Grow Your Blog

Welcome everyone to Averyclaire Needlearts!   I am excited to be a part of the “Grow Your Blog Party.”  Thank you for stopping in to visit. 

I am a midwesterner, born and raised in the Chicago area.   Whether I am home or away, I keep busy hands.  There is nothing more wonderful than a cup of hot  tea while having a piece of some kind of needlework, sewing, quilting, or knitting in my hands.    An early morning in the perennial garden fills my soul. I can get lost for weeks in books and am a passionate Francophile. Music to sooth the soul is Andrea Bocelli, Adamo, and John Denver. 

My grandmother, Clara Avery, taught me to knit when I was seven and instilled into me the gentle art of all kinds of needlework.

If you leave a comment on this post you will be entered in the drawing to win a prize (the drawing will be held on February 15th).   It will be a lovely cross-stitched surprise.   However, please scroll through my blog to see some of my projects.  I hope you enjoy them all and I look forward to seeing all of your projects as well. 

 Amities, Averyclaire

Yellow Whole Cloth 1

Star Quilt 1

Sweet Sixteen HQ2

Berry Patch Rabbit

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Sophia Sampler Framed

Kathie Monog Pillow1

Scotty Ornament

Sewing Pockets

catquilt001

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biscornu

Flannel Quilt

Tablecloth Quilt 2011

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Fleur de Lis Scissor Fob

Wedding Quilt

Christmas Stocking Remade

Cross-Stitched Navajo Weaving

Thanks again for coming!

Whole Cloth Quilt In Progress

On my quilt frame now is a whole cloth quilt that I began more than ten years ago. I had a tiny pattern and enlarged it to a lap size quilt. The pattern is lovely and I love hand-quilting, but back then, I quickly tired of it and put it away for years. After finishing my applique quilt I was inspired to work on this one again. I put the quilt frame in the living room and work on it each evening as I sit “listening” to the TV. (I love Hallmark movies.) It was only about 1/3 done before….and I already have at least 2/3 done now. At this rate it will soon be considered another winter project finished!!

Yellow Whole Cloth 1

Does anyone out there know what causes the puckering during hand quilting? or if there is a way to prevent this?    It is not everywhere in the quilt…only in certain places.   It won’t matter after I am finished and soak the quilt, as I imagine it will all be “puckery.” 

Have fun stitching whatever it is you are working on!     Amities, Averyclaire

Update on the Past Few Months

My days are empty without your blogs and our friendships.   So while I cannot promise to blog often, I am back.   To all  who have written lovely notes I cannot thank you enough.   You brighten my day.   I am still fighting whatever it is that plagues me, but I am managing better.   There are still no answers, nor any cures.   I watch my food intake very carefully as there are a lot of foods that will trigger attacks.   My DH and I continue to walk most days (except for the bad weather or bitter cold) and the exercise helps.   A good portion of my time is taken up with research online and in books learning more and more about my symptoms and how to relieve them.   Half my days are good, half my days are not good.   So I will share with you my good days and hopefully my spirits will stay up as well.

Unfortunately, there is not much in the way of  “Needlearts” to share with you.   However, I have recently finished making four “Quilts for Kids” from my stash.   Such a good feeling…not just in helping children with cancer, but also a relief to shorten the stash even by a little.   And even better, there was a great camaraderie with my fellow quilters in doing this.    Here are some photos:

I helped at the Stitch in Public Day with my Needleartisans Group at the beginning of this month.   Several of us assisted in teaching women and children to learn cross-stitch and whatever else we could help them with.   My granddaughter, Sophia (10 years old), was an immense help as well.   I taught her to embroider, stitch, and sew last summer.   She was thrilled to be a part of our group.  (Photos can be seen at Southpaw Stitcher entry of Feb. 4th.)  I have also taken the job of treasurer for this group.   It’s not a lot of work and I truly enjoy the new friends I have met and work with each month.

I completed the dining room renovation for my daughter….her draperies are now hung.   You can’t see the draperies…but here is a photo of Sophia and her Dad in the dining room getting ready for the “Daddy/Daughter Dance.”

At home here after the holidays I worked very hard at de-junking everywhere I could (especially my studio).   Still have lots of work to do…but so satisfying.   I have lost three sizes during my illness and many of my clothes need to be packed up and taken to the resale shop.   Lots more to do.

There are no new needlework projects to show, but I have been working diligently to finish some old ones.  I am very sad that I have not done anything wonderful in the needlearts area.   One does not feel much like creating when one does not feel well.   However, my unfinished applique quilt is coming along quite nicely.   I have completed 11 blocks, am in the middle of 12…and have four more after this.   Then I will have three quilts in my possession simply waiting to be quilted.   I had BETTER GET BUSY..!!    Here are photos of the three additional blocks I have finished.

My new granddaughter, Maya, is growing quickly.   She is 7 months old already!    I miss her so much.   They were here in Chicago for a week during the holidays.   But my DS and DIL keep my inbox filled regularly with photos.   Don’t you just LOVE technology?!   Hope to see her for her birthday in Boulder, CO sometime this summer.

Well I think that is enough news for now.   Wish I had accomplished more during these past few months…alas…tomorrow’s another day.   For now I am happy to be back and will spend some time catching up on all of your blogs as soon as I can.   Thank you again for your kind notes.

Amities, Averyclaire

HAPPY HALLOWEEN……..

I absolutely love Halloween decorations…the fun that the children (and adults) have in dressing up and partying…the chocolate candy. Alas I did not have a lot of time to do many new Halloween needlework pieces, but here is one of my favorites finally mounted and finished.    I found an unfinished box at Hobby Lobby, painted it black and roughed it up a bit to look antique.

I found the cutest tiny fuzzy ball trim to go around the mounted cross-stitch work.    Sorry it’s so difficult to see.

And the grandchildren just love the surprise inside!!!    And I love the orange paint!!!

My birthday is coming soon and my dear French friend, Maggy, sent me the most BEAUTIFUL pair of “Eiffel Tower” scissors!! I absolutely adore them. How did she know that I have wanted a pair of these for a LONG time? Thank you Maggy.

She also sent me two French Patchwork magazines and a watercolor book on scenes from Provence. This will keep me busy for sure.

Remember the Stumpwork workshop I attended….well I had finished the needlework itself, but now I have completed the finishing on the ornament. Don’t you just love the look of the Dupioni silk?

It was great fun doing the little spider.

And whoo hoo….I have finished the quilt top I started on retreat last weekend. Now it just needs to be quilted.

It turned out larger than I had expected…isn’t that nice!!

Hope everyone had a fun weekend and a laughter-filled Halloween Day.

Til next time, Amities, Averyclaire

A Quilting Weekend

Last weekend I went to Shalom Retreat House in Dubuque, Iowa for a four day quilt retreat. My SIL, Judy, and her friend, Kay, inspired me to come along. Their quilt shop in Cedar Rapids, IA sponsors this event twice a year. It was great fun, filled with lots of laughter and LOTS of sewing. Here are the photos from this productive weekend.

Monica w lovely purse

Monica's almost fnished quilt top..great colors

Patty with her Noah's Ark quilt

Patty's "circle" blocks (Libby Lehman pattern w Ricky Tims Fabric

More of Patty's circle blocks

Patty's duck baby quilt

Kathy working on Backyard Safari quilt

Kathy's lovely purses for the grandchildren

One of Kathy's many finished projects....Beautiful for any little girl

Lisa made a beautiful purse for someone who just learned of a serious illness

Lisa's lovely quilt top finished

Theresa with a small Halloween pillow cover

Theresa's Mom hand pieced this quilt a long time ago. Theresa had it hand quilted by some Amish women.

Betty Jo and Joanna enjoying the day

Betty Jo and the cute boxer shorts she made

Batik Purse made by Betty Jo

Betty Jo sewing a labor of love (buggy barn style) for the family of someone recently passed away

Terese working on a Paris Flea Market scrap quilt

Sue and her batik quilt...she was making LOVELY borders for this one.

Connie working on her Christmas Card basket

Connie and her monkey baby quilt....what a fun piece

Kay made this lovely table runner as a gift

Kay made several of these lovely purses, two with her Dad's ties

Another purse with a tie

Kay's lovely blue version

Kay also made this lovely table topper with tiny, tiny pieces

Kay also did this lovely fish (going to be a pillow)

Andrea sure is enjoying the creativity

Andrea's Rocket ship almost done

Rosie made this lovely sports quilt for a special needs friend

Heather working on fleece pants for her son and several neck warmers

Judy's beautiful batik fish quilt

Judy's Zen quilt

Jill's homespun quilt

Jill's red and white beauty she quilted this weekend

Jill's blue and brown all finished quilting

And LAST…BUT NOT LEAST…I did finish one quilt top…my Summer Nana’s Garden quilt. I also did a star quilt, but have not taken photos….next blog I will show you.

Averyclaire's finished summer scrap quilt

Hope you enjoyed the photo show.   If you have never been on a quilt retreat or a needlework retreat…you really must go.   It is a lot of fun, very relaxing and quite inspiring.

Amities……Averyclaire

Update

Warning: This is a LONG post…after three months of absence.

On July 6th we welcomed a brand new baby granddaughter, Maya, into our family. She is precious. Of course that meant “another” trip to Colorado to see our new little bundle of joy. Her parents are thrilled to say the least. It is SO hard to be so far away from them.

In May and June I caught the quilt bug! All I have been doing is working on quilts. First I would spend some therapeutic and meditative time in my garden weeding, then would have my shower and get to it! Last post I showed you the first two blocks of an applique quilt I am working on. Here are photos of the next six making a total of eight completed. Number nine is in process. (There are 16 total, so only halfway there.) It’s an easy applique pattern from Edyta Sytar called Sweet Sixteen.

I am committed to finishing projects this year. So here is a photo of a pinwheel quilt in process. Have the bug to use up old fabrics using half square triangles….hence the pinwheels.

Next I have a photo of my Japanese bento box that is still being hand-quilted by yours truly. I have only about a third of the sashing to quilt….but it seems to take forever. And when one has a million hand projects to work on….which one does one choose? (I even have one of those felt Christmas stockings I am putting together at the request of my DD.)

And last but not least I have made another 25 baby blankets with matching teddy bears. These are for my large quilt group Holiday Boutique which happens every year in November.

So between my garden, three active quilts in process, a Christmas stocking, 25 baby blankets and teddy bears, and a stabbing effort to get the laundry, cooking, and cleaning done….well…it’s a crazy fun world for sure. I did do a tiny bit of cross-stitch and taught my granddaughter, Sophia (age 9), to quilt (she made a small quilt for Maya); she learned to cross stitch; and learned to embroider (made two pillows).

And in the midst of all of this I was ill for five months…..April, May, June, July and August. In April I thought I got food poisoning. Not so. The painful attacks after eating, hanging over the commode, would last for four hours at least three or four times per week. After lots of doctoring, lots of tests, and my own experiments trying to be “fat free”, “lactose free”, “gluten free” nothing worked. Even the specialists at our wonderful Northwestern Hospital in downtown Chicago are mystified. However, I did learn after charting my food for weeks, that I simply cannot tolerate any kind of complex carbohydrates…no rice, no pasta, no breads of any kind, no crackers, no carrots or beets, anything with high carbohydrate content. There seems to be no name for my condition and no cure….but now I finally have no more illness so long as I don’t eat those things. I did lose a LOT of weight during this time (not such a bad thing…a bonus for me). Guess I just have to live and eat differently now. Golly I miss my junk food!!!!

For now it’s good to jot out a fresh blog post. I have silently lurked amongst all of your blogs in the past three months and they are wonderful. Thanks for visiting. Amities, Averyclaire

Happy Spring…

Yes…it’s been six weeks…going on two months. I’m just not good at posting often. I hope you will all forgive me for the times you visited and found nothing new. But….I HAVE been enjoying my retirement.

I am slowly working on “Briar Rabbit.” Love him, but he’s really tedious. It’s a Cedar Hill pattern (I love their patterns), but can’t wait to have him done and framed. I wanted to do a rabbit for Easter, but I must not be in the mood. Perhaps my focus has been more on quilting lately. Ahhh…whereever the spirit pours out the creativity I guess.

Here’s a peek at the quilt top I have created for our new baby granddaughter-to-be due to arrive in July. Her name is going to be “Maya” and her Mom likes Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit……so……here are some of the blocks. Here’s Peter….with an embroidered flower garland….

and here’s Johnny Town Mouse, Hunca Munca and Tom Thumb….

and some pretty flowers….

and here’s Nutkin smelling the embroidered flower…

and some hearts and birds and pretty scrolls….

and here’s Jemima Puddle-Duck and friend….

along with a lunch basket and some carrots…

another flower…..

and voila…..the quilt top waiting to be quilted.

The block patterns came from the book “More William Morris Applique” by Michelle Hill. Her pattern was made with William Morris fabrics. I wanted something more pastel and I wanted to make it larger. So I added sashing where there was none….and I added the blocks with the letters to spell the name “Maya.” I drew the letters by hand. And because it was so very pastel I also added the flange cording around the blocks and sashing. It helps to separate something so pastel that does not have a lot of contrast. The blocks were machine appliqued.

There will soon be a baby shower and I hope the top is quilted and complete in time for the big day. It was a lot of fun to make and prodded my creative touch with the changes I made to the pattern. It now measures about 40 x 50.

And last but not least….I made a new cushion (approx. 16″ x 50″) for my son and daughter-in-law’s foyer bench. A request that somehow remained set aside for more than a year. It feels good to check things off the to-do list.

I pray all of you are enjoying warmer weather and hints of Spring. My walks on these warm days are delightful and inspiring. Back to the rest of the “to-do” list….

Til next time……Amities, Averyclaire

It’s Been A Quilting Week

My quilt quild does a new quilt every two years to put up for raffle. Members are asked to make a block…fabric and instructions are included except for the tone on tone pink fabrics which we provided. This next quilt will be the Carolina Lily.

It was the block from HELL. I think the instructions were “antique” as well as the design. I absolutely love the block and think the finished quilt will be exquisite, but the pieces did not fit together properly and I had to cut, recut, sew, resew!!! I am happy it is finished. We were asked NOT to square it up in the end…I imagine that everyone’s will have slightly different measurements. Mine actually measures the 14-1/2″ it was supposed to be. Hallelujah!!!! Here are the photos of my block.

And here is a sneak peak at another project that I have been working on for a while. I LOVE SCRAP QUILTS. The actual piecing was done a year or so ago, but took only about two weeks. It was put away while I was working full-time because I couldn’t be bothered with the appliqued border. The applique sure took a long time to prepare and even longer now to applique it. I am using just a blanket stitch simply because it will be laundered quite a bit. My plans are to use it as a table cloth (as it is about 60″ square). Half of the appliqued border is now finished. I really like the way it looks. What do you think?

When one does needlework and quilting and gardening and reading, etc. etc. etc., it is hard to decide what project to work on at any given time. I guess I am just a jack-of-all-trades….master of NONE!!!!

And last but not least….I thought I would wish EVERYONE a Happy Valentine’s Day! Hugs and Much Love to All of You.

Amities, Averyclaire

PIF Gifts Mailed to Recipients

Here are two gifts I made and finally completed for a Pay It Forward.   Last Fall I received a Pay It Forward award (a lovely temari ball) from Jane at World Embroideries and now after eleven months, I have finally sent my Pay It Forward awards to the two people who won them on my blog.   For Anne at Nanouanne, I made a needlework biscornu.   I forgot to take a photo of the biscornu I made, but Anne took a lovely photo of it and she is letting me use her photo for my blog.

biscornu

And for Karol at  Rosebud’s Stitching I made a small Amish Friendship Basket Wall Hanging.   I forgot to take a photo of Karol’s finished gift as well, but here is a photo of one exactly the same as I made for Karol…only Karol’s had a different binding.AmishBaskets

Both items were made in friendship.   I chose a quilted piece for Karol because she is an expert needleworker and is not a quilter that I know of.   And for Anne who does lovely quilting and is an artist in many areas including Art Trading Cards, I thought to make a cross-stitched piece because I don’t think she does cross-stitching.   I just wanted their gifts to be different.   It was a fun thing to do to send a surprise in the mail.    Amities, Averyclaire

Back to Stitching Again

The vacation was not just about photos (although I have more to share and I will soon).   It was about learning to relax and enjoy life again.   So, I am attempting to get back to my sewing and stitching in a relaxing and healthy way.   It seems my full-time work is so busy, then my “health program” for myself and my DH (shopping for healthy food, reading up on the latest health news, WALKING at least one hour plus per day, etc.), and life in general has consumed all my time.   Surely you all have been-there-done-that in one way or another…found yourself on a turntable not sure how to jump off?

rockysantabeartoothm-MH20-8303So while away I have been working on this small santa ornament (Mill Hill kit “Rocky Mountain Beartooth Santa“), which I purchased at the House of Stitches.   I thought if I started out small I would get it done quwinterholidaybird283-542-9304-1ickly and feel good about it.    While in Colorado, I visited The Stitcher’s Garden once more and fell in love with this little white bird (also a Mill Hill kit “Winter Holiday“).    The kit even comes with some “furry white thread” to make him look especially adorable.    I also found at The Stitcher’s Garden, this pattern for small quilted pincushions (Miss Rosie’s Quilt Co. “Tuffets“).   It’s just the right “small” size project that I was looking for at this time.

tuffetsnewAll_in_one

I am about 3/4 of the way finished with the Beartooth Santa ornament and it sure feels good to be stitching again.    I have a monumental project waiting for me.   I need to complete my son’s wedding quilt (it’s only about 1/3 complete).  He has been married for two years this month!    So I figured if I started small,  I would get inspired.   Anyone out there been feeling the same way as me?

Next stop on the trip was the fantastic Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody, Wyoming.   I LOVE the wide open spaces of Wyoming.    I will have photos for you next time. 

For now, happy stitching…..Averyclaire

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