Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year!

We wish you a new year fill with all things good—
family, friends, health, peace, 
needles, thread, fabric, ribbons, beads, and pretty scissors!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Our Year in Review

We thought it would be fun to do a little year-in-review post this week, since it is almost time to say goodbye to 2018. What a year it has been! We have traveled to a few countries, enjoyed meeting many fellow stitchers in different parts of the world, and completed a lot of projects and patterns. Here is our year in pictures and posts. Just click on the caption, which is a link to the original post.

Birmingham Festival of Quilts

Birmingham Festival of Quilts 

Long Island

International Quilt Market, Houston
One of several posts with the beauty of the exhibit is linked above.

Patterns for You

Free BOM : Flora and Fauna of Germany, wool version
Free BOM: Flora and Fauna of Germany, cotton version

An Inspiring Jacket and a Free Pattern

BOM: In the Garden Series

A Cottage Christmas Stocking

Christmas Markets and a Free Pattern

Things We Have Stitched

Petite Floral Wreath

Baltimore Elegance blocks 
(Patterns by Elly Sienkiewicz)

Lovely Botanicals

Wool ornaments

Hopefully you have enjoyed our trip down memory lane. We have so enjoyed sharing our passion with you all and look forward to a wonderful 2019, full of ribbon, threads, fabric, and more!

Monday, December 24, 2018

We wish you...


...the happiest of holiday seasons!

Thank you for sharing our journey, and we look forward 
to our adventures together in the year to come. 

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Who Needs a Pattern?

'Tis the season for giving—and decorating! But as the weather chills and winter comes upon us, it is also a great season for stitching. This year, I (Teri) decided it might be fun to do some free-stitching and practice my spontaneous designing (not my forte), using some felted wool from old sweaters and whatever threads and beads I had on hand that made me happy. I tend to do better with a plan, but I allowed myself to play with various stitches and combinations, trying new threads and just having fun. Here are my results.

A gathered lace flower surrounded by pearly beads remind me of a snowflake. I gave this one to a friend before she left for her Florida winter, so she could be reminded of the snow she'd be missing.

I gathered an assortment of threads that I had been given, but had not yet tried, as well as my bin of beads. I cut wool circles of about two inches, and smaller pieces to stitch in the center, and I was ready to play. Above, the results are under my tree on the embroidered tree skirt that my mom lovingly stitched for me some thirty years ago.

The center circle is attached using a knotted blanket stitch with alternating long and short spokes; a bead added between each stitch. It is edged with a blanket stitch.

The sweater design inspired the embroidery on this one, accented with crystal and bugle beads and knots. Rayon thread gave a bit of luster to the knots and the blanket stitches around the edge. 

Bugle beads create the star with a glass bead in the center. The rest is blanket stitching.

Rayon thread is used for the blanket stitch around the diamond, which is stitched with a ribbon flower made of 1/8-inch ribbon lazy daisies with a beaded center. 

The green center is attached with a beaded blanket stitch, filled with herringbone stitch and surrounded by seed stitches and a feather-stitched snowflake.

Rayon thread adds luster to the lazy daisy flower in the center. The ornament is edged with a knotted blanket stitch, with beads added between each stitch. 

The bugle beads surround a glass bead to create an eight-pointed star, this time with wool thread colonial knots on the ends of the beads. On the edge, I added larger, triangular beads every third blanket stitch. I made a knot before and after the bead.

Here, my shape is not an exact circle but more of a teardrop shape. In the center circle, I stitched three bugle beads and used pearl cotton to stitch a knot in the center and detached lazy daisy stitches between each bead. To attach the circle, I used a blanket stitch, alternating the direction of the spokes. I then added wool colonial knots between the spokes in the circle and at the tip of the spokes outside of the circle. I edged with a knotted, beaded blanket-stitch.

The pearly bead star is centered with a pearl cotton colonial knot—the same thread used to attach the diamond. (Well, almost a diamond; those little shapes tended to shift on me.) Rayon/metallic thread (Dazzle, by Wonderfil Specialty Threads) gave some sparkle to the chain stitch and colonial knots, as well as the knotted, beaded blanket stitch around the edge.

Finally, I used a small herringbone stitch with the rayon thread to attach the center circle. Pearl cotton and small beads created the feather-stitched snowflake in the center. The ornament is then embroidered with pearl cotton chain stitches and rayon herringbone stitches and colonial knots.

The possibilities are endless. I could have kept on stitching these little gems, but other seasonal obligations are curtailing my creative time. Most of these little ornaments have already be given to friends. They make fun little personal gifts and would make great gift tags as well. 

The best part is that because the wool tends to be pretty thick when you felt sweaters, you don't even have to back them. It is pretty easy to hide the thread ends in the middle of the wool, and I just used a thick thread for the outer edge to make it look neat. The only problem is that I hardly dented my felted sweater wool stash—so more fun awaits. Maybe I'll have to make some mittens, too!

With a few more ornaments, my Charlie Brown tree might be transformed! 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Christmas Markets

It's been a busy holiday season here in Germany! Christmas markets, cookie decorating, and of course, stitching. Today's post will share a little bit of what's been going on over here, and we have a free ornament pattern as a bonus! 

Christmas markets are quintessentially German, and around here they are in full swing. Last week I did a marathon of four Christmas markets—three in the Black Forest and one locally. Every market is a little different as each town puts their own spin on it. Some are small with a few vendors and others are large with rows and rows of stalls, but each has a special charm unique to the town. The way to find the Christmas market (if you don't use Google maps on your phone) is to look for the church steeple, as the market is usually around the church. The bonus is you get to see some lovely, old churches as well as many beautiful and very old buildings. 

Church in Freiburg, Germany

Colorful building in Freiburg, Germany

Rathaus in Gegenbach, Germany.
Every day of Advent, a new piece of art is displayed in one of the windows.

Beautiful hand-carved Nativity.

Appliqué center medallion?
Always on the lookout for inspiration.

A friend of mine told me about a cookie decorating class that she had taken. The cookies she decorated for Thanksgiving were stunning, so I looked into taking a class for Christmas. When I went to the Facebook page for Sugar Art Creations by Gulnaz my jaw dropped! Her cookies and sugar art work are mind-blowing and I began to really look forward to the class. I loved the similarities of Gulnaz' sugar art to embroidery. Here are a few pictures of her work and our class:

Our class.
Love this little house.

Look at that lace detail!

I would love to see these designs stitched or in ribbon.

This ranunculus is made of sugar!

Again, every part of this rose and hydrangea bloom is made of sugar.

I think my calling is stitching not sugar but I was still happy with my cookies.

As usual, for me, the month of December flies by and I am left in the middle of it trying to get last minute things done. I really wanted to make some ornaments for various people here, but it needed to be something relatively simple and quick. Tiny wool Christmas trees seemed the ticket, so I pulled out a few wool scraps and got started. I fused my wool but that is optional. Cut out a 3.5 background, backing, and batting. Set the backing and batting aside and assemble your tree on your background as shown.

Step 1—Stitch down the tree trunk

Step 2—Add the first set of branches

Step 3—Add the second layer

Step 4—Add the third layer. At this point, whip stitch just the sides of the branches down, leaving the bottoms un-stitched.

Step 5—Embroider chain stitched swags and French knot ornaments. If desired you could add a bead at the top or glue a crystal there.

To assemble, place your batting piece under your finished background and then lay your backing on top of the tree, right side down. At this point, insert a two inch piece of ribbon, folded in half, between your background and backing at the top corner. Make sure the folded end is inside and the cut ends are in the seam allowance. Pin and then sew around the square, leaving a small opening to turn, Turn your ornament, poking out the corners and then slip stitch the opening closed. Your ornament is finished!

This ornament went together so quickly—I made 8 in the space of two days—and is a good last-minute gift. 
Hopefully all your stitching for Christmas is going well and that you have been able to finish a few things. Thankfully, there is still a little time to get things done. We hope you have a chance to enjoy the season in the midst of the to-do lists, shopping and general busyness.

Have fun stitching!