First Heart

I decided that as this was a plain fabric, to make the stitching down stitch a fancy one – beaded buttonhole. And it worked a treat.

Heart with beaded buttonhole stitch 3


It’s very easy to work – bring the thread through from the back, thread a bead onto the needle and draw it down the thread until it reaches the fabric, so it sits in the corner of the stitch, and then complete the stitch.

Heart with beaded buttonhole stitch 2

It’s one of those stitches where you get into a nice rhythm with the stitching and the end result looks so even and neat (despite the creasing!).

Heart with beaded buttonhole stitch 1

One done, lots to go!

We had a lovely family day out in Whitby, North Yorkshire, last Sunday. Strolling along the pier, fish and chips for lunch,  walking up the 199 steps to to the church and the abbey, browsing the shops and a tub of cockles to fill up the corners. And of course, there had to be beachcombing.

Oh my goodness. The beach was small and quite unprepossessing, but as we reached the tideline, I was overwhelmed by more sea glass than I’d ever seen on a beach in my life, and that includes Seaham. The chunks were just that, big and chunky and for the first time in my beachcombing career, I became a sea glass snob – rejecting pieces that I would normally have pounced on, for only the biggest, the most unusual and beautiful.

Whitby seaglass 1

Whitby seaglass 2

Whitby seaglass 3


The penny shows how big most of these pieces are.

Whitby seaglass 4

Whitby seaglass 5

As well as sea glass, I found several short sections of the stems of 17th/18th century clay pipes (my little one claimed those!) and there were pieces of pottery everywhere. I even found my very first ammonite, heavily weathered, but still an ammonite and a childhood goal achieved!

Whitby beachcombing

I was just blown away – it was like catching fish in a barrel, and I think I’d have still been there if my little one hadn’t suddenly needed the loo in a hurry, necessitating a swift exit from the beach and return to the town.

These are no ordinary pieces of sea glass. The colour, particularly the tendency to aqua, the thickness, the size of some of the rim shards and the markings as well as the amount of other odds and ends (I forgot to mention the broken ‘bone’ knife handle) all suggest these may have come from the dumps of household rubbish that Victorian cottages had at the end of their gardens and that are now fallen into the sea.

That’s so exciting – I can’t wait to go back!!!

Hearts in varying sizes have been cut from both the pieces of fused fabric and also, for contrast, some plain toning dark turquoise satin. The commission asked for two panels, so I’ve cut and pinned two scatterings of hearts onto natural coloured silk noil.

Panel 1:

Fused fabric hearts panel 1a

Fused fabric hearts panel 1b

And Panel 2:

Fused fabric hearts panel 2a

Fused fabric hearts panel 2b

Now for the first layer of embellishment – stitching them decoratively onto the silk.

With the fused fabric for the hearts panels out of the way, next job was to find the threads and embellishments that are going to go with it. First, turquoise and aqua nuggets from my stash of Seaham sea glass.

Seaham sea glass - turquoise

Then some broken vintage/antique brooches.

Vintage brooches

Loving the colours.

Sea glass and vintage brooches

Next, threads.

Turquoise threads

The start of the embellishments – as things turn up I’ll be adding to this collection.

Turquoise embellishments

Next job, cutting the hearts out and arranging them. I can’t wait to get on to using some of these beauties!

I’ve been asked to create two canvases with a neutral coloured background and a turquoise colour scheme featuring hearts. To give some interest to the hearts, I decided to create some more fused fabric.

This one started with a base of dark teal green satin, sprinkled with various threads, sequins, beads, ribbon etc, layered with Bondaweb and then covered with a piece of shot rose and turquoise organza.

Fused fabric uncut 1

Fused fabric uncut 2




Fused fabric uncut 3

For the next one, I went for a lighter background as contrast, this time using a piece of brushed cotton with an interesting hand dyed pattern for my base and a piece of vintage pale blue chiffon scarf as the final layer.

Fused fabric uncut 4

Fused fabric uncut 5

And for the final piece, back to the dark satin, but this time with a chiffon final layer.

Fused fabric uncut 6

Fused fabric uncut 7

Fused fabric uncut 8

Now onto the fun of choosing the threads, beads etc. to embellish the design.

New toy

I bought this from eBay a few weeks ago, but thanks to the reports, followed by updating the children’s target files, inputting the data online, filling in their pupil progress reports and number crunching percentages to show how many are on target, not on target, on target compared to this or that target group…oh yes, and teaching, of course, that thing I actually trained to do…

Sorry, rant over. Where was I? Oh yes. I bought this from eBay a few weeks ago:

New toy

But, due to reasons listed above, I’ve only just got round to playing with it. Melting fabric onto other fabric to create little experimental samples; just up my street.

Melted fabric experiments 1

Melted fabric experiments 2

Two layers on this one, over a sun print of a washer.

Melted fabric experiments 3

Melted fabric experiments 4

Melted fabric experiments 5

Bored with patterns now. What about using the tool to cut some shapes out?

Melted fabric experiments 6

This ended up as sort of a spider. I love the way the tool sliced through this synthetic satin.

Melted fabric experiments 7


Back to patterns.

Melted fabric experiments 8

Then I started to stitch into them. Just playing, echoing the spots on this abstract pattern with french knots.

Melted fabric experiments 9

The scrap of black silk matka behind shows through as a strong black line around the blocks of colour.

Melted fabric experiments 10

Layered waves with some couching.

Melted fabric experiments 11

I saw a lovely and unusual book of quilting samples on Pinterest and I really want to have a go at doing something similar with these little trial pieces.

I’ve finished a couple of samples for my sketch book. First, the slightly sashiko inspired stitching on the screen printing I did here. It was a piece cut from my last print of the day and unwashed, like the other bits.

Slightly sashiko 1

Inspired by a ukiyo-e print of people with umbrellas scuttling through the rain, I stitched the dark areas with long running stitches in natural undyed silk and then following the waves imagery I added french knots to the edges of the curling shapes.

Slightly sashiko 2

Slightly sashiko 3

Then I had a page of notes about ruching fabric but no samples as I’d used the one I made as part of my rusting quilt, so a piece of hand dyed purple muslin and a square of gold silk dupion later…

Purple ruching 1

I do like this effect. Scrunching up a much bigger piece of fabric into gentle folds in a smaller space and then nestling french knots clusters into the valleys and crevices.

Purple ruching 2

The soft texture of the muslin works perfectly for this type of work.

Purple ruching 3

Just a sketchbook sample with scraps, but I had fun with it.


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