Saturday, 13 April 2013

My Nautical Swap

My first swap for the year was organised by Rachel of House Pinheiro (she organised the pincushion swap last year too). The theme for this year was 'nautical' and my partner was Helen MacFadyen (her blog is called Grosgrain Green - pop over and have a read).

As per usual, it took me a while to decide what to design. Nautical is a huge subject, but I did have a bit of a clue from Helen, as she like anchors. I had a look around Pinterest and pinned some seaside pictures and had a look in my fabric stash for suitable fabrics.

I didn't want to make a cushion as Helen is an accomplished cushion maker herself, so I plumped for the relatively safe pincushion (you can't have too many, I have five that I use regularly!), a needle case (again, useful) and a lavender pillow. Once I had the bit between my teeth I had loads of ideas for nautical makes, but I had to stop somewhere (I will be making them at some stage though).

Here are the finished articles:

Needle case, with anchor.

Lavender pillow, featuring a vintage New Brighton poster.

Seahorse pincushion.

 The pincushion took me a bit of time as I highlighted all of the seaweed in the image with french knots (they can become a little addictive after a while!). The image was sew onto, with blanket stitch, a piece of Vanessa Arbuthnott fabric and stuffed with sheeps' wool (it helps to keep your pins rust free).

The needle case was made from a patchwork of Ian Mankin fabrics (I have some samples, which are very useful for small projects like these, as well as seeing the fabrics in the flesh!).

The anchor image as machine sewn on, the pages of the case are felt and it's fastened with ribbon wrapped around a button.

The lavender pillow has the image directly on the linen fabric it was made with, and a little embroidery of the words 'A gift from New Brighton' and 'Be beside the seaside, Beside the sea' either side an anchor.

My little gift to Helen, was a collection of Teeny Tiny Vintage's wonderful pins.

 The card I made.

Here's what Helen sent to me: 

A needle case. Helen must have been psychic as I'd been meaning to make one of these for my sewing table in my workroom for ages. My needles had been in the two pincushions I have up there, but they were difficult to see in the sea of pins. An excellent choice in some beautiful seasidy fabric, with lobsters on the inside. 

Image from Grosgrain Green
This bag was also made from the lobster fabric, but has little blue seahorses on the inside.
Image from Grosgrain Green.

Both of these items are beautifully made, reiterated by my Mum who used to make clothes etc on a sewing machine for a living.

 My little present was this card, which is a lino print made by a local Edinburgh artist Sam at Hand Press Print. I've always like lino prints ever since I made one years ago at school. I like the simplicity of the images that still portray an image really well. I could tell that this one was of Scotland before I read Helen's note.

Everything was wrapped in this beautiful paper, which will crop up in one of my 'makes' no doubt.

Another great swap, with a wonderfully talented partner.



  1. I can absolutely vouch for the number of French knots on the seahorse pincushion! A wonderful piece of work, that really makes me want to learn embroidery! I can imagine it would be relaxing to do.

    I absolutely needed both a needle case and a pin cushion, as I had neither (nice tip re the sheep's wool, thanks!), so this was a beautifully made and useful gift, and the lavender pillow adds a little bit of luxury!

    Thanks again!

    1. Thank you Helen, I'm glad you really like everything.

  2. such gorgeous makes given and received!! I really love the french knot embellishments you added to the seahorse pin cushion and that lobster fabric Helen used is fantastic! x

  3. Such lovely makes (both given and received) - super fabrics and workmanship.

  4. Your seahorse pincushion is stunning. I am a bit of a fan of the french knot. The presents you received are lovely too. I really like the lino print, and that lobster fabric is so unusual - I love it.

  5. My oh my, your creations are lovely! I wish I knew how to embroidery :( and the gifts you received from Helen are so nice. I hope you have a wonderful week.

  6. Really lovely makes and lots of gorgeous material and techniques. i didn't know that about sheep wool - very handy. Hope you have a good week.

    1. I use the wool that came as insulation for meat we'd bought over the internet. It's in its 'raw' state, but I've never had any problems using it and I've had my pincushion for a couple of years now (and no rusty pins or needles). I didn't want to chuck it out anyway!

  7. Those french knots are amazing! What great gifts to give and recieve.

  8. What I wonderful swap you both got lovely gifts. You certainly put a lot of work into the pincushion, well worth it, it looks beautiful. And I love the New Brighton fabric, really fun. Thanks for sharing.
    Ali x

  9. Those french knots were well worth it - they really bring the seahorse to life. It is really interesting to see how one theme can bring such different interpretations.

  10. What delightful swaps you've both received.

    The seahorse pin cushion is gorgeous. French knots are so effective. The colours of the sewed are lovely. The lobster fabric is so unusual xx

  11. what a wonderful gift with so much work in it, although its the first time I've heard the scary french knot described as addictive :-) The vintage poster fabric has to be my favourite, its lovely. The gifts you received in return are also absolutely beautiful x

  12. This looks like it was so much fun and everything looks lovely!You asked about ATCs-there are a few forums that do swaps and the challenge blog ATCs with Attitude plan to try swapping too.

  13. I love your work. The seahorse pin cushion is beautiful. Thanks for stopping by at Tea and Talk.