Thursday, May 13, 2021

"In the Garden" Again: Cardinals and Holly

Use coupon code CARDINAL10 for a 10% off the printed block pattern. 

We are certainly stitching through the seasons quickly! This week, we might stitch a bit of snow onto our holly leaves. When I (Teri) first made this block, it seemed to call for a few snowflakes glistening on the holly leaves. But I always thought this would make a lovely stocking, so last fall, I did a bit of rearranging and designed the Cardinals and Holly Stocking pattern. I skipped the snow on that one. So you see, there are always options, depending on your mood!


Thursday, January 25, 2018

"In the Garden"—Cardinals and Holly

We are spanning the seasons In the Garden! The January block in our BOM series is Cardinals and Holly, seen prolifically here in Maryland in the winter. How about where you live?

We're having a wonderful time in our monthly classes at Primitive Homespuns Wool & Needleworks. A number of ladies have been there every month, and some just choose a favorite block or two and join those classes. We tell some stories, and share quite a few laughs. Stitching with friends is always a fun time! If you can't join us at the shop, you can still stitch along with us: the patterns are available on our website——and the Cardinals have joined the garden.

Here is a photo tour of how these birds took flight.

The branches were stitched first, and then all the other components
were stapled to the background to keep them in place while stitching.

I like the puff that is achieved when I appliqué and embroider
the units; I miss that when it is fused.

With everything in place, this made some great car trip stitching
when we traveled from Florida to Maryland.

I used Valdani #12 pearl cotton for the center vein.
To be sure I stitched the arc in the outer veins, I marked them
with my chalk pencil, which easily disappeared after stitching.

Whenever I stitch a bird, I feel oddly compelled to include some feather and fly stitches.
The tail is filled with "feathers" and the wing with "fly"—of course!

I stitched the berries in place, and thought that I could be finished.
But it is winter, after all, so I decided a bit of snow might be nice.  

I added random straight stitches and knots with Weeks Dye Works floss—aptly named Snowflake.
Do you know how many variations of white floss there are? It took me a while to find just the right one.
I confess, the name helped me decide!

A few size 15 beads added some sparkly ice to the snow.

Mr. Cardinal looks rather happy!


We had some Show and Tell with blocks—in progress or finished—from previous classes.

Kara and I are enjoying creating our wooly/ribbony garden. Embellishing with embroidery is always our favorite part, and these blocks give us plenty of opportunity for that. The Cardinals and Holly pattern is now available on our website, both in digital and hard copy format, as well as all the patterns in the series thus far.

We would love to have you join us In the Garden!

Cardinals and Holly

Past posts in the BOM series:

Thursday, May 6, 2021

"In the Garden" Again: Violets

This week we present one of my (Kara) favorite In the Garden patterns—Violets. This pattern started out in a different format, but we knew it would be perfect for this series. It is the first pattern that uses French ombre wired ribbon and we think you will love it if you haven't worked with it before. Embroidery stitches play a big part in creating the wonderful dimension of the leaves and stems. A simple chain stitch defines the leaves and one of our favorite stitches, the Pekinese, creates the stems. You can make this for your In the Garden quilt or you can turn it into a sweet wallhanging (You can read how we created our wallhanging HERE.) You may want to make both!


Until May 12th, use the coupon code VIOLETS10 to receive 10% off your Violets pattern purchase!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

"In the Garden"—Violets

Roses are red, 
Violets are blue.
God can make violets,
But so can YOU! 

At least you can, if you use ribbon! This month's Block of the Month in our In the Garden series will have you creating lovely violets out of wired ribbon. Are you ready? Here we go! I (Teri) will give you a quick pictorial tour of the methods used to create these life-like blooms, and  then you will be ready to start "planting." In our class this past weekend, I heard several "I can't make that" comments become "Wow! I CAN make this flower!"

December BOM: Violets

The Leaves
I cut the leaves out as one unit and delineated them with embroidery.
You could, if you prefer, cut them and appliqué them as separate units.
I staple them in place, and then carefully remove the staples after appliquéing. 

I used a Bohin chalk pencil to mark the lines between the leaves,
The chalk shows up easily on the wool, and doesn't last.

A chain stitch with two strands of floss outlines the individual leaves. On the edges, I took the needle from the background a tiny bit into the edge of the leaf, so that the chain "hugged" the raw edge.

To make the two center leaves pop and appear closer, I used a lighter wool thread to do a chain stitch on top of the
darker green floss chain stitch. Because the wool thread was a bit thinner, it nestled inside the previous chain.
Veins are then added using a stem stitch; I used size 12 pearl cotton.

The Flowers
Cut a piece of wired ribbon 5 1/2 inches long. Starting 1/4 inch from the edge,
mark lines on the ribbon at 1-inch intervals.

Along the first line, start at the bottom and do a running stitch by the line, and
across the top, just under the wire. Use a thick or doubled thread for gathering. 


When you reach the next marked line, stitch down one side and up the other. Be sure that your thread overlaps the edge of the ribbon. Gather to create your first petal.

Continue to do a running stitch and gather after each petal.

After gathering all five petals, knot the thread but leave the needle and thread in place.

Manipulate the petals into a flower shape, using the wired to shape the petals.

Use your needle as a tool to pull the center of the petals together.
Take some large stitches to secure the flower center.

Don't worry if it doesn't look perfect; the center knots will be added later.

Use tack stitches to secure the blooms to the background, stitching in the gathers of the
flowers with matching thread. The buds are created with two "petals" rather than five.

The Stems

A pekinese stitch was used to create the stems. I used a size 5 pearl cotton
to make a nice thick stem. First, mark the stem lines and do a back stitch. 

The thread is then woven on top of the piece through the backstitches. For a great tutorial of the pekinese stitch, click here.

We are having such fun creating these designs, and we hope you will join us on our BOM gardening journey. All patterns are available in our website store (, and the ribbon is included with the pattern for those with ribbon blooms. Both digital and hard copy patterns are available, although to get the ribbon, you need to order a hard copy. (Like you couldn't guess that we wouldn't send you digital ribbon!) 😄

Happy stitching—let's make some violets!!

To read about the other blocks in our In the Garden series, click on the links below.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

"In the Garden" Again: Oak Leaves and Acorns

It is hard to think of autumn as we are enjoying the glory of spring, but this week's In the Garden block will help you to be ready when the leaves that are now just coming out, will start changing their colors. This block will give you some wonderful practice with French knots—note Teri's trick with a pillow to aid in making the multitude of knots. Here is the unedited version of our previous blog post to help you as you stitch this little bit of autumn!

Until May 5th, use the coupon code ACORNS10 to receive a 10% discount on the printed pattern!


Thursday, November 16, 2017

I (Teri) was afraid that the only autumnal color we were going to get this year would be that which I stitched. Here in Maryland, the days stayed warm and the temperatures didn't drop as much at night much later than normal, resulting in an October of primarily green trees. In the past few weeks, we have finally been seeing some color, though it was sadly short-lived, as many of the leaves have already begun falling.

While I love green, the autumn palette is my favorite, so it was with great pleasure that I stitched this month's block in our In the Garden Block of the Month series, Oak Leaves and Acorns. If you missed our first block, it is available on our website. You can read about Cornflowers by clicking here.

November block: Oak Leaves and Acorns

Our BOM class was held at Primitive Homespuns Wool & Needleworks on Sunday afternoon. We had a delightful time—lots of stitching and lots of laughing. As you can see in the photograph, there were moments of nearly silent concentration, with only the sound of needles pulling thread through our wool. And then the conversation would begin, as we got to know new stitching friends. This quaint shop offers such a charming setting for our classes!
We began by stapling our leaves and stem in place onto the background. Around each leaf, we blanket stitched with The Gentle Art Simply Wool™ thread, which blended into the wool beautifully, giving the leaves a crisp edge. Variegated Valdani Pearl Cotton 12 gave the veins a bit of pop and sheen.

I have been intrigued by the new Rustic Wool Moire™100% wool threads. I had bought several spools but hadn't tried them yet. The branch seemed to be the perfect opportunity, as I had a color that blended with the wool I used precisely. It was a little fussy to work with, needing gentle handling and a short stitching piece, but I loved the way it worked with the wool. The natural slubs in the thread give the branch a little texture, but it sinks right into the the wool fabric. I didn't, however, choose the wool for the acorn caps. 

To make the acorns, I cut out a piece of gold the shape of the entire acorn. I blanket stitched around about 3/4 of the acorn, and then I stuffed it with polyester fluff. You could as easily use batting scraps or shredded scraps of wool for stuffing. Then I finished blanket stitching the acorn. For the cap, I choose Weeks Dye Works™ Pearl Cotton 8, but you could use size 5 if you want bigger and fewer knots. I first outlined the cap with knots and then filled it in—with hundreds of knots. I use a pillow when I do knots, so that after I wrap the thread around the needle, I can stick it straight into the pillow, and pull the wraps tautly, as in the photo above. I then pick up my work, holding the thread at the base of the knot with my thumb, and I gently pull the needle through from the back, keeping my thumb at the knot. Easy, uniform knots!

So many knots! You can use French or Colonial knots.

Pick a great movie or TV show to binge-watch, and knot away! They give such a realistic textured effect to the acorn caps.

I also met with the Margaret Potts quilt BOM group this past weekend. We are embellishing the blocks with ribbon and embroidery. To read about the ribbon flowers we learned last month, read the post "Potts" of Ribbon Flowers. Several people brought their blocks in to share what they had accomplished thus far. We had some lovely and creative flower centers! Not only are the flowers centers different, but each block has a different kind of veins in the leaf. It is such fun to see the modifications that are made to reflect the makers' own tastes and styles. 

A circle of knots and one of seed beads

Filled with knots to complement the color of the vase

A mixture of French and bullion knots

This month, we used River Silks ribbon to embellish our flowers, playing with several stitches—a straight stitch and the ribbon stitch. The buds were made with folded wired ribbon, and the thorny stem was created using the wheat ear stitch. I can't wait to see how these flowers look on all the blocks next month! 

What a fun-filled, stitching weekend! The only thing that could be more fun than two stitching classes would be to end the weekend with a birthday party for a two-year-old princess. Which I did! I know this grandma is a bit biased, but I think she is a darling little princess!

Admiring herself in her princess gown 

But I digress! If you haven't ordered your Cornflowers pattern, they are available on our website (click here). And our new pattern, Oak Leaves and Acorns is now available as well! We'd love to have you join us In the Garden!