Monthly Archives: January 2012

A gentle sewing day

Who could say no to ‘a gentle sewing day, using vintage patterns and traditional embroidery stitches’? Not me! Today I spent a wonderfully exciting and relaxing day in the company of a dozen would-be embroiderers at Country Threads in Bath.

Teacher Jan set the scene with vintage embroidery, 1930s ceramics and collectables and even period music. To welcome the class, name badges were set out in mini crinoline lady place holders. Heaven!

Most of us had some knowledge of basic embroidery stitches, so while Jan brought the complete beginners up to speed, we started the tricky business of deciding what to stitch. There were piles and piles of incredible old embroidery transfers to choose from. Some very British and some very French. It was fascinating to see how differently the ladies of these two countries were using the same skills around 80 years ago. The French monograms were stunning but a bit complex for our ‘gentle’ day. (I would love to know more about how these elaborate 3D confections were created. Please share if you have such know-how.)

I have to confess to being rather overwhelmed and it must have taken a good half hour to decide on the rather modest little chain of forget-me-nots you can see in progress below. I envisaged creating a vintage shelf edge but as you can see, I still have some way to go. It only uses three simple stitches, so I will persevere.

Jan was kind enough to let us copy any of the transfers we wanted to take home, so I’ve stored up a dinky cut-work oak leaf and acorn, a cheeky little deer, and a 1930s house with hollyhock-packed garden for when time permits.

Many of my fellow stitchers also brought along inherited pieces for a lovely show-and-tell session. It was heartening to see that so many hours of work were so treasured and even half-finished pieces were being given new life as the stitchers of today took up the challenge to complete them. If my work is passed on in this way, I can promise to keep future generations busy for quite some time!

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Guardian debut!

I’m too excited to keep this to myself or be even remotely modest. My fabric apples and pears, made for Mollie Makes last autumn, are staring in the Guardian Life & Style section. Discovering this was actually my second treat of the day. This morning I found that photos of my fruity pin cushions are also covering the beautiful new slip case binders made to hold copies of Mollie.

Thank you to everyone who has stopped by from the Guardian. Welcome!

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Wrapping up in stripes

At last some wintry weather! I’m not a great fan of the cold but find myself disorientated by the way our seasons are blurring. Crisp, bright winter days are the very best kind. With chilly days in mind, I’ve knitted this little stripy number for a very young man of my acquaintance (a mere four months old!).

It’s a pattern from Debbie Bliss’s Ecobaby book. As a relatively novice knitter I was pleased to find this quite simple and the teeny size made it wonderfully quick too. I swapped the recommended cotton yarn for Baby Cashmerino to make sure the little chap keeps cosy.

This pattern was a bit of a first for me as I’d never been left in charge of a circular needle before. This was used to create the sailor collar and did mess with my brain a little at first but proved ok. (Still can’t quite imagine knitting fully in the round but it’s on my ambition list.) My personal touch was to reverse the pattern of the collar so that when it’s turned over, it matches the stripes of the body.

Cold days make me dream of new knitting projects. Today I’ve joined Ravelry, which modestly calls itself ‘a community site and organisational tool’. My my, it’s so much more. If you’re even vaguely into knitting or crochet, do join but be prepared to be sucked in and mysteriously loose several hours. If only websites worked like Narnia so that when you return from days of adventure, no real time has passed at all!

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