Exploring Etsy with loadofolbobbins!

Bonjour! After what, I’ll hope you’ll agree, has been a lovely bit of crafty globe trotting of late here at ‘Exploring Etsy’ it’s time for another creative staycation. So it is with great honour I share with you, the work of UK based designer Jane Smallcombe whose Etsy shop ‘Applique Originals’ is bursting with colourful creations to delight you all.

Snowscape Brooches by Applique Originals (Hand Embroidery)

Snowscape Brooches by Applique Originals (Hand Embroidery)


Peacock Felt Picture by Applique Originals (Hand Embroidery)

Peacock Felt Picture by Applique Originals (Hand Embroidery)

After a lifetime of making gifts and commissions for friends Jane launched ‘Applique Originals’ in 2006 with a range of brooches, going from strength to strength ever since. Continuing to flourish, expanding her design range to include stunning collections of jewellery, homewares and children’s toys, lovingly crafted by hand in England, each item is truly a unique work of art. As well the shop, ‘Applique Originals’ has also exhibited in galleries and is currently working on a forthcoming joint exhibition with a fellow textile designer.

Lion Cushion by Applique Originals (Hand Embroidery)

Lion Cushion by Applique Originals (Hand Embroidery)


Stitch detail  by Applique Originals (Hand Embroidery)

Stitch detail by Applique Originals (Hand Embroidery)

What is your earliest stitching memory?

Making a felt elephant at junior school with sequin and hand stitched embellishment – I still have it!

Vintage Bouquet Brooch by Applique Originals (Hand Embroidery)

Vintage Bouquet Brooch by Applique Originals (Hand Embroidery)

What fires your imagination?

I believe inspiration can emerge through a variety of forms. Many of my pieces and colour schemes are derived from nature but I am also a huge fan of pinterest.

I always have a frustrating backlog of ideas that I long to fulfil but in such a busy world it is hard to find the time to initiate new pieces. I am not a planner – I am instinctive. I tend to sit down with a palette of felt and embroidery cottons and begin to cut and sew without a drawing to hand.

Stitched Collection by Applique Originals (Hand Embroidery)

Stitched Collection by Applique Originals (Hand Embroidery)

I find Jane’s exquisite use of colour utterly captivating, my eyes can’t help but delight in all of her exquisite combinations. The pieces featured in this post barely scratch the surface of all the goodies out there in her shop for all to enjoy, so why not head over there now, fair warning you may get sucked into a time vortex, I’ve found time seems to travel quicker there!


Jessica Taylor aka Loadofolbobbins is a Textile Artist and Illustrator based by the sea in Portsmouth. At her happiest with a needle and thread, with a passion for genealogy she often explores old photographs in her textile art. With her fingers in many creative pies she loves to experiment with new techniques, creating illustrated and stitched goodies for her new Etsy shop.

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It began in the late 1800s, peaked during the 1960s and 1970s, and found a resurgence in the 2010s. That’s a nice run for a math lesson involving thread. I’m talking about string art: arranging threads between various points to create geometric patterns, shapes, and designs.

Today, many of us don’t even like math, er, I mean, many of us make string art for the patterns and colors rather than for the geometry. I dabbled in it during my Girl Scout years, then started pinning and following string art Instagrams last year when the home decor magazines brought it back in style. I didn’t really pick it up again, however, until Doug Kreinik showed me his latest creation: metallic thread string art. This was different from any string art I’d seen, and not because of new patterns and designs. It was the thread that made it unique: it was shiny thread not plain yarn. Doug started showing his metallic string art models to designer friends, and they all had the same reaction, “Wow.”

Christmas Tree string art created with Kreinik metallic threads (specifically, Medium #16 Braid).

Christmas Tree string art created with Kreinik metallic threads (Medium #16 Braid and Heavy #32 Braid, www.kreinik.com).

Since then, I’ve spent many evenings stringing my metallic heart away. Metallic thread string art is more vibrant than yarn string art, but not garish. It marries child-like colored lines with a grown-up finish. It somehow encapsulates rudimentary form and modern tech. It’s geeky, retro, yet current. It’s so eye-catching, it surprises you. Can you tell I’m a convert? It slices, it dices, does your taxes and calls your mother. Well, not really, but you get the idea: it’s something fun and different. You are going to have to try it, trust me. It’s one of the freshest trends in thread that I’ve seen in a long time.

Designs from the Monogram and Nature String Art On Canvas kits by Kreinik.

Designs from the Monogram and Nature String Art On Canvas kits by Kreinik using metallic and glow-in-the-dark threads.

Kreinik (the thread company out of Parkersburg, West Virginia) developed a line of String Art On Canvas kits as a result of the growing interest in metallic thread string art. Instead of needing hammer, nails, and wood, not-to-mention carrying that around as a cumbersome embroidery project, these kits are compact and portable. This is free-form embroidery with metallic threads on a gauze-like canvas. The gauze gives stability to the design, plus makes it like a patch that you can attach to any surface.

Designs from three different string art kits from Kreinik Manufacturing Company, using metallic and glow-in-the-dark threads.

Designs from three different string art kits from Kreinik Manufacturing Company, using metallic and glow-in-the-dark threads. The string art is created on a gauze-like canvas, cut out, and attached to surfaces using double-sided tape.

The kits include everything you need to make one design, including outlines, canvas, needle, thread and reusable embroidery hoop. There are no rules, no limits, just color in the outline. I can stitch one in about two hours if I’m really engrossed in the game/show/movie I’m watching. The Kreinik kits include glow-in-the-dark threads, which adds another layer of fun to the project.

Glow-in-the-dark threads add a fun dimension to string art.

Glow-in-the-dark threads add another level to string art creations. This bat design is from the new Halloween set in the Kreinik String Art On Canvas kit series.

I demonstrated metallic thread string art at the Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival last month. Kids and teens LOVED it. I mean, couldn’t stop doing them, begged their parents for them. For some it was the first time they’d held a needle and thread. I’d say two out of five adults had trouble with the “free form” concept (“No charts to follow? I don’t know if I can do that?”), and one parent even told their child, “You’re doing it wrong” (yikes, poor child, and there’s no way to do string art incorrectly). Once they tried it, they embraced the freedom. Funny, how hard it is to let creativity loose once we “grow up.”

Sample from the Kreinik String Art On Canvas kits. Trace an outline onto the canvas, then make random stitches with metallic threads.

Sample from the Kreinik String Art On Canvas kits. Trace an outline onto the canvas, then make random stitches with metallic threads. The gauze provides a stabilizing background for the stitches but also creates the sense of a “floating” design.

Your mission is to explore the exciting world of metallic thread string art: to seek out free-form creativity with random stitches, to boldly stitch on something you may not have tried before. You can go here for more information on Kreinik’s starter kits. Stitch long and prosper.

P.S. It’s so much fun to be on this stitch-and-embroidery voyage together. Happy 6th birthday www.mrxstitch.com.

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Mr X Stitch presents Phat Quarter Finds

The Phat Quarter is our Flickr group where you can share pictures of your best stitcheries!

It’s also the place where we host our legendary swaps to coincide with our Fifth Friday Festivals of Fabulousness!

Here’s the latest 20 pictures that have been added. Why don’t you come and join us?


It's Plush Delights brought to you by Scrumptious Delights!



The weather here in Vancouver BC has definitely changed. Even though the days are still beautiful and sunny there is a chill in the air that leaves me wishing that Summer would last and at the same time excited for Halloween.

With the latter in mind, I thought I would do an easy Halloween themed tutorial for this month’s post. The is no pattern as it is simple to create your own to whatever size you wish. This is a project that you could sew by hand or machine and is simple enough to get the kids involved.

And here it is; the tombstone plush, enlarge it and it could be a tombstone pillow, make it smaller and it could be a trick or treat prize.



Tombstone plush


So this is how it’s done.

You will need:
General sewing supplies, thread scissors etc.
Fabric: I used fleece for the stone and some flannel for the letters. Felt would also be good for the letters and you could upcycle an old sweatshirt or similar for the stone.

On thick paper or cardboard draw a square. Measure the center point of the top edge of the square and use a compass to make the curved top of the tombstone. The radius of the circle measures half the length of the edge of the square. There, you have the shape for the front and back of your plush.


tombstone plush pattern


At this point you may want to draw the letters that will be on the tombstone. I chose “RIP” as my tombstones are quite small, so three letters would fit on easily. You may find precut felt letters in the craft store though or you may choose to give your plush a scary or funny face.


tombstone plush pattern


Cut out your pattern pieces for the stone and the lettering.

Using a flexible tape measure, measure around the edge of the tombstone shape. To give the plush dimension you will need to cut a strip of fabric the length of the outer edge and the width will be the depth that you want your plush to be. I cut my front and back pieces at 17 cm tall, for the depth I cut a strip of 5 cm wide. With a 1 cm seam allowance this cave a plush of 15cm tall x 10 cm wide x 3 cm deep.


Measure around


You can draw around the cardboard onto the back of the fabric to mark out your pieces. As I used flannel (which can fray) for my letters I backed the flannel with iron on adhesive but it’s not necessary with felt. Remember that when you mark your letters onto the back of the fabric that you need to reverse your letters in order to have them facing the correct way on the right side of the fabric.


iron on adhesive


Cut out all your fabric pieces.


fabric pieces cut


First off add any lettering or embellishment to the front piece of the tombstone. If you are doing the project with children you may choose to glue the letters, in which case you could stick after sewing. Use a “high tack” glue for sticking felt.


sewing on the letters


Right sides together sew the ends of the strip together. Pin the strip to the edge of the front fabric piece. Sew all the way around. You will probably need to clip into the edge of the strip a little when you turn a corner (see photo).


sews ends of strip



pieces pinned


Repeat for the back piece but leave a hole for turning and stuffing.


ready to turn


Turn and stuff.

Close the hole using a ladder stitch….”Ta-da!!”


All done!


Tombstone Plush







Becky Gould is the big kid behind Scrumptious Delight. Working from her home in Vancouver, BC she makes plush toys and soft sculptures that combine a love of food, all things furry and an unnatural appreciation of small appliances.

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Mr X