embroidery on table

 

In between some commissions for Christmas stockings, I’ve been trying to finish off these little needle-book cases and pin cushions.  For once I’ve sewn the patchwork using a sewing machine (nothing too high tech though as I gave Dorothy an airing) and then hand embroidered a scattering of tiny flowers over the seams and across the fabric.

 

embroidery for needlecases

 

Most of the embroidery silks I use nowadays tend to be vintage finds (also I am a bit of a hoarder and have tins and boxes full so won’t ever run short).  I love the soft, mushroomy and nutty brown vintage silks, I guess originally they would have been more for stocking repairs however I’m happy to embroider with them.

When I’m embroidering the sewing table soon becomes covered with strands of coloured silks and flosses.  It’s even worse when I’m making the Christmas stockings, tiny snippets of felt mix in amongst the piles of threads.

 

pinned edges

 

After what seemed like a month of Sundays the needle-cases are almost finished (though to be fair to myself, I had finished a little stack ready to take to a craft fair the other week but had a very early morning accident with a bottle of ink…this is what happens when I think “oh, I know, I’ll get up early and do extra things ” rather than just stay in bed.  Sometimes I don’t have the sense I was born with)

 

inside edges

 

I had some really lovely soft darning silks which were the perfect match to sew the edging closed.  For the linings I use tea dyed cotton and the vintage silk was the exact colour.

 

inside Rubys coat

 

And as well as Christmas stockings and needle-case sewing, I’ve also finished a second winter coat for Ruby.  It’s the same design as the first one but with slightly nicer matching welts in the buttonhole.  (She wears a harness so I needed to make a bound buttonhole for her lead to fit through)

The fabric was from Butt of Lewis Textiles, and was Harris Tweed number 228.  It’s a gorgeous tweed, really soft and the colours are just perfect for autumn.

 

collar and bib

 

The underneath part of Ruby’s coat is fixed with velcro and I made a spare, that way if she gets a bit dirty and muddy (and it’s hard to stay clean this time of year) then a clean one can be used while the dirty one dries and then gets brushed clean.

Sewing on the “Harris Tweed” official label is so wonderful……it looks so fancy and really finished the doggy coat off.

It’s rained here pretty much all weekend, thanks to a certain fluffy tummied gentleman* I was woken at six by a persistent mew mew mew, and ended up just getting out of bed and making the sponge for a slow rising bread.  It’s been out of the oven just over an hour and it’s already being tucked into….it smells lovely, I threw in a handful of sesame and sunflower seeds and they really add a warmth and wholesomeness to the bread smell.

*he wanted to be let out for a wee, so I let him out, then had to towel dry him when he came in, he stayed in just long enough to eat some breakfast then was off out again, before sneaking back in and making the chair in my sewing room all wet and muddy ….I however, like a simpleton, was standing out in the rain calling him thinking he was going to be all wet and cold.  The cat is, I’m sure, much much smarter than me.

green knowe house

 

Back in October me and my friend Anne had a little road trip to Hemingford Grey, to see the home of Lucy Boston.  Unfortunately,  the day we had planned to go, the weather was terrible, bucketing it down with rain.  As viewing the house is by appointment only, rather than cancel, we still set off and got there in one piece.

In case you don’t know, Lucy Boston was an author who wrote a series of children’s books set in a house called Green Knowe.  She also was a most prolific and incredibly talented patchworker and her quilts* are on display there.  To actually see the quilts in the house where they were made is a real treat.

Sadly Lucy died some years ago, however, The Manor (her home) is lived in and managed by her daughter-in-law Diana.

If you live in the Uk and have even a passing interest in quilts and patchwork then visiting this house is a real must (I’ve wanted to go there for the past 15 years so was very excited when Anne said “do you want to go then ” after I’d told her about it)

The quilts themselves are all hand pieced over papers in the English style, however unlike the more traditional hexagon, grandmothers garden style patchworks, Lucy’s quilts are a series of incredible, often quite complicated patterns,that repeat over the quilt.  She purchased a lot of her fabric solely for the purpose of making patchwork.  Then each piece was carefully cut ( today it’s called “fussy cutting”) so that each fabric could have 4,5,6 different variations of pattern and colour. Diana told us that Lucy also bought fabric in several colour ways, so you get the same patterns  but in a different colour which made you think “hmm that looks familiar”, they combine perfectly and keep the eye really interested as it travels over the surface of the quilt.

The quilts are all kept upstairs where they are laid flat (it’s a bit like the Princess and the Pea where she has to sleep on a 100 quilts and mattresses) and Diana (wearing cotton gloves) carefully turns each one over.

Probably the most famous of Lucy’s quilts is called “Patchwork of the Crosses” but I think my favourite is a small hexagon quilt she made for a grand-daughter. Equally stunning was a grey and cream, brown and charcoal coloured quilt, it’s made up of squares and octagans and looks incredibly modern and reminded me of some quilts I’ve seen in a Japanese quilting book.

 

green known garden

 

After viewing the quilts we then went up some tiny stairs…………growing up I was a huge fan of The Lion,the Witch and the Wardrobe, I read it over and over, I totally loved it.  Well the next bit was a bit like going to the house where the professor lived and being shown a room with a huge wooden carved wardrobe in it……we went in to a small children’s bedroom and it was just like stepping into the pages of a book.  I hadn’t read the Green Knowe books growing up (though I’ve now read the first one and it’s so lovely) but there was such a sense of familiarity and magic about the room.  Diana pointed out all the toys from the books, the huge rocking horse, Linnets doll, the sword and flute…..the little bird cage where the chaffinch flies in through the window to sleep when it gets cold and it’s hiding from owls.

(if you haven’t read the books, and you are thinking to visit the house, then do read at least one, Lucy’s writing is beautifully descriptive and I think you’ll enjoy them….especially when you see the bedroom, it will make you gasp and feel so happy)

Eventually it stopped raining so after a couple of purchases in the shop (there are several books available to buy about Lucy and her quilts) we had a look around the garden, this is probably best done in dryer and sunnier weather, however it still looked stunning even after all the rain.

 

magazine with Lucy Boston article

 

I’ve not really done Lucy justice here, she was an incredibly fascinating woman. You can buy books from Diana directly (all the profits go to keep the house running, so I think it’s important to support Diana, the quilt collection at The Manor really is one of a kind and the fact it’s not been split up and sold around the world is just marvellous….you can also buy the templates and instructions if you want to create your own “Patchwork of the Crosses”.

And on the day we went, a local magazine was running a story about The Manor (issue twelve of Cambridge magazine)….it’s a nice long piece with plenty of pictures.

 

Other things to note which I should have wrote in earlier but didn’t….in the late thirties/early forties, Lucy bought a pair of hexagon flower quilts from Muriel Rose’s art gallery in Sloane Square (if you don’t know about Muriel Rose then you are in for a treat), initially they were put on beds and then Lucy decided to use them as curtains.  Over time they became worn and she began to patch them and from here she began her interest in patchwork.  She was then in her fifties (I think that is what Diana said) so basically you are never too old to learn to do patchwork or quilting.

*Actually although they are referred to as quilts, what Lucy made was patchwork tops.  They aren’t quilted.  They are sewn to backings but there are no stitches to properly join the layers.  This makes the “quilts” incredibly fragile and Diana said they were starting to wear.  It was quite odd looking at them, they are all stunning, each piece has been so carefully cut,been laid at exactly the right place on the fabric, but I didn’t want to touch a single one…..normally I want to run my hands all over a quilt (like a passionate lover who has to touch everywhere all at once) but there wasn’t that feeling with these.  But perhaps if these had been quilted, then the constant touching and hand rubbing over the ridges and bumps and contours of the quilting would have worn and distressed the fabric even more.

There is a film adapted from one of the Green Knowe books…it’s called From Time to Time and was directed by Julian Fellowes (he created Downton Abbey)…it stars Maggie Smith and one of my favourite actors….Timothy Spall…oh Timothy, your beautiful East Anglian accent was so utterly perfect (he’s someone I would love to meet just so I could hug him)……in the film Dame Maggie is working on some patchwork, and Diana had it in one of rooms downstairs, along with the Muriel Rose hexagon quilts (which are still being used as curtains)…… so my new claim to fame is that I’ve touched a piece of patchwork that was held by Maggie Smith!

Lucy Boston also wrote ghost stories for adults and The Manor has ghost nights where Robert Lloyd Parry reads stories by M R James (it’s a very atmospheric and creaky noised house so if you like getting the willies with goosebumps running up your back then contact Diana for more details)

red creeper on grey garden shed

 

I noticed this creeper growing up the back of a neighbours shed the other afternoon, I thought the combination of the gorgeous red against the grey wood was so beautiful…….inspiration for another scarf perhaps.

 

close up of red creeper

 

The almost pomegranate red is somewhat translucent with a smudge of mustardy gold and just looked stunning highlighted against the starkness of the grey and  somewhat weather worn wood.

It’s not a flat solid grey, at first glance it’s just a grey, but when you look a second and third time, there are flecks of cream and pink, charcoals and silvers….maybe a tweedy yarn from Jamieson and Smith (I’m thinking their wools would be ideal for capturing the subtle colour changes in the wood)

Although I am very much a beginner at knitting (having to write down all the time which row I’m on, and getting fretful and hand flappy if I purl when I should have knitted)  I’d really like to try my hand at some stranded colourwork……I’ve been reading about this totally brilliant looking book by Felicity Ford (her Knitsonic blog is a constant source of amazing colour combinations and observations on colour when you are out and about) and it’s top of the tree on my “I really need this” list.

Even though I’m not a particularly competent or confident knitter, reading her blog makes me want to persevere and get better (actually there are a few knitting blogs I follow that are like that).  I love her use of colour and what triggers an inspiration.

adding blue tweed

 

Trumpety fanfare please…….. I’ve finished Tif’s “woolly and warm” scarf …..perfect name because I’ve worn it out a couple of times and kept lovely and cosy (without suffocating myself) and also received lots of compliment on it which to be honest, when you’ve spent the last couple of weeks making something is something you can never tire of.

After using pretty much two whole balls of the Rowen tweed in the Fungus the Bogeyman green, I initially crocheted a block of dark green, then a block of turquoise before using up two balls of other Rowan wool which was a pretty light blue……I’d crocheted a fair bit of the light blue and then decided it wasn’t working so unravelled the best part of a weeks worth of work (both the Arpette and the cat thought I was mad…..okay, the Arpette thought I was mad, Bernard just thought I had invented a lovely new game for him involving wool….he soon found out otherwise when I got rather cross)….had a cup of tea and then began again.

Everything was fine up to where I’d finished the Fungus green, so I’d unravelled back to there, then instead of using the dark green I used the turquoise blue.  It looked much nicer next to the light green (and also brightened the green)

 

adding blue

 

Once the blue tweed ran out I then began using the light blue (I think one reason it wasn’t working before was there wasn’t a huge amount of the dark green or turquoise, and when they were crocheted they were the same length, together they looked like two squares plonked willy nilly  in the middle of the oblongs and when I draped the scarf around my neck, they just looked a bit pants.  If I’d knitted this I probably would have left it (I’m not a very confident knitter so if it has to be unravelled then that is it…the whole thing is wound back up in a ball….. putting the turquoise between the Fungus green (and what I want to call the Dr Manhattan) blue seems to suit much better.

 

adding dark green tweed

 

And then I crocheted in the dark green at the bottom of the light blue.  When I’m wearing it, the dark green sits next to the pink and together they work so well.

This took me just over three weeks to make, I only worked on it in the evenings after we’d eaten and were watching a film, though the mass unravelling at the start of last week put me back a few days.  It’s a lovely pattern and is very nice to work, you can sort of switch off as after you’ve made the first or foundation row, all the others that follow are the same.  I certainly think a beginner could try this, if you can make a granny square then you’ll be fine.

 

scarf roll

 

 

I’ve made my scarf in dk wool as that is what I had to hand, I know Tif made hers in worsted weight (it’s called aran here) and I think next time* I’d like to try that, I’ve got some posh Furls crochet hooks my mum and sisters bought me a couple of years ago and I’d like to use them on something robust (a lot of my crochet tends to favour smaller hooks and recently I found an old tin full of the tiniest little crochet flowers I’d made years ago…..hoping to use them in some embroidery in the new year)

My finished scarf is 110 inches long, Tom Baker would approve I’m sure.

*I’ll definitely be making this again as it was nice and easy, and it’s lovely and warm…..also it looks rather fantastic.

tiny cream stocking with bear

 

I’ve been listing some more Christmas stockings on to my Folksy shop, this top one is a wee little thing, these are probably my favourite as they are just so small and tiny.

I made one for one of our little nieces a few years ago and put a tag on it saying it was from Bernard (our cat!)  I guess I should really make another one as we now have two tiny girls needing wee sized stockings.

 

small green stocking with bears

 

This size is just a smidgeon larger though it’s still pretty small and if you are all grown up then it’s just the right size for a bottle of posh scent or sparkly jewelery in velvet lined boxes……but I quite like them filled with chocolates and oranges and walnuts… they also are the perfect size for joke shop style toys, packets of pencils, things to entertain and amuse while parents are slowly waking up to a flurry of brightly coloured papers being scattered in the air.

 

toys in stocking

 

Boom Boom Boom…….these stockings should should like Godzilla stomping through Tokyo, they’re massive.  Obviously only intended for children who have been very very good.  They really do hold a whole lot of presents, so you’d only really want to buy them for someone who’d been very good.

 

pompom trimmed

 

I love this creamy white one with the coloured snowflakes.

The gorgeous bunny perched in the top was made by my friend Sasha (I’ve mentioned her numerous times before, she makes the most fantastical and brightly coloured toys).

She doesn’t sell on-line but we’ll both be at the Clutter City Yuletide Fair on Saturday December 6th at Norwich Arts Centre.

I’ll also be at the St Thomas Church rooms (near The Mitre pub on Earlham Road in Norwich) on December 13th for The Norwich Green Party Yule Fair, the wonderful Bob Flowerdew (he’s on Gardener’s Question Time on Radio 4) will be opening it so I’m sure it will be a fun day.

I’m not doing a Christmas giveaway this year, but I will be donating one of the “super sized” stockings to the Green party Christmas fair raffle so if you’re local I hope you can pop down and buy a ticket.

I’m currently taking commissions for personalised stockings, I’ve a few orders already so if you are planning to put an order in you’ll want to do so pretty soon as I allow a two week turn about time for them

And yay…..I’m all excited, one of my Christmas stockings is on the Folksy Gift suggestions page.

 

matching in fabric

 

Once you’ve made your pocket or button hole opening it’s time to fit in your welts.  These are like closed lips either side of the “mouth” of the buttonhole.

There are lots of different ways to make welts but this is the way I made the ones for Ruby’s coat.

The Harris tweed for the coat has a very strong and defined pattern so it was important to have the welts match up as perfectly as possible.  When they are just right they will disappear as they blend in.

Lay your welt fabric near the opening so you can see where your fabric needs to fit in following the line of the pattern.

 

fold over fabric

 

Fold and gently press the welt fabric.  For this example I knew there was a black line running through the central line of the coat, when making the welts I decided to allow the whole black stripe on one side and then the next welt would start with the grey line.  Taking advantage of the strong pattern of the tweed will mean the welts blend in even better when finished.

 

folded fabric blends in

 

Before sewing anything, I just tuck the welts under the opening to check everything matches up okay……

 

tack the welts

 

Next step is to tack or baste the welts.  This just stops the fabric from shifting about.  I like to use as contrary as shade of tacking thread as possible, it makes it much easier to see when I’m unpicking at the end.

 

pin the first welt into place

 

Carefully pin the tacked welt into position.

 

tack the first welt into place

 

And then tack it in to place.  (again use a bright and easy to see tacking thread) I prefer to tack all the way round one side of the opening,  securing the welt firmly so it won’t wiggle or move slightly.

 

tack the second welt into place

 

Then pin and tack the second welt into place.

 

welts from behind

 

This is how it looks from the back. Depending on the type of fabric used (does it fray a lot) and on the use of the garment, you might like to overcast around the edges of the welts so they won’t fray.  This is done with a sharp small needle and a tiny overcasting stitch.

 

close up of needle making stab stitch

 

Using the same stab stitch you used when you secured the buttonhole open, you now need to stitch around the outer edge of the buttonhole to secure the welts stay in place and become part of the buttonhole.

I prefer to use a tiny stab stitch and use the thickness of the tweed thread as a guide.  The stab stitches are about 1/8 th of an inch apart.

 

stab stitch around welt edge

 

I sew about an 1/8 th of an inch away from the edge of the buttonhole.  You can just about see my needle in the top right corner just above the edge of the buttonhole.

 

finished welts in place

 

 

This is the finished buttonhole with welts.

I know it seems like a lot of trouble to go to, especially for a dogs coat, but if you are of that opinion, then obviously you haven’t met Ruby!

 

mark out buttonhole

 

I’ve just finished sewing a second coat for Ruby (she’s a beautiful russet coloured King Charles Spaniel, so this autumn coloured Harris Tweed really looks gorgeous on her).  When she goes on her walks and strolls, she wears a harness, so when making her coat I made sure to include an opening for her lead to clip onto her harness.

The opening I favoured is called a Welt buttonhole, it can also be used for pockets (zips insert really nicely if you aren’t using welts)

Firstly, mark out the size of the opening, I’ve drawn it on some light weight wool suiting which I’ve also used to line Ruby’s coat.  The opening for her coat is about 2 1/2 inches long by 1 inch wide.  Make sure the drawn opening is exactly where you want your “buttonhole” to be.

Pin, and then tack in to place.

 

fold fabric before cutting

 

Using a sewing machine, carefully sew around the drawn line.  Keep to the drawn line as steadily as possible.

Fold the sewn fabrics together and snip across to make a small gap.  I find this is always easier and neater if I fold the fabric in half first.  (I’m using some rather grand buttonhole scissors from Merchant and Ivory.  They’re perfect for buttonholes but also for cutting notches in fabric, their blades aren’t very long but are sturdy and sharp so cut extremely precisely)

 

cut a straight line

 

Continue to cut a straight line in either end of the sewn rectangle.  You want to cut up to about 1/2 an inch from the end.

 

cut to corners

 

Then carefully cut up to each corner edge, cutting as close as you can, maybe a 1/16 th of an inch away.  Make sure you do not cut right through the stitches.

 

tuck fabric through the hole

 

Then push the the top fabric through the hole you have sewn (this bit is pretty good fun)

 

fabric is tucked beneath

 

Once the fabric is all pushed through the hole it looks a bit more like a buttonhole or pocket opening.

 

fabric from underneath

 

From the back it’ll be all messy, gently flatten it out with your fingers.

 

smooth and pin lining fabric

 

Smooth out the fabric and carefully pin it.  I prefer to pin it quite close to the seam as that way when I sew it into place it doesn’t feel like I’m holding a hedgehog as the pins tend to prick the palm of my hand.

 

buttonhole from the front

 

Once the fabric has been pinned flat, then from the front, the buttonhole already looks much better.

 

stab stitch into place

 

Using a very fine and sharp needle and a thread that matches as close as possible (I’ve favoured a thread that blended into the Harris tweed as the underneath of this buttonhole won’t be seen) sew a small stab stitch around the edge of the buttonhole.

I use applique or “sharp” for this as they are finer and like their name, are indeed super sharp.

Knot the thread and sliding the needle up under the lining, bring it out near the edge of the buttonhole.  Insert it through the two layers of fabric and push the needle through.  Then working to the right, make a tiny stitch in the tweed before pushing the needle all the way through slightly on the diagonal to the left side.

When you bring the needle out through the lining, make a tiny stitch over to the right before inserting the needle upwards with a diagonal slant to the left.

 

work the stitch in a chevron pattern

 

The stab stitch is worked round the button hole in a chevron pattern which  looks a bit like this \/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

 

basic buttonhole finished

 

The finished opening looks like this.

From here you can add welts to close over the hole, or you can insert a zip (this is often found on outdoor or sporty wear)

You could even leave it as it is (especially if your dog coat will always be worn with a harness underneath)

 

buttonhole from the back

 

 

From the back it looks like this.

Ruby’s coat is lined so this doesn’t get seen but is all hidden away in the coats construction.

I think from the back view, you can see how easy it is to then add a piece of fabric to make a nice pocket, especially handy if this is worked on the lining of a tote or shopping bag

 

natural leaven and yeast bread

 

I’ve been playing around some more with the natural leaven made by the delightful Miss Daisy Bennett, and have a new recipe, it uses both natural leaven and also dry yeast (I can’t seem to source fresh yeast in Norwich anymore so had to start using dry yeast which comes in a little tin.  Of the ones I’ve tried, I’ve had the best results with Allinson’s Dry Yeast)

It does take a good old while to rise but you can just leave it be and get on with whatever else you are doing before going back to it.  And kneeding a loaf of bread by hand just can’t be beat, it’s lovely and relaxing and is a nice work out for tired hands and fingers.

This toasts up really well (it smelt lovely) and the Arpette said it made nice sandwiches too.  It also stayed fresh for a good few days.  This makes for a proper big loaf, it only just fit in our bread tin, but I guess if you have a big family it’s soon going to be eaten up.

I’ve also made it with a handful of seeds (sunflower and sesame) and the Arpette also gave that a thumbs up.

All our flour for bread making comes from Shipton Mill, and I also use their cake and pastry flour for making pastry.  It’s quite exciting to get the delivery, a big sack of flour arrives along with lots of smaller bags of fancy flour…generally I end up baking something the same day.

 

Ingredients for the sponge

1 tsp of dry yeast (if you use fresh yeast then I guess you’d need twice that amount)

1 desert spoon (like you’d eat pudding or cereal with) of good quality honey

150 g of starter (natural leaven)

400 ml of warm water

200 g bread flour (I always use Shipton’s bread flour)

100 g whole rolled oats (I like Flahavans or Mornflake jumbo oats)

 

Rest of Ingredients

200 g bread flour

200 g of spelt flour

(or just use 400 g of bread flour if you don’t have spelt)

a good glug of sunflower oil

Maldon sea salt (or similar), ground fine

 

some extra bread flour for when you are kneeding

(a handful of seeds if you want to get fancy)

 

Method

 

First of all you need to make a sponge, so in a large bowl, add the yeast, honey, starter and warm water to the bread flour and rolled oats.  Mix and cover with a clean tea towel.  Leave for 30 – 45 minutes until it’s nice and bubbly.

Then add the rest of the flour, the salt and the glug of oil, if you are using them, add the seeds here too.

Begin to kneed and add more flour if you need it.  Turn out on to a work surface and kneed until the dough becomes silky and supple. While you are doing this it helps if you can fill the bowl with warm water so you can get it clean and ready for when the bread proves.

Lightly oil the clean bowl and pop in the dough.  Cover with the clean tea towel and leave to prove (or rise) until it’s doubled (around 3 hours)

Once the dough has doubled, gently knock back and place in a round floured proving basket or banneton (I bought an extra large one from Shipton Mill and it’s brilliant) cover with some floured muslin or a tea towel and allow to prove for a further 40 minutes or so….

After 20 minutes, turn your oven on to gas 7.

Turn the dough on to a baking sheet (I tend to line mine with a sheet of baking parchment) and bake at gas 7 for 20 minutes, then turn down to gas 6 and continue to bake for another 35/40 minutes.

Remove and stand on a cooling rack, allow to fully cool before eating. (very good with salty butter)

 

 

 

 

 

 

tin of embroidery silks

 

The sewing gods were shining down on me this week, I found these gorgeous vintage embroidery silks for just a couple of pounds in a local antiquey shop hidden under a pile of really nasty polyester fabric  (the pretty tin was a car booty treasure that I had been using as a button tin but these silks fit in perfectly).

 

embroidery floss and patchwork

 

Lots of soft mushroomy browns and mustards, intense reds (I used to wear a lipstick that smelt of roses in this exact same red, it was totally glamorous) delicate blues and the most vintagey greens….I’ve been using them on some patchwork I’ve sewn together ready to make into needle-cases.

I’ve been embroidering tiny wee flowers with green leafy sprigs, trying to recapture some of those warm afternoons of the summer when I was going for walks over the marshes.

 

needlecase and pin cushion

 

Some of the pieces of fabric in the patchwork you may remember from when I was piecing the blocks for dear ethel….the faded pink piece with the floral print is one of my all time favourite fabrics, this was just a small scrap so it was nice to use up.

The hexagon piece to the right is a top for a pin cushion.  And my slumicky ways are on show, in the background is a piece of blanket fabric I’ve been using as a needle-case with threads all attached…normally I store my needles much more carefully but I’ve got a fair few on the go at the moment.  It’s not very pretty but is at least keeping the needles all in one place (I’m so particular that as a rule I have a separate case for each type of needle, straights, quilting, embroidery, tapestry…..it’s a bit of an excuse to hoard old needle-cases if I’m honest)

 

embroidery in a hoop

 

I’ve had this little book for a few years now ( I think it was in a bag of sewing threads from the car boot), it’s always nice to refer to and as there are only 29 stitches it’s not too overwhelming.

I don’t always use a hoop when I’m embroidering small pieces, but after I’ve sewn a few needle-case covers my hands get tired and the hoop holds the fabric nice and taut so it makes sewing a bit less finger achey.

I’m hoping to have these all finished in a day or so, then I’ll be listing them with the pin cushions in my Folksy shop.

 

 

button tin

 

I’ve mentioned my friend Sylvia before, she’s a lovely elderly lady who over the last couple of years, has given me umpteen sewing and fabric treasures. Beautiful fifties and sixties fabrics and ribbons, old lace and sewing notions…one particularly big tin was full of tiny tins..each filled with vintage beads and sequins……

There was also a huge bag of buttons and in the bottom of that was another bag (it’s a bit like opening Russian dolls receiving presents from her) full of buttons carefully sewn on to cards.

Most of these are pretty old, and a lot of the carded ones are vintage glass buttons…. inspiration indeed to start on some fancy frocks for next year.

 

yellow buttons

 

My favourites are these lovely yellow buttons, the ones on the left are flower shaped (I think they are pansies) and are a clear plastic.  They’re a very nice mustardy yellow.

 

apricot and blue buttons

 

Some of my other favourites are these blue buttons, they’re clear plastic,with flower shapes in the centre, and then these apricot pink buttons, the colour is just perfect.

I’ve used loose vintage buttons on things a lot in the past, but I don’t tend to chop up cards of buttons unless it’s to replace some particularly grotty ones on a shop bought item. However these ones are so nice I’d really like to use them and get to wear them (rather than have them sit and a box and not get looked at) so I’m sketching out plans for some frocks where they’d be the stars.

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