Saturday, December 28, 2013

Two More ATCs Finished


I finished up two more ATCs last night for the upcoming EAC ATC Swap.  These ones have a bit of a story behind them.  My friends in High River mostly lost all their Christmas decorations in the flood because it seems that everyone tends to keep them in their basements.  So my Christmas gifts to them this year were crazy quilt Christmas items.  I used a round robin block with a Christmas theme as an insert in the top of a photo box for my dear friend Eileen and forgot to take a photo of it to share.  Anyway, there were scraps left over so I finished them up as ATCs and they came out really nicely and not a stitch of the original block was wasted this way.
I finished these ones up in a slightly different way and it worked very well so I'll share my method. .  After stitching the front and back of the ATC together, I stitched gold trim around the edge slightly overlapping the edge of the ATC.  I sewed the same trim to the back in the same method making sure to line them up.  Then I whip stitched the two outside edges of the trim together all the way around.  It worked wonderfully and solved my usual problem of being unable to seem to finish the edges neatly.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone!  I am knee deep in a turkey that doesn't want to thaw, gifts that still need wrapping, a tree that keeps wanting to fall down and a dwindling supply of Christmas cookies.  It must be almost the big day!  I wanted to take a minute though to wish you all the best of the Christmas Season as well as the very best of everything in the New Year.
As a small gift to you, I have searched the web for public domain Victorian Christmas images that I think would make wonderful additions to some crazy quilting - enjoy!


I hope you enjoy these scraps.  You can find many more by googling "victorian christmas images public domain".  Have fun!  And don't forget to get to work on those New Year Resolutions - I am!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Crazy Quilt Christmas Stocking


 This is a stocking I made as a sample for a class I was teaching.  Everyone in our family has their own Christmas Stocking rooted deep in family tradition so it has just been languishing since I made it.  I have decided to give it away this Christmas to a dear friend who lost all her Christmas decorations, etc in the flood in High River.  I think it will have a good home with her!  I decided though I would take a couple photos before I gave it away - can't remember if I have posted about it before.
It will be a private joke between my friend and I because she has a deep and enduring hatred for rick rack in all forms and I used rick rack to trim out the silkie.  I love the little button snowmen too so included him in the photo here.

This is my favourite seam - the little angels with their spacer bead halos.  I find so many uses for these little spacer beads - can't get enough of them!

I hope my friend will enjoy this stocking and now I have the fun of filling it before I give it to her!

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Annual Great Christmas Tree Hunt



 We go to Kananaskis each year for the hunt for a Christmas tree.  Usually you see some kind of wildlife and this year it was a mountain sheep.
 We have had an unprecedented amount of snow this year here in southern Alberta and although the weather was mild at home, it got much colder in the mountains.
 The roads were slippery but with scenery like this it is worth it (even if the photos were taken through my dirty windshield! lol)
 We have a camping spot we usually go to omplete with picnic tables and firepits and while the rest go trooping through the woods in search of the tree, I build a fire and heat up hot chocolate and chili for a snack after they get back.
 This year the road into our little spot was gated off so we had to walk in through a kilometer of snow carrying all the gear.  We soon found out that the closure was because the bridge over the creek had been swept away in last summer's floods so we had to jump from one icy rock to another to get across the creek.
 There saw quite a few people out there - hiking, skiiing, snowmobiling and looking for Christmas trees.
The kids come although the grandkids are old enough now they can think of better ways to spend a day than getting cold for a Charlie Brown tree.  It is a bit of a family tradition though so I guess we will keep going.  We aren't quite ready to switch to a tree lot tree or an artificial one.

So, here is my little tree, now three quarters decorated and leaning into a corner because it decided to fall over.  Personally, I think I might be a little tired of this tradition!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Another Christmas Ornament Received



I received another gorgeous Christmas ornament in the mail, this time from the EAC (Embroiderers' Association of Canada) swap.  You can't see very well in the photo but this canvaswork ornament is done on glitter congress cloth - it really sparkles.  

I took the closeup so you could see the stitches but here is the whole ornament complete with hanger and tassel.  It was made by Eunice and I can't wait to hang it on the tree.  Thank you Eunice!





Friday, December 13, 2013

Artist Trading Cards Completed


 I have finished up the six ATCs I started the other day.  If you saw them then, I had just done the star stitches in a variagated DMC - Color Variations 4126.  The next step was weaving gold thread through the star stitches in variaous patterns.  The two above were the first attempt.
 The next weaving pattern gave me this one above.  Still a simple pattern but a different effect.
For the fourth ATC, I combined the two weaving patterns in the first two on one ATC for a more interesting pattern.
On this fifth one, I wove through the star stitches again and then added additional straight stitches using the gold thread.

 And then for this sixth and last one, I did a simple weaving pattern again and then used the gold thread to add additional star stitches.  I have to say that these were great fun to do, seeing how weaving the gold thread through the stitches could be used to create various patterns.  I can see a lot of applications for this technique and will likely be using it again on other projects.
The Embroiderer`s Association of Canada (EAC) is having its last ATC swap this coming April and these are the first ones I have made for that swap.  I could have cropped the photos and shown them a couple days ago but decided not to cheat - to go ahead and do the finishing first , my least favourite part!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Artist Trading Cards in Progress

 I love working on ATCs - tiny little doable, finishable pieces of stitching!  They are also a great place to play with something new or to try out an effect.  So, this is what I have been stitching on this week.  This is just the background on them - you will have to wait a day or so to see what comes next.  Using what I had in my stash, I did 2 on 18 ct aida cloth.


Four more on a leftover piece of 14 count Aida, making a total of six altogether.  

This is far as one skein of DMC variagated floss took me so I quit then.  The idea now is to weave through the stars with another thread.    Hopefully I will have that done soon to show you the finished pieces.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Benefits of Belonging to EAC


I posted recently about the online chapter of The Embroiderers' Association of Canada, EAC Virtual Threads.  I mentioned that you have to be a member of EAC to join the online chapter but then thought maybe you might not be aware of the benefits of belonging to EAC!  So, I'll suggest you visit the EAC blog and EAC website and look around and see.

Also, right off the EAC website, here is a list of the benefits of belonging...

Benefits to Individuals (National or Chapter members)
1. The chance to make lifelong friendships with other members within your own
region and across Canada through chapter meetings, workshops and Seminars.
2. Receive discounts at participating suppliers by presenting your current EAC
membership card.
3. Access to any contests or challenges EAC is holding.
4. Ability to take part in exchanges such as the Artist Trading Card Exchange and
Holiday Ornament Exchange.
5. Access to EAC Facebook page.
6. Access to membership in the new EAC Cyber chapter, Virtual Threads, with the
additional membership fee of $10 per year.
7. Qualify for EAC Awards, Scholarships, Grants and Bursaries.
8. Qualify as a course test student.
9. Contacts with experts in many aspects of needlework for research purposes.
10. Access to Your EAC (members’ only) site with:
a. a listing of upcoming workshops, seminars, etc.,
b. free projects,
c. copies of old EC magazines,
d. links to available mystery projects,
e. a section where members can list patterns, articles, etc. they are
 looking for, and
f. a list of links to other organizations and other snippets of information.

Of course, the most important reason for joining I can think of is that it is just plain fun!  I love EAC as well as my local chapter, The Calgary Guild of Needle & Fibre Arts!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas Ornament Received


This is the lovely ornament I received in the EAC Virtual Threads Christmas Ornament Exchange.  It was made for Yvonne and you will need to click on the photo to make it larger so you can see all the beautiful detail.  I love bling and my magpie soul wants to scurry off to my nest with this sparkly snowflake!  I had to dull down the colour of the photo so the detail could be seen (above) but here it is (below) in all its sparkly glory!

Another Christmas Ornament for Another Swap!

I signed up for another ornament swap - this one in EAC Virtual Threads, the new online chapter of  The Embroiderers' Association of Canada and I finished stitching it  and sent it off recently.  This ornament (minus a few small changes) is from this year's ornament issue of Just Cross Stitch.  Of the 76 ornaments in the magazine, this was my favourite.

I look forward to the Christmas Ornaments issue every year and start watching for it in September.  If I manage to get at least one made each year, I figure the magazine is a success for me.  So, this is this year's effort, although I don't get to keep it.  But I get one in return so I can't wait to share that one with you!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Online Chapter of EAC

I have been a bad blogger for months now - resolving to "get back into it" and not getting a whole lot of stitching done to show you.  So, I thought I would show you what has been keeping me so busy away from the blog and the stitching!
Above you will see the wonderful logo Sharon MacDonald created for the newest chapter of The Embroiderers' Association of Canada - EAC Virtual Threads!  Yes, that's right, EAC has opened a new chapter online!
We had been talking about it for awhile but finally took action at last year's National Seminar in Winnipeg.  We formed an executive of volunteers and started taking memberships right then and there.  Now, a few months later we are getting into full swing with over 90 members so far.  We are set up as a Yahoo Group and you can find us at this link.
Since we are a chapter of EAC, you must either already be a member of EAC to join or become a member of EAC at the same time as you become a member of the chapter.  The membership dues for the chapter are only $10 a year and we are pro-rating that by when you join so we can have everyone renew at the same time in May.
So, what have we been doing and what is coming in the future?
- Chatting with other stitchers even when it is a blizzard like it is right now outside my house!
- Ongoing "Show and Share" as we post photos of what we are working on.

- Tantalizing Tidbits which are small projects in different techniques, free to members (like the needlewoven poinsettia brooch above.Instructions and project generously donated to Virtual Threads by Deborah Robertson of Toronto Guild of Stitchery )
- Round Robins starting up in January
- Chapter Newsletter in the works
- Chapter pins being looked into
- Play Dates - at your own pace shared experiences with different techniques - shaving cream dying is one of the ones coming up shortly.  Also dorset buttons.
- Stitch of the Month program taught by Kim Beamish where we will fully explore different stitches every month
- Online workshops, the first of which is coming in February and March when Alison Cole will be teaching an original design just for us!
- Postcard Challenge
- Christmas Ornament exchange well underway
- lots more!
So, I am finding that being a chapter president is a lot more involved than I ever knew and it has been a lot of fun but a lot of work and it has been keeping me busy.  Come on out and join us if you are interested in a fun group - international members more than welcome!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

AAQI December Auction Starts in 3 Days!

The last year of AAQI is drawing to a close and the last auction starts in three days!  There will be 27 quilts up for auction and they were part of the AAQI's travelling exhibit, "Alzheimer's Illustrated:  From Heartbreak to Hope".
I am very pleased to see my last little quilt up for auction this time around.

The name of my quilt is "Forget-Me-Not".  It is funny it was the first quilt I made for AAQI but it turned out being the last one to go up for sale.  I am excited to watch how the bids go because this is my last chance to raise money this way for Alzheimer's research.  I have my fingers crossed she does well!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Outsider Artist - Judith Scott

This is a piece of art by Judith Scott.  To read more about this extraordinary artist and the exhibit I saw in Kentucky, please visit my post on the EAC blog.  Thanks!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Sashiko & Kogin Workshop, Traditional Japanese Stitching

(Rhonda, our instructor)

At last year's National Seminar of the Embroiderers' Association of Canada (EAC) I was impressed by how happy the students from one class were - those taking Barbara Gilbert's Sashiko class.  While the rest of us were looking a bit frazzled at times, these ladies appeared so happy, stress-free and pleased with themselves.  This was enough to make me want to learn more about this elegant Japanese stitching technique. So when my local guild, Calgary Guild of Needle & Fibre Arts (CGNFA),  recently held a one day workshop on Sashiko and Kogin techniques, I could't resist!
(traditional sashiko pattern)

Sashiko, which translates literally into "little stabs", is a form of functional embroidery from Japan.  It was traditionally used to reinforce garments and provide extra warmth.  Now this running stitch technique is used for purely decorative purposes and the white cotton thread worked on indigo dyed fabric creates pieces with a simple elegance.  The stitches are an even size which are said to resemble grains of rice.  We spent the morning of the workshop working on a piece of sashiko.

(our workshop design)

The second half of the workshop was devoted to learning about Kogin.  Kogin is another traditional Japanese stitching technique that was born in the Northern area of Japan and is considered one of the Sashiko stitching techniques.  The purpose of this technique is also believed to have been to add warmth and strength to clothing.  The designs are unique in their symmetry and resemble pattern darning in the way they are worked up.  The work is simple but the finished designs are very elegant in appearance.  Traditionally, blue threads are used on white background for working Kogin.

(Rhonda working on a Kogin design)

I have been a member of CGNFA for over 25 years and I still love the opportunities it provides for learning and exploring new stitching techniques.  As guild members, we are so fortunate to be able to do this. Sometimes it turns out to be something you will not do again.  Sometimes it is a technique you end up embracing.  The important thing is that we continue to learn and grow in our art and get inspiration from new techniques and viewpoints.

You can find many sites online for information on Sashiko and Kogin.  Here are a few to get you started.

Links for more information on sashiko:

Links for more information on kogin:



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

$1,000.00 Pledge

I did it!  I am so pleased with myself, lol.  When I first started making quilts for Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI), I joined the $1,000 Promise - that I would keep making these little quilts until mine had raised $1,000.00 for Alzheimer's research.  With the last batch of quilts that went to the Houston quilt show selling, I reached my goal!  I wasn't sure I would be able to since it is the last year of fundraising by this great organization.   Here is a review of the quilts I made for AAQI = the ones that are blacked out are where I used a commercial piece of cross stitch without getting permission for the copyright.  Okay to sell, but not to show online.


Total raised so far: $1,062.63




So, as of now, I have two quilts left to sell.  Rust & Glitz has not sold yet because no one else seems to love it as much as I did - I may just have to buy it back!  The other one is the first quilt I made for AAQI and it was part of the travelling exhibit and is being sold next month in the auction.  Here's another look at that one, called "forget-Me-Not".


So, now I am done patting myself on the shoulder, I am back home after seven months of working away so it is about time I get back to blogging.  Talk to you again soon!