Monday, 21 February 2011

Patchwork pincushion

As I said in my last post, I'm currently in the process of making some patchwork cushion covers, but to get myself into the patchwork making swing, and the fact I needed another pincushion, I decided to make a patchwork pincushion first.  Rather than just do a plain square patchwork I used hexagons as I already had some backing papers cut for this shape, which I needed as I was going to do it all by hand.

My tin of hexagon papers
When I opened the templates tin there was also some fabric in there that had already been cut for a long ago completed project, so rather than look a gift horse in the mouth I decided to use these for the pincushion. All of the fabrics are vintage Laura Ashley ones. 

To make the pincushion, the first job was to decide what the overall pattern would be, i.e. what patch to go where, first as I had more fabric than I needed, then I tacked each piece of fabric to one of the papers.

Patches, papers and patches already tacked on to papers.
The next job was to sew the pieces together. I laid the pieces out in the way that they would go together. It's best to do this so you can keep a track on what piece goes where.

Patches laid out in the design.
To start to sew the pieces, I took the middle patch and placed it together, right sides facing, and oversewed the two pieces of fabric together along the one side. I then added in the other pieces until one side of the pincushion was completed. Then I did the same with the other side.

Second side nearly completed.

I joined the two completed sides together, again by oversewing, leaving one side undone so I could turn it inside out. Before I could turn it the right way round I needed to remove the papers from each of the patches. 

The back of the completed pincushion.

Once the pincushion was the right way round, I stuffed it with polyester stuffing and sewed up the final side. Voila one completed pincushion.

Completed patchwork pincushion.
If you want to try patchwork yourself, this is an easy project to get started with.

To get yourself started you need to complete a card template, a square would be the easiest shape to start with. For a pincushion with nine pieces per side a 5cm square would do. Use this 5cm template to create the papers, use a thickish paper or thin card, that the patches will be tacked around. You'll need 18 in total.

Next create a 5.5cm template out of card and use this one to cut out the patches from the fabrics you've decided to use. Again, you'll need 18. To create your pincushion, use the same method I've outlined above.

Have fun.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

From thought to fruition - or how I create.

First of all, apologies for it being so long since I last posted.

How do I decide what am I going to make?

The answer to this depends on why I'm making something. If it is for a present, this can be more straightforward as I usually know exactly what I'm going to make, either because I've had a request (for example, my sister asked for a brooch cushion for Christmas) or I've decided that a certain piece of fabric would be great for a cushion, lingerie bag, scented heart etc for so and so.

Some of my fabric stash

If I'm making something for Elsie May and Bertha, so not creating with a single person in mind being and faced with a pile of fabric, my mind usually goes one of two ways; either I have loads of ideas or one big blank.

Some of my 'house' books

Both come with their own problems. If I have too many ideas at once, if I'm not careful, I can end up with lots of projects started and none finished.. When this happens I have to be strong with myself, decide what I'm going to do, cut them out and don't do anything else until they've passed the loaded onto the website finishing line.

Some of my vintage Japanese fabric.

When my mind is blank I dive into my books, magazines, notepads and 'idea' folders for inspiration. This in itself is a great way to spend your time. I do this with one of my notebooks at my side ready for notes and sketches that arise from what I see. I don't want to copy (nor are allowed to commercially for that matter - it's different if you're making something just for yourself) anyone else's ideas, but quite often seeing something on a page sparks something in the little grey cells and away I go. This could range from colour combinations in a pile of cushions, or tiny motif on a carpet or fabric. It's all grist to the mill. It's like feeding in a lot of data into a computer and it coming out with the answer at the end.

Brooch cushions awaiting completion.

For my next set of cushion covers I've decided on using patchwork. Will report on my progress via Twitter @emandblo and post the full story in my next post.


Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Display - orderly or eclectic?

Should we arrange our mantelpieces, or whatever you're displaying on (saying 'displaying' makes it sound like we're a bird after a mate!) in the more formal manner of pairs, mirroring what's on one side with the other? Or, should we completely disregard this and go eclectic and add whatever we think goes together? I'm jumping straight onto the fence (ow!) and say I go with both.

We've got two large fireplaces, one in the front room and one in our bedroom. I tend to keep to  more formal arrangement on these. 

Front room mantelpiece.

Apart from Christmas when it's covered with a garland (see the 'Our decorated home' post), the colour scheme for the front room mantelpiece, as well as the rest of the room, during the winter months is red and gold. This is arranged using pairs, but the jugs and Russian dolls are not identical, as are the two red glass candlesticks and the glass tea-light holders.

Front room detail one.

Front room detail two.
During the summer months I change the candlesticks and vase to green glass ones and the Russian dolls go into hiding.

The bedroom mantelpiece is also arranged in pairs (I don't change this one according to season).
Bedroom mantelpiece detail one
Bedroom mantelpiece detail two.
Bedroom mantelpiece.

My less orderly, more eclectic displays are on two shelves that are above the radiators in the living room and bedroom.

Bedroom shelf.
The bedroom one has a mixture of items on it. There's a couple of birthday cards that had pictures were to nice to throw away or put in a drawer; an embroidered picture of a rose I did years ago; a couple of framed flower prints; three of my collection of cups and saucers; one of my many jewellery boxes and one of my two glass cakestands used for keeping some of my bracelets on (see the 'displaying jewellery' post) and a scented candle.

Bedroom shelf detail one.

Bedroom shelf detail two.

I also have a string of red battery operated LED lights intertwined between everything - I love these battery operated lights, you don't have trailing wires everywhere and the battery packs are easy to hide in or behind something. You definitely don't need to keep fairy lights just for christmas!
Living room shelf.
I also have LED lights on the living room shelf, along with a lamp, a clock, a candlestick and another scented candle.  

Living room shelf detail one.

Living room shelf detail two.
 The brown pottery bowl at the end came from Scotland, the large pink bowl and jug also came from there. The art deco peach glass vase and lidded pottery dish were presents. I'm looking for a couple of pictures to ledge on the back either side of the plate on the wall. The plate has a picture of Mow Cop, a folly, in Staffordshire.