pin girls : sweet pin cushions made from scraps – free pattern

pin cushion doll - free sewing pattern

pin cushion - pin girl- free pattern

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

Did you ever make something you liked so much you put it next to your bed so you would see it first thing in the morning?  This pin girl is like that for me. Something about it… And I’ve made a pattern for you. The pin girl is not only the official pincushion of the 2020 scrap festival but she is also the official pincushion of the miss thislte society.
Before we get started let’s talk about pincushion filling for a minute. I think walnut shells are ideal (unless you have a tree nut allergy). They add a nice weight and fill out the curvey shape beautifully. I got a huge bag here (I get a small commission if you purchase through this link).
Sand works too and you can most likely find fine sand at your hardware or gardening store. For this pincushion I don’t recommend using just fiber – the weight and shape won’t be nearly as nice. If you have other filling ideas please let us know in the comment section. Also – I’m thinking of putting together kits for the shop with sweet fabric, and everything else you need – what do you think?

Let’s make pin girls!

You will need:

download the pdf template

Affiliate links are marked with *

fabric scraps – cotton and a little wool or felt
A wooden bead- I used a ⅞ inch (about 22mm) bead – a little bigger or smaller is fine. You can get beads with faces! *right here.
wooden skewer – the larger size is best – what matters is that your bead fits on it. I *used these.
crushed walnut shells – I *used these
a little wool stuffing
trim and lace scraps
chopstick
funnel
glue stick
paint and brushes
white or wood glue
a basic sewing kit

1. Cut out one bottom and 3 doll pattern pieces. Mark a 1/4 inch seam line lightly in pencil on all your pieces.

2. Fold the top edge of the doll pieces over towards the wrong side at the seam line and press.

3. Pin two of the doll pieces – right sides together and stitch one side. Stitch over the folded edge and stop at the bottom seam line as shown. You can hand or machine stitch – in either case use a very small stitch.

4. Open the two pieces you just stitched together and match the edge of the third doll piece to one side.

free pincushion sewing pattern

5. Pin it in place and stitch the side.

6. Match the last two sides, pin and stitch.

7. The 3 pieces assembled should look like.

8. At the bottom edge press the 3 side seams open – you don’t have to press all the way up – just near the bottom.

9. Carefully matching the edges, pin the circle to the bottom opening.

10. Stitch the bottom circle to the opening –  make sure you follow the seam line and use small stitches. It is easier to do this by hand.

11. Use a chopstick to turn the doll right side out through the top opening and run the stick around the seam with firm pressure.

12. Painting the heads – paint simple features with acrylic craft paint or  *get heads that are already painted here.

13. I’m using *crushed walnut shells and a tiny bit of wool to stuff the body (probably not a great idea if you have a tree nut allergy).  Checkout the notes at the top of the post on stuffing materials. You can also use fine sand or sawdust.

14. Place a small funnel in the neck of the body and start adding the filling. As you add the filling use the funnel to crush and press it down and into the edges. Keep compressing and adding filling.

15. Use your chopstick to push filling into any soft areas and add more if necessary.  Tap the bottom of the body on your table to settle the fill and add more – stuffing as firmly as possible will make the best shape.

16. Paint a little glue on the blunt end of your skewer (white or wood glue works).

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The 2020 scrap festival : 11 ideas for your scraps and the swap signup

11 ideas for using scraps

Welcome to the second annual international scrap festival. An entire month devoted to the celebration of fabric scraps. I’ve gathered a bunch of projects for you and I’ll be sharing a couple new free sewing tutorials this month that are just right for scraps.  And we’re going to try a swap! Find the rules and swap signup form right here – please read them carefully!

The swap is full and signups are closed.  Update – everybody has been partnered and all notification emails have been sent!  If you signed up but don’t see it please check your spam folder. If you need to review the rules find them here.

11 ideas for using fabric scraps

I’ve scoured the interwebs to find awesome scrap sewing projects and ideas for you plus there is a new tutorial from me that I’m excited to share.  You might notice that pincushions, an ideal scrap fabric project and essential tool, are missing from this list.  I’m planning a whole separate post later this month devoted to pincushions. 

PS – If you haven’t already check out the 2019 scrap festival project list. And there are 4 more project ideas here.

onward!

11  ideas  for your scraps

scrap fabric feather tutorial

1. Pieced Feathers – Easy to do and you could make all sorts of things with them – the tutorial is great.

2. Sashiko Sampler Potholders – They are lovely and a great opportunity to try sashiko stitching.

embroidered house sachets

3. Little House Sachets – So sweet! Every detail is just right. And I get almost as excited about a good smell as I do about scraps.

And two more for the kitchen:

4. Acorn pot holder – make a pot holder or just follow the clever piecing directions and make a little acorn bag. What’s cuter than a patchwork acorn?

5. And everybody needs this pot handle cover.

scrap quilt tutorial

6. Potluck Quilt – for the most ambitious among you. I want to make this and I definitely have enough scraps. I feel like it’s a good long term project, good early morning work.

7. Squircles…. I love the idea of appliquéing these hand cut imperfect shapes and playing with color etc. There are squircles in my future.

free bug doll sewing pattern

8. Picnic bugs – I made you a tutorial for these cheerful bugs – it’s perfect for little scraps.

patchwork ball diy

9. Hexie Ball – such an interesting way to sew a 3 dimensional shape. Abby Glassenberg has a great tutorial.

10. Scrap Table Runner – I love Amy’s easy technique – it pretty much quilts itself, so clever.

11. Bow garland – This garland is as simple as it gets and it’s great for really tiny scraps that you couldn’t possibly part with. It’s so simple and would be sweet  and magical in a little girl’s room.

Bonus scrap idea!

Make French Hens! the nesting box is made using this free tutorial. The chickenizing details are there too. And I’ve put the wobbler pattern (that’s what the body is made from) on sale for you for the whole scrap festival month.

bird sewing pattern

 

And check my free pattern page for more ways to use your awesome scraps.

If you’ve got a great scrap project idea share it in the comments or use  #scrapfestival2020 on instagram to share a scrap project you’ve made.

 

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.


picnic bugs : a free and easy sewing pattern for a silly bug doll

free bug doll sewing pattern

free bug doll sewing pattern

You have probably seen these guys, they show up frequently at picnics (hence the name). They don’t come to pester, just to say hi. They’re friendly like that. Aggressively and relentlessly friendly. They don’t even get mad if you put them in a jar. Just take them to a picnic once in a while.

Good things come out of play. These guys turned up a couple years ago in a silly bug experiment. They crack me up. And they’re a perfect scrap project – you only need a little bit and a mismatched variety is nice. And they make a silly and sweet surprise for somebody little’s lunchbox.

sew a silly bug

make a picnic bug:

download the pattern

You will also need:

  • fabric scraps – I used cotton and linen
  • twine or yarn for legs
  • stuffing
  • large embroidery needle
  • a chopstick
  • a bamboo skewer
  • basic sewing supplies

1. Cut out the body and eye pattern pieces – pin to doubled fabric with the right sides together and cut out. Pin the stomach pattern to a single piece of fabric and cut out.  Note – the wings are double sided so you’ll need 4 pieces – 2 for each wing. I used 2 different fabrics.  Pin the pattern to the 2 layers of fabric with the right sides together and cut out a wing, then flip the pattern and repeat for another wing.

2. Cut a slit in the stomach area of the body pattern for turning and stuffing – make sure it’s smaller than the stomach cover.

3.  Mark your quarter inch seam allowance on the fabric (really – it helps a lot). Pin the two body pieces with the right sides together and  sew all around the body.  Pin two pairs of wings with the right sides together and sew – leave open as shown.

4. Clip little notches all around the body and wings being careful not to cut the seam. Clip the points off the wings too and clip along the curve.

5. Turn the body and wings right side out. Run the chopstick over the seam inside with firm pressure on the body and wings. this helps open the seam for a smooth shape.  Press each piece.

6. Stuff the body – I’m using wool stuffing.

7. Stitch the stomach closed. this will not show. Don’t pull the stitches too tight – just enough to close. Stitch the wing openings closed too.

8. You can use you large needle to move the stuffing around and fine tune – this helps fill out the curves.

9. Pin the stomach and eyes in place and whip stitch around. Optional- whip stitch around the wings with a contrasting thread.

10. Stitch and elongated X for each eye and a little W between for a mouth.  I also added a few horizontal stitches on his neck.  For tips on hiding your knots see this post.

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the big 2019 review and what’s coming for 2020 : predictions, wishes and plans

antique japanese textiles

let’s start with what’s new

The second annual international scrap festival is in the works and it’s  expanding to an entire month. February will officially and forever be International Scrap Month. That’s one of the nice things about inventing a festival, you get to be the boss of everything and do stuff like that. If you have met me then you know I have freakishly strong hands and I like to be the boss of everything.
antique japanese textiles*The magic fabric above is courtesy of my Brooklyn neighbor Sri threads. There is more about it at the bottom of the post

Stay tuned for details, I’m gathering a bunch of cool projects for  scraps and creating a couple new tutorials for you.

And I wonder what you think of a scrap swap? Is that something you’d be interested in participating in? Tell me in the comments please. If you’re into it I’ll try to hook you up.

bat applique on a vintage linen

I’ve just added part 2 – embroidering the details to the bat appliqué – find it here.

More about what’s coming up in a minute – let’s look back

2019 went by so fast. And negativity bias is real. When I looked back my first thought was – what happened? I only made one new pdf sewing pattern and one new booklet for the shop. It seemed like an extremely unproductive year but then I scrolled through the year of blog posts and saw I published a record breaking 13 free tutorials. That was not my plan but it is what I did. Here’s the list in the order they appeared:

needle book
easy rag doll shoes
dollhouse fireplace
tiny dishes
little pants
doll bed
doll quilt
straw doll hat
bat -updated!
paper boat
penny rug
paper swan box
wax paper crystal ornaments

I’m already working on more tutorials for this year. You’ll see the first couple during the February Scrap Festival.

a couple other 2019 highlights:

*365 little paintings – I stuck to it, didn’t miss a single day. I found a rhythm and I feel like a voice is emerging. And I’ve kept going with the daily practice, still making a little painting (or drawing) everyday. I put them in the shop about every 6 weeks and there will be a new batch on Tuesday 1/21.

*And I made a  paper ship installation at the Squam Art Retreat and taught workshops in Los Angeles, New Hampshire, Vermont, France and Kentucky. Such a big year.

what’s coming in 2020

In addition to planning the second annual scrap festival January is for organizing and finishing. I get very spring cleany in January – do you? There are too many unfinished projects and too many piles of things waiting to be sorted. I’m tackling those things first.

stitching a soldier rag doll and owl

And by the time you’re reading this, I will be deeply focused on getting new sewing patterns across the finish line: the large scandalously nude rag doll, captain charmley (currently headless above) and the crow. Probably not in that order. And news is coming soon on 2020 Workshops – I’ll be in France in June and July and at Squam (spring session) in New Hampshire but those are both waitlist situations. You can join me in Vermont in March though for a super cozy workshop with French General and there will be more workshop dates for the fall very soon, I’m working out logistics now.

predictions, wishes

Looking ahead – I think and hope in 2020 we will see a resurgence of blogging. Blogging like it used to be. So many disappeared into social media. I love seeing people’s creative lives and homes. If you have a favorite blog please share it in the comments – I’d love to see. I also think smaller networks will continue to emerge – online meeting places where conversations happen and algorithms don’t choose for us.

And for me: there are all sorts of things I’d like to make this year and things I’d like to try – like printing fabric and sewing more clothes. I’ve got lots of ideas percolating and I bet you do too. My biggest wish for 2020 is margin. Putting some space between things. I’m very happy in just about everything I do as long as I don’t have to rush. I’m making a rule for myself to never rush again. I will definitely fail at this but I’m trying anyway, keeping it at the front of my mind when I’m planning things. I think it’s a discipline and will take practice. And I also believe it’s a choice.
I hope your year is full of ideas and projects and lots of time to make things.

And as always, thanks for showing up here – it makes all things possible,
ann

antique pink textiles

PS – Fabric is almost always where I start, and often fabrics that finds me. The glorious fabric at the top of the post appeared on my doorstep, a magical gift from Sri Threads. So much to think about, color combinations I would never have thought of, mending by other hands, all sorts of serendipity and  endless places to start. You can see more of it on my instagram story today and check out the Sri Threads instagram feed here – there is lots of inspiration there.

PPS – Don’t forget to tell me about the scrap swap – if it’s something you’d like to participate in please let me know in the comments and I’ll get to work on it.

bat applique part 2 – embroidering the details

bat applque and embroidery diy project

Find part one of the bat appliqué tutorial right here. You’ll find a template for the shape and tips on making really pointy appliqué points. Below I’ve got some super simple embroidered details and ideas for finishing your bat appliqué.

bat embroidery details tutorial

Download the template and cut out the shapes outlined in black – the body, wing line and optional heart. Don’t worry about the little finger and toe lines.

Place the templates on the appliqué and trace the guide lines. I used a light colored pencil that erases easily.  Because I appliquéd before I embroidered the shapes don’t fit precisely so I pivoted the little body shape and traced it one limb ay a time. You could embroider first if you prefer.

For the face poke through and make guide dots for placement. And the fingers and toes are  straight stitches radiating out from the ends of the  arms and legs.

download the bat embroidery template

I used back stitch for my first bat. It’s simple to do.

1. Begin by making one small straight stitch and bringing the needle back out one stitch length away.

2. Put the needle back in where the first stitch ends.

3. Bring the needle out a stitch length away.

4. And bring the needle back in where the las stitch ended – repeat one million times.

applique bat tutorial

I’m going to appliqué a little heart on this bat but otherwise call it a day. I like the simplicity and feel like it works with the vintage linen he is appliquéd on – simple and a little folk arty feeling.

bat applque and embroidery diy project

I’ve made another, also on a vintage linen.  I used a straight stitch for the details and I’m appliquéing a wreath of  flowers all around from some vintage curtain fabric I got last summer in France.  You can find some great tips for needle turn appliqué right here.This will take forever. But it’s the kind of slow stitching that can come with me on trains etc that I’m attracted to right now. Plus I’ll eventually end up with an awesome new throw pillow.

I hope you embroider a bat! And stay tuned for more tutorials – plus embroidery and appliqué kits will be coming soon.

little gifts to make and sweet wrapping ideas

5 easy gifts to make

Little gifts and sweet touches that don’t take very long to make or cost  much. Very much in the spirit of Christmas. Sweet things you can make from scraps mostly.

5 easy gifts to make

*This post contains affiliate links

stuffed pine tree sewing pattern

Woebegone pines – make a bunch. As an alternative to the wooden base you can use a cinnamon stick and add a hanging string at the top.

fabric christmas tree diy

Stitch a little mouse from scraps. The pattern is designed for felt but is works with other fabrics too – this guy is made from linen.

sewing needle book pages from scraps

Needle books make great gifts. And you can do a mini version, just a page or two, if you’re short on time.  I have a bunch of pages in progress that I’m going to assemble into a couple little books.

needle book ideas - colors

From the paper department – make paper sail boats or wax paper stars and snowflakes or swan treat boxes.

make a paper sail boat

wax paper star diy         make a paper swan treat box

Check out the free pattern page for lots more little gift ideas.

Or give a creative friend a gift certificate to the shop!

ann wood handmade gift certificate

and package ideas

One of the byproducts of making a little painting everyday (today is day 352) is the little section at the top of the paper where I off load paint and test my brush and colors.  They are entirely unintentional and I usually end up liking them. For me anyway, they often have that magic that the universe delivers up when we get out of the way. I like them enough to save them. And lately put them to use – they make sweet and cheerful gift tags.

making marks on paper

*The links below are affiliate links – meaning I get a small commission if you purchase through the link.

I like them even better cropped using a die punch. You can get one here. I have a few of these punches and love them. The stamp doesn’t have a hole for the string so I used this mini size hole punch and added bakers twine.

do it yourself painted gift tags

sew a tree and mouse from scraps

What if you don’t make a painting everyday? You can still make the tags. The key is to make some marks on card stock or watercolor paper before cutting the tags.  Cropping is magic. Experiment with making marks without thinking about the tags. That freestyle experimenting is fun and good exercise and the tags are a bonus.

diy painted gift wrap

The tags go perfectly with my signature paint splattered brown paper wrapping. To keep things interesting I also painted some stripes and dots this year. 

Happy Christmas to you! I hope your holidays are lovely,

ann

 

PS – Join me in Vermont this March! We’ve added seven en-suite rooms for our upcoming SugarHouse Retreat with French General.  Located less than two miles away in The Dairy Barn ( I stayed in the Dairy Barn last year – it’s glorious), these special rooms are a beautiful addition to our retreat!  Come stitch by the fire with me!  Find more details here.

how to sew fabric trees

wax paper crystal snowflake ornament diy

handmade paper ornaments

handmade paper ornaments

You can make these wax paper snowflake “crystal” ornaments in about 5 minutes with stuff you probably already have. You gotta love that.  And you don’t have to use wax paper. I happen to love it though. I wanted something simple and light for my norfolk pine this year and I’ve always found wax paper magical. These were quick and easy and I had fun making them, I hope you do too. If you do I’d love to see – use #annwoodpattern on instagram.

You will need:

  • wax paper
  • stapler
  • glue stick
  • pinking shears
  • scissors
  • thread for hanging
  • optional – hot glue

make snowflakes from wax paper

1. Cut a strip of wax paper. My strip is the width of the roll and about 5 inches wide.

2. Fold the length of paper into pleats – accordion style. The pleats should be 1/2 inch or a little bigger. You want them to be consistent in size and firmly creased.

paper snowflake ornament diy

3. If you end up with a little extra paper carefully trim it off. Staple the center of your pleated paper – the staple needs to go across the center.

4.  Apply glue stick to the top layer of paper.

5. Fold the pleated paper in half – glue inside. Trim the tip with pinking shears.

6. Cut a couple little notches along the folds.

7. Apply glue stick to one side.

wax paper crystal tutorial

8.  Un- fold into a circle – brining the glued side around to meet the unglued side and press together to attach.

9. Add a string if you like and you’re finished – or…  Add a whole other level of awesomeness…

10. For extra dimension and fancyness make a smaller snowflake. I used a strip of paper about half as long and half as wide. My pleats are about 1/2 inch still but there are less of them.

wax paper craft idea

11. Use a  dot of hot glue to attach the smaller snowflake to center of the larger.

wax paper craft idea

So sweet! I hope you make wax paper snowflakes!

wax paper craft idea/div>

make a paper swan treat box : free tutorial

paper swan ornament treat box diy

For little treats and treasures. This swan favor box is super easy to make.  And I’ve made the template in two sizes for you (I demonstrate below using the larger size).

paper treat box tutorial

paper swan ornament diy

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

download the template

You will need:

  • the large or small swan box template
  • heavy paper – mixed media paper, card stock or watercolor paper all work
  • exacto knife
  • masking tape
  • glue
  • paint (I used water color)
  • pencils
  • scissors
  • paper clips
  • clothespins
  • optional – hanging string or ribbon

Notes before you begin:

The boxes are easy to make but tracing and cutting accuracy are very important. Also, please read through the steps before beginning.

 paper swan favor box diy

1. Cut out a swan template (I’m using the large) and use the pencil to poke holes through the three dots on the pattern. Use the exacto knife to cut the tab slot lines on the pattern. Place the template on your heavy paper and use a few little pieces of masking tape to keep it in place.  Trace around the edge.

* click the images for a larger view

2.  Mark the 3 dots with your pencil.

3. Lift up the tab slot and trace that edge.

4. Using the tail dot as a guide draw the straight score lines.

5. To draw the 2 curved score lines cut the line and trace them. You can tape the template back together after.

6. Use the back of the exacto knife to lightly score  all the lines you drew.

7. If you would like to add a hanging string use a large embroidery needle to poke holes through the two dots on the tab. Gently erase all the pencil lines.

paper swan ornament box diy

8. Turn your swan over and paint. I also made the smaller size and painted that one black (for that one I painted both sides.

I like simple, quick gestural painting for the swans. Make a few quick strokes in shades of gray water color and used just a little orange for the beak. I’m using a koi water color box and mudder water brushes. I love both of these items deeply.  *FYI – I get a small commission if you purchase through the links. Add some lines on the feathers in pencil or pen. I used pencil and sprayed them with a fixative so they won’t smudge. I made a curvy line for the eye with a black pen.

9.  Beginning with the tail gently fold along the score lines.

10. Next fold up the sides.

11. Gently shape the curved score lines too.

12. Apply glue to the front as shown and press the sides together.

13. Use paperclips or a weight to hold the sides together while tit dries.

14. When the front is dry apply glue to the tail and bend one side of the bottom tail feathers over the back.

15. Clamp with a clothespin and gently curl up the end with you finger. Let the tail dry.

16. Repeat for the other tail feather.

 treat box diy

17. Curl the ends of the middle feathers over a pen.

18. Add a string or ribbon if you like.

19. Tuck the tab into the slot by pressing down to close the box.

treat box diy

20.  Finally curl the feather under the top feather up a little.

make a paper swan treat boxI hope you make lots of swan boxes!

 

 

cats in pants and other lovely things made by customers

mr. socks pirate by melanie

mr. socks pirate by melaniemeet gustav! by Melanie

You get at least 2 levels of awesomeness from this post: links to makers I think you’ll love (click the images to find the maker) and ideas for little gifts. I love seeing what you make from my patterns, your details and your stories, I love that these things are in the world, cats in pants, woebegone pines, enchanted mushrooms etc…

cat dolls in pants by kira

The mischievous fellows above are made from the mr. socks pattern and free little pants pattern.

The trees are made from the woebegone pines pattern. I love whole the table!

realistic bird sewing pattern

And I love that they are very often gifts. Handmade gifts that surprise and delight. The songbird pattern is breaking records in that department. Also – FYI – I am a big fan of cottage industry and selling things you make from my patterns is not only OK but encouraged. If you do sell stuff I so appreciate if you let people know where you got the pattern.

bird sewing pattern

fabric bird sewing pattern

mushroom sewing pattern

mouse and mushroom sewing patterns

Find the mouse pattern here and the mushroom pattern here.

riny rag doll nation

tiny rag doll sewing pattern

 

The world’s tiny doll population grows every single day.  

And there are lots of free patterns for tiny doll accessories. checkout the miss thistle society collection for those.
clothespin doll bed diy

tiny doll sewing pattern

clothespin_doll bed

There is lots more to see – check out  #missthistlesociety and #annwoodpattern for more.

Also in the little gifts department I’m making you something!  Look for a free diy and template for this little paper swan treat box next week.

make a penny rug for the tiny rag doll with wool scraps

make a dollhouse rug from wool scraps

It’s officially cosy season, I kicked it off by boiling some wool scraps on Sunday. I was trying to felt wool without putting it in the dryer. The boiling on its own did not do much in the way of felting but it did produce an unexpected result that I ended up liking, the dyes ran so all my scraps ended up over-dyed.

doll house rug made from wool scraps

I used some of my boiled wool for this little rug for the tiny rag doll. Of course she needs a cosy rug for her little house in the green valley. I ran into wool pennies and penny rugs for the first time a few months ago. I love a scrap project and the idea of using everything and making something out of nothing. And I’ve got plenty of little scraps of wool. The little stitched circles are charming and satisfying to make. It’s meditative work.

And there are endless ways you could embellish and assemble them. I’ve made you templates for the shapes I used in this little rug.

find the template here

You’ll need wool and/ or wool felt scraps (I used a mix of felt and wool)
Embroidery thread and a needle
And (optional) a glue stick for assembling

1. To make the individual pennies place the little circle in the center of the larger. Stitch an X or star in the center with straight stitches.   Blanket stitch around the edge, to begin make one straight stitch and come back out out at the edge.

2.  Insert the needle a little away from the first stitch and the edge of the circle. Don’t pull the stitch tight.

3. Bring the needle back out just past the edge of the circle, bring your needle through the loop and pull tight.

4. Begin another stitch and repeat all the way around. You will need 20 pennies for this rug.

make a wool penny

To assemble blanket stitch 4 pennies onto oval 1. Attach oval 1 to oval 2. I cut oval 1 with pinking shears and stitched little V’s around the edge to attach it.

make a dollhouse rug from wool scraps

Place your 16 remaining pennies around the edge and blanket stitch around each penny edge attaching them to oval 2.

I hope you make a penny rug! If you do, I’d love to see, you can use #missthistlesociety and #annwoodpattern on instagram. And find more Miss thistle society patterns here.

scrap flowers and cardinals on my work table

cardinal made from red fabric

Is there a color, or colors you have a hard time working with? For me it’s red. It’s not that I don’t like red, it just hardly ever seems to find its way in to anything. Until lately, all of a sudden lots of rich red scraps have been turning up (or maybe I’ve just started noticing them) and my worktable is covered with magnificent reds and crimsons.  

hand stitched cardinal and flowers

stitched cardinal

I’m working on two projects to share at the Sugar House Retreat in March. a cardinal, and a fabric necklace.  The cardinal is made from the songbird sewing pattern with a few modifications. I love all the varieties of red and pink that turn up in cardinals and I’m working on a few. 

stitched flower necklace

The necklace is a scrap project, most of them collected in France this summer. It’s a jump in without a plan sort of process, step one is just cutting some circles.  I’m adding little bits of green too. I like the idea of using color as a starting point and a constraint and I’ll probably use the scrap necklace project ro experiment in other shades. I’ve started collecting some teal scraps for another.

sugar house retreat

If you’d like to join me in Vermont for the Sugar harvest and lots of projects, exploring and fantastic food and friends you can find more details here. It’s a small and super friendly retreat.  I had a fantastic time last year and you can checkout some images from that here. Or checkout out #warmbrookbarn on instagram.

abandoned quilt tops and stitched crows

fabric crow

It has some great moments and some highly questionable choices (worn towels…). All of it is very nostalgic for me.

salvaged quilt top

I’m always on the look out for  vintage or antique quilt tops. They are frequently super cheap and a great source for unusual little bits of fabric, perfect for all sorts of small projects (including doll quilts). Or if you find something  with no objectionable moments or issues you can take it across the quilt finish line. The quilt above (found on ebay) was probably assembled in the 70’s and has lots of sweet calicos. Another I found recently is pale and has a mix of small turn of the century and depression era prints salvaged from garments. Both are coming to workshops in LA with me.

needle book pages

I’m using the older quilt for needle book pages. I’ve been stitching up lots for the class.  You wouldn’t think machine sewing a ton of rectangles would be appealing but it is. I’ll probably get over it but right now I can’t get enough. It’s peaceful and satisfying to stack up the finished pages. Also I’m thinking of offering the pre-sewn, ready to embellish  pages as a kit this winter – what do you think?

stitching crow wings

Besides needle books we will be making paper ships, beetles, mushrooms and crows. I’m bringing lots of old garments to work with.

fabric crow

carved beaks and an edwardian skirt

paper ship

find workshop details and sign up here

 

basket of edwardian lawn gowns

And as soon as I get back to Brooklyn I’ll start shooting steps for a crow sewing pattern. In other pattern news the large rag doll and soldier patterns are coming soon too – I have a major do-over to deal with but hope to have at least one of those ready before the holidays.

stitched beetles

stitched beetles made from scraps

I wonder what they talk about – somebody seems pretty bossy…