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.

small gifts

Now that my friend M’s birthday has come and gone, I can show the little needlebook that I made for her. I used two layers thick craft felt for the front cover and  a single layer for the middle ‘page’. The inner layer of the back cover was reduced in size to make a pocket for storing a needle gripper.  M’s birthday card was also handmade, using the September flower for decoration.



fat little owl

This little owl is a birthday gift for a friend and the owl shouldn’t have been so fat but I quite like him that way even though he looks as if he might not be able to fly off the branch! He’s based on the owl brooch in the Stumpwork Embroidery book by Jane Nicholas, a book I’ve had for many years but have never stitched any of the projects in it until now.

The hanging frame is one of those plastic ones where the outer frame rolls onto a groove on the outside edge of the inner hoop and I used almost a whole skein of green embroidery thread to cover up the original red colour. The blue fabric is silk backed with calico. The inner frame measures approximately 3″ in diameter.



Coriander was finished early evening yesterday but the photos I took were worse than the stitching. I find white on white difficult to photograph well so you’ll just have to settle for this one, taken a few minutes ago which is marginally better than yesteday’s efforts:


Only one more project to do now – Pennyroyal, and after that I’m going to have a loooong rest from stitching flowers and leaves.

out of thyme

Well, that’s Golden Thyme stitched. I don’t like the whip stitch around the leaves – it looks like I did it with my eyes shut but the book illustration leaves look much the same so perhaps I achieved what Shachiko intended in her design. Watercress is next, with seeds in a pod. Should be interesting!


leaves and more leaves

Normally I’d work through one piece of embroidery from start to finish but after I made all seven stumpwork leaves for Golden Thyme on Saturday, I wanted a rest from using the magnifying light so I stitched the appliquéd French knot slips for Apple Mint and then returned to Turkey knotting in Santolina. Yesterday I sewed for hours looking through the magnifying lamp while I made the two-colour stumpwork leaves for Apple Mint and was so pleased with how they turned out I just kept going until the whole piece was finished. Once again, even though I had the same DMC thread numbers that the book lists, they didn’t look the same so I chose my own colour palette which I think looks minty enough to be acceptable.DSCF3074


Thyme and Dill

The Golden Thyme leaves were causing me much grief and a great deal of silent cursing so I moved onto Dill, with an abundance of theraputic french knots and some wire wrapping. Quick, easy and enjoyable.

There are eight leaves in the Golden Thyme project, all wired and needlelaced and you can see from the ruler showing centimetres in the photo below how small they are. The larger leaves are supposed to be constructed in a way that suggests veins but as you can see in (a), I hardly succeeded. I had already ripped out two previous starts and the cursing would have been vocal but for Big Sis being in the room with me. At that point I thought I might just not do Golden Thyme at all but that seemed like a cop-out so I then tried free-motion machine embroidery over a layer of organza and water soluble fusible web (b below), but although it looks more like a leaf, it’s not quite in keeping with the rest of the design. At that point I went away and did non-stitchy things for a while and then started on Dill but I didn’t want to be defeated by a few bits of wire and thread so I went back to the leaves, attempting one which doesn’t need to show veins (c below). This was more successful than (a), even though it’s smaller and therefore should have been trickier to sew. Perhaps I was just in the right place mentally. I haven’t finished all the whip-stitching around the edge which is why you can still see wire in places but that will be done in no time. I started on Santolina late yesterday afternoon and that’s nearly done but today I will make time to sew more thyme leaves and hopefully improve my technique before too long.

thyme leaves