An embroidered Wildflower Garden Project Bag

Making Magazine.jpg

I may have mentioned to you before how much I liked the bi annual magazine 'Making' and this week I got the new spring issue.   As usual, it is to swoon over....indefinitely.  Packed full of beautiful, contemporary makes, both knitting and sewing, it is just gorgeous. Curated by Carrie Bostock Huge and Ashley Yousling, it aims to celebrate real handcraft in an organic way.  Most of the projects have a natural bias - homespun yarn, hand dyed fabrics etc. and all with practical everyday uses.   My collection of these mags is fast becoming a much treasured one.   This issue is based all around 'colour' - one of my favourite subjects for sure!   Colour fascinates me and I still have that feeling when I look at a palette of colours, whether it be fabric or thread or yarn, just like I did as a little girl and I got a new pack of felt tip pens for colouring.    I love how colours interact to create wonderful effects, how it reflects personality, culture, country.   Anyhow this time, the first project that I just couldn't wait to start is a hand embroidered project bag by Melissa Wastney.  We are going on holiday to Cornwall next week, so the idea of a project bag to take a little hand sewing was perfect.    I took the one in the book as a base starting point and using some of the wonderful Robert Kaufman 'Essex Yarn Dyed linen' in Rust, I set out to create my own wildflower garden.   Mixing coloured thread and textured stitches, I embroidered sprigs of little flowers and peppered my garden with some butterflies in vibrant colours.   This kind of embroidery is often found in Japanese embroidery books and is always beautiful.  I like the free flowing format of randomly placing the motifs, but I probably like it really because it reminds me of all those beautiful chintz fabrics from the 18th century that had sprigs of hand painted flowers on them.  When the front was done I looked at the instructions for making up the bag and realised that I had never made such a bag before.  It was an easy make, and putting a contrasting casing band on the top to match the lining was a lovely touch from the designer.   I used a soft pale green ditsy print from 'Fig tree' for mine and it softened everything beautifully.

Rust linen 4.JPG

Another recent epiphany in the sewing room as been 'woven' interfacing.  I had never used it before last week and it is such a fantastic product I can hardly believe I didn't know about it.  I had always used the iron-on non woven sort before, which is sort of like a  paper type material, but this Pellon SF101 is absolutely fab.  I found it easier to apply than the non woven interfacing and in a way a more natural choice - fabric on fabric.   I used it for this bag, attaching it to both the lining pieces and the front and back pieces, giving the linen and the lining some structure.

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embroidered lavender sachet 2.JPG

When it was finished I decided to add on a little lavender bag to help keep my project bag fresh.  I first saw this idea in a Japanese embroidery book and it is absolutely charming.  It is made up of two simple  discs, on the back of one there is an opening outlined with buttonhole stitch, which allows you to pop a tiny sachet of lavender in.  The front disc is embroidered with a design of your choice and then they are stitched right sides together leaving a small opening for pulling through.  Once you have tidied this up, you can simply slip the lavender sachet inside.   Ingenious, I think.  A great addition to coat hangers, but also a bag like this - you can simply pop it in or outside your bag.  You can find the sachets on amazon (of course!!!!).

embroidered lavender sachet 1.JPG

 I took time and care with the make and actually when it was finished it was such a simple thing, but really quite exquisite.    I am always astounded by how I learn all the time and what I have learnt with this project is that simplicity and accuracy and patience are the real keys to sewing well.  I wonder if I can manage this with some dressmaking....mmmmmmm

I'll be away next week in the West Country and I am sure I am going to come back with oodles of inspiration.   In the meantime though, I am sorry, but I won't be able to send out any Etsy orders until Monday 14th May.

Till then....Ruby x

ps.  The magazine is available from www.loopknittingshop.com

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The Abbey Embroidery Pattern

Hi folks,

So I have a new embroidery pattern to introduce today and I am really delighted with this one.  It began because we took a long weekend in Whitby.  Have you ever been there?  You should....it really is an absolutely lovely place.

 Whitby, Yorkshire

Whitby, Yorkshire

Situated on the east coast of England, it is an old Yorkshire seaside town bursting at the seams with charm.   High cliffs and a sandy beach straddle the entrance to the harbour and up on the headlands sits the ruined and wildly romantic Whibty Abbey.  The little town is steeped in maritime history (Captain Cook was an apprentice in the town and the house where he lodged is now a wonderful museum about his life and 2 of his ships, 'Resolution' and 'Endeavour' were built in the harbour) and literary history (Bram Stocker used the town as inspiration for his famous gothic novel 'Dracula') as well as being the home of the famous black whitby jet jewellery and fabulous fish restaurants.  The wonderful North Yorks Moors steam railway ends here and the town is buzzing with Steam punks dressed in splendid Victorian and Edwardian costumes perusing the vintage and antique stores in the town.  It is a colourful and charming place and we loved it.   I took this photo of the abbey while we were there.

 The Abbey ruins, Whitby

The Abbey ruins, Whitby

The Abbey dates to the 13th century and is a magnificent example of English gothic architecture. When I looked at the photo, I was instantly inspired to try to make an embroidery design using it and have loved every minute of putting this one together.

 My storyboard

My storyboard

Once I had my abbey design, I wanted to add a bright modern splash of floral embroidery to compliment it and I think it worked out just fine.  I used very traditional embroidery motifs to create the effect, but the colours and the combination of the sort of 'line drawing' of the Abbey make for a modern and fresh finished piece.   Adding teeny tiny buttons on too sort of emphasises the handmade effect of such a pretty piece and are always a favourite of mine.

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I think this would make a fabulous wedding sampler if you added the names and date to it and although it looks pretty displayed in the hoop, I decided to take it a step further.

 The Abbey embroidered cushion

The Abbey embroidered cushion

Making it into a bright tasselled cushion makes it a versatile gift for anyone ... although actually, this isn't going anywhere!! 

The pattern is available now in my Etsy shop as a downloadable pdf and kits and printed patterns will be coming soon.

Happy weekend everyone x

 

The Cactus Quilt

The Cactus Quilt

I retreated to the sewing room with the idea that I wouldn't work on any patterns or kits or plans, but that I would just sew something for our home.  It took me all of 30 seconds to decide what.  Sitting in a basket on my cutting table for the last few weeks has been Elizabeth Hartman's Greenhouse pattern.

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A little patchwork elephant

We have a new little one just arrived in our extended family and I wanted to make her something special.  Hot on the success of my patchwork Santa, I turned to my Tilda books for inspiration.   This time it was the a little elephant in the Tilda Studio book that caught my eye.  Her books never fail to entice me into making something as they are so beautifully presented.

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The little pieced elephant is super cute and I thought it would be the perfect gift.  As I have just got some of this delicious Essex linen in the sewing room, I decided to try it out.  It is actually really wonderful fabric for sewing with as it doesn't have too much stretch in it.  I chose the pale aqua colour as it is  more 'babyish' than some of the darker colours and set to work tracing and cutting the pattern.  I made the head first and then I made it again!  The first attempt was sewn with just regular machine stitch, but when I came to stuff it, the stitching looked a little strained and not tough enough.  I remade it using one of the utility stitches on my machine which is 3 stitches each time, so I guess effectively 3 times as strong.  This time it was heaps better and I was really pleased with the results.  I sewed the rest of the project using this stitch and if I were making more soft toys, I would definitely use this stitch and probably it would be better for bag making too.   Plus, I always feel pleased when I use something different on my machine - I think they have so much stuff on them now that hardly gets used, so this, I felt was progress.

Tilda toy elephant construction.JPG

Working on a project like this is fun too because you get to route around in your button box and stash of trimmings to find interesting things to use.  I found this little ribbon flower which must have come off something else and it fitted perfectly by her floppy ear.  The body was straightforward to make and I am not sure I exactly did it Tilda's way, but once it was all together it seemed sturdy enough.

Tilda elephant.JPG

I loved Tilda's suggestion of the embroidered toe nails and did this with great relish...red of course!  Then it was time to think about how this cutie should be dressed.  There were two options in the book - a dress and dungarees, and I settled on the dungarees, but girlie style.  I used some Moda Regent Street Lawn fabric with a ditsy floral on and combined it with some polka dot to make a rather patchwork effect.  I used some adorable tiny buttons to finish it off.

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I then thought about how to personalise it for the new baby - what does every girl elephant need - a bag.... of course

Tilda patchwork elephant.JPG

I have to say that I do think this is super cute and is a fab gift for a new little one.  It was so much fun to make and my confidence in tackling this sort of project is really growing.   Now I just can't wait to visit and see the baby.

Happy Easter folks!

Two more Hashtag Embroidery Designs

Two more Hashtag Embroidery Designs

Not only would this make a very special gift, but you can make it entirely your own with more or less embroidery and you can use the machine or do hand work to complete the pattern.   There is a free tutorial on tutorials page if you would like some help with making one.

Now that they are all finished, I think they look so lovely all together.  What a great idea for a playroom or a family room - something for everyone I hope.

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Two new embroidery patterns

Two new embroidery patterns

Meanwhile, I have two new patterns up in the Etsy shop.  They are part of a series of 4 'hashtag' patterns and I hope you will like them.   I love this modern way of organising things in the digital world and hashtags seem to be so much part of life now that I decided to use them for a collection of patterns which reflect different emotions.  #Remember and #Explore are the first two patterns.

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Tilda's Patchwork Santa

Tilda's Patchwork Santa

I mean, seriously....isn't he just darling?!?!?!  In fact, this statement would apply to just about anything in the book that he came from -  the latest book from Tilda's Tone Finnanger, 'Sewing by Heart'.  I think the only way to describe it is 'divine'.  Glorious photographs of beautiful hand made things with a Scandinavian flavour - it is an all year around book, with projects for every season.

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The song of winter

The song of winter

I love this time of year....the colours....the chilling air, the early morning sparkle of frost, pulling out favourite sweaters and making soup, but most of all I love the promise of Christmas.    I think winter is the season that I love the most, although I don't believe this was always the case.

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