Friday, December 30, 2011

Getting Ready For CQJP 2012

The holidays are over, and I've been ruminating about my CQJP 2012 project. A year is a long time, and I want to work with colors and themes I love. I pulled out this 12" peacock block I made several years back, and this is perhaps my favorite theme. I certainly want to incorporate other motifs as well, but peacocks, fans, and paisleys will dominate my blocks. I've never done a pieced fan block (think Dresden Plate). It's a great way to try out new stitches. Plus fans in general add an elegance to quilts and blend nicely with the peacock theme...their tail all puffed up is the most beautiful fan of all. They also lend an opportunity to work more on technical skills without worrying about design and placement. That will be a nice breather now and then.
I'd like to explore the versatility of paisley motifs. Betty Pillsbury does awesome paisleys and I'd like to dream up a few of my own.
As for peacocks- I want all kinds of interpretations in thread, beads, sequins, silk ribbon. You get the idea.
I'm going to make at least 2 12" blocks and see how it goes. I have done several in a one months span, but not a years worth. That could get tiresome. We'll see.
I love color and movement. But with the bright peacock colors, one of my challenges will be making sure there is a place for the eye to rest either through color or placement.
Just two more days in December and then I go at it full force!

Friday, December 9, 2011


When tragedy happens to those we care about, it's difficult to figure out what we can do to help. And there have been many weather related upheavals this past year that have created pain and hurt around the world. Earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan, fires in Bastrop, tornadoes in Joplin and Oklahoma, hurricanes on the east coast of the US, earthquakes in Turkey...and I could go on and on.
Donating to Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc. help restore basic services, and we all need to do our part to help people financially get back on their feet. But sometimes restoring people emotionally after these tragedies is even more important.
Our Crazy Quilt International group started making crazy quilt hearts for one of our members, Hideko, who was dealing with the incredible pain of living through the terrors that affected Japan earlier this year. And when I heard that Betty in New York had gone through watching her entire town and much of her property be destroyed from Hurricane Irene, we proceededto make hearts for her as well. Here is a basket of them that were made by Crazy Quilting International members. It is a message of solidarity and hope.
I once heard that you should give people hearts, because your heart is the only place that you know where you can can keep those you care about safe. I hope that all the CQI members going through tragedy and getting these hearts know that they are sent to keep them in a very safe place- Our Hearts. Thanks to all the CQI gals who have participated in these type of efforts in the past year.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Louisa May Alcott Christmas

This was an ornament I picked up in Concord Massachusetts after spending several days there visiting Louisa May Alcott's home, revolutionary war monuments, and walking Walden's Pond. I was definitely having my Thoreau moment while there, and wanted to remember it, so the ornament was perfect. I came home, completed it, and sent it to the finisher. As it turned out, the finisher didn't think she ever received it. I came across a quote from Thoreau that said "A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone." And so I decided to let it alone.
My finisher called the following year and told me she had a Christmas present for me- and there it was, my cabin, found and finished! If you want a closer look at any pictures on my blog, just click on them and you will be able to see much better detail.
I did my own stitch guide for this and liked the stitches and threads I used. But even more, I love the memories it conjures up of a time and place where intellectual thought and practice was a daily activity.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Santa the Baker Ornament.

Another ornament from my collection. This one is probably about 12 years old. It had a stitch guide with a delightful array of stitches and beads which made it very fun to work on. The little fimo clay charms came with the piece, and are ever so tiny. I loved to cook during that period of my life.

One of my favorite cookie recipes:

Amish Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar


In large bowl, beat the butter, oil and sugars. Beat in eggs until well blended. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar; gradually add to creamed mixture.
Drop by small teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: about 5 dozen.

Now if I were to pick my favorite cookie today I'd run, not walk to Pam Kellog's site and go to her Dropped Sugar Cookie recipe. She baked some of these for my crazy quilting group when she came up to teach and it became my new favorite!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A look ahead to 2012

2012 is going to be one busy year. I have made some commitments to a few major projects that I want to focus on for the year. The first one is the Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2012. I am committing to making a crazy quilt block each month that is at least 6 by 6. I plan on turning the blocks i make into a larger quilt. While the design of the quilt is still just a twinkle in my eye, I know I want to try some "new to me" techniques. I want to do some stumpwork. I want to make I fan block (believe it or not, I never have!). I want to do more ribbonwork and silk ribbon embroidery. And I want to make more peacocks. Oh how I love them!

In conjunction with the Journal project I am going to be doing Take a Stitch Tuesday with Sharon Boggon at Pintangle. I was fortunate enough to be in a three day class with Sharon in Connecticut, and her stitching knowledge is extraordinary. How could I not? I am hoping to find ways of integrating these stitches into the crazy quilt block. (An idea stolen from one of my good friends Deb, who is also doing the Journal Project.)

Both of these programs are open to all...come join in the fun!

And as if that wasn't enough...I enrolled in Sue Spargo's BOM for 2012. I am in love with her work and wanted to do a wool piece. The colors in this piece are limey greens, and bright rosey pinks which fit in my bedroom, so how could I resist?

And what to do in my spare time each month (she laughs aloud!). I'm going to be finishing the 37 UFO projects I just counted. (I guess it's time to slink back into my cave and feel very very naughty!)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Leftovers

It looks like at least a few turkeys didn't make it
to the kitchen table this Thanksgiving. These gals were totally absent from our backyard the past few days, and now must feel that it's safe enough to return to their old habits. The pond is a big draw for all our wildlife throughout the winter.
We have been fortunate that until a few days ago, our November hasn't been the dark and bleak month we usually see around here. Not too long from now we'll be seeing white!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Christmas Ornament Parade Begins!

The older I get, the more I appreciate and enjoy doing Christmas Ornaments. They are relatively quick to do, and provide a great opportunity to play with new threads and stitches. They are also one of the things that children and grandchildren are most likely to cherish, as opposed to needlepoint pictures or pillows that have to fit into a certain decorating scheme to look good.
Whenever I pull out my ornaments that are store bought, gifted, or home made, I have a strong and emotional walk down memory lane. There is the robot ornament from my nephew that brings back his childhood days when he was wild crazy over any robot he saw. Or there is the Christopher Radko breast cancer ornament that is a stern reminder of the fight my sister went through, with the diagnosis coming two days before Christmas.
I don't throw out ornaments, I just keep adding to what I have, as I see each one as a wee piece of memory of days gone by.
The ornament I'm sharing today is probably about 16 years old. The stitches were my own- I didn't even think of using stitch guides at the time, so stitches were simple, but still effective. I imagine I paid about $8.00 for the painted canvas- a far cry from what we see now!
This isn't one of my very favorites, but it still has its special place.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

It's all about the PEARS!

I just bought a dozen lucious pears from Costco, which made me remember that I haven't shared my needlepoint Pear ornament progress up here in a long time. I now have 5 of Kelly Clark's pears completed and ready for finishing. I cut around the pears since I was originally going to finish them myself, but then changed my mind.I will send these off to the finisher along with some ultra suede for backing, velvet leaves and trims to add a finished look. It will be oo late, I'm afraid, for this years tree, but by next year I will hopefully have the whole kit and kaboodle done. I plan on using them to decorate the garland in our living room.

My favorites to work on were the crazy quilted versions- the green and multicolored patchwork ones. They made me excited enough to ask my needlework store to order Kelly Clarks 8 by 8 crazy quilt painted canvas that will be available in January.You can see it on Kellys blog entry.

I have a collection of needlepoint and crazy quilted pillows in my living room and this one would be a beauty to add to it!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Crazy Quilt Round Robin Ends

It was a delightful experience to get all of my round robin blocks back from the tone on tone crazy quilt. I had a wonderful array of talented stitchers to work on these.
Thanks to Diane, Cathy, Ritva, Rita, and Candji for creating such beautiful memories for me.

Gerry Krueger of astutely says that one of the best things that crazy quilters can do to learn and become better crazy quilters is to do a round robin and I happen to agree. I want to produce my very best work that is going into someone elses hands, and while I am working to make that happen, I am also seeing the best work of others and getting inspired.

Round robins also ensure that you keep a regular stitching schedule to meet the deadlines of sending out a block. The more you crazy quilt, the better you will get.
And if you follow blogs like you will get a lot of ideas on how to improve the design look and feel of what you are doing.

My local crazy quilt group will be doing it's first round robin here. We are starting out with a 10" fan block and will do the seam treatments and then embellish.
I hope everyone will get addicted!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wisconsin Quilt Museum Rocks!

We now have a remodeled and fully completed Quilt Museum here in Wisconsin. You can see it on it's website: . This location will be featuring quilt exhibits and classes with both local and national teachers. There is also a wonderful gift shop, featuring the talents of many individuals.

The Museum will once again be featuring University Days on May 11th and May 12th, 2012.
Students will be able to take up to 4 hour long sessions per day in a variety of quilting and mixed media techniques. It might be a nice time for those of you looking for a weekend getaway to take a trip. The town of Cedarburg where the museum is located is quite charming, with many shops, a quilt store, coffee shops and restaurants to visit.

I will be teaching again this year doing a lecture "Introduction to Crazy Quilting"
as well as a "Fun with Ric Rac" class. I have to thank Sharon Boggon for introducing me to the wonders of this humble embellishment at Crazy Quilting Adventures. I plan on doing a demonstration as well as a little bit of hands on with ric rac.

My sister Laura Krasinski will also be teaching fusing techniques at the workshops. She is now involved in teaching and selling the stunning array of Big Fork Bay fusible quilting patterns which feature a variety of animals, folk art, and travel scenes just to mention a few.

I plan on getting to the Museum this weekend and will post some pics after I do. Right now my camera seems to be AWOL after a long hiatus from blogging!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Future's so bright I wanna wear shades! this a bright CQ block or what!!??

I just completed the last of my tone on tone RR blocks, and the color for this one was yellow. What a challenge to do justice to Diane's beautiful block. These blocks are going to be used for a crazy quilt for her grandson, so she wanted a lot of "bling" and I needed to lay low on laces and SRE which are more girly girl.
My first inclination was to do a koi fish, having a lot of fun with the scales, tail and such. But the nekkid square didn't like that idea. I needed to find something that would move my focal point more to the top, so the beautiful swirly fabric in the middle could be maintained.
What child doesn't like a sunny day? Happy, happy. So I went about creating the sun using Gerry Kruegers felt technique. I covered the circle with translucent yellow sequins and beads and then couched a braid around the outside of the circle. The triangular rays were also done in felt covered by a yellow bead mix.
I added a variety of rays to the edges of the block using different weight, textures, patterns, and colors of thread. The rest of the areas were filled in with lighter and daintier pieces.
This round robin was a great teacher of tone on tone techniques. And now my attention will be focused on creating more ecru tone on tone blocks to match the
ones I got back in the round robin. More on that next time.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Maximizing design through repetition

Gerry Krueger's Block Talk has reinforced the importance of repetition to me. Using repetition as a design tool helped a lot in putting this block together. I began the block by stitching the main Art Deco motif with a single strand of silk and silk ribbons in the middle/top.
Much of the rest of the design on the block repeated the element of the open V shape of the primary motif. The dyed lace motifs had that same type of opening, as did the
Cretan stitches on either side of the main motif. The feather stitch, detached chain stitches and straight stitch seam treatments also had the same general feel. After repeating that "V" element, I went on to repeat the curved element and highlighted the curves in the lace, and added chain stitch curves.The overall piece ended up with a sort of a dreamy quality to it that had lots of contrasts in texture and size, but lots of repetition in shapes. This is the last cream on cream type block I am doing for the tone on tone RR. I have really enjoyed working in this palette, and plan to do more in the future!