By Holly Field Design

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Crumbs of French General

Today I will attempt to clean off my sewing table, cutting table, "file" away my mini bolts, and add to the stacks here in the sewing room.  It's amazing how rapidly an organized room declines once creativity is set in motion!  I've also been looking for a large piece (4 yards) of Essex Linen for about a week now.  It's here somewhere.  Probably hiding in plain site.  It's making me crazy....  I mean CRAZY, because I gave up and ordered more!  I made sure this won't happen again, because 8 yards of creamy ivory loveliness will arrive today (i hope) and surely  the piece will be large enough to stand out in this crowd.

Another little problem I have here, that really adds to my clutter, is the inability to toss a piece of fabric in the garbage!  There must be some sympathizers out there?  The only real fabric that makes it to the garbage (or out for the nest builder birds) are trimmings, very narrow ones.  There is a system to my madness.  Bins for tiny scraps, French General scraps, batik tiny, reproduction fabrics, ect... line a nearby shelf and then there is the giant box under my desk for everything else.  Occasionally the big box gets transferred to the GIANT rubbermaid trunk out in my weaving room.  I do use them.  Scrap quilts, string quilts are my favorite.  The scraps are also my hedge against inflation, and my insurance policy protecting from the horror of  actually using up all my fabric.

The little quilt above was paper pieced on 3.5" phone book paper squares.  It's about 14" square and has waited be finished for awhile.

This blog is supposed to be about my endeavors creating lovely little quilts & things for little people, but it's becoming apparent that idea is a bit narrow.  The beautiful Benjamin Biggs Wedding Quilt BOM over at Sentimental Stitches is a prime example of how I become distracted by quilting temptations!  I just have to make this quilt!  So, now you know the primary reason for the big push to clean & organize.  I must have room, to pull out all my fabric & start the mess all over again!

 I will leave you with a few photos of my latest "wee people" things.  I have yet to block the sweater, but will have them in my Etsy shop soon.





Monday, February 10, 2014

The Sunday Book Review

I'm just curious, if anyone out there can actually tell me when WINTER in the midwest actually STOPS?
Really, it must stop soon.  This California girl is a bit frostbitten these days.  One good thing is I'm getting tons of reading, sewing & knitting accomplished.  Books are becoming more & more beautiful all the time I think.  Adventures in Yarn Farming by Barbara Parry is one of the most beautiful books I've seen in a long time (right next to Susan Branch's latest!).

I found Barbara's book last week while surfing through new offerings at Amazon, read a chapter that was offered and couldn't buy it fast enough.  I'm actually only letting myself read a chapter a day because I want it to last!  The photos of sheep, alpaca, mini donkeys, guardian dogs, yarn, goats, fleece, and of course the New England countryside simply warm my heart.  The story of yarn farming and how a hobby became a way of life is great too!  You can find it here.  Barbara also writes a blog that I also like very much.

While I'm sharing books, another "new to me" book is Cuddly Knits for Wee Ones (Baby Love) by Catherine Bouquerel.  Not often do I find a knitting book and know I NEED to make every pattern.  But this is one of those books.  Adorable wee knits, for wee babes.  Seriouly it's that kind of book.  You can find it here.

I've slowly been putting together a 9 patch quilt, on point, with alternating print blocks.  It's taking forever, but hopefully in a few days the top will be finished.  I'm less than excited about this quilt.  It will be one for our bed, so king size.  Probably one of the last quilts I make that size, as they just take forever.  I've gathered together fabric to start a new applique project and will be sharing that with you next time.  So, ttfn!

 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Insomnia...

I tried counting sheep...

It didn't work very well. 
Do you ever just lay in bed, thoughts
and ideas swirling around in your head?
I sure do.

Insomnia used to drive me crazy.
Now I just go with it.  I'll eventually crash sometime.  Adults don't need as much sleep as they age, right?

So, I've cleaned my computer desk and drawers, cleaned my sewing desk drawers.  Organized a bunch of stuff...
Put some ideas down on paper.  Cut a hundred 8.25" blocks from a muslin print for a quilt I haven't shown you yet, and gave a great deal of thought to this quilt~~~
A simple string quilt.  Sometimes the simplest ideas can be visually striking.  They let you play with color.

I've planned to make another one, with reds, turquoise, yellow, dark blue, cream & green; Fiesta Dinnerware colors, the oldest from 1930's.  I love the way the colors of my Fiestaware look all stacked up in rows of color.
That's the look I want.
Solids vs. Batiks???
I have all the solids, so will just try them first.

Insomnia can actually be a good thing sometimes....  I got a lot done!

 I'm still not sleepy....
I have plenty of things to sew,
who needs sleep anyway?

Enjoy the weekend!



 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Work from the past year

This past Fall I spent a great deal of time on trains.  No not antique trains (I wish), but Amtrak's  finest!  I never liked flying to start with - always got air sick.  So with that problem, along with the hassles of security, long waits, and delays, I tried the train.  And, I loved it!

I took along my sewing & needlework, a few hundred books on my tablet, and my smart phone.  I had intentions of getting work done, and I did.  Traveling on the train is slow, relaxing and  for the most part peaceful.  I love the little rooms that turn into your bedroom at night.  The attendant comes in  and makes up the bed at night, and makes sure all is well.  The food is pretty good, almost too much for passengers sitting all day.  There is even a little shop that sells papers, soda, coffee, etc...  I absolutely loved riding the train.

While traveling I worked on perfecting a pattern I worked on all of last year in my spare time.  It started out
 as a little sweater for a baby with a hood (see photo below).  When I got to the waist of the sweater, I had an idea to add a skirt.  That one idea turned into a very long obsession with knitting this pattern, making tiny changes with each new sweater.

I've always loved top down sweaters, as there are usually no seams to sew when finished.  And I love knitting patterns that don't require reading the pattern after every row.  This pattern  is like that.  You can literally try the sweater on your child as you knit!  I'm still tweaking the instructions and layout, but hope to have it ready soon.  Until then, I thought I'd show you the sweaters I've made so far.


This is everyone's favorite version.  Hoodies are popular now!


This is the last sweater made.  It's shorter and sized for a 4 or 5.  The collar is knitted, has a folded picot edge.  I like the cuff edged sleeves too.  I may try  a lower edged that matches in my next version.

I tried to get my 2 year old grandson to be my model because he's so pretty he could be a girl,  but that didn't work out so well.  The 6 year old grandson began saying, "it's for a girl gramma," and the 2 year old totally understood that.... so my idea was shut down quickly!

You would  think one of my 4 kids would know how badly I need a granddaughter and get busy on it!  :)

A crocheted beret to match!



Peter Pan Collar

My new model!

Berets have flowers on top!
Well, it's back to the sewing machine for me today.  Trying to get a few more baby quilts finished.
Oh...  all of the items above are listed in my Esty shop, just click button at top of page to visit.
Until tomorrow......  

Monday, January 27, 2014

New Quilt


Recently I visited my sister and she sent all of these beautiful fabrics home with me to make a quilt for her bed.  There must be about 40 yards of fabric here, half of it in fat quarters.  All of it beautiful, but most of it is fairly light in color.  I have been stumped as to which pattern would work.  Should I purchase a few darker colors?   I started searching for more "Mary Rose" fabrics in a darker shade, maybe a deeper rose, or deeper green?  I've made 2 test blocks, one of which I made enough for a baby quilt.  But   didn't really like either of the blocks.  The design didn't work well with the fabrics.

Then one morning, just as I was waking up, an idea just popped into my head!  I  laid the fabrics out in a circle......  Then I was certain which pattern to try, and was sure it would be perfect.

Yes, it worked!
I will still purchase a bit of medium rose for the center circle, and for the setting corner stones.  The lattice strips will be cut from the same fabrics as the Dresden wedges.  Each block will finish at 20"  so, I'm thinking 4 x 5 blocks = 20  total blocks needed.  The best part is I love making this block.  It comes together really fast and I use my machine applique stitch to anchor it to the background.
My sister will love this quilt, it's just her "girly-girl" style!

Here is another cutie from my box of old photos.  Boy or Girl?  I would guess boy as he looks solid.  I bet he grew up to be a charmer!

Hope everyone stays warm during this cold spell! 
An old postcard from Lancaster County.











Friday, January 24, 2014

A finished quilt!





 Is it cold enough for all you out there?  Burrrr.....
Good thing I have plenty of sewing to do here, and NO reason to go out!  My studio is totally stocked, my pantry full, so as long as the electricity holds, I should have plenty of sewing time.

The finishing touches were just added to my newest quilt.  I love how the quilting turned out on this one.  I used a meandering swirling rose pattern all over the quilt, and it plays nicely with the Log Cabin blocks.  For the back I used a creamy soft batiste.  I would love to make an entire quilt from batiste, it is so soft & silky.  A special christening quilt would be wonderful from it, and allow for adding special laces & embroidery.  I need to add that idea to my list of "quilts to make".

The quilt is now available in my shop on Etsy .  


The photo on the right is one of hundreds I've collected online and from antique shops.  All are of kids, most have amazing Victorian clothing on.
This particular photo is amazing.  I love her little dress and her hair bows.  I would love to know who she is looking at.  And the dog!  He is cute, and apparently likes her more that whoever she is looking at.   Just so cute.  I honestly don't know where this particular photo came from, so if someone recognizes it, please let me know.  I'd love to know more about it.
I found this little dress from an old catalog,  It isn't exactly like hers, but almost.  My guess is 1880 to 1900 for the era.  I'm not certain though.

Well dear readers,  thanks for stopping by.  Time to get back to my sewing!
Dreaming of spring here!  Ordered my garden seeds! 


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A New Year


Most bloggers start off their year with a brand new post January 1, right on time.  There is plenty of chat about resolutions, a fresh start, buying new calendars, and setting new goals.  Not here.  If the last few years have taught me anything, it's that life, no matter how well planned, can bring the most unexpected detours!  So, instead of making a New Year's resolution, I've been busy dealing with the detours.  My family has had many unforeseen bumps and a few crashes on our well planned journey for a quite some time now.  I've decided to take matters in hand this year, and deal with the detours, and perhaps find a new route, maybe even discover that detours can lead to the most beautiful places.

One of my favorite words is serendipity.  Mr. Webster defines the word as "the gift of finding valuable or agreeable things not looked for".  Most certainly one can take on the detours in life, and punch serendipity into the GPS and find plenty of those valuable and agreeable things not looked for, even not planned. 


Okay!  Now for some news.  I have opened a shop online.  Nothing fancy, just a little shop selling all my favorite things.  You may have a clue by now, given the change to my blog title!   Quilts of course, and all the things that have been flying off my knitting needles for awhile now.  It made sense to combine my love of all things baby, quilts, heirloom sewing & needlework into a place people can find unique, handmade items for their favorite little one.  I'm excited about this!  It's forced me to get busy,  finish things and to narrow my scope of quilting a bit (at least from 9 to5!). But I've also had opportunities to shop (one of my favorite online activities)  to find new fabric sources, and pull out my graph & drawing paper to put my ideas on paper.  I'm hoping one of my favorite girlfriends will be tempted to joining me and add her beautiful heirloom christening gowns to my shop!

Who could resist?  I know my heart melts when I think about babies, especially babies dressed in  beautiful heirloom gowns, sweaters, hats, booties, and beautiful quilts to wrap them in!  

I haven't fully stocked my shop yet, but am trying to add 3 or 4 items each day.  So far, I've listed all the little sweater coats I knit this winter, and am getting the pattern tested.  I still have a huge stack of little sweaters, booties, & hats wrapped in ziplock bags all over my cutting table.  

The baby quilts are also coming along.  I currently have at least a dozen that need to be quilted.  That will be my main task this weekend.  I'm doing what I like to do.  Who could ask for more?  
I'll be back soon with some finished quilts & a fabric show!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Books

Hello fellow quilters and friends.... if there are any of you out there anymore!  I've been miserably MIA for so long.  Still I sew quilt tops nearly every day, the completed ones piling up on my Amish drying rack, and I have a large quilt on the frame that I work on for a bit every day.  I just couldn't blog....  bloggers block I think it's called now!  I have to admit, I've also discovered the joys of summer reading on my tablet with Kindle.  Oh my world is changed forever! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it.  I was a hold out, still loving my real books.  But the first time I downloaded instantly a book I was dying to read...   I was gone.  So, reading now tops my favorite things to do list.  I've also been knitting my newest girls coat pattern  multiple times, trying to refine my directions, so it may be published.  Also, I lost my camera!  Not lost like in gone forever, but lost like I put it away and can't remember where that may be....  like in I'm losing my mind!  Now you know it's quite difficult to blog without photos, so I didn't!!  But, I finally found it, tucked into it's case, and in a fabric bin, which was put back on the shelf.,  Camera found.

A few days ago the mailman brought me this:
It is Susan Branch's new book!!  I can't tell you how much I've been enjoying reading about her trip through the English countryside.  The book is all hand written, laced with original watercolors, and is simply beautiful.  You may order it from HERE.  Also check out her latest blog entry and read the comments that the "girlfriends" have written.   My words can't describe accurately how wonderful this book is, so please read the description on the link.  If you haven't discovered the joy of Susan Branch, you are in for a treat! 

Ok,  I'm off to my studio to make hugs and kisses blocks for my latest baby quilt!  I'm loving this quilt.  Will share photos soon!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Where have I been?


 Summer time!

"Field Of Sunflowers" by Tina Phillips

Hello!  Most of my readers know where I've been since last writing....  way too long ago!  Life just got busy.  I'm not sure how, but each year when the weather gets warmer, there are just not enough hours in the day to complete all I want to accomplish.  I've had family visiting since Memorial Day, and that was wonderful!  There has been much quilt piecing going on too!  I have twenty-one tops that need to be quilted -- amazing huh?  So, I'm getting backings pieced together and will get the quilting machine loaded soon.  It's been awhile since I last quilted, so practice will be in order before doing any fancy quiting!

 
I've also been knitting, seriously knitting!  That is primarily due to discovering this new yarn from Lion Brand Amazing Yarn.  Every colorway is beautiful, and I just can't get enough of it!  I've knitted two toddler sized hooded jackets from the Strawberry Fields, and Vineyard colors.  The pattern is one I've written, and have been refining over the last year.  This yarn gives the coat just the look I was going for.  If you knit, check it out.  It's 53% Wool, 47% Acrylic which makes it washable and very soft.  I usually prefer 100% natural fibers for my work, but the great color choices, and affordable price made it worth the trying.  When the pattern has been tested one more time I'll list it Etsy & Ravelry.
I'll get the coats blocked and put photos up soon.  Actually, since May I've finished 4 baby sweaters, 2 pair booties, a bonnet and hat!  All of these items will be in my Etsy booth at the upcoming Show in September.
                                                                                                                    
Such beautiful rich color!
Yesterday I was cutting fabric for a new quilt, puttering around my studio, trying to straighten up a bit, and to my surprise, found Moochie's newest hiding spot!  He was sound asleep in a bin of tulle netting.  A door is usually open, and covers this last row of shelving, making his presence there unknown until I closed the door.  He knew he was in trouble the minute he opened his eyes!                                                                                                                    
Moochi thinks he's found a new nap place! 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Weekend work...

 Hello!  Can you believe it's almost mid-May?  Time is flying by here, as is the case when there is much to do.  I did an inventory yesterday, and there are currently15 tops that need quilting, lurking around in various stacks.  There are seven more that need borders attached!  It's good to actually know where I'm at in this process.  

 This quilt is called "Red Bird's Garden".  I had fun with the stripe setting.  Honestly the stripe border is over kill, but I like it.  It reminds me of older quilts I've seen that have huge borders and smaller pieced centers.  I've appliqued a red bird in the center, and am thinking of adding a few more.  This is just a fun, quirky quilt, and I've enjoyed it.  I'm going to quilt half flowers in the red triangles and in the four patch blocks.  A vine pattern may be nice in the rose stripes.

 


I've mentioned my huge clothes drying rack, I purchased up in Amish country.  It's a wonderful thing to own!  Right now it is holding all the quilt tops that are finished, ironed and ready to quilt.  It works for now, but I'm looking for very large hangers and a portable hanging rack.  Then I can cover them to keep dust free.

Enjoy your weekend!


I will spend tomorrow loading the frame & getting ready to quilt! 







Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Migration

The birds have come back to Indiana.  I take a break from sewing everyday or so, to walk by the river and visit the birds.  I just love the "honkers" despite most peoples distane.  I know they make a mess some places, but they are so beautiful.  I also think about all the down feathers I could make pillows of, but just once in awhile-- haha!

They are busy making nests and looking for food.  The Mallard ducks are so fun to watch.  The female here was quaking (nagging) the colorful male duck something fierce.  I think he was too far away from her, as he quickly took his place right next to her, and the two waddled into the brush.
 Okay, back to quilting!  Which is hard to do given the weather is so beautiful and warm today.

I didn't know there were groups of quilters online!  But a few days ago I discovered Kathleen Tracy's group on Yahoo, "small quilt talk".  I'd also discovered her blog Sentimental Quilter, which I love.  Then, after reading her back posts, I realized one of her books was sitting on my shelves!
Well....  I've been in small quilt heaven ever since.  Which technically is a good thing, but I have a so many big quilts to finish.  But I have taken some time to make the groups challenge quilt for May.  It is so much fun making a small quilt that can actually be finished in a hour!
Small quilt for May's challenge, made from scraps purchased by the baggie full at my LQS!

So...  I've been reading the group's site, going through back files, and re-reading Kathleen's book, Prairie Children & Their Quilts, and have at least a dozen small quilt ideas in my head, not counting making the patterns in the book!  But, just to make my situation a bit worse, last night I was shopping, and found this: (101 Fabulous Small Quilts)  Oh my...  small quilt love!  Then I found Kathleen also has quilts in this book!  

Don't you just love discovering something new?
While looking for fabric to plan these quilts, I found most of my civil war era fat quarters (which I've collected forever) will work perfectly for these small quilts.  The scale is just right!

The nice people at Martingale have given me permission to post a few of my favorite quilts in the book. 



 So much fun!  It's like Christmas and my birthday all rolled into one!  (I once told you it doesn't take much to make me happy!)

I will leave you today with a progress photo of the purple quilt that I have to make myself work on.  It will end up being two baby quilts I think, maybe three!  But for now, I make purple blocks.

Back to sewing....  ttfn!


Slowly adding squares to my current project!  Purple only a purple lover can love!

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