Needlework, Finishing, Designing, Quilting, Some Discoveries and Adventures in Stitching from Windy Ridge Designs

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Very Merry Christmas to You

It has officially been 80 days since my last post.  I wish I could tell you that I've been on a trip round the world.  But, no, I've just had w-a-y too much on my plate lately.  Hugs to those of you who wrote to make sure that I was OK; I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that.

I'm really OK.

And here is the post that I promised you I'd make before Christmas.

So, what's kept me from you?  First of all, I'm writing a book.  It won't be for general publication, but I've been commissioned to write a family history for a local citizen.  This is my third foray into this type of work; it can be extremely time-consuming.  I'm doing most of the research and all the writing.  Printing is scheduled, so far, for sometime this coming spring.

The other big project is winding down - the Civil War reproduction quilt.  I was working on the book and took some time away from the quilt, but here lately, I've been working on putting it all together.  I have finished the top and share with you these photos:

Viewed from one side
viewed from the other side
Viewed from the middle
It is now ready for the customer to see it.  I've ordered the backing fabric, however, sadly, it is on back order.  I will wait until after Christmas to decide if I will choose a different backing fabric, or wait, goodness knows how long, for the back ordered material to come in.  When the backing fabric finally does come, it's off to the quilter.

I've also worked on these client projects:

These were cute - she wanted to put them on top of five gallon storage containers.  So, I made the lid covers and attached the needlepoints to them.

This had been finished by another person.  She'd made it a pillow that looked like it was a shopping bag.  The pillow part was inside the turquoise outer bag and was finished with royal blue fabric.  The client ended up deciding that she really didn't like that finish and brought it to me with the question, what can I do with it now?

 I looked at it and said, well, why don't we make it into a shopping bag, for real?

Then I posited that I could take the inner pillow and make it into the liner for the bag.  Not only that, I could make it into a removable liner.

 So, that's what I did.  I added plastic purse handles to it using ribbon that goes along with the color scheme, but you don't see it until you're looking inside.  Then I made the liner and it attaches with velcro.

Put something messy into the bag and the liner comes out for washing; which will save the outer bag - with the needlepoint on it from a lot of wear and tear.

A few needlepoint pillows . . . .

Two sides of the same coin - applique work on muslin; very pretty.

Finished as a pillow with a foam insert.

    Another sweatshirt makeover.  This one started as a vintage lace collar and aqua sweatshirt.  The client also gave me the aqua and peach daisies and some lace with a peach ribbon run through it to incorporate into the design somehow.

On the personal work front, I've finished my Juliet's Ribbons Civil War reproduction quilt that has been at least two years in the making.  However, the weather here's been rotten and I haven't been able to get it outside for a really good picture.  I'm hoping for a break in the weather on Christmas Eve, just before some snow pushes into our area.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Otherwise, here's what I've been up to:

 I was at a thrift store this summer and found this beautiful blouse that was hand-embroidered in pink and apple green.  I am almost sure that it was Indian (from India) and must have gone with an equally beautiful sari.  Sadly it was about 85 sizes too small for me to wear.  So, I paid the two dollars for it and cut it up.  The front portion went into making a pillow case for a travel-size pillow that will go to my granddaughter (it's her color-scheme).

Some Christmas gift bags made from scraps of pre-quilted fabric and yard sale-find zippers.

 Recently I was Christmas shopping in an antique store.  It was the first time for me in this particular store.  I ran across a cardboard box with quilt squares in it.  The tag said "45 squares, $45".  I looked at them.  First off, I saw they were red, white and blue (mostly).  Then I saw the handwritten note pinned to the top square, with a really old pin "From Gramma to Tillmer 1922 Christmas Present".

Who Tillmer was is anyone's guess, but she never did get around to making the quilt that her Gramma apparently wanted her to do.  And where these blocks have been since 1922 is a mystery as well.  I am not sure if the ones that are blue/pink were originally blue/red.  I am pretty sure that it's not a hoax though, because these 13 inch blocks are all hand pieced.

As you can see, I've already been planning how to use them.  All of them will make just shy of a King size quilt.  I will need to add a small top and bottom sash and a 5 inch sash on each side.  The little piece of paper will be preserved and become a part of the quilt's history as well.  And who knows, maybe I can eventually discover who Tillmer was.

In December of 2009 - three years ago !!! - I finished Prairie Schooler's "Christmas Eve".  It was stitched with Caron Watercolors on a hand-dyed Tula.  I have finally gotten around to doing the quilted border for it that I always intended.  Got the border done yesterday, now all I need to do is the quilting and finishing.

Over the summer and fall I was working of the Summer House's E Pluribus Unum which I think is just a gorgeous design.

The wings are different sizes.  That being said, I did have to make some modifications to the design layout to get it to fit my piece of fabric.  The linen was 32 count, Wichelt which is a smokey blue.  Remember when I stitched the Opus Magnusson and I got a whole lot of Gentle Art Raven that I couldn't use because it had too much green in it?  Well, I used all that Raven on this.  It required so much that I had to go out and get more.  And now I've got leftover of that.  So, if you need any Raven with the green, let me know; I've got about four or five leftover skeins of it.

I bought this book; I think it's one of their older publications.  I cannot wait until the quiet of Christmas week when I can read it.  It begins with a lot of quilting history.  Information about the fabrics, the styles of fabrics, the dyes, etc.  And then the history of the designs.  Then, it goes into talking about the quilts in the Henry Ford Museum collection.  On a quick look-through, it looks like it will be VERY interesting.

Finally, I have worked the last couple of months on my granddaughter's Christmas stocking.  She's a pink and purple girl and is in ballet.  She was on the cusp of dropping ballet and going into soccer, but she ultimately decided to stick with ballet.

And she loves her dolls.  So, pink, purple, ballet and dolls - those were my design directions.

It took me about a month to design the stocking and then about another two months give or take two weeks - to stitch it.

Here are the results:

What I do is take the Stocking design and tweak it to go along with the person I'm doing it for.  So, this stocking from the Better Homes & Gardens Heirloom Christmas Stockings in Cross Stitch is the one for the the little girl.  I removed several elements.  For instance, there was a sort of old fashioned nightgown hanging on the wardrobe door.  The wardrobe was also painted blue.  I changed it to a ballet dress and one of those French provincial-style that's a creamy-white; like this:

I also added some Christmas art stuck onto the door; like a five year old would do.  The original stocking did not have the Christmas tree with the birds.  That came from another stocking design.  Originally there was a Nativity scene at the top of the window, but I turned that into a lighted village.  

The paintings were designed to have floral motifs, but I designed two ballerinas.  Those are stitched, mostly, over one.

On the bed is a quilt that I currently have in the to-do pile to make for my granddaughter.  On top of the doll house I designed a partial Santa and sleigh with a full reindeer.

On the floor is some more light up Christmas village.

This one is Santa's toy works and outside is the Abominable Snowman ( from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer) putting the star on the tree and the elves relaxation station run by "Elfis" (you can see his name on the sign).  

I added bits and pieces from other stocking designs - mostly the dolls; or changed up their colors to go with the theme.  I thought I had all the petite beads I needed to finish the project, but alas, I do not.  Delivery is next year, so I've got time.  In the spring I'll begin working on the one for my grandson and then I'll be out of the stocking-making business for a while.

So, that's it for now.  More updates soon - I promise.  Until next year, have a 
Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

hope you enjoyed!  Katherine

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

What Does It Do When it Has Five Leaves?

I have a patch of clover in the back yard.  Well, one of many.  These are patches of clover that Southern States did not kill when they sprayed herbicide on the cornfield next to my property and allowed the spray to drift all over my yard - where my dogs go; where my child goes; where I go.  Anyway, I discovered this patch quite by accident one morning when I bent down to pick something up.  There were some four-leaf clovers, but there were also these  . . .

A few weeks ago, I took a weekend and cleaned up and rearranged my work space.  I have it  in the guest bedroom until other space becomes available in the house.  So, here is a peek behind the curtain . . .

I used to sit at my sewing machine, facing the wall; now I can look out the window and enjoy the view.  That doesn't really help with the rest of the configuration though.  It actually makes it a little more unweildy.  But, I have high hopes a new space will come free soon.

In the wasted corner, I've got a spot for Buddy to lay on the floor - he usually has to be as close to me as possible mostly with his head resting on my feet.

   A wider view.

The work table; fortunately, the ironing board slides right underneath.  Just under the window I have a bookcase chock full of quilting, sewing, and needlecraft books, magazines and pamphlets.  The plan was that would actually be seen, but I ran out of space.

The decorating theme in this bedroom is Americana.  You can see some hints of it here in these pictures.  The most atrocious gaff, however, is the paint color on the walls.  We are just the world's worst at painting, so we put it off and put it off.  I know this may sound counterintuitive with Americana, but I was thinking a nice brown would set things off.  The quilt, hanging on the bottom of the ironing board is one I made and quilted.  I am quite unhappy with the quilting, so hope to one day undo it all and take it to my long-armer for a proper quilting job.  My most recent tool acquisition can be seen sitting on top of the cabinet in the window.

I have wanted an Oliso iron for something like four years.  My current iron gave up the ghost as far as steam went and I've been working on a project that really needs steam ironing.  I spent a lot of money buying the iron, got it home, pulled out the manual and read and stopped and went, oh, I'd better talk to hubby about this.  The manual said that so many amps were drawn when using the iron.  You don't usually see that kind of language in manuals for electrical things; I mean, they don't usually feel they need to inform you of a units amperage.  I was curious why they would do that and felt I should not continue until I had consulted my own personal Electrical Engineer.    The geek hates to read stuff - especially manuals.  Mostly because he's a man.  But also, I have found, engineers are a little know-it-all-ish and feel manuals are beneath them.  But, mine read the manual when I asked him and he got to the part about the amperage and he looked at me and said, "You haven't used this thing, have you?"  I knew my instinct had been right.  Basically, he told me, we would have to turn everything else off that is drawing power on the circuit that I would plug the iron into.  Since my workroom is in a guest bedroom, then that pretty much means almost everything upstairs with the exception of the washer and dryer which have their own circuit.  So, until we can run a circuit for the iron - and only the iron - to run on, I have a very expensive paper weight.  Sucks.

I finished a project today that I've been working on since January -

My DAR chapter supports a unit at the local VA hospital.  The unit is called CAT-5 and is for vets with alcohol and drug dependence.  These guys have hit rock bottom; so far down that even their families have given up on them.  I don't judge the families because I haven't walked a mile in their shoes.  But, at Christmas-time, we try to bring these folks a little cheer.  Every year we stuff stockings with sudoku books, playing cards, socks, canteen chits, etc.  Chock full.  And the staff at the hospital put the stocking out for them at Christmas.

End of last year, I volunteered to do the stockings this year.  They were made out of a lot of wool yardage that I'd felted, a lot of upholstery and home dec. fabric that I had in my stash, and some things that I picked up at yard sales and thrift shops throughout the spring and summer.  The biggest deal was getting the trims that went on them.  There are 100 stockings (I recounted this morning) and no two are exactly alike.

Finally, I mentioned the Quilts of Valor program.  I email-exchanged with the WV/VA regional contact and found out for sure that in order to participate now, you don't need to work through a quilt shop.  That was a big hang up last time I looked into this.  I talked to my Regent last night about the program and us -as a chapter- getting involved and she wants me to bring it to our board meeting in January.  I did go and get some material for that quilt in the Fons and Porter September/October magazine -

The fabric in the middle, the tan paisley on navy - that one is for the inner border.  The stripe on the bottom is for the outer border.  I love the way the tan paisley plays with the navy paisley that's going to be the "field" portion of the "flag".  I also love how the leaves in the red fabric read like stars.  I don't know the final destination for this quilt.  It may end up being for my own son, who is a veteran; or it could go to the chapter project.  I guess I'll have to see how much I get done and how that January board meeting goes.

A final shot - this is Leamann Mill north of Hagerstown, MD.  A gift/decor shop is run out of it now.  I just love old mills and love it when they are repurposed. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Celebrating 100th Follower and Catching Up!

Hiya!  Wow, I finally got to 100 followers.  Thanks to Ruth, my latest!  Seems like I should do something special.

When last we talked, I said I was doing a lot of stuff and not sharing.  So, here's the updates -

The cathedral windows table runner is done.  For the binding, I used all my leftover window squares, sewed them all together in a long strip.  I also cut a plain piece of white cotton folded in half and attached it, along with the binding.  The white strip became a flange on top and the binding, of course, goes all the way 'round to the back.  The back is just one large scrap piece of the 1930's reprints. 

Here's a closer view of the corner, flange and binding.  I'm super happy with the way it turned out.  This is also the longest I've ever let a project go between starting a finishing - I swear, I've been working on this for more than 15 years.  Usually I will decide that I'm never going to finish something, or have lost interest in it, so I'll toss it and all it's parts into the Goodwill bag and let it be someone else's treasure (problem?)  But, this one I hung onto.  I'm glad I did.

Next up - the needlepoint blue jay.  The canvas was designed by Labors of Love.  I picked out the fibers to use.   The canvas came with the feathers and the springy feet.  So, last weekend I sat down to finish it.  And boy, when I got done at the sewing machine and turning it right side out, I thought "oh, crap!  I've ruined it".  So I spent 12 hours thinking about it and decided that as hard as it is, I was going to have to hand stitch the seam in places and then cover it up with cording.  I made the cording out of gold DMC Light Effects (a metallic) and then VERY carefully hot glued it on.  No burnt fingers this time.  Then I stuffed those feathers into the hole I'd left at the end and hot glued in the springy feet.  VIOLA!

As you can see, he will be beautiful on a Christmas tree!

Next up, my experimental stitching.  Last year, Prairie Schooler came out with Ukrainian Easter eggs and a Christmas design on black fabric.  Many of you know how tough stitching on black fabric is.  Yeah, I know, we can use a light box.  But, those can get awful warm on your lap.  Remember I just finished up the American Sampler?  And on the sides and top I had to do the Alternating Half Cross Stitch to "recolor" the background fabric to the dark green?  Well, as I sat there stitching all those infernal half crosses, I was wondering, will this work for the problem of black fabric?

I took a piece of red linen I had.  I chose red because when they do gilding, often they will paint the object to be gilded red before they apply the gold gilt.  Somehow it makes it look richer.  The fabric was 28 count.  I cannot say that I am 100% happy with how things turned out, but I really think I'm onto something here.  Maybe I just need to use a smaller count, like 32.  Anyway, here's one of the PS Easter eggs that was featured several years ago in Gift of Stitching Magazine.

Top pic shows the work in progress; bottom shows the finished stitching.  Now to make it into an ornament.  So, whadaya think?  Beats stitching on black fabric.

A few months back I showed you a pre-printed schoolhouse stitchery I'd picked up at an antique mall.  I got a start on it with my variagated threads:

Also, a few months ago I picked up pre-printed embroidery quilt squares.  I got a start on them too, but have since exhaused my supply of those colors of floss; will pick up more next week; this is destined for my guest bedroom.

Also got a start of Little House Needleworks Liberty Belles.  However, I am changing the color pallete.  Doing it on 32 count scrap linen.

I probably showed this to you a year or so ago.  It's a table runner I made.  I designed the foundation leaf and used scraps to make it up.  I originally wanted to do a whole quilt that looked like this, but after doing a few blocks - and there are some set-in seams - I decided that there was no way.  So I made the table runner out of the "few blocks".  I like to do that now, find blocks that I sort of want to experiment with - just to say I did - and then make up a table runner.  I guess that's what the whole bed-runner craze now is all about.  Although I think a bed runner is pretty useless.  I mean, why make your bed, you're just going to sleep in it again.  JUST KIDDING!!!  But I still don't see the point in a bed runner.

So, anyway, for you intrepid experimental quilters, here's the foundation pattern.  This is my present to you for my achievement of 100 followers!  Thanks again to all who follow.

Finally, I am working on charting out my granddaughter's Christmas stocking.  Sadly, no pictures yet.  Hope you enjoyed!