Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Chalk Pencils / Markers

Wow, I’ve really been ignoring my blog and I’m going to make an attempt to correct my ways.  I’m back! 
Did everyone have a wonderful Christmas?  I sure did!
So, I just received an email with a question about chalk markers and which ones are the best to use. 

I use chalk markers quite a lot.  It helps to keep my embroidery stitches straight.  For some reason, and I’ve tried and tried, but I just can’t stitch straight lines without a drawn line to stitch on.  Even if it’s a short 1-2 inch straight line, I can’t stitch straight!
So my chalk marker is my like a best friend and I always keep it handy.

A Good Tip!  Removing white chalk from your wool…..
First of all, when marking your wool with chalk, mark LIGHTLY.
This way the chalk stays on the surface and is not embedded in the wool.
After stitching along the white chalk line, I lightly brush the white chalk off with my fingers and then give the wool a good shake.  Most times, this removes all residue of chalk.  If there is still visible signs of chalk lines, simply take a scrap of wool which is the same color and lightly rub along the line of chalk.  Then give the wool a good shake.  This should take it out completely.

Now, I do have to say that the two markers that I’m going to show are my own personal preferences.  I’m happy with both of these so I’ve never tried any others. If you have a marker that you love to use, share it with us in the comments.
Both of these were purchased long ago from my local quilt shop.  Your local quilt shop probably carries nifty little notions and gadgets. The helpful staff  loves to give suggestions and help to find you exactly what you need.
The first one is the one that I use the most. 
CIMG0813 This pencil comes as a set which includes a sharpener and lots of chalk sticks.  The chalk holder holds one long chalk stick.  When the yellow button at the top is depressed, it releases the chalk to lower it as the chalk wears down. I’ve used this for years and I’ve only used two white chalk sticks so far.  I never use the colored chalk, just the white. 

And just a word of warning:  I never use colored chalk because it tends to stain the wool and can be very difficult to remove from the fabric.
The white chalk, if used lightly will always either brush off or can be rubbed off, leaving no signs of marking.   More on that later …

The other marker that I use is this one:
CIMG0816 This one hold powdered chalk and has a little metal wheel for drawing the line.  It makes a cute clicking sound as it’s rolled across the fabric and my grandson used to love to draw on fabric ..and his arm and face and legs with it. 
Extra powder can be found at quilt shops or at Joann’s and it’s easy to fill.  This marker makes a real fine line and sometimes it’s too fine of a line to use on thick wool which is why I mostly use the other marker instead.  I used this one all the time when I quilted with cotton fabric.  This can be purchased with yellow chalk, but again, I always use white chalk in it so that it won’t stain my wool.

I just now did a search on Joann fabrics website and see that both of these are available on their website.  I believe I’ve seen them in the stores too so next time you’re there, look in the quilting section for the rack of quilting notions.
Click on the link to go to the website: --->>Chalk Pencil at Joann’s

Click on the link to go to the website:--->>Chalk Marker at Joann’s

Another word of warning about colored chalk:  If you’re tempted to use colored chalk for marking your cotton fabric or for wool, do a test sample first.  In all of my experience, the colored chalk never comes out completely, no matter what I do to try to remove it.
I don’t even take a chance anymore.  If I have white wool, I’d rather draw lightly with pencil to mark it rather than use colored chalk.  The pencil line is easily covered over with the thread whereas the chalk colors tends to spread/bleed outside of the thread line. 

Ok!  That’s it for today.  I know some of you ladies have favorite chalk markers that you use.  Share your favorites in the comment section so that we can help those who are chalkless!

Also, my website has lots of other helpful tips for working with wool …just click HERE to find the list on my website.

Happy Day!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving & Black Friday Weekend Celebrations!

I’ll tell you something … We here at the Cath’s Pennies Designs house really have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.
Oh yes indeed, we are thankful here.  Stuffed Turkey Pattern
To celebrate our thankfulness, I’m having an Open House at my brand new website.
Details for the Open House and the special sale are on the website.
I just sent out a newsletter which also gives details of the open house.
If you have not received the newsletter but are sure that you signed up for it, go check your spam folder to see if it’s in there.
Or, if you signed up for it but never confirmed the subscription, then check your spam folder for the email confirmation notice.
Or, just try signing up again and then watch for the confirmation notice.
Anyway, my new website is http://www.cathspenniesdesigns.com/
I’ll tell you, it wasn’t fun getting it up and running, but I do have to pat myself on the back for being determined to figuring it all out.  I admit there was that one Sunday night that I was so frustrated, I wanted to just pay someone to do it all for me.  I didn’t give up though.

So, special celebrations for Thanksgiving day are …. on my new website … all patterns are only $6.00 each. Shipping is free for US and my lovely Canadian friends.  From 8am to midnight on Thanksgiving.  (eastern standard time) So get yourself outta that kitchen, sit back with your computer for 10 –15 minutes and order yourself some patterns!
If you can’t get to it on Thanksgiving day, then  Friday, all day, I’ll sell you any and all of my patterns for only $6.75 each.   If you take a look around on the website at different times during the day on Friday, you might even be able to snag something up for free!  I’m doing some quiet little giveaways but you have to pay attention!
If you can’t shop on Thursday or Friday, I’ll still give you a chance for special sale priced patterns!  On Saturday & Sunday, all patterns are $7.85 each.
Just go to the website for more info and the exact times  but basically, the earlier you shop, the better the deal.  You need to take a break on Thanksgiving.   The guys all sit and watch football while you work… take a break and make them go in to peel potatoes while you do some shopping!

I do have a favor to ask of you ladies.  I have a special place on my website that will be devoted to pictures of the projects or “art” you have made.  I’d love it if they are pictures of a candle mat from my pattern but it can be anything else that you wouldn’t mind sharing with the viewing public.  I will credit your name and website and give any info you wish about it.  If you’re selling it, I’ll give links to where it can be purchased.  But the page is devoted to my oh so wonderful online friends who just happen to be customers also. 
I’d especially would love to show one of my pattern designs made up differently than the pattern picture.  If you’ve done that, we would all love to see it!

With all of that I want to wish all of you very special readers a very happy and thankfully thankful Thanksgiving.  I treasure my customers who have become friends and I’m ever so thankful for all of your kind words of support and encouragement! 
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

“Two Olde Crowz” New Pattern For Valentine’s Day!

Did you know that real crows mate for life?
Granny and Gramps Crow are still in love after all these years!
Granny is decked out in her Sunday hat and Gramps has his reading glasses on
The finished candle mat measures 14” across.    The picture shows it made with 100% wool but woolfelt can be substituted for any or all of the wool requirements to save on expense.
crowscloseupThe crows eyeglasses are made with jewelry jump rings and for a limited time, the pattern will include one set of the rings.
To purchase more, they can be easily found at Joann’s or Michaels in the jewelry/bead aisle.
Basic hand-stitching … blanket stitch, french knots, straight stitch & whip stitch.
Wool kits are available too

To purchase the mailed pattern  CLICK HERE

To purchase the instant download E-Pattern, Click   Pattern Mart  OR Pattern Cupboard

To purchase the Wool Kit with Pattern  CLICK HERE

Wish to pay with check instead of credit card/Paypal?  Just email me
cathy@cathspenniesdesigns.com   and I’ll send you my mailing info.

Thanks so much ladies! 
Happy Day!

Monday, November 14, 2011

New Design … With The Help Of A Friend!

I always have ideas for designs in my head.  Only a few of them make it onto paper though.  The rest of the ideas are either stored away, deep in the file cabinet of my brain or just forgotten. 
When I do draw out the design in my head onto paper, sometimes it flows  easily and quickly onto paper.  Other times though, it’s a battle between my brain and my fingers.

My fingers sometimes just can’t draw what my brain wants them to draw and it turns into frustrations.  
This is what was going on with me one day a few weeks ago.  My brain and fingers were having a battle. 
I had a Valentine design in my head with cute bumble bees and hearts.  I just couldn’t draw the bee’s legs to dangle over the edge of the heart the way my brain wanted it to look.  My eraser was smoking hot from all the work it was doing and I was in complete frustration. 

In between my battle and eraser smoking, I was exchanging emails with a customer.  This customer was making me chuckle because she seemed to be having a battle of her own …only it was with her computer and trying to figure out how to correct a problem with her order. 

We finally got it worked out and she was a sweetheart during the entire time.  In and out went our emails and I noticed at one point that her email name was “TwoOldeCrowz”.

Now, I have a thing for crows, you should all know.  I’ve said many times in my blog that I really dislike crows.  They’re obnoxious and loud and they wake me up in the morning with their caws.

But yet, I did a crow design a few months ago which sold pretty well and then I did a turkey design which is …at least in my design head … a relative of my crow …

So anyway, to make a loooong story short, Dawn of the twooldecrowz, gave me the inspiration to scrap that bumble bee idea and to stick with crows.
CIMG0734 So here is the birth of my bumble bee Valentine 2 Olde Crowz.
I don’t know about you but two olde crowz makes me think of a sweet elderly couple that have been happily married for 50 years.  The gentleman has his spectacles  and the lady has on her special Sunday hat.
This is what my bumble bee candle mat turned into ….
And this is the entire candle mat finished …..
CIMG0735  “2 Olde Crowz”
This new design pattern should be ready to sell on Wednesday so stop back then if you like it.  I’ll have it at a very special price just for my blog readers.  I know it’s early to think about Valentines Day, but c’mon, Christmas will be here and over before you know it and you’ll need to have something ready to work on when that time comes!

Dawn, thank you for helping me through my bumble bee turmoil.
Bless her heart for her sweet emails and her touching story that gives even more meaning to that two olde crowz name!

Happy Day everyone!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Thinking Outside of the Pattern!

About 15 years ago, I remember walking into my local quilt shop, with quilt pattern in hand, and asking the owner for the exact fabric colors that were called for in the pattern.

Maxine, the owner told me that sure, she could show me the exact colors to use, but she suggested that I think outside the box pattern.

She explained that so many ladies want to make something exactly like the pattern picture shows but they could so easily make it look completely different if only they would choose the fabrics they really loved instead.

She offered to help me select colors using the fabric colors that I really loved in her shop.  And I learned then to think outside of the pattern.

And this is why I always encourage customers to visit their local quilt shops.  Each time I visited that store, I learned something new.  They are there to help you become a better stitcher/sewer.  You might pay a little less at your local Joann fabrics, but you will never get the service or the lessons like you do at your quilt shop. 

So anyway…. haha  … I was messing around with my pattern pictures, resizing and touching up, when I discovered a feature in my photo program called “metallic gold”. 

Here’s what it did to my “Apple Blossoms” candle mat picture:

AppleBlossoms gold

What pretty Fall colors!


So what used to be a Spring/Summer candle mat:

AppleBlossoms 600

Can be made into a pretty candle mat for Fall, just by changing the colors! 

So take a look at your patterns again and try to imagine what it might look like if you changed up the colors a bit!


And speaking of Fall.  Rachel bought some deeelishous pumpkin cookies from the grocery store bakery.  They were puffy and cake-like with a thin frosting on top.  If anyone has a good pumpkin cookie recipe, please send it my way.  I’ve found it to be so much better to use recipes that other people recommend rather than opening a cookbook.


Happy Day everyone!

Friday, October 7, 2011

New Pattern ----> “The Melt”

My new pattern …. Just in time for your holiday gift-giving stitching! 
I’m calling this one “The Melt”   It’s really a trick for the eyes…
Take a look at this picture…
Were your eyes naturally drawn to those cute little red cardinals?
….and then did you look down and discover that the cardinal is nesting on a melted snowman?  Yeap.  It’s a surprise for the eyes!
closeup melt
It’s smaller than most of my other designs.  It’s just a little over 12” across … just the perfect size for a votive candle holder or a small pillar candle.
The really nice thing about this is that it takes very little wool to make this.  12 1/2” wool for the front and backing and then all the rest of the wool is just small scraps with the white wool just needing 4” x 12” .  So for very little $$, this can be a wonderful gift for anyone!
The picture shows it on a blue background but black would look just as nice.
Just click on the Paypal button on the left to purchase the mailed pattern.

The e-pattern is also available for this.  You can purchase it from my PatternMart site CLICK HERE  or from my Pattern Cupboard site CLICK HERE
Oh yes, …almost forgot… if you wish to pay by personal check instead, just email me and I’ll send you my mailing address.  cathspennies@gmail.com
candle Melt
I really do hope to start back to my regular posting.  Life has been rather hectic this past summer, but I will fight to get myself back on a regular posting schedule …simply because I miss it!
Happy Day everyone !

Saturday, September 10, 2011

“Stuffed Turkey!” New Pattern!


stuffedturkey 600 The finished size of the beauty is 14” round. 

Those turkeys just make me smile.  We have a lot of wild turkeys in our area and I’m always amazed that something so big and heavy can get itself up off the ground and fly. But they do!  They look like bombs falling from the sky when they land too … I’ve been scared a few times while driving to see a turkey bomb landing along the side of the road.

But these turkeys aren’t flying anywhere.  They’re stuffed full!

It’s a lot of stitching and all the wool along with the detailed stitching makes this a really nice heavy mat. 

I recommend 100% wool to make this but woolfelt can be substituted for any or all of the wool requirements. 

Pattern price is a special $8.50 for the next few days. After that, the price will go up to the regular price of 9.50.  This price includes shipping for US and those super friendly Canadians.  (I love Canadians :) Just click up there on the left to order and Paypal pay.

I will have wool kits available too. Unfortunately, I’m completely out of the wool that I need for this.  I’ll get my Woolrich wool order delivered Monday for sure so wool kits will be ready to go by the end of next week once I get it all dyed and ready.  More info about this in the next few days.

Don’t want to use Paypal?  I accept personal checks!  Just email me

cathspennies@gmail.com and I’ll give you my mailing address.

Do you like E-Patterns instead of mailed patterns?

I have that available too!

Go to my Pattern Mart site HERE

Or go to my Pattern Cupboard site HERE  to order the E-Pattern.



Happy Day everyone!

Friday, September 9, 2011

I Made a Turkey! New Design Soon!

Last year, I had several requests to do a turkey candle mat. 
I spent quite a bit of time drawing out and stitching a really nice turkey mat and it turned out beautiful!  There was a problem with it though … and it was  a BIG problem.  I couldn’t get a good picture of it for the front of the pattern because I made it with muliple dark colors.
I just couldn’t get the picture to show the details, so I gave up, thinking that I’ll do another one for this year using different, lighter colors.
I can’t bring myself to making another one though.  It wasn’t fun for me to make to begin with because it was basically 8 turkeys in a circle. They had no personality. 
I sat down last week and gave my turkey some personality….
It was inspired by my Crows in my “Those Blasted Crows” design…
crows600 But yet different….
As I was stitching it, I got the comment from hubby …. “it looks like the crow” …. I didn’t listen to him.
Then I got the comment from my 4 1/2 year old grandson,
“It looks like the crow, granma”. 
I didn’t listen to him either. 
My best designs came from not listening to the comments while I’m stitching. *chuckle*
This is my turkey with personality….
Introducing: Stuffed Turkey!
stuffedturkey 600 I should have the pattern ready to sell tomorrow so come back if you wish to make this for yourself!

Also, I have a newsletter almost ready to go out.  If you haven't signed up for my newsletter, just click up there on the left sidebar.  I am trying to get one out once a month, but it's been hectic lately and I haven't been able to. Be assured that I won't bother you more than once a month with my mail in  your inbox...mostly because I haven't the time!
If you think you've signed up but haven't received any newsletters, sign up again and then be sure to check your spam inbox to make sure the newsletter confirmation  wasn't delivered there. 
I will be offering a Christmas stitching special in the newsletter so be sure to watch for it!

Happy Day everyone!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Pattern! Black-Eyed Susans

It’s that time of year when I see the Black-eyed Susans everywhere.
They remind me that Fall is approaching.
This is a design that I created a few years back and sold as finished candle mats.  I had so many requests for the pattern recently, I decided it was time to sell the pattern.
Here it is…
“Black-Eyed Susans”
Wool Appliqué Penny Rug Candle Mat
Finished size: 13” round
This one is really easy to stitch. Since the flower petals are loose, they only need stitched in the center to attach them.  The center green circle and stems are done with a stem stitch and the gold scallop circle that weaves in and out are done with a simple backstitch. 
So pretty!  So easy!
The pattern price is only $9.50 which includes shipping to US and Canada. 
Click on the Paypal button on the left to purchase or if you wish to pay with a check, just email me  cathspennies@gmail.com .
Wool kits are available for this too.  Kit price  includes:
*The pattern
*Pretty speckled black wool for the background & backing
*Hand-dyed gold and green wool for the flowers and leaves.
*Shipping (international customers will need to pay a little extra)
Kit price is $36.00
If interested, just email me cathspennies@gmail.com

I have a downloadable E-pattern available for this too.   Patternmart and Pattern Cupboard will have the E-pattern available soon … links will be added here soon .

Happy Day everyone!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cutting a Perfect Background Candle Mat Scallop

I have to say, I have the best customers!  I really REALLY appreciate all the thoughtful and kind emails I get from them. 
I welcome any and all questions and always invite customers to please ask for any help they might need along their stitching way. 
I even get questions about how to stitch other designers patterns and I help when I can. 
Recently, it was brought to my attention that perhaps the instructions for creating/tracing the background scallop needs to be more specific.  I’ve done literally hundreds of these scallops in so many different shapes and sizes that it’s a simple, non-thinking process for me but I do have to keep in mind that those of you who are new to this might not find it so easy. 
So, I’m here, right now, to make this step-by-step and easy!
CIMG0609 To get started, you’ll need one of my candle mat patterns, a pencil, and a sheet of Freezer Paper.  
Tear off a sheet of freezer paper that will be large enough to fit the entire background shape …usually about 15” square or so. 
For my patterns, I try my best to have the background shape printed on a legal size sheet of paper( 8.5” x 14”) so that the shape only needs traced twice for the background.
CIMG0622 For those ladies who have downloaded my epatterns or for a few of my patterns where the shape is too large to fit on a legal size sheet of paper, the background shape will need to be traced 4 times to create the background.  Sorry, there’s no avoiding that issue.
CIMG0610 Lay the sheet of freezer paper over the pattern background.  You should be able to easily see the black lines of the pattern through the freezer paper.  If not, then try taping the pattern to a sunny window.
Trace the shape onto your freezer paper.
CIMG0611 Here, you see, I have half the pattern drawn.  At this point you might be tempted to line the straight edge up on the fold of your wool and cut through double thickness of the wool.  DO NOT DO IT!
The wool is too thick to be able to cut it accurately that way.  The pattern needs to be laid out on a single thickness of wool.
Take the little bit of extra time and do this right!
So, flip your sheet of freezer paper to the opposite side …
CIMG0614 Line up the straight edges and draw it once again to create the complete scallop.
If the pattern needs traced four times, just line up all four corners in the center to create the entire scallop.
CIMG0615 Once the pattern is traced, simply rough cut around the drawn shape …
CIMG0616 Take it to your ironing board .  Turn the iron on to the wool setting with NO STEAM.  You need a dry iron for this. 
CIMG0617 With the plastic/shiny side down, and the paper side UP, iron the freezer paper onto your wool.  The center doesn't need much but be sure to iron the edges well so the paper holds well when it’s time to cut. The heat of the iron will warm that plastic coating just enough to stick to the wool.
CIMG0618 Once it’s cool, simply cut the shape along the traced lines.
CIMG0619 See!? We’ve created the perfect scallop shape. 
CIMG0620 The freezer paper peels off easily but be sure to slide your fingers around the edges to loosen first before peeling so that the wool doesn’t stretch. 
This is why I always so highly recommend using freezer paper instead of just pinning the pattern onto the wool. 
Wool stretches so easily, pinning the pattern and cutting just doesn’t give the accuracy that freezer paper gives.  The freezer paper holds that wool tight so there’s no stretching. It’s especially good to use when a lot of detailed shape cutting is required … like my “Jingle Bell Candy Cane” pattern or the “Christmas Sugar Cookie” pattern. Those backgrounds have a lot of twists and turns so a tight holding freezer paper will give you accuracy when cutting.
The traced freezer paper shape can be used over several times too so one tracing can get you sometimes (depending on the wool) 4-5 uses before needed fresh freezer paper.

Ok, I really hope that helps to clarify the instructions for the backgrounds.  As always, I welcome any suggestions that will help me to make your stitching easier. 
Happy Day everyone!


Monday, August 8, 2011

“Christmas Sparkle” <<-----LQQK!! ---->>New Pattern


Heeey y’all!  Yes, I’m alive.  I’ve not been around in blogland for a while, I know.  I’m going to try to do a better job of keeping up simply because I really miss it.  It’s been extremely busy here at  the home of Cath’s Pennies Designs.  Summer has whipped me with lots of heat and lots of outside work, leaving me no extra morning time for blogging.

But, I’m here to announce my newest design fresh from the printer…

Christmas Sparkle!

CIMG0603-use This wool candle mat measures 15” round and it’s difficult to tell from the picture, but I used special metallic threads for just about all of the stitching,  These metallic threads make the entire mat “sparkle” in the light.  CIMG0600

Don’t let the thought of metallic threads scare you off from stitching this though.  The DMC red and the gold threads are easily found at Joann fabric or anywhere that DMC embroidery floss is sold.  The metallic threads hang right next to the floss.

CIMG0562 This is what you’d look for at Joanns or at Michaels Crafts.

The pattern is available for sale right now. 

I’m offering the mailed pattern to my blog readers at a special price of $8.00(US & Canada, all others will just have to pay a little extra for shipping)

After next Wednesday evening, the price will go up to the regular selling price of $9.50.

Click on the Paypal button over there on the left to purchase the mailed pattern.  If you wish to download the E-pattern for this, then go to PatternMart HERE or at Pattern Cupboard HERE


If you wish to pay by personal check, just email me for my mailing address  cathspennies@gmail.com


Wool is available for this.  The special hand-dyed red mottled wool used for the ornament and the green wool for the ivy leaves can be purchased for $11.99 plus $1.50 shipping. 

Email me with your interest and I’ll send you a Paypal invoice .


Happy Day everyone!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

“Those Blasted Crows!” NEW PATTERN!

Did you know that crows are considered one of the smartest birds?
This new pattern is to honor those smart, but obnoxiously annoying birds. 
There must be something to like about crows … I just haven’t figured it out other than to make them somewhat cute on a candle mat design!
crowslrg The finished size of this candle mat is 14” round.  The picture shows it made with 100% wool but woolfelt can easily be substituted for any or all of the wool requirements to help save on expense. 
The special new release price for this pattern is $8.00 which includes shipping to anywhere in the US or Canada.  It will be $.75 more for all other international orders.  (i’ntl customers email me before paying please)  The pattern price will go up to the regular selling price of $9.50 on Thursday, so order now to save $$.

An instant downloadable E-Pattern is available for this design.   The price for the E-Pattern is $5.00. The E-pattern can be downloaded at Pattern Mart or at  The Pattern Cupboard 

If you wish to pay by check instead of Paypal, just email me
cathspennies@gmail.com  and I’ll send you my mailing address info.
I have wool kits available to go along with the pattern too.
The price is $38.00 including the shipping cost and the pattern.
That price includes all the washed and felted wool fabric* needed to make this.
(100% wool …no woolfelt)
*my own hand-dyed green background, orange & gold wools. The wool for the crows is a speckled black wool.
If interested in the wool kits, just email me cathspennies@gmail.com and I’ll send you an invoice for payment.

Happy Day everyone!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Oh Those Annoying Crows!

 EDIT 4/29/16  I've changed my mind about crows.  They are amazing intellegent creatures!
Did you arrive here from the link that was on my website??
CLICK HERE if you did!

Somewhere, in a previous post, I made mention of how much I dislike crows.
Real crows are annoying, obnoxious, loud and GIANT PESTS.  If you’ve ever had crows nesting in trees close to your house, you will understand completely.
I know they’re popular in primitive decorating so managing my distaste for them, I have included crows in some of my designs.
However, I have always said that the crows that I draw for designs will always be nasty and realistically crow-like.  I’ve refused to make them adorable and cute …..
Gosh ….  until now!  
Crow My newest design doesn’t have a name yet…. I really want to name it
“DaMn Crows” but that really wouldn’t be appropriate, I guess.
We’ve been fortunate the last  year or so to NOT have nesting crows on our property.  Sure, I can hear them once in a while, cawing and being obnoxious, but they’re not waking me in the morning.
That’s probably the main reason why I’m so willing to make some cute crows.  But I think I jinxed myself because wouldn’t you know it …
I was just finishing up some of the very last stitches on this yesterday morning when I went to the front door, opened it to let in fresh air, only to see TWO &!!# CROWS out in the driveway!

And since I mentioned finishing up the last stitches on this … does this always happen to you too ?…
CIMG0463 This seems to happen to me every time … I get THIS^^ close to finishing and run out of thread!

Anyway, the new crow design pattern should be ready to sell on Monday.  I still have to think of a name for it …. leaving curse words out!

Happy Day everyone!

Monday, June 20, 2011

“Climbing Clematis” New Pattern!

This is definitely one of those designs that the picture just doesn’t do it justice. 
This looks pretty on a table, but honestly, it’s gorgeous hanging on a wall. The big splashy lifelike flowers really stand out against the trellis.  I think the living room wall is where my “Climbing Clematis” is going to go.
The finished size of this is 10” x 26”. 
The pattern is now available to purchase.
CLICK HERE to go to the website "Climbing Clematis" pattern page
The wool kit, which includes the pattern and all of the 100% felted wool (NOT wool felt!) needed to complete the table runner.
Any questions?  Just email me!
Thank you ladies!
Happy Day!


Friday, June 17, 2011

Climbing Clematis Let’s make it!

I love Clematis flowers….
For the longest time I wasn’t able to grow it.  We had a golden retriever named Trixie who found it to be a tasty snack.  I probably tried at least a dozen times to buy it and plant it only to have Trixie eat it.  I gave up … until she died.  Now I can grow Clematis, but I can’t help but think about her fond craving for it every time I look at it growing outside.
My hubby made me a pretty trellis so that it climb up the brick at the side of our house.  See how I get my inspirations?
Since I wasn’t sure that I could pull off the perfect image of this that was in my head ….
CIMG0369 I picked some of the real flowers, along with the leaves and laid them out on the lattice background.  I liked how it looked so …
Onward we go.  I’ll show you how to make this!
Now please remember, I’m doing this tutorial so that you can see it’s pretty easy to stitch and you’ll want to purchase the pattern to make it for yourself.  I really hope that ya’ll know that you will have to buy the pattern to make it and not try to make it without the purchased pattern .. that would be a form of stealing and it would make me sad….
The pattern is sold HERE ON MY WEBSITE!  The wool kit is also available.
Ok, here goes!  …..CIMG0370Starting with the background wool, I quickly basted right up the center of the wool to make it easier to center the lattice strips.
This basting stitch will be removed once the lattice is stitched on.
I lined up my first set of lattice strips, measuring according to the pattern directions to get them centered correctly.  The pattern has a layout guide which will really help with getting those first strips placed exactly right.
CIMG0372 To make it easier to keep the strips at an equal distance apart, I cut squares of paper to set inbetween the strips.   I pinned the strips in place. I lined up the center points of the lattice with the center basting stitch on the background wool. Be sure the strips overhang the edges at least 1 inch so that they can be turned under once the backing is stitched.
CIMG0380 Pinning just a few rows at a time, I blanket stitched all sides. 
Pinning and stitching a few rows makes it easier to keep the strips spaced correctly.  You can see that the strips are woven in a out like a basket-weave.
This does take some time, but if you use lots of pins, it’s really not difficult.  The spacing doesn't even have to be perfect because the flowers and leaves will cover up any flaws. 
CIMG0379After all the lattice is stitched, There are two ways to handle the lattice edges.  On way is to flip the table runner over and cut off the white lattice tails to make them even with the black background wool.  This leaves all those edges exposed and needing a lot of extra stitching once the backing is put on.

The other way, which I prefer, is to  fold the edges under and then stitch the backing over them.  This gives a little bulk to the edge, but once finished, the edges look a lot neater and smooth compared to the way they look if trimmed evenly with the black background.

The pictures for that will be shown down below along with the backing instructions.

Ok, the lattice is finished! Time for the clematis flowers!

There are 4 large clematis flowers and two smaller sized flowers that are stitched onto the background lattice.
I'm using two different shades of purple. One shade of purple for the large flowers and another shade of purple for the smaller flowers.  Purple is my favorite clematis color. Whatever your favorite clematis color is, it will look beautiful on this table runner too!

The flowers are super easy to stitch.  I pinned the first one on and just did a backstitch up each one of the flower petals.
 I pulled the thread tight before knoting it in the back so that the petal is just a bit puckered.  If you don’t want the petals to pucker, then be sure to loosely stitch that backstitch.

CIMG0394 For the clematis flower center, I whipstitched it in place and then …

CIMG0395 filled the area with french knots ….
CIMG0367 See how the flower center looks on the real flower?  I tried to duplicate that …
CIMG0396 To do that, with knotted thread, I took a stitch from the top.
CIMG0397 The knot with the little tail is pulled down and now …
CIMG0398I’ll just take another tiny stitch, knot it at the top and …. CIMG0400 then I trim the tail threads.
CIMG0401I repeated this all around the outside edge.  Make as few or as many as you wish but I found that making lots of the loose tails looked a bit too messy.  I’m quite happy with the look of them just around the outside edge.
  CIMG0402The leaves are simply backstitched up the centers. 
It’s just about done!  I just need to attach the backing.
The flowers and leaves can be arranged however you wish.  The picture on the front of the printed pattern is just one way to arrange them.   

Now for the backing!
Like I mentioned earlier, the lattice edges can be trimmed, even with the black background.  Those lattice edges all need to be securely stitched down, if done this way.

 The other way to handle those lattice edges is to fold the extended edges under, tucking it down between the background wool and the backing fabric..... 
Pin the lattice areas down.  The folded extended lattice will now be tucked between the background wool and the backing.

For the backing, I used black cotton fabric.  If you prefer to use wool for the backing, simply cut/tear the wool the exact same size as your background wool.  Pin the edges together and blanket stitch around all the edges, using ecru thread for the white lattice and black thread for the black background edges.
For the cotton fabric backing, I cut the rectangle 1” larger than the the wool background and ironed a 1/2” around the edge.  After pinning the backing on, I blanket stitched around the edges … using black thread in the black areas and ecru thread on the white lattice areas. 
I know that takes extra time to switch over and change the thread color …  if you don’t want to go to that extra effort, it could be done in all white threads or all black threads.
Either way … it will turn out absolutely gorgeous!
 Finished size is 10" x 26"
 Here's one with different colors
The Climging Clematis shown below is the first one I made.
The clematis flowers are arranged differently and there are extra leaves on it. 

Happy Day everyone!