Friday, April 7, 2023

Easter Egg Inspiration

Easter in Germany is a very special time and celebrated in many different ways. I had the privilege of visiting a friends egg collection. I didn't know what to expect, but the eggs were a marvel. Here is a re-posting of my visit so please enjoy!

Signs of spring are everywhere here in Germany! When I (Kara) came home from the Academy of Appliqué, blooms of all kinds were just starting to peek through. Now, after a few weeks back, spring is here in full force. Daffodils and tulips are everywhere, primroses are emerging from the leaves in the forest, and the fruit trees are ready to burst forth with their glorious blossoms!

Spring and Easter are well celebrated in Germany. There is a Fruhlingsfest or Springfest, and there are even Easter markets similar to the beloved Christmas markets. While I have not been to an Easter market yet, I had a wonderful opportunity to see a spectacular display of decorated eggs. This collection of eggs was owned by a lovely lady by the name of Hanne, a member of our town's quilt guild. She has been collecting these incredible eggs for many years and primarily collects real eggs that are decorated in a myriad of ways. Every two years, Hanne sets up little vignettes throughout her apartment to display her collection. She gave me permission to share her collection on the blog, and I thought it would be an inspirational treat!

Hanne has a large collection of eggs painted with scenes from the Root Children books by Sybille von Olfers. These images were also used in the quilt Mother Earth and her Children, which is probably my favorite quilt ever.

What a beautiful scene Hanne has created!

The next display of eggs were those that had a religious theme. They were mostly about Easter, but there was one special one that showed the Nativity.

This egg contains a surprise inside.

A beautiful, hand created, Nativity scene!

The Easter display

Scene depicting a pregnant Mary on a donkey
One of Hanne's most expensive eggs

A beautifully painted angel

Many of the eggs in the collection had birds, flowers, wildlife, or lovely country scenes. I, of course, loved all the birds! 

The scenery scroll fit inside of the egg!

The inside of the egg
The outside

Noah's Ark on the inside
The outside

What's inside?

A sweet little fairy!

The filigree eggs were made using a dental drill!

These are the sweetest!

This artist spent many years learning how to paint faces, and it shows.

I would love to stitch this scene!

These rabbits live inside an ostrich egg.

This next egg has quite the story. Hanne was bringing it home in her suitcase when security flagged it as a possible grenade! Thankfully, it made it home safely.

It is a stunningly beautiful non-grenade!

Hanne knew that I loved flowers from showing the Flora and Fauna of Germany blocks at the guild, so she kindly invited me to see her collection through our mutual friend, Birgit. I was so honored that she would think of me! Each egg in her collection is very special and treasured, and I was inspired by all the beauty created by various artists. Hopefully these "egg"cellent wonders will inspire you!

Thank you Hanne!

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

"Gnome-shave" November (or How to Attach a Beard)

Instead of "No-shave November," over here it is "Gnome-shave November," as our gentleman gnome has a fun and curly beard! We have used curly wool to give some great texture to our gnome's beard, and the curly wool is available as part of the embellishments in our wool kit. While it might look complicated, we have broken the process down for you in a series of pictures.

Use just a small amount of curly wool—it doesn't take much.

Roll it around in your hands until you have a small, slightly compacted ball of wool. 

Pull apart the ball of wool to fit your beard shape.

Stick a few pins in the wool, then thread your needle with matching thread and start stitching at the top of the beard. 

With small tack stitches, couch the wool down working your way around the face.

Down one side of the beard...

...until you get back to where you started.
Your beard will look very fluffy and somewhat out of control. 

In order to tame that beard, take small tack stitches within the beard to tidy up the fluff. As you are taking those stitches, you can tack down any stray fibers and bring them under control. You will use a lot of tack stitches.

So that is how we attached the wool for our gentleman gnome's beard. If you don't have curly wool, wool roving would work, or just use the plain cream wool and add some stitching within it with wool thread.

Have fun with it!

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Appliqué Academy: Pineapple Medallion

The pineapple has been a symbol of welcome for many generations, and our Pineapple Medallion will do just that as it hangs in your home. This dimensional block was inspired by a fabric we purchased last year. When we saw the design, we knew that we needed to translate it into a medallion and hopefully a future quilt. We also knew that it would be perfect block to teach at the Academy of Appliqué in Williamsburg, Virginia. This will be our second session class, March 2-4, 2023.

This block is chock full of dimensional flowers and leaves that look difficult, but are certainly not! In class, we will teach you how to make wired ribbon roses, ruched silk flowers, velvet and bias silk leaves, and let's not forget a fantastic, dimensional silk pineapple adorned with beads and stitching. 

Two layers of wired ombre ribbon will be used to create the roses.

A special technique using seam binding creates a two-color bloom. Little
embroidered details with big impact will be taught as well.

Come learn how we created this padded and embellished silk pineapple. 
Once you learn how, you will be able to use the technique with other
appliqué projects.

These silk ruched flowers are adorned with a rich, beaded, velvet center.

Lest we forget that this is the Academy of Appliqué, we will be 
teaching a couple of different appliqué techniques in class.

The class catalog for the Academy is a rather large file full of amazing classes and teachers, so it does take a little bit of time to load, but it is worth the wait. Our classes will be at the very end (p. 58), and we hope you will consider taking one or both of them. We strive to make our classes a fun and encouraging environment, where we learn a lot but laugh while doing it.

If you have any questions about any of our sessions or the Academy, we would be happy to answer them. The Academy of Appliqué is an awesome place to spend a few days or a week learning new things, but also making new friends who share the joy in the wonderful creative process that is appliqué. The link below will take you to the Academy website, where you can learn more about the Academy. Registration will take place online at noon EDT on Labor Day, September 5th. 

We hope to see you there!


Monday, August 8, 2022

Appliqué Academy: Woodland Reverie—Owls and Wood Roses

It is that time of year again! The catalog of classes has now been published, and we can finally reveal what we will be teaching at the Academy of Appliqué in Williamsburg, Virginia in 2023. Check out that catalog of wonderful offerings, and you will have a difficult time deciding what classes to enjoy: there are so many amazing instructors with a wide variety of techniques and skills presented. We do hope you will keep scrolling all the way to the end (p. 58) to see our classes, but we will show you a bit of detail here, too. 

In our first session (February 27–March 1), we are continuing our woodland journey with two new blocks from our growing Woodland Reverie quilt. Both of these dimensional blocks are filled with many different fibers and stitching techniques. 

The Great Horned Owls sit amongst winter greenery, with wool pinecones and stuffed holly berries.

Wired ribbon roses surround our Wood Rose Garden filled with lovely little posies.

All skills for both blocks will be covered in this class—and some will overlap—so you will be able to increase your appliqué and embellishment skills. Multiple methods of appliqué will be taught, along with ribbon work and embroidery. We will play with exciting new fibers and techniques to help you bring life to these dimensional woodland blocks. 

We are creating our Woodland Reverie blocks on both a dark and light background. Which will you choose?

Which woodland block will you select for this session? Or perhaps you will venture into our woodland reverie and choose both! We have presented four of the blocks thus far, and those patterns are available in our web store. If you want to learn more about our Woodland Reverie quilt, CLICK HERE.

Details of Great Horned Owls

This sleepy owl is embellished with wool threads and turkey work.

Wool roving and Ultrasuede add the final touches on the owls’ faces.

Dimensional wool pinecones with stuffed holly berries and simmering ribbon mistletoe and fun texture to this block.

Details of Wood Rose Garden

Dimensional cast-on stitched posies are centered with a bias silk ribbon flower.

Hand-dyed bias silk ribbon bloom

Posies made with cast-on stitch and silk ribbon leaves

Wired ribbon adds eye appeal to these layered wood roses, centered with padded silk. Broderie perse leaves add realism and fun to our featured corner blooms.

Every year at the Academy when people see our work, they comment that they wished they could have seen them in person, as a photograph never quite captures the dimension and texture of the blocks. We have striven to capture images that illustrate those qualities and hope that these larger pictures help you to see that. It is always a challenge!

As always, if you have any questions, please reach out and email us. We are happy to answer any queries for you as you choose your classes. There are so many awesome classes being offered this year that we do not envy your selection process. But we sure would love to see you in our room! 

If you love appliqué, this is the place for you. It is perfection: a gathering of sisters (and perhaps some brothers) who share your passion for stitching, who will become fast friends. Its location on the James River in Williamsburg adds to the charm of this event. Many thanks to Barbara Blanton and her staff, who work so hard to create this opportunity for us. The link below will take you to the site, where you can learn all about the Academy, as well as access the catalog. We hope to see you there!