Friday, August 28, 2009

"China" Quilt Late Summer Contest

Here are some of the stitched blocks & the Lecien fabric that I'm going to use.... thought they might help you come up with names! At the moment it seems that everybody wants it to be called "Grandma's China/Dishes" !! Remember to email us by September 12th with your entry at

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Questions & Answers!

We get a lot of questions... these seem to pop up over & over again. OH!!! Somewhere in here is the information about our "Late Summer Contest" so read carefully!!

Q - Why do you prefer a spring tension hoop? And why so small???
A - I like to be able to re-hoop quickly. The spring tension hoops allow quick "re-loads", have very thin sides and no screw to tear my fingers up. It's also easy to loosen or re-tighten as I work... looser for that sewing motion with the backstitch.... tighter for crossing over or making long stitches such as feather, fly, lazy daisy. The size is good for women's hands. It's easy to reach to the center of the hoop.

Q - Why do you use Weeks Dye Works floss if it's not colorfast?
A - We use this floss because it's absolutely gorgeous! That, and we use it on designs that we feel would never be washed. You'll never see it used on a dish towel pattern.... YIKES!!

Q - Why do you call for a backstitch in your patterns & not a stem stitch?
A - Sheer laziness!! LOL! Really, for the most part the backstitch is much easier and faster. It doesn't roll over...... hmmm.... what else? If you do a stem stitch it needs to be very small and very precise & even to look good. A backstitch is much more forgiving. However, it's YOUR stitchery & you can use the stem stitch if that's what your fingers want to do! It's not going to hurt MY feeling!!

Q - Who is this man, and why is he smiling????
A - That's Bob, our UPS dude! He's probably smiling because we didn't have anything for him to pick up last night.... WHEW, those boxes of patterns are heavy!

Q - Why do you call for such a large piece of stitchery fabric (such as a 12"x12" square when the stitchery is only 6"x6") ?
A - I leave extra room for hooping around the edges of the stitchery. If you don't think you'll need the extra room you can always use your own judgement and use less fabric. It's up to you!

Q - My lazy daisy stitches are tight and don't look like the ones drawn on the patterns. How do you make them look like loops?
A - Easy! I find that they're often pulled too tight. Also, if the floss is pulled straight UP from the surface of the fabric to tighten the stitch, it's much easier to get out of control and over-tighten. Instead, pull the floss out right down along the edge of your hoop. Pull slowly until the loop is the size and shape you want.
Q - How do I keep my French knots from tangling and having loops on them? (Someone once told me in a class that her French knots "waved" LOL!!!)
A - The key to good French knots is to keep proper tension on the wraps and to work SLOWLY!!! If you pull the floss through the wraps slowly enough, you can even have a chance to un-tangle your floss if it gets knotted, before the stitch is ruined.

Q - What is the muslin for that you call for on the back of the pattern? How do you baste the muslin to the stitchery fabric?
A - I like to baste muslin to the back of my traced stitchery to stabilize the fabric and to cover up all the ugly thread ends and cross-overs on the back. The muslin will keep the ugly stuff from shadowing through to the front of the fabric. I like to hand baste about 1/2" to 1/4" outside the edges of the design and around here and there inside the design to hold the two pieces of fabric together. I like to hand baste quite a bit... it keeps the fabric from shifting when it's hooped and cuts down on puckering. The basting stitches don't need to be little... just big stitches & lots of them! The basting will be removed after the stitchery is completed however, you can also remove portions of the basting as you stitch.

Psssst............. this is one of the pitchers on the bottom panel of a new quilt! Right now we're calling it "the china quilt" but I need a new name & I need it NOW!!!!! Here's the new "Late Summer Contest".... will you help me name this quilt??? I'll describe it & you can email us your name ideas. The winner will get a gift from Crabapple Hill!! OK.... the quilt is designed to look like a framed picture (flowers in an urn) hanging on a wall above a shelf. Vintage china plates, platters, saucers are arranged on the wall around the picture and a bowl, pitchers, sugar bowl, etc... are clustered on the lacy tablecloth covered shelf beneath. There will be crazy quilt borders on the left & right sides of the quilt with little floral images etc... and china-type words to choose from. Any ideas???? Send them in! We'll need your entries by September 12th so there's not much time!!

Our Flight of Fancy is back from the quilter!! Susan Johnson of Signature Quilting did a great job on it. I'll sew the binding on this week & Sheila will do the hand sewing (she's SO fast at it!!) I'll start writing the pattern later this week - it shouldn't take long.... easy piecing & easy redwork.... YAHOO!!!
The flowers in front of the studio are blooming their little hearts out! They're also full of bumblebees (they're so cute!). It's about time to switch some of the flowers that are pretty much done for the year with marigolds and mums. I'm SO ready for autumn! The first weekend of September I'm going to re-plant my pots with autumn flowers and pick the pumpkins to arrange on the porch.

I've had many questions from you about the progress on our new house. Here's the "latest"!!! They're just finishing up with the drywall (finally!) and will get started on the trim next. There's a lot of woodwork in the house so that should take a few weeks I'm told! The porch's pillars & railings aren't in yet either & that will come soon. We're going to paint it a pale yellow with white trim. I just love the back side of the house... it reminds me of an old schoolhouse that sits in the wheat fields in the Palouse region east of here. It's all those windows! With that evening sun, we're going to have to plant TONS of trees! The front of the house sits face to face with the front of the studio. It'll be an easy commute to work in the morning! Oh.... there's so much landscaping work to do! I'm itching to get started!!!

xox Meg

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Toweling Has Arrived!!

Hi Everybody!

Our Moda Home toweling arrived this morning! We got the multi-color stripe and the multi-width green stripe (my personal favorite!! - I'm thinking of making curtains or something for my kitchen & pantry using it.) Anyway... it's here and it's back on the website!

Last weekend we tried to beat the heat & headed for the hills! It wasn't much cooler as the whole state is having a heat wave, but it DID include a trip to my favorite antique store, APPLE ANNIES!!!! YAHOO!!! Always good for about 2 or 3 hours of wandering.... and buying! LOL!!! I found a green vintage tin box, some china bowls (I'm addicted!.... do they have rehab for china & diet coke addictions???) an aqua tablecloth that I'm thinking of slipcovering a chair with for the new house.......... and enough other stuff to make myself the tiniest bit ashamed of myself..... ashamed???? NO, never!!! I NEED all that stuff, right??? Just like I need all this fabric & every kind of floss on earth.........................right?
On the way home over Blewett Pass, we came around a corner & had to slam on the brakes. Cars were stopped in the middle of the road to let a herd of sheep cross! You don't understand..... this DOES NOT HAPPEN on Washington state's highways! This isn't the norm! There wasn't anyone "herding" the herd, just one very hot, tired, bored, big white dog. He pretty much seemed to be saying "Hey, I'm supposed to protect them from coyotes & maybe a bear or two....... big cars & trucks????.... they're on their own!!!" I got a couple pictures before people started realizing that the sheep were in no big hurry to cross the road & finally pulled through very slowly one by one. Kind of a fun way to end our day!

In the last two weeks we've had a few visits from people who either thought the shop hop was still going on, or who just thought that we were now open to the public because we'd been open during the shop hop.... anyway........ this is just a reminder that even though we'd all love to meet you & show you the studio... it's not always in "spotless, let's have visitors!" form! We work here & make messes & have shipments coming and going. We're on the phone and working on the computers and printing and sewing & designing. We can't stop working to talk & stuff and we're just NO FUN!! LOL!!! : )

One of these days I'll open the studio up again for a special event... we'll get it all dolled up again like a girl in a pretty party dress......we'll bring in some of the girls who don't usually work in the studio to help to welcome you and show you around! Until then though, we're not open.... I'm so sorry! xox Meg