Monthly Archives: February 2016

Field Mouse Part 7

Started to work on the body of this really cute mouse…how many times have I started over…I am not telling!!! Even so I have made progress which is shared below with a photo…it is part of the mouse belly along with some stem of the “wheat ear”…What amazes me about Tanja Berlin are the small nuances she is able use with thread to give such a realistic look to her designs…My take is just trying to see them and enjoy the process…I have said this before ” I enjoy the freedom of thread painting”. I know my take of Tanjas Designs will be my own but her as a guide gives me a spectacular place to start!


Enjoying techniques…

Today is for “technique geeks”…One of the best things is “learning and trying” different sewing/embroidery techniques. A friend who is a prolific quilter has always repeated the mantra “learn something new every day” (of course it may be about something other than sewing/embroidery) I had this really cute piece of what I called fairy fabric, it just called to me…sparkly…and dainty…So I finally decided to make a pillow out of it…I know….another pillow…. well…there are approximately 5 different techniques on this pillow…Most relate to my “heirloom sewing background” Below is a picture of the pillow. Showing some wear but still in pretty good condition!

 This is a list of the techniques on this pillow … gathering…sharks teeth…cording….decorative cording….metallic thread decorative stitching…. using the built in stippling stitch on my sewing machine…binding….and borders..


Above is a picture of the sharks teeth with the stippling to help hold them in place. First I glued them to keep the point of the fold and then I stippled them…I did 4 strips this way… I made a folded bias tape and zigzagged the edges down in the process of making the pillow…A pink border was also added to give a nicer finish to the sharks teeth.. I put a gathered flange on the inside of the bias tape and decorative cording…Now the decorative cording was done with pink and then using a machine blanket stitch and metallic thread I stitched over the cord to add a decorative touch.

Above is a closeup of the cording and bias …In the center  of the pillow using a decorative stitch with metallic thread I just meandered around the prints of the fairies..

The grandchildren love this pillow which is a nice remembrance when they come to visit….we are all so spread out these days!

Hope you all are having a wonderful week…we are enduring winter weather here….barely!!

A Pair of Pillows

Looking through some photographs this morning I came across this picture of my twin pillows..This is a JanLynn Designs  
that I made many years ago…A commercial pattern/kit…(No longer available) used what they called “candlewicking” and having learned a lot about heirloom sewing by machine I was intrigued to do this design by hand..the center motif has butterflies and I remember the instructions saying to use two strands of floss to do them with. I just thought it was to thick! Those butterflies are delicate so I proceeded to use only one strand of floss..which made more work because of the filling… the candlewicking was done by bringing the thread up on top so a very pretty motif formed. Most candlewicking is a surface only knot so to have the thread cross on the top of the fabric with the knot was different. One of the harder things was to do “both” in the same color..throughout the whole piece. As always I thoroughly enjoyed the work…I look at them now and the time was well spent making these…

The second picture below is the close up of the center motif as you can see the butterflies definitely look soft and delicate am I was glad for embroidering them with one strand of floss.

Next is a photo of the candlewicking…tedious…but the final effect was worth it…One thing I probably will always repeat is that I am glad as needleworkers we can enjoy our own pieces and finish and tweak them the way we want. By the way the lace edging on the pillow was put on by sewing machine using a fine 80 weight thread on a folded piece of fabric then gathered and stitched ….I like it still…I must have done these pillows about 5 years ago now…

Hope  you can get some inspiration from the techniques shown…..Back to stitching on my Mouse!

Field Mouse Part 6…the back feet

Okay…the feet are definitely a challenge.  Trying to make curves, shading and then the dolls hair! Dolls hair…I even wrote Tanja Berlin about the “dolls hair”. This was a new experience and below is a picture of the dolls hair..  frizzy… 

 After emailing Tanja she quickly replied that “yes” you use “one” “only one” strand of the dolls hair. I am sure you can see just one strand above….”It’s the FRIZZY stuff”.  It is a unique and undeniably ornery frizzy strand of hair to work with! Dang…it stretches and curls…Major use of the magnifyer to thread the doggone thing! Final analysis…it works! The dolls hair is used to outline ..with a stem stitch …the toes on the mouse. Can barely see the stuff but just adds enough definition to give the toes a shout out so they say  “here we are.. tada!  Laugh all you want…it was something new I learned and if you look at Tanja’s work …I just know this frizzy stuff makes a difference in the look of the feet…One more step for little ole me to proficiency! (I did laugh at this strand of dolls hair a lot). Below is a picture of one of the feet. Need to tweak a bit with the dolls hair but as always when finished I am usually pleased…. Can you actually see the dolls hair?  I was using the magnifying glass and I wanted a more powerful one stitching with this stuff!

I have the upper feet to go….the dolls hair will ride again through the needle into and onto the fabric….”What fun!” (patience is a virtue…I keep saying to myself…then I laugh…)  Enjoy your week!

Field Mouse Part 5 ….the tail

The tail of the Field Mouse is done in a long split stitch with some shorter ones when you are going around a curve…For me this was a bit of a challenge mainly in that the floss (DMC) colors were hard to differentiate from each other and I also found the instructions for the tail  just a tad on the “now what does she (Tanja) mean by that?” …when said and done the best thing was to just go for it and below is the “tail”!   Feet are next and there is a three step process to those…so I will share that with you next time…..Enjoy!


Field Mouse Part 4

As mentioned in an earlier post I have been working on the “wheat ear” of the “Field Mouse”. Below is the picture of “some progress” …extremely slow…(have been organizing sewing and embroidery related items) . My stitching has been on the back burner and just getting back into it…and does it feel good!


As you can see the shading with the colors have gotten darker near the bottom of the wheat ear…I will tweak the shading with a few more stitches but am thinking on it right now for the time being.
The possibility of finally stitching the Mouse has me all excited…I want to pet it when the mouse is finished…it reminds me how lovely nature and all creation is…!