SAL 8 – Plenty more fish…

Having finished my Christmas baubles, I went back to my stash of kits to be completed. I have a few very labour intensive kits, but want to save these for the New Year when the days get longer and the light is far better. So I decided on another small kit by The Bluebird Embroidery Company which features a three dimentional, stumpwork goldfish sitting on a needle lace background. It is quite a small piece and I thought that instead of mounting it I could make a brooch from it.DSC_0519

Here is what the kit contains….


Before I go to enjoy the next couple of days, I thought that you might like to see my advent calendar. I do not normally have the patience for cross stitch, but many years ago (25!) I decided to create my own calendar – which I still use today and fill it with my favourite chocs!


I do hope that you are all enjoying the festivities, Merry Christmas and happy sewing to all!!

Thank you for popping in.  please check out the fabulous stitching by all the other members of the SAL. If you are interested in joining us you can contact Avis for details.

Avis, Claire, Gun,  Carole,  LucyAnn,  Kate,  Jess,  SueConstanze,  DebbieRose,  Christina Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Steph,  Linda,  Heidi, Jackie,   Sunny,  Hayley,   Megan,   Catherine, Connie Clare

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Scrap happy cases…

As well as embroidery, I have managed to get quite a bit of sewing done throughout the summer months meaning that I have generated a lot of scraps. As material is expensive to buy I am loathed to throw anything away and so I spent several evenings cutting scraps into squares which I then sewed together – rather roughly, it has to be said! I thought that I could use these patchwork pieces as lining for future projects.


Then I found just what I was looking for at a Spoonful of Sugar , a lovely tutorial making a patchwork, zippered pencil case. You take four larger scrap pieces and sew them together. Then quilt the lining and attach both to a zip before sewing together the ends. You can find the full tutorial here.

These are so simple to make, that I made 5 and used up all my patchworked scraps as lining. They are not big enough to hold many pens, but I thought I could fill them either with hand sanitizer (a must in the classroom), or my standard whisky truffles – then hand them out at school as Christmas pressies!

Hope you are having a productive time too!

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Scrappy pencil case…

I had a few charm squares left after making my Christmas tote bags so I decided to use them to make a little pencil case. I didn’t want to buy another pattern and thought that I should be able to work out a pattern for myself. I started by sewing 6 small charm squares together in two rows of three. To one end I added a slightly larger red panel (about the length of two charm squares). I then made up a second panel in the same way for the back of the pencil case. The two sides were then joined together by a long strip of co-ordinating fabric and an iron on interfacing was applied to the back of the whole piece.

Onto the front large red panel I then appliqued a small robin.


I laid down the outside panel, right side facing upwards, the zip right side down and a lining fabric – also right side down. Using the zipper foot I then sewed these three pieces together along the zipper length.


Then (and this a little hard to explain) – I sewed the other side of both the outer and lining fabric to the other side of the zip. It is probably easier to look at the pictures below. With the zip half way open, sew along the edges leaving a small gap to turn the case in the right way.

Turn inside the right way…. and sew up the gap in the lining.


Of course I didn’t stop there – made a few more and included a little hand stitching at the point I added the interfacing- and that is a few presents for some of the younger names on my Christmas list!

Great fun and really quick to do.

Hope you are having a happy stitching day too!

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SAL 7 – Happy dance…

The weeks have zoomed by again and with all the pre-Christmas sewing in full swing I haven’t have much time to spend on my  Christmas baubles project by Kate Barlow. Luckily I had nearly finished when we last caught up and I am pleased to say that I have now completed the kit. Here is where I was up to last time…..


All I really had to do was to add the chippings to the centre of the pink bauble and a little cutwork to the green bauble. These are my favourite techniques, although getting cutwork to fit neatly into a space can take a little patience. So, here is the finished piece…

Although the piece is finished I do need to find a way of mounting it – I had thought the simplest way would be to use an embroidery hoop but I am not totally sure yet. Open to suggestions.

Happy stitching and please check out the fabulous stitching by all the other members of the SAL. If you are interested in joining us you can contact Avis for details.
Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, LucyAnn, Kate, Jess, Sue, Constanze,DebbieRose, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Steph, Linda, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Tony, Megan, Catherine, Connie, Clare

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Bag it up…..

After impulse buying a Moda ‘Winters lane’ mini charm pack, whilst looking for interfacing, I was at a loss as to how to use it.  Trawling the web I found a number of ways to use these little squares and particularly liked some of the patchwork bags. So I decided to have a go myself.

Front of bag                                                                                                                                             First I laid out the squares in 4 rows of 5 and jiggled them around until I was happy with their order. I then stitched all the squares together.


I then cut 2 strips of coordinating fabric measuring 3″ by 11″ and 2 further strips measuring 3″ by 20″. The shorter strips were then sewn to the side edges of the patchwork squares, the longer strips along the top and bottom.

The front of the bag was then quilted very simply, crossing the squares and running straight lines (using the sewing foot as a guideline) along the edges. Two robins were cut out of brown and cream felt and applied to double sided interfacing. These were then ironed onto the front bag panel before zig-zagging in place. Legs were machine stitched roughly – going over each line several times, and a red breast appliqued over the main bird.

Adding a pocket                                                                                                                                       I thought that I would like to try and add an inside pocket to the lining of this bag and opted for a hidden zipped pocket.  I followed this simple tutorial by Professor Pincushion but here are a few pictures of my progress.



Straps                                                                                                                                                 Once the pocket was completed I made a start on the bag handles and tie. For the handles I cut 4 strips (in 2 co-ordinating fabrics) approximately 2″ by 20″. I took one of each material and sewed them together before ironing on interfacing. After that I folded either side into the middle and then folded in half before stitching along each edge.

Adding the straps and tie.

The tie was then placed in the middle of the bag with the handles equidistance apart (from centre line). The lining was then sewn to the bag front with right sides together – see pictures above. The other piece of lining was sewn right sides together with the back of the bag. The lining and bag front/back were then pressed open.

Putting the bag together.

You should now have two bag panels. Put these right sides together, making sure that the handles and ties are safely tucked inside. Cut 3″ squares at each corner of the bag. Sew along the edges leaving a gap at one end and box up the corners. Turn the bag the right way out, sew up the gap and press – finally run a line of edging stitches around the top of the bag. And there you have it – a simple charm pack tote.

But why make one when you can make………


I particularly like the blue bag and decided to add little shisha mirrors rather than appliqued birds.


So now have quite a few Christmas gifts already made….Happy stitching.

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Christmas candy….

Last weekend I spent a wonderful day at Hampton Court stitching a Christmas Candy brooch by Kate Barlow. This course appealed to me for a number of reasons;  I love embroidery with a practical use, I wear a brooch (or 3) every day and enjoy the run up to Christmas!

This is what we were aiming to stitch.


We started off by sewing the little Christmas trees onto Silk Dupion for the front and back of the little pieces of rock. These were then held together by a band of bugle beads.


After lunch we made the candy cane from twisted wool, beaded peppermint squares and wrapped bead bonbons. The class was very relaxed and Kate was a wonderful tutor – demonstrating each aspect of the brooch clearly. This is how much I managed to complete by the end of the day.


Now all I need to do is put it all together onto the brooch – but these would also look great as a Christmas tree decoration.

I also had time to wander around the grounds in between showers and the autumn colours are particularly pretty at the moment.


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Back at home and after a couple of leisurely hours of sewing all the components were ready to put together…


And here is the finished brooch, minus the ribbon which just needs to be added. I can’t wait to wear…


Happy stitching one and all…


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SAL 6 -Not quite a happy dance…

Three weeks seem to whizz past very quickly – and before I know it I am posting progress on my Christmas baubles by Kate Barlow (be it a lot or very little progress). Here is where I was up to last time…..


Sew….. first I finished off the fly stitching along the branches and then whip stitched around the branches to thicken them up.

Then, using a slightly different green floss, I started to infill with more needles along each of the branches.

The last thing I managed to do was to add two of the three silver toppers to the baubles…


And now the whole piece looks like this…


Hopefully I will be able to show the finished piece the next time that we catch up.

Happy stitching and please check out the fabulous stitching by all the other members of the SAL. If you are interested in joining us you can contact Avis for details.

Avis, Claire, Gun, Carole, LucyAnn, Kate, Jess, Sue, Constanze,DebbieRose, Christina, Kathy, Margaret, Cindy, Helen, Steph, Linda, Heidi, Jackie, Sunny, Hayley, Tony, Megan Catherine, Connie, Clare


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