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June 2015

In the garden

Appliqued plants

after an awful lot of stitching, I have a new pattern available in my Etsy shop

It's called 'In the Garden'

In the garden fb

and I have loved stitching it up.

The pattern is the same girl

Appliqued girl full

but there are instructions for creating her with an appliqued dress and bolder boots and hair

Embroidered girl

and a more delicate, sketchier version with an embroidered dress.

Appliqued boots

there are lots of notes and pictures.  And if there's anything I haven't been clear about I am quite happy to answer emails and messages.


I hope you like her


Friday tutorials - lavender girls - stripes and shoes

Shoes and fern

Long stripy socks are an absolute necessity, even in summer (well, an English summer!).  They are very simple to stitch

Long socks tut collage

I use two strands for the outline of the legs and then switch to one strand for the stripes.  I outlined the summer girl's legs in Anchor 68 using back stitch.  Then I took a single strand of Anchor 68 and made single stitches across her legs for the stripes.  Next I took a single strand of DMC 304 and popped single stitches in between the stripes.  Then, because there was still a little space I popped single stitches in DMC 842 in between the red and the pink.  Lovely stripy legs.

Winter tights stripes

For the winter girl I stuck to two colours just DMC 304 and DMC 842.  And she is wearing tights rather than long socks so the stripes go all the way to her dress.

Winter top

The winter girl's top is stitched in exactly the same way as the tights.  Two strands of DMC 304 for the outline of the top and then single strands of DMC 304 and DMC 842 for the stripes.  The chest stripes are back stitched rather than being single stitches.

For the shoes

Shoes collage

Two strands are used for the shoes and boots to make them bulkier than the legs.  I outline the shoes with back stitch then fill them in with the same.  For the boots I used DMC 779 for the outline and then DMC 842 for the inside.  The shoes are DMC 304.

Next week the finishing touches and putting it all together as a hanging lavender cushion.


lavender girls tutorial part 1

lavender girls tutorial part 2

lavender girls tutorial part 4

on my work table

today should be a weekending post but I don't know how to get the blurry pictures of dolphins off the new camera!  Dolphins!!  jumping out the water at Sennen beach on the solstice.  It was incredible.  Our second sighting of dolphins in two weeks.  So we had a lovely inpromptu gathering on the beach for a cloudy but warm solstice, shared food, played ball games and watched dolphins.  A beautiful start to the summer

Or so we thought... today has been cold, grey and wet!  Maybe yesterday was summer!!

So today I began a new embroidery pattern.  

Garden girl afternoon plan

Happiness in my work is definitely this moment, the transferring (nobody's favourite bit!) is done, a nice cup of tea and threads sitting waiting

Hooped up

I want to make this pattern up in two ways.  First I want to embroider the dress and then I want a second appliqued dress as I think it's great for both of these.

Garden girl stitching

I've transferred her onto an A4 (similar to US letter) size piece of linen so you can see she is quite large.  For the embroidered version I want to use just a single thread for a large part of it to give a drawn effect.  Her hair is actually two strands but after that the outlines are just one strand in stem stitch

Garden girl hearts

So I have her outlined and some heart bunting stitched this afternoon.  Tomorrow I get to add more colour.  A lovely way to while away the time.


Friday tutorial - lavender girl hats and hair and faces

The hats come after the dresses and I often outline them in the same colour as the dresses, as I have here.  There are two hats, a winter hat with a pompom on top and a summer tie hat.

The winter hat has ribbing and little crosses and vs on it that you can choose to trace if you want to.  The summer hat is left blank for you to stitch as you wish.

The first step is simply outlining the hats using two strands of thread and backstitch, one of my favourite stitches!

For the pink I used Anchor 68 and for the red I used DMC 304.  In both cases I keep my stitches fairly small and make sure that they meet perfectly.  If they don't I undo and restitch.

The ribbing is just straight stitches and I popped a couple of red straight stitches on the pompom.

Cross stitch

I worked the crosses by stitching a single line in one direction then coming back and crossing them.

The vs are done in the same way as the crosses but in cream DMC 842.  I also added a couple of cream straight stitches to the pompom.

Pink hat stitching

I backstitched the outline of the pink hat and then the fun part

Pink hat french knots

I started by adding a few french knots, really my favourite thing for embellishing!  I have a tutorial over here for french knots 

Then I added some more french knots in DMC 304 and some straight stitches to fill the hat

Summer hat

The hats are one of my favourite bits to stitch.

And so onto the hair

Hair tut collage

For the summer girl I used DMC 842 and for the winter girl I used DMC 779.

I use two strands of thread.  I start by outlining the top part of the hair in back stitch (first pic).  Next I fill the area with back stitch (second and third pics). The plaits are little v stitches that lead down to the bottom of the plait.

Plait close up

Here is a close up of the stitching.  The bottom of the plait is three stitches spreading from the base of the plait.


Once all the plaits are finished I can't help but embellish a little more.  The summer girl has DMC 304 french knots in her hair while the winter girl has single stitches to make hairbands and a hair slide (this is great if you really don't like french knots).

For the faces and necks I use a single strand of thread as it adds a bit of delicacy to the stitching.  Stitching with a single thread really has to be neat as it can easily look wonky!  Again all of this is done in back stitch, although you could use stem stitch and have a slightly thicker line.  Sublime stitching has a lovely stem stitch tutorial


This is an arm being back stitched.  And don't forget (as I invariably do) to stitch the top of the summer girl's legs above her long socks.

I use two strands for the eyes because I find that one strand can get a little lost with such tiny stitches.

Next Friday stripes and shoes

lavender girls tutorial part 1

lavender girls tutorial part 3

lavender girls tutorial part 4



Having made it through my oldest son's 21st (YES!  21st!!) last year, this week it was my middle son's turn - 18 years old.  It seems as though 18 years, not to mention 21, have gone by in a flash.  Two sons through home education and into college doing things they love and just one more year with Annis (hope for any home ed parents out there).

when did this little fireman

Fireman teague

grow so big

Birthday crown

I must have been busy stitching!

so we played tennis

Swapsies blog

with older brother home 

Tennis annis and teague

and younger sister too.

And what a shame not a single picture of my attempts at tennis!

Home for home made pasta and tiramisu, no pics, it was eaten too quickly

And no time at all for stitching.

Happy 18th birthday to our nature loving, drawing and painting, cycling and tennis playing boy.

I hope you had a lovely week in the sunshine (at least in Cornwall) last week.

Back to stitching normality for my next post


Friday tutorial - lavender girls transferring and appliqueing

Dresses stitched

I often get asked about the materials and pens I use so I am going to start with what I use for the lavender girls.

Firstly the fabric is Robert Kauffman Essex linen in natural (this is also rather nice in linen colour, a sort of off white).  I buy this fabric from celtic fusion fabrics in the UK.  They are always super quick to send it out.

I use a no.7 crewel needle to stitch with, the eye is just big enough to save my eyes but it's still fine enough for the stitching.

I use a 4" hoop and move it around but you could use a bigger hoop if you wanted to.  My preference is for wooden hoops as they don't seem to mark the fabric as easily.

Transfer pattern

I am lucky enough to have a fancy lightbox these days that is huge and flat and evenly lit but I used the window (aching arm) method for tracing for a long time and then a cheaper crafting light box that worked well. 

To transfer you place the pattern over the light source and your fabric over the pattern.  If you are using a bright window just tape your pattern to the window and tape the fabric over that.

I use a pilot frixion pen that is heat removable.  I have a post on pens here

Then just trace the pattern

Pattern transfer 3

I traced these girls into the centre of rectangles that measure 16cm x 8cm as I made them up into hanging lavender cushions.  I also trace the dress patterns to make the dresses.

Dress cutting

For the dresses cut a rectangle of the dress fabric a little bigger than the dress and apply bondaweb to the back.  Peel off the backing and cut the dress out using the pattern.  I have a tutorial on dress applique over here

For these two girls I used valeria red mitsi and Katie and Millie liberty tana lawn which I bought from Alice Caroline on Etsy as fat quarters.  If you would prefer smaller pieces of liberty then I highly recommend very berry fabrics on folksy, she is a lovely friendly and helpful lady.  You can even buy bags of scrap fabrics to make lots of different dresses.

Pin dress

Next pin the dress in place and stitch it.  I used Anchor 68 pink to stitch it down.  For the winter girl's dress I used DMC 304 red.

Stitching dress

I don't iron the dress until the very end because my pen disappears with heat!

Next Friday we will stitch the hat and hair.

Please feel free to ask any questions about the process or materials.

The lavender girl pattern is available to buy here


lavender girls tutorial part 2

lavender girls tutorial part 3

lavender girls tutorial part 4

lavender girls and more lavender girls


I have been drowning in lavender recently.  I think I may be the mellowest person alive!

I have been having such fun stitching these girls.  I love choosing the dresses and colour schemes.

All this has led to an updated pattern in my Etsy shop  To avoid all future confusion, what was the daisy girl pattern has been updated and renamed the lavender girl pattern.  The patterns for the girls are exactly the same I have just added some better pictures and notes on how to make the hanging cushions.

Etsy lavender girl

Tomorrow I will start a tutorial series for the lavender girls that will show just how I stitch them and some possible embellishments.


A new flickr account


Mushroom pixie closer full

I have sadly lost access to my flickr account and have given up!  I think the account is still there somewhere in the ether.

Witch full

But I love flickr so I have set up a new account 

over here 


At the moment there are only a few photos on there of relatively recent work that I have on my computer but I will be building it up over the next few weeks.