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.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

New Store Goodies and a Birthday Giveaway Winner!

We have put some brand, new items in our store and just in case you may have missed them, we thought we would showcase them here—and of course announce our giveaway winner. 

Earlier this week we launched our Spring Potstickers and thank you to all who purchased our fourth iteration of these cute, little circles of plant decor.

As with all our potstickers, each kit comes complete with everything you need to finish them. You just have to provide the wooden skewers.

If you order the kit, you will receive a free pattern for our homage to Ukranian eggs.

Wool roving creates the bunny tail

Springtime brings the robin redbreast not just to our yards but to our potted plants as well

A dimensional daffodil to grace your indoors long after the real ones have faded.

And now to our giveaway...

Joni Keefer Giancola

You are our winner! Please email us with your address and we will send you your goodies!

Thank you to everyone who participated in our giveaway. We hope that all your stitching, birthday wishes come true.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

A Birthday Giveaway!

Telling Stories Through the Needle's Eye is 7 years old! 

It is hard to believe that our little creative endeavor has been in existence for seven years, and we couldn't have done it without you, our customers. So, because of that, we are having a giveaway to celebrate. 

We have packed this giveaway with all sorts of goodies: Village Wanderings—Trees pattern, Poinsettia Stocking complete kit, 4 Weeks DyeWorks flosses, a spool of River Silk ribbon, 3 different types of needles, a package of beautiful Velvet Varietals, a handy ruler, and a pen. If you would like to enter, please let us know what stitching-related item you would love to receive for your birthday. You can comment on this blog post, Facebook, or Instagram and if you tag a friend, you will receive another entry!

On another note, there are some lovely new patterns and kits in our store. At long last, all the parts (patterns and kits) of our Village Wanderings quilt are now available to purchase. The Seaside Chapel and Seasonal Trees have just been added.

Village Wanderings, hand appliquƩd by Through the Needle's Eye;
machine quilted by Karen Marchetti

We have patterns, wool, ribbon, and thread kits available for the entire quilt now, so you can create your own wandering through the village. You can find everything you need for the Village Wanderings quilt on our website.

This is one birthday we are happy to celebrate, and we are privileged to share it with you! Entering our giveaway is simple:

On this post, Facebook, or Instagram, answer the question:

What stitching-related item would I most like to receive for my birthday?

Don't forget to tag a friend for an extra entry!
Giveaway closes at midnight EST, on March 23rd and winner will be notified on March 24th.

We thank you abundantly for making our birthday celebration a possibility!!

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Woodland Reverie at the Academy 2022

As always, we came home from the Academy of AppliquƩ exhausted and excited, ready to start new projects and jazzed by the inspiration of the many people we met and stitched with during the week. Our first session was these two blocks from our Woodland Reverie series: Butterfly and Trillium and Cascading Creek. The class was roughly divided in half, so we got to watch both blocks coming to life.
Kara is working the quilt on a black background, and Teri is using the neutral background. It is amazing to see the difference that even that change can make in the way a design looks. 

Ribbons, galore—a favorite shop spot

Bins of patterns and kits, and drawers of threads.

Our room, ready and waiting for students!

We finished setting up just in time to see the sunset from our room.

Busy, busy stitchers!

It was fun to watch wired ribbon transform to trillium leaves and petals with a simple pull of a wire. And look at those beautiful trillium blooms!!

The creek is cascading down the hill, ready to be framed.

What a fun butterfly!

We have now listed patterns and kits for each of these blocks. You can purchase the patterns alone, either in printed or digital format, or you can get a kit with the special materials used to embellish the block. You can take a look below, and then head to our web store for more detail. We also have the Spring Robin's Nest back in stock, as well as the Autumn Mushroom Wreath

Spring and Autumn on the left, and hints of what's to come on the right.

We bought these plants to showcase our potstickers, and they bloomed in just a couple of days! We figured that was a sign to come home and stitch up some Spring Potstickers. It won't be long!

Our week brought us new friends and reunited us with many we'd not seen in a while. It was widely agreed by everyone we spoke with that the experience of spending a week with stitchers who share our passion is an indescribable pleasure. If you share a passion for appliquĆ© and hand work, you might be able to imagine—but the feeling is a unique one. There are few places where so many kindred spirits can gather and share such joy. We have been blessed to be a part of this each year.