Thursday, July 18, 2019

July Happenings

What a fun and busy year.

I've been traveling and giving programs.

I am meeting so many stitchers.
Quilters who embroider and embroiderers who quilt. Let's not forget antique enthusiasts who love textiles!

I am so lucky to live in an area rich with guilds.

or copy and paste:

There's also the extensive online community.  I'm sharing this video for a few reasons.
Carol, Nicola's guest is a quilter who is starting a journey creating reproduction samplers.  Nicola walks through all the supply options - so many familiar to quilters, some new.  We all love our needlework tools!
Now I know how many embroiderers quilt - so many of us will enjoy this video.

Also, Nicola mentions my book - which is so greatly appreciated.

Nicola also mentions the Needlework press Book Of Days.

Lovely images, historic snippets and patterns combined in a calendar/planner book.
It's an annual publication.  Pretty for all stitchers!

(The chart for the cover sampler is in the works)

I'm working on some new patterns and will have some announcements soon.
I am also wrapping up a big finish!

Next Events:
October American Quilt Study Group - Membership & Advance Enrollment Required HERE
October 14-17 Private Event
October - Vacation - Visits include the Pieces of American History: Connecticut Quilts Exhibit HERE 
November Minnesota Quilters 7 & 9 HERE
November South Minneapolis Quilters  November 12 
December 6th Lecture, 7th Workshop. Colorado Quilt Council HERE 

I have some bookings in 2020 and 2021 - the guilds would love to split travel expenses - contact me!

Signed copies of my book are available through me HERE
Reproduction Fabrics (signed) HERE
Stitchville USA (signed) HERE
Book Sellers Near you and Online

Hands Across The Sea Samplers (HERE)  check your local shop too
Needlework Press (HERE)  check your local shop too

I hope you are finding lots of stitching time!
Maybe attending a few guild meetings?

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Art Of High Style

Photographer:  Edward Strauss (American 1867-1931)
"Seamstresses at work in Mary Molloy's dressmaking shop in the Forepaugh Building.
Businesswomen like Molloy and Rose Boyd employed skilled seamstresses who had completed apprenticeships.  Seamstress wages ranged from 85 cents per day to $2.50 per day, depending on skill level.
Seamstresses worked 10 hour days for six days a week; overtime was common during peak social seasons"
Collection of the Minnesota Historical Society
I recently saw the exhibit, "The Art of High Style" at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.  (HERE)
This photo is worth enlarging, look at the details.  Because the work is couture, most of the sewing was by hand.  There is one sewing machine on the table.

Roth & Goldschmidt Corset Company
American, 1880-1929
In 1880 the Connecticut firm began importing
French corsets; by 1901 the manufactured 650
corsets a day.

Corset, c. 1885
Linen twill, baleen, steel

"The exaggerated hourglass torso fashionable in the 1880s could only be achieved with tight corseting.  This corset flares at the hip and bust thanks to a system of darts (folded and stitched sections of fabric) that contour the garment.  Stiff whalebone supports run throughout the body, while steel reinforcements along the center front and center back permit tight lacing"

Collection of the Minnesota Historical Society

Frame Detail

Skirt Train, extender c. 1870
c. 1870
Steel, cotton twill
Collection of the Minnesota Historical Society

"The train extender and bustle combination is a complicated arrangement of steel hoops, cloth tapes, drawstrings and ruffles.

It would have been worn under a skirt to create a bustled silhouette, where volume was concentrated high in the back of the skirt, as well as to support and extend a skirt train."

Photographer:  William H. Jacoby
American, 1841-1905
Collection of the Minnesota Historical Society

Sumner W. Farnham Residence, Minneapolis, c.1880
"Some of Minnesota's top couturiers ran their businesses within stately homes formerly inhabited by the entrepreneurial settlers.  In 1901 designer Lina Christianson (1862-1904) moved into what was once the Minneapolis home of lumber miller and banker Sumner W. Farnham (1820-1900).  There, within an upscale residential district, Christianson offered her clients a fashion-salon experience like those in France, where luxurious commercial spaces took their design cues from lavishly furnished contemporary homes.  From 1901- 1903 she ran one of Minneapolis's largest and most prosperous fashion houses with a staff of 46 employees."

"Local couture ascended during a pivotal moment for Minnesota which became a state in 1858 amid coercive and fiercely contested treaty negotiations with the Dakota and Ojibwe nations.  Abundant natural resources extracted through milling and mining along the innovations in rail transportation enriched early settlers and industrial tycoons.  Wealthy white settlers sought elegant dress to reflect their new status.  The Minnesota couturiers featured in this exhibition, with connections to Paris and other fashion centers, furnished this clientele with styles that kept in step with tastemakers around the globe."
"Minnesota's elite fashion industry flourished during the era of the "New Woman", a feminist ideal promoting white middle and upper-class woman's social and professional engagement.  The couturiers showcased here drove the economy, travelled annually to Europe and generated hundreds of local jobs- yet. they could not vote until 1920.
By 1900, Minnesota led the nation in women working outside the home; couturiers and their seamstresses were part of this movement."

Alfred Stevens
Belgian, 1823-1906
Portrait of Mademoiselle Dubois, 1884
Minneapolis Institute of Art 2007.45

The exhibit includes paintings of fashionably dressed women. 

One sketch book recorded swatches and drawings of Charlotte Hill, daughter of James J. Hill.
It documents 51 couture garments made for her, from 1893-1896
She attended boarding school in New York and Paris.  Her dressmakers are listed in Paris, New York and Saint Paul.

Then came ready to wear clothing...

Quilting Thoughts:
With the abundance and opulence of textiles available in the twin cities in this era, it is no wonder the Minnesota Quilt Project found crazy quilts one of the most popular quilts in their documentation.  Perhaps they were just newer? decorative? So many highly skilled embroiderers and seamstresses?

I hope you enjoy this small snippet of the exhibit.
If you are in the area, be sure and make time to see it.

What's your favorite detail in the sewing room photo?

Happy Stitching,

Minnesota Crazy Quilt HERE
Travel Dress Detail HERE

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Exhibits For You

There are wonderful opportunities this summer to see great exhibits with antique textiles and related needlework tools!
I spoke with several others at the Lecture series held in conjunction with the Penn Dry Goods Market at The Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center.  (HERE)
The market and Lecture series is over - HOWEVER, lucky you - the exhibit is up through September!

The exhibit includes many items shown in my book from the museum and private collection - plus MORE!

On June 14, the signature quilts from their collection go up through November.

"Sewing tools range from the eminently practical to the exquisite and whimsical. This exhibit showcases examples from the Heritage Center and private collections.  It includes pincushions and pin balls from the 18th to 20th centuries; workboxes; sewing rolls and other related tools and equipment for home and commercial use."

While in the area, try to also catch the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society Exhibit:  Decorated and Plain: An Amish and Mennonite Sampler (HERE)

Included in this exhibit are pin cushions, sewing boxes and other related sewing treasures.

"Smalls" as some like to refer to them.


Opening in June, Bryan Museum - Galveston Texas:

It is always special when an ART Museum recognizes quilts as art. 
To have them include sewing tools is exciting!
Included in the exhibit are pin cushions, sewing rolls, clamps, needle books, 
sewing machines, hoops and more! 

The Bryan Museum
Museum Details available (HERE)
Things to do in Galveston (HERE)
More photos to follow!
Are you seeing any exhibits this summer?
I'd love to hear about them.  

I hope to meet some of you June 11 at the South Minneapolis Quilters Guild where I will be giving a trunk show and presentation.
I will also be at the Minnesota Quilters Show (Rochester MN) 
signing books in the MQP booth
Friday, June 14 for the day.

Hope to see you soon!
Happy Stitching,
Signed Copies of My Book:   HERE

Sunday, April 28, 2019


Me with a few of my pinballs
 Last week I bought some of my pinballs to the Needlework Guild of Minnesota.  HERE  After discussing pinballs, they did my workshop on mosaic pinballs. Pattern HERE.  (paper patterns also available)
I made limited edition kits just for them!

I've already heard from a few who are planning their next pinballs - how fun!  They have some wonderful embellishment ideas to further personalize their projects.

It was a fun evening!

How many bunnies can you count?

Deanna sent me this photo of her pinball as well as a little walk down memory lane.  She pinned her ball with white glass headed pins.

The Hex box was a gift a few years back from another member of our sewing group.  The clam or pinch purse I made her along with the walnut pin cushion the same year.
Maybe 5 years ago??  Fun we know her so well to use the same In The Beginning Toile.  When she was here we checked the selvedge - the year was 2002.

Her little pink bear is named "Carrie".

What a precious and sentimental collection!
Maybe next she will share her berries?!?

Saturday, I was the guest speaker at the Saint Paul Needleworkers Guild Spring Luncheon.  HERE
The luncheon tables were each set with a different spring color and matching floral arrangement - Beautiful!

I was able to setup two full tables of handwork related embroidery and sewing items.  At the end of the table I had my book and an area to sign copies.
They are a wonderful group of enthusiastic and talented stitchers.

On Thursday I will be doing a program for the Saint Cloud Heritage Quilters.  HERE

I'll be bringing antique fabrics, quilts and antique quilt related needlework tools.  Guests can attend for $3.

Lots or repacking and regrouping going on!  Great Fun!
I can customize a program for any interested group - contact me or have your program manager contact me directly.

I try not to duplicate to much so people who attend multiple events always have a surprise!

Then I am off to Pennsylvania, where I am speaking at the Penn Dry Goods market.  HERE 
Their exhibit is antique sewing tools from the museum an private collections.
My lecture is sold out and they are taking names for a wait list.  There are so many great speakers I can hardly wait!  From quilts, plushwork and silk - Two full days.  Plus, the shopping - I aways find a treasure or three to bring home.

If you can't make it to an event, signed copies of my book are available directly from me - I'm happy to provide free gift wrap on mail orders.  HERE

Happy Stitching!


I Hope To Meet You HERE - Future Dates:
June 11 Minneapolis Quilters
June 14 Minnesota Quilters Book Signing (MQP Booth)
October 10 & 11 American Quilt Study Group Study Center Lincoln NE
November 7 & 9 Minnesota Quilters Thursday & Saturday Programs
December 7 & 8 Colorado Quilt Council  

Friday, April 19, 2019

Happy Easter Weekend

We are hosting Easter Dinner on Sunday so i thought I would post now.
All things spring are happening around here!
Warm Weather, greening grass and the tips of perennials showing in the mulch.
I am especially happy as my Yellow Peony is showing signs of healthy spring growth!

I have not done much spring decorating, it has been busy and I'm not sure I have time to also put it all away for summer.
I'll share some spring photos of past years.

The bunny in this photo is my pattern, and I embroidered and beaded her outfit.
The bears were made from Emily Farmer kits HERE.  I highly recommend her kits, and have almost all of them!

This photo shows the scale.
They are hand sewn, but you could do them on a machine.  The embroidery and embellishment is by hand.  The kits include everything but the fiber fill.

The kit packets make great gifts for sewing friends too!

There are kittens, bunnies bears in all kinds of variations.

This bunny print is the backing from a vintage quilt.

Aren't they happy bunnies?

Is that a hula-hoop?

So cute for a baby and spring.
I think pastels are no longer popular for babies.
hmmm.....personally I like it better than gray.

This is an embroidered and appliqu├ęd crib cover.

The curtain has a three dimensional curtain.

I like the moon looking through the window at the bunnies sleeping peacefully tucked in their gingham sheets.

I wrote much more about it in 2013.  HERE.

These are sewing eggs.  I have yet to find the Singer Egg.

The milk glass egg is an Asian import, yet very similar to a glass darning egg.

The red and gold eggs are sewing kits.

View showing the eggs opened.

Many supplies in a tiny space, thimbles, needles, threads and pins.  Not the greatest quality!
Typical in 20th century imports.

Enjoy your weekend!


I am offering free US postage and gift wrap on signed copies of my book for Mother's Day.  
I'm also including a card. Postage will be refunded right away!   HERE

Emily Farmer Kits HERE (Longer verses and history)  HERE 
More about baby bunting HERE
Crib quilt with the same name HERE

Friday, March 29, 2019

Redwork I Cound Not Resist

Happy Spring!

Our snow is almost melted. However, last year we got another 24" in April so we are enjoying the sun while we can.

I liked this redwork spread when I saw it.

The more I looked at the details I decided I had to have it.  Why did I even contemplate not buying it?!?

The fine stitches are on a wonderful linen fabric.

Each block is outlined in a gorgeous feather stitch.

This baby and dog is one of many sweet blocks.

"Best Friends" would be a good caption for this one.

The designs are so clever, they deserve captions!

This one might be one of the hand drawn designs.

It is one of the only blocks with some light wear in the embroidery.

I've never rented a bathing suit - have you?

The figure in the striped suit wading into the waves is so sweet.  Maybe the water was cold that day.

How about something like, "The things we do with friends"
A back story...They went out to lunch and decided they couldn't resist a dip in the ocean?

"How does your garden grow?"

Maybe the neighbors stopping by to checkout the garden?

The coverlet is dated 1890 and has some references to Boston and Salem.

This one is your turn...
What's happening here?

Hogs in Hand?
Pigs on Fingers?
This Little Piggy?

What's your caption?


Friday, March 22, 2019

New Children's Book

We have a shelf in the family room with a basket of toys and stack of children's books for young visitors.

Some of the books are activity books.  I have a nephew who loves maps, puzzles and mysteries....and a niece who loves animals!

I just added this book, "Rabbit No Pants and the Mysteries of Pantaloon Woods" by Gareth Shone.  Since we have a wooded lot and lots of rabbits I thought the kids would have fun!

There isn't an age recommendation, however I would guess it falls into the 'Young Reader' category.  Also good to read aloud.

I ordered my copies from Amazon HERE.
There are preview pages to give you a sense of the story.

The book is sprinkled with cute little line drawings that keep a young readers interest.

The book is a planned series, so stay tuned for more adventures!

It would be a sweet addition to an Easter Basket too.

A bit more from the back of the book.

Gareth and Julia are new parents.  You can tell from the book what a wonderful young family they are - making their way on an old (new to them) farm.  I'm guessing there are a few bunnies in their gardens.

Enjoy - and HAPPY READING!


Monday, March 18, 2019

Antique Shopping - Come Along

We spent some time antique shopping this weekend.

Join me and we'll look together.

There were still many red items out from Valentines Day.

Good for us because we hadn't been out with all the February snow.  But kind of sad too, meaning these treasures weren't sold.

I would have loved them instead of flowers and chocolates,
how about you?

I love the look of linen and lace with blue cottons.

The linen so crisp and clean, the hand crochet edging is beautiful.

The quilt top was just shirting squares but still quite nice.

I really like coverlets, and have a few in the collection.

This case mixed a few decades of bed coverings with the drunkards path quilt and woven coverlets.

Red, White and Blue is always striking.

This coverlet is "Bird of Paradise"

If you look closely at the bands you will find the words woven in the smallest areas.

It is very heavy, about mid 19th century

I always look for nice hand quilting, and this trip was rewarding.

Inspiring fine, even stitches.

Always motivating to see when working on a large hand quilting project.  I couldn't help but long did this take?

I really liked this clever foot stool.

It is an octagonal wooden box open on the bottom.

The top is covered in needlepoint with a well done corded edge.

The ring is handy to move the footstool around to where you need it!

The sides are covered in wooden thread spools that have been sawn in half.

They are stained to look like a dark walnut.

On closer inspection, each side of the octagonal box has a different spool arrangement.

Kind of like quilt blocks, or mosaic work.

Some of the sides had a circular variation, while others where square, almost looking woven.

Very clever, and a fun use of empty spools.

This sewing cabinet is missing the drawer labels, but it was very nicely made.  I think the handles are original.

This stack is from a shopping trip a few years ago.
I can just imagine adding yesterdays find...Imagine being the key word!

If I had a retro kitchen this pot holder hanger was adorable...I thought the list os uses on the front was charming.  It's that red and white theme again...

No antique shopping in the mid west would be complete without seeing at least one Sun Bonnet Sue!
Just for spring, this is example has a very tiny bouquet of flowers in her hand.  Sweet.

I hope you enjoyed this arm chair shopping trip!
I am busy quilting away on my Noah and Matilda (HERE
Be sure to checkout Wendy's (Constant Quilter) stunning Noah and Matilda (HERE)
Doing some Mary Witherwax applique (HERE) 
and mostly enjoying some sunshine and warmer weather!

Happy Stitching,


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Circa 1880 Scrap Management

3" scrap blocks
I'm doing some scrap management - how's that for justifying a new project?
I like it.

I saw Wendy's post HERE about the Circa 1880 Project and it sent me over the edge...Off I went order the set.

I'm starting with scraps (laying around the floor and cutting table) from other projects.

I just love the tiny size and simple block.

However, I'm not following the plan....
Not swapping, not using 1880 fabrics and making my own timeline.  Just a little time for machine work these days.

Happy Stitching!

More Information from Marcus  HERE
More Information from Pam Buda HERE

Friday, March 1, 2019

March Happenings

How has your March started?
I'm ignoring the weather and enjoying my stitching time.

I set a personal goal to complete all of the hand quilting on my full reproduction Noah and Matilda quilt by October.

I had it long arm basted, which was nice because I do NOT like basting a large quilt.  I have not setup my large floor frame in this house.  It was ideal for basting!  I can easily hand quilt in a hoop.

This is a large quilt over 80 x 90!

It is so enjoyable to revisit each block as I quilt.

You can see the entire quilt and block details HERE.

In order to make a realistic date I break the project down.

I time quilting one block, then multiply it by the number of blocks.  The border I estimate by thinking of it as blocks.  42 + 36 + 32 = 110.
I can commit to a block a day, at this time of the year more!  so I am estimating I could possibly finish this summer.  October - YES!
Mountain Mist 100% Cotton Batting Cream Rose
YLI Natural Hand Quilting Thread
Tulip #12 Between Needles

I plan to have other tops in the queue basted but I'm not thrilled about these needle holes.

I also would like fewer stitches per inch.

I love the white basting thread, I had to specifically request it.  They usually use black!

I don't think I will need this enough to rent time on a machine.

Things are going well with the book, I have them back in stock as does the large online sellers.
The gift wrapping promo was fun so I am going to continue it.  If you order directly from me of the Etsy shop I will sign and gift wrap your book AND include one of our new cards for free.
I'm so thrilled so many have been given as gifts!
Link Below.

Nicola Parkman from Hands Across The Sea Samplers reviewed my book on her Floss Tube Channel, Episode #22.  You can listen HERE.
About 18 minutes in!

I just can't quilt, I need a little applique in the mix!

I have continued with making mini (4") Noah and Matilda blocks.

These are so fun and I've been able to do them all from the scrap basket.  I think I will set them differently - because I already have the full reproduction.

For the tiniest of stems I'm using embroidery.

I have a few more prepped and ready!

In my Facebook group for Needlework Tools we've been
busy sharing photos of pin cushions and "Make Dos"

All are welcome to join the fun, just three little questions to keep the spam out and YOU are in!

This thread holder is made from a broken glass base, pegged wooden spool holder and a wooden spool.  There are more examples in my book.

I hope to see you this year!
A few Dates/Events:

April 6-12 Private Event
April 25 Private Event
April 27 Saint Paul Embroidery Guild Annual Meeting
May 2 Saint Cloud Heritage Quilt Guild - $3 Guests
May 16/17 Pennsburg PA - Penn Dry Goods Enroll HERE
June 11 South Minneapolis Quilters
October 9-13 Study Center AQSG Lincoln NE
November 7-9 Minnesota Quilters Guest Fee
December 7, Colorado Quilt Council

Contact me if you are interested in having me visit your group I have several lectures to select from!

Happy Stitching,

Penn Dry Goods HERE
Etsy Shop HERE  Or, DM me
Hands Across The Sea Samplers HERE
Noah and Matilda Pattern Page HERE

OK...One shot of my street about three snowfalls ago...and it's snowing NOW!