Bittersweet Needle and Thread

Bittersweet Needle and Thread

Monday, October 24, 2016

Baskets and Tea Towels

When I was visiting with my brother and sister-in-law in Hawaii, I spied a few of my baskets that I haven't seen in a long time.  

 The larger of these was for my niece, the flower girl, in their wedding.  It is made out of grapevine, willow and cattails.  The green ribbon around the handle was their wedding colors.  The smaller basket has a handle from an old embroidery hoop that was my great grandmother's.  I wove it with denim and reed.

This wall basket has a beautiful grapevine handle and willow ribs.  I wove it with reed and tapestry fabric.  The flowers in the basket are from their wedding. 

It's like seeing old friends again!


 I haven't been idle.  Here are three tea towels that I've finished up.

Right now I'm hand tying a quilt for my sister and finishing up an old vintage quilt that was given to me.  I love all my projects.

Thanks for visiting,

Tuesday, October 4, 2016



I had the opportunity to take a trip recently and I chose Hawaii.  My plan is to change jobs by the end of this year, if possible, and I wanted to use up my vacation days.  With my current job I have a lot of flexibility when I go and how long I can be gone and so I said "What the heck!" and bought a ticket to Oahu where my brother and his wife live.  Actually 2 tickets - my son went with me.  We had a very lovely time.  Here are some pictures:

We stopped at a scenic beach/picnic area.  There were always clouds in the mountains.  This was the view in one directions...

And this was the view in the other.  The island is called Chinaman's Hat.

A Portuguese Man of War was laying on this beach.  I thought it was sooo cool until later in the day one stung me.  It turned red and blistered up but barely stung.  I think it was my initiation onto the island!  Cool!

Morning sunrise...

Beautiful color of the water and I love watching the waves crash on the lava.

Little did I know that my brother lived by a famous landmark.  Gillian's Island!  Also known as Coconut Island.

We did a lot of snorkeling and I was lucky enough to see a sea turtle or Honi as they call them there.  We also toured the USS Missouri Battleship, the USS Arizona Memorial and the USS Bowfin Submarine at Pearl Harbor.  Took a stroll in Waikiki and visited the Bishop Museum. 

An then there was gift buying...

       Shirts for my grandson's.  I didn't want anything too flowery!


       Sarongs and flowers for their hair for the granddaughters.

           For me: an over the shoulder tote bag 

 and a beautiful purple dress.

We had a great time and both got sunburned.  


Three of our granddaughters came to visit over this past weekend and we made a trip to the Renaissance Festival.  I made a dress for the youngest.  She was a lovely Princess in her sparkly beige dress with pink under sleeves and pink ribbon.

 Later that day we made jewelry with the shells and coral I brought back.


I wanted to thank my brother and his wife for putting up with us for the week, so I made them this green and beige rug for their house.  The colors fit right in.


I have been doing a little sewing and will show my projects in my next post.   

Mahalo (Thank You)
Thanks for visiting,

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Crazy Quilt and Wall Basket


These crazy quilt blocks were given to me not long ago.  All the blocks were different sizes so I had to trim some up and add additional fabric to others to make them all the same size or square.

 Someone put a lot of work into them.  First they hand pieced each piece of fabric to make a block, then they tacked it to an additional square of fabric to form a large block.  Pictures below are the backs of two blocks.  You can see the stitches on the front of the third picture.


Again, I am unable to date it but would guess most of the fabrics are from the1950's.  Because the blocks were pieced together, I decided to piece together navy blue fabric I had on hand for the border and back.  I also lined the border with white muslin so it would have the same weight throughout the whole quilt. 

 Here is the back and border all lined.
This will be a nice warm full size quilt for the winter.  I'm sure my son will enjoy it.

I hand tied it. 



I love the grapevine handle on this wall basket.  It really makes it stand out.  


I dyed the reed with walnut hulls and used creek bank willow for  the ribs and rim. 


Narrow strips of leather were woven in the main body of the basket.  It's a nice size baskets that would hold letters, wash clothes or small kitchen gadgets. 


Here's a family photo I found while working on my family genealogy.  What a motley crew!!!  I'm the one with the funny looking shirt.

Thanks for visiting,

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Table Runner and Wool Rug


We popped by the neighbors house a few weeks ago when we were taking an evening stroll.  They have a beautiful log cabin, which they furnished in a wonderful western theme.  They have 2 horses and an mule in the pasture and a hitching post in their front yard with a saddle on it.  Looks really cool. I was looking around I noticed that a number of their fabrics:  curtains, lamp shade...that I have in my stash of fabrics.  

I also had a vintage quilt block left over from a quilt (that I never finished.  That's a story for another time, yikes).  It got me to thinking and TADA I made them a table runner.  (It's also pay back for all the wonderful horse poop I get from them!)  

The flower garden block was surrounded by white and was poorly made.  I took all the white off and blanket stitched it to a matching red square of fabric. 


 It was fun to make and I hope they enjoy it because I sure do enjoy the horse poop! 




I used the same frame that I've been making the rag rugs with but instead used wool stripes instead of cotton.  I went to 2 fabric stores to buy wool and neither one of them sell wool or wool blend.  So it was off to the thrift store for 100% wool jackets and skirts, navy, light brown, gray and light blue.  The navy in the picture looks black.

I worked this one slow as I wanted to make sure that the weavers were folded as I was weaving them.  I used hemp string as the vertical weavers.  I had wool lint all over but it was fun to do.  

 This one goes to my son.  I may start on another braided rug.  Hummm

The garden is going great, our best looking one so far since we've lived here, which is 4 years this month.  Not a weed in sight and already we've been eating lettuce, radishes and strawberries, with cabbage and peas almost ready.  Can't wait!

Thanks for visiting,

Monday, April 11, 2016

New/Old Quilts


Look what I just got!  My niece was helping a family friend down size and she had these to give away.  Of course I was glad to take them!  Always love new projects added to my ever growing list of projects.  So here they are:


They need some mending and ironing.  

Pinks, green and reds size 8x8


Only have seven of theses and one lone block.  Several are pretty stained.  Oh well, that's just part of working with vintage blocks.


There are 22 blocks that measure 10 1/2 x 10 1/2.  


 And last but not least...2 lone blocks.  What to do...


And this is what I'm working on now.  Slowly but surely.

Thanks for visiting,

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Rag Rug and Wolf Cross Stritch



I made this rug for my granddaughter's mother.  She just said that she wanted reds and browns, so this is what I found in my stash pile!  

It is hard for me to tell exactly what each rug will look like due to the mix of colors and the print design until I get a few inches into it.    And that's if I didn't run out of fabric, which I did on the red/white check, yikes!!!  So had to modify my pattern and end with more browns in the middle.

When she saw it on the frame, she thought the colors were just perfect.  Whew!  I was a bit worried as I thought maybe the browns were too light in color.  

Now I'm on to my next rug:  a wool one with thin strips of navy, brown, grey and plaid wool left over from making my braided rugs.



A few years back I was at Hobby Lobby and I spotted this cross stitch kit. My husband and I love to watch animal shows and we enjoy sitting on our porch watching what critters we can: birds, butterflies, calves...   So I bought the kit.

 Wolves in the moon light!  I was amazed how the birch trees came to life with different color threads.  Sometimes I had to mix two colors together.  And their fur...Wow.  It took me quite a while to finish.  I have a hard time working with black fabric or thread and this was a challenge.  I would shine the light behind me and I had a piece of white fabric on my lap.  When the light shone thru the small holes in the cross stitch fabric, I could make out where my needle would go.

 The eyes were really fun to do!  It looks like they are looking right at you - scary.  It measures 15" by 12" and I put it in a nice rustic frame.


Thanks for visiting,

Saturday, February 6, 2016


I made this large basket in 2002.  It's 2 ft wide and 3 ft tall.  The handle is grapevine and the frame is willow.  The reed was dyed with walnut hulls.  

I scraped bark off the willow tree and wove it in to give it character.  The bark almost looks like leather!  This is the basket that I store my lap quilts in.  When I get cold while watching TV, I can reach for one to keep me warm.


I love this basket.  The frame is made entirely of willow with handles on the side.  

 It is woven with reed and scraped willow bark.  I use it in the bathroom to hold my bath towels.  This basket is 2 ft x 2ft and is large enough a small child could fit in it!



This cute 9 1/2" by 10" basket is hanging in the master bathroom to hold wash clothes.  

It's frame is made of willow and woven with dyed reed.  I tied 3 small stones with holes in them on the front, but have lost one.  


I have really slacked off this winter with sewing.  Work has been busy and a bit stressful but staring to slow down a bit now.  I tell everyone I'm in my pre-retirement period and getting ready to downgrade to a less busy job, something that I don't have 10 balls juggling in the air.  I'm looking for a simple cubical that has my name on it for a few short years or something with the local schools, that I can have the summers off.  Will start looking this summer.  I will miss my senior patients, but its time to move on.  

I have a vintage quilt on the frame and am working of a vintage Sunbonnet Sue I started in the 1970's.   So hopefully, I will have some sewing to show you soon.

Thanks for visiting,