Tis the Season for Hand Stitching

Between now and the New Year, quality, focused time in the "studio" (term used very loosely), will be a rare commodity. Oh well, so it goes. My hands though, which happen to be a perfect fit for a needle and thimble, have promised to make themselves available at a moments notice. Having that promise in writing, (after publishing this post), I have declared November and December "Hand Stitching Season" at the Seams French HQ and expect efficiency and quality performance from it's staff of one. Can you hear the crack of the whip?

In the production line-up are some embroidery projects, as well as 3 or 4 (or more) boutis projects.

Last year's "Stars and Butterflies Baby Quilt" for the Lady H included a pocket on the back of the quilt to hold a collection of falling stars. My intent is to add a wish and a star to this collection annually, on the little lady's birthday.

Thread colours for this star have not yet been finalized, but will likely stay in the range of yellows and golds. However, there's a zip-lock bag of fun little tassel ends in the thread stash that is singing out to me; "how about us..., how about us... ". I'll let the spirit of the moment guide. (Does that count as improv? I'm trying:)

While in the mood for stars, I thought that Little H needed to start the Christmas ornament collection with a star as well. Years ago, I had purchased this silk embroidery floss in Italy and have been looking for a project worthy of it's application ever since. Celebrating the first year of life is about as worthy a project as I can think of. The ornament will be worked on a natural linen using a satin stitch for the center and some variation or other of an outline stitch for the scrolly bits.

I may throw in bits of gold sparkle if it feels right.

A third embroidery project are these 4 little cocktail napkins for my husband. These 4 napkins are cut from a large vintage napkin that I had picked up at an antique market in France. Two of the sides have the original rolled hem finished edge, and on the other two sides, I needle turned a narrow rolled hem trying to match the original.

Since scotch is his favourite, I decided to colour coordinate the monogram with the amber coloured beverage of choice.

The monogram and the surrounding shamrock are being embroidered with a padded satin stitch. I am using a stem stitch for the outline and padding with a closely stitched stem stitch as well. I learned this technique years ago from a French magazine I was reading at the time, and it seemed to work OK for these monogrammed napkins.

Outline stitch and padding in progress.

And of course, there is always my beloved boutis to work on. Working on boutis sends me into my own little land of Zen. Great for traveling.

Below is the progress I have made on my latest pouch, one of the boutis projects currently in the works.

I start from the center and work my way out. 

Stitching in the the center section has been completed.

Progress on the front flap.

November is already more then halfway gone. I'm still hoping for a window of time at the machine before Christmas, but if not, needle and thimble will be the "go to" method of the season.


  1. Well, this looks like a very calm and pleasant way to recharge during the holidays! It all is beautiful, and I especially like the white (and gold?) Christmas star. That will be a really lovely collection over time. Happy stitching!

    1. Thanks Monica. A few proper sessions in "the studio" would feel really good right about now, but in the meantime, I'll try to make use of the time available with materials easily accessible.

  2. I love seeing your work. Even at its very beginning there is such beauty!

    I still have a pile of EPP stars for my mom's quilt to work on, and many more to make... But I just can't seem to find the energy in the evenings anymore. I'm in that time of my life when I simply cannot keep my eyes open after the kids go to sleep at night. And there is no time during the day, either, when I'm not in Mama Mode. But it's a good thing, this time. I wouldn't trade it for anything!!

    Keep on stitching! I'm looking forward to seeing how you incorporate all those little tassel bits!


    1. Hi Michelle. So good to hear from you. Being the super Mama that you are, you are doing exactly the right thing at this time of your life and I'm sure that you wouldn't trade it for anything. But the nice thing about "stitchery" is that it is there anytime you are ready for it, and it doesn't hold grudges if it's been "back burnered" for a while (or longer). It welcomes you back with open arms anytime!

  3. What lovely projects you are working on! I also love the white (and maybe gold) star. I can't wait to see the finished boutis, it looks lovely. Of course, I'm partial to butterflies.

    1. I have a thing for butterflies as well. They seem to show up in most of the things I make. I hope that I have a productive month and a half and get these things done for Christmas.

  4. Your "to do" list for the winter is a super idea! Love the projects you have chosen to work on. That star for Little H is adorable and will be exquisite I am sure. And the boutis project will be lovely. You have inspired me to plan some things for my own. I have been so busy with my business that I have set my things aside. Hugs and Happy Holidays to you! Have a blessed Christmas season!


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