Tuesday 2 April 2024

Using the Unusual - My Pages in the Travelling Book


You may wonder what this is all about. Well - it's my turn to complete some pages in the York Embroiderers and Stitchers' Travelling Book. York Embroiderers and Stitchers (YES) are a friendly group of stitch and textile enthusiasts of all levels of ability and experience and the Travelling Book is a book that members of the group add to every month with samples of whatever work they choose. It may be examples of stitched work but it could be mixed media work or something else.

I decided I would go with the theme of "using the unusual" and to narrow that down a bit I chose coffee as a linking factor. I used colourful coffee packaging, used coffee pods, and leftover coffee to paint some papers for the background...

Colourful Coffee Packaging

Used Coffee Pods
Paper Painted & Marked With Coffee

I experimented with the coffee packaging by cutting out shapes and ironing them onto paper.  This worked well but when I tried sewing into it, I had to add a layer of calico behind to stop the paper ripping.  This was because I had used basic printer paper and I didn't like how the paper looked...

Initial Sample

I then tried ironing the coffee packaging directly onto fabric but it didn't stick so I decided to try using Khadi paper.  This is a comparatively heavy cotton rag paper which I thought would be suitable to stitch into and has a nice colour and texture. Firstly, I made a coffee packaging collage and then embellished it with some simple stitches - backstitch, crossstitch and French knots.  Most of the packaging had stuck well after ironing but a few areas were lifting a little so I added a few coats of acrylic wax to the whole piece, which I hoped would seal it down. It worked...

Coffee Packaging and Stitch on Khadi Paper

My next challenge was to create something with the coffee pods. I had seen various people on Instagram making things (mostly jewellery) with upcycled coffee pods and I thought I could use the same techniques to make some flowers.  (See @renatamarilon.up, @coffeepodcreations, @sustained_wrapture)

I made a variety of different coffee pod flowers.  Then, having decided where the flowers were going to go on my background fabric, which was made up of two layers of calico, I machine stitched the stems and leaves before appliqueing the flowers in place.  The paper leaves were cut from an old magazine.  I used buttons and/or stitch to secure the coffee pod flowers in place.  Finally, I added some hand stitching to finish the piece...

Coffee Pod Flowers With Hand and Machine Stitch

Coffee Pod Flowers (detail)

Coffee Pod Flowers (detail)

Once all my pieces were finished, I attached them either directly to the book or to my coffee painted papers.  I then added some explanation of what I'd done, and my pages were complete...

Finished Pages Before Folding Out

Fold Up Collage for Explanation

Fold Out Coffee Painting to Reveal Coffee Pod Flowers and Explanation

Finished Pages Showing Fold Outs

I even managed to make a little book with my initial sample and some left over paper painted with coffee ...

Mini notebook made from my initial sample of coffee packaging & stitch and leftover coffee painted paper

Now what shall I do with that?


  1. Sally, these are fabulous!

    1. So glad you like them , Heather. I've added a few more photos of everything actually in the book if you want to take another look x