Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Love of Linen

Wool may be my mainstay, but confidentially, linen is my first love. Long before I delved into the world of wool appliqué, I had begun my collection of linen tow grain bags. Tow is the rough, heavy, but beautiful material that was sewn into bags to transport grain. Farmers would take their re-useable bags with them to the mill to be filled with their milled grains. Often these bags are found with a name, a number or both.

My collection of linen includes many items from a variety of eras. These pieces are for wearing, table covering, displaying, and working. Stitching to linen is one of my favorite ways to blend two textile mediums together. The wool lays so nicely on the surface of the linen and your floss just glides through their layers.

Linen is the end result of processing the flax plant. I have grown flax, and it has the most beautiful tiny blue flowers, and it is quite a site when grown in large quantities. The stalks of the flax plant are fibrous. This is what is broken down into string and spun into thread.

Linen is beautiful in the endless amount of colors available to dye it with, but it is just as wonderful in its natural color. 

How do you like to use linen? 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Season's Winner

    We have a winner for the Seasons of Wool Applique Folk Art & wool bundle! Thank you, Debbie H. of Texas for your comment.

    A huge "Thank you" to all of you who left such kind, and generous comments. I appreciate your enthusiasm and support so much!

Friday, May 19, 2017

A New Season

  It is a new season. What started almost two years ago is about to be complete. The second book of wool applique projects that I have compiled is due to be released this June. So many of you reached out to me about the first book and how you were inspired by it that I wanted to give you a second which I hope will bring you a lot of great projects to enjoy. The title, Seasons of Wool Applique is a reflection of how each season inspires my work. There is a constant ebb & flow of ideas, and each special season of the year feeds that creativity.

    So, here is a special Give-Away! If you leave a comment from now until Monday, May 22, 2017 at 8am, you will be entered into a drawing for a autographed copy of my new book and a bundle of my own hand-dyed wool. Please only one entry per person. One thing to note: I moderate all of the comments left on my blog so, please, don't worry if you do not see it right away. I will eventually publish it.

            Also, this will be my last Re-Shaped project from my first book Wool Applique Folk Art. It is a shadow box turned necklace cupboard. This was another purchase from Homegoods. I found it in the frame section and  the inside came already finished with the  padded fabric and push pins. Simply tape off the glass to paint the outside. I chose a taupe color with a flat finish. The wooly is stitched on printed cotton and steam pressed when finished. Using double-sided tape, I fixed it to the inside of the door, carefully stretching it tight so that there were no wrinkles. Then it was covered with another piece of printed cotton by again using the double-sided tape. I added the twill tape at the end to give it a nice finished look. This was glued on.


Pattern Pieces for the Necklace Cupboard Wooly

Flowers:  Wooly Windows  p. 54

Shield & Rossette: A Patriot's Rug p. 88

Leaves:  Wooly Bindings p. 60

For information on pre-ordering Seasons of Wool Applique published by C&T Publishing, go to

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Fall's Stage

Ah, Fall! It is that time to enjoy the respite from the summer's heat, and just soak in the moments, colors, and smells of my favorite season.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Ideas for August

          Here we are in August already with Summer waning and Fall close on its heels. I have had one bustling season! Packed full of teaching, stitching, writing, & travel, it has been an exciting time that I have fully enjoyed. It was not the best summer for dyeing wool, though. We experienced excessive heat and humidity for prolonged periods which really does not help when you are standing over a steaming pot of water. Now we are seeing the temperatures moderate and the evenings are cooler so I am looking forward to natural dyeing that for me comes at this time. The black walnuts are beginning to fall, goldenrod is beginning to bloom, and all of the other plants are ready for the dye pot. This is the season to stock up on wonderfully dyed wools, linens, and other textiles.
It has been a while since I have shared a Reshaped Project from the book. This month I have created a simple Thread Caddy with a wonderful idea for floss storage that I gleaned from a student in one of my workshops. I will also share another wonderful idea for the book from a student. I will be offering other Student Tips in future posts. It seems that I learn something myself from a student in every class.
 Thank you as always for taking a class, sharing what you have made from the book, saying “Hi” at a show, and just being so encouraging. I appreciate all of it!

     This Student Tip comes from Sue in Arizona. While in a class in Ohio , we were talking floss and Sue showed me how she keeps her DMC colors at hand. She simply cuts multiple strands of floss to sewing length and  separates them into the two strands needed for stitching. Then Sue puts the separated two strands onto a thread minder according to color where they are at the ready for use. I found this idea especially helpful for stitching while on the road. Instead of fumbling with skeins of floss while on the move, this tip helps keep things organized and convenient. Also, the two strands are easy to remove each time you need to begin a new needle. Thank you, Sue for sharing this idea with me and letting me share it with others.

House Thread Caddy : Reshaped project from 
Wool Applique Folk Art 
by Rebekah L. Smith

Pattern from “Housing for 
Papers”  page 74

1) Make a larger pattern of the house (including the chimney)  by adding 1/4’’ all the way around. This will be what you stitch the house parts to.
2) Once you make a freezer paper pattern of the larger house background, cut two of these out of wool. One will be for the background and one for the backing.
3) Once you have stitched your house parts you will now layer together the top house wooly, a piece of cardstock or lightweight chip board cut slightly smaller than the whole house  and the backing house wool together and stitch around the outside.
4) Add thread rings to the bottom of the house by just stitching them to the wool.


                              Thread Caddy Cover

This cover is simply to keep your threads from tangling while you travel.

Cut 2 pieces of fabric 14’’h x 6.5’’w. Add a 12’’ length of twill tape to each end. Pin the right sides of the fabrics together inserting the twill tape in each end about 1/2’’. Be sure that your twill tape is in between the layers of fabric. Sew all the way around leaving a 1/4'' seam allowance. Turn the cover right side out and iron flat being sure to turn the raw edges of the opening under.  Blanket Stitch all the way around the outside of the cover.

       My second Student Tip comes from Kathy in Texas. She not only had her Wool Applique Folk Art book spiral bound at the local copy center, but she had them add a pocket in the back to keep pattern pieces organized. I think this is a fantastic idea! Thank you, Kathy for letting me share this very useful tip.

      I will continue to share what I learn in workshops. It is exciting to see what everyone brings, and I have really learned so much from students. Thank you all who have had the opportunity to be in one of my classes. I so enjoy meeting all of you!

Friday, May 6, 2016

A Season for Writing

   We are finally experiencing spring here on Northeast Ohio. The lilacs are blooming and the viburnum small so sweet. Our yard is covered in a tiny ground cover just bursting with miniature blue flowers. There is a freshness to the breeze that really says "Winter has passed".

Here are all of the essentials for writing a book. Yes, that is the Piano Guys performing music from Kung Fu Panda.
Now is the season of book writing. It is time to take a moment and reflect on the amazing response to the first book, and really begin to refine where this next publishing endeavor is going. All I need to do is look around me to see inspiration that stretches as far as the eye can see. We are blessed to live in an old house with a vibrant history, and surround ourselves with those stories of the past. There is also the cherished traditions of sharing what we know and enjoy with others who feel the same. So, I have collected, drawn, cut, stitched, & refined a whole new collection of wool applique projects to share.

For me, the writing part of this journey brings an excitement as you see the joining of all of the parts of the book and it begins to take on a shape and sprout into something solid. Thank you for joining me on this trek.

April & May Wool Applique Folk Art Reshaped Project

I did not have time to stitch this together, but I designed this pillow based on the following projects:

Tulip Harmony p.82
Wooly Window p. 54
Her Lady's Pocket p.28

I am giving this kit away to be stitched by one of you! To be entered into the drawing just leave a comment on this post. The drawing will take place Monday morning at 8am.
You will receive the pieces I have cut out and the fabric for the pillow. The embellishing stitches are up to you. Make it your own!

Thank you!

Monday, March 7, 2016

A March to Spring!

  We are finally thawing out here in Northeast Ohio! Our snowdrops are blooming, there is only a few piles of snow left, and the birds are singing. I am also busier than ever with workshop preparations & book writing.

  So, this month's Reshaped Project is a simple alternative way to use the bunny from "Creatures of Habit". I made him into an ornament to be hung on a door, cupboard, pegboard, or what have you.
He was fun to make and took very little time. I just used the pattern full size and added some heayweight, double-sided, fusible interfacing. This was the first time I used any kind of product like this and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to trim and work with. As the bunny's head and neck would have been too floppy with just wool, I felt I needed to add something between the top applique piece and the backing wool to keep him stiff. I decided that cutting cardboard or chipboard would be too hard for this project.

Mach Reshaped
Wool Applique Folk Art by Rebekah L. Smith
"Creatures of Habit" p34

1) Cut 2 bunnies from wool. The first one you will applique for the front and the second is for the back.
2) Cut the bunny pattern out of the fusible interfacing and then trim about 1/4" off all the way around.
3) Follow the fusible interfacing instructions.
4) Stitch away!

 This fast2fuse is available in a 15" x 18" sheet from