The October pincushion for the Crazy Quilt Journal Project 2014 is finished! I had so much fun working on this one!
I'm not into most Halloween decor. It's far too ghoulish and doesn't do much for me. When I was thinking about what to do for October's pincushion, I knew I wanted to do something with pumpkins, but knew the pincushion would need something else to make it come to life. So as the season progressed, I kept pondering it in the back of my mind. As I was putting out my tiny collection of black cats a couple of weeks ago, it came to me that my pincushion pumpkin patch needed a black cat on it! We always had black cats at home when I was growing up, and my Halloween decorations consist primarily of pumpkins and black cats! With that, I was off and running!
This is the block I started with. I really do love working with batik fabrics, especially if the pattern isn't too large or overwhelming. They blend so nicely into the background. I chose a darker, mostly brown, palette with touches of warm greens reminiscent of autumn. I knew that orange pumpkins would really come to life on this block!
The view from the top.
The first thing I did was to make the pumpkins out of some orange/yellow silk with wool stuffing and lobes created by tying with some Wildflowers variegated pearl cotton from Caron. For stems, I used DMC memory thread. I love the old fashioned look they have.
The black cat was knitted from a pattern in The Knitted Farmyard, a book I used years ago when I taught my kids to knit. This book was originally published in German and the translation means that the knitted items don't quite look like the photos in the book, but they still come out very cute. The kids knitted lots of chickens and ducks while they were learning, while I made some of the more complicated critters from the book. When I was thinking about how to do the cat for this pincushion, I remembered the kittens I had made from this book and went searching for our copy. I modified the directions a little to suit my needs for this pincushion. I used some Harrisville Designs Black Shetland fingering weight yarn for the cat and stuffed him with some dark grey wool I had so it wouldn't show through so much. The green eyes were embroidered with DMC cotton embroidery floss.
I knew that I also wanted to bring another dimensional element into this pincushion, so I created a cornstalk using DMC memory thread and created needle woven leaves up the stem.
Along one seam, I stitched a buttonhole/feather variation to mimic the stubble of a newly harvested corn field and scattered more leaves along it as well as a beaded ear or corn. Then using a large eyed yarn needle, I pulled the cornstalk through and anchored it down.
This seam got a stitch that I had copied into my seam inspiration book from somewhere. It has a nice autumn feel to it and provides a nice foundation seam under the pumpkin patch!
Along another seam, I embroidered a flowing pumpkin vine with buttonhole stitch leaves in a variegated perle cotton ~ this one I believe is from Valdani. Then I added some yellow/orange beads with stitching to mimic tiny pumpkins.
The pumpkin vines were curled and I added some stumpwork silk leaves to them. There are 5 leaves on this pincushion and I was astonished at how long they took (over 8 hours!), but the effect was well worth it!
The seam visible here was another from my inspiration book and is one I copied off an antique crazy quilt.
From the top you can see the last seam, which is simply feather stitching with some nice big Czech glass leaf beads added.
The bottom has my usual signature! The back side of the stitching is signed as well.
Here's my Black Cat running through the Pumpkin Patch!
Around the yard, the leaves are changing with the season. The Spindle Bush is looking particularly lovely right now as the bright pink pods have split open into little bishop cap shapes and let their bright orange fruits dangle out! It is just spectacular!
We had a nice family dinner on Saturday. Just missing Stephen and David who both had to work. For our family dinner, we had apple sauce, apple dumplings and salad with apples, pecans and blue cheese, all with apples from our tree! For the rest of the meal, we had a Mediterranean theme going with tomato bruschetta, rosemary roasted potatoes, and Provincial chicken cooked with white wine, parsley and lots of garlic! Yummy! It's always so wonderful to have my kids around the table! It's one of the things that makes me happier than just about anything else!
Jessie spent the weekend so that I could teach her how to can and she did a fabulous job learning how to can applesauce from the amazingly sweet apples that came from the tree in our yard! A couple weeks ago, we make pie filling with them. We have one more 1/2 bushel of apples to process and they will get turned into apple butter! We've also extracted lots of juice from the peels and cores that we'll use to make some apple jelly. Right now it's in the freezer until we have more time to work on it.
What a blessing this weekend was! Filled with stitching, preserving food (which is one of life's immensely satisfying things!) and time with family! Life doesn't get much better than this!