Wednesday, April 28, 2010


EGA is having an outreach project to make bookmarks for Children's Book Week. I'm leading it for our chapter. The book week bit hasn't worked out--I tried calling two local libraries a couple of times each with no response.

I did connect with Hammond Reads through a friend and we're going to make book marks for their literacy program. These are what I've made so far. The tails of the mice are the bookmarks, as are the tulip stems. I found some stiffened felt bookmarks at Michael's--18 in a bag. They are a little thick to use doubled or backed so I am working on creating reversible designs. The photo above shows one side of the pink bookmark and the photo below shows the other side. I think they need some work, all of them. I'd like to make the mice and flowers a bit smaller and also come up with similar designs. The long tails on the balloons on the pink bookmark could be problematic--snagging little fingers--I may glue them down. I also need to work on my stitching. It's a good start.

This is going to be an ongoing project so I'm going to be collecting and making bookmarks for the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Over the last few weeks I carried this old stamped pillowcase around to work on in doctor's offices and at meetings. I finally finished it and washed it. It was pretty yellowed from age. It's nice, thick pure cotton--very soft.I had intended to press the case before taking a picture but I forgot until the ironing board was put away.

I should have been doing other things, but this new project called to me. I got it at the International Quilt Festival earlier this month. From Wooly Lady, it's all hand-dyed wools. Thread was not in the kit. I used the photo as a guide, because I really liked the model in their booth, and used blue floche and bright red perle cotton in the flower centers and Grape Impressions, which is mildly variegated, for the buttonholing.I did vary one thing. Most of the petal and leaf edges are not attached to the backing but float free. The lines between the petals ground them and I did stitch down most petals that were covering up the ends of leaves and other elements. This dimensionality doesn't show in the photo but I like it a lot.

There was no hanging instructions or guide for how to hang this piece. It's firm enough, I was thinking perhaps a couple of small rings on the back. I could sew on a sleeve, too, and add bell pull hardware (it's about 6" wide) or a narrow slat for support. Since I don't have immediate plans for it, I decided to just think about what I want to do for now.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mrs Bailey's legacy

While I know it's not likely that bulbs planted over 150 years ago would still be blooming, but I always think of these as Mrs Bailey's flowers. The Bailey homestead at the Indiana Dunes was the first white settlement. The formal house was built in the 1830s. Someone, sometime, ages ago, told me that the flowers around the homestead had been planted by Mrs. Bailey and I've stuck with that notion. I like the idea of that type of legacy.They've moved around over the thirty-some years we've been going to Bailey in the spring. Some years they are more prolific than others. This year they have been particularly nice. This year featured Narcissus and Grape Hyacinth. I could see where some lilies might be coming up. And roses along the path to the homestead (I believe another farm was there in the past, long gone).So each year we go in spring to visit Mrs Bailey's flowers. And each year they put on a lovely show for us. They're up the path a bit from the wildflowers, except for the Spring Beauties, they're everywhere.

Spring comes to the dunes

The last two weekends, we've wandered out to the Indiana Dunes. On the 10th it was quite warm but this past Sunday was much cooler. In their turn, the wildflowers have been coming out to bloom. Spring beauties were out the first week but much more abundant the second. Bloodwort was lovely, then gone. As were the hyacinths and toothwort. The second week brought trout lilies, Jack-in-the pulpit, and red trilliums. We began with a beach walk.Here's Jack lurking behind some May Apples (getting ready to bloom)Here's another Jack--they were abundant this year. They are hard to see but once you spot one, then you'll begin to see more and more.The lawn by the Bailey Homestead, covered with spring beauties.A field of May apples. I always imagine fairies using them as umbrellas or for shade.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Quilt Show Shopping

The Haul!
I bought a lot of felt, not shown here. I got undyed felt for masses of needlebooks I'm planning to make for fall projects. I searched for and found colored felt for another teaching project. The above, however, is not felt. It's dyed cotton batting. Something new to play with! (I got a batting sampler so I can try dyeing my own batting!)This is for me. It's from Tammy Tadd's and I saw it in a show flier they sent to me a couple of days before the show. I liked it and when I saw it has pockets inside, I said MINE!On my hunt for felt, I came across this kit. I've already got the pattern pieces cut out and ready to go. It's from Woolylady and I love her designs.This is just to play. It's a fabric-collage needlebook. It is from Fiber on a Whim.I got this purse pattern and fabric at different shops. The fabric was a bag of remnants from Cherrywood Fabrics that will be perfect for the purse. My problem with Cherrywood has always been choosing--their fabrics are all so gorgeous. With this swatch bag, I don't have to pick--I have a little bit of everything. The pattern is from Maeda Imports. They have luscious fabrics, too, but I restrained myself (I have some from last year still unused).
I saw these stencils a couple of places and didn't keep track of where I picked them up. They're for use with the Earthsafe Dyes below. A demonstrator was doing something really creative with the dyes, textile medium and shaving cream and stenciling. I have to try it.I have so much trouble with allergies and chemicals, I really wanted to try these products. There were a few odds and ends, Bohin Needles and some little charms, but that was pretty much it. I had a budget and totally did not keep to it, but did better than I would have done if I hadn't begun with a budget. I came home and looked over my stash and played with it--no buyers' remorse here.

Uncle Moose

Yesterday Uncle Moose was laid to rest. Even though I knew him as that, he was actually my dad's cousin--kind of between the generations, he was 15 years younger than my dad and 15 years older than me. I wish I'd gotten to know him better (although I did try--he was rather reclusive). I knew him as well as I did because I grew up very close with his older brother's family.

It was nice to catch up with all the family and cousins. It seems these days we mostly see each other at wakes. I don't have a picture of Uncle Moose; he never came to our family reunions. He was quite a handsome young man in high school, pictured in his ROTC uniform.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Quilt Show

Oh, We had FUN!
I'm not much for crowds, but once I year I really relish being among like minded people. This crowd at Bohin (wonderful needles) is typical of Friday's crowds. (I can't imagine the crowds on Saturday!) We've learned to head for the far corners first and then work our way back. The quilt displays are often much quieter in the afternoon.There were many amazing, inspiring, awesome quilts on display. Some you could photograph, some not. I shot this one to remember the concept--the seahorse is made up from paisley motifs cut from fabric. I love this use of them. The quilt was prettier in person--my photo doesn't flatter it--more pastel and sparkly.
The word this year was sparkle. Many of the quilts sported little bits of crystal and other sparkly elements. I missed the journal quilts from the journal quilt project of past years. There were no garments, no dolls, no three-dimensional objects. There was a wonderful display of antique quilts in lovely condition, some really interesting quilts featuring rust-dyed fabric, and some quilts that really made me think.In the morning I took at class at Make-It University. Kelli Perkins taught cool cartoon fabric paper collage pins. I got to try Tsukineko inks and they are awesome.Here's Kelli getting us going. Below is my final pin. It goes with the overall sparkly theme of this show and will be fun to wear.Of course we shopped. I'll show my haul in the next post.

I'll miss the show now that it's leaving Chicago. It was a perfect day out with my sister and friends. We had our traditional wonderful lunch at Gibson's and walked 'till our feet ached. It doesn't get any better than that!

Monday, April 19, 2010


The winner of the needlepoint purse pieces and materials is Ukka (#4 as picked by Please send me your snail-mail address and I'll send the package off.

I'm getting worse and worse about remembering giveaways. I think I'm going to take a bit of a hiatus from them until my memory is working better. Sorry everyone.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Books, part 2

This first book is very 1960s and looks to be reprints from past books and articles. I can't tell yet if it will have any gems of wisdom. It's pretty unprepossessing.This one is very, very 1970s. Since that's "my" era, I rather like it. It's another one I'm hoping will have more depth than it looks like right now.This next book isn't crewel. I came upon it on my way to the crewel books and pulled it out to consider passing on. It's a keeper. It's not necessarily about blackwork, it's about design and design development and I'd forgotten how wonderful it was.So, I pulled it out for another review.I just love the images in it and the line drawings for inspiration.
This last one is also more current. I've taken EGA group correspondence courses with Judy Jeroy and I love her style. I recommend her courses--they're quite detailed. It's likely I have much of the content of this book in the various course materials from her, but here it is all in one place (and not scribbled on).

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Quilt Show!!

Once again I'm quite excited to be going to the quilt show. A few of us are going on Friday. I have my shopping list underway, lunch reservations made, and we're ready to go.
I hope to see you there, especially as it appears this will be the last year in Chicago! (bummer, they're moving to Cincinnati). It's always a fun day.

International Quilt Festival
Preview Night: Thurs April 15th
April 16-18,2010
Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
Rosemont, IL

Books, part 1

It's finally arrived: my autographed copy of the Mystery of Lewis Carroll. I'm looking forward to reading it--thanks, Jenny, for signing and sending it to me. Woo-hoo!!!I've been reading a lot again lately. I finished the other books I'd pulled out of the piles to read. This time I pulled out several crewel books. I've been browsing them a bit, picking up one and reading a bit and then picking up the other. Rather like my spotty stitching this weekend. I try to focus on one in the mornings before and during breakfast (I can't stitch weekday mornings or I'd never go to work). Most of these books are older--1960s and 70s. This is based on Winterthur collections and looks to be well researched.This one is also well researched and museum based. It focuses on design and not type of stitching and does not have many samplers nor much whitework. So far it's talking about the inspiration for designs and the practical reasons (lack of thread in the colonies) for some designs.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I finished it! It's far from perfect but I'm happy and I learned a lot.This weekend I dug into my Japanese Embroidery case and snapped a shot of progress on my piece.I was rather crestfallen when I saw it. It doesn't look like I've done anything but I have, really. Mostly I'm looking at this focusing on tiny details, not the overall. I saw a photo of this design in progress online recently and realized I need to get some more colorful flower petals done--it'll look like more then.

I also worked hard on the camellia this weekend. I have only five or nue leaves left to stitch and the last flower and stem. It now seems finishable!

I dug in a ufo bag and spent Sunday flitting from project to project, taking a few stitches, evaluating whether I'd finish them or not and, if so, what would I do with them and, if not, what would I do with them. We're having a "garage sale" at one of my guilds in June and I'm collecting.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


A while back I began a journal, mostly about working at the University. Around the time I realized I'd been here twenty years I found a stash of student diary/calendars in the trash and some website prompts for journaling. I went great guns for a bit but then moved on to other things. I recently worked on it again. Each time I play, I go back and add layers to the first pages and begin a few more. This time I played with printing bubble wrap. All I did was play all day.This page laments our campus news paper (the official one). It's no longer published in a paper version and the online calendar of events just isn't as nice as the printed one. The articles are okay online. I miss my paper. At least the student paper is still publishing. The background is folded paper cutouts from the newspaper that I had made when I began the journal.These are some backgrounds for journaling. Right now I don't have much to say but I'll go back and write in them later. The left-hand page is just paint. The right-hand page is printed tissue paper torn and glued on and painted.The campus itself is mostly neo Gothic but the Law School was designed by Eero Saarinen and the design a diamond motif and sharp angles are used throughout. The brown page below is layers of masking tape painted.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Girlz Day

My sister, sis-in-law and I had another Girlz Day yesterday. The weather was nasty so our river walk was canceled in favor of making things.My sister had finished this runner (I love her fabric selection), worked on a dress and began sewing the binding on a wall hanging. She also sorted her fabrics for a new wall hanging.We had fun sorting through N's UFOs. It looks like one will become a diaper bag, one a vest, some random granny squares have been delegated to a long scarf and a pillow top. After all that speculation she worked at changing a round neck sweater into a v-neck. She finished it before we left. She's holding the neck apart so it looks bigger than it is--it's a perfect brother size (my brother-her husband).I enlisted the others as guinea pigs to help me test a project I plan to teach next fall. I pulled it together the night before and only brought one color of paint. I got the home-made silk screen painted and dried in time and we silkscreened needle books. They came out pretty nice. My sister took them to her sewing machine and added the felt inner pages and they popped their needles in for safe keeping.Here are some extra unfinished samples. We rather liked the look of the shadowy second pull (running the squeegee over the screen without adding ink). I did learn that nice paint clogs the screen--cheap paint is the way to go!
We took a break midday and headed to Town House Books in St. Charles, IL, to browse the book store and have a yummy lunch in the cafe. My sister made peanut butter cookies with Hershey's kisses on top for a treat. (We helped, we unwrapped the kisses.) It was a welcome break.