A patchwork ball and a little embroidery

I’ve been working on little projects among the larger ones.  It’s good to have both going on at the same time so I feel like I’m completing something on occasion.  Usually I balance machine work with some handwork so that I’ve got something to sew at all times.

Today, I have a little handwork to share.  I just finished a patchwork ball that is for my granddaughter’s 1st birthday.  It’s the perfect size for her little hands and it’s full of fun fabric that she can play “eye spy” with.

Patchwork Play Ball made by Julie Cefalu using English paper piecing with pentagons


I used a wonderful tutorial from Abby Glassenberg at While She Naps.  She uses English paper piecing to make a patchwork play ball from pentagons.  It’s a nice way to utilize some of those novelty fabrics that you may be collecting.

Patchwork Play Ball made by Julie Cefalu using English paper piecing with pentagons


This is a great project to try if you’re new to English paper piecing.  You just need to print out the paper templates (available at While She Naps), grab some thread and a needle, cut your fabric and start stitching.  I fussy cut all of my shapes so that each pentagon has a character centered on it, but you could also use bright colored fabric as Abby did in her tutorial.

Patchwork play ball supplies


You could also make this ball using a sewing machine.  There will be “Y” seams to deal with, but it’s not bad.  The nice thing is this project doesn’t have to lie flat.  It’s round!! So there’s a little more room for error.  You just don’t want any holes or gaps at the intersections.

The other handwork I’ve been sewing is Block 31 of The Splendid Sampler, Blossoming.  I love this embroidery design by Jenny Reynolds.  Jenny has a lovely website, Jenny of Elefantz, that is full of beautiful stitchery, tips and patterns for hand embroidery.  I’m hooked!

Block 31 hand embroidery


It’s taking me a little longer than I expected, but I enjoy working on this block, and I’m getting good practice with my backstitch.  I keep my trusty Embroidery Pocket Guide close by because it has great visual guides for lots of different stitches.

I printed the embroidery design onto Pellon Stick-N-Washaway Stabilizer which is a water soluble stabilizer with pressure sensitive adhesive.  It eliminates the need for marking my fabric and it dissolves with water when I’m finished embroidering.   This is my first time using it, and the only downside that I can find (so far) is that it makes it a little more difficult to pull the needle through the fabric.  I think it’s used more often to stabilize machine embroidery than for hand embroidery.  You can read more about it here.

Embroidery project using business cards to hold and organize embroidery floss @ The Crafty Quilter


I needed to organize the embroidery floss that I was using so I could take it on the go, so I used a business card which I punched some holes into.  I wrapped the floss through the holes and cut a slit in the opposite side of the business card to guide the floss around.  I also labeled each one on the backside with its color number.  I’m sure there’s a better way to do this, but I thought I was a little bit clever for being such a novice.

I’m taking this project with me to Austin, Texas this weekend where we will be celebrating Amelia’s one year birthday and my daughter’s 30 year birthday.  I can’t wait to see them both, and I’ll have some pictures to share when I return.  Have a great week, y’all!

Julie 176 x 116

About Julie Cefalu

Hello! I'm Julie and I love to quilt, craft, read, garden, hike and spend time with my family.

14 thoughts on “A patchwork ball and a little embroidery

  1. Hi Julie,

    Just a quick note to let you know how much I enjoy your emails. Hoping you have a wonderful time with your family and little Grand daughter.

  2. That little ball is so perfect for a grandchild… I should make one for ours! I love you you made it as an I-spy ball. Julie, your splendid sampler block is coming along beautifully. I need to get better at embroidery. Today I plan to stitch some letters on a mug rug.

    1. Julie, I couldn’t thank you via email for your lovely comment on BuzzinBumble, but luckily I could find your blog. I’m so happy that you liked the Frosted Flakes Runner and will be trying Crafted Applique! Thank you for purchasing my book!

  3. How cute is that ball? She’ll love it! Embroidery is a great ‘to go’ project. I keep one at the ready all the time. I’ve done up several of Jenny’s patterns in the past. She’s pretty talented! Enjoy your trip to Austin! XO

  4. the year seems to have flown does not seem long ago that Amelia was born, have a lovely time she is sure to love her ball. Love Jenny`s SS block have still not done mine

  5. What a cute little ball! I’ve got to make one (or many) for my grandsons. Love that stitchery project too. i’ve been following Jenny’s blog for a while and i love her designs. Thanks for sharing!

  6. What a lucky baby Amelia is! I think your floss holders are terrific. They are thrifty and environmentally sound! You have every right to be proud 😎

    I don’t think I told you, but my 49 year old son and his 41 year old wife are expecting twins…..surprise, surprise! After working at a Health Clinic for over 30 years, I worry about them having babies at that age, because there’s more chance of birth defects. He has a daughter (in fact he has 2 granddaughters), and she has 2 or 3 kids of her own, but this is their first. I am keeping my fingers crossed. He says that she’s “excited” and he’s “happy”, but I think he’s excited, too. I hope at least one of them is a girl. Too many boys and not enough girls in the family.

  7. I can’t believe that Amelia is already a year old! That year flew past – whew! I love the ball; I just may have to tackle that as a first birthday gift for my twin granddaughters (I have three more months to work on it.) Thank you, as always, for the wonderful idea and beautiful photos. Have a fun trip, Julie!

  8. What a cute little ball. Can’t believe your little one is already a year old. Wow that went by fast. Jenny has a lovely site and is a beautiful person. I have been following her blog for a couple of years now. Have a safe and wonderful trip.

  9. Lots of good stuff in this post, as always. Delightful to see the props you selected, too! I really love that business card floss keeper and will definitely be using it!
    Have a wonderful time caching up with the ones you love so much!

  10. Julie,
    Have fun celebrating Amelia’s first birthday and your daughter’s as well. I’ll be going on my first visit to Austin to see my daughter in August. It’s a five hour flight total with one stop in DFW from Washington, DC, and I have a three hour drive to get there! I’m looking forward to visiting the Austin quilt shops too. Posts lots of photos and enjoy your trip!

  11. Hi Julie,

    Wow …. in a blink of an eye she is one year old. I remember when you posted about her birth!!

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