Wednesday, November 23, 2022

"Gnome-shave" November (or How to Attach a Beard)

Instead of "No-shave November," over here it is "Gnome-shave November," as our gentleman gnome has a fun and curly beard! We have used curly wool to give some great texture to our gnome's beard, and the curly wool is available as part of the embellishments in our wool kit. While it might look complicated, we have broken the process down for you in a series of pictures.

Use just a small amount of curly wool—it doesn't take much.

Roll it around in your hands until you have a small, slightly compacted ball of wool. 

Pull apart the ball of wool to fit your beard shape.

Stick a few pins in the wool, then thread your needle with matching thread and start stitching at the top of the beard. 

With small tack stitches, couch the wool down working your way around the face.

Down one side of the beard...

...until you get back to where you started.
Your beard will look very fluffy and somewhat out of control. 

In order to tame that beard, take small tack stitches within the beard to tidy up the fluff. As you are taking those stitches, you can tack down any stray fibers and bring them under control. You will use a lot of tack stitches.

So that is how we attached the wool for our gentleman gnome's beard. If you don't have curly wool, wool roving would work, or just use the plain cream wool and add some stitching within it with wool thread.

Have fun with it!

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Appliqué Academy: Pineapple Medallion

The pineapple has been a symbol of welcome for many generations, and our Pineapple Medallion will do just that as it hangs in your home. This dimensional block was inspired by a fabric we purchased last year. When we saw the design, we knew that we needed to translate it into a medallion and hopefully a future quilt. We also knew that it would be perfect block to teach at the Academy of Appliqué in Williamsburg, Virginia. This will be our second session class, March 2-4, 2023.

This block is chock full of dimensional flowers and leaves that look difficult, but are certainly not! In class, we will teach you how to make wired ribbon roses, ruched silk flowers, velvet and bias silk leaves, and let's not forget a fantastic, dimensional silk pineapple adorned with beads and stitching. 

Two layers of wired ombre ribbon will be used to create the roses.

A special technique using seam binding creates a two-color bloom. Little
embroidered details with big impact will be taught as well.

Come learn how we created this padded and embellished silk pineapple. 
Once you learn how, you will be able to use the technique with other
appliqué projects.

These silk ruched flowers are adorned with a rich, beaded, velvet center.

Lest we forget that this is the Academy of Appliqué, we will be 
teaching a couple of different appliqué techniques in class.

The class catalog for the Academy is a rather large file full of amazing classes and teachers, so it does take a little bit of time to load, but it is worth the wait. Our classes will be at the very end (p. 58), and we hope you will consider taking one or both of them. We strive to make our classes a fun and encouraging environment, where we learn a lot but laugh while doing it.

If you have any questions about any of our sessions or the Academy, we would be happy to answer them. The Academy of Appliqué is an awesome place to spend a few days or a week learning new things, but also making new friends who share the joy in the wonderful creative process that is appliqué. The link below will take you to the Academy website, where you can learn more about the Academy. Registration will take place online at noon EDT on Labor Day, September 5th. 

We hope to see you there!


Monday, August 8, 2022

Appliqué Academy: Woodland Reverie—Owls and Wood Roses

It is that time of year again! The catalog of classes has now been published, and we can finally reveal what we will be teaching at the Academy of Appliqué in Williamsburg, Virginia in 2023. Check out that catalog of wonderful offerings, and you will have a difficult time deciding what classes to enjoy: there are so many amazing instructors with a wide variety of techniques and skills presented. We do hope you will keep scrolling all the way to the end (p. 58) to see our classes, but we will show you a bit of detail here, too. 

In our first session (February 27–March 1), we are continuing our woodland journey with two new blocks from our growing Woodland Reverie quilt. Both of these dimensional blocks are filled with many different fibers and stitching techniques. 

The Great Horned Owls sit amongst winter greenery, with wool pinecones and stuffed holly berries.

Wired ribbon roses surround our Wood Rose Garden filled with lovely little posies.

All skills for both blocks will be covered in this class—and some will overlap—so you will be able to increase your appliqué and embellishment skills. Multiple methods of appliqué will be taught, along with ribbon work and embroidery. We will play with exciting new fibers and techniques to help you bring life to these dimensional woodland blocks. 

We are creating our Woodland Reverie blocks on both a dark and light background. Which will you choose?

Which woodland block will you select for this session? Or perhaps you will venture into our woodland reverie and choose both! We have presented four of the blocks thus far, and those patterns are available in our web store. If you want to learn more about our Woodland Reverie quilt, CLICK HERE.

Details of Great Horned Owls

This sleepy owl is embellished with wool threads and turkey work.

Wool roving and Ultrasuede add the final touches on the owls’ faces.

Dimensional wool pinecones with stuffed holly berries and simmering ribbon mistletoe and fun texture to this block.

Details of Wood Rose Garden

Dimensional cast-on stitched posies are centered with a bias silk ribbon flower.

Hand-dyed bias silk ribbon bloom

Posies made with cast-on stitch and silk ribbon leaves

Wired ribbon adds eye appeal to these layered wood roses, centered with padded silk. Broderie perse leaves add realism and fun to our featured corner blooms.

Every year at the Academy when people see our work, they comment that they wished they could have seen them in person, as a photograph never quite captures the dimension and texture of the blocks. We have striven to capture images that illustrate those qualities and hope that these larger pictures help you to see that. It is always a challenge!

As always, if you have any questions, please reach out and email us. We are happy to answer any queries for you as you choose your classes. There are so many awesome classes being offered this year that we do not envy your selection process. But we sure would love to see you in our room! 

If you love appliqué, this is the place for you. It is perfection: a gathering of sisters (and perhaps some brothers) who share your passion for stitching, who will become fast friends. Its location on the James River in Williamsburg adds to the charm of this event. Many thanks to Barbara Blanton and her staff, who work so hard to create this opportunity for us. The link below will take you to the site, where you can learn all about the Academy, as well as access the catalog. We hope to see you there!

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!