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


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.

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.

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.

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.


This is the back of the punchneedle.


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!

Knitting for the Cats Protection League

I will be starting a small knitting group here at Cattery57, in Gorleston soon, in aid of the Cats Protection League. They need knitted blankets and toys for the homeless cats that they take in.. Don’t worry if you don’t knit and want to have a go we can teach you. I will supply the wool if you bring your own knitting needles. Or if you can, donate any amount of DK wool, it would be very much appreciated. Please contact me for more details.

My first Embroidered Rock….

In my last post I showed you how I created these little rocks from pebbles taken from my friends driveway. They fit beautifully in the palm of your hand and are very tactile.

The only problem I had was how was I going to decorate them! So many things to chose from…… In the end I decided on a little embroidery with silks.

Just enough to give some contrast but not too much to cover over the lovely alpaca felt. There is a nice weight to the little rock, and when you hold it in your hand it becomes lovely and warm. And shabby chic comes to mind!

First Wet Felting Experience!

My friend Suzie, from Suzie’s Alpacas, kindly sent me some raw wool from her beautiful animals. I have never tried spinning or weaving, but have the needles for needle felting. Whether I have the right needles or because they were cheap, I don’t know, but it was soooo boring, and I didn’t seem to be getting anywhere. So I decided to do a bit of wet felting instead. Although it took alot of time too, it didn’t take alot of concentration or bloody fingers!

So, with a bowl of water, a bar of soap, 2 dog brushes, some cling film, bubble wrap and a cats ball.

I made this little purse, with two little felted pompoms as decoration.

So easy to make, I found the tutorial on Youtube. I didn’t have to wash the wool first, and only carded, with the dog brushes, as I needed it. The only slightly akward bit was sewing on the purse clasp. But as you do it whilst the felt is still damp, you can stretch it and as it dries it shrinks back to its original shape.

I will definitely be making some more of these, and embroider cats and things on them to sell in my cattery, along with felted soaps, which are also so easy to make.

I would love, love to be able to make 3d animals etc, with needle felting. Looking on the net there are crafters, true artists, who make beautiful, and so life like animals, I wouldn’t even know where to start. And I definitely don’t have the patience. So I think wet felting will be a new one for me!


My hexie quilt idea

Now that my new cattery57 is up and running, and doing quite well, I needed a crafty project…… the cats only want so much cuddling and play during the day.  I wanted something that I could sit and do whilst being in the cattery with the cats, something that didn’t need a sewing machine, was easy to transport but not boring…………..

I had seen some beautiful hexie quilts, I do enjoy making all the hexies, but sewing them together is too repetative for me, especially for a quilt. Then I saw tiny 1/4 inch hexies, gorgeous but how many millions would I have to make to get a quilt size? So I went for 1/2 inch hexies……..I know, just as bad……………….. after making a few hundred of them I decided I needed to do something a bit more interesting or all of those little hexies would be put into a box and forgotton about. So this is what I came up with.

I needed something with different elements, so I didn’t get bored with the project……………

And here is my first hexie:

It incorporates:

Applique, Embroidery, Quilting, Quilt as you go hexie, more Embroidery and Crochet. The crochet will make them so much quicker to put together to make up the quilt, not as time consuming as sewing the hexies together, also crochet gives, so they don’t need to be that exact.

Having so many things going on in each hexie makes it interesting and each one is different, but the same, if you see what I mean. So to keep me occupied I am going to make a King Size Quilt, I don’t know how long it will take but it will be an heirloom when finished.

I need to be doing something crafty and this has been a lovely project to develop.

My tutorials start here for Tinas Scrappy Vintage Hexie Quilt





Tina’s Patchwork Workout

I am looking forward now and thinking of my new years resolution………….more patchwork.

I put on weight when I worry, I comfort eat. The last few months of getting the cattery built, along with all of the paperwork and legal stuff and worrying about getting customers has been stressful as well as exciting.  But it has also made me eat, so to help me lose weight I am going to do more patchwork.

My Patchwork Workout is accomplished by having the ironing board as far away as possible from the sewing machine and ironing every little seam as soon as it is done, be it one inch or 3ft!


One of my cat mats available from my Etsy shop.

This cat mat patchwork panel is made from 2″ x 3.5″ strips and for every seam that I stitched on the sewing machine I got up, walked across the room and ironed the seam flat, then walked back to the machine to do the next seam. I walked across my room 158 times just to do the patchwork panel. The room is approx 9ft long which means I walked 1422 feet (432 meters) as well as the excercise of getting up and sitting down in the chair at the sewing machine. Quite a work out!! With a lovely piece of patchwork to show for all of that excercise! And being busy I didn’t feel like eating. Think of the area I would have to walk to make a king size quilt using these little strips, could end up being miles!!! Goodnesss, just had another thought, how about putting the sewing machine upstairs and keeping the ironing board downstairs, that would give me a doubly brilliant workout. Who would have thought that doing patchwork could lead to a healthy lifestyle?