Who is your inspiration?

This is my Aunt Harriett. We just called her Auntie. She was such a gentle woman. She would do anything for anyone! She did not have children so my sister and brothers were like hers (our Mom was her sister).

She loved to knit! She could do other crafts as well but knitting was her passion. She made the most beautiful baby sets! Most she gave away. Every year at Christmas we all were eager to open her gift. We knew we would have a new hat, mitten and scarf set!!!! These are the last ones she made me. I never had the heart to wear them.

When I was growing up,  Auntie and Uncle would come to visit every Saturday night and play cards with my mom and dad. She would always have a knitting bag in tow! She’d pull out those needles and her fingers would fly. I could sit for hours and watch her knit.

Eventually, around the 3rd grade, I decided it was time to learn how to knit as well. She had shown me how to crochet but that didn’t seem to click! It was many years later when a woman living in the nursing home I worked at taught me how to crochet and read a pattern.

Anyway! My first knitting needles were plastic. I would take my knitting to school and knit on our breaks. It was there, tragically, one of the needles got broken. Being plastic, I was able to sharpen it in the pencil sharpener. So what if one needle was shorter!!! LOL

My first garment was a sweater for my uncle. It was a pretty shade of royal blue. He was a big man and I was a little girl (grade school)so he seemed overly big. I made the biggest size in the pattern. Needless to say, it was WAYYYYY….too big. I told him I would tear it out and make it smaller. He said NO! He never wore it and when we moved him out of his house several years ago there was that sweater in a drawer ❤

My Auntie is gone now but her inspiration still burns within me. I will always carry her passion for making things!

I ask you….who inspired you? Please comment! I would love to hear your stories!

HAPPY CREATING! ANITA

What to do?

I have been asked many times what is the best way to hold applique pieces in place.  A good question but not just one straight answer.

In the beginning I used fusible web to hold my pieces in place. The problem I had was it did not hold up for the duration of the time I was working on the piece. It became frustrating and I ended up using pins, which I wanted to get away from.

Pins: It is an option but my thread tended to snag and get caught when stitching. There had to be a better way!!!!!

Glue: You can use an water soluable glue stick or I have used Roxanne’s Glue. Again, I never found this really satisfying as the glue sometimes did not stick as well as I wanted and again I was back to the pins!

Staples: Yes! you read that right…lol I came across Leonie Bateman from Australia. She uses a combination of glue and staples. I have adopted this process and had great success!   The wool will self heal those holes and you will never know you used a staple. It will also work with wool felt but I would suggest not putting staples in until you are really ready to sew your piece. While the holes do come out it takes a bit longer.

You can put in as many staples as you need to hold in place. I will put at least 2 more in my bird.

I hope that helps!

Happy Creating! Anita

My new obsession!

Good Morning!

I know it has been awhile since I have written. Since my last posting I retired from my teaching position at the university and had knee replacement surgery. I also began a very structured transformation program and have lost a lot of weight and am much stronger. I am eating healthier and working out 6 times a week. This has afforded me more energy to do the things I didn’t have time for when working….YEAH!!!

The biggest thing was time in my studio. I never felt like I had enough time to really be creative there. Now after recovering from the surgery I have been working every day to get ready for two up coming quilt shows. I will be vending at each.

I decided to pick a theme this year…”Tradition meets Modern”. I also decided to pick one quilt block and see what modern looked like. My block, I don’t know how it happened, is the Dresden Plate block

I know this block has been around a long time and many quilters know it. It was one I had never made. It looks daunting but it really is easy to put together. It uses a wedge ruler and who knew there were so many different degrees of those wedges!!!

So I set out to see what was modern with this very traditional block.

   Thoroughly Modern Dresden.  Quick and easy construction of thirteen lively quilt projects for all skill levels. Change up the look of your quilts with lots of variations on the basic Dresden Plate bloBig Blooms #applique #australia #pattern #quilt #quilt-pattern #wendy-williams #wool #wool-applique

 

 

While searching on Pinterest I came across a Dresden Neighborhood. Halloween Dresden Neighborhood

I was immediately smitten with it. That was my first block

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Then I found these little rulers;    No automatic alt text available.

and my very first block was with one of the smallest rulers you could use…LOL

Here it is!!!!!!:

From there I have gone plum crazy!!!! (these did get turned into a wall hanging. It is being quilted as I write this. 🙂

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There are so many ideas I didn’t get to yet. When the shows are over I am planning on continuing this Dresden journey. Use of a 9 degree ruler will be in my future!

 

how to use a 9 degree wedge ruler - Google Search 9 degree wedge ruler  Pine Belt Quilters: Creating with the Wedge Ruler--Leslie Kiger Image result for how to use a 9 degree wedge ruler

That’s it for now!!! Off to the studio for more fun.

Happy Creating!  Anita

 

 

 

Woman caught petting the yarn!

 

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I heard that giggle 🙂 We’ve all be guilty one time or another. That moment when you step foot in the yarn shop. Your heart starts racing. You gasp with delight as your eyes roam from one surface to another. Color and texture as far as the eye can see. Like a kid in a candy store you start to get giddy. Slowly you take a step in. You stop and look around. Which way to start? The alpaca, the cotton, the textured wool…what to do? It’s all so overwhelming.

You take another deep breath and put one foot forward, then another. Your hand reaches out and plucks a soft alpaca ball. You roll it in your hands and give it a tender squeeze. You admire the content of the yarn and appreciate the color combination. Gingerly you lay it back in its nest with the others. You stroll along, your outstretched hand with fingers extended lightly glides along one skein after another.

Suddenly you look up and there she is. Your eyes meet…the shop owner has walked into the room. Silence descends upon the room and you find yourself holding your breath! Like a kid with their hand caught in the cookie jar you have been caught! What is she going to do? Then she walks slowly towards you, your hand still resting on the yarn. You can see she is about to speak. What will she say?

“Stop drooling on the yarn, we wouldn’t want it to get all wet” she says and then with a slight chuckle she continues….”we’ve all done it, we just have to pet the yarn!” Oh my…there, the cat was finally out of the bag. She understood and she was OK with it.

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As a shop owner I can’t tell you how many times this scene played out. But why is it we have to touch and finger every last skein, ball, hank, fleece and fiber in the shop? So I decided to ask my friend Goggle.

This is what I found out. There are a lot of very scientific articles out there about the chemical make up of the brain and all the actions and reactions the body goes through but I didn’t want this to be a science class.

Bottom line: Soft, fluffy things provide a sense of security and comfort. (I get grumpy when I haven’t worked with fiber in several days…how about you?) One experiment explains this phenomenon: Harry Harlow’s monkey experiments. If your want to know more here is a link: Harry Harlow, Monkey Love Experiments

Studies on touch preference over the years have generally yielded the same results: We like things that are soft or smooth; we dislike things that are jagged or sharp; depending on what we’re feeling, we experience a mild sense of pleasure or displeasure. Research has shown that these preferences can have measurable effects, influencing our moods and how we relate to others. Touching also brings up memories. Some metaphors we use: A particularly harrowing experience is “rough.” A sweet moment makes you feel “warm and fuzzy.”

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Lots of texture here!

 

Like smells and songs, certain textures can call up specific emotional states — the sense of calm coziness, for example, that comes from stroking the fur of a cat, or wrapping yourself up in a fleecy blanket. (This past semester my students made fleece blankets that were donated to people living in long term care facilities.)

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They loved this activity and it was even more special because they knew who was going to receive it! Very proud of them 🙂

One blanket was given by my student to a woman because she was always complaining her knees were cold. This is what the student said about the experience;

 

“I brought the blanket in to her and explained how we had made it in class (she had already known of my major).  She was beyond thrilled.  She began to cry and said that she had never received such a thoughtful gift. we talked for the next ten minutes, and during that time, she refused to let go of my hand or the blanket.  In fact, she clung to the blanket the entire morning, and wouldn’t stop smiling.  She did not want to have her picture taken, but she asked if I would extend her gratitude to the class for the wonderful gift. I would like to thank you again for allowing me to take the blanket, because I know that it had such a positive impact on her..” 

So there you have it! Keep on petting the yarn…I encourage it 🙂

Happy creating! Anita

Stanley

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Hi! This is Stanley. He was my brother’s childhood doll. I don’t know where Stanley came from or why my brother had a doll?? I rescued him from my father’s house years before a fire destroyed everything he had. Stanley now has a permanent home in my studio. My niece thinks he is scary and does not like him. I love Stanley and let me tell you why.

Stanley is not the most beautiful doll in the world. He doesn’t have his original clothes and his hair is vinyl. He has lost some of his eyelashes but his eyes still open and close. So what’s to love you ask. Well he represents a different time in my life and the world. A time when the world was still a little bit innocent and not so violent. There wasn’t all the technology. Certainly there was not as much hustle and bustle. Things were slower and calmer. Family was everything!

We lived in the country and rarely went to town. That meant we had to occupy ourselves. This included me and my two brothers and one sister. We had cats and dogs. Dad had a cow he milked and hunted venison in the winter. We didn’t know it but we were very poor. I remember a neighbor gave us a bag of used clothing  and we thought we hit the jackpot. I dug out a brown wool skirt and a tan vest. The zipper in the skirt was broken but I pinned it together. The vest covered it so no one knew. I had a really nice white blouse with a tie and put my pretty A pin on it. I thought I was wearing something really special!

I think this is why I love learning and using the old crafts…spinning, knitting, crocheting. It takes me back to this time when I sat next to my aunt and watched as she magically knit one stitch after another. Soon one row turned into another and before you could believe it she had a sleeve done. I could not wait to open her gift at Christmas time! Inside I knew there would be a new set of hat, mittens and a scarf. We all got a new set every year and proudly wore them to school all winter long.

As I approach the beginning of my retirement I am reminded of this time. I look forward to sitting on my porch or by my coal stove in the studio knitting or hand sewing. It does not matter as long as I can do it by hand. In my occupational therapy class I talk to my students about William Morris. He was credited with founding the Arts & Crafts movement. He felt we were losing perspective as the industrial revolution was becoming more prominent in our lives. He felt as humans we should get back to making things with our hands. Pride in our work made for a healthier individual. I tend to agree with him. I always feel good when I have completed something I made my hand.

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What childhood inspirations do you have? I would like to know.

Happy creating! Anita