Tuesday, March 1, 2016

How to Care for your Original Pincushions and Needle Cases

Hello you all creative divas!

Wisconsin is one of those crazy weather states. Yesterday I was outside washing our cars. We broke a few records for the warmest day in February. I loved it!
Today it is blowing snow and sleet and the wind chill is about 10 degrees. Oh my.

The best part about cold days is staying inside and being creative. Don't you agree!

While I am posting, I want to share some new color ways for my 1930's Tomato Pincushion. You can find them in my Etsy Shop, Fiberluscious.

I found some yummy new fabrics at Two Bees Fabric and also at own of my favorite West Bend, WI quilt shops, Royce Quilting. We moved about 50 miles from it, and each time I am in the area, I just have to stop in and pick up some of their 1930's fabrics. They have such a great selection.

I thought I would take a few minutes to give you some tips on how to keep your handmade sewing supplies looking bright and fresh. If you are like me, I have many pincushions around the house and many in my studio. Each has it's own function. Some sit for a while and accumulate dust. Shame on me. I know better. So, let me share a few of my cleaning and care tips with you.

You can download this sheet here and keep it on hand. Just click here.

I think my tips may be applied to just about any handmade item. If you have an item from another maker, I encourage you to contact them for any special instructions.

As long as we are talking fabrics, I am curious as to whether you pre-wash your fabrics before you start sewing. I do. Because I make pincushions, I want the fabric to be soft, so your pins and needles just glide in like a hot knife thru butter. I bought a lovely patchwork pincushion and there are times I think I need a hammer to drive the embroidery needles in.

If you do patchwork and you like the finish new fabrics have, I suggest that you pre-wash them to avoid any shrinkage, especially when making quilts or other washable items. To make patchwork easy, use starch or a starch substitute such as Mary Ellen's Best Press. I've used a few others as well as using starch and I find they gum up my iron badly. As with any fabric finishes, test them first on your fabric and keep an eye on your iron. If it looks dirty, take time to clean it.

I often use a textured cotton fabric to clean my iron often. I just set it for steam and rub the iron back and forth until any dirt is removed. There is nothing worse than getting an iron stain on a finished project.

Here is a sweet tomoto using the old gathered tube technique. Its easy and fun and I love how squishy it is. You can find it in my Etsy Shop, Fiberluscious. Enjoy and I hope you are creating some treasures too!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Oh What A Year!

Happy Holidays to All!

I'm back! I'm so sorry for such a long absence but its been busy around here!
Fiberluscious is my baby but now that she is a bit grown and on her own, she has stepped aside while my wonderful husband and I start a brand new chapter in our lives... A New Home! Simultaneously, we were blessed with a new grand daughter, who is now just past the 8 month old mark. Together with her 4 year old sister, I am enjoying full time grandma duty. Oh yes, my days are full and often I feel as if I could add at least another 20 hours to each day. I fall asleep every night very tired and satisfied. My life is full and happy and jam packed with love. Its as if all my dreams are coming true. A lovely family, a supportive, loving husband and a home to hold all the love I have to share, all right here at my fingertips. Life is very good indeed.

I rarely show my dear little one's on-line but here is a recent picture. You can see why they are top on my list of priorities! They made this years Christmas!

My husband Paul and I celebrated our 4th anniversary this year and after many many years of apartment living we took the exciting plunge and bought our first home together. We love it!

Despite our home's lovely bones, it has not been renovated in many years, about 40! Oh yes, lots of rustic brass hardware, funky built ins and a kitchen that is well, in much need of a full over haul. Oh yes, thank you 1970! It was so well cared for and has such potential we just couldn't resist. After a long and frustrating purchase process, we moved in this fall and have been working since.

Every day begins with a very long "To-Do" list. Depending on when the kids arrive, we try to pack as much in each day as possible. From sewing curtains to painting walls, it never ends. But, it is fun work.

I think the hardest part of decorating is defining your family's style. My husband can be very traditional, but also open minded. After living here for a bit, the home must also have it's say. In the end, I am going with a transitional, modern, mid-century, french country look. You know- the look that comes when real people really live in the home they love!

My husband and I are quite handy and willing to tackle just about any project from furniture to lighting. I'm the painter in the family and he is the builder. He works with metal all day and has a knack of creating furniture that is simple yet sturdy. An elephant could sit on things he makes! He is amazing! Together we are creating a home that is all ours.

Well, that is my post for this year. I wish I had more to share. Now that I have my studio unpacked I hope to have some new items soon. I can't wait to get sewing again!

I wish you all a very happy holiday. Merry Christmas to all and a very happy, creative and loving New Year!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Who Inspires You? My Collection of Creative Makers and Bloggers

Hello All,
I am so very grateful to everyone who takes time to visit my blog. I so enjoy your comments and as I watch my views grow I am always amazed to see that this world we live on is very small when we all come together for a common purpose. Sharing our love of fiber, color, design is a true celebration of the beauty of life and our uniqueness. I am often so busy and find myself nose down in a bit of needlework. So I thought I'd take a bit of time to introduce you to each other and to the makers and creators who have been inspirational to me. There are too many to list, but I so want you to meet these amazing artists and bloggers. I think you will be inspired too.

When I take the time to get to know the people who come to see my work it is like sitting down to a cup of hot tea with friends. I simply need to do it much more often.
If you are like me and forget to stop and smell the Internet roses once in a while, let me offer you a cup of warm inspiration. You will have to pour your own tea. Lets get to know eachother lots better!

Amanda left a comment on my stitch tutorial page. So I clicked on her blog Amanda's Crochet Blanket Adventures and I nearly started to drool! She is a master of color and design in the world of crochet. Oh my! Here are a few of her works. Oh if I only had more time!

I recently discovered Jackie, an amazing pinterest pinner.I was so surprised to see my works among so many lovely works of fiber art. If you would like to see some very amazing pincushions, give her boards a look. I warn you...you'll be there for quite a while! https://www.pinterest.com/jcfelix/primarily-pincushions/

I recently met a amazing fiber artist and blogger, Kim from Sarah Lizzies, who also lives a world of beauty. She introduced herself to me and when I went to her site I was floored! She found me through Cynthia Crane, one of my favorite blogging friends.
Kim and Cynthia have both mastered an artful way of life, from their lovely gardens to their prolific studios, their blogs are like living postcards of what most of us imagine for ourselves. I would be afraid to show you the mess my studio has become. These artists open their beautiful worlds wide open for us to come and dream. Take a look at both sites and you won't want to leave!
Here is a bit of Cynthia's ceramic works. I have a sweet little house of hers that sat at my mom's bedside table. It gave her much comfort and joy while she was with us. Thanks Cynthia! I am showing you one of her beautiful yarn bowls as a lead in to one of Kim's knitting masterpieces. Enjoy!!!
Cynthia's Yarn Bowl

Kim's Knitting Project

Let me not forget Vicki from 2 Bags Full who kind of put us all together. She is another creative living artists. Move over Martha Stewart! If you need a little pick me up just check out her latest post on her Winter Nests. She offers some beautiful poetry on winter and snow along with amazing photos of her Snow Birds Nest. Living in icy Wisconsin, I certainly needed a reminder of how beautiful it can be.

I have only been doing serious embroidery for about 7 years. I loved working with fabric but I needed something to add to it. I wanted use fibers the same way I used paint.
When I discovered Sue Spargo, I was so inspired. I love her use of wool, beads and embroidery. I loved how she added layer upon layer of wool, printed and dyed fabrics and then embroider and beading.
But her primitive, folk art approach to fiber art is what truly appealed to me. I loved that she added detail without fuss. She has a modern look while using traditional techniques.
Here area few of her pieces that I love.

Old to New
You will find that the artists who bring a new look to traditional technique is a reoccurring theme in my list of influential and inspiring artists.
The second most important element found in my collection of favorite artists is their willingness to explore their unique vision. You can see a bits of who they are and how different they are from the artists around them. I think that is something we all need to strive to add to own own works. While imitation is a great exercise while you are learning, you need to celebrate what makes you YOU and let that shine in all you do.

Mandy Pattullo is one of my all time favorite fiber artists. I love her modern-primitive esthetic! It speaks to my love of antiques and my desire to stay young and relevant as I move forward in my fiber art education. Yes, we never stop learning. Take some time on her blog and enjoy her unique and rich vision of the art of fiber. Find her Etsy Shop,
MandyPattullo here. Find her blog at Thread and Thrift and her many works are on her website here- Mandy Pattullo.Com.
Here are some of my favorite series from her talented hands-

These are just a few of my favorites. Mandy is from Northumberland in the UK. I find inspiration from around the world, but I think I will have to visit the UK, as so many of my favorite artists are from across the pond, way across! If nothing else I am going to plan the shopping trip of a lifetime. When you see the work of Viv, aka Hensteeth, (Etsy shop here) you see what I mean. I wish I could find treasures like they find here in Wisconsin.

These artists are very technical in their approach to fiber art, yet, their work is modern.
They are experts at their craft without being stuffy or stiff. I wish I knew how they did it.
First, the amazing Salley Mavor. She is a fiber artist who creates amazing illustrations using embroidery and stumpwork to the max! I love, love love her birds. I have struggled to create the affect she is so adept at. It feels like she is magical with a needle and embroidery thread.

Inna Bird is a ribbon embroiderer who I recently discovered via her Etsy Shop, Silk Ribbon Creative. Oh, her work is so lush and lovely it makes me dream! The next edition of the Summer Garden I make will include some ribbon embroidery. Inna dyes her own ribbon! No wonder it is so amazing.
While she rebuilds her website, you can find her Facebook Page here. I'm going to include some of amazing soaps she creates. Don't they just make your mouth water?

I can't leave out Carla Madrigal from MadrigalEmbroidery on Etsy. Her work taught me to draw on "me" when working. She has a unique vision. She works on lovely materials, which are often recycled. Her stitches are humbly amazing. I hope you find her work as inspiring as I did.

Sara Lechner from The Fabric of Meditation, (Etsy Shop here), led me to wool. I am grateful for her inspiration. I love wool. I love to embroider it, felt it, sew it and now spin it. I urge you to click on the provided links. Her works remind me of Marc Chagall. She comes from Argentina but her years in Austria are evident in her extraordinary esthetic.

I could go on forever. There are painters and illustrators who have inspired my work. There are fine artists from the past, such as VanGogh, and contemporary artists on Etsy, such as BalletArt that also give me so many things to think about as I design new works. Here is a link to one of his butterfly prints. It reminds me of fiber art in pen and ink.

There are quilters such as Jeni Baker from In Color Order She got me hooked on Vintage Sheets. Wish she still had her color classes online. They were amazing. Click on the link to find some of her tutorials. She designs fabrics now with that same fun color sense. Try her Mini New York Beauty Tutorial here.

Well Blogspot is giving me fits. I don't know if I can load any more images on this post.
Ohhh there are so many more to show you!!!
I hope to feature more of your art and your blog here in the future. When you leave a comment, please don't hesitate to invite me to take a look at your art. We need to share. I think its an essential part of the creative process.

I hope you enjoyed this post, as much as I enjoyed putting it together!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Happy New Year!

Hello my dear fellow artists!
I have been reflecting upon your comments, your kindness and your encouragement lately. How blessed and happy I am that we are all connected together by creative passion. Can you imagine what we could create if we all joined together? I often take time to click on your profiles, check out your blogs, the other blogs you follow and I feel more inspired than ever. I wish there were so many more hours in the day.

I'd like to take some time today to share some of my most recent projects. I've taken some time away from all the custom orders I used to accept. I know if you have been reading my posts, a lack of time is a common thread from one post to the next. Here are a few things I've made lately. I think if I hadn't taken the time to play, my imagination would have burst from me like steam from a boiling tea kettle!

This is one of my favorites. I've been collecting pretty flower prints to do some applique projects. Since my time was limited, I instead created a simple 9 patch patchwork. I then embellished each center with beads. The colors gave me such a joyful feeling! It was like a visit to a garden in the depths of Wisconsin's cold winter. Its 8 below zero here! That cold, even for us!

I then went to my vintage embroideries and started to patch and piece a few crazy patch designs. I love to combine them with 1930's reproduction prints. The first one is simply a large embroidery embellished with beads. Oh how these linens take me back to simple days in my grandma's kitchen.

Now that the holidays are over and everyone has gotten their gifts, I can share some of the custom orders I created. I made everyone wait forever for their orders but got them out in time for giving. Whew! I was stitching into the wee hours to complete some of these.
This one was a gift for one of my best customers. It was ordered by her sister-in-law who received a similar pincushion as a gift. She wanted to return the favor. We chose true vintage feed sack fabrics and I embroidered one of Tracey's favorite flowers, a cardinal on it. She was thrilled and that made me so happy!

I also love to collect vintage doilies. This one is so spectacular. I can't believe its still in my shop.

I stitched up a series of Churn Dash blocks in assorted red and white prints. I was going for something fun, simple and cheery. I hope I hit the mark. My next series will include other single patchwork blocks. I working on learning how to match points, stitch curved seams and I'm also trying some paper pieced blocks. Here are my Churn Dash blocks.

The second pincushion is available here.

If you like paper and patchwork, I'd love to share a website and blog I found that have many, many blocks, free patterns to print and a lot of wisdom on how to create each block.
The first is an Australian site called Wombat Quilts, hosted by Cath Hill. She has created all the blocks she features so she is generous with her images, patterns and insight. What a treasure trove of loveliness!
The blog I would like to share references vintage blocks from the Chicago Tribune in the 1930's. Nancy Cabot was the Needlework editor there for 32 years. She featured a block of the day in her column. Candace Moore, the contemporary fiber artist and host of Nancy Cabots Sew Along, offers many links to the patterns, The Quilt Index, an amazing website for quilters, and other resources and tutorials for and about quilters and how they approach the many blocks. Candace also has a fabric shop, Fabric2Go Studio on Etsy you may want to check out.
I recommend that you fill your coffee cup, your printer with paper and open your mind to the many possibilities of patchwork. I don't think I went to bed the evening I found those sites.

Well, here are a few more of the custom orders I created this holiday season.
I received a challenge to create a set of pincushions for a young lady heading off to an education in sewing design. Her lovely grandmother asked me to make a wrist pincushion with a standard pincushion to match. Denise gave me complete freedom to create these items. I knew she loved my wool pincushions so I decide to stay in those fibers. This is what I came up with. You will see more of these in my shop in the future. I want to make one for myself! The wrist version has a metal bracelet inside so it is adjustable and won't flip and flop as it is worn.

The base of each pincushion is made from recycled cashmere sweaters. I backed used metallic threads to add some loose free motion designs. I didn't want to compete with the flowers. I just wanted to add some interest to the black surface.
I then created 3-dimensional petals by needle felting layer upon layer of wool scraps and wool roving. The centers are made the same way. I added beads to them for a bit of sparkle.

I'd love to show you more but my images are not loading as they should. I am still waiting for the release of my instruction sheets. As soon as them become available by Google Blogspot, I will add them to a future post. If you would like to access the PDF version, just look at my previous post.

I would like to add some of your views, images, links and wisdom to my blog in a future post. I don't know if the comment section is good enough for some of the things you could share with me and others. You may send me your views, images, tutorials or wisdom to my email address at jillverbick@gmail.com. I'll post them as they relate to future topics.
Lets start with any images of your Summer Garden Pincushion. They can be progress shots, finished images or project you were inspired to create related to flowers in embroidery. I'd love to post them. Maybe these thoughts will get you started.

One of my next post will be a collection of comments related to how you find time to create. I know I would like to know more about your time management skills, your triumphs, your challenges and how you feel about balancing all the things a day can bring that get in the way of your creating time.

My family has been and will be growing, along with all the things we women do to show them our love. My family is one of the only other parts of my life that come before my work. I have an amazing husband who works so hard and supports my many endeavors. His daughter of 18 has recently moved in with us. She has one of the sweetest hearts in the world. I spend much time with my grand daughter and in just a few months, I'll soon have another to love. I have her here with me 2-4 days a week for the entire day. She is my sunshine but she definitely requires much or most of my attention while she is here. My sons and their wife's are so amazing. They continue to bring me much pride and joy. Either there are things I want to do for them, or things they ask me to do which often mean a day or so of non-work time. I hope this doesn't sound like I am whining. I love this part of my life more than I can say!

I often work about 5 hours in the early day. I then begin another work session from 10pm to 2 am. Now that I am sharing my favorite embroidery workspace, my comfy couch, with others, I find that my work time is cut nearly in half. I have so many dreams and I have worked so hard to take my Etsy shop to the next level. I get more requests for orders than I can create with a full work schedule. Soon I'll be watching a newborn along with my 3 year old grand daughter. I am terribly worried that I just can't do it all. I've been struggling this year to do even a fraction of what I accomplished last year. I am worried I will feel quite crabby without my creative time and quite sad to see that steady income disappear.
I'd love to hear how you all cope with time challenges. Do you have a secret to share with others? I'd just love to hear your ideas and experience. Drop me an email at jillverbick@gmail.com. When I have enough responses, I'll show them in a future post.

Well, off I go to work. My shop is nearly empty and I have some involved projects to complete! I hope your holidays were very wonderful. Thank goodness they are behind us!
Have a healthy, loving, passionate, creative and amazing new year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Instruction Sheets for Hydrangea and Geraniums, and the Rose

Lets try this. I hope it helps you while Google decides to undo the blocking of my PDF files.
Here are the instruction sheets in JPEG form. The size may be off, but if you freehand your design, it should allow you to continue with your stitching.
If you print them off in a standard 8 1/2" by 11", the size should be right.
Have fun!

Here are a few more variations you may try in one of your sections. I do not have a template for you. I think it may be fun to sue these as inspiration when designing new designs for your pincushion.

How about sweet peas and a hummingbird? The sweet peas are lazy daisy stitches.

I am not sure I like how I created this queen annes lace, but I love the addition of a little butterfly. I used mainly straight stitches to create the flower.

Here is the poppy flower. It is made with small straight stitches.

Finally, I am showing you my version of hollyhocks. I used a blanket stitch in a circle to create the flowers. You can find the blanket or button hole stitch (same stitch, different name) on my blog on my stitch tutorial page. Mary Corbet's Needle N Thread will walk you through just about any stitch in video form. Find them here.

Good luck. I'll keep working on getting those PDF instructions to you. Hopefully that will happen soon.

I want to wish you all a Very Happy and Creative New Year!
I hope it brings you many new projects and ideas. Lets all create a wonderful new year!


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Summer Garden Pincushion Tutorial, Part 6 and a Bonus Flower

Its time for the final 2 flowers! Here are the instructions for the Hydrangea and Geranium Flowers.
They are quite similar. If you would like a bit more variety, I am also giving you instructions for a Rose section.

Here are the downloadable instructions for all of these flowers. The geranium and hydrangea are together since they are nearly the same in stitches and shape.

Summer Garden Hydrangea and Geranium Instructions

Summer Garden Rose Instructions

Here are a few images to show you how they look. I want you to notice that I did not stick to any specific colors or patterns for each example. I think variety is the spice of life! Go for it.



Here are today's stitches.
I think you will see that you have used all of them so far in other flowers, so for the hydrangea and geranium you are ready to stitch!

The most common stitch to the hydrangea and geranium flowers are tiny lazy daisy stitches.

You may choose to wrap your stem stitches for the hydrangea, since it is a woody stem in nature. Geraniums are a bit thinner. I kept the leaf pattern vague. I think you should decide how you would like to approach them. I like a simple fly stitch. For larger leaves, I may use a satin stitch and add a second color, one on each side of the leaf.

When you get to the Rose, you may need to learn a new stitch. The Bullion Stitch is so wonderful! I just love it. It has texture, it can be made as short or long as you like. It is really fun to do. Just think of it as an extra long french knot!
I do not have a tutorial up for this stitch on my blog. I am going to send you to see a wonderful and very expert stitching expert, Mary Corbet. She may be responsible for teaching thousands of people how to embroidery. Not only does she teach you how, she shows you in both a picture form and a video form! She also has created The Hand Embroidery Network. Its a wonderful place for stitchers to learn and share their work. She inspired and taught me much of what I know about embroidery. She speaks to both the beginner and the expert. She is so very talented and generous.

Every thing you wanted to learn about Embroidery, is here- Needle N Thread.
Her Videos can also be viewed on U-Tube at her channel- Needle N Thread
Her Stitch videos on her Web Site, Needle N Thread are here.

Here is her Bullion Stitch video tutorial.

Once you have your 6 sections of flowers embroidered, all you have to do it put it all together!
Tutorials for the final steps are on my blog.

First, you should Block your Embroidery. This gets all the stitching nice relaxed. it will lay flatter and any imperfections will seem to disappear.
Find out how to Block your Embroidery Here

Next, follow the Classic Pincushion Tutorial to sew the top and bottom pieces together. Use linen for both. Use green or cream Perle Cotton, Size 5 to tie off each section.
I recommend that you use Emery, but you don't have to. You can learn more about Emery Here.
You can add a bit of lavender to the stuffing for a surprising aromatherapy session each time you use your pincushion.

Finally, create an Embroidered Button. You will find that tutorial here. You can use a standard button if you like. I really think that the embroidered version is perfect for this project!

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. I have received so many wonderful comments along the way.
I am so sorry that I did not get all of the patterns up in time for you to give this pincushion for Christmas. I really tried.
Better late than never. Finish your pincushion and give it anyway! I have a feeling the recipient will not be too upset.

Thanks for all of your support and kindness. I love my blog because of you! I love to share my ideas and I am always thrilled to know that you are sharing your talents as well. I am trying to make time to visit your blogs. I have enjoyed getting to know you very much. It is such a joy to be a part of a creative family such as our own!

I'd like to post some of your pincushions. Please send me your images and a bit of info about yourself to my email address, jillverbick@gmail.com. I'd love to see how you are doing!

Happy Stitching!!!