Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Last days of August

Barb and I are back from our teaching engagement in Spokane, WA. We had a great time! But if you ask Stella she will probably give you another version of our week at the Buggy Barn. (And you can tell from my laughter....she got lots of sympathy from me.) My first words are...."Does someone have a camera?"

We always add a few extra projects for everyone. Barb and I think they sound fun as we plan the class. But you will have to e-mail Stella to find out for sure. She glued her two fingers together.

I'm pretending I've glued mine too....just to show support for Stella. I'm not totally heartless!!!

So when we come your way to teach at a retreat....and I mention gluing beads...it might be smart to pretend to be interested and say, "Maybe later Alma! I've got a few more stitches I want to put into my project."

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Buggy Barn

Don't you just love it when you finish something so sweet that it makes your teeth hurt? I've been walking around the house with this sewing roll placing it here and there....just trying it out to find my favorite place for it. (I'm weird....I know!)

Don't you love the way it rolls up? Just right to tuck into a small sewing box. I used the blue rose print from our newest fabric line, "Wild Rose." It seemed just right for this project. (Wild Rose will be in quilt shops in November. Click on "Wild Rose" to see the prints on Moda's website.)

This is the antique one Barb purchased from Kathy Barrick. I've been studying it trying to figure out the construction. After making several, I finally finished one I love. This looks like it was made about 130 years ago to me. I appreciated the work put into this piece by a woman long ago. I bet she was tickled when hers was done too!

The one made by me is part of the class project at the Buggy Barn. We are getting out our suitcases and traveling to Spokane, WA for a bit of fun with Pam and Janet. (I really have to go and buy a suitcase as I don't have one anymore. I gave mine to my son when he moved to Washington, DC.....so I better get to the store!)

Hope your day is filled with projects that make your heart sing!

Until later!


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Anniversaries of the Heart #7

I loved reading all of your stitching tips. Thank you for taking the time to write! It makes me wish we could all get together for a sewing and stitching day. This posting also reminds me I need to join my local embroiderer's guild. I remember after joining a local quilter's guild, I learned more about quilting in a year than I had in 10 years alone.

Finally the next Anniversaries of the Heart has been handed off to the printer. Barb did this one in honor of her sweet nephew Cole. I love the idea of using the traditional leaf border for the water.

Barb's "newest" favorite color is Crescent Colours Camouflage. She used this floss on the vine that surrounds the house. After seeing this one finished, I have to admit, I ran to my local shop and got a couple of skeins. (She always has a new favorite color.)

Also included in this pattern is the first bonus. Below is a picture.

If you are stitching the entire series on one piece of linen, this is positioned in the middle of the first row.

The thing that really surprised me about these two pieces is they are both stitched on 30ct. Ligonier Latte by R &R Reproduction. The linen looked like a different color. I called Barb to make sure they were the same. I had forgotten a basic principle I had learned in art class. The framing and floss colors on the piece can make the linen take on another hue. The red frame and the lighter floss colors of the bonus piece made the linen look lighter than the linen in the black frame with the darker floss shades.

The title of the pattern is Swan Lake. It will be in my warehouse in about a week's time and then will be shipped out to distributors. Usually it takes about a couple of weeks from this point for it to get to the shops.

We got some rain last night! After our heat wave, what a relief. Dave and I sat outside last night on the porch enjoying the thunder, lightening and rain.

Until later dear friends!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Camera is Broken!!!!

It couldn't have come at a worse time! My camera is broken and I have patterns to photograph. No more pictures of buttons or anything else until it is fixed.

Luckily Barb has a camera exactly like mine and she said she would loan me hers. I can't be without a camera. Hopefully my husband will take a look at it tonight. He's been working on the mowers....another thing we can't be without.

I need some advice. Karen wrote the letter posted below to me and I'm wondering if those of you who are stitching Anniversaries of the Heart have any helpful ideas when working on a larger pieces of linen.

"First let me say, I love all of your designs! I am a stitcher and a quilter, and am enjoying making many of your patterns. I am currently working on your quilt pattern, Love Letters, and stitching Anniversaries of the Heart on 30 ct. Olde Town Blend.

My question to you is, I have never stitched a piece of linen this large before, and have been struggling with what is the best way to stitch it. I usually use a scroll frame, but this piece is too large for that. I am also concerned about using an embroidery hoop, and distorting my stitches when I start the next pattern.

What would you suggest? Would it be ok to not use anything at all? I would really appreciate your reply. Thank you again!"

Helpful comments would really be appreciated. I usually just stitch in hand. But maybe some of you know a better way.
Thank you!!!

Until later,


Sunday, August 8, 2010


Announcing the winners of the 1/2 yd. pieces of the Rhubarb and Ginger line by Blackbird Designs for Moda fabrics. Here we go!

#83 Frances Seng said...

I would love to add some of Rhubab and Ginger to my stash from beautifull Blackbird designs fabric.

#264 Solstitches said...

I love the name you have chose for your new fabric line and can't wait to see it.
The Rhubarb and Ginger is lovely also but then there has never been a fabric line of yours that I did not love!
I'd like to enter the drawing please.


#529 Kristy said...

Rhubarb and Ginger has always been one of my favorite lines.......Oh how happy I would be to win.

#581 Carol said...

What beautiful fabrics! Love the new ones you're working on now also. Would love to be one of your winners of the fabulous fabric!
Carol :)

E-mail your address to alma@blackbird-designs.com and the fabric will be yours! Congratulations to the winners.

Thought we would have a bit of show and tell today too.

Cindy Whitlow writes...."Attached you will find a picture of my finish that was completed yesterday of your free gift design, Now I Know My ABC's. The fabric is a 32 count cream linen, and the fibers are Weeks Dye Works Liberty #2269 and Rainbow Gallery Petite Treasure Braid in PB03. I stitched two tiny hearts next to the uppercase Z instead of the punctuation.
I plan on stitching this again with other Crescent Colours flosses and a different ground fabric. I have it all kitted up and ready to go, I just need to find the time, LOL! :)
Thank you again, and I look forward to stitching more of your lovely designs.

PS: Can you please tell me what the little letter/symbol number zero and the period on the last row? It *kinda* looks like a stylized uppercase V, but I'm not too certain.

(Cindy...I'm not too sure what it is either. Just something the stitcher must have added to fill space. Maybe it's a cursive V for her initial. If anyone has any ideas leave a comment and let us know!)

Katrina writes, "Here’s a picture of mine so far :-). What a fun stitch, I am impatiently waiting for the next charts, LOL. There will be more pictures on my blog. I am updating it now http://theneedlespromise.blogspot.com.

Visit her blog for close-up pictures. You won't be sorry!

Siobhán Notes from Blue Hen Hollow writes,

Hey Barb & Alma!

I am having so much fun stitching your Anniversaries of the Heart. I thought I'd show you the three designs I've done so far with my personalizations. I omitted stitches on the flowers in the bird's beak on Snow Garden so they'd look more like shamrocks, because my grandmother, who is honored in the design, was so proud of her Irish heritage. In the Valentine Rose block, I made the design on the door look a bit more like the number 5, to represent our house number. I also stitched my the first letter of my dad's name in the heart that the two birds standing on the house are holding. I knew I had to dedicate A Wish for You to my husband when I saw the shamrocks and rabbit. I changed the verse to an Irish verse about love, added the Irish flag, and gave the rabbit a white tail to reflect my husband's childhood nickname. Thanks so much for such a fun design--I can't wait to see what's coming next!

Siobhán I love seeing how these samplers are reflecting your family. They are turning out wonderful! Click on her blog site, Notes from Blue Hen Hollow for a link to her site.

The next Anniversaries of the Heart is waiting for a frame. It should be here Tuesday so I will be able to show the cover to you by mid-next week. This house pattern will also include the bonus pattern. Everyone will be able to fill the blank space on the top row. Glad you all voted to have the bonus pattern sooner!

I have to run....the weeds are calling my name!

Until later,


Thursday, August 5, 2010


Today I've been working on our newest fabric line which will be shown to shop owners at fall quilt market. Barb and I design fabric for Moda Fabrics. We always love getting a package from them. It means our fabric line is getting closer to being finished. It takes about a year from the time we send in our design boards to Cheryl Freydberg, Moda's design director, to bolts of fabric arriving at your local quilt shop. Right now, I'm working on a line called Antique Fair. It will be shown the shop owners at fall quilt market.

The fabric comes to me stapled on these cards. Each print is numbered. I'm checking for color and shading today. Also trying to figure out which prints we would like to keep in this collection. Fabric lines are smaller than they used to be. When we first began designing we would have around 42 or so fabrics in a line. Now they are much smaller. It's hard for quilt shops to carry full lines of everyone's fabric. There are a lot of designers to choose from! Barb and I send in 2 lines a year. That can be about 64 bolts right there!

After the fabric is printed we each get 2 1/2 yards of each piece of fabric in our collection. That's usually enough to work up some quilts for our books.

Moda has kept a library of each fabric printed by their company. You can imagine how big that library is! They are reducing the size of their library and offered us the choice to pick one of our past fabric lines. They sent 2 yards of each piece of Rhubarb and Ginger. Below is a picture of some of the prints in this fabric line.

We would like to share this line with you. I have enough for 4 winners. Each winner will receive a 1/2 yd. piece of each fabric in Rhubarb and Ginger.

Leave a comment in the comments section and you are signed up for a chance to win.

I'm leaving town tomorrow to go to Polk, Nebraska. I'm doing some research for our new quilt book Garden Club. I will be back in time to do the random number generator and pick 4 winners on Sunday morning.

Good luck to you all!

Until later,


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Backyard companions

Early in the mornings Dave and I are out in the blackberry patch picking before the temperature hits 150 degrees. We are on the lookout for our companion. She hangs around our blackberry patch because hey....she's not stupid. This is her second or third season with us. If we drop a ripe berry....we don't worry because we know she will be right there to help us. Right now she's eating dandelion leaves. (Very nutritious and high in vitamin C or A....I can't remember which right now. Our turtle is all about health food.) It feels nice picking berries with her close by. We have been picking about 2-4 gallons of berries each day so we have plenty to share with her.

I planted my parsley, fennel and basil adjacent to my blackberry patch....and you can tell I've had visitors here too.

These caterpillars are going to turn into Black Swallowtail butterflies. They just love parsley and fennel.....I don't get to eat any of these herbs from the garden until later in the fall .....I just feel like a murderer if I clip those plants any earlier. I don't want to be accused of eating butterfly babies. And....not to worry. The plants grow back just fine.

Remember He-Man (the most powerful man in the universe) and She-ra, his girlfriend? It was one of my son's favorite cartoons. I had to watch a lot of He-Man's adventures. Well, here is a shot of She-ra. She's making off with some cat food. This scrap is about as big as her.

She's telling everyone to look what she brought home for dinner! And get off their duffs and help her!

You can tell it's kind of quiet around here. I've been drawing out quilt blocks for our newest project, Garden Club. Barb and I can hardly wait to get the drawings completed so we can begin working with our newest line of fabric. Will show some pictures as we progress. So far everything is still on paper.

Hope you are keeping cool!

Until later,