Emma’s Touch and Feel Activity Board

Sometimes projects just happen almost by accident. Donna, a friend remembered that when in school they had a clock and day of the week marker and she asked me to devise something similar for our children. So we drew up the basic design to which was added a weather checker and a chore chart to make a terrific learning tool for kids. In our home the chart is placed next to the breakfast bench so that as we have breakfast the children mark of the day of the week, practice telling the time and work out the day’s chores which are written on the chalk cloth. I have given these charts as birthday presents to the kids in my mum’s group to great success.




  1. From the homespun cut pieces measuring 10in x 17in (25.5cm x 43cm), 8in x 17in (20.5cm x 43cm), 9in x 17in (23cm x 43cm), 5in x 26in (12.5cm x 66cm) and 5in x 14in (12.5cm x 35.5cm).
  2. Referring to the photo of the chart for layout stitch out the days of the week designs on the 10in x 17in (25.5cm x 43cm) piece, the weather designs on the 8in x 17in (20.5cm x 43cm) piece, the time designs on the 9in x 17in (23cm x 43cm) piece and the chores designs on the 5in x 26in (12.5cm x 66cm) piece.
  3. Press the pieces face down in to a thick towel and then trim the days of the week panel to measure 9in x 14 1/4in (23cm x 36cm), the weather panel to 6 1/4in x 15 1/4in (16cm x 39cm), the time panel to 7in x 15 1/4in (18cm x 39cm) and the chores panel to 4in x 25in (10cm x 63.5cm).
  4. Hoop the Stitch N Shape with a piece of the border fabric and sew out the pie and the clock hands. Trim back to the stitching.
  5. With the eyelet maker create holes in the centre of the pie, the clock, the clock hands and the weather picture. Insert eyelets into each of the holes and hammer closed.
  6. Fold the 5in x 14in (12.5cm x 35.5cm) piece in half lengthways. Press and stitch down the length with a 1/4in (6mm) seam allowance. Turn through to the right side and position the seam so that it is on the inside edge. Press.
  7. With a water-soluble pen mark the positions of the days of the week on the strip using the bottom of each day as the marking point.
  8. Measure the button size and set your machine up to stitch buttonholes. Create buttonholes that are 4mm (1/8in) bigger than the button size and sew out seven buttonholes down the length of the fabric at each of the marked points. Cut the buttonholes open.
    buttonhole panel
  9. Turn the short ends of the buttonhole strip in to neaten and stitch. Sew the left hand side of the strip to the days of the week panel.
  10. Cut seven, 2in (5cm) strips of the border fabric. Referring to the chart photo join the border fabric to the embroidered panels, pressing between each seam.
  11. Join the chalk cloth underneath the jobs panel.
  12. Add border strips to the top and bottom of the chart and the sides. Press.
  13. To create a rod pocket cut a 20in x 5in (51cm x 12.5cm) strip of the border fabric and fold in half lengthways. Tuck the short ends under and with the raw edges even centre on the top of the chart and pin in place.
  14. Thread the elastic through the button shank and tie to secure. Position the other end of the elastic under the buttonhole strip and sew in place with a few hand-stitches.
    show buttonholes
  15. Use a paper clasp to inset the pie into the weather vane. Hand-stitch the clasps down. Repeat with the clock hands.
  16. Cut Pellon to fit the chart top and press to the back.
  17. Cut backing fabric to the same size as the chart top. With the right sides together stitch the backing to the chart leaving a 10cm (4in) opening. Trim the corners and turn right side out.
  18. Quilt by ditch stitching along each of the seam lines.
  19. Press and hand-stitch the opening closed to complete.


Now give to your favourite child and watch not only their faces light up but mum’s as well when she sees how practical and useful this particular gift is!


Friday Flashback – Emma’s Touch and Feel – New Freebie

Welcome back to another Friday Flashback, taking a look back at some of my favourite classic collections.

This week I am bringing you the Emma’s Touch and Feel collection.


I have been sitting here for two weeks looking at how to approach this post. This one is difficult for me, as it reminds me of one of the most difficult times in my life.  When our beautiful daughter Emma was diagnosed with Autism.  Now I realise that an Autism diagnosis is not the end of the world, however as a young parent, you go through all of the emotions of “is it my fault”, “what could I have done differently”, and “why did this happen to me”.  Whilst Emma has challenges in her life that other children don’t necessarily have, I cannot imagine my beautiful girl any differently.  Emm’s is such a unique person in herself that we would not change a thing about her.


Emma’s Touch and Feel began as my way of coping with an Autism Diagnosis. Emma really wasn’t speaking, she was nearly two at the time, and we were trying anything we could to inspire her talking.  One of the things that she did love was anything tactile.  One of her favourite books was the hard page book with different animals, and samples she could touch of their skin/fur.  From this idea, came the Touch and Feel Collection.

I scoured different colouring in books and googled many different ideas on how I could make a great interactive felt book for Emma, and finally came up with 12 different blocks or activities that make up this collection.

My favourite of all of the blocks is probably the shoe block. Tying laces is always difficult, and I have given so many different shoelace pillows to different groups to raffle off over the years, that I have lost count.

Initially I made the touch and feel book, using felt for the pages, Applique Web to hold the pages together, and using my fabric hole punch to punch holes for the pages to be bound together with binder rings from Office Works.

Once the book was completed, and I could see what a success it was, I could see that making a child’s play mat would be a great thing for younger children. I took each design, and used it as a block in the quilt, adding in patchwork blocks in between for some interest.

The biggest issue that I think we had with this collection was all of the extra bits that you needed to create the designs. To this end I actually sourced and packaged up the notions for the quilt set to sell individually.  It’s one of those items that when you make the quilt you really need it, and I managed to keep the prices down to a very reasonable $25 for the notions kit (10 years on, and we have a limited number of these kits available, so if it is something you are considering, purchase the notions NOW).

This collection was so popular that it also spawned an auxiliary design collection to create a wonderful kitchen chart, for children to show the day of the week, the weather, and any chores that they have to complete. This was originally published in Machine Embroidery & Textile Art magazine, and next week I will be sharing this fantastic project with you for anyone who didn’t catch it back then.

Initially we gave away the duck design HERE as a freebie with the Emma’s Touch and Feel designs. As a thank you to all of our loyal customers, for the next week we are also offering the Dog design as a free download.  Simply click HERE to collect your copy.

Thank you for taking this trip down memory lane with me, I hope you have enjoyed looking at this collection, and that it has inspired you to stitch for a loved one.

Until next time, have a Stitchin’ Day. Julie.

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