Nearly finished Dillon!

Well my attempt at thread painting my cat Dillon is going quite well. Not as accurate as I would like, but at least it looks like a cats face. I am really enjoying it and have loads of photo’s of different cats that stay in my cattery to practice on. I have just got to finish his nose, put a few whiskas on, get rid of the pen lines and he is done!

This little portrait is in a 4″ hoop and measures about 2.75″ x 2.75″.

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Sewing again-with Thread Painting

I  am now able, with the help from Manuka Honey Cream, able to sew again. My Contact Dermititis is almost gone. Not with any help from my GP. The only things he would offer me were Hormone Creams, which were just burning my hands. It has been so miserable not being able to touch anything without leaving streaks of grease or my hand splitting and bleeding. Now, hopefully that is all behind me!!!!

So as I wasn’t able to do any crafting I spent alot of time on the net drooling over what everyone else was doing.

Thread Painting caught my eye, it did seem labour intensive, until I realised alot of the artists use 4″ hoops, not very big, but the details that were achieved were amazing. My all time favourite on YouTube was from Stitching Sabbatical. She is brilliant, and stitches my all time passion, CATS! I decided to have a go using a photo of one of my cats…………….

I have been reading up on all I could find on this subject, ordered needles, hoop and a couple of books and the day before yesterday I was ready to start my first project.

I had some old polyester cotton sheeting, which I am using, it works fine with all of the little stitches. The only problem I have found is trying to thread the needles! They are a size 10 quilting needle, very tiny. Even though I am only using one thread of stranded embroidery cotton, it takes alot of concentration.

This is my first attempt so far, of my beautiful tabby Dillon.  I am hoping that his little character will show through when I have finished.

 

More Needlepunch and cat food boxes!

I have been having fun with more cat food boxes and my needlepunch. Trying to decide how to display the finished needlepunch has left me at a bit of a quandry, the little boxes I have been making take quite a while and I wanted to get on with more punching. And as the cattery is quiet at the moment I am slowly running out of card!!!

My latest needlepunch quilt block cat, (a maine coone silhouette) I backed with card and discovered the ‘no sew cubes’ on the net. There was a lady on Youtube showing how to make a triangle out of card like the cubes. So for this little project I hand sewed the triangle. It took up quite alot of cardboard but stands up on its own quite well.

I love the way the little quilt blocks turn out, they measure 5″ x 5″. But then I thought, what would the little cat silhouettes look like on a patterend fabric background. This would save me having to use so many different coloured embroidery floss. So I tried my needlepuch on some cheap ditsy poly cotton fabric in my stash. And it worked perfectly.

The first one I backed with wadding and laced onto card and made a no sew cube by wrapping a box I had with hessian. I weighted the inside of the box with a little wad of shingle (stones from the drive) and screwed up newspaper. Then just glued the cat to the front of the box.

I think the silhouettes punched onto pretty patterened fabric look lovely. This one, again, I backed with wadding and laced onto a piece of card. I then found a blouse I never wore and cut that up and appliqued the finished cat onto that. using another piece of card I have temporarily stuck everything down until I can decide what to do with it! I will probably just back it, make some cord with matching embroidery floss for a hanger and decoration. It’s amazing what you can do with cat food boxes!

Little Boxes

Had a few days, without any little customers in the cattery, so have been making some fabric covered boxes. I have saved lots of the cat food boxes, that the pouches come in. The cardboard is fairly stiff and when you double it up it becomes quite strong.

I haven’t used any glue, this box is all hand sewn and padded with 20z wadding. I adapted the pattern taken from a lovely book that I have had for a while. It is called ‘Making Hand Sewn Boxes’ Techniques and Projects by Jackie Woolsey. I am a bit peeved about this…….. I didn’t realise, until I bought her book, that many years ago I lived, literally,  just up the road from this lady. The boxes in this book are beautiful, and the instructions are very clear and easy to follow.

I followed all of her techniques from lacing individual parts to adding a fabric hinge. I was restricted with the size of the cat food box, but if it had of been any larger it wouldn’t have been as strong. It is an ideal size for holding my embroidery floss ready for punchneedling, and has a padded lid as a little pin cushion. It measures 4″ x 4″ and is 1.5″ deep.

 

Dillon wasn’t too impressed, there wasn’t enough room on my lap, what with bits of cardboard, fabric and cottons. He spent ages trying to make me feel guilty……………… love him!

My cattery kits for needlepunching

I made some little kits for needlepunching, so I had everything ready whilst looking after the cats in my cattery. It is lovely to be able to sit in the cattery, have conversations with my boarders whilst crafting. For my little kits I had everything printed onto my fabric and all of the colours of embroidery floss that I had chosen split into 3 strands and ready to go!!!!

I thoroughly enjoyed putting all of these together. My partner cut up and varnished and varnished again, all the backing boards from the back of an old drawer. Perfect colour for these needlepunches. I am now deciding how to decorate them, I have applied a little lace, some leather thong, and some copper wire for hanging. But I will later add some beads etc to finish off.

I cut round the needlepunch project when finished, leaving a half inch border around the fabric. For each piece I turned the fabric and basted it to the back.

Shock, horror, I couldn’t be bothered to get out my glue gun, so instead I stuck carpet tape to the back of the punch needle and just stuck it down to the wood backing board. It will hold just as well as the glue gun!

I will probably get my bead collection out and add them to ribbon, lace or just get my partner to make a few more holes in the bottom of the backing board so I can hang a few beads. The ideas are endless!!!!!

Snow Days and Needlepunch

Luckily I haven’t had any little guests in the cattery this last week. We have been snowed in for the last couple of days and by the feel of the freezing wind we will be indoors for the next few days too. My two little boys are so bored as they won’t go outside, Stalker tried this morning but made a few footsteps in the snow turned round and came back in. They both like their home comforts, like me!

I love the little toe prints!

The last few days have been perfect for practicing my needlepunching. I am slowly getting the hang of it now and loving the way these little rugs turn out.

One edge is a little wonky, but hey, not bad for second attempt.

Here is my second attempt. I wanted to see how much detail I could get from a cat silhouette that I got from the Internet. I was surprised, my little cat measures 2.5 inches long and 2 inches tall. Then I added the word, which I think came out ok too. This little rug has been mounted onto some cardboard from a cat food box, which I padded at the back, and then stitched the rug to a cotton backing adding a piece of ribbon to hang it.

I have seen some beautiful needlepunch projects attached to what they call ‘horn books’. They look like wooden cutting boards. With the country primitive needlepunch patterns they look lovely.

I have found some old wooden cupboard backing boards, my other half is going to make them into some shapes that I can attach my little rugs to. Alot quicker than sewing and I think will look alot more authentic.

This one I have just finished, I got the pattern from the internet, reduced the size and punched. This one measures 5 inches by 3.5 inches. It’s amazing how much detail you can achieve with the little loops. My first guests arrive at the cattery next week, so for the next couple of days I will be making up some kits to do whilst keeping them company……………Snow, what snow?

My First Punch Needle Rabbit

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Not happy with the ear, but hey, for first attempt not bad, really.


I have been so busy with the cattery over the Christmas period, that I have neglected to do any crafts the last couple of months, except for some more wet felting for my friend. Unfortunately, or stupidly, I did not wear gloves, so my hands are in a disgusting state and are permanantley covered in moisturiser!!! So I have spent time surfing and looking at my fav subject…crafts.
I came upon Punch Needles. Not an expensive tool, very easy to use and makes little loops on the fabric just like a mini floor rug. And looking at videos and punchneedle artists on the net you can make up some lovely things, big or small.

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My first punch needle was a cheapy one from Ebay, but most of the (US) artists recommended the Cameo, I found one on Amazon, from the US. And there is a difference, the Cameo doesn’t feel as sharp so it doesn’t rip the fabric like the cheaper one did. (I do punch quite tight, I don’t like to see any background fabric showing).
The next thing was finding Weavers Cloth, that everyone said was crucial for this type of embroidery. But I found a site that said any fabric, as long as it wasn’t 100% cotton would work. You need a manmade fibre and cotton mix, as just cotton would break eventually with all the punching, whereas the manmade fibres stretch around the loops you make. So I found Poly Cotton High Density Sheeting fabric on Ebay. It is 45% cotton and 55% polyester. It comes in 94 inch width and cost me around £8 for a whole meter! Loads of little punchneedle projects.

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Next I needed a hoop that would hold the background fabric really, really tight. Ordinary embroidery hoops won’t work as the fabric will slip and you will spend all your time tightning up as your loops won’t catch properly if the fabric is loose. The hoops recommended were sooooo expensive and again hard to get in the UK. But with a bit more research I saw one that was easy and cheap to make at home. I bought a set of what they call Stretcher Bars. They are just picture frames that you put together yourself by slotting the pieces together. I got 10 inch size. Then my partner hammered in some tacks, eaqually, along each side and cut the tops off. This makes them sharp so you can stretch your fabric onto it keeping it nice and taught. He glued some wood blocks underneath, so the needle doesn’t bang into my knees or the table when I am punching.

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I used 3 strands of embroidery floss and my punchneedle was on number two, so my loops were nice and short. I really packed in my stitches and the cotton/polyester sheeting took it with no tears or rips.

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This is the back of the punchneedle.

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This shows the depth of the loops on the front side.


I am really pleased how it turned out, I will probably make it into a little pouch to keep my spare punchneedle needles in. But first, as this is addictive, I want to try a bigger picture with my favourite subject, cats!