a new workbasket

I made this yesterday to use up leftover fabric strips from the Christmas pots and my Janome protested loudly, ‘stopping for safety purpose’ several times over what the needle was expected to stitch through. I don’t want to trash my sewing machine so I’m going to try making the baskets on a basic workhorse of a sewing machine which is destined for use by my son’s partner. Sewing is a remote possibility for her for the forseeable future so I’m sure she won’t mind if I use it.  Actually, if I had space to spare in the workroom I’d buy an old treadle for projects such as these pots/baskets but JP might object so for goodness sake don’t tell him that a thought like that had even crossed my mind!



I’ve spent the past eight days in idleness and it’s been lovely. I haven’t done anything craft related whatsoever and I haven’t felt guilty at all. Shortly before mid-day however, after completing the umpteenth online jigsaw of the morning, I decided it was worth suffering jigsaw cold turkey and get back to sewing again. By this afternoon a small landscape idea was beginning to take shape for which the first step was to paint a semblance of land and sky onto the calico with watercolours. Setting the colours by ironing can wait ’til tomorrow, by which time I may have thought of something better to sew!


I’d sue otherwise

If these little houses were built from bricks and mortar I’d sue the architect, but since they’re only figments of my imagination constructed during twenty or so minutes of somewhat jerky hoop movement under the sewing needle, I don’t need to. Free-motion embroidery, on polycotton fabric, approximately 4.5″ x 4.5″.  I thought the Juliet balcony in the last one would be an excellent selling point although the roof would need to be re-attached to make the place watertight!

cottage house

wonky house

tall house

forty shades of green

Well that’s the chillies finished. I’m not sure why the book suggests five different shades of green for this project and I think it looks a bit odd. Not keen on the stripe effect on the chilli either but that’s also what the book said to do. I admit that I exaggerated about the forty shades.

The needlelace is not brilliant but it’ll do and just as I thought, It was much easier to do using a cordonnet. The book says to use open buttonhole stitch but corded buttonhole makes for slightly fatter stitches so I could see where I had to insert the tapestry needle without resorting to a magnifying glass and it was fairly quick to do. The blunt tip of the tapestry needle also prevented split threads. The next project is actually to stitch chilli peppers onto napkins but I don’t fancy that idea so I’m moving straight onto Camomile but need to go out and buy another skein of DMC Blanc first once the plasterer/decorator team has been and gone but they’re already an hour and a half late. Time to make a phone call I think.


not so juicy strawberries

Wild Strawberries now completed but I’m not happy with this piece. I don’t like the way the flower petals turned out and I’m not too keen on the berries either. These were both second attempts.

I knew that the berries would be the biggest challenge of this project and I didn’t have red coton a broder as specified in the book. My two local sewing supplies shops don’t stock it since there is little demand for it and I didn’t want to order just one skein online and then have to wait several days for it to be delivered so I improvised.

I found a skein of coton a broder in a sort of golden brown colour so dyed one length with poster paint and another with fabric paint. Both lengths took the paint colour quite well but the poster paint rubbed off on my fingers when dry so that was useless. The fabric paint didn’t rub off but the thread was now stiff so that wasn’t much use either. In the end I just used 4 strands of regular DMC embroidery floss but I found the needlelace particularly difficult to work on the padded felt and the sheen of the floss made it awkward to see which particular stitch I should be placing the needle into.

I’m not happy with the flower petals either. I used DMC Blanc as per the book but my petals look a tad grey compared to the book photo in which they appear much whiter.My leaf colours also seem to be different colours to those in the book photo but again, I used the colours listed. I could rip out the berries and petals and try again for a third time but I think it’s time to move on to the next one – Chilli Pepper, with more needlelace but this time done on a flat surface with a cordonnet which should be easier. I am nothing if not hopeful…


silly little birds 2

I’ve been practising tambour embroidery on and off for a few weeks with more failures than successes. The first image below shows the most stitches I’ve managed to do in one sitting without snagging but of course as soon as I mentally realised that I hadn’t snagged thread for a while, it immediately snagged up with every stitch thereafter. Sooooooo frustrating. I’ve been using closely woven cottons and calico (plain muslin) up to now but the other day I bought ‘proper’ embroidery fabric with a more open weave and I think that might solve some of the snagging problems but I’m giving the tambour hook a rest for a day or two in favour of some more silly little birds, stitched in a redwork kind of style. These took hardly any time at all yesterday and were much easier than using a tambour hook!




the first of many?

My first tatted ring! I wasn’t able to buy a tatting needle yesterday but today I came across a tatting help sheet on the internet showing a tunisian crochet hook being used, so I tried that and I could put the stitches on okay but I couldn’t ‘crochet’ them off to make a basic ring. Then I remembered I had something that was close in form to a tatting needle inasmuch as it has an eye at one end and is consistent in diameter the whole length but minus the hook at the other end. I’ve no idea how or why I acquired it or what it was designed for but I tried it out and hey presto! I’ve got me a tatted ring! The cotton I used is what I bought to tie up joints of meat so it’s not what’s normally recommended for tatting but for practising, it’ll do just fine.




If you know what this metal rod thingy is meant to be used for, please let me know!




I watched a video through a mirror this morning so that I could better follow the instructions as a left-handed tatter and suddenly I wasn’t getting tied up in knots. Well, not quite so many granny ones as when I tried the right-handed way. Strangely, I crochet as a right handed person because that’s how big sis taught me and it feels right so it’s never really occurred to me to learn to do it left-handed.