It’ll be no surprise to read that my favourite stall in the St.Gregory’s Antique Centre is a haberdashery stall…..often I just put my head round the door to see what’s new and come away with a handful of tapestry wool, a little bag of embroidery silk, a packet of vintage needles……well the last few weeks there have been boxes of beautiful and bright Dewhurst Sylko thread in as many colours as you could want……gorgeous and so affordable I’ve had to really stop myself from not just buying every single thread there……
I love sewing my patchwork by hand and generally I use grey, brown or a light pink thread as I find those blend in really well with other colours…..however I do like using vintage threads and Dewhurst Sylko is my favourite….firstly it’s what I remember from my nanny’s sewing basket, it’s what my great aunt used to sew with…and also what my mum used on her sewing machine….and then there are the names…..unlike thread nowadays which uses numbers, Dewhurst Sylko also gave their thread a name….Red Salmon, Elephant, Gay Kingfisher, Iced Orange, Straw, Coco,Chartreuse, Fiesta Pink, Frivolous Pink, Erin Green…..gorgeous and beautiful names that make me smile reading them much more than a number can.
I’ve probably got a whole set by now but there’s times when you just don’t see them and then whooo….a big box full and only 50 pence each……..
Inspired by the bright sunshiney colours of my most recent purchase of a handful of rainbow bright threads (reminding myself as I queued up to pay of when I little and I’d stand at one of our village shops with a white paper bag filled with bright penny sweets) I’ve sorted out some patchwork squares and sewn them together to make some new pot-holders for the kitchen……..these ones aren’t very big, just large enough to use to lift the lid on some big enamel pots rather than use to lift the pots themselves…..
These would have been easy to sew up on a sewing machine, but we had a couple of sunny afternoons so it was nice to just sit out on the back door step with a pot of tea and Bob from next door as company and sew the squares together by hand…..
The finished squares are just over six inches wide so when I came to quilting them I just pinned the three layers together….I didn’t use anything really fancy for my batting, just what I had left over from other projects, I think it’s a cotton/wool blend but certainly is all natural…I only used one layer of batting but if I make these for oven hot dishes to sit on then I use two layers and in the past have used a couple of layers of an old vintage blanket.
I’ve used the heat resistant batting before but I didn’t really get on with it, I found it sewed up very bulky and stiff so don’t tend to use that anymore, though if I was making oven gloves or pot holders to take things out of the oven then I think I’d use that…certainly not a polyester wadding though.
The quilting was really simple, I drew some diagonal lines across the squares using a wash out blue pen, and hand quilted along those, then once the diagonals were all quilted, I quilted along the edges of the patchwork (in the ditch)…I found this made the pot holder even more pliable and soft (I hate hard pot holders that you can’t grip anything with)
Amongst my hoard of vintage sewing notions is a box full of bias bindings, while most are age softened in colour there are a few surprises…this incredibly bright turquoise binding looks as fresh and eye popping today as it must have done when it was new….the packing was getting on and I’m pretty sure it’s from the early sixties….it’s English so the binding folds are only 1/2 a cm…..the Dewhurst Sylko turquoise thread was an exact match (as an aside, I’ve got a few old packets of binding which actually come with little paper spools of thread in matching shades….it’s such a brilliant idea)
I’ve hand sewn the binding, starting at the top right corner……
I pin a side and then sew it in place using little back stitches before pining the next side…the corners are mitred which is a bit fiddly but is good practise for when you’re sewing them on bed size quilts….once most of the front binding was sewn in place, I flipped it over and whip stitched the back binding, checking my corners as I go……..
I’ve sewn the sides of the tail together before sewing it into place on the back to make a hanging loop……I’ve given this one a couple of test runs and it’s perfect, just the right size to lift up pot and pan lids and hanging up in the kitchen it makes even the most grey and miserable morning seem a lot more jolly and bright.