Christmas ornaments

The Christmas season is long gone, but unfortunately I didn’t finish these ornaments on time. Mostly because I didn’t know what to do with them: my first idea was to use them as name tags for the Christmas table (by appliquéing some chalkboard fabric on the back), but then I thought that I might kept these for my own Christmas tree, and that indecision led them to be left aside in favour of more pressing projects. Now I have one year to decide what to do with them.

They were a set of preprinted panels by Bonnie Sullivan (All through the night), like the medium-sized one I framed in time for Christmas. I really enjoyed the mindless sewing, playing with different threads – embroidery floss, perlé cotton n.8 and some wool thread- as well as materials – flannels and wool-.

Project: Christmas ornaments
Size: 3″ x 4″ / 7.5 x 10 cm (aprox.)
Date: October 2017January 2018
Pattern: Make Merry, Bonnie Sullivan (All through the night)
Appliqué pieces: scraps of cotton flannel and wool
Stabiliser: Vliseline 671D
Thread: Cotton perlé n. 8 (DMC and Valdani), embroidery floss (Anchor and DMC), wool thread (Aurifil) in different colours
Stitches used: Stem stitch, satin stitch, running stitch, back stitch, cross stitch, colonial knots, whip stitch (appliqué)


Make Merry

Last September I attended a course with Bonnie Sullivan (All through the night) working on one of her patterns with flannel and wool. This quilt is still on the making, but during the course I bought some preprinted panels to work on for the Christmas season.

On my Instagram account I’ve been posting the progress on these projects, and this week I finally finished the first of them, a medium-sized preprinted panel.

I really enjoy working with this kind of preprinted motives, as they allow for some mindless and relaxing sewing. I also discovered that I like working with wool and flannels, which were absolutely new to me.

Also on the novelty side of things I tried to sew with Perlé cotton n. 8. The only Perlé cotton I’d used so far was number 12, and the difference is huge! Love the results of combining the thicker perlé with the embroidery floss.

To finish the panel I mounted it on a photo frame, which is a little bigger (like 1/4″ bigger), but it does the job and now it’s ready for the beginning of the Christmas season!

Project: Christmas panel
Size: 11 1/2″ x 8 1/4″ / 29.5 x 21 cm (aprox.)
Date: October – November 2017
Pattern: Make Merry, Bonnie Sullivan (All through the night)
Appliqué pieces: scraps of cotton flannel and wool
Stabiliser: Vliseline 671D
Thread: Cotton perlé n. 8 (DMC and Valdani), embroidery floss (Anchor and DMC) in different colours
Stitches used: Stem stitch, satin stitch, running stitch, whip stitch (appliqué)

A Majorca-style embroidered table-runner

I did finish this little piece of embroidery in February, but I had a difficult time trying to get good photos of it, and, truth to be told, I even didn’t know how to begin this blog post… This table-runner is embroidered in the island of Majorca’s traditional embroidery style, which has a particular design (these floral, vineyard-type motives) and a particular technique to execute it. I learned it some years ago while visiting the island, and had always one on the making since. But I’m really slow working on those pieces: I can spend a couple of weeks spending lots of hours on them and then “forget” them for some months until I find the urge / necessity/ inspiration to work on them again.

So, I think I started this one in early 2014. By that time I didn’t have any kind of sewing journal! I did lots of work on it during Summer 2014, left it aside, work hard on it again on Spring 2015, left it again, and decided to finish it during one of my trips early this year.

The embroidery is quite simple: chain stitch and a variation of the herringbone stitch for the filling of the motives, complemented with cross-stitch. The particularity is on the chain stitch: it’s stitched using a small crochet -and an embroidery hoop-. I used the same technique for block n. 11 of The Splendid Sampler and explained part of the process on its blog post here. I just love the motion of crocheting through the fabric and getting those tiny, tight, regular chains. Once all the lines are stitched, the motif can be filled using a herringbone stitch that is subjected to the chain, not the fabric.

The use of only one colour family (with slight variations on tone) is also characteristic; although one can skip tradition and go for multicoloured works, I really like the effect of using one range of colour throughout all the piece. For this one I use the same colour for all the lines, and play with tone variations for the filling.

Also typical are the fillings using cross-stitch. They should occupy all the space, so on the borders they are “cut” by the design itself. There are plenty of options for them (I normally search for ideas on Spanish craft-related magazines…), and on this occasion I decided to use the same design throughout the piece.

For the borders I used a hemstitch. I just love to do drawn thread work (I’m an absolute beginner on that, though), but the piece was too small to do more intricate work than just hemming the borders.

I bought this piece already marked on a local haberdashery, without knowing the fabric nor the marking system. The fabric is not the best quality, but what annoys me is that I can’t remove the markings. I tried washing with hot water, but with no results. Fortunately they are not as evident as it might seem on the photos, so well, that’s it.

I already have a new already marked piece and the threads for it -this is going to be on the blue family-; now I just need to find some time…

Project: Majorca – style embroidered table runner
Size: 30 x 42 cm
Date: Early 2014 – February 2017
Pattern: Piece already marked purchased in a haberdashery in Majorca
Main thread: Cotton perlé n. 12 Anchor 314
Filling thread: Embroidery floss Anchor n. 302, 303, 308, 1002, 275

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 91


Block n. 91 for The Splendid SamplerGran’s Button Jaris designed by Lynette Anderson. She was one of the first designers whose work I got to know when I started quilting. Although her style doesn’t match my own when it comes to the patchwork itself, I have used some of her fabrics now and then.

So, although I was tempted to simplify the block and go for an all-embroidered version, I remained true to the original design, which is so characteristic of Lynette Anderson’s designs. The needle-turn appliqué perhaps ended a little bit wonky, but overall I’m pleased with the result, and glad I decided to keep the design.


I used a back-stitch for almost all the lines, except the horizon-line, which is stitched with a stem-stitch, French knots for the buttons, a colonial knot for the bird’s eye and satin stitch for the hearts (the bird’s one was framed with a back-stitch), along with a running-stitch for the border.

I should have sewn the block’s borders before the embroidery; it was tricky to add them afterwards due to the irregularities caused by the embroidery itself. Also, I would have been able to adjust better the pattern into its space.

One block less to go, and one more for the beautiful embroidery collection this sampler is providing. Pattern, info and link party are here.

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 92


Block 92 of The Splendid Sampler is called Double Bees, by Beth Bradley. Unlike the two previous ones -90 and 91- that require some extra work, this one was quick and easy, so I jumped right into it meanwhile I work on the others.

I went for fusible appliqué with a blanket stitch for the appliqué parts, and a stem-stitch for the embroidered details. I may skipped my own colour-scheme a little bit on this one by adding two colours, but accidentally this combination pop up and I couldn’t find another one that convinced me enough to change it.

Pattern, info and link party are here.

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 88


Block n. 88 for The Splendid Sampler is called “Love is the Answer, by Pat Wys. Although the designer invited to modify the block, I just followed the pattern. The birds are stitched with stem-stitch, the details and the letters with backstitch and variegated floss. The eyes are French knots.

The pattern, info and link party are here.

With this block the sampler takes a break until next year, which is to be thanked for, with all the season’s celebrations. I wish you all a lovely time!

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 75


And here is another milestone, the ¾ of the sampler! –the official one, as I have already sewn 75 blocks so far-. Block 75 of The Splendid Sampler is called Stitch Crazy, by Kathy Schmidtz. It’s embroidered, and although the designer invited to play with appliqué and piecing, I stuck to the original pattern. The only variations are in the use of some stitches: the upper knots are colonial knots; the remaining ones are all French knots. I used different variations of the feather stitch for the diagonal lines and the leaf veins, as well as chain-stitch and herringbone stitch. One of the flowers is sewn with daisy-stitch, and the vertical line, with blanket stitch.

There are multiple interpretations on the block, as well as the pattern and info, here.

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 60


The 60th block for The Splendid Sampler is calledHearts and Flowers, by Fiona Ransley (Designs by Fee). I automatically associated this block with a traditional red embroidery, so I went straightforward with this monochrome version, using the closest colour in my colour scheme to red, that is, burgundy. I also decided not to satin-stitch the large flowers’ centres, so they wouldn’t draw so much attention.

The pattern, info and link party are here.

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 35


The 35th block of The Splendid Sampler had been running on the slow lane for a while… well, it was stopped on the slow lane, until I made up my mind on how to finish it.

This one is called “The Wishful Garden”, by Kristyne Czepuryk (Pretty by hand), and, on a pieced base, contains lots of embroidery, depicting the garden stated on the block’s name. I was committed to do the embroidery instead of using some of my machine’s decorative stitches. Problem was, that I just loved the plain pieced block. I started the embroidery, and with just one strip done, I faced the dilemma of ripping it out and let just the block, or moving on and completing it as it is designed.

And this decision had taken a while. Finally, I remembered myself my early commitment of doing all the blocks “as they are”, and in a couple of afternoons it was complete. I like it, but honestly, I also loved its simplicity without the embroidered part, with the fussy cut detail in the centre.

About the embroidery, before piecing the block I reinforced the fabric with stabiliser, and afterwards, I draw some guides for a more regular stitching. Now I know I should have better drawn before applying the stabiliser, although that meaning the use of permanent markers. I couldn’t resist to use variegated floss for the green (Cosmo 8021); the flowers are stitched with Cosmo variegated floss 5002, DMC n. 309 and 3809.

Really late in the party, all the information and other gardens are here.

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 44


Block n.44 for The Splendid Sampler is calledStitch in the Garden, by Gail Pan. Taking into account the appliqué pieces in it, I decided to do a monochrome embroidery, and I’m glad I went with this teal instead of using a grey colour. And I can’t tell how much I like this teal floss! This is DMC embroidery floss n. 3808, and I think it works perfectly with the white and subtle background.

The pattern, info and link party are here.