Friday, February 23, 2018

Do Fabrics make you drool?

I have been adding a lot of fabrics to my stash. I sure don't need anymore, but who can resist??? Not me. I find them so inspiring and a great incentive to do something new.
When I get a custom order for a fabric style I don't have, I am so happy because it gives me a valid excuse to be fabric happy! Thanks Dianne! I was so happy to add some Asian prints to my stash. Aren't these pretty!

I added these quilt block inspired fabrics this winter. Ooooh how I love them. They inspired a new house!

I am aching for my spring flowers. I think you can see that with these beautiful flower print fabrics I found...

Well then I needed some pretty fabrics to go with all those beautiful focal fabrics... right?

These are just the fabrics I picked up since the holidays. I have more to add. Check out my Fabric Choices page as I update all my new fabrics. Sorry they are added in a mish mash style. I just want to get them up so you can see them.

If you would like to order a custom pincushion with any fabric you see here, stop by my Etsy shop. Lets chat. I wish I could invite you all over to have a fabric party. Oh what fun we would have!!
Happy Sewing!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Creative Collaborations!

I often find that my favorite new designs are born from custom orders. I have met so many creative people though my Etsy shop. I count many of them as my muses and my friends. They bring me their ideas and requests and together we create something new and amazing.

It may be something as simple as new twist on an old favorite. We tweeked the flowers and colors of my Summer Garden to create an all purple version as shown above. We also substituted silk ribbon with embroidery floss in the pincushion below. Wow, what a difference!

I just love it when I hear..."What if... or Can you?" That is an open invitation for me to play. Have a request? Just ask!

"Can you please add a scissors fob to my Garden of Delight Needlecase?" Yup!

"Can I crazy quilt my Big Strawberry?" Lets try!

"Would you please add some beads to the Pink Mountain Pincushion? How about turning the mountains into trees?" Great idea!

These are just a few from the end of last year. I am so very grateful to all my customers for supporting my shop, favoriting and sharing my creations and for those who are up for a little adventure in sewing and embroidery. They invest in my love of color, creating and of course play. I just couldn't do what I do without you!

(Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Public Television,

Before I go, I just feel like I want to send my love and gratitude to Nancy Zieman, who passed away last November. I've watched for as long as she has been on public television. She taught me how to sew every drapery that has ever hung in all of my homes. She gave me the confidence to sew the dress I wore to my son's wedding. She shared her knowledge, her passion and her love of teaching with me so that I can now pass it on to my grand children and to the people I meet. I'm sew for charity because of her end of show segments. I love to sew and I thank Nancy for infusing such a humble craft into an honored tradition. She was only 5 years older than myself and she never aged and always grew with time.
Thank you dear Nancy. You will be missed and your heart will beat on in those you taught.

I promise to be back much more frequently.
I have a new puppy who loves and destroys anything left in his very tall reach. He has been tossed from home to home in his short life so he's a bit of a clingy baby. We are working on it and he is well worth the effort. When I can get him to stop whining at my studio door, I'll be back better than ever. Does anyone know a dog whisperer?

Bye for now!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Classic Pincushion Revisited

I am constantly trying to find new designs for my Etsy Shop. I have made thousands of pincushions since 2009. Perhaps the most accommodating and most innovative designs comes from the simple Classic Pincushion. What is that? Well, it is simply 2 circles of fabric, sewn around the outside, stuffed and then closed with a mattress stitch. What comes next is totally up to you. I just want to show you a few ways I have taken that simple design a few steps further.

You can add a button to the middle as shown above and you have a lovely pincushion. It provides lots of room for your pins and needles and its easy to make. You can find my tutorial on the classic pincushion on my tutorial page.

Like the pincushion above, I added another layer of functionality and fun. The top layer of this pincushion has 2 layers, a beautiful print and a layer of cotton blend batting. Before putting the top to the bottom, I added lots of free motion stitching around the print's design elements. It holds your pins firmly and keeps them from migrating to the inside polyester fiberfill.

You can use patchwork for the top and or the bottom to create a pretty pincushion. This pincushion is double sided! Just flip it over when you want something a little different!

My favorite and most popular pincushion has lots of embroidery. I divided the top into 8 sections. Each section has a different flower embroidered with embroidery floss. I've made so many I've lost count. There is a complete tutorial on my blog which starts here. I'm considering putting this pattern and all of the embroidery together in one place and adding it to my Etsy shop. I'd love your comments on that. It is obviously free here, but due to my lack of expertise on how to create better organized, multiple posts, I've made it a challenge to follow here. Sorry. Wish I had the time to figure that out. I'm not even sure on how to do a pattern on Etsy, but I promise, in my slower times I'll work on it. This version was requested by a lovely client of mine and I think it is stunning in all purple! Gosh I love the collaborative process!!!

I altered the circle shape and created a classic oval pincushion. Layers of applique with an adorable kitty print made all the difference. You will find more of these in my shop as time goes by. They are just too fun to make.

I found a lovely set of vintage napkins with pretty applique. Where the silverware went, I just left it open so you can put your seam ripper somewhere handy. I know I use my seam ripper a lot!

Here is another vintage version. This time I used a pretty vintage crochet doiley on top of a pretty solid fabric. I just love the red and cream color combination. Its just so stunning and simple.

This version has a crazy patch top with lots of embroidery, vintage bits and pieces and some beading. I wanted it to have a more modern look with a generous nod to the past. I love how no matter how much things change, they always stay the same.

If one layer of pincushions is good, how about 2? This one also has a vintage crochet frilly embellishment. Wish I could find more because I'd love to make more of this version. As the vintage trend goes on, I'm finding that it gets harder to find the really special pieces I love to use. Wish I lived closer to a small town with lots of real antique stores to scour. I love hunting down treasures to repurpose.

This next pincushion takes the construction a step further. I created a gathered strip of matching fabric, oh, about 1 3/4 inches wide and 3 times as long as the outer dimension of the circle. I evenly gathered each edge. To make it a bit easier to put together, I always stabilize my gathering with a basting stitch. that way it stays gathered evenly while I put the top and bottom layers together. This pincushion has a quilted top with free motion stitching. A few sparkly beads adorn the top design. I try to let the fabric talk to me. It often tells me how to design.

Speaking of the fabric speaking, sometimes a simple design offers great results. I love this nature printed fabrics. I love birds and often find ways to add them to my work. Here is simply added some embroidery stitches to the bird print to give it some texture and dimension.

If a circle is great, why stop there? The same construction can be applied to a square or a rectangle. Again, just let the fabric guide you.

I could go on and on. The classic is perfect for teaching someone to sew and for giving yourself a few great sewing tools for your next project. Try using vintage or orphan quilt blocks in your next pincushion. Make a matching needle case. Just dive into the joy of designing. There are many ways to skin a cat and many more ways to make a pincushion. Please note, no cats were harmed in this blog post. But a few kittys were used to spark my imagination.

Have fun! check out my Etsy shop and see what other designs I am working on. I'd be happy to help you with your sewing projects so don't be afraid to request a tutorial. If I can find the time, I'd love to share my ideas with you!

Happy sewing!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Just a Few Peaceful Thoughts

I listened to the news this week and its really hard not to feel uneasy, afraid and yes, alarmed. I remember in grade school practicing our atomic attack drills, as if ducking under our desks was a real way to survived the unimaginable. I feel that same fear, but now that I am older, experienced, and informed, I find that my feelings are deeper and multi-faced. I rarely speak of politics. I try to separate those views from my shop and my creativity but its time for me to speak a bit of mind.

I work and chat with artists and clients from all over the world. Its one of my favorite parts of what I do. I've shared the work of Inna Bird from Russia, I was featured on Homespun Magazine in Australia, my pincushions have flown from all over the United States to the United Kingdom. The pincushion below was a collaboration from one of my dearest customers in Japan. She is lovely and I think of her my dear kindred spirit.

I think we all have so much more in common than we are told we do. I for one, believe in creating. Destructive words and deeds have no place in my heart or my life. When I hear the leader of my beloved America speaking with so much hate I want to cry. I want to have a world in which my grand daughters do not cower under their desks. I want them to have lovely, untouched land to visit and protect. I can't think of a single corporation as a friend or yet as a person who's voice is more important than my own. Yet our bank accounts carry unequal weight with our leaders and I don't consider that an equal right. When Trump speaks, I am embarrassed and very afraid. There are many more people like myself than those who support his ignorant and divisive rhetoric.

I hope we stop talking with so much hatred and venom. I worry that this leader has no commonalities with my values or my aspirations for my country. In this world at this time we all have to connect on a human level. If I do my part one stitch at a time, well I think that helps me sleep at night. If telling you that I want peace and prosperity for all, is one small step, well that is where the longest of journeys begin.

I don't want my readers from other countries thinking that all Americans only love those from America. Those would probably account for less than 1% of our population. We were built and have gained strength and beauty from the many cultures and peoples who have come to our country. We are all immigrants. We are brothers and sisters and we had better start acting like it if we want to survive. At the very least, let us respect, communicate and try to understand each other as human beings. We all just want to live a better life. Do unto others never gets old and it is after all, the golden rule.

Well, I guess that is all I have to say. Welcome to Fiberluscious. I am happy to meet you from where ever you come from.
Peace be with us all.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Inspired by Fabric

I'm sure I am not alone if my fabric addiction. Who can walk through a fabric store and not fall in love with the colors and prints? A promise to stay on budget is swayed by the dreams of the fun projects you dream of? I know I am a sucker for a sale and my fabric budget seems to grow each month! I started my Etsy shop, Fiberluscious more to fuel my addiction than to make any money. I seem to fall into the red more often than not, and my fabric shelves over flowith with yards of fabric fun.

Above is one of my new designs. I found this adorable cat print at my local quilt shop. I just knew they were perfect for applique. Each kitty has its own personality and each one is inspiring a fun new pincushion. I've had a few cats in my life. Most have chosen me as I am more of a dog lover. I know that cats are so darn human and they all find their way into the hearts of many.

Here are my 1st two pincushions. Its so easy to see that even though the shape is the same, the fabrics are so very different.

I love the oval shape. Why does a pincushion need to be round? I love to hand applique. I bought a temporary glue baste with a tiny, long applicator and while it is nice to keep each layer in place, I didn't care for how it stiffens the fabric. I watched someone use it for the tiny edges but I think it takes away from the softness of hand applique, much like a fusible does. To make each layer of applique dimensional, I added a layer of batting to raise each level allowing for texture and functionality. You can purchase either design in my Etsy shop Fiberluscious.

Here are some of my newest fun fabric finds. I hope they inspire you as they inspire me. I hope your stash is filled with colorful wonders.

Don't forget your solids!

If you find yourself wanted to design a pincushion for someone special, like you, but you just don't have the time to sew. Drop me a line in my Etsy Shop Contsct link.
Give me your ideas, and I will put together some combinations you may like and off we go. Together we can design something just for you.

I hope you don't save your favorites- Use them! I have learned that hoarding leads to heartbreak down the way. You may want to use them in a future project and need a bit more. Once a fabric is out of print, it is gone. Play now! Enjoy! And as always Create!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Rooster Pincushion and Curved Piecing

This is my newest pincushion. Once again, I wanted to tackle a technique I was afraid to try. Its the dreaded curved block. Guess what, it isn't so bad. It is a bit fussy and it took some practice, but I really love it. My inspiration to give this block a try was a chicken quilt block, well, many chickens. They are adorable and I wanted to design something Fiberluscious. Here is a bright rosey version.

Okay, I make tiny blocks. pincushions are normally 5-6 inches square or round, so to get 4 blocks in a design, the blocks need to be small. I totally recommend starting bigger. Most of you are probably quilters so you have that luxury. I kind of like the challenge.

I also recommend downloading or purchasing a template.I just couldn't find one for this small of a block. I'm sure if you do a search you will find a great one. To make mine, I started by drawing a square the a bit larger than my finished block. I'd love to walk you through this but I think you would enjoy this block so much more if you started with a template and watched a video. Thank goodness for the internet and all the wonderful quilters out there who are both capable and generous with their knowledge.

Well, lets instead talk about the design process. I think we all see ideas on the Internet and think how can I make this my own. That is what we creative souls do. The hard part is figuring out what that is. I was going for whimsy. So I added a big old beak and a gathered comb to the back of my rooster's head.

The hardest part was figuring out how to fit them into an already bulky seam. My tip is to just give it a try. I just added a 1/4" seam to my shapes. I cut out 2 layer, sewed the shape, trimmed the seams. I turned them right side out and pinned them to the seams at the front and back of the head. I don't think this design would be the same without the way they stand out from the rest of the block. Too fun!

I finished the block by adding some nice big back stitches in #8 Perle Cotton. I tend to fall to my embroidery techniques when I quilt. I find it easier to get regular stitches. I have no idea how hand quilters get such beautiful stitches. I think it is so lovely and I hope that the tradition never ends.

Well, until you take on your next challenge, you will never know if you can do it. So just dive right in! It feels so great to do something you didn't think you could. Its the little victories in life that bring satisfaction.

Well, I better get to my shop orders.
You can find these pincushions in my Etsy shop Fiberluscious. They are still there today but I'm not sure how long they will last. If they are gone, give me a shout out on my Etsy shop and I will set up a listing for you. The blue version is here and the pink rose version is here.