Category Archives: Beading

Jenny McWhinney and “Mini Kits…Little Goat, Wash Day”

   It is years ago now that I purchased a “bunch” of Jenny McWhinney‘s Mini Kits…I am in the process of finishing up all of them. only two left… after ” The Little Goat, Wash Day. Here is what I have stitched so far…great kit for a quick project and some listening to music or watching an “old movie”! I started these over 5 years ago…sooooo…that is a long time now…Most if not all are still available on her website. You can click on her name above and it will take you right to her “new store” and “website”.

   Love the fuzzy front leg! Now for the ones I have finished…the pictures are below…of course it is hard to believe I did them all and enjoyed stitching everyone of them…I was only disappointed at one point after I received my first kit..I found out that Jenny had come to our area “after the fact” and I missed it!!! I heard she was very interesting!!!  This was a number of years ago now and hopefully we will have her back again sometime. Her kits are a bit unusual…I had to do a bit of deciphering…depended on the photo “a lot”. There are “scans” of the individual areas to be worked on. Also the tracing is definitely not the same as her picture of the embroidery on the front of the package. One thing though is Jenny says “that you do not have to match sitich for stitch when doing shading as long as you use the color guide and color areas approximately the same.” The affect achieved is similar. 


Little Duckling, Swimming Lessons

Little Hedgehog, Wrong Way

Little Piglet, Farmers Garden

Little Fish, Under the Lily Pad

Little Red Hen, Hatching Time

Little Tree Frog, Tropical Flowers

Little Squirrel, Collecting Berries

Little Kitten, Hattie’s Cat

Fox and Willow Finish?

The “Fox and Willow” silk design by Nicola Jarvis is finished. There is some thinking going on that the leaves of the willow tree needs some kind of color.  Having said that there might be an update to “Fox and Willow” in the future…we shall see. Maybe I think to much as one of my friends told me!

So here is the finished photo of the silk embroidery..the background is silk and the floss was silk. I thoroughly enjoyed doing this design. Mainly because it kept the interest peaked.  When the piece is actually made into a pillow or framed or something else it will look really nice!

Fox and Willow

    Sooo…the Fox is finished…the beading was a bit of a longer than I thought it would take moment…mainly because the old skills were a bit rusty and then “threading the itty bitty hole of a beading needle”!!! Make a mistake and poof out came the thread to be rethreaded. All in all the design went well and the fox just looks so elegant! The flowers around the neck were interesting to do in that the “drawn design” seemed to missing some parts. Using the air erasable marker to help fill in these was just the ticket. Worked like a charm as they say! (whatever that really means…cute anyway). The only things or thing that is different is the beads for the flowers. These were changed out for some from my own stash. Just was a personal preference and am happier with it.  
   As I move on to the willow I have been thinking about adding a “small bit more color” to it. We shall see. The willow might take me a bit cause the old fingers will get tired doing the same stitch over and over but the end will be worth it!

 Fox and the Willow…Nicola Jarvis Design

Nicola Jarvis has (in my opinion) a really cute Fox and Willow Design…and of course I purchased it. I have had it for a few months but without the instructions. Finally got them and just couldn’t resist starting it even though I have two other projects going on right now. I am going to stop starting new projects! (right…hopefully). There are two big projects that need to be finished and then this one. The “Fox and Willow” looks to be “semi” doable in a shorter amount of time. It is hooped so it will be a bit more portable than some of my other projects. ( I will do updates on those at a later date). 

   Nicola painted the main backgound and  it is embellished with thread…and beads..My chosen style was the silk with silk threads. This was done with a purpose to expose myself to more “silk threads” (Au Ver Soie silk) . The fabric is silk and there is no problem with that since I have been exposed to it  with my heirloom sewing days. Part of my fabric stash is some nice yardage of “silk dupioni” that was purchased awhile back. The “only” thing that is a “bugaboo” with this kit is the silk thread colors are “not” numbered so you need to really use your picture to help get the colors correct. I should be fine.  It is nice to have a card with holes that tell what the number is for each strand of color.  This is where the ability to draw and design is a failure because color totally amazes then confuses because there are infinite ways to change a color shade! Mind boggling . This is one reason why when there is a pattern/kit and if the colors are appealing that’s the one to buy..just like that one.

  The directions talk about lining the silk with muslin (calico) and then stitching around the body to keep the fabrics from slipping etc. I have a lightweight cotton fusible that was used and it does the trick. Works like a charm and leaves no weird residue or odd look. This way the whole piece is stable and there is no shifting between the two pieces of fabrics.

 This picture below is of the stem stitch which is outlining the stems of course! Just on the body of the fox…next will be the leaves and flowers.. It is hard to tell what has been stitched but it is there! Also, with the stem stitch and outline stitch they are interchangable when you are working on curved lines that have no real consistent direction. Just make sure each line stitched is using the same stitch for each one. There is a method that works to “try” (that is the operative word!!) to keep the stem and outline stitch unique when I needed. Notice that “outline” starts with an “O” so it means to take the thread “over” and then stem stitch automatically becomes “under”. This is what works for me. I have seen other ways but my brain likes this one…

Home Sweet Home Embroidered Workbox…Back Wall Finish

   Yesss…finally finished the back wall… I changed the rabbit to a smaller one…(I finally found it…) …the behive has also been added as well as the finishing of the ground grasses and flowers. 

   Now for the interesting bit….below is the picture with a spool of sulky metallic thread next to the finished wall…Shows you how small it really is ! This will be my last post on this for awhile as I want to take a break and finish another project and start a new one….


Home Sweet Home Embroidered Workbox Orange Filled Basket

    Gee…this is small…the first thing is to “pad” the outside basket shape with  two different sizes of teeny tiny cut felt the smaller of which is below the larger one. Below shows the padding attached with stab stitches to hold them in place the same was done with the smaller one.

   The basket itself called for “three” different stitches…the first one is  “Woven Filling Stitch”which went over the padding and inside the upper basket. The instructions for this stitch are not in the book so I took to the internet and there is a nice video on one. Just type in the stitch you want and up it came…basically it is just vertical lines stitched first then the typical over under stitched horizontally…A tad hard in this small your going over a bump!

   The second stitch is called “Portuguese Knotted Stem Stitch”. The instructions for this are in the back of the book with really nice photos..(whew!) This stitch is used for the upper basket outline around the top.The stitch is a basic stem stitch with an added two wraps of wool before you take the next stitch.

   The third stitch is (ta da!) the “Whipped Chain Stitch”. This stitch is a simple chain stitch and then taking the wool back and weaving it through the chains to give it a fuller/thicker look…Used here for the bottom of the basket and for the handles.

   The last thing to do is fill the basket with the oranges which are really nice Mill Hill seed beads…I did like the fact green floss was used to stitch these down …thought it added to the defintion of the orange. Sooooo the basket is now done!

   Pssssssssst!  The bee is next! Still working on my other project should have more to share on that shortly….

A Crazy Quilt Block for a Class

In September I will be teaching a class on how to embellish a crazy quilt block…real simple…you bet… (it is a lot of work putting this together..) the end result is worth it!

I have taught this class once before for a local Quilt guild and it was immense fun…comments ranged from “this was the quietest group of quilters in a class ever… someone telling me that it was the best class they had ever taken…it does make one feel good to provide new techniques and ideas and the fact that hand embellishing seems to be coming back into vogue…

The biggest plus is I get to use up my fabrics and some “bit’s that I have collected over the years and with the cost of fabric today I can keep my costs down by using my older stuff….which includes silks, sheers, velvet, cottons and others…then comes gathering the trims, threads, silk ribbon, dodads, beads and other nifty items to add to the seams and fabrics of the block. For this class I am aiming for a fallish theme….should be interesting…I have some lace leaves that will be dyed to look like fall leaves to add…fall is my favorite time of year…Looking through the bits I have to make this class is creativity on fire for me…I surprise myself that I will inevitably find something that I don’t remember having and it will be perfect for the block…Hope everyone else will enjoy it too….Oh…I forgot to mention that there will be a lot of  “sparklies” …there are wonderful arrays of sequins out there to purchase and adding them just gives the block some extra pizazz….not for everyone I know but in moderation bling can add to a block!

Here is a picture of this class block in progress…still have to add a few things…only 15 students as putting these together are time consuming but worth it as I said before…. I am trying to keep it as simple as possible…there are some absolutely stunning crazy quilt blocks out there…so hoping this is a good one for beginners etc….

A Cheap Smocking Tale

Many….Many…Many years ago I made this dress for my first grandchild…the pattern I believe came from  “Australian Smocking and Embroidery Magazine”… the unique (or cheap) things about this dress are that it was made out of $1.00 a yard cotton mini gingham check material….and…sulky rayon thread 3 strands crocheted together to make the edging…I do believe as a needleworker we have to have a certain amount of over the top patience with a touch of the just the right kind of crazy…. also…everytime I look back at what I have made I see the  “I was nuts”…but also so pleased with the results of my creativity and with all the other needleworkers who contribute to our world.


 The following pictures are a closer look at the bodice…hem….bow in back and sleeves of this dress…there is beading within the smocking stitches as well as handstitched bows and boullion flowers with a crocheted edging …the edging was attached with entredeux then the”sulky rayon” was crocheted making a scalloped edging around the bodice, hem, sleeve and bow in back.  I do remember enjoying making this dress….Lots of work but the accomplishiment was worth the final finish!