Little cottage cushion


Today I finished making a second little cushion. It’s got lots of hand-embroidered stitches, beads, buttons and wooly bits.  It’s  approximately 12″ x 12″ and has a feather-filled cushion filler inside and is deliciously plump and squashy.

It’s made from pink wool-rich Tweedy fabric with a funky floral design cotton material over the top.

Finally, a mid-weight linen panel with an appliqué cottage and tree to decorate in the middle.

layoutcushionNow that I’ve got a little repertoire of hand stitches mastered, I’m ready to move on.

I’ve been practising:

  • Twisted Daisy Border Stitch
  • Sheaf Stitch
  • Tete De La Boeuf
  • Russian Chain Stitch
  • Rosette of Thorns

They’re very pretty and not too difficult or fiddly to do nicely.

Some really need some guidelines and perfect for the job is an embroidery marker. Draw on the design or guidelines and when you’re ready to remove them, a quick spritz of water vanishes the pen marks away like magic.

My next project will feature a few of these new stitches and I’m really looking forward to doing something with them. If you’re looking for inspiration and help with hand embroidery, I recommend Sarah’s Hand Embroidery.

It’s a real treasury of stitches, techniques, information, tutorials.

More Pillow Talk

Love Bunnies

The ‘Love Bunnies’ cushion is still a work-in-progress inasmuch as I still have to make four pom-pom tails and stitch them on but that won’t take me long and so it’s pretty much done. It’s filled with a fat, plump-as-a-Christmas-Goose feather-filled cushion. The wool tweed is soft and this cushion is also stitched with Gütenberg Gütermann silk thread (just re-read this and realised my mind was obviously on other pressing matters). The inner seams are overcast so there’ll be no fraying and uses more thread than I’d have ever thought. Maybe I should have used a cheaper thread but I wanted to make it to the best quality I could. It’s so soft and squishy to hug… ahhh….


*** Update***

The poms are on.

Home is Where the Heart Is

This is my ‘Home is Where the Heart Is’. The edging triangles are called Prairie Points; each one is made from a 4″ x 4″ square of material, folded and pressed twice. That was exacting work but I made up a quick equation to determine how many triangles I’d need for a given length which is the length of the SEAM x 2, divided by size of the square (in my case 4″), minus 1:

(2L/S) – 1

where L = Length of seam  and S = Square

This is handy for future reference and will save having to re-invent the wheel every time I make them. A Charm pack would, of course, be the ticket for making Prairie Points as all the measuring and square cutting would be pre-made and wouldn’t require futzing about with cutting tools and steel rulers… No matter, I needed my points to accessorise the text in the centre so had to get on with it!

Home and the heart are obviously appliqued on – each cut and fused to the front with Bondaweb then overstitched to keep it on securely and prevent fraying.

Just for information, the font was a classic Times or New Century but was amended to thicken some of the textual elements. In Typographical terminology (just fancied alliterating there) it was the ‘Stems’ of some of the letterforms where there were contrasting thick and thins, the ‘thins’ were too fine to be easy to work with.

Thickening the stems of some of the letterforms

As I was using Illustrator, I converted the text into Outlines (Selection Tool – Black Arrow>Type>Create Outlines and Ungrouped). From thereon you can use the Direct Selection Arrow – the White Arrow tool – to select points then use the keyboard arrow keys to move the points up down or left right to widen the shapes of the letters. Or simply weld a rectangle or other appropriate shape to the letters and use the Bezier points to curve them into smooth transitions between vertical/horizontals. There are lots of ways to achieve this. Mrs Trellis of South Wales  likes to innundate me with comments, questions and queries so she’ll probably harass me with an e-mail to write up how I did it. When (if) she does I’ll go through the steps I went through in detail and write it up as a tutorial.

Love Bunnies is also filled with a feather cushion – so gorgeous to just squish. Pure joy.

Love Squared

This one you’ve seen already, now entitled ‘Love Squared’.

I decided against adding a button at the back for the moment as I have a tendency to over-egg the pudding and thought I’d give it a little time and reserve judgement until I am less caught up in things.

So a late night and other, house-chore type things to do. Oh will this pleasure never end?! Lol.

Pillow Talk

First cushion almost done. Phew! All seams are overcast so no raw edges to fray inside the cover. Had one slight hitch – the thread – the Güterman cerise silk – ran out while I was overcasting the last side. Went to get some more and it was out of stock. Luckily, there was a shade close to it but not a perfect match. Happily  it didn’t run out while I was stitching round the lettering on the front cover.

I say ‘almost’ because I want to cover a large button with the cotton fabric and make a button hole in the back. It’s more for aesthetic reasons than functionality as it closes beautifully, the couple of inches overlap is just right but I think a fat , accessorised button willl be just the job to add that little extra something.

This cushion will be going to the craft fair on the 24th and is a fairly big ticket item as all the fabric and thread was expensive and I’ve put a lot of time/work/care into it. And if it doesn’t sell, I’ll keep it for the next craft fair and if it still doesn’t sell, I’m keeping it. All the expensive items are going to be things I would like to own and so won’t be sorry to have it to myself, in my home for me to enjoy!

Next one to finish will be the Love Bunnies… or maybe I get on with the ‘Home’ one while the machine is threaded up with the dark pink. Will post soon enough so you’ll see then.

Time for tea. Tonight is one of my favourites. Chicken fillets, chopped and fried with onion and garlic, peppers, tomatoes, green garlic -stuffed olives and courgettes in a spicy tomato sauce (home made) with some boiled rice and a fresh salad with raw garlic and balsamic vinegar. Sometimes I heat up a coriander and garlic naan or two, or garlic bread, or just plain french bread to accompany it. All go well.

Love Bunnies

Appliquéd Cushion Cover

Hello again. Nice to see the gardens coming to life with beautiful bursts of colour – daffodils, magnolia trees…. lovely. Easter has been and gone but I’m still having a crush on all things bunny as you can see from the  cushion cover I made from some lovely soft woolen fabric. All Bondawebbed then stitched down. The eyes are French Knots and the tails are pom-poms.  This was my first and measures some 22in x 13in but am planning another and making a larger one so long as I can get a standard cushion filler for the size.


Tablet Case

I also made another tablet case for Himself. The fabric is one of my absolute favourites and I’ve been keeping it safe for some 8 years or so! I would have used it sooner but haven’t been able to find it since I bought it all those years ago and wanted it to be special. As Himself  loves cats as much, if not more, than I do, and loved the material I decided he was worth it!

Heart Garland

Also been making some lovely linen hearts dotted with French Knots for decoration. I’m going to string them together with beads in between for a large willow heart like the one I posted some time ago: here. I have two and wanted some fresh, spring colours to brighten up the kitchen.

Here they are, lined up like pretty maids all in a row.

Two more – these are bigger versions for a different project. I like the way the linen distorts for being stuffed and makes for a quirky, folksy effect.

And a few together in a basket to sit in the sewing room and create a splash of colour.

Sew the things you love

I was asked at the weekend to take up a pair of jeans and use the original seams. Now, I have done it before and can do it but I don’t enjoy it. I will do it for Himself and my boys and their partners but beyond close family I really can’t be arsed.  Nobody wants to pay proper money – all expect mate rates yet it takes time, is boring and not what I learned to sew to do. It’s  not about making money anyway.

I love my sewing time and have to make space for it in  my life. I found a passion in learning to sew after being afraid to do it since I was young. My mum had a ferocious machine that seemed to be ‘On’ or ‘Off’. As soon as my foot touched the pedal it would snatch the material out of my hands and tear away with it like a handbag heist! And so loud it made my ears hurt. And made nests of  the bobbin thread big enough for  crows to live in and then snarl and roar with rage  at having to stop! I don’t ever recall making anything successfully with that devil-possessed machine from hell. All in all, the experience was totally unpleasant and I didn’t touch a machine for many, many years.

Now I have a Janome. It has a range of speeds and is pretty quiet and a wonderful machine to play with. Lots of built-in stitches. It can digitise (if I ever learned to use the software – wish I’d researched what was available at the time and gone with something like Embird). It’s a joy to use. Anyway, learning to sew was a definite decision, a choice I made. It brings me heartfelt  happiness and immense satisfaction.

So I now find I have to turn down requests to turn up, turn down, take in, let out or just make things. My sewing time is special and have learned to say I don’t know how to do the alteration or don’t have the right needles, feet, thread… it’s not like there aren’t any places they can go to for dressmaking and alterations – it’s just the assumption that I can do it almost there and then and for next to nothing.

And that’s another thing, sewing costs money. It isn’t cheaper than buying from the stores. Who can compete with Penneys? For those dressmakers and seamstresses, making clothes is something they can do to fit them perfectly and be like nothing in the shops. And, if not their profession, is their particular passion.

I prefer to sew the things that give me joy and buy everything else. I ask myself now if I really want to sew something just because I can or do I really want to. There are ethnic clothes that I really like that I can’t find in the shops so, yes, I’ll make them. But do I want to make trousers and shirts? Heck, No! I want to make pretty things and unusual things and things that make me happy. So, my Love Bunnies do it for me. And the tablet cases. As will the spring heart garland. As does making things from the heart for the people around me I care about and who appreciate having something made just for them. I make things with a happy heart and keep my sewing special.

Well, they keep me out of the pubs….

Another cafetiere cosy – well making them keeps me out of the pubs! Not that Mr S minds, per se, it’s the carrying me home afterwards that bothers him. Just love making them. The applique scenes with some free motion stitching… so absorbing. Well, thinking about opening an Etsy and/or Folksy shop and selling a few. Sold some locally and had good feedback so am thinking about dipping my toe in the water and seeing if anyone is interested enough to buy one from me. That would also mean setting up a FBook account and probably a Twitter. Seems such a bother but probably a commercial necessity. Guess I just have to.




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