Fabric designer and quilt pattern maker Robin Pickens has created several lines of fabric with Moda Fabrics. I used fabric from Painted Meadow, Dandi Annie, and Dear Mum to create this batch of pincushions.Continue reading
Reclaim – to retrieve or recover
When Lucy and I first started making pincushions, we frequented many antique shops hunting for just the right salt cellars. Over time, we started noticing other small dishes and finally ventured into different pieces to test if they would work. Ashtrays are a very common find. Some of the ashtrays we have found are made in beautiful patterns with interesting glass. Reclaiming and repurposing the glass spurs our imaginations and provides inspiration for creating.Continue reading
My adventure into making pincushions was not planned. I entered a quilt in the National Quilting Association’s (NQA) quilt show several years ago. While there, I was browsing through the vendors and came upon salt cellar pincushions. I was smitten. I bought 3, one for me and each of my daughters. The little salt cellar dishes are unique and charming. I wanted to make them and told my daughter, Lucy, that we should try to make them together. We live in the midwest and there is an abundance of antique stores here giving us ample opportunity to look for old glass. The following summer, after collecting some glass salt cellars, Lucy set out to make the pincushions. She had recently had ankle surgery and was non-weight bearing and looking for something to do because she was bored. She did an amazing job troubleshooting the pincushions. I had a basic idea of how to make them, but she perfected it! Several years and a thousand+ pincushions later, we still love making them – it’s so much fun! I’m a quilter, but now I feel like I’m a pincushion artist too. We have expanded the pincushion containers beyond the salt cellars, but salt cellars are how we started and still my favorite base to use in making the pincushions.
The books pictured above, The Open Salt Compendium and 5,000 Open Salts, A Collector’s Guide, catalog a large variety of salts and include the manufacturer and date of production. Another reference is Salty Comments which was written from 1984-2005 by Ed and Kay Berg. Their early newsletters were written on a typewriter and pictures of salt cellars were hand drawn.
Our process of sewing on a button with matching thread and creating a custom crystal and glass beaded pin gives each pincushion their own personality and appeal. My pincushion journey includes hunting for glass and looking for just the right fabric, or cut of fabric, to make the pincushions. I have met a lot of interesting people and learned so much along the way. I am sure I will continue enjoying the whole process.
Happy Crafting and Quilting! ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎
Q: Favorite Color?
A: Green (but orange is my secret favorite – I’ve just loved green so long that it’s hard to know if it’s replaceable)
Q: Name you favorite quilt?
A: Hmmmm…depends on the project or season
Q: Name the quilt that gives you the most utility?
A: Easy…a yellow and white quilt my mom gave me 15-20 years ago. It’s lives on my bed or the chair in my room. It was perfect for covering kids when they “stopped by” for the night or to take in the car. This yellow and white quilt has been washed repeatedly and is snuggly and soft. It was never intended to be my favorite, but it just might be because of all the use I have gotten out of it. This quilt was pieced from leftovers and given to me by my mom because she did not need another quilt hanging around. I adore this quilt! I love the connection it gives me to my mom and the utility it provides.
After many years of using the yellow and white quilt, I decided to make a pattern so that I could make this quilt for friends and family. One aspect of the quilt that I really like is the size and how it is accommodating for so many different uses. It measures approximately 47″ x 56″.
The pattern is available in the November/December 2018 edition of Modern Patchwork.
Happy Quilting! ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎
Mille definition — “thousand”
Fiori definition — “flowered”
When I was first exposed to the Millefiori Quilt pattern by Willyne Hammerstein, I was amazed by the process and outcome. I had never heard the word millefiori and did not take time to stop and think about it’s meaning. I was too captivated by the quilts and all of the possibilities.
This past spring I visited the Chicago Art Institute and walked into the glass paperweight exhibit. I was amazed and awestruck. And then I saw that word again – Millefiore…that was the beginning of my quest to understand what it meant.
The word millefiore, which translates to thousand flowered, originates with glass making in Italy from the 18th century. On their website, millefioribeads.org, the authors state that mosaic beads date back much further than that to the 7th or 8th century. A quick Pinterest search of the word millefiori will show quilts, jewelry and paperweights. So many mediums with which to experience this beautiful art – glass, clay, and fabric! As I was touring the paperweight exhibit, it dawned on me that Kaffe Fassett’s fabric, Paperweight, is inspired by this beautiful art.
As a bonus to learning all of this information, I recently found out that a friend of mine is associated with a local glass studio, Glass Axis. He invited me on a tour of the studio to see various methods of creating with glass. The day we went, there happened to be an artist working on blowing glass. It was an intriguing process to watch. The entire studio was full of inspiration! I went home to research the process a little more. The following 5 minute YouTube video of glass making shows this intricate and mesmerizing process.
I now have a better understanding of the inspiration behind the the millefiori quilts. As a quilter, I believe that inspiration can be found everywhere and learning about the millefiori glass paperweights once again confirms this belief. The plan for my millefiori quilt is to make each rosette focused on one color so that when they are all joined together, they feel distinct. I see paperweights with multi colors but I also see them restrained to smaller color palettes. The variance of options creates endless ideas for quilts.
I enjoy looking for paperweights when I antique. I found this beauty for $3 which is a bargain!
Happy Quilting! ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎
Earlier this week at church, one of my daughters received a box of crayons as a gift. As soon as she saw me, she laughed and asked me to open the box.
As a kid and even as an adult, I’ve always liked looking at a new box of crayons. So many possibilities with those fresh, sharp points. When I pulled the lid back, I was surprised! The sharp points were there, but the color was monotonous. I like the color Unmellow Yellow, but I like a lot of other colors too.
The opportunity for creating with a new box of crayons seems endless, except when all of the crayons are the same. That box of crayons left me thinking about diversity and the privilege and inevitability of being exposed to it.
As a nurse working in an emergency room, I see diversity in so many aspects of life – health of patients, family interactions, coping mechanisms with life altering news, and clinical practice styles among health care workers. As a mom, I see differences in my children who all are growing up with the same 2 parents in the same household. I really appreciate diversity. Life would be boring if everything was the same.
As my quilting has evolved over the years, I’ve come to enjoy the diversity in this craft and appreciate varying styles – not only in quilting, but in individual interpretation – mine and others. Sew alongs, swaps and sewing challenges have provided a designated focus for creating.
Sew alongs have provided a great way to see a pattern with a large amount of personal interpretation. I participated in the Sewcial Bee Sampler (IG #sewcialbeesampler) and Community Sampler (IG #communitysampler) both hosted by Sharon Holland and Maureen Cracknell. Everyone was working with the same pattern but chose their own fabric and approach. This project gave each quilter a unique opportunity to see the pattern reinterpreted again and again. It was interesting to see and a learning opportunity as well.
Last fall, Isabel Kelly (IG @lambandwolfie) hosted an Anna Maria Horner (AMH) sew along (IG #amhsewalong). This was a fun project because it was open to interpretation including pattern or project and focused on using your AMH stash. I decided to join with one project in mind, but changed my mind and created a single Irish chain using rainbow colors.
Swaps are also another fun way to see how an individual views fabric or a general theme. I participated in the Polaroid Greeting swap (IG #polaroidgreetswap) hosted by Johanna (IG @johannaweidner) and found it interesting to see what “pictures” people captured. I still have not put together all of the blocks I received, but I was inspired to create a polaroid quilt for my dad for his 70th birthday.
The Rainbow Mini Swap on Instagram hosted by Kate Basti (IG @katebasti or quiltwithkate.com) limited you to size but encouraged the incorporation of a lot of color. We had a deadline and I knew who I was sending to, but it was a secret who was sending to me. I sent mine to Becky (IG @keepmeinstitches) and received mine from Isabel Kelly – same gal who hosted the #amhsewalong mentioned above. I loved giving and receiving and made some wonderful online friends through the process. The quilt I made for Becky was a pattern I designed myself. It was challenging to create a layout that I felt was visibly appealing but in addition, I was sending it to a stranger! It pushed me to create the best quilt I could.
The Central Ohio Modern Quilt guild hosted a color challenge which was exciting and fun! Each person blindly pulled two crayons from a bag. The rules stated that were neutrals could also be added. This resulted in me trying out the Wefty needle made by Tara Curtis (IG @weftyneedle or weftyneedle.com) and making a pillow with piping! The palette was limited, but creativity was not.
Diversity in all aspects of life is important. I appreciate the challenges that have come with various projects because I have grown as a quilter and crafter. How has your quilting or other passions grown over the years?
Happy Quilting! ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎
The hunt for fabric to make salt cellar pincushions is always fun! When I spotted Suzy’s fabric at my LQS, Sew to Speak, I knew it would probably be a favorite.
Suzy Ultman’s has such a fun style with her art and creations! The prints from Suzy’s Minis 2 are perfect for salt cellar pincushions because of their petite scale.
Another enjoyable part of the process was picking out accessories including buttons and creating the custom crystal bead pins. These little popsicles needed a very small button! I call it a micro button. I’ve had these in my stash for a long time and never really thought I’d use them.
The term “cuteness overload” is not an exaggeration with these prints!
Happy Quilting! ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎
Progress continues on the Ice Cream Soda paper pieced quilt. I’ve been working on this for about a year and half. That’s a long time! I love making the blocks and matching them with pincushions that I have on hand.
Piecing the blocks together is a lot slower than I thought it would be. But I’m happy to be at the stage to be able to connect blocks.
This project was started by Jodi from Tales of Cloth. Her website is full of wonderful inspiration and English paper piecing projects.
In other happenings, Ohio is up to it’s shenanigans again with the weather. The sun was out and shining and it was raining at the same time. Raindrop shadows?!
Happy Quilting! ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎
Maureen Cracknell, a fabric designer for Art Gallery Fabrics, has a new fabric line available. You can view the Lookbook for pretty pictures and inspiration including this version of the Pike quilt. I fell in love with this fabric!
Maureen’s fabric was perfect for pincushions too.
Quilting this was fun! I enjoyed changing the quilting motif in the different fabrics. I knew I wanted to have a wavy crosshatch in each of the block centers plus a lot of soft swirling lines in this quilt. The design evolved as I quilted.
If you are interested in making the Pike Quilt, the pattern is FREE! You can find it on Craftsy by clicking HERE. There are a couple of colorways for this quilt and you can choose which you download. Additionally, I’ve created a coloring page for this quilt so you can play.
Happy Quilting! ▶︎ ▶︎ ▶︎