Tuesday 22 September 2009

Fancy a Cuppa?

Hi all. I've just made a cuppa, do you fancy one?
This is the tea corner.
Everyone has one, don't they?
A designated tea and coffee corner.
The teabags still doing its thing in the mug, so I'm stood waiting for it. (Please excuse the old, used teabags in the brown pot!) Gosh its a bit dark and gloomy here today. I've had to put the lamp on to see what I'm doing!

Look! Gloomy, gloomy, gloomy!
Lets have a look at something a bit more cheerful.

This is my knitting basket.
Full of crochet!
Would you like to take a peek the 'accidental blanket'

Here it is.
It's called the 'accidental blanket' because I started it accidentally whilst teaching a friend how to crochet. I had no intention of making another blanket. Well you know how it is. I had the yarn and the hooks out showing her what to do... and then I needed something to keep me calm on the 4 hour car journey to my brothers house the next day... and Bobs your uncle I was hooked. (Excuse the pun) I think it's the rhythm, you just can't stop. Before you know it that yarn is wrapped around your hook again! So I'm making it up as I go along. No plan. Just doing!

Look at this.
Child #2 is home from school.
Straight to the 'hot chocolate' corner!
She doesn't know I've taken this photo.
So I'll be trouble when she finds out! Teehee!

Thursday 17 September 2009

Quintessentially England

Yes that sums up this post - quintessentially English. Union Jacks, embroidered tea cloths and mad dogs.

I really shouldn't leave it so long between posts. I've had to upload so many pictures from my camera that I'm really not sure where to start! So I think I'll start with the picture above. This is my latest cushion. 

I'm pleased with the way this one turned out, although it did use rather a lot of lace!
This isn't the only cushion that I've made since my last post. I've been very industrious.
Isn't this embroidery beautiful?

It is by no means the best quality embroidery I've seen, or own, (I'll show you my 'best'embroidered linens one day) but still isn't it beautiful?
I love old embroidered linens. The hours and hours of work involved. Such care and love that originally went into them. I have quite a lot of embroidered linen now and each one is different. Each one almost tells a little story; I look at the quality of the background linen and I'm sure each woman who invested as many hours as these would take, purchase the best quality she could afford. The quality varies greatly from thick crisp linen to floppy crinkly 'crash'. I then look at the quality of the embroidery itself. Some have baggy loose stitching, or over large stitches; was it done by someone just learning or a lady of advanced years who's eyesight might be failing?
I look at how many strands of thread have been used. How many different stitches can I see. The colours chosen. Each embroidery is a signature every bit as much as ink on paper.

Unfortunately 90% of the cloths that find their way to me look like it's been a very long time since anyone looked at them never mind loved or even used them!

The majority of them arrive with stains, or orange rust marks. Quite often the corners are torn or the edging is coming away. Some have patches of wear or bald areas of embroidery and others have just one colour of embroidery thread that has disintegrated (usually green).

Most of them smell stale and fusty and have obviously been stuffed at the back of the least used cupboard for years, forgotten and unloved.


I soak every embroidery overnight before washing it. Then I take great joy in hanging them outside on the washing line where I can see the sun shining through silhouetting the embroidery. I sometimes wonder what my neighbours think when I have a line full of 'old lady linen'! Lol!

I find the best time to inspect the linen for wear and tear, stains and marks, holes and tears is whilst carefully ironing it.

What shall I do with these linens now? The ones that are torn and stained? Should I fold them up and store them in the back of another cupboard for a couple more decades unseen, as the previous owner did?

NO! They are still beautiful even if too worn and marked their original use.
This is when I take another look at them, are there parts of the embroidery that is still sound? Can I 'up-cycle' it and make it into something that can be used every day and loved again? Can I give it a second life?
YES! Of course I can. It takes me a loooong time though as I have to use every inch of embroidery and linen that I possibly can. There can be no waste. These linens are far too precious. I have to use the embroidery the best way I can.

That includes the back of the cushion. I try and make the whole cushion from the same piece of linen. (which can be quite a challenge). I love the neat edging on the cloths and have bags next to my chair where I stash every spare inch of embroidery and edging that I trim off. Nothing can be wasted, it's too precious.
What do you think?
.Would you enjoy seeing this embroidery in its new form sitting on your sofa or bed every day?
Would you cherish it?

Would it make you smile as you caught a glimpse of it as you passed the sofa?

Would you love it?

Does it deserve a second life?

Or should it be in the back of a cupboard?
Sneaky Dog's not allowed anywhere near my pretty cushions but she does like a sun lounger when she's sunbathing!
Whether or not somebody else was already on it!

Friday 4 September 2009

It's no good if your not happy with it!

And I wasn't! But I am now!
I'm talking about the cushion cover. It was too large and baggy in the last post so I've altered it and now it is much better. It fits nice and tightly, pulling the fabric flatter. I am happy with it now.
This is the back.

Yes, that's much better.
This is my first attempt at bunting. It's been hanging around (no pun intended) half finished on my sewing table for weeks and weeks.

It was waiting for some wide cotton tape, but as I live out in the sticks, shopping trips are few and far between. Then when I did get to the nearest haberdashery shop, they didn't have any! AAAARGH!!!
Anyway it's finished now and hanging in the kitchen.
We've just had our annual 2 weeks holiday, which was spent here in Blighty travelling around visiting relatives. As you know I am extremely organised, so 30 seconds before we departed on our 4 hour car journey I grabbed some wool left over from my granny blanket, a hook, and a pair of scissors and hastily stuffed them into the foot well of the car.

As I said, being so organised (not) I had no idea what I was going to make, but being a real panic pants in the car (you really wouldn't want to travel with me) I need something to keep me occupied and stop me cringing every time a lorry pulls level with us.
I decided I'd have a go at some squares like Lucy's at Attic24 that are crocheted together as you go, removing the need to sew them all together at the end. Only being soooo organised I had no idea of Lucy's pattern. Anyway I'm rather chuffed to say that I worked out my own pattern. ( well I did have an uninterrupted 4 hours)
I also feel obliged to tell you, that I've never done so much frogging in my life before either!!!
( I can hear you laughing!)
Not quite sure how far this project will get but for the moment I'm enjoying it, and it's costing me nothing.
Love Fi x

Tuesday 1 September 2009

Tilda Cushion

Hello my lovelies.
Can you believe it's Autumn already! I feel so cheated! What happened to Summer? Anyway that's not what I wanted to talk about today. Actually I didn't know what to talk about today, I have some lovely photos of a trip out or I could show you my latest crochet project which I started quite by accident, or I could share my 'Tilda' cushion.
Tilda cushion I think.
This little project started with a bag of memory foam pieces my Dad brought me. I must say I thought he was slightly bonkers when he handed me a bin liner half full of pieces of foam he'd ripped off his new pillow whilst trying to make it more comfortable to sleep on. Now I come from a family where we don't throw anything away without taking a good look at it to see if it can be useful in any way. Though I did think he'd gone a step too far with this one, but I accepted it graciously with one eyebrow raised.

Well. You were right Dad. I did find a use for it. It actually made a really comfortable, squishy cushion. Just a small round one. I made a circular one as I'd seen the new Tilda, Sew Sunny Homestyle book on Hens blog which has a circular gathered cushion cover in it. Ideal to use up my bag of foam. Thanks Hen for sharing your book purchase.

I raw edge appliqued this big rose onto a lace edged linen doily for the centre of the cover.

And used some Cath Kidston fabric.

With wide red satin ribbon.
I'm a little disappointed with the finished cover as it would have gathered up more is I'd used a lighter fabric. (see Hens, they're gorgeous) but I'll know better next time.