Monday, September 23, 2013

Colorful Embroidery with Carina

While the ole blog has been quiet this summer, there was actually a ton of stitching going on around here. I'll post some updates on some of the fun projects I completed, but today is all about one of my favorite new embroidery books from one of my favorite embroiderers. Carina Envoldsen-Harris was one of the first internet hand embroidery pals I made years ago. Her work is always beautiful and colorful and blissfully organic. She has a great signature style, and I was thrilled to see she'd be sharing her work in a book.

Stitched Blooms is a great embroidery resource for beginning stitchers, and great inspiration for seasoned stitchers.

If you're new to embroidery, Carina has a great introductory portion in Stitched Blooms that is filled information on tools and tips to get you started. Her individual stitch diagrams and instructions are very easy to follow.

After the informative introduction comes a great selection of 20 projects that feature Carina's beautiful stitched blooms. Some involve stitching on ready-made items, while others include additional simple sewing. I'm particularly smitten with this Dala Horse, and these little pom pom luminaries are adorable and practical.

Finally, Stitched Blooms includes an impressive 300 motifs for stitching on anything your heart desires. A CD is included so you can download and resize the images to suit your particular project. This is one of my favorite features.

Carina's book and CD came in handy recently as I was trying to come up with a little something for a friend who was having a baby. I got a text message that she was in labor, and though I'd already sewn a few other simple gifts, I thought it would be fun to stitch something for her daughter while she was in labor. I popped the CD in to my computer and found the image that corresponded with the one I'd picked from the book, resized it to fit the onesie and printed it out. I used my tried-and-true method for transferring images on to fabric (dressmaker's carbon paper) and set to stitching. The design was simple enough that I was able to easily complete it in a couple of hours, and it was fun to do something for my friend while she was in labor. It felt like a special way to keep her in my thoughts while she was working so hard to bring this sweet new life in to the world.

Carina's Stitched Blooms is a fantastic book for stitchers looking to be inspired by color and nature. She has a unique way of creating organic designs that can also feel very graphic and modern. It's a great addition to any embroidery fan's library!

Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary copy of Stitched Blooms to review, but the opinions expressed are 100% my own!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

QuiltCon 2013 Report & Slide Show
(better late than never, right?)


Back in February, I was lucky enough to be an instructor at the inaugural QuiltCon in Austin. The Modern Quilt Guild did a spectacular job of putting on this quilt show and fabulous workshops and lectures. I taught a class called "Redwork in Modern Quilting" in which I looked at the tenets of traditional redwork embroidery and aligned them with the tenets of modern quilting to create my take on redwork embroidery in modern quilting. We then got down to the work of basic hand embroidery. It felt so good to be teaching again (that's been one of the things I've missed most about leaving Austin and the Stitch Lab).


I was a little nervous about the subject of the class. It was one that was presented to me, and they let me run with it and teach it as I saw fit. It ended up being great fun to research traditional redwork and see how we could translate that into modern quilting. It also gave me the opportunity to make my second quilt top that I used for the example in my class. It's the Marquee pattern from the Modern Quilt Workshop book. I felt it was a nice modern take on that classic patchwork feel of traditional quilts. Sewing the strips together was dreamy, and it made me want to make one big ole giant striped quilt somewhere down the line. I was able to get a new sewing machine right before Christmas (nothing overly fancy or expensive, but just enough of a step up that it made a huge difference for me), and that puppy was singing while I sewed, sewed, sewed, and cranked the quilt top out in just a couple of afternoons. I had a blast.


The vendor booths were awesome, particularly the Stitch Lab booth. I know, I know, I'm a little biased, but DEEEEEYAM. Those ladies outdid themselves. The fabric was phenomenal, the booth layout was perfect, and it was a smokin' hot hub throughout the entire show. It made me miss them even more!


One of the best parts of QuiltCon was getting to see so many good friends, but even better was getting to hang out with my aunt, Terry, who came down all the way from Santa Fe, New Mexico to take my class and attend QuiltCon. Aunt Terry and I have bonded over quilting, and it's been great fun to connect with her in this way. We've always loved her family, and this gives us even more reasons to stay in touch and have fun together. She became know as, "AUNT TERRY!" as we walked around the show and she met my friends. We had a great time looking at quilts, visiting vendors, and she even got to experience her first photo booth, which was a total riot. I loved having her there!


The quilt show itself left me completely in awe and inspired. I went through it several times, and found new things each time that I did. I took as many pictures as I could, but often found myself so inthralled in the quilts, that I forgot to whip out my phone to snap a picture! I also tried to take a picture of the quilt, followed by a picture of the information about it. I wasn't able to do that every single time, but I did get quite a few. There were several times where I'd fall in love with a quilt, and then read the story behind it, and fall in love in a whole new way. The stories behind the quilts and how they were made were fascinating!

I've loaded all my pictures into a Flickr set. I'm still working on labeling, etc. but it's an easy way to look through them all. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Lessons learned from making my first quilt

Tonight's football practice craft: embroidering a little somethin' on my first-ever quilt block. #quilting #embroidery I like how the piecing ends up looking in the small hoop!
Last fall, I took my first quilt class. I was terrified and not sure how I'd do, but I was also excited to try something new. And though I started out shaky, within a few weeks I got my quilting legs and took off and fell madly in love with this medium. Since then, I've complete another quilt top, taught at QuiltCon and am diving into my third quilt this week. Before I fill you in on all those things, here's a look at my first quilt process and some of the things I learned.

Pieces cut for my first-ever quilt block! (with @yummygoods for note-taking) It was a straight split on which grouping folks liked. I ended up going with the left one in the previous picture. Ready to start sewing. #quilting

Taking a quilt class made a huge difference. I have a hefty stack of quilting books that I love, but taking a class really helped me understand how quilts come together, and made the books make more sense. Having a person who can answer questions and share their personal tips was infinitely helpful. Now I can tackle quilts I see in books with confidence. It was also fun to watch a group of students take identical patterns and create such incredibly different quilts. I loved it.

Quilt blocks for my first quilt so far. I like 'em, but think if I use the mustard for the sashing, that's gonna be a loooooooooot of mustard. It's much bolder than i expected. May change sashing to the grey/dots & keep border aqua ... #quilting

It pays to press. My sewing guru, Leslie, always said, "It pays to pin!" in our sewing classes, and she's right. The same saying can go for pressing when it comes to quilting. I won't iron clothes to save my life, but give me seams to press and I'm all over it.

It's happening! Finally quilting my big quilt! Ahhhh! #quilting

Mistakes are no big deal. I don't have a picture of it, but once I pulled my quilt out of the dryer, I was fondling it with glee (get yer mind out of the gutter!). My hand came across a seam in the middle of a block that had come completely out. At first, I was horrified, but then I thought it'd be a perfect place for a little embroidery. Maybe even a stitched "oops." No biggie.
Seeing your kid snuggled up under a quilt you made while they watch tv is pretty freaking awesome. After all the time and energy (sweat and tears, of course) I put in to this quilt, the happiest I was came when my son grabbed it off a chair and curled up underneath it. So in love.


Keeping it simple made it doable. The quilt blocks themselves were pretty involved, so I went super simple with the quilting (an aesthetic I prefer anyway) and kept the binding simple by just doing it all by machine. I thought this might be a "cheater" method of binding, but it turns out some of my very favorite quilters use this method exclusively. It felt great to finally tackle making my own binding and being able to attach it in one run through the machine satisfied my need to git 'er done. I kept Susan Beal's Modern Log Cabin Quilting book right next to me during the entire binding process. Her instructions were so easy to follow, and eased all my binding fears.


I'm so glad that I fell in to quilting right now. It's been a great way to rejuvenate me, challenge me, and introduce me to a whole other community that is vibrant and supportive. I'm looking forward to quilts number three ... four ... five ... one hundred ....