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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2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (78).JPG
Metropol Hotel by Suzanne Martin

Metropol Hotel by Suzanne Martin

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2019 MBQG Quilt Show  (73).JPG
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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Sew Teach Me Fundraiser

Tropical Beauty

Tropical Beauty

One of our local quilt shop treasures is closing this August after nine years in business. QuiltWorks has been a mainstay in the Central Oregon quilt community and has put on amazing gallery shows every month since it’s inception. I was honored and delighted to be a featured quilter there in March 2012. I’ve also had quilts in multiple other exhibits over the years, most notably with my Undercover Quilters group. So, it’s with great sadness that we say good bye to this wonderful shop.

This August 2nd is the 100th First Friday for the shop and they are going out with a bang. The gallery show for August (and really just the first week or two) is a fundraiser for Sew Teach Me which is a non-profit founded by Marilyn Forestell, the owner of QuiltWorks, that teaches young people how to sew. This has become a real passion for Marilyn and she will be traveling around the country to spread the word about the organization and to help get new teams started. If you have a shop or other group interested in the program please check the website for more information.

Marilyn asked friends of the shop to donate small quilts that will be sold to benefit Sew Teach Me and I was happy to oblige. All the quilts you see here will be included in the sale which starts on Friday, August 2 and continues until all are sold or until mid-August. I can’t wait to see all the quilts that will be available. If you are in the area, the First Friday reception will be a huge party and a great way to say goodbye to Marilyn and all the QuiltWorks folks.

Pink Flower

Pink Flower

Black and White and Spooky All Over

Black and White and Spooky All Over

Three Pink Trees

Three Pink Trees

Autumn

Autumn

Little Red House

Little Red House

Boho Baskets

Boho Baskets

Autumn Baskets

Autumn Baskets

Night at the Improv

Night at the Improv

Gwenny

2015

2015

A bright light went out in the quilting world this week. Gwendolyn Joy Marston passed away on Wednesday at her home on Beaver Island, Michigan. All around Instagram and Facebook there are messages of grief and photos of her, but I felt a need to do one more blog post about Gwenny. She radiated joy to all who knew her and she loved teaching. Encouraging the younger generation was something she took terribly seriously and I am so lucky that I was able to benefit from this mentoring.

If you would like to make a donation to honor Gwen, here is link to a favorite charity of hers: Oil & Water Don’t Mix.

I was lucky enough to call Gwen a friend and it all came about because of the Stitchin’ Post in Sisters, Oregon. I actually first came to know Gwen’s work when I lived in Hawaii in 2002. The local quilt shop on Maui happened to have a couple of Gwen’s books and I knew I’d found a kindred spirit as soon as I started reading her first Liberated Quiltmaking book.

The original Liberated Quiltmaking book

The original Liberated Quiltmaking book

If you ever see this book, pick it up. It is a treasure and really, more comprehensive than the later books. I remember reading this one over and over in those early years. When we moved to Bend in 2004 I had no idea how having the Stitchin’ Post nearby would change my quilting life. By that time I had taken tentative steps at some liberated quilt projects. Imagine my delight when finding out at that Gwen would be at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show in 2006. I saw her and Freddy Moran give the lecture at the picnic that year. But I didn’t actually meet Gwen until I took my first class with her in 2009. I eventually did finish that first quilt (below) and it’s named A Tribute to Gwen.

2009

2009

2012 A Tribute to Gwen

2012 A Tribute to Gwen

Over the years I took every workshop I could with her and met so many great quilting friends that way. Gwen was the most encouraging quilt teacher I ever had and I knew I was on the right track when she was around. After a while we kept up an email correspondence and I was thrilled when she asked to have some of my quilts in two of her books- Minimal Quiltmaking and Free Range Triangle Quilts.

2010 with Sarah and Cher

2010 with Sarah and Cher

2012 Small Studies workshop, Martha and Gwen

2012 Small Studies workshop, Martha and Gwen

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2012 Guild Night Out with Gwenny

2012 Guild Night Out with Gwenny

2012 Guild Night Out with Gwenny

2012 Guild Night Out with Gwenny

2012 Gwen and Sue Spargo

2012 Gwen and Sue Spargo

Two friends that I met because of Gwen are Jan and Marion. We first met at a Gwen and Freddy retreat in 2010 and became fast friends. At a later workshop Gwen suggested we three come to the Beaver Island Quilt Retreat in 2013 which was the 30th and final year. We decided to go for it and had the most wonderful time! Even though, by that time, the retreat wasn’t actually on Beaver Island it was so wonderful to see Gwen in her element.

2013 BIQR

2013 BIQR

2013 Beaver Island Quilt Retreat with Jan and Marion

2013 Beaver Island Quilt Retreat with Jan and Marion

2015 Minimal Quiltmaking workshop, Gwen pointing out my lost triangle points which delighted her!

2015 Minimal Quiltmaking workshop, Gwen pointing out my lost triangle points which delighted her!

Gwen came to the Stitchin’ Post several times in 2015 and 2016 and I took every workshop she did. Her workshops are always fun, but these were especially sweet as we knew that she was planning to retire and we’d be unlikely to see her again.

2015 Gwen with total focus at the machine.

2015 Gwen with total focus at the machine.

2016 QuiltCon Pasadena

2016 QuiltCon Pasadena

In 2016 Gwen was honored by the Modern Quilt Guild with a special exhibit. I made plans to attend mainly to see her exhibit and went with my friend Marion. It was so nice to see Gwen again down in Pasadena. Her exhibit was beautiful and it made me so happy for her work to be introduced to a whole new group of quilters.

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I was thrilled to have Gwen there when I won a ribbon at the show. I think she was just as proud as me. It’s totally liberated. Gwen had so many groupies at the show that it was lots of fun. We did a big dinner out and met for lunches on the patio.

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Later that year in April, Gwen came to Sisters for her final workshops and a presentation called Gwenny’s Night Out. It was bittersweet knowing she would not be back to teach again.

2016 Abstract Quilts in Solids

2016 Abstract Quilts in Solids

2016 Abstract Quilts in Solids

2016 Abstract Quilts in Solids

2016 Gwen having a laugh with Tonye Phillips and my friend Vicky

2016 Gwen having a laugh with Tonye Phillips and my friend Vicky

2016 Gwenny’s Night Out at the Stitchin’ Post

2016 Gwenny’s Night Out at the Stitchin’ Post

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In April 2016 Gwen presented her last workshops at the Stitchin’ Post and then did a Gwenny’s Night Out with all her friends. Gwenny was well known for her little stories and jokes and we delighted in them all. She talked about her more recent quilts and life on Beaver Island. It was such a fun night.

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2016 Jean Wells and Gwen probably midst joke!

2016 Jean Wells and Gwen probably midst joke!

2016 at my Twigs gallery reception

2016 at my Twigs gallery reception

That April I had my first gallery show at Twigs which is part of the Stitchin’ Post. It will always mean a lot to me that Gwen was there for workshops and took the time to come to the reception. Without her mentorship I may not have been there in the first place. What fun!

2016 Free Range Triangles

2016 Free Range Triangles

The very last workshop Gwen did here was this Free Range Triangles workshop. She kept up her good humor and excellent teaching right through to the end. We all gave her big hugs thinking she’d be back at some point if not to teach, just to see the quilt show or something. Alas, it was the last time I saw her.

We did keep exchanging emails, cards, and letters though and I was terribly saddened to hear of her cancer diagnosis last year. She remained cheerful even when her treatment was clearly debilitating. Gwen went to Ithaca, New York for her treatment and to spend time with her children and grandchildren. It makes me happy to know that she had so much quality time with family at the end. I am also comforted to know that she was finally able to get back to her beloved home on Beaver Island just before she died. I know that place meant the world to her.

I feel like I’ll still be consulting her in my mind over the coming years. I’ll certainly be going back to her books on a regular basis. Most of all I will treasure all the memories of this vibrant, funny, creative lady.

Michigan girl

Michigan girl

No Country for Fools

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Big Snow, February 2019

Last week we had a huge snowstorm that went on for several days and in the end we had nearly 3 feet of snow on the ground. It was a record amount for this area and led to all sorts of cancellations. It’s also been so cold since then that not much as melted. Now, a new storm just blew in and we’ll get several more inches. I can safely say that just about everyone is kind of sick of snow. We live so close to the mountains that we’d be just as happy to have it stay there and not come down to town! Anyway, it does give one lots of indoor time to catch up on projects when you aren’t clearing snow.

Western Meadowlark

Western Meadowlark

No Country for Fools, 21” x 24”

No Country for Fools, 21” x 24”

One project I managed to finish is called No Country for Fools. it’s inspired by Temperance Creek by Pamela Royes. This book was chosen by QuiltWorks as an alternative to the Novel Idea book this year. In this case, the author lives in Oregon and she will come to town for the quilt reception and will do an author talk the next day. Here’s a link to the book trailer which is pretty fascinating. Maybe you’ll want to read it too!

The title of this quilt comes directly from the book and is a description of the area of eastern Oregon where it takes place. I took one line that the author had about a dream that she is reminded of just as she drives toward her new life in the wilds of eastern Oregon. Her dream was about a crow flying beside her car window as she drove.

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I used some old shirts that my dad was done with. I cut them into various odd shapes and saved a couple of labels that I incorporated. I combined the shirt fabrics with some Japanese taupes that were in the perfect colors. The background was pieced improvisationally. Then, I appliqued the bird down and added some hand embroidery with embroidery thread (some of which was hand dyed).

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This piece measures 21” by 24”. I machine quilted it around the embroidery. I would have liked to hand quilt it too, but that would have taken too much time and I am having arthritis issues again so I have to be careful.

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I really love the fabric that the bird is made from (you can see it up close below). I have this stuff in several patterns and colors and it’s really different from any other fabric I’ve used. I call it bubble fabric, but I don’t know the official name. The pattern is created with texture rather than printing. These fabrics were made by Diamond Textiles and I haven’t seen them in a long time, but they are really great for turned under applique because they are thin, but very sturdy and the turned under edge just holds a crease really well. I added the embroidery embellishment by just following the pattern on the fabric.

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I washed the old shirts from my dad, of course. But I also didn’t obsess about stains or holes as you can see below. They tell the story of the cloth and the quilt, so I actually highlighted them.

I have seen a few of the other quilts in this exhibit, but I am really looking forward to seeing them all up. It should be an excellent exhibit. If you can be there, the reception is Friday, April 5, 5-7 pm and the author talk is the following day. Contact QuiltWorks directly if you are interested.

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