paintings to stitch, the hexie quilt and nude rag doll news

stitch painting embroidery

Every day starts with stitching owls and castles and swans etc. and making scrap hexies. I chose a few images from the daily paintings to print on linen and stitch and I love stitching them, I find it hypnotic. It’s a free style situation – choosing lines or details to highlight and embellish. I’ve only been using 3 stitches – back stitch, satin and french knots.

a cozy sewing situation

You can find the stitch paintings in the shop.

When I finish these I’ll keep them in the hoops and hang them in a little group –  I’ll show you how to do that soon. I’m using DMC floss – the six strand stuff – separating one, two or three strands. 

painting sampler - teacup

embroider a blue bug

I love this blue bug gentleman, where is he going? Who are those flowers for? And I love the little french knot flowers for his bouquet.  I used two strands of thread for these. 

french knots:

Bring the needle through the fabric where you would like the knot.  Hold the thread tight about and inch from the fabric with your other hand. Place your needle in front of the tight floss – be sure it’s in front – not behind. 

Wind the floss around the needle twice (or once for a tiny knot),  Don’t twirl the needle to wind the floss – wind it around the needle with your non-needle hand,

Keep the tension of the floss and put the needle back in right next to (not in the same hole – but very close to it) where you began. Keep the thread tight with your non-needle hand and pull the coil downward towards your fabric. Pull the needle through to finish the knot.

hexie update:

I add a few every day- I’m moving from the multicolor scrap area into a pale section and starting a  dark blue group too, Lots of people are making hexies! Check out #hexiesforsanity to see. And I found a printable sheet of templates here.

 making a hexie quilt from scraps

embroidering a doll face

Scandalous doll pattern update: Just about there and it is awesome. The hard part for me was the head – I changed my mind over and over but finally settled on a solution I’m super happy with.  Stay tuned.  And get some fabric – muslin or any light cotton.

What are you working on?  Come across any cool projects, recipes, awesome books  or ideas you’d like to share? Please leave them in the comments.


  1. Nell Morningstar Ubbelohde

    I love this update o the scandalous doll pattern! I am so looking forward to purchasing it and making up a troupe of my own naked ladies!

    • Barbara Smith

      My mother used to make hexi shapes and put them together to make a quilt. On the plain white squares, she would get relatives and friends to sign their name,then she would embroider over. A wonderful keepsake which I still have. I love your update emails.

  2. I’ve made so many mouse beds and mice and little coverlets. Everyone loves them.
    Going to tackle your big owl pattern soon after I rummage through my stash.
    And planning on the larger paper mache ship when I feel like making a little mess. Thank you for shar your creativity!

  3. Lori Krutsch

    Still working on my Cardinal from the craft retreat in Vermont. I know, no surprise. Going to try my hand at embroidery on the castle picture you gave me in our bags.

  4. Aw, too late to the party! Love the picture stitches already sold. Hope you do a few more. The castle and the owl are my favorites.

    Always such a redeaming pleasure to read your blog and see what new and gentle arts you are up to!

  5. martha gazzard

    ive been on the mood fabric website a lot – they have lovely free clothing patterns up to a US size 30 ! i have made at least 3 dresses by now

  6. Love your website and all of the projects, Ann!
    For the past 30+ years, on and off as the fabric collections have been released by designers, I have been cutting fabrics for a series of 7 charm quilts using 1800’s Reproduction fabrics – Thimble, Octagon, Kite, 60 and 72 degree Diamond, Equilateral Triangle, and Clamshell, all cut from one 5″ square of fabric. I’m paper piecing them, have cut approx. 8,000 fabrics so far, and have sewn together 4,500 Thimbles and 785 sixty degree Diamonds. My goal is 10,000 different fabrics! (insane laugh)
    Along the way I get distracted by tatting, 17th c double running stitch samplers, lace knitting, beadwork, and sewing my 1 1/2″ x 1/2″ fabric scraps into doll quilts.
    My husband says that I have enough needlework to last me into the next century and beyond! LOL!
    Sorry, no Instagram or blog, no time.

  7. Catherine Wood Flavin

    Did you know that Gram used to make those? Mom showed me once. Only difference was that she did circles and would gather them. They were like flat fabric balls

    • I remember! You’re thinking of yoyo’s – similar process. She made bed covers and dolls from them. I remember her making tons of them. Funny coincidence the next DIY project I’m doing here involves yoyo’s.

  8. I’m on a hexie kick. I made them before many years ago but this time I’m serious. I have no clue what to do with them…how does one make a hexie quilt? Do you see them to a sheet or do they stand alone as a quilt top?

  9. Jane Plant

    I loved the hexie idea, but soon found I couldn’t deal with total randomness. After spending some time on Pinterest, I decided I’ll make blocks of randomness (19 hexies together) , and then surround them with a white ring of hexies and a colored ring of hexies to join everything. I’ll have to wait until I can go shopping to get the white and sashing fabrics. Thank you for a wonderful idea of what to do with all the scraps I have left over from sewing virus masks for my family.

    • susannasmailbox

      Jane I agree with you about the randomness, my brain tires to work out some sort of pattern and I find it stressful.

  10. Cindy Taylor

    What a lovely, refreshing thing, to find your wonderful email this morning! I always, always enjoy them so much! Thank you for the patterns and ideas you so generously share with us….I have my little pin girl watching over me as I stitch on my hexie piece. I think it will eventually become a table runner. And yes, I have discovered a new book and blog….from Susan Branch. ( Just received my new “Heart of the Home” cookbook last week and I adore reading it and at some point will try some of her recipes. I hope some of you will enjoy it, too! Stay safe and well!

  11. sheryl mcgettigan

    I too am on a hexie kick. I plan to make mine into a quilt. I have been making groups of seven, they look like flowers. I will applique each ‘flower’ onto a square and do sashing between the squares. That’s the plan anyway!

  12. While convalescing from surgery I finished the hexie quilt top, I had the pieces stores in a cookie box, something I did while watching tv, however, never got around to completely finish it, I do not hand quilt. I know that during this time of confinement we l are looking through our stashes and finishing or making other creative projects. Thank you for your inspirational newsletters and lovely things you create.

  13. So glad to hear about the doll pattern progress! I’ve been trying to make one one my own, guessing at the patten and so far the poor thing has had three heads. (And not the fun conjoined twin kind either).

    • I feel your pain – the head was a real problem. I think you’ll like the method I finally settled on. It’s easy and the result is consistent.

  14. longpond3

    These embroidery kits are fabulous, Ann! They were sold out before I saw your blog, please tell me that you will offer them again? I recently completed a wire bed for my two mice and cannot tell you how adorable they look in it. There is no end to your creativity! Many Thanks and Stay Safe, Ginny

  15. I am loving the hexies. I have about thirty stitched together at this point, and as one who hates to waste fabric, I love that they are letting me use up my scraps! Very relaxing.

  16. Oh, Ann, your artistry just makes me giddy…..I can not WAIT for the doll pattern! She is beautiful. Thank you for your inspiration, for sharing your ideas and your talent, and for always making me just feel HAPPY with your ‘imaginations come to life’.

  17. How did you print your paintings onto fabric? That, in itself, sounds like a fun project!

  18. Your blog is always a welcome break for me but even more so at the moment! I’m struggling to make time to craft with a 4 year old wanting my attention all day, but I started a hexie quilt almost 28 years ago when my daughter was small so I am going to dig it out and add to it.
    I have always loved but struggled with embroidery being left handed, instructions with photos are always for righties, but a few years ago I discovered an embroidery book for left handers! Suddenly stitches made sense – and the best part of the book is the advice for right handers “just sew in reverse” – priceless

  19. Hazel Vanbergen

    I really like these Web posts and your site Ann, you are so innovative and the visuals are great. Before the Lockdown I always felt slightly guilty at spending so much of my time crafting, but now it seems to have been legitimised to stop us all going stir crazy.The doll is very similar to one I made over 40 years ago so I’m glad to see it again as I still retain some of the clothes I made though the doll suffered an extinction event. I look forward to obtaining the pattern , how can I do this please. The gathered circles are known as Suffolk puffs in the Uk.
    Very best wishes to you from Hazel Vb

    • susannasmailbox

      Hazel – I must admit I prefer the term Suffolk puffs – puffs of fabric – yo-yos are those toys that we used to play with when we were kids. Odd how we mostly speak the same language but have completely different words for things.

  20. susannasmailbox

    Ann – your emails always spark a little joy – I really love your work. Those dolls look so gorgeous and the fabric paint and stitch combinations are wonderful and give me so much pleasure to look at!

    I am tempted by the dolls, but how are you doing with the current situation over where you are? Are you able to post things out to the UK? How do you feel about leaving the safety of your home to post things? I would not like you to risk getting ill to send me a pattern?

    Sending you all much love, keep safe and well.

  21. Starting to learn to punch needle….but now may have to put that on hold to make a scandalous doll! ❤️ Your apartment/home is so inspiring!

  22. Anna McCarthy

    Have just recently found your blog and your inspiration – I love it! My daughter and I have made a doll’s house full of mice in the last week…so happy.

    I really also like your embroidery over printed designs – would love it if you sold more or somehow sold the images so we could print our own (but…how do you print onto linen???) – just would be easier for us living in other countries.

    Not only inspiring, but motivating. So glad I found you!

  23. Kristi Shreenan

    Thank you for always inspiring us, Ann. I made a garland of the feathers you linked to for a friend’s birthday. It was really fun, easy, creative and very unique. I know she will love them.

  24. Laura Manusset

    Bonjour est ce que vous vendez le patron si oui où son vos prix ? J adore ce que vous faites bravo.

Comments are closed.