Thursday, November 28, 2019

We are thankful!

At this time of year, we like to pause and be thankful for the many blessings in our lives. As a small company, Through the Needle's Eye has so many things that fill us with gratitude. Our cornucopia overflows with thanksgiving! 


Our many blog readers. Since we began our blog in 2015, it has received over 321,000 page views. We have over 1500 readers who receive our blog by email, and we aren't sure how many more through Bloglovin'Quilters Blogs, other blog sites, social media, or other means. But we are so grateful for the support of all of our readers, especially those who leave comments or send us emails. Stitching is our passion, and we love to share it with you!

Our social media followers. Did you know that you can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest? Some weeks we are more active than others, but it is a fun way to interact and see what we are stitching. Check us out if you are on any of those sites! You can click the link in the captions below.




Our local quilt shops. There is no place like home, unless it is a quilt shop—a home away from home for anyone who loves to work with fibers. We are thankful that Jackie, the owner of Patches Quilting and Sewing in Mt. Airy, MD, took a chance on us five years ago and helped us to get into our teaching groove. We are also thrilled to be able to work with Kathy, the owner of Primitive Homespuns Wool and Needleworks in Frederick, MD; we teach classes there, and Kathy kits many of our wool patterns. We love our shops!!


Primitive Homespuns Wool & Needleworks:
And we are grateful to have our designs featured on the shop's homepage! 😊

The Baltimore AppliquĂ© Society. Our first lecture was scheduled with BAS, at the very beginning of our partnership. The encouragement of the members of this group went a long way in giving us the confidence to move forward with our business. We have taught several workshops for them, primarily focusing on embellishing appliquĂ© blocks. What a fabulous organization, promoting the history of appliquĂ© quilts and acquisition of skills as well. 


Past workshops taught for BAS

Future BAS workshop, to be taught in June 2020
Patterns in this series taught with permission of Elly Sienkiewicz, from Baltimore Elegance

The Academy of AppliquĂ©. When we first decided to start our business, it was a dream to be able to teach at a venue like the Academy. It has been a humbling honor to be able to be a part of this magnificent experience, and we are indebted to Barbara for inviting and supporting us. And of course, those who have enrolled in our classes—who have stitched and laughed with us—have proven to us that dreams do come true. March of 2020 will mark our fourth year teaching there, and we have loved every moment of our adventures in Williamsburg. We might have a seat or two still open. We hope to meet you there!  

The Academy of AppliquĂ©:

Our class in March 2020 is from our new quilt, Woodland Reverie, with an option to choose a spring or fall block, or both.

Baltimore on the Prairie. Another venue on our teaching bucket list has been this appliqué conference in Nebraska, so we were delighted when Tresa invited us to teach our wool and ribbon designs next September! The conference comes highly recommended, and we are looking forward to being part of the faculty there next year. We are so grateful to have this opportunity. Thank you, Tresa, and thank you to all who have already enrolled in our sessions. If you haven't yet decided, we hope you might join us!

Baltimore on the Prairie:

Our Baltimore Fraktur class, in two colorways 
We are currently designing a couple of settings for this center medallion.

Our Floral Elegance class expands on our mix of fibers, combining wool appliqué and ribbon flower techniques.

Quilt guilds, near and far. It is always a pleasure to receive an invitation to speak at a guild and share the stories of our quilts with fellow stitchers. We have lectured in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and New York—and Germany. Every quilt has a story, and we love to share the tales of our quilts, and often to hear some of your stories, as well. Thank you to those who have reached out to us and invited us. Someday, perhaps, we might pay you a visit!

You! The best way to learn something is to teach it. We have both become better needle artists because of the opportunities we have had to teach you, whether it be at a class, Academy, conference, lecture, or writing our blog. You make us better stitchers, and you are the reason we love what we do. 


Thursday, November 21, 2019

Stitching a Tea Cozy Garden

A few months ago, I (Teri) joined the local chapter of the Embroiderers' Guild of America. Each month at the meetings, an embroidery project is offered; at my first meeting it was a cute little tea cozy, made with buttons. I love tea, and I have a vast collections of buttons, so I gathered some fun buttons and threads and set off on my new adventure. 

I love to challenge myself to learn new stitches or to make them with different threads or applications. For this project, I chose to focus on using Painters Threads and floss by Weeks Dye Works. I had a wonderful time experimenting and just playing, without a real plan. The tea cozy went together pretty quickly, and I think it looks pretty happy sitting on my counter. I had intended to make it as a gift, so it will be a bit difficult to part with it! 

We were given a lovely kit that included the cut pieces of linen, the liner, and the insulating fabric. The butterfly buttons were available for us as well. This is how I created my button-embroidered tea cozy garden.

Choosing the buttons and arranging them was my biggest challenge.
Once I was pleased, I took a picture to follow as a guide.

Stems were lightly drawn with pencil and stitched with a stem stitch or chain stitch.
I used Painters Threads pearl #8, Turner. I then sewed all the buttons on with Weeks Dye Works floss, two strands of Saffron.

From left to right, these are the stitches and threads I used for each flower.

Picot stitch with Weeks Dye Works floss, Grenadine

Pistil stitches with Painters Threads pearl #5, Van Gogh

Colonial knots with Painters Threads pearl #8, Grandma Moses
and lazy daisy stitches with Weeks floss, Grenadine

Lazy daisy petals with Painters Threads metallic braid #4, Grandma Moses;
 ribbon stitch leaves with Painters Threads 7mm ribbon, Turner

The bee is made with DMC pearl #12, a bullion knot made with one strand each of black and yellow, with wings of loops made with Painters Threads metallic braid #4, Longan. To see a tutorial on making the bee, read our Garden Gate post by clicking here.

Drizzle stitches with Weeks floss, Autumn Leaves

Colonial knots and fly stitches with Weeks floss, Grenadine

This button is ringed with cast-on stitches that overlap to create the petals,
made with Painters Threads metallic braid #4, Van Gogh.

Left leaf—fishbone stitch, right—stacked fly stitches
Painters Threads pearl #8, Turner

Leaves, left to right: lazy daisy stitch with 7mm ribbon, stacked fly stitches with pearl #8, stacked lazy daisy stitches with Weeks floss, ribbon stitches with 7mm ribbon. Straight stitches with metallic braid #4 makes the flower. (All but floss is Painters Threads.) 

Pekinese stitch with Painters Threads pearl #8, Grandma Moses

Bullion stitches with Painters Threads pearl #5, Van Gogh

I changed the position of the butterfly button from my original plan; it seemed to be more balanced amidst the flowers. And the bees just completed my garden. As I write this, the weather is dreary and damp. I think I will go make some tea! Won't you join me?

Thursday, November 14, 2019

A Quilt Shop Stop and the Inspirational English Countryside

As a child, I (Kara) lived in England while my father was stationed there with the Air Force. Our family had a bright, orange Volkswagon van that carried us to the many wonderful places throughout the island for our holidays. Ever since that time, I have always loved Britain—the cities, the countryside, and especially the people.

My husband often has to travel there for work, and anytime I can tag along, I will. On one of our previous visits, I visited the shop Bee Crafty and met some wonderful ladies (you can read about that here), so I decided to visit another quilt shop on this trip. This time I went a lovely shop called the Poppy Patch, located in Great Doddington, Northamptonshire. This friendly shop is located in a converted barn in a quiet little village. The owners, Mary and Sam, couldn't have been more welcoming! The store may not be large, but it is well stocked with some amazing and tempting things, and there is an open, well-lit space upstairs for classes and workshops.

The delightful owners, Mary and Sam

Glorious fabrics to tempt anyone
Liberty quilting cotton tempted me to break
the bank!

In addition to fabric, Mary and Sam stock a wonderful variety of embroidery and quilt patterns and also exclusively carry a lovely selection of hand dyed flosses from the Australian company, Cottage Garden Threads. Sam gave me one to try, and I am looking forward to using it, as the color is divine.

Some of the many embroidery and quilt kits

I really should have taken more pictures of the shop, but I was busy spending time upstairs for one of their Social Sewing days. There are three during the week, and I happened to be there for one of them. Again, I was warmly welcomed and enjoyed spending time with the lovely and fun ladies there. 

It was wonderful day spent with new friends

Lots of laughter and fun!

My stitching for the day—our Marcia's Flowers pattern.

Of course, I didn't leave the shop empty handed. I had to restrain myself as I only had so much space in the suitcase, but I did bring home some wonderful fabric from a couple of the many Australian fabric designers the Poppy Patch carries. This bird kit also found some space in my suitcase:

I am a sucker for birds of all kinds, and this kit was no exception.

I can't wait to dive into this!

I love to meet quilters from other countries and especially visit the local quilt shops. It is so important that we support our local quilt stores, as so many are having to shut their doors. There is no online substitute for seeing beautiful fabrics right in front of you and choosing just the right ones for what you need—or maybe just want! I wish I could have spent more time in the shop, but I certainly hope to return and maybe teach a little wool appliquĂ©. Thank you to Mary, Sam, and the lovely ladies at the Social Sewing day for a warm welcome!

After my visit to the quilt shop, my husband and I traveled to the beautiful, Devon coast. The southwest part of England offered up some beautiful sights that were so inspirational—I may even make a landscape quilt or two! Please enjoy some of the beauty of the English country and coast.

The harbor in Clovelly, Devon

The top of this planter made me think of quilt border

Carved wood door front in Clovelly but made in Oberramagau, Germany

Embroidered postcards from Oundle, Northamptonshire

A hidden cottage in the Salisbury countryside

I love birds, but mushrooms are a close second—this stone one was amazing!
Not an inspirational country scene, but one of my favorite things in England—Sticky Toffee Pudding!

One of our stops this trip was to the American Museum in Bath. The Kaffe Fassett exhibit there was amazing and deserves its own post, but that will have to wait for a week or two. Here is a little tease:

I hope you have enjoyed this little trip to Britain and a glimpse into a splendid quilt shop. Stay tuned in the coming weeks to see some outstanding quilts both old and new!