Friday, May 6, 2022

Spring Travels and Rest

We have had a lot going on lately and unfortunately our needles have been rather still, much to our dismay. Between road trips, health, and family, we have had to take a little hiatus from the blog and social media. Our needles will be busy soon, but in the meantime we will share a few pictures from the aforementioned road trip. It was to Paducah, Kentucky for the AQS quilt show and it was wonderful!

 Please enjoy!

Amish Chow Chow
Nancy Simmons

Simone Steuxner

Madam Butterfly
Marilyn Badger

Mary Olsen

Triple Treat
Karen Boe, Marilyn Lidstrom Larsen, and Barb Simons

Angel Flowers
Barbara Ann McCraw

Happy Thanksgiving
Aki Sakai

Crystal Radiance
Dawn Siden and Joyce Grafe

Midnight in Morocco
Marilyn Badger

Tickled Pink
Susan Carlson

Sari Not Sari
Amy Pabst

Hopefully you have enjoyed just some of the wonderful quilts from the show.
We will be back soon!

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Nesting Nuthatch

We are thrilled to have had such a great response to our Blue Jar Medley offering, Nesting Nuthatch! If you have followed us for any length of time, you will know that birds of all kinds are near and dear to our hearts. I (Kara) particularly love the nuthatch, as it was one of my Grandmother's favorite birds.

There are a few new techniques in this block—none of which are difficult, but we thought we would show some more detailed pictures for some of those techniques. Let's show you the nest according to your pattern directions. 

The Nest
In the nest directions #2:

Gather your two brown wool “noodles” and the piece of sari silk ribbon. Holding them all together, begin to coil them around on top of the pedestal, twisting and overlapping the strips. Pin in place loosely.

Nest materials

Gather your two brown wool noodles and your piece of sari silk.

Holding them all together, begin to coil them around
on the top of the pedestal.

Twisting and overlapping the strips.

Pin in place loosely.

Nest Directions #3:
Starting at the top of the nest, use brown thread and take tack stitches to secure the nest pieces and build your nest, arranging as you go. You may want to snip the pieces to help with arranging. Stitch the nest down to the bottom inch, and then stop, leaving the remainder of the nest pinned.

Nest Directions #4: 
Take the green roving and thinly spread it over the center of the nest, as pictured. Stitch into place with a few tack stitches. Note that the roving will only be in the center, and not out to the edges, to give the illusion of the inside of the nest.

Nest Directions #5: 
If you want to stuff your eggs, cut a couple of layers of batting scraps (we used a high loft poly batt) a bit smaller than the eggs. Layer the batting under the eggs, one at a time, beginning with the back egg. Appliqué in place, being sure the batting is beneath the egg. You may find it easier to use individual stab stitches around the eggs to help achieve the rounded egg shape.

Nest Directions #6: 
Finish the front of the nest, being sure to stitch a bit of the nest material over the bottom of the front two eggs.

The Straw Flowers
The straw flowers are made with a yellow wool center and a Pekinese stitch applied around that center.

If you would like to see some close-ups and an entire post about the Pekinese stitch, follow the links below:

We also have some close-up pictures of the ribbon stitch in a Facebook post linked below, as well as a link for a whipped chainstitch (Queen Ann'e lace stems) tutorial:

As hard as we try to make sure our patterns are complete, we are human and sometimes little things slip through our proofreading brains. Neither Teri nor I caught our lettering omission until now, so we have sent out an email to all those who have downloaded our pattern and have fixed the pattern for future downloads. If you didn't get the lettering addition, then you can download it below. We also are linking a post that we have written earlier on using Press and Seal.

Mason jar lettering: Updated template with lettering

Hopefully these pictures and links will help you as you stitch our sweet little nuthatch block. We loved making this block, and we can't wait to see the finished quilt with all the designers' blocks included!

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, March 31, 2022

A "Crazy" Story

When we first started our blog and set up our Through the Needle's Eye website, our hope was to invite others with stories of their quilts to share. In fact, on the home page of our website, there is a form asking you to share stories you may have about your treasures. We were absolutely delighted to receive this email a few weeks ago from Kathleen Barden. Her story was so fascinating that we asked her permission to share it with you. She has kindly accepted our invitation, and thrilled us further by sending pictures. Thank you, Kathleen! And readers—enjoy!!


The end of the story is that I have three exquisitely embroidered crazy quilt panels with four 12.5-inch blocks in each panel. Plus another four-block panel that lacks embroidery over the joined block seams. Plus eight more 12.5-inch embroidered crazy quilt blocks waiting to be sewn together. Plus two 21-inch blocks with some embroidery and theorem painting in the centers. I believe the blocks may date back to late Victorian times. I'm looking for information about how to honor the history of these blocks while creating a finished quilt. 

The middle of the story is that I have already spent approximately 15 hours removing the three intact, completed panels from a brown Velveteen dress made in the late 60's and worn in a high school student play. She was an excellent seamstress, making fashion forward clothing until a few weeks before she died. 

The beginning of the story is that, for helping a friend downsize her sewing room, she gave me three boxes of her favorite fabrics. She had owned an upscale fabric shop in an exclusive suburban area from the early 1960s to the mid 1990s. As I was in the midst of packing to move as well, I sealed, then labeled the boxes and put them with the others to be moved to my new guest/sewing room. Recently, anticipating overnight guests, I have been cleaning up my sewing room. Stored under the bed were those three boxes. One box contains her favorite blue and white batiks from her travels in Indonesia. Another box is full of glorious yards of jewel-toned silks, satins, taffetas, and velvets. The third box held that dress she'd made for her daughter from parts of a crazy quilt, and all the rest of the intact, leftover crazy quilt blocks. The next chapter is mine to write/sew.

Here are some pictures you might like to use, along with my story. 

One of the lessons learned from all my efforts with this project to date is the critical importance of documentation for everything I do and create. I had a habit of labeling my "really good stuff." Henceforth, everything is getting labeled!

Just in the last two weeks, I "unearthed" an address for one of my benefactor's daughters. She informed me that, also in the mid 1960s, her Mom made a brown velveteen skirt and a vest with crazy quilt blocks for her younger sister. Neither can remember what happened to those garments. They both believe that their Mom either won the blocks in an auction or purchased them in an antique store. Although their Mom had the ability, neither remember her adding any embroidery of her own to the blocks. 

I am more reluctant than I was, to add any details of my own; keeping all that I have original to that talented woman whose name I shall never know but whose work I want to honor. It's becoming an awesome responsibility to own these beautiful pieces of another woman's history. I'm thrilled that her lovely work will live on and be appreciated well after she is gone.

Thank you. I look forward to reading the comments that your followers will add and to learning more about crazy quilting in general.

 ~by Kathleen B. Barden


If anyone has any information or suggestions for Kathleen as to how she can "honor the history of these blocks while creating a finished quilt," please give her some feedback in the comments below. We would all appreciate any suggestions you might have. Again, many thanks to Kathleen for sharing her story with us all; hopefully, our group effort here can offer her some ideas about how to preserve these treasures.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

New Store Goodies and a Birthday Giveaway Winner!

We have put some brand, new items in our store and just in case you may have missed them, we thought we would showcase them here—and of course announce our giveaway winner. 

Earlier this week we launched our Spring Potstickers and thank you to all who purchased our fourth iteration of these cute, little circles of plant decor.

As with all our potstickers, each kit comes complete with everything you need to finish them. You just have to provide the wooden skewers.

If you order the kit, you will receive a free pattern for our homage to Ukranian eggs.

Wool roving creates the bunny tail

Springtime brings the robin redbreast not just to our yards but to our potted plants as well

A dimensional daffodil to grace your indoors long after the real ones have faded.

And now to our giveaway...

Joni Keefer Giancola

You are our winner! Please email us with your address and we will send you your goodies!

Thank you to everyone who participated in our giveaway. We hope that all your stitching, birthday wishes come true.