5 things bringing me joy and community questions

fish and owl ornaments in progress

small sewing

The fish are getting stuffed with wool and dried lemon verbena from the garden. It dried really well and just a little mixed with wool adds lots of scent. I’m all about a fresh lemony smell. Starting little gifty items early makes me feel like an over-achiever. For now. This feeling will fall apart by November first and I’ll be in a holiday induced panic for weeks.

collection of small cotton prints stacked on my cutting table

fabric score

One of those “start the car!!” moments. Guilford has a couple great church thrift sales every year and I made a major fabric score. That’s yardage people!  And the prints are perfect for the tiny doll.  Little variety packs in autumnal shades will be in the shop next – week-ish.

frog rag doll lounging on a blanket in fall leaves wearing a miniature sweater

sweata weatha

These guys are made from the free frog pattern (the sweater was a gift).  I sure do love making something and then taking it outside for a photoshoot.  You can checkout a video version here.

And you can show me you what your frogs are up to be using #annwoodpattern on instagram or emailing a photo to info at ann wood handmade dot com.  There will be another exciting image sharing option coming soon – scroll to the bottom of this post for more.

 

spooky books

It’s an annual event for my friend Katy and me. This year the official picks are: Frankenstein – Mary Shelley, which I have somehow never read, and the 70’s title (I have a particular love of movies and books made in the 70’s) is Ghost Story by Peter Straub. I’m super into both.  Ghost Story is not available new but I found it at the library and used on ebay. It’s also available in ibooks.  I remember Ghost Story being on my Mom’s night stand a million years ago. Sometimes she would let me read her books with black crayon redactions but this one was entirely forbidden…

a crow wing in progress- feathers pinned in place

crow sew-along

The first ever sew-along (crow sewing pattern) has been a big surprise. There are way more participants than expected and awesome crows are emerging. The real magic (and biggest surprise) has been in the facebook group. There are more than 400 crow makers in the community and it is a supportive, fun, self-sufficient and friendly group. Experienced sewers are helping beginners and all kinds of ideas for fabulous crow details are turning up. Thanks very much to everybody for making it great. The wing photo above is by Heather on instagram.

textil mushrooms in the hands that made them

stitch club

For people who aren’t on social media having a place to share your images has been a problem for ages. The success of our first sew-along has lit a new fire under me to fix that. The ann wood handmade community, stitch club, is currently, officially in the works. I‘d love to know what you would like from that community. Some ideas are sew-alongs, project challenges, maybe make the scrap festival a more interactive event? Your thoughts and suggestions are very welcome. The fine print – at the moment I’m planning on this being a free community at least to start. If it ends up working out I’ll have to figure out how to pay for it and it will likely move to freemium – meaning membership is free but there are also classes or group events available to purchase. If it does’t work out the way I’m hoping I’ll delete the whole thing and we’ll never speak of it again (just kidding- I’ll keep looking for a solution that works for us).

The community site is in progress now, it’s currently top secret but If you want to try it out add please click here to sign up.

57 Comments

  1. Heather Smith

    The black crayon redactions are cracking me up. Somewhere someone is reading a book from the free pile and all of the spicy bits and curses are blacked out. My grandmother was the horror reader. I was allowed to read Stephen King at a young age. It was probably a bad idea. Thanks for using my wing photo! I’m enjoining the community and the motivation to keep going.

    • Thanks so much Heather, I love all you do. And I had early S king exposure too. Maybe that’s how I ended up so dark… Thanks so much for joining the crow-along!

  2. Tracy S. Mahl

    I would enjoy a Freemium! Getting into a stitch group is on my to do list and I enjoy your creativity so much!!! Thanks so much. Tracy

  3. Yes to stitch club! And if anyone can figure out how to add more hours to the day in order to do more stitching, I’m for that too.

  4. Micki Sparr

    I’ve been enjoying the crow sew-along so much! So positive, fun and encouraging. So much of social media is filled with snark (or worse). This has been blessedly free of negativity. Thank you to all who make it so.

  5. I read Ghost Story when I was young(er). Ruined me for horror for life!
    Love the group idea as I don’t “do” social media.
    Love that your frog is cozy for autumn♡
    Thank you, Ann, for your kindness and generosity in all you do. You are a lovely bean♡

    • Thanks so much Sarita! That’s pretty much what I’m going for – lovely bean. I’m almost done with Ghost Story and I’ll be sad when it’s over – so good!

  6. Whatever comes from you is special for me. I love the idea of a stitch club, sounds exciting.

  7. Joan Coats

    Count me in with the stitch club! I just put both your book selections on hold at hour library. I’m a Halloween freak. That said, the crow is fitting right in!!
    Thank you for your unique method of teaching. So good.

  8. Looking forward to your stitch club community. Love your little dolls and stitchy things!

  9. The Halloween birds are darling, but I always need more time than I think especially for Christmas crafting! Will you have holiday ideas available soon? Thanks, love your work.

  10. Would love you join your stitch club, I’m new to your work and creative workand it makes me smile! So bring it on!

  11. Ann Louise Chandler

    I am in love with Ann Wood’s artistry! I thought I was fairly creative, until I met her! I guess I am still “fairly” creative, just not very. I am not terribly fond of crows or other big, scary birds, but through an old friend, I have become very fond of owls. This friend and I exchange anything with an owl on it at birthday times and Christmas. Salt shakers, pot holders, Christmas tree ornaments (that get hung on doorknobs or cabinet knobs.) It’s always fun to get a package and wonder what sort of owl will emerge from THIS one! Needless to say, I can’t wait for the Owl Sew-along to happen. I have been sorting old fabrics and have a pretty good collection of crow fabrics, but I think I will save those until a more cheerful time in my life. Owls make me laugh, crows make me shudder. This year, I need to laugh. So, now I need to sort for owl colors, and textures. I want yellow eyes for mine! Shiny ones.

    Do any of you feed birds successfully? I moved to Tucson, AZ three years ago, and when I put out song-bird and hummingbird feeders in my yard I was inundated by pigeons and doves, who stole everything and drove the songbirds away. This never happened in New England! Not to this extent, anyhow.

    Have a great day! Love and Peace from,

    • Katy Murphy

      Hey Ann! I’m in Tucson, too! Also a big fan of Ann’s creativity and generous spirit, and owls and crows and most birds! We have a number of feeders in the yard and get a wide variety of visitors; goldfinches, sparrows, curve-billed thrashers, cactus wrens, towhees, a cardinal crew, hummingbirds and yes, too many doves! There are also Chihuahuan ravens around, and a few hawks who do help keep the doves in check. Love our desert!

      • Katy Murphy

        Forgot to share that we get most traffic at a big cylindrical suet feeder, and thistle feeders for the finches. I put out fruit and nuts sometimes, and have been known to do a happy dance when Bullock’s orioles stop by!

  12. Hello, Ann. I love all your cute little animals, and other stuffed toys. But those frogs with their nice little sweaters and scarves are the bomb. So cute! I also love the story of the black crayon redactions. I’ve read both stories and watched the movies years ago too, and loved them both. Hoping you and your family have a scary, but happy and safe Halloween. Jo-Anne

  13. Ruth Hoefert

    I am not stitching much right now, paper crafting is my favorite. I am fighting to get out of a slump right now. I love reading Anne’s posts, they are an encouragement.

  14. Stitch club sounds very fun! I liked the exchange you sponsored in the winter of 2021, when you e mailed us the e mail of another interested person and we exchanged scraps. I would love to do that again, I met a wonderful pen friend.

  15. Hi, Ann! I always love your stuff… and I’d love to make one of those mushrooms! Are there instructions anywhere?
    I’d love to participate in your stitch club. (I’m not on social media, not sure if that matters…?)
    You always inspire. Thank you!

    • Hi Carolyn – sure- there is a mushroom pattern in the shop – booklet or pdf. And nope – you don’t need to be on any social media to join the stitch club – news coming soon!

  16. Joan (Too!)

    I would definitely be interested in a stitch club. I especially like the idea of project challenges, such as those based on specific themes. I had proposed something like that last year to our embroidery guild chapter as they were looking for ideas to spur more involvement from members. Unfortunately, it got shot down as “too unwieldy,” a response I didn’t understand at all.

    Additionally, I appreciate your looking at different ways to share things outside of social media. Although I belong to a few select groups on Facebook, and wouldn’t mind joining a group you put together as part of your stitch club idea, Instagram has become so problematic for a few creative friends that I’ve been reluctant to set up an account there, or, for that matter, on a few of the other platforms.

    On a much happier note, I always love your newsletters/blog posts! If they show up with a bunch of other newsletters, I usually save yours for last to read as I always enjoy it that much!!

  17. Is there a way to join the Facebook group? I bought the crow pattern (and owl) years ago but haven’t made either one…. Not too savvy about online groups but sounds very motivating. Any tips on how to join??

  18. I just finished reading The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub. I haven’t read The Ghost Story, and the black crayon redacting is too funny! I just got my crow wings and tail sewn today, and now I’m pondering which fabric for what feather. It is so much fun!

  19. Love, love, love all things stitchery, tho I haven’t had time for much. I just got the crow pattern and I have NO fabric. I used to live on the Connecticut shoreline right next door to Guilford. Wish I knew about you then, Ann! Love that place! And now we’ve moved to the glorious Pacific Northwest…. and are neighbors with a million crows!! Seriously, on my way home from work, at dusk hundreds, maybe thousands of crows go to roost at the University of WA at Bothell. It’s a local phenomenon. Very distracting while I drive by Lake Washington with these beautiful birds flying low, overhead. So, tho I’m not working on a crow… yet, I am thoroughly enjoying all the comments, creativity, and encouragement on the FB group and Instagram. I’d love a stitchery group! You all are amazing!

  20. Jane L Plant

    I used to put a post-it note over passages in books I didn’t want my daughter to read. I think most of the time she honored the deletion, but I’m not sure she did all the time. Oh, well. I tried. 🙂

  21. Hazel knight

    I’m really inspired by the crow a long and sewing club would be brilliant

  22. A Stitch Club is a great idea. Making the Scrap Festival interactive would be so much fun!!
    I love all your ideas Ann. Whatever you decide I’m in. I just love seeing all your creative ideas.

  23. Sharon Stanley

    I love the stitch club idea. I wanted to join the crow stitch along but feared my sewing skills would not fly in the class and well, grounded crows in Fall would be such an embarrassment I’d toss my needle forever, so stitch club would allow me to pick, choose and learn Yay!

  24. Renée Fisher

    YES to a stitch club!!!
    A couple of thoughts:

    An Exchange component where Sewists, Makers, Stitchers (name to be determined?) could be matched up (once a month?) to send each other a small hand-stitched item

    An on-going scrap or grab-bag component- maybe we make up little stashes of remnants, post pics, and can connect with each other to purchase, donate or exchange

    A tutorial on how to make a pattern from an idea

    A Discoveries section where we can share links to others making small, wonderful things

    A monthly Photo contest using our creations in amusing settings or possibly a monthly theme. The prize could just be “bragging” rights (or better yet – one of your FABULOUS little paintings!) With permission, these photos could also be collected for a book or calendar ( Ann Wood Stitch Club 2024 Calendar, for example)

    A yearly online retreat with guest teachers

  25. Lynn Wooten-Bartee

    Renee’s comment about how to make a pattern from an idea would be very useful- I’d love to learn that skill, Ann- How ’bout it?

  26. Hi Ann. I’m enjoying the crow along and would delight in a stitch club with you and fans. Please add me to the list.

  27. Love the idea of a stitch club. Need community to help get me started on project and keep me going to completion.

  28. Claudia Peterson

    Thank you for coming up with the stitch club idea. You are so generous with your time, and I would definitely participate.

  29. Joanie Wiebe

    I was so happy to find you & follow your sewing adventures Ann.
    I’m seeing my crow – I haven’t posted a photo yet – I’m not a very proficient sewer!
    But I do enjoy the challenge & learning to make more art or 3D style sewing – instead of flat pillows or even clothes.

    Thank goodness Ann for this opportunity – I look forward to more sew alongs in the future.

  30. I would love to join a stitch club! Ease of access to it is key for me. I am also a librarian and I love pulling the spooky books for the October display!

    I am way behind on my crow, but I have enjoyed the interactions so far. My sister is coming to visit for Halloween and I am hoping we can get cracking on the crows. I will be dyeing more fabric for them. Cheers!

  31. Let me start by saying THANK YOU!!!
    You are so creative and kind with your creations …
    A stitch club is a fantastic idea,
    and I would enjoy so much being involved

    I wanted to stitch the crow but time lately seems to slip by much too fast , I do have all my fabric and my pattern handy, so inspiring seeing what everyone is doing

    We just read The Shining by Stephen King, and are now looking for another, not too sure if I’ve read Ghost Story … off to check my library 🙂

  32. dana.montroy

    I love the idea of the stitch club. I have already added my name to the Google Doc. I am also wanting to join the crow stitch along. I am terribly behind because I’ve had to have a major water leak repaired and its kept me out of my space. I am hoping it isn’t too late to start. I have just submitted my request to join the FB group. Thank you for making this a lovely, inspiring space!

  33. Yay, Stitch Club! And I LOVE Frankenstein! The story is such a cultural trope, but when you read the book, it is a revelation (at least it was for me).

  34. Bishopstoneyarns

    I really love your work. Thankyou for sharing your thoughts with us. Your frogs are so cute, love them.

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