Monday, 31 March 2014

A little tutorial in putting the Ricky Tims' piped binding on my Table Runner.

The piped binding method I have used on this project was from the Ricky Tims Grand Finale DVD - I was lucky enough to buy the DVD from the man himself, and get it signed too! (he is quite a lovely chap).
Apply binding to BACK of the work
Fold over to front & top stitch
The binding finished

Corners are mitred and folded to the front

Finished corners

The DVD is a brilliant resource which I have always gone back to in order to complete several projects over the years and is worth it's weight in gold. This method of binding is fully machined, no hand sewing involved, which means a king size quilt can be bound in a day or even a long afternoon (once you are practiced!)... A very satisfying process.

I have a tendency to prepare two or three bindings at once for projects and have them rolled up (in a 'bindings' pot) so they are ready to go once the quilting is completed. This binding for the table runner was made in this way (two years ago) when I was very unsure of how to complete the embellishments on the runner. Sometimes I have to live with a project for a while (sometimes quite a long while) before I know how to move onto the next stage of the creative process. 

Quilting patterns usually hold me back - in the ditch, curved, linear, chunky thread, machined, hand, stab-stitch, seed-stitch or even embroidery work - it all needs considering. Here's how the binding was attached to the quilted work... you will have to check out the DVD for the preparation involved in making it (sorry).

The creative 'Mr X Stitch' at the Knitting & Stitching Show, Olympia 2014.

The wonderful Mr X Stitch at the Inspiration Station at the Show. The stand was a showcase of all things needlework and thread work - a joy to see.

Mr X Stitch himself

Another vintage find - I love linens.

This beauty came home with me today. I fell in love with the orange and yellow - so vintage! It is only a small table cloth, sear-sucker with gorgeous thin stripe of colour. I love it. It will have pride of place at my next vintage tea party.

Friday, 28 March 2014

How I use some of my vintage finds.

Here are just a few uses for some of my vintage finds.
I am part of a Quilting group who's 2014 group challenge was to make a table runner ... deadline is next month. Luckily one of those UFO's (Un-Finished Objects) in my stash was a table runner -already four years in the making - I just had to finish it off. The only thing I needed to do was add embellishments, binding and a sleeve to give the option of hanging it up.... and a label of course. The runner was made from brand new Moda fabric, which I very rarely use these days. My stash is mainly full of vintage and pre-worn.... but I did find a way to combine my new stash with my old. An old table napkin was used to make the sleeve and the label, and some old red and well worn buttons were a perfect match for the red of the holly berries....more from this runner project in the future.
Selection of vintage red buttons, all sizes and ages waiting to be chosen
Buttons are the perfect red for my berries
This was part of an old cotton napkin - I used the existing seamed edges (and folded part of it over ) to save time sewing
This label was made from the corner of the same old napkin, the old seamed edge makes light work of sewing it in place

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Something to share with you .... A little music from a vintage wooden box.

I couldn't resist this small vintage wooden inlay box - German or Austrian I believe. Enjoy.

 marquetry on the box lid
base of the box has a label and a key

The name of the music.... check it out on You-tube

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Some of my latest vintage finds - this time it's blankets!!!!

My travels this week unearthed some of the most gorgeous Welsh Tapestry Wool blankets and a rare green and black 4 Point Witney Early's Wool Blanket - which were traditionally traded with the Hudson Bay Company. My family think I am a bit potty. They cannot understand how I can get giddy over such things as textiles, but I can't help myself.... All I know is that I am a very happy  bunny in my slightly puddled textile bubble.
4 Point Witney Early's Wool Blanket

Welsh Tapestry Wool blankets

Saturday, 22 March 2014

At the Knitting & Stitching Show at Olympia I met a lovely and talented lady who showed me how to Braid.

A very talented lady from the Braidmaker's Workshop  was kind enough to demonstrate how to use a heddle to make the most wonderful braids - they design and sell the heddle themselves. The braids can be sewn together to make larger unique and robust pieces of cloth. All goodies for making the braids are available from their website.

A variety of threads are used
- from flat ribbons to wool.
Just some of the 'fabrics' that one can make
from this rather addictive craft

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Knitting & Stitching Show, Olympia 2014.

What an inspiring show. It's Wednesday now and I am only just
getting over how exhausted I was from my two days at the Knitting and Stitching Show. I attended five workshops - each making parts of garments - collar, cuffs, lined pockets, invisible zips and fly fronted zips - all care of the wonderful Janice and her brilliant assistant from the Sewing Rooms in Putney. It is amazing what you can achieve in an hours workshop. By the end of the final class I felt like a whole new world had opened up to me. Trust me I am no dressmaker - actually a patchwork and quilter of over twenty years - but the finer detail of seam allowances and 3D construction fascinated me. I aspire to making a garment I can wear - one day - but in the meantime I am content with the notion that I can construct a sleeve, placket and cuff and create a stand alone piece of textile art that I can embroider and make my own. #Vintage and #MakedoandMend were the running themes throughout the show. Although the Olympia show is small than the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in October, and is easily a full day of entertainment and inspiration - well worth putting in your diary for 2015.  Here are some of the inspiring photographs of colour from the show, more images are in a folder on my Facebook page...... enjoy.....

Hemp Yarn
Selvedge's Stand 
Vintage from Til the Sun goes Down

Wonderful Garment - one of many from the
National Fashion Textiles Competition 2014

Liberty Fabrics

Friday, 14 March 2014

Vintage treat of the week - threads and vintage packaging.

My day out shopping and rummaging in Charity Shops is always a joy, especially when I come across goodies....lots of goodies.
they will eventually be added to my boxes of supplies, but for the moment they are propped on a shelf in my sewing room to be admired and to inspire my creativity.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Tips for cleaning your mixed media equipment.

I think we are all guilty at some at some point in our creative lifetime, of not taking care of our art tools enough - love them and they will be around for many years to come. My failing is unloved paint brushes... I have no excuses now!

"Here are some tips for cleaning three of your basic mixed-media and collage tools.

  • It's easier to clean them if you do it before the paint, ink, etc., dries.
  • If you have a brayer with a removable roller, take it apart for easier cleaning.
  • Check with the manufacturer/instructions to see whether your brayer can be cleaned with anything besides water (such as a solvent).
  • Remove the excess paint from the paintbrush by wiping it onto (or with) a cloth or paper towel. Gently squeezing the bristles from the ferrule (the metal part) to the tip helps to remove the paint, but avoid pulling on the bristles.
  • Rinse the brush in lukewarm to cool water if you painted with a water-based medium. Use turpentine or a paintbrush cleaner specifically for oil-based products to remove oil paint. Never use hot water; it can cause the bristles/hairs to fall out.
  • Wipe the brush on the cloth again to remove any paint that remains. Once all of the excess paint is removed, wash the brush gently with mild soap. Rinse and repeat until there is no trace of paint or soap.
  • Shake the water from the paintbrush and then gently shape the brush head into its correct shape with your fingers.
  • Stand the paintbrush, handle-side down, in a container and allow the brush to air-dry at room temperature. Never rest the paintbrush on its head to dry as the bristles will lose their shape.
  • Acrylic paint and modelling paste can build up and fill in the details of your stencils. After using these products, soak the stencils and then gently clean the surface with a baby wipe.
  • Water-reactive sprays left on a stencil will reactivate, often colouring your artwork. (Sometimes this is a bonus, sometimes not.)
  • Store stencils flat so they don't bend or tear.

You have my permission (as if you needed it) to leave your studio a mess. But please, for the love of your mixed-media/collage art supplies clean them before you move on........" Sourced from Quilting Arts.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Sewing box made by my Great Aunt Maggie for my Mum when she was very little.

This was made post WWII by my Great Aunt Maggie for my mother. My Great Aunt was super at turning her hand to any form of craft. It was made as a Christmas gift at a time when rationing was still around and  was lined with any salvaged fabric she could put her hands on.
Lining handmade form reclaimed  materials

This is the basket before I started cleaning 

... I cleaned a small bit..... and then I couldn't stop  

I love the rediscover textures of this family heirloom 
I recently gave it a spring clean alongside my other sewing box shown in a previous post. I plan to do a small repair and attach the lid to the basket and re-glue the interior lining to the basket. I love the fact this was made nearly 70 years ago by a lady I greatly admire. I have heard a lot about her over the years - she was the one 'who could make anything from nothing' and 'turn her hand to anything'. Every Christmas during WWII she handmade gifts for my mum and her six siblings - one year.... a cardboard fort for my uncles,  a dolls house with sets of drawers made from match boxes and dolls from pegs, rag dolls with full sets of changeable clothing.... everything was painted, decorated and beautifully finished off.  I honestly believe that these stories have made me the person I am now - I don't follow any rules and make what I can from what I can find. My mum often says to me that I would have got on like a 'house on fire' with Great Aunt Maggie - I like to think she is right and that some of her creativity has rubbed off on me..... she is definitely my inspiration for my 'make do and mend' ethos.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Fox Flannel Archive - fabric manufactured during WW1

The Fox Archive from Fox Brothers & Co Ltd

The Fox archive, recognised as ‘the most significant textile company archive in the British Isles’ by the County Heritage Officer in 2010, includes over 400 volumes containing business documents and samples dating back to the company’s first year of trading.

This note in the archive is a document detailing the materials supplied by Fox Brothers during WW1 (1914-1918). A scan of the original document detailing the order is available for you to view on this page and shows that Fox Brothers supplied a total of over 8,000 miles of cloth to the British and Allied governments, using 10,000 tons or 900 trucks of wool.

..... I gasp to think of what it took to produce this amount of cloth - noisy machines and the huge workforce of women doing war work. 




You are invited to the
Launch of
The Algorithm Isles
the first in a series of
‘Pi in needle lace’ by Fleur Oakes 2014
Art Lovers Guides to Tax Havens
Thursday March 20th
7 – 9 pm
Prick Your Finger
260 Globe Road E2 0JD
money making wizard
‘Money Making wizard’ by Celia Ward
with contributions from
Fleur Oakes, Rachael Matthews, Sonia Tuttiett & Celia Ward
with masterworks brought up from the vaults between
20 March to 23 April

Thursday, 6 March 2014

A little time and patience....What a transformation..... before and after shots of my mums sewing box..... I am so happy ! .....attic finds!

I rediscovered this sewing box in my stash today and started by cleaning a small section, before I knew it the whole thing had been scrubbed - once I started I couldn't stop! It transformed before my eyes. It was so dirty, but water and a soft toothbrush .....and patience did the trick. I can't remember it being this clean when I was a kid, it was brought out when necessary repairs demanded its presence and then put away to hide it from me and my many siblings.... I love it and will give it pride of place in my sewing room. The fact it was my mum's means a great deal. I have another sewing box I will share with you soon that has another story to tell.

Before cleaning - I had no idea what colours were underneath all the dust

The gorgeous sewing box.... I am so happy!

Monday, 3 March 2014

My finished samples for Kreinik threads using the fantastic iron-on threads. I like a bit of bling.

Sample using: Number 6205 1/8" Iron-on kreinik thread 

Sample using: Number 6205 1/8" Iron-on kreinik thread 
Sample using: Number 6225 (#16 Braid)
kreinik thread 
Sample using: Number 6205 1/8"
thread kreinik onto wood

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