Bittersweet Needle and Thread

Bittersweet Needle and Thread

Monday, December 29, 2014

Scrappy Wool Rug and Iris Wall Hanging


What an interesting rug this turned out to be.  I was working on the braided rug, when I looked down in the trash and saw many small triangles.   These were trimmed from the stripes that I sewed together.   I had a brilliant idea and pulled them all out of the trash.  (Well, maybe not brilliant.)

I overlapped them and sewed them on denim.  Then I trimmed the rug edges with left over black wool.

 Here it is!  My 3 foot by 1 1/2 foot Scrappy Wool Rug.  It looks like mountain peaks.  I have it by the back door and it matches the large braided rug, two rugs in one!



I was given this unfinished, beautiful hand stitched wall hanging from my friend Sherri.  It was made by her mother.  Her fine needle work amazed me and I was honored to work on it and give it a place in my home.

I tried to get a close up picture of the small, neat stitches that were done, but the picture doesn't do it justice.  I added batting and plain white fabric for the back and hand quilted around the flower and leaves to give them more dimension.  Then I finished the background by quilting a diamond background.

It is so pretty hanging on my white wall.


Happy New Year to one and all!
may you sort of, kind of, get close to, it's almost possible, meet one of your resolutions.   
And be sure to have fun too!

Thanks for visiting,

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy Holidays to all

May You Have a Merry Christmas

Hope your holiday season is fun filled and memorable.

PS: the fudge turned out "OK".  I think next year I'll stick to salads.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Wool Braided Rug and Willow Basket


My first braided rug turned out nicely.  I purchased all the wool at my favorite thrift store:  jackets, slacks, coats, skirts and a few pieces of misc fabric.  I was delighted to find 7 yards of a lovely tan (and cheap) and it is what I based one whole braid on.  The other 2 braids I grouped various colors together and then sewed them into long strips. I love the plaids!

 Then the fun began!  I folded the strips, then braided them together using a blunt needle with heavy duty thread, double stranded.

 After that, I used the same thread and tightly hand sewed each row to make a more secured rug.

 Then, voila, I made a rug!  What surprised me was how soft it is to stand on.  It took me about 6 weeks to make and here's the best part, I can enjoy it for many years!

I bought some anti skid to put it under it to make it more secure.  The rug measures 5  1/2' x 4'.  Now its time to start another one.



Sometimes when working with natural supplies, as it dries, it has a tendency to occasionally warp out of shape.  That's what happened to this small egg basket.  I gathered grapevine and make several handles at one time and let them dry.  The willow I work while it is green, as it needs to be pliable.  Everything was going well, then oops, after it dried it would not sit up straight, so I make a kick stand for it.  Perfect!


I've started my holiday baking.  My goal this year to make some of the treats my mother and grandmother made for us at Christmas time.  Oh my!  First I forgot to buy all the ingredients for the fudge, so I started on the Divinity.  Holy Moly!  It doesn't quite look right, humm.  Well then I moved on to the popcorn balls.  First batch I burned the syrup coating (not sure if I had the burner up too high or that I was working on a puzzle and NOT paying attention).  Batch #2 turn out right (I never took my eyes off of it!).  Tomorrow I will make the fudge and the sugar coated dates stuffed with walnuts (if I remember to by everything!).  Keep your fingers crossed, cooking is sometimes an adventure for me.
Thanks for visiting,

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas Table Runner, 1930's Quilt Pattern and Blooming Cactus


I saw the pattern, Spicy Spiral Table Runner, and really like it.  I bought a wedge ruler, then sent off for the pattern.  Of course, as my luck goes, I didn't get the right ruler!  Oh well, I just recalculated the measurements, (that took a while and lots of figuring, I'm far from a math genius!) and winged it.  My table runner is not quite as spirally as the pattern, but I really like it.  The Christmas fabric was my grandmother's, left over from making Christmas tree skirts.  The white fabric I had and reminded me of snow falling. 



Recently I received 2 envelopes full of quilt pattern's from my friend Sherri, which belonged to her mother.  Many are photocopies of patterns from the 1930's Kansas City Star.  The Kansas City Star published free quilt patterns from designers and readers from 1928 to 1961 in the hopes of increasing female readership.  This one is an Eveline Foland design called Ducklings.  

The caption reads:  This rather simple block which is thirteen inches square, may be developed in many ways, using plain or figured materials.  The blocks may be alternated with plain ones of the same size.  Allow for seams. 
 (copyright 1932. by the Kansas City Star.)

I chose a mixture of vintage and modern fabrics and it's coming together really well. 
I'm researching this pattern to see if it's call by another name.  Does anyone recognize it?  In my McCall's 1973 Learn To Quilt book, it's called Duck and Ducklings.



My cactus really bloomed this year.  Isn't nature amazing!


Hope your Holiday preparations are going well.
Thanks for visiting, 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Willow Basket, Quilt and Christmas Decoration

 Thank you all very much for the warm welcome and nice comments.  What a pleasure this is going to be, to share a common interest with others like me.  Confession time:  sometimes when life gets chaotic, I will go to my fabric stash and mellow out by sorting fabric, looking at patterns or even make a run to the fabric store.  Ahhh, life is good! 

 I had the opportunity to learn basket making in 1990 from a lovely lady, Teresa, who is still my friend.  We went out into the woods to gather everything we needed to make a basket:  creek bank willow, scrapped willow bark, cattails, and grapevine.  Then we could add basket reed, fabric, leather, lace or anything that was flexible.  The basket reed was dyed by soaking it in walnut hulls to give it a great brown color.  The longer the reed was kept in the smelly "solution", the darker the color.


I made this basket with a grapevine handle and willow ribs and rim.  Then it was woven with some reed and scrapped willow bark.  This is one of my favorites because I like the curlicue!

 My sister-in-law Ann purchased several bags and boxes of old fabric, batting and miscellaneous quilt blocks at a sale.  In the box was 5 sets of 10 block by 4 blocks, each small block measuring 1 3/4 inches.  My guess is the fabrics are from the 1950's and 1960's.

Well, I love a challenge and pondered what to do.  I laid them out on my white work table and WOW.  I LOVED the look of each block being separated by white, so that is how I put it together. 

 Half of the blocks are the original vintage fabric. I added some vintage and modern to make it a twin size quilt.  I added a border of the same squares and hand quilted it.   This quilt was given to my niece as a graduation present. 

Santa's laundry - a decoration?  My grandmother made this many years ago.  It is the first decoration that I like to get out and hang up.

Even Mrs. Claus gets clean bloomers and an apron and check out Santa's red long underwear!


Well its time to start thinking about presents for the grandchildren.  Happy shopping to all...

Thanks for visiting,

Sunday, November 23, 2014

My First Post!!!

I am so excited.  I have officially entered the blog world of wonderful people, topics and can't wait to explore.  My grandmother taught me sewing when I was 8 years old and I haven't stopped!  I started with small embroidery projects from the Ben Franklin variety store and the Five and Dime (does this show my age?).  Now I work on quilts, braided rugs and baskets, just to name a few of the things I enjoy!

Sewing has brought me hours of immense pleasure.  When younger, I sometimes got out of washing dishes to finish my project.  (My sister had to do them, sorry Dawn!)  I  usually have 4-5 projects that I'm working on and actually do get them completed! 

My favorite polka dot dress and check out my pixie ears.


These lovely quilt blocks came to me from my friend Teresa,  who purchased them from a farm auction. 

Each block was hand sewn and slightly crooked.   This lovely brown print fabric looked like tree bark from a distance.  Quilting was done by outlining the tree and stippling the brown to give it texture. 
What fun to bring new life to these beautiful blocks.


 Then I gave this quilt as a gift to my other friend, Sherri.  She lives in a cabin in the Ozark Mountains, surrounded by oak and cedar trees.  A big thank you Sherri, for helping me set up this blog.

Sherri's cabin on the Swan Creek


Best wishes to all on Thanksgiving Day.