Scottish Thistle Needle Book

Scottish Thistle Needle Book
I often find that I putter around a lot and time slips by and I don't get much done. Then I get frustrated about all of the tasks piling up. I know the secret to ending this cycle of inactivity is what I call Butt in Chair Time! Really, it means what it says. Put my behind in a chair and get some work done.  Several years ago I heard an interview with the daughter of Roald Dahl, one of my favorite children's book authors. She said that her father would go into his office to write for two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon. Spending just four hours a day he wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, The Witches, The BFG and many more. It struck me that so much can be accomplished in so little time. So, with four hours a day, I too have accomplished a lot.

A peek at summer spiral drawing
First up is this Scottish Thistle Needle Book Pattern which you can find on my etsy site here. On the outside is a Scottish thistle that uses a few stumpwork stitches. It's not for the beginner but anyone that has a few basic stitches under their belt should have no trouble. Once you have the thistle finished you can stitch it into a needle book that has space for lots of needles, a pair of scissors and a needle threader. Again, it's pretty easy to sew and the pattern includes photographs to help you along.

The next thing I got done is a new design for another spiral pattern. I plan on doing four of them, one for each season. The newest one is summer and has a sailboat, tent, fruit and vegetable stand, sunflowers and features a quote from Celia Thaxton. I'm excited about getting to the stitching but first I get to make a trip to the needlework shop (always fun) to pick out some fabric. Rumi Wisdom (spring) and Emerson (winter) can already be found in my etsy shop. I'll keep you posted about my progress.

And lastly an update on my A Year of Stitches project!


Embroidery for Crazy Quilts

It's always fun to come up with an idea for a new class and my newest brain wave is a class on embroidery for crazy quilting. I'm not really a quilter, although I have made a few but I love to embroider and teaching a class that focuses on the embelishments for these beauties seemed like a lot of fun. 

Thanks to suggestions from my friend MA at Magpie's Mumblings it turned out to be a blast putting this sampler. I made rows of a basic stitches and then an additional row of the same stitch but embellished with other stitches and colors. I thought you might like a peek and if you're in the Minneapolis area look for the class coming up in a few months.

I am scheduling classes for the future so if you belong to a group that would have fun with some embroidery I'd love to have a conversation! I have several classes scheduled at the Textile Center of Minnesota in the meantime so if you're in the area I'd love to see you at one. Here's my schedule:

Embroidery Design (2 sessions)    3/14 and 3/21     10-1

Quilting Outside the Lines           3/16                   10-1

Embroidered Photos                    4/4                     10-1


Midwest Fiber Arts Trails

One of my favorite things about teaching is the interesting students that are in my classes. Jenny took an embroidery class from me awhile ago and I discovered she has an amazing website and blog called Midwest Fiber Arts Trails.  The site focuses on textile related events that are going on all over the midwest. Included on the site are current exhibits and events including fairs and festivals, shows and sales, classes and calls for entry.

And then there are the trails! Trails are designated areas that have a good number of shops, artist studios and events all related to fiber arts. In addition there are also road trip suggestions. If you are planning a trip through the midwest you really need to check out all that is going on. Perhaps you'd like to know where to see some barn quilts.  Go here and hover over the quilt emblems (there are a lot of them). Perhaps you'd like to hear Karen Ann Hoffman speak about her amazing Iroquois Beadwork. Go here!  If there is an event in your area you'd like to include you can find Jenny's contact information on the website.

Midwest Fiber Arts Traills website is so rich with information that I know I can't cover it in one blog post. Please go and see for yourself all of the amazing things that are happening in this part of the country. Kudos to Jenny for putting together such a spectacular resource. If you don't live in the Midwest is there anything similar in your location?


Free Hand Embroidery Projects

My first embroidery with a few supplies

Sometimes I like to play around with stitch patterns and designs, other times I like someone else to provide the inspiration. The other day I stumbled upon some free embroidery projects and decided to do some further exploration and share my finds with you. 

Mary Corbet's Needle n' Thread

The first comes from one of my favorite embroidery sites, Mary Corbet's Needle n' Thread. Mary has a whole page of patterns that can be printed and used for stitching. Some would make excellent applique designs as well. She, generally speaking, gets her patterns from vintage embroidery books. She then cleans them up with her graphics program and puts them up for all of us to use. After you are inspired by the free designs, check out the rest of her site. It's a world of great information!

Dillmont Rose Hand Embroidery Pattern
I opened my messages this morning and found that Mary Corbet just put a new free pattern on her blog! It is a pretty symetrical medallion flower pattern. It isn't posted on her free embroidery pattern page yet so I couldn't let the opportunity to share her newest pattern with you!

The Embroiderer's Guild of America
Not only is this a good organization but, they have some free stuff even if you're not a member! While there are a few patterns on the page there are several instructional booklets that can be downloaded that give good information on stitching. The topics include Technique Basics of Surface Stitchery, Counted Cross Stitch, Blackwork and Stumpwork.

Embroidered Owl and Flowers
On Instructables I found this darling owl idea from craftknowitall.

Sewn Up Teresa Down Under
I was going to choose just one project from this site to show you but there are so many adorable ones I decided to post a page with links to all of her projects. I especially adore the napkins with a French poem embroidered on them and creating an embroidery from designer fabric. You'll have fun roaming through her projects, I think.


A New Year Begins

1 Year of Stitches  Days 1-3 
Hello 2017! This year feels different to me. I want to get organized, commit to things, complete stuff that's hanging out there, move forward and focus. This usually comes over me in September - the usual back to school emotions. This year I got a planner (this planner from Ink & Volt) that is making me think about my year differently. I won't go into the ins and outs of the planner but I am thinking more about goals and achievements. I'm hoping to create a lot more embroidery patterns and put them in my etsy shop. I'd like to find some more venues to teach and I've committed to a stitching 
challenge that will last the year.

Sara Barnes at Brown Paper Bag started up 1 Year of Stitches 2017 and I've decided to participate. It is a celebration of embroidery and the idea is to make at least one stitch per day on an embroidery of your choice. The group is nearly 2,000 strong and everyone has their own interpretation for how to proceed. Some are finishing ufo's, others are working from patterns, there is cross stitch, free form embroidery, beginners and folks teaching their children and just about anything else you can think of. If you'd like to join in it's not too late. You can check out Sara's blog for instructions or go to the Facebook page 1Year of Stitches:2017 and ask to join. My photo covers days 1-3. I hope to see your stitching!

One more thing! I've listed the Emerson Winter pattern from the previous post on my etsy shop in case you feel like stitching up some inspiration! It's a downloadable PDF pattern so you can get started on it right away!


Inspired by Winter

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
                                                      -Ralph Waldo Emerson

I'm pleased to tell you that I have recently completed a new embroidery inspired by winter, the spiral form I used in the Rumi Wisdom embroidery and the quote above from Ralph Waldo Emerson. It seems to me that winter is all about patience - the patience to sit by our fires and create slowly, to let a stew simmer for hours and hours developing amazing flavors and finally, the patience to wait for the snow to melt and the earth to wake up and grace us with greenery. 

Now that the embroidery is complete and my notes are in mostly good order I've started working on the pattern. I'm hoping to have it in my etsy shop in time for some long winter stitching.



How Its Made Needles and Pins

I'm gearing up for my next class on stumpwork embroidery focusing on using wire. I've not taught this before so there is a lot of prep to do and it engages me fully! If you are in the area you might be interested in taking it.  Here's the link for more information and sign up!

In the meantime have you ever wondered how needles and pins are made? I came upon this great video on the How It's Made Channel on YouTube. I use needles and pins pretty much daily so it was fun to see what goes into their production.