Simple Needlebook

I was inspired to make a simple needlebook today – I’ve been needing one for a while, I keep my needles in a fancy Kauri wood toothpick holder but I’ve been thinking of upgrading.


Now I would have loved to do the apple or owl style that’s out there (and I will, the minute I have a spare dollar for some red and brown felt), but I was compelled to use what was in my Tardis Craft Cupboard.

So I raided my shoebox of fabric scraps, the bag of embroidery threads, the tub of ribbons. It’s not fancy, but it’s a simple needlebook with one purpose: needle storage.

While I was getting all the gear together, I made a fascinating, if slightly belated discovery… the bag of embroidery threads that I’ll be using from now until doomsday – a hand-me-down from a co-worker’s husband who found it somewhere else – contained some beige floss, wrapped around a paper tube.

I’ve never paid it any mind until today when I caught a glimpse of a red postal stamp. I took the thread off and discovered it was an envelope from Sydney Trades Hall sent to its recipients on 19 April 1945! I don’t know if that means all the thread is nearly 70 years old (holy moly!) or just the one on the envelope.


Back to the needlebook. Here’s what I had available, hot pink flannel, grey linen (from a  separate hand-me-down bag of fabric), some pink & orange cotton fabric that I loved when I bought it but only had two 3″ squares left, and some orange floss from the bag of oldies but goodies.


What I used:

  1. Pinking shears
  2. Two rectangles of fabric – one linen, one felty
  3. Smaller rectangles of felt for the ‘needle’ pages within
  4. Embroidery floss and regular cotton thread
  5. Applique paper

What I did:

I cut the rectangles out the same size for the outer and inner ‘needlebook’ cover.

Using estimates of where the hem would be, I folded the rectangle in half and sewed the embellishments on the ‘front’ first. I appliqued a heart and square. A running stitch around the square and a chain stitch on the heart.

Putting the big rectangles right sides facing, I sewed them together. I left a an opening so I could put the material the right way round. I used a running stitch to close the gap and around the edge of the whole book, because I liked the orange on the hot-pink.

A quick running stitch to attach the ‘needle’ pages to the book and it looks great in contrasting colour thread on the spine of the ‘book’.

Voila. A home for my two dozen needles!


Valentine’s Wreath

How fun that Valentine’s Day is nearly here again! Before that, of course, we are going to be celebrating Groundhog Day by watching Bill Murray at his finest. But that doesn’t need any crafting. So, skipping to Valentine’s Day. I made a wreath.

Valentines Wreath

Because I’m cheap, I used the the easy wreath I made for Christmas with an embroidery hoop you can read about that here, and gussied it up with berries from last year’s winter wreath, feathers from Marshmallow’s craft stash, felt-hearts from a project I still haven’t finished yet (filling a goldfish bowl with felt hearts, best not to ask) and I used red furry pipe-cleaners from the craft stash to tie the bits and pieces to the hoop.  For fullness, the Christmas embroidery hoop was wrapped with red crepe paper and a slither of ribbon to tie it to the wall.

It was very straight-forward to do, but does requires tweaking to make it just so. The tweaking takes the longest!

Valentines Wreath2

No matter what colours I see throughout the day – year – my life  – east, west, red is best! I love this. The red and white square quilt is one I made earlier and you can read about it here.

I’ve found lots of inspiration on the internet about Valentines gifts to make. Some involve chocolate, so I can’t be making them too soon, otherwise I’ll eat them in advance too, ha ha. Can’t wait and can’t wait to share the project with you!

I heart Spring

I also love French knots!  They are so decadent, as they take a lot of thread, and they take a lot of time, but the results are delicious.  I got to combine Français noeud with a heart so I was happy as a pig in mud for – omg – five nights and three naps. Wowser. It’s a lot of work. But worth it.

Details French Knot Heart

The French Knot, for me, was originally inspired by this lady’s gorgeously gorgeous Love pillow.  At the time I was thinking of making a gift for a friend with a bouncing baby Boy. But I knew how much work it would take, so I just made his initial ‘B’ after seeing the above Love cushion cover.

Anyway me hearties. My heart reminds me of the cherry blossoms outside. Every year I take a photo of those fleeting beauties, and every year the photo comes out awful so I can’t share, but when those blossoms flutter in the breeze, and confetti down, that’s what the outside knots on this heart embroidery remind me of.


What I did

Template: I cut out a heart that was the right size for my embroidery hoop. I drew around it on the material in regular pencil.

Backing fabric: Used up a quarter of a fat quarter.

2 skeins and a bit of pink thread (I know, it’s a lot for a thrift-bunny)

Tip: I stem-stitched (or back-stitched) around the heart first, this keeps your edging French knots in order, otherwise – unless you’re really good I guess – the knots  skidaddle every which way. This is why French knots are so beautiful, they are just a touch haphazard, like a sprinkle of wild flowers sewn from a seed packet.

Sweet Hearts

Throughout my quilting lifetime, there is a distinct theme that draws me in time and time again. I’ve only made one heart quilt but my home decor and gift cards tend to be smothered in them: Hearts.

I thought I’d share some of the recent hearts I’ve made.


Pictured is a watercolour sketch of my first crop of home-grown tomatoes which I put in a  heart-shaped basket. I turned it into a Mother’s Day card for my wonderful Mum.

Next is a heart sampler I made earlier this year, when I should’ve been showering. Suckered in!

Third is a quick Valentines Card I made last year, it’s a heart cut from apple fabric (lush). I had a two month old baby and was – typically – behind on sleep but I really wanted to mark the occasion.

You can also see my Spring Wreath heart here.

I’m actually making another heart today which I was inspired by this gorgeous heart quilt block – but mine is a secret one for now, darnit and so I can’t share it until it’s been given and gotten. Soon!

What inspired you today? You can tweet me if it’s easier.