New Patterns: October Trio Halloween Decorations

October Trio: Boo, Witchy Raven, and Pumpkin Time

October Trio: Boo, Witchy Raven, and Pumpkin Time

Better late than never! I have finally finished patterns for my new October Trio. These three ornament patterns are available all together or singly, and as PDFs or printed versions. I had such fun making them! They use a variety of threads from DMC, Valdani, Gentle Arts Sampler Threads and Weeks Dye Works. My favorite find has been Gentle Arts Sampler Threads Black Crow, which may be the perfect black. It has subtle overtones of navy and just looks so rich. It’s well named because it’s perfect for these crows and raven.

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I originally intended to make these single ornaments, but the other day I got the idea to add the buttons on the back which allows them to be hooked together in a long hanging decoration that measures about 4” x 18”. The buttons also allow you to rearrange as you like. You can also leave the buttons off and make them into individual ornaments.

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Well, that’s probably it for a while, back to packing!

Boo Halloween Ornament

Boo Halloween Ornament

Pumpkin Time Halloween Ornament

Pumpkin Time Halloween Ornament

Witchy Raven Halloween Ornament

Witchy Raven Halloween Ornament

New Pattern: Embroidered Kitty Brooch

Embroidered Kitty Brooch Pattern

Embroidered Kitty Brooch Pattern

Hello Friends!

Sorry for being so absent these last couple of months. It’s been a challenge to get much done in the studio while also keeping the house clean for multiple showings over the summer and getting Ryan to all his activities. Good news is that our house has sold and we are renters again. Bad news is that we are in the midst of packing and getting ready to move to our new house, which is exciting, but also time consuming and stressful. It will be a real push to get the new house finished in time to move in at the end of the month.

In the meantime I have been working on a bunch of stitchery samples for new patterns I will be releasing. The first of these is this new Kitty Brooch pattern. I think they are super cute and it’s hard to stop at one. Luckily, the pattern includes colorways for the four shown above which I think of as seasonal kitties: spring, summer, Halloween and Christmas. I am also always happy for folks to make up their own colorways to suit them and their pets. These brooches are completely sewn by hand and the directions for finishing are included.

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I also would like to give a shout out to Lori Brechlin of Notforgotten Farm. I first discovered her wonderful embroidery designs on Instagram and purchased one on Etsy to try. I enjoyed it so much I started doing my own designs with the split stitch method. I’ve mentioned before that I have been having issues with arthritis over the years which can be exacerbated by hand quilting and other hand stitching. As it turns out though, cross stitching and embroidery don’t cause me any problems. Since I first started stitching as a girl by doing cross stitch, crewel embroidery, and needlepoint, it feels like I’ve gone full circle with this type of stitching.

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I have been trying for weeks get these patterns out in the world and just this week managed to get this first one up on Etsy, in both digital (PDF) form and a mailed paper version. More are in the works and will hopefully be done soon.

I had already been thinking about replacing my embroidered ornament kits with patterns only and this seems like the perfect way to go. The kits that are in the shop now will be the last ones in that format (with pre-printed panels). In the future I will re-do these cat, dog and trailer patterns in the split stitch style, with PDF and paper patterns. If you’ve been considering buying a kit, now’s the time to do it!

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The last few photos show some new items in the shop including two brooches that didn’t make the cut for the pattern, three finished ornaments from the Cat Patches Kit, and some new folk art postcards.

Lastly, I am getting ready for a couple of holiday shows this year. I’ll be doing Christmas Goose on November 22 and 23 at St. Charles Hospital in Bend. I will also be back at the Holiday Tails Art Fair on December 7 at the Bend Athletic Club. Save the dates if you’ll be town!

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The Undercover Quilters :: A Gentleman in Moscow

Our 10th Anniversary!

Our 10th Anniversary!

For our 10th Anniversary year we chose A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles for our quilt book. This is one of my favorite books of all time and if you haven’t read it yet, you should give it a go. I think you’ll like it! Our quilt exhibit at the Mt Bachelor Quilters’ Guild show a couple of weeks ago looked fantastic and I thought I’d share all the photos here. Each quilt has a full photo, at least one detail plus the maker’s quilt show tag with a short description. Except for mine which didn’t have enough room so I did a separate info sheet with all the details which I’ve copied here.

One thing of note that I didn’t notice until the quilts were displayed all together is that they are predominately shades of grey and blue. It was a complete coincidence that that happened, but it makes for a very cohesive exhibit. There is one other thing to look for, since it’s our 10th anniversary we decided to have everyone somehow represent “10” in their quilts. Some did it more than once, some did it expressly, and for some it’s a little more hidden. See if you can find them all. Enjoy!

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Herr Drosselmeyer by Cheryl Chapman

Herr Drosselmeyer by Cheryl Chapman

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Metropol Hotel by Suzanne Martin

Metropol Hotel by Suzanne Martin

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Nevertheless, He Persisted by Jane Davis

Nevertheless, He Persisted by Jane Davis

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A Game of Zut by Kristin Shields

A Game of Zut by Kristin Shields

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My generic quilt label with a real explanation of my quilt below.

My generic quilt label with a real explanation of my quilt below.

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A Game of Zut
Kristin Shields

This quilt was inspired by A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles for the Undercover Quilters Book Club. 

This marvelous story of a former aristocrat subjected to house arrest in the Metropol Hotel in Moscow is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov makes a life for himself despite his constrained circumstances and affects the lives of countless others over the years as the world comes to him. 

He and his daughter Sofia develop a game they play each night as they wait for dinner in the hotel restaurant.  They call it Zut, so named because, “according to the Count, Zut alors!* was the only appropriate exclamation in the face of defeat.”

“A game of their own invention, Zut’s rules were simple. Player One proposes a category encompassing a specialized subset of phenomena- such as stringed instruments, or famous islands, or winged creatures other than birds. The two players then go back and forth until one of them fails to come up with a fitting example in a suitable interval of time.”

At their final dinner together they play a particularly poignant game of Zut. “Sofia rose from the table to give her father a kiss on the cheek. Then returning to her chair, she leaned back, squinted, and said: ‘Famous threesomes.’ ‘Ha-ha!’ exclaimed the Count.”

*translation: darn, shucks, dang, shoot; pronounced zoot-ahlor*

Fabulous Foursomes by Susan Mondry

Fabulous Foursomes by Susan Mondry

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The Willowy Woman by Cindy O’Neal

The Willowy Woman by Cindy O’Neal

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Fantastical by Wanda McGehey

Fantastical by Wanda McGehey

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Map of Moscow by Erin Biskup

Map of Moscow by Erin Biskup

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Secrets Undercover by Martha Sanders

Secrets Undercover by Martha Sanders

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St Basil’s by Betty Gientke

St Basil’s by Betty Gientke

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What Lies Beneath

What Lies Beneath (40”x18”)

What Lies Beneath (40”x18”)

What Lies Beneath is another new quilt for this year. This was made for the Central Oregon SAQA challenge, “Beneath the Surface”. When I was trying to figure out what to do for the challenge I had other ideas, ones that were really quite different from this. However, when I have a challenge quilt to do I try to make something that could be used for other purposes besides the original exhibit. In this case, I wanted to do something modern and I was inspired by mid century modern design.

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I came up with this idea as an abstract way to illustrate how people, animals and nearly everything else in the universe are more complicated that they first appear. The original idea had a midline going across the width of the quilt, but at some point I decided it was better without it.

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First I did a small sketch of some shapes, then had to decide the order of putting it all together. I also had to consider shrinkage since the size was supposed to be 18x40 (either vertical or horizontal). I had to make the background extra big and then guess that shrinkage would occur mostly in the width rather than the height due to the vertical background quilting.

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I made a full size drawing and used hand applique and freezer paper templates to add the shapes. Then I layered and machine quilted the background. I started and stopped each stitching line at the shapes and since I like to bury the thread tails that took a really long time! Lastly, I added the hand quilting and hand embroidery. It was a lot of fun to to doodle on the shapes. I used a Pitt Artist pen to draw the doodles and then stitched over the lines with embroidery floss with mostly back stitch and satin stitch.

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Finally, I added my hand stitched signature to the front of the quilt. I’ve been doing that on most quilts in recent years and I like the look. It feels like signing a painting.

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I really love how this quilt came out and it was enjoyable to do (except for all the ends to bury!). The background fabric is Essex linen/cotton blend which is one of my favorite fabrics for hand stitching. I also love the backing print which is very busy, but so very cute. Those tiny houses are about 1/4”! It worked out great because I didn’t worry to much about doing the hand embroidery. Normally I would try to keep my embroidery stitches in the batting layer rather than going through to the back, but with the machine quilting lines it would have been very frustrating to do. With that backing being so busy all the errant stitches on the back don’t really show so I don’t mind them.

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Upcoming Shows

Rhythm of the Rails

Rhythm of the Rails

Good news to report! These two quilts will be included in a couple of upcoming shows. Rhythm of the Rails will be at World Quilt New England, August 15-17 in Springfield, Massachusetts. That will likely be it’s last outing.

Good Vibrations has been juried into the Modern Quilt Guild Showcase at International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas, October 31- November 3.

PS- Do you see how these two quilts are related?

Good Vibrations

Good Vibrations