My friend Terry and I are at it again! We’ve collaborated many times over the years and our recent projects include the Woods Hole Village Quilt, nursery rhyme cookies and a wonderful wedding cake. Now we’re making a baby quilt for a friend who’s due to have her baby boy any day. Terry pieced and sewed together a trapezoidal grid of bright cotton fabric and I embroidered designs that had a connection to the baby’s parents. There’s their red truck towing their boat and their chickens and honey bees, along with other fun images that a baby can identify. The chain-stitched objects are from 1 to 2 inches in size. For the past month, I’ve been posting a new embroidery from this quilt every day on my Facebook page. Most of the quilt was embroidered in airport waiting rooms and aboard airplanes during our recent trip to California. When Terry puts the layers together, we’ll figure out how we’re going to quilt it. I’ll show the completed project when we’re finished. I hope that we get it done before he goes to college!
Our trip to Antarctica has produced penguin fever! Luckily the local fabric shop had some penguin fabric to make pot holders, which I traditionally give for Christmas. See a tutorial about making my style of pot holder here. I picked fabric scraps from my stash that reminded me of the Antarctic landscape, including a dark purple and blue Mari Mekko design I’ve had forever.
Old cotton mattress pads work well for the padding.
Striped sear sucker fabric cut on the bias finishes the outside edge.
It’s time to wrap them in the penguin wrapping paper I found at the super market. Merry Christmas!
Last Sunday, we had the pleasure of attending Kat and Devin’s wedding.The bride’s family and my family have been closely connected through several generations. Kat’s grandparents and my grandparents were next door neighbors in Woods Hole in the 1940′s and our families have shared our love of folk dancing, folk music, sailing, and art ever since. Kat is an artist and her husband seems to be a free spirit. Here’s a picture of the dancing wedding couple.
As usual, I made them a wedding banner for a gift. I really lucked out with the felt colors I chose, since the wedding’s predominant color was purple/lavender. I bent wire into the letters of their names and then picked out some decorative objects and beads. The pinkish square object in the center, between their names is a cool leather button I bought years ago.
I then wrapped the wire letters with embroidery floss and stitched the square wavy edged name panel with variegated pima cotton.
I sewed the wire letters and objects to the felt piece.
Then I stitched around the outside edge of the felt banner piece and sewed the square panel in place. I added some fun ”dalmatian” stone beads in a zig zag pattern.
I added some bead and shell embellishments to the scalloped bottom edge and sewed the wrapped wire wedding date to the felt.
I picked some metal beads from India that I thought would bring an interesting texture to the hanging part of the banner.
A section of a strangled bittersweet vine serves as a hanger. I screwed in tiny metal eyes and hung the banner. I hope Kat and Devin like the banner. It was a lovely wedding and I wish the bride and groom many years of happiness!
My cousin John and his wife Mariana had a baby girl on March 1st, so I had to drop everything and make a baby banner for Eliza Jane. I took photos along the way, which give an idea of my process. It’s like the wedding banners I’ve been making for a few years. You can see all of them here.
I first made a simple pattern, with her name, birth date and weight written out. Then I cut out a smaller felt square and bent wire to form the letters and numbers.
I wrapped the wire with 2 strands of variegated embroidery floss, hiding the knots behind the curled ends. In this case, wire had to overlap to make the Z. I tried making the fancier lower case script Z, but it was hard to read, so I went with the simpler zigzag style. Below you can see how I made an orange stripe with another thread on top of the embroidery floss in JANE.
I like using variegated thread to edge the felt.
I made a narrow panel for a sheep button and some leaf beads.
Glass leaf beads and a chain stitched vine fill the space between the words.
I’ve had this ceramic sheep button for about 30 years. It’s so satisfying to put it to use in just the right place.
I braided some Greek leather that I bought at a bead show and made a strap to hang the banner. Working with the leather reminded me of making gimp projects at camp. Remember gimp? What a weird material!
Welcome to the world Eliza Jane!
An old friend asked me to make a pin for his wife. Even though I don’t usually do commissions, I couldn’t say no to this request.
David Wiesner (the amazing children’s book illustrator) and I were in the same class at RISD (1978) and he bought some of my pins back then. See posts about my pins here. He gave them to his future wife, Kim Kahng, who was a student at Jefferson Medical School in Philadelphia during that time. At RISD, David and I were lucky enough to have David McCaulay as a teacher. See the pyramid pin I gave him here. Several years ago, David and Kim’s apartment was destroyed by a fire and everything was lost, including the pins. Years passed and David was reminded of the pins when we recently got back in touch. He thought it would be nice for Kim to have a new pin. I found out that she is a pianist and since I had just returned from visiting Istanbul, where carpets are sold at every street corner, I made a piano flying on a carpet. The pin is about 1 1/4″ x 2″. As you can see I made use of hooks and eyes. David reports that Kim is wearing the pin every day! I’m amazed at how the pins I made 35 years ago still hold memories.
I made this wedding banner for my son Peter to give to his good college friend Andrew, who was married last Saturday. The wedding was in Biddeford Pool, Maine and since the couple met sailing there, I gave the banner a nautical/seaside flavor.
I wrote out their names in doubled up 32 gauge florist wire, since I ran out of thicker stuff. Then I picked out some variegated embroidery floss to wrap the letters.
I added 2 purchased red ribbon roses and then stitched some leaves around them.
The had a whole bunch of shells with holes that came from a necklace my grandmother got in Hawaii about 50 years ago. The blue piece of felt is edged with metalic thread, which is nasty to sew with, but the sparkle looks good.
The felt banner is hung from a piece of driftwood, which was probably part of an old wooden lobster pot.
I found some anchor buttons and a fish in my stash to add and some more shells to hang from the scalloped edged bottom. Best wishes to Andrew and Mary!
See posts about making other wedding banners here.
It’s wedding season once again. For a gift, I like to give the bride and groom a felt banner with their names and the wedding date. Sky is an old family friend and we’re off to her wedding tomorrow. I’m sure that the day will be as unique and wonderful as she is!
There’s a lot of showing and no telling in this post. I’ve explained more about how I wrap the letters, etc. in earlier post about other wedding banners I’ve done. See the banners for Karen & Graham and Leigh & Brendan .
Back in the 80′s, when my friends were getting married, I made portrait bride and groom dolls for their cakes. One memorable pair was Ben and Julie, riding side by side on a toy windsurfer. Julie showed me what her dress would look like ahead of time, so that I could match it.
I don’t think Julie actually wore red pumps at the wedding, but these Tammy shoes were the right size. Ben wore Ken’s leather slip ons. The shoes are stuck onto the board with double sided tape.
Over the years, the dolls had started to fall off the boat, so I reattached their hands to the boom. Now they can go back home to Ben and Julie’s. We went down to Woodneck beach in early evening, just before sunset, to take photos in the low sunlight. See other posts about more recent wedding figures here and here.
Every year, I make pot holders to give away to my friends. It’s become a seasonal ritual that started with my grandmother’s version. She used to sew a curtain ring in a corner, to hang them up with. I’ve had one of her’s in my kitchen drawer until last week, when I finally threw it out. And she died over 20 years ago! Over the years, I’ve adapted the design, which I’ll show you here.
Pot holders are so simple to make and it’s a good way to use up scraps of loud fabric that don’t match anything. I first pick out some fabric from my stash–this time some shop keepers, with a line of paper-doll chain style shoppers. I’ve had this fabric sample for years and can’t remember where it came from. I also included some checked batik fabric and some favorite 40-year-old blue Mari Mekko scraps.
I cut the batik fabric on the bias and sewed several lengths together to make tape for the edging.
An old cotton mattress pad is the secret ingredient to making pot holders like my grandmother’s. I had used up my old supply and recently found a cotton pad when cleaning out a relative’s house. Yipee! Polyester filled pot holders just don’t insulate well enough!
I cut out pieces and sandwiched together 3 layers, a front, a cotton pad middle and a back.
I then outlined the figures by stitching through the 3 layers.
Then I stitched the bias tape around the outside edge of the back side.
I then turned the bias tape over to the front side and pinned it in place.
This is the most fussy part—-stitching the tape on the top side. The tape usually puckers a bit as you turn the corner. I had previously stitched on a Wee Folk Studio label that was left over from the days of selling felt purse kits.
I saved some extra length of bias tape to flip over for a loop.
Now, they’re all in my friends’ kitchens. I like to make pot holders because they are not too precious—they will be used and enjoyed daily and can be thrown into the washing machine.
The Pocket Lady came by when I was signing copies of Pocketful of Posies at the Waldorf School of Cape Cod’s Holiday Faire on Saturday. My neighbor, Joy, was playing the role and letting children pick out small presents from a pocket for the price of a ticket. I made the pocket lady costume about 20 years ago, when I was a parent in the school. It’s adapted from a nightgown pattern and made out of red velveteen, with upholstery fabric pockets and lots of bells. I’m glad to see it continue to be used every year!
And now for the giveaway winners! Three people have been picked at random from the 80 who left comments. Congratulations to Domestic Diva, Marabilys (from France) and Emma (from Australia), who will each receive a hardcover copy of In the Heart. The book is out-of-print, but my local bookstore, Eight Cousins Books sells autographed copies (508 548 5548).