Thursday, September 24, 2020

Village Wanderings—Shops

Last week, Teri shared our first session at Baltimore on the Prairie, 2021, and this week I (Kara) will be sharing our second session. We are teaching the first of our series, Village Wanderings—Homes at the Academy of Appliqué in March, and for BOTP we will be teaching the second, Village Wanderings—Shops.

As with the houses, our shops were inspired by European architecture, and of course, the fantastic window boxes that can be seen everywhere.

Since we had built the houses in our village, it was time to build the shops. We chose to do the most essential shops needed in a town—at least from our perspective.

Quilt Shop

A tiny quilt hangs in the window.
Simple stitches create a floral bounty.

Red posies made of silk ribbon


Fruit and vegetables  on display
A simpler window box this time

Blueberries instead of flowers


Geraniums and iris for the window boxes
Little ribbon stitched iris on the swags
I love macarons!


Care for a cup of coffee?
Some fluffy flowers in this window box

We are thrilled that we will be able to teach these delightful shops at Baltimore on the Prairie next year. Whether you take this class or our Alsatian Urn, we would love to have you in either session, or both! All you have to do is head to the BOTP website HERE to sign up! While we are sad to have missed this year, we are hopeful and looking forward to 2021—it's going to be great!

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Alsatian Urn

In a perfect world, this post would be filled with pictures of our wonderful week of teaching at Baltimore on the Prairie at Lied Lodge in Nebraska. Sadly, COVID interfered with that perfect plan, but we are still anticipating with excitement the opportunity to visit next year,  September 8–11, 2021. You can visit the BOTP website, linked above, for all the details of the conference and see more about the classes we will be teaching, but we thought we would give you an "up-close and personal" tour of our blocks here on the blog. This week we will look at our first session, and next week, we’ll look at Session B. 

A couple of years ago, when I (Teri) visited Kara in Germany, we spent a day in the Alsace region of France. I loved the small villages and was enthralled by the stitching inspiration everywhere we looked. I took hundreds, maybe thousands, of photos of shutters, signs, buildings, etc., of potential designs. You may have seen a few in our work, in fact!

You don't see many functional shutters with this kind of charm here in Maryland!

We visited several small villages, including Riquewihr.

I loved the quaint charm of this village, from the colors of the buildings and window boxes to the cobblestone streets.

On a later visit to Riquewihr, Kara saw this stunning antique wardrobe. We both knew that it would make a beautiful appliqué design. Indeed, it inspired our Alsatian Urn, the first class we will be teaching at Baltimore on the Prairie 2021. 

Session A: Wednesday–Thursday, September 8–9, 2021

This class will explore a variety of materials to achieve textural dimension with our wool appliqué. We will be playing with different kinds of ribbon, threads, and stitches. Let's take a closer look at the elements of this block.

Wool and stuffed velvet flower with silk ribbon, silk and wool thread embroidery

Wool flower with silk and wool thread embroidery and a gathered ribbon leaf

Wool flower with silk thread and silk ribbon embroidery

Wool appliquéd flowers with embroidered wool daisy petals and silk ribbon leaves

Wool appliquéd flower with ruched and embroidered ribbon

Wool with silk thread embroidery and ruched ribbon tape

Wired-ribbon petals with wool and velvet center, with silk ribbon and thread embroidery

Wool urn with embroidered design 

We would be delighted to have you join us in our first class, Alsatian Urn. So many textures and so much fun!

Alsatian Urn, by Through the Needle's Eye


Thursday, September 10, 2020

Going on a Wooly Block Adventure!

We are thrilled to participate, for the first time, in this year's Wooly Block Adventure! The theme this year is "Into the Woods," and our offering for this fun program is Going to Grandma's.

Our sweet little girl is traveling over the river and through the woods to Grandma's house, and on the way she stops to make a few woodland friends. 

The theme this year is great, and we loved creating this block and then embellishing it with some fun embroidery stitches. Wool appliqué and embroidery are a match made in heaven, and we think you are going to have a great time bringing this block to life with the stitches we used.

Simple straight stitches create snow.
Your sign can say anything you would like!

Straight stitch branches
Pekinese boots!

We have announced our block on our Facebook page, and it has also been shown on the Wooly Block Adventure Facebook page. We did have a few comments asking if there would be a little boy template, and while we didn't have one originally, you spoke and we listened! Now you have the option to have a girl OR a boy in your block.

Girl or...
...boy! Which will you choose?

The Wooly Block Adventure starts on October 1st. For brick and mortar shops, you can go into that shop at any time from October 1–November 30 and get a copy of the pattern for free. For online stores, like ours, the block will be a free download during the week that the pattern is highlighted. On our website, we have full wool and thread kits available for purchase, and if you prefer a printed pattern, you can purchase one for only $5.

We would love to have you join us as we embark on this fun stitching adventure. Our block is one of many, and it will be fun to collect them all. And speaking of other blocks, stay tuned for more information on a special project involving our block. We can't share just yet, but we think you are going to love it!

To find out more details about the Wooly Block Adventure, you can head to the links listed below. 

Thursday, September 3, 2020

I Can't Believe I Organized the Whole Room!

I (Teri) have spent the last two weeks touching every single item that is housed in this room. Determination to conquer the chaos and tame the mess took control of me, and I'm happy to say it paid off nicely. Here is a tour of my new space, which I actually enjoy working in now!


I'm embarrassed to share this photo from January, when I made it a goal to clean and organize. Yes, it really WAS that bad!!

I started in the closet, refolding every piece of fabric to size and organizing by color and type of fabric: homespun, batik, wool, and cotton.

I had boxes of these scrumptious hand-dyed wools that needed room on the shelves!

I cut old cardboard bolts in half to put between the stacks of fabric for stability.

Plastic trays, 10"x16", were perfect for fat quarters, also arranged by color and stacked on top of each other.

The other side of the closet has baskets filled with ribbon, more wool, and packing materials. Scraps were sorted and put in the drawers on the right by color. 

Wool by color
Ribbon by type

A drawer of silk and velvet
And one of wired ribbon

I got this adorable clock a couple of years ago, but my room was in such disarray that I never got it hung. It is now ticking happily above the closets.

Past the closets, I have hooks to hang tote bags, a design wall, organization cubbies filled with various tools, and a new book shelf for patterns.

I flipped my sewing table around and put drawers beneath. One has files and cards, and the other is filled with threads and needles.

One of said drawers with threads assorted by type: wool, chenille, pearl #8 and #12

Beyond the sewing machine is the ironing board. The bookshelf houses resource books and teaching notebooks. And pictures of my kids...

My pegboard wall is filled with all kinds of threads and ribbons, arranged by size and kind of thread. The idea is that if I can see it, I am more likely to remember that I have it when creating a new design.

Ribbon racks and drawers of threads for selling in classes. Oh, and my Martelli light box is always on hand for prepping blocks to stitch. (Email us if you want to purchase one of these gems: we have some available!)

The dresser is filled with vintage linens, batting, flannel, and a few UFOs. It is topped with more cubbies filled with teaching tools.

Sitting at my machine, looking out the window. Rulers are arranged by size.

The cutting table is to the right of my sewing table. I used mugs to arrange my markers, pens/marking tools, pencils, and scissors.

I have used my Martelli cutting table so much that I thought I might have to replace the mat. Imagine my delight when I remembered that it is reversible, so I just had to flip the mat over and start afresh. 

On the end of the cutting table is a pegboard stand that my husband made, where I hang patterns and kits that are ready to be mailed. 

This table, which belonged to my grandmother, used to sit in the corner, piled with projects. Now it is in the middle of the room, where I can sit to make kits or fill orders, or just stitch. 

So if you are ever feeling overwhelmed and discouraged about cleaning out and organizing your sewing space, just picture my before and after—and you'll KNOW that it could probably be worse. Mine sure was awful!! 

But it feels wonderful now. 😃


A Reminder!!

Registration for the Academy of Appliqué in Williamsburg, VA, opens on Monday at noon. That's Labor Day. September 7, 2020. We would love to build some houses with you!! For registration info, click here.

Village Wanderings: Homes