March Stitching News 2020(2)

Welcome to this March blog,in which I am discussing:

  • My new little Eco printed book ; work in progress.
  • Easter raffle prize finished!
  • Mermaids’ Purses

My fascination with Eco mark making and stitch continues! I am in the process of making another little folded book using some of my papers which I printed last autumn.

This book will be smaller than my last one, but I shall still have a good number of surfaces to display my little stitched prints. I am using a heavy water colour paper again as the main “carrier”. I have concertina folded the strip, so that I have two valley folds. Into each of the valley folds I shall stitch a single fold paper. The pages will turn really easily, and the book can be displayed either flat, or stood up.

The following three “pages” give a glimpse of  how the contents will gradually develop. The first photo will be on the front cover. The second will be attached inside. I haven’t decided on the definite position yet! The third photo is the inner aspect of the single fold insert in one of the valley folds. Before I stitch it into the valley fold, I shall stitch and prepare two prints to place on the outer sides of this insert. It is so much easier to stitch a completed unit into the valley fold!

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I don’t make a plan of how I would like to stitch into the pages, but as I work into each, the ideas evolve. When stitching into paper there is often “no going back!” I have learned from experience always to make the stitch holes from the front with my needle, so that when the needle has travelled through to the back, I am not guessing where to push it back up again! Making the holes first, I can see exactly where the needle has to return.

I have used contrast threads, in colour and in weight, echoing some of the printed lines in this page. The finished sizes of these pages are 3.5″ long by 2.5″ wide.


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This print is interesting because the string that tied the package of papers together has also made its mark. The black colour on the string prints has come about due to the iron content of the old weighing scale weights I use to increase the contact process during the printing process. 

This particular page was clearly at the top of the pile of papers, just underneath the string, to have given such clear markings!




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On the left of the double fold above, I have cut out the leaf of one of my prints, painted it and acrylic waxed it, all of which has given a very leather-like quality. Then I machine stitched it in place onto a specifically chosen backing paper. If you enlarge the photo on your device, you will see the machine stitch all around the perimeter. Hand stitched lines echo or emphasise line and space. To the Eco print on the right I have added stitch to some of the spaces on the leaf and have just emphasised additional lines which were created by the steaming process.

It is such a therapeutic way of working as it is slow and methodical! Lots of time to think about the next stitch.

Last week, my husband and I, plus our good friend Anne, went beach combing looking for  “mermaids’ purses”. I knew nothing about them before this activity. For those who are equally unaware,  they are are egg cases of rays, skate and sharks.  When these “purses” are found they are mostly dry and are very hard. If they are newly deposited on the beach, and therefore still wet, they are more flexible. Most of the ones we found were very dry and hard. However, if you leave then to soak in a bowl of water they soften up considerably! They can often be found at the top of the beach, where the wind has blown them, although last week the majority of the ones we found were actually entangled in bunches of seaweed.

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My husband was wanting to collect the mermaids’ purses for a specific purpose, and Anne was keen to scour the beaches for any and all interesting finds!

Soon, during the school Easter holiday, our local Marine Conservation Group is organising a session for children to  learn all about these special little egg cases and they will be searching one of the local beaches for them. (We purposely didn’t search that particular beach, so hopefully some may be found). They are not so easy to discover around our part of the Cornish coast, and indeed we spent many hours looking for our catch! Not wanting the children to go home disappointed, there will now be a collection ready for them if there are non to be found on the day!  I am seriously thinking of trying to add stitch to one, and “decorating” it, in the way that a tiny “purse” may be embellished! Time will tell. It isn’t my priority at the moment, but you can be sure that if I do achieve anything I will show you!

I have been completing my “Easter raffle prize” which our quilt group committee prepare for at Easter. I know I have mentioned it in the past, but not sure if I have actually photographed it before!

Below is the front of the pouch. I pieced the background first, prepared and applied the chicks, then hand stitched the top section.

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Below is the back which I am just about to Quilt. The lovely little bone tool which I have used as a “Hera marker” to mark my quilting lines, is just beautiful. Given to me by lovely Anne who stayed with us recently while she was teaching up at Bodrugan, it could also be used as a page creaser/bone folder or a letter opener, but it is unique as a Hera Marker! We were exploring the riverside town of Lostwithiel on Anne’s day off, and this was one of three purchases Anne made in the very interesting selection of antique shops there. The carved detail is so pretty? It is also very effective, as a hera marker as you can see below! Thank you, again, Anne

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We had a fabulous day, and came back refreshed, and inspired. Below is the finished pouch!

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I wrote about sewing a zip and lining in together in the February 2018 Blog:

Dates for your Diary:  

Firstly, please note that here is an important change to a diary date I posted back in January:

After much deliberation Shipton Quilters are postponing their quilt exhibition on 4th and 5th April 2020 at Rendcomb College, Cirencester.  It has now been rescheduled for next year on the 17th and 18th April. A reminder will be posted at the beginning of January 2021.

  • 29th – 31st May.  Bristol Quilters Quiltfest 2020    Open 10-5 (Sunday 10-4)  Venue: Redmaids High School. Westbury Rd, Bristol BS9 3AW Admission £2 Free car parking on site. Served by No 1 bus. Full details at   Please check on Bristol Quilters website for updates before travelling to the exhibition.

Currently we are all in a very worrying and unsettled period, with the fast-moving changes due to the corona virus illness. We must all be as careful and thoughtful within our communities, respecting and supporting people who are less fortunate than ourselves.  Keep safe, and well, and perhaps with the advice increasingly to stay put and not travel we shall have the unexpected opportunity to sew more!

Happy stitching, until next time.











4 thoughts on “March Stitching News 2020(2)

  1. Hi Di,

    Vmt for a super blog entry, the bits about mermaids’ purses n the Hera are particularly interesting. The latter used to be made from ivory I think – is yours? Rather doubt it, tho u say it was found in an antique shop in Lostwithiel – was a super leetle place when I knew it 35yrs ago – so it may be. Will be most interested to see what you do with the mermaids’ purses!!
    I do not intend to join the general panic!!


  2. Hi Di,

    Further to your mention about mermaids purse I looked it up on the Internet and now you have confirmed I have found the right thing. Strange little devils, aren’t they. Having dived into my stash I have found a small pillar drill that you are welcome to borrow when you are ready to experiment. If you do think you can use it we will have to work out how to do a ‘clean’ exchange. Let me know.

    During the big stitching shut-down I am still going to proceed with the ‘magic wallet’ . Will keep you posted – perhaps it will lead to a ‘Stitching News’ item. I can see your work on one already.

    Regards, Edith

    Sent from my iPad



    1. Lovely to hear from you Edith. Thank you for the offer of borrowing your drill. I am SO fortunate because my friend Anne, who was staying with us, ordered a dremel and also a set of fine drill bits, for me. She demonstrated on a shell for me when it arrived, and I feel very excited about it.
      Yes the mermaids’ purses are extraordinary items, but there is something quite appealing about them too. In the knowledge that I wouldn’t probably be seeing your magic wallet, I have done some research, and you are right I am definitely going to have a go at making one!
      We shall keep in touch, one way or another, I am sure. Take care. Love Di x


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