woebegone pines : a free sewing pattern

forlorn little tree

forlorn little tree

Woebegone pines, forlorn little trees who do not concern themselves with perfection.  These trees are all about heart and that particular magic that something made by hand possesses. I’ve made you a sewing pattern with three sizes: small – 3 inches,  medium – 4 inches,  and large – 6 inches (the little guy is my favorite). You can add a little trunk and base or just set them on their bottom. 

wobegone pines : materials

pattern notes:

The seam allowance is 1/4 inch. You could use a variety of fabrics – I’ve used cotton, linen. wool and felt – all worked well.

material list:

pdf pattern

fabric for the tree and scraps for patches

matching and contrasting  sewing thread ( I think cotton works best)

stuffing ( I like wool)

thin cotton batting (felt woks as a substitute)

pencil or disappearing fabric marker

sewing and embroidery needles

pins

chopstick for turning and stuffing

large bamboo skewer or similar pointy thing

paper and fabric scissors

wire cutters for snipping twigs

Elmer’s  glue

glue stick

twigs for trunks

bases – I used little wood discs and drilled holes – or  you can find spools, wood beads and other pre -drilled shaped at any large craft or art supply store.

wobegone pines : steps 1 and 2

1. Cut out the cardboard base and one or two squares of corrugated cardboard – smaller than the circle.

2. If you plan to add a trunk to your tree glue one of the corrugated pieces to the center of the circle. ( If you are making  the large tree glue two – one on top of the other).

wobegone pines : steps 3 and 4

3. Use a glue stick to attach  the circle to cotton batting and cut out.  Let the glued cardboard dry completely.

4.  Pin the tree and tree bottom patterns to a single layer of fabric – cut out one of each.

wobegone pines : steps 5 and 6

5. Fold the tree piece in half (right sides together) and mark the seam lines on the tree and circle. Stitch the seam –  marked in red. Leave the center of the seam open – about 1/3  of it – enough to fit the cardboard circle through later.

6. Snip the seam allowance at the top and bottom of the opening, fold over and press.

wobegone pines : steps 7 and 8

7. Stitch the tree bottom to the tree – matching the edges as you go. I don’t find it necessary to pin the circle for the little trees but I do for the largest.  Stitch all the way around – maintaining  a 1/4 inch seam allowance and making small, tight stitches.

8.  Clip little notches around the bottom – being careful not to snip your seam.

trees_9_10

9.  Snip the top corner of seam allowance off.

10. Use the chopstick to turn the tree right side out.

wobegone pines : steps 11 and 12

11. Use your exact knife to poke through the cardboard and batting – make two cuts – an X in the center.  Use a bamboo skewer and chopstick to enlarge the hole – just enough for your twig.

12.  I also used my exacto knife to taper the end of my twig – to make inserting it easier.  Check to make sure your twig fits and then remove it.

wobegone pines : steps 13 and 14

13.  Insert the cardboard – flannel side down. (If you are not adding a trunk skip steps 14 – 17and I suggest putting a couple pennies inside the bottom before stuffing for weight -add the weight only if you are skipping the trunk).

14. Use a needle or pin to feel for the hole in the cardboard – mark the spot.

wobegone pines : steps 15 and 16

15.  Use your exacto knife to poke a hole for inserting the twig – couple little slits – just big enough.

16. Push in the twig.

wobegone pines : steps 17 and 18

17. Open up the tree and use a paintbrush to add a little glue to the twig and cardboard. If necessary use pins to keep the fabric away form the glue while it dries. Let the glue dry completely.

18. Stuff your tree.

wobegone pines : steps 19 and 20

19. Whip or ladder stitch your tree closed – I’m not worried about visible stitches on my forlorn little tree so I’m making no attempt to conceal them.

20. Use a large needle to move stuffing towards the bottom edge and anyplace else where you want to adjust the shape.

wobegone pines : steps 21 and 22

21. Add some patches and stitches for maximum woebegoneness.

22. And finally add a base – you could use spools or wood beads. I drilled holes in little disks and used the exacto  knife to taper the twig so it fits snuggly.

hello little tree

 

 

a miniature world, inhabited by stylish ants

ant world

dusting : fortuny ants

Meet the Beaumonts, fifth avenue’s most stylish anthropods.

To celebrate Fortuny’s 2016  Micromondo collection (which means micro–world in Italian) I created a miniature world of metropolitan, domestic bliss inhabited by sophisticated ants with a taste for midcentury furniture and modern art. They also really love christmas ( stay tuned – that will be part 2).

ant world

ant world

ant world

ant world

The ants are 6 inches tall and made from the Micromondo collection.  I made furniture, drapery etc. – everything a fully appointed ant penthouse needs – from the new wools, velvets and linens as well as many of the classic patterns – the blue and bronze above is one of my favorites. I also made ant art – I got super into the art making – and family portraits – lots of tiny details.

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mr. socks : a new sewing pattern!

hello mr. socks!

hello mr. socks!

He’s a mischievous cat….. I’m so happy to share the sewing pattern with you today – you can find it in the shop right here.  And in celebration of his debut when you purchase mr. socks with any additional  pattern or patterns before Monday you can use discount code: socks  For 20% off your entire purchase. The discount will expire at Midnight this Sunday  12/4.

PS – If you are purchasing on Etsy the code is HELLOSOCKS

mr. socks : sewing pattern

mr. socks takes a stroll

What adventures will your mr. socks have? I’d love to see! You can email photos to me at info at ann wood handmade dot com, share them on flickr or use #mrsocks on instagram.

I get pretty excited when I finish a sewing pattern. They take forever and parts of it are deeply tedious. Usually at some point along the way it feels like it will never be done and I have to swim through a torturous spell.  And then all of a sudden there’s a surge of momentum and it’s done.  I’m going to bask in the glow of completion for a day and then dive in to making another – what do you think it should be?

 

mr. socks sewing pattern

miniature poinsettias – a preview of something new

mini paper poinsettias

Miniature fascinates me – we’ve talked about it before. It fascinates and delights me – takes me to that marvelous creative place where time and self-consciousness completely disappear – I can lose myself for hours and hours. I began to create a very particular miniature world, with very particular inhabitants more than a year ago and I can finally show it to you next week. It’s been one of my most favorite projects of all time.

Just lately that little world got ready for the holidays – and of course it needed poinsettias, pink and white poinsettias.

mini paper poinsettias

mini poinsettia

They are made from crepe paper  – I painted it just the right shade of pink. Tip – adding water and rubbing alcohol to acrylic paint makes it penetrate crepe paper much better – you can get clear, bright and translucent color.

There are a couple previews of the recently festivised version of the project below and more to come next week.

mini poinsettia

miniature fortuny shopping bag

PS – The vinegar, citrus, clove cleaner I made is awesome – smells good – and works great. I’m pretty pleased.

PPS – The mr. socks pattern is imminent  – probably tomorrow – just finished up a couple last minute reshoots today – crammed into the one corner of my place where I can get some light on a rainy day.

mr. socks pattern shoot

simple, happy things, progress on the mr. socks pattern and new tiny dolls

citrus clove cleaner

I don’t bake anymore- at least not very often – because I can’t control myself around baked goods.  At all.  So I have to limit my exposure.  One of the things I miss about it are the fabulous smells – especially this time of year.  Cloves are a favorite and lately I started simmering cloves in a crock pot – I throw in citrus peels too if I have them.  I tried adding cinnamon – that was a little too much for me.  But the cloves are magnificent – a warm, clean smell –  just enough – and I’m surprised at how much it affects my mood.   It’s such a simple and pretty much free thing that brings me a lot of happiness.

citrus clove cleaner

And if some is good – more is better.  I’m experimenting with homemade clove citrus cleaner.  I Googled recipes and it could not be simpler to make – add white vinegar  and citrus peels to a jar along with optional spices – cloves in my case because of the new clove obsession.

Full disclosure – I don’t know if it works yet.  My jar has been sitting for about a week and I’ll test it out in about another.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.  Have you tried this?  I clean with vinegar often but hate the smell – so I thought it was worth a shot.  Plus it looks pretty.

Another simple and happy and pretty inexpensive thing that brings me lots of joy  – my plants.  Potted plants and stuff I pick up in the park and plop in water – sprigs of white pine etc.  Most of the potted plants were given to me or found abandoned on the sidewalk in Brooklyn. The one exception is the Norfolk Pine. I spent 30 bucks on it  3 years ago to serve as a christmas tree.  It will again this year too – I give it a shower about every ten days and coffee every once in a while – it loves it.

happy pllants

happy pllants

In other news – the mr. socks pattern is getting close – maybe next week or right after Thanksgiving.  You can sign up here if you’d like and email when the patterns is available.

There are a couple mr. socks prototypes in the shop right now along with several new green shoed tiny ladies.  Also – this is the last time the tiny dolls will be offered at their current price – there is just too much time in the fully wardrobed little dolls so if I do make more there will be a significant price increase.

P. S.  If you’ve been making your own tiny rag dolls from the pattern stay tuned for a winter coat pattern coming soon.

mr. socks

mr socks in a box

fist full o dollies

 

bundled up birds and paper mache teacups at anthropologie

ann wood anthropologie teacups

I’ve been wanting to tell you about this for ages. I began working with Anthopologie last fall on a couple projects for this holiday season – paper mache teacups and bundled up little fabric birds.

ann wood anthropologie birds

They are both items that are near and dear to me and I have a particularly long history with the little birds – it began more than ten years ago. I walked into Anthropologie on Fifth Avenue today and there they were – lots and lots of familiar little birds looking back at me. It was a little disorienting and it’s kind of a funny thing to think about – how many little birds and teacups there are in the world now.  I am not someone who thinks in quantity.  I think its a good thing though  – a good thing that there is a place in the bigness and busyness of the world for paper mache teacups and earnest little fabric birds.

ann wood anthropologie teacups

There are two birds and two  teacups – one a souvenir of Paris and the other New York City. The insides have festive stripes and dots and are sparkly.

ann wood anthropologie teacups

I had fun making them – loved painting the illustrations for the cups.  You can find the birds and teacups online and in stores – you can find Anthro’s entire ornament assortment for this year here (there is lots of fun stuff – including an oyster by Tamar Mogendorff).

Or if you like you can make your own. Find the pattern for the teacups here and the little bird sewing pattern here.

morning stitches

morning stitches

morning stitches

I like to sew by hand, early, as soon as there’s a little light. Its quiet, peaceful, reliable and slow and it steadies me.

fancy rag doll

I make black coffee and I stitch for a couple hours – often little things and usually on the couch, by the windows, keeping the house plants company.

morning stitches

I love it especially this time of year, the old radiators start to clank and moan and make that steam heat smell I love; I stitch and stitch and listen to the world starting up again.

turnips, mosquitos and the big bad wolf

stitched turnip

* shop announcement the new things below and some suprises are in the shop now –  Friday 11/4

stitched turnip

A heroic root vegetable – the majestic turnip. I love making these – rutabagas and turnips – the stitching is meandering and meditative and I like experimenting with textures and layering.  I have found that antique table linens are ideal for making the shape – the cotton is thick and there is a little sheen. I layer sheer cottons – often pieces of antique kimonos and lots of stitching  to add color and more texture including the  rough edge where the leaves were chopped off. That’s my favorite part.

stitched turnip and rutabaga still life

PS – I’m teaching a class on this very subject in the spring in NYC – at the Sweet Paul Makerie.

And do you remember the wolf? He is among a little group of things started over the summer that finally got finished and photographed this week.

bb wolf

He doesn’t look so bad…. He looks sort of pleasant.

big bad wolf doll

But do not trust him – there is a dark side.

tiny rag doll problems

And he is only one of the problems a tiny rag doll can run into around here.  I finished 5 new mosquitos too – 2 are going on special missions but the other three Edwardian girls will be in the shop tomorrow. Please meet the ladies:

edwardian mosquito

edwardian mosquito

edwardian mosquito

tiny rag doll nation

tiny rag doll by dawn

tiny rag doll by dawn

The  tiny rag doll pattern was not something I planned on or saw coming but I’m so glad I followed the impulse – it has been and continues to be a very happy thing.  A happy thing for me to make and a happy thing to share. I think it strikes a cord – a point of connection so many of you that show up here have in common with me and each other. It’s the kind of sewing I grew up doing – slow hand stitching.  There is sweetness, simplicity and nostalgia about it.  I came across this thought from Dawn – a tiny rag doll maker – she puts it perfectly:

I love the quiet peacefulness of stitching by hand, using a thimble, putting the tiny pieces together just so.  I feel a connection to countless other hand stitchers who came before me.  I think it comes through in the dolls.

The doll above – forward looking and ready for adventure is by Dawn ( as well as the next 3) and below I’ll share some other wonderful tiny rag doll work by customers. You can find more and add  your own to the ann wood handmade by you Flickr group – there are lovely things happening there – all sorts of ideas and details and variations being shared (including adorable crocheted wigs – a pattern from another fabulous tiny doll maker Beth – scroll all the way to the bottom of her page for the link).

I think it’s the perfect moment for a tiny doll revolution – the world needs more tiny handmade rag dolls  – an army of hand stitched little ladies who mean business.

P.S. If you’ve made a tiny rag doll and have details, variations or tips you’d like to share please do in the comments or email me and I’ll add it to the post.tiny rag doll by dawn

tiny rag doll by dawn

tiny rag doll by dawn

Below – tiny rag dolls by Karen:

tiny rag dolls by karen

 tiny rag dolls by Karen

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pigeon progress and the glorious, inviting emptiness of my work table

pigeon drawing

I’ve been seeing pigeons in my dreams for weeks – not real pigeons – stitched pigeons – they insist on being made. You know how pigeons are – always insisting on things.  I have to trick myself into starting a new shape – I love the process when I’m in it but there is always anticipatory anxiety – it’s knowing I have a series of failures ahead of me. I don’t mind them as they happen – it feels like process, progress and discovery,  I get immersed in it. But still, even though I know that – starting – taking the very first step – is always hard, even for stuff I’m pretty excited about.  So I start with a baby step and it’s almost always the same. I give myself the gift of putting it off for one more day but it goes on the list for the next day – first thing. I also gather what I need to start so it is handy and ready to go.  I usually wake up ready to dive in.  Who knows what magic my subconscious works overnight or maybe just the simple acts of putting it on the list and collecting the supplies gets me past the onerous starting line.

pigeon drawing

New creatures start with a drawing. I like charcoal on drafting velum – messy and spontaneous.  From there I can trace out a profile and start to guess at gussets.  Next I sew up and stuff a series of drafts – marking them up with sharpies and making adjustments. The first draft was less pigeon and more small sad turkey with issues….. I made about a half a dozen more,  making a little progress on each and eventually getting close to the shape I want – the pigeon shape below.

pigeon progress

I’m pretty happy  with this shape – it needs a little more fullness in the breast so I’ll probably do one more draft and then try it in good fabric. Hopefully pigeons will appear over the weekend.

One more note on starting – I’ve been doing something new for a while and it’s working well for me. Historically – I have kept things on my worktable – tools, notebooks, fabrics – a perimeter of stuff.  As an experiment I got rid of it all – found other nearby  homes for everything.  I also began emptying the table of whatever I’m working on at the end of the day.  It seems counter productive if I’m just going to work on the same thing in the morning but it has a magic effect.  Emptying the table ends the day. It feels official.  And when I wake up there is just my list and an invitingly empty space.  It feels like a fresh start. I make clear and conscious choices about what to do without an overwhelm hang-over from the previous day.  I start the day more peacefully and feeling in charge and since I work by myself I am, technically, supposed to be the one in charge.  Putting the stuff away is extra work but the benefits have out weighed that.

And please meet Edmond. A contemplative rat – like his brethren the mosquitos, pigeons and spiders – one of the less loved creatures.

edmond : rat