Category Archives: sewing

Happy Friday Number 15

Eek!  A whole week gone, it’s Happy Friday time again!

Every week I intend to fit in at least one other post and I just don’t know where the time goes… Anyway, here’s a little potted summary of Planet Penny goings on.

The lovely bag of yarn last week?  The Silk & Wool blogger (sorry I don’t know your name) was asking about my project and here’s a sneak peek…crochet for Happy FridayAbout a month ago I mentioned that I had been asked to contribute to a crochet website but was still waiting to hear more.  Well, it’s really real!  I’m going to one of three bloggers on the site, and this will be my first ‘make’.  I’ll let you know all the details as soon as it goes live, but it’s one of the things which has kept me busy this week.

Springtime Happy FridaySpring has really sprung here in Norfolk, and it’s been wonderful to have a few days when I can have the doors open in the studio and enjoy the fresh air.  Higgins likes it too, but always manages to get on the wrong side of a closed door and then summons me with an imperious ‘WUFF’!

And I’ve found my sewing mojo!  Being tall I always struggle to find something as long as I like off the peg, but this fabulous pattern from Merchant and Mills is perfect, and very adaptable.Merchant & Mills

My practice run recycled two tops from the back of the wardrobe which weren’t quite right for various reasons and were never worn.   Reinvented, I’m want to wear it all the time!Merchant & Mills pattern recycled linen Happy Friday And I rediscovered Croft Mill, a company from which I used to buy lots of fabric years ago when I was sewing for the children,  and bought some fabulous fabric…

Coates Fabrics for Happy FridaySo all in all, It’s a very Happy Friday for me…how about you?

Please join in with the Linky below, and tell us all about what has made you smile this week.  Don’t forget to link back to this post in your own so that people can find all the other links.  

I don’t want to add a grumpy note, but I’m still getting people joining in with irrelevant posts which don’t mention Happy Friday anywhere, and the whole point of this is to link up like minded people and find new blogs to follow, so please play fair…

But enough of all that, have a very Happy Friday and a lovely weekend x


Planet Penny Cotton – FABRIC!

Fabric? yes..  now there’s a change!  This is something which has been simmering on the back boiler for a while and now I’m taking the plunge and telling you all about it.

I’ve made a couple of cushions over the last few months using the Planet Penny Cotton yarn to make the fronts and then finding a suitably brightly coloured fabric for the back.  I find it works really well, looks striking and makes a really simple opening on the cover so it’s easy to remove for washing.

this is the Granny Square crochet cushion

Planet Penny Cotton crochet cushion

…and for the back I used a much loved piece of Provençal print from my stash…

Provençal print fabric backThe Log Cabin Moss Stitch cushion which I later knitted…

Planet Penny Cotton moss stitch Log Cabin cushion…I backed with another treasured piece of Alexander Henry print fabric…

Alexander Henry Print fabric cushion back

…although this time I didn’t have quite enough material to make the envelope back.

But I’ve been thinking for a while it would be good to find a range of fabric which complemented the Planet Penny Rainbow colours and over the last months I have been working on it.  It still needs a little tweaking but I think I found some really pretty bright and more subtle colours and prints which I hope you like too.

The fabric has a lovely smooth finish, it’s gorgeous quality and I threw my sample pieces in the washing machine with a white towel to test them, with no colour loss and no shrinkage so I’m happy to recommend it to you.

I have in mind not only cushion backs, but linings for crochet and knitted bags, cheerful bunting, soft toys and accessories which will tie in with the blankets, throws and of course mice and  garlands made from the Planet Penny Cotton Yarn.

I found a great little pattern to share with you whilst trawling through Pinterest which shows of the fabric a treat, and have made a whole flock of birds!

And here they are…

pink fabric birds

blue green fabric birds

multi Fabric birdsI had a lot of fun getting them to roost in my little tree…

blue fabric birds in tree

pink Fabric birds in tree

multi fabric birds in tree

The fabrics will be available in packs of 4 assorted fat quarters from the Planet Penny Etsy shop and I will be listing them gradually over the next week or so, no two alike, so keep your eye out to see what’s on offer!  This is just a sample….

planet Penny Fabric and miceIf you like the birds, you can find the pattern here, they are easy and lots of fun.

This is a bit of a leap of faith so I’d really like to know what you think, and I’ll be back soon…x

 

 

Daisy, Daisy….

Daisy

I promised a daisy post and while they are still shining vibrantly in the lane I’m fitting in this little post.

I love daisies, don’t you?  They are the simplest flower, their shape is the one we first learn to draw, the one we doodle while we are on the phone.  They are a link to childhood… did you sit on the school playing field in the sun making daisy chains with friends as I did?  And they have become very much linked with the Open Studios season, as each year the edge of the lane leading to the studio is lined with a mass of Ox Eye Daisies…

ox eye daisy down the lane

Daisy and dog

Last year Kit, my Open Studios partner-in-crime, was inspired by the daisies as you can see from this post  and turned her sketches into a beautiful little etching.   I treated myself to a pack of cards as they are perfect for personalised letters…

Daisy Card

And that would have been all, but for the new book which I reviewed last weekend.  Caroline Zoob, writing in the The Hand-Stitched Home featured a beautiful curtain, patchworked from vintage lawn and lace.

The Hand-Stitched Home curtain

 It would take ages to amass such a wonderful collection but, nothing daunted, I called into our local charity shop just in case someone had been clearing out Miss Haversham’s attic!

Well, they hadn’t..but in a pile of textile odds and end I found a little crumpled treasure which, carefully washed, starched and ironed revealed…daisies!  It’s a wonderful piece of hand stitched cut work on fine lawn, a little frayed in places but this, I think, adds to the charm…

daisy cutwork

Unfortunately my name isn’t Susan…

cut work Susanbut for 25 pence – 25 PENCE! – that’s a minor detail…

cutwork cloth

I have been debating for a week or two what to put in the little window in the new door into my office.  I’m not a fan of nets, I didn’t want to lose the light but I just wanted to hide the interior from prying eyes if anyone called while I was out.  This small piece is perfect and with the help of some  pins I covered with vintage fabric a while ago I have my own little bright white curtain…

lace and pin

lace and pins

pin and lace

window with cutwork cloth

And 25p was well spent, I think you’ll agree!

If you’ve been inspired, there’s still a chance for you to win a copy of The Vintage Home.  Visit the post and leave a comment, what’s your sewing story?

 

The Hand-Stitched Home – Book Review

The Hand-Stitched Home - Cover

I promised you a lovely book to coo over and The Hand-Stitched Home by Caroline Zoob ticks all the boxes.

I’ve had very little time to exercise my sewing muscles lately and had rather forgotten how much I enjoy it so leafing through Caroline Arber’s beautiful photographs discovering the projects within was a real pleasure.

Do you hand sew?  Is it something you love or do out of necessity?  Sometimes it’s so easy just to get the sewing machine out and wizz around a few seams, or as I did over half term to piece together a spectacular tear on some nearly new tracksuit bottoms which had come off worse in a tree climbing related incident!

I had a very mixed introduction to the craft of stitching.  Being left handed my school experience was almost entirely negative.  Whole lessons miserably stitching a ‘blind’ hem with a length of thread grubby and grey from countless pulling out.  And, being made to wear a thimble on my right hand because that was where they were worn!  (I was nearly an adult before I found out what they were actually for!)  However, during the school holidays I stayed with my left-handed grandmother, Bam-mum (who never used a thimble)  and she introduced me to a love of stitching which has never gone away despite school’s best efforts.

Caroline Zoob’s book is all for pleasure, little hand-stitched treasures giving a new lease of life to vintage fabrics which then become part of the fabric of the home.  From tiny projects such as this Heart Key Fob…

Heart Key Fob - The Hand-Stitched Home…delicately stitched shelf edging…

Shelf edging - The Hand-Stitched Home..and pretty egg-cosy made from felted wool blanket fabric…

egg-cosy - The Hand-Stitched Home

..to larger pieces such as cushions, curtains and table runners there are plenty of ideas which you can use to inspire you to use and recycle pretty fabrics, trimmings, buttons and precious scraps of fabric.

Be aware that the instructions for some of the more complicated pieces do presume a fairly sound knowledge of basic sewing skills. However, this is book about hand stitching and embroidery and there is a lot of help and inspiration  for even a novice at decorative stitching.  And of course the joy of a book like this is that it is positive encouragement to go off and brush up on or learn new skills!

Vintage scraps - The Hand-Stitched Home

And what was my inspiration?  Well, it was daisies.  I’m planning to feature daisies in the next blog post for reasons which will be explained, but this was the image in the book which inspired me…

Daisy tree - The Hand-Stitched Home

It’s so pretty and simple.  I had a frame which I bought months ago in a closing down sale, and a remnant of linen so I spent a happy evening with my box of embroidery threads and this was the result…

Daisy tree 2 - Then Hand-Made Home

So, I’m sure you would love to get your hands on a copy of this book.  And you can because the lovely people at the Aurum Publishing Group have a copy to send to one lucky person.  It could be you!  I’d love to hear your sewing story, what got you stitching?   Was it love at first stitch, or a gradual blossoming?  Simply share your story in the comments, and next weekend you could be the winner!

This week I’m linking up again with Handmade Monday over on Handmade Harbour so follow the links there to discover lots more creative people and ideas.

I’m off to the studio now to get ready for the last day of Open Studios.  If you are in the area we’d love to see you, but if not I’ll be back here soon…x

 

Sew Over It – Book Review

Sew Over It by Lisa Comfort This is the second of the books I was sent to review a few weeks ago, and it’s timely to do so now as Lisa Comfort has recently appeared in Kirstie Allsop’s new Channel 4 Show, Kirstie’s Vintage Home. Sew over it Shop I grew up in the era when home skills were taught in school, Domestic Science, we learnt to sew, dress-make and cook.  I do have to admit to being hopeless whilst at school, but as a young married mum without a lot of cash it soon made sense to have the skills to repair and alter clothes, recycle dresses into baby clothes and run up a pair of curtains.  Most women’s  magazines had knitting patterns, some gave away paper patterns for dress making and amazing part work series were published teaching all sorts of skills from embroidery to macrame!  (Such a useful skill – macrame plant pot holder anyone?)

All that seemed to get swept away in a great feminist rage against being hemmed in by domesticity to the point where you had to hide any desire to occupy yourself with a little light embroidery, and ‘homemade’ was considered an insult.  Schools did away with cookery classes and sewing lessons and a whole generation were left without useful life skills such as sewing on a button or cooking.

That’s why I’m loving this whole re-emergence of making and upcycling, creating and recycling which is movement of the moment and Lisa Comfort’s book fits right in as an ideal starting point for anyone wanting to dip their toe in the creativity pool. Lisa Comfort in Sew Over It Shop Lisa charts her beginnings from stitching with her child-minder through the London College of Fashion to her sewing café and shop in Clapham, South London where she teaches the skills to be found in this book. If you’ve never threaded a needle let alone sewn on a button, never fear. Lisa starts you off at the very beginning introducing you to the needle and thread, the mysteries of the sewing machine, customising and altering your clothes, making accessories and finally measuring yourself and making a skirt from scratch.

Sew Over It Contents PAge

This is not a book for a seasoned dressmaker but I would definitely recommend this to a complete sewing novice needing a virtual hand to hold and guidance starting out on their sewing journey.  Probably it would be helpful to have a hands on lesson if you’ve never used a sewing machine but I believe shops like John Lewis offer this when you buy a machine from them.  Apart from that, all that is needed is a little imagination and Lisa’s know how and tips. The projects are clearly illustrated and explained, and the book as a whole is colourful and appealing, the photography is inspiring, a great Christmas present idea for a aspiring stitcher !

The ‘Sew Over It’ book is published by Ebury Press and available to buy from Lisa’s on-line shop of the same name, (which is a rather dangerous place to visit if you happen to like fabrics, and buttons, and haberdashery….)

 

 

Hearts and Flowers

This is going to be a very short post.  We’re still coming back down to earth after a wonderful wedding weekend, and I haven’t got my head together enough to process photos, or write much.  I hope you’ll forgive me, there’s lots of other news as well, so I’ll wait for the champagne bubbles to clear out of my system so I can write properly!

Thanks so much for those many sun dances and fair weather vibes being sent our way after the last post.  It worked!  After days of truly dreadful weather, the wedding day was as bright and shiny as anyone could have wished for.

We spent Friday afternoon decorating the venue, and serendipity decreed that the 60, yes – SIXTY- metres of bunting I had stitched was exactly the right length to do the whole room, not one flag too many or few.  ( I of course, tried very hard to pretend it was down to careful planning!)

I also stitched many metres of paper hearts for the doors so my sewing machine was not happy, but it looked pretty!  The bride’s mother did beautiful things with flowers and between the combined families we transformed the room.

The main thing I made for the wedding I have given a little hint of it in the Silent Sunday post, but I’ll save the main photos for the next post.  Don’t forget to come back for a peek!

In the meantime I will leave you with a link to this week’s Handmade Monday which Wendy is now hosting on her new blog, Handmade Harbour so you can see what else has been going on, and also a tiny glimpse of a wonderful, magical day …

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