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Just thought I would do an update on my work yesterday and share with you a tutorial for my latest Xmas ornament. I had a very lovely day – unfortunately today is wet as well so I will just have to carry on sitting making more ornaments, how sad ;-)
I would love to design and make full-time but in the mean time am happy with the little bits I get to do.
This is my third original Xmas ornament design, tutorials for the crazy patchwork Xmas tree and information on the Crazy patchwork Xmas heart can be found at these links. None of these are earthshatteringly different from other things you can find on the web but are all my own work.
I have never done anything with hexagons before and have quite frankly considered English Paper Piecing a bit of a faff but I am very much enjoying this.
My inspiration came from two free gifts from my Love Quilting and Patchwork magazines. I started sewing the hexi pincushion last week on the train and I really liked it.
I do enjoy small-scale work and as friends have always told me these are very portable projects. The free pre-cut papers will come in very handy as well!
Here are the two I finished yesterday and below is a step by step guide for those of you who might like to have a go yourselves.
The ornament is made from 2 sizes of hexagon – 2 inch for the main body of the ornament and 1 cm for each of the hexagons in the ‘flower’. Please note that hexagons are sized by the length of each side (something that I found a bit confusing to start with) and you can happily mix metric and imperial measurements.
If you want to save yourself the trouble of drawing round a template here are links for free printables from the Snippets and Blabbery blog and some free printable hexagon graph paper in different sizes and you can also buy pre-cut papers from many sources including these from Quilt Direct.
There are also lots of pre-cut (and even pre-stitched onto papers) fabric on Ebay if you really want to save time, for me half of the fun is choosing the fabric though.
I used material from my small (ahem) stock of Xmas fabric but this design would work well from charm packs and scraps from other quilting.
Step 1 – Cut out 2 of the larger 2 inch hexagons from your backing fabric, I have used plain for the front and patterned for the back.
Step 2 – Cut out 7 of the smaller 1 cm hexagons – I used 3 different fabrics from the same ranges for each of my designs. You need a bigger seam allowance than you might think for folding over, I use 0.5 cm.
The small size of the hexagons makes it great for fussy cutting elements out of larger designs but you may have to watch the orientation of the hexagons when you stitch them together if the design had a ‘right way up’.
Fussy cutting means choosing a part of the design rather than just cutting out of the general fabric, it does mean you get more waste but the effect is good.
Step 3 – Sew the smaller hexagons onto your paper hexagons folding the seams over as you go. Use a contrasting thread then it is easier to unpick when you take the papers out. There is an excellent step by step tutorial on making a hexagon flower at Pretty by Hand’s blog here which shows how to stitch the pieces together.
Step 4 – Arrange the 7 hexagons into a flower shape and sew all the seams together using small stitches. If you are using a plain centre fabric the same as the backing then you could just have a ring of 6 hexagons but I liked the stability of the flower shape. Iron at this point to help secure seams for the next stage.
Step 5 – Remove the stitches and then the hexagon backing paper pieces carefully. I use my unpicker for this bit, you can re-use the papers if you are careful. I did then tack the outer 3 edges of each hexagon (those that are not sewn to anything), this makes the next step easier.
Step 6 – Applique your hexagon flower to one of the large backing hexagons using small stitches in a matching thread colour – if you have multiple colours in your flower go for a match to your backing fabric.
Step 7 – Put the appliqued front hexagon and your backing hexagon right sides together and stitch all the way round – I used hand stitching with a running stitch then went back to fill in the gaps but you could machine stitch.
Step 8 – Turn ornament to show right sides – poking the corners with scissor ends or a pencil help to ensure sharp corners.
Step 9 – Stuff the ornament – I use polyester toy filling for all my work available from craft shops or places like this on Ebay.
Step 10 – Turn the raw edges of the open side over, pin and sew. I have made this the top edge on my ornaments as however careful you are it never looks the same as all the other edges and the ribbon hides some of this.
Step 11 – Sew through the middle of the centre hexagon with some tiny stitches pulling tight to create a hollow in the centre – stitch a small button, bead or embellishment there.
Step 12 – Attach a ribbon to the back of the ornament, I have also added a bead to cover up the stitching.
If you want more hexagon inspiration go and have a look at this Pinterest page that I found the other evening – I particularly love the designs from the Broderie blog featured on that page though it would take centuries for me to complete anything like her quilts.
And look at this for hexi love – this was from the same Pinterest page, not sure who it was from originally but look at that stash!
I am aiming to make 10 of these ornaments for this year’s friends and family seasonal gifts so am going to be having an enjoyable and productive Autumn.
Happy ornament making and thanks for visiting.
Hello there, hope you are having a nice weekend, am about to go out to an open garden afternoon here in the village but before I do wanted to share some of the Tudor costume we have seen recently as Ellie and I had a little trip out to Nostell Priory this week.
Ellie has been there before for a training course (she gets to go to some fab venues for her staff development!) and wanted to go back as a visitor.
The house dates from the 1800s but the family were related to Tudor notables including Elizabeth Woodville and so there were quite a few portraits of costume that were brilliant to see.
This blackwork jacket belonged to a Duchess and the detail on the painting was very good.
The best thing was just before we left which was this amazing portrait of Thomas More (he who sadly failed in his attempts to get Henry 8th his divorce from Catherine of Aragon) and his family.
There was such brilliant detail in the pictures of the costumes so I took some close up shots for me and for my friend Kat who makes such fantastic Tudor costume as well as medieval period things.
The blackwork embroidery on this shift is very detailed and there also appears to be similar embroidery on the edge of the dress.
It was interesting to see that two of the sisters had shared two of the fabrics, using it alternately for sleeves and bodice.
I have some very good news to share with you as well as Ellie is going to be staying at Hardwick permanently – her contract which was due to run out next March has been extended and she will be there for there for the foreseeable future :-) We are all very pleased not least Kerry as she was going to miss her cinema buddy!
One of the things that I keep meaning to post about is the National Trust Collections web site that details all of their artefacts, Ellie uses this a lot for her blog so you may find it useful if you are interested in more detail about their collections.
Will be back later with some more textile loveliness from Nostell, meanwhile take care and thanks for visiting.
The first house on our recent tour was the very impressive Kingston Lacy. The house dates from the 1600s but was remodelled in the Palladian style later.
It boasts the first plate-glass windows ever to be used in a public house and its owner used them to good effect to give the Italian style he was looking for.
In the drawing-room was this beautiful embroidered piano cover with a little sewing box on display at the other side of the room. I don’t know what the date was for this piece or who worked it, as is often sadly the case no information was known about it.
The owners enjoyed collecting pieces and architecture from their travels, a pair of doors had come from the Vatican and this ceiling had been brought from Spain.
There was another beautiful painted ceiling in another vaulted room.
All very stunning and well worth a visit. I think the National Trust is fantastic value for money (I am not just saying that as Ellie works for them as I have been a member for years).
It only costs £58 for a year and not only do I get the pleasure of seeing all this amazing art and architecture I feel happy that I am helping in a small way to preserve and protect it.
Thanks for visiting and see you soon for more Trust loveliness!
One of the parts of our visit to Kingston Lacy that I most enjoyed was seeing the laundry which they had furnished not only with the equipment used but also examples of the textiles as well, very exciting for me!
The house dates from the 1600s but the display was of the Victorian machines and textiles.
I love this huge roller mangle, I remember my Mum and Nana having washing machines with mangles on top when I was little and really loved having a go, would not have been so exciting to be a full-time laundry maid though.
The drying cupboard was very interesting as well, I assume many large houses might have had something similar but have not seen one before, these racks slid into the cupboard which had heated pipes on the floor.
I also found some lovely textiles in the main house – what a surprise! Will save that and pictures of the house for the next post.
Thanks for visiting.
There will always be textiles wherever I go as not only are they important and many of the places I visit have them on display as part of the social history of the location but also I do sometimes seek them out ;-)
However this holiday I had some very pleasant surprises on the textile front as I found some when I wasn’t even looking for them :-)
The first nice surprise was this beautiful sampler which had been done by Margarete the lady who ran the hotel we stayed in Germany. She was in her 70s and the hotel has been in her family for over 100 years.
I couldn’t help thinking that she must have had a pretty hard life, she was on duty about 15 hours a day when we were there and I hope that at some points they got to close the hotel and have a holiday themselves.
I like to imagine that she stitched this in her free time and it gave her pleasure and helped her relax, it is a beautifully stitched piece and she was obviously proud of it as it was hung in the bar area.
Then we had our unexpected trip to the Steiff Teddy Bear Museum which was an optional trip on the holiday which the kids really wanted to go to. It was really good with a little interactive piece at the start that told you the history of the company followed by a room with lots of toys that you could touch (and sit on) then displays of the toys throughout the ages.
The company was started by Margarete Steiff who was a keen seamstress, she had polio as a child and never married but sewed children’s clothes then made her first toy, an elephant (by accident it was meant to be a pincushion but it got played with!).
She then went on to make teddies and all manner of other creatures. The above photo shows a reproduction of the sewing room that starts the interactive part.
One of the most interesting parts for me as I have been making toys recently (both knitted and have started a couple of fabric ones) was the workroom at the end where as well as staff working demonstrating the toys being made they had lots of patterns hung up and old photos showing the factory workers. There is a concise history of the Steiff business at this link if you are interested.
Then when we went to Rothenburg we came across this shop selling hand embroidered textiles.
They employ over 500 home workers to do the embroidery so I had to go and support the local economy and all those lovely ladies didn’t I? The kids were very patient while I chose from hundreds of gorgeous things.
I bought these beautiful lavender filled whitework pillows for display in my kitchen and an embroidered runner for the Xmas table. As I reminded Jake I do only have 4 (he seemed to think that was too many last year – no idea why?). This one will go very nicely with my holly decorated dinner set).
Rothenburg is also famous for its Christmas shops (which I honestly didn’t know when I booked the trip kids) and so spent ages in the Christmas Village in the Kathe Wolfahrt shop which was amazing! No photos allowed inside but this is from their website and it actually looks like this.
I bought 2 beautiful lace ornaments for the tree and a little heart that hangs in my kitchen.
A wonderful array of textile goodness to add to a lovely holiday – very happy.
More pictures to come of the town of Rothenburg, it is still raining here in Yorkshire so no alternative but to spend the day in crafting – how sad ;-)
Thanks for visiting.
The title of this blog post needs to be sung really as I am doing in my head, another wet Saturday here in Yorkshire, pity as it was so lovely earlier in the week and I was planning a little jaunt. However more time for blogging, knitting and baking :-)
This is a catch up post really (on the grounds that there are no finishes to show at present) and I have been meaning to post a couple of things for a while.
Firstly my very talented friend Helen (she of the quilts) is also making other things including these cute bunnies just in time for Easter.
She will have some for sale through her Etsy shop at some point for £6.50 but if you are interested please go and visit her at the new blog she has.
And I have been meaning to post some pics of Ellie as a bridesmaid at her friend’s wedding. I just got the disc from her so here she is looking very lovely.
The baby in the photo is the friend’s little daughter Lizzie who I made a bridesmaid bunny for, you can see the bunny on one of the present tables in the last picture.
There will be no blogging for the next couple of weeks as we are off on holiday ;-)
My lovely Mum will be here next weekend (it is her birthday on Friday) and then we are off to Bavaria (or Bearvaria as Jake keeps calling it – think he is expecting to see some bears) for a week of visiting medieval towns and castles. Very much looking forward to it and as usual will take lots of photos!
See you soon, thanks as always for visiting.
Well it is raining here again, which is a bit of a shame as I wanted to go for a walk but true to form the moment I got my boots out it started pouring down.
I could have course have gone in the rain but decided I would just have to sew and knit all day, most of it in front of the TV where I am watching Supernatural on DVD courtesy of Ellie who has been trying to get me to watch it for ages.What a pity, poor me ha ha, it is even too wet for housework ;-)
I have sorted out the error that I mentioned yesterday. I wanted to make an apron as a birthday gift for a friend’s little girl to send with some baking stuff I have bought. I remember Ellie being bought some baking things at a similar age and loving them so I have got cute pink utensils and pretty cup cake cases.
I found a really good free tutorial at a blog called Aesthetic Nest run by a woman called Anneliese who designs beautiful patterns for her 3 daughters (can feel a sewing spree coming on but must, must focus on medieval kit first!) She has an Etsy shop with her patterns and kids’ party printables which look brilliant.
The apron is made out of 2 fat quarters and is very easy to do (especially if unlike me you actually follow all the instructions and don’t put the straps in the wrong place and only discover that after you have hemmed it.)
She has made reversible ones but I made one out of 2 plain fat quarters from my Simply Solids Club stash and some applique motifs from a really cute fabric called Sweet Treats that I bought I couple of years ago.
And I am very pleased with the result. I particularly like the spotty pocket and straps.
I stitched the Sweet Shop label onto the pocket and added some buttons onto the sweetie jars. Am planning to add some sweets to the package for cake decorating so hope that she will like it.
I used the fabric motifs last year as part of a cot quilt that I made for Ellie’s friend and I still have quite a few motifs left over.
Have also finished stitching the replacement for the Autumn exchange piece that went missing so that will go in the post next week – fingers crossed this one gets there ok!
Hope you are having a lovely time whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.
I do very much love being an empty nester (not that I don’t love my kids dearly and look forward to their visits) but one of the great joys of having my own space is that I have a craft room.
That along with the need not to spend weekends shopping, cooking, cleaning and washing means I have physical,temporal and mental space to create which is wonderful!
However there are some downsides particularly when you are trying to put together IKEA flat pack furniture on your own. The storage units I bought did come with a warning!
I managed in the end but they are not actually screwed together at the bottom as I couldn’t get the last side to fit.
One is missing one screw the other two but gravity seems to be keeping them stable and when Jake is home as Easter I will get him to apply a bit of brute force to see if I can sort it.
I did sort out the craft room when I first moved in using storage I already had.
But unfortunately the CD racks that I had been using as fabric storage fell over (once on my head which was a bit painful!) and the shelving units were very old and unstable and always looked cluttered.
I also got rid of the wooden chest I had there leaving me nowhere to store the small (ahem) amount of fabric for medieval kit that I have.
And I have been buying a bit more fabric since I moved in so was running out of space and rather than being the calm wonderful creative space I wanted it was a mess.
However there has been a transformation.
This was yesterday morning.
And this is the finished result.
The shelves with baskets and the lovely heart pinboard were bargains from local charity shops. It does still need painting and more pictures putting up but that will be a job for the holidays.
I still have one tall storage unit on the other side with all the small boxes but now all of the fabric is together so that I can see what I have got. I found fabric for a new blue peasant dress yesterday that I vaguely remembered buying but thought had wandered off :-)
More importantly I have got a cutting table which is much better than crawling about on the floor!
So this afternoon I will be enjoying the fruits of my labour finishing off a little project for a birthday.
Oh and you see that pile of quilts next to the cutting area? No I haven’t been mega productive recently, they are made by my very talented friend Helen here in the village.
She has been stash busting recently and has very kindly made these to donate to a children’s orphanage that my Mum supports in Spain. Will share pics of those later.
Do have a lovely week ahead and thanks for visiting!
Am still having great fun with the bunny knitting-I have knitted another dress for the first gift bunny and have also ordered some new buttons to use for the shoes and dress decorations.
These are my lovely new buttons, I will use the red hearts for my Xmas ornies this year and the tiny buttons for bunny shoes as in the picture below. The pretty mixed bag are for fastening the bunny dresses.
These buttons are all mail order from Gregory Knopp, a fantastic site with so many wonderful buttons and free delivery! Go and have a look.
Here is my latest bunny dress, this is my first attempt at one of the more complex Fair Isle patterns, bit messy on the back but I am very pleased with it.
I have also acquired some vintage crochet – this will be added to my stash to be used creatively at some point!
Have another event this coming weekend and then a quiet week ahead so am looking forward to more crafting – some bunny knitting and making some medieval kit.
Thanks for visiting.
Hello everyone, apologies in advance as this is a very picture heavy post but I have some fab 17th century embroidery to show you!
We visited mainly smaller Tudor properties this week, not by design just those that were local to us (and open on the right days!). We still have many more on our wish list to do :-)
The first was one I have had on my list for a while Little Moreton Hall in Cheshire, a very lovely Tudor house which as you can see from the pictures has suffered through the years and has needed extensive structural work to keep it from falling down!
The second was East Riddlesden Hall in Keighley, not only a beautiful little house but also home to some gorgeous embroidery.
Look at all these beautiful pictures.
Sadly their sampler display was not available due to a ceiling collapse in that room so I will return to see that sometime.
There was also some lovely embroidery that had been done for the displays by local women, this blackwork beadspread and crewel work hangings date from the 1920s.
The last one we visited was Gawthorpe Hall near Burnley, this is a mini Hardwick Hall in design and is home to the Rachel Kay Shuttleworth needlework collection. A small part of her 28,000 pieces were on display.Rachel lived in the house in the 1950s and was a passionate needlewoman.
There were no photos allowed in the house but there is an excellent blog with online gallery and details of the textile courses they run.
A very textilicious holiday with lots of inspiration for me!
Now back to the real world of work with just a few bits of stitching a week to keep me sane :-)