the international scrap festival – 10 ideas for your scraps

small sewing projects made from scraps in a basket

small sewing projects made from scraps in a basket

Welcome to the 6th annual international scrap festival (this is a thing I 100% made up)! The time of year when we celebrate our scraps a little extra. I’ve gathered 10 awesome ideas for your treasured little bits of fabric.

Over in the stitch club community we’ll be sharing our favorite scrap projects, plus there’s an international scrap swap and a new free pattern coming later this month.

learn about the stitch club community here

 

In addition to the 10 ideas below the free pattern page here has tons of scrap friendly projects (everything in the basket above plus more) and past scrap festival posts are a wealth of ideas too:

2019
2020
2021
2022
2023

10 ideas for your fabric scraps

vintage wool sweater mended with cotton print fabric scrap patches

1.  mend a sweater
If this is wrong, I don’t want to be right.  I came across this non-traditional and very visible mending idea on pinterest. I love the make-do, holly hobby feel of it. It’s perfect for this moth eaten wool hoodie.

2. stuffing
Did you know that historically scraps were used as stuffing and batting? I’ve definitely come across a quilt within a quilt (a worn quilt used as a batting for a new quilt) but the idea of scraps as stuffing is new to me. There ‘s a DIY video about how to turn those little bits of fabric into fluffy stuffing here. And the video where I first encountered the idea is here- the little packages are fascinating

quilt blocks made with vintage scraps

3.  foundation blocks
By the end of 2024 this quilt will cross the finish line. I’m using the foundation method and cotton scraps. I could probably knock this out in a couple weeks if I machine sewed everything but at the moment it’s an easy thing to take with me to hand sew at random in in between times.

fabric scrap tassels in bright colors

4.  fabric tassels
Festive and easy – and sweet to make with little folks. And a perfect companion and scrap festival favorite – make some twine too.

5. 9 patch quilt
An ideal project for really little scraps. Find a tutorial here and for inspiration checkout KZ Stevens glorious naturally dyed 9 patch here.  If I wasn’t already working on a scrap quilt I’d be starting one of these… I’m probably going to start one anyways.

mini fabric flags in ivory linen with slowstitches and patches pinned to antique ribbon

6. mini bunting
Love these slow stitched little flags.

tiny scraps of fabric and paper with charms and buttons stitched to string

7. even minier bunting!
It’s so dear and so much fun to make. You could go on forever with these little strings of tiny scraps. Wind them around packages or hang with mini twinkle lights. Magic.

8. slow stitch collage
Not ready to commit to the 100 day stitch challenge? Test drive the idea with one page. Gather your scraps and spend 5 days stitching for 15 minutes today – see where it takes you. You will be surprised.

long pin cushion in warm vintage prints with other patchwork sewing kit pieces

9. long pin cushion
You need one! And it’s a perfect way to celebrate scraps. Make it with the free tutorial here. The super sweet example is by @bricolosdulundi

hand stitched pouches with more in progress- made from small prints and linen

10. patchwork pouch
Make it from scraps and take it with you everywhere. It’s just the right size for a mini needle book and a few spools of thread. Find the sewing pattern here.

Do you have a favorite scrap project? Does tiny bunting make your heartbeat a little faster? Were you today years old when you found out about scraps as stuffing? Let us know in the comments.
onward!
ann

stitch book challenge – day 15 update

3 stitch collages and scraps on my work table

3 stitch collages and scraps on my work table

We are on day 15!  That finishes 3 pages and a new page starts tomorrow. You can see lot’s of pages on instagram and the group in stitch club is really remarkable.

These are my first three pages. I’ve still got today’s 15 minutes to do on the third – bottom right above. This is my third year challenging myself in this way and I’m finding the same pattern appears. In the first three days I create a problem for myself (compositional problem) and on the 4th and 5th days I work on solving it. I love this kind of thinking.

My pages are not always abstract but that doesn’t seem to make a difference in this rhythm. And I don’t always succeed. Last year I found thinking of the pages in pairs helped immensely. I loved having a second chance at compositions by treating 2 pages as one image/idea. And I mostly did not work on them consecutively – having some percolation time in between was key.

Stitch Club member Heather Smith said this about the challenge:

FIVE THINGS I LEARNED FROM THE 100 DAY STITCH BOOK

I wrote this while getting ready for this year’s challenge and reflecting on my creative accomplishments from last year.

1- With community support I CAN do something every day for 100 days. (or 98 days or whatever was close enough to count).

2- Working 15 minutes a day on a part of a project is quite a different challenge than making a little finished piece of art every day. So much more do-able than those kinds of challenges.

3- Letting go of overthink. It’s ok to start without knowing exactly where the art is going to take you. This was a HUGE change for me, unlocking years of being Afraid To Start.

4- Ideas like company. If you put a few of them together they make more ideas. It’s like propagating plants. And if you put those ideas in one place they become your own thesaurus of ideas, little seed starts for later.

5- A middle aged craft lady in motion (really) does tend to stay in motion – Ann Wood. This momentum has kept building and helped create a nearly daily practice.

I love everything Heather has to say – and seeing this process work for people is satisfying and motivating.  15 minutes a day matters. Find Heather’s instagram page here – there’s lots to see.

 

hands holding stitched mushrooms and text overlay - welcome to stitch club and join button

 

“The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.”
Linus Pauling

 

There are so many ways to approach making this book and growing creatively through that effort. Working in an improvisational way is challenging and so worth the effort.

When you start without knowing where you’re headed you create space for ideas, for possibilities and happy accidents. You observe and listen and connect. There is no failure, only information.

daily practice matters

It keeps the wheels turning and the machinery well oiled. The minute you do something, take some action, a feedback loop begins. You get information. Begin, listen and respond. It makes you ask the second question and the third and the fourth etc. etc. that will lead you to new places, lead you deeper into your imagination and your magic.

A couple notes :

Is it too late to join/start?

Nope – you can choose to start whenever you like. Catch up with the schedule or work with your own start and end date. There is nothing you need to join – stitch club membership is optional. To participate please read this page carefully and follow the link at the end to the tutorial for making the pages and book.

Is it free to participate?

It is.  You can choose to support the project with a donation here.

Are there daily prompts

Nope- the daily stitching is self directed.

Will you do it again?

Hopefully – this time next year.

Good luck with your stitch book challenge!

stitch book : day 1 is here! and 5 more things bringing me joy

sketch book with colorful quote - "done is better than perfect"

sketch book with colorful quote - "done is better than perfect"
I have one important thought for you and for me today and everyday of the challenge:

Done is better than perfect!

This exercise is so not about perfection. It is for listening to yourself. It’s for your imagination, it’s a place to try things – explore. Show up, try stuff, make mistakes, try again, get somewhere new. 100 days of that is magic.

Life rewards action, give it a chance and it will show up with happy accidents. The minute you do something a feedback loop begins. You get information. Begin, listen and respond.

Be brave and be curious.

onward in stitch!

ann

*learn about the stitch book challenge here

 

DAY 1

stitch book 2024 – day 1


5  things bringing me joy this January

*This post contains affiliate links – meaning I get a small commission if you purchase through the links – they are marked with an asterisk

small black day planner in my hand

1. day planner

I’m so into it. In olden times I always had a day planner book. It’s for capturing ideas, project planning and a daily record – at the end of each day I make a little list: 5 things about today.
The book is beside my bed and it’s the last thing I do each day. It is very short and simple but recording this little list makes me notice things.

I’ve also marked each of the 100 days for the stitch book challenge and get to experience the deep satisfaction of checking them off.

I love that it’s small enough to always have with me so ideas can be written down as they happen and the calendar aspect brings so much more organization and context to those notes.

The book is beautiful and super simple. After I looked at every day planner on the planet I went with the *hobonichi techo (a6 size in black gingham).

autumn and ann walking on a path at the squam art retreat

2. Imagination day camp

Next September my friend Autumn Song and I are co teaching (again) at the Squam Art Retreat. We are currently creating a big playful day of imagination igniting fun. That is she and I walking along the path at Squam, ideas and plans tumbling all over the place. We have endless things to say to each other and all sorts of surprising new intersections appear. It’s a you got peanut butter on my chocolate situation for sure.

Autumn and I first met at my experimenting with dolls workshop in 2016. The class was improv based – a yes and approach to making a figure. I loved Autumn’s ability to completely immerse herself in the creation of her doll and watch her gentleman moth emerging a little bit at a time.

a moth doll madefrom antique clothing in progress

“My name is Cedric Randolf. I am a moth, I fought in the Boer War. I am quite wise and quite old. In one eye I have a cataract, with my other eye I see only goodness”

I love working with Autumn. Ideas flow easily between us, they bounce back and forth and get deeper and more detailed and weirder and sillier etc. etc. We both like to think about thinking, where ideas come from and the absolute joy of making things and that is what imagination day camp is all about. Check out Autumn’s instagram here. And her website here.

You can find out more about the class and fall retreat here.

 

slip covered day bed

3. A cozy spot

A perfect spot to hibernate and stitch and watch the snow. I’ve been looking for THIS daybed forever. It turned up (the exact one I wanted!) at a garage sale for just a little money and in perfect shape. The mattress is a chunk of memory foam and the cover is made from big scraps and some toile curtains from a thrift store. This was my first experience with welting and I give myself a B+.  Am I a little awash in toile? Yes. But I like it.

4. What it is

By Lynda Barry. It’s a big book about process, ideas and creativity. I took it out of the library so often I finally bought a copy- *it’s currently on sale. It is visually very dense and when I first looked at it I thought it would be too difficult to navigate – text is hand written and intermingled with tons of collage and drawing. You have to spend a little time with it. She asks questions like what is an image? What is an idea? What is a memory? What is a story? That will make you think. It’s written for an adolescent/teenage audience so it’s perfect for me…

5. Great Horned Owl 

I saw a great horned owl!. First time ever. I had been hearing them in evening, calling in the little forest just behind me since I moved to my current place in Guilford. That small, dense patch of trees got cleared for development and there were no more owl calls.  This winter I started hearing him again on my run and then one evening there he was, huge, in a tree right above me at dusk, calling and being answered by another. That night I got to write “saw a great horned owl” in my list of 5 things about today.

Are you feeling new yearsy?   Are your ready for stitch book 2024? Have you ever seen a great horned owl!? What’s bringing you joy in 2024? Let us know in the comments.

the stitch book challenge starts soon and community membership is open!

light and bright fabric scraps gathered on a table - the prints are sweet and vintage

stitch club membership is open again

Let’s start with the membership and then get into some ideas for setting yourself up for the stitch book challenge. You don’t need to join to participate but it is a great place to find support and share your progress.

What happens in stitch club? It’s the private ann wood handmade community, a great place to get inspired, share what you’re working on and make sewy friends.

New for 2024

The international scrap festival in february with ideas, challenges and a scrap swap

creative sparks- monthly prompts to get your wheels turning

enrollment in the 2024 stitch book group (you don’t have to participate – but if you do the group is super helpful)

sew-alongs and more!


light and bright fabric scraps gathered on a table - the prints are sweet and vintage

The 2024 100 day stitch book challenge begins on 1/19 and ends on 4/27

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE CHALLENGE HERE

Please use the link above if your are brand new to the challenge – you’ll find all the info you need.

There are lot’s of ways to approach this hundred day challenge. My plan is to go boldly forth into the unknown. Start without knowing and create time and space for ideas that don’t easily present themselves in the general course of things. That’s what showing up does. You show up and work. You move your mind and your hands and see what happens.

It’s a terrifying proposition. It’s uncomfortable. And it’s how you get somewhere new. This is the third annual stitch book challenge and just like the two previous years I’m excited and also very nervous to start. Daily commitments are hard. Showing daily progress is hard, especially after you’ve gone on and on about how creative and productive the process is.

But here we are again. I can’t resist. Can you? I’ve got some ideas and lessons learned from the previous years to help you get ready.

My plan is to not have a plan except for:

Thinking of the pages in pairs. I loved having a second chance at compositions by treating 2 pages as one image/idea in last years book. I mostly did not work on the two pages consecutively. Especially when I wasn’t happy with what I’d done, putting the idea aside and letting it percolate for a bit helped a lot.

I’m also leaning towards leaving my edges raw again.

fabric book with abstract stitch composition opened to a 2 page spread

support the ann wood handmade free pattern library with a happy donation 

Support the 100 day stitch book project and the always growing free pattern library.

Click here to add your support.

 

remove obstacles

Make it as easy as possible to show up. For me that means having my materials accessible and transportable. A to-go kit is essential. I’ve got scraps, some cut pages (I don’t cut them all in the beginning), a little needle book and a thread pouch. And because the world really is magic  this sweet tote bag, made by a friend, arrived unexpectedly on the very day I was looking for something to contain my stitch book supplies.

15 minutes is even more doable if everything is already set up.

plan for the bad days

In 100 days there will most likely be some bad days. Some way too busy or sick or too something days. The secret to those days is a predetermined, minimally acceptable effort. This is also known as “phoning it in”. Protect the habit, protect the momentum and do something. I’ve had days where I was sick or traveling and teaching and way too stretched but I stitched some basic straight stitches or added a super basic  applique for 15 minutes. It was not my most present or mindful or thoughtful work but it got done and that mattered.

And if you do miss a day?

Keep going. Maybe do an extra 15 minutes when you can.

warm up

Engage in some productive procrastination. I’ve been doing some new yearsey sorting and organizing of fabric. It was a perfect time to start to pull out scraps for the 2024 book. As I sorted and ironed, scraps spoke to me and I’ve made a little collection. I’m surprised by how much white and light colored stuff I pulled – it’s not my usual jam. The sorting and collecting lit the spark and got me more excited and curious than nervous to start. There are colors and ideas I’m looking forward to experimenting with.

January 19th will be here before you know it! Will you join me in 100 days of stitching? Let us know in the comments.

onward!

ann

handmade christmas 2023 : maximum festiveness

simple, colorful, twinkly and cozy

In the kitchen there is a huntington carpet rosemary and a parlor palm (both super easy plants), pomegranates, dried orange slices, herbs and peppers from the garden and extra candles.

festive kitchen with candles, dried oranges and peppers ceramics and a turnip

And 3 Christmas trees (branches). One tree couldn’t contain all the festiveness this year.

A lesson learned about stick (branch) trees: don’t wander around in a cold rain storm for hours searching desperately for the one magic stick that’s gonna get the job done – just get lots of good-ish branches and bundle them together.

For this tree I used three branches. The largest branch actually goes into the container ( a heavy vase) and the two others are attached to the large branch with masking tape. Lot’s of masking tape. The tape is covered with a torn strip of fabric wrapped around and tied. The little skirt is a block from an old cutter crazy quilt (thanks french general). It’s just right.

I would have paid cash money for a snowy day outside that window.

The ornaments are super simple. I started with orange slices and learned a couple new things about making those. I laid the slices on dish towels and let them air dry for a couple hours before putting them in the warm oven for four-ish hours. They stayed in the oven overnight after turning it off and were perfect in the morning.

The knitted tree garland is one of my most favorite holiday things and was a gift from my sister. The crow is made from this sewing pattern:

sewing pattern for a realistic crowget the pattern

the other ornaments on stick tree number 1 are:

jingle stars
sheep
little owl
cardinal
whale
fish
scrappy trees
sleepy moon

single pine branch (stick tree number 2)

Rocking the asymmetry…  And I like the simplicity and the moodiness.  The little traditional glass ball ornaments were just right for it. This was my first branch effort and was going to be the only one. The minimalist aspirations dissolved almost right away.   Pro tip: Know what takes out pine sap? Rubbing alcohol…  PS – we’ll talk about the antique daybed of my dreams soon – there’s welting and everything…

white pine branch in an antique jug with mini christmas ball ornaments - the room is otherwise dim and moody

and stick tree number 3

This year I finally got my old Christmas stuff out of storage, the things from my mother and grandmother. I haven’t seen them in so long I forgot how magnificent they are. I’m knee deep in nostalgia and crumpled tissue.

The secret to holding these branches in place is pennies. Once they were arranged in a
pyramid, tree-ish shape in the vase I dumped a bag of pennies into it. It holds the branches perfectly in place. I bet gravel would work too.

Besides the old glass ornaments there are some wax paper snowflakes. The star on top is also made from the snowflake tutorial but with tin foil and paper layers too.

I sure do love a holiday project, and always have. There is extra permission, an absolute invitation, to be whimsical, to create a warm and sparkly atmosphere. I’m looking forward to the next week or so of basking in the twinkle and being in a general state of wassailing. I’m also percolating all sorts of ideas for the new year – stay tuned!

I hope your holidays are merry and bright!

ann

jolly flies : tiny santa hat tutorial

These guys definitely have a “too much to drink at the office party vibe” or SantaCon but with flies…  And the little scrunchy bend in the hat really delivers the holiday magic.  The hat works on mice too or anybody really little.  They only take a few minutes to make.

how to make a tiny santa hat

download the hat template

You will also need:

The house flies are made from this free tutorial.

  • felt (wool or wool blend is best)
  • extra fluffy chenille stems – I got these at Joanns
  • white and red thread
  • basic sewing kit

1. Cut out the hat shape from felt. PS – we don’t use the glue for the hat but I did use it to make the flies legs a little stiff. Put a little on your fingers and rub it onto the threads. Also- I love that glue.

2. Bend one end of the chenille wire over- about 1/2 inch.

3. Use your finger to separate the chenille as you stitch it to the edge of the felt with matching thread. Wetting your finger a little will help to flatten the chenille. Stitch over the wire in the center. We’ll fluff it back up after.

support the ann wood handmade free pattern library with a happy donation

Support the always growing free pattern and tutorial library! Your happy donation will help me keep creating and posting new free patterns and tutorials.

 

click here to add your support

 

4. Here it is form the back – stitch to the end.

5. Clip the stem (with scissors you don’t love) a little past the end.

6. Bend the end in towards the back.

7. Bend the end of the remaining stem over about 1/2 inch.

8.  Place it on the back so the bend extends past the top edge. Trim the other end and bend the it up a little past the bottom edge.

9. Wrap the felt around and whip stitch with matching thread.

Open the bottom to its round shape and bend the tip over in a jaunty flop.   You can pin it to the head or use a few stitches to make your fly permanently jolly.

I hope you make jolly house flies! You definitely know somebody who needs one!

holiday ornament round up 2023

moon tree topper

Let’s start with a look at christmas past – I got this norfolk pine at a bodega in Brooklyn in 2014. It had been out in the cold and sprayed with thick plastic and glitter.  It almost died the first year but has made a miraculous recovery since. It lives with me in Connecticut now and is 4 and 1/2 feet tall.  My tree plan this year is multiple, small, tree-ish situations. Norfolk will have twinkle lights and dried orange slices. So pretty and the smell is glorious while they’re drying.

ann wood christmas tree

There are tons of ornament ideas in the free pattern library including these super easy “crystal” snowflakes I make them every year.

 

wax paper craft idea

More recently on the blog find:

  1. jingle stars
  2. jolly flies
  3. cardinals

and I’ve scoured the interwebs for sweet holiday diy projects

These ornaments by Swoon Says are perfect for scraps. Find the tutorial here.

I’m definitely making a few of these corrugated cardboard metallic ornaments.

These paper and pompom ornaments are so elegant and simple.  Find the full tutorial here.

doll on a popsicle stick sled

Mini sled! Made from popsicle sticks using this tutorial.  PS The lamb is made from the mr. socks sewing pattern with these alterations. The tiny pants are on the free pattern page.

Make your very nice mice Extra festive with a tiny bicorne and fascinator! this pair is by @poppymayye

These felt tree’s by allsort’s 

English paper pieced stars.

And finally your yearly reminder that these retro bulbs are essential.

nostagi christmas light ornament diy

Do you have a favorite holiday project to add? Let us know in the comments.

 

brown paper packages tied with bakers twine and decorated with stamps. Colorful post cards and fabric are tucked into the package.

PS- Thanks so much to everybody whom purchased patterns and wool last week. Packages are mostly off – the last 20 or so tomorrow.

jingle stars tutorial and knob fobs

little wood chest of drawers with s tassel and stitched indigo tetra hanging from one knob

Current obsessions:  knob fobs (if that’s not a thing it should be) and putting bells on things. Tiny bells.

It has taken this little drawer knob to new and glorious heights. Magic. I guarantee you there is an underdressed drawer pull in your life somewhere, you just didn’t know it until today. Remember the tetra post? Go check that out if you haven’t. The little fob above is the small size with a little tassel added. Then the idea of combining tetras occurred to me. And adding tiny bells (bell season is upon us!).

If you are a confirmed minimalist re: your drawer knobs, this makes a charming and jingly Christmas ornament.

so do these little scrap stars

*this post contains affiliate links – meaning I get a small commission if you purchase through the link.

Jingle Stars! Jingle stars flowed out of the four square sew-along. As soon as I started making stitched square experiments I realized I needed a bunch. A couple sets of four are becoming  patchwork pouches. The others are (so far) stars and woebegone pines.

The stars are pretty mini and I think that adds to their magic.  After hours of intense debate about where to add the bells I landed on the asymmetrical one bell option. It has such a playful quality to it and makes the star hang in a darling very slightly lopsided way. These will be great for adding to gift wrap and as ornaments and of course drawer pulls. A garland would be super cute too.

The patched squares also make great woebegone pines. Stitch four squares together and you can just fit the small and medium pattern.

let’s talk about how to make the jingle stars

download the star template

You will also need:

1. Place the template on one square and trace onto the wrong side of the fabric.

2. Pin two squares- right sides together -and stitch the line. Leave one side open (pro tip – pick a side that is not pieced).

3. Cut out about ¼ inch all around the star.

4. Clip off the points close to the seams. Clip into each corner.

5. Clip a little more seam allowance for the points- reducing the bulk here will make your points pointier. Fold over the seam allowance at the opening and press.

6. Turn the star right side out and stuff. Start turning with your fingers and then use a chopstick to gently push the points all the way out.

7. Stitch closed starting from the point. Stop halfway down and add a little stuffing and finish closing.

Add the bell – attach it loosely for maximum jingle- and add a hanging string or hook. I loved the bells and hooks – linked above – the hooks make the stars super easy to hang on my Norfolk Pine.

I hope you make jingle stars! And dress up a drawer pull!

And a very happy thanksgiving to you,

ann

cardinalize a wobbler and the four squares sew-along

fabric bird ornaments - male and female cardinals -in my palm

Just a few extra fabric scraps turn your merry wobbler into any crested bird you like: Brown Crested Flycatcher, Blue Jay and Tufted Titmouse among them. The Tufted Titmouse might need to be a sew-along – so darling.

PS – The wobbler pattern can also be used to make these french hens in nesting boxes.

I made a male and female cardinal pair. There are templates for the face cover and 3 crest pieces. These are especially made to fit the wobbler (there are templates for the songbird sewing pattern as well here).

More on how to make the crest in a minute – lets talk about the sew-along.

4 pieced fabric squares in blacks, blues and grays with slow stitching

patchwork pouch mini sew-along (or, the four squares sew-along)

Either way. This is a perfect project to trick yourself into making something if you can’t quite find the spark…

The pouch is made from 4 squares plus a bottom. This mini sew-along is focused on just those 4 blocks that make the sides of the bag. In fact, please feel free to participate and not make the bag – just stitch a group of four small squares this month and see what happens. You could make them into something or not.  Some of my squares will be pouches and some not. We’ll talk about  some other ideas for your stitched blocks in a couple weeks.

This is really about what happens when you give yourself a small contained, entirely doable, assignment.

four pieced fabric blocks in neutral shades

Gather some scraps and just spend a few minutes stitching every day – maybe plan to stitch your blocks for 10 minutes per day – you’ll be amazed how much gets done. So manageable.

get the patchwork pouch sewing pattern here

What’s a sew-along? Everybody works on the same project and shares progress photos if they feel like it.

You can share photos in the facebook sew-along group or in the stitch club community if you’re already a member (membership is closed at the moment but it will reopen by the end of the year – more about that soon). On instagram use #annwoodpattern and tag me please @annwood

Start 4 blocks this weekend and just focus on those squares. So easy. I have a couple groups of four started.  This mini sew-along is all about ease – sink into some slow, meditative stitch.

adding a crest to the merry wobbler bird sewing pattern

download the templates

1. Make your wobbler according to the sewing pattern except for the eyes. Cut out the face covering piece and 3 crest pieces. I used a darker red for crest one and crest 3 and the same red as the body for crest 2.

2. Place your face covering around the beak. Pin the center bottom point and then wrap one side over the top of the beak and pin that side.

3. Whip stitch that side in place.

4. Fold over the edge of the face covering just a tiny bit.

5. Pin it – overlapping the top corner of the other side.

6. Stitch the second side.

7. Stitch down the center.

8. Fold each of the three crest piece in half and trim about 1 inch from the tip with pinking shears.

9. Place the round edge over the edge of the face cover and pin in the center and at each side.

10. Pin on each side of the crest at the back.

11.  Whip stitch around the edge. You could call it a day right here- you’ve got a crest – or add more layers – crest 2 and crest 3 – for more featheriness.

12.  Pin crest 2 on in the same way (step 10 above) and stitch all the way around.

13. And finally the smallest- crest 3 – pin and stitch the edge.

Your wobbler is officially crested! Add a string to hang – hello little cardinals!

Is there a cardinal ornament in your future? Will you join me in the four square sew-along? Do we need to make a tufted titmouse?!  Let us know in the comments.

7 things bringing me joy this fall

1. This beautiful little patchwork collection made by Laura. The pouch is made with the brand new patchwork pouch pattern. Find tutorials for the mice, both beds and pin cushion girl on the free pattern page.

2. These crepe paper bat treat packages. And this vintage book. The costumes are so funny and inventive and the photos are Soooo 80’s! Also in the seasonal vein- an excellent crow by Jill.
And checkout this post from the archive- a creepy retrospective.

forget me not and pink and orange flowers in a small white vase

3. The last Forget Me Not – I thought it was over a couple weeks ago and this last beauty popped up. I can’t help projecting myself into next summer – there will be lots of Forget Me Nots, Cosmos, Lavender, Globe Amaranth and Paper Daisies.

4. An  interview with textile artist Janet Bolton. I keep coming back to it. I love hearing about her process, inspirations and approach to picture making. Find it here.

green wool trees on wood bases.

5. Planning the next big ornament and little gift roundup and sew-alongs. I sure do love tiny gift season. That will be the first post for November. The little trees were made by Anna using the free woebegone pine sewing tutorial.

small blue and white painted ceramic bottles in an early american style

6. Fresh from the kiln – and more on the way. I’ve also got some ornaments in the work this year. The imagery from the daily paintings fuels the ceramics and vice versa.

7. This cardboard caravan for the tiny doll created by Loribeth.  I want to live by the sea in this dear little place. So cozy.

And a couple notes:

the stitch club community

Membership is temporarily closed. I’m working on structure (as in having a real plan), storage strategy and sustainability at the moment – lots of tedious and not at all exciting work. The community started a little more than a year ago as an experiment and I’ve learned a lot. There are things I would have done differently from the start if I had any clue how to be the administrator of a community. Hindsight… The good news is it’s a wonderful group that I hope can continue to grow. And it was a super important part of the 2023 100 day stitch book.

I’ll share more soon about how the stitch club will be growing and changing. I can tell you at this moment though that those changes will include it no longer being a free offering – that is unsustainable. The good news is there will be more fun and interactive stuff (like scrap swaps and community projects). Always happy to have your input and suggestions.

onward!

ann

P S – Happy North American Database Update day to those who celebrate! I’ve had such website stress lately. I’m sure you will be delighted to know that the ann wood handmade infrastructure now includes a brand new MySQL database management system.

Are you ready for ornament sewing season? What’s on your little gift sewing list this year? (I’ve got woebegone pines, fish and patchwork pouches on my list at the moment) Let us know in the comments.

new sewing pattern : patchwork pouch

get the pattern

scraps are magic

And I get pretty excited about patchwork. It’s in my DNA. Partly from my holly hobby childhood and partly from a love of improvisation – the magic of combining castoffs into something new.

Your little cotton scraps are perfect for this patchwork thread pouch. The blocks that make the little bag can be as detailed, layered and slow stitched as you like (add embroidery or personalization for a cute sewy gift). Endless possibilities.

It’s just the right size (4 inches high when open) for a few spools of thread and a mini needle book (included in the pattern). It feels good in my hand, soft and simple and cozy.

*This post contains an affiliate link marked with an *asterisk

Besides scraps you’ll need cord or twill tape (I love twill tape and *get it by the roll here) for the draw string and a little felt. Something new with this pattern- instead of including the resource list within the pdf I’ve created a resource list online. Stock runs out, sources change and this way I can update the list to currently available materials. I’m going to add an online source for all the patterns eventually.

You can sew the whole bag by hand or use the machine as well. I’m almost always working on one of these bags. The little blocks come with me for slow stitching and then get assembled on the machine at home.

Is patchwork in your DNA? Does your thread cry out for a pouch? I hope you enjoy making  the little bag.

ghost kitties : a new tutorial and notes from the forest

boo! sew up a batch of friendly cat ghosts

They are sweet and silly and  I’ve made you a tutorial and everything. It’s super easy and quick  to do and you probably already have everything you need to make them.  Sew by hand or machine. This is also a perfect pattern for using freezer paper if you have it. Trace the template onto your freezer paper and iron it on (shiny side down). You can stitch around with the freezer paper still attached. And you can use the freezer paper template multiple times.  For the demonstration below I’m using a plain paper pattern.

More on the ghost kitties in a moment….


notes from the forest

mark making with stamps and paint on newsprint in progress

In other news I’ve just come back from the Squam Art Retreat in New Hampshire.  A glorious time  was had by all. Maybe mostly me. I so needed the change of pace and some time to play and experiment and listen to the loons and the wind in the pines. The group energy is wild and motivating. I came home with lots of percolating ideas.  The class (taught by myself and Autumn Song) was a day of creative play that began with mark making. The rest of the day is top secret…

And you never know who you might bump into in that big pine forest….

The dastardly owl and sleepy very nice mice and little  wire bed by Mary B. So sweet!


make a cat ghost doll

download the pattern

You will also need:

  • cotton fabric
  • a basic sewing kit
  • chopstick or similar
  • stuffing – I like wool
  • buttons
  • embroidery thread for the features

1.  Download and cut out the template.  Pin it to a double layer of fabric (right sides together) and trace with a pencil or disappearing marker. Mark the space for the opening indicated on the pattern.

2. Remove the paper pattern and re-pin the fabric (use lots of pins).  Cut out around the seam line with 1/4 inch seam allowance.

3.  Stitch the seam by hand or machine.  Clip tiny wedges into the seam allowance around the curves. Clip close to the seam but be careful not to snip it. Clip off the tips at the ears and tail and remove a little of the seam allowance. Reducing the bulk at the points will make them turn out more easily.

back to the cats in just a moment:

It has been a priority here for years to create high quality and fun free patterns (there are tons) like the ghosty cats on an ad free site. There are not very many of those left and it is becoming increasingly difficult. In an effort to keep the free awesomeness flowing I’ve created an opportunity for you to support and show some love to my free pattern library.

support the ann wood handmade free pattern library with a happy donation

Support free patterns like ghosty cats with a happy donation. 

Click here to add your support.

 

back to the cat spectres:

4. Turn it right side out. Use a chopstick to push out the small parts.Gentle pressure and a twisting motion will help push the tips all the way out.

5. Place the pattern over your right side out cat and use a pencil to poke through the paper to make guide dots for the simple features.

6. Stuff -I’m using this wool stuffing.  Add a little at a time and be careful not to block narrow parts.

Read More