Category Archives: Textiles

This category groups posts around my interest in textiles and textile design

Bring on the Log Cabin

No, sorry, I haven’t suddenly moved into a log cabin in the woods, although the idea is rather appealing, especially with Christmas on the horizon!  I’ve just been creating something a little different, which I shall share with you  in a moment.

I hope you’ve all had a creative week, and haven’t been suffering from too many winter chills if you are in the Northern Hemisphere.  I have now regained most of my voice and am no longer getting baffled looks from Higgins who obviously wondered why he should take any notice at that funny croaky noise.  Yesterday was grey and soggy, but ended like this…

Norfolk November sunset

which was most certainly a ‘Shepherd’s Delight’ as today is glorious.

I came home from the Farmers’ Market with some lovely local veggies …

Veg from the Farmers Market

which, together with a mixed pack of game (vegetarians look away now) has been turned into a massive pot of casserole which I hope will keep me going for most of the week.  I do appreciate being able to ‘Eat Local’ and while not everyone would want to eat rabbit, pigeon, pheasant etc, at least they had a happy existence as nature intended before ending up in the pot.  And there has to be some compensation for listening to guns going off most of the day in the surrounding fields.  The joys of country living!

I mentioned last week I have had some knitting on the go and I’ve just finished it and turned into a cushion.  I do like cushions, and the fact that I can’t actually put them on the sofa because I also have a small four-legged beast which chews the corners off (see this post and this one) doesn’t stop me making them.  I was just dozing off the other evening when an idea dropped into my head of a project which would be perfect for the Planet Penny Cotton and the next morning sent me off to raid the book shelves for the book I knew would help me achieve it.

Mason-Dixon Knitting Book

I’ve had this book since it came out in 2006 when I found it extremely hard to find brightly coloured cotton so now is the perfect time to revisit it.  (It’s still available, just click on the photo) But now I can make the log cabin of my dreams, in rainbow colour yarn!

Moss stitch Log Cabin

The log cabin knitting in the book is in garter stitch, which works well as it emphasises the directional nature of the knitting, but I do love moss stitch, the textural look and feel.

It’s now a cushion so I’ve tried it out on my wicker chair…

Log cabin moss stitch cushion

the sofa…

Log Cabin knitted moss stitch cushion

and the throw.

Log Cabin knitted cushion

I added the cross stitch to the design as it just seemed to need that little extra something.  I think it works.  And the back?  Well, I’ve been treasuring this little beauty for a while and this seemed the perfect place for it…

Island Girls - Alexander Henry Fabric 1999

If you are wondering it’s ‘Island Girls’, an Alexander Henry Fabric from 1999 which I bought when I was at Art School.  It really brightens up a November day!

I have this hankering for tassels at the corners, but I suppose it would just make them more enticingly chewable!

Coming soon is another book review.  If you saw the first episode of Kirstie Allsop’s new programme ‘Kirstie’s Vintage Home” you will have seen Lisa Comfort demonstrating the art of making a patchwork quilt and I have a copy of Lisa’s new book to tell you about.  This is probably a good reason why I should step away from the computer right now and do something about it!

I shall leave you with a link to Handmade Monday

See you soon….x

ReCraft – The Buttonbag Book

It’s been a busy few days…  I don’t often manage to delegate my responsibilities and get away from home, but last week I packed my overnight bag and headed off to the big city for a book launch.  The fabulous new book from the lovely ladies behind Buttonbag, called ReCraft.   The launch was held at the Oxfam D.I.Y. Shop in Camden High Street, which is a giant leap away from the Charity shops I have come across in the past, and almost demands a blog post of it’s own as you will see from the photographs…

Camden High Street Oxfam D I Y store

Arriving in London feeling a real country bumpkin, (not quite with a straw in my mouth) I was slightly nervous when I first turned up at the shop.  However, after a warm and friendly welcome and a glass of  a delicious and (highly potent) cocktail I had pinned on my name badge and was circulating happily…

…camera in one hand…

…and a sandwich in the other!

Buttonbag has been around for a while with it’s kits and haberdashery…

but ReCraft came about after it’s founders Sarah Marks and Sara Duchars undertook a project to design a range of craft kits for the charity Oxfam.  Having created all manner of lovely things from the armfuls of charity shop finds, cardigans and men’s stripey shirts, tweed skirts and curtains, plastic jewellery and old records the next step was to share the ideas in a book.

Recraft Book Cover

It was very nice to meet Sarah….

Sarah Marks, co-author of ReCraft

…wearing a dress made from three pairs of jeans, and Sara…

Sara Duchars, co-author of Recraft

…here modelling an amazing creation giving an old tweed coat a new and flattering lease of life.

The evening was like the best children’s party for grown-ups, yummy food and drink, nice new chums and then the opportunity to sit down and make pretty things!   I opted for the Fabric Flower Corsage …

making a flower corsage from ReCraft Book

flower corsage from ReCraft Book

…and liked it so much I made another one!

At other tables old silk ties were being turned into purses, and woolly jumpers into penguins…

Penguins seemed to be making a bit of a takeover bid, both in the book…

and in the shop…

And it was great to be able to see the pieces featured on the pages in real life…

(You’ll notice there’s always a dachshund!)

And the fab deckchair from the front cover…

There is also a project to make my dear OH very afraid, he has a ‘thing’ about shirts, he’s always buying them on Ebay, because they are a bargain.  He has DOZENS!!!! We have no where to store them all.  But they would look great if I did this…

…or even this…

So you can tell…I LOVE this book, it’s inspired me to go back to my sewing roots and be a bit inventive again, and re-enthused me to go back to some unfinished projects. (Like the child’s chair I was going to decoupage when my first grandson was on the way – he’s now 8!)   A definite 5 star recommendation and you can buy it here!

So the sewing machine is calling, and I’d better get back to being creative again….See you soon….x

Back in the Dye Bath…

D’you remember the fun I had couple of weeks customising  my bargain tunic top from Cotton Traders in this post?  Well I bought a couple more and I’ve been back in the dye bath with those packets of Dylon dye again.

I have to admit to initially being a teensy bit disappointed with the results, I rather thought I was going to get a deep lavender colour and a dark blue, and what I got was a pastel lavender and a rather grey blue…

dyed shirts

…and as you know I do like my saturated colours!  But rather than buying yet more dye and trying again I decided to go with the flow and see what I could do to make them more ‘me’.

Before I emptied my entire button collection out of the big (very!) box where they are stashed I remembered a little collection dating back several years from a little handmade dress shop in Norwich which unfortunately closed down.  I knew one day I’d have the project  which needed a selection of tiny fabric buttons and I only had to wait about 10 years for that moment to come!

I think I bought 300, well I’ve used 11 of them now, 289 to go!

As well as changing the original buttons, I’ve also stitch an extra one in between each of the functioning buttons and I really like the effect…

(looking at this next photo it’s actually just the colour I was hoping for…ho hum! )

The dark one?  Well I have a cunning plan, but haven’t quite executed it yet so watch this space!

It’s all been rather lovely here the past couple of days.  It always seems to happen when the children go back to school doesn’t it?

Norfolk field

I’m going to try and take Higgins out for a walk in few minutes.  It all went very wrong yesterday when we set out a good pace, got about 200 yards from the house and someone fired a gun several fields away.  Without flinching. or breaking stride Higgins wheeled round and headed back home at a brisk trot…and that was that!  Hopeless gun dog!

Back soon….x

Dolly Peg Dolls for Handmade Monday Revisited

If you’ve been visiting Planet Penny for a while you may remember that last year I had some fun with Dolly Peg Dolls and Dolly Peg Angels, and there is a ‘how-to’ in pictures in the Tutorial section of Planet Penny.  Well now it’s all in print, as I made this little lady…

for a tutorial in the October issue of The Dolls’ House Magazine!  And it’s out now!

Please excuse the fact that I’m very excited…

Dolls' House Magazine Dolly Peg doll feature Page 1

Dolls' House Magazine Dolly Peg doll feature Page 2

Dolls' House Magazine Dolly Peg doll feature Page 3

I think I’m going to have to make some more.  In fact we are having and Angels and Light Festival in our local church in the run up to Christmas, so I anticipate making several little Dolly Peg Doll Angels for that occasion.  There also some little ladies for sale over on Etsy!

The robins have been breeding well over the last week, it must be the weather…

a group of needlefelt robins

…and some more little robin wreaths are available on Etsy now

Three robins in twig rings

I’m gradually getting into the swing of things after all my sorting out.  I’m so tidy and organised now it makes all the difference being able to find the bits and pieces I want, long may it last!   Anyway, for now I’m going to leave you with a link to Handmade Monday over on Handmade Harbour, and take my poor neglected little dog out for a walk now the sun has come out at last.  I’m getting that ‘look’!

Miniature Dachshund

See you soon….x

A Pinboard for a New Term…

I don’t think it matters how long ago it is since you left school, the approach of September always feels much more like the beginning of a new year than the actual one in dreary old January!  And it’s so much more full of hope and possibility, we could have an ‘Indian Summer’ to make up for the lack of a British one, the evenings are still light, and it just feels like an optimistic new start.  So this has been a good time to get my little office up and running efficiently with pinboards, graphs and flow charts (pause to snort with derisive laughter!)  and slowly, slowly get on top of the teetering piles of paperwork.   It also means I can reclaim the studio space from being a dumping ground/spare room (thank goodness it was only Tim and I trying to shoehorn ourselves into the sofa bed!)   It now looks too tidy to use, even Higgins is surprised…

Miniature dachshund on a crochet cusion

…and here it is, I had to record it because it won’t last!

crochet throw on sofa

and in this one you can see the office at the end, it’s not ready for close inspection yet!

You might have noticed the old pinboard in the first photo, so full of stuff which had been there forever.

Very uninspiring, and in need of a makeover to celebrate the new look.  It was even more uninspiring once I’d taken off all the tatty bits and pieces…

You can see just how long some things had languished there by the interesting shadow effects!

So this is how the transformation took place, a quick and easy project as it only took a couple of hours.  All it took was some grey emulsion paint, I used a sample pot, and some white, I had plenty around as we’d been painting the studio.  Fabric and Bondaweb the size of the board, ribbon and glue and a few buttons.

After giving the board a wipe I painted the frame with the grey emulsion…

Once it dried I gave it a coat of white.  It doesn’t have to cover completely, just make sure that the brush strokes follow the shape of the frame.  Once it was dry I sanded it lightly to reveal some of the grey undercoat and polished it with beeswax.

I then cut a piece of Bondaweb to the size of the cork area of the pinboard and ironed to the back of my chosen fabric, in this case some jolly red and pink spotty Ikea fabric, peeled off the back of the Bondaweb and ironed the fabric directly on to the cork area…

To cover the raw edges I used a woven ribbon…

..and found just the right buttons to trim the corners.

Did you notice the Dove Christmas decoration on the old pinboard? That got a new lease of life…

…and the pinboard was ready to use…

Trouble is, it’s far too pretty to fill with Post-It notes, receipts and appointments, isn’t it?  So for now it looks like this…

 pinboard full of prettiness

…and I’ll probably have to buy another pinboard to use in the office!  Ho hum…

 

Crochet Mini Mice for Handmade Monday

crochet Mini Mice

When I introduced the Mini Mice on a Handmade Monday Post a month ago I had just finished making them, hadn’t written the pattern and was in the run up to Open Studios etc.  Definitely the last time I introduce something that isn’t in the final stages of going ‘live’!  Since then I have been asked over and over about the pattern, the kits and when I would have them available.  The thing is, I really want to get it right.   I don’t want to disappoint anyone with a pattern that doesn’t work or a kit which doesn’t look like fun, which is why I’ve been beavering away all week to get things ready for this post.

As you can imagine, the Crochet Mini Mice kits take a little while to build, and I had to find a way to supply the yarn so it’s tidy, but also looks attractive.

I now have a new little windy gadget and some cards.  Here’s the yarn in all it’s rainbow gorgeousness…

The Mini Mice kits will also contain the magnets, the stuffing, the eyes and noses and the all important pattern, enough to make 14 mouse magnets. All you will need is a 3mm hook and a needle and black thread.  I think my next quest will be to source a supplier for 3mm hooks as I’d love to be able to add those to the kits.

The pattern will be for sale on my new Etsy shop.  I’m sort of teetering in the middle at the moment between Etsy and Folksy.  Because I have so many visitors from the US, Etsy seems to be more geared toward that market, while being very user-friendly for the UK and other places.  Does anyone else have any thoughts or experiences about this? I’d love to hear from you if you do.

If you have previously bought a full pack of the Planet Penny Cotton Club yarns from me and would like a copy of the pattern, do let me know and I will send you a copy free of charge.

I will be putting the kits on Etsy this week at £17.50, but as an introductory offer I have 5 to sell at the special price of £15.00 on a strictly first come, first served basis.  If you would like to buy one, please contact me through the Planet Penny Contact Form.

groups of crochet Mini Mice

I was all set to leave you with the links to Handmade Monday over on Handmade Harbour where you will find all sorts of crafty goings on, but I embarked on a mini project today inspired by the lovely Penelope by the Sea on her blog L is for Love.

She has been Noticing Yellow this weekend so I popped out for half an hour to see what ‘yellow’ I too could notice.  Quite a lot as it happens…

What a lovely sunshiney end to the week!

See you soon…x

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