Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Big Thread Love

The number one question I have been asked since first posting about my Work Quilt Series is "What type of thread are you using for the hand quilting?". I get asked this almost daily, and have lost count of the emails received. Suffice to say the thread has made an impression!

I put a lot of thought into what type of thread I wanted to use for these quilts. I knew I wanted certain elements... high quality and durability, 100% cotton, matte finish, beautiful and wide color range, and thick enough that it showed well on the surface of the quilt, but thin enough that it could easily pass through the eye of a hand quilting "between" needle and go through the various layers with ease.

I decided to use Sulky® Premium 100% Egyptian Cotton Threads, as it had all the elements I wanted. I have not been disappointed. In fact I have been so happy with the product and viewer response, that last week I decided to write a Thank You letter to the Sulky folks. I wanted them to know how much I loved their product and also showed them some pictures of my quilts so they could see how I incorporated their lovely threads into my work.

Later that same day, I was delighted to hear back from Patti Lee, Vice President of Consumer Relations for Sulky of America. Her prompt and personal reply to my letter only made my admiration for this company better. (How wonderful to know that the personal touch still exists in at least one large company.)

But here is the best part... Just look at what came in the mail today...

A Sulky Slimline Storage Box...

Chock full of 42 gorgeous Sulky Premium Cotton Threads!

Patti was beyond kind... Generously gifting me these delectable Sulky Cotton Blendables in 12 wt. to try out in my quilts!!! I feel like I won the lottery, and am beyond excited!

Previously I have only tried the solid thread colors, and Patti thought that I might also enjoy trying these beautiful Blendables...

I can barely wait to get started and I know they are going to look fabulous against the shot cotton fabrics in my Work Quilts! I am truly blown away by this gift, and deeply appreciative.

If you would like to try some of these Sulky Premium Cotton Threads in your own work, and are unable to find them where you live, you can purchase them here on-line at Speed Stitch and/or Uncommon Thread

P.S. Thank you for all the well wishes in regards to my daughter. Happy to say that after several rough days, M. is feeling much better and went back to school today. xo

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Kiss your Kids

There are two reasons I really dislike winter... the cold, and the viruses that go around. I dread those viruses.

On Friday, my teenage daughter M. got a stomach virus. Now, these are always unpleasant for anyone, but for her they can quickly turn very dangerous. For whatever reason, M. is extremely susceptible to dehydration, (no doctor has ever been able to tell us exactly why, just that some people simply are). Despite all of our precautions, and following doctors orders diligently, it always seems to happen, and it generally happens in the blink of an eye. One minute she can seem fine and alert, the next minute she starts to pass out. Friday evening was no exception.

She awoke from an hour nap, feeling much better, after being sick most of the day. I was relieved to see her looking good, and we talked a bit as I followed her to the bathroom, and waited outside the door in case she needed me. Two minutes later she emerged, slumped and slurring her words, and then she fainted, going down inches away from me, like a ton of bricks, and hitting her nose and head pretty hard. To say I was scared is a gross understatement. By the time I got her to the hospital she was tired, and in pain from the fall, but much more alert. She had no memory of fainting.

Not only was she severely dehydrated, her blood pressure was extremely low. Even after a full IV bag, it still was dropping, reaching a low of 77/37. After another IV bag and a few more hours, I was able to take her home. (Very lucky this time as previous episodes have resulted in days of hospitalization.) She is on the mend now and should be up and about in another day or two.

So, remember to kiss your kids today, and let them know you love them. Seeing your child so vulnerable, always puts things into perspective.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Work Quilt #3 - All Done!

The 3rd "Work Quilt" is now finished...

This one is more minimalist then the previous two.

Just three different shot cottons were used. Two for the quilt top, and one for the patches.

A simple grid pattern was first machine quilted, then overlaid with another hand quilted one.

The patches are all stitched with an x inside of the border... reminiscent of a barn door.

In fact the whole quilt took inspiration from the local farm land... the colors reflect those found in the fields during the late fall and early winter. The stripes represent the various strips of land colored by the different crops. The stitched grids represent the straight, (but not perfectly straight) plowed rows. And the patches reflect the dark red barns that dot the land.

After everything was stitched and quilted and bound, the quilt was then machine washed to bring out all of its texture... that's the best part!

Below is a photo of Work Quilt #1 and Work Quilt #3 happily gracing my living room, and I'm lovin how they look, and the warmth that they add to the room.

But now I have to temporarily say goodbye, and pack them up, (#2 as well) and ship them off... for all three quilts have been invited to partake in a little photo shoot... but that is all I am telling... at least for now!

(Please wish them safe travels and a quick return!)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Patching Things Up

I'm now on the final layer of Work Quilt #3... sewing a few patches here and there... which will be followed by some more hand quilting, and a good wash in the machine to bring out the textures. Hope to have it all completed in the next few days.... but someone has been stealing my attention...

(Ellie Mae wishes you all a very Happy Valentines Day!)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Welcome Home, Ellie Mae!

I am happy to introduce to you the newest member of our family, Ellie Mae.

We adopted Ellie 2 days ago from the Humane League, but due to their policy of spaying the dogs before releasing them, we weren't able to actually bring her home until today.

It has been 6 1/2 months since Mo passed, and I still miss her with all my heart. Everyday I talk to her photo, (and still sometimes cry) I feel Mo around me, and recently started to feel her letting me know that it might be time to welcome a new four footed friend into our home. I think Mo selected Ellie to be our new little love, for all of a sudden on Sunday morning I knew that I must get to the shelter, and so I drove 40 minutes through ice and snow covered roads. Not a rational thing to do, but there she was. I cannot express enough how sweet and laid back Ellie is. Thank you Mo.

Here Ellie Mae is all bundled up waiting for me to get my coat and boots on so we can go outside in the bitter cold... another blizzard is on the way... not a great time to convince a dog that outside going is the best way to go. (Her clothes are made from two recycled shirt sleeves and one sock.)

The shelter's vet estimated her to be 1 year old. She's only 7lbs. 10oz. pounds and apparently is a Dachshund/Chiwawa mix, which I found out is referred to as a "Chiweenie"! She was found wandering the streets of the city where we use to live... now she's a country girl. :0)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What's New

I started Work Quilt #3 last week... This one is definitly influence by the colors and lines of the winter farm fields around me, and will be a bit simpler and more subdued then the previous two Work Quilts. So far I have pieced and machine quilted it and am now just beginning on the hand stitching layer... lots more to do on that!

By the way, someone recently asked me what a "work quilt" is. In case you are wondering too, it's just a name that I have given this new series. It seemed fitting as I am being influenced by the work of old utilitarian quilts, antique patched and mended textiles and from the rural countryside surrounding me.... all of those influences share a very basic honesty, no frills mentality that is resonating very deeply within me these days.

Speaking of winter farm land... check out these super wooly sheep...

Hubby found them grazing on a nearby hill along a road we seldom travel... he knew I'd adore them... and I do.

(Note to self... drive down that road more often!)

I've also started a new blog, Worn and Weathered where I can post pictures of the old, and sometimes seemingly abandoned structures around me, such as the one above... a place to record the visuals that are strongly pulling at my heartstrings and offering me a lot of soulful inspiration.

One more local shot to share... Passed by this farm the other day with the greatest Purple Martin birdhouses that I have ever seen... I get such a kick out of the three different sizes... economy, standard and luxury.

And last but not least... My Silly BooDilly Etsy art shop is temporarily closed while I create new work. Hope to be restocking by March. In order to focus more fully on my stitched work, I have also decided to shut my BooDilly Etsy fabric shop... anyone interested in purchasing my fabric can now do so directly from Spoonflower and do it at Spoonflower prices! This is a much better deal then I could have offered and I think it's a win win deal!