What’s Stitching? Wheat Ears

wheatear3I’ve recently revisited this fun embroidery stitch, the Wheat Ear. Isn’t it cute? Looks like a little bug waving hello. It’s a looping stitch but pointy at the same time that creates texture when stitched separately. 

wheatear5The Wheat Ear also works as a linear stitch when stacked like this. Fill in the loop with a French Knot and the Wheat Ear gets all dressed up and dances.

wheatear2Learn how to make the Wheat Ear stitch here.

A Museum Near You: Crystal Bridges

crystalbridgesOne of the many joys of being a traveling textile teacher is the opportunity to visit great museums. With my gracious hostess, Laura, I recently visited Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art before giving a lecture to her guild, Q.U.I.L.T of Northwest Arkansas.

mirrorroomWhat a fabulous museum! The buildings, setting, and artwork were a delight to see.  We stepped into a work by Yayoi Kusama called the Infinity Mirrored Room – My Heart is Dancing into the Universe and viewed gallery after gallery artwork from early American to contemporary work. Thank you Laura for your generosity!

What are the benefits of visiting a museum (other than the gift shop)?

A visit to a museum:

  • stimulates new ideas for your own artwork,
  • expands your knowledge of the world and humanity, and
  • is a refreshing break from reality.

Make a date with a museum today. Trust me, you’ll fall in love.

Soft Color for a Beautiful Quilt

wildricesample2It is always a thrill to meet up with those who use my hand dyed threads. Christie brought her beautiful quilt to a meeting of the Prairie Star Guild in St. Charles IL. Here you see a detail of her hand embroidery on the quilt using my Wild Rice pearl cotton threads in sizes 8 and 12.

wildricesample3She did an extraordinary job of stitching and picking out the perfect thread color to match the sashing fabrics. Thank you Christie for using my threads and for sharing your artwork with us!

A Gentle Fabric for Stitching

stitchingonwool1For those of you who love to hand stitch, I highly recommend hand embroidery on wool. Thread glides smoothly through the cloth, no hoop is needed, your hands are caressed by the fabric, and knots (if you use them) hide in the bulky fabric. It’s a rich, gentle fabric ideal for hand embroidery.

Cut out wool shapes with sharp scissors and attach them to the background fabric with a pin or tacking stitches.Usually I stitch a Blanket Stitch around the edges to hold the shape in place.

stitchingonwool3Here you see that the Blanket Stitch in red has a second thread (green) whipped through the top edge of the stitch to give more definition to the outline of the shape. I’m also experimenting with stacking Fly Stitches to make leaf shapes using a variegated size 8 thread called Lettuce. Although the Fly Stitches are stitched closely together, it is easy to stitch through the wool.

tracytrevethanwoolMy favorite source for colorful wool is hand dyed by Tracy Trevethan. The Wooly Ladies also carry wool suitable for hand work as do many of your local quilt shops. In the Rare Songbird project from my book, Joyful Stitching, I use a hand-dyed wool for the background. And many of these free tutorials on my Rare Songbird project from my book, Tutorial Page use their hand dyed wools as well. Give it a try. Your hands will thank you!

A Sheep for Ewe

dyedinthewool

Dyed in the Wool by Laura Wasilowski

Recently I met up with someone who has taken on and finished one of my free Stitch Tutorials called Dyed in the Wool. It makes me happy to know that she found the tutorial useful and was willing to give it a try. Where is this intrepid stitcher from? Why the Racine Lighthouse Quilters Guild in Wisconsin, of course.

sandyandsheepMeet my new best friend, Sandy. She brought her finished Dyed in the Wool project to the guild meeting and really brightened up my day. Her color choices, beautiful free-form stitching, and sunny personality instantly charmed me. Thank you, Sandy, for sharing your work with us!

A Slick Binding for Your Quilt

prettyplanetbirdhouses1

Pretty Planet Birdhouses #1 by Laura Wasilowski

I’m back from visiting the Racine Lighthouse Quilters Guild in Wisconsin where I was introduced to an amazing treat- kringle. (Not sure what kringle is? Just google kringle near me. It will be worth it!) Now that I’m back in the studio my time is dedicated to finishing up a few little wall quilts. That’s code for “binding”.

prettyplanet17

Pretty Planet #17 by Laura Wasilowski

There are 4 binding methods with tutorials that you can check out on my website. My favorite is the Pillowcase binding like those used in the above quilts. It’s a neat way to finish up your quilt top and is easy to do. And my reward for completing the little quilt tops? Why kringle, of course! Join me?