Thursday, December 23, 2021

Happy Holidays!

From our homes to yours, 
we wish you the happiest of holiday seasons!

Fun Fact: Did you know that the very center of the poinsettia is the actual flower,
 which is surrounded by red and green leaves? 

We will be taking a short blog break for our family celebrations, but we look forward to stitching with you in the new year! 

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Let it Snow...With a Free Pattern


It is hard to believe that Christmas is almost a week away! For me (Kara), once Thanksgiving is over, the time begins to go by at warp speed. In the state of Maryland and other places across the country, we have been experiencing very mild temperatures, so snow seems a bit far off. That being said, we thought it would be fun to re-post a free pattern that we originally offered five years ago. This project can be displayed not just for Christmas, but all through the winter. 

We hope you enjoy stitching this little symbol of winter.

Technically, all "real" snowflakes are free, and sometimes we even have to pay someone to get rid of too many of those free snowflakes. However, today's free snowflake is a pattern! We wanted to give a little holiday gift to our readers, and given the season, we thought a snowflake was appropriate.

This lovely piece of silk, herringbone fabric has been sitting on my (Kara's) shelf waiting for the perfect project, and the creamy wool was a perfect complement to the neutral silk. Throw in some silk ribbon, bugle beads, Weeks hand-dyed pearl cotton, and some vintage buttons, and the project was ready to go. The seam binding was the right shade, but in the end, I decided not to use it.

First, I printed two copies of the pattern; one to look at and trace, and one to cut. Then I cut out the star portion of the pattern, sprayed a little temporary spray adhesive (505) on the back, and then traced my star onto the wool using a grey gel pen. This is the first time I had used spray adhesive on a pattern for a wool project, and I loved how it worked. Once it was traced, I cut out the wool star with some very pointy and sharp scissors to get the little star cutouts. The point of the scissors went right through the wool, making it very easy to get a clean cut.

Next, I stitched the star to the background using one strand of embroidery floss. 
Press and Seal plastic wrap is one of my favorite tools for transferring a design onto wool. I placed a piece of Press and Seal over the uncut pattern, and using my white, roller-ball gel pen, I traced the snowflake portion of the design. Since the embroidery is mostly straight lines, you could probably eyeball it easily enough.
Using the pearl cotton, I stem-stitched the six, straight, snowflake arms that were on the wool. The bugle beads were used for the little, straight, lines off those arms. After that, I used the 4mm, cream silk ribbon to make fly stitches and straight stitches that completed the arms. The final touch was two buttons—one mother of pearl and the other a metal one that I scavenged off of a thrift store sweater.
The completed snowflake
As I was looking for threads and background for this project, I found another piece of silk in light blue that would give a "cooler" tone to my snowflake. I was looking for some sparkle, when I came across this glittery, variegated, thread in tones of blue.

Because the background was thin, I backed the fabric with a piece of flannel before I began to stitch. This also allowed me to stitch without using a hoop.

There were a few little puckers after the embroidery was done, but those went away with a little bit of steam from the iron on the back of the project.

I didn't have any buttons that would work but I did have quite a few Swarovski crystals left over from my Irish dance, dressmaking days. Voila! A sparkly, snowflake with a totally different look than the one in the neutral palette.

An icier snowflake
Bring on the bling!

 An 8" frame with a 5.5" opening was the perfect size to highlight both snowflakes.

To get the free pattern please click HERE.

Ornament using the free pattern: Let It Snow...(One Flake More)!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all our readers! 

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Don't Forget the Stocking Stuffers!

Last week, we wrote about some "big wish" suggestions, but those small things have their place on any wish list, as well! Here are a few things you might want on your lists this holiday season—we have stocking stuffers or the stockings for you to create. And don't forget to decorate!

Stocking Stuffers—A few of our favorite Tools of the Trade

One of our favorite tools, these Martelli tweezers are sharp and easy to use. Perfect for working with wired ribbon, unpicking threads, couching, or picking up beads. They are always in our sewing bags. They come in two styles: ERGO and Pin Point.

Milliners needles have a small eye so that the shaft of the needle is the same from the eye to where the point tapers. This makes it a perfect and necessary needle for making successful wrapped stitches—such as knots, bullions, cast-on stitches, or drizzle stitches. We offer larger sizes, so that you can use them for larger threads and many wraps. The smaller needles (10 & 11) are perfect for hand appliqué. We have six sizes: #1, #3, #5, variety (#3/9), #10, and #11.

Chenille needles have a large, flat eye with a thick shaft, making them perfect for heavier threads or ribbon embroidery. They are easy to thread and prepare a hole thick enough to prepare the background fabric for the thicker threads. Chenille needles are available in sizes 18, 22, 24, and 26.

Note: The smaller the number, the larger the needle.

This handy resource is perfect for carrying in your sewing kit. With visual diagrams for many stitches, you will never need to worry about forgetting how to start or make a stitch. The Embroidery Pocket Guide is accordian-folded and laminated, and at 8.5"x4.5", it is easy to carry with your sewing gear. Tips for needle and thread compatibility and more are included! 

We love these charming needle threaders by Puffin and Company! They are not only durable but pretty as well! We have several choices of designs, but  quantities are limited. These  threaders work well with chenille and some embroidery needles. They are perfect for pulling multiple strands or heavy threads through the eye of your needle. And they are magnetic, so you can keep it right on your scissors. 

These tiny micro-threaders work with most needles up to a size 10 milliners. They are perfect for those stitches requiring a lot of rethreading, like drizzle or cast-on stitches. Unfortunately, the heart is sold out of both sizes. 

We are thrilled to be partnering with The Velvet Hook to share a new fiber we have been enjoying—hand-dyed stretch velvet. This material adds dimension to our appliqué in a whole new way, offering a richness to the color, texture and sheen of the piece. Because of the stretch in the fabric, a little goes a long way, and it doesn't fray or unravel as you are stitching. It is perfect for flower centers, pussy willows, moss, caterpillars, or whatever your imagination comes up with. We have four color offerings of Velvet Varietals from which to choose, each with five 6"x6" pieces of velvet for you to work with in your designs. Each piece is hand-dyed and unique.

Stockings—A few patterns in case you want to make your own stockings, either as gifts or for yourself, to be filled by your "Santa."

We have patterns for the Christmas Cottage Stocking and the Cardinal Stocking.

We have patterns as well as complete kits for our Floral Christmas Stoking and the Poinsettia Stocking, both including everything you need to create the project except the lining fabric. The Poinsettia comes with a bonus pattern as well!

Deck the Halls—We have a few ornament patterns for you, as well as some winter-themed projects that you might want to check out.

Fairy Tale Ornaments
Christmas Potstickers

Crazy Mittens
Gift Card Mitten—bonus
pattern in Poinsettia
Stocking kit

You can easily access each of the items above by going to our web store: Most of the items pictured above will be found under the Tools of the Trade or Christmas tabs, but take a look beyond. You might see some thread or ribbon collections and a pattern or kit that you want to tell Santa about.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 2, 2021

What is on Your Wishlist?


1. A place to just stitch for a time.
2. Learn a new stitching skill.
3. Relax with no chores to do.
4. Spend time with old friends.
5. Make new friends.
6. Have someone else cook my meals.
7. Be surrounded by like-minded stitchers.

Are any of these things on your wishlist for this year? If you need something to tell friends and family what they can get you that will make your wishlist come true, we have just the thing! Going to the Academy of Appliqué in Williamsburg, Virginia, or Baltimore on the Prairie in Nebraska City, Nebraska, will be a great suggestion to those who want to give you just what you want this holiday. We will be teaching in both places, and we would love to have you join us!

Academy of Appliqué

We have two classes this coming year—2022—at the Academy. The first session will be two blocks from our Woodland Reverie project—Cascading Creek and Butterfly and Trillium. Both blocks will cover exciting, new techniques with texture and appliqué, and you will have fun while you are learning.

For Session 2, we will be doing the final two projects from our Village Wanderings quilt—the center medallion and the corner trees. These two projects will be in wool (but could be done in cotton,) and your wool appliqué will be enhanced with threads, ribbons, and even a bit of wool roving.

Both of these classes still have a few openings left, so that you can get in before it fills up. Williamsburg, Virginia is a beautiful place to stay, and there are plenty of things to do in the area for spouses who might want to come along but not stitch.

Baltimore on the Prairie

Last year was our first year teaching at Baltimore on the Prairie, and we had a fabulous time. This event is a little smaller, and it is a wonderful place to immerse yourself in a great, learning environment! Our offerings for 2022 include two sessions, the first being Session A: Woodland Reverie in Wool.

Our Session B class will be our Baltimore Fraktur. The class will focus on the center medallion, but each student will be given the entire pattern for the wallhanging or the quilt as part of the class fee. This quilt can be done in wool or cotton, and we have used a mix of both in the quilt. Both of these classes still have spaces for you.

So we hope you have some new items to put on your wishlist now. You can't go wrong with either event, and you might even want to attend both! If you have any questions, check our website, and please feel free to email us or comment below.