Stitching News December 2018

Welcome to the second stitching Newsletter of this month. Indeed, it is the last of 2018. Hopefully you have all had a lovely Christmas. It will have been very busy for some of you and hopefully quiet and peaceful for others! In this newsletter I have included items about;

  • A house warming present
  • “Dotty Lottie” and her little folded book
  • My new Light box

A friend, Suze, moved house in mid December. She has often admired the different small stitched house projects I have been working on, so I thought it would be a nice surprise for her if I made one of myStand Alone” little houses, for a house warming present.


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For the main pieces I have used fine quality shirting fabric which I dyed. The three front pieces were English paper pieced. The papers were removed, then the front and back were ladder stitched together with a trapped “wadding” layer. The Guterman thread spool in the photo gives an indication of the scale of the little house which is 6 cms tall, (2 and 3/8″). From start to finish these little houses take 12 hours to complete and are all hand stitched. The gift tag was painted with water colours.

About two months ago the very same friend, asked me I would like a child’s basket chair that she wasn’t able to take with her to her new house. Her grown up son wasn’t keen to have it but she thought that our 3 year old grandson may love to use it. I was delighted to have been asked and a couple of weeks ago I made a cushion for the seat.

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The larger photo shows off the gorgeous fabric more clearly.  I bought it from “The Fabric Bee”;   It is a Makower fabric, range “UK Home Grown”, reference number  1776/B F5908

What a lucky little boy our grandson is! The chair is such a delightful old fashioned shape and has obviously been well loved in the past and was loved to bits again this Christmas. He sat in it at every available opportunity and loved the cushion too, especially that it was just for him and the chair!!

To make the cushion I cut a newspaper pattern of the seat shape. I was able to cut the front of the cushion from a fat quarter, but had to piece the back. It matched well, so the join doesn’t really show. I decided to allow for a little depth in the cushion and I already had a long strip of denim which had been cut on the bias and was 1 1/2″ wide. This was perfect to give an inch depth between the underside and the top of the cushion.

An old feather cushion was well past its sell-by date so I modified it, re-using the original down-proof fabric. A few feathers flew around the room but with my husband’s help and a very large polythene bag to catch most of the excess feathers, the job was quickly completed. I am very pleased with the end result. The gift of the chair and the notion that it could be loved once again by a younger generation is a joy.  A lovely way to recycle.

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During the summer I made this dolly and have decided to give her to my great niece, Adela, for her birthday early in January. I don’t see her very often as she lives in Hong Kong but her Mum, my niece, has told me in the past that Adela loves any hand made cards I send her!  A few years ago, when she received one of these from me, I was told that she had kept it on her bedside table for a whole year. It was such a joy and a lovely compliment to hear that.

This doll is 9 3/4″ tall.

I have also made a little folded book to accompany the doll. It gives a small explanation about the detail on her. The book measures 2″ square. Below is the very short story that I have written inside.


Hello Adela. 

My name is Lottie. My Great Aunt Di made me. Sometimes I heard her call me “Dotty Lottie”!

My hair is wild, and I am not glamorous, but I have some nice features! 

I like my pretty necklace. Aunt Di made some of the beads from paper and she did a lot of stitches on my dress. It was just a plain blue and white striped material, but she used her hand dyed threads to make it prettier! She also made me pretty shoes.

I am not sporty, like you, but maybe I might become clever if I work hard, like you do.

I hope you can find room for me in your bedroom, on a little table or a shelf. Happy birthday Adela! I hope you have a lovely day.

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This is a photo of the little book which will acompany the doll. The pages are Indian rag paper. I tore a 2″ strip and concertina folded it along its length. Then I wrote my text with a 0.1 Unipin fine line pen. This is pigment ink, water and fade proof, and is my absolute favourite pen for hand writing tiny text.  I left the first “page” blank, as this would be stuck to the inside of the front cover. It also gave me a little flexibility in case I wanted to write anything else on it! I also left the last page blank. I then cut off the excess of the paper strip.

Employing this approach, seemed the best way to work out how many pages I would need for the book! I didn’t need to do a “practice write” which I usually do if I have text to fit into a specific space. I could just write my little story and then see where the text finished and make sure that the last fold was a “valley fold”, matching the first fold. If it hadn’t been a valley fold, I would have moved along the strip of paper to the next valley fold and trimmed the paper accordingly. Should there have been a couple of blank pages, they could have been easily utilised by writing another couple of sentences!

N.B. A valley fold receeds, and a fold that comes forward is called a mountain fold. You can identify these two folds in the photos, if you are not familiar with the terms.

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I  used mount board for the book covers with a Tana Lawn fabric, shown here in the photo to the side. The mount board will give stability if the book stands up. It also keeps the cover flat, and sharp.


Cardboard would not be as effective as it is pliable and can easily get damaged. The right-hand cover in the photo is the front cover.

Closure of the book is by a button and fine cord. The button was sewn in place through the mount board, before the back of the first page was glued to the cover. You can see the button on the right hand cover.

The fine cord has two tiny buttons tied to the end of it, which makes it very easy to hold onto. The cord was glued securely to the inside back cover, before the back of the last page was glued to it. Finally the two flowers inside the covers were cut out from the Tana Lawn fabric. To do this I cut a small section of the fabric, which had two flowers reasonably close together. I ironed some Bondaweb to the wrong side, and cut out the flowers. The Bondaweb makes the fabric very easy to handle as the paper makes the fabric stiff.

After peeling off the paper, I position the flowers and  briefly placed the iron tip to each of them, and checked that they were stuck down. It is important to “press” these fabric flowers in place, rather than “iron” them down. No marks will be left on the page this way.

I do hope Adela likes it! It has been great fun to make!

When one of our sons asked if there was anything particular I would like for Christmas I asked for a light box. I must admit that I saw this fantastic one being used last Autumn. I was teaching a group of ladies who had come down for a long weekend’s workshop. Maureen was actually working on a project that she had brought with her, and was tracing off her pattern using this light box. I really thought it was an amazing tool. Years ago I had a light box which involved having a sheet of perspex balanced on supports which were placed under each end of it. There had to be enough height to clip a lightbulb underneath. I used it a great deal in the past but then, to be honest, I have no reollection of what happened to it!

This one is a totally different kettle of fish! It is light weight, ultra slim, and daylight LED lit.  I chose the A3 size. It is also available in A2 and A4 sizes. It comes with its own storage bag. The controls are all touch buttons, flush with the top surface, and they respond immediately. On the underside are anti slip disks. There is an on/off  button and four levels of brightness. It plugs into the mains, with 6 feet of available cable.

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I read various reviews of similar products, and eventually decided on this one by Vario; a British company which also offer a 2 year guarantee. It was £35. A fabulous present!

This photo shows the light box, with a Vario document underneath, and a piece of computer paper just laid lightly over two thirds of it. You can already imagine how clearly the information could be seen, and this is with no pressure on the top paper, at all. Finger tip pressure as there would be when tracing is all that is needed! It does come with two clips, which do not have enough extension so are practically useless! I would just use other little weights on the surface! So no problem!

I hope you find something of interest in the newsletter. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those of you who have contacted me throughout the year, some by leaving “comments”,  and others emailing, but all saying how much you thoroughly enjoy reading them.

I wish everyone a very Happy New Year and very best wishes, for good health, and inspirational creativity!

Until next time…








9 thoughts on “Stitching News December 2018

  1. Love reading your news and makes Di. The little handwritten book is a delight. My great niece lives in Canada and also likes parcels from me and I enjoy making and finding goodies for her.
    Wishing you a happy and healthy 2019.


    1. Morning Carole. Thank you for your kind words. A very Happy New Year to you too. I loved making the little book, in fact I love making books! I have made many dozens over the years, of all shapes, sizes and techniques! I hope it may inspire her….who knows, perhaps she may like to make one when she next comes over! Hope you are well. Di x


  2. Thanks for your newsletter Di. Two things here that are a reminder for me. The first is I am plucking up courage to make the book kits I bought at cowslip from you. I want to make one specifically for my granddaughter for her first birthday in February. I have a idea of a story, I just need to do it!

    The second thing was the light box. I have been thinking about which one to buy for ages! So I will look at this one. I am fed up with sticking my stitcheries to the window to trace them.

    I have just come back from a Christmas in Well Barn Devon, it was just what I needed.

    I hope to see you in 2019.

    Love and best wishes Jeanette xx

    Sent from Samsung tablet


    1. Morning Jeanette. Lovely to hear from you. Sounds as though your Christmas was great x
      Just make a start on the book. You have lots of idea…its the “blank page syndrome” except that it isn’t blank, it is already marked! You are over thinking it….go with your instincts….your are always creative. Maybe just start with a hand stitch line on the page….If you haven’t stitched on that weight of paper before, have a little practice go first….I tend to make my holes with the needle first….You will be away, before you know it! Happy New Year xx


  3. I am trying to buy the pattern for your Hussif sewing kit. It is not in the Crafty Store any longer. How or can I purchase it? I am in Dallas, Texas. Love your work, wish I could come to England and take one of your classes. Thanks for your help.


    1. Hi Tara, Many thanks for your positive comments about my work. I am no longer teaching regularly now, just the very occasional private group. Craftsy were in touch with me very recently. They are totally revamping their site, and have taken down a lot of patterns. I would hope that they will be sorting it out very soon, so waiting a little while is an option
      IF you would like to contact me via my emil address, I can talk about other options with you.
      very best wishes,


  4. Dear Di, Many thanks for your news letter, only just managed to read and enjoy it. Sure you enjoyed Christmas with your little grandson and now having chance to try out your new light box. We have had a mixture of busy and quiet times, and moments when I have been anxious to have a read at my new books. Taken the decorations down and looking forward to the new year. Do hope it’s happy and healthy for you and yours, with love Mabelx

    Sent from my iPad



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