Monday, August 8, 2011

Another Free Motif and Directions

I realized there was one more motif with directions that I had posted for member’s use on our BDE Online Chapter Group on Yahoo.  It’s a cute little daisy design that would be able to used on a lot of thingsKnotted Lazy Daisy.

If BDE is something new to you and you want to find out more about it, check out the Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery International Guild  with this link.  There is a lot of information on the site….stitch directions, free patterns, and information about how to join this wonderful organization.  There is a low fee for membership, but one of the most wonderful perks is their informative newsletter….BE Wrap-Up, that comes out quarterly with great tips and educational material, not to mention the fantastic seminar held each year for the membership to attend in Portland, Oregon.  If you happen to live near one, there are many local Chapters of BDEIG in many areas of the USA and Canada that you can attend in person.  Most have a monthly meeting with lessons, etc.  But, for those in areas of the country with no local chapters or those that live in other countries…..I had started our BDEIG Online Chapter for fellowship and sharing.  But, please….come and join us on the BDEIG Online Chapter Group, whether you are a member of BDEIG or not.  We hope you will join this wonderful organization, but it is not a requirement to join our online group.  We are a fun, sharing group……over 100 members.  Your questions about BDE will be answered, you will see lots of BDE “eye candy”, there are interesting discussions, challenges, etc… well as free patterns posted.  But, the best thing…’s FREE!  Hope to see you there!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My Free Original BDE Designs offered on BDEIG Online Chapter on Yahoo Groups!

Hi, everyone!  I’m finally getting caught up.  We’ve had graduations and weddings (I made the cake and flowers for one), and we’ve had horrendous weather here in MN, which still hasn’t completely left us.  So, this summer hasn’t quite been an easy going summer with lots of time on my hands to stitch.

But, I do want to let everyone know that I’ll be offering free designs for your personal use on the BDEIG Online Chapter that I’m, also, the “list mom” for.  You can access  this group at  It’s a fun group….we have over 100 members now, so there is lots of interaction.  It’s a great place to go to have your questions about Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery answered and to share projects that you’ve stitched.  We have discussions about tools used to do this needlecraft and the best ways to accomplish things.  But, best of all, it’s nice to have other people that enjoy doing the same thing you enjoy doing around to cheer on your efforts.  Right now, we have a challenge going involving stitching small motifs such as these:Cast-on Bullion Rose ( Joan's Rose)

This is a small motif that I designed to add to a denim shirt.  The design has “Joan’s roses and alternating satin stitch “rose” leaves.

Another design that is available to stitch is a little cast-on bullion Black-eyed Susan design.  Both of these designs would be great for adding to crazy quilts.

Cast-on Bullion Black-eyed Susan

It’s easy to join in the fun.  Just send a request to join the group and I will make sure you are approved right away.  You do need to have a Yahoo account, but that is free and easy to get, so why not hop over there and join us?  I think you will enjoy it.

Here is the latest design that I’ve posted to the online group with the pattern and the directions to make all of the stitches.  Photo of motif 1 This one involves adding beads to your stitching as part of the process.  The little caterpillar has been a popular addition, so I’ll probably have to come up with more critters in the designs I come up with along the way.  This one would be great for using in crazy quilting or as an addition on clothing.

I will be adding a new motif to stitch each month on the online group.  I may just have to come up with some that coordinate with this last one, to make a  little wall hanging!  Hmmmm……Now, that would be a nice little project!

I hope to see you join us there!

Catching Up…..Preparing a design to teach & market

I apologize for not posting for so long.  I’ve had a really hectic time since coming back from my crazy quilting adventure in Connecticut.  The most immediate one, after the retreat, was to get ready for the BDEIG Seminar in Portland that would be held in June.  Time was getting short and I had received my student lists for the two classes that I was presenting there.  I had two full classes of 18 students each registered!I  Wow!  How exciting!  I had a lot to learn in a short time to get ready to present my designs in the manner that I wanted. 

Coming up with the ideas and sketching my designs has been the easiest part of the equation for me.  Getting them stitched had taken time, but was creative and  usually quite relaxing for me….at least when I’d left myself enough time to get them done….but that’s another issue.  Tracing from my original sketches had been fine for my use.  But now, I faced new challenges……cleaning up my designs to have them look professional and getting them screen printed on my fabric patterns for my classes. 

One of my BDEIG friends, Loretta Holzberger, shared a lot of her knowledge by way of a booklet she had presented about Paint Shop Pro 8 a few years ago.  But, I had done some research and had found a program that I thought I’d like better….the program seemed to have the ability to things easier….Corel Draw X5.  So, I ordered it out, along with a Wacom Intuos pen tablet.  Well….I hate to admit it, but less is more……the learning curve on Corel Draw was a little steep for my time limits, (not that I won’t pursue it more in the future), but I found my Paint Shop Pro 8 program…..which I, incidentally, already owned, but had never used it for these purposes…..worked the best for my needs!  DSC03462 I did love the Wacom pen and tablet, though!  I’ve added a picture of it on the right.  Really great for doing detailed work.  Well, I learned all about raster and vector layers and how to manipulate the lines in my designs, etc. and to use all this new knowledge to clean up my designs and to print the transparencies I’d need to have  screen prints made.  I think they ended up coming out looking pretty professional, too!DSC03456

Now, I had to figure out how to get them screen printed!  Many of the BDE designers come up with their own designs, but have professional screen printers print their fabric patterns for them. This is the easiest solution…there is no hassle, no mess for the designer this way; but, you must print a specific number.  Others, screen print their own and can print them as needed.  I decided that I wanted to pursue that avenue.  I remembered a process that I’d learned about at the Houston Quilt Expo years ago involving Photo-Ez Screen Printing Stencils and, being the hoarder that I am, still had  the information about it in my files.  I contacted the vendor that had demonstrated it in Houston, Ginny Eckley at ,  and ordered some of the stencils.  Well, her directions were wonderful.   I made a simple lamp unit for exposing the emulsion in the sheets  and I was ready to make my first silk screen stencil!  Well, I have to admit….they were actually pretty easy to do and I felt they couldn’t have come out better!   YeeHaw!DSC03455  The picture below actually shows them after I’d used them…that’s why they are darker in the center from the inks.

Now, the next project was to print the actual designs on fabric.  I had to find an ink that was water soluble and would wash out after the print was stitched and washed.  Once I found that, I needed to thicken it before using it to screen print with.  Many people use sodium alginate to thicken whatever medium they use to screen print, but Ginny had use shaving cream in Houston to thicken her dyes and inks.  Would you believe it….shaving creme?  So, off I went to get some inexpensive Barbosol to mix my ink with.  Well, it worked wonderfully!  Easy to find, it did the job perfectly, and it was easy to clean up!  How much more could I ask for?  Plus, the prints came out beautifully.  DSC03458

The detail was clean and clear and     when I tested the finished prints for washability, they washed out great.  They only needed to be soaked for a couple hours or so in plain water or even quicker if a tiny bit of liquid Biz was added to the water.  I definitely breathed a sigh of relief!

But, I wasn’t done yet. Now, I had to come up with, and print my directions.  Taking Loretta Holzberger’s recommendation again, I ordered Microsoft Publisher and a book on how to use it and pressed forward.  I’m excited to say that the results were good.  Here are pictures of one of my class handouts and patterns:


I have to say that I loved teaching!  I loved sharing my designs with my students and having the ability to help others learn more about this wonderful needlecraft.  I hope all of my students learned a lot and enjoyed my classes.  I, in turn learned a lot, too.  I found ways that I could improve my written directions to make them easier to follow and have spent time editing them this summer.  So, I now have them available for sale to the public.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Unbelievably talented Sharon Boggon!

I’m finally able to blog about an absolutely unbelievable seminar that I attended in CT. in April.  But I am warning you that  I still babble on in wonder when I talk about it!…..…

When I first heard over a year ago, that Sharon Boggon, (who you may recognize from her blog, Pintangle  and “I dropped the Button Box” CQ fame, or her fantastic Stitch Dictionary), was coming to the US from Australia to participate, as a teacher, at an event that Maureen Greeson of  Maureen's Vintage Acquisitions was hosting; I knew I had to go.  The event consisted of a three day retreat with a one day class with each of the three teachers…Sharon Boggon, Betty Pillsbury, and Alli Aller.  A separate three day seminar was being offered in addition…..this one totally with Sharon Boggon…..after the retreat.  I decided to attend the seminar with Sharon Boggon and skip the retreat, since I had previously taken a class with Betty Pillsbury at The Victorian Stitchery Retreat in Wichita and would be taking one there with Alli Aller this Fall.  Plus, I had to keep my budget in mind, since I already had two other seminars planned for this year. I then called my cousin, Sharon, from Georgia; and didn’t have to talk very long before her reservation was confirmed, too.  Well….I have to tell you… cousin and I have gone on many quilting and stitchery adventures together and have taken classes from many absolutely fantastic teachers…..and have learned so much along the way……but…..I have to say…..this seminar topped them all!

Maureen Greeson was a gracious hostess and made us feel welcome from the moment we arrived.  She even had  a personal reception at her home for those of us that hadn’t already met Sharon at the retreat.  What a wonderful opportunity this gave us to just sit and chat with Sharon on a personal level.  Maureen also had little surprises for us throughout the three days, plus a couple side trips in the evenings.  Thank you, Maureen, for your wonderful planning and hospitality.

What can I say about Sharon Boggon?  First, let me tell you that if you EVER have the opportunity to attend a class given by her…..DO IT!  Don’t even think twice about it…..just do it!  I had taken three of her online classes and they were wonderful, but having one in person was unbelievable!  This woman is the most talented, open, and sharing person that I’ve ever met.  She is not really as concerned about getting monetary gain from her talents, as she is so pleased to just have others gain whatever knowledge they can from her.  Did I, also, mention that she’s down to earth, funny, and utterly patient, too.  I just loved seeing her get that impish smile on her face as she picked up her “naughty girl pen” (her water or air erasable pen that an early mentor of hers had disapproved of her using). Sharon Boggon with naughty girl smile I loved her hearing her interesting Australian expressions too.



All in all….she is just delightful! I would have loved to spend at least a week or two studying with her!  


And her quilts!  She brought her "I dropped the button box quilt", her new eight inch block quilt, and her diamond / tumbling blocks quilt , and her absolutely unbelievable, ever growing stitch sampler!  (click on link to bring you to them on her blog)

Sharon Boggon Seminar 

And she just laid them all out on tables for us to get up close and personal and to photograph!  Having seen the photos of each block on these quilts and her stitch sampler on her blogs as she documented each of them had been wonderful, but having the opportunity to see them all in person was priceless!  A photo doesn’t give you the opportunity to see the texture and dimension that seeing them in person does!  We were all in awe.  What an experience!  I wouldn’t have minded being locked in the classroom with them overnight….just to study them all night…talk about wishful thinking!  All I can say is….. Thank you, Sharon, for taking the effort (and the risk) to bring them all the way from Australia! 

Sharon gave us a choice of our class priority……techniques or design.  We hands down picked design.  So, while we still learned many new, fantastic techniques, she incorporated how to use those techniques as design elements to bring the block together to help your eye travel from one element to the next.  We learned some interesting new flowers, how to attach items without holes, like cabochons, mirrors, coins, cameos, and other disc type items.  I learned how to weave around beads, neat ways to attach one holed objects, make “blood knot” wisps with gimp, do interesting things with rick rack and sequins, and how to use a unique item called sequin waste.  But, our main focus was all about learning how, after coming up with the concept of a quilt; to integrate different elements to include needed elements like texture, scale, color, line, and depth.One afternoon, we all brought a block of ours up to the table and we discussed how we could accomplish that with our block.  A wonderful way to learn!DSCN2111

Every minute of it…a fantastic seminar!  I can’t say enough good things about it!  Thank you Maureen and Sharon for such and outstanding experience!

Friday, February 25, 2011

And the winner is…….

I’m only taking time tonight to make a quick post about who won the 3 of the skeins of Edmar thread that I used to stitch my “Ribbons & Roses Heart”……sorry to have kept you waiting.  I wrote down the names of everyone that had posted a suggestion of a project to use the heart design on.  My hubby picked the winning number, so it’s his fault if you didn’t win.  The winner is MOIRA!  Congratulations, Moira!  Once you send me an email to with your mailing address, I’ll send the 3 skeins of thread out to you.  Happy stitching!

By the way….Moira suggested using the design as the focal point on an evening bag…..great idea.

Other ideas had been to mount it on the top of a container to keep special little things in, an ornament, a jewelry box, a tote bag, wall hanging, CQ motif on a pillow, to make for a Heart Swap, as an inspiration piece, and as a framed wedding or anniversary gift.

I still haven’t decided how to use my completed design, but when I do, I’ll post a picture of the finished project.  But, when weddings had been mentioned, I got a thought…….if someone special in your life is getting married and they are having a ring bearer and flower girl…..this design would make a great design on the ring pillow……just change the color of the roses to white (or the color of the bouquets) and the ribbons to the color of the bridesmaids’ dresses.

I’ll post more tomorrow or Sunday about my progress on my new project…..

Monday, February 21, 2011

New Project starting…..

I thought I’d let you in on the beginning of my next project.  I mentioned it right after the first of the year, but I’m just getting going on it.  It’s a large piece, so it’s going to keep me busy for quite a while.

I’d found a wonderful pattern in a book that I bought at the BDEIG Seminar last year.  The book, More Beautiful Embroidered Blankets, is a soft-sided book by the Australian company that publishes Inspirations Magazine….Country Bumpkin Publications.  And, Cover of More beautiful embroidered blanketsNo…..I’m not going to be starting on another blanket….though, I did really enjoy making the last one…..hmmm…..I may have to post photos of that one here, too, since I’d only shown it on my old blog.  Oh, sorry, I’m getting off the subject…..I tend to do that now & then. 

The pattern that I’m going to be doing is actually on the front cover of the magazine…’s that beautiful arrangement of flowers in a wall basket.  The design, Summer Symphony by Helen Eriksson, is a beautiful crewel design stitched on wool blanketing material and was stitched primarily in wool threads.  But, what can I say?….When I saw this design the first time……it shouted out to me, “Stitch me in BDE !”  Now, who can turn down a design that’s yelling at you?

I don’t feel I should post a close up of Helen Eriksson’s finished piece or the pattern because of copyright issues, but here is, at least, a more head on photo of the of original Summer Symphony blanket

The actual design area is 11” x 14”.  Once stitched and framed, it’s going to make a beautiful picture for my entry.  The original piece was done in pastels, but I’m not sure that I want pastels, so I’m going to have to think a little about what color threads I’d like to use.  I’ve traced the pattern onto a medium tan linen that will work great in my house, so I’m thinking I may need  deeper and brighter colors.  I can just imagine how beautiful this piece is going to turn out stitched  in BDE and I can hardly



wait to get started stitching on it.  What a wonderful array of flowers and stitches I’m going to be able to use……what fun!

Tomorrow, I’ll mount the fabric pattern onto  a frame made from 15”  & 18” stretcher bars.  I prefer working on stretcher bars and since this is going to be a larger project, I’ll use my Needlework System 4 floor stand., rather than my lap / table stand. Both hold the stretcher bars wonderfully while leaving my hands free, but because of the size of the “canvas”, using the floor model will enable me to flip the piece easier to get to the back.  The nice thing is that this stand folds and slides under our couch when I need it out of the way.NeedleworkSystem4 floor stand

Well….Plan to check back in the next couple days to see my beginning stitches on this piece.

Until then, if you live where it’s warm and sunny…..please soak up some of that sunshine for me, will you!  I’m starting to get pretty tired of all this cold & snow!!

Oh…..a little reminder…..if you haven’t entered a comment on the post with the “Ribbons & Roses Heart” giving a suggestion of how to use the design, make sure to do it.  I’ll be having a drawing  from all the suggestions given by this Thursday for some of the Edmar thread used in the design.  I’d love to hear yours!


Sunday, February 20, 2011

A new challenge for me……

I thought I’d share a little about a new challenging path that I’ve taken…..I applied to BDEIG to teach at the 2011 Seminar in Portland this next June.  When the Seminar Supplement came out this last week, it was exciting to see my classes featured in it along with all of the others.  What a great feeling!  Now that the supplement has been delivered to all the members, I can talk about what I hope to teach if enough members choose me classes and share some photos here.
Many times, designs taught at Seminar reflect the Seminar theme….which is Floral Bouquets this year or they might be designs featuring the flower of the year….which for 2011 is the Orchid.  One of my classes will represent the Flower of the Year.  Earlier this year, we had a challenge on our BDEIG Online Chapter on Yahoo groups.  The challenge was for everyone to stitch their state flower in BDE.  Well, my state…Minnesota….has a State Flower named the Showy Lady Slipper….which is a wild Orchid!  I used to see these beautiful wild flowers in theShowy Lady Slipper 4 wooded areas near my grandmother’s old log home way up in the wilderness in northern MN……in fact…..I got in trouble once as a little girl picking  a bouquet of them for my grandmother!  I certainly had no idea then that there was a $100 fine for picking just one! Showy Lady Slipper 2
So, it was fun for me to research this lovely flower that was part of my childhood memories.  This flower is very three dimensional. White petals sit on top of a ballooned out magenta & white pouch.  The ones near my grandmother’s home had larger white petals than those pictured, so I made mine like those.  I won’t share how I stitched my Showy Lady Slipper with you, but I will share a picture of my finished design.
I just called it Showy Lady Slipper
Showy Lady Slipper - original design by Sherry Johnson for class closeup of Showy Lady Slippers
Figuring out how to stitch the three dimensional pouch was  the most fun.  Look showing dimension how far the flower sticks out from the fabric.  Isn’t BDE neat!
I hope lots of the members think so, too,because I’m going to enjoy teaching this class. 
I came up with an idea for a Christmas design a while back and decided to develop it into a design to teach at Seminar.  I wanted a casual design, so decided to make a wreath with natural materials and flowers….but something a little different, too.  So, this is what I came up with….. Ring Around the Wreath:
Original Design - Ring Around the Wreath - Seminar Class by Sherry Johnson
This design is made to represent grape vine pieces, poinsettias, white roses, rose leaves, holly, holly berries, pine boughs, pine cones, a cord bow and silver bells. It will have directions for alternate designs with it, too.  A candle design may be substituted for the bells, or the frape vine design area on the left can be filled in with flowers,  so that it can be used as a candle mat.  Lots of versatility for holiday use.
I love BDE because of the realistic dimension that you can get when making the flowers and the sheen of the rayon thread is so gorgeous!
poinsettias and roses More closeups of roses, etc.
I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing my new designs and if you are going to the BDEIG Seminar this year, maybe I’ll even see you in one of my classes!
Once Seminar is over, I’ll plan to have both of these designs available for purchase.  They’ll be printed on fabric along with the complete written directions to complete the stitching.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A little BDE information

I'm so happy that many of you liked my "Ribbons & Roses Heart". I hope you have an opportunity to stitch it for someone special in your life.....maybe yourself! Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery is such a gorgeous form of embroidery. Many of you might not be real familiar with it or what makes it different from other types of embroidery. The first thing, is the type of thread that we use to stitch with. BDE is stitched with several different types and weights of "Z" twist rayon thread. This is what gives it the fantastic sheen that BDE is known for. The most popular brand of threads used is Edmar, which is available from many suppliers.....but there are a few other brands out there. If this style of embroidery is done with any other type of thread, like silk, cotton, or wool; it is just called dimensional embroidery. Many of the stitches used for BDE are those that had been developed for other forms of embroidery and have been around for decades, and have been improvised for use with the "z" twist rayon by switching the direction the thread is wound on the needle or how it is held while stitches are made to keep the twist from untwisting..... but.... many, many new stitches have been developed specifically for BDE by talented BDE teachers and designers and are only found in their books or patterns. A word of caution....BDE books and patterns are written to be stitched with "z" twist thread, so if you are using them and stitching with "s" twist thread, you will have to understand that you may have to compensate for this or your stitches may not come out right. If you would like to find out more about BDE, why not check out the BDEIG website? There is a lot of information there including free patterns and stitch instructions. You can find it at Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery International Guild .  I'd like to, also, invite you to join me and a great group of talented ladies interested in BDE at our BDEIG Online Chapter on Yahoo Groups. We have a terrific group that is there to help with questions and help you with your BDE efforts. There is some great "eye candy" there to view, too. Come and check it out.

Tomorrow, I'll share something I’m excited about and a little “eye candy” with you. See you then.... Hugs, Sherry

Sunday, February 13, 2011

An original Valentine Design to share with You!

I’d hoped to have this design stitched and ready to share with you and my friends on the BDEIG Online Chapter on Yahoo Groups long before this, but life does have a mind of it’s own sometimes and our best intentions end up getting set aside for a while.  So, I’m posting this just in time for the pattern to be my Valentine’s Day gift to you instead of your being able to use it to make something for someone else this Valentine’s Day…..maybe you can do that next year?
Well, here it is……”Ribbon & Roses Heart”…with an actual design area of 4”x4”.  IMPORTANT NOTICE:  After offering this pattern to the public for free for 6 months, I have removed it.  It is now available for purchase, including a printed fabric pattern and all the directions.  So, if you'd like to stitch this design and did not get it while it was offered free, you may purchase it on linen or trigger cloth.  Just contact me.
Ribbon & Roses Heart Original Design by Sherry Johnson


Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Years Resolution to post regularily

I want to wish everyone a wonderfully Happy New Year. May it see you and your families healthy and prosperous, while enjoying the things that make you smile throughout the entire year. 

I've made a New Year's resolution this year that I am going to make a priority.  I'm commiting to blog about my stitching efforts on a regular basis (at least weekly, if not more) with the hopes that my blog will be a fun place to visit regularily to see what I'm up to.  My favorite pastimes are still Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery (or BDE),  hand-applique quilting, and crazy quilting......which involves so many techniques.....embroidery of all kinds, applique, beading, and even painting on fabrics.....all things that I enjoy venturing into.

I plan to have three projects going this year until I complete them and will be sharing my progress here.  I'm starting a new large BDE project.  It's a floral wallhanging design from a book by published by Country Bumpkins of Australia.  It was originally intended to be done in wool crewel work, but I'm altering the design to do it in BDE and rayon Edmar threads.  The second project will be a hand-appliqued and embroidered small quilt.  It's a project designed by Carole Samples that I started last year and want to continue with until I finish it.  The third project is a crazy quilted hussif.  If you aren't familiar with what a hussif is,  it is an organizer to hold your stitching supplies....such as scissors, needles, needle threader, thimble (if you use one), etc.  Mine will be very I do so many different types of stitching.  Mine will hold my scissors, needles, needle threader, needle puller, my marking pens, marking rulers, some small containers for beads, a pincushion, a bead tray, and anything else I think of.  Maybe it will inspire you to make a hussif for yourself. 

I'm, also, involved in another BDEIG Round Robin for 2010-11 that I will catch you up on and then share my additons with you as I get each new project in the mail.

If you are interested in learning BDE......I highly recommend your joining the Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery International Guild or BDEIG.  I joined about four years ago and had the opportunity to attend the annual Seminar in Portland last year and met so many wonderful stitchers and had the opportunity to take classes from some very talented teachers.  It was a wonderful experience.  Check out the BDEIG website where there is information about the guild, great stitching information, as well as some free patterns to try.

I'd like to invite you to join an online chapter of this organization that I started last Spring.  It's a great place to find out more about BDE,  especially, if you don't have access to other stitchers who do BDE where you live.  We have so many talented BDE stitchers on this group who are more that anxious to help those wanting to learn this needleart.  We have lots of learning activities planned for 2011.  Why not join us?  All you have to do is request to join us at

Here is a photo of one of my finished projects from Seminar last year.  It needs to be laundered yet to take out the blue design lines, but I thought I'd share it with you now......

It's a design by Rosalie Wakefield of Millefiori Designs called "Cascade Rose".  Rosalie has been such an inspiration to me.  She not only designs BDE patterns, but comes up with fantastic new stitches and flower creations, too!  She's very sharing with her talent .....helping members of our Online BDE chapter with their stitching questions , etc., while encouraging you to stretch yourself, too.  Because of her, I've started designing some patterns myself and have applied to teach at Seminar this year.  I haven't started trying to create new stitches, but am having fun implimenting existing stitches to create my designs.  I'm also going to be offering some of my designs to our members on our Online BDE chapter.......another reason to join it.

Well.....I've rambled enough today.  I'll post some pictures from the BDEIG Round Robin tomorrow to catch you up on that.  So see you then.......

Hugs from very cold and snowy Minnesota!