penny snake

I’ve made one hundred and twenty four felt pennies so far and stitched over nine thousand five hundred buttonhole stitches in the process. They will now go in a bag to await a decision on their final use.

workbox #10 windows pt1

I don’t have enough spare fabric to redo any wall if I mess up the windows so I’m using scraps to practice on. The image shows four different colours of nylon organza because until the frames are embroidered, I can’t tell which colour might be best for the window panes.

The book says to trace the windows onto applique paper and fuse the organza to the ground fabric with it. I was loath to buy a pack of applique paper as I can’t see me ever using it again so my substitute was Heat n Bond Lite. This means I had to draw the window guidelines directly onto the organza itself but a pencil for the lighter three and a UniPin fine liner for the darkest organza seem to show up well enough.

workbox #10 housefront

After doing nothing on the Home Sweet Home workbox for approximately six months, this morning I think I’ve settled on the look of the housefront although I may change my mind several more times before I put stitch to fabric. For starters, the angle of the image would suggest that the house (inner red border) might be too small to have so many windows so I may ditch one or two.

HSH house front


It’s inevitable that when I’m looking for something particular online I’ll be sidetracked by something completely unrelated. Recently it was penny rugs that caught my attention and although they’re usually made from wool I used acrylic felt as I didn’t have any wool fabric. My circles were hand cut and my alignment of the smaller circles is less than perfect but I’ve told myself that this only adds to their hand-made charm.

This is roughly eight evenings worth of penny making and I’ve a load more ready for stitching. I haven’t decided what I might use them for but I’ll keep making them until I get sidetracked by something else.

acrylic felt pennies

upcycled #10

In years past I’ve made and clothed rag dolls and made coats to cover a teddy’s bald patches resulting from constant cuddling but I’d never made clothes for a doll with a rigid body until this week. “It’s only a doll”, I told myself, “How hard can it be to make a dress for it?”. It might have helped to have had a dress pattern to begin with and some stretch fabric would have been useful too but I had neither. Undaunted, I measured the doll and ‘designed’ and cut out a prototype simple sleeveless shift dress with a generous back opening. It went on over her head but then I couldn’t get the arms through the armholes. If I pulled it on feet-first I had the same problem. I had a cup of tea and pondered an alternative.

Dress design number two was a sleeved dress but if I included a back seam, the opening had to be sufficient to get over the angled limbs and I had no suitable elastic or tape to then gather the resulting gaping neckline closed. This project was becoming a ridiculous waste of time for a doll that might not even sell so I tidied everything away and turned my attention to framing the now completed Facade kit.

When I went back to the dress, I added a couple of tucks at the neckline to prevent it slipping off her shoulders and a scrap of lace trim added some detail. What had been intended as the back seam became a front opening and two child-friendly Kam snaps were used as closures. Job done. Never to be repeated.


Earlier in the week I made four more teacup pin cushions and I think I’ve made enough of these now.

more teacup pincushions

Here’s the Facade¬†needlework kit now repaired, stretched, mounted and framed. As per the pattern, there are very few straight lines of stitching or felt applique. I wouldn’t want to have done the whole kit as all the wonkiness would have annoyed me no end but it doesn’t look too bad in a frame against my hall carpet!

Facade embroidery kit now framed



I always take a piece of embroidery when I’m going on a long train journey and my recent visit to Scotland was no exception. Except that the piece I had planned to stitch was begun and almost completed before I even left home so I prepared a second piece which I’ll show you another day.¬† I didn’t touch the oystercatcher piece at all on the journey or during my visit but I did finish it this week. The design was from the June/July issue of Stitch magazine and I mainly followed the design but you know me, I just have to add a little wax crayon colour every now and again. I also did the pebbles differently and I added some seaweed too. It’s in the folder now, never to be seen again, well, not for a while anyway.

upcycled #9

After a break of several weeks while I visited family in Scotland, I went to the Red Cross craft group yesterday where we spent the morning tidying, measuring lengths of upholstery fabric that had been recently donated, and then organising an area on the shop floor specifically for items that the group makes or upcycles. Together with a doll to make clothes for and fabric to make cushion covers, I came home with a very old unfinished embroidery kit in need of some tlc.

Part of the Penelope needlework range by WM Briggs and Co. Ltd., it’s a collage named Facade and the instructions suggest stitching down the grey and white felt pieces or attaching them with fabric glue. In this instance, glue was used which has left brown patches where the felt is missing. Some of the white felt is also partly stained from glue having seeped through so I’ve decided to replace all the felt and stitch it down.

At first I thought that a few window cills and heads were yet to be added but the kit’s instruction photo clearly shows them just as they’ve been applied. Odd. I’m tempted to add them. The horizontal stitching differences in the lower windows bug me too but those are also as per the instructions. I can’t fathom what the designer was trying to suggest here.

I don’t suppose we’ll ever know who the original embroiderer was or why it was never completed but there’s a frame waiting for it when I’ve done my bit and then it will go on sale.