Jacquie Needlecase SAL

It’s happy dance time, though it nearly wasn’t as I was stitching until about 11pm last night to get it finished. This morning I managed to press it of sorts to make it look a little neater.

Three weeks ago when I last posted about the needlecase I had just started putting it together, whip-stitching the nnedle ads and the thin ‘labels’ together and putting colour specific pins in the dragonfly panels…

Boy was this fiddly to put together!!! It probably doesn’t help that I think I stitch with a fairly firm tension, so whip-stitching 16 count back-stitches isn’t easy – when I made my Anthea book with whip-stitched sides I purposefully did my back-stitching twice the size and tried not to stitch the outline so firm, I seem to have forgotton to relax my tension a bit this time!!

It’s very cleverly made into a Jacob’s Ladder, hence the name Jacquie. Jacob’s Ladders are those things which interconnect to slide between the sides…very difficult to explain! I haven’t any putting together photos as I was concentrating too hard so I’ll just intersperse with photos of the finished needlecase…

Isn’t it gorgeous!! The first half of putting it together wasn’t too tricky, basically two dragonfly panels were stitched together with the sides of the two double-sided pads and the writing strip whip-stitched in-between the pins at the same time. My main problem was the thread catching on wings or wings getting moved when they were underneath and therefore out of sight. I was quite worried by the end that the metal wire in the wings was going to snap, but, touch wood, they all survived.

The two pages are stiffened with rectangles of non-stick bosal. It’s a bit like a very thick vilene interfacing – when I say thick, it’s a good milimetre thick. It’s flexible and has a nice feel but returns to it’s original shape.

The second half was more fiddly as the last two panels were stitched together with the other side of the pads and word strips. The hardest bit was working out how to fold the word strip right to make the Jacob’s ladder. I had to really concentrate in front of the computer to get it right. Faby does warn that these ten stitches were the hardest bit and I have to agree! Once that bit was stitched the final bit came together fairly quickly.

I gave it a careful press this morning, not easy with delicate dragonfly wings and beads. I protected it with a pressing cloth and hoped my wool mat would absorb the beads. It looked much neater for pressing, though with hindsight I would have been better pressing the pads and words well before the final construction.

It was quite a challenge to put together but I’m so pleased with it, it’s beautiful, Faby has excelled herself again! I love the mix of the stumpwork dragonflies with the cross-stitch ones, it literally pushes it to a new dimension. Faby’s instructions were always clear and easy to follow and it was a great introduction to stumpwork. This is my favourite view…

…I’ve just noticed a loose thread on the photo!!! However much I try to spot threads, there’s always one!

If you fancy making this gorgeous needlecase please follow the link to Faby Reilly Designs, she has some beautiful patterns. If you like the dragonflies but don’t feel up to the construction, I think it would also look beautiful as a standard needlecase with felt pages inside instead.

This SAL is organised by Avis from Stitching by the Sea, we all post our progress on our individual projects every three weeks, it’s great for keeping us motivated! Please follow the links to see what everyone has been stitching.


Posted in cross-stitch, embroidery, Stitch-a-long | Tagged , , , , | 17 Comments

…and then there were three!

They always say if you hear a mouse in your house then there’s definitely more than one, I’ve now made another two mice, well pictures of them anyway!

Over the summer Andrea from Raggedy Ruff Designs was selling various odd kits for her gorgeous applique designs. I do find them hard to resist, I have quite a collection waiting to be made and amongst those was a cute little design of a young mouse giving her mum a flower. I decided it would be rather nice on the front of a bag to give Wilhelmina Woodmouse in for my granddaughter at Christmas. The original design had the little mouse in trousers, I changed it to a skirt as she’s a very girly girl.

Andrea uses freezer paper to accurately cut the intricate shapes, she then just holds the pieces in place, I’m not that brave, I use a small dab of fabric glue to hold everything in place whilst I do the first stitching round the edge of everything. I always worry at this point as the outline never looks as neat as I would like…

Next I started adding detail to the mice’s heads and mum’s dress, the hand, feet and tail were filled in too with a very pale pink.

I tried out some new machine embroidery threads too, I’ve been looking for some for a while when Oliver Twists announced a special offer of a full set of machine embroidery threads for half price, it was still a fair outlay, but a very good deal…and I now have lots of colours to choose from…

This is just half of the threads, aren’t they gorgeous! My machine likes them too which is always a bonus!

I added some detail to the young mouse’s outfit and stitched the flowers too, it’s a fairly small design so it didn’t take long to finish. All I need to do now is make a bag with the mice on the front and a felt mouse inside.

If you fancy having a go there are some gorgeous designs on the Raggedy Ruff website, if you follow her on facebook she quite often has odd kits for sale.

Posted in Raggedy Ruff Designs, Machine embroidery | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

There’s a Mouse in the House…

I decided a couple of weeks ago to make a Wilhelmina Woodmouse for my new granddaughter for Christmas, she’s six and her favourite colour is dusky pink. Whilst I was at the Knitting and Stitching show at the weekend I visited the Cool Crafting stand and bought some lovely warm white felt for the mouse and some dusky pink felt for a coat. The pattern is in the Luna Lapin and Friends book, I made three rabbits before, I love making all the different outfits…

This time I wanted to make a mouse, in the book she’s called Wilhelmina. She went together pretty easily, I used some ditsy pink floral fabric for the ears and the feet and used blanket-stitch for the seams. I used Gutermann cotton thread this time and it was really nice to use but feels pretty strong.

She even has a cute curly tail!..

She hasn’t learnt to sit like a lady yet so I think a pair of bloomers are required! If everything goes to plan I’ll be making a top, a wrap dress, a coat and a pair of bloomers! I’ve traced the patterns out of the book, just need to get myself organised.

Posted in Crafts, Luna Lapin, Sewing | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Peppermint Purple SAL

I got a bit behind with my blackwork SAL, this is the one designed by Peppermint Purple with a block released each week, There is a recommended colour scheme which is rather nice, but I decided in January to make mine into a picture of Catbells. Last time I shared my progress here was at the end of September I had just started on the reflection of Catbells…

I’d hardly looked at it since then as I was concentrating on the Jacquie needlecase and the seaside quilt when ever I had hand-stitching time. I took it to my Skipton Stitchers meeting on Monday and caught up on a couple of blocks and since then I’ve caught up for October, just a couple of weeks behind in November…

I’m trying to do the reflections of the lake in varying shades of grey, greeny grey, purply grey, blue grey…you get the idea! It’s proved harder to choose the colours than the actual mountain, it’s not quite coming out as I’d hoped but I also think with these blackwork designs you really need to stand back to see the effect. I’ve also learnt that blackwork and alcohol is not a good combination! I stitched the bottom right hand square on Saturday night after half a bottle of wine and a couple of G7T’s, I then had to undo a lot of it as there were so many mistakes!! It’s still not perfect but it’s good enough for me!

I’m hoping to catch right up by the end of the month and hopefully stitch a bit more of the first border. I’m still pondering about whether or not to outline Catbells to make it show up again, I think I’ll wait until it’s finished and then stick it to my design wall for a few days, looking at it from a distance usually helps. This stitch-a-long finishes at the end of the year, by then I’ll have stitched 52 different blackwork squares.

Posted in embroidery, Stitch-a-long | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Wednesday Wanderings

Last week my friend and I ticked off another of the Dales 30 challenge, we were hoping to do too but the weather conspired against us!

We were climbing Ingleborough but we were also hoping to do Simon Fell too, which is only a short distance away. We walked from Clapham which is probably the most scenic route up, there are several routes up Ingleborough and we’ve done most of them over the years but as the days are getting shorter we decided the nearest and clearest route was probably the best.

Clapham is a very pretty village, we parked up near the old church so it was just a short walk to the path through the Ingleborough Estate. It was a lovely walk up past the waterfalls and past the lake. They’ve put up some information boards since we were last up and we were interested to read that this area is totally manmade, the early owners of Ingleborough Hall built a dam across the narrow valley to form both the lake and the waterfalls below.

The lake was lovely and peaceful with the autumn colour gently reflected, unfortunately I didn’t get a photo as I was lulled into a false sense of security thinking I could get one on the way back!

At the far end of the lake is the entrance to Ingleborough Cave, this is open for tours during the summer, there’s a footpath which goes about 500m in, it’s full of stalactites and stalagmites.

We carried on up towards Trow Gill, a steep gorge at the top of the valley. It’s a bit scrambly towards the top as you can see but we just took our time.

Trow Gill leads to the plateau before the final ascent of Ingleborough, the footpath passes close to Gaping Gill, this leads to a huge cavern, it’s so big you could fit York Minster in it. The local caving clubs organise trips down Gaping Gill a couple of times a year, you’re lowered down about 50′ or more on a bosuns chair one at a time, a few years ago I went down with friends and Helen, it was quite an experience. The stream that goes down Gaping Gill eventually comes out through Ingleborough Cave. Experienced cavers can trek through from Gaping Gill to Ingleborough cave, there’s a huge network of caves round there.

Gaping Gill

As you can see from the photo above, the mist had come down!! The higher we climbed the worse visibility got. The top of Ingleborough is quite a large, fairly flat plateau. Unfortunately it has about four paths leading off it is all directions and it’s very easy up there even in good weather to come off the wrong path and end up in the wrong valley.

According to the map there was a straight wall to follow from Ingleborough to Simon Fell, we were very dubious about whether we would be able to climb Simon’s Fell even before we reached the top of Ingleborough, it all depended on how clear the route by the wall was…

…that’ll be a no then!!

We couldn’t even see the dry stone wall seating area which marks the highest point! We had carefully taken a photo of one of the cairns we passed just before the top, so at least we would know we were on the right path down! Just as we reached the plateau there was a length of broken down wall, we sat on it and ate our sandwiches as we didn’t dare leave it and risk losing our sense of direction!

We saw two ladies trying to find a path down, they looked rather unsure so I called over to ask them which path they were looking for, they showed me a very simplified map on the mobile phone! I opened my OS map up and showed them where the other path went, we strongly advised them to stick to the clear (and popular) path down to Clapham rather than risk trying to find the quieter Pennine bridleway in poor weather especially without a proper map. It still amazes me that people will risk going walking in this kind of terrain without a proper map, signals fail, phones go dead, but also you can’t see the bigger picture to confirm where you are or which way to go. OS maps have walls, cairns, potholes, barns, lots of landscape features which all help to confirm where you are.

We retraced our steps to the path down to Clapham, at this point the weather was wind and rain, not the best weather for a walk, so it was head down and keep walking. Once we dropped down through Trow Gill again it was better, just a bit mizzly. It had improved enough by Ingleborough cave to sit on the seats for a welcome coffee and a sticky bun.

Altogether we walked nearly nine miles, we enjoyed ourselves despite the weather – if you walk in November in this country fine weather is a bonus! I think this will be the last of the Dales 30 this year as the days are getting too short for us slow walkers, we’ll do shorter more local walks over the winter and resume our challenge in the spring. We’ve walked eleven of the thirty, so over a third done, not a bad start!

Ingleborough from Whernside
Posted in Serendipity, The Dales 30, Walking | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Seaside Quilt HQAL

I cracked on with my seaside quilt so I’m having a mini happy dance this week as I’ve finished the main part of the quilt, I’ve just the borders to decide on. This is the quilt in the book by Kathryn Whittingham called The Seaside Quilt. Three weeks ago I had just finished the Rainy Day on the Beach block after embroidering dozens of French knots, as well as finishing the embroideries for the little blocks…

The next block to embroider was of puffins, it’s a lovely block, well anything with puffins on was bound to be cute as they are such endearing birds, though the one on the left looks like he’s thinking three’s a crowd!! The beaks weren’t easy to get right with these, they’re so distinctive too, I ended up looking at images in bird books to try and get something close. There’s puffins over at Bempton Cliffs near Bridlington, it’s an RSPB reserve, I remember going there with my mum and my kids years ago.

The final block to embroider was a couple sunbathing on deckchairs with a picnic. We occasionally took a picnic down to the beach but you do always end up with sand in the sandwiches! The deckchairs were pretty fiddly to cut out and embroider but I got there in the end.

With all the blocks stitched I could start arranging the little squares so I had an even mix of colours around the red and blue pinwheels and the star blocks. Here’s the bottom row complete…

Finally I could stitch the bottom row to the rest of the quilt, I had a little bit of fudging to do with the starfish block, but otherwise it went together nicely. I’m well chuffed with it, it’s such a happy quilt I can’t help but smile at it…

All I’ve got to do now is decide on the border. Kathryn has a simple border with a narrow border in navy blue followed by a wider border in off white with a scrappy border, she says it’s such a busy quilt she wanted a quieter border. I’m tempted with a narrow border in either navy or sand colour, followed by a piano key border using some of my leftovers, maybe with navy binding with a red flange. I finished my Cottage Garden quilt with a piano key border and I do like it and I have lots of fabric left!..I need to have a play I think.

Hopefully in three weeks time when I next post about my Seaside Quilt it’ll be sandwiched and I’ll have started quilting.

Hand Quilt Along Links

This Hand Quilt Along is an opportunity for hand quilters and piecers to share and motivate one another. We post every three weeks, to show our progress and encourage one another.  If you have a hand quilting project and would like to join our group contact Kathy at the link below.

KathyMargaretDebNanetteSharonKarrin, and Daisy

I’ll also be linking up with Kathy’s Quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday. Please follow all the links for lots of stitching inspiration.

Posted in embroidery, Quilt-a-long, Quilting | Tagged , , , | 19 Comments

Archers Shirt

I have finally got a new computer! My old one was driving me scatty as it would have to think for at least 10 minutes quietly deciding whether to do as I ask…and then crash!! I’ve spent today trying to remember passwords or changing passwords as the password in my little black book isn’t working! Hopefully now I can catch up on blogs I follow as well as a few posts here.

When I spent a few days in the Lakes with Helen we detoured home via Kendal, of course we were visiting Cool Crafting, the home of Luna Lapin and a wonderful fabric shop. Helen is rapidly building up her stash so needed no encouragement from me, we both left with a carrier bag each…

I bought a light sage green cotton in their sale, it’s quilting weight and I thought it would make a nice winter shirt. Not long after our return home I decided to strike while the iron’s hot and make the shirt straight away, rather than adding it to my stash and forgetting about it.

I decided to make another Archers shirt, it’s a pattern from Grainline Studio which I’ve made at least twice before so I knew it fitted me fine.

It’s a lovely pattern, just what I would call a traditional shirt with a two piece collar, a yoke and sleeve plackets. It goes together really well, I’m getting better at the sleeve plackets too!

I’ve already worn it several times, it’s quite a cosy shirt, quilting cotton can be quite structured but this has a nice feel to it. I didn’t even manage a photo shoot before I wore it so here’s a couple of views on Florence, freshly out of the wash and pressed,,,

…and front view…

And I’ve just found some teal fabric in my stash which will be perfect to make a skirt to got with it!

Posted in Dressmaking, Fabric shops | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

Jacquie Needlecase SAL

It’s getting quite exciting now with the Jacquie needlecase, we’ve got to the putting it together bit!

Three weeks ago I was just about to start making wings for my dragonfly…

The wings are made by over-stitching wire onto organza, I found a lovely piece of hand-dyed organza in my stash which went perfectly colourwise. I used a single thread of floss and buttonhole stitch to over-stitch the wire, I added some veins and then put a line of fray-check round the edge as back-up for my stitches. Once that was dry I could carefully cut them out, push the wire through the body and stitch in place.

I was so chuffed with the wings I sat in my sewing room with a big grin on my face looking at them! even made another single wing for the other dragonfly as I wasn’t happy with my first one…

Once the wings were secure I could start putting it together, the instructions for this are split into two sections, this week was all the preparation so the four felt needle pads were stitched in pairs using the back-stitched outline, these were whipped together which makes a really neat edge. The two narrow strips with ’embroidery’ and ‘cross-stitch’ on were similarly stitched together.

Next I carefully measure my dragon-fly sections and cut too rectangles of stiff interfacing which neatly fits in between the outlines.

The pins which you will have noticed on the photos were the last part of the preparation. We needed seven different coloured pins as markers for how it all stitched together. I was scraping round for enough different colours but when I happened to be in Boyes in Ilkley this week I noticed a ring of ‘berry’ glass ended pins, they were perfect! These are all carefully placed at specified points, using the stitched markers in the outline, so 2 stitches down, 32 stitches down and so on. Apparently it will all become clear when the final instructions are released next week by Faby. I think I know how it’s going to work,but can’t quite picture it yet, so I’m looking forward to being able to put it together.

If you would like to stitch this dragonfly needlecase, please follow the link to Faby Reilly’s website, she has lots of beautiful designs.

This SAL is organised by Avis from Stitching by the Sea, we each post our progress on our chosen piece every three weeks, which is perfect timing for keeping the motivation going. Please follow the links to see what everyone else has been stitching.


Posted in cross-stitch, embroidery, Serendipity, Stitch-a-long | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Wednesday Wanderings

Yesterday my friend and I decided to walk round Harlow Carr gardens rather than going up another of the Dales 30, the weather didn’t look too good and I’d had a heavy day at work on Monday. I was lucky enough to be given RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) membership for my birthday so we could both go in for free and even had a voucher to spend in the cafe!

We had a wonderful time, I realised I’d only ever seen a small part of it with my mum in the past, we’d never walked up into the wooded areas. The trees were beautiful. We were fascinated by the huge variety of ‘fir’ trees, we do tend to clump them all together but in an arboretum you can really appreciate the different characteristics such as the way the branches hang or the shape and feel of the ‘needles’ as well as the size and colour.

Up in the wooded area there were a couple of summerhouses, one had gorgeous stained glass decoration. There was a different flower pictured in each triangle, about eight or ten in total…

I thought the autumn colour might be coming to an end but there were some stunning trees, one that kept catching our eye in various places round the gardens was Liquidamber, we’d never even heard of it before, but if I can find a smallish one I’m very tempted to put one at the top of our garden, imagine looking out of the window to this every autumn…

After walking through the woods we were ready for lunch, at Harlow Carr there’s a Betty’s restaurant at the top, but there’s also a Betty’s takeaway cafe at the bottom of the hill, as it had turned into a lovely mild autumn day we sat outside and had some delicious mushroom soup…and a fat rascal!

After lunch we explored the rest of the garden, there’s a stream and lake, some gorgeous herbaceous beds, alpine houses, demonstration gardens. Considering we are nearly in November there’s still lots of colour from flowers and foliage.

It was pretty busy as it’s half term holidays for the local schools, it was nice too see so many children enjoying themselves in the garden and it was big enough to still feel peaceful.

We’re hoping to visit once a month, see how the garden changes over the year…and get some ideas for our own gardens. We were very good in the garden centre too, we were very tempted but we resisted, I am going to add some rusted metal dome shaped plant supports to my Christmas list though, they looked great and I think they would work really well with floppy peonies.

There’s a new RHS garden opened in Salford, near Manchester, so we might be having a trip over there sometime too!

Posted in Garden, Walking | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Brazilian Embroidery

I’ve occasionally seen work described as Brazilian embroidery on facebook but I’ve never known really what it entailed. Last week at Skipton Stitchers monthly meeting we had a mini-workshop run by one of our members, the lovely Claire Ketteman. She does regular stitching workshops in the area and is a great teacher.

Apparently Brazilian embroidery is so named not because it originated in Brazil but because the thread used was originally manufactured there. The thread is a rayon stranded thread, very silky and shiny, slippery to use for your usual embroidery, but brilliant for knots, as the rayon thread just slides into beautiful curls. The thread was used without being split so we did need a fairly chunky chenille needle.

Claire had designed a mini embroidery which covered the main knots, French knots, bullion knots and cast-on stitch. I think I’ve only done cast-on stitch once before but with clear demonstrations from Claire we all got the hang of them. Cast on stitch looks a bit like covering a couple of threads with buttonhole stitch, but it’s formed on the needle so you can make it into lovely curls, the yellow flower is in cast-on stitch.

Our piece of Brazillian embroidery is only little – a perfect size for a mornings workshop. I think I might make it into a pincushion or a needle case. It was great learning how to use the thread, so often I buy threads because they look gorgeous and then wonder how to use them!

If any of you are within striking distance of Skipton, we have an exhibition next weekend of work we created during lockdown. I’ve a few pieces on show, and there’s lots of amazing embroidery from all our members, all sorts of styles too, modern, traditional, abstract… the rainbow of squares will also be on show…

The exhibition is at Christchurch, Skipton, just over the bridge on the road towards Keighley. It’s on Friday and Saturday and should be worth a visit 🙂

May be an image of text that says 'SAONG STR Textile Exhibition by Skipton Stitchers Friday 29th and Saturday 30th October 2021 10.30am to 4pm Christ Church, Cross Street, Skipton, BD23 2AH To find out more about Skipton Stitchers you can find us online Blog: www.skiptonstitchersblog.blc Facebook: Skipton Stitchers Instagram: skiptonstitchers Email: skiptonstitchers@gmail.com Embroiderers' Guild www.embroiderersguild.com'
Posted in embroidery, Serendipity, Skipton Stitchers, Workshops | Tagged , , | 10 Comments