Posts Tagged With: wool

Time Flips: September Calendar

At one time you may have sung “No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers …” Remember? So, it is kind of crazy that years later we choose to decorate with those things that remind us of school days!

The September calendar starts with this sketch:

The month begins with a ruler twisted into the S. We used an adjusted irregular blanket stitch to make the ruler lines.

I decided at the last minute to add another line of tan to the first letter. You may like it better without it. It’s up to you.


Now for the pencil tip – it’s not perfect, I know. But, seriously, if someone is looking that closely to the little pencil, there may be other issues we are dealing with. Know what I mean?

If you think my pencil may be a little warped – you could be right.


Everybody know that apples are required in every school room!

I’m thinking we should have added a worm!


Happy September!

Here’s what you need for your September FLIP calendar:

Wool background: 8″ x 6″ dark green; also tan, yellow, red and brown – with a tiny triangle of white

Embroidery thread: tan, yellow, red

Embroidery stitches: stem, blanket


Pattern is available here for FREE for a limited time. The entire collection will be available soon in one pattern on our Etsy store

Categories: Inspire Me!, Seasonal Stitches, Wonderful Wool | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Time Flips: August Calendar

Ready for another month? We hope you’ll love this honey of a project. It was the first inspiration for this collection.


A bee hive seemed the perfect shape for the first letter of August.


simple lines are easy to embroidery


Use a chain stitch to make the stripes on the little bee. And a cross stitch at the tip of the antennae.


Summer might almost be over, but the fun continues.


Here’s what you need for your August FLIP calendar:

Wool background: 8″ x 6″ light blue, gold, scraps of brown, white, yellow 

Embroidery thread: dark brown, gold, black

Embroidery stitches: running, blanket, stem, French knots


Pattern is available here for FREE for a limited time. The entire collection will be available soon in one pattern on our Etsy store

Categories: Inspire Me!, Seasonal Stitches, Wonderful Wool | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Time Flips: June Calendar

Remember back in April when the weather report was like a bad horror movie? And we wondered if the time for  sunshine and warmth would ever come – and stay? Well, it’s time!


Stitch quickly, beach time beckons!

simple sketch lines are easy to follow


maybe you will make your straw reeeeeally long or add a lemon slice


Rays of sunshine and warm sand – that’s summer!


Here’s what you need for your June FLIP calendar:

Wool background: 8″ x 6″ tan, small piece of white, small piece of yellow, scraps of turquoise and brown

Embroidery thread: dark brown, turquoise, yellow

Embroidery stitches: blanket, stem



Pattern is available here for FREE for a limited time. The entire collection will be available soon in one pattern on our Etsy store

Categories: Inspire Me!, Seasonal Stitches, Wonderful Wool | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Time Flips: March Calendar

Sister, are you ready for the March calendar? Here’s what I’m thinking – we need to get these patterns posted a week or two BEFORE the month really gets started so that our stitching sisters can have them in place when it’s time to flip to a new calendar page.

Sister?!?! I think she fainted – it was too much of a shock for me to be early on a project.

Here, have a hot cup of tea and let’s celebrate that the Irish pay no attention to what the ground hogs do in February – they bring out the green in March either way!

She’s nodding in agreement, even though she has suffered such a big shock. “I don’t know about anyone else, but I say it’s time to see something green – even if it’s only wool!”


The top ‘o the morning to you!



This one goes so fast. And uses just a few green wool scraps!

Here’s what you need for your March FLIP calendar:

Wool background: 8″ x 6″ cream, shades of green

Embroidery thread: Green and black

Embroidery stitches: blanket stitch and stem stitch


Pattern is available here for FREE for a limited time. The entire collection will be available soon in one pattern on our Etsy store

Categories: Seasonal Stitches, Wonderful Wool | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time Flips: February Calendar

My heart just flips over this little sweetheart of a wool calendar! I know that is WAAAY too much Valentine talk for one sentence!

But, seriously, Sister. I’m excited to show you that this calendar actually flips! And it’s really quick and easy to make it work!

Just use pearl cotton or 6 strands of embroidery thread to make loops on the back side of the calendar.


The loops fit through the opening between the wires of the flip hanger.


The trick is to make sure the loops are the correct distance apart.


Put the January calendar in place first so that it will flip to the back of the February calendar.


And February is ready to set next to a box of chocolates!


Here’s what you need for your February FLIP calendar:

Wool background: 8″ x 6″ Pink, scraps of pink

Embroidery thread: white, pink, burgundy

Embroidery stitches: outline, running stitch, adapted daisy (put two close together and then stitch them together to form a heart.


Pattern is available here for FREE for a limited time. The entire collection will be available soon in one pattern on our Etsy store

It case it helps, here are a few close ups of the stitches.

Here’s a close up of the adapted daisy stitch that makes our Sisters Heart stitch.


The little falling hearts are attached with the adapted daisy stitch (i.e. Sisters Heart stitch).


You can use a running stitch or a blanket stitch on the leaning hearts.


Categories: Inspire Me!, Seasonal Stitches, Wonderful Wool | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Adventures in Dying, I mean, Dyeing with Wool

Tutorial Tuesdays header


“So what’s your day going to look like, Sister?”

“I’m so excited! I’m going to go die with wool, I mean dye with wool.” I’m not the spelling bee sister.

“D-I-E or D-Y-E? Please spell it out so I know if I need to call your children and send flowers.”

What can I say, she watches out for me.


As Sisters at Heart completes designs fueled by our shared love of all things wool, it is inevitable that we would investigate how this


becomes this …

original and options

This is what we call a fabric make-over!

So while I went to learn, the Colorado Sister cheered from afar. Ok, that might be a stretch. Let’s say she watched with curiosity from afar. She’s not big about cheering but she is always open to learning new things.

The dyeing process had intrigued me for a while so when I heard my friend Angie Madden say something about over-dying recycled wool, I knew now was the time to learn more. And because Angie is a natural teacher, I knew a learning adventure with her was going to be fun and informative.

pots and microwave

Setting out the tools of the trade.

The world of dyeing fabric is not familiar to me at all, although I have encountered some of the tools of the trade in other contexts – like making jelly.

stirring the pot close

Dyeing pots can’t be used as cooking pots, though.

Here are some of the highlights:

You use different dyes and fixative agents when you are dyeing a plant-based fabric (like cotton or linen) than when you are dyeing a protein based fabric (like wool.) Procion dye and soda ash for cellulose based fabric as opposed to an acid dye and vinegar or citric acid for protein based fabric.

citric acid

I’m just wondering if this is the same concentration as the Fruit Fresh I use for freezing peaches ….

Heat necessary for the wool dyeing can come from a pot of heated water or from the microwave. The microwave takes less time but the color will not be as intense as when the longer time in the pot is used.

stirring the pot

Faster might not always be better.

Prewash fabrics to remove sizing.

Heat water, add wool fabric, mix acid dye in small amount of water and add to pot, gently stir, add citric acid solution (or vinegar) keep water just below a boil for 30 min. Check color of water in 15 min. If  the water in the pot is clear, the fabric has absorbed all it can. If there is still color in the water, you need to add more citric acid or another piece of cloth. When water is clear, remove fabric, cool and dry. (The late addition piece of cloth will not have color as intense as the pieces which have been in the dye the longer length of time. But they are still pretty.)

blue green

first piece in the dye of lots of blue with a little yellow


light green

added later to the same dye pot

After it is dry, you are ready to use the wool in a project or you can felt the fabric by washing in small amount of hot water (you want lots of agitation) with Synthrapol or small amount of blue Dawn and drying in hot dryer (dry it with an “agitation item” to encourage the felting process.)

And then the microwave method is also an option.

We learned that working with roving requires a gentle touch. Roving can be needle felted which is another adventure altogether.

roving process

We learned the gentle touch for roving by making this little pin cushion. The wool keeps needles and pins sharp.

Our experimenting with color combinations, different weights of wool, and different methods gave us these:


sunflower yellow

yellow green

sunflower yellow and a couple of drops of peacock blue


crimsom – my favorite

When I got home I tried a little tea dyeing for the final touch to a piece of muslin that we can decorated with screen printing ink and some Dye Magnet that dries before you immerse the fabric in the dyeing agent. It reminded me of the “magic writing” with lemon juice we did as kids.

tea dyed


There are some warnings: The dye for plant-based fabrics is toxic in it’s powder form. The pots used for dyeing should NEVER be used for cooking. If you wash your wool use cool water and air dry to prevent loss of color as the bond is not as secure as in cellulose-procion dye bonding.

AND … Be warned, the process of taking fabric from dull to dazzling can prove to be addictive.

I’m not qualified to call myself even a novice at this. I’ve passed along only the first layer of details – and I probably won’t become a master dyer. But now I know enough to appreciate the artists who DO know what they are doing so that we all have beautiful wool fabrics to create and stitch with. And you can be sure that Sisters at Heart will be bringing you patterns for wool very soon.

What learning adventure have you had lately?

PS – Angie recommends Dharma Trading as a source for dyeing materials.

Categories: Tutorial Tuesdays | Tags: , | 1 Comment

A Holly Jolly Santa Quilt & the Never, Ever Again Sister

We are Christmas lovers. We admit it. We embrace it.

We love all things Christmas –

Ornaments 3x4

These red work ornaments are from the Starry Night collection.

mangers and angels;

SN stocking printable

These are from our Starry Night collection

trees full of lights and stockings hung on the fireplace;

figgy pudding


wassail and figgy pudding –

okay, so neither of us has ever even smelled figgy pudding-but you get the idea.


You would think that the design and production of a Christmas quilt would be pure joy. Bliss. Easy peasey pie.

We thought so too.


Such was not the case. Without going into a lot of gory details about miscalculated changes

and mis-measured squares

and mis-cut sashings

and ill-filled Santa appliqué suits,

let’s just say that even the sister who has a whole collection of old Santas reached her frustration limit and called a halt to the process until sanity could be restored. At that point the half-finished Santa quilt was banished to the southern division of the company via USPS with an enclosed note that read in part: never to be seen or heard about again. Ever. I mean never, ever. Never, ever again! Fiddle de de! I mean bah humbug!

bah humbug

So the partial Santa quilts were nestled away for a long, long, long winter’s nap -for a few years. Then one night when the luster of moon light on the new fallen … actually it was one hot summer day during a move when the other sister stumbled across this half-finished treasure. So she wheedled out an agreement whereby the never, ever again sister would give one more Christmas try to the project — IF all the parts were sorted out and pre-calculated and pre-cut before they were granted re-entry into the Colorado sewing studio.

The old adage “Begun is half done” was quoted several times in the negotiating process.

So the pieces were re-assessed and the whole plan re-evaluated and some extra touches were added and Holly Jolly Santa was added to our pattern collection. We think he is better for the wait – he matured along the way.

santa line drawing

And we are delighted to welcome Holly, Jolly Santa to the Sisters at Heart collections! He was worth the trouble!  Okay, to be completely honest, the never, ever sister may still be “reserving judgement.”


The Holly Jolly Santa appliqué figure from our Really Big Hat collection sits in the center of the quilt on a large Christmas Star block framed with gold sashing. The blocks surrounding the center are an echoing explosion of the Christmas Star.

 Christmas Star with Santa

If you can make half square triangles and split quarter square triangles, this quilt will come together quicker than Santa can lay his finger to the side of his nose and give a nod…  And the outer borders will give you lots of room for wonderful holly quilting lines.

The final touch for this holiday quilt are the felted wool holly sprigs that Santa holds, along with the holly leaves and berries scattered out to the border of the quilt.


Working with the wool is such a pleasure that I cut out more holly leaves than we needed!

holly close up

The pearl cotton stitching really makes these a great embellishments as finishing touches to the quilt.

A note about the felted wool: Some quilters will prefer to quilt the quilt before they applique the felted holly leaves. That could make appliqueing the leaves and berries a little tricky. So we’d suggest that you do the stitching around the edges of the holly leaves and berries before they are attached – much like you would do the pieces for a wool penny rug. Then once the decorative stitching is done, you can attach the felted wool to the quilt with fabric or applique glue and a few hidden stitches that go through the entire quilt. We would offer the same advice for putting the felted wool “fur” on the Santa suit.

Holly Jolly close up

He’s holding on tight to those sprigs of holly! We think that is what makes him jolly!

Making this quilt can give you an extra special holiday memory if you make it together with a stitching sister. As you know, every one of our quilt patterns has a Trading Hearts Plan in it so that, if you wish, you can stitch a quilt (trading parts) with someone else even if they live far away from you. Just think of the lingering “fa-la-la-la-las” and “ho-ho-hos” that would be part of your holidays every time you unwrap a Holly Jolly made with shared stitches.

Holly Jolly for printing

I really need to add some twinkle lights above this bed!

Holly Jolly Santa is available as an instant PDF downloadable pattern or in the regular printed paper pattern format though our Etsy store.

The really good news is that by Christmas you might just find the aforementioned never ever again sister cuddled under her Holly Jolly quilt with a good book and a cup of hot cider-having no memory of the initial hurtles and challenges of making this quilt.

It could happen! We true Christmas lovers believe in Christmas miracles!

Categories: Patterns and Projects, Really Big Hats, Seasonal Stitches | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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