Solstice Dream top

I finished Solstice Dream. I added more leaves, berries, bees and caterpillar to the border.
Solstice Dream Top
The top is currently 36 1/2" by 42 1/2". I was really happy to cross off a wool appliqué wool project off my To Do List. Solstice Dream was a fun project, I learned a few new stitches and new techniques.
I am getting ready to mail the quilt top to be machine quilted.

A Lillie update. Lillie is growing and learning new things each day. She is now 5 months old, over 30 pounds and 20" at the shoulder. A few weeks ago, I was able to get a few not blurred pictures of Lillie and Molly.
LillieMolly and Lillie (1)
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Solstice Dream blocks

These last 10 days, I have been concentrating on finishing all the blocks for Solstice Dream. Last night, I finished the Curvy Caterpillar block.

Curvy Caterpillar

I rather enjoyed stitching the tiny caterpillar and I am thinking I may add some caterpillars and bees to the borders.
This afternoon, I stitched all my Solstice Dream blocks together. The quilt is now 24 1/2" by 30 1/2".
I really like all the blocks but I think my 3 favorites are Pretty in Pink, Curvy Caterpillar and the Marsh blocks.

Solstice Dream Blocks

I have the top border prepped and really to appliqué and embellish. I am beginning to think I might be able to finish the quilt by November 1st.
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Solstice Dream - Nest Building and Big Bloom

I took a week off from stitching September Fresh Cut BOM, I was able to finished blocks 9 and 10 of Solstice Dream.
Nest Building
Nest Building
I always go a bit crazy stitching drizzle stitches, I love to just pack them in.

Big Bloom
I fell in love with the colors of Morning on the Seine silken pearl which was used to stitch the cast on bullions and crested chain around the cotton appliqués on the petals.

Blocks 9 and 10Blocks 1 - 10

Just had to post latest picture of Lillie. She is getting bigger everyday. Lillie is 17 weeks old and now about 25 pounds. She is getting too big for a small dog bed but she did manage to curl up small enough to fit this morning.

Lillie on the small bed (1)
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Solistice Dream - Woven Petals and Pollen Gathering

I have been stitching quite a bit lately, I have more projects started than normal and I want to finish Solstice Dream before the end of 2017. I finished stitching Woven Petals and Pollen Gathering. I now have more than half of the blocks are completed.
Solstice Dream blocks 7 and 8

The woven petal block has feathered chain stitch in the leaves which adds an interesting look to the leaves. I sewed blocks one through eight together, these blocks are 18" by 24".
Solstice Dream blocks 1 - 8
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Solistice Dream - Thorn Birds and Bees

Trying to stay on track, finished block 6 of Solstice Dream quilt. The block is 12' by 12" finished size.
Thorn Birds and Bees block
This blocks used a variety of threads which always adds interest to the finished block. Rousseau Ric Rac is appliquéd in place then thorns, pistil stitches, were stitched with Painter's Rousseau pearl cotton. Painter's Kadnisky shimmer floss adds a beautiful shimmer to the bird wings and tail. New to me was the Feathered Chain stitch on the 4 larger leaves, adding a small in the chain really added a lovely touch to the leaves.

Turkey work is never my favorite stitch, I did preserve and stitched the 4 bee bodies using Thread Gathers Sheep's Silk. I used a Bunka brush to fluff up the cut stitches. The Bunka brush is a notion for turkey work which makes the fluff so much easier.

450_bunka_brush
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Solstice Dream - Marsh

I really enjoyed stitching the Marsh block, the fifth block in Solstice Dream Quilt. The block is 6" finished.
Solstice Dream Marsh
I was a bit worried about stitching the dragon fly tail and frog, I was worried the bullion knots would not be round and plump. The frog and the periwinkle bullion knots of the dragon fly tail were stitched with Thread Gathers silken pearl. Silken pearl is a 100% silk thread with a tight Cordonnet twist that is about a size 5 pearl thread. The tight twist of the silken pearl creates firm stitches with a gorgeous sheen. The dragon fly wings were cut from a sheer, organza-type ribbon and stitched down with Painter's Metallic Braid thread.

Solstice Dream blocks 1 - 5 The stitched the five block together.
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Marcie's Neighborhood

I started this quilt 12 months ago, I finished the stitching and then waited 6 months to get the quilt machine quilted. I am so excited to have this quilt almost complete, I just need a hanging pocket and label to the back of the quilt.
Marcie's neighborhood
This is my version of Sue Spargo's Tootin' Along quilt. I changed the generic auto with VW Bugs which are loved by myself and my daughter, Marcie. We have always driven blue Bugs, my first VW was a dark blue 1969 VW Bug with a flowered vinyl roof. Two years ago, someone made a left turn in front of my daughter and her lovely blue bug was totaled. I could only find a yellow VW Bug to replace the blue VW, hence the lone yellow VW on the lower left of the quilt. The quilt was machine quilted by Gina Perkes. The quilt is 23 1/2" by 37".

Marcie is also a dog lover, so I added some wooden dog buttons I found in Houston a few years ago. There is a poodle on the upper right of the quilt. Emmie is Marcie's miniature poodle.
Emmie
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Solstice Dream - Burst

I finished the fourth block for Solstice Dream quilt. The block size is 6" finished.
Solstice Dream Burst
The center stem is stitched with Shimmer Floss using a Palestrina knot stitch. The horizontal stitch of the Palestrina extends the full width of the 1/4" stem which gives the stitch a different look.

I am stitching on too many large wool projects at the same time, so I am not sure when I will start stitching the fifth block of Solstice Dream. Most of the blocks are 6", the stitching is not as intense as stitching on Fresh Cut, Sue Spargo 2017 BOM, so I do find stitching on Solstice Dream a pleasant break between my Sue Spargo projects.
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Peacock

I just got home after an absolutely inspiring workshop with Sue Spargo at Madeline Island School of the Arts. MISA is located on Madeline Island, the largest of the 22 Apostle Islands in Lake Superior. I flew out of Phoenix on Sunday, June 25th to Minneapolis, Minnesota. My wool appliqué buddy, Monica and her husband picked me up at the airport and we drove to the Duluth airport to pick up a rental car. Monica and I then drove to Bayfield, Wisconsin to catch the ferry to Madeline Island and Monica's husband, Glenn, began his week fly fishing vacation in northern Minnesota.
Madeline Island Ferry

The class project was the peacock. I spent a few weeks getting the background and peacock appliqué pieces prepared.
Peacock background Peacock placement

I had the wool appliqué pieces all whipped stitched on my background and I was ready to start embellishing. After 5 days of stitching, I have a good start on the peacock but have much more to stitch. The peacock block is approximately 21" x 21".
Peacock 1
Friday afternoon, Monica and I drove to La Pointe. Monica had a chance to look for agates on the shoreline, she was brave enough to wade in the cold waters of Lake Superior and found some beautiful agates and rocks.
Monica Lake Superior
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Solstice Dream Hedgehog Blossom block

I finished the third block of the Solstice Dream quilt.

Solstice Dream block 3 hedgehog blossom

This block gave me a chance to learn a new stitch. The 3 marigold petals are stitched with the double Pekinese stitch. The double pekinese stitch looks complicated but really was quite easy to stitch. First, I stitched a backstitch around each marigold petal and then threaded another thread through the backstitches which gives the stitch a braid-like appearance.

Solstice Dream blocks 1 2 3
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Project bag

I am always looking for the perfect bag. A perfect bag has the perfectly sized pockets and shape to carry everything I need. There are thousands of bag pattern but one pattern never seems to have everything I am looking for. Sue Spargo designed the Allium bag a year ago, the bag was quite ingenious and almost perfect. The Allium Spool Sac was designed specifically to store Eleganza, Razzle and Dazzle threads with the special vinyl zippered pockets manufactured by Yazzii.


I found the vinyl zipper pockets were ideal to keep my project thread organized. I loved that the vinyl zipper pockets had velcro along one edge so the pockets could easily be changed out of the bag. The bag was almost perfect but it lacked pockets to keep my wool block, notebook and needle keep with the project threads.

After months and months of thinking about adding pockets to the Allium bag, I finally came up with a bag construction plan. I decided to use a light weight mesh for the pockets.
byannie has a wide selection of colors of mesh and zippers.

After much trial and error, I finished my first bag.


I am using the bag for my Solstice Dream quilt. Below are pictures of the inside of the bag. I have mesh pockets on each side of the bag, to hold block, pattern notebook. Solstice Dream requires a lot of different threads, I used 2 vinyl zipper pockets which attach to the bag with velcro.



Overall, I was pleased with my new bag. A few sewing design glitches which I tried to fix with my next bag.
I will use this bag for my 2017 Sue Spargo project, Fresh Cut.


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Solistice Dream - Petal Show

I finished the second block of the Solstice Dream, called Petal Show.

SD Block 2 petal show
Block 2 gave m the opportunity to learn the Basque stitch, which is illustrated in Yvette Stanton's book, The Right-handed Embroiderer's Companion. Yvette's book is an excellent reference for learning embroidery stitches and her Left-handed Embroiderer's Companion is an excellent guide for left-handed stitchers. The Basque stitch gives a beautiful picot edge to the inner flower petals. The bees are stitched with Dazzle thread.

SD blocks 1 and 2 The two finished blocks on my design wall.


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Solistice Dream

I have been having some trouble publishing my blog so I have not been writing lately. Today, I decided I would try publishing and see what would happen.
I saw a new wool appliqué quilt pattern in February and it was love at first sight.
Solistice Dream
Solstice Dream was designed by Kerry Green of kerry stitch designs. The quilt is 36" x 42".

I decided to use hand dyed wool from Wooly Lady, I chose turquoise wool as my background. The butterfly is the first block I stitched, I really love stitching with the hand dyed silken pearl by Thread Gatherers. The finished size of the block is 6" x 12"

Block 1 butterfly
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Folk Tails Quilt


It has been quite awhile since my last post, life got a bit complicated.  After Christmas, I sewed the binding on Folk-Tails and today I hung the finished quilt. 
Folk-Tails Quilt
Folk-Tails is a wool quilt was designed by Sue Spargo and was introduced as her 2015 block of the month.  Folk-Tails was a creative journey for Sue as she was born and Zambia so designing the African animals, birds and vegetation brought back many childhood memories.  January through October 2014, I received 3 blocks to appliqué and embellish plus each month Sue would write a story about African folklore such as "How the Zebra got his stripes" and "Why Warthog is so ugly".  The beautiful machine quilting was done by Jessica Jones Gamez .  The finished quilt is 37" x 43". Close up of quilting on the giraffe and stork Folk-Tails Stork and Giraffe
The outer edges of the road were couched with bullion knots over two strands of #3 pearl cotton.
Folk-Tails quilting
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Quilt for Sue Spargo

November 2015, Sue was diagnosed with breast cancer and for the last 12 months has courageously fought this disease. On May 18, 2016, Sue's daughter Aimee Spargo, sent a request to Sue Spargo stitchers to make a 4-1/2" square embellished WOOL block to be incorporate into an inspirational quilt for her Mom. Stitchers from all over the world responded to this request by stitching 394 blocks which Mary, Aimee and Kelly sewed together into an amazing quilt. The quilt was presented to Sue on October 14, 2016.


Quilt for Sue Spargo
This is the block I made

Courage block
My courage block in the quilt

Courage block in quilt

This October, Sue joined with BrightPink and pledged 20% from every pack of her Special Edition Breast Cancer Awareness Thread Packs. BrightPink is a national non-profit focused on prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women. The organization’s mission is to save women’s lives from breast and ovarian cancer by empowering them to live proactively at a young age. Bright Pink’s innovative programs educate and equip young women to assess their risk for breast and ovarian cancer, reduce their risk, and detect these diseases at early, non life-threatening stages.
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Evolution of a needle case

January 2013, I started my first Sue Spargo BOM. I was new to wool appliqué, especially embellished wool appliqué. I decided to make a Bird Dance test block before I actually used the wool in the first BOM package. While stitching the first 3 Bird Dance block, I realized I was using quite a few different needles and I needed a needle case.

Bird needle caseBird needle case inside
I used the my test Bird Dance block for the front of the needle case. The case is 6" x 6", small but served me well for about a year. As I began my second Sue Spargo BOM in 2014, I began thinking of making another needle case which was larger and had more pages for the additional needles I was using to do my wool appliqué.

Needle keep frontNeedle keep inside

My second needle case is 7 1/2" x 8 1/2", plus had some zipper pockets and 4 pages for needles. I used this needle case for 2 years and I was quite happy with my design but there were some features that I wanted to change. In June, Sue Spargo published Folk-Tails which had a wool appliqué Sue designed for a Folk-Tails workbox. Also, in June, Sue introduced an elephant pincushion pattern. My mind is now whirring thinking about the elephant wool appliqués.
Elephant Needle case

I used some design elements from Folk-Tails, the workbox and pincushion patterns for my new needle case. The elephant appliqué is a smaller version of the workbox elephant, the green fabric is a design element from the pincushion, the cloud is a design from Folk-Tails, the back is fabric Sue used for the back of the Folk-Tails quilt. The front of the needle case is 8" x 8".

These are pictures of the inside of the needle case. I printed the needle names and then used Soft Fuse to attach the names to the wool pages.

Elephant Needle case insideElephant Needle case inside 2Elephant Needle case inside 3Elephant Needle case inside 4

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Elephant bag

Oh so cute! An elephant felt notions bag, handmade in Nepal, which I purchased from Sue Spargo during her 4 day Folk-Tails celebration.

Sue suggested embellishing the bag. Marcie likes hearts and the color pink so I used pink and magenta thread for the chain stitching. BTW, Marcie was surprised and thrilled when I gave her the bag. The bag is about 5 1/2" x 8 1/2". Elephant bag
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Flower Pot

120 piano keys later, I finished the border for my newest wool appliqué quilt.
Flower pot

This quilt is just one block from Kim McLean's appliqué quilt called Flower Pot, the block I used is on the right side of the quilt. Kim's quilt is huge, 78" X 90" and the individual blocks are quilt large. I took the Kim's original pattern to a printing shop to reduce the block size to 75% of the original size. The interior block 15" X 35".
Kim McLean quilt
Kim McLean's Flower Pot quilt

My quilt is a combination of wool and cotton fabrics. I used Cherrywood Hand Dyed fabric for the background, Kaffe Fassett fabrics for the piano key border and some of the appliqué shapes. I used a variety of embellishing threads, silken pearl, sashiko threads, razzle thread by Wonderfil and Oriental Linen thread. I used Painter's single loop embellishment on the lower left turquoise shape which I must admit was quilt a challenge to appliqué.

The quilt is about 23" X 43".
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Folk-Tails

Today, Sue Spargo has started a 4 day countdown to the release of her new book, Folk-Tails. Today, we are allowed to share pictures of our completed Folk-Tails 2015 BOM quilts.
Folk Tails Quilt Phyl
This is my Folk-Tails quilt top, it measures about 37" by 43". My quilt is awaiting machine quilting by Jessica Jones Gamez, I can hardly wait to get it back.
Sue picked Alexander Henry fabric for the backing which is just perfect for the quilt's theme.
Alexander Henry Zoo fabric
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VW - Tootin' Along

I know better, I should never look at Sue Spargo's web site on Friday afternoon. Every Friday afternoon, Sue sends out her newsletter and she always seems to showcase a new patterns, fabrics or threads. A few weeks ago, Sue published a new pattern called Tootin' Along and of course I loved the quilt as did Marcie.
tootin along quilt


I immediately decided to change the generic blue cars to VW Bugs since I have long been a VW bug aficionado! Today, I drew a VW bug and decided I really should test the design before going ahead with appliquéing the VW bugs to the quilt. This block is about 4" by 6".
VW test
Today, I also prepared the background for my quilt. I decided to use a cotton fabric instead of wool for my road. There is about 120" of road that I must appliqué before I can start preparing all the wool VW, houses and trees. The finished quilt will be about 24" by 37".
Background Tootin' Along
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Serendipity Quilt top

Honestly, I have had problems completing this quilt, I was so dissatisfied with Erica Kaprow's Summertime sampler pattern. I felt the blocks were poorly designed and I was struggling to redraw the blocks. In March, I had 9 blocks completed and managed to complete 3 more blocks. A few weeks ago, I decided to get serious about trying to complete this quilt. Bottom line, I hated any arrangement of the 12 blocks on my design wall.

Now my focus became trying to make lemonade out of lemons. I decided that I only liked 6 of the completed blocks, so I decided use only 6 blocks in my quilt. 6 blocks would be a small quilt so added some sashing to the blocks.
Serendipity Quilt

I appliquéd some fabric rectangles to the wool border, then I stitched around each rectangle with size 8 pearl cotton. The quilt top is 28" by 38".

These are the 6 blocks which I decided not to use in the quilt.

Serendipity extra blocks
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Marcie's Bunny and Birds

Patiently waiting 10 months for a quilt to be machine quilted is hard to do but so worth the wait. Jessica Jones Gamez did the gorgeous quilting my wool quilt. She used wool and cotton batting which gives the appliqué a trapunto effect.
Marcie's Bunny and Birds quilt

The wool appliqué were designed by Bonnie Sullivan. I added some embellishing stitches, notably the buttonhole scallops on the baby chick wings and bullion knots for the bird legs. The piano key border was made with 100% Italian linen fabric I purchased at the 2014 Houston Quilt Festival.

The back of the quilt is 100% linen fabric which I purchased from Sue Spargo a few years ago. Using linen on the back, definitely made the machine quilting more challenging for Jessica.
Back Marcie's Bunny and Birds

I will be giving this quilt to my daughter Marcie. The quilt is 31" by 37".
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Allium Spool Sac

It has been months in the making because I chose not to follow the pattern exactly. The Allium Spool Sac was designed by Sue Spargo specifically to store Eleganza, Razzle and Dazzle threads with the special vinyl zippered pockets.
Allium Spool Sac

Allium Spool Sac thread insert

The wool appliqué front is about 14" by 15", the opened bag is 14" by 36". The interior base has 4" wide soft pile velcro so the hook velcro on the vinyl zippered pockets can attach to the base. The fabric is Birds & The Bees by tamarakate for Michael Miller, which perfectly compliments the wool appliqué. I used Incomparable Buttons on both upper bands. Incomparable Buttons are handmade by women in South Africa and are fully washable.

Allium Spool Sac wool thread insert

I wanted to use this new bag to carry all the threads used in Sue Spargo's 2016 BOM so I needed to design and sew a special vinyl zippered pocket insert which would hold the larger Genziana Wool thread spools. The new pocket insert is 13" by 28" with four sets of zippered gusseted pockets. I sewed the hook velcro to center vertical area and I sewed the soft pile velcro on the backside of the insert so I could attach one of Sue's vinyl zippered pocket to hold the Eleganza, Razzle and Dazzle threads.
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Serendipity update

Oh my goodness, it is has been over 6 months since I have posted about my progress on my serendipity quilt. I started working on multiple blocks because I was having some creative indecision on selecting embellishing stitches and wool colors. I am not thrilled with some of my color decisions but truthfully, I just want to finish this quilt and move on to other projects. I now have 9 out of 12 blocks finished.
Serendipity 4 more blocks
As my serendipity blocks where up on my design wall, I decided to make some changes to the previously posted fish block. I added yellow wool under the angel fish eye to make the eye more defined. I also sewed eyes on the magenta fish and the clown fish.
Serendipity Fish block 2
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Christmas gift exchange

I belong to Sew Sisters, a weekly stitching group. Although, I am unable to attend a lot of the meetings, I always enjoy the creative input and lively conversations when my schedule allows me to attend. This year, I decided to participate in the holiday gift exchange. I made a wool appliqué pin cushion which is about 4 1/2" square and filled with crush walnut shells.

Cactus pincushion
I am on a Bernina Yahoo group and a few months ago, the leader of the group posted information about a machine embroidery web site called Urban Threads. Urban Threads had some very unique and modern machine embroidery designs and I purchase 2 of their designs. One of the designs I purchased was Have a Holly Jolly Christmas which I used to make a gift bag for the cactus pincushion. The bag is 7 1/2" by 10".
Have a Holly Jolly Christmas bag

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.
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Pincushion for Sue Spargo

Saturday, I received a newsletter from Sue Spargo with some sad news.
Dear Friends,

On behalf of Sue, we feel it's important to share some very difficult news with you. In the recent weeks Sue has been diagnosed with breast cancer; she is in good spirits as she prepares to begin her treatment next week. Sue plans to continue her work in her studio here in northeast Ohio. We ask that you join us in surrounding Sue with much love and encouragement as she prepares to embark on this difficult journey.

Much love from Sue, Kelly, Andrew, Jason and Aimee

I have taken 3 week-long seminars with Sue plus I have participated in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Block of the Month programs. Sue Spargo has inspired me with her creative wool appliqué embellishment. I decided to make a wool appliqué pincushion to support and encourage Sue in her fight with cancer. I will be mailing the pincushion to Sue tomorrow. The pincushion is approximately 5 1/2" square.

Pincushion for Sue
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Spring Garden Visitor

A few years in the making, but Spring Garden Visitor is now complete. This wool appliqué features 3 dimensionally stitched flowers and bunny. I started this wool appliqué project in December 2011 but multiple home remodeling projects unfortunately took precedence over this wool appliqué project. Spring Garden Visitor was designed by Kathy J. Gaul of Meetinghouse Hill Designs. The beautiful butterfly and dragonfly porcelain buttons were hand painted by Cindy Webb of Gold Seal Products. I opted to have the wool appliqué professionally framed instead of being quilted. The wool appliqué is 14" by 23", with the frame the piece measures 20" by 29".
Spring Garden Visitor

Close up of the 3 dimensional flowers.
Spring garden visitor flowers
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Serendipity blocks

I finished stitching 4 more blocks for the Serendipity quilt tonight. Of these 4 blocks, I think my favorite is the daisy block, the bright white, yellow and green wools look so cheerful. I stitched palestrina knot stitch for the daisy stems and cast on bullion stitches for the daisy centers with a variegated DMC thread. I added some cross hatch running stitches for texture on the rose colored fish. Two of the fish are missing eyes, they will get beads for their eyes which will be sewn on after the machine quilting.


Serendipity 4 blocks
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Sewing Through the Seasons

Christmas Goose Quilt Shop in Las Vegas Nevada designed an adorable wool appliqué for the 2015 Row by Row Experience. When I saw the cute little featherweights, I just knew I had to make a small hanging for my sewing room. I pre-quilted the background fabric before I started doing the appliqué, I also made some changes to the appliqué shapes. The Christmas tree is decorated with tiny red ornaments made with cast on bullion stitches. The quilt is 36 1/2" by 9 3/4".

Sewing Through the Seasons
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In Full Bloom Quilt

I finished stitching In Full Bloom December 30, 2014 and I have patiently been waiting for the custom machine quilting to be completed by Jessica Jones Gamez. Turn around time for custom quilting is 6 months and sometimes it is hard to wait patiently. In Full Bloom was recently published by Sue Spargo, so I am now able to post a picture of my finished quilt. In Full Bloom was Sue Spargo's tenth BOM and this was my second Sue Spargo BOM. Quilt is 36" x 43 1/2".
In Full Bloom Quilt
In Full Bloom label
In Full Bloom Quilt Label
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Serendipity 2 blocks stitched

I finished stitching 2 of the 20 blocks I have planned for my Serendipity quilt. I made quite a few changes from the original pattern. I discovered some super tiny black buttons, so I decided the birds will have button eyes instead of french knots. I used the double cast on stitch for the watermelon seeds and I embellished the tail of the larger bird with some drizzle stitches.

Serendipity 2 stitched
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Serendipity blocks

I started another wool appliqué project. A few weeks ago, I saw Summertime Sampler, a wool appliqué quilt designed by Erica Kaprow. I was drawn by the bright colors and the whimsical nature of the designs. I was able to find other wool appliqué quilts designed by Erica Kaprow but the quilts all had different sized blocks. It was quite a challenge to determine a finished block size for my quilt and pick 20 blocks for my quilt. My blocks will finish to 8 1/4”.

Serendipity means the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.  I decided to name my quilt Serendipity because serendipity describes how I found and decided to stitch this quilt.

I have 2 of the blocks ready to stitch.
Serendipity 2 blocks
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Marcie's Bunny and Birds

I took a break from working on Folk-Tails, Sue Spargo's 2015 BOM, to stitch Bertie's Spring by Bonnie Sullivan. I added some embellishing stitches, notably the buttonhole scallops on the baby chick wings and bullion knots for the bird legs. I decided to eliminated the half square triangle sashing and border on Bonnie's pattern and I was really undecided on borders for the wool appliqué. I thought about designing a wool appliqué border but then I saw some linen fabric I purchased at the 2014 Houston Quilt Festival in my sewing room. There were 7 15" by 15" of beautiful 100% Italian linen. After some careful calculations, I determined I would have enough linen fabric to make a piano key linen border. Linen is more loosely woven than regular quilting cotton and tends to shift and fray easily so I starched each piece of linen with Mary Ellen's Best Press which made cutting the 1 1/2" strips much easier. After machine quilting, I will be giving the quilt to my daughter. The quilt is about 32" by 38".
Marcie's Bunny and Birds
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Summer Blooms Bag

A few days ago, I finished embellishing the flowers on my Summer Blooms bag and today I sewed the bag together. It is always a challenge to sew wool because wool is thicker and the layers can easily shift when sewing a seam. I have found using the dual feed feature on my Bernina 780 a big help when sewing wool. Reducing the presser foot pressure also helps to minimize shifting.
Summer Blooms bag was designed by Sue Spargo and is 12" by 9".


Summer Blooms bag frontSummer Blooms bag back
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In Full Bloom

In Full Bloom was Sue Spargo's 2014 BOM. This was the tenth year that Sue has done a BOM and this was my second Sue Spargo BOM. All BOM participants agree not to post any pictures of In Full Bloom before the quilt is published. Since I am unable to post a picture of my completed top, I am posting Sue's line drawing. I am just thrilled to have completed In Full Bloom in 2014.
In Full bloom drawing
Tomorrow, I will be taking my completed top to Jessica Gamez so she can do the machine quilting.
I have signed up for the 2015 BOM and is titled Folk Tails and I can hardly wait to begin. I should receive my first 2015 BOM package the beginning of January so I guess I have a few weeks to stitch on some of my unfinished projects. This is the line drawing of Folk Tails
2015_bom_drawing_450_lg


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Fabric and Ties of My Life

I just returned from The Rocky Mountain Quilting Adventure held in Steamboat Springs Colorado. RMQA is sponsored by David Taylor and this year Sue Spargo was the guest teacher. The focus of Sue's class was to create a fabric journal quilt. For the last year, I have wanted to create a wool appliqué quilt which would incorporate silk fabric purchased in Japan by my parents in 1963 along with some Japanese silk ties. Other fabrics I wanted to included were some llama print cottons purchased in Peru in 1971 which were made into some ties for my Dad, fabric from a wool sport coat and ties belonging to my brother in law, John Protz. I also have velveteens that Lucie and I made skirts or dresses. The working title of my quilt is Fabric and Ties of My Life.
This is a picture of my quilt so far, I still have to add wool appliqué borders. The center section is about 20" by 23".
Fabrics and Ties of My Life

These are few the fabric and ties I have used and some that will be used in my quilt.
Fabrics
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Bird Dance Quilt

Drum roll, please. Bird Dance is finished, I even have the quilt label on the back. The gorgeous machine quilting was done by Jessica Jones Gamez.. Bird Dance was designed by Sue Spargo for her 2013 BOM. Sue's quilt design was inspired by a tile floor while on vacation in Italy, check out the full story of Sue's inspiration.

Bird Dance QuiltBird Dance label
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Needle Keep

In January 2013, I started my first Sue Spargo BOM. I was new to Sue's wool appliqué stitching and I decided to make a test block using wool from my stash. Of course, I then had a finished 6 1/2" bird block which I decided to use as the front of a small needle keep. My original needle keep has served me well these last 18 months but as Sue introduced a wider variety of needles, my original needle keep did not have enough labeled spaces for the needles. I designed my new needle keep with 4 wool pages which would allow spaces for 24 different types of needles plus I added two zippered vinyl pockets to hold thimbles and needle threaders. I did a wool appliqué flower on the front. The needle keep is 8 1/2" high and 7 1/2" wide.
Needle keep front Needle keep inside
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African Tulip tote

I finished the African tulip tote today. The African Tulip tote was designed by Sue Spargo and is 21" wide, 16" in length and 5" deep. The embellished wool appliqué front gave me a chance to learn some new embellishing stitches and to use some different embellishing threads. Valdani pearl cotton, Thread Gathers silken pearl, silken chenille, and sea grass are some of the embellishing threads I used. Sue's pattern was constructed using batting but I decided to use Soft and Stable to give the tote more body. I also wanted a zipper closure and I used instructions from a by annie tote pattern.
African tulip tote
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Circles

June 2013, I took a quilt cruise to Alaska, one of the featured teacher was Sue Spargo. My class project was embellished circles. I found some fabric and based my circle color choices on the chosen fabric. Sue was an excellent teacher and I learned quite a few embellishing stitches for my circles. Sue's book, Creative Stitching which includes step by step instructions for 50 of Sue's favorite stitches was an excellent resource for embellishing the circles. I finished embellishing the circles and and I can't wait for the piece to be made into a pillow.
Circle pillow and fabric
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Bird Dance Top

I am behind in posting my completed Bird Dance top. I had a total knee replacement on January 14, 2014, life is slowly getting back to normal. Last Tuesday, I took Bird Dance to Jessica Jones Gamez to be machine quilted, I can't wait to get it back. Lately, I have been doing a lot of reading, physical therapy and generally just relaxing, something I probably don't do very often.
Bird Dance top
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Bird Dance Blocks 1 - 30

All the blocks are now complete and sewn together. I have really enjoyed stitching the bird blocks and learning some new stitches. I am working on the borders and I can't wait to sew them on the top.
Bird Dance blocks 1 - 30
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Bird Dance Blocks 1 - 27 and Molly

I finished stitching Bird Dance blocks 25, 26, 27. I have begun to stitch blocks 28, 29 and 30 which are the final birds. I received the border for the quilt last week which has 96 circles to stitch along a vine. Just cutting 96 1" circles seems overwhelming.

Bird Dance blocks 1 - 27

I continue to get my house organized after my remodel. Molly had the difficult job of testing out my new sectional. We all should have such a difficult life.
Molly on sectionalMolly sleeping on the couch
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Bird Dance Blocks 1 -24

Life has been quite hectic. The remodel/construction finished Saturday, October 12, 2013 but the clean up was just beginning. Closets, everything in the kitchen, basically everything in the house needed cleaning. I am beginning to place furniture and rehang everything on my walls. Last Saturday was the first time I was able to stitch on my Bird Dance blocks. Before the remodel began, I was almost finished stitching the August blocks, blocks 22, 23 and 24. Last night, I finished the blocks and placed them on my design wall. It really felt good to do something besides cleaning and organizing. I will really have to concentrate on finishing September, blocks 25, 26, 27 and October blocks 28, 29, and 30.
Bird Dance blocks 1 -24
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Bird Dance Blocks 1 - 21

January 2013, I started Sue Spargo's 2013 Block of the Month called Bird Dance. There will be 30 colorful birds blocks, each block is 6" finished. The blocks are made using hand dyed wools, linens, silk velvets, linen and velvet ribbons and rick rack. It has been quite a challenge to learn all the embellishing stitches, use new embellishing threads and re-learn needle turn appliqué. Needle turn appliqué is definitely not my most favorite technique. Valdani #8 perle cotton, sea grass, silken pearl, Razzle, Dazzle are some of the embellishing thread used for the Bird Dance blocks.

I have placed blocks 1 - 21 on my design wall in the order I think they will be in the finished quilt.

Bird Dance blocks 1 - 21 - Version 2
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Madeline Island School for the Arts

I just returned from a fabulous week at Madeline Island School of the Arts in La Pointe, Wisconsin.
Five days with
Sue Spargo exploring Contemporary Folk Art: Small Embellishment Studies. Sue is absolutely inspiring and generously shares her knowledge of wool appliqué embellishment.

MISA group
I really got a good start on my Tree of Life, but there is still a lot of embellishing to complete. The tree, approximately 14" by 18", is appliquéd on silk Matka. My plan is to use my Dad's, John ( my brother-in-law) and Uncle Henry's silk ties, wool from John's sports coat, vintage silk which was purchased when my parents traveled to Japan in 1962 plus velvets from clothes sewn by Lucie and myself.

Tree of Life
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My First Cruise

I am back from my first cruise. I went on a 7 day quilting cruise to Alaska on Holland America. On the "at sea days" I took wool appliqué classes with Sue Spargo. I started embellishing circles which I hope one day will be a pillow.
Circle pillow top
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