Sunday, May 24, 2009

More Contest Samplers




I'm cleaning my screened-in-porch today. Eating alfresco is lovely....when it's not too hot. Sometimes in Kansas we go from a bit of spring to really hot and muggy summers. Not too much fun to be outside. The porch is shaded ...so it can be nice even in the middle of summer, plus the bonus of no bugs. I'll show you an "after" shot. "Before" shots can be horrifying here... and definitely not blog worthy.

Below is a 2 year old picture of the porch during a photo shoot. I had to take everything out to make it into a sleeping room. This set-up was for the book "Birds Of A Feather." It looks just right for a nap....but not now....it's full of spiderwebs and dust.




I thought today might be nice to show a few more of your samplers in this post. Since this is Memorial Weekend ...I'm showing some samplers that were done in remembrance of someone special.

Connie Schwarz sent the sweet sampler pictured above.

"I dedicated this to my granddaughter, Tori, and included the year of her birth. I changed the bottom row to include two little birds and a floral motif. I have not decided on the finish as yet, although I am leaning toward a mini quilt using the fabric behind it as well as that lace that is laying across it. Now if only I can engage the French side of my brain to do one of those exquisite finishes the French stitchers do.
The colors used are dark, DMC 902; medium, DMC 315; and light GAST Lim Ed "Shell." The two DMC colors were given a wash in a light solution of tan dye to age and darken them slightly that is why the 3l5 goes so well with the 902."



Candace Shalongo writes:


"This was stitched in loving memory of my grandmother. I was raised miles away from her in another state, but the same warmth and beauty that surrounded my father as he grew up was felt the first time I entered her house. Multi-colored quilts, embroidered linens, and crochet-edged pillowcases adorned every room. I believe my love of needlework began the moment I stepped within these walls and saw these beautiful ‘labors of love’. While stitching Petites Lettres Rouges, I added the motif of the crown over the heart which symbolizes love – her love (and mine) of needle and thread. This love of handwork now encompasses another generation since my daughter has found the great satisfaction of creating with her hands through knitting and quilting.

I used 32 count off-white linen, DMC cotton floss (814, 815, 498) & Gentle Art Sampler Threads (Onyx)."



Terry Nixon writes:

"I've carried mine around since you first posted the design - working on it whenever
I had a free minute or two. but am still not quite finished...Want to put a heart and a blackbird - probably "over one" - in the spaces on the third line, and plan to put a row of feather stitching all the way around between the edge of the sampler and finish with hemstitching."




Loraine Jezak writes:

"I loved the way the first entry put her Grandmother's name on hers, and after much debate, I followed suit. My Grandmother was quite an inspiration to me. She was an art teacher, and taught me much about color and design. She was a perfect homemaker, and loving wife. I admired her so much. I miss her terribly, as she just passed away in January. I put a little blue in this piece, because it was her favorite color. She had blue everywhere in her house! She even had a blue Christmas tree! Ethna Marie Webb Larson, was the name she went by, but when she filed for Social Security in her 60's, she was shocked to discover that her name was different on her birth certificate. Apparently they named her (I believe Katharine), but her dad started calling her Ethna, and that's what it remained throughout her life."

Enjoy this long weekend holiday!
Alma

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Smoking needles and more


Last night before going to bed I checked my e-mail one more time. You just never know when your kids might send you a critical note. Well...no critical notes but I'm glad I checked. Below is my late night note from "angel eye."


"Hi Barb and Alma,
I just can't wait to show you something am I the first one? :):):)
Thank you so much! I love every design of yours."
angel_eye

Yes, I believe you are the first one! The above picture is her finished piece.
Click on her name for her blog....You have to see the fabric she used on this needlebook. And while you are there take a look at the sweaters she has knitted! They are beautiful. This is one amazing woman.

I wanted to show you a patchwork shop we visited in Paris.




Le Rouvray is the name of this wonderful shop. We were exhausted at the end of the day and turned the corner....and there was the shop! I'm at the counter holding a package of French fabric. I'm not sure what to make yet....but look at that grin. Nothing makes me happier than a bit of fabric. (Click-on the shop name for her web-site and blog.)

Love the fabrics in this wonderful quilt. The French quilters still do most of their quilting and piecing by hand. Barb and I do everything by machine now...but looking at the quilts in France makes me miss the peacefulness of handwork. Do you feel that way sometimes too?

Lots of fabric here....

And here too....plus some vintage items for sale. Makes it fun!

While in Paris we visited Montmartre for a morning. Laura and I walked up to the top of the hill for the view.


Here is a shot of Laura on her way down after our climb.


And what did we find at the bottom of the hill?

We found Barb having a quiet moment stitching. (She's the smart one of this group!)

Until later!

Alma

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Correction Already!!!

I put the wrong count fabric for the Souvenir de France. Barb did it on 28ct. Quaker Brown not 32 ct. as listed on the pattern. I'm sorry!!! Guess I posted the pattern too quickly.

Alma

Souvenir de France



Click here for the free chart...Souvenir de France. Happy stitching from Barb.

You can use any fiber or linen on your pincushion. There will be no cross stitch police sneaking into your home checking up on you. The fibers listed on the pattern are those used by Barb. The Quaker Brown is a new linen color by R & R Reproductions. The date on the pincushion celebrates the year the Eiffel Tower was completed.

Barb gave me the CD's containing our pictures over the weekend and now I have pictures....here are some shots of Des Fils et Une Aiguille in Paris.

Barb and I parked our bikes right out front. (Not really. We walked and took the subway...but I wish I had the nerve to ride a bike in Paris. Many people do....and you can rent them and then just leave them in the parking areas provided around town.)

Here's the wonderfully patient lady who helped us at the shop. Luckily, my daughter who speaks a bit of French was with us and helped a bit with translation. But Laura didn't know essential words like....floss.....needle.....stitched....those most important words. (I don't know what they are teaching kids in school, but I can tell you there are big gaps in their knowledge.) Somehow we managed to get by. I think everyone understands, "Oh my ...I have to have this!"

This shop is crammed full of wonderful charts, fibers and linen. We spent quite a bit of money right here and advise you to do the same if you get to Paris.


Look what is coming this month! Here is a sneak preview of the May Stocking patterns. This one is "May Basket." I finished photography yesterday and now working on pattern layout. The pattern will go to the printers this week and will ship out the end of next week. Should be in the shops ...just in time for June. (Darn!!! It's hard for Barb and I to keep up with everything.)


We are working on a quilt book too. It will be released the end of June. Look for more details soon.

We will be teaching at Primitives of the Midwest. The dates are June 22- 27, 2009. Click on the link for details. We teach 2 half day classes. The bulletin board is pictured below. It's great for notes or jewelry.


Pictures of the pincushion will follow soon. (I'm just full of promises...I still haven't finished the details on machine applique and more pictures of your samplers need to be posted too.) Luckily I have tomorrow and the next day to add posts.....and the day after that too.

Until later dear friends.

Alma

Monday, May 18, 2009

Spring Quilt Market

I wish Barb and I had a great bunch of pictures of Spring Quilt Market to show you....but Barb and I stayed home this time. I worked in my yard over the weekend, knitted on my sock a bit, went to the movies and visited with my daughter and son.

Everyone else was at the quilt party...and we were at home. I did feel a bit left out. No van to load up, no trip to drive, no antique booths to shop along the way, no booth to set up...and worst of all ....we didn't get to see the fun people we always see at market. (I'm starting to sound like I'm whining.) Really, there's quite bit of fun to be had in all of that work. Lots of inspiration too.

I met with Barb over the weekend though. It's always nice to spend a moment with her. She gave me the May stockings to photograph. Today I've been working on photography and pattern design. I have a new camera, so it's taking me a bit longer than usual.

Also, Barb made a souvenir pincushion of our trip. The picture of it is below....Barb wants to give you the pattern on the blog site. (Now I know you will like her better than me!!!) She gives the best presents!

After Alissa completes the chart I will post it for you to download. I asked Barb...."Where's mine?" I might have to make this myself. It's just too cute.

Below is the sampler I just finished. It is from a pattern I purchased in France two years ago. (Marie Lasguigue by Bleu de Soie) I took it back with me again during our last visit. It is well traveled linen!!! I changed a couple of things and added a bird, heart, my daughter's name and the two towns that we visited. I took out about 4 motifs and made it a bit smaller. I think I got tired of stitching the small flower. There are quite a few of them in this sampler. I have
purchased the frame and will ship it off to Laura this week.


Until later friends...hope you find a minute to stitch!

Alma

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Stocking Café

My friend Liezbeth Gottschall, from the Netherlands shared this picture with me this morning. It took my breath away. (Click on her name for her blog.) Liezbeth, of Crown Stitches, had a booth at Nantes, France and I had to purchase some wonderful patterns from her. Her blog shows pictures of her booth and close-up pictures of her stockings. (After looking at her blog I see I missed purchasing this pattern from her. Scroll down about half way on her blog and take a look at the pattern "Swiss Topiary." It's a spot sampler with wonderful basket motifs. I love doing spot samplers. After finishing a motif, I sit back and feel like I got something done. Plus this is all one color.....even easier.)
Anyway...back to the subject...take a look at this!!!

Liezbeth writes, "It was nice seeing you two again in Nantes after seeing you at Nashville market last February. I've read your hometravel went well. Last Saturday we had the second of our monthly Stockings-café. This time we had 19 ladies and they all enjoyed the lovely stockings. I am sending you a photo of their results of the first café. On the back you see Els from Bobbin, my friend who also had a booth in Nantes."

Note to Liezbeth....Barb and I wish we were there, stitching with you. The light is lovely coming in through the window. Great for stitching. I see coffee cups and looks like treats on the table. (I love treats on a table!) Nothing better than stitching and having fun with a group of friends. Looks like lots of work getting done too. I know who is going to have stockings on Christmas trees this year.

I forgot to mention that Fabienne from yesterday's post has a blog too. Click on her name for her blog site. She has great pictures of Nantes, France and a couple of our class projects too. I would post pictures of our trip ...but Barb still has them. I don't get to meet up with Barb that often and I haven't had a chance to pick the disc up yet.

Gudfinna Helgadóttir from Iceland sent the following pictures:


Gudfinna was one of the first foriegn shop owners to come to quilt market. She owns a shop called Virka. She has changed the quilt a bit. The flag block was changed a bit and the center block was adapted from one of the blocks from "Home Sweet Home." She has patterns and kits of the quilt for sale. The patterns were some I made up for her as the book was out of print.

This quilt pattern is from the book "Simply Vintage." It is by Cherie Ralston and myself. I just heard from Doug Weaver at the Kansas City Star that they are going to reprint this book for us.
It's been out of print for about 6 months and the demand has still been high. You will be able to order this book from them.


The Star is also reprinting the book "Friendship's Garden" for us too. Both of these books will now be available from the Kansas City Star. Click on their name above for their web-site.

I have to go and work on our fabric line....UPS lost the overnight box I sent to Moda fabrics and one of our prints has to be redone. Darn it anyway!!!

Until later dear friends.

Alma

Monday, May 11, 2009

Forget Me Not Quilt



Take a look at this!!! Meg Hawkey from Crabapple Hill Studio wanted to make a quilt that would be donated to the "Susan G. Komen for the Cure". This quilt will be raffled in order to raise funds to help find a cure for breat cancer.
Meg contacted me in the spring of 2008 and asked if I would participate. Below is the block I did.


The back of the quilt has the signatures of all the designers that contributed a block.
The quilting is by Debbi Trevino of Village Quiltworks. The photography is courtesy of Sandy Summers Russell of Summerland Photography.

The fabrics were donated by 8 fabric companies and 25 designers contributed blocks.
Want tickets??? Take a look at www.komen-houston.org/quilt.
More information is on their site, showing all the blocks, the designers, and most important, how to purchase the raffle tickets.


A great quilt for a great cause!

Alma

And the Winner Is!!!

I did the random number generator and Karen you're the winner!

Karen
said...

Thanks for the wonderful contest, again! that is a beautiful needlecase and would love to be entered.
hugs

May 8, 2009 5:29 PM


If you are Karen send me an e-mail with your address and I will send you the needlecase. (alma@blackbird-designs.com)

Many thanks to the rest of you for participating in the contest and for your kind words. Your comments mean a lot to me. I enjoy hearing from all of you. I've ordered some more fun things from Moda fabrics...so not to worry there will be plenty more stuff for everyone else to win soon.

For the quilters following the Invisible Machine Applique....more will follow tomorrow or the day following. I'm still cleaning out my Mom's apartment. My son and I spent yesterday there moving out the remaining furniture. Still a bit more to clean up ...so not much time yet to finish the applique instructions. (I know all of your machines are ready and fired up to go!!!)
We met Fabienne in Nantes, France. She took one of our classes. This pincushion was an extra gift to the students for taking our class. Here is a photo of her completed "le marché aux puces" pincushion. (Flea Market Pincushion) Click on her name to see her wonderful blog and pictures of the show in Nantes. The fabrics used for the pincushion are "Beach House" by Blackbird Designs for Moda fabrics.


Until later!

Alma



Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Special Mother's Day


Many of you dedicated your samplers to loved ones...but this story touched my heart. I've been thinking of Doris all day long. Doris writes:

Attached is a picture of my contest sampler. It is stitched on 40-count fabric from my stash that I coffee-dyed and baked (a new obsession of mine). The dark color is WDW Eggplant, medium is WDW Purple Haze, and light is DMC 452. You'll recognize my bird from Sarah Tobias.

When I read the directions for your contest, I knew immediately whose name would be on it. My youngest child, Rebekah, was born on April 29, 1991, so she would have been 18 this Wednesday. She died in 1996, a few months short of her fifth birthday. I think of her all the time, of course, and I've taken to working her initials into most of the samplers I've stitched since her death. Adding her to my samplers gives me a way to let the world know that Bekah was here. It's comforting in some small way, and comfort is a good thing. In this sampler I used the lightest color for her initials.

I've had a difficult time this year deciding what to do in honor of Bekah's birthday, so your little sampler came along at a perfect time. Thank you for giving me some much-needed stitch therapy.


Wishing you a special Mother's day Doris.

Hugs,
Alma

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Invisible Machine Applique

Time for a bit of quilting. For you sampler lovers....there are a couple more posted at the end of this post. Don't miss them!

This is a good day to show you how we do invisible machine appliqué. Barb and I don't have enough hours in the day to do everything by hand. We are able to complete many quilts in a short period of time by doing the appliqué by machine. It is not as relaxing and peaceful as doing it by hand....but we can get our quilts done in 9 - 30 days depending upon our deadlines.

These pictures will give you an idea of the process. I will be posting a block pattern that you can try in the next day or so. And I will take some pictures of my machine set-up too. My husband (our official "web-helper") is visiting his Mom in Houston. He might be able to post the pattern from there...but I might have to wait until he gets back home. And I have to do the"spring cleaning thing"...so bear with me. Anyway....back to the task at hand.


Use a fine tip marker and draw each template on the slick side of the freezer paper. Draw the reverse templates on the dull side.



If multiples of one template are needed, cut up to six at a time by drawing one piece and layering it with six sheets of freezer paper. Stapling them together prevents them from slipping as you cut. Except for the bias tape, each appliqué piece will need a paper template.

After all the pieces are cut out, iron the slick side of the paper template to the reverse side of the fabric. The heat of the iron will adhere the paper to the fabric. Cut out each piece, adding 1/8” - 1/4” seam allowance to all sides.


Use a glue stick to glue the seam allowance to the back side of the template. When complete, each piece “looks” finished.

Position all of the appliqué pieces on the background block. Pick up each piece and use dots of Roxanne’s Glue-Baste-It on the turned seam allowance and then reposition each piece on the background block. Repeat until all pieces are glued in place.

Use a 50 weight cotton thread for the appliqué. Match your sewing thread to the appliqué piece. Use the blind hemstitch on your sewing machine. The stitch pattern will have several straight stitches and then a zig zag stitch. The stitch width should be just wide enough to catch a couple of threads of the appliqué piece. The zig zag stitches need to be 1/16” to 1/8” apart. Practice on a scrap piece of fabric until you are comfortable with the stitch length and width. (There will be more on this step in the next post.)

After the pieces are stitched in place on the background block, turn the block over to the reverse side. Cut away the fabric from under each appliquéd piece leaving a 1/4” seam allowance.


Dampen the block with cool water and wait about 5 minutes for the glue to release. Pull the fabric on the diagonal both ways and the freezer paper will pop loose. Remove all the paper from each block.
Place the block on a flat surface to allow the fabric to dry.
More about this tomorrow....or Monday.

Couple more sampler pictures. The first is from Edgar Mathews.

"I used my maternal grandparents initials and the year they where married. You will recognize the bird and branch from BBD Pins and Needles. I used 36 ct Barn Owl and the floss' where - OWS, CC, GAST and a Six Strand Sweets. I also shifted and cleaned up some of the edges."


Don't you love the sweet colors on these samplers?

Judy Starkey stitched the above sampler.
"I haven't decided how to finish it yet, I think I am going to use it on a cover of a scrap book I am going to make of Joy.
I decided to dedicate mine to my sister, using her maiden name and her birth/death dates. I am one of 9 children and Joy and I were so close growing up, we spent so much time together, then she married and left home. As adults, even though we were separated by many miles we stayed in contact by phone and letters and visits. During her last 10 years of life she was very ill, but I continued to visit her once or twice a year in her home, staying a week or so at a time and we would do all kinds of needlework together. Throughout the years we taught each other how to knit, crochet, quilt, etc. In 1994 she taught me to cross stitch and I fell in love with the art. It remains to be my very favorite form of needleart and the one and only thing that brings me complete relaxation. I continue to miss my sister immensely, but I have many items she made me, many letters and cards she sent me but best of all I have the wonderful memories of us cross stitching together."

Until later dear friends!

Alma