Stitchy Doo-Dads

Silent Night, Let There Be Night Stitchling, by Funk & Weber Designs

Silent Night cross stitch from the Let There Be Night series. See Orion?

Years ago, when I was primarily creating cross stitch patterns to be sold in Indie needlework shops, shop owners advised me (over and over) to make smaller patterns. For example, publish four animal portraits rather than the twelve we had in Portraits of the Wild Life, or patterns similar in size to our Let There Be Night Stitchlings.

Being one who doesn’t do anything but overdoes everything, my projects kept shrinking and shrinking, and I embraced Stitchy Doo-Dads.

What’s a Stitchy Doo-Dad?

Stitchy Doo-Dads are small (or extra-small) embroidery projects, which in the stitching world are sometimes called “smalls.” If you’re a seasoned stitcher, that probably conjures images of needle books and rolls, pin cushions, scissor fobs and keepers, biscornus, and perhaps boxes and the like.

But those are already being done beautifully by other designers, so I don’t feel called to do them, and the term “smalls” doesn’t feel quite right because it suggests these kinds of projects.

Enter “Stitchy Doo-Dads.”

Stitchy doo-dads

Stitchy doo-dads: tags, keychains, barrettes, bracelets, bookmarks, zipper pulls, earrings, tags, and more.

I Heart You Earrings - Funk & Weber DesignsI’ve embraced these kinds of small stitchy projects:

  • bookmarks
  • bracelets
  • barrettes
  • earrings
  • labels
  • tags
  • keychains
  • ornaments
  • zipper pulls
  • wallets and card keepers
  • etc.

Why Stitchy Doo-Dads?

Universal Appeal

Needlebooks, scissor keepers, and pincushions are useful to stitchers and traditional, like samplers, in the needlework world. But how likely are you to give an 8-year-old or an 18-year-old a pincushion? Or even your best friend who doesn’t stitch?

Anyone with a zippered jacket or backpack can use a zipper pull. Anyone who gives or receives a gift can use a tag. Anyone who reads printed books can use a bookmark.

Portable Projects

Griffen stitch bracelet; the model used in the e-book.

One of my all-time faves: bracelets!

Being small in size, stitchy doo-dad projects can be portable. In the hurried busy-ness of life, finding stitching time can be difficult, unless we make use of our time in the car pool lane at school, while sitting in waiting rooms, or attending meetings, sports practices, games, and other events. Stitchy doo-dads are great grab-and-go projects that can be tossed into a purse or slipped under the car seat, then stitched during short bursts of time.

Our productivity increases dramatically when we take advantage of the time we spend waiting and away from home.

Great Gifts

Stitchy doo-dads make great gifts. Reusable gift tags, zipper pulls, and bracelets are quick to stitch, gorgeous, personal, useful objects that friends enjoy receiving. Stitch doo-dads throughout the year and when a holiday or birthday comes around, you’ll have something unique to give.

Functional Objects

Many stitchy doo-dads are functional. Unlike other needlework—knitting, crochet, sewing, quilting—embroidery is purely decorative: It won’t keep your head or feet warm; it won’t clothe you.

Fireworks barrette

Another favorite: barrettes!

With a little thought and effort, however, we make embroidery functional, give it a purpose, make it useful. Zipper pulls are handy. Barrettes keep hair out of eyes. Bookmarks keep places in books. Wallets hold money and cards.

Express Your Stitchy Self

Stitchy doo-dads are Off the Wall Embroidery projects, i.e., they get your needlework off the wall and into your life. They let you share your style and skill with the world every day, while you’re at the office or grocery shopping or walking the dog. Show off the stitchy you!

Get Started Making Stitchy Doo-Dads

Stitched bookmarks finished myriad ways.

Learn simple, smart, and swanky ways to finish bookmarks and other stitchy doo-dads.

The key to stitchy doo-dads is the finishing, taking a bit of embroidery and turning it into something. We do this by finishing edges and backs and perhaps adding closures and other hardware, like clasps, hooks, ribbons, and ties.

A good place to start learning doo-dad finishing techniques is with the Bookmarks 101: Simple, Smart, and Swanky Finishes E-book.

While the focus is on bookmarks (excellent stitchy doo-dads), the techniques apply to tags, barrettes, keychains, fobs, ornaments, and more. For instance, applying a backing to a bookmark uses the same techniques as applying a lining to a wallet or a backing for keychains and ornaments. The jump rings and wirework we learn to use for finishing bookmarks will finish tags and zipper pulls, too.

Autumn Leaf bookmark - Funk & Weber Designs

Autumn leaf (from Fall, In Pieces pattern) bookmark.

Bookmarks 101 = Doo-dads 101

Whether you’re looking for small projects to stitch on the go, a way to use up small scraps and stash, cool and quick projects to make for gifts, or a way to get your embroidery off the wall and into your life, think small and get your stitchy doo-dads on.

What kinds of stitchy doo-dads do you want to make? If you don’t know how to make them, let’s figure it out!

Do you already make stitchy doo-dads? Let me know. Maybe I want to make them too!

4 Responses to “Stitchy Doo-Dads”

  1. Sheila

    Fantastic ideas! Thank you!

    February 5, 2015 @ 9:30 am
  2. Jen

    I’m so glad you like them, Sheila! Please send pics of any projects these ideas inspire.

    February 5, 2015 @ 10:40 am
  3. Christina Arlington

    I love small projects. I like to make book corners. Little triangles with some kind of pattern ie, butterflies, dragonflies, flowers. Mostly nature things. Thanks for reminding me. I need to make up a travel kit. You never know if I will have time or not. I do some stitching on cross stitch paper, usually ornaments but not many. just using up what I“ve bought.

    May 1, 2016 @ 10:45 am
  4. Jen

    I’m working from a travel kit now! I’ve made very few book corners. I should do a few. I think lacy edges might be cool on corner bookmarks.

    May 1, 2016 @ 8:00 pm

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