Thursday, March 13, 2014

New punchneedle patterns and how I frame needlework

Sleepytown Sentinels and Party Girl are two of my newest patterns for punchneedle. They were so much fun to make!


Sleepytown Sentinels


Party Girl punchneedle pattern

Sleepytown Sentinels is stitched with a combination of Valdani hand-dyed three strand floss, Weeks Dye Works hand-dyed embroidery floss, and DMC embroidery floss. 
And Party Girl is stitched with Valdani hand-dyed three strand floss and DMC embroidery floss.

Both patterns are now up on the website and I'll have some kits for both of them up soon, as well as for Happy Harvest punchneedle. All of the patterns include the pre-printed weaver's cloth.

I also thought I would take this opportunity to show you how I frame my needlework, whether it be punchneedle, cross stitch, embroidery, etc.

I came up with this method of framing my needlework so that it is archival - no glues to yellow the needlework or attract insects.

You will need a frame, acid-free foam core board and a sharp awl.



If your frame needs a hanger, make sure you attach that first before you begin.

Cut a piece of foam core board to fit the inside of the frame snugly.

 

Next, use the awl to poke holes around the perimeter of the foam core board.

Cut your mounted needlework the same size as the foam core board. 



Place your needlework on top of the foam core board and use binder clips to stretch it taut.



Use a needle and thread to stitch the needlework to the foam core board, poking the needle through the holes in the back, coming up to the front, then around the foam core board to the back and through the next hole. 



As you stitch around, remove the binder clips as you come to them.




Here is the finished mounted stitchery before being placed into the frame.




For a bit of added padding, you can add a layer of thin cotton batting between the stitchery and the foam core board, which is what I did with this piece.

Just pop it into your frame and it's ready to hang! It probably won't be loose, but you can add glazier points just in case.


If you start your Fall and Halloween stitchery now, it will be ready for the season! Happy stitching and framing!

Until next time,

Martha

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Quilts from Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks

Last spring I had a block I designed featured in Volume 7 of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks from Today's Top Designers called "Simple Life", pictured below:




And this Spring, I have a quilt I designed using my Simple Life block featured in the Spring 2014 Quilts from Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks. The quilt is called "House on a Hill" and it's a nice small 43" x 43" wall hanging stitched with a beautiful line of fabrics from Moda, Ladies Album by Barbara Brackman and Mill Book Series by Howard Marcus.



The magazine is on newsstands right now! I counted a total of 19 different quilt designs in this issue!



Until next time,

Martha

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Borders, sashings and fussy cutting

Decorative stripes can make beautiful borders, settings strips and sashing and my new line of fabric, Elementary, includes a beautiful stripe in three colorways:


Cutting the strip or border to focus on a particular element of the stripe is commonly referred to as "fussy cutting".


To fussy cut your border, you will need to know the measurement of the unfinished width of the border. Using a chalk wheel, mark a line of chalk down the center of the motif you wish to use as the center of your striped border. Divide the unfinished width measurement of the border in half. My diagram uses a 6 ½" unfinished border measurement as an example. 

Half of 6 ½" is 3 ¼".   

Measure 3 ¼" away from the center chalk line on both sides and cut on those lines.  Before cutting, you can use this chalk method to determine the number of repeats you can derive from the width of your striped fabric. 



It won't be long before I will be showing you my next line of fabric with Henry Glass Fabrics - Sentimental Stitches! And it has a beautiful stripe, too! Can't wait to show you!

Until next time!
Martha

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

My Pick up Project

In my last post I wrote about some of my quilting/textile adventures in London. When I returned home, mid-January, it was back to business! There was much to do to get ready for the upcoming American Quilter's Society Quiltweek, held for the first time here in Phoenix, Arizona. I had the finishing touches to complete for new patterns, a few quilts to finish binding, and a new fabric line with Henry Glass Fabrics to edit. It was almost impossible with all of this busyness to do a little stitching (save the binding), but thank heavens for my pick up project. More about that later...

Here is one of the new patterns I was able to finish just in the nick of time for AQS Quiltweek. It's called "Breakfast Tea", and it's completely pieced using my Elementary line of fabrics.

Breakfast Tea

And another pattern, "Bats in the Barn", a fun mini quilt -or it could be a table topper, too.

Bats in the Barn
AQS Quiltweek was a four day event, February 5 through 8. It was wonderful to see many old friends and to meet new friends too. Our booth was across the aisle from the Arizona Quilter's Hall of Fame booth, which was hosted by the nicest group of women I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time. We were all antique quilt lovers, and two of them came back one afternoon with some wonderful antique quilts they had just purchased from one of the vendors. Although I didn't purchase a quilt, I allowed myself to buy some sweet little quilt blocks:


Two of the blocks have a conversational print with little keys:


This key print was reproduced at least 15 years ago, and one I used for a quilt I finished in 1999. It was fun to find the original in my little quilt blocks. Here are some details from the blocks in my quilt where I used that reproduction print with keys:



Well, as I said before, with all of the busyness, it was hard to get any stitching in. But fortunately, I prepared what I call a "pick up project" last summer, that I can "pick up" and work on a few minutes at a time, if need be, when I don't have extended periods of time. 

If you follow my Facebook page, you may remember a block I pictured that I was working on during one of my airplane flights last summer. Below is that block on my design wall, in a more finished state. I'm auditioning the center circle fabric, and I'm planning (although it can always change) to use the brown stripe as a border. So far, I like the way it's turning out.


After making this first tester block, I decided to make the outer rings of each block first, and then follow with the inner rings. The outer ring is made up of 64 pieces, so it seems a bit less daunting to make all of the outer rings first. 


So far, I've completed enough outer rings for 3 more blocks - progress! And all of the piecing was done on planes, in hotel rooms and with 10 or 15 minutes to spare here and there during my "busy" times.


By the way, the name of this quilt block is Georgetown Circle.


Do you have a pick up project that you rely on when things get hectic?

Until next time,

Martha

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Textile History at the Victoria and Albert Museum

Visiting a large museum can be a daunting task. What I like to do when I go to a museum is to pick a theme or a time period to focus on, to make my time more productive and enjoyable. I'm one of those visitors who likes to read the placards under the displays!

My familiarity with the Victoria and Albert Museum in London was limited, but I had read a book checked out from our local library about the British textile collections from the museum. 

So my theme for the day would be to find examples of early textiles, using techniques that we still use today.  Disclaimer: my photographs aren't the best! Everything was behind glass, with low lighting to protect the textiles. I did my best :)!

Embroidery:

Here is a mantua, or court dress, from the Rococco period, c. 1740-5. I always thought these were the most absurdly shaped gowns, certainly nothing that enhances the female figure. And who would like to be going through doorways sideways all of the time?



Well, now I know the purpose of the shape of the skirt - to display all of the embroidery, in it's entirety! How wonderful that the design and craft of embroidery were so valued, even at the expense of the female figure.

Doll Making:

For those of us who feel a little bit silly about our passion for owning dolls, making dolls, or both, as adults, maybe this will make you feel better. These two dolls, c. 1690 - 1700, according to the placard, were probably made "for the amusement of adults at home, as were dolls' houses at this time".  The doll bodies were made of wood and wool.




Ribbonwork:

I have always loved beautiful gloves, and would not mind seeing this beautiful fashion item resurrected today! This suede glove, c. 1714 - 1715, was trimmed in two types of ribbon. The museum speculates that there was a increase in the use of ribbon on dress during this period as a new Dutch engine loom had starting weaving ribbon. Ribbon had been woven on hand looms until then, at a much slower rate.



Quilting:

Here is a detail of the beautiful quilting and stuffed work on the c. 1360 - 1400 Sicilian linen bed quilt, showing the Legend of Tristram.  It measures 106" wide by 122" long. The outlines of the main elements are stitched with brown linen thread, and the filling quilting is stitched using a natural linen thread. (1)  Beautiful!!



Wool Applique:

I really wish I could have achieved better results with this photograph, but the lighting was extremely low in this area. The detail is from a wall hanging from Germany, c. 1370 - 1400. The hanging depicts scenes from the story of the romance of Tristan and Isolde, worked in wool applique. The wool motifs are applied to the wool background a little differently than we do today. A gilded leather cord surrounds each of the shapes.



Just for fun:

I always thought that the wearing of a pair of socks with open toed sandals was kind of a fashion faux pas! Well, I guess it is really an age old tradition. I had to laugh! I'll let you read the placard yourself.....





My last stop of the day was the V&A bookstore, where I found the book pictured below, which has beautiful photographs of the quilts the museum has in it's collection, although not on permanent display. Great find!



Here I am shivering outside the entrance after a long day exploring!



Thank you for spending some time with me on a virtual tour of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Until next time,
Martha 

Footnotes:
(1) More information on the Legend of Tristram quilt, was taken from Quilting, by Averil Colby, c 1971.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A trip to the Antique Textiles Company

Hello again, this time from London!

About six months ago I discovered the Antique Textiles Company on Facebook. Right away I could tell it was a very special shop. Never in a million years would I ever think that I would someday get to visit the shop in person.

But that is just what I did today.

I suppose that most people would immediately put on their "first to-do-when-in-London" list places such as Buckingham Palace (which happens to be across the park from my hotel), the Tower of London, Big Ben, etc., etc. But I have always been more interested in the everyday lives of people from times past and, of course quilts made by nameless men and women from times long ago, fit that category.

So, first on MY to-do list was to venture off to 
Hempstead in London to find the Antique Textiles Company. 

The streets of London are a maze to me...  



  

But, I found it! The quaint, charming, wonderland, the Antique Textiles Company!





Christopher Wilson-Tate is the proprietor of the shop, and his passion for, and knowledge about, old quilts and fabrics, was evident immediately.

Christopher graciously showed me many of his beautiful treasures, such as this beauty below, an early 1800's quilt covered with the most magnificent and beautiful crewelwork I have ever had the pleasure to see up close and in person. 


Christopher of Antique Textiles Company

Here are a few more photos of the outside of the shop, where you can catch little glimpses of more of the wonderful quilts piled high inside!



Me at the entrance to the Antique Textiles Company

And finally, a photo of a little corner of the treasure I came away with - a mosaic quilt top pieced with early nineteenth century fabrics....






That's all for now...this is my first blog post from a tablet out of town, so we'll see how it goes!

Until next time,

Martha



Monday, November 18, 2013

Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 8 Blog Tour winners

Thank you to everyone who joined me last week for the Blog Tour! It was a joy for me to read all of your kind comments! If you aren't one of the lucky winners from my giveaway, or those on the other designers' blogs, Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Volume 8 should be showing up on the shelves of quilt shops this week, and I'm sure you'll enjoy it!

The winner of a copy of Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Vol. 8 is pasqueflower. For those of you who also entered the Facebook giveaway, I have the winner posted on my Facebook page - hint: Linda!




Until next time,

Martha