All posts by annwood

the crow sewing pattern

get the pattern

He’s about 9 inches tall and 11 inches from top of head to tip of tail. The pattern has everything you need to make an awesome crow: learn to sew the sculptural shape of his body, carve a beak from a twig, make wire talons and create shimmery layer of feathers.

crow made from black textiles

I used calico for the example crow in the pattern. I like the combination of a sweet traditional print with more realistic details,  sort of celebrating the make believe. The other fabrics, for his feathers, are scraps of garments in different shades of black.

The sheen also varies. Incorporating fabrics that are flat and shiny and satin in the feathers emphasizes the layers. It makes a huge difference and gives crow -ish iridescence and depth.
Thrifted and antique garments are a great source of material for crows. I’ve always loved using really old garments for details. Pleats are particularly useful – you can incorporate them into the feathers for extra interest and dimension. And antique clothes often have mends and other stitch details that add character. The downside of very old garments is they are often fragile but fragile works for feathers since they aren’t part of the structural sewing.

Perhaps my most frequently asked question over the years has been “where do you find antique clothes to work with.” One of my best sources for Edwardian and Victorian clothes is Ebay. In the pattern I share a specific link (resources page) that’s helpful. I look for damaged garments – perfect for cutting up and not too expensive. And I check often – finding great stuff requires persistence.

In the not super old department thrifted suits are great – there’s tons of fabric and the weight and colors are good. Pin stripes would be awesome for a crow.

I took him down to the Henry Whitfield Stone House Museum for his beauty shots. It was the perfect environment.

get the pattern

I hope you make crows!! If you do you can share images on instagram  – please use :  #annwoodpattern or email photos to me at info at ann wood handmade dot com

5 spring project ideas to try

projects - apron, sachets, cleaning cloths herb marker rocks

projects - apron, sachets, cleaning cloths herb marker rocks

Besides being customarily fired up by spring I’m getting ready to move again this summer. It’s a tiny move – upstairs in the same building but still – all the packing of all the things… Again. On the up side it’s going to be the sunniest and biggest place I’ve ever lived in and I’m pretty excited about that. My plants are too. And I get to keep the tiny garden.

Last year was my rookie garden year. I got a late start (after moving in mid June) and weeks in a hurricane dropped a huge tree on it. Many lessons were learned though and I’m excited about getting the full season this year. I find growing anything super exciting. Both of these little projects are in my plans:

1. Herb markersa super sweet and simple idea from the always inspring august wren.

2. Make a harvest/ foraging apronfind a diy here and another here. I have to make it. It’s illegal to have a garden in Connecticut without one.

And of course new, upstairs me will be extremely tidy and perfectly organized at all times. I’ve got a couple projects planned in the cleaning and organizing department that involve using stuff I already have:

3. Cleaning cloths – I’m using a towel I’ve been hauling around for decades and an old sweatshirt combined with cotton and linen scraps. Find a sewing tutorial here.

4. I love this scrap rug idea but I’m not feeling rug size ambition about it. I feel more trivet size ambition about it. It would also make an awesome bag. Again though I think I’ll test drive it at a trivet or place mat size. Find the diy here.

5. You know I love a good smell. These sachets are simple and easy and I love the aesthetic choices made here. The free chicken sewing pattern would also make a great sachet. I’m going to grow some lemon verbena and dry it for filling them. Lemon verbena sachets will be great in upstairs me’s perfectly organized closet.

PS – bonus idea :
I don’t know why this reusable coffee filter idea has never occurred to me before, especially in coffee filter emergencies. So easy.

What spring ideas and projects are you fired up about? Have you got a favorite spring soup?

Let us know  in the comments please.

 

           

15 years of blogging

How did 15 years happen?

I gave myself a project on 2006. And it got me moving. So many ideas that had been rolling around in my head started to appear on my work table. It felt like I swallowed a magic productivity pill but it wasn’t magic, one thing really does lead to another, if you let it.

ann wood sketchbook : perfection

The biggest lesson learned in the past 15 years for me is that done really is better than perfect. Done gets you to feedback, done gets you to the next thing and the next thing etc.. My favorite posts are all about tricking myself into doing things, fighting with the voice that says not to try. To celebrate 15 years I’ve gathered some favorites.

when it all goes wrong :  fling your soul upon the gloom

when you’re searching for ideas : 30 minute figures

when you’re really, really stuck : harnessing the power of your curiosity to get unstuck

when you just can’t get started : overcoming obstacles

dealing with distraction :  building the focus muscle


What keeps you moving? How do you get unstuck? 

Tell us in the comments and as always thanks for showing up!

ann

5 things bringing me joy this week

March sure does have a sensation. And it’s not even technically here yet. But the days are already gloriously longer and blustery.  In addition to spring seeming like a real possibility here are a few more things that are bringing me joy right now:

1. Recreational ironing.  Which led to recreational sorting. Which led to the next item on the list.

2. Making to-go sewing projects. Way ahead of time. So far I have color coordinated hexies, tiny doll clothes, and lots of mending (one of my favorite road projects).  Pro tip: medium gray thread is super handy for travel sewing. Color-wise it works with most things and it’s way easier just to bring one color.

The most urgent mending project is the eternal shorts. They started as pants and have been on the job for 20 plus years.

Making a bunch of projects completely organized ahead of time makes me feel like an overachiever. I can just grab whichever one I like to take to the park or the beach or for the train. And I’m not done yet, I’d love to have a whole summer of projects, lined up and ready to go.

If you need project bags find a sweet bag tutorial here and a needle book is super handy too – find the pattern here (and the little flower pin cushion on the needle book above here – you can make it in about 3 minutes.).

little bird sewing pattern

 

3. Birds in the world – A customer sent me some amazing images this week of the library she created for the birds she made with the little bird sewing pattern.

Everything about it is detailed and delightful. So full of joy.

From the maker Jennifer : “I have become an expert maker of tiny books! Many are the same books that I have in my own bookcase, including a full set of Nancy Drew mysteries that match the ones I received for Christmas when I was eight years old. Now, I’ve been making tiny plants out of things in my recycling bin, so they may have a garden soon.”

 4. Plants and pottery. Two things I can’t get enough of. And they work well together. I’m propagating new plants from cuttings and making pots for them.

5. Working on the tiny rag doll world.  I decided to downsize her hearth. The original one was huge and ended up being overwhelming for the house – functionally, spiritually and aesthetically.  The new mini one feels right and  It’s easy to make (cardboard, egg cartons spackle and paint),  there’s a giant tutorial here.

What’s bringing  you joy right now?  What are you sewing for spring? Do you secretly love to iron?

the 2021 scrap festival : 11 + ideas for your scraps

Consider this magnificent scrap, I’ve been holding onto it for 50 years or so. Loosely rendered daffodils on cotton, one of my all time favorites. It was my grandmother’s dress. This last little bit will be a couple hexies, there is pretty much, just barely, enough. I like scraps. My beginnings are in the mountains of scraps my mother kept in the attic. Giant garbage bags (seriously, the jumbo ones) bursting with mostly cotton prints.

For the third year in a row, in February, we celebrate scraps. A little extra. I’ve rounded up a bunch of scrap friendly projects and made you a new free sewing pattern.

Plus a swap!

There is a limit of 150 participants. I’ll send matches out by monday 2/15 and packages should go out by monday 2/22. The swap is open to everybody. Please make sure you read and follow all the rules.

Find the details and sign up here.

The swap is full and signups are closed.
** All partners have been matched and emails sent!

stacks of cotton print scraps arranged by color

11 + project ideas for your scraps :

 

minimalist mice pattern

1. Minimalist mice (or bunnies) by wild olive. You could turn the sweet, simple  design into all sorts of pocket creatures.  The combination of raw linen and small charming prints is lovely.

2.  This needle and thread case. I shared this in the newsletter last year and I think it is the most popular project to date.

scraps pieced into edge binging

3. Scrap seam binding.  Checkout this easy way to make seam binding from scraps. I use tons of seam binding for mending and I love the way this pieced together stuff looks.

4. Angry apple cores – my newest free pattern – disgruntled and mostly eaten fruit.

quilt top assembled from scraps

5. Scrap quilts. This collection is impressive and inspiring and it might motivate me to finish one of the many scrap quilt tops I have begun and abandoned.

6. For your wool and felt scraps – an embroidered scissor keeper.

7.  Fabric sailboats – they twirl in the breeze and cast lovely shadows plus they are great for your bigger scraps –

hexie and log cabin potholder piecing

8. Hexie-logcabin  pieced potholders from sewshecan.

9. Stitched envelopes. so many possibilities for these. Find a DIY for cotton envelopes here and   and a wool or felt version here.

10. And you will of course need sweet stamps.

11. For tiny scraps, classic sarubobo plush.

And so many more! I added  a bunch of other scrap projects last year – lucky fish, minimalist chickens and a little owl ornament among them –  find them all on the free pattern page.

Do you have a great idea for a scrap project? Do you have a half finished quilt top in your closet?! Let me know in the comments and happy 2021 scrap festival to you.

apple core sewing pattern

Valentines day is right around the corner and nothing says “Hey, I love you and thought of you” like an angry apple core you made yourself. Just saying. Plus I made you a free sewing pattern and everything. Say it with ragey, mostly eaten fruit this year.

Everybody’s in such a bad mood!

download the pattern sheet

You will also need:

  • cotton fabric scraps
  • a little wool felt for the stem
  • wool stuffing
  • a bamboo skewer
  • a chopstick
  • a basic sewing kit

apple core sewing pattern materials - fabric, stuffing and thread

1.  Cut out 3 center pieces and two top/bottom circles. Draw the seam allowance on the wrong side of all pieces – you can trace or use a ruler.  Mark one of the center pieces with the dots on the pattern (this will be the opening for turning and stuffing). Cut out the stem and two leaf shapes.

2.  Flip one center piece (not the one with the dots) over and trace the face lightly on the right side of the fabric in  pencil. You can embroider the face at this point if you like. I prefer to embroider on finished stuff shapes.

3. Pin the center piece with the face to the center piece with the opening marks together as shown – right sides together (remember the face is on the right side of the fabric).  Stitch the seam that does not have the opening marked.

4. Open the pieces you just stitched so the right side of the fabric is facing you. Place the third center piece over the face piece and pin.

5. Sew the seam.

6. Pin the two remaining edges together and sew the seam- leaving open between the marks.

7. Make clips in the seam allowance at the opening marks. Be careful not to snip the seam.

8. Fold back the edges of the opening, press and baste each edge down – we will remove these stitches later.

Read More

the big 2020 review and plans for the new year

art and drawing supplies on a pink desk

let’s start with the first project of the new year:

Years ago I got a very old, wobbly, pink console table at a flea market in Brooklyn. Turning it into a place to make my little daily paintings was the first project of 2021. My current living situation (Guilford, Connecticut since June) is serviceable but I have not really made friends with it. The pink desk is the first thing that has made me feel at home, less disoriented in disorienting times.
It needed a thorough cleaning to brighten the odd pink paint and tightening the leg screws completely eliminated the wobble.

art and drawing supplies on a pink desk

Ritual and habit anchor me. And the pink desk adds to the painting ritual. They happen mostly in the evening, the last thing I do each day. Pretty much. I haven’t missed a day in two plus years. I love that it’s waiting for me. It removes an obstacle to beginning. Removing obstacles is super helpful when committing to practice, to building a habit.

art and drawing supplies on a pink desk

more on new year plans in a minute, first let’s look back

Amidst the swirling debacle that was 2020, two lifelong dreams were fulfilled.

You know I love a list. Partly because I like to look back and see what stuck and what didn’t. What plans turned into reality and what stayed in the someday folder. I made an intentionally audacious (audacious for me anyway) list in 2015.  Looking back at it now I’m surprised how much of it came true. It also pointed me back at some things I’d still like to accomplish and some I’m probably letting go of. Like surfing. Mostly cause I’m scared of sharks.

Two big items on the list happened this past summer:

I planted a garden and took a pottery class. The hurricane at the beginning of August dropped a huge tree on the little garden and pretty much wiped it out but still… some stuff survived (mostly herbs and radishes) and I got to play in dirt and ate stuff I grew myself. I also learned a lot about bunnies, bugs and deer…

3 ceramic handmade plates

The pottery class was at the Guilford Art Center over the summer. It took most of the ten week class for me to figure out what I want to make and learn even the basic rules of clay. I am swirling with ideas and all the energy of being a beginner.

hand holding a tiny ceramic mushroom

And I made a painting. I’ve been intending to bust out the mini scale of my painting work and experiment for a long time.  At the end of the year I made it a priority. It was an experience. I learned a lot, including that paint is expensive. It’s something I’ll continue to experiment with but at a less ambitious size unless I win the lottery.

blog and shop stuff

A few highlights : The Elegant (and sometimes nude) Rag doll pattern was released as well as 9 new free tutorials:

picnic bugs
wire doll house bed
overalls for the tiny rag doll and mr. socks
miniature paper hens
scrap flower garlands
chicken ornaments
owl ornaments
pin girls
lucky fish

mouse doll house tea party

My favorite project of the year was the mouse house. Made for joy. 100% Joy. And that’s my plan for 2021. Look for Joy. Indulge in and commit hard to things that bring Joy and let go of things that don’t.

Two of the big lessons from 2020 for me were:

1. Take nothing for granted.
2. I’m capable of more than I think.

Weeding out the things that don’t really bring Joy is harder than it sounds. But I can make it the first question. Put it at the top of the list when deciding what to spend time on, let it steer me. I think the daily painting practice helps with that. Showing up and listening to myself.

If you’re feeling up for a daily practice the 100 Day Project is a good opportunity to test drive one. The next round starts January 31st. Think of it as an opportunity to listen to yourself.

I’m still feeling around for my goals for this year. There are a few things I know for sure in the short term – in the next few weeks you will see a new sewing pattern (the crow), prints and notecards made from daily paintings and plans for the third annual international scrap festival.

Lots of other ideas are still swirling and percolating and I’m giving them room to do that. Building more time in my days to feel around for Joy.

creatures and dolls stitched by readers

It’s hard to choose what to share here, there is so much. And one of the ideas I have swirling around for this year is making it easier for you to share images with me and with each other.  It’s ambitious but I think it would be lovely to have our own community, a place for sharing what you make and ideas. And I think it adds to the charm of the patterns – you all come up with such sweet variations and details.  Does that idea appeal to you? You can let me know in the comments and I’ll keep you posted as I explore possibilities for that.

Checkout the reader made items below and you’ll also find some instagram feeds that I think will be right up your alley.

Love the color and fabric combinations in this songbird in progress by @summerkiser

*you can click the thumbnails for larger images

4.

Elegant and sometimes nude dolls with lots of reader added details.  Made for the the elegant rag doll sewing pattern.

1. @rukodelie_vesnushki

2. and 3. @marilinalittlecraft

4. @angelamarry1

Sweet tiny rag dolls! Full outfitted for adventure. Made from the tiny rag doll pattern and some of the free miss thistle society patterns.

1. @little.village.time
2. @each.of.these

The last free project of the year was a big hit.  There are lots of little Rocky inspired owls in the world now. Made from the Owl Ornament Pattern

1. @cjasews

2. @catsinthecupboard

3. @paper_thread

Chickens! by @cote_jardin28 I love the garland! Made from the minimalist chicken pattern.

I Love this songbird’s attitude and body language. It’s got lots of birdness. Made by @erinsloanprints  from the Songbird Sewing Pattern.

So dastardly! These ill tempered owls are by @erinpcf using the Dastardly Owl Pattern.

Dear Mr. Socks! All bundled up. The sweet coat is made from this free pattern.

1. @everbelles

2. @terrywilsonnecco

There are so many great things to see. You can checkout #annwoodpattern and #missthistlesociety  on instagram for more.

And please let me know what you think about making a community here- is it redundant? Does it sound interesting to you?

handmade christmas: oranges, tinsel and wax paper

making citrus slice ornaments

Simple and sweet. Low pressure. That’s what I’m looking for this year. Plus most of the Christmas stuff is at the bottom and back of all stored things. It seemed like a good idea when I moved in June but now digging it out is entirely unreasonable. I sure do love a Christmas tree though. And a festive smell. Making citrus slice ornaments delivered both. It was easy and I had fun doing it. The smell is exquisite.

making citrus slice ornaments

I followed this tutorial.  A couple notes: I sliced pretty thin and setting the timer was key. 175 degrees turning every hour worked well, my slices were done after four hours.

baking orange slices on a cookie sheet

A couple that were thicker were still a little soft and a couple of the lemon slices were overdone. I’ll eventually paint these with something shiny and clear for extra preservation.

orange slice ornaments on a norfolk pine christmas tree

I love the effect. They are super light and perfect for my norfolk pine who isn’t that into being decorated. I also had some wax paper snowflakes from last year, my mother’s glass bead garlands and some antique tinsel (I’ve been using the same tinsel for years).

I’m super happy with my super simple tree. For wrapping I’m sticking with painted craft paper with tags made from the paper trimmed off the daily paintings.  I go on and on about this here.  And the owl and chicken and fish make perfect additions for extra sweet packages.

hand painted brown paper and tags and ornament extras

I hope your holidays are peaceful and healthy and happy!

ann

owl ornament diy

And I’ve made you something!

These little owl ornaments are a perfect project for little scraps and they are quick to make. I’m making lots as gifts or to add to packaging.

They’re inspired by the little, lost Saw-whet owl who was accidentally transported to NYC with the giant tree for Rockefeller Center this year. He has since gotten some first aid and been returned to his forest.  What an ordeal for the little guy!

owl ornament sewing pattern

Let’s make little owl ornaments!

You probably already have everything you need. And they lend themselves to batch production A glue stick really helps with that – the parts are little and a glue stick is much quicker and easier than pins. You can set up a bunch of fronts so they’re all ready to stitch.  It’s easier than pins.

download the pattern

You will also need:

  • scraps – wool, cotton and linen are great
  • a basic sewing kit
  • chopstick or similar
  • gluestick
  • buttons
  • embroidery thread

1. Cut out two body pieces, two eye pieces and one head and beak and one each of the three wing pieces.

2. With the right side of the front body fabric facing you use a tiny bit of glue stick to place your pieces as shown. Leave the top wing piece off for now.

3. Use a contrasting color embroidery thread to stitch the head cover and wing pieces in place.

4. Stitch buttons to the center of the circles with embroidery thread also. Use regular sewing thread in a matching color to stitch the beak in place with tiny whip stitches around the edge.

5. Uses a contrasting embroidery thread to stitch around the eyes and add some straight stitches to his breast.

6. Create a loop of string or embroidery thread for hanging and knot the ends. Mark the 1/4 inch seam allowance on the wrong side of the back fabric.

7. Place the hanging loop on the face of the owl with the loop facing down and the tails near fabric edge.

8.  Place the back body over the front – right sides together-  pin and sew the seam leaving open along the wing side.

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what’s on my worktable : mending, rag dolls and other loose ends

mending a linen smock

mending a linen smock

Mending never ends. The contemporary holly hobby look requires constant maintenance and if I let it get ahead of me I have nothing to wear. I currently have nothing to wear except yoga pants so I’ve officially declared November wardrobe maintenance month. Plus I like to do it, I love the meandering stitches, patches on patches and unexpected color combinations. It chills me out and invites the universe in. Once I sink in I can spend lost hours stitching, percolating ideas and talking to the plants.

mending a linen smock

(Find the free pattern for the awesome pin cushion here)

Hexies sneak into everything, I love the way the look, just popping up once in a while in non-hexie situations and they are also super handy for tight spots with angles, like near a zipper or seam corner and little pull holes near pockets or straps.

I’m working on patterns too – the crow is coming, seriously it is, there was a technical debacle but I’m still shooting for this year. Also patterns for the soldier doll, more clothes for the elegant rag doll  and a new botanical are in the works.

textile owls and birds in progress

And finishing other almost done stuff feels like a good way to end this weird year. For me that starts with making piles and gathering the supplies I need to finish. Also known as tricking myself into starting. The tiny bit of progress gets my wheels turning.

rag doll parts on my worktable

There was a big box of elegant rag doll parts and semi-done samples made for shooting the pattern. Naked and not naked ladies are emerging. I’ll start putting them (and anything else that makes it across the finish line) in the shop soon.

elegant and nude rag dolls

 What are you stitching this November? Are you mending? Making holiday stuff? I’ve got some gift an ornament stuff going too and  I’ll show you next week.  And check out this raccoon!  It’s genius! Made by @erinpcf from the very nice mice pattern with very clever modifications. I love him.

tiny felt raccoon made form the very nice mice pattern

shop news:

tiny rag doll sewing kit

Tiny rag doll and mr. socks kits are back in stock. And the stitch paintings are available again too including two new designs!

embroidery - blue rooster stitch painting

embroidery - bird stitch painting

8 ideas for your scraps : the autumn scrap festival and swap

scrap sewing projects

scrap sewing projects

It’s officially cozy season and I’m comin’ in hot, in full Autumnal mode. I’ve got a spooky book, scraps in warm fall shades for hexies, wool and felt to bundle up littles and another brand new free pattern for you, it’s perfect for scraps. Plus I’ve scoured the internet for a few more awesome scrap projects for you.

*This post contains an affiliate link marked with an asterisk –  I get a small commission  if you purchase through the link.

And a swap! By popular demand we are having an autumn scrap swap – the rules and details are pretty much the same as the spring.

Find the rules, signup link and the “don’t make me turn this car around” speech right here.

*The swap is full and signups are closed

 

burnt offerings by Robert Marasco

Let’s talk about the *spooky book – a classic haunted house situation. It was recommended by a friend with excellent taste last year and I finally got around to it this year. I’m enjoying it immensely (about ¾ of the way through). Besides being spooky it’s set in the 70’s in New York which I love.

Back to the scraps:

There are tons of scrap appropriate projects in my free pattern collection the most recent being:

1. the minimalist chicken

2. slow stitch fish

3.  Another favorite for this time of year are the trees – I’m working on  a little group now.

stuffed pine tree sewing pattern

A few more awesome scrap projects for you:

hand stitched merit badges diy

4. merit badges – who doesn’t need a charming acknowledgment of their accomplishments  – big and small. I can think of all sorts of interesting contemporary categories like – great job putting on pants today…

5. reversible patchwork bag – it’s adorable and the tutorial is great. I’m a big fan of project bags and patchwork so it’s a double winner for me – plus you could keep scraps in it.

6. For your bigger scraps – a sweet multi pocket apron.  You can never have enough pockets.

nostagi christmas light ornament diy

7. nostalgic christmas lights – It’s not too early!  Especially if you’re making stuff for gifts. Man these are sweet and nostalgic. The tutorial is great and they are super easy to make.

8. A super simple and charming quilt. I love this and have started cutting rectangles. I’m not sure if I’ll quilt and bind it or use it as a duvet. I love the way the rectangles look and the simplicity of construction – strips of varying width but the same length.

Do you have a favorite scrap project, awesome spooky book  or a seasonal indulgence to share? Please leave it in the comments!

Till soon,

ann

the somewhat weekly newsletter

Do you get my free weekly-ish newsletter? There are tips and tricks, ideas, stuff to try, all the latest news and blogposts and extra stuff, just for subscribers, delivered mostly on Friday. Pretty much.


scrap project ideas