Thursday, November 5, 2020

Stitch-along part 6

 Stitching the ridge tiles to finish the ornament

Take one ridge tile and wrap it over the ridge of the roof as shown below.  Using two strands of black thread stitch through all layers from front to back catching the edges of the ridge tiles to secure it.  It's hard to show this because it's black thread on black felt but it should make sense as you do it.  When you get to the twine, you'll need to cut a slit in one of the ridge tiles and slip it around the twine.  Stitch the cut slit closed around the twine and continue adding tiles till you're done.  All the steps are shown in the photos and videos below.  

Congratulations, you are done! I really hope you enjoy the process. 

Friday, October 30, 2020

Stitch-along Part 5

 Stitching the rocks and the roof tiles

I think the hardest part of making this ornament is manipulating the tiny pieces of felt and these rocks up the side of the cottage are especially small.  Feel free to leave them out if they are making you crazy.  Your cottage will still be lovely.  When cutting out the rocks and laying them out, make sure the front and back match up!  Stitch the rocks in place.  

For the roof tiles, I cut a random assortment of little felt rectangles in black, dark and medium grey.  To attach them, use two strands of black thread and do a small running stitch to hold them in place.  There should be four overlapping rows of roof tiles when you are done.  Trim them to the shape of the roof (don't cut any stitches!) when you are done or as you go.  These steps are shown in the videos.  

When the front and back are complete, hold them together with all the sides even and matched up.  Whipstitch them together, adding in the twine and making sure to stitch through the twine several times.  Try and tuck the stitches under the roof tiles and don't worry about the ones on the top, we'll be covering those up with ridge tiles next time!

Stitch-along part 4

 In part 4 we will be stitching the little sheep and the holly bush on the back of the cottage.

Using two strands of green, backstitch the branches of the holly bush and then go back in and add lazy daisy stitches for leaves.  Using a single strand of red make some double wrap french knot berries.  Sometimes I do some double wrap and some single to get different sizes.  These steps are shown in the videos below.

To cut the sheep, either use the pattern pieces or simply cut some small white uneven blobs! The pattern pieces are very small and I think it's easier to cut the shapes freehand.  Position the sheep body as shown in the video and use a single strand of black thread to stitch a triangle for the head and then two stitches for the ears.  It's ok for the ear stitches to go in all directions because, honestly, it's the ears that give the sheep their character!  Use the same black thread and continue on to stitch the legs as shown in the video.  Repeat for the other two sheep.  You should now have some cheeky little bouncing sheep!!!

Monday, October 26, 2020

Stitch-along part 3


In this post we are going to add the little plant pots, plants and door wreath.   Cut out the pots and stitch them in place under the windows.  Cut out the little leaves and using a single strand of green thread, stitch them in place as shown in the pattern and photos.  The green I've used here is a DMC variegated thread 4045 but if you don't have that, use regular thread and pick a shade that matches the darker green felt.  For the wreath, use a single strand of green and backstitch a messy circle going round a couple of times then add more stitches until it is as full as you would like it to be!  Use a single strand of red and work some single wrap french knot berries. There is a video for each of these steps below.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Stitch Along parts 1 and 2

So here we go, let's do this!  We'll start working on the front of the grey stone cottage.  First cut a front and back from the light grey felt, a white door and find the door frame pattern piece but don't cut it yet, I'm going to show you how I always cut door and window frames.  You'll also want to cut out the little black squares for the widows and hold off on cutting the window frames and sills until you've seen the video showing how I do it.  

To stitch the door, separate two strands of white floss and backstitch the door in place.  I did five rows of stitching to look like planks of wood.  Then take the door frame and using grey floss, stitch over the frame to hold it in place, this is called couching.  


The windows are stitched using the same techniques as the door, please refer to the little demo videos below.  The door and window frames and sills should all overlap the door/window square a tiny bit.  This adds dimension.  Finally, using two strands of black floss work a french knot on the door for a door knob as shown in the video.  

If you are stitching along on Instagram, please share your progress and use the hashtag #fabricandinkmakes so we can all enjoy!  


Thursday, October 22, 2020

Our stitch along starts on Saturday!  It will be a very informal affair with posts on Instagram, Facebook and here on my blog.  I thought today I'd talk about what supplies we need gather in order to participate.  Hopefully you've been able to get hold of a copy of the December issue of BH&G American Patchwork and Quilting which has the pattern inside. Digital Issues can be purchased here and the pattern is included as a PDF file.  Paper copies can be ordered here and shipped internationally.  If finding a copy is still a problem, please don't be put off, read on!  We are going to work on the little grey Welsh stone cottage first.  

You'll also need some small sharp scissors and in my last post I shared which ones I use with a link to them on Amazon.  Good scissors are really important when cutting small shapes out of felt.  You'll also need needles and I use all of the ones shown in the picture interchangeably.  I like a size 8 for stitching with two strands of floss and the needles need to be sharp, not like the ones for cross stitch which are usually less sharp.  

The floss you use is really a design decision you can make according to the felt you have.  For these cottages I'm not worried about having the floss match exactly.  I listed some suggested colors in my last post.  I use DMC thread and we will be using mostly two strands of thread at a time.  

Finally you'll need felt.  I have had limited supplies of felt kits on my website.  You can also find kits at Felt On The Fly here in the US,  My Felt Lady in Australia and Cloud Craft in the UK.  I was asked on Instagram, why use wool felt?  Why not the polyester felt found in craft stores?  I only use 100% wool felt because it is such a pleasure to cut and sew with, plus it comes in gorgeous colors and is certified organic in every aspect of its production.  Polyester felt is stretchy, thin, tears easily and has a weird sheen.  Wool felt is worth paying extra for, especially when you are going to be spending some time making something special.  

I also suggest using a small plastic box for keeping everything in so nothing goes astray.  I do this all the time to keep my projects separate and organized.  

Can't get a copy of the magazine?  All you really need for this ornament is a very simple drawing of a house.  Keep it really simple with a flat topped roof, a pointy roof will be harder.  Draw your house on paper.  My finished ornament is just under 3 inches square.  

Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2020 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.



Friday, October 9, 2020

If you follow me on social media you'll know it's been a crazy year but one of the highlights for me was being asked to design a set of three felt ornaments for American Patchwork and Quilting magazine, published by Better Homes and Gardens. I can't begin to tell you how hard it's been to keep quiet about it!  

The stitch along will be very informal, this is my first time organizing one.  In this blog post you'll find information about everything you need and some links to help you gather supplies.  

We'll start on Saturday October 24th and I'll post on Instagram and Facebook every couple of days with the next steps and tips until we are finished.  

You'll need... 

1.  A copy of the magazine which is now out in stores.  If you are not in the US and cannot get hold of copy, I encourage you to draw a simple house shape and use that.  I'm going to show you how to add the details.  I cannot sell the pattern on my website.  

2.  Felt, either a kit from me to make one of each cottage, which you can find here (I have limited supplies). Or you can get the same high quality 100% wool felt at the following websites.  You'll need the following colors... black, cinnamon, light tan, med tan, dark tan, natural white, silver grey, med grey, dark grey, brown, dark brown, med green and dark green.  The websites listed below all have their own names for these colors but just pick the ones you like or make up your own color combo!  Janet over at Felt On The Fly has put together a kit of 8x12 felt sheets in exactly the colors I've used so if you know you'd like to make more than one ornament, this would be a great kit to get.  

A Child's Dream  Look for Holland felt
Weir Crafts  Look for Holland felt
Felt On The Fly felt kit or felt and floss kit  See it in the photo below!  

3.  You'll also need sharp scissors and here is a link to my review of small detail scissors over on Instagram and my favorite pair.  

4.  The only other supply is floss and I usually use DMC floss that I get at my local big box fabric/craft store.  You'll need colors that tone with the felt but they don't need to be an exact match.   

The DMC colors I used are 

Magazine images.....Used with permission from American Patchwork & Quilting® magazine. ©2020 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.


Saturday, May 2, 2020

a spaceman came traveling....

This week was week 7 of our shelter in place and we learned that it has been extended until the end of May.  It's hard to keep track of the days and it's tough to find motivation to do much or the concentration to stick with anything.  Somedays my creativity is simply missing, other days I find comfort in stitching. I found this week hard but a highlight was definitely the release by the Pentagon of previously leaked UFO videos.  In any other news cycle this would be a big deal.  If you haven't seen these videos they are easily found with an internet search. 

I've always felt that it was rather conceited to think that we are the only living beings in the universe.  In the words of Arthur C Clarke, "Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying."  

Ages ago I designed a spaceship pincushion and oddly enough I had a couple of request for them recently and posted pictures of the latest ones on Instagram on the same day as the Pentagon videos!  My little aliens come in peace.  I think.  

Monday, April 20, 2020

how to make fairy furniture

I've been making some fairy house pincushions for my Etsy shop and with those in mind, I really wanted to try making some fairy furniture just for fun.  I recently bought myself a book about making tiny furniture from found things and it's full of beautiful inspiration pictures.  

This is a project that could be as simple or complicated as you'd like it to be.  If you have children who can safely use a hot glue gun, this would be a fun project for them too - imagine a fairy garden tucked under a tree in your garden or in among some small scale plants in a pot.  Sure you can buy fairy garden items at a local craft store but how much more satisfying to make them yourself.

It took a little while to gather materials.  I wandered round the garden, clippers in hand, collecting delicate and interesting twigs and flakes of bark.  I had the some little spun cotton red and white mushrooms, tiny pinecones, moss and faux ferns from previous projects.  I dug out some pliers to cut the wires off the mushrooms, some scissors, hot glue gun and some tweezers to protect my fingers from the hot glue.  This website is where I got the little mushrooms from and there are lots of other special crafting goodies there too.  The moss and faux fern are from Hobby Lobby.  

The instructions in the book suggest making a square for the chair seat first and building from that, which is almost what I did....I'm not very good at following directions exactly as they are written!  I made a basic chair frame and then filled in the seat with trimmed twigs.  

The moss is really to hide the spots of hot glue but it also gives the finished chair a really woodsy feel.  Chairs could be made any size and design and the book has lots of suggestions for materials.  I wanted to keep mine simple.  

My daughter worked alongside me and also made a chair but I think hers feels more like a fairy throne!  It's beautiful.  Notice how she used a long piece of curved bark for part of the seat back?  

So, what did I learn?  
It was harder than I thought to get the twigs to stick together and I had to be patient and use more hot glue than I really wanted to.  The tweezers were a really helpful tool for pushing the tiny bits of moss into the hot glue, saving my fingers.  Next time, I'd like a greater variety of natural materials and I'm now on the hunt for interesting seed pods and bits and pieces as I'm out walking with my dog!  


Tuesday, April 7, 2020


Life is a struggle right now for so many people and in so many ways.  It's tough adjusting to this new way of being and I'm finding this week hard.  I'm a homebody so being home all the time is not really a big deal for me.  However other things are.  Because I'm home by myself a lot of the time, I do things on my own schedule but now suddenly I can no longer do laundry whenever I need to because the machines are too noisy for others in the house who are working/in class or on a conference call.  Food disappears alarmingly fast and dust bunnies appear sooner than I think they should!  Everyone handles this isolation in their own way, and we try to be considerate.  It's still hard for everyone.  

Last night, I was planning to do some stitching but I felt compelled to sketch this quickly before the idea skittered away.  I wanted to do felt lettering with tiny appliqu├ęd flowers and leaves and then fill in the gaps with french knots.  The colors needed to be happy and bright.  

The embroidery floss I use is from DMC and I love using their variegated threads for filling in with french knots.  I know french knots can be tricky but they are my favorite stitch and there are a few things you can do to lessen the chance of pesky tangles.  Firstly use shorter lengths of thread and a thread conditioner.  I use "Thread Heaven" but there are several brands and some stitchers swear by beeswax.  Run the thread across the conditioner and you are ready to go.  When you are doing french knots, it's important to keep tension on the thread so it doesn't have a chance to tangle.  Despite all this, I still get the occasional snarl and I've learned to sigh, cut the thread and move on.  

Stitching is something I do because I must.  It has a positive effect on my mental health.  I keep hearing stuff about self care and I struggle a bit with that because it feels so self indulgent.  But you know what?  Do what you need to do, take care of yourself so you can take care of others if you need to.  Go ahead read that book, bake something, learn something new or make something pretty.  Stay home.  Reach out when you need to, isn't it wonderful to have the internet?  I saw a meme on Facebook today likening this year's Spring Break to one in 1985 but while it made me smile, it isn't really anything like the 80's thanks to the internet.  We might be isolated but we are still connected and I'm so grateful for that!


Stitch-along part 6

  Stitching the ridge tiles to finish the ornament Take one ridge tile and wrap it over the ridge of the roof as shown below.  Using two str...