Thursday, August 31, 2017

News and Updates from Through the Needle's Eye

With summer (too quickly) drawing to a close, I (Teri) thought it might be good to pause and take a look at what our fall season has in store. As you likely know, Kara and I have both relocated—she is living in Germany for a few years, and I have moved a bit west to a new home, still in Maryland. We have both been getting settled and spending a lot of time texting and working via FaceTime. What would we do without technology?! It has indeed been our friend.

I have always loved the Peanuts gang, so what happier way to start than to share an image of some blanket love? (I imagine Linus gave his blanket so much love over the years that it ended up looking a bit like a patchwork quilt.) And isn't sharing a quilt with a friend the best kind of happiness?

So, now I shall get on with sharing our quilty news!

The Potts Palooza Continues

This past year, we taught embroidery embellishment at Patches Quilting and Sewing in Mt. Airy, MD, using the Margaret Potts Quilt pattern, by the Baltimore Appliqué Society. Our class enjoyed it so much that they wanted to continue. Our next six blocks will include ribbon embellishment. You can read more about the Margaret Potts quilt by reading our Potts Palooza posts. Since Kara is in Germany, she will be stitching up some of the models, but I will be teaching solo here in Maryland. We will surely miss her in class!

The first block for October is this one, right, with flowers created with wired ribbon and stems embroidered with silk ribbon by River Silks.

In the Garden
A BOM Series by Through the Needle’s Eye

We are excited to introduce our new Block of the Month, In the Garden. These blocks are primarily wool appliqué, embellished with embroidery and ribbonwork. Kara and I are planning to put the blocks together at the end of the year to create a garden-themed quilt. We are working on the patterns and models now. (An ocean between us doesn't stop our teamwork!) I will be teaching the class each month, beginning in October, at Primitive Homespuns Wool & Needleworks in Frederick, MD. After the class, I will blog about it, and then the pattern will be released for purchase. Ribbon needed to complete blocks will be included with the patterns, and wool and thread kits will be available for purchase through Primitive Homespuns. Our first block, below, is Cornflowers, or Bachelor Buttons. We hope you'll join us for some gardening fun!

Flora and Fauna of Germany

Just in case you don't have enough to stitch, we are also offering a FREE Block of the Month Stitch-Along, based on photos Kara has taken around her new home in Germany. If you missed the kick-off last week, get your first pattern here.

Can you tell we love gardens?

Registration for the Academy of Appliqué

To learn about our class offerings for the 2018 Academy of Appliqué in Williamsburg, VA, you can read about them in Fleurs and Blumen. Both of the blocks were European-inspired; one from a vintage French fabric panel, and the other from an old German botanical print. Registration for classes opens on Labor Day—this coming Monday, September 4, at 12:00 NOON. Don't delay! Classes fill fast!! We would so enjoy meeting you there. We, as in our partnership will be reunited for this gig. Even an ocean can't keep Kara away from the Academy! 😀

Zierblumen (Bouquet of Flowers)
Oiseau et Panier (Bird and Basket)


Did you know we have a website? I am happy to announce that I have finally worked on updating it. Moving really threw me behind, but I am at last getting on top of things. We even have a store! It's pretty small right now, but promises to grow as our In the Garden BOM patterns are released. You can purchase our Marcia's Flowers patterns, patterns and kits for last year's Academy blocks, Floral Wreath and The Secret Garden, as well as ribbon to make pansies, described in our tutorial, Pansies.

More to Come

I have a series of workshops planned to teach for the Baltimore Appliqué Society, focusing on ribbon and embroidery embellishments. More information about that exciting project will be a future post. 

And finally, I am just now getting the chance to sit and read my new Quiltfolk magazine, left, which just arrived last week. Evidently, my issue got lost in the mail-forwarding process. I am looking forward to enjoying my reading "visit" with Hawaiian quilters. If you haven't checked out this magazine, you should. You won't be sorry! (To read previous posts, read Quiltfolk and The Quiltfolk Solution for Creative Inertia, where you can find a discount shopping code for a subscription.) More exciting news about Quiltfolk later, as well... (Cue suspenseful background music. 🎶)

That's all for now. Thanks for visiting; come back soon!

PS—Did you know this post is full of links for your convenience? If you see light teal words within the text, you can click on them to get more information. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Flora and Fauna of Germany: A Pattern Stitch-Along

Thank you for your interest in our Flora and Fauna blocks! They are no longer free but will be part of a future quilt pattern.

Welcome to our first Stitch-Along!

Our first design inspiration for our Block of the Month Stitch-Along is this beautiful butterfly. While I am not a lepidopterist, I believe this particular butterfly is a fritillary of some type. A couple of months ago, they could be seen everywhere along our paths, and I thought this would be a fun image to use for our first block. 

As I mentioned in last week's post, the goal for this project is to create relatively simple blocks that are suitable for cotton appliqué, wool appliqué, or embroidery, and can be finished easily. In each block, I will share how it was put together, along with any stitches I may have used to embellish it. Without further ado, let's get started!

A week ago, I showed some of the fabrics being considered for this butterfly. I knew that I was going to use the natural colored linen for the background, but I was undecided about what I would use for the butterfly. The final choice was the lovely piece of hand-dyed wool by Tracy Trevethan.

The first step was to get my leaves down. My favorite method of appliqué is back-basting so I transferred the design to the back of my fabric using transfer paper and began to get my leaf pieces ready to stitch.

Design on back of block

Back basted and ready to needleturn

All three leaves appliquéd

I cut out the butterfly from the pattern and pinned it to my background using the leaves, the image on the back, and my window to get the placement correct. 

Ready to trace and cut out

Pinned and ready to stitch

I used one strand of matching embroidery floss to stitch the butterfly down, but if you have matching sewing thread, that would work as well.

All stitched down and ready for embroidery

Transferring a design to embroider on top of wool can be a challenge. My preferred method is to use Glad® Press 'N' Seal® plastic wrap.

1. Put a square of Press 'N' Seal over the design.

2. Use a rollerball pen or sharpie and trace the design onto the plastic wrap. (I use white pens that I buy here.)

The design is traced.

Ready to place on wool
3. Once the design is traced, place the plastic wrap onto the butterfly, aligning the edges as pictured below. Pin all around the plastic for added protection against shifting as you stitch.

4. Stitch through the plastic wrap following the designs. Once all the embroidery is done, remove the plastic by using your finger to press on the embroidery as you remove the plastic wrap with tweezers.

Stitches and threads used
#5 brown pearl cotton for the French knots on wings and for head (Sue Spargo Eleganza color #EZM02)
3 strands of brown floss (Weeks Molasses)  for the chain-stitched thicker lines on the butterfly
2 strands of brown floss  (Weeks Molasses)for the stem-stitched, thin lines on wings
3 strands of variegated yellow/orange floss (Weeks Marigold) for stem stitch around butterfly, except for the top of the wings
#5 pearl cotton for stem stitch around butterfly body (Sue Spargo Eleganza color #EZM07)
#12 pearl cotton (Valdani M90) for bullion knots on bottom wings, outline stitch on top of wings, chain stitches on butterfly body, stem-stitched antennae with a chain stitch at the end, and chain stitches for leaf stem

The finished butterfly!

A close-up of the embroidery.

I really wanted to keep the palette for this butterfly as close to the real one as possible, but these designs are meant to be interpreted in any way you choose. If you would rather not use wool, try a solid cotton or a print. With variety in mind, I decided to do another butterfly and let the fabric's print take the place of the embroidery.

A fussy cut butterfly!

I was able to use the viscose ribbon tape I had purchased from Oliver Twists Fibres for the body,
along with some Weeks Dye Works  #12 pearl cotton color #1282

Two different versions of the same pattern and both very different. You can use your imagination to interpret this butterfly in many different ways. Hopefully these two will inspire you to get started!

All of the threads I used and the finished butterflies!

Will you join us as we stitch along together?  Each month, we will have a new free block that you can download as a PDF and print. You don't have to sign up for anything, or even commit to doing a certain number of blocks—just stitch! Feel free to ask any questions along the way or share your own tips. We'd love to be inspired by everyone's blocks and by sharing pictures of your version, you can do just that. When you complete a block, please post a picture of it on our Facebook page. For every block picture you share, you will earn an entry for our grand finale giveaway!

Are you ready? Let's stitch!