Monday, November 17, 2014

Momcat Monday-Needle Tatting #8 (Rhombic Earrings).

Thus far, I've tatted rather simple and straightforward patterns that I could either view with YouTube tutorials or follow explicit, written directions.  It was time to venture into tatting multiple rings and chains. I used Tutorial #7 from my Italian YouTube Friend  (Le Cose Dell Anto) to learn how to deal with multiple rings and chains. I lost count of the number of times I had to undo the tatting to get the correct orientation for tatting chains or rings. In addition, those picots became very important! 

needle tatting rhombic earrings

Notice on the bottom sample there appears to be a hole in the center.  Obviously I didn't join the correct ring to the correct picot on this first rhombic sample. Not only did I have to locate the correct picot but also the picot on the correct ring! In the top sample the hole is absent - hurray! Success at completing this pattern. 

Now to get those rings and chains at the same tension. I feel that this will be a constant challenge for me but essential if I plan to make snowflakes for the holidays!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Festive for Friday-Making Progress.

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter.

I'm VERY excited to say that progress is being made in the set up of my sewing space!

It's not completely done yet, but it's definitely moving in the right direction! My Polar Notions mini-bolts fit perfectly in each cube and look so pretty, too! I think I might need to redesign how I store fat quarters and scraps, but for the moment we'll just work with this. 

What's made YOUR week festive? 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Make a Deep Lid for the Cube Container.

What do you do with 119 templates in a book? Make more containers! There are other containers that can be made using the templates within our book, Contain It! English Paper-Pieced Style Accessories. Throughout the year, we will be posting these containers with instructions. You will need to have the book in order to make these bonus patterns, but you can buy it on Amazon or from the American Quilter's Society.

First up - the Cube with a deep lid. Here's the original cube constructed exactly as indicated in Contain It!

Contain It! English Paper-Pieced Style Accessories

Two different lids can be made for the Cube.  This post describes a lid that will cover the entire original Cube container. Another post will be describing how to modify templates to create a more shallow lid. In either case, you will need the patterns for Template 78 and Template 80, found on pages 81 and 82 in our book.

To make the lid that will encase the entire Cube, proceed the same way that you did to make the original Cube. Using the pattern for Template 78, make the INNER STABILIZER and FABRIC templates (see pg. 9 on Make the Templates).

Using the pattern for Template 80, make the OUTER STABILIZER and FABRIC templates.  Follow the directions found for the Cube container (pages 25-27) using these larger pieces. The only difference between the original Cube and this new cube is the size - the cube formed using Templates 78 and 80 will be larger and fit over the original Cube.

Contain It! English Paper-Pieced Style Accessories

Not only will this new, larger cube cover the original Cube, it can function on its own as a larger cube container! Stack the two together, upside down, or store them nestled one inside the other.

Contain It! English Paper-Pieced Style Accessories

With the holiday season coming up, the cube with a deep lid would be the perfect container to use in place of wrapping paper for another small gift!

Contain It! English Paper-Pieced Style Accessories

We'd love to see pictures of your cube with a deep lid! You can email them to or share them on our Facebook page.

Stay tuned for the second version of the lid for the original Cube container!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Momcat Monday-Needle Tatting #7 (Curves and Swirls)

Written by Linda Chaney, mother.

My tatting lessons continue with more videos from Le Cose Dell Anto.  First up is an earring pattern, Tutorial #5.  Again, a simple pattern but stitch tension is important.  I think I'm beginning to conquer the tension for tatting chains. The differences between the front and back of the earring are very subtle.

needle tatting earring front

needle tatting earring back

Add a ring among the chains to create the swirl bracelet (Tutorial # 11). It was also my first adventure into adding beads - adding a bead to the large picot (loop) tatted on the chain  I was excited to tat this sample and will return to the pattern again to make a full size bracelet!

needle tatting swirl bracelet
Swirl Bracelet

Friday, November 7, 2014

Festive for Friday-Daylight Savings.

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter.

Festive for Friday

Well it's been one of those weeks at work, where there just isn't enough time in the day. Luckily for me the craziness was mitigated (slightly) by setting the clock's back an hour the end of Daylight Saving.

"Falling" back is pretty much a holiday in my book. It's the one time of year that we all get that magical 25 hour day. This year, I'm back to going to the gym in the morning before work so it was especially magical to have that morning light back as I leave the house.

Early morning sunrise

We'll just ignore for the time being the fact that I'm driving home in the dark...

What's made your week festive? 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Work (Not) in Progress (Again) Wednesday.

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter.

It's starting to feel I've spent the entire last year just moving from one place to another. Hopefully this last one will be it for a while, and I'm looking forward to REALLY settling in.

Here's the progress so far. I think all of my sewing and crafting supplies are in the right room, and we're just waiting for a delivery from Ikea to get my bolts of fabric set up.

sewing studio

This is what we've gotten for the closet, the KALLAX system from Ikea. We've taken the closet doors off and will line the back wall of the closet with this unit system. The shelves should work perfectly for my fabric on the Polar Notions bolts, as well as some of my scrapbooking supplies. 

KALLAX from Ikea

I'm keeping my same cutting table, but we're going to "float" it around the room so that it can be used wherever is needed and I can walk on all four sides to cut. 

Sewing Studio

Now that I look at these pictures, I can see my little handwork bag sitting in the corner of the closet. I think I'd better break that out again so I can work on some sewing before the organizing madness is done! 

What have you been working on lately?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Momcat Monday-Needle Tatting #6 (Ruffled Dahlia).

Written by Linda Chaney, mother

I'm constantly looking at tatting samples and patterns on-line. The intricacies and finished samples constantly amaze me.  I found this pattern for a Dahlia early on in my needle tatting (sorry, I can't find the reference for the pattern!).

Needle tatting-Dahlia
Original dahlia.
needle tatting dahlia
Original dahlia with variegated thread.
Remember that I'm still learning to adjust my tension on both rings and chains.  Although this seems like a simple task, correct tension for the specific project is a work in progress.  I was also trying to figure out another stitch that shuttle tatters do (balanced double stitch) but use my needle instead. This pattern emerged, which I call Ruffled Dahlia.  Perhaps others have created this; if so, I apologize.  But for me it was my first creative pattern!

needle tatting ruffled dahlia
Ruffled dahlia with variegated thread.
Variations include doing ruffled chains only and ruffled rings only,  Now to just determine how to stitch the balanced double stitch on a needle!

needle tatting ruffled dahlia
Close of up ruffled dahlia.
Momcat Monday
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Monday, October 27, 2014

Momcat Monday-Rita's Pocket Edge Binding Technique.

Written by Linda Chaney, mother.

Rita Milner is an avid quilter.  More than avid, I really don't think that she sleeps! Her quilts are ALWAYS finished with some form of prairie points using a technique that she has perfected.

Rita Milner prairie point binding

Rita recently taught a class at Cut Up and Quilt showing how to do her pocket edge bindings.  Of course, I was curious to learn the process; so I enrolled in the class. Needless to say, since she has been doing this technique for quite a few years, the process has been perfected and her instruction was straight-forward.

Rita Milner prairie point binding

A sample, that can be taken apart to see the steps used in the completion of the pocket edge binding, was completed.

Rita Milner prairie point binding

Rita Milner prairie point binding

She uses this technique not only with prairie points but also with scallops!

Rita Milner prairie point binding wtih scallops

Rita Milner prairie point binding wtih scallops

Now, to add these prairie points to our containers!  Hmmmmm, back to the drawing board!

Check out all of our Momcat Monday posts

Monday, October 20, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop-Part Two.

Written by Linda Chaney, Mother

My darling daughter nominated me to post for Around the World Blog hop, which is a challenge because this has been my busiest week of the year; in other words, I've been gone every day of the week and evenings are not necessarily my strong times!  So here it goes.

  1. What am I working on?  This week I have been taking classes at our local Bernina store with Harriet Hargrave. One of my goals for the year has been to learn to machine quilt and learn about various threads and batting.  I like Harriet’s comment “I don’t machine quilt. I hand quilt with an electric needle.”  I can no longer procrastinate.  Harriet’s suggestion to place quilt tops into three different categories and using them to develop the set of skills working towards that prize quilt YOU want to quilt is wonderful.  Her course on Heirloom Machine Quilting has prompted me to seriously attempt to learn the techniques and quilt my own quilts.  Her approach towards teaching and learning definitely coincides with the methods I have used with students in the laboratory – go back to basics and understand why and how you are doing the experiment (or in this case, quilting).

Machine quilting on a Bernina

  1. How does my work differ from others of its genre?  Using the basic methods of English paper piecing was the starting point of the book my daughter and I published with the American Quilter’s Society (Contain It!  English Paper-Pieced Style Containers).  Using non-paper pieces such as Timtex or Peltex for the stabilizers instead of paper and ¼” double fusible tape to baste instead of needle and thread allows greater creativity, function and durability to our 3D containers.  I continue to create other shapes of containers not currently found in our book but hopefully to be used in a future publication.  As with any long term project, problems arise that must be solved!

Linda Chaney and Contain It!

  1. Why do I write/create what I do?  I have a craving to learn new techniques and try new ideas.  Perhaps it’s the scientist in me that is constantly asking “what would happen if ….?”  Or taking something new I've learned and using it in a novel way.  Having the basic knowledge will open doors towards new projects.  Keeping an open mind and having lots of patience allows the process to happen.

Linda Chaney

  1. How does my writing/creating process work?  I’m curious – about new techniques and new crafts - and using the new ideas from one craft and applying it to another.  Perhaps the ideas are new to me but have been available for some time or perhaps the ideas are quite novel at this moment in time. For example, in April I took a basic needle tatting class and have spent the past several months looking at patterns online, trying to needle tat the patterns, and applying them to our containers. I like to understand how the craft is done and how it might be improved.  I constantly find myself modifying quilt patterns to piece and rarely make the pattern as stated.  This has, on occasion, also created a few problems. Do I fail? Yes and no. Sometimes those failures answer questions on how to solve the issue!
Needle Tatting

So, as I stated in the first question, I’m learning to machine quilt my own quilts.  This process will take a lot of practice (as my needle tatting experiences have shown), perseverance and patience, but after my classes with Harriet, I have already seen big improvements in my quilting.  And each time I practice conscientiously, my skills will only continue to improve. It’s a long term goal but I’m looking forward to that time when I have pieced, quilted, and cherished that special quilt – all done by me. I’ve also been warned that it’s not just the one, but all those afterwards as you continue to strive for that special feeling of achievement.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop.

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter

I've seen the Around the World Blog Hop posts on almost all of the quilting, sewing and crafting blogs that I read regularly, so I was super excited to be nominated by Shelley at The Carpenter's Daughter Who Quilts!

1. What am I working on?

Um, well it feels like all I'm working on lately is moving! I'm in the middle of moving across San Francisco, so currently my quilting and sewing materials are spread out between my two homes. I've made sure to have my handwork with me at all times though, so working on a new idea for an English Paper Piecing hexagon project has been my most recent project. As soon as I get my studio set back up I'm starting up again on a secret quilt for a friend that I hope to get finished up within the next six months!

English paper piecing hexagons

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Using non-paper pieces for the support/stabilizer materials on my English Paper Piecing definitely makes it different from traditional EPP. It started with the containers in the book Mom and I published with the American Quilter's Society (Contain It! English Paper-Pieced Style Containers) where we started using Timtex and Peltex in place of the traditional paper.

Contain It!

In the project above, I've used die-cut hexagons made of Bukram instead of paper. When I'm done with the whip stitching on the project I'll take the basting stitches out, but won't remove the Bukram. I'll add some decorative quilting to help keep everything together. I'm not sure how it will turn out, but I really do enjoy trying new things within such a traditional genre of English Paper Piecing. 

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

Oh my. Deep question time. I quilt and sew because I like the creative process, like "collecting" pretty fabrics and making pretty things with them. However, over the last six years or so I've really started to thrive on the community of the quilting world, especially as Mom and I have worked more and more together on our book, this blog and other sewing projects. My favorite week each year is going to the AQS Paducah show. I always come back super energized and excited to engage in new projects and try new techniques. Now that Mom and I are AQS authors it's even more exciting because we're able to engage with the quilting community in a different way than before.

Contain it!

4. How does my writing/creating process work?

For quilts, I definitely tend to make them for a person, or for a specific challenge that Mom and I have for each other. I'm not so great at just wandering into my studio and picking out a pattern and fabric and having at it.

EXCEPT for English Paper Piecing. I have hundreds of basted hexagons, organized by color family with no specific project in mind. I love making the traditional Grandmother's Flower Garden with EPP, and have a whole collection of them made up with no immediate plans for using them.

English paper piecing grandmother's flower garden

I think this is one of my favorite things about the EPP handwork. I know that there are a million and one things I can do (eventually) with my GFG blocks, but until then I'm just going to enjoy the pleasure of making them.

I'm supposed to nominate three other bloggers to carry on this blog hop, but I'm having trouble finding bloggers who haven't already participated or who aren't so swamped with other projects that they have the time to participate. To buy myself another week I'm going to nominate Mom to post next week!! Since we share this blog for our joint work I think it'll be fun to have her answer these questions, too.

If you're a crafty/sewing/quilting blogger who would like to be nominated please email us at!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Festive For Friday-Halloween Costumes.

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter

I came across this picture on our Prairie Sewn Studios Facebook stream last night. I was having a particularly grumpy evening, and this costume idea made me laugh out loud. Halloween is almost here and I DO still need costumes for the cats. 

pincushion dog costume
Photo from the Silouette Patterns FB page

I somehow doubt they'll go for it given my previous attempts at costuming the cats...

Cat in a pink santa hat

What's made your week festive?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Momcat Monday-Antiquing in Walnut, Iowa.

Written by Linda Chaney, mother

Father's Day weekend is a special time for folks in Walnut, Iowa.  It's their annual antique show with vendors coming from around the country.  The weather was beautiful - not too hot or humid - when my friend, Christina, and I made the trek to Walnut to see if we could find anything interesting. We did see some antique sewing machines and yarns and a few tables with quilting goodies.

antique quilts

antique sewing machine

As the saying goes, the fun is in the hunt for the object you seek.  We had a good time and a few laughs.It's always interesting to see what's old and useful as well as what were they thinking!

antique sewing machine

antique sewing machine

antique sewing machine

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Festive for Friday-Facebook Finds.

Written by Laura Chaney, daughter

Festive for Friday

Hi all! Another week, another Festive for Friday! Repeating last week's theme of free (at time of publication) patterns that came across the Prairie Sewn Studios Facebook feed. (Have you liked us on Facebook? You should!) Now I just need to find some spare time to try some of these!!

Christmas is just around the corner! Eek! Here's a free Christmas Star Block pattern to get you in the holiday crafting mood.

Christmas Star Block
Christmas Star Block from AQS

This Piece of Cake Table Runner Pattern from Robert Kaufman. It makes me hungry for cake. Maybe with some vanilla ice cream on the side.

Piece of Cake Table Runner
Piece of Cake Table Runner from Robert Kaufman. 

A free pattern sponsored by Janome for a Cat block and Cat pillow! This pattern is designed by Elizabeth Hartman of Oh, Fransson! I absolutely love her designs, and in fact have used one of them to make a baby quilt before.

What's made your week festive?