Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Piecework Front Cover and Fall Events

So excited to have one of my sewing roll projects
 featured on the front cover of
Winter 2019 - New stands October 31, 2019

Come see the issue in Houston!
Limited Edition Kits (HERE)
Feature velvet and hand dyed wool by Ann Hermes
(Notes From The Quilt Lab)

***The kits are not shipping Internationally.  If you are coming to Houston, 
I might be able to hand deliver a kit - send me a convo***

Piecework Magazine is available (HERE)
Now Owned by Long Thread Media - new size, binding and paper!

Houston - Quilt Festival
Booth 2426 Main Aisle
Book Signing
Meet and Greet
I hope you will stop by and say hello!

November 7,  Minnesota Quilters
Journey of A Collector and Quilter
There is a guest fee for non-members:


November 9, Minnesota Quilters
How Did They Do That?
There is a guest fee for non-members:


November 12, South Minneapolis Quilters
200 Years of Hexagon Quilts
Guests are Welcome

December 7 and 8 Denver, Colorado
Trunk Show:  Journey of A Collector - Antique Quilts and Needlework Tools
Workshop:  Mosaic Pin Balls
Enrollment is Now Open


Please Contact me if you are interested in booking a private or group event.
I am booking into 2020 and 2021

I hope to see you soon!
In the meantime - Happy Stitching!


Thursday, August 22, 2019

Dressing a Canopy Doll Bed

I love canopy beds.

I have one in the guest room with a hand tied canopy.
Guests love it too.

I have a few canopy doll beds that need bedding so when I found this one - I almost didn't get it.

How many more projects do I need to add to the list?
I justified it because I thought I had a few doll quilts at home that could be used to dress it out.

I got it and I'm glad I did.

It did not look like this when I got it.

Top Finials Off

It required some work, and Mr.
Collector was very helpful.

First, it had to be cleaned.  There was a filthy canopy that was crudely secured under the finials.

Once it was vacuumed and detail brushed, it was oiled with a special mix for antiques.

Looking at the details, it wasn't made by a fine furniture maker.

That's why it was a good add to the rest of the collection of doll beds and cradles.

Other than cleaning, we left it as is.

After cleaning it was time to dress the bed!  My favorite part.

I decided I wanted a hand tied canopy.  However, I don't do netting.

I decided a crochet canopy would be close enough for me.

I pulled out my thread and crochet hooks and I just "winged" it.

I had to keep the thread secure, because Velma wanted to eat it - dangerous for a curious cat.

After the canopy was crocheted, I added hand tied tassels.  In my photo the canopy is a little crooked.  I was so focused on the quilt, I didn't adjust the canopy.

I posted both photos on Facebook and Instagram and asked which quilt they preferred...
Antique Hexagons or Reproduction Four Patches?

It was a close tie in the comments!
First place was hexagons, a close second was the four patches and there was a popular third response - rotate them!

Another suggestion I really liked was make a few more designs this size and change a quilt a month.

Do you have a preference?
Happy Stitching,
Click HERE to see some of my other doll and doll bed projects 

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

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 appliquéd 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,