Miss P and I love to do needlework and I have long enjoyed embroidery but lately have gotten in a rut of just using a handful of stitches such as backstitch, outline stitch, lazy daisy, and the french knot. I have a collection of vintage needlework books that include how to do many embroidery stitches. This Mary Thomas Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches includes over 300 different stitches. P and I decided this year we will work through the book and try them all. Our goal is to learn 365 different stitches this year, a new one each day. This book will carry us through most of the year. Here is my sample of the first four stitches in the book - Algerian filling stitch, Algerian stitch (plaited), Armenian edging stitch, and the arrowhead stitch. Tomorrow we stitch the back stitch.
We will try to keep up throughout the year. When posting on social media we will use #365handstitched2017 along with others who are participating in a 365 day embroidery project.
Do you have a "word" for 2017? Some people come up with a single word to guide them through the year, to help them make choices and stay focused on their goals. I thought about it this year and didn't come up with a word as much as a saying, "do the work."
I think "do the work" is pretty fitting with any of the goals that I have whether they are business, artistic and creative, or personal. I will have to put in the man hours and do the work to achieve my goals.
I will have to do the work to keep up with this embroidery project but if I do, I will be rewarded with the ability to incorporate more variety and interest into my future hand stitched projects.
Again, P made the plan and sewed the green parts. I made the backgrounds.
The ornaments are a mix of handmade felt ornaments reminiscent of those my sisters and I made when we were growing up
and collected charms and old jewelry. M and his new bride went to Hawaii for their honeymoon. The pineapple pin is a reminder of that. They also saw sea turtles from their rental place in Hawaii. The penny is from 2016, the start of their married life together.
I just realized that I never shared my quilt, Stardust, with you. That's a little funny because it is the quilt on the cover of Every Last Piece!
I started making the little two inch stars in this quilt back in 2011. The first little star was so cute, I had to make another, and another, and another.
I was still having fun making little stars all through 2012. I cut the star point pieces in groups of eight and cut stacks of the background pieces. The star centers were cut from fabrics in my scrap basket. My daughter enjoyed matching the solid star point fabrics with the center squares. I had a featherweight set up in the sewing room that was always ready for sewing stars. I could easily work on them in small batches whenever I had a few minutes.
The quilting is an all over freeform flower and swirl design.
I would never have made this quilt if I had read the directions first. "Cut 3,742 one inch squares from solid scraps." Nope, that never would have happened. By cutting a few at a time and working in small batches, I kept the process fun.
Finished quilt - 87'' by 99''
You can purchase an autographed copy of the Every Last Piece from me here.
I can't compete with Amazon's low prices, but if you want to save a little and purchase from Amazon, please click here. This is an affiliate link and clicking through to purchase will allow me to earn a few extra pennies.
You can also ask your local quilt shop or book store to get the book for you.
I'm headed to Wisconsin this week to tape a show with Nancy Zieman and then to a workshop with Gwen Marston on Madeline Island. When I return, things should be a little calmer around here and I can settle in on fun sewing and babysitting my grandbaby.
Here are some projects I'm looking forward to upon my return.
A few back porch sewing sessions and I've almost got this little quilt finished. I'm in the home stretch.
This one is basted and ready for hand quilting.
I am crushing hard on little half inch sawteeth.
Yesterday I had an idea on how to piece tiny one inch finished stars. I'm eager to play with this idea some more.
Gwen Marston's latest book, A Common Thread, is one I've been wanting for YEARS. It is full of beautiful photographs of beautiful quilts. I also think it has the perfect title, A Common Thread. The book shows Gwen's varied quilt styles from traditional, to applique, and liberated but every quilt also clearly reflects HER style.
The chapters in the book include Traditional Patchwork, Applique, Liberated Patchwork, String Quilts, and Abstract Quilts in Solids. The entire books is filled with photographs interspersed with introductions Gwen wrote for each chapter. The left side of each spread is a full shot of each quilt. The right side of each spread has one, two, or three close up photographs showing details and interesting parts of the quilt.
This spread shows the quilt, Little Stars, that inspired my Twinkling Stars quilt.
The photography is beautifully done and you can see every quilting stitch in the detail shots. You can even see the quilting lines in the full quilt photos.
I love looking at all the details. I can even study how the pieces were sewn together.
If you like to look at beautiful quilts, this book is for you. If you want to be a quilter, this book is for you. If you know how to quilt and have mastered the basic liberated quilt making techniques, this book is for you.
I would keep writing more to convince you that you need this book but I need to go sew. This book has given me lots of ideas of things I want to try in my next quilts. I have a few log cabin ideas to explore, I want to dig out my reproduction fabrics, and of course I love the Little Baskets on page 36. What should I work on first?
Thank you Gwen for making such beautiful quilts and an excellent book that features them.
You can get your own copy of A Common Thread from Amazon with this affiliate link.
I have been plugging along on my projects here between our family summer activities. This binding on this little quilt is almost finished and I've started quilting the liberated log cabin that I made a couple of weeks ago. I'm approaching the quilting in an improvisational manner making it up as I go. The quilting on both of these little quilts has been done while my husband reads chapters of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban to us. It has been heavenly. My boys were just the right age when the books first came out and had to wait for each book until it was released. We read each of them as a family one chapter a day and savored that time. I thought we were teaching some good life lessons there. You only get to read them for the first time once. Two years ago we started the series with miss P. one book each summer starting on Harry's birthday. It is a slow pace for some but just right for us and faster than the boys made it through them. I think enough time may have passed that it isn't on everyone's mind and so far she hasn't heard spoilers from her friends. So far so good.
Yesterday I was a bit under the weather and spent the afternoon on our back porch couch with this quilt. I love the quilt but being feverish I really wanted to snuggle under it and thought it needed to be about eight inches longer. So, today, I started another log cabin that I hope will end up a little bigger than the postage stamp quilt I used yesterday.
I'm working with my blue scraps with a touch of gold. I like it so far but dang, these pieces are big! I'm hoping for a quickish finish so I'm pushing through.