Slow Stitching with Meg Hawkey

What a fun day I had yesterday. It was my pleasure to spend a day stitching and learning with Meg Hawkey of Crabapple Hill Studio. My friend Annette told me about the class. Annette and I sat together and had fun stitching, laughing, and snacking the afternoon away.

The class was held at Sharon's Attic, a west side quilt shop I'd never visited. Entering through the front door of the shop and looking to the left, I saw this:

Looking to the right, I saw this.

Through that door in the middle of the image above was a huge classroom. It was decorated with many of Meg Hawkey's designs. I've made a few of these, purchased but not started a few, and reluctantly passed a few by as I've browsed the Crabbapple Hill Studio website. Meg is a talented and clever designer.

My apologies to the woman in the middle of the image below. That'll teach you to yawn while I'm taking pictures.

When I checked in, I was given a goodie bag with the project we'd be working on. You can see just above the pumpkin in the image below an "Embroidery Stitch Guidebook," and that is going to be very helpful in the future.

There was a little box containing pretty Cosmo floss for our Pumpkin Pie project.

Also, a pattern for the stitcheries used in these embroidered necklaces. The necklaces are available on Meg's website.

There was a sample of both set up we could look at.

Just a little after 10:00 a.m., Meg got the class started. That's Meg in the image below. It was such a pleasure to meet her, sit and chat with her, and learn from her. She was very personable and approachable.

Our kits contained a white crayon, and our first task was to completely color in the design in white. Meg explained that the white serves as a sort of "primer," coating the fabric and filling in the weave so that the colors added next will go on more smoothly.

This wasn't so much a "class" as a series of demonstrations and explanations. The Gingerbread Square quilt is the only one I've made so far using this crayon technique.

When I did it, I was frustrated by the length of time it took to color in the blocks (after having traced them out). Granted, those blocks were quite detailed, but mainly, I had trouble understanding the difference between "tinting" and "shading" and knowing what to do and when. We spent the morning coloring in our designs for the Pumpkin Pie project. During that time I learned it was best to use a circular motion when adding color. I think most of us grew up coloring in coloring books, using a back and forth sweeping motion with our crayons. Doing that on fabric, the back and forth motion of the strokes is clearly visible on the fabric. I'm hoping you can see what I'm talking about in the image below.

If one colors using a circular motion, or "scrubbing," which was the word Meg used, the color goes on more evenly and more natural in appearance. See if the image below doesn't look a little better.

Meg explained that colors should be added in order of lightest to darkest. Tinting is used to color in the beginning, shading is used to add dimension. Darker color is used to make areas of color appear farther away. Lighter shades appear closer. So, when coloring, shading, and tinting, it's helpful to look at the design overall and ask yourself, "What is farthest away?" and use the answer to the question to help you decide which areas should be shaded darkest.

Also, it was worth the price of the class to learn about this product:

By dabbing at your coloring (before it's heat set), you can remove errors like magic. It's available at Target and other department stores. I sat right in class and ordered some off Amazon. When my design was colored in, it looked like this.

We were lunching and learning, and so I took some time there to eat the brown bag lunch I'd brought, and then I got to work stitching. By the time I left to head for home, I'd taken it this far.

Also during the day, I was glad to get a personal demonstration of the bullion stitch and the cast-on stitch from Meg. It's going to take some practice to make my stitches look pretty, but I was able to successfully complete a bullion stitch and a cast-on stitch. I'll probably spend some more time today practicing this, trying to get that muscle memory to penetrate my thick skull. There are some helpful videos on Meg's web page right here.

Also, during the day, I couldn't resist going on a little shopping foray. I managed to avoid touching any of the beautiful bolts of fabric. They have a way of sticking to my fingers and forcing my credit cards out of my pocket.

They had all their Christmas fabrics out...or maybe not all, since it's still August.

The one thing I couldn't resist was this "I Believe in Snowmen," embroidery pattern by Bunny Hill Designs. I needed this desperately in the way one needs several more holes in one's head. I've been thinking I'd like to start a redwork pattern, and so it appealed to me instantly. At first, I walked away, but somehow it ended up in my car when I left for home. It's a complete mystery how that happened.

Okay, so switching gears to the home front, I think I told you Mike purchased a Traeger Grill recently. It's a pretty fancy barbecue, but it's also a smoker. He's been itching to smoke something, and so I left him with a thawed flank steak to give this a try. He did an amazing job with this. It's a Smoke 'n Grill Flank Steak. The meat was first marinated and then smoked for three hours. Then, it was seared, which gave it a nice crust. Looking at it sliced up when we were readying to devour it, you can see the smoke marks around the edges of the slices.

While he was searing the meat, I roasted some Corn on the Cob and made a Honey-Chipotle Butter to put over it. The corn is first soaked and then roasted right on the oven rack in its husk (check for worms first, please). When it comes out of the oven, the husk comes right off, but it helps to let it sit for about five minutes to cool for easier to handling. The Honey-Chipotle Butter takes corn on the cob to a whole new level of deliciousness.You can find the recipe for that right here.

The meat also has a chimichurri sauce added. When we sat down for dinner, our plates looked like this.

It tasted and smelled delicious. It was just a tough hunk of flank steak, but the marinade, smoking, and sauce took it to new heights. Now I can't wait for him to smoke something else on his new grill. He might take over as the chief cook here at the Three Cats Ranch.

Today I'm hoping to get the binding sewn on to the Summer Holiday quilt. We're also going to make a quick trip to Erik and Mae's house. We're leaving our truck camper in their driveway while they have a bathroom remodeling project done. Their house has just one bathroom, and it's out of commission for a couple of weeks. The truck camper will give them an option for a necessary room. If there's time, I'm going to make another batch of zucchini relish, but that might have to wait a day or two. We'll just see how fast the clocks ticks away the hours today.


Carla A Few Of My Favorite Things said...

I have done one crayon embroidery project it's a bit scary. What a wonderful shop!

Deb said...

I love your pumpkin piece, I think the coloring looks great. It sounds like you had a great time in class and came away with some good tips for future projects. I love crayon tinting some of my pieces and I have tried water color paints as well. Your bullion stitch looks good, its one stitch I still struggle with.

Cathy Smith said...

Amazing isn't it how things from the quilt shop sneak out to the car and ride home with us! As far as Amazon, how did we manage to survive without it all those years? One of my favorite places to p*## away money!!!

quiltzyx said...

Sounds like you really had a good time at your class! At last Thursday's guild meeting we had our annual "mini workshop" night. One was for a spinning star hexagon block, one was for using basic block shapes - squares & rectangles - in quilts with some color theory too, and the 3rd one was embroidery. She talked about using crayons for that extra dimension it adds. She has been using patterns from Jack Dempsey Needle Art & they sent her some "mentor" kits - I think there are 6 small pre-printed pattern blocks in each one! :) She recommended using only Crayola brand crayons for the coloring. I guess they have more dye color in them than the cheaper ones, and after setting with a clean, dry paper towel & hot, dry iron, she showed one of the quilts she had done that had been washed multiple times & the color had not faded at all!

Oh my the smoked beef & corn looks fab! I think the Honey-Chipotle Butter sounds like something we should have on hand just because!!!

Annette Mandel said...

Looks like a satisfying end to a good day. It was a joy to meet you in real life.

Denise :) said...

I'm not even going to hide it, I'm so stinkin jealous of your workshop day with Meg!!!! Great tip on the putty -- we use it a LOT for hanging stuff for VBS, so I've got plenty of it around. Now I can expand its usage! Man, I'm so jealous!!! ♥ In a strictly friendly, happy-for-you way, mind you! :)

Lyndsey said...

I was going to ask you how you coloured your embroidery patterns as I am in the middle of trying to design a pattern but want to colour it before I stitch it. Between you previous post and this one I think I've got it covered. I'll also give the putty a try. I love the pumpkin stitchery and that new pattern is fab. Your dinner looks really tasty

piecefulwendy said...

Sounds like a fun day in class. I have some quilty friends who are making a few of her patterns, and the patterns are so pretty. Who knew putty would act like an eraser? A great tip. Your dinner looks absolutely delicious! And of course, that snowman quilt was a perfect choice to bring home. I'm afraid fabric would've fallen in my cart in that lovely shop!

SJSM said...

My daughter made 4th of July lunch. She put the corn on the BBQ husk, silk and all. I was dubious on the outcome of the silk being on the corn thinking of bits in my teeth. Of course, I said nothing as she was the cook. Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! Once the corn husk was removed the silk came off like ribbons. They stuck to themselves and did not wedge themselves into the kernels. The chipotle butter would have been a good addition. In the oven do you bake at 350* for 12-15 minutes?

Nice crayon tips. So start with white. I wonder if one can add prismatic color after the crayon? Nice to know crayon colored fabric washes well after being set. Thanks for the good info.

Kate said...

Looks like a wonderfully fun and useful class.

Brown Family said...

Looks like a fun and information filled day!. I cook corn in the microwave in the shucks. WHen it is done, it shucks silks and all!