What to Watch While Stitching – an Awesome List of Reader Suggestions

Last week in the newsletter I asked for reader suggestions for what to watch while I stitch embroidery samples for my new book. The response was AMAZING! And lots of you said you watch while working too so I thought I’d share all the suggestions in one awesome list. I’m adding a star to the ones I’ve watched and can also recommend. πŸ™‚

Here are all the shows that got multiple mentions (in order of number of mentions) . . .

  • Doc Martin
  • *Father Brown
  • *Midsomer Murders
  • *Downton Abbey
  • Doctor Blake Mysteries
  • *The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
  • Shetland
  • Anne with an “E”
  • Outlander
  • Vera
  • Lark Rise to Candleford
  • Scott & Bailey
  • *West Wing
  • A Place to Call Home
  • *Sherlock
  • *Great British Baking Show
  • *Death in Paradise
  • *Frasier
  • *Longmire
  • Broadchurch
  • McLeod’s Daughters
  • Murdoch Mysteries
  • Home Fires
  • Agatha Raisin
  • *Bletchley Circle
  • Line of Duty
  • The Incredible Dr. Pol
  • Bodyguard
  • *Inspector Morse
  • The Paradise
  • Endeavor
  • *Rosemary and Thyme
  • Hinterland
  • Grace and Frankie
  • Vikings

And here are the rest (in alphabetical order). . .

  • *Arrow
  • Artful Detective
  • Back Roads
  • Being Human
  • Blue Bloods
  • *Bones
  • *Cheers
  • The Closer
  • Darkest Hour
  • Denver Pet Show
  • Derek
  • Designated Survivor
  • Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
  • Doctor Foster
  • Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman
  • Drop Dead Diva
  • *Elementary
  • Escape to the Country/Escape from the City/Escape to the Continent
  • *Flash
  • *Friends
  • Game of Thrones
  • Girlfriends
  • The Good Cop
  • Home Fires
  • Homecoming
  • Indian Summers
  • Inspector Lewis
  • Jack Irish
  • Jack Ryan
  • Jamestown
  • Keeping Faith
  • Kids’ Baking Championship
  • *Kingdom
  • Land Girls
  • The Last Kingdom
  • Last Tango in Halifax
  • Legends
  • Little Dorrit
  • Little Women
  • Love Child
  • *Madmen
  • Mercy Street
  • The Miniaturist
  • Misfits
  • Mr. Selfridge
  • *Monk
  • Mozart in the Jungle
  • The Mysteries of Laura
  • Mystery Road
  • The Nature of Things
  • NCIS
  • Offspring
  • Ozark
  • The Palace
  • *Poirot
  • Rake
  • Reign
  • Ripper Street
  • *Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat
  • Schitt’s Creek
  • The Science of Stupid
  • Secret Agent Selection WWII
  • Silent Witness
  • Striking Out
  • Sugar Rush
  • *Supergirl
  • The Supervet
  • This Is Us
  • Time Goes By
  • The Time of Our Lives
  • Timeless
  • The Tudors
  • The Unforgotten
  • The Waltons
  • Watership Down
  • We Will Meet Again
  • White Collar
  • Wolf Hall
  • Yukon Vet

Oh – and for those who don’t get the newsletter, here are the shows I mentioned that I’ve already watched and loved to stitch to. . .

  • The Crown
  • Call the Midwife
  • Victoria
  • Foyle’s War
  • Miss Fisher Mysteries
  • Poldark
  • Law & Order
  • Grey’s Anatomy

You guys – this is an amazing list! Please keep adding suggestions in the comments so we have a continuing resource. πŸ™‚


Playing with Improv Piecing – Stripes

Playing with Improvisational Piecing - Stripes (from Shiny Happy World)

I finished my design wall (you can get instructions here) and immediately started sewing some blocks to pin up there.

You see – I have a specific project in mind and I’m sooooo eager to get to it!

This is the door between my office and my husband’s office.

barn door before upholstering with improv quilt - Shiny Happy World

I love that barn door – and from the very beginning we planned to cover it with a quilt. Basically, I’m going to make two quilts – one for the front and one for the back, and I’m going to hand-sew the door into them (like a model on Project Runway) with a strip of solid fabric all around the thickness of the door.

I want to improv piece the quilts – but I’ve never really done that before. So I want to practice a bit and try some things out before I start on the big door project. And for that – I really wanted to have a design wall. It helps so much to be able to see the design straight on as it’s growing!

For my practice pieces I’m making some placemats. Each one will use a different basic shape so see what I like – and what’s fun to do. πŸ™‚

I’m starting with stripes. I love stripes!

Here are my rules for this one. . .

  • No rulers. I’ll use my rotary cutter and scissors – but no rulers, either for measuring or cutting. I want my lines to be slightly wobbly/crooked.
  • A limited color palette of rich grey mixed with pastels. (AllΒ the pastels are all from my Rainbow Sherbet fabric bundle. Such pretty colors!)
  • Big Stitch quilted with really dense stitching. Yay! I haven’t done any big stitch quilting for months and I’m itching to get back to it.

The first thing I did was measure out a space on my design wall – a little bigger than a placemat needs to be – and mark the four corners with pins. That way I can see what space a need to fill.

Then I started cutting and sewing. Remember – no rulers. I just grabbed some pastel scraps, cut a chunk of grey, cut them into strips, and sewed them together. This is so much fun! Once a finished a little chunk of pink, I moved on to other colors. Here’s a super short video showing each little chunk going up onto the wall.

After I was happy with all the chunks, I sewed them together. Easy peasy – nothing fancy.

At the end of the video you see it hooped up in a square frame all ready for stitching, stitching after one evening, and stitching after two evenings. So here’s a little more info about that part of the process.

It’ll probably take me about a week to do the quilting on this piece. It’s small (standard placemat size) but I only get to do hand work for an hour or two most evenings.

Happy stitching!


Video Tutorial: English Paper Piecing

How to Do English Paper Piecing - a video tutorial from Shiny Happy World and FreshStitches

I’m obsessed with English Paper Piecing (EPP). And because I want to you to share in the love of this awesome craft, I’ve put together two video tutorials so you can learn to do it too!

English Paper Piecing with freshstitches

english paper piecing hexies

Watch them and then start stitching! You’ll probably end up addicted to these little hexagon-shaped fabric pieces of candy… but that’s okay!

Video one: how to prepare your fabric and baste the hexagons

Video two: how to sew hexagons together and remove template

FreshStitches rainbow bundles fabric

I also love rainbows. So… I teamed up with Shiny Happy World to put together a kit that’s great for beginners or old hats!

Sorry – the kits are no longer available – but they used a lots of the fabrics from the Rainbow Brights fat quarter bundles.

FreshStitches rainbow bundles fabric

I also highly recommend the book All Points Patchwork: English Paper Piecing beyond the Hexagon for Quilts & Small Projects by Diane Gilleland. It’s amazing and inspiring! (That’s an affiliate link, which means I earn a tiny commission of you buy it.) You can read Wendi’s review of the book here.


How to Do Needle Turn Applique – video

How to Do Needle Turn Applique - video tutorial

So, this is the “old-fashioned” way to applique. It’s definitely a lot more work than appliqueing with fusible adhesive, but you don’t get that annoying stiffness, and you don’t have any visible stitching. This is the technique used for all those traditional Baltimore Album quilts. It’s also the technique I used for my very first quilt.

Wendi Gratz from Shiny Happy World with her first quilt

See all those letters? I hand-appliqued every one of them to the quilt top using this stitch.

Crazy, right? That was over ten years ago and now I find myself wondering where the heck I found the time for that.

But it’s also a reminder that it doesn’t take as long as you think it will. If you watch an hour of TV a night and do some handwork while you watch, it’s amazing how fast it will add up.

By the way – this quilt is over 8 feet tall. Hand appliqued and hand quilted. I don’t recommend doing a quilt this big for your first project. I just didn’t know any better. πŸ™‚

Anyway – in the video I mention a couple of things I wanted to provide links to. This is essentially the same stitch I use to stitch up softies, so you can take a look at the ladder stitch video to get another view of the technique.

One of the weird things about this applique technique is that you draw your shapes on the top of your fabric, so you need to use a marking pen that you can remove from the fabric when you’re done. Take a look at the video on how to transfer embroidery markings to see a couple of options. I like the water soluble pens that dissolve when you spritz them with water – but you must test them on every fabric you will use.

I’m not kidding here. Test them to make sure the ink disappears when wet – and then let them dry to make sure it doesn’t come back when they dry. I’ve only had that problem with synthetics, but I test every fabric every time.

Here are links to all the posts showing how to applique with fusible adhesive – my favorite method. It’s fast and easy and (with the right materials) it holds up beautifully to rough use and repeated washing.

Here are links to special posts about eyes.

Here are links to some extra fun things you can do with your applique.

Other Applique Methods

Finished with this topic?

Return to the Let’s Make a Quilt main Table of Contents.

Move on to the lessons about outline stitching.

Happy stitching!