Monday, May 18, 2020

Charm Quilty Pleasures...

  So there's always a bit of guilt when an artist resorts to making a pattern-- or worse yet, a kit! I have learned to accept that after the brain drain of working on embroidery designs all day, there's nothing that helps me recover better than mindlessly chain piecing half square triangles at night!

I am particularly fond of "charm packs"-- these are the little packs of 40 five inch squares of one fabric line you see in the stores. And there are plenty of books with plenty of patterns to show what to do with them. The pattern above is "Dulcinea"-- it's a "Schnibbles Pattern" and I bought it not really knowing what it was initially. The fabric is Brenda Riddle's "Caroline."

I enjoyed making it so much, I inevitably googled "Schnibbles." 
The Schnibbles patterns are no longer in print, but you can buy them as singles second-hand on Etsy or Ebay and I was also able to snag two books second-hand off Amazon.

 Usually there might be only one pattern I really would make in a book, but these have several.. I highly recommend them. If you want a bigger quilt, you could also buy the 10" layer cakes and the patterns are written for both sizes. Just think-- it's really the same amount of sewing! I haven't tried the larger size ones yet, but I feel it coming.

So this one was the first one I made from the book, called "Picnic," and the fabric was Fig Tree Quilts "Ella and Ollie." Again-- I totally enjoyed it-- the instructions are well written, you can just do it little by little-- they get done! It's on my longarm right now-- yes, the Innova was initially looking like a colossal waste of money initially as it sat, alone, in it's own room-- is now, due to circumstance, looking like the smartest thing I ever did. PLENTY OF TIME FOR IT...

And now I need a new project so I ordered some more charm packs from Fat Quarter Shop! This is "Mackinac Island" fabric from Minick and Simpson-- they always come out with these gorgeous red, white, and blue collections-- so perfect for patriotic pieces. I am hoping to have the "Lincoln" quilt with the stars and bars as a table runner by Fourth of July.

I give away almost everything I make. For a schnibbles pattern, you need mostly TWO charm packs-- they are usually around $10-- and then I already have batting, and I can usually piece together a backing from my stash-- so you have a fabulous gift for $20.
Depending on the pattern, one charm pack and about a yard of matching background fabric is sometimes better-- again, a $20 gift.

But I have a feeling "LINCOLN" may not be leaving this house...

And here's another few charm packs I bought-- I mean, why pay shipping for just one collection!
This is Abby Rose from Robin Pickens and I picked up the Schibble pattern "Clover" from Etsy. I already looked it over, and it is assemble in LONG. ROWS. which is not something I typically enjoy but I love the pattern.

"Catalina" and "Rosewood" I am not sure what I am doing with-- but here's another charm pack book still available...

 Again, it has more than one design I like-- my favorite is called Snowflake-- they look more like flowers to me in those colors, so it could be either a summer or winter quilt.

I have three machine embroidery patterns 
in the store for charm packs.

Look what our clever friend, Jacqueline from Arizona, 
is making with her scraps! It's always such a treat to get emails like this.

So what could be better than charm packs--
 embroidered charm packs!

Hope we've inspired you to pull out some fabric today.


Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Patience, patience!

Yesterday I had the framework of the May cottage of the Month finished... I had made a list of  potential monthly themes in early January to see if I could think of enough, and also to try to make them correspond with the season--
so April was HOPE because we are hoping for spring, and May was PATIENCE, because we have planted our seeds and are waiting for them to sprout. Little did I know they would be far more appropriate than I thought, as we are hopefully and patiently (or not so much) waiting for this crisis to pass.

Originally, I was thinking of the "Fruits of the Spirit" cottages when I started this, but there are only nine of them, and some of them I don't agree with... for instance, there was no "self-control" exhibited when I decided to run three stitch-a-longs at once. (Stitches of the Sea, Cottage of the Month, World Tour of Embroidery) or frequently none embraced when visiting the Does anyone else have that Sunday School song stuck in their head, though?

The Fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace.... 
patience, kindness, goodness.
The Fruit of the Spirit is 
faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
If you live by the Spirit let us keep in step, 
keep in step with the Spirit...

And just note that "self-control" is LAST anyway!

So here we are with the framework of the house:

Then, it's time to fill all the leftover spaces
to the brim with "cute stuff."

It's hard to make a dog in 15 cross stitch blocks... I checked with my daughter to make sure my new elements looked okay and she correctly named a swing, birds, clouds, and a weathervane. She called the hanging baskets "dream catchers" but I can live with that.

Yesterday, the Scottie dog was running rampant all over the design. I am proud to say I did not lose PATIENCE but instead made him a friend and a doghouse and they both settled into good spots.

When I started with Fairy Frost fabric for the first wintery cottage, it did cross my mind that it might not be appropriate for summer cottages, but now I'm thinking instead of frost that sparkle is now a dewy spring morning-- I still love it!

 The cherry blossoms are out!

Has anyone notice that each design has a large backstitched element? This one has a cherry blossom... at first, I was just trying to break up the border and fill some extra space, but now they are one of my favorite parts of the design! I was thinking of just doing a set of twelve "Unusual Elements" as a set at the end of the year.

We are almost halfway through the series and that has been plenty of time to dream up sashing ideas... I'm thinking of climbing florals with maybe a bird tucked in here or there. For the cornerstones, maybe suns? or maybe the birds go there? They will be fun to draw and I'm hoping to get them done over the summer. Think "happy."

That leaves the outer border... I was really thinking of this as a "virtue village," and I was thinking of the Bible verse, "whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovelywhatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think on these things." So maybe a shortened version of that around the edges, or if you are totally over machine embroidered cross stitch, keep your eye out for a lavish floral print for your borders as the year progresses. Your thoughts are welcome.

I do like those verses though-- so appropriate for any faith--but the number of hoopings required might test both my patience and my self-control at the same time.

May Cottages of the Month out by the end of the week...

Happy stitching everyone!


Friday, May 1, 2020

The first day of the rest of the year...


It's May 1st-- we made it through one of the crazeist months of my lifetime. SO... I went back and read my blog post for March 16th-- that is when the initial realization set in that things were about to change. It's good to know that since then, we have been able to flatten the curve substantially, eveyone who needed a ventilator had one, we didn't completely spiral out of control, and some states are even starting to open back up again.


At the same time, normalcy is a long way off. Until we have a vaccine, it still seems risky to leave the house if you don't have to. I think masks will be a "thing" for a year or more. Will I be standing in line, 6ft apart, waiting to go into Michael's? How will I get a haircut? What will dining in a restaurant be like? When can I go to my friends' homes? So as much as I look forward to the day my state stops the stay-at-home order (currently it's May 15th), the realization has set in that life is going to have limits for a while.


I have really settled in here, and I'm trying to keep a good perspective. I don't have any risk factors. I understand that the death rate is probably much lower than initially thought, but I really don't want to suffer through a bad virus. Simpler joys-- like taking a walk with my husband, baking at home, and of course, sewing, have become enough for me for now. I do firmly believe we will get through this in a matter of some long months. Most importantly, I don't think it will fundamentally change who we are.


Fast forwarding to the end of the crisis, I'm thinking of what I will wish I had done during this "quiet" time. I can certainly check off the box of getting a lot of sewing done-- if you follow my daily Facebook posts, it's been hugely productive! The pictures here are mostly of things I did in April. I'd also love to work again on my scrapbooks-- they brought me so much joy when my kids were growing up, and are a source of comfort to me now. I'd love write a short story or two-- did you know that in your imagination you can go anywhere you want?! I'd love to jot down some memoirs-- not something all about me, but as a tribute to some amazing people and places I've experienced in life. I'd also love to get my house a bit more in order-- usually I'm not a fan of housework, but to tell you the truth, sorting through the things I have collected over the years has given me a good deal of pleasure since my nest emptied.


So that's the plan! All of the running around we used to do has pretty much ended. We have the long wished for the GIFT OF TIME. I sure hope to use mine wisely. It's kind of exciting. Let's see what happens!