Where Do All the Samples Go?

24 10 2015

Have you ever wondered what happens to all the samples at your favorite quilt shop?  At Ruth’s Stitchery if we make it, it is ours when it has run its course.  After working and teaching there for over four years I’m starting to have a fair collection of samples that have come home.

My house is finally decorated for Fall and a large number of samples have found a spot this year.


The table runner draped over the top of the ladder was a sample for the wool felt class I taught for 3 years.  (The pattern can be found at Nutmeg Hare.)  The quilts rolled in the egg basket in back weren’t samples, but were class projects at some point in time.


Another table runner from Nutmeg Hare found its way to the top of the buffet.


Here’s a better photo.


A table mat from Brandywine Design made it home, and onto the top of a can turned end table.


The turkey (pattern from The Wooden Bear) was just something to keep me busy while I went to watch my boys in a soccer tournament.  The penny rug below it coordinates perfectly, and that was a sample (the pattern is from Annelle’s Originals).


This Harvest Moon Penny Rug (pattern from Penny Lane Primitives) is sitting on my Martha Washington sewing cabinet.


This wall hanging found a home on the wall in the stairwell.  (Pattern from Wooden Spool Designs)


This pumpkin table runner which I used at one point in time to teach fused applique now resides on the kitchen table. (Pattern from Bloomin Minds)


Finally just a shot of the fireplace mantle.  No samples here, just playing around.  You’ve heard of time in a bottle, how about kids in a jar.  OK, I doubt they’d appreciate it, but they are away at college so I can do what I want.

Now you know where some samples go.


Something Odd Happened Today

18 03 2014

Yes, indeed, something very odd happened today.  I finished a class sample almost 3 weeks in advance rather than in the wee hours of the morning prior to class!  I was at the store about an hour early this morning, and in that hour I put the last stitches in this candle mat.

Spring!The pattern is Spring! from Penny Lane Primitives, and is the project I’ll be discussing in the Wool Projects class in April.  The entire mat was made with Wool Felt produced by National Nonwovens.   I prefer items that while they will work for specific holidays, they can also carry throughout a season.

I left the actual sample hanging in Ruth’s Stitchery today.



18 07 2013

GoldfinchThis post catches me up to current information from my various projects!  The panel for this month in Audubon’s Christmas was the goldfinch.  At class 2/3 of those that showed up were already pretty much finished with it, so we spent much of the class period hunting fabrics for the Quail panel.

If you’ve looked at the Kathy McNeil’s Audubon’s Christmas quilt, you may notice by goldfinches are much brighter than hers.  I once again did an image search on Google and found the birds I wanted to emulate.  I’m not a birdwatcher, but I do know males of many bird species are more flashy than the females.  I was talking to my friend and coworker Beth and she told me the colors on the goldfinch also become duller during the winter.  I had no idea!  So I have two male goldfinches on my block who are either lost or their color hasn’t changed.  I wanted the brighter birds because the largest block of cardinals is going to be bright and I wanted the flash of color in other places as well.

As you may have deduced, I did finish this block in one month. The remainder of the year will be used to finish the last two panels.

I have no idea what type of plant the birds are supposed to be perched upon.  However, I knew what color I wanted for the pods and couldn’t find it.  To achieve the effect shown here I started with a mottled batik that was more orange than anything else, and then painted over it with several different colors of Tsukineko ink until I arrived at a color with which I was pleased.

After all the applique was finished, I came back with two strands of very light tan floss and added lazy daisy stitches.  Then I used two strands of gold floss and put two wrap french knots inside the lazy daisies.

When I looked at images of the birds, a large percentage of the body was a solid bright yellow.  I added some single strand straight stitches with floss to hint at some shading.

It helps to look at fabric a little differently when doing these small pieces.  The tail feathers on both birds are a black and white dragonfly print.  I was able to strategically place the fabric so the heads of the dragonflies were covered with leaves.

Here’s a close up of one section of the block.


And yes, I have started on the next panel — gotta keep up!

Bluebird of Happiness

12 07 2013

It appears I’m gaining on the finished items for this year.  I allowed the month of June for the Bluebird block for Audubon’s Christmas.  I’m happy to say I pulled off the block in just a week.

IMG_4599The leaves were from the same fabric as the Chickadee block.  The berries were bigger (and fewer in number) on this block so I decided to go ahead and applique them .  They came from the scrap from a table runner backing and are actually supposed to be cherries in that fabric.


I added a fair amount of embroidery to the birds themselves.

Snowmen in July

3 07 2013

I just put the last stitch in this top at about noon today.

Postcard-CutiesNolan purchased the pattern “Postcard Cuties for Winter” from Bunny Hill Designs for me for Christmas several years ago.  I never quite decided what fabric I wanted to use until I saw that the pattern was being reissued using the Primitive Gatherings Snowman Gathering line of fabric.  We already had the precuts in the store so I grabbed those in early April.  The  same week I got those, the yardage arrived and I took it home the same day UPS delivered it to the store.

The blocks were super fast.  I was doing two a day for the first few days.  (Remember I get dropped off at work up to 2-1/2 hours early during the school year.)  In fact I made it all the way to just a little work on the last two blocks before I decided I had to go back to Audubon’s Christmas to be ready for class.  I  pulled it all back out last Sunday night and finished it up.  There are buttons that I will add after quilting.  I used Pendleton Wool for the snowmen which I picked up when I went to Walla Walla for the boys soccer tournament.

I had my blocks at the store during the time I was working on them and we had preorders for several patterns before they were ever released and the fabric line zipped out the door.   We were told this line wouldn’t be reprinted, but it looks like that may have changed.  We are waiting to see.

Camouflage Netting as a By Product

27 06 2013

I spent April and May on the Chickadee panel for Audubon’s Christmas.  My plan was to demonstrate starch and press applique on this block.  I did one bird and started to show my class, but everyone was already familiar with the method.  So happily, I could go back to my back basting.   I get better results with back basting, but that is a personal preference!  This is as finished as this panel is going to get until I quilt it.  The chickadees in the pattern appeared to be mostly black and white, but when I did a Google search for images I found there was a lot of gray and tan as well.


There are supposed to be loads of little berries on this block.  I decided I didn’t want to turn all those little circles so I’m going to add bead berries after the quilt is finished.  I even have them waiting for that point in time.


The design also has a large birdhouse added during the quilting process.  So in May, I demonstrated machine shadow trapunto.  Here’s the whole bird house, but I won’t use this much color when I put it on the quilt and there will be quilting around the design.


Still with me?  Are you wondering if I’ve finally lost it based on my title?  The leaves for this block and the next were all fussy cut from a leaf print.  And, yes, it does appear I may have created camouflage netting. 😉


What’s the Difference Between Owls & a Hedgehog?

21 06 2013

I allowed only March for the Owl panel in Kathy McNeil’s Audubon’s Christmas quilt.  I have to say this panel was the most fun so far.

owlsKathy’s pattern suggested padding the fence posts, but didn’t give directions.  I padded both the fence posts and the snow using Quilters Dream Request white batting.  I traced the shapes of each piece from the right side of the pattern onto paper-backed fusible web.  Fused this to the batting and cut on the lines.  I then fused the batting pieces to the wrong side of the applique fabric.  I just needle turned the applique pieces to the edge of the batting.

The “barbed wire” is yarn couched over the fence posts.  I used two different yarns twisted together to have both a little metallic and hair where animals had rubbed up against the fence.  After couching the yarn I determined the silver fibers were too long for the scale of the block, so I gave them a haircut.


Back to the question in my title.  What is the difference between owls and a hedgehog?

Hedgehog from my All God's Critters quilt.

Hedgehog from my All God’s Critters quilt.

In this case it is only where the heads of the owls and the hedgehog body were cut from the same piece of fabric.


I only purchased 1/4 yard of this fabric when I was making my “All God’s Critters” quilt.  When people in my class started coveting that fabric after they saw my owls, I wished I bought more.

I had originally intended to applique the pupils in the eyes, but after grabbing the wrong template plastic and melting it all over the black fabric, I came up with a better plan.  I used the circle template (that drafting kit from college still comes in handy) to mark the size pupils I wanted.


Then I filled in those circles using a black Fabrico pen.

I didn’t have the polka dot fabric I wanted for the feet.  So I used a dark brown batik and added dots with white Tsukineko ink with the tip of my paint brush handle.  That was a little stark, so I painted over the whole thing with brown Neocolor II crayons.

Some of my class was a little peeved with me because everything except for the bellies came out of my stash, so they couldn’t get their hands on the same things.  I’m sorry, but that is why I have a stash.