Thursday, December 31, 2020

Happy New Year!!

What a year!

Well, 2020 certainly had its challenges, but with those challenges came many opportunities—especially when it came to stitching goals! Here is a snapshot of but a few of the things we accomplished with our needles this year. And we are looking forward to the many projects we have planned for 2021.

What about you? What accomplishment from this past year gives you most pride? What are you most looking forward to in the new year? Do you have a favorite stitching goal you'd like to share in the comments? We'd love to hear from you.

We wish you all the happiness that a new year can hold as we leave the bizarre time of 2020 and enter the new year. May 2021 be filled with joy and stitches!

Happy stitching,
Teri and Kara


Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Christmas!!

For once, Teri and I (Kara) are on the same continent, although we are a few states apart. While we wish that we could have spent more time together, this year is about finding new ways to "be together." We hope that you and yours have figured out your new way to show your love to family and friends. Thankfully, we have been able to spend a little time with our Ohio family, and while there, I was able to snap a few pics of my sister-in-law's beautiful Christmas trees. We hope you enjoy a visual walk through her amazing decorations

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from 

Through the Needle's Eye!

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Vintage Re-done

As a result of having some extra time on my (Kara) hands thanks to the lockdowns, I decided I would make all three of our children quilts. I had intentions of doing that for them about 20 years ago, but only succeeded in making one child her own quilt (you can read about that HERE). The first two quilts had been finished and quilted and so I had one left to make. A long time ago, I purchased an old quilt top in a thrift store and I had yet to do anything with it. The top was probably from the 60's and was a color-filled amalgamation of scraps, with no apparent rhyme or reason as to the color placement. That didn't matter to our oldest as she has a love for all things vintage and this quilt top spoke to her.

Before I knew better, I washed the quilt top when I brought it home—big mistake. Some of the fabrics were not typical quilting cottons and a few of them frayed through the seams. When I decided to re-make this for my daughter, I knew that surgery would be involved and that not all the blocks would make it. What started out as a 30 block quilt, would have to be reduced to 20. In order to neaten things up a bit, I knew I would have to trim the blocks to a uniform size. The downside to that is that I would lose the points on the center square, but I just told myself that it would become a "snowball".

The aftermath of un-sewing
The trimmed blocks that made the cut.

The next decision to be made was what to do with the sashing. My hands had gotten sore from all the un-stitching, so taking apart all the cornerstones was not going to happen. Since the sashing had to be trimmed to the new block size, I didn't hesitate to cut out the cornerstones, but this meant I had to replace it with something. I remembered that I had a box of gingham that I received from my Grandma before she passed. Kaitlin, our daughter, was fortunate to know and love her Great-Grandma, so using this fabric added a special twist to this re-make.

The gingham cornerstones

I dug into the box of gingham again for the backing and there was a green and white piece that my grandmother had already sewn into a backing, so it was pretty apparent that it was meant to be the backing for this quilt. My long-arm friend Lisa and I decided on a great all-over leaf pattern for the quilt, and Lisa did a fantastic job completing the journey of this crazy, vintage quilt top!

This hot pink!
Gotta love a good paisley!

One of my favorite fabrics.

What was a discarded item, ended up being transformed into a unique beauty full of special details that will speak to the new owner. I don't know anything about the original maker, but I hope she would love to see what became of her quilt top.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Something's Coming, Something Good!

Could it be? Yes, it could
Something's coming, something good, if (you) can wait
Something's coming, (you) don't know what it is
But it is gonna be great

Are you the kind of person who translates everything into song? I (Teri) confess to that odd trait; no matter what I'm thinking about, somehow an obscure song gets stuck in my head as I'm processing. So this week, as I pondered this post, the song "Something's Coming," from West Side Story, replayed in my brain. Why, you may ask? Because Kara and I have been busy stitchers, preparing for a lot of fun to come in the new year—and some of it is mysterious!

Stocking up on wool for kits at
Primitive Homespuns Wool & Needleworks

Life has certainly changed a bit in the past year, with many online stitch-along type projects replacing our in-person teaching. We have learned a lot and met many new people along the way, so there has been a lot of positive in the trials. To that end, we are jumping onboard in full, and offering THREE stitch-along opportunities this winter!

First, we have been invited to join a new group: the Winter Wonderland Mystery Sew-A-Long. We'd love to have you join us by heading to the Facebook group (click here) to check it out. We will be working with a new group of twelve designers, and this project promises to be perfect for those shut-in wintry days. The title gives a big clue as to what season we'll be stitching, but the rest in a mystery! We are excited about our block, and we are getting all kinds of fun gems in the mail as we prepare to make kits. Here's the only hint you get for this block—one of the embellishments.

Second, we are again collaborating with our wonderful team of Woolen Oak Designers to create a new quilt. Again, it is a mystery, and I'm still sworn to secrecy—sorry, not even a hint—but I PROMISE you will love the designs for this new quilt! I hope that was enough to pique your curiosity and interest, because at this moment, our lips are sealed! 🙊Again, if you haven't yet joined the Woolen Oak Facebook page, click here and join the fun—and get the first notice of what's to come. 

Third, we have a new project that we are starting within our own Hopeful Bluebird Facebook Group (click here to join us). In this Stitch Along, we will be offering four floral patterns. We used wool appliqué, but our focus will be learning some new embroidery stitches as we go. What a fun way it will be to build our stitching toolbox! We do hope you will stitch along with us. A few hints below might entice you.

And finally, we have word that the Academy of Appliqué is on for March! Many safety precautions are planned, and we are looking forward to getting a wee sense of teaching normalcy returning. We are teaching these four little houses, part of a Village Wandering Series. It's not too late to register!

Village Wanderings: Homes

So, if we have to spend more time at home this winter, we are planning to stay busy and stay stitching!! How about you? 

We may not be able to give you all the details, but "something's coming, something good . . . it's gonna be great!"

Maybe you'd like to sing along while we plan to stitch along?

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Not Your Typical Free Ornament Pattern!

It's that time of year when we start unpacking the Christmas decorations and pull out all our favorite ornaments to decorate the tree. I (Kara) know that our family has some special favorites, and most of our ornaments have come to us from loved ones. Many times, those beloved ornaments have had a theme that is unique to the person who received it. The ornament below came about because I wanted to make that type of personal ornament for a friend.

While I love pizza, we have a friend who has never met a pizza he didn't like. This person is an expert on all things pizza—maybe you know someone like that, too. If so, then this free ornament pattern is for you! You will need scraps of red, cream and tan, a piece of ribbon for the hanger, and assorted threads.

This ornament stitches up in no time, and allows you to use up a few scraps of wool. I chose a tomato-sauce red, a cheese-colored cream, and a tan that looks like crust.

Once you have gathered your wool, go ahead and cut your templates out. I like to cut out around all the templates as one, glue that to the matte side of a piece of freezer paper, and then cut each template out. Some people like to trace the templates onto their fusible first, but I find I am a terrible tracer so using freezer paper is my method of choice. You can choose to use fusible or not, so do what works for you. If you do use fusible, you will only need to put fusible on the back of your top "sauce" slice. The other slice will be your backing after you have stitched your cheese and crust down.

Cut your wool pieces out as directed in the pattern. 

Not shown here is your backing slice.

Stitch down your pepperonis and add your green pepper (3 chain stitches in an arc with #8 pearl) and black olives (5 backstitches with #5 pearl). 

Add your crust and stitch down the bottom edge to the sauce with matching thread. Insert the hanger between the sauce and the crust and fuse or pin.

Add your cheese and stitch down with matching thread

Line up your backing sauce to your top slice and fuse, if using, or pin or staple all the layers. Then blanket stitch with matching thread for the sauce and then switch to a matching thread for the crust.

A finished pizza slice!

Do you know someone who would love this for their tree? If you do, then download and print the pattern below to make them a unique gift. Maybe you can top your pizza with different toppings—pineapple, sausage, anchovies (I'd rather stitch those than eat them), or maybe some bacon.

Hmm...I think I know what we are having for dinner tonight!

Thursday, November 19, 2020

All the Stockings Were Hung...

Both Teri and I (Kara) have been working on all things stocking lately. Our Cardinals Christmas Stocking was released earlier in the week, and now we would like to introduce our Floral Christmas Stocking!

This flannel and wool stocking is simple in its color scheme but is full of little details that give it a unique charm. All the simple embroidery is done with Weeks DyeWorks crewel wool, giving the stocking a lot of texture. We have a limited number of kits available that include the flannel, wool, ribbon hanger, and a whole skein of the Weeks crewel wool. All you need to provide is the lining.

I did this stocking a little differently than our Cottage Christmas stocking. Instead of cutting out the stocking pieces first and then appliquéing, I lightly traced the stocking pattern outline on my flannel so I knew where to place my appliqués and then proceeded to stitch them down. This way I didn't have to worry about distortion from the appliqués or fraying on the cut edges.

...and traced.
Pattern is pinned...

All the embroidery stitches are pretty standard, with the exception of the Pekinese stitch. It is a simple stitch that we love to use since the effect it gives is so varied depending on the thread you use. You can watch a tutorial for the Pekinese stitch HERE

Back stitch

Seed stitch and French knots

Stem stitch, lazy daisies, and knots
Fly stitches

Blanket stitch

When you are finished appliquéing your stocking, line up your appliquéd piece and your backing fabric, wrong sides together, and cut it out using your traced line as a guide. Be sure to leave a 1/4 inch seam allowance all the way around when you cut both pieces out. Do the same with your lining fabric.

To see the method we used to assemble our stocking, please go to our Cottage Christmas Stocking post HERE. We have used this method for all our stockings and find that it works out well in putting the stocking together.

The stocking pattern is available for digital download on our website, and we will have printed patterns available for it in the near future. The full kit—with wool, flannel, ribbon hanger, and thread—is also available on the website, although we have just 20 kits available. It's possible we may be able to stock more, but not promised.

Our good friend, Linda Macklin, suggested that we have a stocking of the year (Thanks Linda!) Two years ago, we offered our Cottage Christmas Stocking and Teri had the Cardinals Christmas Stocking all cut out last year, so we will count that as our 2019 stocking. With this stocking, I'd say we are well our way with a yearly stocking tradition! 

We hope you enjoy stitching our Floral Christmas Stocking and that it brings a little joy to you during this crazy year.