While we were displaced, I finished the binding on the one project I had with me in record time. So naturally I had to make a supply run to have something new to work on. I had a couple of balls of variegated embroidery floss in my purse (doesn’t everyone?) and so I decided to do some simple embroidery pieces to combine with patchwork and make into a set of pillows. I had some sketches on my laptop that I had done for my Autumn Gatherings fabric line, but that ended up not being included. I really love these sketches, drawn from one of the last flowers to bloom in the fall, the wild aster. If they had made it into the print, it would have been just for background, so I love that I can put them in the spotlight with embroidery instead.
I didn’t have a printer or a light box with me, of course, so I did the next best thing- enlarged the view on the laptop and traced right off the screen. I had to scroll around and match up the lines as I traced, but otherwise it worked perfectly! I had the couple of balls of floss with me, and one precious piece of fabric rooted out of a box when we went to check on the house, but I needed more floss and more fabrics for the patchwork.
We were staying with my in-laws, who live in what might be defined as the middle of nowhere. (that’s pretty much where I live too- and I love it- just sayin’…) There is no Hobby Lobby or Jo-Ann’s to run down to and grab some embroidery floss and a hoop. Even the Wal-Mart didn’t carry hoops or floss. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that Mary Koval, antique quilt expert and reproduction fabric designer extraordinaire, had opened up a shop just a few miles away! She and her husband did a beautiful job restoring an old downtown building, part of which holds Mary’s shop and the other part will house her husband’s business. I don’t know much more about them than that, but I can say that I would love to be where she is some day. I dream of having my own brick-and-mortar shop. In a beautifully restored historic building. I know that now is not the right time for my family to make that kind of commitment, but still, the dream lives in my heart, so it made me so happy to see someone else exactly where I would like to be!
So of course I paid Mary’s Quilt Shop a long visit, and I was not disappointed by either the beautiful building or the shop itself. She stocks almost exclusively her own fabric, which makes the shop totally unique. I found many lovely fabrics that had to come home with me and will most likely make it into the final pillows- but even if they don’t they will be welcome additions to my collection! Mary also had, believe it or not, a big jar of antique embroidery flosses, all different fibers, which I was quite pleased to go through and pick a dozen or so favorites to work into my embroidery. I also found a small independent sewing store, which sold everything from sewing machines to quilt and garment fabrics to Finca embroidery floss and, thank goodness, embroidery hoops.
Beautiful vintage floss:
This vintage chestnut perle cotton is my favorite. It’s super-smooth and fine:
Plus some new Finca floss to supplement my variegated ones:
One of the embroideries in progress:
Now that we are in our house my progress has slowed, replaced by unpacking and scrubbing and taking the kids outside and scrubbing some more. My “studio” is just a pile of boxes in an empty room. But as soon as that design wall is up, I will have something to go on it!