Vintage Finds: Butterfly Needlework Kits

Lately our local thrift store has had a nice variety of vintage needlework kits.   During our last gaming session I started a pair of surface embroidery butterflies vintage 1983.  At yesterday’s session the second was finished and I started a crewel embroidery needle book kit from creative expressions.  The Daisies kit is from about the same time (check ebay if you want it).  It seems like the store got a large stash or estate collection of needlework supplies and kits in and is slowly trickling them out.  This one being such a simple kit, the stitching was complete after the game and an evening movie. As A was kind enough to wake us up early, there was enough time this morning to do the finishing work.  I altered the finishing slightly to anchor the interior and exterior at the spine and to create braided ties for closure.  The felted wool needle pages are on their third life.  Once a wool sweater with a hole in it that I picked up second hand and then felted and turned into one of A’s most worn outfits, part of the leggings was perfect for this project.


Now, I’m trying out a chicken scratch butterfly kit from a subsequent batch of thrift store finds that was probably part of the same stash.  This technique always reminds me of a table cloth my grandmother uses as a dresser scarf on a dresser in her dinning room.  Simple, but stunning.  These kits are excellent for dabbling in new techniques and for mindless work on the go.  Need an easy to-go project. Grab a kit and a pair of scissors and head out the door.  Try something new for (generally) less than a dollar.  So far I haven’t tried anything I haven’t liked and O seems to really be enjoying the rainbow rug latch hook kit I picked up to add to his quiet time activities box.


The kids ornaments, which I’m now tempted to make up as pins to give as equinox presents as we’ve watched this year’s Monarch butterflies metamorphose and monarch butterflies are currently all the rage in our household.

Posted in Embroidery, Stitchery, Stitching, toys, Uncategorized, Upcycle, Vintage, Vintage Finds | Leave a comment

Of All the Easy Things


Project Complete

Sewing, for me, is in part about sustainability; about knowing where things come from, how they were made and that they will last.  Mending feels like a super power.  Darning might be even better than mending as few people will ever see my socks and favorites will last much longer with a little TLC.  But darning was always strange and elusive.  Like the desire to learn to knit so that I can make socks (I prefer knit to crocheted), darning was a strange land full of unknowns.  Having kept an old inherited mending box full of bits of string and wax and pins and having long ago acquired a darning egg when a fairly new pair of socks (my only navy pair) suddenly sprung a hole in the toe, it was time to explore darning.


Getting Started

It’s hard to believe how simple darning really is.  Knowledge of running stitch and the ability to weave the thread over and under the first path was all the skill needed.  In short order the sock went from garbage to useful again.  Of course being home with a small child there were stops for stories and an armload of animals collected on my lap, but it can go on my list of things that can be accomplished with a small child.  A list that is oddly lopsided and as of today also includes fixing a wine rack and sorting wine.  In case you were wondering wine should be judged by the color of the wrapper and purple is the best.  Also it is excellent for counting and matching, so you will need to buy a sizable assortment…you wouldn’t want to neglect your (or whoever’s) child’s education after all.


Finished Darning on the Inside


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Foxy Pajamas

The (free) Foxy Pajamas Pattern from On the Cutting Floor has a lot to not recommend it.  There is no getting around that.  It’s free and the pants work up easily.  The facings for the front button and button hole areas are absent or so poorly scaled as to be laughable.  The ears shown on the finished garment are included only in that final sentence of the instructions reads “You can make a decorative pair of ears to your hoodie as well ;).”  Still if you are experienced you can work with this pattern to create something fun.  I recommend skipping the hood front and drafting facings for the front button/button hole areas, the hood edge.  On the other hand you could just skip this and try another pj’s pattern such as any of the number offered by the big 4 companies or maybe Heidi and Finn’s All You Need Jammies.

If you do try these, understand that these run small.  This first pair of pants won’t last long beause of the length. To get them as long as they are I skipped cuffing them.  The technique described would allow for lengthening latter on, but they would have been too short. The top was too small.  He could put it on, but couldn’t put up the hood and the sleeves were doing a skinny jeans impersonation. I didn’t have enough fabric to replace them. A complete waste.  The pattern will be fine for another pair of pants with length added, but I won’t revisit   it.

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Almost Isabella

isabella AnnodaturaOn and off the nodo dopio feels understandable.  Anyway I’ve managed it and the dove’s eye lacing and am part way through band 6.  It’s hard to remember that things need to be done again (and again) because I’m just learning.   Mentally the understanding is there, but it’s hard when stitching isn’t meditative, as that is part of what I love about it.  Still, I’m feeling good about wrapping this up.

Fall is always (at least when things are going well) wrap up time.  I like to wind up old projects and clear them away before winter sets in.  Winter calls for different types of projects.  There was a time when each winter meant crocheting another afghan.  Now winter is a round of ornaments for my kids and husband and other handmade gifts and possibly a sweater or shawl to help me keep warm while updating the colors or style of my wardrobe.  There are many dresses I’d like to make, but things from last year still fit okay so I can take a step back, relax and choose what I really want to work on.  Maybe even take a stab at finishing some of my WIPs.

Do you create seasonally?  What are your top winter/summer crafts or projects?

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OAL2017: Follow Up-While I Was Camping


Do you read Lladybird?   I love Lauren’s style.  It’s put together, but laidback.   Lauren Taylor (aka Lladybird) is one of the hosts of the Outfit Along and her blog is where I heard about it.  The other host is Andi Satterlund of Untangling Knots.  This year was my second year completing an outfit for the outfit along.  It was much more challenging for me this year, but I learned a lot and ended up with a great outfit.  Apparently, I also won a prize, which was announced on Lauren’s blog while I was camping.   Andi and Lauren took the time and effort to track me down to let me know as not only did I miss the post while I was camping, but I haven’t been on Ravelry since I went camping either.   That was very kind of them.   Thank you to both of them for hosting and to everyone who participated for being so inspiring.

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Just Not Right

Isabella Nodo Dopio and Doves Eye Issues

The third time I stitched band 2 of the Isabella, I’d had enough for the time.  The nodo dopio stitch just isn’t holding when the doves eye weaving is added.  Each time it has scrunched together in the middle, even when I cheated and stitched the nodo dopio through the base strands.  Having come back to it and completed bands three four and five, I am reminded that the horrific nodo dopio reappears in band 6, which is the final band.  Grr.  I can’t leave just that to be finished after my next chapter meeting where someone might be able to tell me what I’m doing wrong.

This flannel dress is very comfortable, but the buttons have been a frustration since day one.  First, they popped off with great regularity, so I sewed them back on.  Then, they simply popped open  with great regularity.  The button placket was made without interfacing and the buttons are just a bit too small.  It was very much time to replace them.  Hunting through my button collection, two options presented themselves.  Each had only 9 buttons rather than the 11 that the dress had or the 12 I’d like to add one more at the bottom, but in the interest of using things from my stash and fixing it today 9 would do.  The top two buttons never get buttoned anyway.

flannel dress button changes

A bit shinnier these new buttons, a bit more flash overall.  The original brown leather belt may not be up to par.  One of many small alterations needed for my fall/winter wardrobe.  Somehow they aren’t as fun as summer sundresses, but still a feeling of accomplishment creeps in.

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Queen Stitched Acorns

Early Morning Name Tag

When you are up two hours early

I snuck out of bed this morning.  I snuck back in too.

The pattern, floss and linen for this were part of a lot I picked up at my last EGA chapter auction.  The acorns are done entirely in queen stitch and upside down from the direction the designer intended.  The name is simple cross stitch. Last spring saw the stitching completed, but it sat around waiting to be finished.  I was up early and wavering between: taking a bath because it’s the middle of a non-stop week and it might buy me time later in the day, staying in bed until the kids pounced as I’d been feeling the need to give them a good cuddle, or going downstairs and to watch some GoT and ply yarn or work on embroidery when I remembered it, a nice little project to do in bed while listening to Love to Sew Podcast and waiting to be pounced.  The lacing work was completed earlier this week and it just needed to be put together and have cord made from DMC 783.  My tiny cord maker is so clunky compared to my drop spindle.  I really think I may try using the spindle to add twist next time.  If anybody has tried that I’d like to hear how it went.  Still being able to make cord is very liberating.  It seems to me that the selection of notions is becoming more and more limited locally and it can be hard to source and color match online.  Now, my new fall nametag is finished and waiting for our September meeting.  At least one thing this week that won’t simply need to be redone or create more work for later.  Plus, there were cuddles.  It still surprises me, every time A comes in and her little head is above the level of the bed.

Finished Queen Stitch Name Tag

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