preceded by thunder and lightning. All quite dramatic! We were in the middle of dinner last night when the flashes and rumbling started. It quickly moved through the area though--so I didn't have to hide under the covers all night.
A few weeks ago, I went digging through my shoebox stash and pulled out another adorable pattern. I still marvel at the dates on these--this one was printed in 1946. It seemed perfect for February, so I got busy.
The motifs are small scale, with heart appliques that can be used on the larger ones. The envelope illustration shows them worked on natural colored linen, so that the white flowers stand out nicely on the darker background, but other colors would be fun. I guess they would be used as embellishments on clothing and such.
All of the motifs were given singly, however, when I saw the corner motif I got this idea to make a border out of it. The entire design is approximately the size of a sheet of paper--about 8" x 10". The center area can be filled in with words, a saying, poem, personalization, or special occasion (think wedding or birthdate), and turned into a pillow or framed as a picture/sampler. Lots of possibilities.
The best news is, this sweet little border motif will be included with the new updated transfer pattern: Hearts & Flowers. Click the link to see more details.
What's next? Well, I am finally finishing up a pattern project that has been on my work table since last year. I haven't been working on it for a year, it's just been gathering dust there as I have gotten busy with other things--but I finally got back around to it and now I can't wait to show you!
This is what's happening outside today. Spooky isn't it? At least I can see the tree line now. Earlier there was nothing to see at all from the window, just a wall of white mist. It's been this way on and off for months now, with bright, sunny days breaking up the monotony from time to time. With all this gloominess outside, it's nice to have fun projects to focus on inside--and that's just what I have been up to.
February tends to be a fickle friend, bringing with it a mix of weather. But, it also means that spring is not far off. With that thought in mind, and with hope in my heart for an early spring, I bring you the February bonus designs. Yes, dear friends, hearts and flowers win out again. (Sigh) What can I say. I am an optomistic romantic.
The love swans are free to trace on the website, but I decided to offer them as an iron-on transfer this month. The entire sheet can be stamped to cloth and worked as a sampler, or the motifs can be used individually as you wish. (I think I can almost hear the birds tweeting and the bees buzzing.)
OK. And more hearts and flowers . . .
The 2014 Bonus Collection is complete---I am really on the ball this year. It surprises me too. (In case you don't know, these are all the bonus designs from 2014).
More pattern news:
Three more vintage patterns have just been added to the PatternBee Vintage Embroidery Shop.
Personalized Linens #4047; Simplicity c. 1941
This one has been on my "to-do" list for quite awhile because of its complexity. The tissue paper transfers with the light blue wax is very difficult to reproduce with good crisp lines---these take a lot of time to clean up pixel by pixel. The designs are quite pretty though, nice for towels and linens. I have reprinted them in several sizes to allow for more project options. Options are good.
Next we have . . .
Happy Pots & Pans #7150; Simplicity c.1946
This darling dish towel pattern has a fun vibe and lots of cuteness. I was giddy when I found this recently. I mean, what's not to love about an apron-clad teapot?
Besides the six motifs, I include additional transfer sheets with the center portion of each design enlarged (without the spoons) along with a selection of other elements for a variety of uses.
Last but not least . . . cluck, cluck. Chicken wire anyone? I think this is so cool. I don't know what you do with it though. It is shown embroidered on the bib of an apron. That works I guess.
It's part and parcel of Chicken Accessories (mentioned in the last post). This pattern has been uploaded to the Potholders category because I didn't know where else to put it. And it does actually have a wonderful stuffed 3D chicken potholder pattern along with the appliance covers and towel motif. So it makes sense.
But wait, there's more!
More "hearts & flowers" up my sleeve--will share them soon!
With winter upon us, I am hunkered down over here at PatternBee headquarters (that little room at the back of my house), happily finishing up a few more pattern restorations. Occasionally I pop up for another cup of coffee, run out to the mailbox, or just watch the birds outside my window--but then I go right back in. I love what I do.
As I sit at my desk examining the old motifs, I am amazed, honestly, by how many embroidery transfers were created between 1930 - 1960; hundreds! Every single company that produced them is gone with very few exceptions. I often wonder why no credits were given to transfer pattern artists. There is so little history to glean from. I've come to suspect that Laura Wheeler and Alice Brooks and others, were just trade names that were used and not real people as there seems to be no trace of them anywhere, with the exception of Ruby McKim whose family has carried on her legacy.
I have always had a sneaking hunch that most transfer patterns were created by men cartoonists. I could be wrong, but this is not out of the realm of possibilities and in a way, it does makes sense. It would explain a few things anyway.
Like this for example: Vogart #195. It's genius! And I love it. But it certainly makes you wonder. Baseball and BBQ at its core is a man thing. Could or would a 1940's housewife draw this?
But I digress . . . I want to share what's new this month at the PatternBee Vintage Embroidery Shop!
Starting with the backstory; the following three pattern sets were printed on one gigantic sheet of newsprint and distributed by Modern Handcraft sometime between 1950-1960--I am guessing by the postage amount stamped on the mailing envelope. It is just one of the many patterns I received from Ruth a few months back, that I shared about here.
This cute set was called, "Little Ole Barefoot Boy". He is accompanied by his pup as he gets into all kinds of mischief, even getting chased by a turkey. Which is pretty funny. There are seven motifs which can be used to make weekday dish towels or they would make a cute quilt with embroidered 10" blocks. The largest dimension measures about 8" either in length or height, with the average size around 6 to 7 inches. (You can click on the images to go to the pattern page for more information.)
Next is what I am calling, Retro Kitchen, and for obvious reasons. At the time though, it was a typical modern kitchen--cake mix and all, which was a rather novel idea back in the day. The pattern comes with seven dish towel designs and two potholders. The clock potholder is especially sweet--one that I think I am going to have to make. If I ever have the time.
The third set is Chicken Accessories; still putting the finishing touches on it now. Hope to have it up on the site in a few days. Here's the preview (above). These motifs are designed for appliance covers, but because the sewing patterns for them are very large I won't be able to include them. The motifs are too cute not to pass on though, and can be used for reusable market bags or what have you. Of course, if you have a pattern for an appliance cover they can be used as intended.
There was one more pattern on this sheet--for a butterfly potholder. It seems the perfect shape for grabbing a pot handle and I suppose you could make a nifty needlecase out of felt with it instead, use it as an applique pattern, or just embroider it as-is for a pillow or tote bag. To make tracing the pattern easier I matched both sides---click here to download BUTTERFLY_PATTERN if you like.
And last, but not least--two adorable patterns I found, both formerly McCALL and dated 1939 and 1952: Tiny Animal Kingdom and Dainty Touches have already been added to the archive/shop. These are nice for small projects, baby clothes, collars, and such.
And that is all my pattern news for January. The February Bonus pattern is up next. Will it be the usual hearts and flowers or something else? Decisions, decisions.
As you can see, I have been having a little fun with the NEW January Bonus design. I do so appreciate the suggestions--thanks everyone! I decided to run with the subject theme: everyday is a coffee day, from Lynn Marie. It expresses *espresso love* so perfectly.
This motif can be embroidered on a dish towel, as a framed picture, or perhaps incorporated into a wall quilt surrounded by colorful blocks. I'm sure you can think of other things too.
Look for it here after the new year rolls in.
Oh! And there's a State Flower Quilt pattern waiting for you Lynn Marie!
These fragrant, nodding blossoms may be worked in embroidery, and/or used for other creative projects. To embroider, outline stitch will be fine for most lines. Lazy stitches may be used for the small centers of the bell-shaped flowers, where they show. To applique, cut lleaves and flowers (using the same shape for all flowers). Overlay flowers on leaves where necessary, and work all details of flowers, stems and leaf veining in embroidery.
Make upper surfaces of leaves a dark green; underneath surfaces in a lighter shade of green. The little flowers should be white, on dark green stems, and the tiny center parts a very pale yellow-green. If worked on a white background, the flowers should be outlined in a very light blue, to make them stand out. However, if circumstances permit, the design will be better worked against a pastel background such as light blue or lavender.
From WorkBasket Magazine:: June 1955 - Volume 20 Issue #9
To PRINT, LEFT click image.
From 'The WorkBasket', January 1957; for embroidery, needlepoint, hand-painting, or ball point textile paint pens. To embroider use outline stitch; typical colors would be all shades of pink, lavender, red, orange, and white. The stems and leaves should be soft green. (Click here to print.)
We have been watching the wild birds from the window. The western bluebirds, we are happy to discover, have moved into the backyard birdhouses next to the garden where they are feasting on the bugs. So far, we haven't had any problem with cutworms, pillbugs, or slugs. The mourning doves have also moved in and are busy building a nest in the tall pines on the edge of the property. I like watching them hunt and peck at bits of twig and twine, rejecting one after another in a most persnickety fashion, apparently in search of a certain type of material for their new home. I tell them, I've got plenty of weeds free for the taking!
If only they would listen.
After a few precious days of rare, golden April sunshine, and naps on the deck (between short bursts of "spring cleaning"), cool cloudy days have returned with the expectation of showers to follow. Time to get back to my indoor projects. I'd gone digging for more fun Spring Inspiration earlier this month and found another little gem tucked in my "shoebox".
I've had this particular pattern for ages, but had held it back hoping I'd run across another one printed with blue ink, because the yellow transfers are the hardest to work with in terms of getting a good image to reproduce, due to the lack of contrast between the color of the paper and the ink. Sometimes the ink flakes off with too much handling. And when a pattern has been folded inside an envelope for 64 years, as this one has, the creases are set.
In short, we must proceed delicately. In a most persnickety fashion.
And that's just what I did. When all was said and done, it came out pretty good. The pattern has been reproduced in three sizes. The original size, plus slightly larger and smaller sizes, with an additional set reversed. So lots of options. There is also a simple border to use along hems or what have you. I took a little creative license and added bird titles (in one size) to be placed where ever you like or not at all, as you please.
You can find it here on the PatternBee website, on page 5 of House Linens, and there will also be a link on the New Additions page for a time. And if birds aren't your thing, we have flowers too! Check out the newest applique pattern for spring flowers here.
Yesterday I was in the garden admiring the tulip buds and this morning they were in full bloom. You've got to be quick. Don't take your eyes off anything for a minute or you might miss the show. That reminds me, it's garden tour time again. We have a list of gardens in the surrounding areas we like to visit during spring and summer. Our list keeps getting longer as we discover new places to explore.
What a difference a little sunshine makes.
This 'Candy Tuft' is as sweet as it looks. Again, moving in quickly with the camera before the deer and rabbits find out it's in bloom. Shhhh. It never seems to last long around here once word gets out.
If you are still waiting for spring to arrive in your neck of the woods, you can always feast your eyes on this book. It was delivered only moments ago, and it has to be one of the most beautifully executed and photographed books I've ever seen. It's a big hardbound book full of flowery inspiration, all folded and fashioned from paper! I don't really have time to take up any new hobbies just now, but it is wonderfully fun eye candy just the same. (I can hear the girls in the other room ooohing and ahhhing with every turn of the page!)
Oh Joy! I just saw the first wild hare of the season hippity-hop across the lawn this morning, white cotton tail flashing as it disappeared into the bramble along the back fence. This made me think of "Peter", that naughty little rabbit of Beatrix Potter fame, making his narrow escape from Mr. McGregor's garden. It also reminded me of two books I want to read (after seeing them on Lena's blog); The Complete Brambley Hedge by Jill Barklem (my granddaughters will love it too), and Beatrix Potter's Gardening Life, by Marta McDowell. I'm on the hunt for them now, as they seem to be rather elusive. Like our little bunny.
Speaking of adorable creatures. . .
More treasure from the "shoebox". Two more patterns have just been added to the website. I've been working on them for weeks, quite happily I might add. And who wouldn't be happy looking at these cute little faces, I ask you? Above we have for your enjoyment, Playmate Pets, a collection of cute critters for the very young or just the young at heart. Lots of fun stitching; useful for all sorts of things.
And more stitching fun with a motley collection of Embroidered Animals. I can't decide which one to stitch first, though I am teetering between the FOX and the PELICAN. It's hard to see the detail from this image, but the KANGAROO has a Joey on board riding in the pouch! It was suggested on the back of the envelope that the motifs could be used for quilt blocks as they are about 4 to 5 inches in size. I do think they would make a darling quilt.
What else...oh yeah... it's April! And the new BONUS pattern is here with more cute creatures and some aptly timed 'kitchen chore' humor. Spring cleaning comes to mind, and with it those annual chores that seem bigger than we are. This motif is a reminder, to me at least, to relax and take time for tea. Lots of it!
We are are enjoying a break between storms this week and have been filling flower vases with cuttings of daffodils and flowering branches of various types and placing them throughout the house. The scent of fresh flowers is always uplifting and appreciated, especially at winter's end. But even more so after our "skunk encounter" last week. It happens every spring as female skunks seek shelters to nest in and burrow under the backyard deck. I did some research and found this is a common problem, then nearly fainted when I read the average litter size is like nine pups who are prone to frighten easily and are as potent as a full-grown skunk! Time for action.
Discouraging the skunk from returning was relatively easy though, with electronic sonar devices and ammonia dribbled near entry points, but it took a week to rid the house of the stink. We burned incense mostly, and when the weather warmed a bit this week, it was nice to throw open the windows and let in a more appealing scent of spring.
As the garden wakes up, I am also quite happy to note, that the snow and cold temperatures have not adversely affected any of the trees and shrubs. Unfortunately, the same can be said about this insidious lichen, which grows on almost everything here. Useful perhaps, but certainly NOT attractive.
Or stitch some! Click HERE for my FREE "Spring Flowers" PDF. This is just one of the projects, with a spring theme, that I've been working on.
Another one, Animal Flower Pots, from 1946, is now available as a new iron-on reprint too.
In order to accomodate the various levels of stitching know-how, I modified each of the six designs so they can now be worked entirely in embroidery or done with the included applique patches. Your choice!
I have always loved these old fashioned animal planters and had to show you one of my favorites: Miss Yellow Kitty, who is probably about as old as that pattern! Found her at a swap meet down in California many many years ago. I do believe that Miss Yellow Kitty needs a little garden of African Violets or Fairy Fern, but no time to do that just now with spring cleaning in full swing. Hope to get to that after the dust settles.
One more mention before I go...
An updated vintage pattern for miniature stuffies, featuring a duckling, turtle, elephant, donkey and a weiner dog! I think that doggie is my favorite.
These are cloth and felt creations, small enough to make from your fabric scraps and Fat Quarters. And a nice size for Easter Baskets and Christmas stockings, but also fun in general for birthdays and other gift-giving occasions when a tidbit of handmade goodness is called for.
Here's another delightful pattern from the past. One that I've had in my "shoebox collection" for so long that I can't even remember where I first ran across it. But when one of my stitching friends contacted me with high hopes of finding this pattern again, I was happy to discover that indeed, I did have it tucked away for safe keeping. I love when that happens! Her grandmother had made a set of towels that she wanted to replace anew and eventually pass down, keeping the family memories and needlework tradition alive. And I am happy to know that now it will.
These vintage motifs are quite large, around 8" x 11" and could also used on a small quilt-hanging or tote bag. (I'm sure you can think of other things too.) They can be outline stitched as they are or done up fancy with colorful hits of color and pattern gathered from your scrap basket.
As I was working on this, I had fun experimenting with different colors and was quite smitten with this jaunty green and orange rooster. I may have to give this a whirl.
It is worth mentioning that there is just one applique pattern for the tail feathers and one for the wing, that works for both the chickens and roosters, making cutting them out in stacks fairly quick and easy. And as far as the applique goes, it can be done traditionally, or with the previously discussed lined-applique method shared here, or with a quick zigzag machine-stitch around the raw edges of the turning line (having omitted the seam allowance).
So, if you are fond of hens and chicks and jaunty roosters, there you have it. Pattern over here.
And now to delve back into that shoebox to see what other treasures I have stored in there.
From time to time, people have asked me if I might introduce the new pattern additions here on the blog. I've always thought that was a terrific idea and really meant to do it sooner. Time seems to be my biggest obstacle, but better late than never, right?
So, today we have, from my personal collection, Vogart 257, first printed in blue on tissue paper and later printed as #669. It's a sweet little pattern with bunches of violets and bouquets, HIS & HERS pillowcase designs, with flowers and kittens; and they threw in a perky puppy for good measure. Because you never know when you just might need one.
Our lovely 'winter wonderland' of snow and ice is now but a happy memory. Mail service has resumed (such a relief!) and all orders received after February 6th were shipped out Monday and Tuesday. I was never so glad to see my postal carrier, Rob. He walked all the way down my long icy driveway to pick up an armload of packages. Bless Him.
So, I think we are all caught up and back on track. I'll have another new pattern to show you soon. I am working on it now: Roosters and Hens!
Happy February! I'm introducing, in part, the BONUS pattern for this month with a "hearts & flowers" theme. This lavish cutie, resembling an old-fashioned Valentine, was originally designed in the 1950's for HIS and HER pillowcases. I still think that's a charming idea, but decided to put those personalization’s aside leaving the heart open for interpretation for whatever tickles your fancy. Just fill in with your heart's desire. I had some rather fanciful ideas of my own and with the magic of CGI have some examples to show you:
However pretty though it may be, applique I realize, is seriously scary unknown territory for some. Especially when it comes to hearts which require a certain amount of finesse and precision. But the good news is, there are techniques that make it less fussy.
I admit I'm still a fan of freezer paper for small patches, but for larger appliques, and especially when sewing hearts and keeping those lovely curves smooth and symmetrical, I have embraced the 'fusible interfacing method' whole-heartedly. In fact, I love it! I discovered this method last year and blogged a bit about it here. There's a link to the Eleanor Burns tutorial giving a hands-on demo. I'm giving you the short version for making a heart as a starting point, but in general this technique can be used for most large applique pieces. Yes, even the butterfly wings for this block. I know...exciting!
So here's how to get started:
1. Trace heart (or other shape) onto the WRONG side of fabric matching straight of grain as shown. Make sure your fabric is at least one inch larger all the way around your pattern to allow for seam allowance, and for any shifting that may occur while stitching.
2. Place your fabric and the light-weight fusible interfacing together with RIGHT sides facing; pin. Stitch around the entire piece following the traced line on the fabric as your guide. (Reduce stitch length to navigate around intricate curves to keep seams smooth.)
3. Trim around heart leaving a 1/4" seam allowance, cut off tip of point and clip curves.
4. Cut a small opening in the middle of the interfacing and turn the applique right side out. Gently push out point and curves with a bodkin, wooden chopstick or use the eraser-end of an unsharpened pencil. Smooth out by hand, don't press yet.
5. Place applique into position on background fabric; press with hot iron. The fusible interfacing will stick to the fabric making basting unnecessary. (I place one pin in the center though, just in case it shifts). The edges of the applique can be sewn by hand using a basic Blind Stitch, an Applique Outline Stitch, a Blanket Stitch; or machine-stitched with zigzag or another decorative option.
And that's just what I've been up to. In my mind's eye, anyway. I decided that this adorable butterfly had been tucked away in its shoebox far too long, and deserved to see the light of day--and got to work on it. And, after all the hours of work I put in on this, I should have had an actual quilt to show you. But, no. I just have a new pattern for anyone who is looking for a sweet, sunny little winter project to keep them occupied. If this appeals to you, the pattern will be available for a limited time in my Vintage Stitch Shop as an instant download. Follow link: Butterfly Quilt #527
Whilst digging through shoeboxes, I found other butterfly patterns! I will be happily working toward doing something with these in the coming months. So get ready for more butterflies! These old patterns are just too sweet to be forgotten. They date back to the newspaper mail-order days between the 1930's and 1950's.
And so does our darling SunBonnet Sue here. She was originally a "trace" design and I offered it through the website as such. But it too has been over-hauled and re-designed as an iron-on transfer for embroidery, with optional applique pieces. This may look like a complicated quilt block, but the dress and bonnet are each one piece. That leaves an arm and a leg piece, and the mid-section of the watering can; a simple rectangle shape. Bloomers, shoes, and flowers are embroidered. (I've included directions for using traditional applique and freezer applique methods).
These types of quilts were popular in their day and are still an economical way to make a quilt by using small scraps of fabric and/or recycled clothing. Earlier quilts were made from the colorful prints found from feedsacks. What are feedsacks? Well, at the turn of the century when the cotton industry was in full production, cotton bags replaced the bulky barrels that had been used to store things like sugar, salt, meal, and grain. It was an added convenience for the shop-keeper and probably more sanitary in the long run, to offer pre-measured bags of goods ready on the shelf.
At first, the bags were made of plain muslin, and as the depression wore on, housewives used this "free" fabric to make clothing and such; one unfolded bag equaled about one yard of cloth. Before long, suppliers and marketers took note of this trend and began making feedsacks with colorful prints as a selling point. Good move. I often wonder how many amazing quilts would not have been made if it were not for all those feedsacks for inspiraton. Today, the reproduction "feedsack" prints are still fun to work with and effective when used with the older patterns to acheive a vintage look.
I'm between projects right now. Always, with quite a few in the "progress" stage. And not just stitching. I still can't quite believe it, but our tomatoes and bell peppers (inside the greenhouse) are still going strong. A miracle! But after the last few cold nights the rest of the garden is fading fast and needs attention. These outdoor tasks do seem more urgent as the weather waits for no man. Not here in the northwest anyway, where rain is always sort of looming on the horizon. So no time to waste as it's been sunny and dry here for a few days in a row. I picked the last of the green beans, canned more tomatoes, bundled up bunches of herbs to dry, and collected a few seeds for next year's plantings. Still need to put in a few more hours out here before it's all covered up, tucked in, and put to bed.
Some of the trees are already starting to go through their color transformation. So pretty. I want to frame a bunch of leaves and herbs and hang them up somewhere. This oak leaf was one I did a few years ago. It's faded quite a bit, but still looks grand.
I've been a busy bee here, just happily rummaging through a wonderful bunch of old embroidery patterns that Adelle sent us (over a year ago); a shoebox full of them from her dear Grandmother Hobart. Each one a treasure. I'm pleased to say, some of them are now available as reprints up on the website. It's a bit of a process, one that I enjoy from start to finish, and I still have quite a few more from this lot, and another stack I found at an estate sale, that I want to restore and share. It's amazing how many transfer patterns were produced through the decades. So many patterns, so little time!
I also managed to do some fun stitching in between. Thank you for the wonderful suggestions for Scottie names! It gave me the push I needed to get going on this quilt. I'm having fun with it. One down, eight to go!
Here's an adorable embroidery motif that can be used for a variety of things. Three basic stitches are all that's needed; a basic outline, a straight stitch for the fur, and a satin stitch to fill in the eyes and nose. Originally designed as a quilt block for a child's quilt, it can be embroidered as-is, or made into an applique by adding a 1/4" seam allowance around the edges to turn-under.
Source: WorkBasket August 1950
Our summer garden is blossoming in steady waves of color. The weather's been warm and mild, although a rain storm is moving across the sky now. It's hard to stay focused on any kind of work when all this lovliness is gently bobbing and waving just outside the backdoor.
Even harder to ignore all the u-pick signs going up. Blueberries, in particular just now. And the resulting muffins that someone just pulled out of the oven. Not to mention the jam and pickles that still needs to be made.
But then I see this, and am reminded that it all needs to go somewhere. Today I am sewing new curtains so I can hide some of it under the cutting table! I dare say, I am making progress one way or another.
Shop News: The new bonus transfers for August are up on the PatternBee website today and they are really adorable. I've also been busy adding more older children's patterns to my Vintage Stitch Shop (etsy) as the bonus designs lend themselves so well to them. But the best part is, I'm having a Summer Sale and everything is 25% off. (Blog readers enter coupon code: TURKEYFEATHERS30 to receive a 30% discount!) There are also books, magazines, decorator fabrics, and oil cloth--great for covering picnic tables and chair seats. I hope you will check it out.
Here's a peek:
The addition of a pretty fabric border makes plain flour sack dish towels extra cute. The seam edge can be embellished with a decorative stitch either by hand or machine (as I have done here), for a nice finished look. The three vintage embroidery motifs are provided as a download that can be printed out and traced. A light table makes it easier. Check out my website for more dishes and china iron-on patterns HERE.
Download TEA PARTY TOWEL designs.
Here we have a darling vintage pattern for 7 kitty task motifs, one for each day of the week; oh my, we should all be so industrious! Embroider them on dish towels, reusable cloth market totes, laundry bags or use them as quilt blocks. This pattern is available on the PatternBee website as an iron-on transfer as LITTLE KITTY TASKS, or download the pattern here, print it out and trace it for free!
Here's another page from Embroidered Pictures and Patchwork; a project done in applique called, 'Monday Morning'. Isn't this adorable? Sadly, no pattern for this is given in the book, with the exception of the boy waving, as an example for placing and layering the applique pieces. I love the combination of plaids and florals and bright colors. The green background is especially effective I think, and makes the other colors pop.
I'm making tremendous progress on my quilt--adding row upon row. Stitched up the last two motifs yesterday. I ended up making twelve embroidered hex-patches in all and am really pleased with the overall pattern (which is somewhat random), and the size is perfect now. The quilt top is actually in three sections; I'll be stitching these together over the weekend and adding the small bits around the edges to make them straight. And while doing this, I shall be pondering my next move: To quilt, or not to quilt. That is the question.
Despite the gray skies outside, it's a beautiful February day here, because I am surrounding myself with lots of gorgeous color. I've been stitching up a storm! So much so in fact, that I just noticed a little callous on my right index finger (where I grab the sewing needle to pull it through fabric).
All this manic stitching is paying off though, as I'm making wonderful progress on my projects. The hot pad (above) turned out darling; I still need to sew a plastic ring on top to hang it in the kitchen. It's entirely decorative, of course, and will likely never see any serious action near the stove. Let's hope not anyway, because it's only lined with cotton flannel.
"Work" on the hexagon quilt continues... I've added a few more embroidered patches. These are fun, and although they are small, only about 3" in diameter, they seem to take as long as anything because they are so detailed. I'm using just two strands of cotton floss; and occasionally three. And working it all in the tiniest of stitches.
For about a week now, the quilt has been taking shape and growing; I have it all laid out on the floor and have begun stitching various small sections together. I think I'll add another row to make this more of a rectangle though, because it lacks symmetry otherwise, something I didn't consider until I stood back and looked at it. Definitely a learning process as I go along. Every quilt I've ever made has taught me something.
As far as fabrics go, these are mostly older and "vintage" with a few newer prints scattered around. This is a great stash-buster project! Especially for all these small bits--with otherwise limited potential. I wanted to make this quilt bright and colorful, and it is certainly that.
A rainbow of color, that's what.
We frequently get rainbows here in the northwest, and particularly over this back field behind our house at certain times of the day. When this happens, everyone scurries to the windows for a look-see, and if it's good and spectacular we will properly trip over each other to find a camera before the brilliance fades. This was a three camera event rainbow, as I recall.
Inside sewing headquarters...my stash of rainbow colors for stitching everything under the sun. And then some.
Thank you for cheering me along with my latest project! I've settled into a rhythm stitching on these in the evenings and the "hexie quilt" is growing a little more each day. After laying everything out, I've settled on having nine flower blocks surrounded by a single white border, which will make a square quilt about 44 x 44-inches. The perfect snuggle size. But before I've even gotten this quilt finished, I've already got my eye on the next quilt project after seeing this darling piecework by PamKittyMorning; part of a "row-along" from Bee in my Bonnet. This flickr group pool is inspiring, isn't it?
So... still thinking about those cute row houses, and drooling over fabric, and let's see what else...oh yes, little doll is patiently waiting to be adorned in vivid color. Will it be hearts, flowers, or ladybugs? Decisions, decisions.
While I'm here with camera in hand, and since I'm way overdue for a "corners of my home" photo, here ya go. This vintage vanity table makes a sweet sewing nook.
I've been watching the old episodes of Heartland again with my youngest daughter (who is a crazy-in-love-with-horses kind of gal), so I certainly have hearts on the brain. We HEART Heartland in a BIG way around here. (We have the DVD's, but you can still watch some of the episodes here.)
I also "hearted" this Redwork sentiment so much that I included it with this month's Bonus Designs. My needle has been flying lately! I've also got another project underway with the "East or West, Home is Best" design too. I'll save that bit for a show and tell next week. Until then....big hearts to all!
The arrival of this darling little book in my mailbox started a whole flurry of cutting and stitching over the weekend. Oh, this book! I've actually been pining away for this book for some time, and was surprised and thrilled to finally run across it. We have here a third edition (1964), printed in England, with a copyright date of 1950, so that's going back to another time entirely. Inside are the most darling illustrations and embroidery patterns, mainly for making a child's hexagon quilt, but there are a couple of samplers, an embroidered pinafore style apron, and some other things inside as well. This is my first crack at making a hexagonal quilt and so far, I like it! And that surprised me, because I didn't think I would. Hexagons always seemed somewhat tedious and complicated to cut and sew precisely. But I found out, there's a technique. Not difficult! And more than one way of achieving a perfect patch. (We do like having options.)
There's the hand-stitch method described in the book using a cardboard template to stitch around, and the "modern" freezer paper method requiring an iron. I tried both methods and got great results with each. Each method has its own merits though, so I can't say one way is better than the other. Neither way is faster than the other either, when you consider the time spent printing and cutting out (many) freezer paper templates.
This project has been ideal for using up scraps. I love the satisfaction of making something out of nothing. Turning trash into treasure, so to speak. The colors may not relate perfectly, but the repeating hexagonal shape unifies them, and besides I must admit I love a randomly pieced quilt with the unexpected burst of color or the odd print that catches the eye.
I've been looking for a quilt project that could be done without a sewing machine, something I could just reach into a basket and stitch on, and this fit that criteria perfectly.
So, I made a 4-inch template (measured from point-to-point across the middle), twice the usual size, in order to fit some small embroidered motifs in the middle of some of the blocks. At this point, I'm still playing around with the "blocks" and haven't decided on a border color. Maybe I'll stick with white, in the same manner that a "Grandmother's Flower Garden" quilt is done. Mine is basically an enlarged and simplified version of that. I'll keep posting on my progress.
Have you put your garden "to bed" yet? We are still waiting patiently for that opportunity. It's a bit damp and cold at the moment. Still need to cover the beds with a blanket of leaves to minimize all those pesky weeds come spring. Speaking of leaves, with this cold snap they are falling like crazy. I went out and gathered a few from my yard to play around with. I was thinking it would be fun to trace around all the different shapes and make embroidery designs with them, and then I remembered this little dish towel I made. Which is always perfect for the season. If you like, you can make one too! The pattern (along with a bunch more) can be printed out from the PatternBee website here.
It's amazing how many leaves can fall from a single tree.
We literally have a carpet of leaves underfoot. Oh, how it makes me happy!
We had about half a foot of snow in our neck of the woods yesterday! Quite a surprise I might add, as snow predictions haven't exactly panned out over the last few months. Just a few miles south, into town, there were only momentary flurries. It was hard to imagine. It was so all encompassing here. I snapped this picture at daybreak, just before the big fluffy snow cloud settled over us and dumped it's payload. The calm before the storm.
In case your hands are empty and eager for something to do, here's another pattern page out of my book, Embroidery Craft: Stitching through the Seasons. This is one of the theme samplers, called, what else? Skate Party! Quite appropos for a snowy day in January, I think. The entire piece can be embroidered as is, or with the felt appliques which are fun to work with. To download the pattern, click here or on the image.
Here's something I just came across, for you romantics at heart (like me). I so do love these quaint, old Ingall's motifs from the late 1800's. A bit of a Valentine's theme, or something straight out of a Jane Austen novel. Perhaps it's Miss Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy strollling along arm in arm. Doves cooing softly overhead. This reminds me of my wedding day. A pair of doves appeared (for the first time ever) in a tree outside my window. I marveled at that, counted it as a good omen and tucked the memory away. A few years later, after moving to a new home in another town, doves visited again and actually roosted near the front door. A house blessing! We lived in that house for 12 years, and I only saw them one other time, right after the birth of our third child, seven years later. A pair had perched outside the nursery room window on a vine-covered wall. That beautiful moment is still so clear in my mind. I watched them resting there for about ten minutes before they flew off. We've since moved a thousand miles north and I've only seen them twice. Once at the last house and again after moving out here to our "country house", when a small flock landed in a tree near the back porch. I guess they were making up for lost time. Enjoy the free pattern. May it bring a little love to your neck of the woods.
Happy New Year everybody!
Well, Miss Pinky Rose is on her toes, and is ready to go to a new home.
Who will it be?
(Insert drumroll and fanfare . . .)
The winner is Sharon of A Merry Heart Journal!
Grandma and her friends really knew how to have fun! No snow here yet. Just lots of rain. Like six inches in the last few days. I might need a small boat instead of a sled if this keeps up. These last lingering days of 2011 have been a whirlwind of activity inside the house though. The girls and I have been crafting up a storm, so to speak, with various projects that we can't wait to share. Oh it's all very exciting. In between the paper mache and the modge-podge, my to-do list has also kept me rather busy:
1) Re-open the PatternBee Vintage Embroidery Shop. I'll admit, it was nice to have a little break from all the printing and shipping, but I'm getting excited about jumping back in and conversing with everybody again on Tuesday. I miss you guys!
2) Finish vintage pattern restoration/contribution for "Baby Blankie". Thanks again Cathy, the new pattern will be on its way to Canada soon. (For everybody else, find it on the website under 'New Additions'.
3) Create the January 2012 Bonus Design. I went straight to Valentine's Day with this one, with a LOVE theme, so you have plenty of time to stitch up something cool for gift-giving if your heart so desires.
4) Make my special crock-pot potato cheese soup for our New Year's Day Open House. This was by request so how could I say, no? Obviously, I am making no diet-related resolutions this year. (ahem.)
5) Choose a winner for the Pinky Rose Give-Away! I know you are holding your breath; I'm rolling up my sleeves. Check back tomorrow to find out who won. It might be YOU! If you haven't entered yet, hurry and do so before the comment section is closed.
OK. I think that's it for the blog, 'til next year. See ya on the flip side friends. Have a safe New Year's Eve!
Egads, I really wish this picture was better; hard to eliminate all the glare and window shine on reflective glass. But it will have to do. Being the best of a dozen or so attempts. Oh, I did try. Mainly though, I just wanted to show you my Country House Sampler finished and framed and give you some numbers.
The frame's outside dimension is 12" x 15", with an inside dimension of 9.5" x 12.5", which as you can see, is a nice size for this little needlework. The design image is approximatley 8 x 10, so it could be framed smaller, or larger, with the addition of matting.
A few more framing tips:
When framing any needlework, make sure to start with a large enough piece of cloth to accomodate your frame size, plus two more inches all the way around, in order to pull it taught over the backing cardboard.
If your cloth is heavy, trim your cardboard a bit to allow for the extra bulk, otherwise it may not fit (easily), back into the frame.
A color chart is included with the pattern, but of course, you may do this in any colors you like; perhaps as a representation of your own house (as I did), or worked in colors to reflect the 'country house' of your dreams.
x x x x x x x x x x
OK then, it's time! Here I am getting this in just under the wire, so without further ado:: three winners have just been chosen using our very own random number generator the "super shuffler bonnet". (In case you're now wondering what in heaven's name I am talking about here's the scoop on that.)
*Congratulations* to numbers 16, 22, and 5!
Way to go, ladies... I'll be contacting you in two shakes of a lamb's tail. And thank you to everybody else who stopped by to enter, and for your orders...patterns are on the way! Woot!
Welcome to my 'Country House' sampler--with some of my favorite things. Think: Sound of Music, with Julie Andrews singing . . .
"Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens. Bright copper kettles, and warm woolen mittens. Brown paper packages tied up with strings--these are a few of my favorite things. Cream colored ponies, and crisp apple streudels. Doorbells and sleigh bells, and schnitzel with noodles. Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings--these are a few of my favorite things. Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes. Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes. Silver white winters that melt into spring--these are a few of my favorite things. When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad. . . I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don't feel so bad."
Those wonderful lyrics are sweet and simple, yet beautiful; they do tend to linger with you long after hearing them and I suppose they also had a bit of influence here.
This little project actually began last year. I stitched on it from time to time, in between the state flower quilt blocks. It was so much fun to design (I just looked around me for inspiration, and of course, that song kept lingering). Just cute fun stitching.
I finished it, but then got really, really busy with jam and pickles and all that summer harvest goodness, so the project was set aside for a bit. Now, with the bulk of the bounty fairly well managed, and with autumn settling in and offering up quiet moments of bliss now and then, stitchery is back on my mind.
And in my hands.
And on my computer screen, as it turns out, as most of this past week was spent putting the finishing touches on the pattern. I'm hugging myself for getting it all done.
The transfer pattern can be purchased on the PatternBee website HERE.
See more pictures here.
For the kick-off, I've got three patterns to give away!
So, if you are up for some fun stitching just leave a comment. I'll announce the winners Monday--October 24, 2011 before noon PST so check back then. You'll have a choice between a tracable PDF or an iron-on transfer. Please note: This give-away is open to all, but due to the increasing hassle and cost of international shipping, any winners outside the U.S. will receive a PDF only.
Update: Winners have been notified and this give-away has officially ended. Much thanks to all who participated!
What? Are you serious? Is it really September already? I have been SO busy with flower quilts and pickles, which I dare say, are still looming large in front of me right now, that I plum forgot to whip up a BONUS pattern for this month. So...that calls for Backup Plan #2...which is also a shameless plug for my little embroidery book that this stitchery was hijacked from. I hope that ain't cheatin'. Afterall, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.
May is on the way. Hurray for May, I say. That's when so many of these flowers (that we've been stitching up all these many, many months) finally make an appearance in meadows, fields, and backyard gardens. It's also bloom time for the beautiful Pasque Flower (pulsatilla hirsutissima). This little lovely grows wild throughout South Dakota; one of the first signs of spring there. They are common in most of the U.S. and Canada, but not so much in the south east and east coast regions, but grow as far north as Alaska, so maybe some of you are starting to see them now...these small purple harbingers, living up to its motto "I Lead", which was attributed to it when it was adopted on May 5, 1903. This flower is also known as the May Day flower, the Prairie Crocus, Easter Flower, and Meadow Anenome. But given all that, it actually belongs to the buttercup family--and is highly toxic. My goodness, looks can be deceiving.
COLORS: petals--violet #552; centers--yellow; stems--gray-green #552; letters--smoke gray #645.
Well now. I actually have a little bit of a sewing project to share today. It seems like such a long time since I actually made something for the house, and although it's not a huge thing, it's something. Remember white violets on linen? Here's what has became of that little stitchery--it has been transformed into a new "spring" pillow sleeve, to replace winter. At long last. It does feel good to be looking at flowers again. In any form.
This was actually one of the winter projects that was featured in my book, Embroidery Craft:: Stitching Through the Seasons, under "Seasonal Pillow Sleeve" (pages 48-49), in case you are wondering how to make it; although it's pretty easy to work out just by looking. I found the wide gross-grain ribbon at a thrift shop some time ago. I loved the color and was waiting for just the right project to use it--I think it works perfectly here. Hand-carved mother-of-pearl buttons (made from abalone shells) are nice to display and enjoy on a pillow too. Because matching ones are rarities in my button box. So--a good way to use the "old maids". Besides, they add charm & character, don't ya think?
"Spring", as lovely as that word sounds, has bitter days. Today we huddle under dark skies, and more rain. I remind myself of the old adage, "April Showers Bring May Flowers". That's true enough, and so I'm patient. Gladys Taber once wrote that, "if spring came all at once we would probably die of it". Of this, I am convinced--remembering the pain and utter exhaustion following the first forays back into the garden. So, it arrives slowly--for our sakes. But today, dampness mingles with anticipation because it's Friday after all. Hurrah for Friday! That most lovely of weekdays to some of us, anticipating, as we do, the breaking with routine for a time. Or at least, a routine of a different sort--full of possibilities at any rate. And pancakes! (We seem to only cook them on Sunday mornings anymore.)
Anyway--rainy days and pancakes aside, we now move mentally to a warmer climate (where a wonderful and sunny spring normally arrives early and without delay), to New Mexico, #36 on the state flower quilt list---offering up the lovely Yucca (yucca glauca). This plant was adopted as the official flower March 14, 1927 after school children voted for it to represent their state. It is a member of the lily family, and can grow to the size of a small tree. The yucca's beautiful white blossoms are edible, and can even be ground up to make a type of candy. The fruits, seeds, stems, and sometimes even the roots are all edible. Early settlers who came to the deserts of New Mexico saw the lovely flowers and called them, "Our Lord's Candles".
As I recall, Yucca's have very sharp tips on the leaves. My "little brother" loves to remind me about the time I pushed him down a hill in a wagon, which he clumsily steered straight into one. Fortunately he survived to tell the tale. Again, and again--while showing off his "battle scars". We laugh about it now, but the horror of that moment will be etched in my mind for all of eternity. One of many that I was to experience in those growing up years with my dare-devil bro. He was fearless!
Off to the weekend we go. . .have a safe one!
COLORS: petals--white; shadow on petals--beige #612; stems--green #320; leaves--dk green #3346; letters #645.
Number thirty-five! Can you believe it? That means only fifteen more blocks to go. I'm seeing light at the end of tunnel. Oh yes I am. This has been a long project, I know--in more ways than one--and it's not over yet. Nope. I haven't even begun to sew the blocks together which are trimmed and at the ready. Actually, I'm still trying to decide which layout I like best. Fifty is an odd number of blocks for a traditional square or rectanglular quilt. No matter how you stack 'em up, there's always odd numbers that don't fit, or one left over! And you can't just add one without adding an entire row. And then it gets too long, or too wide. So it gets tricky if you are concerned at all about proportion. Which I am. Next week, I'll present the options I've come up with and you can weigh in on your favorite or throw out some ideas. And then I'll get rolling....
This block was fun for me because I like making French Knots. I know. Crazy. Not everyone's favorite stitch. It's fiddly. It takes time and patience to learn how this mysterious stitch is done. There are quite a few good tutorials on YT--I found this one to be clear and concise. If you absolutely cannot make a knot, then tiny satin-stitching will do fine. Try taking a stitch in one direction then stitching over it in the opposite direction for a padded effect. For the knots, I used three strands of floss, with two twists on the needle. It matters not whether you insert the needle back in, from above or below the thread. Sometimes, the angle in which you are holding your piece will determine which is easier. If you want perfectly uniform knots, always "wrap and dive" in the same direction. I staggered mine, for a more natural look. And just a little heads-up: there will be another block exactly like this one down the road. (Was that a loud groan heard coming from the peanut gallery?)
This little flower--it gets a bad rap. But Goldenrod (solidago altissma) has been a favorite among the state flower contenders from the start. It was selected many times by many states--only to be replaced and/or out-voted for others in the field. And this was even true for the state of Kentucky. However, it remained the flower of choice as a "native" plant despite it's wild flower reputation and was made official March 16, 1926. The bright yellow flowers dubbed, 'precaution' and 'encouragement' by LOTF prevail! They continue to grace roadsides in the fall, adding glorious spots of color to the landscape. Be they ever so humble.
COLORS:buds--bright yellow #307; stems & leaves--dk green #3346; letters--smoke gray #645.
A few years ago, we planted a magnolia tree on the premises and it has been a delight. In summer it produces wonderful large creamy blossoms that emit the most intoxicating lemony scent that calms and refreshes. But another thing I love about it, is the fact that it's an evergreen. Here in the northwest, when just about every other plant and tree goes dormant, the magnolia shines--with large glossy leaves. It's said to be hardy to zone 6. And they're deer proof! What more can I say?
One thing you should know before planting one though, is that magnolia grandifloras tend to develope surface roots over time that can crack sidewalks, driveways, and concrete patios--so location is important. We put ours (above) in a corner of the front yard where rain and ground water is abundant, as it drains down the slope. Magnolias do well in rich soil such as this, but will tolerate occasional drought; they just won't grow as quickly. I took this picture of our tree yesterday--it was planted three years ago (as a sapling) and seems to double in size each year--and will eventually reach a height of 25-30 feet tall. I'm counting the days until I can spread a quilt underneath it and have a summer picnic. (It is raining again today--so that will be awhile at any rate.)
A bit of history:: The magnolia was adopted as Lousianna's state flower July 12, 1900, but in 1941 a society was formed by a group of Louisanna Iris enthusiasts, and they proposed legislation in 1950 to replace the magnolia blossom with the Iris. The Iris supporters contended that the Iris could grow anywhere, and that the magnolia was not a native plant. Their argument did not stand however, and the magnolia remains as the official representative. (The Iris went on to become the state wild flower however, so everyone was happy.)
COLORS: inner petals--peachy-pink #353; outer petals/bud--cream #746; center--yellow #744; leaves--lt olive greens #471 & #800; letters--smoke gray #645.
Are you ready for another flower block? OK then. Today we have cactus from the Arizona landscape. I love the desert in spring! It's truly an awesome place, for this is the time when everything comes alive and the heat index is still relatively mild so you can cover a lot of territory on foot (the only way to experience and really appreciate what's out there), without worry of heat stroke. But in any case---don't forget your hat.
Native to the Sonoran Desert in the southwestern US and northern Mexico, the saguaro cactus is an iconic symbol of the region. Slow growing, and commonly living between 150 to 200 years--it can take up to 75 years just for an "arm" to appear. The flowers grow forth from the ends of these upshoots with the entire cactus reaching heights of fifty feet tall. It blooms in spring through May and June, producing a beautiful waxy, lightly scented flower that attracts bees, and which later develops into a red berry that provides food for doves migrating from South America. The flowers open during the cooler desert nights and close during the midday heat. (Click photo to view larger.)
The saguaro cactus blossom (camegiea giganted), was adopted as the state flower for Arizona in 1901 but was not made offical until May 16, 1931. The saguaro cactus is slow at propogating making it a candidate for the endangered species list-thus it is illegal to remove or harm them in the State of Arizona.
See ya tomorrow with #34!
That's prairie, with two I's. If you missed my note back here and also on the state flower info page explaining errata (scroll down to the bottom of the page), take note that the pattern you may have for this block might need to be corrected to include the missing I. In addition, as I went through all the blocks (again) checking spelling and such, I discovered another blunder--the block for Oklahoma had something extra. Just how in tarnation 'ROSE' got in there I'll never know. It should be mistletoe, plain and simple. Fortunately it's a lot easier taking something out than it is adding something in--so simply omit it.
This is the second state claiming the ever-faithful "wild" prairie rose for its flower. The former mentioned was Iowa which has already been stitched and blogged about here. Even though it's the same flower, I did both slightly different and like them equally well. Here is an excellent photo of an actual wild prairie rose; and a host of other varieties as they hybridize naturally.
The wild prairie rose (Rosa Pratincula), also called Rosa Blanda or Arkansana, was adopted as a state flower of North Dakota in 1907. It grows in abandon along roadsides, in pastures, and in native meadows. It has five bright pink petals that fade to white in full bloom, with a cluster of yellow stamens in the center. These petals are edible, and the rosehips that follow can also be consumed in various forms, and were used in ancient times to make medicines.
Switching gears, but keeping with the flower theme this week---I took a little detour from the state flower blocks over the weekend with this project. This delightful bouquet is part of the free-with-purchase bonus transfers for April. I used a long & short stitch for the filled areas (instead of a tighter satin-stitch), and I love the effect. My plan for this is forthcoming--as I hope to get back to some serious sewing soon!
When the dogwood blooms in springtime, it is a sight to behold. The showy flowers emerge white, pink, or rosy red, but disappear in summer leaving attractive dark green foliage; followed by berries in the fall and a dazzling display of colorful leaves. It’s a relatively small tree, reaching heights of 15-20 feet, and maintains an attractive silhouette, contributing to its popularity in home landscapes and city streets. I found this one in a nearby woodland area last May.
Another flower, the ‘Virginia creeper’ was also proposed for the state flower, but it was the American Dogwood (Cornus florida), supported by various Garden Clubs, that contributed to its adoption on March 6, 1918--declaring it to be the floral emblem of the Commonwealth. Despite the title of “state flower” it is most assuredly a tree. Virginia is the only state to have the same state flower and state tree. According to the 'Language of Flowers Almanac', Dogwood represents "durability" even though it looks quite delicate.
The mature bark is also interesting. It is sometimes scaly or blocky. Long ago, it was recorded that, a tincture was created by boiling the bark to treat dogs for mange, which may be where the common name "dog wood" originated.
Though blossoms vary in hue, the legislation does not stipulate a particular color. Since white is the most common, it's the color I chose to use for my flower block. The centers are actually more a purplish green, not yellow--as I did them...but, oh well. We are learning things as we go along.
COLORS: flowers--cream #3823; inner line on petals--blush pink #758; centers--yellow #744; tips of petals--reddish brown #356; leaves & stems--green #988; letters--smoke gray #645.
It's springtime in the Rocky Mountains...when the Colorado Columbine (Aquilegia caerules) makes its appearance in the sub-alpine meadows, open woodlands, and along streams. I LOVE this flower! There are dozens of different species found throughout the northern hemisphere, as they cross pollinate easily producing natural hybrids and interesting flower shapes that inspire the imagination. The word 'columbine' comes from the Latin word Columba, which means dove or bird of peace. Interestingly, the genus name is derived from the Latin word eagle (Aquila), because the shape of the spiky petals were said to resemble an eagles claw. Imagine, an eagle and a dove to describe this dandy little flower. There's another variety I like, called, "Granny's Bonnet" that's shaped like a prairie bonnet.
So lovely. Columbine is a fragrant perennial which propagates by seed, growing to a height of about 15 to 20 inches, and once established will stay put without interference, requiring very little maintenance. It prefers shade, but will grow in full sun in well drained soil, while tolerating dry spells and Zone 3 conditions. Colorful, nectar-rich flowers attract hummingbirds, provide food for butterflies and caterpillars, and at one time were consumed (in moderation) by the Native Americans as a sweet-tasting condiment. But the seeds and roots are highly poisonous to humans and most animals, which would contribute to its staying power.
The white and lavender “Rocky Mountain Columbine” was adopted as the official state flower on April 4, 1899 by an act of General Assembly after Colorado school children voted it as their favorite flower. To protect and preserve the choice, and possiblly sensing it's demise from over-zealous flower pickers, the General Assembly made it the duty of all citizens to watch over this rare species, passing a law in 1925, prohibiting the removal of the flower from any public land; picking no more than 25 blossoms and stems in one day, and only with the consent of the landowner. And so, it remains and survives today.
COLORS: petals--JP Coats variegated purple; center--light orange DMC #435; stems & leaves--dark green #470; medium green #3348; letters--gray #645.