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

Monday, January 28, 2013

New Projects, New Tools, New Finishes

 You'll remember that I like to pick up vintage needlework at local thrift and antique stores.  I finally started on this find last week.  It's a crewel kit of a farm scene.  I have made some changes.  First of all, there was one color of yarn missing - dark gold.  Good thing I also pick up bags of crewel and needlepoint yarn when I find them; I was able to make a substitute.  The barn was originally supposed to be white, with coral accents and a gray roof, like the gray you see in the chimney of the house.  Nuh, uh, no way; said I.  Went to Michael's this weekend and picked up a Paton's wool in the red, a dark charcoal gray and a medium charcoal gray.  The grays I will use to do the roof of the barn.  I had to stop working on it this weekend because my thumb is really sore from pulling the needle through the work.  Am I doing something wrong?  Anyone know?

 I wanted to tell you about some tools.  First up is a kit of Needle ID Cards.  I first read about these on Mary Corbet's blog.  Because I pick up needlework smalls, sewing kits, etc. at thrift, antique and garage/yard sales, I have ended up with an extensive collection of needles.  But, what needles are what? 

These cards give you a close up view of the needle and you lay the needle down on the picture of the needle on the card and figure out what the size is. 

Honestly, a sharp needle is a sharp needle is what I say.  As long as I can get the thread through the eye and not leave a hole in the fabric when the needle passes through, I'm good.  But, I found the kit really helpful when it came to sorting out the darners, tapestries, and crewels amongst others.

I purchased this kit through Anita's and I recommend it.

Another thing I recommend is the new ruler I picked up this weekend - at, of all places, Michael's.  I did a lot of fussing about my rulers; not being able to see through the thick yellow lines to know exactly where I was, etc.  Well, seems as though Olfa has been hearing that from a number of folks.  They came out with this new "frosted" ruler.  It costs about $2.00 more than the regular yellow one.  The frosting lets you see both dark and light fabrics well.  I agree, I can see the lines on both dark and light (see photo).  The other thing I really like is that the lines are thiner - much more precise.  That was much easier on my eyes.  Other cool thing is that this one is marked with all sorts of angles for block cutting.  I found that helpful too.  Well worth the $15.00 price in my opinion.

Back in the 90's this Poinsettia applique pattern came out in, I think, Better Homes & Gardens' Quilting magazine.  I made a bunch of them and gave them away as gifts.

I made one for myself too, but never got around to finishing it until just this week.  Yay!

Here is the overall view.

The blocks are  latte and white log cabins.   Those are what you make first; then you applique the poinsettia leaves and petals on.  For my petals and leaves I used a pretty family of batiks.

The back was done with blocks of the latte fabrics.  For the binding I used the lightest of the petal batiks.

This is a closeup of the poinsettia "flower".  I waffled back and forth over the yellow flowers in the center; how to do them . . . beads, embroidery, french knots, what?  Ultimately, I decided that I didn't want something on there that would make anything I placed on top unstable, so I settled on some satin stitched roundish things.

This is one of the "blocks" in Robert's Baltimore Album, the cheater quilt I've been working on getting out of my "to do" box.

 And to the right is one of the lemoyne stars I put in the corners when I realized the border panel had been cut too short for me to miter the corners with the borders.

And below is the whole quilt.  I put it together this weekend. 

Now all I have to do is figure out what fabric I want to use for the backing - I'm thinking something in the coffee-colored range.  And then pick up some batting and it's ready to go to the quilter too.

Lastly, a little bit of client work.  She did the needlepoint and I made them  into stool pads for her.  I'm working on a sort of matching tablecloth that's made up of odds and ends I've been hanging onto for her the last couple of years.  We have to put our heads together and move forward.

Hope you enjoyed!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mid-January Update

You will see by the logo at the right, I have joined in on Nicola's Scarlet Letter Year.  I've been assigned to Blog Two.  I have decided that I will work on Susan Singleton.  To read more about that, head over to NSLY - Blog Two.

 I am getting set to make this purse, pattern by Indigo Junction, that was a shop model in my quilt shop two years ago.  That's how behind I am on my own projects!  The fabric is wool.  I got the liner fabric yesterday, but am still on the hunt for the leather that I want to use as an accent and also for the handle(s).  Winter weather may delay my road trip to the supplier for the leather until spring and reliable traveling weather.  That disappoints me, because the purse really is a winter purse.

 I have finished the second pre-printed project I was working on.  THANK GOODNESS!!!  I really pushed myself to do this and get it done.  I've used up almost all the variegated flosses I'd collected except for the nicest ones that I will save for small projects that will finish them off.  I think that this will become either a pillow or a framed piece that I will gift to my dauther in law.

This is a lovely present that I recently received.  Pin cushion on top, spool minders, and even a little drawer with tiny treasures.  The pin cushion may end up being replaced by a small biscornu that will fit in the receptacle.

The little gem inside the drawer was a sewing kit (see below) that opens to reveal first a little thimble, then further with a thread keep that has a needle case down its center.

This little JBW Designs chart has been in my drawer for awhile so on a scrap of Jobelan, I stitched it with DMC 321.  I omitted the words and will make it into a little pillow.

I've had more computer problems which I have only partially recovered from this last weekend.  That's what I spent most of my time doing, not projects in the sewing room.  So, alas, that's really all I have to show you this time.

This morning our low was 11.7 degrees with a wind chill that took us down below zero.  I suppose it will be even colder tomorrow morning because the wind hasn't stopped yet.  I feel really awful for everyone up in the northern latitudes.  Wherever you are, I hope you are staying cozy and warm.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


 When last your intrepid reporter left you, it was the end of the weekend and she'd made quite a bit of progress on the Path to the Civil War quilt - the goal was to finish sewing the blocks.

As Siobhan would say, I grabbed ahold of my big-girl-panties and sat at the sewing machine yesterday and knocked off four of 'em.

At right is "Opposites Attract"

This one is called "Homeward Bound".  Once I got the whole "quick" flying geese thing figured out, it was pretty simple to put this one together.

I think that blue fabric makes a super bold statement in this block.  It may be one of the most visually appealing of all the blocks.

This one is called "Heartache".  And yes, it does look the the red blocks are different sizes, but that's because I haven't stitched the outer seams.  Trust me, I stared at this one on the work table long and hard, thinking I'd made another stupid mistake.

Then I hung it up on the design wall.  By the way, Jackie has a MUCH bigger and better design wall (I'm so jealous), and it's given me a terrific idea!  So, anyway, I stuck it up there and just about had a friggin' heart attack.  I was like, OH CRAP!  You can see, it's significantly smaller than the block it's next to.  After about 30 minutes of just staring at the wall, I went back to the book.  Remember, a WAY, long time ago I told you this quilt had two different block sizes?  And the smaller blocks were in the beginning of the book?  And I thought that I'd done them all?  Well, turns out that the layout of the book is ". . . .here are the small blocks that go on one side . . . here are the big blocks that fill up the middle . . . .and here are the small blocks that go on the other side".

So, that block is supposed to be smaller.  Thank goodness I've already got HBP, or I'd have to blame it on the book!

This next block I actually enjoyed making.  It's called "Chain Link".  But I'm not sure, isn't it traditionally called Jacob's Ladder?  I could be wrong.  Anyway, liked this one and could see making a whole quilt out of it.

This next one I call churn dash, but the book calls it "Shoofly".  Sorry for the yucky picture, but I started this morning at 9AM with five blocks to go and picture taking time was at about 5PM.  I was wiped!

Thank goodness I've been stockpiling leftovers in the freezer.  That allowed me to start making supper at about 6PM and it was like I'd made a whole meal and spent hours doing it!

I was not happy to see this block again.  Since I'd done one very similar on Sunday, but turned out this one was much easier to do than its predecessor.  And I kinda liked the green for a change of pace.  It may be the only green block in the whole quilt.

 This one is called "Sawtooth".

I wanted to take a chain saw to the top of my head by the time I'd finished this one this afternoon.

And that's all I have to say about that.

 And finally - THANK GOD, FINALLY!!!!

. . . because I don't ever want to see these fabrics again . . . .

Finally, the last block is "Basket".

Translating this from the proscribed production manner to one that was easier, late in the day, almost did me in, but I was determined to finish today.  I also did not like the template provided to do the handle.  Traditionally the handle is done with bias and so that's the way I did it.

I will wait a few weeks and give myself a breather from this project before I begin to assemble the blocks into the quilt top.  It's all down hill from here!

Hope you enjoyed.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Trying to Play Catch-Up - Again

When last I posted, I showed you the Hershey's Bar needlepoint in the blocking stage.  I was able to finish it for my husband, as a belated Christmas present.  It is an eyeglass case.  For he who is too vain to admit he now needs the glasses for more than just reading.  But, it's the only thing my wonderful husband is vain about, so I leave it at teasing him.

Front of case in the large photo above; the small photo above shows the business end where you insert the glasses.  At left you see the back view of the business end.  The back was made from a scrap of a man's wool jacket.  I added a pewter button that is a reproduction of the buffalo side of a "Buffalo Nickel" American 5 cent piece.  In the last photo you can see that a week ago, when I took these pictures, we still had a little of our day-after-Christmas snow on the ground.

 Now on to two things I want to share with you.  Ever since we saw the CEO of Yankee Candle on Undercover Boss we've been buying them; in spite of cheaper knock offs being more available.  But a few months ago I decided that those jars the candles come in are just too nice to pitch into the recycle bin.  So, I've been saving them and cleaning them up.  I have one (not pictured) that is a large jar with a rubber stopper sort of top on it that I've also rehabilitated.  You can see what I'm using the smaller ones for - buttons!  They're perfect because the jars pretty much seal up with those stoppers around the glass tops.

 I've been watching Martha's Sewing Room on PBS and have tried some of the designs of Kari Mecca.  I've also been purchasing Sew Beautiful magazine.  Well, I took the plunge and bought some new tools - whimsy sticks and both of Kari's "Whimsy" books.  I hope to be playing with these soon.  Right now I'm in the process of making my granddaughter a rain coat - with my own whimsy!

I have a friend who is an arborist.  As well as a geologist, an archeologist, an anthropologist, a former White House gardener, and all around good guy.  He just celebrated his 70th birthday.  Hopefully we will be able to pull off a big birthday celebration this spring.  On his birthday I gave him a small gift, and I hope to have this one finished for the celebration . . . it is going to be a canvas bag.  For his groceries, for his books, for his digging tools; whatever.

The bag idea was not mine.  You can see in the bottom picture that they made a bag in the magazine.  This past summer I was at a thrift store and found a stash of Cross Stitch and Country Crafts magazines.  I sat there the better part of an hour and went through each one, picking ones with charts that I liked.  This was one of them and I thought at the moment I saw it that it would make a great gift for my friend.  But, you see that they were really bland and did their stitching on white and used raw canvas.  I have done my stitching on Country French Tula, 10 count.  Their count was 7 so mine's even bigger.  And my canvas is GREEN.  I used the charts to stitch the trees, but I chose the trees - did even more than they did and did them MANLY.  That is to say, I didn't stitch any of them with the pink froo froo that they had done.  Can't wait to finish this up.

You'll also remember I picked up some quilt squares that were pre-printed and I was stitching on one of those.  Got one done - finally!

I don't know what I'm going to do at this point.  I will say that it was incredibly boring stitching this pre-printed panel.  I have no idea why, but I just hated it.  The other one I've been working on - the schoolhouse - I've been having the same problem with it.

Now to the quilting.  I'm going to eventually add another page to the blog here that will just have pictures of the quilts when they're done.  We had a fine day on Sunday.  The temps didn't quite make it to 70 degrees like they predicted, but we were nearly 60.  In the afternoon I ran out with armloads of quilts and hung them on the line to get decent photos.

This is the Civil War repro quilt that you can see SO much better now.  Sebastian, the cat, would not go away.  He kept rubbing up against the quilts and getting into the picture.

The backing fabric from Keepsake Quilting arrived last week, so I'm calling the quilter on Friday and this one will go in.

This is the Dick and Jane quilt (name of the fabric) that I made a few years ago.  It has backing fabric now so will also go to the quilter ASAP.

This is Froggy Fourth of July.  I made it back in the mid-90's and it gets its name from the patriotic frogs that are all over it.  It is a lap quilt or table topper size.  I've not shown this one before on the blog, so thought you might enjoy it.

This is Juliet's Ribbons, my personal Civil War reproduction quilt. This will be a wall hanging in our foyer.  My husband really likes this one.  And I'm pretty proud of it myself.  I haven't gotten the backing fabric for it yet (Hancock's of Paducah really let me down on that) so I'm going to my local quilt shop soon with hopes of finding something.
This is called My Little Red Tractor (based on the print on the fabric) and is a tessellated block.  I made it many years ago and gave it to someone as an unquilted table topper.  She returned it to me after several years never having used it.  People with no imagination don't deserve nice things like this anyway.  I've decided to have it quilted and use it myself.  So there!

 Last year I bought a fat quarter bundle at my quilt store.  It sat until I was inspired by a background quilt on the Fons & Porter show.  I call this Patty O'Quilt and it is my granddaughter's birthday present this year.  You may recognize the design from her Christmas stocking - I stitched it as the quilt on the bed!  Top left is the blocks that I did in a day.  Top right shows rows in progress.  At left are the white backgrounds that I pulled out (I didn't want to use them in the blocks so substituted the turquoise and orange you see in the top left) but I did use them to make the binding.  Here, below,  is the quilt top hanging out on the line.  I have to go through my stash to see if I have fabric I can use for the backing. I'm thinking not; and I'd like to find something white and sweet like the binding fabric.

Last of the quilts came out of my stash.  Several years ago I bought these panels at a quilt shop going out of business.  They are Robert's Baltimore Album.  The first part was easy, sew the two panels together to make the center or "album blocks".  Then I had to cut the other panel apart to make the swag borders.  This weekend I worked to attach said borders with mitred corners.  Only problem was I soon discovered the panel had been cut about six inches too short to make matred corners.  Huh.  Guess I know why I got it at such a good price now.  So, what to do???  I sat there looking at it so long that when my husband walked by the door of the workroom, he asked me if everything was OK.  Jackie knows what I'm talking about.

Finally, I went to the Fons & Porter show I'd seen just that morning.  It was about making easy LeMoyne Stars.  Well, I didn't use the easy method, lets just put that out there right now.  That means set-in seams. I have a jelly roll of Barbara Brackman's ReUnion.  They are Civil War reproduction colors.  They also happen to be the colors from the cheater quilt panels.  So, I zip zapped with colors and neutrals and made the "test" LeMoyne Star block you see here.  Those blocks will go in the corners.  There was no way I was ever going to be able to match that white background (as there about 50 billion shades of white) so I'll have corners and the swags will run between.

Here you can see the album blocks in the back, the swag border on top and the LeMoyne Star block I made to see if the colors went with.  My husband really liked this one too!

Our weather's been weird here.  Snow on the days before and after Christmas and then so cold afterward that it stayed for two weeks only to be melted away by a nearly 60 degree day.  When the warm air came in that morning, we were treated to super thick fog.

This photo was taken as the fog began to drift away from us, but you can see the top of the fog bank just at the top of the trees in the distance.  The sunny sky quickly went away and we were very dreary until about 3 in the afternoon.  Now cold air is coming back and we are expecting freezing rain over night.  Keep your fingers crossed that we don't lose power!  Hope you enjoyed!