box of birds part 5

I didn’t have a particular kind of bird in mind when I drew this one but now the slip is finished I think it’s a parrot wannabe.

box of birds part 4

It only took me an afternoon and evening to stitch the second bird. It’s based on a dipper (cinclus cinclus) but I changed the colours slightly. As per the nuthatch, beak and legs will be added once it’s appliquéd to the final background fabric.

box of birds part 3

The little nuthatch slip is now finished and I think I did right by leaving out the padding.

box of birds part 1

My new project is a box with embroidered panels on the sides and top. Nothing like being ambitious – in three different ways no less! Raised embroidery slips will be appliqued to hand-painted and embroidered backgrounds, and last but not least, make the box itself. In my mind’s eye, it will all work out beautifully but the reality might fall a long way short.

I bought a sheet of greyboard from a local art shop to test my box-making skills and you can see the result below. I liked the construction method (a YouTube video) but my measuring was slightly off, even though I thought I was being extra careful – measure twice, cut once and all that, but for a first attempt it’s not all bad and I do have a usable container even if the lid is a bit wonky.

I like birds and I like stumpwork, so the box panels will each have a raised embroidered bird on them as well as some greenery. The first bird is a little nuthatch from Lala Ward’s Countryside Embroidery book again but I’m going to attempt to wing it (excuse the pun) and draw the rest myself.

bag request

An embroidered calico bag is not included in the Jenny Rolfe book mentioned in my previous post but it fits the bill for a small gift bag that a family member has requested. The celtic knot pattern is from Michaela Learner’s book, Borders & Motifs. The book includes reusable iron-on transfers but I thought I might smudge it when ironing it on so did my usual method of taping a tracing of the design to the back of the fabric and then drawing the pattern on the fabric front with a light source behind. I really ought to invest in a good lightbox but feel that the number of times I’d use it wouldn’t justify the expense.

Unusually for me, I used six strands of embroidery cotton for the green chain stitch as well as for the red french knots. The star is machine topstitch thread. An enjoyable few hours stitching and an excellent exercise in stitch length control while I continue to dither over my next major project.

new books

I bought the following with a recent birthday gift voucher and I think one will form the basis of my next project although I’m not sure which one. Any suggestions?

I haven’t been able to find the post/article where I saw this book mentioned recently but I was intrigued enough to buy a copy. It’s a 1985 edition, mainly printed in black and white but the diagrams and photographs are very clear and seem easy to follow.


A idea for a modern style of raised embroidery on a casket/box has been brewing in my mind for a while and the following two books might help me formulate a proper plan.


The last item is a gel printing plate. I’ve got lots of acrylic paint and medium to turn it into fabric paint, and I’ve begun collecting things with textured surfaces to use as stencils and mark makers. Any successful printed fabric will be used for future textile projects – perhaps even for the covering of a box or a bag! My brayer will be wiped of paint onto my sketchbook pages to help avoid the dreaded blank page syndrome.

final course sample

The last part of the final module of Sue Stone’s course focused on building on the repetition of shapes from the previous class. I went with simple shapes, a limited colour range, and only running stitch in different weights of thread. Some pieces were fused to the background or other pieces, some were not. It was well received by the Facebook group so I took that as a sign that I had met the brief. For me the course is all but over but if you might be tempted to sign up for a future course and wish to know what I thought of it, read on …

When I began the first module of this course it all seemed a bit too easy. It would be concentrating only on a few simple stitches and I would be making small samples with no major piece of textile art produced by the end of the course. As I had been sewing for most of my life and felt that I knew a fair amount about things stitch-related, I seriously wondered if I had made a huge mistake in signing up. How wrong I was. I’ve had fun. I’ve been challenged. I’ve had a few Eureka! moments. I’ve made contact with lots of lovely like-minded people (and will continue to do so as long as the FB group exists). I’ve discovered why my former method for planning a project didn’t always result in a satisfactory outcome and what to do about it. I have re-discovered the pleasure and usefulness that can result from sampling, keeping notes, sketching design ideas, and then keeping them all for future reference. In the past I rarely made notes about anything I was working on and any samples were usually discarded once I’d finished. This course required me to make notes for every sample and I found myself additionally sketching ideas beforehand and sometimes I even did a test sample before making the proper sample required! I also had to answer questions when each sample was completed (not always easy to do but very useful). Everything related to this course has been labelled as to module and class and is now stored in a box file or on my computer so that I can refer to them at any time.

A few of the goodies for the course included the Facebook group; a private online members’ area containing lots of useful resources; a workbook and video for each module; access to webinars run by Sue, links to other textile artists’ works for inspiration and much more besides. is the website of Sue’s sons, where I first found out about the course and it’s worth a look even if you’re not interested in the course.