A Blessed St Patrick's Day!

Wishing all my blog readers 
a Blessed St. Patrick's Day 
and a prayer that his life would be an inspiration for each of you!  

A pastor, whom I greatly respect and who I listen to daily, has written about St. Patrick on his blog this day, and it is well worth reading.  You may read it here: Ed Taylor

The Deer's Cry 
(Also known as a Lorica, a Prayer often referred to as The Breastplate of St. Patrick)

For my shield this day
A mighty power:
The Holy Trinity
Affirming threeness,
Confessing oneness,
In the making of all
Through love. . .

For my shield this day I call:
Christ's power in his coming
and in his baptizing, 
Christ's power in his dying
On the cross, his arising
from the tomb, his ascending;
Christ's power in his coming
for judgment and ending.

For my shield this day I call:
strong power of the seraphim,
with angels obeying,
and archangels attending,
in the glorious company
of the holy and risen ones,
in the prayers of the fathers,
in visions prophetic
and commands apostolic,
in the annals of witness,
in virginal innocence,
to the deeds of steadfast men.

Real Shamrocks

For my shield this day I call:
Heaven's might,
Moon's whiteness,
Fire's glory,
Lightning's swiftness,
Wind's wildness,
Ocean's depth,
Earth's solidity,
Rock's immobility.

This day I call to me;
God's strength to direct me,
God's power to sustain me.
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's vision to light me,
God's ear to my hearing,
God's word to my speaking,
God's hand to uphold me,
God's pathway before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's legions o save me:
from snares of the demons,
from evil enticements,
from failings of nature,
from one man or many
that seek to destroy me,
anear or afar.

Around me I gather:
these forces to save
my soul and my body
from dark powers that assail me:
against false prophesyings,
against pagan devisings,
against heretical lying
and false gods all around me.
Against spells cast by women,
against false prophet
by blacksmiths, by Druids,
against knowledge unlawful
that injures the body,
that injures the spirit.

One Shamrock!

Be Christ this day my strong protector:
against poison and burning
against drowning and wounding,
through reward wide and plenty . . . 
Christ beside me, Christ before me;
Christ behind me, Christ within me;
Christ beneath me, Christ above me;
Christ to right of me, Christ to left of me;
Christ in my lying, my sitting, my rising;
Christ in the heart of all who know me,
Christ on the tongue of all who meet me,
Christ in eye of all who see me,
Christ in ear of all who hear me. 

For my shield this day I call:
a mighty power:
the Holy Trinity!
affirming threeness,
confessing oneness
in the making of all -- through love . . .

For to the Lord belongs salvation,
and to the Lord belongs salvation
and to Christ belongs salvation.

May your salvation, Lord, be
with us always.
(Domini est salus, Domini est salus,
Chriti est salus,
Salus tua, Domine, Sit temper nobiscum.)

A Happy and Blessed St. Patrick's Day to you! 


A Milestone!

Fifteen months of work ~ all 12 blocks for CQJP 2015 are complete at long last!  What a journey this has been!  I've learned so much along the way and these blocks have taken me places where I never dreamed I'd go!  

This block had it's challenges.  Being last and making it coordinate with all the others was certainly one of the big ones.  Another challenge was the "U" of light colors that dominate the left and lower part of the block.  The orientation of the block with more vertical lines also gave this block a creative puzzle.  But overall, I'm happy with how it turned out and it balances wonderfully with the other blocks! 

One last time... the rick-rack was the first part of the block to be worked.  A simple chevron stitch with some simple flowers.  

Next up was the vertical seam on the left.  I kept coming back to this one to add elements in order to give it more presence.  In hindsight, I should have made the chevron stitches somewhat smaller.  I think that "tightening" up the pattern would have made it read better.  But adding little ribbon elements and filling in the pink flower heads with additional lazy daisies made a big difference for the better! 

The feather stitch to the right of it was added later.  Doing the flowers all in one color bead made it very un-interesting.  Changing them to two colors made all the difference! 

I love this curvy seam!  The flower beads were a late addition to help balance the block with the others. 

The fly stitch leaves on a curvy vine with bugle bead flowers is one of my favorite elements on this block.  I just love stitching leafy motifs! 

There is very little buttonhole stitching on any of the blocks, so I added this simple but lovely seam!  Below it, I added the chain-stitched seam to bring some color to this corner of the block.  Above the buttonhole seam, there is a wave chain stitch seam that I found quite intriguing.  I believe it came from Sharon Boggin's Tast stitches.  Love how it changed a straight seam into a scalloped edge!

There were so many great variegated threads used on these blocks, mostly Caron Wildflowers.  I love the pink/orange yellow thread used on the crossed lazy daisy seam along the lower edge of the pink patch. A fun and easy stitch to work.  

Another Caron Wildflowers thread was used for the French knot flower seam.  The green leaves are Valdani.https://www.valdani.com/product_details/5  

A stitch I discovered on an old crazy quilt was the woven arrowhead seam.  That is stitched in size 5 DMC Variations.  I rarely used size 5 thread on these blocks as it was simply too heavy, but the weight of it was perfect for this stitch!  I think this is my favorite part of this block! 

For the central motif, I used a bit of woven picot edged ribbon from Mokuba and created flowers using instructions from a Japanese ribbon embroidery book that I have.  It took a few tries to get it right, since I don't read Japanese and there were only photos to go by!

Another stitch copied from a vintage quilt was this simple stepped feather stitch seam.  

The last motif to be stitched was tho one that I had sketched from somewhere into my stitch book.  The leaves and stems were embroidered with DMC variations embroidery floss I believe.  The flowers are a mix of Colour Compliments and a variegated pearl cotton that I found in a multi spool pack of pearl cotton at JoAnn Fabrics.  So happy with the way it turned out!  

Here are all the blocks laid out on my dining room table.  I plan on putting some sashing between the blocks so that each block is framed individually.  Can't wait to see it fully finished!  So close! 

Last week I bought a bouquet of the prettiest "ivory blush" roses!  No scent, but so lovely.  Now they are softly fading into antiquity.  

Outside spring has been coming on strong!  Along the front walk, the daffodils are blooming gloriously! 

Along the driveway, the grape hyacinths are blooming beautifully!  In the early morning sun, that lavender blue just glowed!  So gorgeous!   

Now that everything is blooming, we have a forecast calling for 4 to 8 inches snow or more for tomorrow night.  Sigh.  It will be good to slow things down a bit as everything is blooming 1 to 2 months early and the moisture is greatly needed!  But such a harsh blow after weeks of lovely warm spring weather!  


November Block for CQJP 2015

November's block is finished!  This was a more difficult block to balance out with a large pale area at the bottom, but in the end, it came together! 

As usual, I started with the rickrack seam.  After reviewing all the blocks together, I pre-located the rick-rack on this block and the last one, to help it balance with the others.  I also decided what the orientation of the block would be right from the start, which is something I had not done up until these last three blocks.  

For the rick-rack seam, a simple straight stitch held it in place and then I added some little beads.  I carried it out further by doing a zig-zag chain stitch above it.  The seam element above the rick-rack seam is a feather stitch variation.  I still struggle with bouillon stitches.  I simply cannot get them to come out consistent, despite all my efforts and being careful to do all my wraps in the same direction, using a milliner's needle.  Room for improvement! 

In the upper left corner, a scalloped fly stitch is embellished with feather stitch and lazy daisy plants and silk ribbon french knots.  

Feather stitching makes such a great foundation for leaves and flowers!  I love the seemingly endless variations that one can achieve with it!  I think this is my favorite seam on this block! 

Another feather stitched seam, this time in curves, with some nice variegated lazy daisies with beads. So simple, yet so elegant! 

On the very first block I stitched for CQJP 2015, there was a seam of fans.  I decided that the fan theme needed to be revisited one more time.  This one is based on a chevron stitch, with chain stitch and then straight stitches.  To give it a bit more interest, I wove silk ribbon through the spokes.  The flowers are oyster stitch done with a doubled thread.  

I stitched a similar motif to this on my journal cover.  I liked it well enough to repeat it on this block! Some variegated pink/yellow thread made the blossoms much more interesting! 

In each block, I've tried to get at least one really geometric seam treatment.  This is my variation of one that Allie Aller did and I think she got it from Pam Kellogg!  She did hers over waste canvas, but I "hate" using it as I don't like how it makes the stitching loose from the fabric, so I just measured it out and marked the corners.  I love how a stitch changes depending on who is stitching it!  We each bring a little bit of ourselves to our stitching and it becomes our own.  

For the central motif, I wanted to do a cast on flower.  At first I only intended to do a 6 petal flower, but it was far too small and uninteresting, so I did another round of petals, which made it large enough and gave it added interest.  There is no white on these blocks except for the little pearl in the center of the flower.  There are more wonky bouillon stitches in the 5 petal flowers.   

The seam on the upper right corner of the block is a variation of another stitch that I did on my journal cover.  It looks completely different done in a variegated orange/pink/red thread!  Little fargo roses finish out the design.  

For the seams on the lower two blocks, first I did a chain stitched scallop with some little flower beads.  Then I did another feather stitch variation, this time a Maidenhair version with some little 3 petal silk ribbon flowers.  At first I was going to fill the rest of the pale yellow patch with a much heavier treatment, but then when I looked at the block with all the others, I realized it was the perfect spot to "sign" my quilt.  I finished it off with some tiny rosebuds.  

The signature itself was stitched by first literally signing the block with a marking pen, the stitching over it with a teeny tiny split back-stitch.  On old quilts, I always love seeing someones name and the date.  Now my quilt joins the ranks!  

It's definitely a happy block!  Now there is just one block left to go and then it's time to put it together!  

p.s. I had lots to post about today, so don't miss the previous post I did today!  

Spring [and Stitching too!]

Spring appears to have arrived!  The crocus are blooming to prove it!  Such beauty after the winter snows!  As I sit here writing this, we also have our first spring rain, complete with a little thunder.  Gladdens my heart that it is rain and not snow, though I must admit to being concerned that it is much too warm, far too early.  March is usually our heaviest snow month along the front range of Colorado and so far, the temperatures and weather have been more like May instead of early March.  

The warm temperatures and the fact that the snow, that seemed non-stop in December/January, has melted at last allowed me to get out into the yard and do some spring cleanup.  So nice to get the old leaves raked up at last and begin the cleanup in the flowerbeds. 

Spring cleanup also involved some refrigerator clean out and in doing so, I came across two jars of my Mom's sourdough starter.  It has quite a lineage and we can track its history back to the renowned naturalists, Margaret and Olaus Murie, who wrote the book, "Two in the Far North".  That book was a favorite of my Mom's!  When I was growing up, we often gathered with family and friends for Sourdough Pancakes and if visitors arrived from out of state, we always had sourdough pancakes at least once during their visit!  

Sourdough started has the amazing capacity to survive over time and in harsh conditions.  It can even be dried, then reconstituted with a little water and brought back to life.  My Mom always stored hers in a jar in the refrigerator.  It hadn't been used in at least 5 years, so I wasn't sure if it was still "alive" or not.  But I started off by adding just a bit of warm water and flour to it and every morning and evening for a week, I repeated it.  By the end of the week it was bubbling away!  My daughter came over and we tried our first sourdough pancakes in years, and they turned out every bit as wonderful as I remember!  

Kitzy cat, my Mom's kitty that came to me when my Mom died, always used to sit at the table with my Mom and Dad for meals.  I'd forgotten that until we sat down, and first thing you know, Kitzy was there too!  Carrying on multiple traditions at this meal!  

I've been doing a lot of stitching, trying to get my CQJP 2015 project done.  I needed a wee break from all that orange and yellow, so I made myself a coaster for my stitching table.  Some one inch patches and lots of boro/kantha type stitching.  

Perfect spot for my mug of tea to sit! 

Love how tactile a piece becomes with that type of stitching! 

There's a new CQJP 2015 block to share, but I'll put that in a separate post!