Monday, December 25, 2006


I finally got my act together and put up the tree just in time for the Big day, as well as the traditional mistletoe and wreath. The goose has been cooked and consumed, now installed in front of the telly. The Queen is not fully appreciated in kittystitch towers and instead we are watching assorted sci-fi and horror. Presently, I will considering how to operate on the pudding, frying slices of it in butter and adding a splosh of brandy sauce for good measure is the current favourite. I am sure it will be delicious washed down with the last of the Champagne.

This year I was inspired by some of the bauble ideas in the blogosphere, and came up with some versions of my own. Wholesale manufacture of baubles will not be repeated in following years, but I like the idea of making one a year. I played catch up this Christmas by making 8 baubles: 1 for each year that we have lived in our current home.


This year I finished my C&G certificate in embroidery : my main colour theme was always lime green and hot pink. The offcuts were taken from the trimmings of my applique and quilting sample "quilt"/wallhanging which is now hanging on my studio wall.


The silk cotton mix fabric are offcuts from a dress I made which I wore to my friends G & P's wedding, in this year. The machine embroidered fabric wrapped round the centre of the bauble is left over from my first C&G finished item: a pair of shoes, which I also completed this year.

The silk dupion for this bauble were the offcuts from the Vogue Belleville Sasoon corset top that I made for our May wedding. The gold plate wire, freshwater pearls and garnet and peridot chips were left over from the tiara that I also made.

This is the year I took M's proposals seriously, I made him this shirt which he wore to his sister P's wedding celebrations. The cotton came from JL and the shirt pattern has grandad collar and cuffs which were far too narrow. The shirt kept on loosing buttons as I fitted rather sharp mother of pearl ones.

The fabric comes from silk cotton that I hand dyed and printed for some dungarees for one of my nieces who was born in this year. The feathers were added as a bit of fun and they also remind me of how much both of them love pink and fluffy things.

The red linen for this bauble came from the offcuts of a dress that I made around this time - maybe a year later. The sequins are a recent purchase from the hobby shop that I love to hate. This is my bleeding hearts ornament one of my toughest years, but it was the start of serious period of change.

The brocade for this came from a bustier top that I made myself - just can't remember when. The gold theme fits in with the dawing of a new millenium bit it was the start of a new, slightly darker period of my life. Although, there were new beginning for others.

I attended a lot of weddings in this particular year, and for one of them I attempted to make an outfit from these materials. The fit of the dress was appalling and the overcoat (made from the organza) looked like a housewife's house coat gone horribly wrong. Whilst the outfit is currently residing in my fabric stash waiting for inspiration and ressurrection, the offcuts have had a myriad of uses in my other projects. Another reason I chose these scraps for the ornament for this year was the Indian flavour they convey. We moved into our the first home we owned and the first project we tackled was a complete renovation of our kitchen. We finished the kitchen (albeit with no doors on the cupboards and no flooring) in the nick of time and then had M's family round for a cornucopia of curry.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Sparkly things

Purchaed in Brighton - very appropriate as this was the weekend we went to see the Scissor Sisters!

Monday, November 06, 2006

What I did last summer

My finished piece, originally uploaded by KittyStitch.

Well, erm, summer was nearly over, but I feel the need to do a little bit of accounting for my almost 0% productivity over the summer. I went on a sumi-e workshop with my friend G. It was just the morning but we had a great time. This was mainly to do with the teacher we had, Takumasa Ono. This is my finished piece from the workshop. Unfortunately, due to my complete ignorance of Ganji symbols I wrote my name upside down and hence decided on a last minute swap of top and bottom of the painting. No matter, I am still pretty chuffed with the results.

After the workshop we went and looked at the artist's exhibition of paintings and drawings. Some of the paintings were in the traditional Japanese sumi-e ink painting style that we had been learning in the morning, but others were watercolours that the artist had completed as part of a project for the National Trust (the workshop was hosted by them). These watercolours were far from the traditional "photographic" style that usually leaves me cold, the colours were vibrant and the pictures full of vitality and movement. I was particularly interested in some of the painting on silk (there's a surprise) and especially admired a hanging that made me reconsider my attitude to textile hangings. I was completely swept away by a kimono painted by the artist. The colours were jewel like and an extended watercolour which could be wrapped around the body - but made a more impressive hanging (hmm there's an idea...) so you can get an idea of what I mean follow this link - though I do recommend you use the previous link above to fully explore the artist's site.

As I was sufficiently inspired I went straight home and ordered his book from Amazon. Unfortunately this took ages to arrive and college had started again. Anyway G has taken the initiative and suggested we give this another go. Watch this space.....

Friday, November 03, 2006

Little Bag

QuikBag, originally uploaded by KittyStitch.

Up to my usual tricks of not doing things that I should be doing for my course. This little bag was created from a kit bought for the Eurolinks Japan stall at this years knitting and stitching show I visited last month in London. I made a beeline for this particular vendor before the halls got too crowded. Stocked up on a few things: cute Japanese fabric, a white erasable pen for marking patterns on dark fabric (traditionally used for marking shasiko) and some thread for the ever looming goldwork. I spent plenty of time looking at the artists exhibitions. I could go on at length about some of them - in particular Barbara Lee Smith but I think I will save that for another day (and a computer with a better monitor than my widescreen TV).

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Fabric 6a

Fabric 6a, originally uploaded by KittyStitch.

This is currently a work in progress. Again, it is part of the series of bonded and constructed fabrics I have been working on for my City and Guilds Diploma. I started with creating some bonded tissue papers - a technique first played with whilst studying for my City and Guilds Certificate. I then applied some painted bondaweb to this layer I now need to decide on what stitching to add and the possibility of adding fabric scraps.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Fabric 5

Fabric 5, originally uploaded by KittyStitch.

Sheers, foil and sweet wrappers on soluble fabric with free machine embroidery. This involved chocolate eating, this was a good and bad thing: lots of fudge (yum), strawberry creams (bleh!) and calories (boo hiss).

Friday, October 27, 2006

Fabric 4

Fabric 4, originally uploaded by KittyStitch.

Fabric rags and specialist yarn coiled and stitched on to soluble fabric with assorted embroidery stitches. This was a bit of an experiment. I was itching to use some of the yarns that I bought when I visited Colinette's factory shop in May. I combined a few bits with some of my fabric scraps in this sample. I decided to coil the yarn and then stitch it down by machine. I then realised that I needed to apply a lot more stitching - machine and hand - otherwise I would end up with an unravelled yarn and rag mess when it comes to dissolving the soluble backing.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Fabric 3

Fabric 3, originally uploaded by KittyStitch.

A fabric made of woven ribbon, stitched onto soluble fabric, embellished with an assortment of embroidery stitches. Like the previous fabric the water soluble element still has to be washed away.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Normally I wouldn't get excited about aprons although there are plenty of people who do. But I spotted this as I was checking out a newly (well to me anyway) discovered blog. Is it the Domestic Goddess reluctantly coming out? Until now I have been perfectly happy with my serviceable and functional ones (and in the case of the stripy one made by my Mum - funky) which get routinely rotated through the wash.Hopefully, a pattern will soon become available and I will be able to satisfy my apron lust and start whipping together the cucumber sandwiches and fairy cakes.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Fabric 2

Constructing this piece of fabric is similar to a technique I have visited before. Snippets of fabric, free machine embroidered onto a backing (this time soluble fabric, previously used calico). Any hand stitching required is applied before the soluble backing is dissolved - this will be quite a delicate bit of "fabric" once this has been done. After completing this I was reminded of a picture I took a year ago when out walking, this prompted the choice of cretan stitch with small green beads to finish the piece.

This is a before picture. I have been working on quite a number of "fabrics" so will be dissolving the soluble fabric as part of a batch.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Pansy Pouch

Pansy Pouch, originally uploaded by Kitty

A little something I put together for my sister K who had her birthday yesterday. Again, its a project from Kokoro-No-Te by Kumiko Sudo. I packed it with some lavender harvested from my garden and sent it to her with a card.

I was tempted to stitch some of this by machine, but instead opted to entirely hand stitch it whilst sitting in front of the TV. The beads for the handle were salvaged from an old necklace which I found in my stash. The pansy petals were stitched from hand dyed fabric scraps, the main body from remnants of fabric used to line my iron case.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Start of term

Why the sudden return to blogging? Well, I am back in to stitch kitten mode with the start of the autumn term. This is the start of my City and Guilds Level 3 Diploma, after completing the Level 3 Certificate (it came in the post during the summer!). One of the areas we will be looking at will be fabric: creating, distressing, manipulating etc.

The method for the above sample piece was as follows:

Fabric scraps bonded to light iron on interfacing - I ensured the entire surface of the vilene was covered.

Free machine embroidery. This got quite gnarled and bumpy - a good iron sorted it out. I would reconsider doing this again but with a much thicker vilene. Alternatively I would go for my usual combination of calico and Bondaweb.

A good iron then sorted it all out, although I was still not happy with the look of the work. Luckily the next step was to: cut it up.

Then it was a matter of hand stitching it together using insertion stitches. I finished the outer edges with variations on blanket and buttonhole stitches.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Final Project Spectrum Postcard

Project Spectrum is now over (until 2007 - hopefully Lolly will set this off again in January). This is my final postcard - which I made as part of clean sweeps month. I currently have a blank space on my cubicle wall for this little postcard between my orange/yellow and natural colours postcard. Unfortunately I had no swap partner - so will be putting both 1 copy in my album with the other wonderful cards I got from my global swap partners.

I thought I had based the postcard on a proverb but I think its actually a song lyric : "Love makes the world go around". This is based on the principal that love is the force behind human life. In medieval theology, it was held that love literally set the universe in motion.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Birthday Season

Starts today! Today is the first of 7 birthdays in a period a little over a month long. I have created this little number as a sweet way of presenting some birthday clothes money for my SIL L. Not everyone will be getting hand stitched goodness in their birthday presents, this is a special birthday as L hits the big 3-0.

The majority of the birthdays are for very small children so a bumper buying session at a toy shop is on the cards. As I am such a geek I have calculated that the average age reached is 11, the average was elevated by the aforementioned L and K, my sister.

This little keepsake cache is stitched together from a project from a book by Kumiko Sudo "Kokoro-No-Te" - Handmade from the heart in English. I have made a few projects from this book mainly useful things like pincushions and needlecases for myself and buddies I know who actually sew (apart from my C&G class - these people are few and far between). I decided to use some of my guilty quilt fabric purchases for this project as well as some pink viscose wool felt I had left over from previous projects and some silk/cotton mix for the buds. The little beads were subsituted for the recommended larger beads because I couldn't face trying to find my bead stash in the loft.

The projects in the book are exquisite and generally are straight forward - although like any project its worth reading it through beforehand. They are quite time consuming because they all almost exclusively rely on hand sewing. It would be difficult to construct the projects on the machine without signficant changes in the nature of the finished result. By the time you had done that you may as well have made it by hand.

Monday, September 11, 2006

All good things come to an end

This was my "final" postcard for Project Spectrum using neutrals. I say final but I want to make one more, as I didn't start participating in the swap until the second month. Therefore I will be creating a red one in the clean sweeps month of September.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Don't forget to pick the Daisies

Handmade felt with detached chain stitch, french knots and running stitch in tapestry wool.

Made for a friends birthday - I was inspired by the last line of a poem I recalled, which she wrote for her husband who is no longer with us:
"I'd pick more daisies,
I will pick more daisies.
Won't you join me"

Thursday, August 17, 2006


"Home is where the heart is"

This week has been one of farewell. A student at work has left and a good friend has packed up and is leaving for an exciting opportunity in a far away land. I don't know where they consider home, but I offer this additional life rule/proverb (of my own) "It doesn't matter where you are its who you are with that matters", whether that is yourself, loved ones, old friends or making new friends.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Dried Apricot Jam

This is the recipe for August which I would usually post on my stitching blog. Now I have a place for recipes I place it here:

Makes about 6lb

1 lb dried apricots
1 oz almonds
3 lbs sugar

Cut apricots into quarters.

Pour over 4 pints of boiling water and allow to stand 48 hours.

On the third day bring it to boiling point and boil for 1 ½ hours.

Add sugar and almonds (blanched) and allow the whole to boil for another hour or until setting point is reached.

Pot and cover in clean, sterilised jars.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Wot no stitch?

Sorry, being geeky rather than stitchy at the moment. You may notice a little tweek to your left. No, no, no not the profile being cleared off - if you want to read that you are going to have to click the "About Me" link. The new Categories drop down list. It is not fully populated yet - I would have to go back and do a lot of re-posting. But it is something I can now add to for future interesting posts. Typical! as soon as I have it all figured out blogger beta comes along and provides labels properly! Anyway switching to that method now - less leg work in the long term.

I have also been out and about on my bicycle and down the allotment. I have also been a little more active in the kitchen.

Monday, July 31, 2006

July's Recipe

With 20 minutes to spare:

My Grandmother and I had one or two "disagreements" when I was a young child. One of the less serious altercations was over the classification of pie and tart. Anything that she brought out as a sweet or dessert in a pastry case was a tart regardless of whether it had pastry over the top or not. One thing that was agreed on was the name we gave this: Lemon Meringue Pie, even though there was no pastry over the top.

As for more serious altercations ..... well I was a bad bad child and suffered the disgrace of being the kind of little girl who bit her Grandma......

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A Stitch In Time Saves Nine

Erm yeah - this is this months Project Spectrum Postcard. Ironic isn't it? The meaning "A little preventive maintenance can eliminate the need for major repairs later." Seems to be totally lost on me sometimes....

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Silky Moopy

Made from silk dupion scraps left over from my previous adventures. The green, turquouse and pink were all hand dyed. The purple check was left over from a party dress I made for one of my nieces. The felt face was made out of some felt I made last December.

The pattern for this funny little fella came from my Project Spectrum postcard swap partner. She makes large Moopys, each with their own unique personality which are well worth checking out.

Monday, July 24, 2006


From this fabric bomb chaos pit:

To this calm guest bedroom:

Nothing like a parental visit to get things tidy! I had been procrastinating about getting it tidy (it would have taken me at least a week). Instead it was done in an evening - including making the bed. If you wonder where the bed came from, my work table is a Besk (now no longer produced) a desk which converts into a double bed, with the help of a variable height adjusting mechanism and a futon mattress.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Activity Weekend

Saturday went cycling in the New Forest - started off late as S&X were doing funny doodads with their cycle carriers - nice ride if abit hot and air flow was restricted due to me forgetting my inhaler. Surprised by how much I do need my inhaler - mainly because I never considered myself much of an asthmatic as my family tended to concentrate on my sister H who had the more serious problem, hence didn't get the drugs until I changed doctors when I went to Uni.

The next day was similar to the previous Sunday - allotment and fruit picking. Nice change though was a very relaxing BBQ at G&P's. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Embroidered Shoes

As I am currently specialising in items I should have blogged ages ago I thought I would blog something even later than last months recipe - last years finished shoes. I have since gone to a wonderful workshop where I was taught to make the most fabulous kitten heeled mules using a proper last, tools and components. These shoes were originally created as my 3D item for City and Guilds and I followed the methods described in Sharon Raymond's Book Crafting Handmade shoes. The last I used was my own foot and I drew up the patterns from drawing round them (with help from M) and the design work of the project. The emphasis was on the embroidery not necessarily the actual construction of the shoe. Although they were fit for purpose (wear them to G & Mr. T's wedding) the soling material I used made them a little inflexible and they would be even more lovely made in the style of the mules mentioned previously. Unfortunately they would no longer be fit for purpose as they had to be grass "sink proof". The following photo shows me speaking from experience at my own wedding:

M helping me put my shoes on after sinking - changed to beaded flip-flops soon after

As it turned out I wore the shoes to G's wedding but spent most of the time bare foot (my favourite footwear choice despite my obsession with shoes), when it was time to go home though I stuffed my, by now, filthy feet into them. Not the best move, but luckily I had some of the leftover lining fabric to reline them for this years show. Though the shoes were great I think the dress (home sewn from fabric dyed with leftover project dyes) was more popular with the men for its cleavage enhancing properties.
(The photographic evidence is on the web somewhere but you're not going to get any pointers from me - and thats the last time I ever lend PJones a camera)

(G got this from your site and cropped - if not okay will clear it off)

Monday, July 10, 2006

A Late recipe

Discovered that I completely forgot to post June's recipe - Freezer Strawberry Jam. Nevermind , there are still some local strawberries in the shops in England(apologies if you're not).

As a child I preferred the firmer set of my mother's strawberry jam. Now, I quite like the fresher quality of this jam, especially as strawberries are not the best freezer fruit.

Can't help but think a raspberry jam would be more appropriate in my house at the moment as we are well into the raspberry season and I had another raspberry picking marathon on Sunday. My favourite recipe is one which is found on the Waitrose site - Rhubarb and Raspberry Jam - raspberries from the garden, rhubarb from the allotment.

Speaking of the allotment - have you heard the latest gossip? Rumours are circulating that the mysterious Mrs. R was spotted down there last Sunday after an absence of, hum, months? years? I couldn't possibly comment - lets just say the back of my thighs are killing me - I only weeded for an hour and a half!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The finished accessory

Sorry, I was too busy doing a celebratory dance (and then M wanted lunch - huh!) when I completed my accessory (and final piece of stitching) to blog the results.

Here is my laptop case:

The project write up was swiftly put together. I made good use of my sampling and used them to create a cover for my write up project folder:

I found it difficult to get going on this project as I was not sure what I wanted to make. By taking a break and allowing outside factors to inspire me (and a deadline to motivate me) I got started in reasonable time and completed on time. The clasp placement was a fiddly issue РI had to reposition the front middle appliqu̩ 3 times Рresolved by formalising my order of work but it could have been avoided by deciding what to use as a clasp before I started construction. I decided on a hidden magnetic clasp but by sampling I could have explored other possibilities Рtoggles, felted beads etc. and then not had the issue of repositioning and correcting.

This project has shown me that you can get good results from previous design work which did not have a particular finished result in mind. It is good to design, draw and play for the fun of it and that it is not wasted effort – it can be used in the future. The same applies to experimenting with techniques. With the projects we do not have a lot of time for sampling – this can be eased by trying out new techniques and putting effort into retaining creative vitality.

I would use the cheats felt and felted blanket techniques again – I have a nice tactile object which is also sturdy and fit for purpose. I would like to supplement the bag with a glasses case and maybe some pouches to hold some of the laptop peripherals.

This design approach would be worth pursuing again and this has encouraged me to make use of sketch books and study of themes. This is something that will be useful in the Level 3 Diploma which I wish to pursue next academic year.

Start of the project
Another experiment

If I had the time (i.e. I wasn't working full time and pursuing the embroidery course) I would love to sign up for the City and Guilds Creative sketchbooks level 2 course that the college is running for the first time in the Autumn. I have been extra disciplined and resisted though - it my be an evening but I just cannot stretch my artistic endeavours any further. One thing I have realised this month is that I do need spend a bit of time on other life activites such as cooking (which I do usually enjoy), gardening, exercising and being a wife and friend. The cleaning can still go hang!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


In the rush to get everything finished for the end of course and exhibition I didn't blog a lot of my work. I also thought it only fair to allow the exhibition goers first look.

The following pictures show some samples of various kinds of embellishments that I covered during the course but had previously been left stagnating at the bottom of my course box. Well I extracted them, filled in some of the gaps that needed filling and mounted them up to create a browsable collection of samples. My set of samples were either presented in my little stitch book, sample quilt or mounted and grouped together in a cake box.

Buttons and toggles - I started these about the same time as my canvaswork and 3rd experimental sample so went with the blue/turquoise and orange colour scheme. I really enjoyed doing these especially the covered button blanks where I was able to combine stitch techniques with silky fabrics, beads and sequins (shown centre). Also shown are yoyo's/Suffolk Puffs) (shown in each corner), wrapped and melted toggles (top, bottom, left and right edges), Dorset buttons (shown inner corners) and gathered toggles made from stuffed and slashed hollow ribbon (shown middle left and right).

I had completed some of the following cords a while ago:
From left to right: lucet cord, finger cord finished with Josephine Knots, machine cord, friendship bracelet, machine cord, Greek braid, Kumihino Braid (flat), machine cord with wire, machine cord, i-cord, Kumihino Braid (round), hand cord.

I have already used some regular tassels on my shape design work but I created a few more, slightly different tassels, in my favourite pink and green colourway:
From left to right: tassel, machine tassel, knotted skein, tassels covered with mini tassels, knotted skein with beads, plaited tassel, tassel

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July is here

And I am freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

The exhibition is done and dusted. M's party is thrown and cleaned up after. Financial decisions have been made. I have all the ticks and signatures that I need for my City and Guilds Level 3 Certificate, all I have to do before September is sign up for the Diploma.

I have lots of ideas of what I would like to do with my spare time but I first have clear up my studio - it looks like a fabric bomb has gone off.

The most important thing though, is to recover from the stinker of a summer cold I acquired from M - who is struggling to recover from the complication of a chest infection (time to give up the ciggies - at long long last?)

One thing I did feel up to doing on Sunday (along with a ton of washing and the supermarket shop) was a bit of fruit picking. What is special about the fruit picking is that I did it in our small back garden which is perfect for soft fruit (the raspberry canes grow like weeds!). I picked the last of the redcurrants, the bulk of our blackcurrants (more to be picked) and the first of our raspberries. I had enough fruit to make a summer pudding (my favourite pudding in the whole wide world) entirely from our garden - oh okay, shop bought bread and sugar.
 Posted by Picasa

Thursday, June 22, 2006


And I am exhausted! Still, gotta keep on going as I have a mini beer festival to organise for M's incredibly old man party on Saturday. Have had a quick look at my email and saw that my postcard swap partner got her Project Spectrum postcard that I sent her. Have put the postcard up on the flickr group.

Here is a peek of it here:

"A smooth sea never made a skilled mariner" - English proverb

Considering this month - never a truer thing has been said!

Friday, June 16, 2006

I'm working really hard!

Honest! Burning the midnight oil to get everything finished, mounted and signed off. Got the samples and notes done. Just need to finish the accessory. I have leave next week so I hope to be a bit more concientious about updating then. TTFN

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Funky stuff

Yesterday returning home from a dull day at the office I found the postman had been and delivered more than the usual phone bills and junk mail. My postcard swap pal from May hand sent me the above goodies. She apologised for the funny shaped postcard but in my opinion who wants a rectangular postcard when you can have this gorgeous shamrock? Not to mention the delicious chocolate and rock.

Last night was a busy one with laundry (yawn) followed by a bit of blanket dyeing (still drying so wait for the pictures). Whilst that was all heating up I got my friend G's felted jumper she gave me. I remembered something that I had recently seen on on whipup and thought I would try a variation on it and embellish it with some of my recent cheats felt. I had to make my own design of bag different to the one on whipup because the original jumper was a V neck. But I think it was very successful.

This is the front of the bag. I was inspired to use the bird motif and colours by the orignal donor of the jumper.

This is the back of the bag:

G, I need to use this as part of my sampling for my finished item, but on 1st July it's yours if you want it! Posted by Picasa

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