It’s Here! Your Joyful Stitching Has Arrived

joyfulstitchingfrontcover I’m happy to announce that my new book, Joyful Stitching is now available! I wasn’t expecting it until February 2018 but here it is, a year early! In celebration of this momentous event, there will be months of give-aways on this blog beginning this Saturday. So watch for that.

joyfulstitchingandplantI’m so thrilled to have Joyful Stitching in hand and want to thank the crew at C&T Publishing who made it all happen. They sent me this lovely plant along with the first copy of the book. (I hope to keep the plant alive for a day or two.) Check out all the projects and information about the book here.

Hoopless,Totally Hoopless

embroideryhandsLike many of you, I learned how to embroider as a youngster using a hoop to hold the fabric. But those days are long gone and I’ve been hoopless, totally hoopless for years. In fact, all the projects in my new book, Joyful Stitching, are made hooplessly.

bird3hThere are several reasons I don’t use a hoop for hand embroidery. First, clamping a hoop on my fused art quilts while stitching will fray the raw edges of the fabric. The quilt top is fused to batting for stability and is easy to grip.

Second reason? It’s easier on my stiff old hands. By gripping the fabric rather than a hoop I can twist and turn it while stitching.

embroideredpeardetail3Third reason, I like the “folk art” imprecise look of hand stitching. If things are too perfect, the embroidery looks machine made to me. Handmade tells me you spent a lot of time loving what you do. So call me hoopless! I don’t care.

Organized? Maybe

threaddrawersOn occasion I like to look organized. This doesn’t happen often, so I’d like to share this rare moment with you. Here you see my hand dyed pearl cotton threads neatly stored in drawers. They are sorted by size (3, 5, 8, 12) and colorway. Organized, right?

threadtangledAnd then there’s this. Never wash your skeins of hand-dyed thread in the washing machine or people will think your are disorganized. How do you keep your threads organized?

Thread-u-cation Thursday: Sheaf Stitch

silkstitchalong24The Sheaf Stitch is another embroidery stitch that heaps thread on the surface of fabric.(Here you see it being used in the Silk Stitch Along Tutorial .) A tidy bundle, long stitches of thread are cinched together and look like sheaves of wheat.

silkstitchalong25But my wheat sheaving days are over so I like to top the Sheaf Stitch with a French Knot or a Bullion Knot to make a flower. Here are directions for making the Sheaf Stitch. Have fun!

Close Stitching

prettyplanet16detail2It was a near miss. Machine quilting near hand embroidery is a challenge. It’s those dang French Knots and Pistil Stitches sticking up that catch on the machine foot.

prettyplanet16But I managed to complete Pretty Planet #16 without bad words being spoken. I must confess: machine quilting is not my favorite part of creating art work. Designing and hand stitching the pieces float my boat. But after finishing this little quilt, I realize that free-motion machine work really adds another layer of texture to the piece.

Thread-u-cation Thursday: Bullion Knot

bullion7There’s a lot of bulk in a Bullion Knot. And on small pieces of artwork it, has many uses. For instance, it takes a Bullion Knot to make cattails growing by the swamp next door.

woolbird18It also takes a large coil of thread like a Bullion Knot to crown the crest of a fancy bird. These concentrated hits of thread lift off the fabric creating texture and dimension to your work. Check out these directions on how to make the Bullion Knot.