Monthly Archives: December 2014

Blackberry Stitch Brim Hat

I really love Blackberry stitch! I used this stitch when knitting a “sample test” hat using a pattern that I had devised myself. Yarn used was a Grey double knit from Patons and needle sizes 3.25mm and 4mm. I am in the process of refining the knitting pattern which I shall then offer for sale on eBay. There will be a co-ordinating scarf and fingerless gloves to follow but in the meantime here are some photos of the finished hat, modelled by yours truly so please forgive the soft-focus!

grey hatgrey hat 2

gey hat 3

                   p.s. the hat keeps your ears really warm – just right for the coming cold weather!

Die cut Hexagons and Triangles Cushion

As mentioned in the previous post, for Christmas gifts to House Group ladies, I give a DIY pack of a block using die cut pieces. This year I used the Accuquilt GO! to cut large hexagons and co-ordinating print triangles. I was fortunate to find some sewing-theme print cotton (from Fabricland, Salisbury) for most of the packs and retained a set for myself. Unlike last year’s gift, this time the pack did NOT sit on the “roundtuit” shelf for 12 months! No sooner cut than I stitched the pieces together whilst preparing the instruction sheet with step-by-step photographs. I quilted “stitch in the ditch” and piped the completed block with narrow Cream satin piping. The reverse has a band of the sewing-theme print in a contrasting colour and an envelope closure. The cover measures approximately 15″ and I made the polyester-filled pad about 16″ to ensure a plump well-filled cushion.

hexagons and triangleshexagons reverse

Drunkard’s Path Patchwork Cushion

Last Christmas I gave each of the Ladies attending our Friday morning House Group a DIY Patchwork Block set. Using my Sissix die-cutting machine, I had cut the two different shapes that make up a design commonly referred to as “Drunkard’s Path” from a variety of cotton print fabrics. I tried to match the print designs to the recipients and over the past twelve months have been delighted to see the blocks made up into cushions. Whilst cutting for the gift packs, I also cut a set for myself but with one thing and another have never got around to stitching the block together, until today! I hand stitched the pieces together and then quilted a 1/4” around the diagonal lines of the “path” before adding a cream satin narrow piping to the completed block. I made the block into a cushion front, adding a reverse using plain cream curtain lining fabric. The closure is my favourite of a contrasting band of tan check (a re-cycled piece from one of my husband’s old shirts) and co-ordinating button fastening. The cushion measures approximately 15 inches square and has a very “Autumnal” flavour so will be set aside until the appropriate season when it will be displayed along with other similar-themed cushions.

drunkards pathdrunkards path reverse

“Embroider” Scented Cushion

In the past I have made many  scented cushions which feature lovely machine embroidery designs. Here is the most recent which has a central design in “Redwork” . The design was purchased from – my first port of call when looking for new designs. I have a  set of heart designs featuring different crafts as demonstrated in a previous post – A New Knitting Bag. I completed the scented cushion which is approximately 11 inches square, using a Red and White “ditsy” printed cotton for the borders, a narrow satin piping and envelope closure on the reverse. The scent is provided by a sachet of “Blushing Tulips” granules from Greenleaf. I still have several more embroideries to complete and they will be appearing in future blogs – in 2015!

embroider scented cushion


Christmas Gift Sewing

Whenever possible I like to make gifts for my friends which have a theme that is special for them. You can guess the theme for the following two projects which I completed today. Firstly a Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cover for which I used a pre-quilted White Polyester Cotton fabric  with an appliqued silhouette of a Cocker Spaniel.  I have used this design before (for floor mats and cushion covers) but on a much larger scale. This time I reduced the design to fit onto the side of the cover.  It was so quick and easy to sew with a fine zig-zag stitch that I am sure I will be repeating this design on other projects. The reverse of the cover  has an envelope closure but the cover is also open  at the top to facilitate filling and emptying. The only time one has to remove the cover is for laundry. I have found this to be the most convenient and comfortable design style of cover with no buttons, zips, ties or ribbons.

hot water bottle cover

The second project was a Kindle case. As I have one of these great gadgets I used my own to draft a pattern. The fabric was cut 6.5″ x 20″ long and then quilted with a 1″ trellis design. A simple lining, some topstitching, button and buttonhole and the entire project was completed within an hour.  Now I need to make another for my own Kindle which is looking sad and forlorn with NO cover of its own!

kindle case

Winter Weather

Brrr! It is cold outside but I have ventured out,  all be it very briefly. The weather over the last few days has been cold and frosty which reminded me of a few years ago when we had a terrific Hoar Frost. I spent a most enjoyable hour walking around our village and taking photographs. Here is one of the local Pilhill Brook which is just a couple of hundred yards from my home here in the lovely Hampshire countryside.

pilhill brook 2009 + border

Latest Reindeer – Leaping

Following on from a previous post – here is the latest Reindeer silhouette applique. So far I have only applied the polyester cotton print applique to some natural-coloured 100% linen. The next step is to run a fine zig-zag stitch all around the applique before adding some narrow piping and making up the cushion cover using my favourite method of a contrast button band and reindeer button closure on the reverse.  The cover should finish as a 15″ square for a 16″ cushion pad. I like all my cushions to be plump and well-filled!

leeping reindeer

Three of a Kind – Christmas Cushions

Over the years I have made many, many Christmas cushion covers. Most have been sold when I was trading as Carousel Cottage Crafts but here are just 3 that have been left. The original patchwork block design was listed as Weathervane but I like to call it Christmas Cracker. I made the second version without referring to the instructions and therefore inadvertently put it together in a different way which necessitated the addition of some extra square pieces to make up to the correct size. The third cover is made using all Half Square Triangles and is actually hand quilted – just to prove that I can do some sewing by hand!

cracker weathervane

Christmas Cracker Weathervane

weathervane version II

Version II

christmas star hst

Christmas Star -Half Square Triangles & Hand Quilting.

Santa’s Reindeer

As many of my friends are aware – Reindeer are my theme for decorating at Christmas. I have already posted details of my favourite Reindeer head silhouette applique cushion but thought you might like to see a few more of these delightful creatures. Here is one of our chairs draped with a Blue fleece throw (handy for wrapping up when it gets REALLY chilly) with co-ordinating cushion. The throw is approximately 40 inches square and has 8 raw edge applique reindeer in lovely christmassy print cottons. There is also a twin needle stitched border in Red – just to finish it off.

reindeer throw and cushion

Fairisle Cross Stitch Heart Cushion

I am fortunate to own some specialised software for digitising Cross Stitch to be sewn using my Brother 4000D machine. Inspired by the lovely designs in “Cross-Stitch Samplers” by Marjorie Massey I spent an afternoon digitising this fairisle-theme heart design. I stitched out the design using Red thread onto a White textured damask fabric. This was then edged with jumbo red ric-rac and used as a central panel on a cushion cover. The reverse of the cover has a Red buttons closure with the overlap also edged with ric-rac trim.

fairisle cushion frontfairisle heart reverse