A Bustle & Sew Publication Copyright ÂŠ Bustle & Sew Limited 2018 The right of Helen Dickson to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form, or by any means, without the prior written permission of the author, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. Every effort has been made to ensure that all the information in this book is accurate. However, due to differing conditions, tools and individual skills, the publisher cannot be responsible for any injuries, losses and other damages that may result from the use of the information in this book.
First published 2018 by: Bustle & Sew The Cottage Oakhill Radstock BA3 5HT UK www.bustleandsew.com
Welcome to the February Magazine It may be cold and dreary still outside (and particularly cold if you’re on the other side of the Atlantic to us) but nevertheless the days are growing noticeably longer now and though it will be a while until I have daffodils in my garden, I can see their sharp green leaves pushing up through the cold wet soil, whilst there are snowdrops along the hedgerows and the buds on my rambling rose are fattening up nicely. This month brings Shrove Tuesday and Rosie has been digging deep into our old family recipes to bring you all kinds of delights that have one thing in common - they’re all cooked on the top of the stove, on a griddle or in a frying pan rather than in the oven. We have embroidery projects suitable for both beginners and the more experienced as well as the most cheerful little cat softie. And as it’s so cold and grey outside we take a very welcome journey through colour, discovering the weird, wonderful and sometimes frankly wacky world of natural dyes! I do hope you’ll enjoy this month’s edition, and just a quick reminder that the March issue will be published, as always, on the last Thursday of the month - in this case Thursday 22 February. So if you’re a subscriber watch out for it arriving in your inbox then! Until then, I hope you have a wonderful month!
Tips for Stitchers When I’m working on applique, I like to trace my shapes onto Bondaweb (a double sided fusible interfacing) which I then fuse to the reverse of my fabric before cutting out my shapes. It’s not always easy to remove the paper backing when I’ve cut my shape, but it’s really important to resist the temptation to keep picking at the edge of your shape if the backing doesn’t peel away easily. Instead try scratching the paper with the point of a pin. You should then be able to peel the backing away starting from this “scratch”. Even better - I try to remember to make a cut into my traced shape before I fuse the Bondaweb to the reverse of the fabric. This gives me a nice clean edge to begin peeling the backing away with no chance of distorting or damaging the edge of my shape.
Between this month’s covers … Tips for Stitchers
Kissing Bunnies Cushion Cover
Tastes of the Season: Rhubarb
Hello Zebra! Hoop
Rosie’s Recipes: It’s Pancake Day!
Lovely Idea: Candy Hearts Quilt
Tastes of the Season: Parsnips
Meet the Maker: Julie Bulle
Succulent Wreath Hoop
A Country Diary
Mounting your work in a hoop
A (very) Little Look at Muslin
From Passion to Profit
Happy Cat Felt Softie
Lovely Idea: Tea Tin Clock
A Journey through Colour
Cactus Pin Cushion
Spring is in the Air
In the Kitchen: Conversion Tables
Blast from the Past: Snowdrops Hoop
A (very) Little Look at Vintage Textiles
Mending More than Just Making Do
February February, the second month of the year, takes its name from the Latin , a feast of expiation and purification held at this time in ancient Rome. Many of its significant dates - the Celtic Imbolc, and Christian Candlemas and Lent are concerned with absence, purging and fasting. Even its birthstone, amethyst, is a symbol of piety and humility (also to guard against drunkeness and to keep a sober mind). As February is so short, it is the only month that can pass without a full moon - as is the case this year - so even the nights (which are still long) aren’t illuminated by the cold brightness of a full winter moon. It can feel like a month of resting, time to snuggle down inside and wait for warmer days to come before the burst of activity and renewal that is spring. But the days are steadily growing longer now, there are signs of life returning, and though the sun is still weak, it’s strengthening every day reminding us that spring will
soon arrive. But the lengthening days don’t bring warmth and February can often be the coldest month of the year as the sea that surrounds us cools to its lowest temperature and frequent easterly
“Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November; All the rest have thirty-one, Excepting February alone, Which hath but twentyeight days clear And twenty-nine in each leap year”
winds rush in from Siberia, cutting through gloves, scarves and all but the warmest winter coats, chilling us to the bone.
Still, rain and snow are welcomed by farmers to prepare the ground for the sowing and germination of seed hence the old sayings: “If in February there be no rain, ‘tis neither good for hay nor grain.’ Or ‘Much February snow a fine summer doth show.’ This year Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day falls on February 13, as Easter itself is early this year. This is the last opportunity for feasting and revelry before Easter, as Ash Wednesday - the day afterwards is the first day of Lent. This day takes its name from the custom of marking a cross of ashes on the forehead of churchgoers on this day, a reminder that “dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19). Less well known is the old English tradition of “Collop Monday”, the day before Shrove Tuesday which was a time for using up fresh or salted meat, traditionally eaten with eggs. (A “collop” is a slice of meat or bread). This custom is rarely observed today as
bacon and eggs are less of a novelty than pancakes for most of us. In gardens, woodlands and at the base of hedgerows across the country this is the month when the earliest spring flowers make their appearance and the tree buds begin to fatten on the branches. In gardens too, there is a promise of spring as bulbs begin to push up through the soil and the lovely smell of damp earth and new greenery brightens the spirits. By now frogs and toads are beginning to wake from their long winter hibernation and if the month is mild you may see early frog and toad spawn in ponds towards the end of the month. It’s easy to tell the difference between them (when you know how of course). Frog spawn is always laid in clumps in shallow water, whilst toad spawn forms long chains, draped over pond weed and plants in the deeper parts of the water. There always seems to be a huge amount but the mortality rate is grotesquely high, so if your pond is full of spawn, don’t worry - you’re most unlikely to be overrun by baby frogs in a few months time! Birds are beginning to pair up traditionally of course they have made their choice by Valentine’s Day - and the volume of birdsong increases throughout the month as they strive to attract mates and defend their territories.
On 5 February 1953, the rationing of sweets and chocolate was finally abolished, after more than a decade, and shops throughout the country reported a brisk trade in everything from lollipops to
“A dire conflict took place between the students of Oxford and its citizens. The contest continued three days. On the second evening, the townsmen called to their assistance the country people; and thus reinforced, completely overpowered the scholars of whom numbers were killed and wounded. The citizens were consequently debarred the rites and consolations of the church; their privileges were greatly narrowed; they were heavily fined and an annual penance for ever was enjoined that on each anniversary of St Scholastica the mayor and 62 citizens attend at St Mary’s Church where the Litany should be read at the altar, and an oblation of one penny made by each man.”
liquorice. Towards the end of WW2 the weekly ration of these delights had dropped to a tiny 2oz per person, though this was gradually increased to a more generous 6oz in the post-war years. Queen Victoria married Prince Albert on 10 February 1840 when they
were both just 20 years old. This was a great royal love-match, that sadly was brought to a premature end when Albert, worn out by worry and overwork died prematurely from typhoid fever in 1861 at the age of just 42. At least that is the contemporary diagnosis, but as he was ill for at least two years before then he may possibly also have been suffering from some other chronic disease. The tenth is also the feast day of St Scholastica, the lesser-known sister of St Benedict, who founded the Benedictine order of monks in the early sixth century. This day is remembered in Oxford as the date of a dispute in 1355, apparently about the quality of wine served in the Swindlestock Tavern. This dispute escalated into a three-day riot in which 63 students were killed. A happier anniversary is that of the Women’s Institute, better known as the WI, which came into existence on 19 February 1897. Although it’s often seen as quintessentially British, the organisation was founded in Canada, and was initially affiliated to the Farmers’ Institute. It’s founder was Adelaid Hoodless, a campaigner for the education of rural women in domestic science and home craft. The modern WI has taken steps to shake off its “jam and Jerusalem” image and today attracts members of all ages, from both urban and rural environments.
Hello Zebra! Hoop I really enjoyed stitching this zebra. As you can see he isn’t centred on the hoop, but rather looks as though he’s peeping over the bottom edge, perhaps he’s a little shy and doesn’t want to venture any further. But whatever, I think this adds to his charm. It’s important to take your time transferring his stripes as there’s no outline, the full head is delineated by the positioning of the stripes - which will of course also affect his expression. I stitched my zebra on felt, but a closely woven cotton or linen would work just as well. Shown mounted in 12” hoop
● Using two strands of floss throughout stitch the design as follows:
● The nose is long satin stitches - this makes it nice and shiny.
● 15” square white or pale cream background fabric. This should be closely woven, preferably without too much texture and definitely not stretchy!
● The stripes are split stitch. Work longer stitches over the straight areas and smaller around the curves. It’s important to keep your edges nice and smooth.
● 2 skeins of black (DMC 310) stranded cotton floss
● The mane is long and short stitch as I wanted it to have more texture than the nose.
Method ● Transfer the design to your fabric. Mark a position 1 ½” up from the bottom edge and in the centre vertically and make sure that the bottom centre of your zebra’s nose is on this point.
● The outer ears are satin stitch radiating outwards so it gives the impression of short, almost bristly hairs around the edge of the ear. The inner ears are also satin stitch.
● The eyes are satin stitch and the sparkle in each eye is simply an unstitched area. Again, it’s really important to be accurate with your stitching and keep a nice clear crisp edge.
● Mount your zebra in the hoop being very careful to align the screw at the top with his mane. Ensure he is vertical - his nostrils should just disappear into the outer ring and you will lose a little of your stitching at either side of the nose. That’s fine - I thought this was better than risking any gaps.
● When you’ve finished stitching press your work lightly on the reverse being careful not to flatten your stitches.
Hello Zebra! Hoop: Stitching Guide
Long and Short Stitch
This stitch is used for the stripes and should always be worked in the direction of the stripe. It’s similar to stem stitch as the needle always emerges from the background fabric (C) a short distance back from the spot where it last entered (B). But in emerging the point of the needle “splits” the working thread and the needle and thread are pulled through this split portion. It makes an excellent filling stitch (especially when working shading).
Long and short stitch is worked exactly like ordinary satin stitch and derives its name from the irregular method of beginning the first row of stitches. After completing the first row, satin stitches of equal length are fitted into the spaces left by the previous row and this is continued until the shape is filled. The length of the satin stitch should remain constant.
a lovely idea
Candy Hearts Quilt
If you havenâ€™t found it yet, then I totally recommend visiting the Moda Bakeshop, stuffed with lots of amazing projects from supertalented designers across the globe. Our choice this month is the wonderful Candy Hearts Quilt by Amber Johnson
Free from the Moda Bakeshop :Candy Hearts Quilt 11
â€œYou are as unique as all my creationsâ€?
Meet the Maker
Julie Bulle talks to us about her business, Les Miniboux, her Etsy journey and her plans for the future of her lovely screen printed homewares. Can you tell us a little about visual arts and applied arts are your home and where you live? really separated in France, all I am currently living in Caen, Normandy, in France, my hometown. After 7 years in Paris, followed by 7 seven years in Brittany, I needed a change of scenery and came back home. Right now, I'm living at my parents home, since they've got space and I just came back a few months ago.
Can you tell us a little about your creative background? I've always been drawing or creating something with my own two hands. My mom taught me a lot but I started taking drawing lessons at an early age.
taught in different schools).
Can you explain the techniques you use and tell us why they appeal to you? Since I create home decor, it mixes a lot of different techniques. The first step in my work is to draw. After I have a drawing that I like I can handpaint it on porcelain for the tableware I sell, or I'll use screenprint for all the linens I create. Once it is screenprinted, I still have to sew it all before it's ready to sell and ship.
How do you keep yourself Once I finished high school I left motivated and interested in home to study art in Paris. I your work?
have a degree in 3D animated It's quite easy to stay motivated films and visual effects and also when you love your work, it a degree in visual arts (Fine arts,
If you love Julie’s simple, yet sophisticated, homeware and would like to find out more you can find her online at “Lesminiboux” ….
https://instagram.com/les_miniboux/ http://www.etsy.com/shop/lesminiboux http://www.facebook.com/LesMiniboux
really helps. But sometimes, I do Most of my inspiration comes heat a few walls and need to from the nature, I draw a lot from refresh my mind. the plants I like, it's really becoming the biggest part of my Getting my mind off work is the work. But I still creating some best way to get back at it, characters from animals that are sometimes just reading a good not always too usual. book is enough, sometimes I need more time and gardening I also keep my eyes open and would be the best way to relax. watch the work of a lot of other designers. I guess keeping an Do you finish a piece before eye out on new trends keeps my moving onto the next, or do mind hungry for new ideas..
you work on several projects at the same time? Most of the times, I work in bulk. It's the easier way to be efficient and save some precious time when screen printing and sewing. It goes the same way for the porcelain. It's like the first pieces I make are just a warm up and then I get faster and better.
Please tell us a little about your workspace. How do you keep organised? I work at home, after having a few outside studio, I find I work best at home, although it can be a challenge. But home is where I can work best on new ideas for new designs. And right now, I am not sure people would see my studio as organised. Some corners are kind of messy, but I guess it's just how it should be for me.
minimalist but theyâ€™re still something I really worked on to get it right.
And what's the best thing about running your own business?
Definitely the freedom it gives! Although self employed people really need to work a lot, and probably more than people are used to, it is still adaptable. It's easier to deal with mishaps on a daily life. And the only boss I have to please is myself! I might not be the easiest boss, but at How did your business begin? least I know what I like and what At first I was more thinking about I don't like. being an illustrator for children books but I was not comfortable What are your plans for its with soliciting editors to actually future? sell my work. And I needed to create actual objects you could This (coming) year I will be hold in your hands everyday, it focusing on finding new retailers seemed more tangible. That's to showcase my work. Since I how I started creating illustrated moved, I need to create a new local network, with all kinds of objects for everyday life. professional contacts and that In a popular and crowded will be a lot of work. I'm also market, what do you think working on a new online shop besides from my Etsy shop, I makes your work unique? hope it can be launched soon. There's a lot of great talented designers out there but I think we all have a little something that the designer next door won't have. Our work expresses our own personalities. Most of the times my customers will love my work because it is simple yet sophisticated.
Where do you find your I spend time on my designs so creative inspiration? they look simple, almost
And finally, please describe your style in three words. Sophisticated, minimalist.
Thank you so much for chatting to us Julie, I know you were a bit worried about your English as your first language is French - but I donâ€™t think you had any cause for concern at all!
A Country Diary Walked a great part of the way to Stowey with Coleridge. The morning warm and sunny. The young lasses seen on the hill-tops, in the villages and roads, in their summer holiday clothes - pink petticoats and blue. Mothers with their children in arms, and the little ones that could just walk, tottering by their side. Midges or small flies spinning in the sunshine; the songs of the lark and the redbreast; daisies upon the turf; the hazels in blossom; honeysuckles budding. I saw one solitary strawberry flower under a hedge. The furze gay with blossom. The moss rubbed from the pailings by the sheep, that leave locks of wool, and the red marks with which they are spotted, upon the wood.
Dorothy Wordsworth was the sister of the famous poet William and was born in Cockermouth in 1771. Throughout the poet’s life she was his constant companion, and she was described by Coleridge as Wordsworth’s “exquisite sister.” She died in 1855.
A (very) Little Look at Muslin The origin of the word "muslin" is uncertain - it may derive from the Hindi word "mulmull" which has been used in India for centuries to describe a plain woven, sheer cotton cloth - or possibly from "Mosul" - an area in Iraq. Butter muslin, cheesecloth, gauze and flag bunting are all different types of muslin. The first two names refer specifically to their original culinary uses - to strain or to wrap butter, cheese, bacon and puddings. Butter muslin is still used for this purpose today, and for straining and clarifying soups and sauces. These practical uses are reflected in the coarse,
unbleached cloth that still retains the small dark flecks of the cotton seed that are removed in further refining and bleaching processes. In contrast, more than three hundred years ago craftsmen in Dacca (now part of Bangladesh) were spinning and weaving cotton into the most fine and beautiful cloth used only for royal and ceremonial occasions. This cloth was so light that, yard for yard, it weighed less than a quarter of the weight of a fine quality muslin today. As fine as a cobweb, with dainty "butis" or floral sprigs embroidered in a slightly thicker yarn, it caused a sensation at the
Watercress with muslin cloth
Great Exhibition held in Hyde Park, London in 1851. Today the best and finest muslin cloth is made from Egyptian cotton - a name which no longer refers only to its country of origin,but to a type of cotton plant that produces one of the highest quality cottons in the world. The length and quality or staple of the cotton fibre determines how fine the yarn can be spun. Except perhaps for USA Sea Island cotton, Egyptian cotton has the longest, finest staple and this is why muslin woven from Egyptian cotton yarn is so fine and delicate, with a lovely subtle sheen.
Happy Cat Softie This cheerful looking feline is super-easy to make as his body is comprised of just two main pieces that are joined by machine for extra strength whilst his features are simple applique and embroidery. I know my little grandson Freddie has his eye on my own softie, and if you know a young child then this would be a perfect gift though do be sure to omit the bow if the recipient is under three as it could be a hazard. Finished softie measures 10” tall (approx) from his toes to the tips of his ears ● 4” x 3” printed cotton fabric for bow (optional)
Materials ● 18” x 12” dark grey (or colour of your choice) wool blend felt. Be sure that it is a wool blend, acrylic felt really isn’t the best for softie making
● Black, white and pale pink stranded cotton floss
● 8” x 4” white wool blend felt
● Temporary fabric marker pen
● Small scraps of pink felt
● Seam ripper or scissors with sharp point
● Pink, white and black stranded cotton embroidery floss
● Toy stuffing
seam allowance and leaving a 2 ½” gap for turning under one of the arms.
● Clip curves being very careful to make sure you don’t cut your sewing (there isn’t much space). Pay particular attention to the inner curves, ie beneath the arms, at the neck and bottom of body.
● Cut out all pieces from the template. You need to add a 1/8” seam allowance as indicated on the template page. ● Trace the cat markings (the white chest and face) onto the paper side of your Bondaweb and cut out roughly. Fuse to your white felt and cut out carefully. Fuse to the front body panel using a hot iron and protecting your work with a cloth.
● Turn right side out and remove pins from ears (if you pinned rather than basting). Press. ● Stuff carefully using small pieces of stuffing to avoid lumpiness. You may find a stuffing stick useful to push your stuffing into the hard to reach places such as the ends of arms and legs. This can be as simple as a bamboo skewer with the end broken off and “frayed” so that it will grab the stuffing as you push it in. Stuff firmly (as the stuffing will compress with time and you don’t want a floppy cat), but be careful not to stretch and distort the toy. Turn your cat round in your hands moulding it carefully so you can be sure it looks good from all angles.
● Cut out and fuse the pink nose in the same way. ● Secure applique shapes to the main body panel with short straight stitches worked in 2 strands of matching floss at right angles to the edges of the shape. ● Using your temporary fabric marker pen draw in the features. Using two strands of black floss stitch the eyes in satin stitch and the mouth in back stitch. The whiskers are long straight stitches (you could couch them for extra protection against the stitches being pulled by little fingers if you’re planning on your cat being a toy). The large picture at (1) should help with positioning the features.
● Close the stuffing gap with slip stitch. ● Cut a 4” x 1 ½” rectangle from grey felt and a 2” x 1 ½” rectangle from white felt and join at the short edge using a 1/8” seam allowance.
● Applique a pale pink ear inner to two of the ear outers (make sure one is reversed)
● Fold in half lengthways to create a tube and stitch around two sides, leaving one short edge open for turning.
● Join the ear outers together by machine using a 1/8” seam allowance. Clip point and curves and turn right side out. Press.
● Turn and stuff lightly. With your seam ripper or sharp scissors make a small cut at an angle in the back of the cat’s body (2). Push the tail in and secure firmly with a few stitches.
● Aligning the ear bases to the outer edge of the head position ears as marked on the templates with the ears pointing inwards (2). Pin or baste into place.
● Your cat is now finished.
● Place the front and back pieces with right sides together and pin firmly or baste. Machine stitch around the edge using a 1/8”
A (little) Journey through Colour The amazing world of natural dyes
For many hundreds of years natural dyes were the only choice for dying textiles, since synthetic colours didn’t appear until the nineteenth century. So I thought it would be fun to look back at some of the amazing and inventive ways used to colour cloth before that time, (how were they ever discovered?!) as well as discovering some interesting and little known facts about colour history. tests - without additives to fix the dye the colour would fade with the first wash. The cochineal dye, although a deep, intensely coloured and very beautiful red is never used for Buddhist robes as there is too much death associated with it.
Red The history of the colour red begins in precolonial America with a tiny creature that once formed the basis of a large industry - the cochineal beetle - that’s the size of about a grain of Arborio rice. Living on cacti, primarily in the Oaxaca area of Mexico and between the highlands and coast in the Andes, the female cochineal insect produces carminic acid, a deep crimson dye. Cochineal beetles were farmed by the ancient Incas and the practice still continues in South America today. The beetles live on prickly pear plants and infest them so thickly that it looks as though the plants have been coated in white flour.
Orange The richest orange-red natural dyes were from a small bush with a pink root called madder. Madder roots have been used as a dye for over 5,000 years. Archaeologists have found traces of madder in linen in Tutankhamen’s tomb (1350 BC), and in wool discovered in Norse burial grounds. The roots of the madder plant grow so long and so quickly that in 17th century Holland, where madder was extensively grown, farmers working on land reclaimed from the sea were
To produce the red dye the bugs are killed by immersion in hot water, after which they are dried and pulverised. But this dried beetle blood alone wouldn’t pass any colour fastness
The Madder plant looks - honestly - a bit boring, but produces a rich natural orange dye
Dyeing with cochineal beetles
Skeins of wool dyed with natural madder
legally obliged to harvest their madder crop after just two years in case the roots grew too long and strong, burrowing too deeply into the dykes and so causing floods. Although the root of the madder bush is actually pink, the addition of alum to a madder dye bath means that any white textile treated in it will emerge the most vibrant shade of orange.
Yellow We are all familiar with the images of Buddhist monks with their saffron-coloured robes - and I assumed that before synthetic dyes became widely available that saffron had indeed been used to dye these garments. But I hadn't stopped to think this through properly. Buddhist robes are worn to show humility - not to show that the wearer was wealthy enough to dress in garments dyed with the most expensive spice in the world. Saffron crocuses are grown in many locations from Spain to Iran, France and Morocco, as
well as in New Zealand, Tasmania and the United Kingdom. But if you are seeking crocus fields, then don't look for fields of gold - in fact the yellow dye spice comes from a beautiful purple flower. There is something magical about the saffron crocus Crocus sativus. The flower appears overnight, blooms for less than one day, then disappears by the evening. If it is not harvested by noon on the day of flowering the spice loses its potency, but it is such a delicate and painstaking process that nothing can be rushed. The purple petals are of no value at all, it is the red stigmas that are the source of the spice. In the 16th and early 17th centuries saffron was widely grown in Essex and the town of Chipping Walden changed its name officially to Saffron Walden, as growing and selling the spice had made the town one of the richest in the country. But the town's prosperity waxed and waned over the years - in 1540 demand plummeted as European wars meant that imported saffron was cheaper, whilst a
hundred years later the price of saffron soared to more than four pounds a pound (from just over two pounds a few years earlier) as the belief grew that saffron was an excellent remedy for the plague. Sadly though, in spite of some good years, the fortunes of the town, and the spice declined and by 1790 there was no saffron being grown in Saffron Walden or anywhere else. The saffron crocus had almost completely disappeared from England. Today most saffron is grown in Iran.
Green Prior to the mid-nineteenth century and the introduction of synthetic dyes green had never been an easy colour for dyers to achieve. It had always been a two stage process requiring them to dip their cloth into two vats - a blue and then a yellow one making it very hard to achieve consistency between batches. Robin Hood and his band of merry men were famous for wearing Lincoln green - but this wasn’t, as you might think, a camouflage green, but a bright cheerful colour made to show off. This green cloth was made using woad (a blue plant) and weld (a yellow one). It was also called “gaudy green” and was very expensive to produce. Perhaps Robin chose to wear it to show how effectively he was stealing from the rich to clothe the poor!
Blue Indigo is the most common of blue dyes and is still extensively used today. The word “Indigo” actually refers to where the colour comes from and is derived from the Greek term meaning “from India.” Indigo was probably cultivated in the Indus valley more than five thousand years ago. When European traders arrived in Goa in the early sixteenth century, they found plentiful supplies of Indian indigo to add to their cargos of exotic goods. Indigo wasn’t a new substance to Europeans as it had been
imported in small quantities for hundreds of years as both a medicine and a paint - but now the Portuguese and later British and Dutch traders began to market it as a wonderful dye. Heading back further into time, we all know (or think we know, though scholars aren’t at all sure) that the Ancient Britons would paint their bodies with woad before going into battle. By the sixteenth century the woad-growers of Europe formed an immensely influential and wealthy group who lobbied - at first very successfully - against the introduction of the new indigo dyes from India. In 1609 the French government attached the death penalty to the use of indigo rather than woad, whilst in Germany the dyers had to declare annually that they didn’t use “the devil’s dye” - indigo and it was officially banned in England until 1660 due to its being poisonous (it isn’t!) Eventually the ban and penalties on using indigo were lifted as, over time, dyers realised that to dye the cottons that were beginning to be imported from India they would need the stronger colour from imported indigo. Most blue dye vats in Europe were a mixture of indigo and woad. In the 18th century English dyers used some wonderful terms to classify the colours they achieved using indigo - from light to dark these included: milk blue, pearl blue, pale blue, flat blue, middling blue, sky blue, queen’s blue, watchet blue, garter blue, mazareen blue, deep blue and navy blue. Interesting fact - did you know that the Ancient Greeks didn’t seem to have a word for blue? The nineteenth century British Prime Minister William Gladstone even suggested that they didn’t have a word as they were colour blind to it!
Purple When people in the 19th and 20th centuries began to try to rediscover the secrets of Tyrian
Purple, they first referred to Pliny, who after all had visited the city in the first century AD, so would probably have known something about the process. The trouble was that the process was both secret and also extremely complicated, and Pliny wasn't able to get the details quite right. But what was known was that the sea-snail murex was the source of the purple colour.
Most sea-snails of the murex family have some kind of potential for purple - which comes from a gland near the anal opening, but the best kinds are Murex brandaris which lives in mud and Murex trunculus which is found on the rocky bottom of the sea floor. Every Roman toga dyed purple meant the death of some ten thousand of these molluscs, which led to their near-total extinction in the Mediterranean.
The length and complexity of the process made Tyrian Purple an extremely expensive dye and so garments dyed purple were worn only by the very richest and most important people at that time. Indeed, if an ordinary citizen of the early Roman empire had worn clothes dyed with Tyrian Purple they would have been executed!
Today of course we can have our walls, furnishings, cars and clothes any colour we like without any reference to nature but I thought you, like me might find the history of colour a very long and sometimes strange story interesting, as well as a reminder of the ingenuity and inventiveness of our ancestors.
1. Saffron crocus 2. Blankets dyed with saffron 3. Woad 4. Murex snail
Spring is in the Air Around this time each year I love to display forced spring bulbs on my windowsills, enjoying watching them bloom while the weather is still cold and grey outside. And hyacinths are my favourites as you can not only enjoy their beautiful flowers, but their wonderful intense fragrance as well. I’ve grown them in all kinds of containers, from teacups to vintage jelly moulds and this year my favourites are old round baking tins. I hope you’ll enjoy this version too - combining freestyle machine and hand embroidery. Shown mounted on 10” x 8” artists canvas block ● Bondaweb
● Temporary fabric marker pen
● 16” x 14” medium weight (quilting cotton is too light) natural coloured background fabric
● Embroidery foot for your sewing machine ● Black or dark green thread for your needle and a pale colour for you bobbin
● Scraps of printed cotton, tweedy fabrics and/or felt for the bulbs and green felts for the leaves
● 10” x 8” artist’s canvas block ● Staple gun for mounting
● Stranded cotton floss in DMC colours 310, 3345, 4125, 4180
the bottom part into place, but not the top section.
Method ● This project is worked in two parts - first the machine applique and then the embroidery.
● Position your bulbs in the same way and again don’t fuse yet.
● Using the reverse template trace the container and bulb shapes onto the paper side of your Bondaweb and cut out roughly. Don’t forget to add a little extra to the bottoms of the bulbs so they can be overlapped by the container. Fuse to the reverse of your fabric using a hot iron (and protecting you work with a cloth if necessary) and cut out carefully.
● Now cut your leaves. I have indicated with pink dots on the templates the parts that are hidden by the embroidery. Cut the back leaves first all in once piece (1) and position. ● Trace the front leaves onto your Bondaweb in one piece (2) this will make it easier to maintain the shape of the hyacinth plant. ● Position on top of the back leaves (3) so that all the bases are hidden by the top of the bulb (4)
● Peel off the paper backing and position the base of the container centrally and 5 ½” up from the bottom edge of your fabric. Fuse
● When you’re happy with the positioning fuse into place using a hot iron and protecting your work with a cloth. Draw the lines onto the bulbs using your temporary fabric marker pen (5).
● The variegated floss should give you nice graduations in flower colours, but be sure to work in different places for each length of floss to avoid ending up with a regular repetitious effect.
● Fit the embroidery foot to your sewing machine and drop the feed dogs. With dark thread in your needle and pale in your bobbin (this breaks up your stitching line making it appear less heavy and solid) go around the edge of each shape twice. Don’t be too neat - you’re aiming for a sort of scribbled effect.
● The text is worked in split stitch. Work long stitches for the straight parts of the letters and shorter ones around the curves to keep them smooth. ● When your embroidery is finished press lightly on the reverse. ● Mount on the artist’s canvas block. To do this position your work centrally - there should be 3” of fabric excess on each side. Fold this to the back and secure in place using your staple gun. Work from the middle of each side outwards making sure the fabric is taut but not stretched too tightly to distort your work.
● Stitch over the lines you drew on the bulbs in the same way. ● Press your work lightly on the reverse. You have now finished the applique. ● Now work the embroidery using two strands of floss throughout.
● Mitre the corners, trimming away any excess fabric.
● The stems of the hyacinth are long and short stitch worked in 3345.
● The hyacinth flowers are the two variegated flosses. Each flower comprises satin stitches worked around a central point. To avoid confusion I have only marked one line for each cluster of satin stitches that make up an individual petal, but each flower should look something like this:
● Where the black lines are individual satin stitches.
Drifts of snowdrops carpeting the woodland floor are one of the earliest signs of spring …. This month graceful snowdrop flowers will carpet the floors of some of our deciduous woodlands. “Chaste snowdrop, harbinger of spring” wrote Wordsworth, though rejoicing that winter is over when you spot the very first snowdrops is, to say the least, a little hasty! Snowdrops begin their flowering season when the weather is still decidedly chilly - although they look delicate their leaf tips are tough enough to push up to the surface through frozen soil, which is how they gained their name of in France and Snow Piercers in parts of the UK. A Snowdrop flower looks like three drops of milk hanging from a stem which gives the plant its Latin name Galanthus which means milk-white flowers. There are seventy five different species and varieties of snowdrops, which are all white - and that’s probably why only two species are commonly cultivated, though snowdrop enthusiasts, known as Galanthophiles cultivate large collections of different types. A Snowdrop flower looks like three drops of milk hanging from a stem which gives the plant its Latin name Galanthus which means milk-white flowers. A snowdrop walk is a wonderful way to enjoy the countryside in late January and early February when snowdrops are in full flower. Many country estates
and gardens open at this time of year to host these events. If there isn’t a snowdrop walk near you, then try wandering around your local churchyard as snowdrops and churches have an historical affinity. Many churchyards were planted with snowdrops so that there would be plenty of flowers available to decorate the church for Candlemas on 2 February to celebrate the feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary. It was traditional to leave Christmas greenery up until Candlemas when jugs and bowls of snowdrops would be brought inside to take its place. Wherever you go to enjoy snowdrops this spring, don’t plan to bring any home with you. We all know we shouldn’t pick flowers in the wild, but many people also consider snowdrops are unlucky flowers to bring into our homes. This superstition arose in Victorian times when it was believed that the flower structure resembled a corpse wrapped in a shroud, If you’re in the UK, then visit the National Trust website to find details of snowdrop walks near where you are. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lists/top-spots-forsnowdrops
Early Spring Snowdrops I love to see the snowdrops appearing in the banks and hedgerows around and about my home. One of the earliest signs of spring, they seem to be such brave little flowers, daring to bloom on the coldest, darkest winter days. I’ve always loved this design which is a few years old now - and I thought perhaps you might like it too. It hoop celebrates these earliest signs of spring, inspired by a few I picked and brought indoors to enjoy. Shown mounted in 7” hoop.
Ÿ Anchor stranded cotton embroidery floss in colours 2, 254, 256, 845, 861, 926
Materials Ÿ 10” square biscuit coloured linen/cotton or blend
Ÿ Black and cream sewing thread
Ÿ 10” x 3” patterned fabric for tablecloth - I used a vintage blanket scrap
Ÿ Embroidery foot for your sewing machine Ÿ Bondaweb
Ÿ 4” square white felt Ÿ Scraps dark blue cotton fabric
● Cut out roughly, then fuse to the reverse of your fabrics in accordance with the colour guide on the next page. Then cut out smoothly.
Method ● Lay your tablecloth fabric on top of the background fabric aligning the bottom edges, then machine stitch along the top edge of the tablecloth fabric to join both pieces together (1)
● Position your shapes on the background fabric. The base of the mug should be centred vertically and approx 1” below the top edge of the tablecloth fabric, then add the blue stripes. When you’re happy with the positioning of each piece fuse the in place using a hot iron. (Use a cloth to protect your felt shapes from the iron)
● Use the reversed template to trace off the shapes for your applique pieces onto the paper side of your Bondaweb. Cut out a whole mug shape in white felt, then position the blue stripes on the top of this shape. (2)
● Fit the embroidery foot to your sewing machine and drop the feed dogs. With black thread in your needle and a lighter colour in the bobbin go around the outline
blue stripe - as though the stems were sitting in the mug. (4)
● of the mug and the edges of the blue stripes twice. Don’t be too neat, you are aiming for a sort of scribbled effect. (3)
● Stitch your snowdrops in accordance with the stitch guide.
● Now transfer the snowdrops design to your background fabric. Notice that the stems overlap the white felt at the top of the mug and finish at the top of the first
When your work is finished press lightly on the reverse taking care not to flatten your stitches. Mount in hoop and wait for compliments!
A (very) Little Look at Vintage Textiles Vintage textiles have the past woven into their threads - the hands that stitched them, the people who used to wear them and even the rooms in which they were used. It’s a very personal history, full of domestic detail. If you’re lucky enough to find a handmade quilt at market, in a thrift shop or antique fair, then it’s worth snapping up even if it’s not in the best state of repair as it’s relatively easy to mend these items - or make them into new pieces if they’re beyond use for their original purpose. Some of the fabrics used may be classics such as gingham, ticking or candy stripes and you can replace these without too much difficulty, but where other patches are torn or frayed you are unlikely to be able to match the pattern
precisely. The most important thing is to find fabrics of the same weight and composition so they don’t pull or tear each other, and can be washed in the same way. Quilts and other patchwork items were made to be used, not displayed, so if you want to contribute to an item’s history, then don’t be afraid to add your own fabrics to the mix and let it evolve for future generations to enjoy. Cut out damaged pieces by snipping the stitching around them very carefully with small sewing scissors that have sharp points. If there is quilting across the patch, cut through the quilting stitches too from the top of the quilt. Remove the patch so that you’re left with a hole in the patchwork (but not in the filling or
backing). Cut a new piece of fabric (that has been preshrunk if you intend to wash your item in the future) and slip it inside the hole so that its edges are concealed. Slip stitch it neatly into place. Replace any quilting stitches by hand, matching the quilting on the rest of the item. To prevent further damage to vintage fabrics, try to keep items away from strong sunlight which will cause them first to fade and eventually to simply rot away. If the worst comes to the worst and you have an item, a quilt perhaps, where parts are quite beyond repair, then don’t give up on the whole thing - cut out good sections to turn into cushions, or perhaps to frame and hang on the wall
The Art of Mending: Not just Making Do!
There’s nothing more annoying than discovering a hole in your favourite cardigan or hand-knitted socks or a rip in your best jeansbut employing some simple mending techniques which can also be super-decorative - will often save the day! placing your stitches as close together as possible.
Before you can begin darning your knitwear you will need to find a yarn that’s similar both in colour, preferably composition, and also weight to the garment you’d like to repair. You’ll also need to have a darning mushroom - if you don’t have an old one from granny then you can find them in good haberdashery or craft stores. But beware - it’s very hard to darn large holes satisfactorily as they tend to pull out of shape; they should generally be patched.
● Repeat going backwards and forwards until the hole is covered with long parallel stitches, then continue darning to cover any worn material after the hole has been covered. ● Now repeat the same technique at right angles to your first stitches (see opposite page). Pick up the threads across the hole as in weaving, taking great care not to split the darning thread, a very common mistake in darning. Take care to pull your thread tight enough to avoid a bulge forming in the centre.
To work your darn: ● Place your darning mushroom beneath the damaged area and, with the wrong side uppermost, pull the fabric taut over the curved dome to ensure that your darning will be neat and even.
● Rather than knot the yarn to finish, make a few small back stitches sewn on top of each other to anchor the end securely, then snip away the remaining length of yarn.
● Trim away any ragged edges, but be careful not to make the hole any bigger. ● Work the warp (or selvedge) threads first (see diagram on the next page). Begin far enough from the hole to strengthen and cover any thin or worn area surrounding the hole.
Darning is the traditional way of repairing damage to knitwear, but there are more decorative methods you can use, turning a potential disaster into a positive asset! I was very taken with the idea of repairing moth holes with moths!
● Work up and down picking up and laying down an equal number of threads. Leave a small loop at the end of each row, and arrange your stitches so that no two rows of stitching pull consecutively upon the same garment thread. ● When you reach the hole, pick up and lay down alternate edges by this means breaking the lines of the raw edge. Pull your yarn evenly across the open space,
These beautiful moths were created by Joanie Gorman to cover moth holes in some of her favourite oversized jumpers. I think this is such an amazing and creative way of mending and if your darning isn’t super-neat and invisible, then you may like to have a go. Joanie generously shares a tutorial on making your own moth patches over on her website Nini Makes. And if you’re bitten by the mending bug and are looking for even more ways to repair and enhance your favourite items, then you might like to take a look at Jenny Blair’s video showing how to add embroidery to clothing using applique techniques (that’s her work bottom right). The tutorial isn’t specifically aimed at mending, but it would be a great way to cover holes, perhaps reinforcing the repair with a darn or patch beneath if the area is likely to experience heavy wear.
These methods would all work well for covering stains - or why not try repairing your jeans using the Japanese technque of Sashiko perhaps? Your imagination is the only limit!
I like to think That, long ago, There fell to earth Some flakes of snow Which loved this cold, Grey world of ours So much, they stayed As snowdrop flowers.
Kissing Bunnies Cushion Cover This design includes both bunnies for Easter and a heart for Valentine’s Day. I made one or two patterns along these lines way back in the early days of Bustle & Sew. Looking back on these, they seem quite fussy for today’s tastes - we’ve moved away from vintage florals to clean crisp lines with a definite tendency towards monochrome. These bunnies are really easy to make - but you do have to be very careful with your cutting to ensure they have nice clean smooth edges, as any wobbles or jaggedness will show up against the dark grey background. Sized to fit 18” cushion pad.
● Stranded cotton floss in white or pale cream (to match your bunnies) and pale pink
Materials ● 18” square dark grey fabric or wool blend felt for the front of your cushion and two 18” x 12” rectangles to form the envelope closure at the back.
● Bondaweb ● 18” cushion pad
● 18” x 15” white or pale cream felt for the bunnies ● Tiny scrap of pale pink felt for the love heart
● When you’re happy with their positioning fuse your bunnies into place as before.
Method ● Trace the bunny shapes onto the paper side of your Bondaweb. You will need eight facing in one direction and one the other way. Remember you are tracing onto the Bondaweb in reverse, so that means you trace 8 left facing bunnies and 1 right facing bunnies (though if you get it the wrong way round it doesn’t really matter!)
● With two strands of white floss secure your bunnies to the background fabric. Use short straight stitches worked at right angles to the edges of the shapes.
● Cut out the shapes roughly and fuse to your white felt with a hot iron protecting your work with a cloth. Be sure to press rather than iron - ironing could cause the Bondaweb to slip out of place.
● Press your work lightly on the reverse and place it face up on a clean flat work surface.
● Cut, position and secure the heart in the same way using the photograph as a guide to positioning.
● Place the two rectangles on top aligning the top and bottom edges so that they over lap by 6” at the centre. If you’re using fabric rather than felt then hem one long edge of each rectangle first and use these edges at the centre to form the envelope opening. It can also be nice to blanket stitch the felt along the opening edge that will be seen.
● Now cut out the shapes carefully. I like to use my fabric shears and make long smooth strokes, starting and finishing where my cut changes direction. Move your fabric around your shears rather than the other way around.
● Pin or baste all pieces together.
● Fold your front panel into thirds length ways and then into thirds width ways and press the folds with your hands. This will give you a guide for positioning your bunnies without setting permanent creases into the fabric.
● Machine stitch around the edges using a 1/4” seam allowance. ● Clip corners and turn right side out. Press again.
● Peel off the paper backing and position your bunnies on your front panel, remembering that you will have a ¼” seam allowance, so position the ones on the outer edges slightly to the inside of their respective squares.
● Insert pad. ● FINISHED!
Tastes of the Season: Rhubarb Here in the UK we are lucky enough to have two rhubarb seasons, naturally grown rhubarb is available from April to September and “forced” rhubarb - that which is grown under darkness that appears much earlier - from as soon as December until the end of March. Rhubarb grows from short thick rhizomes (stalks) that have a distinctive red colour. The leaves are poisonous and should never be eaten - it is the stalks that are edible. Although rhubarb is technically a vegetable is is generally used as a fruit and is most commonly used in cakes,pies and crumbles. Its tart, sharp taste is generally best when it’s sweetened with sugar which first became affordable in England during the seventeenth century.
Rosie’s Recipes: It’s Pancake Day!
As a child I used to love Pancake Day - hurrying home from school so Mum and I could whisk up the lovely buttery coloured batter before tossing our pancakes as high as we possibly could! And hovering close by would be our family dog, Susie, ready to gobble up any that didn’t quite make it back into the pan! I’ve collected some of our favourite pancake and other griddle-based recipes for you this month and I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!
English Muffins The muffin man hasn’t been seen in English streets for many years, but this is my great-grandma’s recipe for you to make an authentic version for yourself. English muffins are quite unlike the more cake-like American version, being basically a yeasted dough that’s cooked on the griddle, or in a frying pan - not the oven. They’ve been eaten here for over 200 years. This recipe makes about 12.
Ingredients ● 15 g fresh or 7.5 g dried yeast ● 300 ml warm fresh milk ● 450 g strong white flour ● 1 teaspoon salt ● 1 teaspoon plain flour for dusting ● 1 teaspoon semolina
Method ● Dissolve the yeast in the milk. If using dried yeast, sprinkle over the milk and leave in a warm place for about 15 minutes until frothy. ● Sift the flour and salt together, then make a well in the centre. Pour the yeast liquid into the well, draw in the flour and mix to a smooth dough.
● Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place in a clean bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for about an hour, until it’s doubled in size. ● Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface using a lightly floured rolling pin to about 1 cm (½”) thick. Leave to rest, covered with a tea towel, for 5 minutes, then cut into rounds with a 3” (7.5 cm) plain cutter. ● Place the muffins on a well floured baking sheet. Mix together the flour and semolina and use to dust the tops. Cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place until doubled in size. ● Grease a griddle, electric griddle plate, or heavy based frying pan and heat over a moderate heat, until a cube of bread turns brown in 20 seconds. ● Cook the muffins on the griddle or frying pan for about 7 minutes each side until golden brown. ● Leave to cool. ● To serve your muffins, cut them open, then close together again and toast slowly until warm right through before opening out and buttering generously.
English Pancakes Again, these are quite different to the American variety being more like the French crepes. When cooking make sure your pan is really hot, and don’t worry if the first pancake is disappointing - you probably didn’t have a hot enough pan - the second will be better so don’t give up! Tossing is optional, but great fun! This recipe makes about 12 pancakes. Serve in the traditional manner with sugar and lemon juice, drizzle over golden syrup or, my personal favourite - strawberries and Nutella!
Ingredients ● 100 g plain flour ● Pinch of salt
a whisk to slowly bring in a little of the flour at a time, adding more milk as it thickens until all the flour and milk are combined. Some recipes call for the batter to stand for half an hour but we’ve always been too impatient for this and our pancakes have always been fine!
● 2 eggs, lightly beaten
● Put a frying pan on a high heat and add a little oil.
● 300 ml milk
● Swirl a ladle full of batter around the pan and cook until you can see bubbles forming.
Method ● Put the flour and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Tip the eggs and a little milk into the well and use
● Loosen, flip (or toss of course!) And cook for a minute or two on the other side. ● Serve to your hungry family as they arrive, or they will keep warm quite happily in a low oven until you’re all ready to eat together.
Singin’ Hinnies Traditionally these small fruit scones are cooked on a griddle or in a heavy based frying pan. They’re a Northumbrian delicacy - “hinnie” is a term of endearment, used especially for children and it’s the fat in the hinnies that makes them “sing” while they are cooking. They’re ready to eat when the singing stops. Originally a Singin’ Hinnie was one large scone but this recipe is for individual small hinnies. It makes approximately 8 - 10 (pictured on previous page)
● 50 g butter
● In a mixing bowl large enough to take all the ingredients, rub the fats into the flour, then add the other dry ingredients.
● 50 g lard ● 225 g plain flour
● Mix to a soft dough with the milk and soured cream.
● 25 g currants
● Roll out to 1” (2.5 cm) thick and cut into 3” rounds
● 1 teaspoon baking powder ● ½ teaspoon salt ● Milk and soured cream to mix
● Test your griddle in the same way as for muffins (see recipe on page 45) and then cook your hinnies for 7 - 8 minutes on either side. ● Serve warm, split and buttered.
Cinnamon Toast I’m not sure this counts as a recipe, but I had a little space left and, feeling nostalgic after our trip through the world of muffins and pancakes I thought I’d share this last, very simple, childhood favourite with you.
Ingredients ● 4 slices of bread ● 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon ● 2 tablespoons caster sugar ● Butter for spreading
Method ● Toast the bread on one side only. Meanwhile, mix the cinnamon and sugar together. ● Generously butter the untoasted side of the bread and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. ● Grill until the mixture begins to melt. Cut into fingers and serve immediately.
Tastes of the Season: Parsnips The parsnip is a member of the carrot family - a fact that should come as no surprise - it looks just like one, aside from its creamy white colour. It has an earthy but sweet flavour and is great used in hearty winter roasts, soups and stews. One of our favourite ways to eat them is drizzled with a little honey and oven-roasted pure indulgence on a cold winterâ€™s day! Young, small parsnips don't really need peeling - just scrub clean and serve whole. Older parsnips should be peeled very thinly with a peeler or sharp knife, then chopped into evenly sized chunks. If the central core is very fibrous, this should be cut away. Look for small to medium parsnips, as larger ones can be fibrous, and always choose firm, rather than limp or shrivelled examples. Avoid those with lots of whiskers or brown patches as this indicates that they will be past their best. Parsnips will keep for up to a week in the fridge.
Succulent Wreath Hoop Succulents remain an enduring trend, and they’re great fun to stitch too with all their different textures and colours - perfect if you’re suffering from floral overload! This hoop isn’t a beginner’s project, and will take a little time to stitch. I have finished mine with my own initial, but have of course included a full alphabet in the templates. Shown mounted in 8” hoop.
● 12” square white cotton or linen fabric choose a medium weight as the embroidery is fairly dense and heavy in places. ● DMC stranded cotton floss in colours 279, 310, 370, 580, 704, 831, 894, 905, 3041, 3051, 3328, 3348, 3857, 4045, 4095
● Press fabric well before beginning and transfer design to the centre using your preferred method. ● Follow the stitching guides on the next pages. ● When finished press lightly on the reverse being careful not to flatten your stitches
Floss Colour Guide
Please refer to photos on next page for more detailed look at the stitches.
effect) and also avoid regular stripes forming with the variegated floss.
E: These star-shaped succulents were possibly (in my opinion anyway!) the trickiest to work. They are A: The centre is worked in formed of bullion stitches radiating outwards from a bullion stitch with a few central point. If you don’t want to work so many of French knots in the this stitch, then you could mix them with straight darker green scattered stitches if you preferred. among them. I worked the bullion stitches first, then added the knots F: Stem stitch - and where there are two colours on a front (this is quite random - please see the afterwards. The petals photographs for a guide) simply stitch very closely are satin stitch worked together. lengthways up and down each petal, not G: Feather stitch. Where I have marked random colours across the width. I (obviously!) don’t mean any old random colours, but rather a selection from those you’re already using in B: Clusters of French knots this project. randomly mixing blobs of the light and dark pink C: Each leaf is worked in satin stitch. (Don’t make long stitches right across the succulent shape or you’ll just end up with a green blob). The edges are highlighted with a few short straight stitches. D: All the large succulents are worked in satin stitch. Vary the direction of your stitching, especially when you’re using the variegated floss. This will make the light fall differently (a nice
You will need: > glue gun > pen > ruler > pinking shears > felt > label (optional)
Turn your hoop over onto the back and trim the fabric back to about 1cm (1/2â€?) from the rim of the hoop.
Cut out around the circle, about 3mm (1/8" ) inside the pencil line. I like to use pinking shears! Now is the time to add any labels to the felt.
Run some hot glue around the inside rim of the hoop and stick down the backing fabric. Watch your fingers â€“ that glue can burn! You can skip this step if you only have the one layer of fabric.
Centre your felt piece onto the back of your hoop, and start gluing. I like to glue at 12, 6,3 and 9 oâ€™clock, and carefully pull the felt to flatten it out nicely and press down. Then just fill in the extra bits with glue and press down some more.
Then run some more hot glue around the top edge of the rim and fold down the main fabric.
Admire your nicely finished hoop art!
Place your hoop face down on some felt and draw around it with a pen or pencil. 55
Michelle lives in Sydney where she homeschools her 4 children. She is interested in reading, crafting and cooking and is a born again Christian. How did she come up with the name for her blog? Her two rabbits of course! Pop over to Michelleâ€™s website for lots of lovely craftiness and wonderful tutorials.
From Passion to Profit
It’s wonderful when you discover that it’s actually possible to earn some money by doing something you love - like sewing! Here’s part two of our series of hints and tips for new sellers - this month we’re looking at branding and packaging ….. If you’re new to business then you may not fully appreciate the power of branding - and realise how hard good, effective branding will work for your fledgling business. Take a moment to consider the the giant company Coca-Cola whose brand is instantly recognisable across the globe. Their red and white colours and swirly font communicate the same message whether you can actually read the text or not. Coca-Cola themselves are totally aware of the importance of their branding - consider the following quote from one of their executives: "If Coca-Cola were to lose all of its productionrelated assets in a disaster, the company would survive. By contrast, if all consumers were to have a sudden lapse of memory and forget everything related to Coca-Cola, the company would go out of business."
What is Branding?
manner, especially if you intend to market your work online, including social media - and also if you intend to sell at craft fairs. To summarise then, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services. A successful brand makes your business distinctive and helps it stand out amongst the competition. Your brand is created from who you are, what you want your business to be and who (and what) your potential customers perceive you and your business to be.
What is Branding? When you are developing a brand for your business there are some basic questions you should ask yourself - some you will need to think about - and others, I am sure, you will be able to answer instantly:
The first question to ask yourself is - do you completely understand what branding is, and how it can help your business? Branding is a way of communicating your business's values and standards to your potential customers. Your business can benefit enormously if you are able to create a brand that presents it as trustworthy, unique, exciting, value for money - or whatever you feel is appropriate. You can do this through effectively using design elements, advertising, marketing, etc to communicate clearly what your business stands for.
● What image do I want my business to portray?
The key to building a successful brand is to take into account every aspect of your business, ensuring you choose colours, styles and themes that lend themselves to being used throughout your business in a consistent
● Who are my competition - will my brand stand out in what may be a crowded marketplace?
● Am I cute, modern, vintage-inspired etc ● Who is my target market? ● What do they like, want and need from my business? ● What is my USP (Unique Selling Point)? ● What is my business personality, and how do I convey this to my customers?
● What is my strapline - and will people know what my business offers from it?
At Bustle & Sew we restrict our header and logo to the little Bustle & Sew bunny logo with two main colours (pink and blue) and use a consistent set of three fonts ensuring Bustle & Sew is always recognisable whether you find us on Instagram, Facebook, our website or on Etsy. This ensures consistency across all the places Bustle & Sew has a presence, and helps brand recognition. Our logo communicates, I hope, that Bustle & Sew is a friendly sort of place, where it's fun to hang out. When we commisioned an update a little over three years ago we gave our designer a brief that included this, and asked her to bring our bunny up to date. Some readers may remember our old bunny ……
to read - so make sure that any text is large enough and contrasts well with your background colours. Try to be unique and interesting, whilst at the same time reflecting your products, your own personality and what appeals to your target market. Be sure that you carry your colours throughout your business - including your website, business cards and packaging. Think again about the Coca-Cola red and white with its distinctive font - you know whose product you're seeing without ever having to read the name. Take plenty of time to develop your brand identity as you will live and work with it every day.
Protecting your Brand
who had a much more vintage feel than our new version who, we think, says much more about Bustle & Sew as we are now. Bustle & Sew's strapline is "Love to Sew … and Sew with Love" which I hope encapsulates what our business is all about. Your logo is a vitally important part of your business branding, so if you're not a graphic designer, or not confident creating your own design, then it's worth paying for some professional help as we did. I am so pleased we did this as I would never have come up with our new bunny - but somehow she fits us perfectly now! Your fonts are also crucial to the feel of your brand. It's also very important that they're easy
Once you've created your brand, then you will need to protect it. Thinking of Coca-Cola again - your brand is possibly the most important business asset you possess. The world of intellectual property and copyright is a very complex one with laws that vary from country to country so you should always take legal advice wherever you live. In the UK we have four main kinds of intellectual property that can be protected - patents, trademarks, designs and copyright. If you're in the UK then visit the Intellectual Property Office website www.ipo.gov.uk. Remember - your brand is your promise to your customers and it’s important that you remain true to it. Customers won’t return to you - or recommend your products to others - if you don’t deliver on your promises.
Packaging Very often your packaged items will be your customers' first physical encounter with your business, whether you're sending your work online or directly through, for example, a craft fair. As we discussed above, packaging forms
an important part of your business branding, but that doesn't mean it has to be expensive or complicated. Choose packaging that reflects your business credentials. For example, if you are proud to be environmentally friendly, re-purposing and recycling the materials you use to make your products, you might like to think about wrapping them in recycled paper or even left over pieces of fabric you can't use elsewhere. Finish off with a tag (incorporating your logo and business details of course!) and you'll have a lovely eye-catching parcel to give or send to your customer. Again - if you're posting think about strength, durability and cost of posting your items - here in the UK sending a boxed item tends to be more expensive than the same item in a padded envelope (assuming it fits of course!).
Our series continues next month with the thorny issue of pricingâ€Ś
You could even use recycled packaging - but be sure to brand it with your own stickers and labels - and tell your customers what you're doing and why. Packaging doesn't have to be expensive - after all it all adds to your overheads, but some careful thought and a little love will bring you dividends. Everyone loves receiving a beautifully packaged items - so think about simple but effective ideas such as wrapping in tissue paper and string or ribbon in colours to match your branding. This is a cost-effective idea but also rather lovely. Consider also including a handwritten note to emphasise the unique handcrafted nature of your items and make shopping with you a very personal, and pleasurable experience.
a lovely idea
Tea Tin Clock
This is such a simple, but totally awesome idea, and a wonderful way to re-purpose any pretty tins you may have left over from the Christmas festivities. Find the full tutorial over on Thirsty for Tea where Bonnie shows us exactly how to make a clock of our own. Thanks so much for sharing with us Bonnie
Free from Thirsty for Tea: Tea Tin Clock
Cactus Pin Cushion Our final project this month is a little cactus pin cushion made entirely from felt and topped with a colourful pompom. This is a really easy make, and would make a good fundraiser for craft stalls this summer. I made my version in just one evening - and it’s all hand stitched too. Cactus is 7” tall (approx) from the bottom of the pot to the top of the pompom.
● Toy stuffing
● Green and grey stranded cotton floss.
● 12” square green felt ● 4” square brown felt ● 8” square grey felt ● 1” pompom (make your own or purchase ready-made) ● 2” square light weight cardboard (eg from a cereal packet)
● Stuff pot lightly and join the base to the bottom of the pot using the decorative cross stitch technique for about two-thirds of the way round. This will make it easier to handle for the next stage.
Method ● Cut out pieces as directed on template page. ● Place two cactus pieces together and join around the outside (curved edge) using two strands of green floss and a decorative cross stitch. Work the cross stitch by whip stitching over the edges in one direction, then return the other way angling your stitches at 90 degrees to the first ones to complete the stitch. Leave the bottom (straight) edge open.
● Make a small cross-shaped cut in the centre of the brown circle of felt that’s just large enough for you to push the base of your cactus through. Secure cactus to felt with a few straight stitches. ● Stuff pot firmly, slipping the small cardboard circle into the base between the felt and the stuffing. Close gap.
● Repeat for the other two pairs of cactus pieces.
● Fold the long strip of felt in half lengthways and wrap around the top edge of the pot so that the folded edge is slightly higher than the seam between the brown “soil” felt and the grey pot felt. Overlap the ends and secure with a few stitches.
● Stack your three completed pairs of leaves on top of one another and either machine stitch or work a small back stitch down the centre (red dotted line on template) so joining all the pieces together at the centre.
● Flip up the folded edge and work a running stitch all the way around the strip to hold it in place, then flip the folded edge back down again to hide your stitches.
● Stuff cactus firmly to within ½” of the base. ● Run a gathering thread around the base and pull up tightly. Secure ends.
● Add pompom to top of cactus.
● Stitch the large circle of brown felt to the top of the felt pot in the same way, leaving a ¼” (approx) overlap.
● Running stitch the sides together with one side overlapping the other.
Home Comforts Make a Valentineâ€™s wreath from dried rosebuds which are sold by weight by stockists of dried flowers and pot pourri. The easiest method is to thread the rosebuds directly onto floristâ€™s wire and then shape the wire into a heart. Tape the ends of the wire together at top centre and cover with a bow or lace. For a scented wreath, add a few drops of rose or rose geranium oil.
Just CLICK HERE to download your full size templates as an easy to use pdf file.
Published on Jan 25, 2018
Published on Jan 25, 2018
Welcome to Issue 85 of the independent eclectic magazine that celebrates everything we love about home and family life here in the English c...