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,

The Winner and A Little Progress

From far and wide you came... Germany, Canada, The U.K., U.S.A and more. Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter my Baskets in Bloom giveaway! It was lovely to read your comments and I'm sure Gail will enjoy them too. You are right, Gail is very one very talented individual. Her designs are timeless and are enjoyed and stitched by so many.

And now for the winner! There were 73 entries in all... and lucky number 56 was drawn! Counting from the top, number 56 is Gayle A.! 

Gayle commented ~ Wow Melissa, these fabrics are beautiful. Really like the subtle tones. The little birdie that told you has flown all the way to Hervey Bay to tell me! Yes, of course I would love to win this stash, will use yours and Gails patterns. love love love competitions like this, regards, Gayle

Congratulations Gayle! This beautiful bundle is all yours! I will email you shortly for your address.

Baskets in Bloom winner

I'd also like to take this opportunity to say thank you for the many messages of encouragement and understanding you've sent since my post last week. They mean so much to me, and I'm feeling quite settled in this process of finding my way forward. I've enjoyed blogging again (it must be quite a shock to the inboxes of those who subsribe via email!!). Sharing here and on facebook has helped me feel reconnected to that creative part of me. There has been a renewed determination, which feels great... but with smaller tasks and easily accomplished goals.

This weekend I worked on 2 of my projects in progress.
I spent many hours with this little robin on Saturday. He's been underway for many months now, but wasn't quite "robinish" enough. Saturday was his day! He went from tall and skinny to squat and chubby, happily perched on his branch and ready to stitch.

Robin red breast ~ one day in may

The goal for Sunday was to complete the final project for an upcoming pattern, "Heartfelt Trio" and to take step by step photos for the pattern.

The three projects all use the same floral heart as a feature panel. The panel can be embroidered with any of three sentiments, "Family", "Home" or "Welcome". I've loved combining semi-detached applique with felted wool, embroidery, applique and patchwork.

Heartfelt Trio Peek ~ One Day In May

The little flowers are simple to make and add a wonderful dimension to the projects.

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Happy stitching until next time,

Baskets in Bloom Giveaway!

With thanks to Gail Pan of Gail Pan Designs, I have a gorgeous bundle of her first fabric collection to giveaway to one lucky reader! How exciting... 18 Fat Eighths of Baskets in Bloom to stitch, patch, quilt, share or stash. This earthy yet pretty assortment of dusty tones would be a wonderful addition to any fabric collection.

baskets in bloom by gail pan

Red Rooster Fabrics decscribes Baskets in Bloom as inspired by Gail's love of baskets. Pairing baskets with flowers was a natural for her. The prints include baskets filled with flowers, a floral toss, and a basket toss in reds, blues, greens, and creams. Flowers on trailing vines, a little stripe, tiny flowers, a floral check, and a text print with the names of our favorite flowers complete the collection. Gail sees Baskets in Bloom in quilts, table runners, totes, sewing accessories, and little girl's dresses.

baskets in bloom by Gail Pan

baskets in bloom by Gail Pan

Simply leave a comment below for your chance to win. One lucky ready will be chosen at random on Monday, September 15th, 2014 AEST. The giveaway is open internationally, so please leave an entry no matter where you are visiting from.

Entries are now closed. Visit this post to see who won.

You can follow Gail and her creative journey on her blog and on the Gail Pan Designs Facebook Page. I know she would love to see you there!

Good luck everyone,

A little bird told me...

I feel like I've struck gold!! Look what I found at one of our local preloved book shops. "A Little Bird Told Me" - by Mabel Lucie Atwell, a small book from Dean's Little Poppet Series.

Vintage children's books are a particular love of mine... and how very sweet Mabel Lucie Atwell's illustrations are.
I'm particularly loving the pigtails in these ones!

(You can read a little about Mabel Lucie Atwell HERE if you enjoy her illustrations too.)

A little bird told me...

A little bird told me...

A little bird told me...

A little bird told me...

A little bird told me...

A 15 minute experiment...

I thought I'd begin my attempt to "restructure" my working life (see yesterday's blog post) by conducting a little experiment.

My aim is to return to regular blogging. The goal is to achieve a blog post in 15 minutes while Hannah plays with something stimulating alongside me. Today's sensory activity for Miss H is a kinetic sand called "Sand in Motion" plus "tools" for her to experiment with. Wish me luck the timer is on!! :)

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NOW... let me formally introduce you to a pattern I've completed this year. Those of you who follow One Day In May on Facebook have most likely seen this design already...

Daisy Chain Mobile ~ to delight little girls

Daisy Chain Mobile 4 One Day In May

I wanted to create a project for a nursery, bedroom or playroom. Often we'd like to give something we've made to celebrate the birth of a baby or a little one's birthday. I thought it might be nice to offer an alternative to a cot quilt, play mat, cushion or softie. I also wanted to make something to decorate Hannah's room that would catch her eye.... something that moves and turns... something colourful... and of course something a bit sweet. 

A Daisy Chain Mobile One Day In May

Daisy Chain Mobile is 115cm (45") long and combines a few different elements, each of which is made by hand. A great project for evening stitching on the couch.

~ The flowers are made with layers of double-sided fabric and felted wool. Double-sided fabric is so very simple to make and is one of my favourite things to use in a project.

~ The leaves are also made with double-sided fabric and felt. The leaves are folded and stitched at the base, to give them a slightly curled look.

~ The mobile also includes 4 Garden Friends, each one embroidered in a different colour and attached to a felted wool disc.

Each of the elements is attached to a length of variegated ric-rac, creating a pretty feature that hangs easily from a window pelmut or ceiling. The mobile spins and twirls with the slightest breeze.

Daisy Chain Mobile 2 One Day In May

Daisy Chain Mobile is available through you local patchwork store. You can find a list of stockists in the left side-bar of my blog. If you are a store who would like to stock this and other One Day In May designs, please get in touch with my lovely distributors at Pattern Press.

(And there you have it, my first attempt at a 15 minute post! Not a complete failure... but I definitely didn't make the 15 minute goal... and I might have a little sand clean up to do... hee hee. Stay tuned for my next attempt!)

Until next time...


On a personal note...

I don't usually share here in a personal way. I hope you don't mind indulging me today...

2014 has put up some challenges I must say. I've found myself struggling to keep up with parenting a little one, all that comes with running a household and dealing with what feels like an onslaught of virus's. All in all, this year I've found myself truly sapped of any "get up and go". (I'm almost certain illness' are more potent and longer lasting this year.)

The trickiest thing though, is the battle I have in myself. No matter what I'm doing, I feel that I should be doing something else. That feeling of "I should really be organising...", "I need to reply to that email about...", "I should really take Hannah for a walk."  The "shoulds" are very persistant and they can take away your attention from and enjoyment of what you're actually doing. I know many feel this way.

I often feel guilty for not paying more attention to work and creating... and when I do that I feel like I'm neglecting other important things and Hannah. Even as I type, Little Miss is begging for a book to be read. Balance within the juggling act... is it possible?

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I've thought about putting One Day In May aside or putting it on hold.... but, I don't think this is the right move. Creating brings so much to my life... it makes me feel like me! Feeling productive and having something outside of parenthood is important for adults and for the littlies that live with us. 
I can't imagine letting One Day In May go, but with designing comes many self inflicted pressures. The need to be working on something new all the time, regular and consistent working hours, the obvious need to actually finish projects, the guilt associated with being behind with emails, blogging, pattern writing... you name it!

I'm really, really talented when it comes to self inflicted guilt!!

As regular readers will know, my life has changed substantially over the past few years. Designing and pattern writing take energy and concentration... experimentation, persistence and time. I find myself a bit short on these things with an almost 2 year old. Concentration on one activity for any length of time seems like such a foreign concept lately!

When "One Day In May" began, my vision involved dedication. Even now I dream big... and in particular... of the many designs I'd like to finish for the upcoming trade market. I dream big... and then I feel like I'm letting myself down when the end of the day comes and I haven't found the space for working. Its so hard to find the dedication I crave when it has to squeeze in around the edges of life.
I'm thinking it might be time to lose my attachment to "the way my creative life was before" and let go of the struggle to make it the same again.

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I have many projects half done at the moment. All of which I really love. I'm thinking that once these are complete, I might move creatively towards the "simpler" projects.
(Can I actually do it? I'm so fond of detail!!)
My fear is that if I don't restructure my relationship with One Day In May... it might just slowly fizzle. And I really don't want that. Creating is so much a part of me and designing has come with a lot of joy.

The challenge now is to find a One Day In May for myself that fits comfortably within my days... that can still be a joy and not something that is neglected. This might not seem like much of a shift in thinking to some. But, for me it is an important line in the sand. To lose the guilt and the shoulds... and to reach for the joy again.

I'm going to start by blogging in a simple way.... shorter posts, less planned, honest to my real life, flawed and true to where I am at creatively. One of the loveliest parts of "making" is sharing the love of making with others. I have missed that.
Just to be clear, I won't be leaving or winding down One Day In May... just going to have a good think on how I can restructure a little so I can enjoy creating again.


So that's it... honest thoughts about where I am within my creative journey.
Thank you for reading,


Some Vintage Fun on Facebook

Happy Friday to you!
Do you love sewing boxes! I do... ever so much. My lovely Mum gave me this beauty for my birthday recently!

Photo (3)
I thought it might be fun to share some pics of our vintage treaures with each other. As a result, I'm having a little giveaway on the One Day In May Facebook Page over the weekend.

To enter my giveaway, simply take a photo of your vintage sewing box or button tin (PLEASE WRITE YOUR NAME on a small piece of paper and include it in the photo just like I've done in the above photo. This is to ensure photos aren't just copied and shared from the web. Then, share your photo in the comments on this Facebook post. You may be unable to share a photo from some phones and need to share from a PC.

Please share this post with friends, if you think they'd enjoy some "vintage fun" too.

A Coffee In the Garden

Anemarie is a lovely quilting friend from Brazil that I've been able to meet through blogging. In recent years it has become "normal" for us to meet others across the world through social media. But, I still find it particularly special... knowing that a little of my creativity can become a part of someone else's in far off places. How great is that!

A while back, Anemarie made my "As Roses Bloom ~ Mini Quilt" (click HERE to visit my album). Anemarie added some beautiful dimensional butterflies to her quilt. You can see them and Anemarie's full quilt HERE.

As Roses Bloom rose closeup - One Day In May

As Roses Bloom cushion closeup - One Day In May

Recently, Anemarie designed a new quilt called "Um Café no Jardim" ("A Coffee In the Garden" or "A Garden Café").
Her new design incorporates my techniques for fabric roses and rosebuds as used in "As Roses Bloom". It's so nice to have a connection to Anemarie's project.

A coffee in the Garden by Anemarie Vogelaar Scherrer

Each year, ABPQ (The Brazilian Asscociation of Patchwork and Quilting) publish a calendar. Quilts are submitted to be selected for the calendar, and are voted for by the public. The 13 quilts with the most votes are used in the calendar.
Anemarie has submitted "Um Café no Jardim" to be considered. You can see all submitted quilts for the 2015 calendar and cast your vote HERE.

Click on the heart under each quilt to make your selection.

It's no secret who I voted for :)

If you have photos of your completed One Day In May projects or of your own designs with One Day In May elements, I'd love to see them.
Email me anytime using the email button at the top left of the blog.
Happy Stitching,

Are there enough words?

I'm not really sure that there are...

International Quilt Market is mindboggling to me.
The sheer number of exhibitors, the amount of creativity and imagination under one roof! The sum total of knowledge, different techniques, "quilting wisdom" and design experience... just think of it!
How many seams have been sewn... or quilts have been bound? How many patterns printed and packaged... fat quarters folded and stacked? 
This photo shows only fraction of the booths, during the intense process of setting up.

International Quilt Market

International Quilt Market 4

I can only imagine how it might feel to be there. One day, I may get to experience it myself, but for now I am blessed "to be there in stitches", with my distributor and fellow designer Helen Stubbings of Pattern Press and Hugs 'n Kisses.

I chose four of my designs to travel in Helen's suitcase this year...
"Hannah's Garden", "Hannah's Heart", "Joyful Angels" and "May Love Grow Here".

International Quilt Market 2

International Quilt Market 1

International Quilt Market 3

I was so excited to hear that all One Day In May pattern stock was sold out by the end of day 2!! Of course, orders can still be placed with Helen at booth #1047-49 next to Red Rooster Fabrics, or through the Pattern Press website.

Helen is releasing 2 beautiful fabric ranges at Quilt Market. Primrose Sands and Basically Hugs... as you can imagine her booth is overflowing with new designs and creations using both ranges. Click here and here to see the fabrics for yourself. Helen is also releasing a fabulous new book, "Simply Appliqué".
If you are spending time at market on Day 3 be sure to stop by Hugs 'n Kisses, booth #1047-49 to say hello.

Frequent readers may notice a little "blog sprucing" has been happening. I've altered the look of the blog a little and there is now a link to my "pattern catalogue" in the menu/navigation bar at the top.
New photo album links have been added to the sidebar (or at the bottom of the blog if you're reading on your phone), and now exist for all current patterns.

Thank you for reading... 'til next time, when I'll show you my latest releases,