Tag Archives: stitching

Playing with Notions

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Spent today sorting out yet more cruising craft projects. I’ve got a few packed and ready to go but need to organise two or three more.

As always I got side tracked away from the task in hand and played with kilt pins and Textile scraps. I’m not sure if this item will make it onto the cruise craft list but I enjoyed the making process.

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Cruise craft #1

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Well dear friends I am off on another cruise teaching crafts to fellow cruisers. OK I don’t go until January but I am busy preparing. Quite a lot of work goes into the prep beforehand. This includes working out how many classes will be required, what to make and what we hope will interest any crafters from beginners to experts.

This next cruise I am planning on using some of my mountainous stash of vintage linens to make up cycled/re purposed items. This project sits nicely with my recent spell of clearing out, making space and de cluttering. I really do have an almost limitless stash of vintage linens but can’t bear just to throw it away. This way someone else will take pleasure from some of it and ( hopefully) make something useful and definitely have fun

I have spent the past week thinking about a one day project, what to do and how to do it. The prototype is now done so one project down, quite a few more to go. This project is a hanging heart made from vintage linens. It is gently perfumed with Lavender and embellished with lace, buttons and ribbons. It is aimed at taking one hour to make although we will find more time on the day.

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Lavender Heart

The cruise line that we are going on is Fred Olsen and this voyage goes to Norway in early January. Fred Olsen provide wonderful cruises and look after their guest lecturers (aka craft instructors!) very well

I will update you as and when I have sorted more projects so watch this space.

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A small number of large vintage cloths

Sewing Lessons

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A few weekends ago lovely Step Grandaughter came to stay. She brought with her a mini sewing machine so that I could show her how to sew! Never one to miss an opportunity I showed her how to sew along side me whilst I made her the dress in the previous blog. Get ’em young I say! I honestly think that if you show a child how to craft when they are young it will stay with them for ever. I am eternally grateful to my Mum and Grandmother for showing me how to sew. Those were the teenage days when I bought fabric on a Saturday morning, made a mini shift dress on a Saturday afternoon and wore it to the Co Op Hall on a Saturday night. Ah well I digress!

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Despite a broken arm some weeks ago lovely Step Grandaughter was dashing away with her sewing machine. She designed and made a long length of bunting.

image.jpegShe struggled on valiantly making Benji dog a neckerchief. Benji was a willing model but thought it very odd to be taken for a walk wearing anything more than a lead.

imageShe also made an eye mask to help her sleep! There was an attempt at mittens for the ever patient Benji dog but he did draw the line at modelling them.

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We both had a lovely time designing haute couture ( for the dog) and sewing for much of the weekend. I strongly suspect that she will be back! I must think of some good projects. Maybe she will have her own design ideas after all Quant and Kidston started somewhere.

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Dressmaking

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Hello dear crafting friends. Result! Achieved! Done! Whoo Hoo!

Yesterday we were Grandchild minding and at a loss how to amuse her. Then…. The light bulb moment! We piled into the car and headed to Abakhan- a sewing, crafting wonderland. Grandchild was wide eyed with amazement at the amount, colours and variety of textiles for sale. She was to be a designer whilst I was to be the seamstress.

Grandchild chose a pattern ( with just a little guidance) and some fabric ( with more guidance.) Home we went to set up a sweat shop in the dining room. It’s some time since I made a garments but the pattern choice was relatively simple and away we went. I measured, cut, stitched, pressed, unpicked and stitched again. After the final press it was ready. Haute Couture wrap around and reversible dress. Lovely!

The pattern was Simplicity 8104.

imageThe instructions were straight forward and the fabric a firm cotton.

Grandchild had chosen contrasting blues.

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imageTwo dresses in one go. Result!

This project has inspired me to make more. Roll on the Great British Sewing Bee.

Textile Inspiration Packs

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Whilst we on our recent cruise we produced special Textile Inspiration Packs for our craft group. These packs were put together before we left to join the ship. Each pack contained a mix of textiles including lace, leather, cotton, net, silk or tweed, to name a few. The pieces were vaguely colour co ordinated and each pack also contained a few beads or buttons or ribbon. The packs created great interest and provided a source of much imagination.

imageWe did did not have a great deal of time to craft as we were about to dock in Madeira where there was a flower festival. Because of this I encouraged the ladies to make a flower brooch. The inspiration was all theirs and they certainly used their own imaginations. I suggested that a simple flower was made by cutting discs of reducing size from the various textiles. I provided a template for simplicity. The various discs were then stacked on top of one another and held together with beads or buttons. The edges could be embroidered, frayed or pinked with the shears. After attaching a “finding” to the back it was ready to be worn. Some people fastened them to their bags made in the days before. Others took them home and some attached them to plain tee shirts.

It was a great delight later in the day when we met a lady from the group going ashore. She was wearing the brooch that she had made that morning. Result!!

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These Textile Inspiration Packs were a great success and I will certainly use them again.

Crafts in Madeira

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On my recent trip to Madeira, Portugal I was intrigued to see beautiful samples of the lace and embroidery worked locally.

The work is very fine and mostly done by hand. The cheaper items such as tea towels and cheaper cloths are machine made. It was lovely to see the demonstrations at the Spring flower festival. I didn’t buy any on this occasion as I have so much linen I could ( in fact might!) open my own shop.

 

 

 

Onward

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imageHere’s Henry Worsley – @shackletonsolo – as I’ll always remember him: stoic, humble, kind-hearted, my friend and someone I looked up more than I ever had the chance to let him know.  This is a tribute and photograph by Ben Saunders on Facebook.

He showed me this cushion a few years ago and his eyes lit up as he told me the story. It had been given to him by an inmate at Wandsworth Prison, where Henry volunteered to teach needlework. He was a serving officer in the Special Air Service at the time, and told me that learning to sew had helped calm his nerves when he first spent time in a war zone, and that he loved teaching it now, decades after his first deployment.

Henry was a hard man of the rarest kind. There’s a superficial toughness a lot of men like to portray – all strut and swagger and aggression; men holding ugly masks up to conceal their fear. And then there’s the serene equanimity that radiated from Henry: a steadfast, resolute solidity that came from not from fear but from love, from a positive human spirt, and from a heart that shone.

Henry usually signed off his messages with a single word.

Onward.

Today I read the tribute above, to Henry Worsley, adventurer, soldier and all round REAL man. This man SEWED. From now on I will carry out my craft classes with that little bit more pride and determination.

He had raised over £100,000 to help injured service men and women. His latest adventure was an attempt to complete Sir Ernest Shackleton’s unfinished journey to the South Pole, solo. Sadly he failed just 30 miles from his target.

THIS MAN SEWED,

RIP Henry Worsley

“Onward”

Job Done!

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ANOTHER UFO finished. AKA a finished object.

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I did a course at Liberty Bell Chester to make a felt cushion. As I didn’t want to turn it into a cushion I made a craft bag! I really enjoyed the course – it is lovely meeting other crafters, learning new techniques and just having a pure “Me” day.

visit http://www.liberty-bell.co.uk

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I chose a contrast lining and inserted a zip into the top. I used a lot of blanket stitch as I adore blanket stitch! The whole bag was made by hand. I find hand sewing therapeutic and relaxing and really enjoyed the process.

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I now have a finished bag to carry ANOTHER UFO

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The  cat sitting by the tree  is a button. He does have rather a startled look but I have just sewn his bottom to the bag.

PhD and Dog Walking

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imageI seem to have misplaced my crafty Mojo at the moment! I’m not sure where it is but I can’t seem to motivate myself to do anything crafty. So I took Benji dog for a walk whilst I mentally searched for the elusive Mojo. On this lovely walk near to my cottage I thought long and hard about all my PHd’s (projects half done). It took a few mental exercises to recall some long ago started projects but I wrote them down as soon as we got home from our walk. I’m still not certain that I have recalled them all but here goes:

1) Gorgeous green knitted dolman sleeved sweater from a 1952 pattern. This wool cost a fortune so I really must finish it.

2) Bee keepers quilt made from knitted hexipuffs. This blanket will take YEARS to finish but I could do with a new blanket so I must make an effort.

3) Secret Christmas present nearly done. This may be redirected to a worthy cause but we will see.

4) A patchwork quilt with a village theme/pattern. Not too much work required to complete so one big push would do it.

5) A quillow which just needs finishing touches.Vintage,upcycled,

6) Up cycled vintage jewellery roll. This is a prototype which I WILL finish next week.

7) A patchwork quilt that only needs the binding and a little quilting.

8) Traditional pieced paper patchwork quilt with not much completed.

9) Fabric for a flowery dress but hasn’t met the pattern or seen the sewing machine yet!

10) A cut out stretchy skirt for summer which would take two hours max to finish but….

I am very good and really enjoy starting a project but rubbish at completing -obviously. I am sure that there are multiple other projects lurking in my project box somewhere. Maybe one day soon I will make a supreme effort but in the meantime I will just take Benji dog for another walk.

Victorian Nursing Chair

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imageHi there! Here is the nursing chair that lives in my bedroom. It is a typical Victorian nursing chair with no arms and sat quite low. They were designed for nursing mothers ( or Nannys ) when holding an infant. This particular one is still in its original fabric as it has been protected with a loose cover for many years. Nursing chairs were usually found in more wealthy homes and have traditional cabriole legs with brass castors. This chair  is padded with horse hair and quite comfortable especially if you were feeding a baby.

imageHere is the same chair complete with its loose covers. My Mum made these particular covers in the 1970s complete with piping and pleating. The cover fits perfectly and is fastened on with hidden Velcro. I removed the cover today as I am Spring cleaning! Yes REALLY! One day I will make a new cover for this much loved chair. I’m not sure if I could do as good a job as my Mum did. All that piping and fitting. Anyway maybe one day! For now I will just wash and refit.