Who is up for a mini challenge?

As I said last after some products from Colourstreams arrived in the post and I was inspired by the colour scheme, I knew I was going to make something from them rather than just work a few test samples in order to write a review.

I decided to make a hussif and if I am still in the mood I will probably make a work bag to go with it. I am wondering how many of my readers want to make a hussif? One of the challenges this year  on  CrazyQuilting International is a hussif you may want to combine the two challenges.

A reader asked me “What is a hussif?” and on Monday I gave readers a few links to see photos of them but basically they are traditional sewing roll or sewing kit.

I have decided to make a full hussif/sewing caddy/kit for myself. I am not sure if it should have theme. At first I thought I would work a sewing theme, then I thought maybe gardening with lots of spring flowers and creepy crawlies as spiders are supposed to be good luck in a crazy quilt. Then my mind thought about stitching traditions and so my thoughts went, rambling through ideas. I have not made up my mind as to even having a theme but I knew if I dithered about too long the project would not get started at all!

So I went ahead and have pieced it anyway! In all probability I will have a theme around the symbols and motifs to be found in traditional crazy quilting. For instance a spider is good luck and to the Victorians many of the flowers held a message but I am still not totally committed tot that yet.

Hussif pieces 1

Anyway I have pieced a hussif, which will have pockets either side, a pocket for my stencils and another for my embroidery scissors. I will also make a needlebook and an extra pouch that will hold other small items.

Hussif pieces 2
This is my studio journal with a rough sketch and notes about the hussif. I also kept a few samples of fabric that were in the scrap pile. This is more as record of some of the fabrics I used. also you can see that the drawing is a simple almost back of the envelope affair of notes on the layout of the pieces.

Studio journal hussif plansI also want to share the next page which is swatches of the Colourstreams products sent to me. Once I start stitching and actually using them I will let readers know how the threads went. In the meanwhile, I have included the fabrics in the hussif. The silk velvet is particularly nice and I plan to use the sheers in suffolk puff flowers on my hussif.

Studio journal colourstreams

Who want to design their own hussif and share what they make?

A few people in the comments have said they want to make a hussif. Who wants to share the project? Perhaps design your own hussif in any style (it does not have to be crazy quilting) and share what you make. I know it is Easter but after Easter we could have a few weeks devoted to an informal stitch along. I don’t want to set a deadline as I want to try a few ideas and specialty stitches on this project so I dont want to race it. It’s a case of quality and sharing a creative exploration rather than speed. If you want to join in, or have an idea to add please leave a comment and let me know as it could be fun. If people want an official starting date we could make it after Easter when things settle a bit. I have house visitors and I am sure lots of people are busy with family this time of year. For those interested we could report in on Wednesdays as part of the Work in Progress days (For folks that want to work on other stuff for Wednesdays that is fine I am just grouping them together as it is easy for folks to remember) Let me know what you think.

What has happened to the work on my quilt? Is it dangerous getting sidetracked like this? I am one single block off completing it, so I know this project will not become a UFO. If I was 6-10 blocks off completing it would be different because that is the danger zone. It is the time when I am tired of the project but with one more block to go I know I will do it. I cant assemble the quilt until a good few weeks after easter anyway as I need to take over the dining room to do it and I have visitors! So this is a good hand work solution.

Join in Work in Progress Wednesdays and leave a comment

If you have made progress on a stitching project leave a comment with a link to your site. If you include the http bit of your web address in the comment it will become a link and folks can visit and see what you have done.

If you want to know more about Work in Progress Wednesdays visit the FAQ. All my Work in Progress Wednesday reports are under that category.



  1. My hussif planning – things I (might*) want to carry with me:
    bead vials *
    beading pad *
    fabric markers
    gluestick (herasy I know)
    laying tool
    needle book
    needle case *
    pin cushion
    ripper *
    silk ribbon
    spare pockets for all the misc items not anticipated
    spools of thread
    tape measure
    thread heaven/bees wax
    threader – heavy/yarn, wire/sewing, sewline/super fine
    toothpicks (for needle turn)

    I thought I better start with WHAT rather than HOW and then looked at various ways to incorporate a way to carry, say, spools of thread. So many clever ideas out there! I also, early on, decided that I needed to have the Hussif close, not just with ties, but with a zipper. I tend to toss things onto the back car seat and I really didn’t relish having pointy embroidery scissors escape. I found some ideas I want try in Sharon’s links, some more ideas from Beverley Sheldrick’s Silk Sewing Hussif (book/pattern). I really liked Pat Campbell’s thread holder method. Some photos I saw had things I wished I knew where/how to buy/replicate such as vintage spool holders, so some solutions are a matter of settling for what I knew how to get/do. I’ve done up a prototype but now want to do a prettier one incorporating what I learned from the earlier attempt.
    Prototype can be seen at

    Beth N in AZ
    1. Beth, you might want to add a small rotary cutter and cutting board, and an ORT jar. I have been using a 3×6 section of a beading pad as a pin cushion, doubling also as a beading pad. I will also be including an expandable magnet for the metal things that seem to drop no matter how careful I am, and a small nail file for nails that crack at the worst times. A small pair of tweezers, and a small pair of pliers with rounded tips will fill out my additions to your list.

      PJ in Texas, USA
      1. Oh Jody, I’m sorry, but I have no blog. I stand in awe of those who can manage to share their work with the world on the internet and still get stitching done. Your interest warms me. Thank you

        Beth N in AZ
  2. I have printed it out and will make one this summer. Being a teacher/librarian and having to read so many books puts a damper on my creative time. I am at present working on a birthday block for my niece and then have a graduation block to create. LOVE my CQ. So, summer it is!

  3. Yes I will take the challenge- I had considered the crazy quilting Int’l challenge-this will be fun. I have never done a challenge and am pretty new to Crazy quilting too. Although I have made embelished needlekeepers for sale at craft fairs amd my Etsy Store. I am not sure how to provide a link, but you can see them if you go to my store Handmade Vintage Heart.

    Michelle L. Johnson
  4. Hi Sharon
    I would like to join the challenge too. I need what I would call a “lap hussif” that I can have in the car when I am a passenger. It would have hanging pockets for threads, scissors, etc and maybe something to hold a few beads, a pin/needle cushion, etc. Would that be acceptable for the challenge?

    Diane in Ontario

    1. Hi Diane – sure it is a sewing kit of sorts so go for it I think it fits the criteria – lets face it the idea is to share ideas and enjoy a stitch along and I have never been one for hard and fast rules

  5. Would you give us some measurements as guide lines.? I have no idea about the length, the number of inside partitions for implements nor how to make it a bag like the samples seen in CQ Mag.
    Thanks this would be a great help to many, I would think.

    1. Veila the idea is that you design your own-Thats part of the challenge! Mine is on a cutting mat and each square is an inch – if you need a guide that gives you an idea but a warning mine is big! If you are new hand to crazy quilting make it smaller

  6. I may join in on the Hussef also, are there any directions? It’s probably totally our design I’m guessing .
    Tell me what you mean when you refer to waste canvas. Can you use it to make your marks on smooth fabric consistent?

    Jackie Lott
    1. Yes jackie your design, If you follow the link in the article it will take you to lots of examples. Google Waste canvas ans you will see it is a product that allows you to stitch cross stitch patterns on things like t shirts – I think I will have to do a tutorial on using it!

  7. I’m in. It’s been a long time since I have taken on a challenge, mini or otherwise. 🙂
    I had read your hussif discussion and was already thinking of making one, so this will add to the fun.

  8. Would love to join in especially as there is no deadline to meet, so if life intervenes again wellll…….. Himself n I are still daily at the hospital for varying lengths of time but I so want to stitch something so this could be the something I just need whoohoo!
    Love n hugs

    Belinda Sweeney
  9. I would like to do a hussif also. Maybe give us some dimentions and pocket suggetions and what to put in them. I haven`t been stitching long enough to know what some of the dodads I`ve seen in needlebooks are for- but I`m game.

    Barbara Mleynek
  10. I have heard of sewing kits being called, in the singular, a ‘housewife’ which I assume is the English for ‘hussif.’ I need an etui for my embroidery tools so don’t plan to join this group but will look forward to seeing the project as you complete it. Thanks for your blog, Sharon. I love your sampler project especially.

  11. Naturally, I plan to join this mini-challenge! :-). I think I will use some already-pieced blocks (large) and chop them up as I need them. Today will be a good day to read up and then sketch out potential designs. I am so thankful you are organizing this!! Hugsxxx

  12. I have been thinking about creating a hussif so this challenge comes at a great time. I am really busy at this time of the year, but I’m going to try to work it in. It sounds like fun!

    Karen Hancock
  13. I would like to join. I *do not* need a new project, but all of my work is solo work. I have been longing for a class, challenge or SAL where I might get the chance to interact with others. Plus, as I am a beginning in this type of work, it would be good for me.

    Suzanne Schulte
  14. Love the idea of a Hussif…I’d never heard of the term before. Hmmm, will that make me a “Hussy” of needle arts? LOL. I’ll be on a road trip for a couple weeks so I’ll be drawing it up and pre planning…along with studying the SS class! Yes, I’m addicted and insane!

  15. I have been wanting to make one of these for a very LONG time. This just might be the push I need. O
    ne request, if I may, would you be willing to share the dimensions …. I know each is to be personal and I respect that, but I have no clue what size to even think about or what you are doing and I really like what I see here. And I do want to order your stencils someday! 🙂

  16. Thanks for the post on Hussifs. I wasn’t familiar with the word. My blog post yesterday was inspiredby It. I dug out photos of the sewing portfolio I made several years ago. It’s not hand stitched or in the crazy quilt block style. However, it is an original piece.

  17. this is a great idea! Just finished Encrusted CQ. I have made loads of needlebooks and pincushions and a little hussif as a gift but a larger one to hold my stencils is a great idea.

    Marianne C
  18. I would also like to join in this challenge. Right now I am surveying a few of the patterns on the internet to see what they are putting into their finished piece, and next I will draft out a pattern that will be able to carry my most often used tools while away from home. I find it very interesting looking at all of the different things that various people have included, so I might end up with a rather large piece.

    PJ in Texas, USA
  19. I had actually started a customized Hussif and this will give me some motivation to complete it so I plan to follow along. I have a layout for an interior sketched/planned and the cover will be the result of a CQ RR. It won’t be all CQ, but I plan on at least simple stitching on many components.

    I think the hardest part so far is figuring out just what tools and supplies it is reasonable to carry with me. In the dream world it would be much of the supply closet, but then it wouldn’t be portable. I sometimes put beads on blocks, but I’m not sure it’s practical to do so “on the move”.

    In any case, I’m fascinated by all the clever ways folk manage to organize the sewing kit.

  20. I’m almost ready, still finishing up my block for the ECQ block, hopefully tonight. Then I’m of and running to the next, thank you for this chance to join in again with you. I am loving these challenges that I am taking with you along the way. Looking forward to July 23. Thank you again for all the joy that you bring to others.

    joyce Bannon

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