Making It Up As I Went Along – Part One

Since Christmas is over and the present duly received, I can at last show you the present I made for my cousin. She’s become interested in embroidery, and when I saw some hand made, beautifully-finished wooden tools (a mellor and a stiletto) at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate, I decided that I would give them to her for Christmas.

That was all well and good, but I couldn’t think of a suitable way to present them, so I decided to make a case for them. I spent some time sat in the picnic area at the show, sketching different possibilities and trying to work out what other supplies I needed to buy, and when, between mid-November and Christmas Day, I would be able to make it since I was still suffering from tennis elbow (I still am, but not nearly as much!). I was beginning to threaten to put together a kit and giving her that when one of the other ladies at the table pointed out that I would still need to make one as a proof of concept (a phrase I never expected to hear at the Knitting and Stitching Show!). She was right, because it evolved considerably in the process!

Final Layout Plan

Final Layout Plan

In the end I decided to make a case with three panels, using two layers of felt. I drew out paper patterns for each panel, and pinned them on to the piece of felt I had decided to use. I had considered putting a panel of canvaswork stitches on the front – I even bought a piece of congress cloth to use – but then decided that since she is interested in embroidery, it should be a panel of embroidery stitches.

Layout For Sampler Panel

Layout For Sampler Panel

As you can see, I also had second thoughts about the size of the sampler panel, and made it slightly smaller. That meant that there would be a wider border around the panel – always an improvement!

I ran tacking stitches around all the design elements to make sure I knew what was where, and then started thinking about the stitches to use for the sampler panel.


  1. ladyfi says:

    What a great idea and such a thoughtful present.

  2. Terrie says:

    You’re thoughtful to make a tool case. A present of handmade is a touch of love. Eager to see the finished look.

  3. Penny says:

    Oh boy, can’t wait for part two! This is obviously a labor of love!

  4. tanya says:

    we onlylive a fewmiles from harrogate yet i’ve never bothered going to the knit and stitch (so mant of materials are more cheaply sourced from weaving suppliersetc that I tend to balk at the prices in the embroidery shops) yet somany people I know on the net go- i really should get round to going one day, even if its just to meet folks!

  5. I’m looking forwrd to seeing how it turned out!

  6. Carolyn says:

    This looks interesting, can’t wait till part 2.

  7. Jules says:

    What a great gift , looking forward to see it’s progression.

  8. karen says:

    oh my…can’t wait to watch this evolve and just think. You may have been sat in the picnic area sketching this gift whilst I was only a table away eating my butties!!

  9. Alex says:

    This looks wonderful already!

  10. Janice says:

    Looking forward to seeing the finished result – what a lovely way to present the gift. Also looking forward to seeing some of Action Ma’am’s work …. a new blog on the scene….?!

    Karen and Rachel – I know what you both look like! The moral is – always take me in your suitcase when you go somewhere exciting, and I will make appropriate introductions! 🙂

  11. Always fun to make something up as you go 🙂 (Though I think you do this to some extent with most of your projects, even if it’s just figuring out shading or a different stitch!)