Author Archives: Janet Granger

Book review: “Sew Small: 19 little bags” by Jennifer Heynen

I’ve recently come across this book, called “Sew Small: 19 little bags” by Jennifer Heynen, so I thought I’d review it for you. Anyone who has been following my blog for a while will know that I love making bags of various kinds (usually bags for keeping sewing tools in), so when I saw this book, I thought I’d give it a go to see if it might have some different kinds of projects for me to make, and I wasn’t disappointed!

The book is more of a sewing projects book than an embroidery one, as the title suggests, but if you haven’t ever done much sewing, that’s OK, as the projects are clearly explained, with lots of diagrams for each one. It’s got a modern look to the projects, too – not always my thing (I’m an old-fashioned kind of person!), but I did like the innovative projects in this book enough to want to make some of them for friends who really love the contemporary style. And I can see myself adapting some of them, too – just by changing the fabric, a project could easily have a more retro feel to it.

The nineteen projects for the little bags cover all kinds of things – small wallets, a coin purse, a bag to keep your ear buds in, and several bags that are just….well….bags!

I like the way that the contents page lists the projects in a visual format, as well as the more normal text version – it makes it so much easier to find what you’re looking for:

The book starts by covering the basics – fabrics to use, threads and trims such as ric-rac braid that can be applied, beads and buttons, and basic embroidery stitches. These are VERY basic stitches – Jennifer suggests people find online tutorials if they want to use stitches other than these really basic ones of running stitch, backstitch and French knots. But that’s great if you’re a beginner, or want a project finished quickly. She also covers how to assemble the projects both using a sewing machine or by hand stitching.

Then on to the projects themselves – each one has a materials list, a cutting list, and instructions with colour diagrams. There aren’t any photos of the projects themselves during assembly – just the finished item – but the ‘process diagrams’ make it very clear what you need to do. I should think each one could be completed in a day – even the more complicated projects, if you gather all your materials together first.

There’s a lift-out sheet at the back of the book with all the pattern pieces shown at full size, which I think is a real bonus for a project book. It annoys me when patterns are shown in other books with a tiny note that says ‘enlarge by 150%’ or something. How frustrating, when you just want to get started and make something! So, this is one of the biggest pluses of the book, for me. There’s also a note inside the front cover which gives permission to photocopy the lift-out sheet (but not the text of the main part of the book).

There are a couple of projects which really caught my eye:

This one is a jewellery roll in the shape of a log. I love jewellery rolls, and actually have several, which I do use when I’m travelling. I need my jewellery to be protected, and this one would do that.

It’s got several little pockets for ear rings and necklaces, and the whole thing rolls up and is secured by the cords with little leaves on the ends. Isn’t it cute?

This second project REALLY got me! I love little houses! This is a little drawstring bag, only five inches high. Simple shapes are appliqued to the walls for the doors, windows and plants. A cord goes around the top, pulling the roof sides together. I think this is the one I’ll make first. It would be good to put more embroidery on it, I think, in the Carolyn Pearce style, but that’s just me  🙂

If there’s maybe one thing I think could have improved the book, it would be to grade the projects into Beginner/Intermediate/Expert categories. Some of these projects look much more complicated than others, to me, but to someone just starting out, if they picked one that was too difficult for a beginner, they’d get put off, which would be a shame. But that’s a slight niggle.

So, all in all I really liked this book, and I’m looking forward to making several of the little bags from it.

What do you think? Do you own this book already? Interested in buying it now you’ve read the review? Like the projects? Talk to me!

Here’s the details, if you’re thinking of getting a copy for yourself:

“Sew Small: 19 little bags” by Jennifer Heynen

Stash Books, Published 2017

ISBN 978161745332 (paperback)

£19.99 /US$ 26.95 in May 2017

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Are you interested in doll’s houses and stitching? Then why not visit my website, where you can buy doll’s house needlepoint kits to make all kinds of soft furnishings for one-twelfth scale dollhouses. There are over 280 kits to choose from, plus chart packs, fabric project packs, tutorials, and lots of eye candy to inspire you! Kits are available on 18 and 22 count canvas, 28 and 32 count evenweave, and 32 and 40 count silk gauze, so there’s something for everyone – from beginners to experts.

As a special offer for new customers on my website, use the code FIRST TIME 10 at the checkout to receive 10% off your first order!

Dollhouse needlepoint kits

Autumn quakers 5: getting hooked on this….

Now that I am making significant progress on the Autumn Quakers sampler from Rosewood Manor, I am finding that I am getting hooked on this, as it’s completely habit-forming, and I keep picking it up to do ‘just one more motif’! In just over a week, I have completed another page of the nine page chart booklet (the centre right portion of this image)autumn-14

You can still see a bit of a ‘bump’ in the diamond area that I talked about last time I showed you this project, but I’m going to have to put up with that, I think. This page of the chart, though, didn’t have anything tricky to manage, except that I mis-counted at one point, and as I couldn’t be bothered to unpick it once I realised, I then had to juggle the surrounding motifs to ‘get back on track’ (and no, I’m not going to tell you where I did that!).

autumn-15

I’m still hooked on stitching this, and I want to get it finished now, as it’s over two thirds finished, and there are other projects calling me….

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Are you interested in doll’s houses and stitching? Then why not visit my website, where you can buy doll’s house needlepoint kits to make all kinds of soft furnishings for one-twelfth scale dollhouses. There are over 280 kits to choose from, plus chart packs, fabric project packs, tutorials, and lots of eye candy to inspire you! Kits are available on 18 and 22 count canvas, 28 and 32 count evenweave, and 32 and 40 count silk gauze, so there’s something for everyone – from beginners to experts.

As a special offer for new customers on my website, use the code FIRST TIME 10 at the checkout to receive 10% off your first order!

Dollhouse needlepoint kits

Autumn Quakers 4: I’ve finished page 4……. but I’ve got another problem

I’ve been stitching some more of ‘Autumn Quakers’ by Rosewood Manor – it’s coming along nicely!

I’ve just finished page 4 of the nine page chart booklet (the lower left hand part):

autumn-10

It’s lovely to do. What I like about it is that, however short a period of time I have to stitch on it, I always feel as if I’m ‘getting somewhere’ with it, because each little motif gets completed quickly. So, instead of thinking, ‘Well, I’ve managed to do a BIT MORE of the background,’ or whatever, with this design I can nearly always complete one motif at one sitting – even if it’s just one tiny leaf. That gives me a good feeling of satisfaction  🙂

autumn-11

I have had one small problem with this latest page of the design, though, which is purely my fault. It’s the ‘diamond’ of concentric lines of colour. The problem is that I started stitching it from the outside in, as it was easier to count from existing stitching to where to begin the outside edge, so I carried on stitching smaller and smaller diamonds…but that meant that I gradually stretched the fabric, as I was leaning on it with my right hand as I stitched, and that caused the centre of the diamond to form a ‘peak’. It’s made worse by the fact that I am experimenting with not using a frame of any kind for this project, so the fabric wasn’t being held taut – if it had been in a frame, this probably wouldn’t have happened. It’s really noticeable if you look at it sideways on:

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So, I ironed it, stitched side down, over a pad of towels on my ironing board so that I wouldn’t squish the stitches. I used a lot of steam, and didn’t press down hard, but ‘hovered’ the iron over the diamond, pulling the fabric straighter both vertically and horizontally as I did so. After ironing the back for a while, I carefully hovered the iron over the front as well. It’s not perfect, but it’s a lot better than it was! It looks like this now:

autumn-13

Now on to page six…..

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Are you interested in doll’s houses and stitching? Then why not visit my website, where you can buy doll’s house needlepoint kits to make all kinds of soft furnishings for one-twelfth scale dollhouses. There are over 280 kits to choose from, plus chart packs, fabric project packs, tutorials, and lots of eye candy to inspire you! Kits are available on 18 and 22 count canvas, 28 and 32 count evenweave, and 32 and 40 count silk gauze, so there’s something for everyone – from beginners to experts.

As a special offer for new customers on my website, use the code FIRST TIME 10 at the checkout to receive 10% off your first order!

Dollhouse needlepoint kits

 

Autumn Quakers 3: update on stitching progress, and problem with threads

I’ve been working some more on this lovely sampler from Rosewood Manor, called ‘Autumn Quakers’. It’s huge, but is quite simple to do. This is the update on my stitching progress….

Autumn 9

I love the shades of thread that the chart uses. I bought them as an accessory pack specially put together for this design. They are Valdani variegated threads, and the colours are just gorgeous. They come packaged in a cute little cardboard box.

Unfortunately, though, one of the balls has only 2 strands instead of 3, so I’m having to do some bits with 2 strands, and some with 3 where it would look sparse otherwise, by putting together previously separated strands (trying to match the variegations where possible!). I’ve had to cut out quite a bit of the thread where it was mangled by the machine making it into little balls, so I hope I don’t run out of that shade. It’s not really worth complaining to the shop that I bought it from, as it’s not their fault, and I bought it from America, so any shipping to exchange it would be extortionate. I can probably manage with what I’ve got.

Autumn 8

This is the box of threads – I am using one needle per colour, which is why the box has all those needles inserted into the threads! Aren’t they gorgeous colours?!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Are you interested in doll’s houses and stitching? Then why not visit my website, where you can buy doll’s house needlepoint kits to make all kinds of soft furnishings for one-twelfth scale dollhouses. There are over 280 kits to choose from, plus chart packs, fabric project packs, tutorials, and lots of eye candy to inspire you! Kits are available on 18 and 22 count canvas, 28 and 32 count evenweave, and 32 and 40 count silk gauze, so there’s something for everyone – from beginners to experts.

As a special offer for new customers on my website, use the code FIRST TIME 10 at the checkout to receive 10% off your first order!

Dollhouse needlepoint kits