Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Recent "work" - sewn items.

This is a the lovely apron I received as part of the swap I mentioned in my last post. Thanks Cinnamon23! I was taking part in a swap organised by one of the groups on My Sewing Circle.

This is the pattern I used. I slightly amended the design, adding fabric covered buttons as a detail on the pockets. Interfacing was also added to the waistband to make it just a little stiffer. I did that only because the fabric I was using - some poly-cotton I had dyed some years ago - needed a little stiffening to balance the cotton fabric used for the rest of the apron.

Sent along with the apron was one of these little needle cushions.

The needle cushions have a little metal tag on the bottom to hold them on top of a thread spool. The pattern found in the book below, has a paper clip as the tag. However, the paperclips I have here at home were far too wide to be used. The metal tags I did use had been found as part of the packaging of a shirt my husband had bought........... Did I tell you that I don't find it easy to throw anything away? Well, nothing I think I can reuse in some way........................

You can see the buttons I covered in the same photo.

This is the book I used. It is written in Japanese, but the instructions are so beautifully clear and shown as illustrations it was easy to work out what to do. There are some beautiful gift items in this book. The ISBN is: 4-89396-943-9

I made two blouses using this pattern. It has been in my pattern collection for some time.........

The first blouse is a viscose mix with a soft cotton handle.

The second, a jacquard woven silk which has been languishing in my fabric stash since around 1990!

Then I finally got my skirt finished. It is fully lined. The lining was a lucky find a couple of years ago. I can't usually get such a nice lining fabric and hadn't seen such lovely viscose lining fabric in rather too many years......

This photo shows the lining pinned to the inside of the zip.

Then, I managed to get this jacket completed. I added a lining using the last of the fabric I used to line the skirt.

Now, I have nearly finished the Traveling Pages for August. I am rather behindhand as you can see. Sadly I cannot show you the work done on that page until it has been received by Liz. What I can tell you is that so far it has involved some machine stitching, calligraphy and fabric paint. There is some beading still to be done.............

Saturday, September 25, 2010

An Autumn walk with food for free.

I've been really busy since the last post here - making an apron for a swap on My Sewing Circle. (I am there as "Mandy", so do come and visit.) I was also working on completing two blouses, starting a jacket which is almost finished, and working on one of my UFOs. I am also behind hand with my Travelling Pages. The August and September pages are not ready yet, and I really should get some work started for the October page.
Then, Norma's band robin arrived in the post.

Isn't it lovely? You will find out more about the Stitching Sisters and the work completed to date on this piece here. It was scary to realise that this project started in 2007! I have a two inch deep piece of stitching to complete and then it can be sent out to the next person in the sequence.
So, I went out for a walk this morning. The sun was bright and the wind was chilly, so I wrapped up warm. Here are some of the things I saw:

I love the patterns made by the tractors as they plough the fields ready for the next crop.

There has been a lot of rain lately, so there are still puddles at the edges of fields.

This lovely stone was at the side of Kings Lock. There has been a lot of renovation work here over the past few months rebuilding one of the locks after a landslip. I wonder if this beautifully carved piece was found during the work.

This fungus was growing by the side of the path.

The sunlight was very strong coming through the trees, making the most beautiful shadows.

The leaves were just starting to turn colour.

Along the pathway there were some puddles. I loved the reflections in this one.

These lovely flowers are sometimes called Policeman's Helmet. Anyone liveing outside of the UK will have to forgive me here, because our police have helmets which have the bulbous shape on the top. These flowers are so pretty and like damp conditions.

I came home with a bag full of beautiful leaves which I plan to use as inspiration for my work on Norma's band.

The colours were wonderful and I couldn't believe my luck in finding a rather fragile holly leaf skeleton.

The colours of the conkers and leaves are so beautiful at this time of year in England. We are just moving into Autumn now with the chilly mornings.
I couldn't resist collecting some blackberries too. They grow wild in the hedgerows here and it is easy to pick plenty away from any danger of contamination from crop spraying or pollution from cars.
I shall still wash these before using them. These will be used for an apple and blackberry crumble.
You will need:
2oz sugar
2oz margarine or butter
4-6oz flour (I use plain flour which doesn't have any raising agents added to it. Wholemeal is even better if you have it).
Rub these ingredients together to get a breadcrumb consistency. Add some dried coriander to the mix, if liked. (About half a teaspoon). Leave to one side. This is the crumble mixture.
Cut up baking apples and place in a deep baking dish, add any blackberries and a small amount of water (about 2 fluid ounces). Add a small amount of sugar if wished, before pouring the crumble mixture over the top. I tend not to add any sugar at all to the fruit, but you may prefer a sweeter dessert.
Bake in the oven for around 45 minutes. 190 degrees C. (Gas Mark 5, 375 degrees F), the temperatures could be a little cooler for fan ovens. The top should be gently browned and the fruit will be starting to bubble up into the crumble mixture. Serve hot with custard or cream.
(Note, I tend to make this without measuring anything, but with the approximate amounts listed above. The bigger the container and the more fruit I have, the more crumble mixture I make. Please experiment with the spices too. I love the aroma of coriander, but nutmeg is a rather special alternative, and so is cinnamon.)
Hope you like it.

Friday, September 03, 2010

My cat likes to shout in bathrooms.

A phrase I couldn't resist, but true. Felix loves to go into the bathroom and, when the fancy takes him, he will "talk" to himself. He enjoys the sound of his own voice. I don't enjoy it quite so much when he announces he is ready to come to bed at some unearthly hour in the morning, shouting from the foot of the stairs..........

Well, enough of cats, infuriating and loveable as they are. This last week has seen a lot of sewing. I completed a remake on a shopping bag which had seen much better days.

This picture shows my poor bag before I started, with the jute going into rather a lot of holes. In fact, the bag was being held together by the lining which I had completed three years ago.

This is what it looks like now.

The handles and lining have been reused, as have some pieces of the original fabric.

The following photos show all four sides of the bag as I was getting ready to assemble it. All ribbon and fabric came from my stash. I bought the buttons and iron-on embroideries to make the whole thing more fun.

I remade a previous bag in a similar some time ago. You can see it here and also here. I now have one more bag to renew in the same way. However, it will not look the same as the previous completed bags....

Well, I also got started with a skirt which I had cut out ready to sew some months ago.
It is now sewn together and awaiting a zip. I have decided to add a full lining since the fabric is a wool mix and will not hang well unless lined. The original pattern does not have a lining and has edges finished off with an overlocking stitch (serged stitch). Not a look I like, but the design is such a good shape. I shall give it a more "finished" finish, if you see what I mean. The lining is now cut out and ready to sew. I just need to get some gardening done before the weather breaks again.
Oh, we have been making a new raised flower bed out of some paving flagstones we were given some months ago. This will hold our fruit and vegetable garden once it is completed. The strawberry plants are ready to go in and I have asked if we can get a rhubarb crown.... I do like rhubarb, especially cooked with a little ginger.

And I have been feverishly knitting a pair of Vinnland socks , started some weeks ago and now destined to be my husband's. He is rather interested in the idea of handknitted socks, and hasn't had anything from me in years - not very fair, but then he only wears the jumpers I have knitted for him for "best". In the 33 years we have been married, he has only managed to wear out three jumpers. It must be said I was asked to make a replacement for his favourite of these. A simple polo-necked jumper in a mid blue double knit mohair with wool, having a triple cable down the front. The original had been made in a beautiful Pinguoin mohair mix a couple of years before we married.