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Showing posts from May, 2009

$11.00 at the Thrift Store...

I had the opportunity this week to visit one of my favourite thrift stores. This is one I only get to in the summer when I am at the lake which is fine because their inventory turns over very slowly. Usually I can find some treasures though since almost anything fiber related is interesting as far as I'm concerned. I found an old how to quilt book - maybe I will finally figure out how to baste a quilt? Also a book of Christmas patterns for Swedish Weaving. I know I have some monk's cloth around somewhere so maybe I'll give that a go... Who can resist issues of McCalls Needleworks and Crafts? Especially the funky Annual of Creative Handcrafts from 1971? It is chock full of instructions for macrame, batik, hairpin lace and more! Thrift stores always seem to be a treasure trove for knitting patterns. These I might actually make. As you might be able to tell I am besotted with anything with cables. Fisherman`s knits were my favourite knitting era! You can never ha

Leslie's Motif finished at last!

I know this motif has seemed to consume me for weeks and it is the only thing I have been blogging about but it is done now at last! I promise this is the last time you have to look at it! The third ornament I made (farthest to the right) has for it's center a little petit point rose that was on a stick pin. I attached it with blue beads after removing the pin part and then with the gold beads I built a snowflake around it. The outside of the ornament was done in a gold and blue bead mix and then blue beads scattered inside that. This one is my favourite, likely because I love scavenging petit point jewelry and using it in crazy quilting. With the three ornaments in place I used this week's BAS challenge stitch (Beaded Backstitch) to make strings to hang the ornaments. (Stop staring at the wonky heart! I see you looking! lol ) It was my original intent that the tops of the ornaments would be gloriously festooned with leaves and beads - very over the top. Sorry Leslie - you onl

Beaded Berries Tutorial

I decided last night that I needed to make some beaded Christmas berries so thought I should share how I did it, since I was pleased with them for turning out the way I wanted. I am starting to feel the pinch of limited stash here at the campsite so I used what was available: some nasty pink plastic pony beads, half a package of Mill Hill red seed beads and some Kreinik Silk Serica thread. You will also need a sewing needle, beading needle and some beading thread. I used Fireline. I started out by covering the beads with the silk thread by simply going up through the hole in the bead (leaving a long tail), around the bead, back up through the hole and so on until it was completely covered. No more nasty pink plastic! lol I left a long tail at the beginning and end to use to attach the beads. I actually thought about stopping at this point since I like the beads this way with the sheen of the silk. The next step was to thread up the beading needing with my Fireline and bury

Week 26 - Beaded Backstitch

I found this wonderful stitch in Helan Pearce's book entitled, Beaded Dimensional Embroidery. It is put out my Milnar Craft Series and I think it is my fvourite book this week at least! I am using it in a motif but I think it could lend itself well to a seam treatment as well. There is a tutorial for this stitch in the next post which I hope will explain how it is done adequately. If you have any questions or something is not clear please just ask. Thank you!

Tutorial - Beaded Backstitch

I thought perhaps a little tutorial would be in order for this Beaded Backstitch since I have only ever seen it in Helan Pearce's excellent book, "Beaded Dimensional Embroidery". I have used masking tape to keep my line straight as I am using this stitch to form the strings on Leslie's ornaments. Start by stitching a row of beads leaving a space between the beads about the size of your beads. It is rather late while I am writing this so I hope this makes sense. In other words, you will attach a bead, then leave a space the size of a bead empty and then stitch the next bead on and so on. You can see this hopefully where I have started to remove the masking tape. Now you are going to bring your needle to the front again at the top of the first bead. Thread your needle down through the bead and pull the thread through. This gets you to the right place to start. Now thread three beads onto your needle and from one side go down through the next bead in the stitched row of

And then there were two!

So, here is the second of the Christmas balls. Funny what you see in a picture you don't see when you are stitching! The scattered green beads are a little light on the right hand side and my heart is crooked. Well the heart stays as is but the green beads can be tweaked a bit. This one again is done in Mill Hill beads and a large Mill Hill crystal. The center gold heart and the outer red heart are both quite dimensional. They were made by putting three beads on the thread and then making a one bead size stitch. There is a large crystal below the heart and a design of cream coloured bugle beads. The outer edge is outlined in silver and cream bead mix and everywhere else is filled in with a scattering of green beads. I don't like this one as much as the first but on to the next (after aforementioned tweaking)

Notes from the Lake

Three kilometers down the road from the campground is the delightful little town of Milo, Alberta - at least I find it delightful! I took this picture of a fence on the main street which blocks the view of a vacant lot I think. I thought this was such a clever and inexpensive way to add a little western charm and pay homage to the ranching heritage of the area. All it would take would be a little research, a router and some fence boards ! Cool, eh? I've been a little quiet here since the start of last weekend with good reason. Last weekend was the Victoria Day long weekend in Canada - the first big camping weekend of our short summer. This last winter was especially long so I think everyone felt the need to celebrate the good weather we were blessed with for a couple days. The campground was more crowded than I have ever seen it before and we were literally run off our feet. This week I have spent cleaning up the aftermath so have had little time or energy to stitch or wri

Leslie's Wreath

I am presently working on a beautiful wreath that Leslie has pieced. It has all the most beautiful fabrics and what a treasure it will be when it is done. I thought I would post some pics as I go along. The first thing I decided was that I wanted to do a group of beaded Christmas ornaments, inspired by the ones I saw in "Beaded Dimensional Embroidery" by Helen Pearce. Gorgeous stuff in that book! I took it out of the library and as soon as I opened it I knew I needed a copy for myself! This is the first of the ornaments, outlined in a gold and purple bead mix. I then used pearlized bugle beads and seed beads to build a partial grid pattern in the center. I used green beads to fill in between the outline and the grid. In the center of the ornament I placed a Mill Hill Treasures snowflake. All the beads used so far are Mill Hill.

Notes from the Lake

I was wondering why Oreo, the larger of the two dogs here with me, always gobbled up all the little one`s food right away when he came in the trailer. Typical for dogs, I suppose, but not really in his nature. Being older he doesn`t have that good an appetite. Well, it turns out it is because someone else is eating Oreo`s food. Watching this sparrow and his buddies, it is surprising how much they eat and how happy they are to have a ready and abundant food supply! lol Oreo won`t chase them off either - he just sits and watches them eat his munchies and then wonders where they went? DD gave me this little tile for my camper together with the little stand. Cute! She managed to get me to tear up as well with her Mother`s Day card on Sunday. It read: (outside with a picture of a starry night) Just before you go to bed tonight, look out your window. See that little star shining down just for you? (inside) Every time it twinkles, it`s me saying I love you, and I miss you, and I can

My BAS 25 Sample

Here is my sample for Week 25 of the BAS (Build a Seam) challenge. You will likely recognize it was what I had started to do the tutorial on this stitch. I needed something to cover the top part of a patch and also encompass two small seams - this is the result. So, it is either a motif that thinks it is a seam or a seam that thinks it`s a motif! lol No rules, right? I did the stem in chain stitch using Glorianna Petite Silk Perle. The leaves, of course, are the feaured stitch for BAS 25, Raised Leaf Stitch. I built a spider web out of some gold thread and added a ladybug ambling along the stem and built a spider from a large crystal. I am pretty happy with how this one turned out.

Debbie's Spider II Round Robin Block/BAS 25

I have had such a good time working on Debbie's block in the Spider 2 Round Robin with CQI . I was the first to work on the block and it was a joy to stitch on. I think perhaps I have left my "inner critic" at home and found my muse here at the lake because I am so pleased with how it all worked. Obviously, this is where I was doing my Week 24 and 25 BAS challenge seams, although I removed the lavender beads I had added to the trim since they weren't working with this block's colour scheme. The little ladybug, or Ladybird beetle to be more exact, is a bead. The jewelled dragonfly and butterfly are both bits of cannibalized reclaimed jewelry. On the small gold patch I layered tatting and lace and added a filigree gold butterfly. As you can see, I finished my little stumpwork boysenberry bush - my first attempt at stumpwork! - and hung a little spider charm from some blending filament web. To the left of it is the only traditional seam I did on the block,

And the winners are...!

Using the random number generator at I have picked the winners and they are... For the Knitting book - Sharon! For the Tatting book - Shari Congratulations! I hope you both enjoy your new books! Send me your addresses please and I will get these out to you!

BAS Week 25 - Raised Leaf Stitch

This week's Build a Seam challenge is this pretty little leaf made using Raised Leaf Stitch (a tutorial follows in the next post). Perhaps you have a couple small seams close together and you thought you would meander a vine across them. Well, a vine needs leaves and these are slightly raised and give some lovely textural interest. They are also good leaves for roses, hollihocks and any other number of plants. So, give it a whirl - you will be glad you did! Have fun!

Tutorial - Raised Leaf Stitch

The Raised Leaf stitch has been a favourite of mine since I learned it from the excellent instructions in Three-Dimensional Embroidery Stitches, written by Pat Trott. This is a book I highly recommend as a relatively inexpensive addition to any embroidery/crazy quilting library! Here I'll show you how I make this stitch. I have done this example using Glorianna Silk Petite Perle but I would not recommend it for this. You will have better results than I did if you use four strands of good old DMC. For best results remember to strip your threads (that is, separate each strand and then put them together again). This is a good habit to be in anyway as it will make your threads lay better. So, on with the show! To make this stitch you are going to need a small strip of card, approximately 4mm (3/16 inch) wide. A wider piece of card will produce a wider leaf, a thinner piece of card a thinner leaf. You can experiment with this but 4mm (3/16 inch) is a good place to start. In the exampl

Happy Mothers Day

To everyone who is a Mother, or had a Mother - Best Wishes for a Happy Mother's Day!

Notes from the Lake

One of my favourite things at the lake is the variety of birdlife. Each summer I think I should become a "real" birder, start a life list, etc. but in the winter the idea dims - how many sparrows can you get excited about? lol Sadly, that is about the only bird I see at home. Out here at the lake though there is a much larger variety and I get quite excited about it. Yesterday the yellow-headed blackbirds (yes, that is the actual name, not just a description) were cooperative enough that I was able to get a couple of pictures. I just love the splash of vivid colour on them! In my crazy quilting, I have a tendency to be to concerned with things matching and coordinating. I think bolder colour combinations might be in order like on these little fellows. My dear mother used to tell me to look to nature for colour combinations. In nature it all looks good together so if the combination appears in nature it is a good one. Good advice!

My Boysenberry Bush

I have been working on Debbie's block in a Spider & Webs round robin at CQI, working very slowly I might add. Thankfully, the others in this round robin are being patient with me and I am stitching as fast as my little fingers can go! I got out The Complete Book of Stumpwork and decided to give it a go. This is the trunk and branches of what will, hopefully, be a boysenberry bush. I have ordered some wire for the raised leaves but it is going to take too long to get here so they will have to be regular leaves instead, done on the surface. I still have to add a couple berries to this as well - they will actually be stumpwork I think. All this to have somewhere for my little spider charm to hang! lol The trunk and branches were Raised Stemwork and it was new to me and a great stitch. I love the effect and will definitely keep using it!

Giveaway! (Closed Midnight Monday!)

While packing my stash for the move to the lake I found duplicates of a couple books. What can I say? It must be really appealing to buy it twice! So, I have two books to giveaway. The first one is "45 Fine & Fanciful Hats to Knit". My knitting skills aren't up to this, I'm afraid - I wish they were because it is a gorgeous book! The second book for giveaway is "Tatting Doilies & Edgings", edited by Ruth Weiss. This is a good one because it has lots of edgings that can be tatted and used for crazy quilting. Of course, you could tat the doilies and edgings for anything you like! lol So, to enter the giveaway simply leave a comment with your email address and indicating which book you would like to go in the draw for. I'll draw names sometime on Monday. Thanks!

The Dishcoth Obsession Returns!

What can I say? The dishcloth obsession has returned! My eyes were starting to get fuzzy the other night and I needed something other than stitching to occupy my time so I decided to start on some of the dishcloths from the Monthly Dishcloth KAL group at Yahoo that I have missed since I have fallen behind. This was the one for mid-April and it is called "April Showers". It seems appropriate to post it today since I am presently enjoying the first spring rainfall of the season, Lovely! Things should start to green up now!

Notes from the Lake

Yesterday I shared a picture of the sunrise at the lake. On the other end of the specrum, here is one of the last few rays of sun after it has set. Sunrise...sunset.... a campground hosts work is never done. Dusk to dawn! lol This photo is of the kitchen taps in the trailer. If you look closely you will see the faucet part is not where it should be. I turned on the tap and that part just fell into the sink! Needless to say, a surprising amount of water managed to gush out of that little black hole. I wish someone had been here to play Ethel to my Lucy as I scrambled around looking for a towel! Wahhhh! In fact, I wish my brother David had been here. I am not sure how he would feel about playing Ethel but he could have been Desi! In either case, I am sure the misadventure would have ended in a few gin and tonics if he had been here. Now I will have to make a pilgrimage to the RV store to get another set of taps.

Big Horn Mountain Creations - Quilt Draw

There is information on Big Horn Mountain Creations about a draw for a quilt as a fundraiser. This is an absolutely beautiful hand pieced Grandmothers flower garden quilt done all in tone on tones. You can receive one chance in the draw just by visiting their blog! If you decide to get more chances on the quilt tell them Kerry sent you and I will get some more chances for referring you! For more details and information on the draw and the quilt, please visit Big Horn Creations . This is a great cause and I admire a woman who takes the skills she has and uses them to solve her problems. Check it out!

ATCs Galore!

The Embroiderer's Association of Canada held another ATC swap this year and these are the results - over 280 Artist Trading Cards! There are a lot of different techniques to admire. EAC has just put pictures of all of the individual cards online and you can see them by visiting their website . As you look through them you will see a number labelled "Remembrance of Mary". These special cards were prepared in tribute of Mary, a long standing member who has passed away within this last year. These special cards were constructed using some of Mary's own embroidery. I have no doubt that the large number of ATCs sent in for this year's event were in hopes of obtaining one of these cards in return. That in itself is a lovely tribute to Mary.

My Sample for BAS Challenge - Week 24

This is how my week 24 sample for the BAS challenge turned out. I started by making Roses with Padded Satin Stitch Centres (using instructions from A - Z of Bullions) on every other scallop of the lace. They were stitched using Sampler Thread from The Gentle Art that I picked up recently because I just loved the colour. I used hand dyed silk ribbon to add a leaf on either side of each rose. In the picots along the edge of the lace I added pearl beads. Lastly I used pale lavender glass beads to line each side of the ribbon portion of the trim. I am pleased with how it turned out - it is always nice to try a new stitch, which this rose variation was for me. As always, you can click on the picture to view a larger version. The colour is a bit off but you can get the idea.

Notes from the Lake

Ahhh... this morning I was up early enough to receive a glimpse of sunrise behind the lake. It was beautiful and clear but as the morning progresses it is beginning to look more and more like rain. I guess the old saying is true: Red sky at morning - take warning. The sunrises are another of my favourite things about being out here. I don't have a clear of view of them at home so this makes each one special. Well, I think it is time to introduce you to the rest of the staff at the campground. This is my darling Pomeranian of 13 years. Her job here is to guard the inside of the trailer and to use her body weight to hold keep the pillows from flying away. She is very diligent and takes her job seriously - sometimes she will spend all afternoon on the bed holding down the cushions! I have had a Pom in my family for 40 years now without a break and obviously from that you know I love these little guys. Nala here is like all Poms who are said to suffer from Small Dog Syn

My pieces for the Puzzle Piece Swap

I am happy to be taking part in Pat Winter's Puzzle Piece Swap. Everyone taking part is making four puzzle pieces to a set size and shape in whatever form of mixed media artwork you like. What we receive back is four puzzle pieces made in different artforms from four different people all made in friendship. We will each get to put our little puzzles together for a wall hanging. Of course all of my pieces just had to be crazy quilted. The first one, above, is an under the sea theme. I love detached buttonhole stitch so I used that to make some fish netting at the bottom. I added some starfish using whipped spider web stitch as well as a small seashell charm. The plant growth was made with feather stitch and couched ribbon. The fuzzy beige one was especially fun to do. It was a fuzzy ribbon and with a simple gathering stitch it became a very textural bit of seaweed. This is the second piece I made and it is a more traditional bit of crazy quilting. There are two butterfly charms

Notes from the Lake

I have been back at good old Lake McGregor, my summer home, for three days now and already I have learned a couple new things: 1. A surprising number of people seem unable to read the fishing regulations, proven by the number of tickets Fish & Wildlife have been handing out here every day. Um, fishing season opens next week...duh! 2. Cow poop is heavy! A bane on farmers who can't seem to keep their cattle home where they belong but rather let them run hither and yon (and into the campground). I have picked their little cow patties up from less than half the campsites and already I have six huge bags of poop. Maybe I should have a giveaway for it here on my blog! Any gardeners in the crowd? One stipulation though - you have to pick it up or pay the postage.

Gift from my Secret Sister

I have mentioned before I am in a Secret Sister swap on the Yahoo group, Quilting on a Budget. This swap appealed to me because the budget minded organizers set the rules to say that everything you send for the entire year must cost you under $10! I like a challenge so this appealed to me and my thrifty ways. Above is the package I received from my Secret Sis recently. I think that the thing I like most about these little gifts is that they always seem to be little handmade treasures and neat little things you don't get for yourself. As the "To Do List Queen", I love the pretty notepad. And the cute little fabric chickie frig magnet is perfect for attaching said lists to the frig where I can see them. Even the little sachet is perfect. It smells just like laundry that has come in from the clothesline! It is giving my whole trailer a lovely fresh scent which is a bonus since I spent the whole day picking up cow poop (but that is another story! lol) So, my sinc

Build a Seam - Week 24 - Personalizing Purchased Trim

Thank you all to your patience while I took a brief hiatus to get myself moved and settled for the summer. Hopefully this won't seem like a cheat but this week's challenge is not a stitch but rather a question: What would you do to personalize purchased trim? There are some beautiful trims out there like the one above. I fell in love with this one the moment I saw it with the lucious velvet ribbon attached to the crochet edging. Recently though I have started to develop a slight disappointment in seams which are made from a purchased trim. I so much prefer to see them used where there has been something added to it to personalize it - stitching, beads, etc. Just tacking down a bit of trim is, well, disappointing. So, I hope you will not be disappointed that this week is not an actual stitch and will continue to play along with me in this challenge!