Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Micro Pincushion using flystitch

Something to make once you have mastered fly stitch. They are lovely to make and only take about 20mins.
Pale blue felt with fly stitch to decorate
Mini Pincushion, rather addictive to make.
Pale blue felt with fly stitch to decorate
Very close up!


I have been wanting to do this for a long while, that is to give a short tutorial for all the stitches I have used in the kits. The first, which I was been taught by my mother was called fishbone stitch, is more commonly called fly stitch. Confusing I know, but that may happen again in naming stitches. I think we have all grown up with different names for them ... the main thing is to stitch it ... and then call it what you like! Any feedback on this would be lovely, let me know what you have been calling it!

I do love this one. It is so versatile, and can grow and diminish, widen and narrow to great effect, also a good filler, and great for leaves, just a thoroughly good all rounder. I have used an unbleached linen here, and DMC stranded cotton which I get from Cross Stitch Heaven as used in all the kits.

In each tutorial I shall show a few applications, so you can play around at will once you have learnt the basics. There will be (hopefully) one tutorial a week, time allowing ... and maybe a few projects too. I hope you will enjoy!

fly stitch with suggestions of how to use as a decorative border

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Hand Embroidery Class

Well ... I had a great day at The Sewing Space in Hythe on Friday, and despite the rain we all had a happy time there. I taught the stitches used in the kits and then showed my delightful pupils how to make a little bottle top pincushion! It is a wonderful, colourful and inspiring shop with a little studio at the back where the workshops take place. As you can see they are all smiling! It must have been the tea! The day went so quickly. I was so happy to be able to give all my pupils a brand new, hot off the press calico bag with a few goodies in, because the bags have at last arrived from the printers ... a whole 1000 of them, and I am really pleased with them. So now the new kits will be packed in these, which can also be embroidered. Pictures to follow! For now here are some pictures of the day ....
some of the pupils on the course practising their stitches
Some of my pupils practicing their stitches.
The work table in full swing with The Bird Kit about to be stitched!

linen strips with some worked stitches
Some samplers on the go.

a rainbow of coloured wools used for feltmaking
Inside the shop, with a very appetizing box felting wool for the felt making classes

Many many bolts of fabric used for dressmaking and patchwork and quilting
Hundreds of bolts of fabric used for patchwork, dressmaking and quilting, and anything else your sewing heart desires!

Picture showing the shop interior with tables set up for classes
The Sewing Space interior

Interior and window of the Sewing Space
Interior of shop with lovely window display of handmade clothes using some of the lovely fabrics on sale.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013


Today 24th April I heard the nightingale though I see from Facebook some others have heard this week too. Magical ... I have found this recording to share but don't know how to have it playing while you read, which would be lovely wouldn't it? Any ideas anyone?


 Right, so here we are in Spring today! It has happened ... I look out of the window and it is GREEN! Biddy and I went for a walk to get away from cutting fabric and packing kits. No coat! Took the camera and here are a few shots of our walk ...
Pale pink blossom with my cottage in the background
The crab apple in bloom with my workroom window behind, so I look out at this every day ...
Spring scene of sheep and her lamb
A very peaceful spring scene, a very calm mother with her child, for once not bothered by me and Biddy walking through her field. Usually there is lots of hysteria and frantic baa- ing ... but these two were very chilled ...

Blacktorn buds
Wonderful blackthorn buds, perfect round pearls.

Magnolia Stelata seen from kitchen window
The magnolia in the back yard. Magnolia Stellata, completely covered in flowers and the scent in the evening is intoxicating ... I can stand there with my nose in a flower for ages.
Lichen bright green/yellow on old narled hedge
I just love the hedges in the winter and spring, before they get their leaves, the twisty shapes and lichen, bright against the grey wood is wonderful. My photo library is rather full of photos such as these!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

TIGER CAT printables

I have spent the last two days working on this design for a printable, which is a new idea to release something every month which can be downloaded from from the website and keep things always fresh. It also means I can do more of what I long to do, which is designing new things. The last six months has been a wonderful and exciting time but so much of the business side keeps me away from drawing and ideas, and designing new things. The new kits are soon to arrive and also the new packaging, a calico bag which can also be embroidered ... so much will change soon ....

But here he is, the Tiger Cat. I do hope it does well. It is always slightly worrying putting something out there, tentatively putting your toe in the water. Because I really want to do some more now! Show me you like him letting him onto your windowsill! Click on this link to view him on the website
Downloadable paper sculpture of a tiger cat. Cut out fold and glue.
Tiger Cat Printable

Paper cat cut out glue and pop up

Downloadable paper sculpture of a tiger cat. Cut out fold and glue.
Paper Tiger Cat Printable

Friday, 12 April 2013

Miniature Felt Pincushions

hand embroidered felt pincushions made from wine screw caps, wadding and felt
Mini Felt pincushions
 I have been going through my work photos, trying to tidy up the visual mess in iphoto. No matter how careful I am things just get lost in there and I forget what work I have done! I loved making these for my friend Tina to sell on her shop Liberty Bee. I made over 30 in the end! They are quick to make and only need the tiniest amount of felt, stuffing and thread and a screw top from a wine bottle. Does this suggest I had to drink 30 bottles of wine to get the tops? I did have plenty of donations!
hand embroidered felt pincushions made from wine screw caps, wadding and felt

hand embroidered felt pincushions made from wine screw caps, wadding and felt

Monday, 8 April 2013

Golden Hands

I am going to share some of my archive of vintage crafts books, some of which date back to 1800s, though most are 1960s to present day. My first to share is a wonderful compilation book of material published by Marshall Cavendish Ltd in Golden Hands magazine. I found it in a charity shop a few years ago, and what drew me to it was the cover design, an embroidered waistcoat designed by my mother in 1972.  As I remember she did several designs for them but this was the most spectacular! I wonder if anyone made it? I remember her working the sample for the photograph very well. I also show another of my favourites which is so popular in style today!
An issue from 1972 showing an embroidered waistcoat designed by Joan Nicholson
Golden Hands Book 1972
An issue from 1972 showing an embroidered waistcoat designed by Joan Nicholson

An embroidered cushion cover project using chain stitch
Another design from Golden Hands Book

Monday, 1 April 2013


I have been going over old work from 6 years ago to last year (the facing birds) for my "gallery" on Tumblr, where I am trying to archive and showcase my work over the years, something which has been quite private before now. It makes me want to do some more embroideries again. But time is so precious now, with the business demanding every moment. I need a "Man (or Girl) Friday really. I have such a huge collection of beautiful fabrics all waiting patiently for me to find that time, all boxed and colour coded, but worryingly getting damp in the garage ... threads all rolling around in the drawers reminding me that I have Not sat down to sew for such a long time.