Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween 2014

After several consecutive years of drought, it is raining hard tonight, on Halloween.  I know we need it but it's such a shame for all the little Trick or Treaters.  I don't know how many will brave the rain but we are prepared.  We painted our cardboard dragons with the idea of putting them outside in the flower beds near the front door but obviously we are now working on "Plan B".  We have hung them and stood them in our hallway by the front door and they look pretty good with some mood lighting from lots of candles and a string of orange lights.  The blue dragon has his paw in the candy basket.  My daughter is "Toothless" from "How To Train Your Dragon" and she looks pretty cute.  She also went to school in her costume today.  The wings and tail were a challenge to deal with but she managed!  


Sewing pleather again!




There are dragons on my piano!!!









I'm settling in with a glass of red wine.  Dinner is in the oven and I'll have a basket full of candy to tackle if no-one comes to the house!  Happy Halloween!


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

On My Worktable

It's Halloween on Friday and this year our theme is "How To Train Your Dragon".  I am making a "Toothless" costume for my daughter and she and I are painting cardboard dragons.  We are a bit concerned about the fact that the forecast is for rain!  Usually we have a smoke machine outside for a bit of ambience, and we decorate the path up to the front door.    The dragons will be cut out and arranged in the garden up the path using sticks and duct tape.  I have faux fur for the rest of us to be vikings.  I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with how much is still left to do!  (I know we really, really need the rain, but if it could wait till Saturday....?)










This dragon is a work in progress.  





Monday, October 27, 2014

Finished Penguin Pincushions

I finished two of these penguin pincushions this morning and got them photographed and listed in my Etsy Shop. I had fun with these!  I love penguins.  When my daughter was little she was obsessed with them for a time.  She collected penguin books and did a report on them at school.  We read "Mr Popper's Penguins" aloud several times and then a few years later were disappointed with the movie version that was so different from the book.  We watched "March Of The Penguins" and "Happy Feet".  So here is my interpretation of an emperor penguin and its chick.  I've used chilly shades of blue and grey for the top and sides.  The side band has hand embroidered waves done using a variegated thread in white/blue/grey to represent the icy waters of the Antarctic Ocean.  The base of the pincushion is a golden yellow which is what is giving the background of the photos a bit of a glow!







Saturday, October 25, 2014

Penguin Progress

These are coming along nicely!  I begin with drawings.  Then I trace the design onto thinner paper and resize it to fit the pincushion top.



Once the size is right, I trace the different body parts to make the pattern pieces.  Then the fun part begins!  






Friday, October 24, 2014

Something Old, Something New

Yesterday I started working on a batch of cherry blossom needle books.  You can see an older blog post about this design here.  I sold out of these at the quilt show, everyone really appreciated all those tiny french knots!  French knots are my favorite embroidery stitch, I use them a lot.  


In addition to this, I have been working on drawings for some new pincushions.  This is one in progress.


As always I start off with photographs for reference.  These awesome photos are by Anne Froehlich and are on Flickr.  I draw and think and sip some tea and then imagine how the drawings can be translated to felt and embroidery.  I think about color schemes and backgrounds.  I pull out scraps of felt and skeins of thread and make decisions.  Later I will make paper pattern pieces.




Just as I was heading out yesterday afternoon, two parcels arrived.  The first was from Quilting Acres and was full of beautiful pieces of hand dyed felt, and it arrived arranged in rainbow order just as I would organize it!  Perfect, I think this seller is a kindred spirit!  I was excited to find that she had some of the brown herringbone felt that I like to use for my tree stump pincushions.  I've had a hard time finding it.  





The second parcel was an order of Holland Felt which is my everyday felt.  It is gorgeous 100% wool and is lovely to work with.  It is certified organic in every step of the process from sheep to finished product.  I've found a new distributor here in the U.S. and their shipping is much faster and less expensive than my previous source.  Distracted, as I was by my parcels, I was a few minutes late for school pick-up, oops!  







Wednesday, October 22, 2014

On My Worktable

This has been a week for trees!  I finished up a batch of Christmas Tree ornaments with hand embroidered flower garlands and another batch with appliquéd flowers and leaves.  I love both styles.  I have added the embroidered garland ones to my shop and will be adding the others tomorrow.  You can check them out here



I used hand dyed felted wool fabric for all these trees and while I love how it looks and feels, it is not as easy to sew with as my regular wool felt.  It does fray a little and it is floppy to embroider on so I have to be careful not to pull my stitches too tight.  I have been buying my hand dyed felt from fellow Etsy shop, Quilting Acres.  I have been really happy with the service from this shop and they have a wonderful selection of hand dyed felted wool fabric in lots of luscious colors.  


This second batch of tree ornaments has appliquéd flowers and leaves.  All the trees are lightly stuffed so they have some dimension but no distortion of shape.  







I have also cut out the parts for some cherry blossom needle books, I plan to start on those tomorrow.  

And finally, I filled out paperwork for another Quilt Show at the end of February.  I am very excited about it, it is a bigger show than the last one so it will be interesting to see how it goes!