Fun gifts for Stitchers and Quilters

Hello Friends! I hope you are doing well despite the cold (very cold!) weather! We are supposed to get some snow tonight even though our high was in the 50s yesterday. Do stay safe! Before I start prattling on, I would like to thank ALL of you who left comments on Gwen’s blog post from last weekend. She read every comment, and was very encouraged.

One thing I do to keep stitching fun for Gwen is to always be on a lookout for stitching accessories to make the process fun and interesting for her. For example, I found these kitty thread keeps that are great tools in teaching a child to be organized with her threads while stitching.

Recently, I came across these fun stitching/quilting gift items made by Zappy Dots. I am amazed at the range of products offered – from apparel, jewelry to notions! Click HERE to visit Zappy Dots’ website. All Zappy Dots products are made in USA.

Many of the products are based on the idea of these nifty and pretty 1″ dots. The dots then find themselves in various gifts and notions like pendants, bracelets, needle minders and scissors fobs. I currently have the needle minder (nanny), scissors fob, and the interchangeable silver bangle.

Let’s start with me showing you the silver bangle, or bracelet. Well, as soon as Gwen saw this, she subtly claimed this one! We agree we could “share” — you know how that goes, haha. Gwen thinks the interchangeable concept is the coolest thing (since sliced bread) because one can effortless change the look of the bangle by using the different magnetic dots that snaps onto the face of the bangle.

There are other bracelet styles as well besides this one I just showed you. Click HERE to see the other offerings, as well as an almost endless range of “dots” you could purchase for yourself and friends.

I like the simple and sweet magnetic needle minder and the scissors fob! The surface of the dots are protected against wear. Gwen loves playing with the magnetic needle minders. They were perfect for me to teach Gwen about the physics of magnetism as well as eletromagnetism.

The scissors fob adds a bit of visual bling to my scissors. More importantly, the fob makes it easy for me spot where I place my scissors at all times. When I stitch, I don’t always place the scissors at one fixed spot like I am supposed to, and I so easily lose track of them.

I find that the items are affordable as gifts for a stitching or quilting friend, or even for yourself. Check out Zappy Dots’ website HERE, and I double dog dare you to not spend more than 20 minutes looking to see if you couldn’t find the perfect “dot”! I found SO many dots that I want to have…. maybe it’s time for another collection!?

I always appreciate you stopping by! I hope you have a lovely rest of your week – do stay safe and WARM! Till next week.

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Find me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ivory_spring/

My Etsy Shop (THREADS SHIP FREE to continental US): https://www.etsy.com/shop/ivoryspring 

My Online Machine Quilting Classes: https://www.anniescatalog.com/onlineclasses/instructor.html?id=16

A guest post: Gwendolyn Sheppard on her Stitching Bag

Hello! My name is Gwen Sheppard. Today I’m happy to guest post on my mom’s blog. I am currently a 6th grader who loves going to school to see my friends. I am in my 8th year of learning to play the violin. In my spare time, I like to explore the woods, read, write, and recently, I started making simple bead jewelry. In the summer time when I have more time, I also like to try out different baking recipes.

Beatitudes ODACS

You may have known that I also do needlework. Here are a few examples of what I have stitched in the past.

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mount-vernon

I am very excited that my Valentines designs was recently featured in the JustCrossStitch February 2021 magazine.

I stitch all my projects with Aurifil threads. I like their wooden spools for their cotton embroidery floss, and vibrant colors. I myself have curated two thread collections for Aurifil.

woodland-spool-en-dids

Recently, I have begun to store the threads for my projects in a strong, durable bag made by Yazzii.

I use the bag CA14 to store not only my threads, but my whole team of stitching supplies. I have found it extremely helpful in keeping my stitching supplies organized. The see-through pockets in this bag make it easy for storing what I need to stitch, as well as maybe a couple of toy items.

The bag comes in vivid colors, including aqua, olive green, and hot pink. I chose aqua because it’s my favorite color at the moment. You may find out more about the bag HERE.

The bag looks attractive and is easy to carry around using the handle. The fabric is thick and durable, yet the bag is small, so it is ideal for taking your sampler supplies on the airplane, on vacation, or simply to your favorite stitching spot in your own backyard. I really like my stitching bag.

My Mom asked me to share my stitching tip. I think mine would be keep on stitching until the project is complete. This tip helps me from having UFOs, because chances are I might have to stitch my Mom’s UFOs, haha (at least that’s what she tells me!).

Thank you for letting me visit with you today. I hope you have a most wonderful Valentines Day! I am looking forward to the heart-shaped Valentines Day cake that I have been seeing in the fridge!

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Find me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ivory_spring/

My Etsy Shop (THREADS SHIP FREE to continental US): https://www.etsy.com/shop/ivoryspring 

My Online Machine Quilting Classes: https://www.anniescatalog.com/onlineclasses/instructor.html?id=16

This and That!

Hello Friends,  Happy Monday to you!  I hope you had a great weekend, and are still staying well and healthy.

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I am very happy to share with you the news that I had my first editorial feature in a cross stitch publication – Just Cross Stitch.

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My project is a “scrappy” blue and white stitching project that is based on an antique quilt.  You know, scrappy isn’t just for quilting!

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And of course, some of you probably remember seeing this work-in-progress sampler I have been working on for years…. another scrappy blues!  This will be my magnum opus, as Gwen would call it!

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The really sweet thing about the editorial feature in Just Cross Stitch is that it is actually a mother-daughter feature — because Gwen also contributed an easy pillow ornament project to entice the little people in your life!  Stay tuned, as Gwen is doing more with her original designs!

2199867309_21C_M53394_Antiq_Watermark SM Just CrossStitch

The reason I started teaching Gwen to stitch when she was a mere 5 year old was because I want her to have a quiet hobby she can have from her childhool after she is grown!  Stitching opens up another world of connection for the stitcher, and it is my hope that Gwen will find for her a support group through stitching when she is grown. It will also serve as her connection to me after I graduate to heaven.  In fact, she sweetly told me she would finish some of my projects for me in my memory in case I don’t get to them before I go to heaven.  So, I am now making sure the new projects I start are ones Gwen likes to, haha!

Gwen’s curated embroidery floss collection for Aurifil is available for purchase and ships free HERE:

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Speaking of SPOOLS — did you see my Spools Quilt on Aurifil’s blog this past week?  The pattern in pdf format is available HERE.

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I designed the quilt to celebrate my love of threads as well as my latest thread collection, Candies!  Available for purchase and ships free HERE.  I have two boxes available at the moment, and as far as I know, I won’t be able to get more until shipping from Italy resumes.

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These blocks were so fun and FAST to make.  I actually made mine as leaders and enders while piecing other quilts.  Truth be known, when I am not in a rush meeting deadlines, I am piecing 3-4 quilt tops at the same time.  It keeps things from getting boring for me.  I love keeping track of the Math for the different quilt tops I am making!

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In CANDIES, you get the following threads:

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5 spools of 50wt (orange spools) – because the 50wt is my go-to all purpose thread! I use 50wt for machine quilting, piecing, and button-hole stitching around my fusible applique shapes. I even used the 50wt for hand needleturn applique until Aurifil released their game-changing 80wt a few years ago.

2 spools of 40wt (green spools) – I use 40wt mainly for machine quilting and general sewing for my crafting projects. 40wt gives such a striking definition to my quilting when I want my quilting show a little more than the 50wt. While I personally do not construct garments, I know garment sewists love the 40wt.

2 spools of 28wt (gray spools) – Many find interesting that I use 28wt for hand sewing my binding! I do! Many of my quilts have been made for editorial features in magazines, and so my quilts pass through many hands before they return to me. So for extra durability in holding down the binding, 28 wt is perfect!

I also use the 28wt to machine baste my hand applique pieces. Machine basting eliminates the use of pins to hold down my needleturn applique pieces. The 28wt creates the perfect “perforation” for me as I cut away the excess fabric before turning the raw seam under for a Hawaiian-type quilt! Yellow shows the basting stitches done with 28wt.

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1 spool of 12wt (red spools) – I mainly use 12wt for hand embroidery. The 12wt stitches up beautifully for all handwork.

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Keeping with the Staying at Home theme recently, I shared a free House Quilt last week on Instagram.  It is one I had designed for Windham Fabrics a couple of years ago.  In case you missed it, it’s this Annies House quilt.

Design 4b_60 x 72

Pattern is available for download HERE.

I am making mine with slightly different fabrics – I am trying to use only reproduction fabrics.  I hope my small stash of reproduction fabrics can do the job!

Annies House1

And that’s all for now, My Friends!  I hope you have a lovely week ahead!  Till next time!

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Find me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ivory_spring/

My Etsy Shop (THREADS SHIP FREE to continental US): https://www.etsy.com/shop/ivoryspring 

My Online Machine Quilting Classes: https://www.anniescatalog.com/onlineclasses/instructor.html?id=16

National Napping Day and more!

Hello Friends, Happy National Napping Day!  Were you able to work in a nap today?

Pink Cat Final

It’s the month of March — and it’s time to break out your green quilts!  If you haven’t picked up your Spring 2020 copy of Quilts and More, do so before they are taken off the shelves!  I actually have two quilts featured in this issue…. one on the cover called “Button Collection”, and it’s never too early/late to start a button collection!

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The other one is called Sea Glass. This quilt is hanging in my parlor at the moment!

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Both of these quilts were so much fun to piece, and I am not really that crazy about piecing!  Try making Sea Glass with red prints!  You will have a most striking Christmas/Valentine’s Day quilt!

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A few weeks ago, I showed you my scrappy gingerbread man blocks that I made for my “You Can’t Catch Me” quilt… all 24 blocks, with not one fabric is repeated!  Click HERE if you had missed my gingerbread man quilt pattern post.

gingerbread man line up

Well, we have here today the heart blocks I have made to go with the gingerbread man blocks!  Again, all scrappy, and not one fabric repeated.

Heart Blocks

When you choose your reds, look for fabrics you can fussy cut for a fun visual interest, like the following block.  A little fun surprise tucked in a block like that is what makes scrappy quilts fun.

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A quilter on Instagram commented that these heart blocks can be used to make an entire quilt without the gingerbread man blocks!  That really piqued my interest, and so I went to work… and voila!

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Heart Quilt2

You see the possibilities?  The quilt layout will be the same, except you are making all heart blocks instead of alternating them with the gingerbread man blocks.  You can make the quilt smaller with fewer blocks as well.

I will be doing a quilt-along with the friend who originally suggested the all-heart quilt using the heart blocks sometime in May this year.  So, if you want to play along, get the pattern and start collecting your fabrics!  The goal is to have the quilt completed for Valentine’s Day next year!

Unfortunately, I will not be able to provide any fabric or design information due to time constraint!  The cutting for each heart block is in the original pattern, and you should be able to work from there to calculate how much fabric you will need for the background or red/pink fabrics.  

All that to say, “You Can’t Catch Me” is actually a 2-for-1 quilt pattern.  And so often, if you take time to study a quilt pattern or design, you can easily customize the pattern/design to make it your own by making slight adjustments.

The pattern is available for purchase HERE.

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A couple of weeks ago, I also shared with you my daughter’s (11) stitching project.  Here she is with her completed sampler at a recent regional meet her school participated.  Her sample won first place.

Beatitudes ODACS

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Gwen will have some exciting stitching news to share in the near future.  So stay tuned!  Meanwhile, if you haven’t seen her own SPOOL-EN-DIDS and WOODLAND SPOOL-EN-DIDS Aurifil thread collections, check them out HERE.

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Having a daughter who shares the love of needle and thread with me is one of my most gratifying things I experience as a mother.  One of my favorite things to do is just to sit and stitch with Gwen, while listening to audiobooks.

If you share your love of needle and thread (and fabrics) with the younger generation, I would love for you to share your experience!

Thank you for stopping by and visiting with me today.  Do take care till we meet again!

***

Find me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ivory_spring/

My Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ivoryspring 

My Online Machine Quilting Classes: https://www.anniescatalog.com/onlineclasses/instructor.html?id=16

Thank you to all who have supported my little shop.  Remember, threads always ship free!

What’s been happening & Happy Valentines’ Day

Hello Friends, I hope you are well.  This week has flown by for me, and I can’t believe tomorrow is already Valentine’s Day!  And of course I hope you have a sweet day tomorrow.

Valentines Day

While I am pulling back on my magazine feature work, you can still find me regularly featured in American Quilter magazine (the publication by AQS).  My Cicle Symphony Quilt is featured in the latest issue (March 2020).  I have had more than 300 quilts featured in various publications, and this styled shot is probably one of my all-time favorites!

And the quilt is done in all solids — rare for me too, but I am loving this quilt.

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Last time I showed you my Parcels in the Post quilt done with Moda’s At Home fabrics.

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At Home Quilt

I started making another version of the quilt this week.  This time with Windham Fabrics’ upcoming line Backyard Blooms.  All I can say is a parcel is a parcel no matter the wrapping paper!

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If you have been to any of my trunk shows, you might have heard at some point the story about my daughter being concerned about having to inherit my 350+ quilts!  What I have yet to disclose to her that in the mix will be multiple versions of one quilt design, haha!  Should I let her know explicitly, or should I let her figure out herself — that’s the question!

These parcel blocks go really quickly!  I thought it was going to be a drag making more blocks for the same quilt, but I can honestly say I really like picking out the different “wrapping paper” for the parcels that version 2 has been just as fun!

Patterns are available for purchase HERE.  Quilt shop owners are welcome to email me for wholesale pricing.

Parcels in the Post Cover Photo

I have another pattern that just went live in case you missed it.  It’s a baby/child quilt design called Baby Dreams.  It has the options of doing a bear cub, puppy or kitten sleeping under a quilt!  Except for the animal faces that require a little bit of piecing, the rest should be a cinch.

Click HERE to purchase the pattern.

Cover Image

Yellow Bear

Blue Puppy Final

Pink Cat Final

And I added a little progress to my Louisa sampler.  THANK YOU to those who wrote to tell me you liked the sampler.

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Louisa Coulimore is a Bristol Orhpanage sampler, charted by Hands Across the Sea Samplers in England.  The Bristol Orphanage was started by the famous Christmas George Muller in the 1800s.  In his life time, Muller cared of more than ten thousand orphans, established 117 schools which offered Christian education to over 120,000 children.

I remember reading a biography of George Muller when I was a teenager, and his life story changed the perpective of how I viewed life.  So stitching this sampler is my way of paying tribute to George Muller.  And it helps that the stitching has been really enjoyable.

Lots are happening here, and I will show you more of what I have been sewing lately!  Till then, take care, Dear Friends!

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Find me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ivory_spring/

My Etsy Shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ivoryspring 

Thank you to all who have supported my little shop.  Remember, threads always ship free!

 

 

 

Spool-en-dids Ornament Project #4 – Focusing on the Spool!

Hello Friends, it’s good to be back to re-connect!  Summer is over for us.  Miss Baby started school this week.  I have to say it took me a bit to get used to the quietness during the day while she is at school.

Have you been sewing along with a little friend, or by yourself since I last shared “Happy To Be ME”, Smar-kly and a Primer on Cross-Stitching ornaments?

It’s time for me to share with you the fourth of the six mother-daughter (adult/child) collaborative ornament project, released to highlight Aurifil’s Aurikids iniatiative — an effort to pass on the love and joy and needle and thread to the next generation.

All the ornaments use embroidery floss Spool-en-dids, a thread pack my daughter curated for Aurifil.

Read more about Spool-en-dids, and find out the names my daughter has for her selected colors HERE.

#1.  YOU may now purchase the collection from FAT QUARTER SHOP by clicking HERE.

#2.  YOU may purchase the collection from Donna — email her:  followthatthread@yahoo.com

#3.  YOU may also purchase the collection by clicking HERE.

#4.  OR, ask your local Aurifil dealer to order the collection for you.  Click HERE for a dealer near you!

Miss Baby is saving the royalties for her college fund, as well as supporting the medical missions of Samaritans Purse.

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PROJECT: Focusing on the spool!

SUPPLIES:

7-8″ square piece of Cross-stitch Aida fabric (11 or 14ct — I recommend 11ct for younger children 7 and under, 14ct for older), Spool-en-did thread (s), Aurifil 50wt thread, a piece of ribbon, embroidery hoop, tapestry or embroidery needle, stuffing material & basic sewing supplies. 

To make the ornament like what we have done here, you will need 4 pieces of fabric scrap to frame your stitched piece, and one for backing the pillow case.  Time to go dig through your scraps pile.

NOTE: This tutorial, as well as all pillow ornament tutorials in this series, is not for a specific finished size. You may make it as big or as small as you wish. Since we hang our pillow ornaments on our Christmas tree, our ornaments do not finish larger than 4″.

GOAL: We will just be practicing on crossing the crosses row after row to get used to cross-stitching, until your child complains about being cross-eyed (JUST KIDDING!).  But in the end, the rows will result in a spool of thread.

From ornament #3, (if you missed the tutorial, the link is here),

we will progress to this:

Here is the fun part about this spool stitching — you may choose the colors you would like to use, and you may stitch as many rows as you would like as well.

Step 1.  If you would like to stitch your spool just like the one that is shared, first you will hoop the fabric with an embroidery hoop!  You will just start a little left of the center of your 7-8″ cross stitch fabric square,

a.  stitch a row of 13 cross stitches using the brown floss.

b.  stitch a row of 11 cross stitches using the brown floss, off setting one stitch from the previous row.

c.  stitch subsequent 14 rows of 9 cross-stitches using red and yellow, alternating 2 rows of red and 1 row of yellow.

d.  stitch a row of 11 cross stitches using the brown floss, mirroring row b.

e.  stitch a row of 13 cross stitches using the brown floss mirroring row a.

Step 2.  After stitching is complete, remember to praise your kid stitcher to the sky!  Trim and square up your piece, and frame with fabric scraps to make pillow ornament top.  Then, with the pillow front and back pieces facing each other and folded ribbon piece tucked in the between, I sewed with a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a small opening. Turn pillowcase right side out, and stuff. I started using the stuffing made by Hobbs recently, and have ABSOLUTELY loved it!!  Hand stitch opening shut, and there you have it!

Now, how cute is this little spool ornament?

Imagine…
#1. having a stitching party of stitches of all ages, and have everyone stitch out the spool in their favorite colors – solid, variegated etc!
#2. making this as a gift change for a stitching or quilting group
#3. stitching a row of multiple spools during the different colors to make a horizontal pillow ornament

I hope you will enjoy this little stitching project with your kid stitcher, and jump start a lifetime of sweet stitching memories.

Meanwhile, Miss Baby has a new progress picture to share on her Patchwork Aux Chat sampler using ONLY colors from her Spool-en-dids collection.  She has mixed up floss of different colors to achieve additional colors besides the ones in her collection.  I have learned to zip my mouth and let her run with her color choices for her sampler because I think her choices produces striking results!

She tried her best to finish this sampler up before school started, but it didn’t happen.

Thank you for stopping by — and let’s get some stitching going!

Spool-en-dids Ornament Project #3 – A primer on cross-stitching

Hello Friends — have you been sewing along with a little friend, or by yourself since I last shared “Happy To Be ME” and Smar-kly ornament?

It’s time for me to share with you the third of six mother-daughter (adult/child) collaborative ornament project, released to highlight Aurifil’s Aurikids iniatiative — an effort to pass on the love and joy and needle and thread to the next generation.  This third ornament is a simple primer on cross-stitching, to get us ready to do cross-stitching for ornaments #4 and #5.

Read more about Spool-en-dids, and find out the names my daughter has for her selected colors HERE.

#1.  YOU may now purchase the collection from FAT QUARTER SHOP by clicking HERE.

#2.  YOU may purchase the collection from Donna — email her:  followthatthread@yahoo.com

#3.  YOU may also purchase collection by clicking HERE.

#4.  OR, ask your local Aurifil dealer to order the collection for you.  Click HERE for a dealer near you!

Miss Baby is saving the royalties for her college fund, as well as supporting the medical missions of Samaritans Purse.

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PROJECT: Cross-stitching Primer Pillow Ornament

SUPPLIES:

Cross-stitch Aida fabric (11 or 14ct — I recommend 11ct for younger children 7 and under, 14ct for older), Spool-en-did thread (s), Aurifil 50wt thread, a piece of ribbon, embroidery hoop, tapestry or embroidery needle, stuffing material & basic sewing supplies. 

You will need 4 pieces of fabric scrap to frame stitched piece, and one for backing the pillow case.

NOTE: This tutorial, as well as all subsequent pillow ornament tutorials, is not for a specific finished size. You may make it as big or as small as you wish. Since we hang our pillow ornaments on our Christmas tree, our ornaments do not finish larger than 4″.

GOAL: This project is to get children familiar with structured stitching associated with the “holes” on Aida/cross-stitching fabrics.

PLEASE read through the entire project before attempting. You may let your kid stitcher step in and be involved in any of the steps. For us, my daughter participated in selected the fabrics and stitching. I did the rest.

So — you would want to start with a piece of cross-stitch Aida fabric that amply fits your hoop.  The stitches are done with (2) strands of embroidery floss.  The Aurifloss consists of 6-strands of individual floss, just like the conventional embroidery floss.  So, you would have to cut a length of the floss, separate out 2 strands for the stitching.

Step 1.  Refer to the photo below to teach your kid stitcher stitching just straight lines, half-cross-stitches, and then cross-stitches! Notice all the Spool-en-dids come out to play on this one!

Important Notes:

#1.  It’s really important that you hoop the cross-stitch Aida fabric so that the stitches will turn out nicely.  If not, hooped, your kid stitcher might struggle with the tension of the stitches.

#2.  Your kid stitcher may choose to stitch more than just 15 squares in a row.  She might want to stitch long lines for a nice throw pillow.  Since we are doing ornaments at our house, we do a limited number of stitches so that our ornaments do not end up being more than 4″ x 4″.

#3.  To make it fun, feel free to mix colors – using 1 strand of yellow and 1 strand of brown for example for a fun effect.

Step 2.  After stitching is complete, remember to praise your kid stitcher to the sky!  Trim and square up your piece, and frame with fabric scraps to make pillow ornament top.  Then, with the pillow front and back pieces facing each other and folded ribbon piece tucked in the between, I sewed with a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a small opening. Turn pillowcase right side out, and stuff. I started using the stuffing made by Hobbs recently, and have ABSOLUTELY loved it!!  Hand stitch opening shut, and there you have it!

Next month, we will be cross-stitching a thread spool ornament!

Meanwhile, Miss Baby is stitching a Patchwork aux Chats sampler (designed by French designer Jardin Prive – I highly recommend her designs for children).  She is mixing her colors to stitch the cats.  Follow me on Instagram for work-in-progress pictures.  My handle is ivory_spring.

I hope you will enjoy this little stitching project with your kid stitcher, and jump start a lifetime of sweet stitching memories.

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p.s.  If you missed the article in a recent Quiltmaker issue about my experience in teaching Miss Baby to stitch, it is now available online here.  Enjoy!

A Simple SPOOL-EN-DIDS project tutorial #2

Hello Friends — have you been sewing along with a little friend, or by yourself since I last shared “Happy To Be ME” ornament?  It’s time for me to share with you the second of six mother-daughter (adult/child) collaborative ornament project (Smar-kly), released to highlight Aurifil’s Aurikids iniatiative — an effort to pass on the love and joy and needle and thread to the next generation.


To dovetail with the release of Spool-en-dids my daughter curated for Aurifil, we will be highlighting 6 monthly projects to give you ideas on hand-stitching with kids. The colors selected are by a kid for kids!  You may purchase Spool-en-dids from the following sources:

#1.  NEW!! ** YOU may now purchase the collection from FAT QUARTER SHOP by clicking HERE.

#2.  YOU may purchase the collection from Donna — email her:  followthatthread@yahoo.com

#3.  YOU may also purchase collection by clicking HERE.

#4.  OR, ask your local Aurifil dealer to order the collection for you.  Click HERE for a dealer near you!

Read more about Spool-en-dids HERE if you aren’t familiar with the Aurikids initiative. And to those of you who purchased the thread collection, please allow me to thank you from the bottom of my heart or contributing to Miss Baby’s college fund!!

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PROJECT: “Smar-kly” Pillow Ornament

SUPPLIES: POLKA DOT fabric scrap, paper-back fusible and THIN batting scraps, Spool-en-did thread (s), Aurifil 50wt thread, a piece of ribbon, embroidery hoop, tapestry or embroidery needle, & basic sewing supplies. 
You will need pieces of fabrics – one for pillow top, and one for backing the pillow case.  I didn’t use a batting piece this time to stabilize the project because I wanted Miss Baby to be aware of the thread tension when stitching just on a fabric piece.
OPTIONAL – however, if your kid stitcher is tiny, it is always a good idea to back your ornament top fabric with a piece of batting and a piece of backing fabric.

NOTE: This tutorial, as well as all subsequent pillow ornament tutorials, is not for a specific finished size. You may make it as big or as small as you wish. Since we hang our pillow ornaments on our Christmas tree, our ornaments do not finish larger than 4″.

GOAL: In ornament #1, we did the random no rule confetti stitching.  For ornament #2, we will introduce structure into stitching within the confine of a circle.

ALSO:  This tutorial will not cover how to finish the pillow ornament, as the steps are already covered in the tutorial for ornament #1.

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Step 1:  This one is light on prep work for the adult.  Once you have the supplies, your kid stitcher is ready to go.  So, everyone has a polka dot fabric collection like I do, right? :)  I picked the polka dot print because the work is all done for us in this quick and easy project.

NOTE:  I notice with children (and adults alike), the excitement of the first project wears off over time.  I also believe keeping on with the projects teaches perseverance in children.  Keeping in mind both aspects, I picked this super easy project to make the experience stress free for both adult and child.

Step 2:  Once you have your fabric hooped, the stitching can begin.  Simply stitch the length of the diamater of the a circle four times (first do a cross, then, the two diagonals), and you are finished!  There is no ruler on how many circles to cover.  The stitching gives the polka dots a bit of dimensional sparkling twinkle!  I happened to find a fabric that provided the background for matching a few Spool-en-dids colors.  Feel free to do a contrasting effect!

Step 3.  To secure the stitches at the center of the circle, you could teach your kid stitcher French knots if she is older.  If not, you can just teach your kid stitcher to take a tiny stitch in the circle center, and your stitches are secure!

Step 4.  Finish up the ornament as we did before, and you will have added another Christmas ornament for your stitching buddy.  Do remember to store the ornaments in a nice clean box, so you don’t have to hunt for them when Christmas comes… ask me how I know!?!

We are actually using this as a sewing pillow companion as summer is just about here — we will be ramping up the stitching!

If you are stitching along — do send me pictures — the plan is to do a couple more of these, and we will have a nice giveaway for those who are participating!

*Smar-kly = Sparkly (Gwen’s version at 5), and we still say her 5 year old version at home.

I hope you have fun with this fun little project.  It should take no more than 20-30 minutes for handstitching.  I will show you additional ideas on stitching on polka dots in a couple of weeks.  And the next installment — cross stitching basics!  If you want to prepare ahead, you will need either 11- or 14- count aida that you can easily purchase at your local craft stores.  

Love and hugs to you all — till next time!

Long time no chat!!!

Hello Friends, looong time no chat!  I hope you have been well…. and spring has sprung!

DAY IN LIFE

If I don’t see another clump of monkey grass for the rest of my life, it would be too soon!  I don’t mean any offense at all to those of you who love monkey grass.  We are in the process of redoing part of our front garden, and that involved having digging up and digging up and digging up existing monkey grass!  I thought it was just going to be an afternoon to get the front garden on the path of living out my vision.  But it turned out to be a much bigger deal, and I am still not finished.  Part of what’s in place of the monkey grass are some new rose bushes.  So far so good — I check for new growth every morning, and keeping my fingers crossed!

Spring is my favorite season.  What is yours?

SOME FUN QUILTS FOR YOU

I have quite a few new designs out.  You might have seen this one on the cover of Keepsake Quilting catalog.  Sweet Berry Farm is my design, and I was so excited it made cover on the catalog.  I actually wasn’t aware of it making cover until my sweet quilting teacher Barbara texted me about it!  This is an exclusive design with Keepsake Quilting.  You may purchase the kit or pattern here and here.  The fun thing about the blocks is that I used Ohio Star units to be the strawberry stems!

Then, I have my Sleeping Cat kit offered through Hancocks of Paducah.  You may purchase the kit here.

And the latest release is my quick and easy Basket Toss quilt!  I love this quilt for its simplicity.  I can’t decide for now whether to use this on my bed or the guest bed.  Complete instructions are in McCall’s Quick Quilts June/July 2018 issue, and kits are available here.

Miss Baby’s Stitching Shenanigans

You remember the confetti handstitching Miss Baby learned to do through the monogram pillow ornament I posted here?  Well, there is a method to my madness…. the confetti stitching was meant to prepare Miss Baby for more structure stitching.

So from this random stitching…

to this…

We are beyond the moon happy a magazine in Australia, Handmade, feature Gwedolyn’s stitching story to celebrate her first thread collection, Spool-en-dids.  She had to answer a questionnaire in order for the story to be written.

THINGS ARE HAPPENING

Though I have been silent on my blog, things have been happening at my end.  Between home and mother responsibilities, and the regular things I do all things quilting, here are some upcoming exciting happenings.

Next week — I start my 2018 travels.  I will be speaking at Flying Geese Guild in Maryland on May 21.  Public is welcome to attend with an admission.  I will be bringing goodies!

Then, I will be in Tennessee later this summer/early Fall.

It’s to Berne, Indiana I go…. because I will be filming a new machine quilting video class!  Click here if you haven’t known about my existing classes.  I have some step-out samples from previous classes I found the other day that I will be giving away soon!  Stay tuned.  I am also arranging an event with a local guild while I am in IN.  I will share more once I have more details.

I will be home just in time to head to Houston for Fall Market.  Some fun things are being cooked up that I can’t share yet….

AND — I just found out I will be teaching 5 different classes at Road to CA in Jan 2019.  So I hope to see some of you there!

And with that, I need to get going with my day to squeeze in work before I pick up my precious cargo from school.

If all goes well, I will be posting my no scraps left behind giveaway winners tomorrow.  So, I hope you will come back!  Tootles for now.

A Simple SPOOL-EN-DIDS project tutorial #1

Hello Friends — I am happy to share with you my first mother-daughter (adult/child) collaborative ornament project tutorial, to highlight Aurifil’s Aurikids initiative — an effort to pass on the love and joy of needle and thread to the next generation.


To dovetail with the release of Spool-en-dids collection my daughter curated for Aurifil, we will be highlighting 6 monthly projects to give you ideas on projects suitable for hand-stitching with kids.

#1.  YOU may purchase the collection from Donna — email her:  followthatthread@yahoo.com

#2.  YOU may also purchase collection by clicking HERE.

#3.  OR, ask your local Aurifil dealer to order the collection for you.  Click HERE for a dealer near you!

Read more about Spool-en-dids, and find out the names my daughter has for her selected colors HERE.

Oh, before we start, we picked up Gwen’s stitched piece at Woodlawn yesterday, with her blue ribbon!

***
PROJECT: “HAPPY TO BE ME” Pillow Ornament

SUPPLIES: Fabric, paper-back fusible and THIN batting scraps, Spool-en-did thread (s), Aurifil 50wt thread, a piece of ribbon, embroidery hoop, tapestry or embroidery needle, & basic sewing supplies.
You will need 4 pieces of fabrics – one for top, one for monogram, one for backing the stitched piecing, and one for backing the pillow case.
I used a piece of silk batting because it is not as dense. I have also used the Hobbs Tuscany bleached cotton batting which worked well too.

NOTE: This tutorial, as well as all subsequent pillow ornament tutorials, is not for a specific finished size. You may make it as big or as small as you wish. Since we hang our pillow ornaments on our Christmas tree, our ornaments do not finish larger than 4″.

GOAL: This project is to get children familiar with the in-and-out mechanism of stitching. No rules — just random “confetti” stitching around an appliqued monogram.

PLEASE read through the entire project before attempting. You may let your kid stitcher step in and be involved in any of the steps. For us, my daughter participated in selected the fabrics and stitching. I did the rest.
***
1. Start with an appliqued monogram on a background fabric. Remember to reverse your letter(s) when you trace the letter on the paper side of fusible. Click here if you would like a crash course on fusible machine applique.

I always stitch around my applique shape after I fuse it in place. Stitching around the shape gives it a much finished look.  You can either do buttonhole or satin stitches around the edge of appliqued letters.

2. Then, I hooped the monogrammed piece (facing down), batting and backing piece (facing up).

3. My daughter’s work began at this point. She used a tapestry needle threaded with 3 strands of floss, and just went at it.

I would recommend a large tapestry needle for younger children, and an embroidery or even darning needle for the older children for the needle to penetrate through the hooped piece. Tapestry needles are more blunt, so they are a little safter than the sharp embroidery needles.

You little stitcher may use just ONE color, or as many as she wants — let her!

4. When stitching is completed, I first sewed around the area to secure the hand stitches before cutting to size for my pillow. I anchored a piece of ribbon as shown on the pillow front piece. I then cut the pillow back piece to size.

NOTE: I ended up sewing a back pocket to the back of the pillow ornament for storing stitching notions. To do that, I needed 2 pieces of fabrics. One to cut to size of the pillow front piece, the other to fold in half and placed at the bottom of the pillow back piece with raw edges matching.

5. Then, with the pillow front and back pieces facing each other, I sewed with a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a small opening. Turn pillowcase right side out, and stuff. I started using the stuffing made by Hobbs recently, and have ABSOLUTELY loved it!!

6. Hand sew the opening shut — and you and your kid stitcher will have made a (Christmas) ornament for her!  The back pocket I added to the back of the pillow ornament isn’t just for storing notions — how sweet it would be too to include a little note for a loved one if you gift this pillow ornament.

Imagine…
#1. making different ones with different initials of your children or grandchildren to give as gifts?
#2. making these to give for a handmade gift for your kid stitcher’s bff?
#3. making a real-size pillow with the same steps for a throw pillow on a chair, to go on a bed?
#4. instead of letters, you applique something that is near and dear to your kid stitcher, a kitty cat, a puppy, or an ice cream cone?

I hope you will enjoy this little stitching project with your kid stitcher, and jump start a lifetime of sweet stitching memories.

***

You may also read about my article on my journey with my best stitching buddy in the latest issue (May/June 2018) of Quiltmaker magazine — on newsstands now!

Quiltmaker May/June 2018

You may also read more further about the Aurikids iniative here.

Thanks so much for stopping by – till next time!

Have you seen the Aurikid SPOOL-EN-DIDS thread box?

Good morning, Friends!  I have shared with you last year that Miss Baby was selected by Aurifil to be one of their first batch of Aurkids in an initiative to pass down the love of needle and thread to the next and upcoming generation.  Have you see Miss Baby’s Spool-en-dids collection?  This is a collection of 6-ply cotton embroidery floss (Aurifloss) produced by Aurifil.  If you have liked Aurifil’s signature 50wt threads, you WILL love these floss for your handwork.  You know the part of very little  lint on any of their sewing threads?  Same is true with the floss.  I know the reason behind the little lint on Aurifil’s threads, but I will let Alex Veronelli tell you if he ever stops by your area to do a free lecture.  It is worth going!  ANYWAY, with the floss, your hand worked stitches will look much more crisp and defined with the little lint on the threads.

If you have heard me share about my daughter, you will know that my daughter very often has her own mind on things.  She took it upon herself to name the colors she selected to go into her embroidery floss collection.

From left to right:  Billy Brown, Ribby Red, Papita Peach, Oscar Orange, Yodel Yellow, Grouchy Green, GWENDOLYN GREEN (!), Bobby Blue, Polly Purple, Petunia Pink

Here are some pictures of how the colors have been used.

And the latest… a tutorial is coming SOON as soon as I get the green light with the people at higher places. :-)

One thing I really like about the AURIKIDS program is that each child is asked to select a charity to support with the proceeds from the thread sales.  Miss Baby was so excited receiving her first royalty check two weeks ago! :)  She has selected Samaritan’s Purse as her charity of choice, specifically in their medical missions effort.  And the rest, she decided to save for college.

If you haven’t heard of Samaritan’s Purse, check out their amazing work, in the name and with the love of Christ, here.

SO, if you have purchased the Spool-en-dids collection, Miss Baby and I want to THANK YOU for contributing to Miss Baby’s college fund, as well as supporting the work of Samaritans Purse. :)

#1.  YOU MAY PURCHASE THE COLLECTION FROM Donna — email her:  followthatthread@yahoo.com

#2.  YOU MAY ALSO PURCHASE THE COLLECTION BY CLICKING HERE.

***

Remember I had shared with you a few weeks ago Miss Baby and I both entered our respective pieces in shows?

My Thread Journey quilt was juried into the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival?  Mine didn’t win anything.  Totally fine.  Miss Baby entered her stitched pieced in the 55th Woodlawn Needlework Show.  We are really excited her ABC Des Maisons won a first place blue ribbon!  We spent a day last week at Woodlawn House in Alexandria, VA admiring the entries, and was really glad my husband was able to meet us for lunch there for some precious family time together.

[For those who like historical tidbits:  The land where Woodlawn sits was part of Mount Vernon.  It was gifted in 1799 to Nelly Custis, Martha Washington’s niece, upon her marriage to General Washington’s nephew, Lawrence Lewis.  Woodlawn is historic site within the framework of  the National Historic Trust for Preservation.  The annual Needlework Show is a fundraiser toward the specific preservation of Woodlawn.  And if you don’t know Nelly Custis, she was brought to Mount Vernon, along with brother George Washington Parke Custis, to be raised by the Washingtons after Martha’s son (John) died in Yorktown, VA shortly after the Surrender at Yorktown.  George Washington Parke Custis built the Arlington House, where it stands still today on the hill at the Arlington National Cemetery.  So there…. all the intertwining threads of history which I love to unwind.]

Image result for Woodlawn house

We are gearing up for more stitching fun at our house.  Miss Baby recently finished her first machine pieced quilt if you are following my Instagram feed.  We are getting ready to have her quilt the quilt herself… and moving on to her next quilt — if she ever gets her academic work and music practices done with time to spare before bedtime!  We are EXCITED!!!

Shows and such…

Hello Friends, I hope you have been well.  This is a quick post, but I want you to know that my Thread Journey quilt IS juried into the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival!

morning-pictures3

And it has been quite a journey from my first quilt I ever made to this point in my quilting journey!  It was a rather impulsive thing I did when I entered the quilt, so I am taking it easy.  There have been times I second guessed my decision, but like I tell Miss Baby, “What is done is done!”  I will share with you in another post this week my journey…

sept15j

On another note, we also entered Miss Baby’s ABC des Maisons sampler into the 55th Needlework Show at Woodlawn.  Woodlawn is the home of Martha Washington’s granddaughter Nelly Custis Lewis.  You can read a brief history of Woodland here.  The Needlework Show is a fundraiser for Woodlawn.  Miss Baby has entered her stitched pieces since she was 6.  We missed last year’s because she didn’t finish her sampler in time.  But, not this year.  This year, we are prepared!  The Needlework Show runs through the month of March.  If you are in the Washington DC area, it’s definitely worth a visit.  You get to see the most amazing handwork.

That’s all for now.  I need to make a few more quilt blocks for a quilt come due before I pick up my precious cargo from school.  It’s crazy, but by the end of this month, I think I would have made about 8 quilt tops… I lost count!  BUT — check back later this week — I have MORE fabrics to give away.  I have come to the conclusion my de-stashing effort is an ongoing one.  Just when I thought I had sent out all the boxes to you all, I dragged out four more huge boxes of fabrics that I will need to sort through and give away!  But giving is good…. right? :)

Hugs to you all!  I shall catch up with you later.