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  • Christmas In July!

    Why Christmas in July? The weather is sunny and warm, the outdoors beckon with gardens and birdsong; who wants to worry about Christmas at this time of year? In my younger years I wouldn’t even start to think of Holiday crafts until the nip of Autumn started nibbling and the days grew shorter and more golden. Football season heralded in my creative spirit and I would sit and stitch while my husband and his buddies watched and cheered their favorite teams. The trouble with that was time; many of the projects I tackled were too involved to get done in time for Christmas without that last minute panicked rush. Every year I would promise myself that next year it would be different – next year I will start my projects earlier.

    I think this was the thought in everyone’s minds that birthed the concept of Christmas in July; that and the fact that many fabric manufacturers start shipping their Christmas prints at this time of year.

    I have a class coming up at Pioneer Quilts in a couple of weeks – a holiday wall hanging I call ‘Santa’s Cabin’. This is a foundation paper piecing project that creates a charming rustic cabin flanked by pine trees (perfect for embellishing if that is your passion). The paper piecing is more complex than some of the basic ‘quilt blocks’ you often see yet not so complex as to put it beyond the skills of a raw beginner. Not big on Santa? Make the cabin for an angel or forego the holiday theme altogether and simply make this a rustic cabin in the woods. I do hope you will come join me on Sunday July 16th from 11 am to 3:30 pm and make your own lovely little cabin. Contact Pioneer Quilts to enroll in this class.

    Christmas Cabin
    Christmas Cabin


  • Kudos to Charlotte

    Sometimes I think of myself as a mama bird, anxiously watching her hatchlings feather out and take wing. I am always proud of my students achievements whether they complete their assignments or not – they always get an A+ for effort and enthusiasm; I do not ascribe to Yoda’s admonishment to Luke – “Do or do not, there is no try”. I applaud ‘trying’, I’d rather see that than to have someone not even attempt something through fear of failure. \

    In my experience, my students always produce something they should be proud of, sometimes I get to see it and sometimes I don’t. In some cases, they stay in touch either giving me progress reports or asking for additional mentoring as they finish their project (which I’m always delighted to give).

    Those of you who follow me or check in on my posts regularly may recall a post I did several weeks back showing some landscape quilts in progress from some students. One of them – Charlotte – has been in touch off and on, asking questions and showing me picture of her quilt in progress. The other day she finally sent me a photo of her finished quilt and here it is for you to admire – Great job Charlotte!

    Charlotte's Landscape Quilt.
    Charlotte’s Landscape Quilt.

  • Van Gogh By Thread

    This is my latest Embroidery project – Van Gogh By Thread! I gave a class to my embroidery group last month on creating little scenic still life themes with embroidery; for my own project I chose one of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers paintings as inspiration. The stitchery was done mainly with six-strand floss (with a little pearl cotton) onto wool felt. The panel, which measures about 10″ tall by 6″ wide, originally started square but ended up wonky with the distortion the stitching created, I probably could have kept it more squared up with a stabilizer beneath the felt but I really like the asymmetrical presentation the way it turned out.

    The entire embroidery was done on the improv – no preliminary drawing, I just picked up a needle and started stitching by eye so my rendering is not an exact reproduction of the painting, just a similar arrangement. It was challenging but fun and I think I’d like to turn this into a class if people are interested. I want to explore more of Van Gogh’s paintings for future projects, maybe one of his landscapes. His work is particularly well suited to this because of the brush strokes he employed – they are perfect to represent in stitching. Once again, I will simply improvise by eye rather than draw out a detailed master plan.

    Van Gogh's Sunflowers improvised with thread.
    Van Gogh’s Sunflowers improvised with thread.