Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Perfect Fabric

Color Inspiration
There is a saying in Spanish "Para los gustos se hicieron los colores."  It loosely translates to "Colors were invented to satisfy different tastes."  Well, I love color; all colors.  In fact, I am hard pressed to name a favorite color. So, you would think that with all the fabric choices quilters have today, I could just select something off the bolt and be happy.  Wrong! Maybe it's the curse of a creative soul.  Regardless, I feel the need to create the perfect fabric - not just color - but also weight and weave. 

Home of Shady Tree Hand Dyed Fabrics
This is the first time I am dyeing fabric on a larger scale because I need enough fabric to make several dozen kits for The Kathy Dunigan Academy of Applique (February 3-8, 2015 - click on this link for info).  Fortunately, we have a huge avocado tree in the backyard that not only produces excellent fruit, but also provides a large shady area for us to work. 

Yes, us!  I had to rope Jim into helping me because fabric dyeing is a ton a work and definitely a labor of love.  Well, wouldn't you know it - Jim fell in love with the fabric dyeing process!!  I pick the colors/formulas and the weight/weave and he does all the work.  The first couple of dyeing sessions were so successful that Shady Tree Hand Dyes was born.  Right now, I have Jim busy creating the fabrics and embellishments I need for the TKDAA kits.  However, he is planning to continue to produce fabrics and ribbon and add colors and make them available for purchase.  Stay tuned for more info as it becomes available.   

 Best stitches,

Mercy in sunny Miami sitting under the Shady Tree
First Batch for TKDAA kits


Purples, Peaches, Neutrals


Various Cottons

Silk Ribbons and Cording

High Candy Roses

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Big Surprise!

I received lots of guesses and they would have all been wonderful if true.  Sadly, they were all incorrect.  Here is the surprise….
A very talented needle artist, Kathy Dunigan, is launching a brand new quilting event geared to the applique enthusiast.  The Kathy Dunigan Applique Academy (TKDAA) will kick off February 3 through February 8, 2015 with 10 applique teachers!  The event will be hosted in the Dallas, Texas area at the Hilton Dallas/Rockwall Lakefront hoteland conference center.  So far, the venue and arrangements are spectacular and it promises to be a world class event. 
As all things Texan, I just know it will be a big, welcoming, friendly event!

Main Conference Class - Botanical Rose Study - The Esperanza Rose
I will be teaching a one day class on Tuesday February 3 (Basket of Roses) and a three day class Thursday, February 5 – Saturday, February 7 (Botanical Rose Study).   

Tile of Antique Block
Basis for Botanical
Rose Study Block

Both projects continue the New World Rose series I began with The Santa Maria block that I taught at TESAA in February and the kits will include the same background fabric for anyone wishing to work on the entire project from the beginning.  I will also have additional Santa Maria kits and patterns for anyone that was not able to attend TESAA or missed out on the initial kit. 

One Day Class will
be based on this Eggelston block
Basket of Roses
For those of you that have not heard, Elly decided to close TESAA.  However, it is with her blessing that TKDAA is opening her doors and Elly will be in attendance.  A wonderful tribute to Elly is in the planning stages.  I’m sure there won’t be a dry eye in the house.

I will let everyone know as soon as Kathy has the website up and running.  At the moment, I believe she is planning on opening registration in June.

Until next time,
Best stitches!

Mercy in very HOT Miami

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Waste Knot Want Knot

Progress on my reproduction of this block continues
and a HUGE surprise is in the works.  More
info coming soon!!
I was happily stitching on my Mystery in the Smokies project in the lunch room the other day when a fellow needle art enthusiast asked me how I start and stop my embroidery so that I do not have knots on my background.  As I demonstrated for her I stopped to snap a few photos so that I could share with all of you. 

Knot end of embroidery thread
To Begin:  I make a quilter’s knot in the end of a 9 inch length of embroidery floss. 

Leave Waste Knot about 3/4" in front of where you wish to start
I then enter the fabric from the top, about one half to three quarters of an inch ahead of where I want to begin to embroider.  This knot on the top is referred to as a waster knot.

I then come up exactly where I wish the embroidery to begin. 
Embroider as usual
 I begin to stitch towards the knot. 

Catch the underneath thread with each stitch

In this case I am embroidering a stem stitch.  Each time I travel behind the fabric to form a stitch I make sure to stitch through the length of thread on the back.  I will make several stitches as I get closer to the knot.  With each stitch I catch a piece of the back thread.   
Snip waste knot

When I am one stitch away, I will snip the knot.   I then continue to embroider.  

Neatness counts!
The front AND the back are both nice and neat and the beginning thread tail is secure.

In this particular project I am embroidering with a very dark fiber on a very light background.  Any knots or stray threads that migrate on the back will shadow through and be very visible on the front; especially when the top is sandwiched with white batting behind it!  Neatness always counts and in this case, more than ever!

Tune it next time to to hear all about a huge surprise that is in the making - very exciting news!

Best stitches,
Mercy in Miami