Thursday, March 26, 2020

Celebrating Five Years—With a Giveaway!

About a week ago, Kara and I (Teri) celebrated the fifth birthday of our small creative company, Through the Needle's Eye. And by celebrating, I mean we were busy working on new patterns and designs, because that's what we do! 

Since our trip to Williamsburg and Kara's return to Germany, we have both been working to complete our fourth blocks of the Woodland Reverie quilt. We are itching to get to our next blocks, but a few other projects are taking precedence.

Woodland Reverie blocks, displayed at the Academy of Appliqué

Beginning to gather materials for a new design—such yummy textures!

Around the world, as we face the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are sheltering in place, practicing social distancing, and living life at a slower-than-normal pace, being told to "stay home." Although we are stuck in our houses during this trying time, there is peace to be found in a needle and thread. We continue to create, for isn't that what we stitchers do? So many of us will look back on this challenging time of quarantine and sickness, and remember the beauty we stitched in the midst of the trials. I've heard stories of people sewing masks for healthcare workers, and of quilters who are raiding their stashes to create—some to keep busy, and some for the sheer enjoyment of having the forced at-home time to sew.

With all of that in mind, we thought the best way to celebrate our "birthday" would be to give away a big birthday gift to one of our lucky readers. Let's have a birthday party! 

This is what is in our birthday gift:

Your choice of either the spring or autumn Woodland Reverie pattern with ribbon kit, which includes all special materials to make the block 

A Violets pattern from our In the Garden series, complete with wired ribbon for the flowers.

Our six-skein Botanical Beauty set of Pearl 12 Valdani threads, and a package of milliners needles—perfect for making knots, bullions, or any wrapped stitch

A skein of River Silks over-dyed 4mm ribbon, a 6-inch ruler, and chenille needles—ideal for stitching with the ribbon

A lovely pair of embroidery scissors by Famoré

Two patterns with ribbon, a skein of ribbon, two packages of needles, ruler, scissors, and six balls of pearl cotton thread—happy birthday to us!

So how can you have a chance to win this birthday present? All you have to do is answer this question in the comments below: 

What stitching projects are you working on to make the best use of your time while you stay home?

Those who are reading this in email must click on this link to leave your comment on the blog. If you want to hop on over to Instagram or Facebook and leave a comment there as well, you can be entered for each comment, for multiple chances. All comments must be made by Tuesday night (3/31) at midnight. The winner will be announced next week, and we may have another surprise to announce then. 

Please join us in our virtual birthday stitching party! We would love to sew along with you!

Kara and Teri

NOTE: We would like to take this opportunity to recognize those of you who are not afforded this time to stay home and stitch: health care workers, food providers, and those with essential positions who are working tirelessly to help us through this time. If that is you, please tell us what you would like to be stitching! 
We wish you a heartfelt THANK YOU!!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Delightful Doilies and Linens from the Mid Atlantic Quilt Show

A couple of weeks ago, Teri and I (Kara) were able to attend the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Show. We go there yearly, as it falls right before The Academy of Appliqué. It is a small show, but it usually has a great variety of quilts, and this year was no different. One exhibit in particular became our favorite, as it gave us lots of great ideas for our very large doily collection. This exhibit was created by Nancy S. Breland and was called Exploring Vintage Linens. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Color Progression

Birthday Party

Detail Birthday Party

Blue Bugles

Spider Web

Twinkling Stars

Pennies From Heaven

Detail Pennies From Heaven

Turn to the Sun

Golden Garden Spider

Detail Golden Garden Spider

Red and White Challenge

Knitted Doily

Carved Pearl Buttons

Detail Carved Pearl Buttons

Pearls on Purple

Calla Lily

Detail Calla Lily

Dazzling Doily

Lavish Linens

Detail Lavish Linens

I forgot to take a picture of the title, but what a great way to use a doily!

This was such a great exhibit, and there were many other wonderful quilts at this show. When Teri and I attended this show a little less than a month ago, we had no idea that our world would change so much in just a short amount of time. I moved up my departure date a week so that I could get back to Germany in case they closed the borders and am happy to be safely back with my husband and pups. 

Many of us have been asked to "shelter in place" for a while to help curb the spread of the virus. We like to look at it as mandated stitching time, and many other stitchers are, too! There are quite a few stitch-alongs going on and can be found on the various quilting Facebook groups out there. What are you working on while you are sheltering? Are you stitching along with a group? Please share what you are doing so others might get some ideas. We are stitching on next year's projects already, but we may take a break from that to see what we can do with some doilies. Thank you, Nancy Breland, for the wonderful inspiration!

Stay safe and healthy!

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Wonderful Williamsburg

Last week, we enjoyed a fantastic time in Williamsburg, Virginia. We spent the first half of the day on Sunday visiting the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton before we headed back to Kingsmill Resort to set up our classroom for the Academy of Appliqué. More will follow from the Quilt Festival in the near future. Please enjoy some of the highlights of the classes we taught last week.

Academy of Appliqué

Our classroom for the Woodland Reverie class, all set up and ready for the next day

Ribbons, patterns, and other necessary notions were displayed on the sale tables.

Patterns are marked and appliqué begins.

Demo time

Back-basting appliqué of leaves or mushroom stems: several people around the room expressed that "Ah-hah" at having found a new method of appliqué they enjoyed.

Nest building around the room—what a perfect set-up!

Mushroom stems are appliquéd, caps are basted, and wreath-weaving has begun.

Rosemarie N stopped by to show us the Lovely Vase she finished from last year's class.
Such stunning work!!

Some add eggs to nests, while others begin making dogwood flowers.

"Wow, what a great nest!" The encouragement around the room is infectious.

"This is my very first flower!" That smile lit up the room.

Making pussy willows

Wreath-weaving and split leaves

More nests

Great progress!

Everyone was thrilled with all we accomplished in our session. This class was filled with happy stitchers who cheered for each other and shared tips and tricks. We all learned a lot—including the teachers. We even started a Woodland Reverie group. Thank you, ladies, for such a fabulous class!

On Wednesday, we gave a short talk during lunch.
Photo credit here goes to Nancy Nehez.

Colonial Piecemakers Quilt Guild

The last two days of our week were spent with the stitchers of Colonial Piecemakers Quilt Guild, also in Williamsburg. On Friday, we taught our Marcia's Flowers workshop, wool appliqué with embroidery embellishment. We had a big class, filled with ladies who were eager to try a new skill; for many of them, appliqué—especially with wool—was a new tool to add to their collection of techniques. Some found a new love, and some weren't yet so sure, but all gave it a fair shot. This was the first pattern we wrote, and one thing that we learned was that we needed to update a few things and reprint it, which is a job almost finished already. 😊


We spent the morning cutting out templates and wool pieces, and then we enjoyed a delicious lunch of soups, salad, sandwiches, and chocolate. Quilters sure do eat well!

We arranged the wool pieces on the background and then fused them in place with an iron. Then we appliquéd the pieces in place so that we could learn the embroidery stitches the next day.

On Saturday, we gave a lecture for the guild. This is one active organization; we were most impressed with the programs, community involvement, and friendliness of these quilters. During Show & Tell, some of the ladies from our class shared their blocks. After the meeting and a quick lunch, we got to work on embellishing our flowers. We learned a lot of stitches and made a good dent in our embellishing. It was so much fun that we both forgot all about taking pictures. After our class ended, everyone helped us to pack up and carry things to our car. What a lovely bunch they are!

On Sunday, we traveled back to Maryland. The day was beautiful, but the traffic on I-95 was pretty much a parking lot, so we jumped off and took back roads. We ended up driving through the Manassas Battlefield and seeing some much prettier scenery than highway driving would have afforded us. And then there was inventory...

To all of those new friends that we met last week, and to those who we have known for years, thank you for another wonderful week in Williamsburg. Our stitching friends are the best! We look forward to our paths crossing again someday.