Tuesday 28 February 2012


I'm learning a lot of things as I go along and when sewing the honesty seed pods yesterday I could see bits where I clearly wasn't doing it the best way and this left me with several questions.  One mistake (of many) I made was failing to stabilise the background fabric so that it wouldn't pucker.  (I did think to fix the seed pods to the background, actually using some fusible hemming strip that I had scraps of - it was just the right width). I also couldn't understand why my buttonhole or satin stitch looks so much better from the wrong side.

I was thinking of doing some test pieces and seeing if I could get this all right when I remembered that Florence, of Flossie Teacakes, has written an ebook about machine applique.  Although I usually like to try and work things out for myself this book is going to save a lot of faffing about.  I can really recommend it - it's clearly written and covers everything you need.  And it only costs £3.00.  Now I know how to stabilise the background fabric, and that my satin stitch problems are probably because I need to adjust the tension on my sewing machine.  

Monday 27 February 2012


I wanted to take my honesty etching and rework the image in different ways and this is what I'm doing with it.

The background fabric is fine Japanese linen, from Ebay, and I used some slubby silk for the papery pods, and button-hole and tiny running stitch on the machine to embellish it.  I tried padding the pod third from the bottom on the left with some tiny shapes to give the hint of seeds in the pod, but didn't pad it enough - you can only see it if you look VERY closely.  It's not finished - I definitely feel it needs something else - but I don't want to overdo it, so I'm still trying to decide where to go from here.

Sunday 26 February 2012

Sunday, Sunday

Went for a lovely walk.

Was inspired by some beautiful patterns...

...and intrigued by others

Found some strange creatures...

Some others weren't at home...

Saturday 25 February 2012

I have just finished making a roman blind (very useful tutorial here, but I meanly didn't use their kit and put all the bits together on the cheap). It's taken me three days
and I'm not terribly happy with it - what was I thinking, buying pink stripes? - but I am going to have to learn to love it.

Anyway a warning.  If you are making a blind and buy fibreglass rods which you have to cut to size, please do what the man in the shop told me, and wrap some tape round them where you need to cut.  If you don't tiny, invisible bits of fibreglass come away and embed themselves in your fingers - if you've ever fallen foul of a cactus you will know what I mean.  You can't see the little b*****s but you know they are there.

I have been cheering myself up with these.

They are lace-making patterns from an old factory and you can read more about them here. Aren't they beautiful, and wouldn't they make great cross-stitch patterns?

Friday 24 February 2012


Not getting on much on the fabric crafting front, but I have two new etchings.  Honesty seed pods...

and blossom...

Like my other etching I want to explore these images in other ways.

Thursday 9 February 2012

Hooray for Fat Bottom Girls!

I've finished my jeans cushion!  

I wanted to reflect its origins as much as possible so I kept the original seam for the envelope opening at the back - which I like because it reminds me of a comfortably fat bottom  (which more or less what it came from).

This cover was fiddly to make because the seams at the points were hard to sew through and I eventually broke my last machine needle and had to finish the piping and back by hand.  I made binding for the piping and thought I was being clever in joining the pieces on the diagonal as I'd read this reduced bulk - unfortunately I wasn't clever enough and I ironed the seams to one side instead of open. You can see the bulge.

I will remember this next time.  It's possible though that I might have made life easier for myself by binding round the edge as if it was a quilt.  Still nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Sunday 5 February 2012

I will do anything to avoid my paper piecing.  Hence this cushion cover in the making.

I was following a tutorial for cutting sawtooth stars economically, but I couldn't get my head round the mental rotations involved  - I must be short on spatial skills - without assiduously following the instructions on screen every step of the way.  In the end I just winged it.  (It is a really excellent clear tutorial.  It was just me.)  This is why my seams are a bit wonky and why it took all weekend. 

I made it out of a pair of jeans that I'd worn through (thighs rubbing together after too much Christmas pudding but maybe that's TMI).  I tried to use the least faded parts for the star and the rest round the edges and to exploit the grain of the fabric as far as possible.    Now I'm trying to decide whether to embroider round the star to highlight it, or to leave it minimalistic - and just waiting to burst through the second pair of jeans so that I can justify chopping them up for the back:-)

Saturday 4 February 2012


Crab is making some (slow progress). In the meantime, I'm working on this tiny etching at evening class. It's an image I've had in my mind for a while and tried to express in different ways - and now I'm wondering about embroidery.

Wednesday 1 February 2012


I've started on my crab paper piecing, and already slightly lost enthusiasm for it!  Nevertheless I will persevere - there's a great learning experience to be had here.

Some of the pieces too small and fiddly, and clearly I need to think more about how to make life easier with as many straight joins as possible.  Next time!

In the meantime I've been finding distraction in the form of going through my mending tub - a plastic bowl that accumulates broken tiny toys,  china ornaments and jewellery.  One mending success was a couple of lovely glass necklaces given to the girls (I would have thought the beads were magical when I was their age) which had been strung on thread.  Needless to say, it was only a short time before the familiar sound of beads scattering all over the floor was to be heard but there's a great tutorial here which I followed to restring them using silver wire wrapped links. 

Displacement activity is a wonderful thing!


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