Betsy's Closet - Block Seven

This little short set was fun to embroider with blue thread for the shorts and a variegated thread for the top. It did not take long to work up. Most of it is simple stem stitch. The color and pocket are done in white rayon threads to give the white some more depth against the light linen background.
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Betsy's Closet - Block Six

You might have noticed that the center embroidery is now "darker" than the rest of the block. That's because I decided that I did not like the pellon interfacing on the blocks after all. It did give them some nice structure, but was too stiff...so, after the embroidery was finished...I trimmed away the pellon. Only the center elements have it behind them now. After the quilt batting is added, the center might not look as pronounced...but, I hope that it does because I like the contrast from that area of the block and the background.
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Betsy's Closet - Block Five

Here is the center position block for Betsy's Closet Quilt. While at retreat last week (and while driving to and from there) I worked on the embroidery blocks for this little quilt as much as I could. It was very relaxing to sit and visit with friends while stitching, and as a result...all of the blocks have been completed! Yeah!
Now, to get them into a quilt top. I found some fabric that I liked while at the quilt show with the group, and will be taking the old sashing off and re-doing with the new one!
But first, I'll share the finished blocks with you...so stop by tomorrow for a peek at the next block!
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Yay! Silk Ribbon Embroidery Course is Here!


With all of the unpacking and laundry yesterday (and I'm still working on the laundry part)...it was late in the day before I ever got around to opening the mail from the last week. And, look what was waiting for me! The color instruction pages for the Silk Ribbon Embroidery (SRE) Course - Small Scale. These will be used in an upcoming trip to Mississippi to visit and teach again with the Magnolia Quilters Group in Meridian. I'm so looking forward to that trip!
The course will include instruction to complete silk ribbon flowers (wisteria, iris, daffodil, foxglove, rosebuds, climbing rose, buttercup, monarda, rose bush, and tulip). And, I have some other fun things to share and talk about! So glad that these instruction packets, and the Silk Ribbon Embroidery Basic Stitch Guide have all arrived before the class. It's nice to be able to check the big task of "Class Instructions" off of my list!

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Fabric Samples

If you have a furniture store or an interior design company that is located close to you...ask about getting their out-dated sample books for fabric samples.
 I was lucky and had a friend that was donating a lot this past week...and I got first selection because we were riding together. And, it's a good thing too...because with all of the luggage we all had, the entire load would not have fit in the truck!
 Some of the motifs are large, and some fabrics are really thick...but, most of them can be used for crazy quilt work...and if not for that...then for purses or tote bags!

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Whew!

Just a short note, to let you all know that I'm back home. Tired...tired...tired...but oh, what a wonderful tired it is! I had a marvelous time with about 60 other quilting ladies from the HGTV Message Board. My "hotel" was a condo...with full living room and kitchen. My roommates were Jane, Pandi, and Linda...and they were all just the best. Linda was our chauffeur and Pandi helped out there too...Jane was our chef...and Linda and I were sometimes meager cooks. We ate well...and we laughed a lot. When we were not in our own space...we were in the main meeting room with all of our other quilting friends. It was just such a great time. Out of courtesy to my friends...I did not take a single photo of anyone. And, like me...almost all of us never even took the makeup bag out of our suitcase! It was glorious!
Next year, we will be gathering again...in June...this time, it will be in Amish Country in Pennsylvania. I'm sure that trip will be memorable too!
I hope to get some much needed rest tonight...and perhaps sometime tomorrow, after unpacking...I'll get some photos of the embroidery blocks I managed to actually finish this week!
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Finished Peacock Tail


I could not seem to get to sleep, too excited about leaving out this morning for my "vacation" retreat I suppose...so I thought I'd try to get caught up on a few things. Finished a quilt border re-design for my friend Patty in Kentucky...and then got the tail feathers on the peacock.
I'm planning on enlarging this about 300%...since I do not have a magnification lamp, and the feathers have loads of little lines drawn in.
That should give me a 16 - 24" block...good enough for a large pillow for the bed...or the center of a CQ quilt perhaps?
Time will tell!
Hope you enjoy the design too!
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Five Petal Motif - K


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SRE Pendants

Well, I'm almost all packed and ready to depart for my retreat. Have to gather supplies for a class that I'm taking, then I'll only have my laptop, clock, and phone charger to tuck away on Tuesday morning...and I'll be all set! Woot! Woot!
While packing up my boutique items, I decided at the last minute to take these Silk Ribbon Embroidery Pendants with me. They were created to add to my Etsy shop, but thought the ladies at the retreat might like them too...so, we'll see. If there are any left...I'll put them on Etsy when I get back.
 Here is a closeup of four...I was too lazy to open them ALL back up and get photographs...but was sure you might be curious about how them looked up close.
 
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I'm in Organizational Hell....

Okay, I know you are my pal...so, you'll understand if I just open my mouth...and SCREAM! There, I do feel better...oh, sorry...should have warned you sooner. That earache should clear up soon...I hope.
 But, It just had to be done. 

See my suitcase...of course you do. But, notice that it is not full of clothes. That's another suitcase...which has not even been thought about much yet. That's today's task...
This suitcase is the result of the last couple of days work.
You see, I have two very enjoyable trips planned. At least, they will be enjoyable once I have actually departed for them. But, the preparing just is a royal pain in my backside...all of the organizing!
My first trip is to Branson, MO by way of Tupelo, MS...a two day driving adventure with the final destination being a wonderful Retreat with 60 great quilting cyber friends. Some of them are ladies that I have not yet met in person, while others were in attendance at prior retreats. I am looking forward to hugging each and every one of them!
One thing that will happen during the retreat...a very small thing...is that a few of us will open our "boutiques shops" to the others for some retail therapy! Of course, I have my books and patterns to sale...but am also taking the excess stock from my Etsy Shoppe. Each item needed to have price tags attached (took forever!)...and packaged so that it would not be damaged in the trip...hence all of the cardboard boxes in the suitcase.
I'm pooped! 
Now, this photo is for my next trip. After returning from the Retreat...I have the extreme pleasure of traveling back to the great state of Mississippi to visit with twenty lovely quilt guild members for a Silk Ribbon Embroidery Class. This will be my second time to share with this very hospitable group...and I had such a great time the first visit...that I'm just so excited about seeing them all again.
For the past couple of weeks...I've been measuring and cutting ribbon for class kits, finishing up the full-color 15 page instruction booklet so it could get to the printer while I'm on Retreat...and just making sure that I have all the extra supplies needed for the class too. My three stack boxes are filled with kits and extra threads and ribbon. Again, I'm pooped!
So, there isn't much stitching getting done...and my muse is tired of attaching labels to stuff! 
Thought you might want to know what's happening...
now, I'm off to start sorting through my clothes and getting yet another suitcase packed!
Hope I can find enough matching socks!
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Needlebook Tutorial

 
While waiting for more silk ribbon to arrive so I can finish up my class tutorials...I thought I'd make a new needle book. I wanted one that was really large enough (7 x 8 inches) to hold all the needles I now have in various pin cushions, and have some pockets to hold scissors and such...that I could take to classes. As well as keep it close for my daily use too. I also wanted it to have enough pages that I could use it as a temporary pin cushion when stitching away from home. The book could be made any size and any depth.
It turned into quite a project...as the ideas grew and changed as I went.
The front is constructed from a prior crazy quilt patch (yes, the flowers are laying sideways...but that's okay...as it is MY needlebook, and I don't mind). A thin piece of batting was added to help pad the front.
 A piece of foamcore board is the backing for the cq piece, which was laced to it on the reverse side. (I keep an old rotary cutter handy for cutting paper and cardboard. And I use my old dull blades in this cutter, instead of discarding them. They might nick fabric, but work great for paper or cardboard.)
  The front had four pieces of grosgrain ribbon attached to help in the lacing at the back to securely wrap the CQ piece around the foamcore board. The ribbon makes a nice sturdy edge that helps when pulling the threads...much better than raw fabric or even turned under fabric edges. The inside front pocket and lining was folded around a piece of thin cardboard (cereal box) and also laced down.
 There are pockets on the inside front. The outside and inside fronts were were then stitch together and a piece of trim added around the edge to cover these stitches.
The back is padded with foam core board as well; but since the outside is plain fabric it was created by making a "pocket" and slipping the foamcore inside...then stitching up the top closed by turning under the seam allowance. 
 The inside of the back has pockets stitched there too.
 The front and the back have a piece of grosgrain ribbon between them, slip stitched in place. This creates the outside book. You can see the ribbon in this photo, even though it was taken later in the process.
The inside pages are fleece reinforced around the edges with ribbon and bias tape. I'm hoping that this will increase the wear of the book. However, I'm not over enthused at the look of the pages...and might remove all of them and start over one day...but not any time soon. That decision will depend on how the pages perform over time with use.
 I included a photo of the types of needles for each page, where the information was available. I recently purchased a packet of needle cards and used these images; but it did not include beading needles...and other odd types. I copied the cards, printed the image and covered it with clear packing tape to act as a protective cover. I stitched this directly to the page.
 The fleece pages were sewn together as a set; then that entire group was slip stitched to the book outside cover at the back flap area.Then, I opened the pages to the center and stitched a running stitch down the center seam area through the pages and the book spine of grosgrain ribbon. You can not really see this seam in the book center. 
 You can see it in the outside spine, but that will be covered with this outer spine of ribbon. The ribbon is slip stitched into place alone one side, then the other. 
 It is not stretched too tight...and the ribbon is slightly wider than the actual spine. I have a small ruler that slips into the space between the inside grosgrain ribbon spine and this outer decorative ribbon spine. This makes a handy little pocket because the bottom of the ribbon is turned under and stitched down to the inside spine ribbon, only along the bottom spine edge.
Here is the finished spine.
 
9/16/2012 Edited to Add: Felt also makes great pages!
 
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