Friday, October 21, 2016

Pincushion time!

Do you have a wicker basket full of pincushions?
I love pincushions and needle-books even if they don't get used because they seem to possess a sense of domesticity, comfort and care. No matter where they lay throughout my home there's an instant picture being painted in my mind's eye of womanly productivity and delight. In fact, I simply tingle with joy at any evidence of sewing no matter whose house I'm blessed to be in. 

Which is why I'm spending a month making pincushions.
It's lovely offering six stitcheries through the Club each month, but how much fun to be given four different pincushion patterns too?

They'll be different sizes, different styles, different  colour schemes...but they'll all be pincushions.
In fact, I'll even share tutorials here on the blog in November.

These are the first two I've made.

Spring Bouquet (because it's Spring in Australia right now)...

This pincushion is nice and firm and I've added quilt binding around the sides for stability and a polished appearance. 

Pretty Poppies (because we're getting close to Remembrance Day)...

This is a nice big pincushion with front pocket for storing scissors and other bits and pieces, great for taking to your sewing group...

If you'd like to become a member of The Stitchery Club all info is over here.

I was going to sew a third stitchery into a pincushion this afternoon but got sidetracked de-cluttering the walk in wardrobe instead, then once I'd gotten into the groove of re-organising it seemed silly to stop so I pulled everything out of the linen cupboard and continued on!

At 2.30 Mr E (who had been working outside on the Jeep) came upstairs and asked about lunch. Oops! I do tend to forget about food when I'm on a mission.
Guess the sewing will wait for the weekend. In the meantime, my wardrobe and the linen cupboard look great and the car boot is loaded up with goodies for the Salvos. 

Is there a room or cupboard in your home that needs a clean out?
Why don't you make a point of getting to it before the end of the month?
My next task is the bathroom cabinet.
And I better scrub the bath while I'm there. Darn.

Have a lovely weekend no matter what you get up to!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Christmas stitchery for you...


You watched me make the stitchery in this Christmas design back here but at the time I was still unsure of how I would border it as a mini quilt.

Once that blog post was published and I returned to my sewing room the answer was clear...a simple floral border was all it needed, and a coordinating fabric from the same range as one of the gold tonal prints proved perfect.

I was also able to mix pink buttons with the red I'd originally chosen to use between the leaves of the wreath...

Want to make your own "Glory to God" mini quilt?

Download the free pattern here in my shop until December 31st.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Tutorial - the 20 minute table runner...

About two years ago I bought many yards of Robert Kaufman's Essex Linen to see what it was like.
I use a similar cotton & linen blend fabric for most of my stitcheries, something we call Hanky Linen in Australia (though it is more of a tea towel weight than a hanky weight), but there was a bit of buzz about Mr Kaufman's linen and my curiosity got the better of me so off went an online order and within a week a lovely parcel arrived from the USA.

It's lovely, truly, and I did stitch a few designs on it, but it is a closer weave than our Australian hanky linen and not quite as easy to embroider on, especially if like me you have some osteo-arthritis in the fingers.

So Mr Kaufman's linen blend has been sitting patiently in my large box of stitchery background fabric for quite a while waiting for me to find some good honest use for it. Like I said, it's LOVELY! 
But just not right for me and what I do for a living.

Until yesterday.

It occurred to me that the solid weight of the Essex Linen would be perfect for a non-quilted table runner, or even smart tea towels. In fact, it's kinda fancy when you think about it, and totally elegant if you choose the right fabrics for trimming.

One yard of the linen will make four of these table runners.

Shall we start?

Divide the yard of linen into four fat quarters, and let's begin with the first fat quarter.

(If you're using a different fabric I'd cut any size you think you'll need for your table, or of you need specifics try a piece of white fabric 18" x 22")

One end has a selvedge whilst the other three have raw edges. Think of that selvedge as one end of your table runner, and sew a doubled 1/4" hem down both sides of the fabric.

The opposite end of the selvedge side will still have a raw edge. 
Cut two co-ordinating strips of fabric 2 1/2" wide and one inch longer than the width of your table runner.
I chose some leftover jelly roll strips from my Tilda scrap box...

Lay one piece right side down along the wrong side of the raw edge end of your table runner. Sew the fabric and linen together with a 1/4" seam.

Press the fabric away from the linen.

Sew your second piece of fabric along the edge of your first and press the seams open.

Press a 1/4" hem along the edge of the second fabric, and down the sides of the two fabrics.

Fold the fabrics over to the right side of your linen and press.

Choose you machine threads carefully. My linen was white so I chose white thread for my bobbin.
My fabrics had a lot of aqua/green so I chose that colour for the top thread.
This meant the back of my table runner would be completely white when I finished it.

Sew a 1/4" line outside the edge of the runner and either side of the seam between the two fabrics. 

Cut a piece of cotton lace the same width as your table runner and position it just inside the top edge of the second fabric.

Carefully sew the lace and fabric hem to the linen runner.

Sew a single length of 2 1/2" wide fabric to the other end of the linen table runner, right side of the fabric to the wrong side of the runner (as you did in the beginning).

Fold a hem across the top of the fabric and down the sides. Press and fold over to the right side of the runner. Sew across the top and sides with a 1/4" seam.

Here's how it looks from the back. Nice and white because I used white thread in my bobbin.

I loved how this turned out... I made another straight away!

You could use any fabric to make yourself one (or more) of these very simple and quick table runners, but I do love the clean lines of the white Essex linen in these two so I'm going to make more as Christmas gifts.

I think they'd be wonderful for fetes, Mothers Day, or a craft stall at the local market too, don't you?

I bought my Essex Linen at and it was about $9 a yard.
It comes in loads of colours so I may venture online and get some more in pastels...mmm.
Will I, won't I??? Decisions!

Are you after more simple projects that can be made up quickly?
My dear friend Fee is sharing regular tutorials on her blog through the rest of the month and into November to help us with Christmas gift giving.

Why don't you give her a visit!
Visit Fee HERE.

Mr E's Jeep has developed a severe case of 'car troubles' so here were are into the third of his four week holiday break and still no road trip. 
Parts are being flown in from Germany, the USA and Melbourne but are yet to reach Mr E.
That's why I'm blogging more than I thought I would be during October. We simply haven't gone away.

Praying they arrive tomorrow, or the next day...and then he'll spend time fixing the Jeep With No Name (first car Mr E's owned that he's not given a name) and if we're very blessed we could find ourselves hitting the highway, or a forgotten track in the Misty Mountains this time next week.
Like I said, we're praying. 


Monday, October 17, 2016

Sewing for the home...

I'm on the lookout for projects that I can make for my home, things that catch my eye and make me smile, things that speak to my homemaker heart. You know what I mean?

Like this beautiful "Scrappy Plates" pattern by Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill Designs. 
It's the sweetest Dresden plate quilt I've seen, which could be due to the fabrics she chose or the simple layout - but it gives me goosebumps of delight so I've printed off the free patterns and will think about making it a Friday afternoon 'just for me' project next year. 
The patterns are HERE
Thanks Anne!

Every January I purchase new kitchen tea towels and I always embellish a few with stitchery, applique or a fabric trim.
This cute tea pot embroidery on a tea towel caught my eye on Pinterest so I followed the link and discovered the designer, Carrie of Chicken Soup Designs. She shares this design as a freebie so be sure to thank her if you download it.
Love the lime!

I'm also going to make a bunch of new scatter cushions for the couch and the bedroom.
There's no links for these (found on Pinterest) but I like the ideas...

And maybe I'll sew a few hanging hearts like this to hang from drawer knobs?

Mostly I want to make simple things, but I like the idea of a Dresden quilt as a feature for our living room couch so perhaps this time next year it will be done if I carve out a couple of hours once a week to devote soley to this project? I hope so. Dresden plates and Churn Dash blocks are my favourites because they add a very homely feel to any room.

I suppose having said this I should pull out my box of 30's churn dash blocks and finish them as a quilt? I made these in 2009/10...ah, how patient they are to wait for me. I always have the best intentions, but it's the time needed to complete this plan that eludes me.

What simple sewing or craft ideas do you have to create a 'homely' feeling within the house?


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Working on a Christmas mini...

The combination of gold and tealy-green fabrics caught my eye last week as I was tidying my fabric shelves and planning a mini quilt design to share on the blog before Christmas this year.

I had the idea of another wreath (see last year's wreath)  but this time with applique, buttons and embroidered wording.
I began this wreath by cutting 2 1/2" wide strips from both gold fabrics and sewing them together for the wreath background. Then I traced the words "glory to God in the highest" across the centre...

...before fusing little wreath leaves around the words.

The leaves were appliqued with a teal green thread...

...and the wording was backstitched using a slightly darker thread.

Now I'm sorting through my button box for about 24-30 buttons of varying sizes in red tones...

...but I won't sew them in place until I ad a border to the mini quilt and I'm still undecided on what that will look like.

So far this is coming together as I imagined it in my mind, but I may need a nice block of chocolate to boost more imaginings for the border!
Any ideas?

Hope your weekend has brought many sewing ideas to fruition.