Thursday, October 28, 2021

Velvet, Anyone?

Ahh, velvet . . . even the name has a warm, fuzzy feeling. As textures go, it is hard to beat, with its softness and shiny nap catching the light, making the color sing. Since we love to mix fibers and textures in our work, we were thrilled to discover this new product—a hand-dyed stretch velvet, by The Velvet Hook. We first tried this velvet a couple of years ago, when we began our Woodland Reverie series. We thought it would be perfect for our pussy willows and mushroom caps. And we were right! This unique fiber does not fray, so it is easy to gather and even needle-turn! It is superb for flower centers, adding dimension and texture, and creating interest in your appliqué designs. And because of the stretch, a little bit goes a long way!

As we have sung its praises as a great fiber for embellishing appliqué, Dianne—owner of The Velvet Hook—has offered to put together sample packages arranged by color so that we could offer them to you. Take a look at some of the ways we have used velvet in our designs.


In our Woodland Reverie Spring Robin, the pussy willows are made of velvet, gathered, stuffed, and sewn down to the branch.

The velvet mushroom caps in our Woodland Reverie Autumn Mushrooms really reflect the light! 

Alsatian Urn includes several velvet embellishments, seen below.

Gathered around a circle, it is the perfect center of this ribbon flower. Note how it catches the light!

The center of this flower is appliquéd with the velvet, and then stuffed for dimension.

Patterns and kits for Alsatian Urn are available on our website.

Next September, we will be teaching four of our Woodland Reverie blocks in wool at Baltimore on the Prairie. More pussy willows are seen above in the wool version of the Spring Robin.

And one of the new blocks is the Summer Fox, which also includes the velvet.

The gold velvet was perfect for replicating the conical center of a coneflower, and because of the nap, it didn't need added knots to give that effect.

The velvet was also ideal for these stumpwork blackberries. The beads blended into the stuffed velvet, and the stretch made them quite easy to create!

Our new Poinsettia Stocking kit features padded velvet petals and a stuffed velvet flower center. The velvet adds a richness to the poinsettia. Patterns and kits are available on our website.

Introducing Velvet Varietals
Hand-Dyed Stretch Velvet
by The Velvet Hook
Each package of hand-dyed stretch velvet includes five 6-inch square pieces of velvet, and we have four colorways available: Reds, Greens, Purples, and Yellows.

Reds and Pinks 
Various Greens

Purples and Magentas
Yellows and Light Oranges

We are thankful to Dianne Tobias from the Velvet Hook, who has been willing to work with us and has dyed several pieces especially for our designs. It may be a new fiber for you, but we think you might enjoy it as much as we do. Aren't the colors just spectacular?!!

To order velvet, go to our website, Supplies are limited, so don't wait too long to check it out! 

Thursday, October 21, 2021

A Rose by Any Other Name...

If you have been reading our blog for a while, you will know that Teri and I (Kara) have a love for all things vintage, especially quilts. Over the past few years, our collection has grown, and while most of my quilts are still in storage, that hasn't stopped me from purchasing a few more since I have been back stateside. My most recent purchase was a quilt style that I have been hoping to add to my collection—an appliqué quilt—and the Rose of Sharon block is one of my favorites. This Rose of Sharon quilt may be the closest thing to a Baltimore Album quilt that I may ever own. The pattern, sometimes called a Whig Rose, is quite old and often used in Baltimore Album quilts. Unfortunately, my current budget does not include purchasing an album quilt should one come up for sale.

I haven't had a chance to take it to my favorite appraiser, Phyllis Hatcher, but I do know a few things about it. It most likely came from North Carolina and the auction house gave a time period of the first quarter of the 20th century. I think it might be a little older than that, but I will have to wait and see. 

It is apparent in a couple of spots that the tan areas used to be green and have degraded over the course of time. There are just a few spots that show what the green looked like before it faded

I am hopeful that the red is Turkey Red and will have that confirmed when I take it to be appraised. The fabric has a similar look to a Turkey Red Snowball quilt that I already own.

It is a summer-weight quilt, and what little batting is in it has definitely shifted a bit, as you can see when it is held up to the light.

An unexpected surprise upon receiving the quilt, was the initials that were embroidered on the bottom.

We have had an interesting time trying to interpret them, but the periods after each two initials lead us to believe that maybe it was three different makers. One thought is they were all sisters with the same initials but they all three had different ways of making those initials. Of course, that is just an assumption, and we will most likely never know the story behind this quilt.

So why purchase old quilts that have very little information attached to them and are in various states of disrepair? To me, each quilt I buy is a piece of a puzzle of what quilters of the past chose to create. Every quilt has something special that spoke to me and connected me to the original maker—whether it be the pattern, materials, or technique used. Do you have any old quilts that have spoken to you? We would love to hear about them!

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Road Trip!

Teri and I (Kara) are off on our first road-trip together since I came home from Germany and we decided to make the most of it—a stop at the Virginia Quilt Museum, an antique mall stroll, and a quick visit to a local winery. We will be teaching our Village Wanderings—Shops this weekend at the Charlottesville Area Quilters Guild and we can't wait! 

See you next week and hope you have as much fun this weekend as we will!

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Appliqué at the National Quilt Museum: Part 2

This week, we finish our appliqué tour at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah. Both of the remaining exhibits featured tiny quilts. A full-sized appliquéd album quilt is impressive, and then there are the album quilts that are the size of a typical block. Mind-blowing work. I (Teri) was in awe and inspired to attempt some small stitching.


Note the size difference between these two quilts.

I have always loved this block; it was the first appliqué class that I taught. 

Beautiful border

Remember—this quilt is only 14.25" square; the whole quilt! See description above.

Zooming in, you can see that she actually used ribbon embroidery to create these standard appliqué blocks. What a fabulous idea!!


Yes, I know this is not appliqué, but I love a log cabin, and this is just spectacular! It WAS sunshine, and seriously—4800 tiny strips of dupioni silk? Go, Amy Pabst!!



So, my math may not be the best, but I am figuring that if the entire quilt is less than 11", each block is about 2.5" square. Those are some tiny leaves!!


       I think small might be a bit easier for me with this kind of appliqué.




Block detail





I was so drawn to the tiny hexies and the broderie perse in the center that I didn't even notice until I looked at my photos that the border is filled with dancing ladies.


And then there are the doll house!

Even now, I look at these enlarged photos and see details I missed when I was looking at the real things—because those details were TINY. And I have aging eyes. This work was truly impressive and inspiring.  

Even the windows were magnificent.

It is said that size matters. Whether your quilt is full-sized or miniature, it is all equally impressive!!