A Surprise Square

My friend, Shirlee Fassell, stopped by today and brought me the following 6" square to add to my growing collection.  Her work always amazes me and I'm so happy to have this to include in my fabric book of squares.  Thank you so much Shirlee.

Shirlee's Swap Square

Be sure to check out Shirlee's blog to see all of the beautiful embroidery she has to share. 

A Trade with Candji

Another 6" square arrived for me today in exchange for one I sent to Candji Buckohr in Ohio.  I hope the photo does it justice as every part of it is so delicate it reminds me of what a fairy's garden might look like.  Thank you so much Candji for this little work of art.

This photo is of Candji's square for me.

Candji's Square for Maureen

My square for Candji.

Candji Swap Square

Now the topper on this exchange is that Candji just happened to have this pretty blue rectangle (only partially shown) lying around and she included it with the square she sent...another sweet and nicely embroidered example of her work.  Could this possibly be made into the cover for my collection of 6" squares?  I'll be sure to try it and, if not, it definitely will be made into a finished project.

Candji Rectangle

I've got to get going on the squares I have promised to others and I can't wait for the next ones to come home to me.

Candace Kling - Such a Joy

This past weekend was one of the highlights of many years for me and the best workshop I've ever attended.  Candace Kling spent three full days teaching us about 1% of everything she knows about using ribbon and fabric to create beauty.  I have only this one photo to share as I'm not much of a photographer and just grouped a small portion of what I made during class time after I got home.


I didn't finish my trims and left them partially done but mostly not done in order to be able to follow along and recreate them.  I'll post some photos of finished ones later.  If you'd like to see a more thorough picture journey of the weekend check in at Susan Elliott's blog.  She took glorious pictures during the entire weekend.

Candace has been invited to come back next year for a 5 day workshop.  We just couldn't get enough!! 

Be sure to check out her website and click on the side links "Art" and "Links" to see her true love - sculpting with fabric plus more of her beautiful ribbon work.  Unbelievable!!

Another Wonderful Square

As my first official personal swap, today I received a luscious 6" square from Pat Winter along with a thoughtful gift.  Her work is always so delicate and has a personal feel to it.  How fun to go to the mailbox and open what I feel is such a beautiful prize.  Thank you Pat!!

This photo is Pat's square for me.

Pat Winter's Square

My square for Pat.

Pat Winter Swap

And these are the lovelies she enclosed.  Pat has a wonderful blog and she always has something soft and inspirational to offer in her Etsy shop.


English Garden RR - My Work on Kathy's Square

Kathy made all of her squares the same to see what each individual would come up with.  I colored a lot of the areas including the cottage with colored pencils before I started adding flowers.  I couldn't bring myself to stop until the flowers started to overflow the edge.  Such fun! 

This square is owned and pieced by Kathy Shaw.

Kathy's English Garden Square

While I'm on the "subject" of Kathy Shaw, I'd like to thank her again for the templates she sent to me several weeks ago.  I've only used one so far as I haven't been doing much seam work, but I think I'm going to be using these a lot.  If you want to find out more you'll have to check with her as I'm not sure if she is ready to start selling them.  Her blog is http://www.shawkl.com/

A New Collection - Six Inch Squares

Recently I decided that I'd like to have examples of the crazy quilt work I so admire by others.  I've signed up for a couple of RR's that, in the end, will give me ten 6 inch squares each embellished by only one person.  What do I do with all those squares?  Large items are just not in my future because I hate just sticking things in drawers and displaying them can be overwhelming.  I plan to make the little squares into a book of sorts and will write about that when I actually have my game plan together. 

I've decided to take it a little further than just the RRs and am contacting CQ artists whom I admire and either purchasing or trading squares with them.  The piecing and the embellishment is to be done by each person so that the square is a true reflection of her work.  My first square arrived several days ago from Pam Kellogg.  I love this square!  The photo does not do it justice.  It is so different than any I've ever done and I only wish I could do this type of CQ.  I've discovered that I definitely have my own style and I find it impossible to go in another direction as the results always bomb badly and end up in the trash.

Pam's Square

Please see more of Pam's lovely work on her blog and her Etsy shop where you'll find wonderful cottage style items by Pam and her Mom.

Whole lot of Beadin' Goin' On

Taking time off for some other projects, I've been working some "Butterfly" time in here and there.  Here's an update to show you how it's coming. 

Beads 1

Beads 2

Beads 3

Beads 4

English Garden Round Robin

The past few days I've been embellishing a 6" square for the English Garden RR I joined on CQI.  This RR requires each member to piece six 6" blocks and each person in the RR embellishes one completely and mails them on to the next.  Since there are 6 of us in the RR, at the end there is one square left for the owner to embellish.  I will post photos here as we go along. 

This square is owned and pieced by Marya Blackwell.

Marya's English Garden Square

Butterfly Progression - Ready to Bead

With the butterfly still not attached, here is a photo of where I'm at now.  I didn't want you to think I'm not working!  All of the embroidery is complete and I only have beading to do.  I'll be saving the body to show you when I take the "finished" photo.

Butterfly Wing 14


From now on you can see Shirlee Fassell's fantastic stitching on her own blog which she started yesterday.  Be sure to follow along.  You won't believe some of the beautiful work she has coming!!


More Fabulous Stitching by Shirlee

As you may know by now, I'm a fan of my friend Shirlee Fassell and the beautiful and intricate tambour beading she does.  Here are her class projects from Ecole Lesage this year.  She got stuck in Paris during the volcano mess that shut down all of the airports so just had to take two classes instead of the one she flew over for.  Do I sound a little "green" with envy??! 

Shirlee 2Shirlee 3Shirlee 1

Butterfly Surrounded

I've finished the main part of the large flowers surrounding the butterfly.  I just have to do the centers but I want to get the leaves done first - Boring!!! 

These flowers were made using five sizes of the small "Perfect Circles" which are available on my website.  I traced around the circles inside and out using white marker pencil directly on my wall hanging.  Using 7mm silk ribbon for the two larger circles and 4mm for the three smaller circles and a combination of 8 colors, the work was pretty simple and went very quickly.  I just don't know what I'd do without templates! 

Butterfly Wing 13

Round Robin

This photo is of my embellishment on a square for a round robin I am in on the Crazy Quilt International Yahoo group.  If you are not already a member, you should check it out for the photos and inspiration you will see.  They also have a monthly newsletter full of beautiful work, instructions, and ideas.


Vintage Peacock

Found it!!  I promised this vintage peacock design to someone (I don't remember who) once I ran across it.  You can download it and reduce or enlarge it as desired.  Straight stitches, beading or a combination of both will be easy to do with this design.  The original is really large and was used as the center of a vintage dresser scarf. Click here to view or download the pattern.


Butterfly Progress

Just to keep you up on how my butterfly is coming along, I have finished stitching the "seams" for the background and am building on that with vines going up each side from the bottom center.  The vines are green, but look pale in the photo. Fantasy flowers and leaves will be added.  Then I don't know where I'll go from there.  That's what a work in progress means to me!  Stay tuned.

Butterfly Background

Wings Finished!

It's been over a month since I've blogged.  I don't blog about myself and my everyday life (who would care?)  We did go to see Cirque du Soleil (OVO) last night and if you get the opportunity to go, don't miss out.  It was fantastic!!  That said, I hope you'll understand that I can't always be turning out finished projects.  Please keep checking back.  I've been working on a challenge block which I can't show you right now.  I'm also involved in a RR as well as working on some ideas for An Adventure in Crazy Quilting coming up next April.

All four segments making up the wings for my butterfly are finished and I have started doing CQ "seams" on my black silk.  I've found that this is my all time favorite way to do all of the fantastic seam coverings and, though it's not for everyone, I just love the way it looks and how quickly it comes together.  I wish I had started whole cloth crazy stitching a long time ago and worked it along with pieced parts such as the butterfly.  I'm even thinking of revamping my CQ 2012 to use black as a background.....we'll see.

Butterfly Wing 12

Back to the Butterfly Wing

I'm still working on the other wing but it's been a month since I posted.  I wanted to pop in and say Hi.  I thought you'd like to see the wing I've finished with the two parts together.  I've put it on the black background fabric for the photo.  It gives you a better idea of where I'm headed with this.  I'm almost done with the other wing after a time consuming big mistake I made and had to take out.  I also spent a bit of time on a RR square this month between all the May birthdays around here.  I find I spend more time trying to come up with ideas than I actually spend stitching.

Butterfly Wing 11

Speaking of RR's, I read somewhere that when you do work on a square you should leave 1/2 " bead free along the edges that are going to be stitched to other squares or borders.  I've never done that and just use a zipper foot to stitch the fabrics together and think that a scant 1/8" is plenty of space to allow.  I think a 1/2" bead free area especially in a seam that goes out to the edge looks unfinished.  What do you do?  I guess you could enclose enough beads for the recipient to finish it off.

First Wing Finished

Here is the beaded upper right wing.  I won't be posting the left wing and you'll see the butterfly again later on down the road.  So that I have something to post I'll work on the background some and finish the left wing on the side.  I still haven't decided what to do about the body.  Any ideas will be considered!

Butterfly Wing 10

Butterfly Wall Hanging

Here is the upper right wing for my Butterfly Wall Hanging.  I will use the colors, beads, etc. that I used in the lower part so it should move along a little quicker.

Butterfly Wing 7

Butterfly Wall Hanging

Butterfly Wing 4

Today I finished the lower right wing. I added another layer of silk ribbon to each of the petals of the flowers. They look so much better now. A few other simple embroideries and lots of beads have brought me to the point of "enough is enough!" Repeating this on the lower left shouldn't take as long as no thinking will be involved.

Butterfly Wing 5

Butterfly Wing 6

Butterfly Wall Hanging

Butterfly Wing 3

This half of the lower right wing is not quite finished but I'll show you my progress.  Here are two designs I drew to fit into special areas on the wing.  As you can see, I use simple lazy daisy designs to place flowers and then use silk ribbon, beads etc. just using the design to guide me.  I may add to the silk ribbon flowers as they look a little weak to me.  Still thinking!!  I love lace so almost always include it in my projects - not to mention, it fills space without too much work!

Wing Pattern 1

Butterfly Wall Hanging - Embellishment Started

After spending hours trying to decide how I want to embellish the wings on my butterfly, I've decided to show you the simple route I've chosen to take.  Remember, stitches will be done in mirror image with only minor differences. 

For the first step, I gathered a length of 1/8" (4mm) silk ribbon as I tacked it down to the edge of the scalloped area of the wing.  I then used size 12 pearl cotton to divide the different segments with a single line of feather stitch.  I'll revisit this area with beads later. Since my background will be black, I'll introduce black embellishments whenever possible so the butterfly will look like an integral part of the wall hanging and not just sitting on top.  On to playing with flowers - it has to have flowers!!

Butterfly Wing 2

An Experiment Started - Butterflies are Free

This is my first post in quite a while.  I made my first trip ever out of the USA and visited England with my daughter for 8 super days.  Not a thought of stitching went through my mind while I was there as I enjoyed the history and the scenery more than I can say.  The Cotswolds will always be calling me from here on out.

Well, I've been home for 10 days now and am finally in the mood to start a new project.  I've put away my 2012 quilt and another smaller piece I've been working on for a few years.  Who knows if I'll actually get anything finished by 2012.  Life is short and I don't want to tie myself down to a date.  If it's done, great!  If not, the Earth won't stop turning. 

As the title says, this is an experiment.  I am going to try to piece a butterfly much in the same way I did my pansy wall hanging so long ago.  The butterfly won't stand alone, however, the way the pansy does.  I'm going to appliqué it, after embellishment, to a solid black background and use the techniques I used for my whole cloth crazy quilt on the black.  I've found that black is my all time favorite base for CQ embellishment.  I work it up faster as I so enjoy the way the colors pop when I look at the embroidery stitches.

This butterfly is 27" wide by 20 1/2" high and is being pieced in bright colors.  I decided to make it more in fantasy colors rather than try to make it look like a specific type which would probably end up wrong anyway.  The fabrics are silk shantung and dupioni.  I am using a lot of freezer paper and either ironing edges over and appliquéing or lining some pieces and turning in order to cut down on the silk fraying. Butterfly Wing

Here is the first part of one wing.  It took me several tries to figure  out how I wanted to do it.  This one isn't perfect and I cut down on segments to make it easier to piece.  I'll divide it up again as I go with my embellishments.  The whole thing may end up being redone again or, maybe I'll just cover the mistakes I see with stitching.

I am giving you the drawing I made as well if you'd like to try it yourself.  I still get requests for my pansy pattern, but I threw it away when the pansy was finished and only have my original drawing in a 2" square.  Too tiny to piece!!  I plan to stitch the butterfly one wing at a time and do mirror embellishment.  How I'm going to assemble the butterfly is still not decided.  I just do it by steps and redo if I need to as I go along.

Butterfly (sm)

Arm Chair Sewing Caddy

Over the two years my website was closed, I received several requests asking for me to sell the pattern for my Arm Chair Sewing Caddy.  I had no idea where it was.  Well, I finally found it and, rather than sell it, I have published it for anyone who wants to download a free copy.  I hope you enjoy the project and if you have any questions please contact me. Caddy C

Please go to my downloads page and you will see two files labeled “Sewing Caddy”. You should download the pattern file to your PC as it requires printing on legal size paper to get the right size. The instructions you can either download or print directly.


BookThis is purely a show and tell.  I can't share the pattern with you since  I took it out of a currently available book, "Ribbon Embroidery and Stumpwork" by Di van Niekerk.  I followed the directions and found this so easy to do. I highly recommend this book.  I intend to use a lot of the ideas from it.



Hydrangeas (com)

Wisteria from Four Seasons Wallhanging

In the April and July 2006 issues of the CQ Magazine, I had photos of my Four Seasons Wallhanging. Since then, it's been packed away in the UFO drawer with little hope of being finished. I took it out this year and have started working on it again...hopefully I can show it to you finished. This wisteria was one of the first embroideries I did on it in 2006 and I hope that you can make use of the design. Chain stitch, lazy daisy, and French knots with some beads added, are the only embroidery stitches you'll need.

WisteriaWisteria Pattern

Vintage Embroidery Designs - A Great Example

Here is Shirlee Fassell's artisticly embroidered peacock from the Vintage Embroidery Designs I posted last week.  A wonderful example of making these designs your own.  This is on her "Vintage Vignettes" crazy quilt which was one of the winners announced in Issue Three 2007 of the $100,000 Quilting Challenge Magazine.

Vintage Embroidery Designs

This 13 page copy of a vintage embroidery design catalog has been on my computer for so long I can't remember where I got it.  Being that it's in the public domain, I thought I'd share it with you.  There are designs here that will work well on crazy quilting projects as well as other items.  Enlarge or reduce as you like.  Aren't computers grand!!  If you happen to work one up, I would love to share it with everyone.  Don't hesitate to send a scan for me.  Here is an example of the designs you'll find when you click here. Be patient, it is a large file.

Antique Bonnet Pin Cushion

New Cushion

This picture is my rendition of the antique pin cushion shown below. 

Old Cushion

I often buy things that other people wouldn't touch because of their condition.  This one is drab and dirty but I thought the design was well worth saving.  I prefer a softer look so I left off the trim around the brim and flattened out the crown a little.  I hope you enjoy making one for yourself. 

Hat BrimPhoto As

  • Cut a 6 1/2" dia. circle of cardboard and a piece of Wonder Under.
  • Iron Wonder Under to one side of cardboard circle and remove paper.
  • Cut a 13" dia. circle of fabric (I used silk shantung.)
  • With Wonder Under side of cardboard up, center fabric and iron it to the cardboard.
  • Turn over and hand pleat the fabric to the other side, pinning as you go.  It should look like this photo.  Baste fabric to hold near the center of the circle.

Hat Crown

  • Cut a 3 1/2" dia. circle of cardboard and put a 1 1/2" dia. hole within it (this will be where the stuffing for your pin cushion goes in.)
  • Cut a 7" dia. circle of fabric that matches your brim and a 7" dia. circle of fabric to use as a liner (I used muslin.)
  • Place the two fabric circles together and run a gathering stitch 1/4" in all the way around the edge.  I did this by hand, but machine stitching will do fine.
  • Start gathering this edge up and as it forms a pocket, place the cardboard with the hole inside.
  • Continue to gather until the 1/4" edge of the fabric will go around the edgePhoto Bs of the cardboard circle.  Glue this edge down to the cardboard and set aside to dry.  Stuff firmly through the 1 1/2" hole.  (Use wool roving when you start filling as it is better for the life of your pins and needles and fill in the bottom with Polyfil to save on expense.)  Put a small hole in another 3 1/2" dia. cardboard circle and glue this to the bottom and allow to dry thoroughly.  It should look like this photo when finished.

Tufting:  Thread a button through one hole and leave a long tail.  Using a doll making needle, go up through the hole in the cardboard and through the center of the stuffed crown.  Use a very strong thread for this (I used dental floss.)  Rethread into a needle that will go through your button and rethread to the doll making needle again to go back down through the other hole in the button you started with.  Do this one or two more times for strength.  At the bottom, tie the tail you left earlier with the end of your thread, pull tightly and tie a firm knot.

Assembly:  Center and Photo Csglue the crown to the pleated side of your brim and allow to dry.  You can now slip stitch the crown to the brim around the edge.  This photo shows how it will look before embellishment.

Finally, decorate your hat pin cushion as desired.  Add lace, ribbon, flowers to make it truly your own.  Because the bottom is flat, you can add a pretty cording or a ring to the back for hanging.  Hang it in a special place and you'll always know where your pin cushion is.

New CU