Category: on my work table

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

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.

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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.

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

fall project ideas, sew a scrap quilt on a foundation plus a spooky read

quilt blocks made with vintage scraps

Happy National Sewing Month to those who celebrate. I’m not even making that up, it’s a real thing since 1982. My big fall project is a scrap quilt. I’ve never gotten a quilt across the official finish line. I’ve made a couple tops that ended up as duvet covers which doesn’t really count.

lovely old quilt

This is one of those past efforts (in 2016 Brooklyn).

This time there is a do-able plan and a legit quilt is gonna happen. The kind you run into at flea markets, soft, homespun and scrappy but sturdy enough to really use.

quilt blocks made with vintage scraps

sew a scrap quilt on a foundation

It’s going to be sewn one block at a time to foundation fabric (lightweight muslin).

What I love about this plan:

  • The square muslin “container” inspires me.
  • The one block at a time thing makes it feel doable. I can babystep my way through it.
  • The foundation gives the very scrappy  scraps extra stability and makes the blocks easy to deal with.

There will eventually be a schedule for how many blocks per week but I’m messing with the process for a while to experiment my way towards what I want.

The muslin blocks are 10 inch squares. I don’t know exactly what the finish size is yet – I’ll figure that out after I have 50 or so blocks to play with. I will keep you updated on all the scrap quilt developments as they happen.

The foundation method is stitching scraps to the muslin. I’m using an improv process, no planning ahead, just grabbing scraps and stitching them on. That’s the kind of “make do” utilitarian and vintage feeling quilt I’m looking for. I think the quilting will be super simple and oldschool too, I’m leaning in the direction of yarn knots.

If your’e into a more organized process and result you can find a great tutorial for sewing a string quilt on a foundation here.

Before beginning I washed the muslin and scraps. To start, cut your foundation squares and pin a scrap, place another over it (right sides together) and stitch a seam (¼ inch seam allowance)

Fold the fabric over and press. Place another scrap over it and repeat until your muslin block is covered.

Flip the square over and trim the edges. This step is weirdly satisfying. Put the cut offs back in the scrap pile if they’re big enough.

The first couple squares I made over the weekend are sewn by hand but the plan is to mostly machine sew. I already like it.

table with vintage paper back and patchwork pouches

the spooky read

My friend Katy and I read a spooky vintage book every year. This years selection is “The Other” Thomas Tryon. We both love a scary novel, preferably written in the 70’s and preferably made into a film in the same decade and preferably a vintage copy with old book smell. Previous titles include Burnt Offerings and Rosemary’s Baby. This one is a winner on all counts.  I got it on Ebay for 6 bucks.

4 fall project ideas

It’s the perfect time to make a crow! This beautifully stitched example  was made from the crow sewing pattern by super talented stitch club member Kari M. If your crow needs a hat find a free template and diy for a paper hat here.

making sharp applique points

Bat Applique –  or “batlique” Get the free template and diy instructions here. They are especially cool stitched to vintage linens. And you’ll learn how to make super pointy applique points.

owl ornaments made from scraps

Owl Ornaments – these little owls are a perfect fall scrap project

Mini Tetra Sachet’s – Make little sachet’s with the tetra tutorial. I’m using all sorts of herbs from the garden and throwing in some cloves too. I’m all about a seasonal smell.

little hand stitched squirrel

Forest Folk Sewing Pattern – it’s time to make the squirrels! I sure do love to put a scarf on somebody little…

colorful handmade pirate birds with fancy bicorne hats (you should make one)

this is why we can’t have nice things – beware of scammers

Important note regarding pirates! Not the fun kind. I sell patterns here, ann wood handmade, and also on Etsy. Nowhere else. Shady websites steal images from me and other small pattern designers. One of those sites is currently pumping out lots of Facebook and Instagram ads for sewing patterns. It’s a bait and switch scam – anyone who purchases from them gets nothing or close to nothing. I and other designers have reported them to their webhost and Meta (facebook and instagram). So far there has been no action taken by the host. Meta has removed the ads but not deactivated the ad account so be aware.

Incidentally International “Talk Like A Pirate Day” also lands in September – the 19th.  Find the template for the little bicornes here.

What’s your national sewing month project? Will you join me in making a scrap quilt? Are you in the mood for a scary book? Let us know in the comments. Happy National sewing Month to you!

make scrap fabric patchwork : recreational piecing

Plants and patchwork make me happy, I can’t get enough of either of them.

The process has an energetic phase and a meditative phase. The energetic phase is grabbing a bunch of scraps and piecing them together quickly. I find my results are most satisfying when I don’t over think this part. Join a couple pieces, iron your seams open, cut it up and join them again. Repeat until it’s as patchworky as you’d like. I make a pretty big mess when I do this.

baskets of scrap fabric being ironed and pieced together randomly.

Pro Tip: Load your machine with gray thread- it works for most fabric colors. Also keep your stitch pretty small. If you’re going to cut your patchwork up to make stuff it won’t easily fall apart before you assemble your project.

This quick paced piecing always gets my wheels turning. The resulting patchwork is a great start for all sorts of projects.

get the pattern button

patchwork project  ideas:

woebegone pines

scrappy trees 

needle books

mushrooms

It’s also a great way to start your 100 day stitch book pages 

patchwork cut into little square and rectangles on a cutting mat

Lately I have felt a strong spiritual directive to make some simple little pouches. That’s what got me thinking about patchwork this week. The next step was to cut my shapes.

That’s where the meditative phase begins. Before I start to assemble the pouches I’ll add hand stitching and patches. I want these tiny bags to feel layered and worked, the patchwork is a huge head start in that direction.

That’s my stitch plan for the weekend – slowly hand stitching this little collection of squares and rectangles. I’ll post some progress in my instagram stories.  And if the pouches are sweet I’ll post a tutorial soon. Stay tuned.

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

Happy mail! Lots of mushroom sewing patterns are headed out into the world. Thank you!

Hot off the press! Don’t look directly at it… The Golden Sun Notecard is in the shop now.

What’s your weekend sewing project? Is there recreational patchwork in your future?

Let us know in the comments.

the vacation sewing box, mini stitched mushrooms, and the finished 2023 stitch book

a box filled with hand stitch projects prepared- it's pretty messy

meditative stitching

Simple hand stitching is an ideal activity for percolating ideas. It occupies me but doesn’t require too much brain power and lets my subconscious do its background magic. That background magic is key to everything and there is a lot to percolate! I’m working on new projects to share here and getting ready to head to Squam to teach a workshop all about having ideas…

a box filled with hand stitch projects prepared- it's pretty messy

This box of stitch projects is built for that, a vacation from thinking. Decisions are already made and you can just pull something out and start sewing. My box is lots of mending and mini mushrooms.

a red and white mushroom mad from fabric photographed in nature.

I made the spotted guy from the cut off part of some recently hemmed pants. The soft cotton twill was splattered with bleach first. Now I’ve got a mushroom that matches my pants and I’m positive that’s going to come in handy someday.


finishing the 100 day stitch book

It’s finally assembled! Two big differences for me this year are leaving the edges raw and thinking of the pages in pairs. 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. Especially when I wasn’t 100% happy with what I’d done, putting the idea aside for a bit helped a lot. Checkout the final assembly of the finished pages in the video below.

learn more about the stitch book project here

Don’t see the video? Click here.

plus the mr. socks photo challenge winner!

Congratulations Diane! (@lubydiane on instagram). I love that your mr. socks had a friend on his adventures and all the photos were fantastic. A bundle of scraps will be headed your way! Check out the full reel on instagram. So sweet!

two tiny cat rag dolls posed playfully by a pond

Let’s wind up the summer with another photo challenge

Show us your mushrooms! Are they poisonous? Enchanted? Do they magically appear only when the moon is full? Stitch up a mushroom and take a photo. Please use #annwoodmushroompattern to share on instagram or facebook. Post your photo before the end of September. A panel of esteemed judges (me) will chose the winner of an awesome little bundle of scraps in early September.

a very small indigo capped stitched mushroom captured in the wild

Do you have a travel sewing project? Are you ready for September?!
Are you an over-achiever already working on holiday stuff? Let us know in the comments.

when life gives you lemons make tiny needle books and herb markers

a mini cloth gook fastened with a red string

a very small cotton needlebook with a haret in the center - there is a needle with green thread in it wrapped in a criss cross fashion

And also maybe a sad bulb… 

let’s start with the needle book

It’s super small, just 2 and ½ by 3 inches. And it’s made with template C and the heart from the free needle book tutorial. A couple details are different from the pattern:

  1. I added a layer of cotton batting in the heart and rectangle.
  1. Instead of the loop closure  I used a string with fringed ends. It’s tied around the button and long on one end for wrapping. 

It was fun to make and the size is sweet but most importantly it helped me bust out of inertia. 

Usually, in the early summer, I take a little  time off to travel or just mess around in the garden and swim. This year, instead of that, I got super sick and did a lot of tedious website maintenance work…  Finding my energy and focus on the other side of that and getting back into a working/creative rhythm has been tough. I’ve been firmly stuck in the doldrums, not even a whisper of a breeze to push me out.

a mini cloth gook fastened with a red string

 In a doldrum emergency like this the question to ask myself is : what would I be willing to do. Not what should I do, but what might I possibly, actually, maybe be able to get myself to do.  For me the answer was a tiny needle book. And twig herb markers.

 If you don’t see the video click here.

The little book would make a great gift and I might make a couple for the shop (I’m still in a tiny needle book making place). You can check out the book in the video above. The thread wrapped needle detail is a simple thing that makes it feel extra special.

making stick herb markers

Every year I mean to make them and don’t. They’re super quick and easy, just twigs with the bark shaved off and a fine sharpie. Mine are kind of a mess but that’s in keeping with the current theme here. I love them.  

The tiny projects did the trick, somewhere between the needle book and the twig markers  there was a glimmer of motivation and momentum. The wheels are turning again and I’m nurturing that precious momentum

blulb stitched form cotton with a green sprout and sad stitched face

Let’s talk about this guy. He was a bonus project for the zoom botanical class.  I’m considering a sewing pattern or mini class for him.  

How is your summer? Have you hit the doldrums? What’s on your worktable? Do you need a sad bulb in your life? Let us know in the comments.