Thursday, July 21, 2022

Flora and Fauna: Fern and Brown Mushrooms


To round out the introduction to our new quilt, we are featuring two block, Fern and Brown Mushrooms. Both blocks are simple, but as elegant as their woodland counterparts. Basic embroidery stitches—the feather and fly—add the texture that bring these monochromatic blocks to life. 

Brown Mushrooms

And finally, the day is here! Our full quilt pattern for Flora and Fauna is now available in our web store. We offer both printed and digital formats from which to choose. The advantage to the digital format is that you can print as you stitch, and you will receive color photos of each block. The printed pattern is already printed for you for your convenience; however, only the front cover photo is in color. Consider what works best for you. To order, click HERE.

Flora and Fauna, by Through the Needle's Eye

And take note that Saturday begins our week-long celebration of Christmas in July! We are offering a 25% discount on select holiday patterns and kits: all stockings, Crazy Mittens, Christmas Potstickers, and Fairy Tale Ornaments. Time to get that gift-stitching started!


Monday, July 18, 2022

Flora and Fauna: Thistle

We hope you have enjoyed the first two blocks in our Flora and Fauna series. The whole quilt will be going to the long-armer on Tuesday and we are so excited! The Thistle block is one of the original designs and it really shows how the lowly straight stitch can bring a pattern to life.

These stitches are so easy peasy, that you will have this block finished in no time—a chain stitch for the stems and straight stitches for the bloom. Check out the original blog post for more details: Flora and Fauna: Thistle

If you haven't already, you can join our Hopeful Stitchers Facebook Group to get the previously released block patterns—Wild Strawberries and Dragonfly—and when you join, you will be able to purchase the pattern in either digital or printed form for the special member price. The exclusive member coupon code will be available and valid from July 21-22.

Have a great week stitching!

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Flora and Fauna: Dragonfly

Today we are featuring the Dragonfly. He has fairly simple appliqué, but he simply sparkles when we add his embroidery. We used a combination of silk, cotton, and metallic braid threads for our little guy. The body is embroidered using a cretan stitch with two different threads and gauges, which gives the stitch a varied look. Isn't it fun to play with all those threads we've collected over the years? If you are unfamiliar with the cretan stitch, check out the Pintangle Stitch Dictionary's tutorial by clicking HERE.

Flora and Fauna, by Through the Needle's Eye

Have you joined our Hopeful Stitchers Facebook Group yet to get your free pre-released block patterns? Don't worry if you aren't on Facebook, the entire pattern will be released next Thursday, but those in the group have the benefit of getting a head start and offering each other support. Hope to see you over there!

Happy stitching!


Monday, July 11, 2022

Flora and Fauna

Almost 5 years ago, we started a project called Flora and Fauna of Germany. I (Kara) can't believe it has been that long! We began the project as a way to use up our scraps of wool and cotton with simple blocks inspired by the flora and fauna I would see on my walks in Germany with our two hounds. We released 16 blocks over the course of the next two years—one in cotton and one in wool—and loved being able to have the opportunity to bring nature to life with interesting threads, fabrics, and stitches. Once the project was finished, I put together the cotton blocks in a quilt with inked labels and hand-quilted it.

Meanwhile, the wool blocks were sitting on a shelf waiting to be assembled. A thought occurred to us that maybe we could add more blocks to create a larger quilt, and that is how our most recent pattern came about. 

Flora and Fauna is a 30-block quilt, made up of the original 16 blocks and 14 brand new blocks. We have also added an apple blossom border to finish the quilt. Whether it is a butterfly or a bloom, you will be able to stitch all sorts of things found in the forest or on a garden path. 

The pattern contains directions and templates for all thirty 6-inch (finished) blocks and the borders, as well as assembly directions. Embroidery directions and suggestions for thread selection are also included. This project is a perfect way to use up some of those small scraps of wool that we always save, as well as a way to try out some of those beautiful threads that we purchased just because they were pretty. The blocks can be put together quickly and before you know it you will have a lovely quilt.

Since it has been a while since we have had a Hopeful Stitchers project, we knew that Flora and Fauna would be just the thing for our Facebook group. The members of our Hopeful Stitchers group will be able to download the selected 5 patterns for free and have exclusive access to the discounted full pattern.

Each Monday and Thursday for the next two weeks, we will offer one or two of the blocks digitally as a free pattern—only in our Hopeful Stitchers Facebook group. The pattern for the full quilt will be available for purchase on Thursday, July 21, in our web store. Group members will have access to a special discounted price for 2 days only: Thursday, July 21 and Friday July 22. What a deal—30 patterns plus assembly instructions, all for about a dollar a pattern or less! If you are a member of our Hopeful Stitchers group, you will receive five patterns free. (You must join the Facebook group to get the free patterns and the coupon code for the reduced price.)

The first free pattern is the Wild Strawberry Block

This block is brought to life with just a few simple stitches and a little bit of ribbon. The PDF of the pattern will be over in the Facebook group. If you haven't joined our Hopeful Stitchers Facebook group, you can do so by clicking on the link below. (Blocks will finish at 6")

We hope you love this quilt as much as we do, and as always, please post your progress on our Facebook group page as you complete these little wooly blocks inspired by the great outdoors!

Friday, May 6, 2022

Spring Travels and Rest

We have had a lot going on lately and unfortunately our needles have been rather still, much to our dismay. Between road trips, health, and family, we have had to take a little hiatus from the blog and social media. Our needles will be busy soon, but in the meantime we will share a few pictures from the aforementioned road trip. It was to Paducah, Kentucky for the AQS quilt show and it was wonderful!

 Please enjoy!

Amish Chow Chow
Nancy Simmons

Simone Steuxner

Madam Butterfly
Marilyn Badger

Mary Olsen

Triple Treat
Karen Boe, Marilyn Lidstrom Larsen, and Barb Simons

Angel Flowers
Barbara Ann McCraw

Happy Thanksgiving
Aki Sakai

Crystal Radiance
Dawn Siden and Joyce Grafe

Midnight in Morocco
Marilyn Badger

Tickled Pink
Susan Carlson

Sari Not Sari
Amy Pabst

Hopefully you have enjoyed just some of the wonderful quilts from the show.
We will be back soon!

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Nesting Nuthatch

We are thrilled to have had such a great response to our Blue Jar Medley offering, Nesting Nuthatch! If you have followed us for any length of time, you will know that birds of all kinds are near and dear to our hearts. I (Kara) particularly love the nuthatch, as it was one of my Grandmother's favorite birds.

There are a few new techniques in this block—none of which are difficult, but we thought we would show some more detailed pictures for some of those techniques. Let's show you the nest according to your pattern directions. 

The Nest
In the nest directions #2:

Gather your two brown wool “noodles” and the piece of sari silk ribbon. Holding them all together, begin to coil them around on top of the pedestal, twisting and overlapping the strips. Pin in place loosely.

Nest materials

Gather your two brown wool noodles and your piece of sari silk.

Holding them all together, begin to coil them around
on the top of the pedestal.

Twisting and overlapping the strips.

Pin in place loosely.

Nest Directions #3:
Starting at the top of the nest, use brown thread and take tack stitches to secure the nest pieces and build your nest, arranging as you go. You may want to snip the pieces to help with arranging. Stitch the nest down to the bottom inch, and then stop, leaving the remainder of the nest pinned.

Nest Directions #4: 
Take the green roving and thinly spread it over the center of the nest, as pictured. Stitch into place with a few tack stitches. Note that the roving will only be in the center, and not out to the edges, to give the illusion of the inside of the nest.

Nest Directions #5: 
If you want to stuff your eggs, cut a couple of layers of batting scraps (we used a high loft poly batt) a bit smaller than the eggs. Layer the batting under the eggs, one at a time, beginning with the back egg. Appliqué in place, being sure the batting is beneath the egg. You may find it easier to use individual stab stitches around the eggs to help achieve the rounded egg shape.

Nest Directions #6: 
Finish the front of the nest, being sure to stitch a bit of the nest material over the bottom of the front two eggs.

The Straw Flowers
The straw flowers are made with a yellow wool center and a Pekinese stitch applied around that center.

If you would like to see some close-ups and an entire post about the Pekinese stitch, follow the links below:

We also have some close-up pictures of the ribbon stitch in a Facebook post linked below, as well as a link for a whipped chainstitch (Queen Ann'e lace stems) tutorial:

As hard as we try to make sure our patterns are complete, we are human and sometimes little things slip through our proofreading brains. Neither Teri nor I caught our lettering omission until now, so we have sent out an email to all those who have downloaded our pattern and have fixed the pattern for future downloads. If you didn't get the lettering addition, then you can download it below. We also are linking a post that we have written earlier on using Press and Seal.

Mason jar lettering: Updated template with lettering

Hopefully these pictures and links will help you as you stitch our sweet little nuthatch block. We loved making this block, and we can't wait to see the finished quilt with all the designers' blocks included!

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, March 31, 2022

A "Crazy" Story

When we first started our blog and set up our Through the Needle's Eye website, our hope was to invite others with stories of their quilts to share. In fact, on the home page of our website, there is a form asking you to share stories you may have about your treasures. We were absolutely delighted to receive this email a few weeks ago from Kathleen Barden. Her story was so fascinating that we asked her permission to share it with you. She has kindly accepted our invitation, and thrilled us further by sending pictures. Thank you, Kathleen! And readers—enjoy!!


The end of the story is that I have three exquisitely embroidered crazy quilt panels with four 12.5-inch blocks in each panel. Plus another four-block panel that lacks embroidery over the joined block seams. Plus eight more 12.5-inch embroidered crazy quilt blocks waiting to be sewn together. Plus two 21-inch blocks with some embroidery and theorem painting in the centers. I believe the blocks may date back to late Victorian times. I'm looking for information about how to honor the history of these blocks while creating a finished quilt. 

The middle of the story is that I have already spent approximately 15 hours removing the three intact, completed panels from a brown Velveteen dress made in the late 60's and worn in a high school student play. She was an excellent seamstress, making fashion forward clothing until a few weeks before she died. 

The beginning of the story is that, for helping a friend downsize her sewing room, she gave me three boxes of her favorite fabrics. She had owned an upscale fabric shop in an exclusive suburban area from the early 1960s to the mid 1990s. As I was in the midst of packing to move as well, I sealed, then labeled the boxes and put them with the others to be moved to my new guest/sewing room. Recently, anticipating overnight guests, I have been cleaning up my sewing room. Stored under the bed were those three boxes. One box contains her favorite blue and white batiks from her travels in Indonesia. Another box is full of glorious yards of jewel-toned silks, satins, taffetas, and velvets. The third box held that dress she'd made for her daughter from parts of a crazy quilt, and all the rest of the intact, leftover crazy quilt blocks. The next chapter is mine to write/sew.

Here are some pictures you might like to use, along with my story. 

One of the lessons learned from all my efforts with this project to date is the critical importance of documentation for everything I do and create. I had a habit of labeling my "really good stuff." Henceforth, everything is getting labeled!

Just in the last two weeks, I "unearthed" an address for one of my benefactor's daughters. She informed me that, also in the mid 1960s, her Mom made a brown velveteen skirt and a vest with crazy quilt blocks for her younger sister. Neither can remember what happened to those garments. They both believe that their Mom either won the blocks in an auction or purchased them in an antique store. Although their Mom had the ability, neither remember her adding any embroidery of her own to the blocks. 

I am more reluctant than I was, to add any details of my own; keeping all that I have original to that talented woman whose name I shall never know but whose work I want to honor. It's becoming an awesome responsibility to own these beautiful pieces of another woman's history. I'm thrilled that her lovely work will live on and be appreciated well after she is gone.

Thank you. I look forward to reading the comments that your followers will add and to learning more about crazy quilting in general.

 ~by Kathleen B. Barden


If anyone has any information or suggestions for Kathleen as to how she can "honor the history of these blocks while creating a finished quilt," please give her some feedback in the comments below. We would all appreciate any suggestions you might have. Again, many thanks to Kathleen for sharing her story with us all; hopefully, our group effort here can offer her some ideas about how to preserve these treasures.