Quilt Market Butterflies

I was delighted to make these butterflies for National Nonwovens Quilt Market booth. They manufacture gorgeous wool felts and roving products. The company supplies me with a selection of their product for my publishing work. I was especially grateful to have an array of their felt on hand while I worked through the designs for my newest book Stitched Whimsy, a playful pairing of felt and fabric. Check out the post to learn how I worked through this project and get inspired!

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Tweet Sachet tutorial

The woods surrounding our Maine home are covered in a dense quilt of snow. The early mornings are especially quiet, if it wasn't for the sounds of the woodpeckers and chickadees I'd be convinced that the whole world was sleeping. The last few morning robins have covered our crab apple tree filling their bellies with fruit. I'm hoping these red breasted birds are a harbinger of warmer temperatures and birdsong to come.

Just after the holidays a local patron had asked me to make a couple of the bird sachets that I had stocked over the holiday fair season. She was willing to wait until I'd wrapped up the copy and illustrations for my latest book 'Stitched Whimsy'. I finally delivered the finished sachets this morning, just in time for her to mail them as Valentine gifts. I took photographs while I made them so I could share the instructions with you.

You'll need scraps of muslin and cotton. Use a cutting mat, clear rule and rotary cutter to cut a 7 1/4" x 4 3/4" rectangle of muslin for the front and the same sized printed cotton for the back. While you're set up go ahead and cut multiples. When you're in stamping mode you'll be happy to have a stack of muslin ready for printing.

Cover your work surface and mix up Simple Spray (Duncan) fabric paint with brown acrylic paint. I find the loose liquid of the simple spray dilutes acrylic and helps the fabric absorb the paint. Brush the mixed paint onto the fabric stamp. I purchased this gorgeous hand carved wood stamp from Nest, its a fair trade product that is also available online at Connected. Match your brushstrokes to the form of the stamp. I started at the head and worked my way down the body increasing the length of the stroke on the wings and tail.

I found that laying the fabric over the painted stamp works better than conventional stamping. Rub your fingers over the entire surface of the fabric covered stamp. If you prefer to press the stamp down onto the fabric, layer a folded old towel under the muslin. The padding will allow you to press down on the stamp and push more paint into the muslin. 

Allow the printed fabric to dry before continuing.

Placing right sides together pin the printed muslin to the printed fabric backing.

Align the outside edge with your presser foot and machine stitch around the outside of the sachet. Leave a one inch opening to turn the sachet right side out.

Trim away any excess fabric and clip the corners.

Turn  the sachet right side out, using a stuffing stick or knitting needle to push out the corners. 

Pour a cup of dried herbs into the opening. I used a 1/2 cup each of Balsam and Lavender over the holidays. I filled this new batch sachets with a cup of lavender. It's time for me to place a new order at San Francisco Herb Co. and experiment with spring and summer scents. Tuck the raw edges of the opening into the sachet so it matches the seamed edges on either side. Instead of hand stitching the opening closed I machine stitch a second top stitched seam around the edge of the stuffed sachet. The opening will be stitched closed in this seam.

Hand stitch cut felt leaves and wooden beads by the foot of the bird. You'll be happy that you cut and stamped extra birds, this sweet sachet makes a great gift. It's too pretty to hide in a drawer enjoy it out in the open until spring arrives. If you're not in the mood to whip a sewing project I'll be stocking these sachets in my brand new Etsy Store.

Stitching up Spring

The last few weeks have been all about stitching chez Boyd. It started with working up sample projects for my new sewing book and then moved on to stitching together a blog header. While I was selecting fabric for the header at Alewives in Damariscotta, I couldn't resist picking up a Modkid sewing pattern. Patty Young designed this gorgeous 'Emma' dress that is actually a versatile skirt and top set. Celia and I had so much fun picking out the fabrics, there's no shortage of inspiration in the gorgeous fabrics that line Alewives shelves.

Taking time out to make my own project is always a challenge, there's usually a list of things that need to be made for publication. I rewarded my self with time to work on this dress after I sent the finished stitched header to my sister. She graciously offered to photograph it and add the type to create a logo.  I'm anxious to see what she comes up with and finally make my blog official with a handcrafted banner.

The last time I made a sewn garment I was pregnant with my son Jasper (who is now 17) and had outgrown all my maternity clothes. What a joy it was to follow this wonderfully clear pattern and settle down to something that wasn't going to be shipped away. It was also a delight to whip something together with just a couple yards of fabric, knitting and sewing for children is the best! I'm curious to see how floaty this design would be in lightweight voiles that are recommended, I might just have to make it in a different colorway.

On one of our many trips to JoAnn's for odds and ends I treated Celia to a little felt sewing kit. We had a few relaxing afternoons sitting together, her stitching and me unknotting her tangles.

She did surprisingly well and was excited enough to make four different little softies a butterfly, cat, flower and heart. While I was helping Celia stitch and working on her dress, my sewing book passed through North Light books proposal process. I have a deadline of January to make up all kinds of sewn personal and home accessory projects. It looks like this springs stitching frenzy might last through the new year!

Sweet Needle Felted Bunnies - free tutorial!

If you haven't tried needle felting please do give it a second look, it's incredibly accessible. All you need is some wool roving and a felting needle to get started. I've yet to find a better medium for quickly making miniature furry animals. These low maintenance bunnies will be so popular you'll need to felt a whole litter in time for Easter

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Easy embroidered felt heart sachets - Free tutorial!

I just finished creating these Valentine craft project samples for my Feb 8th visit with Curtis Memorial Library's fiber arts club. The children in the group are 7-12 years old. Felt is the perfect material for introducing kids to embroidery, its sturdy enough to hold it's shape without an embroidery hoop. I like to use a full strand of embroidery thread so the stitches stand out. A crewel needle has a sharp enough point to get through the felt without poking fingers. It also has a wide enough eye to accommodate the floss. To keep Celia happy while I created this sample I handed her a felt heart and along with a threaded needle. With a minimal amount of help she was able to stitch her favorite finds out of my button stash onto the front of the heart, she was so proud!

If you're local please preregister at 725-5242 ext 225 and join me for this free workshop. If not follow the directions below, break out the embroidery floss and buttons and get your kids excited about stitching!


1/4 yard or less of pink and red felt - I love the felt National Nonwovens sends me. (http://www.commonwealthfelt.com/)

Embroidery floss, pink red and white - I'll use any excuse to break into the box full of colors DMC shipped me. (http://www.dmc-usa.com/)

Assorted buttons

Poly-fil stuffing (http:www.poly-fil.com/)

Scented plastic pellets - from plastic sleeve sachets (available at major box stores)

4" section of ribbon or cording for a hanging loop



Pinking sheers-optional

Crewel needles

Large heart shaped cookie cutter

Sewing machine - optional substitute sewing needles and thread

1. Use the large cookie cutter as your template to cut out the felt heart top, add a 1/4" seam allowance to all sides.

2. Thread the crewel needle with a full strand of embroidery floss and begin stitching flowers, cross shaped kisses, buttons even messages onto the front of the heart. If desired add a blanket stitch around the edge of the heart (see the red variation). Tie all knots on the backside of the heart and trim the ends.

3. Pin the heart to a second uncut scrap of felt, make sure it extends a half inch on all sides of the heart top. Position the ends of the hanging cord between the layers.

4. Machine stitch (or hand stitch) around the edge of the heart, approximately a quarter of an inch inside the cut edge. Trap the hanging cord in your seam and leave an inch and a half opening for stuffing.

5. Lightly stuff the heart and then pour a teaspoon of pellets into the heart. Hold the opening closed and position it back under your sewing machine presser foot to stitch the opening close (or hand stitch closed).

6. Use the pinking sheers to trim the heart backing so that it extends a 1/4" from the heart front.

Enjoy your sweet soft heart, make another and share the love!

Loveable Monsters - Free tutorial!

I devised this pared down softie project for a free winter break workshop that will take place on Wednesday February 17, 10 am at Curtis Memorial Library, Brunswick Maine. The goal is for every child to make a stuffed creation inspired by a childrens' monster story book. This stuffed monster requires minimal sewing and his shape is open ended. Children can easily customize the project adding horns, lips, even additional limbs to make a unique creation. 

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Owls a plenty

Literally a pile of cheery owl ornaments to hang from the tree. These are a brand new design developed especially for the holiday fairs. The hangers slip out of the top ribbon loops, so these little friends can travel in pockets and bags all year long! This is such a popular image I included the Pattern and Step by Step to make these little guys in my newest book Stitched Whimsy. 

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These colorful owls were adapted in fabric from a felt design I originally created for the fall issue of Crafts n' Things. You can find the original pattern in the magazine. I used National non woven felt for their wings and eye accents, be on the look out for their earth friendly bamboo line of felt. Also discovered that America Crafts felt flowers were the perfect embellishment for their eyes. The black faceted button eyes I picked at JoAnn's. Their bottoms are weight with dry beans to help them stand at attention and keep an eye on the room.

Selling them at the fair this weekend!