A Little Something fun for wool workers!



Photo credit: Martingale/That Patchwork Place - Photographer Brent Kane

To say I'm in love with wool is an understatement! Not a day goes by where I'm not stitching on a wool projects ... or thinking of one I want to stitch! It's been something I've been doing since I was nine years old ... even raising sheep as a teenager because I loved it so much. Wool applique is such an enjoyable hobby!

I've been designing wool applique projects for American Patchwork and Quilting for a number of years. And I'm a licensed designer for Sizzix where I develop die cuts that let us cut wool shapes by machine.  So you can imagine how exciting it was when Martingale Publishing accepted my book proposal for a wool applique book! It has been a delightful journey, taking pieces of imagination and turning them into an 80 page book through the help of the Martingale staff.

A little something contents

The table of contents gives you a sneak peek into what you'll find between the pages. There are sixteen projects ... most that take hardly any time at all! I made many of them on Sunday afternoons and while I stitched, I imagined others gathering their friends and stitching, too. They are quick enough to make as gifts ... a make and take at the quilt guild ... or as a way to show a beginner the steps to working with wool.

A little something close up

I love how the close up photos show exactly how the stitches look. The photographer, Brent Kane, is amazing!! One thing I told the editors is that it doesn't matter to me if stitches aren't perfect. When you look through the book you'll see exactly what I mean. It's not that I don't care about my work ... it's more that I want to enjoy it and there's nothing enjoyable about fretting over a stitch that's less than perfect.

A little something stitches

While I like to learn how to create intricate stitches, for the most part, I use only a few. These are rather simple stitches to learn ... I think it's encouraging to new wool workers to not have too many to deal with. Instead of diagrams, the stitches are worked right on the wool ... it is easier to understand that way.

A little something supplies

The other great thing about wool applique ... you don't need a ton of supplies. Most of these products are already in your sewing basket. Sharp scissors, pretty hand dyed wool, an embroidery needle and floss, pins, and Roxanne's Glue Baste are pretty much all you need. Oh ... and a super cute design ... something you'll find in the book, of course!

A little something trio

Like most moms, I have a favorite I don't play favorites ... but if I did, it would have to be the strawberry trio. The needlekeeper, pincushion, and scissors ID and fob are so darn cute! And those flower pins ... they just make me smile. They cover real flower pins! I think I like the strawberries best right now because they make me feel like maybe Spring will get here someday! (It's May 1st and snowing here in Minnesota.)


Photo credit: Martingale/That Patchwork Place, Photographer: Brent Kane

In addition to the strawberries, there are projects for every day ... for late Summer and Fall ... folk art motifs such as the pineapple ... and so much more. I pretty much covered all the things I love. They even snuck in some of my favorite organizing tools ... muffin tins, jars, trays ... all the things I find at the flea market. Storing supplies should be cute, right?

A little something catalog

And I'm just vain enough to be thrilled that A Little Something has a full page in the Martingale wholesale catalog. This stuff never gets old!

A little something leaves

If you want to read another review ... my friend PamKittyMorning had some nice things to say. Go to Martingale's web site to see more of the projects from the book. And for your very own autographed copy, visit my Rosebud's Cottage website. I'll get one right out to you. I know you'll find 'a little something' you just have to make!

A little something back


Tie one on! Quick and cute ornaments that you can use as tags, too!

Sizzix F 2016 display

Ornaments have always been my go-to for fun and fast holiday gifts. It's not unusual for me to mass produce them so that I have enough for everyone. To speed things up, I often do some of the steps using my Sizzix Big Shot Plus and dies.   For the Sizzix booth at Quilt Market and Festival in Houston, at the last minute, I made a small collection of ornaments for them to display. Now you can make them with the instructions here!

Sizzix ornments 6

For my ornaments, I used Winter Wonderland, Posy Patch, Hearts and Scallops, and Penny Rug Circles and Tongues die cuts from my Rosebud's Cottage collection at Sizzix.  I also used Ovals #2  and the Bigz 2, 3 & 4" Circles die.   I used Roxanne's Glue Baste to hold my shapes in place ... and one strand of floss unless I say otherwise. So simple but so sweet!

Sizzix ornament 1

For this ornament, cut two 2" circles, one posy, one scalloped posy for the center, and a 1/4" circle. Lay the poinsettia down first on one circle. Make one long stitch through each petal, ending with a little X at the end. Put the green scallop center and a yellow circle on top. Stitch over the yellow center with a star stitch, going through all of the layers. Now put the back and front together and blanket stitch with two strands of floss, hiding your knots inside. Use four strands of floss to make a hanger.

Sizzix ornament 2

Make this simple one by cutting two 2 1/2" ovals, two holly leaves, and three 1/4" circles. On one oval, stitch the holly in place with bright green floss and either a backstitch or a running stitch. Overcast the stems with a few stitches.  Add the three berries, attaching them with French Knots. Put the back and front together and blanket stitch with two strands of floss, hiding the knot. Add a hanger with four strands of floss.

Sizzix ornament 3

For the heart ornament, cut two 2 3/4" hearts from red wool, and a 2 1/4" heart from pink, two holly leaves from green, and a red berry. On one red heart, whip stitch the pink heart. Attach the holly with two large Xs. Make a star stitch over the top of the berry. Put the front and back together and blanket stitch with two strands of floss. Use four strands of floss to make a hanger.

Sizzix ornament 4

The tree ornament is made by cutting the base from purple houndstooth wool, cut two 4" ovals, one tree, a small star, a small heart, and a tree trunk. On one oval, whipstitch the the tree with green floss, tucking the trunk slightly underneath. Use the same green floss to make several running stitches down the center of the trunk. Attach the heart and star with large Xs. Put the front and back together and blanket stitch with two strands of floss, hiding the knots inside. Use four strands of floss to make a hanger.

Sizzix ornament 5

This snowman ornament can hang out all Winter! Cut two 4" ovals, one snowman, a heart, a tree trunk for for the scarf, and three 1/8" circles. On one oval, center the snowman and whipstitch in place. Use a larger X to anchor the heart. Make three large black Xs down the tummy. Use black floss for French Knot eyes. Put the (trunk) scarf sideways across the snowman's neck. Overcast it with long stitches, bunching them in groups of two. Make fringe with three long stitches at one end of the scarf. Anchor the circles with extra long stitches to look like snowflakes. Put the back and front together and blanket stitch with two strands of floss, hiding the knots. Make a hanger with four strands of floss.

That's it! If you don't remember how to make them, a few of the stitches are explained here. They are also in the files section of my Wool Workers group on Facebook. If you don't belong to Wool Workers, what are you waiting for? It's filled with people who love to work with wool ... lots of inspiration and sharing of tips and techniques. Make sure you hit the 'like' button on my Rosebud's Cottage page, too.

Merry Christmas ... have fun creating during the holiday season ... and all year long!

Sizzix ornaments

The Splendid Sampler ~ Minnesota Maze

Splendid Sampler pm

It's hard to believe that a year ago exactly, I was frantically sewing my block for The Splendid Sampler in order to meet the deadline. And here it is ... 12 calendar pages later and it's my turn to show you Block #83! Pat and Jane have created this wonderful quilting community through the Splendid Sampler and it's been amazing seeing how differently each block looks. I love it when people load them up to the Facebook Splendid Sampler group . If you haven't joined the group, get over there pronto!! I can't wait to see what you do with Minnesota Maze!

Grandpa Waldoch

Minnesota Maze came about because of this guy ^^^ ... my Grandpa Waldoch. Grandpa had a full time job as a lithographer and another full time job as a farmer. This photo of him is etched in the minds of all of my cousins, and the aunts and uncles who remain. It's how we remember Grandpa. My cousins run Waldoch Farms now and as a tribute to him last year, designed their corn maze off of this photo.

Grandpa Waldoch maze

This amazing maze was on my mind as I was working on my Splendid Sampler block. As I was twisting and turning the pieces, I was thinking "this block is like a maze" while I shuffled them into the right places.

Splendid Sampler 2

This is how it always starts for me ... on full size graph paper ... 1" grids ... so I can make sure the measurements are correct. Light, medium, and dark fabrics.

Splendid Sampler 15

Then a little bit of playing around to see what happens when you switch some of the colors. In this case, I made the triangles around the center square to match the adjoining pieces instead of using the background fabric ... the results gave a different look. I sent the block that I did first off to Pat Sloan and then watched the Splendid Sampler come to life.

Splendid Sampler 4

Those of you who follow me on Instagram know what happened next! As time spun out from last year to now, I've been busy making things for Quilts and More, Sizzix, and something else that I can't reveal yet. All of it was stitched by hand. I didn't touch my sewing machine until a few weeks ago when I decided to make a few more Minnesota Maze blocks. 12 months. Yikes ... I couldn't remember how to use it! I had to call the sewing center to find out how to move the needle so I could get my 1/4" seam allowance. Talk about panic! Because I was getting ready for my quilt retreat too and was short on time, I decided that I would do what Huckleberry Finn did ... get my friends to help 'paint the fence'.

Splendid Sampler 9

Splendid Sampler 8

Splendid Sampler 22

I asked my guests at the retreat to make some blocks ... it was all top secret of course because the pattern wasn't out yet but I knew they wouldn't tell. I let them choose from 10" layer cakes I had gotten from Moda. I can't wait to see what their blocks look like! A few finished them at the retreat and the results were so different ... part of the charm of the Splendid Sampler. There's no right way to make them.

Splendid Sampler 6

Splendid Sampler 17

I loved seeing that other retreaters were working on Splendid Sampler blocks during the retreat. It's always fun to observe others work.

Splendid Sampler 3

It's fabulous to get tips from others, too ... like this lovely bunch of Splendid Sampler designers who were there for the group photo at Quilt Market. They've compiled a list of piecing tips that you can rely on to make your blocks come out just right. Here are some more, too.

Splendid Sampler 21

Keep your pages organized. My friend Chris used a three-ring binder with page protectors. She slid her cut pieces and finished blocks together with the instructions into the protectors. It was fun to flip through her book to see the finished blocks. Use the appropriate rotary cutters ... a larger one when you cut bigger pieces and a small one for paper piecing. An Add-A-Quarter is is another great tool for the paper piecing blocks. My favorite tool of all times is the Folded Corner Clipper for any blocks that have you drawing a line to do a corner flip. I'm terrible at getting them to turn out right so I use the Corner Clipper to trim the corner before I sew ... it allows for the 1/4" seam and trims the dog ears. It was a lifesaver on Minnesota Maze when I was using 1 1/2" squares.

Folder Corner Clipper

Splendid Sampler 16

More tips. When you make the Flying Geese units, press the first seam toward the goose and the second seam away or towards the sky. It eliminates bulky intersections. And while I don't usually press seams open, I did for the last few in order to make the block lie flatter. A few squirts of Best Press at the end and you're done.

I'm constantly putting tips for sewing, quilting, and crafts on my Rosebud's Cottage Facebook page .  Join my Wild Roses Quilt and Craft Club  and Wool Workers  too!

Don't forget ... time is flying and the free blocks won't be available forever. After Block #100 they'll be retired and Martingale will publish them all in a beautiful book with layout options and even more tips! We can't wait to get it in our hands!!

Splendid Sampler 23

It'll be a two-toned Christmas this year!

Red sock 1

Here in Minnesota with it's huge Nordic heritage, it's normal to see red and white holiday decorations. So what better way to use my Sizzix stocking die cut and recently released dies!

For this project I used these dies ... they can be found here on my Rosebud's Cottage spot at Sizzix. You need the Stocking, Circles and Tongues, Hearts and Scallops, and Winter Wonderland die cuts. Just use the photo ^^^^ above to figure out which pieces to cut. Of course, you need a front and back to the sock and a hanger. And if you didn't want to use the pine tree, you could use a snowman or a bunch of hearts ... no rules ... just red and white.

Sizzis stocking

Sizzix circles and tongues

Sizzix hearts and scallops

Sizzix winterwonderland
The other things you'll need are red and off white wool and floss, embroidery needles, Roxanne's Glue Baste, some pins ... and that's about it! All the stitching is done with one strand of floss ... except for blanket stitching the front and back together ... that's done with two.

Red sock 2

Trim a piece of the scallop and fit it under the cuff. Use Roxanne's glue to hold in place. Put the cuff over the top and whip stitch the bottom edge to the scallop, going through to the stocking. Use one strand of off white floss for this. Place the stars and dots on the cuff. Use red floss to whip stitch the stars and to make a star stitch over the top of the circles. Backstitch along the edge of the cuff.

Red sock 3

Center the tree and star. Whip stitch them both with off white floss. Make star stitches over the top of the snowflake circles, the red ones on the tree, and the one in the center of the star.

Red sock 4

Whipstitch along the top edge of the toe with off white floss. Whip stitch the heart with red floss and make a star stitch over the circles. Backstitch in red along the toe.

To finish, match the back and front and pin together. Use two strands of floss to blanket stitch ... off white for the toe and cuff ... red for the body and the cuff edge of the back. Stitch a hanger in one corner between the layers.

You can order the dies from me ... and if you're local, a Big Shot Plus, too. Email me at [email protected] or message me on my Rosebud's Cottage Facebook page. I'll send you a Paypal invoice and get your things on their way.

This is a quick and easy project ... mostly because of the die cutting ... and would make a great gift for someone at the office or a friend. Stuff it with special things they'd enjoy. Happy holidays!

Red sock 5

It's a Wrap!

Sizzix jar wrap 1 PicMonkey

I don't know about you but when it's time to cozy up the house, I turn to candles! And while I like jar containers, sometimes they just aren't that pretty. So what did I do? I pulled out my die cuts from Sizzix and started messing around. I made a simple wrap that is easy enough to make on a rainy afternoon ... like today!

Sizzix jar wrap 14

I found this jar at Michaels but I also interviewed some mason jars and a vintage square glass jar ... so jar would work. I liked this one because it has an insert that lets you lift out the candle. I grabbed one of those battery powered votive lights, too. I didn't want to have to worry about blowing out a flame.

Sizzix dies PicMonkey Collage

I'm a licensed designer for Sizzix and I used these three die cuts I designed for them ... Penny Circles and Tongues, Penny Rug Mat, and Stocking. The last two fit through either the Big Shot Plus or Big Shot Pro.

Sizzix jar wrap 18

The Penny Rug Mat has five scallops and is about 9" long. For my wrap, I only want to use two scallops and have the cut piece be 6 1/2" long. I used washi tape to divide the mat for the area I needed.

Sizzix jar wrap 17 

Sizzix jar wrap 15

I cut a piece of wool so it was 4 x 7" and squared the right and top edges. I laid those edges along the tape. Then I made my die cut sandwich with the cutting pads on the bottom and the top, with the die cut between, and ran it through my Big Shot Plus. The scallops were perfectly curved! I cut another piece without scallops that was 6 1/2" long on the die cut too ... that way it was the same width as the scallop piece.

Sizzix jar wrap 16

Both pieces are 6 1/2" long. The scallops will overlap the rectangular piece later.

Sizzix jar wrap 11

I placed the scalloped piece over the rectangular piece so that the total length was 10". I wanted a 1/2" gap in the back. If I had used a wider jar, I would have made that length longer. There's some wiggle room as long as there's wool behind the scallops.

On top of the two scallops, I layered three circles ... 1", 3/4", and 3/8". They are all included in the Penny Circles and Tongues die. I hate cutting circles by hand!!

Sizzix jar wrap 13

Sizzix jar wrap 12

Using one strand of floss, I whipstitched the large circle. On the smallest circle, I make a star stitch. The middle circle isn't stitched.

Wool applique whipstitch

Wool applique star stitch

Here's a tutorial on making those two stitches. It's it the files on our Rosebud's Cottage Facebook page too in the photo files.

Sizzix jar wrap 10

After the circles were on, I laid the scallop piece back on the rectangular piece. Using two strands of floss, I blanket stitched around the scallops and then continued around the rest of the piece. I like to hide my knots as much as I can so the back looks nice.

Sizzix jar wrap 9

Sizzix jar wrap 8

I used the hanger from the Stocking die to cut two orange ties. Then, I cut them in half. I laid them on the short edges of the wrap so they extended off the piece. I covered the cut ends with 3/4" and 3/8" circles. A star stitch, using one strand of floss, anchored all of the pieces together. Next, the wrap is tied around the jar and knotted in the back.

Sizzix jar wrap 6

Sizzix jar wrap 7

I filled the jar with some great smelling pods and berries, then added a votive light to the holder. It looked really cute with my Halloween and Autumn decor!

Sizzix jar wrap 2

Sizzix jar wrap 4

I can imagine wraps for every season ... or to give as gifts. They'd be fun filled with candy at the office. For Halloween, I'd fill mine with candy corn and peanuts!

If you can't find the Big Shot Plus or my dies at your local store, let me know ... I have contacts! And I usually have them in stock. Keep watching as more of my dies will be released at the Fall Quilt Market in Houston and even more at the Spring market in St Louis next May. I love die cutting and hope everyone will love the shapes and projects I'm designing!

Want more wool? Join our Wool Workers group on Facebook for ideas and inspiration!

Sizzix jar wrap 3 picmonkey

Alaska bound!

Cordova 1

Before the new year, I got a call from Alaska ... the Cordova Northwind Quilters wanted me to come and teach during their annual retreat! Because I had met some of the women in the group, it was so easy to say yes!

Cordova 2

Cordova is a fishing village in the Prince William Sound. Classes and their quilt show were held in this beautiful new facility ... their city center ... state-of-the-art technology with amazing teaching space. The building housed a theater, gallery, gift shop, library, and a licensed kitchen where small food companies could prepare their products.

Cordova 3

The view outside the class room windows was upstaged by the quilts hung up in side ... but it was stunning none-the-less. And distracting!

Cordova 4

Cordova 5

Cordova 6

Cordova 7

This was the 30th anniversary of the guild. They had a party! And this was the first quilt show they've done. The wide range of fabric, designs, and styles was like you'd find at any other quilt show ... the group has so many interests and it showed in their work.

Cordova 8

Of course, the wool applique quilts were my favorites. The big blocks on this quilt took a lot of work but they had so many details!

Cordova 9

Fell in love with the red Prairie Points!

Cordova 10

And the whimsy in this quilt ... so adorable!

Cordova 13

This quilt had hand stenciled blocks ... pieced between. So pretty!

Cordova 11

Cordova 12

Cordova 14

My favorite though was this quilt that wasn't hung in the show ... it typically hangs in the Cordova Museum which was under renovation. When the guild was first organized, they made a quilt as a fund raiser. Each of the applique blocks depict something in Alaskan or Cordovan life. The sashing between is stitched with the names of members of the community ... they paid a fee to have their name added. Some of them were little children when the quilt was made and now are adults who've moved away or remain in town. Some have passed away. Its a tribute to the ebb and flow of town life.

It was hard to leave the sights and sounds of Cordova but I intend to return some day ... SOON!

Cordova 15

Cordova 17

Cordova 16

There's more than one way to stitch a leaf!

Leaves 5

If you do any kind of wool applique, it's almost impossible to get away from stitching down leaves. Lots of people feel they have to blanket stitch down every shape but with leaves, sometimes they're too small to do that. Here are ways I like to stitch them ... keeping in mind that I consider these as projects that won't be worn or laundered. If they were going to be touched a lot, I'd stitch them down tight! I tend to stitch with one or two strands of floss. If I want to stitch down all of the edges, I prefer a whip stitch to a blanket stitch. I often stitch down the center of the leaf with a back stitch, tugging the stitches a tiny bit to make them gather.

Leaves 11

X stitches are another favorite. They give some texture while holding the leaf in place.

Leaves 10

Leaves 4

Leaves 2

Long stitches angled from each side anchor the leaves and give dimension. Or you can add angled long stitches to either side of a back stitch.

Leaves 8

Leaves 7

I love finding unusual ways to stitch the leaves too ... just for fun. This leaf is found on my Wool and Whimsy pincushion at American Patchwork and Quilting.

Leaves 9

Sometimes I'll use two different stitches on one leaf set. I'll whip stitch the bottom leaf down and then do something different on the top leaf. An X stitch works great. So does a chain stitch.

Each leaf  speaks to me and helps me decide from project to project which is the best technique. That's the beauty of wool applique ... there are so many ways to stamp yourself on each project you make. Enjoy it!

btw ... if you love wool ... make sure you join our Wool Workers group on Facebook!

Leaves 1