box of birds tree stuff

After I’d posted the branch samples, Joyce of Little Felt Houses asked if I’d thought about using wrapped wire. I had discounted this method but Joyce’s comment prompted a rethink.  Thank you Joyce! It was quick and easy to do and the wire can easily be manipulated into shape. It needs finessing a little but the method is a definite keeper.


I also made a 4cm long wired leaf this week. Any wired leaf instructions I’ve ever read have not specified a particular fabric to use but I’ve never been entirely happy that it’s virtually impossible to trim the fabric back to the edge of the leaf without leaving a few stray fabric threads which then have to be camouflaged by colouring with a marker pen or glued down. A eureka moment came last week when I watched a YouTube video showing a stumpwork leaf being worked on organza. Naturally, I had to try it for myself. My organza was a cheap polyester variety but it held up quite well and because the organza fibres are fine, it was fairly easy to trim them back. No colouring or gluing required! According to the RSN Stumpwork book which arrived in the post yesterday morning, any fine fabric can be used for wired shapes. Why have I never considered this myself?


I couched the wire in red thread so that it would be easy to see when unpicking it and then realised when I was actually doing so that the couching thread should have been the same as the leaf, since the fabric and the resultant leaf would never be separated. And yes, it was difficult to unpick. Two strands of green DMC embroidery cotton used throughout. Buttonhole stitch around the wire and a row of badly applied split stitch along the inner edge.


The front of the leaf. More un-fabulous stitching, this time satin stitch with overcast stitch for the central vein.


The back of the leaf with even more rubbishy stitching and can you spot a couple of organza fibres? I didn’t see them until after the image was taken with the camera’s macro setting. They show how fine the organza fibres are but now I know they’re there I could easily snip them off.



old mixed media piece

Humpty Dumpty isn’t quite finished so I thought I’d just show you something I did a long time ago and which hangs on a wall in Big Sis’s home. Nowadays I take photographs of nearly everything that I make but back then it just wasn’t thought of. Not having to consider the cost of film nowadays makes it easy to snap away at will and when I was last in Scotland I realised that I had no other record of this little piece but this is the best image I could get due to the reflections off the glass. It’s approximately A5 size and it’s a mixture of stumpwork, hand embroidery, stiffened fabric leaves and flowers, a little faint colouring on the fabric for sky, and handmade garden tools. It’s based on a black and white illustration in Thomasina Beck’s book, The Embroiderer’s Garden which I bought the same year I did this piece. I’m visiting Big Sis next week so I might try to take a better image of this garden scene but then again, I might be too busy taking pictures of Jasper instead!

garden embroidery


a fox

Two areas of my current embroidery piece. It might not be too obvious from these images that it’s a fox I’m stitching but it will be when you see the whole thing in a future post. The maroon coloured fabric top right is there to protect the completed stitches and keep the calico clean and is not part of the embroidery. Better quality images next time!

fox embroidery 1

fox embroidery 2

felt embroidery #2

This time it’s flowers, not tea related things. Another pattern (with slight variations) from Erica Kaprow’s Summertime Sampler. All acrylic felt, all hand stitched with only buttonhole and stem stitch. Approximately 13.5″ x 17.5″ and I see another wall hanging in the making. The first picture is a little fuzzy but you get the idea I hope!

flowers in pots

flowers in pots 2

finishing touches

I added a border of tea cups and leaves (not included in the original templates) to complete the teapot felt embroidery and I also stitched over the steam lines to make them more obvious and I think that both are an improvement. Now that it’s bigger all round it needs additional support of some kind before it can be turned into a wall hanging but I haven’t yet come up with the best way to do that.

teapot border

felt embr3 border

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

what’s in a name

When I began this blog I didn’t want to own up to my real identity for fear of being ridiculed. It was November and the pavements were littered with crunchy, rustly leaves and that’s what gave me the inspiration for the user name crunchnrustle. I thought it was clever and witty and that everyone would correctly read it as crunch and rustle. It is of course, neither clever nor witty and not everyone sees the abbreviation for ‘and’ in the middle. The result is that it’s read incorrectly more often than not and sounds, well, just odd. About an hour ago I decided it was time to change it so from now on my user name is Mrs G, which is as close to revealing my identity as I’m prepared to go until I’m absolutely fabulously filthy rich and world-famous although those would be reasons enough to want to remain anonymous. You have to admit that the moniker of Mrs G rolls off the tongue and the keyboard and sticks in your mind much more easily that the ridiculous leafy one.

autumn leaves


a mixed bag this week

OK. So I said that I was either going to take the painted tower apart and rebuild it, or make a new one. The coin toss came down in favour of a new one so I began painting fabric to use as the walls but didn’t care for the colour it dried to and after free machine embroidering an indication of a few bricks, I realised that they would need to be much smaller than I had made them. I also then knew I’d get bored sewing the same things repeatedly over such a large area so I’ve given up on them for the time being:


After that I cut off the two layers of interfacing that hadn’t been stitched and just free machine doodled for few hours. This was more enjoyable! When I ran out of usable stitching area, I took a photograph and used Photoshop Elements instead of colouring with paint or crayons, thus avoiding another actual painting failure. It was only just before I stopped for dinner that I realised I could add texture as well as colour (see green leaves at top right). Too bad I didn’t add some to the flowers which are quite flat looking! Click the image a couple of times if you want a closer look:

stitch doodles 3

I’ve been meaning to show these presser feet for a while. I bought the two metal ones online at a ridiculously low cost from two different suppliers. (The non-metal foot is the standard darning/free motion foot for my low shank machine). I reckoned that if they didn’t fit my Janome or caused problems of any kind then I hadn’t wasted lots of money. Well, they do fit and they do work well and I’m extremely pleased with them as I can see much more of the stitching area (which was the hopeful reason for buying them). I haven’t worked out what the notch on the closed foot is for and there was nothing online to explain it. Anyone out there know?

presser feet



triangular box update

I added more leaves to the lid top and sides. I hope you’ll agree with me that it’s a vast improvement on the original!triangular fabric box

triangular box update

triangular box update2

triangular box

A triangular box this time, with leaves and berries applied because the box was so dull with nothing added. The application of the leaves taught me that with a three-sided box, it would have been easier to embellish the lid before it was constructed. Ah well. I live and learn.

triangular fabric box