Melitastitches4fun's Blog


Ottawa Quillwork on Birchbark
August 9, 2022, 4:11 pm
Filed under: Ottawa Quillwork on Birchbark

While in Tucson, we wandered into a bookstore and I found a book on Ottawa Quillwork on Birchbark. It looks like needlepoint doesn’t it!

Examples of this craft in the book were found almost exclusively in Emmet County, Michigan. The Native population of Ottawa created these pieces. Birchbark contains an alcohol making it antiseptic and resistant to microorganisms. The containers were therefore used for storage of food or other perishables. But, most of the examples show pieces used for decoration.

Layer in the week I found an example of the craft. That’s an inner lining on the upper left corner – not sure what is the purpose of the liner.



English Paper Piecing
July 9, 2022, 2:08 pm
Filed under: Needlework and Textile Guild of Media

Thanks to a demo last month at The Needlework and Fiber Guild of Media at the Media Arts Council in Media, PA, I decided to give English Paper Piecing a try. This will be a coaster. It was going to be a pair of coasters but I don’t think so now. More on that later.

I picked up a few supplies after watching Tula Pink’s instructional videos (thanks to Linda for telling me about her).

Joann Fabrics didn’t have any micro serrated scissors so I stopped at Early Girl Quilt Company in Audubon, NJ and they recommended Karen Kay Bradley. The 6″ felt more comfortable than the 4″. The serrated edge prevents frayed edges. It comes with a plastic shield for the pointed end which allows me to store them safely. Very nice! Early Girl Quilts also had Aurifil 50 weight cotton thread (orange top) and a Sewline glue pen. I found out after I bought them that I’ll need the scissors for my fabric applique needlepoint class at the ANG Seminar. That was fortuitous.

I didn’t find Hiroshima Tulip Applique #10 Big Eye Needle but the Fons & Porter Hand Quilting Needles with assorted sizes 7, 9, and 10) appear to have a big enough eye. Plenty big enough to thread the needle without licking the thread. Tula is against that practice because the thread end expands as it dries. Make sense. But, you could also moisten, thread the needle, pull extra through and cut that end off. But, the eye of the needle is big enough to not moisten it anyway.

I got the needles at JoAnn’s along with some fabric with a simple pattern. I didn’t want to waste good fabric practicing but why I picked such light colors for coasters is beyond me! That is why this is now a single coaster turned doily for some knickknack around the house.

All the supplies fits in my Bargello Bag from Woodlawn! Well, not the fabric. I found out a week after this post that the purse was designed by Pat Mazu for her journeyman level Master Teacher Program and named it Flowers on a Trailing Vine. Pat taught it 3 times, once in the Potomac/Washington DC area. No wonder I fell in love with it. Pat’s designs are amazing!

I “fussy cut” the fabric which means selecting a specific part of the design from the fabric. I needed 6 hexagons to go around a center white hexagon. Now that I lay them out, I see they aren’t exactly the same all around the edge. Of the 8, you should be able to spot the really odd one of the group. You don’t have to iron them even though you might have cut on a fabric fold line which I did on one to see for myself that you’ll never see the fold after you glue it to the paper. Yes, glue. That’s what Tula recommends. I thought it would be hard to get the paper out after you stitch them together but it wasn’t. That seems faster than basting the fabric in place and allows for a crisper corner.

Answer: The swirl is moving counterclockwise on the upper left hexagon. I need 6 alike to make this pattern with the swirl moving clockwise.

However, I did not succeed at my first attempt. I sewed the wrong edges to the center and my corners are not lined up great. Unlike most needlepoint mistakes, these are not something that I will unstitch because the edges probably will be weakened. This gets tossed. Plus, I have way more fabric than I need.

With attempt number 2, I took more care about where I cut my 6 pieces. They are aligned and sewn the way I wanted. See how the swirl starts in the same place now. This is much better.

The center white hexagon allows the background to show. So, I cut another small hexagon and placed it inside the center without sewing – just pushed it into place. Then, I pulled out my fusible fabric and ultrasuede. I cut the fusible fabric slightly smaller than the shape, and basted it in place. I am not getting that stuff on my iron again!! Placed that on top of the ultrasuede and ironed for 15 seconds. Lastly, I cut away the edges just slightly smaller than the shape. I will not take the time to sew the edges. That fusible fabric works and I have other things to get to!!

Having a variety of colors would be fun to play with. But, I didn’t see a particular project that called to me. It boggles my mind to think of doing a quilt with 5,000+ pieces like Mary Corbet is doing (google mary corbet paper piecing). I’m glad I tried it though. And, I would not be adverse to doing more of it (especially with Linda’s scraps – hint hint – she has beautiful fabrics). For now, I would prefer to do another weaving piece over English Paper Piecing.

So, judge Melita scores Darning 2, English Paper Piecing 7, Tapestry Weaving 8, and the winner and still undisputed top preferred craft, Needlepoint!

This will be my Show & Tell item along with my finished tapestry at Tuesday’s 7 pm meeting of the Needlework & Fiber Guild of Media at the Media Arts Council (11 E State Street) in Media, PA. I’ll also demo needle felting on canvas and walk people through the Orna Willis and ANG Main Line Stitchers needlepoint exhibit. Join us if you are in the area.



Needlework and Textile Guild of Media
June 16, 2022, 3:11 pm
Filed under: Needlework and Textile Guild of Media

Last month, we took home some unfinished quilt squares. I thought we were to use them as we wanted. However, they were intended to be used in our own visible mending projects to show in June. Well, even though I bought the darning loom, I don’t do mending! So, this is what I did with my fabric pieces. Sally made a key ring out of hers. We were the only 2 to give it a go.

This turned into a lesson using Pellon Wonder-Under Transfer Fusing Web. It “turns any fabric into a fusible fabric”. It also turns your iron into a mess if it touches a hot iron directly. Learned that the hard way. But, Magic Eraser cleaned it up. So, I cut the fusing web slightly smaller than the quilt squares and placed the fusing web between the canvas (14 count) and the quilt square and then applied heat for 15 seconds. And, it worked great.

I stitched gobelin stitches around the edge. And, I added nested Jessicas on one and a corner Amadeus with crescents on the other. Stitching without seeing the holes was a challenge. That’s why I started them on the edges. I’ll probably finish them into ornaments. There is a stack of ornaments building up for me to finish. I’ll have to block out a few days.



Weaving Class, Needlework and Textile Guild of Media, and Speedweave Darning Loom
May 6, 2022, 10:25 pm
Filed under: Needlework and Textile Guild of Media

The ANG definition of needlepoint is “Counted or free stitchery worked by hand with a threaded needle on a readily counted ground.” That is my preference but I do like to try other crafts occasionally.

Next craft to try is weaving on a loom. I signed up for a beginning class (https://www.athomemodern.com/coursesandworkshops) in June in Philadelphia.

And, I am joining the Needlework and Textile Guild of Media. We met for the first time last month and about 2 dozen folks showed up.

Here is the list of what everyone is doing and/or would like to do.

  • Quilting
  • Knitting
  • Braid weaving
  • Braiding
  • Visible mending/sashiko
  • Weaving
  • Crocheting
  • Sewing
  • Embroidery
  • Rug making
  • French wire work
  • Beading
  • Needlepoint
  • Hand weaving
  • EPP crochet
  • Fibers
  • Macrame
  • Felting
  • Icording
  • Paper piecing
  • Collaging
  • Lace making
  • Applique
  • Darning
  • Repurposing
  • Needle felting

There will be a demo on invisible and visible mending for the May 10 meeting at 7 pm at the Media Arts Council (11 E State St in Media). If you’re in the area, please join us.

I saw a darning loom advertised on Facebook and decided that I should try it. Not bad for a first attempt. I practiced on a sock. My husband has a favorite sweater that needs a new elbow. Hopefully, I’ll be able to save it.

Step 1 is place the hole over the wooden disc and attach to the loom.

Step 2 is to hook the yarn vertically over the hole.

Step 3 is to weave the thread back and forth.

I took the loom off here but should have added several more horizontal lines of thread.

It made attaching the ends more visible with such large loops so I weaved 2 more lines without the hooks but they weren’t tight enough.

Step 4 was to whip stitch the loops to secure them and tie off loose threads on the back.

This is a “Speedweaving” darning loom but the name is not accurate. It took me most of the evening as we watched the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team bounce back (pun intended) with a win because our “big” Embid was back on the court. Any number of colors of thread could be used to make a multi colored patch.

I’ll take this to the Tuesday night meeting.

Busy week! Monday night is my ANG Main Line Stitchers chapter meeting. And, Friday and Saturday is the NJ Needle Fest.