Adding the Details

Here’s a small preview of some of the patchwork projects I’ve been working on this week:

I haven’t done a lot of stitchery in a long time, so it’s been great having my stitching books on hand for reference.

I’m having fun relearning some of these stitches.

I love making patchwork projects, especially for my shop, and lately the thrill has been to dream up new details to give my ideas more edge and flair. I think details, subtle or shiny, can really make something super unique and more fun to wear or carry. Hope you had the chance to notice some details and learn something this week!

Best Practice – Resources

Ready for another installment of my Best Practices series? I can’t believe I have stuck with this series for six weeks  now!

I have worked as a paralegal for so many years (17!), and I’ve always found it important to have the right resources at hand. This carries over to my creative world too. There are lots of resources available, from books to magazines to the Internet.

(my new favorite resource – the Fat Quarterly e-zine!)

I especially love using the Internet and fellow bloggers for resources and inspiration. But I also like to have the actual books and magazines when learning the terminology, materials, tools, new techniques, and just looking for inspiration.

Finding what works for your needs can be fun. A couple things I like to look for in my resources: high quality pictures and illustrations (eye candy!), useful tips, intermediate to advanced techniques, and a variety of fresh, modern projects.

Sewing / Quilting References

When I first learned how to quilt in 1999, I took formal classes at the local quilt shop. I guess I was lucky to have access to such a fabulous shop because so many people nowadays seem to be either self-taught or are learning from free sites on the Internet. I’m a visual learner, so I like to hear and see the steps done and then try them myself.

Anyway, after those classes, I bought this quilting encyclopedia to have by my side as I made quilts on my own.

It’s an older book, but still great reference, from tools to techniques to piecing to quilting.

I progressed to using baby quilt books, since they provided easy to follow instructions for great projects.

These days, my sewing interested have expanded from sewing quilts to patchwork goods for our house and bags and clothes. Who doesn’t love Anna Maria Horner’s Seams To Me sewing book?! Every girl has to have this on her shelf!

I love the basic sewing techniques in this book to guide you through the charming projects that will stretch your sewing skills beyond of quilting. I adore Anna Maria’s voice and perspective – fun and free. There are no rules here; just guidelines to help steer you in the direction of success with your modern projects. I also especially like that this book is spiral bound so I can lay it flat.

Another sewing book I love is Amy Karol‘s Bend-the-Rules-Sewing book. It’s full of clever, modern projects with a fresh twist, from bags to aprons to table linens to aprons. I love her illustrations, and the multiple pictures or ideas she presents for each project.

Knitting and Crochet References

I learned how to knit and crochet when I was about 10 years old, but I ended up setting crafts aside while I was in college.

I relearned both knitting and crochet over 10 years ago, so I bought a couple reference books to have on hand. My absolute favorite resource book is the Knitters Companion because it serves like a mini encyclopedia (or a paperbook version of Google) when I get stuck and need to look up something quickly. I also really like that it’s spiral-bound so I can lay it flat if I need to follow along.

I always need help figuring out how to interchange yarns, since I often don’t have access to the yarn used in a pattern. So I especially love those particular pages!

Embroidery References

I used to do more embroidery and needlepoint in years past. At one point, I had to narrow down my hobbies, which is mainly sewing these days.

(Doodle Stitching by Aimie RayKids Embroidery by Kristin Nicholas, and Colorful Stitchery by Kristin Nicholas)

But I was so happy I had these reference books on my shelves when I made my mini friendship quilt for my recent blog giveaway. I needed a refresher on how to stitch words and flowers.

Color References

I think we would all agree how much fun it is to learn about the color wheel, how to use it, and how to make projects with the color wheel in mind.

I love the color exploration sections in Joelle Hoverson’s books. She provides a simple yet artsy narrative on combining various colors to achieve a different feeling.

I found this cool book at the local yarn store. I haven’t had much time to spend studying it, but it has amazing examples of different color combinations based on how you turn your color wheel.

Drawing Resources

I also have a pile of drawing and design resources, but I haven’t had much time to spend on those art techniques since the design and drawing classes I took last year.


I know, there are zillions of great craft reference books and pattern books on the market. I could write a separate post reviewing each one of these wonderful creative books. (I do have a couple new sewing books I plan to review soon, so stay tuned for more on that.) Having these particular resources on my shelves has given me access to techniques and inspiration right at my fingertips! Feel free to share your favorite resources in the comments or link to your blog.


Previous posts about my Best Practices:



Bobbins, Pins and Folding

Business Cards

Carry Your Product

You are a winner!

Thank so much, everyone of you, for entering my blogiversary giveaway, and for all your sweet comments! Such a wonderful feeling to have a whole pack of sisters out there who think like I do, have similar interests, and share an appreciation for similar things.

I utilized our trusty friend the Random Number Generator to pick the winner.

When I was making this little mini, I wanted to embroider a saying that moved around the block. I wanted it to have something to do with friendship. But I was drawing a blank. So I went to our other friend Google, and searched for friendship quotes. I only needed four words. That search helped, but I still kept coming back to this cute wall hanging I got from my BFF Tami a couple years ago. (she lives in Colorado so I don’t see her too often anymore)

I hadn’t done any embroidery in a couple years, so I was happy to dig out my reference books. I highly recommend having at least one embroidery book on hand if you need some good tips, examples, and eye candy.

(Doodle Stitching by Aimie Ray, Kids Embroidery by Kristin Nicholas, and Colorful Stitchery by Kristin Nicholas)

Thank you again everyone for entering my giveaway and continuing to visit my blog and leave such nice comments. I always love the positive feedback, and appreciate your friendship! Here’s to another 300 posts!

Felting is Fun

The only thing I did not get to on my weekend list was to spend an hour at the local yarn shop. Instead, I finished a felting project at home. I fell in love with felting a couple years ago. In fact, it was on my list of New Year’s resolutions for 2007 to learn something new, like felting.

I knitted two of these oven mitts from the pattern “Out of the Frying Pan” by Amy E. Anderson with Ella Rae yarn by Classic Elite. Very easy pattern to follow (even for beginning knitters), very nice yarn to knit with, and it felts great too.

And then I felted them, which calls for three cycles of agitation on my washing machine.

I just love how these oven mitts turned out!

Next step – embellishment, which I did with a little embroidery stitching.

I make these felted oven mitts as gifts quite often. I made a pair of forest green mitts embellished with daisy stitches using variegated thread as a gift for my sister. This pair might be for my mom’s birthday coming up soon. She’s a very patriotic person, so I thought the red and blue mitts with white stars would be festive. Next on my list should be a pair of felted oven mitts for us to use in our kitchen.