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February 2012

January 2012

What's your word?




Did you get the memo? For 2012, we're supposed to choose a word that will define the year. Well I've been collecting words for a long time and hadn't jumped on the trend. There are too many to pick! But on Saturday, Jeri suggested that it would be fun to take all the words you like and then randomly stitch them on to fabric. That's all I needed!!

About a year ago, my friend Heidi made me this flashcard set ... it spells out my name but each of the letters had a word and a definition put with it that she felt described me. I look at it every day and when Jeri launched that idea, I knew exactly what I was going to do ... I was going to stitch ROSEANN using Heid's cards!




I messed around on the computer and found fonts I liked ... adjusted the size and sort of got things the way I wanted. They had to be big enough to stitch easily and fun, too!




And this is what I ended up with! I couldn't decide on a few of them so I gave myself some alternatives. And then I pulled out some of the words from the definitions and maybe I'll fit those in there some place, too. My plan is to randomly stitch the words in no particular order ... you'd have to search to know it's my name. And I thought I'd fill it in with "stuff" ... things like stitched flowers or birds or maybe bits and pieces of embellishments I have laying around. I had a vintage tea towel in my stash with such pretty embroidery on the edge ... that's what I'm going to use!




Seemed logical to start with the R word first so I just popped the towel over the top of the word and traced. Ok fine ... I did adjust a tiny bit because it was going uphill ... but not too much fussing with it. I've been loving working with the Aurifil 12 wt thread so I'm going to start with that and see what happens. That spool of turquoise was a perfect match! This is one of those projects that is just for play ... no other reason ... no purpose. I think it's important to have things like this to work on!




Gifts of good taste!


Don't you love giving ... and receiving ... gifts from your friends? It's like they know exactly what will stir your heart! I've been blessed to have great friends who have given me wonderful gifts ... so many of them made by their own hands.  And the ones they didn't make have had so much thought put into them ... like they can see right into my heart and can see what will make me happy. Sometimes they arrive in pretty packages for a special event ... others come secured with packing tape and an address from a place not close by. I love them all! And when I look at them I see the face of my friend.


My friend Jeri has given me so many thoughtful handmade gifts over the years. With this trio it all started with the painted box ... back in the day when we were all about big brushes and less about quilting stitches. It was from a book by a favorite decorative painter we all loved ... and then a year later she made me the pillow to match ... and then later the needle punch piece ... by that time we had gotten a lot of skills under our belt! I love them and they make me smile to have them surround me. This is just a tiny portion of the things I've received from her ... we've been friends for over 15 years! I'm a lucky girl.

Don't you love this Civil War era sewing bag? It was made to hang close under all those petticoats and hoop so you wouldn't lose your precious scissors and needles. The fabric selection and stitching are a perfect gift.
I have friends who know I collect Rs so they're always on the lookout for me. Love them! I have a huge collection thanks to my pals.
Some of them know I collect Annies too!
They know I collect fabric. And supplies, too. Always fun to open a box with a prize like this inside!
My friend Jane made this for me one year when we were collecting old postcards and vintage quilts that needed recycling.
Chris has made me buckets of things over the years ... like this messenger bag ... and the tool bag for Christmas this year. Love how it matches my OLFA products!
Deb has this knack for finding verses with meaning. I love the door hanger that says "embrace your inner witch". Talk about knowing someone! Yike.
And they just keep coming. A quilted wall hanging all the way from Cordova, Alaska by my friend Terri aka Mrs. Dilly Dally.
Once upon a time I owned another copy of this book ... it was my Mom's and had little scraps of paper with her notes inside. We used a quote from it for her funeral program. I loved the book because it was hers. And then some evil person broke into my car and stole my bag with it in it. I've searched for a hardbound copy for years and last Fall my friend Mary Ellen found a copy! It was sweet of her to remember how much I wanted it.
I'm constantly amazed at how generous people are to me. I often think of things I'd like to make for my friends but truthfully, the time it takes to run my business takes away the opportunity. But it doesn't mean I don't think any less of them so I find other ways to show them I care.
Gifts keep coming to me when I least suspect them. And this latest one just makes me smile! My friend Peggy saw my Snowbird project for Aurifil and sent me this darling handmade card to celebrate it and the new direction I'm taking the Cottage. It's perfect!!! Just like all the other gifts I've received.
Snowbird card

Snowbird Pillow!

Snowbird pix
By now, you're probably working on my Snowbird stitching ... it is the the first block in the Aurifil 2012 Designer of the Month project. You can download the pdf at the Aurfil Buzz. I loved stitching this block and didn't want to put it away. So inbetween stitiching another block for the wall hanging, I decided to make a pillow so I could see it every day! If you want to make one too, here's what you do.

Snowbird pattern 1
For the Aurifl project, we were given a Layer Cake of Sassy from Moda Fabrics. Those pretty turquoise blues gave me the right amount of frostiness so I pulled some of them out of the pack for my pillow. For the designer project, we're each picking fabrics to sash around our blocks, and that's where I started my pillow ... follow the directions in the pdf to add the sashing.

I picked two different prints and cut 5 - 4 1/2" squares. You could easily use five of the same print.

Snowbird pattern 2
We're making Snowball blocks ... appropriate! ... so you'll need some corners. I went with this creamy polka dot because it echoed the French Knots on the stitching.

Cut 20 - 2" squares. Draw a line from corner to corner on the back side of each square.

Snowbird pattern 3
Stitch the 2" corners on to all four corners of each 4 1/2" square ... stitching just a thread to the right of the line. That gives you enough allowance for the seam when you press and helps keep your blocks the correct size.

Snowbird pattern 4
So you stitch on all four corners ... rotary cut 1/4" from the stitching line ... then press away from the center. However ... when I started to join the blocks together, I repressed some seams toward the center so that I could nest them. It made those angles line up so much nicer! I finished my blocks with a little spray of Best Pressed to keep them crisp.

Snowbird pattern 5
Join the blocks together ... two on the bottom ... three on the side... then sew them to the stitched piece. When I pressed the seams for the blocks, I pressed them open. But then ... when I added them to the sashing ... I pressed toward the sashing. It was less bulky.

Snowbird pattern 7
Layer the finished pillow top with cotton batting and quilt however you choose. I was going to do a quick machine job with some simple quilting but then that beautiful Aurifil variegated turquoise 12 wt thread kept calling to me ... so I hand stitched. It was fun and so relaxing! Around the Snowbird block I used a running stitch. I measured 1/2" from the seam line and used a Frixion pen to draw a line. They iron out you know!

Snowbird pattern 8
On the snowballs I drew a snowflake that was similar to one in the stitching. Just bigger. Got a little bit close to the seam allowance on this one so be careful! I used a running stitch and French Knots. One little trick I learned after the first one was to start with a French Knot ... do the two short sideways lines ... then do the running stitch all the way to the end and finish off the same way. I like to knot off at each line so that really helped the work go more quickly. The back of the pillow was pretty when I finished! Make sure you trim the batting even with the pillow front.

Snowbird pattern 9
For my pillow back, I wanted to continue using the line of fabric but only had 10" pieces so I sewed some together. You can use a full piece of fabric if you want. We're making a pillow back that has an opening to insert the pillow form. Here's  simple directions if you haven't done this before.

Cut 2 - 10" x 12 1/2". Turn under 1/2" on one side of each piece ... along the 12 1/2" side ... to hem. It will measure 9 1/2" x 12 1/2".

On one piece, press the hemmed edge 2" to the wrong side. Place that piece wrong side up on your cutting board. Lay the second piece over the top ... wrong side up ... so they overlap. Lay your finished pillow top on top ... right side up. You can adjust the backing at this point to make it fit the top.

Snowbird pattern 10
Here's what mine looked like. I trimmed off the extra fabric at the top and bottom. Then I basted in around all four sides with about an 1/8" seam allowance to hold it all together.

Cut binding strips 2 1/2" wide ... enough to go around the entire pillow. I randomly pieced a variety of fabrics ... some were scraps from the blocks. Continue as if you were making binding for a quilt.

Snowbird pattern 11
Sew the binding to the front of the pillow and then hand stitch it to the back. Stuff a 12" pillow form in through the opening and viola ... you have a darling pillow ready to use! I keep wanting to hug it ... another happy little project completed. Enjoy!!

Snowbird pattern 12

January Aurifil project ... Snowbird ... behind the scenes!

Snowbird block
Hopefully by now you've been over to Aurifil Thread's blog and have downloaded by Snowbird block. I loved making this ... so much, in fact, that I have a second started! I cannot wait to see what the other designers have in mind for their blocks. There are some talented gals with thread and needles in this group!

A tip on printing your patterns ... the size of the design you'll be tracing should be 5 1/2" x 5 1/2" ... that's measuring from the S to the beak on the bird. If it's way off, you might want to either adjust your printing configurations or reduce or enlarge a bit after you print a copy. The center of the block after the sashing finishes at 6" so you need to be sure the stitching is in proportion.

You've probably wondered how we all picked thread colors ... it's not like we live near each other after all! It started with getting a pack of Layer Cakes from Moda ... we were sent the Sassy line to work with. I was delighted to see it had a lot of teal colors because I knew what I wanted my block to look like ... kind of frosty! We're using fabrics from the line to sash around our blocks and then the rest will be for other components of the wall hanging. Sassy is pretty new ... I bet your local quilt shop has some! Our background fabric is creamy colored so all of my threads really showed up well.

The question that always comes up at the store is how to get your pattern on to your fabric. It's so easy but you do need a few tools. Painter's tape is a great friend ... tape your pattern to your fabric on the backside after you center it ... then tape it in a few places on the front to hold it in place. It makes it pretty portable. I don't use a light box most of the time ... I'm kinda lazy that way ... but if I'm having trouble seeing through the fabric, I like to place a white piece of paper under the pattern and that really makes the design show up. If you don't have a light box you can use a window ... and if it's at night think about taping it to your computer or tv screen in a blank mode. As far as what to trace with ... I like to use a Papermate mechanical pencil or the new Frixion pens ... they iron out when you're done. I don't trace every element ... French knots or the slanting stitches that fill in the branch and words look so much better if you free hand them. Try it!

I'm sort of weird when it comes to the back of my embroidery pieces. I like them to look nice and neat. Most of the time I stitch with Quilter's Dream Select batting on the back ... I like how it gives a little bit of a quilty look to my stitches. It's really thin so by the time you're done you can still sew and batt a quilt without issues. For this piece they asked that we not use anything behind our work ... had to be extra neat so no threads showed on the front! I knotted the thread behind a stitch once or twice to hold them tight ... really important when you do those French Knots because you don't want them to pull out. We are using Aurifil's 12 wt thread for the projects ... it's like using two strands of floss. It rises above the surface a tiny bit as you stitch which looks pretty great! This was my first time using it and I have to say I'm impressed with how nice it looks and how easy it was to work with. There are a million colors to choose from ... so beautiful!

The bulk of my stitching project is stitched with a back stitch ... it's my go-to for most things because it's easy to learn. French Knots take a tiny bit of practice but aren't that hard to learn ... and the slant stitches for filling in the branches and words ... piece of cake! I taught myself to stitch using books ... my favorite is the Coats and Clark one ... I have three. Look for them at estate sales! But with the internet you can easily find instructions. My favorite are the lessons here ... or here on Thread n' Needle. Practice in the margin if it's new to you!

Hooping is a personal thing! For this project I did ... when I put batting behind, most of the time I don't. If you use a hoop don't forget ... unhoop it when you're done working on your project! Those hoop lines are hard to iron out ... not that I'd know or anything. I used an 8" hoop and cut my stitching fabric 11" x 11".

I hope you really enjoy the Aurifl project this year! My block is six inches ... some of the others are smaller ... it could easily be a night of stitching with your friends. We're having a sew and stitch on January 21 if you live in the area ... I'll teach you first hand all of my tricks! If you live somewhere else, ask your quilt shop owner if you can meet at her place once a month.

I'm working on an additional project with my block ... check back over the weekend to see if it's done. And don't forget to circle the first Thurday of February so you can see what my pal Sherri Falls from This and That has for you!

If you want a thread kit, email me at [email protected] and I'll add you my the list. We'll have them in a few weeks. You can keep up with all the fun on Facebook. Let me know what you think!


Aurifil's 2012 Designer program is ready to kick off!

Aurifil 2012 team
I'm so excited to be included in the 2012 Aurifil Designer Program! Look at this line up ... some of the best stitchers in the world ... and they all will be coming to your inbox once a month. It's going to be a great year!

We're kicking things off on Thursday, Janaury 5th with my stitching called "Snowbird". Then each month until December, another one of the team will share their design with you ... all with a focus on what that month is about.

2012 aurifil designer button
Here's the schedule and links to the designer's place on the web ... get to know them a bit before it all starts up! I'm anxious to see if their projects.

January ... me ... Roseann from Rosebud's Cottage

February ... Sherri Falls ... This and That

March ... Victoria Findlay Wolfe ... Bumble Beans Inc

April ... Gail Pan ... Gail Pan Designs

May ... Anna ... Thimbleanna

June ... Pam Viera-McGinnis ... PamKittyMorning

July ... Sarah Fielke ... TheLastPiece

August ... Bari J ... BariJ

September ... Amy Ellis ... Amy's Creative Side

October ... Amanda ... Mrs McPorkChop

November ... Emily Cier ... Carolina Patchworks

December ... Liz Hawkins & Beth Hawkins ... Lizzie B girls

Snowbird sewing

So what are you going to do with all of these blocks? Well first off ... they'll be sashed with cute fabric when you're finished and you'll want to store them carefully. Sherri Falls from This and That has designed a charming layout ... it will be the perfect wall hanging for that special spot in your home. Stitch along with us and this time next year, you'll be hanging it on your quilt rack!

Of course ... there WILL be prizes. When you finish your monthly stitching, load it up on the Aurifil Flickr page ... some lucky winners will get some wonderful thread!!

Aurifil A
You're probably wondering why Aurifl is concentrating on embroidery this year. Well ... its to show how terrific it is to stitch with their 12 wt thread! It's like using two strands of floss. What I like is that it raises a little bit above the surface of my fabric ... it glides through the fabric ... and the spools have a place to wrap your thread so it doesn't unravel. That's just a bonus!! Oh ... and the colors are beautiful. I've had the best time using it for my block!

So are you ready to stitch? Meet over on the Aurifil blog Thursday morning to see my project. You can also check in on Facebook. Then come back to the Cottage blog here and I'll show you some stitching tips. Go over to the calendar to see about our Sit and Stitch on January 21.

This is going to be such a fun year! Pull out your hoop!!