Two new patterns for you!

(Warning! Long blog post ahead!)
For the first time in quite a while I have new patterns to release! I have to say I'm pretty excited to have these completed and ready. I hope you like them.

The first is...

~ Heartfelt Trio ~
A trio of small projects, for the home or gifts
Finished project sizes
Hanging Heart – 8” x 8”, Wallhanging – 7 ½” x 14”, Framed Heart – to suit a 8" x 10" frame
-  Choose a colour.
- Choose a Heartfelt Panel, “Home”, “Welcome” or “Family”.
- Choose which project to make, Wallhanging, Hanging Heart or Framed Heart.

The process of designing "Heartfelt Trio" began over a year ago. I wanted to just make a simple framed version... but you know you start one thing, and the ideas come more quickly than you can stitch. I wondered if the design might be better used in a wallhanging. Actually, maybe it would be great as a cushion or "a 3 dimensional, filled with stuffing kind of thing".
As you can see I couldn't choose so I made all three ~ a trio!

So, one panel design, three heartfelt sentiments and three projects to create with it.

Heartfelt trio all 3

The Heartfelt Panel Design is created with a back-stitch filled word, satin-stitched dots and dimensional flowers. Each flower is made with a layer of double-sided fabric and felted wool. The smaller flowers are completed with a clear glass bead in the centre.

Heartfelt trio all 3
Heartfelt trio all 3
Heartfelt trio all 3

Each "Heartfelt" project offers different techniques to try.
The Hanging Heart has a fabric tie and a ruched edge which adds a lovely textural quality.

Heartfelt Trio Welcome1
Heartfelt Trio Welcome1

The Wallhanging features a little patchwork, quilting and threaded back-stitch.

Heartfelt Trio Home1

The Framed Heart is needleturn appliquéd and then edged with threaded back-stitch.
(You can see a closeup of the threaded back-stitch in a closeup above.)

Heartfelt Trio Family1

The pattern includes full sized pattern sheets and comprehensive instructions, filled to the brim with illustrated and photographic detail.

Heartfelt Trio Pattern Cover

My second release for this week is...

~ With Thread in Hand - Framed Stitchery ~
Finished design size to suit a 10" x 13" frame.

Vintage sewing tools and fully wound thread cards rest on a partially stitched doily, waiting for the embroiderer to return. This One Day In May project is reminiscent of embroidery design and tools of a bygone era.

With Thread in Hand framed2

"With Thread in Hand" was shared with Cottage Garden Threads Collectors Club in February and is now ready to be released as one of my pattern range. I loved designing this stitchery. I have quite a "thing" for all things vintage, but especially anything sewing related!

With Thread in Hand collage

This project is completed with Back-stitch, French Knots, Detached Chain-stitch, a little Satin-stitch and the tiniest of cross-stitches for a simple, yet textural alternative to the French Knot. The finished design fits comfortably in a 10” x 13” frame but would also work well bordered and bound as a miniature quilt.

With Thread in Hand Photos closeup4

 Only 4 different skeins of variegated, stranded cotton are needed to complete this project.
I have used stranded Cottage Garden Threads.
- 708 Plum Pudding for frame outline, spirals & detail on embroidery cards
  - 203 River Gum for leaves, stems & wound thread on the 1st thread card
  - 310 Carrot Seed for scissors, thimble, needle threader & card outlines
  - 1002 Kangaroo Paw for all text & wound thread on the 2nd thread card
Maybe you already have these colours in your collection.

With Thread in Hand Photos closeup6

With Thread in Hand Photos closeup5

With Thread in Hand framed3

“With Thread in Hand”  includes a MULTIPLE-USE TRANSFER so you won’t have to spend any of your stitching time tracing. You’ll also find a full sized pattern sheet and comprehensive illustrated and photographic instructions.
Add a touch of sewing nostalgia to your creative space... “With Thread in Hand”.

With Thread in Hand coverBoth of these patterns are available now and will be filtering into stores soon. Please get in touch with your local patchwork store to order, or you can find it HERE today.
For store owners, please get in touch with Helen or Lori of Pattern Press to place a wholesale order.
I will be having a giveaway of these new designs very soon, so keep an eye out.

Until then, happy stitching...

Gathering inspiration... and a little Valentine

(This being my first blog post of 2015, it would be downright neglectful of me to not wish you a very Happy New Year! Oh dear... and I think I should add "Merry Christmas to that too. I really am a bit behind! Lets pretend for a moment that we're not a good 6 and a bit weeks into the year already... ok?)

Spending some time rummaging in thrift shops and antique stores is one of my favourite things to do on a "me day".

I usually hunt for handmade items, vintage sewing tools and haberdashery, linen, bottles, childrens' books and postcards. I tend to also gather inspiration... not really intentionally. It just happens. I find old book spines, picture and mirror frames, linen and postcards, sheet music, jewelry design full of inspiration... just about everywhere you look there is a shape, flourish, colour combination, illustration or style that triggers something creative. Little discoveries like these fill me up with renewed motivation... and bring a wonderful assortment of new ideas for projects. And lets face it... the hunt and eventual discovery just make me happy!

Look at the cover of this sheet music! So many little elements are just begging to be embroidered, don't you think? (I'm sure store owners must wonder why I look at covers so closely... and for so very long!)

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I love the shape of this banner too. It feels a bit Christmassy to me... I have a project in mind already!

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The font used on this book cover caught my eye... as did the wonderful flower spikes. I can imagine them in a combination of applique and embroidery. The frame shape around the lettering is great too. There is so much inspiration here!

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I don't always find something to bring home, but I was lucky today.
 found a small table topper embroidered with a very simple "chicken scratch" design, a sweet vintage postcard with a Mabel Lucie Atwell illustration and a glass jar that once held lemon butter. None of the "had to come home with me" items have terribly much to do with design this time, but they speak to me just the same.

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Although very simple in design, I think the red and white "chicken scratch" cloth will be wonderful as a prop for project photography. Its a little primitive, pretty, country, girly and vintage in style... all at the same time.

2015-02-13 16.13.10

I never can resist anything illustrated by Mabel Lucie Atwell, but this treasure is especially sweet. The card is from the Valentine's Atwell Series, which is especially appropriate to discover today. Just in time for Valentine's day tomorrow.
As you can see, little Alice must be feeling a little forgotten by her beloved uncle... the labeling she has added to the front says it all. Either auntie and uncle have had a baby which is distracting them terribly, or auntie is doting on uncle a little too much for Alice's liking. What a giggle! Poor auntie isn't even mentioned in Alice's note. 

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Finding something vintage and produced by a Melbourne company is extra special to me... my home town. I'm looking forward to doing a little research tonight. Hopefully I can find an approximate date of production. The shape of the jar is beautiful too. A little art deco in style maybe... I wonder.

2015-02-13 16.12.22

What are you drawn to when thrifting or hunting for treasure? I'd love to know.
Wishing you a Happy Valentine's Day for tomorrow (and I'm even early!).

Threaded Backstitch Tutorial ~ how and where I use it...

I felt the need to add a little something to one of my "Heartfelt Trio" projects today. After a bit of umming and aaahing, I decided to edge my appliqued heart with Threaded Backstitch...  and I thought of you.

Who's up for a little tutorial?

Threaded Backstitch is such an "easy to achieve" embroidery stitch.
I use it in all sorts of ways. To embellish a quilt block, to trim applique shapes or as part of a stitchery design.

Threaded backstitch 2 ~ One Day In May

Firstly... how is it done?

Threaded backstitch 1 ~ One Day In May 

A row of simple backstitch is sewn along your traced line or the edge of an applique shape.
Thread is then woven back and forth through the row of backstitch to create an overall wavy look.

Here's a closer look at what I was working on today...

I'm hoping for quite a bulky look to edge my heart shape.
I would like the waviness of the heart edge to be a little noticeable from a distance and I'm also hoping to give the impression of a slightly lacey edge. I've chosen the number of strands I think will give that look... its always a bit of an experiment.
Note ~ you can achieve a finer or "chunkier" look by varying the number of strands you use in the "backstitch base" and also in the "threaded stitches".
My usual choice for most applications is 3 strands for the base and also 3 strands for the threaded stitches.

Threaded backstitch 3 ~ One Day In May

With your chosen number of strands of stranded cotton
 (I've used 2 strands) 

~ sew medium sized backstitch all the way around the applique shape. Try to keep your stitches evenly spaced.

Now thread your needle again, with the number of strands you'd like to weave through the backstitch base. (I've used 6 strands)
~ At the base of your first backstitch, bring your thread from the back of your work to the front.

~ Weave the 6 strands back and forth through your "backstitch base", taking your needle under the stitches. In the above pictures, see my needle going under the first backstitch from left to right. I place the needle under the following stitch from right to left. Alternate in this way along the entire length of backstitching.
~ Take care that you don't pull the woven thread too firmly, as this will straighten out the little bumps that give such a nice wavy effect.

Below, you can see my row of "Backstitch Base" on the right. On the left is my finished Threaded Backstitch.

Threaded backstitch 4 ~ One Day In May

I also like to use Threaded Backstitch, when I need a stem to look a little thicker than a regular backstitch.
In Hannah's Garden and Hannah's Heart, I've used it to embroider the branch detail in the bird panels. The variegated thread adds yet another dimension as the tone of the top thread and bottom thread can vary.

Hannah's Heart Table Runner 5

Threaded Backstitch is also useful at the edge of a panel or quilt block. It brings a simple embellishment to the block that doesn't take away from the overall design.
A little hard to see here as I've used ecru thread on off white linen. Threaded Backstitch trims the butterfly and bee panels of Hannah's Garden.

Threaded backstitch 6 ~ One Day In May

And again here, on another of my Heartfelt Trio projects... a little leftover variegated thread trims the top and bottom of the central panel.

Threaded backstitch 5 ~ One Day In May

One day, I'd also like try this simple technique to stitch cursive script... one day. I hope you'll give Threaded Backstitch a go.

Let me know if you like it.
Happy stitching,

May Love Grow Here...

Some designs float around in the mind for a long time before they're stitched. There is planning, consideration, changing of the mind, more planning. Some projects have a very slow beginning.

Others seem to just "happen" all of a sudden. The idea seems to come from nowhere in particular... there's a bit of an itch to make it straight away... and somehow... miraculously there just happens to be free time to play.

All the "designing planets" seemed to align one particular day this year. And this is the result.

"May Love Grow Here"

A framed piece, combining stitchery, piecing, semi-detached applique and a little felted wool.
Finished size 13 ½" x 15 ½" , to suit an 8" x 10" (shown) or an 11" x 14" frame.

May Love Grow Here 3 One Day In May May Love Grow Here 4 One Day In May

A felted wool dove sits in her redwork tree. You'll find the tree bears the sweetest of fruit.

May Love Grow Here 6 One Day In May

The semi-detached leaves are made with double sided-fabric and attached with just 2 stitches at the centre of each leaf. This allows the tips of the leaves to sit up a little, adding a lovely 3D effect to the design.

May Love Grow Here 7 One Day In May

Semi-detached applique is a technique used in Hannah's Garden, Hannah's Heart, Joyful Angels, In a Pear Tree, this and many other One Day In May patterns. Shapes are cut from double layered fabric which has been fused together. The shapes are partly attached to a quilt top or project with simple stitchery. Being semi-detached, the edges of the shapes are free to sit up from the background fabric. This casts a slight shadow and gives the overall design a dimensional aspect.
Semi-detached applique is well suited to even the smallest shapes and is a great way to embellish any project. These leaves are less than a centimetre long... much to small to attach with usual applique techniques. Size isn't an issue with semi-detached applique.
I love the freedom that it gives me in design

May Love Grow Here 1 One Day In May

"May Love Grow Here" can be ordered through your local patchwork store. You can find links for some One Day In May stockists at the top left of this blog.
Please visit Pattern Press, if you would like to become a stockist.

To see the entire One Day In May pattern range, take a peek at my Pattern Catalogue. Photo albums for each design can also be found in the right sidebar of the blog.

...until next time, happy stitching,