A Touch of Irish Lace

May the saddest day of your future
be no worse

than the happiest day of your past.

You may have gathered that I love my Irish heritage.  😉  So, when I was looking for some quick stitching projects I seized the opportunity to work with some Irish lace that I was fortunate enough to find in an antique store in Westport, Ireland. Combining the lace with a silk background and some embroiderie anglaise fabric in my stash, I had the makings of a small pin pillow.


Irish pin pillow

The lace was used for the mid-section of the pillow to give it a place of honor. I used a variety of stitches including French knots and web stitches to embellish the rest of the pillow.


Irish lace section of pillow

I used a few small beads to add a bit of sparkle among some of the bullion knots and to scatter amidst the gimp that adorned the lower third of the tiny pillow.

bullion knots clustered with beads

Close-up of some bullion knots with beads

The pillow is already on its way to a special person to whom I hope it will bring a smile of pleasant memories.

Linking to Nina Maries Off the Wall blog.


Creating Cheer and A Decision

Keep your face to the sunshine
And you cannot see a shadow.

Helen Keller

I had put together the makings from some smaller projects to take on a trip that didn’t happen. So, I decided to follow through with some of them at home. One result is this cheerful little pin pillow.


I chose the yellow tones to brighten up my days as I stitched. Perhaps Mother Nature took the hint as there was a lovely display of sunshine on my living room floor as I photographed this!

I got the idea for the little cushion from Karen Ruane, my online stitching instructor and friend. She calls them pin pillows and they do work quite well as what we in American would call pin cushions. However, I have also found them to perfect for other purposes. One of mine is now a pillow for a certain stuffed animal that sleeps in my granddaughter’s home. I am using another as a resting spot for my eyeglasses which I unfortunately need to reach for first thing in the morning to find my way through a day.

Speaking of Karen, she is offering a new class in April which deals with what she calls ledgers. It is about creating paper journals of ideas for projects, patterns, stitch combinations that you might like to explore. A unique idea for those of us who like to just plunge in and start cutting and sewing! As always, the material is presented through a series of videos where the student is ‘a fly on the wall’ while Karen stitches and chats. I find it a very effective learning method for me. If you want to learn more, you can visit Karen’s website.

And a decision!

I was overjoyed with the response to my query last week on To Crop or Not To Crop. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your perspectives with me. When we create a piece, I can get so tied into the process and critiquing it that I fail to see the finished project. That sounds funny but it is true. I look at what I have created and I see the areas where my stitching wasn’t quite up to par. One of the fun results of asking for opinions was hearing what each of you saw in my piece.

I waited a few days and considered all the different viewpoints. Then I stepped back and made a decision. Here is the final piece.


It wasn’t easy to decide. But, in the end, I decided to go with the version that best caught what attracted me to taking the original photo – the flow of the water around the two rocks.

Of course, now I have to come up with a title! Any thoughts on that are very welcome!  🙂

Linking to Off the Wall, Friday with Nina Marie Sayre so please check out what other artists have been doing.

A Pin Pillow

Another finished project in my studies with Karen Ruane! I have been in Karen’s class, Simply Stitch 5, for five weeks. If you have been following me for a bit, you know that in Karen’s classes you are a ‘fly on the wall’, watching her work while stitching your own projects. Karen has been working quite a bit with ‘bling’ in this class. She chose a pin pillow as a project and I decided one could never have too many pin pillows so I followed along. It gave me a chance to use some tiny mirrors I had picked up at a sale in our quilt club and to play with ‘gimp’ – a shiny cord that I had seen many times but never used in a stitching project.

The result of all this play was a quite delicate pin cushion. Here are a few views of it.




The base fabric is a silk charmeuse with an overlay of lace pieces and, of course, hand embellishment. In addition to the gimp and the mirrors, there a few buttons I had collected and some beads. It is really quite luxurious. Karen made a point to urge us all to use our pillows so we could enjoy them on a daily basis. There is the definite urge to put things away as they are ‘too nice’ to use. I am quite sure that as I quilt and stitch each day and have it in view, I will have one more reason to smile!

Linking to Nine Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.


What is it?


During our fiber arts group monthly meeting yesterday, I was circulating a project I had just completed and one of our members quizzically mouthed What is it? to me across the room. I smiled. 

It‘ is a pin cushion with a pocket. Huh? That’s right.  😀

I have been participating in Karen Ruane‘s Pillows and Pages class for the past two weeks. It has been an adventure. Since the class included three separate pillow projects, I wisely opted to create small pillows. Karen also chose to work on small size pillows that could be used as giant pin cushions. As she drew near completion of the first pillow with us, she decided to add a ‘pocket’ for storing small supplies you might need as you were stitching. I followed suit.

Here is what my completed pin cushion with pocket looks like now that it is in use:

pin cushion with pins, etcIt actually folds in half for easier carrying about my home.

folded hand stitched pin cushion

I am totally enjoying the class. It is giving me an opportunity to create something useful while learning from Karen and honing skills. Over the three pillows, the many elements covered have included  ties, tabs, inserts, varied stitches, and, of course, damp stretching.

close up of pin cushion

PS I am linking this post to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday blog so please enjoy browsing some other artist’s blogs.