Advent calendar anyone?

I like easy-to-make Christmas decorations and Sachiyo Ishii’s book Sew Your Own Felt Advent Calendar (by Search Press) seemed to fit the bill. The two pocket toys I’ve made so far were easy enough to make but my oh my, were they fiddly to cut, sew, and stuff, even after I’d increased the pattern pieces by 25%! Personally, I prefer the type of advent calendar where the chocolate er, item for each day, is a hidden surprise but in this calendar it looks as though the toys are intended to be visible right from day one so this particular calendar doesn’t work for me as a countdown to Christmas. However, as I said, I bought the book mainly for the toy patterns but if I did make the calendar itself, I’d increase the overall size of the calendar and pockets and give those a closure of some sort to add the surprise element.

My santa and elf are 4.5 inches tall, 1 inch taller than the book pattern size.

box of birds branches

I made ten samples for a tree branch and the final choice is between #2, #3, and #4.

For anyone interested in the methods employed:

#1 Soft cord wrapped with a scrap of furnishing fabric and stab stitched to the calico background.

#2 Soft cord wrapped with crinkly dyed muslin and stab stitched to the calico background.

#3 Couched lengths of knobbly yarn with scraps of green crinkly dyed muslin applied to suggest moss.

#4 Portuguese knotted stem stitch in various sizes with three strands of Anchor tapestry wool stitched onto onion netting and then applied as a slip.

#5 Soft random-dyed yarn stitched as a raised stem stitch band.

#6 As #1 but with different fabric.

#7 Silk scarf scrap wound around polyester toy filling and stab stitched to the calico. Moss as in #3.

#8 Same yarn as #5,  various stitches with over-stitching also to suggest roundness.

#9 Wire inserted into a cotton rope and overcast with Anchor tapestry wool.

#10 Rope as #9 with different sized straight stitches close together.

Bis Sis’s Wip 5

Finished at last.


Big Sis’s wip 2

This post is to prove to Big Sis that I have been working on this. I also stitched most of the wall and the gate posts a while ago but then I got involved in dressmaking again so it was put to one side for a while more.  I picked it up on Wednesday evening thinking that stitching it might spark some ideas for a new embroidery project and it did! But you’ll have to wait for that. The tree was quick and fun to do.



more than just a tree

This piece began a couple of weeks ago with an appliquéd bicycle and a bit of a landscape outline. Then I added the tree I posted about last week. What had begun as sky somehow morphed into water so I added a few yachts. That meant that the foreground had to change from the original blue background so I added touches of green with fabric crayons and a suggestion of grass by way of free-motion machine embroidery and hand embroidery. Today I appliquéd dyed muslin scraps to the field on the left for texture. I think I should call it quits now.


bicycle landscape

trees 1

This week I’ve been working on a couple of pieces involving trees. This tree is only 3″ long (tall?) and was fairly quick to stitch.

tree selection


I forgot until now that I hadn’t posted this latest piece of whimsy made instead of a standard ‘welcome-to-your-new-home’ greetings card because I couldn’t find one of those that I liked.  Fortunately, the actual house is in better condition than this embroidered one.