Sunday, 2 February 2014

Stitching Sunday: Order from chaos

In line with the sunshine this morning, promising Spring and its requisite cleaning, I want to start reorganising my embroidery supplies. I picked up a handy tool to make sense of the plastic bag(s) of embroidery floss...

If I wind a few a day, I could have them all sorted and ready to file away in this handy-dandy gift from my mother:

My mother is the most organised, tidiest person I’ve ever known, and the sight of my craft supplies (or craft piles) must make her cringe. She has given me storage gifts for yarn, fabric and threads. I aspire to get it all sorted this year...

The top will hold hoops and fabric, the drawers keep floss, scissors and needles tidy. And its portable, so I can take it to my craft groups...

I also have this lovely vintage sewing box, bought from a friend who refinishes old and tattered furniture

It has the original blue velvet lining in the top, and a small drawer for organising bits and bobbins

Another embroidery tool that keeps me organised is my magnetic needle keeper. I have a few at the moment, they beg to become a collection!

I have shared my love of magnets before, in this post, written in the first two weeks of my blog. These invaluable little pretties are perfect for anyone who can’t ever seem to be able to sit for more than five minutes without someone somewhere in the house calling out for something! Rather than stabbing the fabric repeatedly or just losing the needle in the back of the sofa, I park it on the magnet, sort out whatever minor crisis only I can solve, then pick up the needle and carry on with my work.

My little magnetic frog!
I found these lovely magnets here.

Now that we’re into February, I can report on the &Stitches Finish-Along. No, Sam-I-Am isn’t finished (ha! Don’t be silly!), but hey-ho, I’ve made more progress with him this month than I have all autumn and winter!

The ham is just about complete. I will add more black stitches today, but I wanted to show you the flow of the green stitches, following on from last week’s post.

I used long and short stitch embroidery, curving very gradually as I stitched. Here’s a size reference:

I couldn’t have done this without this super-geeky piece of kit:

This is a magnifier that I wear around my neck, so I have hands free to stitch. It comes complete with a tiny light if I need extra illumination to my thread. I am so rock-n-roll crazy it frightens me.

I wonder if I could tart up this magnifier, make it less, well, old-lady-ish? I mean really, I love embroidery, I love the cute magnets and gorgeous array of floss, so why can’t there be some Cath Kidston-inspired magnifiers and lamps?

Before I leave you to your day, I want to share some lovely discoveries in my garden this morning...

Amidst the rubble...
Despite the winter storms throwing all and sundry onto the back border of my garden (a thousand twiggy branches from my birch tree, piles of leaves, buckets of rain, and the odd bit of plastic bag blown away from a rubbish bin), the first few blooms change are making their tentative appearances.

The mighty-yet-dainty snowdrop, which no doubt would find a way to pop up through a glacier if challenged. I love these flowers, so delicate yet determined to flourish – never to be thwarted by the ongoing grey of January (note to self: take a cue from the humble snowdrop next year post-Christmas!). They pop up just when you need to be reminded that change will come!

Hiding behind the foliage
I was so delighted to see the hellebore blossoms opening this morning. Only last week I thought they had succumbed to the Christmas soaking, but by the end of the week, fat buds were sneaking out from beneath the leaves.

I love how these blossoms perch bashfully on their stems, heads down, revealing the beautiful rosy streaks on the back of the petals.

Eenie, meanie, minie, mo – do I work on my sewing projects now, or go outside and do some chilly gardening? I think I’ll take advantage of this gorgeous golden orb in the sky...

Chrissie x


  1. What a great storage box and I love the vintage sewing box, it's beautiful. Your embroidery is coming along nicely, what a fun project. Have a lovely Sunday. Deb x

  2. Your new sewing box is beautiful and I love the storage box that your Mom bought you, they really do have some great things like that in the US don't they. You will be so organised now!! Hope that you have fun in the sun with your gardening, I agree that it is so nice to be able to be outside when the sun is making an appearance! Hope that you have a good week. xx

  3. I do love a bit of storage, never heard of needle magnets before I might have to go and investigate, your embriodery is looking good the stitching is so neat, and yay for snowdrop, must be the sun, as I discover some mini iris flower outside earlier and was skippy happy to see them, have a lovely Sunday.
    Clare x

  4. Hi Chrissie
    How clever are needle magnets ? Never heard of them before but such a good idea, and such a lovely thing to collect. Love all the organising as well, been up to a little of that myself lately.
    Enjoy this sunny Sunday,
    Kate x

  5. Just catching up with you, yes there's a little spring in the air today, love seeing those flowers.....great little sewing box too :) x

  6. Chrissie love your magnets I too always lose my big tapestry needle, (used for sewing in ends when i crochet... ) so i have a magnetic scissors I have to hang round my neck...!
    d xxx

  7. Chrissie, I would love it if you joined me in doing the Once Upon a Time sampler, it would be fun!!!!! This month's chart is so cute. I haven't gone out and bought all the threads that they use, I'm using what I already have in my stash. X

  8. Gosh I love that vintage sewing box, it's so cool. The magnets are such a good idea - I haven't heard of them before. Your stitching looks amazing, how many strands do you use? It's very neat :o) Sam xx

    1. Thanks Sam, I used one strand of floss for the ham, two for the yellow of his outfit. Bonkers! Cxxx

  9. What a great post. I'm loving following your blog. I have a similar storage box for some of my teeny jewellery bits, tools and clasps and it is fab tho' mine is yellow and clear and not in funky colours like yours.

    I'm laughing at your desire to make the magnifier look cool. Sadly I think that is a little like trying to jazz up a rain mate or thinking you might find a hunk of the month in the Peoples Friend! Some things just are what they are no matter how you dress them up.

    I love gadgets and gizmos and I'm off now to source my own little cool magnet...these are actually really cool!

  10. Ooh Sam is coming along nicely. What a kit box, that really is something. Jo x

  11. Too funny, we have so much in common. I also like magnetic sewing implements; I would be lost without my magnetic pincushion! And I have a magnifying glass for around the neck too. If you feel old, please consider that mine was given to me when I was 19 years old, an artifact from my grandmother's house when she passed away, and I've actually been using it since I got it! Ha. Your sewing box and organizers look wonderful, enjoy using them and feeling more orderly. :)

  12. I'm in love with your sewing box!! :)
    Lovely to see the little snowdrops peeping through!
    V x

  13. Dear Chrissie
    Lovely organisational ideas - I have some of those little embroidery things to hold the cottons and they are fabulous! Your embroidery is looking fantastic too.
    Snowdrops are one of my favourite flowers - you can't help but admire their toughness.
    Best wishes

  14. I love being organized but I fear having all my crafty stuff in order just never seems to happen. Good luck with your endeavour!
    The embroidery is coming along nicely: do you have something in mind to stitch when that's over?

    Jenn (who is always thinking of the next thing to do...)

    1. Thanks Jenn! I'm not entirely sure what I'll do with Sam...hadn't really got that far... ;-) I might have to open up that topic for bloggy discussion! Cx

  15. I love that vintage sewing box, it's gorgeous! I could be doing with getting a couple of those magnets actually, I am forever losing needles down the side of my armchair! Your wee frog one is really sweet.
    Marianne x

  16. Sam is coming along nicely and your storage box is amazing. I just know that I'll never be that organised. I have bits and bobs here and there, but I could do with one of those magnets, that's a great idea. x

  17. Your comments about the magnets made me laugh as only yesterday I was reaching down the side of my armchair with a magnet to retrieve a dropped needle! x

  18. Hi Chrissie, good luck with your organising. I love the sewing box (the images on it are lovely) and the embroidery floss winding thingy. I've never thought of 'parking' my needle on a magnet, I think I'll have to seek one out - sweet little froggy. Sam-I-Am looks amazing. Have a good week.
    Jane xx

  19. My threads look exactly like yours Chrissie ..... I have about 6 beautifully wound onto cards in an almost empty storage box and the rest spilling out of a tatty old brown box! I wish I was organised like your mum, it must make life so much simpler.
    Sam-I-am is looking FAB, keep up the good work!
    and Oh those beautiful blooms have brightened my day no end ..... come on spring.
    love Jooles x x x

  20. that sewing cabinet is gorgeous. I sorted all my embroidery cotton into three boxes last year, it took me ages (I must have been trying to get out of doing something I should have been doing!). i bought one of those winder things and it frustrated the hell out of me... but I can't remember why now?

  21. Those organizers will really help! I hope you reach your goal soon of having everything tidy. Then the challenge will be to maintain that tidiness! Someone needs to design a pretty magnifier to wear around their neck. Someday it will happen. :)
    The green ham is looking fabulous! I'm jealous of your flowers. So sweet. It will probably be a couple of more months until I see my crocuses.

  22. The sewing cabinet is stunning, what a beautiful piece of furniture for a craft room.

  23. Such a lovely decorative sewing cabinet, Chrissie! I hope you will soon be organised, the wonderful new storage will help a lot :) I agree, pretty lamps and magnifiers would be a great product for stitchers, I am sure they would sell well. Loved seeing your sweet snowdrops....I found some yesterday too, so cheery!
    Happy week!
    Helen xx

  24. That looks a super storage facility, get loads of threads in that Chrissie!
    But I adore your refinished sewing box - wonderful!
    Sam-I-am is looking amazing!
    Gill xx

  25. Oh I hope you manage to get things all organised, looks like your mum gave you the perfect thing for it!! Your stitching is so neat!!

  26. Looks like your going to be super organised! lovely snow drops x

  27. Lovely post and photos. Very good idea those magnets for the needles and they look really nice. I like to see the little changes around as well, they bring you visions of long and warmth days.

    Have a nice week!

    Lluisa x

  28. I definitely need some magnetic needle keepers!!! Yours are so pretty.

  29. Anonymous12:13 pm GMT

    love the magnetic needle keepers.. so pretty.. and I've grab one of your lovely button as well.. will add in some links as we stitch-along Sundays. This is so fun.. :D

  30. The magnets are so clever. I must get one of those! And your box - beautiful! Anna x

  31. Chrissie what a fabulous post and I absolutely adore both of the boxes - would love someone to buy me one like your lovely Mum has. I think magnets are just great as I am always getting up to do other things and then forgetting where the needles are! Not a good idea so magnets come to the rescue. Loved this post Chrissie, thanks so much. Lots of love

  32. Ah what lovely ways to be organised Chrissie, and the snowdrops, well what can I say - I L O V E the pretty, humble, and highly resilient snowdrop! So good to see Sam is coming along a treat, well done! Love, Joy xo

  33. Love the caddy and the vintage sewing box. I'm as drawn to storage as I am to craft supplies, I'm just not quite as drawn to organising them! There is always something you find you've forgotten about and you end up playing instead of organising!

  34. You have great storage options there, I'd be absolutely itching to fill up all those little compartments :-) Your stitching is incredibly neat, love the Dr Seus idea!