When I was young my mother read to all eight of us kids many, many stories. Some of which included those classic historical fiction books like Little Women and the Little House on the Prairie series. In these books life was hard, but the simple joys (or my idea of joy), like sitting around with the other women hand sewing were plenty. My paternal grandmother is a quilter and taught her daughter-in-law, my mother. Not one to helicopter parent, my mom put a needle and thread in our hands as early as we showed interest. Natural consequence quickly taught me how to carefully hold a sharp needle. Growing up deep in the country and with not a lot of money there wasn’t much to do besides play outside, draw our own paper dolls, or do something crafty. I have many fond memories sewing as a child. I learned to sewing on a treadle sewing machine (it runs not on electricity, but by pumping the treadle with your feet). In the summer it might be cross-stitching while watching the dusk fall and listening to nothing but the crickets and frogs. One winter when my grandma was visiting, after dinner we would clear off the dining room table and three generations of women would sit around handquilting together.
Quilting is a craft so rich with history, so utilitarian, and allows us to express ourselves in design and color. Every time I gather stiches on my needle through cozy layers of cloth and batting so many wonderful things happen. I feel intrinsically linked to centuries of women before me. I am flooded with memories of my grandma and mom. I relax. I can quiet myself and think, pray and meditate. Or, more commonly, I can just zone out and watch something distracting and entertaining on Netflix.
I am so excited to share my first pattern with you!! This pattern was inspired by the Triple Irish Chain quilt block. After tweaking many sketches this is were I landed. While it is quite different I am very happy with this version. I’ve combined quilting and painting and I think they make a beautiful marriage. Here painted triangles become part of the quilted pattern to make a modern, unique and beautiful pillow for your home decor.
Here is another version of the Vintage Modern Quilted Pillow from my last post. Again I chose a very simple palette for the fabric colors. I feel like this blue is practically a neutral. When I picture where it would live in my own home, it really would work in any room.
I chose a monochromatic scheme with a darker, indigo blue for the paint. I painted a very simple pattern of lines and geometric triangles.
I hand quilted it all in a blue as well. That is always my favorite step.
The pillow back has simple painted stripes across the back and is finished with an invisible zipper. This pillow is now available in my etsy shop!
This is the second quilt//pattern design I have made. The quilt design is a traditional beautiful “vintage star” block pattern in gray and cream fabric. I then hand painted a simple yet modern design with with a gold fabric paint over that. In this pillow I also wanted to juxtapose the technicality of the sewn pattern with the painterly and impressionistic painted lines. I hand quilted a simple pattern in cream thread that echoes the painted design. The back is gray and cream with two gold painterly stripes.
This is available in my shop and I am working on a downloadable pattern as well.
I love flying geese so much. So much, I thought I would make a small version in needlepoint. In the picture above the needlepoint is being blocked. I’ve never actually made flying geese in a quilt. I have one on my to-do list and cannot wait to get started after some Holiday projects are finished up.
I threw it in a black frame to showcase it as art, and being neutrals, it would truly work in any room. It would also be wonderful worked into another object. My mind is reeling with the possibilities!
My mother had special pillowcases on her bed that my grandmother made. They were crisp white with pretty, colorful and delicate flowers embroidered on them. Growing up it was a special day when it was your turn, out of the eight, to take a map in mom’s bed. I would trace the lines of those stitches until my eyes were too heavy to keep open. A lack of matching pillowcases in my own closet, and this post on purl bee, inspired me to make my own.
I definitely have enough fabric scraps to use up and some vintage fabric that I have been wanting to work into a project. Combining those things with stitches that echo my grandma’s embroidery, I created some very special-to-me matching pillowcases. For me personally it so so satisfying to make something both special, but also economical and so functional. The linen closet is stocked!
I made two in each of the colors above. The girls quickly claimed the gray and vintage blue rose pillowcases for themselves. I have enough of that to even work into quilts for them (in a very long que of to-do projects). The embroidery was definitely the part that took the longest but this would be a great project without the embroidery. Or, if you wanted a hand sewing project, such a great way to personalize and embellish store bought pillowcases!
This quilt is the only sewing project I have right now. It’s all pieced and I’ve started the hand quilting, my favorite part. This a “baby blanket” for my youngest, who is (ehem) four. Oh well. I had to add some squares, to say the least. Whenever I pull it out to work on (which is rarely) he asks “Are you done yet? I want to snuggle it.” So sweet. And now all the others have put in their orders. Which I adore, and don’t need an excuse to make more, but love that my products are so cherished.
I read The War of Art and it kind of changed my life. It made me resolved to study art like I’ve always wanted to. A few weeks ago I even created a space dedicated to this pursuit. A few hours a week I have been studying watercolor. I also have been slowly (painstakingly slow) working through Nicolaides’ The Natural Way to Draw. I use the kids as models and when they see me sketching they will often pull out their drawing pads. It’s had a good effect on us that way.
Embroidery on embroidery. Underneath is this pillow I made. Speaking of “cherished products.” I threw this lavender satchel together with some leftover embroidery for my daughter’s birthday. She saw me making them a few years ago and wanted one for her dresser drawers. She opened it clearly confused and disappointed. She’s seven, so that’s understandable. I guess she didn’t remember. I’ll save it for her.
These sashiko inspired tea towels are one of the few things I made as gifts for the Christmas season. In order to balance time with my family and the busyness that Christmas brings, I limit myself to only making a few handmade items. Even then, somehow I still ended up not finishing until after the New Year.
My stitches are not uniform or straight, but personally I love the charm of that look. Also, adding running stitches to store-bought linens would be great for a simple face lift. I need to find a gift system that allows for a couple of leftovers. I definitely want some of these for myself!