free motion fun

I had lots of fabric scraps already fused to Bondaweb so I used some of them to make these fun houses then free motion stitched them to the background. When I began, I didn’t consider what I might do with them. Maybe a long pouch or a small wall hanging. Each ‘street’ is approx 8 x 5 inches (20 x 13 cm). They’re a bit very rough and ready but I like them.

more pouches

I just remembered that I hadn’t posted about the second batch of zippered pouches I made and I imagine you’ve all been desperate to see them (as if). I haven’t boxed the corners this time apart from the one that has “top” on one side and “bottom” on the other.


zippered pouches

I thought it was time to start using up some of the odd bits and pieces of fabric that I have so I made these little zippered pouches which will go on sale in my son’s shop. Hopefully they will ‘fly off the shelves’ as they say!

floral fun piece

I had some fun yesterday making this jug of flowers wall hanging from fabric remnants bonded to the background with Heat n Bond lite then free-motion machine appliquéd. 13 x 20 inches approx.

floral jug

decisions, decisions

Finally, I made a decision about what to stitch on the backing of the felt appliquéd teapot embroidery. I wanted something that was free-motion embroidered and tried some stitchy ideas this morning using cotton backed with fusible batting but nothing was working out satisfactorily so I resorted to my usual go-to for machine embroidery – heavy duty interfacing. I cut a piece approximately 60 x 70 cm and spray-basted the black polycotton fabric to it so that they would remain together without using pins or clips. I’ve seen quilters on YouTube videos use a can of spray basting but I only had Elmer’s repositionable mounting spray (which does not include fabric in the list of recommended uses) at my disposal. It did the trick and kept both layers together while I scrunched and folded and rolled the interfacing and fabric in order to manoeuver it under the needle as I stitched. I take no responsibility for anyone who uses this same spray on fabric and finds that it ruins the fabric! I’ve never free-motion embroidered such a large size of heavy-duty interfacing before and it’s not brilliant but I’m happy with it considering how unwieldy the interfacing was.

teapot backing


Rejected samples stitched on 100% cotton (blue) and a linen blend (black).


road atlas bag

We have sat nav in the car but I’ve always preferred a paper map. This actually translates to: We have sat nav in the car but I find it difficult to use and spend more time shouting at it frustratedly than navigating with it.

Our previous car had a roomy pocket on the rear of each of the front seats and it was easy for me to pull out the road atlas from the driver’s seat pocket but our current car has no such pockets so the atlas gets tossed onto the back seat or falls on the floor and gets trodden underfoot by passengers and squashed and torn when the rear seats are folded down for trips to the recycling centre and I generally have to do a series of acrobatic contortions from the front seat in order to be able to reach the atlas before I can even think about reading a map. I’ve had this problem for over two years but it was only when a replacement road atlas was bought recently that I wondered why I hadn’t thought to make a hanging bag in place of the missing seat pocket.

I decided on a simple bag with two tapes to hang it from the head rest supports but then I thought I ought to have some kind of picture on the front to indicate what’s within. (Why I need to advertise that it’s a bag for maps is something perhaps only a psychologist can answer.) This is what I came up with: map bag A very simple interpretation of an OS map using fabric crayons and free motion embroidery on thin calico backed with a lightweight white canvas that I found in my supplies. An ordinance survey map seemed the easiest kind to stitch even though it’s unlikely to ever be the type of map that will go in the bag!


map bag 2

some of this, some of that

On Tuesday I set up my machine for some thread painting with the thought of making a short video of the process because I’ve seen so many sewing demos online and thought it couldn’t be too difficult. Ha! The lighting wasn’t quite right so the stitching didn’t show up clearly on playback (although my hands didn’t look too bad) and if the camera got knocked it sounded like a volcano erupting. Finding the ideal camera position was difficult and the lack of a zoom facility didn’t help although how I might have operated that as well as moving the fabric is still a quandry. How do others do this so successfully? Perhaps there’s just a lot of deft editing or they have someone else doing the filming or they use a camera more suitable than my webcam (which is tethered to my pc with a not-as-long-as-I’d-like-it-to-be cable). Frustratingly, I couldn’t find anything online that might explain how I could do it better so it might take a lot longer to win that oscar!

This is what was stitched during the filming and it’s obvious that I had no clear stitching plan in mind before I began. I used a layer of pelmet interfacing which had been painted with poster paints and sprinkled with salt crystals before the surface dried to give that mottled effect on the right. (I’m still finding salt on the work bench several days later.) I backed the interfacing with batting and a layer of cotton but I needn’t have done as it’s easy to thread paint on a single layer of the interfacing.

fme doodles

Yesterday I did some leaf prints on a scrap of thick canvas-type fabric and on the remaining coloured interfacing (which hadn’t been layered with anything else). I’d gathered leaves weeks ago and I wish I could now remember what I rubbed on them in an attempt to preserve them because it was quite successful! I do know that I subsequently ironed two of them between sheets of kitchen paper and those were the leaves I used for the print attempts as well as a leaf shape cut from flexible fabric in my craft supplies (there, because it hadn’t lived up to its original description as being suitable to prevent rug-creep). The backs of the leaves were rubbed with the flat side of an Inktense block and then placed upside down and the image transferred to damp interfacing/fabric with a brayer.  On dry fabric/interfacing I very lightly sprayed the coloured leaves with water before transferring. I think the interfacing as a background worked best of all because it’s quite rigid. The larger leaf stood up well to use and I think I could probably take further prints before it finally disintegrates.

leaf print

playing with orts

This week has been an unsettled one as far as needle and threads have been concerned. I needed to use a magnifying glass for my tulips embroidery but because the magnifyer and my d-i-y lighting system are hung round my neck and they got in the way of each other so I gave up on the tulips.  Several daytime sessions at thread painting were unsatisfactory too and most were binned, apart from this little bowl which used up some of my growing collection of orts.

Two layers of cotton fabric were topped with a circular layer of pelmet vilene marked into twelve segments. Orts were applied to each segment with a random free-motion zig zag under a layer of heavy-duty water soluble interfacing and then an automatic machine stitch was used to stitch a swirl from the centre outwards with satin stitching around the rim. Machine stitched bar-tacks and darts provide shaping to the bowl. The ort side has a fuzzy appearance but the surface is actually fairly compact and threads can’t easily be removed due to the free-motion stitching and the fact that the water-soluble interfacing was only partially washed out.  It’s not the prettiest bowl I’ve ever made but the method is one that could be developed so I’ll hang on to it.

orts dish

orts dish2

move to trash

I thought this little turtle would be something quick and easy to do but I made it more complicated. The original pattern only has a single layer of felt for the legs and the shell markings are hand embroidered. I deviated and sewed the shell markings by machine and used two layers of felt with padding for the legs and all that extra stitching and padding made it more difficult to sew together. I’ve also just realised that I forgot to add the chin strap for his party hat! At the start, I thought of him as a possible extra pin/needle cushion but needles are likely to get lost amongst the stuffing. There’s an option to ‘move to trash’ any blog post that I’m currently editing and I might just end up doing the same with this little guy or at least consigning him to the box which holds all those other not-sure-what-to-do-with-these things.


more bookmarks

I started this lot yesterday and finished them earlier this morning (I’ve been up for hours). Could ten bookmarks be enough do you think?