Tiny Rugs & Embroidery Fun

This is a guest post from Lorna!

A while ago, I had an idea to use the Purl & Loop Minute Weaver to make a design for my Yazzii organizer. I love beautiful thread, and this seemed like a fun way to work with it. The woven squares are sewn to a piece of dark blue wool that is then sewn to the top of my Yazzii.

I decided to just use #3 perle cotton thread (including some Painters Perles) for the loom. The squares are pretty fast to put together, and you can create different looks by switching up the colors, the size of the thread, maybe using wool thread. I made a couple of “tiny rugs” with fringe using the instructions from Jack’s (my 10-year-old) wee weaver. Here’s a picture story I made for you:

After a few tries at finger tying the knots in the fringe, I thought of using the eye of a needle. I grabbed a chenille needle that I’d been using in the weaving (from the assorted pack by Tulip) with a big eye, and it worked perfectly. Varied chenille needles worked for sewing/embroidering the squares to the wool, and later the wool to the yazzii.

Once the squares were made, I arranged them, and pinned them to the wool. Even though, or maybe because, my design was purposefully haphazard, pinning them all down helped a lot.

I embroidered with #8 perle cotton (again, including the painter’s pearl) and Judith Baker Montano’s Embroidery & Crazy Quilt Stitch Tool. Embroidery is new to me, and it was actually really easy to get rolling with the instructions. I picked a simple stitch, and went for it – my very first awkward stitches I kept. Crazy, right?! I tried different stitches, mixing it up, and at some point I thought of embroidering the squares before I attached them.

It was nice to have a project that was small enough to work on anywhere – on the couch, outside on the porch while Bear (my 5-year-old) played. And I discovered I enjoy handwork.

Gran (Becky’s mom) gave Bear the button stash that the two of them had played with when he was a toddler (he still loves to get it out and sort through them). I found some wonderful pieces, and used them as part of securely attaching the whole thing to the Yazzii. I feel like Gran would approve of her tiny puppy on the tiny rug. Altogether, a fun learning project, AND I like it enough to keep looking at it.

The Cat in the Hat / 2017

Hello Piece O’ Cake People! I am Becky’s daughter-in-law, Lorna. And here’s my first quilt story.

2016 was rough for me, especially the last part of it. Stress was a real issue. So as we went into 2017, one of my goals was to make a quilt. It killed several birds for me: to stretch my mind and learn something new, to do something that made me happy and fulfilled, to connect better to my mother-in-law and my work.

Becky started me on my quest in style. She gave me some fabric she had been saving without a purpose, and pointed me at her fairly new piecing book, Piecing the Piece O’ Cake Way Revised Second Edition. I used the first project, Fields & Fences, for the quilt top. Through the year, I made progress in spurts.

For the quilt top, I “followed the recipe.” Because I had vastly different fabric than the instructions called for, I did get to use a lot of creativity in the color combinations. Once I had everything cut, I would switch the strips around over and over and over. I used the yellow and white fabrics as my accents. I don’t have a design wall (yet), sometimes I’d stand on a chair and take a picture of them from above, look at it, and move them around again.

One of the pieces she had given me had these large whimsical pictures, so I decided to cut them out, frame them with extra strips, and put them on my quilt back. That was totally like unloading the refrigerator and using everything I could to make something weird and delicious.

I did have to run to the store of Becky, and I was surprised and delighted that her gorgeous batik worked to fill in either side of the quilt back.

I made mistakes, I had to fix things, and I learned a lot.

When I texted Becky a picture to let her know I was FINALLY basting, she let me know I was basting TOO MUCH. Then it all moved quicker.

I love piecing, and I think I did a pretty good job. Now quilting… So, I machine quilted on my Singer 401A with the walking foot. It performed beautifully, I performed terribly. I mean, I’m not exaggerating, the quilting is very bad.

But it got done, actually in early November. So I figured I was golden. I had fortuitously found more of The Cat in the Hat fabric for the binding in a thrift store in Fayetteville, AR, in October.

Leading up to Thanksgiving, my dad was in the hospital, and then, you know, holiday stress. Still, I just knew I’d get to it, if not before, certainly by the time Chris went on Christmas break. Duh duh duhhhh. My health had been a bit dodgy through the year, some annoying, inconvenient stuff, but the Saturday after Thanksgiving it really hit, and I’m still dealing with fatigue as I’m recovering.

When the new year rolled around, it made me sad that my quilt was not done. Becky offered several times for Steve (my father-in-law) to hand-sew the binding for me, but I had planned from the beginning to do it all myself. Finally, I asked him. And there’s a reason Steve does most of the bindings on Becky’s quilts. He’s really crazy good at it. It’s the only perfect thing on my quilt.

2017 was another roller coaster, but in all honesty, so much more hopeful and fruitful than 2016. I love my family, I love my friends. I’ve had the opportunity to see beauty and generosity all around me. I’m proud of my world. AND I’m ready to make another quilt!