Back to Jack…

Another wild and windy weekend with hurricane Brian on its way. So it was great to spend the day sewing at Hampton Court. It has been a little while since I worked on my Jacobean Crewel work piece for my certificate, but I have been feeling more positive about it recently. Alas when I arrived there was still no sign of my security pass and it was only due to a kindly passing soul, willing to escort me through the palace, that I was able to get into the sewing room before 10.00am.

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Now that the classroom has been moved, and is smaller, they have reduced the number of students attending and put two tutors on duty. This meant that you had an opportunity to talk about your work during the course of the day. As always though, the day just whizzes past and before you know it – it is time to pack up! I worked mainly on long and short stitch over the larger flower in my design, and then learnt how to do whipped and woven wheels which I intend to use for the mistletoe berries. I am not sure if the three berries that I completed will stay or if I will take them out and do them again.

A whipped wheel (a) starts with a base of an even number of threads sewn in a star shape. The wool is then wrapped around the first thread and passed under the next – making sure that the tension of the wool is kept consistent throughout (otherwise you end up with bumps). A woven wheel (b) has an odd number of spokes (I think I used 5), and this time you wrap wool around and over the top to the next spoke – forming a little raised button shape.

Once I had used long and short on the top petals of the large flower – I then tried a whipped chain stitch to outline the next petals. I think this will need taking out and redoing as the orange wool was very variable along its length and has given a very uneven appearance. I might also try the lighter orange wool.


So the final piece looks like this now…..


Next steps then are to finish all the whipped and woven wheels, and complete filling in the trellis work. I think I am going to need at least one extra day to complete and mount (if not more!).

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Still Beetling….

I was so disappointed not to have been able to go to the Knitting and Stitching exhibition this weekend – but I just couldn’t spare the 5 hour travel time. Honestly it would be quicker to drive to Cornwall than get to the other side of London! I consoled myself by buying a few extra goldwork supplies – and hopefully someone else will post all the interesting exhibits on line.

As to my own sewing – I am patiently beetling along and have now finished the abdomen and started on the pronotum. I think that I should have made a more definite plan before I started – as I am not quite sure how to infill the area.



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Beetling along…

With parent evenings fast approaching and all the time it takes to prepare 30 individual mini-reports, it is increasingly difficult to find time to finish off any sewing. I also want to get a little ahead in my planning and resources so that I can go to the ‘Knitting and Stitching’ exhibition next weekend at Alexandra Palace. Sew…there is not much progress with my beetles – but I do keep adding to it whenever I can.

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I also started the second method using kreinik metal threads. However, I already do not like this way of doing things. Next time I will embroider a flat design and then mount it over padding – I think that will give me more control over the placement of the threads. Oh well, you live and learn…DSC_0399

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A bit of bling…..

Finally supplies have arrived! The thing about sewing is that you can never have too many threads, materials or equipment! I am planning to use coloured metal smooth purl to fill in one of the beetles I have been sewing,  and kreinik metal threads for the second. Now I just have to choose the colours – choices, choices!

Two hours and one decision later and I have made a start… I chose to use metallic blackcurrant and gazelle purls – which I purchased from the ‘Golden Hinde’. First I finished outlining the abdomen on my beetle and then cut differing lengths of metal purl, which I then stitched in different directions filling each outlined section. I am hoping by stitching in different directions the light will bounce off the purls giving a little movement to the piece. I quite like the colour combo so far…..

In the garden Autumn has most definitely arrived and the dominant colours are orange and red. I particularly like my Stewartia psuedocamellia at this time of year.

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Beetle juice…

Back to school means far less time to sew, but I did manage to squeeze a couple of hours in to work on my beetles (well one of them). But time whizzes past so quickly and I seem to have done so little!


I have used pearl purl to outline areas on the abdomen which I plan to fill in with coloured chippings. I will then outline further with a metal twisted thread – once I have ordered it!

Not much for two hours work – but it is always a lovely peaceful way to spend time.

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Dog and bone…

Well it has finally happened………after years of successfully avoiding ownership of a mobile phone, someone has now bought me one as a present! Not that I am against phones, it is just that I can become a little obsessive. When I owned a watch I couldn’t stop looking at it, when on a diet I continually check the scales (hourly!), my iPad stays downstairs otherwise I can be up all night – so imagine what I will be like with a phone! I also like time to myself – I don’t want to be contacted when I am walking the dog or on a beach somewhere. But then again (as someone pointed out to me), what if something happens to me – how will anyone know. So I have said that I will take it out with me when I am on my own, otherwise it stays at home!

Now in this new world – the most important thing to do next is make a phone cover!!! I can worry about the SIM card (whatever that might be) and phone tariffs some other time. I decided to make one out of thick felt as it is so easy to work with – and this is the end product (I forgot to take pictures as I was making it – so made a few more and took pictures of my progress).

To make the cover you will need:

  • two thick squares of felt (large enough to cover the phone)
  • a hair band
  • contrasting fabric for the lining
  • Thin fabric for decoration
  • embroidery floss
  • a large button


The first thing you will need to do is measure your phone and cut out the felt pieces big enough to cover this. I use a very thick felt for this part of the process (5mm). Then cut your lining, from a contrasting fabric, slightly longer than the felt pieces. It was at this stage that I appliqued and embroidered a pattern onto the front and back pieces of felt using the embroidery flosses and thinner felts. I quite liked the use of rhyming slang, but really wanted a collie dog – unfortunately my artistic talents couldn’t quite stretch to this! Pop a large button at the top of the front piece of felt.

The next job is to take the hair bobble (a flat ribbon type is best – but as you can see the rounder types also work). I cut the bobble in half and then machine stitched it several times to a small square of thick felt which I then sewed to the felt that is to make the back of the case. Hope this makes sense! The bobble and button will help to keep your phone securely in the case.


With right sides together, sew the two pieces of lining together – leaving the top open. Pop these in-between the two pieces of appliqued felt. I then used blanket stitch to sew together the felt pieces, with coloured embroidery floss.

Finally, turn the top of the lining down and stitch the lining to the felt at the top of the case. Et Voila…

Not to everyone’s taste – but I quite liked it! I am entering this world at my own pace!!!

Happy stitching….

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The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness…

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core.

The final week of the summer holidays and I had hoped to get a last little bit of stitching done, but instead have been painting the house and setting up my class – oh well! At least there are the dog walks and the mornings have been lovely recently. If timed just right then the early morning mists lift just as I hit the lake – and if you are feeling peckish the blackberries are quite abundant this year.

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