Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wedding Planner: Altered Composition Book & Altered Clipboard


It is March and the month is living up to its name. We have had terrific wind storms all winter and today, even though it is a beautiful blue sky day, we are expecting high winds with gusts up to 70 miles per hour. The last time we had this kind of windstorm, my husband and I stayed up all night to monitor the situation. High winds at night are even scarier than during the day. This warning will expire at 10 P.M. I hope it ends much earlier!

I have been continuing the clean, sort and purge method in my sewing room and other rooms throughout the house. I thought I would be finished with the fabric sorting by now. But, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Bags of items to donate are ready to deliver to local charities and with the coming of spring, I really need to complete this task so I will be ready to work outside when the warm weather is here to stay. This is the year that I will plant my much-anticipated romantic perennial garden. :-)

In between cleaning, sorting and purging, I have managed to make a few things in my studio. I was asked by a friend if I could make a planner and clipboard for her daughter who will be planning her wedding. The bride-to-be doesn't like fussy things, so I knew a frilly mini album would not be what she would use. So, I decided that a planner that would be useful to her would be something she could make her own and not have definite pages for this and that. I settled on altering a a composition book. Yes, the kind we used in school. They are still available!

I learned the bride-to-be is fond of Audrey Hepburn, Jackie O., and Marilyn Monroe, especially black and white images. She likes clean modern lines, but also likes a bit of retro and rustic. The movie Breakfast at Tiffany's was mentioned, and her love of Tiffany blue, with a little shabbiness thrown in for good measure. What I came up with is pictured below.

The project.
Packed up and ready to deliver.


I tucked a tag beneath the tulle.


To: and  From:


The front of the altered composition book
I made a couple bookmarks using ribbon and word beads.
On the right are clips the bride-to-be can use to randomly divide pages in the book..

The back cover.
This image was too cute.
I had to use it!

Divider tags are printed on cardstock and circle punched.
I used a jump ring and iridescent beads to attach them to clips.

The reverse of each divider tag has a different, but related title.
There seems to be a really BIG space between some of the uploaded photos.
I don't know why and as much as I have tried, I can't correct it.
My apologies.
Please keep scrolling down!
;-)














Inside front cover.
I made a pocket with ribbon trim.

I have had two little booklets on hand for so long that I don't recall where I picked them up.
I wish I knew because I want more.
I used one here with Audrey peeking out over the top of the pocket.

Surprise!
This image just had to be used in the project!

And . . . who else would be on the back?

Inside the back cover.
I used the same ribbon to make a band that can hold things.

I slipped the second little booklet beneath the band.

Marilyn.
:-)






The girl next door image of Marilyn.

Full size clipboard.
Altered with designer paper and matted images.
I used alcohol ink and acrylic paints on the metal to give it a softer look.

Charms attached to a removable clip.

The back of the altered clipboard.









For reference, I included a 2017 calendar.















I altered some mini clothespins the bride-to-be can use to harness some of her planning papers.








These are always useful and are fun to make!

The matched set.

 . . . But wait . . . there is more . . . in my next blog post! I decided I wasn't quite finished with giving the bride-to-be what she needed for keeping things in order, so I made an additional altered composition book / planner for her. I will try to get the next post written soon. :-)


In the meanwhile, I hope you and those you love are healthy and happy and that life is treating you well. And until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand.


Emmy



Monday, February 13, 2017

It is almost Valentine's Day!

January sure has flown by! There is no use in wondering where those 31 days have gone. They're history.  When I look back at my calendar entries, I can see the activities I participated in and appointments I kept; but, in between, I enjoyed a prolonged holiday spirit.  I loved our Christmas decorations this year. We kept them simple and with the snow falling throughout January and early February, I've felt too sentimental to take all of the decorations down. I've been removing a few at a time to lessen the blow of having an undecorated abode.

Luckily, here comes Valentine's Day to my rescue! Call me old fashioned, please. I'm a hopeless romantic born to the wrong century. I long for the days when Valentine cards were exchanged with family and friends, and were often elaborate handmade beauties. I have some lovely antique postcards. Several are lithographs from Germany with rich colors and detailed artful images.

The artwork on this postcard is so pretty.
It is dimensional.
I have noticed that forget-me-nots were often used on postcards . . . a fitting sentiment.
The colors and the gold ink are still vibrant after 104 years!

My father received this Valentine from his cousin Estella Hawker, who lived in Chittenango, New York.
It is postmarked Feb. 13, 1913.
Notice the 1-cent stamp is turned upside down.
When I was a little girl, I was told an upside down stamp meant "love",
 but I was instructed never to turn a stamp with an eagle or the flag on it upside down!

I love to read the messages on old postcards.
Note the antiquated spelling of the word "tonight". It was hyphenated, as "to-night".

Estella on a picture postcard from 1911.
I am not sure how old she was when this was taken.
My father was 13 in 1911.

Like most of us, Stella (or Estella) was not fond of the photo of herself.
The Grandma and Grandpa Hawker she mentions would be my great grandparents, Joseph and Henrietta Hawker.
They lived in Alexander, New York.
It looks like she hinted at wanting an answer from my father by writing the slanted "ans" after her signature!
My family and my primary school teachers carried on the tradition of making and exchanging Valentines.  When I was a little girl, I couldn't wait for the Saturday morning in February when my mother would give me some red construction paper, white lace paper doilies and some old magazines to use to make my own cards. Those handmade cards were just for our own family, and the cards we made in school were proudly carried home from school and given to our parents. We also decorated shoe boxes in school with big red and white paper hearts, crepe paper, glitter, ribbons, and paper doilies to collect the Valentines from our classmates. The teacher cut a slot in the top of the decorated box where  the cards could be inserted. I picked out boxes of cute little cards at the 5 & 10 on Main Street, and on Valentine's Day I'd bring my cards to school, already signed and addressed, to place in all the boxes that were atop of each child's desk, including a special card for the teacher.
 
It was so much fun to bring the cards home and look at all of them, with the names scrawled in pencil on the backs. Of course, there were always those few favorites that would make my little heart beat faster!   ;-)   To  celebrate the day, my mother would make a heart-shaped cake with pink frosting and individual heart-shaped red Jell-O molds. Sometimes there was also a big fancy red heart-shaped box of candy. I'm not sure, but I think it was probably a gift to my mother from my father. ♡ It was a fun event in our home.

Thinking back on those days, I believe that must be when I first fell in love with pretty paper and paper crafting. I used to pour over the wallpaper books that came in the mail...remember them??...and pick out my favorites,  wishing I could re-paper my bedroom every year! Somehow, it's already February 13th! It's time to get out the red construction paper!  ;-)

Thank you for stopping by to read my blog post. I hope you will enjoy Valentine's Day and some special memories. 

Until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hands.

Emmy

Thursday, December 29, 2016

End of the year thoughts . . .

Christmas was only four days ago, but it seems longer than that to me! I am happy that it has snowed again and the ground is covered with a fresh blanket of snow. We had a quiet Christmas. For me, just shopping for baked goods at one of our favorite bakeries is a gift, as are the nights sitting together in the living room watching mushy Christmas movies and enjoying our decorated tree.


Time slipped away from me this December and as Christmas Eve approached, I had not yet made one of the gifts for my husband. I hunkered down in my sewing room for about four hours and was able to complete it. Since we had been over-indulging in Hallmark Channel movies and since I am married to one of Santa Claus's helpers, I had the idea that it would be nice to decorate our bedroom as if it were Santa's room, with lots of red and green and some garland, like the rooms we see in the B & B's and homes in the Hallmark movies! To achieve the look, I reversed one of my summer quilts that has a red and white checked backing and put it atop the bed. It was my thought when I chose the fabric for the back in the summer that I would use it this way at Christmas. Then I added the pillows to the bed . . . with their new Christmas pillowcases that I just finished. It was looking good, but needed more. So, I grabbed some unused supplies from my Christmas decorating stash and quickly made a big red bow and with the help of my" reacher thing" (for lack of a better term) that I use to get boxes and things off the top shelves in the pantry, I was able to get the bow fastened to the only nail in the wall and on the first try! I opened some red garland and lassoed the bow in my best cowgirl form and it worked . . . and it was even, too! I used a couple little command hooks to drape it and I have to admit I like how it turned out. My Santa was very surprised when I unveiled my project to him!


Fireplace in "Santa's Room"!
Pillowcases I made on Christmas Eve for my Santa!
My attempt at converting "Santa's room" to something from a Hallmark movie!

As the days of this year are coming to a close, I've been thinking about a variety of things that are either memories of years gone by and people who I used to know, to hopes and dreams for the year ahead. This month I thought a lot about my mother. She has been gone now 20 years, having passed away just a few days before Christmas in 1996. She and I were very close and her passing was an end to her suffering after a stroke that left her just a shell of the strong and vital woman she once was. But even when she seemed to be trapped inside of her own body and mind for over six years, there were bright spots and she never lost the way she would look at me with expressive eyes. It was the one way that was left for her to communicate because the stroke affected her ability to walk or talk. I learned a lot from her during her good years and during her final years, too. She was strong, feisty, smart, resourceful and loving. She was also opinionated. She didn't see a lot of gray areas. Most things were either black or white, right or wrong and would stay that way until she could be convinced otherwise. I sometimes wish I saw things like she did. It would keep life simple. I was keenly aware of her influence on me as I went about preparations for Christmas this year.


I think I have spent half of my life trying to be an organized person. I've read books, attended seminars, read blogs, watched videos, and with some success. But there are those areas where I still want to improve. My parents were both adults during the Great Depression and they saved everything. Living with them must have instilled in me the same saving mentality of their generation.


In the book, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up", by Marie Kondo, there was one take away that I have put into practice. When I come across something on a shelf, in a drawer, or something that is right in front of me every day; I need to decide whether or not it gives me joy. If the answer is "yes", then I find a place for it where I can see it, use it, enjoy it. If the answer is "no", then I get rid of it. It has helped. I have a box always at the ready for things to donate to charity and it goes out the door with me on every trip I take . . . when I know I will pass by the charity's building. That isn't really revolutionary and it is espoused in almost every organizational bible. It is something I have done for almost 20 years. In that amount of time, you might think I would live in an empty house!


Some of my friends and acquaintances have asked me lately how I have managed to get rid of things, so I thought I would just touch on it here in my blog. Over the years, I have found many ways to get rid of possessions I had either inherited, or acquired, and no longer wished to own. I sold antiques in a booth at an antiques mall, sold things on consignment at clothing and antique stores, taken things to the local auctioneer, had yard sales, and used ebay and Craig's List. The newest way that seems to be really handy and easy is to use a virtual garage sale on Facebook. Wherever you live, you can search in Facebook and find several in your area. I like them better than Craig's List because you can discuss items directly with the seller, who is a member of the same group you join within the Facebook, and make arrangements for them to pick items up at your home or some other mutually-agreed-upon location. My husband takes care of listing and selling things for us this way, so I am not the expert -- he is! But I do understand the concept and it has worked for us to sell some heavy items we would not want to cart away ourselves. There are people interested in just about anything you can think of selling or donating. So, for those who are wondering what to do with all the stuff you have, just decide to do it and pick a couple of things you are willing to part with and go for it! You can list things, take photos, ask and answer questions and do it all from home while you drink your morning coffee and while you are in your pajamas!


I am trying very hard to use what I have, and get rid of the things I don't like and don't use. It isn't easy, but I know I can do it. I just have to take one step at a time . . . similar to my quest last February to list all of my unfinished quilt projects and then try to get some of them completed. I managed to complete seven of the 45 I listed. That may not sound like a lot in numbers, but in the feeling of accomplishment, it is huge. And . . . I have made an effort to buy only fabric I need for a current project, not a dream project for some future date. Sometimes I look at the fabric in my closet and I wonder what I was thinking? I would need an army of quilters to get these things all made! That is one of the reasons I took stock last February. I don't want my family to someday be saddled with deciding on what to do with all my stuff. They would never know the value I put on things and what was just some random item. Its better if I can be the one who decides where things end up. So, this will be a major focus for 2017.


There will be a lot of sewing and hauling out this year at our house. I hope you will find . . . or make . . . the time to do things you enjoy while you are paring down. I know I have a lot of items to share and I am looking forward to it!


Wishing you a happy end to 2016 and a great beginning to 2017!


Until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand.


Emmy

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas Calm

The gifts have been wrapped and mailed out, the cards and letters written, and the house will be decorated tomorrow and the next day. Our Christmas dinner shopping will be over the next few days; and for the first year in a long time, I feel organized and prepared for Christmas. I mentioned to my husband today that it is kind of funny how we stress over what we didn't get done when it comes to Christmas; but when I think about last Christmas, or the Christmases before, I cannot recall exactly what it was that remained undone! So . . . I think that shows me just how things don't have to stress us out if we didn't get to them.


I am content. Of course, there are things that I just thought of today that would have been nice to make or buy for someone on my list, or the event that would have been nice to attend; but I am enjoying just being at home inside my own four walls, instead of being out in the cold with crazy drivers or in a shopping mall with frantic shoppers. The extreme cold and snow kept us at home last week. Was I complaining? No. In fact, I was not-so-secretly happy to be "snowed in", as I like to call it. When I see one snowflake flying, I am ready to proclaim it is a snow day in Alexander!


My sister has a favorite set of Christmas dishes that I made her napkins to go with many years ago. She asked for some new napkins, so I went shopping for just the right fabric. The dishes are now discontinued, but I found photos of them on replacements.com.


Dansk "Winterfest" Pattern
I found something that I thought would go well, and decided to make a set of 8 napkins for her. I wanted to improve on the last set, so I decided to make them with mitered corners, like on the fancy napkins from the store. I didn't expect that the learning curve would be so steep. After all, I have sewn since I was 12 . . . which means I have sewn for over 50 years. Gulp. Really? Am I old enough to have started sewing that long ago? Holy cow! I found a blog post with an excellent tutorial on how to make the napkins: http://celebrate-creativity.com/my_weblog/2014/02/mitering-fabric.html.


Thank goodness I had the presence of mind to make a practice piece with some muslin that just happened to be lying on my cutting table. After getting around all 4 corners, I decided I could move forward and get to work on them. It was slow going! I had to refer to the photos for each step on about the first 3 napkins until I got the hang of it. Now I think I could do those corners in my sleep!




A set of 8 Christmas napkins  . . . finished in time for an early Christmas present!
 
Up close and personal shot of that well-practiced mitered corner.
After 32 corners, I've got this down pat!
There are some other things the elves are helping me with in my sewing room that are Christmas gifts, so I will have to wait to post them after they are received.


It hasn't been that hard to take a step back and enjoy the quiet this year. For me, pulling the decorations out of their boxes and reminiscing about them is almost like a gift in itself. All of the traditions that Paul and I have established over our marriage are meaningful, yet simple. One of our new favorite things that we have been doing this year is having hot chocolate after dinner with a handmade peppermint candy cane, from Oliver's Candies www.oliverscandies.com, the local candy store, in it. Yum! What could be better than watching a Hallmark movie and having that for a special treat? I haven't convinced Paul to try eggnog yet, but that's okay. That means there is more for me!


I hope you will spend the days we have left before Christmas in ways that are comforting and meaningful to you. It's a wonderful feeling to be so calm. I hope you can be calm, too.


And, until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of His hand.


Merry Christmas!


Emmy



Monday, November 7, 2016

November 8th . . . A Memorable Day

Every year on November 8th, I have a reason to celebrate. On this day in 2002, I heard the voice for the first time of someone who I would fall in love with and who is now my husband. I was on an Internet dating service and in early November, there was a notice in my email that I had a new match. I looked at his profile, but I didn't contact him. Since he appeared in my matches, the same thing happened on his screen and I appeared in his matches. I wasn't sure what to think. He lived about 15 miles from where I grew up and I wondered if I even wanted to do internet chat with him. My search criteria included Rochester and Buffalo and Syracuse, but I was living in Ithaca. I was searching far and wide for a match, and often added downstate to my search area. It never occurred to me that someone from "home" would end up in my search! I looked at his profile and there were some similarities, but there were also some differences that could be roadblocks. One was my height. He listed on his profile that he was interested in women 5'10" and taller. That put me out of the running, since I am 5' 3 3/4" tall! While I was still deciding whether or not I wanted to proceed, he reached out to me and we started to chat. I liked him right away. He was kind, funny and thoughtful. He warned me to be careful of the men "out there". We chatted online for about a week, often late into the night.


We eventually took our conversations a step farther and we decided to talk on the phone. I gave him my number and he called me at 10:30 P.M. I loved his voice and I could detect in it the nuances of a Western New York dialect, which after living in Central New York for more than 20 years, was recognizable to my ears and surprisingly comforting to hear. We talked and talked and talked all through the night until 7:30 the next morning! This date is etched on my heart and will forever be an  important and memorable day for me.


The winter of 2002 - 2003 was a happy whirlwind of dating and getting to know one another. We went to museums, the theater, had coffee dates, visited wineries, after-work gatherings, and so much more. It is hitting me this year that it was all a long time ago. Fourteen years is a long time. I went to the bookcase today and took my box of memoriabilia from our first year off the shelf. What wonderful memories that box holds!



Precious Memories




His story, my story and our story is a long one. If I was to write it all here, it would be much too long. I have considered writing it as chapters for a book. Perhaps that is what I will work on next year when NaNoWriMo comes around again. But until then, I just want to say I hope you have some special days in your life that you can always look back on and celebrate. I know that God had a plan for me. I just had to be patient and wait.


I wrote the poem below in 2003 before we were engaged. I knew he was the one!


You may need to tap on this box to read the poem.


I dedicate this blog post to my husband, Paul.
I thank God for choosing him for me.





Thank  you for stopping by and reading my blog post. I wish you happy memories and until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of His hand.


Emmy

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Sunset at Sea

Last, but not least, the final post about quilts I entered in this year's quilt show, Stitches in Time 2016. You can read about the show here:  http://museumquiltguild.blogspot.com/ 


The pattern I used for my "Sunset at Sea" quilt came from a magazine article in Quilters Newsletter Magazine, June 2006. The pattern, "After the Storm at Sea", was designed by Barbara Wynne, but I altered the placement of the fabrics in an attempt to evoke the setting sun with streaks of color and light coming through the clouds at sunset. I saved the pattern for many years and started to collect batik fabrics that looked like the colors of a spectacular sunset over the ocean, evocative of the many sunsets my husband and I have seen while on vacation. The sunsets that we viewed from Chincoteague and Assateague Islands are more toward the mainland than over the ocean, but still spectacular.


This is my most recent quilt. I started piecing it in early April. The pattern is a paper-pieced pattern. For those who don't quilt, a paper-pieced pattern is sewn onto paper, along printed lines. It adds several extra steps to the process, but the result is usually accurate piecing. In a traditional "Storm at Sea" pattern, of which this is a derivative, there are some pieces that must be cut accurately and not on the bias of the fabric. Bias cuts can stretch and you will end up with wonky blocks. In the photo below, you can see my first few blocks on the design wall. The long diamond shapes have fabrics that could stretch, if not cut the right way. Using a paper foundation takes away some of the concern about biases. However, when making a quilt with paper on the back of each block, it gets cumbersome. More on that later!



My "Sunset at Sea" quilt in its infancy.
The small square blocks are 4" x 4", the larger square blocks are "8" x "8", and the diamond blocks are 4" x 8".
You can see one of the 8" x 8" paper patterns in the photo.


As I continued making the blocks, the sunset image emerged, with deep hues of red, orange, navy, and burgundy at the horizon and lighter pinks, blues and lavender in the sky. At least that is what I was going for! My design wall grew.



To audition fabrics, I placed swatches in the spaces where the 8" x 8" blocks would go.
I wanted to plan the color placement to achieve my sunset image.


When I purchased the fabrics to make this quilt, I bought either half yards or quarter yards. It proved to require some creativity on my part. I kept all of my scraps, even the smallest, and it was a good thing that I did. I ended up piecing some of the fabrics just to make one diamond or triangle here and there. I feel a deeper relationship with quilters of the past when I piece tiny bits of fabric to make it work.



I worked with my scraps to build some smaller pieces to use in the blocks.
This is what I had left to work with near the end of the block construction.


As the quilt grew, it got heavier and heavier because it had paper on the back of every piece. I have made many paper-pieced quilts over the years, but never with such large blocks. Everything I have ever read about making quilts with paper piecing says to leave the paper on while sewing the blocks to each other, and it is my typical practice, unless there are no biases to deal with. This pattern didn't mention anything about construction after making the blocks, so I went with what was the conventional practice and left the papers on. It was so heavy, that the papers kept tearing and I had to tape them. Ugh. But, I persevered and got it constructed. I kept my sewing room door closed so my husband wouldn't have to listen to me growling. He thinks its strange that I growl when I am frustrated. I think it is better than swearing, although I just might have uttered a few cuss words here and there along the way!



Close-up of an 8" x 8" block from the back of the quilt.
The fabric is sewn to the reverse side.
Note the tape holding the seams together.
Tape and a hot iron are not a good mix.
I used a pressing cloth to save my iron.




Think about how heavy a stack of copy paper is.
Add that to some fabric.
Add some tape.
This was a heavy thing to try to pin together and sew accurately.
At the show, a quilt guild member advised me to straight stitch all around each block and remove the paper before assembly.
I'll try that next time!
I do own lighter weight paper that is just for paper piecing, but I made these patterns at the copy shop and used their paper.
I believe it would have helped a bit with the weight to have used it, but it definitely would have torn more easily.



Did I mention that when you sew a paper-pieced block that you use tiny stitches? That is so it makes it easy to remove the papers from the back. Easy is a relative term. Tweezers in hand, I tackled the back and pulled off each little piece of paper and tape and dug out the little pieces that were stuck under the thread. My husband often asks me if I am having fun when I am sewing. My answer is usually yes, but some parts of the process are more fun than others! The best part, though, is having a result you are happy with.


I completed the quilt top by the end of May and took it to a local quilt shop to be quilted on a long-arm quilting machine. I wanted some stitching that would travel along the "waves" in the pattern. I think she hit the mark, and then some!




Below is the finished quilt. The image is a bit blurry because I was very excited when I took the photo. My quilt won an award at the show! I was so excited that I couldn't hold the camera steady as I took a photo to text to my husband. He had supported me through all the work I did to get my quilts finished and into the show, so I wanted to share the moment with him. It is my very first quilt show award. :-)


"Sunset at Sea"
47" x 57"
Pattern: "After the Storm at Sea"
Quilters Newsletter Magazine, June 2006/No. 383
Paper Pieced by Machine
Custom Machine Quilted by Chestnut Bay Quilting






Close up of the Show Co-Chairman's Award
The little blocks that are part of the award are paper pieced and were made by guild members.
The image is the Holland Land Office Museum, where our guild's meetings were held when the group first formed, which is now part of our guild's logo.

Knowing I would write a blog post one day about my "Sunset at Sea" quilt, I took photos during the construction journey, so I could tell a story. I couldn't have known at the time that the story would have a happier ending than I ever would have dreamed. Now that the show is over and I have blogged about this and the other five pieces I put in the show, its time to resume a normal pace. You can see my other quilts here in my previous posts: studioemmy.blogspot.com/  


Our guild is currently making ornaments for the annual "Wonderland of Trees" exhibit at the Holland Land Office Museum. The guild puts a tree in the exhibit every year. I pulled a few of my small paper-pieced orphan blocks to finish as ornaments. It is a good task for now when I am in an after-the-quilt-show fog. It keeps me sewing and, of course, while searching for the orphan blocks, I discovered a few other projects that just might end up getting some attention now.



Two 4" x 4" orphan blocks from my stash of Christmas blocks.
These will be made into ornaments for the guild's tree at the museum.
I'll use the bindings that you see above the blocks to frame them.
They are left overs from previous projects.
That is why I never throw the ends and snippets away until they are all used up.
You are bound to find a use for them . . . if you can figure out where you put them!

Thanks for stopping by to read my blog. As always, your questions and comments are welcome. And until we meet again, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand.




Emmy



































Sunday, October 23, 2016

Little Bee

Made of wool, penny rugs are representative of the kinds of domestic arts that women and girls pursued during the mid- to late-1800's. They have become popular again with today's quilters. I was drawn to these mysterious little things when I browsed quilt magazines or visited quilt shops. I wasn't sure how to make one, but true to form, instead of asking about them or taking a class, I decided to make one on my own. I don't know when or where I got the notion that I can make things without instruction! As is usually the case, I needed some help. When I saw a class offered at Mt. Pleasant Quilting Company, titled: Enchanted Pennies, I signed up. You can read about Mt. Pleasant on their website: http://www.mtpleasantquiltingcompany.com/


I gathered up the wool pieces I had acquired and headed off to my first class. As I sat at the table, I noticed the pretty wools the other women had in front of them. Mine didn't look at all like theirs. What I discovered was that the packet of "wool" that I purchased in a wool and yarn shop was actually felted and not 100 percent wool. It looked like wool to me when I bought it, but it didn't look like what everyone else brought to class. I decided to be frugal and make do with what I had. After all, this was a craft that had its humble beginnings when the makers used wool scraps from clothing, which is far removed from the conveniences of today with beautiful quilt shops where quilters can buy patterns, fancy hand-dyed wool for handwork, and threads in every possible color, shade and hue.


Several of the women who sat near me in class were very nice and generously shared their soft pretty wool scraps with me. I think they felt sorry for me! I used the donations and was grateful to have them. "Thank you", my anonymous quilt-y angels! We learned a few embroidery stitches in class, but then after a couple classes, I didn't finish the project. When I had surgery in 2014 and 2015, I worked on it a little while I recovered. In the beginning of this year, I listed my UFOs, which in the quilting world are UnFinished Objects. You can read about my UFO list here:  http://studioemmy.blogspot.com/2016/03/about-those-ufos.html This piece was on that list. Having the quilt show this year was a good incentive and helped me complete it. Here is a link to my quilt guild's blog, where you can read about the quilt show:  http://museumquiltguild.blogspot.com/


When I finished all the embroidery on my piece, I noticed a vacant area in the upper right corner. I decided it needed something. I cut out some of my "wool" and made a little bee that I heavily beaded. I liked him so much that I named my piece "Little Bee" in his honor. :-)



He is only an inch long from nose to tail, but he was so much fun to create,
that I named my wall hanging after him.



There are definitely more penny rug and wool projects in my future. At the quilt show, I purchased some of the "good stuff" and some high-quality embroidery thread from a vendor. I am a strong believer in buying the best quality materials that I can afford. Having the right tools and good materials goes a long way to producing a nice piece. So why I decided to make do with my wool pieces is probably due to being brought up by parents who lived through the Great Depression. Everything had to be used in our house until it was used up. Little pieces of string were tied together to make a longer piece and wound around a jar filled with buttons. Cups with broken handles became flower pots. My mother took clothes that had served their purpose, and were not suitable fabric for rags, to an elderly lady who used them to make braided rugs; but before she delivered them, she snipped the buttons off and saved them in her button jar! It has been hard to break myself from the habit of saving every little thing just in case I find a new use for it someday. And, all in all, even though the wool in my piece was not the "good stuff", I do like how it turned out. I learned a lot in making it, from selecting the right fabrics and thread, to learning a variety of embroidery stitches and taking a class.



"Little Bee"
Wall Hanging
23" x 18"
Pattern: Enchanted Pennies
Book: Pennies From Heaven by Gretchen Gibbons
Wool on Cotton Background
Embroidered by Hand
Quilted by Hand



Thank you for stopping by to read my blog. As always, your questions and comments are welcome. I plan to write another post soon with my sixth and final quilt from the show. Until then, may the Lord hold you in the hollow of His hand.

Emmy