A few more pins…the possibilities are endless!

Recent cool temperatures (we camped north of Duluth this past week and overnight temps were down to 32 degrees!), trees bursting with gorgeous yellow, orange, red, and rust leaves, and bright sunshine are all confirming that the fall season is is full swing. I even received my tulip bulbs for planting and the cucumbers, tomatoes and beans are finally winding down their production. Some days it is hard to stay inside and work. Last week I finished 4 trunk show sessions at Quilters Haven in Rosemount, Minnesota. The owner, Jean Graham, was very supportive and helpful when I first sought opinions about my wool pieces. She has a wonderful selection of wool yardage ready to be felted – many rich colors that are not always easy to find. So often felted wool is sold in small pieces, which can provide great variety, but you really need some yardage in order to make a larger project. I was so pleased to be able to present my work and samples – her customers were very receptive and expressed interest in my teaching some classes. I had brought a few pins along just to show what I did with some of my ‘leftovers’ and they seemed to be a big hit. So I have tentatively agreed to teach a class for the pins as well as one for the toppers. But first, I have to get the patterns written and produced for the pins! And here I am, still just having fun with all the possibilities!!! More…

More fun with felted pins #2

It’s been a very busy four weeks. The late summer days seemed to quickly disappear as the cooler (finally!) autumn weather begins to arrive. I love this time of year – cooler days, even cooler evenings, sunshine, colorful trees, the harvest from the garden(or farmer’s market), visiting the apple orchard, and falling leaves. This year, I think it was even more welcome than usual since the summer was so hot, it was hard to enjoy any time outdoors. Often, ‘autumn’ is used as a synonym for a stage of life: we hear the expression that someone is in the autumn of their life. Four weeks ago, I learned that a dear friend of mine, is not only in the ‘autumn of her life,’ but was preparing herself for her final journey as she asked me for my assistance in certain preparations. In return, I have decided that her final gift to me is the realization that every day is to be treasured. Perhaps this will explain why I temporarily ‘put aside’ my blog to spend time with her. Despite the fact that I was not able to find time to create a single pin in the last two weeks, I still have pins and felted toppers galore bouncing around in my head. The ones featured here were made earlier in the month… More…

Just ‘playing around’ with felt!!

It’s been a busy 2 weeks since I finished the Fall Leaves ‘tutorial’ series. I needed to take a break from ‘talking about felt’ on the computer and wanted to actually play with some ideas that have been rolling around in my head! We also managed to take a few days and headed north to Duluth to visit  my daughter, son in law, and our two little ‘grandgirls.’  We had a great time, even though the normally cool breezes off of Lake Superior really did not provide any respite from the hot weather. Braving the hot temps, we took the girls to the zoo: observing their enthusiasm (while I was trying my best not to wilt!) reminded me that children seldom let excessive heat interfere with plans for the day!  We grown ups should be so enthusiastic!!  Duluth also has great little bead store – Superior Beads – and (despite my previous vow not to buy any more beads!) I did shop for a some new Japanese seed beads in colors to use with wool felt.  I intend to write a post in the near future with more about seed beads, etc. (You will be amazed at how much there is to learn about beads!)  On the drive home, we stopped to visit the historical Northwest Fur Trading Post in Pine City. What a surprise to find a very informative display on the felting process used to make beaver felt hats! Felting is certainly not new!! More…

Completely appliqued and beaded top background, now stitched to the outermost (red) background with blanket stitch. All ready for the backing!

Woke up this morning to much more pleasing temps and – even better – reduced humidity! The sun was shining and it felt so good to walk outside and enjoy the fresh air. We took an early morning bike ride around the neighboring regional park; by the numbers of people out walking, roller blading, running, etc. it was evident that everyone seem to be taking advantage of the great weather. Of course, it shouldn’t go without saying – the predictions are for returning higher temps and uncomfortable humidity levels. 🙁 For the moment though, it feels wonderful just to know I can walk out my door and not wilt!! Not surprisingly, I felt more energized and was encouraged to get this final post done for the Fall Leaves series. With the background beading done, the project really is in its ‘home run stretch.’ I find I usually get pretty excited once the background beading is done; all the hours of applique and embroidery are done and the beaded background just adds something special. With only the backing left to do – it’s kind of like putting ice cream on the cake: the final finishing just makes it even better! More…

Completely appliqued top background…ready for beading!

It is a beautifully sunny Monday morning – at least through the windows! Unfortunately, the view through the windows belies that fact that temps are predicted to hit 100˙ with an ever increasing amount of humidity, making for yet another very uncomfortable day outside. While I will take in a quick walk through the garden, it is likely my day will be spent inside…again! Yes,  I have plenty of projects waiting for my attention, but I’m beginning to be a bit frustrated with the continued high temps/humidity this summer. Watching the weather news across the nation, I realize I am likely not alone in my feelings!! I hope those of you who are in areas of similar hot weather are finding ways to get those special projects/UFO’s done while waiting for more reasonable, cooler temps. If one of those projects happens to be a wool felt topper or table runner or if you have been following along with this series of posts  – it’s time to add a distinctive ‘spark’ to your piece. The visual effect of tiny glass beads on wool felt adds a whole new dimension to any piece. Time to get beading!! More…

Completely stitched oak leaf, maple leaf, and center star appliques.

It’s Friday already (Friday, the 13th, no less!!) and I’m wondering where the week went! It was a very busy week with several appts. (at least I group them together on the calendar so that in the next few weeks I won’t have any – then I can work on projects uninterrupted!) It was wonderful to get back to my Wednesday afternoon quilting ‘Daystitchers’ group; I hadn’t been there since almost mid May and I miss the conversation and creative energy the group provides. Waking up to a warm, overcast, and somewhat muggy day (ughhhhh) was less than inspirational this morning. Usually, before I begin tackling the day’s activities, I enjoy walking each morning, but the extreme heat has made outdoor activities more or less miserable; and there is the matter of mosquitoes – in great abundance this year – so I opted to retreat to my computer and get this post written. I hope where ever you are reading this, the weather is more agreeable. Of course, I also have to acknowledge the upside of lousy weather conditions; we are less tempted to spend time outdoors and can guiltlessly (is that a word?) spend our time working on our creative projects! More…

Appliques all cut and laid out, ready for the fun part!

If you are like me, you are smiling with great satisfaction (maybe even relief!) that you now have completed 98% of the preparation in order to begin the fun of stitching together the Fall Leaves topper! It is a lot of cutting, but makes the rest of the construction go much smoother and faster. Since I tend to be a bit of a clutter bug, I have to find ways to prevent myself from misplacing and ‘losing’ things: so I have found it helpful to store any cut out appliques (that are not in any immediate use) in a plastic folder and/or envelopes. More…

21-22″ Fall Leaves table topper brings autumn to your home, celebrating the season’s changing colors.

As promised, today I will begin a series of posts that will guide you through the basic construction methods and techniques involved in creating one of my table topper patterns.  I have chosen to use the Fall Leaves pattern.   This has been a popular pattern that I have rated suitable for an enthusiastic advanced beginner;  by beginning construction now it would  likely result in having it finished in time for autumn!  (With its two alternating ‘snowflake’ designs woven together, the construction and concept is very similar to the Pinecones pattern – if you prefer to follow along with a that design.)  This series of tutorials is not meant to be a pattern per se, but is designed to demonstrate and clarify the construction process and techniques I have used to create these toppers.  As a former teacher, I have found that ‘visual’ is almost always an improved method of conveying ideas.  Should you have a pattern with which you can follow along, that is great.  My greater hope is that by reading the posts, etc, you will gain the understanding and confidence to then select and purchase any pattern of your choice and complete it with satisfying results! More…

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