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 March Magazine This month’s magazine is full of spring delights - and is even the cover is the colour of early spring. a vibrant daffodil yellow! Easter is early this year, so I’ve included some bunny patterns perfect for the festivities - and a couple that will be just perfect for Mother’s Day too, which here in the UK falls on Sunday 11 March this year. And as a special treat we are featuring not two but three small business run by incredibly talented individuals - I was delighted to be sent a beautiful hoop from one of them, Auburn Hoops, to review and you can discover what I thought on page 33. They’re also offering a special discount for Bustle & Sew readers - you can find the code at the end of their feature. Elsewhere in the magazine Rosie has cooked up some delicious Easter treats - they’re not all chocolate, though she took some persuading to include other recipes, and we look at the almost unbearably cute English Angora Rabbit. With all this going on there wasn’t room for our series on starting your own business, but that will return next month. I do hope you’ll enjoy this month’s edition, and just a quick reminder that the April issue will be published, as always, on the last Thursday of the month - in this case Thursday 29 March. So if you’re a subscriber watch out for it arriving in your inbox then! Until then, I hope you have a wonderful month!
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Between this month’s covers … Tips for Stitchers
Sloth Love Cushion Cover
Taste of the Season: Sweet Potatoes
Simply Bunnies Hoop
Rosie’s Recipes: Easter Treats
A Little Guide to Transferring your Design
Taste of the Season: Leeks
March Quote from Dickens
Monstera deliciosa Hoop
Meet the Maker: Mariah Behrens
Tips for Successful Satin Stitch
Lovely Idea: Orange Bath Bombs
A Childhood Favourite: Growing Cress
Here Comes the Sun Pennant
The English Angora Rabbit
Meet the Maker: Rebekah Wright
Tips for Craft Show Success
Bunny Cache Pot
Baby Bunny Softie
The Countryside in March
In the Kitchen: Conversion Tables
Meet the Maker Special: Auburn Hoops
Auburn Hoops Product Review
Lovely Idea: Easy Felt Bunny
March March is named for Mars, Martius, the Roman god of war and Roman military campaigns originally began at this time of year. In ancient Rome March was the first month of the year - as it’s in this month that the vernal equinox falls. On March 20 (this year, it varies slightly year on year), day and night will be of equal length and here in the UK the clocks go forward on Sunday 25, giving us an extra hour of daylight every evening. Spring is really upon us by then as migratory birds begin to return to their summer haunts, bumblebees are buzzing around the early spring flowers and it’s time for keen gardeners to get outside and prepare their borders ready for spring planting. I always feel that yellow is the colour of early spring - think of bright golden-yellow daffodils, primroses, winter aconites and yellow brimstone butterflies. And, if we’re lucky there may also be some bright crisp spring sunshine to enjoy - if we can dodge the
showers that is - whether of rain, hail or snow! Indeed blizzards are not unknown in Britain this month - in 1891 the Great Blizzard raged across the southern half of the country for four days and nights with snowdrifts reaching depths of twenty feet here in the West Country. Trains were buried in
“In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love”
these drifts, one remained immobile for two whole days before it was located and the passengers rescued. Several people froze to death, thousands of sheep and cattle died and in the English Channel 220 people were drowned in 65 separate shipwrecks. The snow didn’t finally vanish from the high ground of Dartmoor until June.
March begins with St David’s Day on the first. St David is of course the patron saint of Wales and his sign of the leek was traditionally worn in hats on this day. Today however, you’re more likely to see another national symbol of Wales, the daffodil - traditionally said to bloom for the first time on 1 March - worn in buttonholes - for obvious reasons! Our native daffodil is pretty, pale and delicate, quite unlike garden variety. Once widely spread across the country it isn’t nearly as common as it once was, but clumps can still be found across the western part of the country. It was affectionately known as the “daffydowndilly.” If you are in Cornwall then look out for clumps of unusual daffodils flowering oddly and in isolation along the hedgerows. These may well be the remains of heritage varieties, once the mainstay of the Cornish flower industry, but dumped
along road edges during WW2 when the flower fields were given over to food production. St Piran’s Day is the national day of Cornwall and is celebrated on 5 March. St Piran is the patron saint of tin miners and he’s sometimes given the credit for discovering this metal. The Cornish flag - a white cross on a black background, is said to represent the granite that rolled from his fire one night, oozing white tin. Little is known about the life of this saint, though it’s believed that he was born in Ireland in the sixth century. He was known for his miraculous deeds and the story goes that a group of jealous nobles put a millstone around his neck and threw him into the sea. But he didn’t drown, instead floating to shore at Perranporth, which is named after him. There he began to spread the word about Christianity, his first disciples being a fox, a bear and a badger. March, it would seem, is definitely the month for national saints’ days as the Feast of St Patrick, possibly the most internationally celebrated of all saints days, falls on the seventeenth. Again little is known about his life, but its’ believed that he was born in Roman Britain in the fourth century before being kidnapped by Irish pirates and shipped off as a slave. After escaping six years later he became
a Christian priest and then a bishop, eventually returning to Ireland where he played a major role in converting the country to Christianity. Historically the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking were lifted for his festival - perhaps a reason why he became so popular! This year Easter falls early - Easter
“It is not spring until you can plant your foot on twelve daisies”
Sunday is the first day of April, meaning that the days leading up to Easter all fall in March. Easter can in fact fall on any date from 22 March to 25 April - it is the Sunday following the first full moon on or after 21 March - the vernal equinox. Here in the UK we celebrate Mothering Sunday on the fourth Sunday in Lent. This was originally a day of processions to the mother church of the diocese. When these were discontinued it became on day on which young people working away from home would return to visit their mothers, traditionally bringing a gift of Simnel cake. This is a rich fruit cake filled and decorated with marzipan.
Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter marks the beginning of Holy Week. It’s named for the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem, his path strewn with palm branches. In some English Churches small buns named pax cakes (symbolic of peace and goodwill) are given to the congregation as they leave after the Palm Sunday service. Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday was formerly marked by a ceremony in which the monarch washed the feet of a number of poor people, commemorating Jesus washing the feet of the disciples before the Last Supper. This has now been replaced by the giving of alms, today specially minted coins, to one and man and one woman for each year of the sovereign’s age. The Jewish festival of Pesach or Passover falls on the last day of March this year. This festival commemorates the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, and in particular God’s passing over their homes when he killed the first-born children of the Egyptians. It is marked by the eating of unleavened bread and by a special ceremonial family meal accompanied by various rituals such as blessings, prayers, songs and the retelling of the story of the exodus.
Simply Bunnies Hoop With Mother’s Day just around the corner here in the UK (it’s Sunday 11 March this year), and Easter falling on 1 April, then stitching a mother rabbit tenderly snuggling up to her baby seemed a most appropriate project this month. My hoop is mounted in a (reversed - I liked the plain side for this project) hoop from Auburn Hoops - you can find out a little more about them later in this issue. If you don’t have an Auburn Hoops hoop, then your bunnies will be just as nice in a standard 6” hoop.
selection of colours of your choice for the floral garland.
● 6” embroidery hoop
● 10” square background fabric - I chose a soft duck egg blue linen, but most colours would be fine (other than white of course as your bunnies won’t show up very well”)
● Bondaweb ● Temporary fabric marker pen
● Small scraps of cream and white felt for the applique ● Stranded cotton floss in black, dark brown, white, pale pink, cream and a
9 o’clock and then fill between them to help keep my stitches radiating evenly.
● The fronds are feather stitch
● Trace the bunny shapes onto the paper side of your Bondaweb using the REVERSE template. Be sure to trace a little extra on the mother rabbit’s chest so the baby will sit on top with no nasty gaps showing.
● The separate tiny blossoms are randomly mixed French knots ● When you’ve finished stitching press your work lightly on the reverse being careful not to flatten the stitches.
● Cut out roughly and fuse to your felt. Cut out carefully and position on your fabric (the bottom edge of the bunnies should be 3 ½ - 4” up from the bottom edge of your fabric) ● When you’re happy with the positioning fuse into place with a hot iron (protecting your work with a cloth). ● Using white or cream floss secure the shapes in place using short straight stitches worked at right angles to the edge of the applique shapes. ● Draw in the features using your temporary fabric marker pen. Using dark brown floss work the lines to show the legs, ears and underside of mother rabbit’s chin in backstitch. The rabbits’ noses are dark brown satin stitch. The eyes are black satin stitch with tiny white stitches worked over the top to give them some “sparkle.” The ears and cheeks are also satin stitch. Their tails are ghiordes knot stitch. (See diagram opposite if you’re unfamiliar with working this stitch). ● When you’ve finished the rabbits remove any remaining temporary fabric marker lines and then transfer the floral garland pattern. This can be worked in any colours you choose I discovered a selection of pretty spring pastels in my workbox and decided to use those. ● The flowers are simply radiating straight stitches around central clusters of French knots. I usually make stitches at 12, 3, 6 and
A (very) Little Guide to Transferring your Design Let’s consider the situation for a moment … here you are – you have a box full of wonderful rainbow-coloured flosses, the right needles, sharp pointy scissors and a book or containing a wonderful design that you can’t wait to transfer to your carefully chosen fabric. Then …. You hit a barrier. How do you get the design from the paper to your fabric? There
are a variety of different ways of doing this. You can discover which suits you through trial and error, and of course different methods will suit different background fabrics and complexities of design. But whatever you do, don’t be tempted by the availability of iron on transfer paper – the sort you run through your printer and then iron onto your fabric. They seem so easy … all you need is an ink-jet printer and
some special paper and you can transfer just about any design to fabric. But these are not suitable for transferring embroidery designs. If you have a line drawing on your computer and you print it onto this transfer paper, then transfer it to fabric to embroider, you will end up with the film from the paper on your fabric as well as the lines of the design. This gives an odd, stiff finish to the fabric and which is
not a good thing when combined with hand embroidery. Just saying. If you want to try it, then go ahead, but please don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Tracing your design You can trace your design from paper to fabric using a light box/table or even your window on a bright day. Simply place your printed pattern on a light table or tape it to your window and position your fabric on top so the design is visible through the fabric in the exact position you want to stitch it. Trace the pattern using a temporary fabric pen - or some people use a pencil and draw very lightly - do be careful if you choose to do this though as the pencil marks are not easily removed if you go wrong. This is a really easy and fast method to use, but it isn’t suitable for dark or heavier weight fabrics.
Iron on Pencil or Pen These are easy to use – simply follow the instructions that come with your pencil or pen. You trace the printed pattern with your pen or pencil, then turn the paper face down onto the right side of your fabric (you might want to tape both paper and fabric to avoid slipping). The ink or pencil marks will be transferred to the fabric through the heat of your iron in the same way as a
commercially produced ironon pattern. Bear in mind though that the image you will produce using this method will be a mirror of the actual design, so be sure to use the reversed version of the design if this will be a problem - for example if text is included. This method is not suitable for some synthetic fabrics as you do need to use a hot iron. It is normally also a permanent image, so is not suitable if you don’t plan to stitch over all the lines.
Dressmaker’s Carbon Paper This comes in small packages containing about five different colours of carbon. It’s not really carbon paper as we (used) to know it in the office, it’s graphite & wax-free transfer paper that works just like that old-fashioned carbon paper used to. (If you don’t remember using carbon paper in the office, then obviously you’re much younger than me!). Place your fabric right side up on a clean, smooth, hard surface (you may wish to tape it down to stop it slipping). Tape your carbon onto the fabric and your printed design on top of that. Using a sharp pencil, stylus or ballpoint pen and a firm steady stroke, carefully trace over the lines of your design in long continuous lines. Be very careful not to
puncture the paper as this will leave a nasty blob on your fabric. As the transfer paper is available in many colours, it’s easy to choose the one that will show best on your fabric.
I am aware of two brands currently on the market Transfer-Eze and my favourite - Sulky Sticky Fabri Solvy. (If using this product be sure to purchase individual sheets, not on a roll as it’s impossible, in my experience to get this to go through your printer). These products allow you to simply print out your design, peel off the backing and adhere it to your fabric - stitch and then dissolve away when you’re done. This must be the quickest and easiest method of all, as you simply print from your computer - no time needs to be spent tracing. However, it is by far the most expensive method, it can only be used on fabrics that can be safely submerged in water and sometimes a sticky residue can collect on your needle. A few months ago I also had problems with one batch that didn’t seem to want to dissolve away - though in fairness, that has only happened to me with one pack. It’s a good method for dark and heavier weight fabrics.
â€œIt was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold; when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade.â€?
Charles Dickens: Great Expectations 1861 13
“Occasionally I work in my pyjamas!”
Meet the Maker
Mariah Behrens talks to us about her business, Afternoon Faun, her creative journey and her plans for the future of her adorable crochet creations Can you tell us a little about your always enjoyed making things with my hands, and giving handmade home and where you live? I live in a tiny apartment in Seattle (upper northwest of the USA) with my partner. We daydream about becoming financially comfortable in our given creative fields while we currently hustle away. He is a musician and I'm a stuffed animal maker and aspiring graphic designer.
Do you have background?
I've always been creative, which I assume is the obvious answer. More specifically, I think I've always been drawn to the idea of owning my own creative business because my parents are both self-employed as well. I think their work adds to why they are incredibly happy and that's contagious to me.
How did your business begin? In high school I tried multiple times to start my own Etsy shop with either knit hats and scarves or sewn skirts with funky fabrics. I
gifts was always a requirement for me.
Somewhat naturally (although throughout many, many years) I found myself attempting to crochet animals. I don't remember exactly how this idea popped into my head, but my initial dreams of becoming a teacher had faded and I thought the next best thing to impacting children in some way was making toys. Luckily, at that point in time I had surrounded myself with really supportive friends and family and they pushed and encouraged me to give this animal making business a try. Truly, without those people in my life at that time, I don't know if this business actually would have started. These things take a village — that's the truth. This leap happened nearly 3 years ago (wow) and every year it keeps getting bigger and bigger.
If you love Mariah’s quirky crochet creations and would like to find out more you can find her online at “Afternoon Faun” ….
to listen to my customers and make
What gets you out of bed in the There's actually a lot more math sure they get what they want. I am involved in my creative process than very transparent, and I think that's mornings? Making things. The process. There is something so therapeutic about crocheting. If I've had a bad day, I go to bed early, and then wake up early the next day excited to get cozy and crochet and start over.
one might think. I'm constantly counting. I think I've become a better multi-tasker because of this, haha.
important for company/customer trust. Hopefully my customers feel the same way!
And what's the best thing about Where do you get the ideas for running your own business? The freedom. Having my own your beautiful animals?
How did you choose your totally Honestly, the animals I have made schedule. Occasionally being able are mostly from customer requests to work in my pyjamas, although I wonderful company name? My first run through college I studied music. Afternoon Faun comes from a Claude Debussy piece, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun. It was always my favourite piece to study. whimsical and magical â€”it just felt right to name my business after such a special piece.
And what inspired your logo? I really love drawing and so naturally I always attempt to draw the animals I create. The logo is based on my fox. It's gone through many versions, and I'm actually already focusing a little bit on a partial brand refresh over the next few months now that Afternoon Faun is a bit more established.
and what I think would be popular. I am very open to suggestions because I want to make sure there's an animal for everyone!
What are you working on now? I haven't made a new animal pattern in a while. It's a bit of a production factory in my studio now while I try to keep up with orders, but I love it. In the meantime, I am also attempting to illustrate a children's book my partner helped me write. That has always been my ultimate dream. It's based off my top selling whale.
In a popular and crowded market, what do you think makes your work unique?
How would you describe your hmmmmm, I think the shapes I create are a bit different. I always creative process? When I create a new animal I always have a very strong vision in my mind of how I want it to look. And then, as cheesy as this sounds, I build the animal as if I'm working with clay. I follow each curve carefully to make sure it's moving exactly how I want it to. There's a lot of trial and error, but sometimes the animals come together almost perfectly in the first couple tries.
love watching people's reactions when they touch or hold my animals. They are very light and squishy. People don't expect that.
Can you tell us the secret of your success? I can say this humbly, I think I am simply a nice person. That's ultimately what it boils down to. I try
try not to :)
What are your plans for its future? I have some big goals for Afternoon Faun's future. On top of work I am also a full time graphic design student. I graduate in June, yay! I hope to expand Afternoon Faun into more mediums, including that children's book I mentioned earlier. Crossing my fingers!
How would you spend your perfect weekend? I am a morning person, so I would still wake up early on a perfect weekend. I would drink many cups of coffee before my partner even wakes up. I love crocheting while the sun comes up. Maybe some long walks in the parks/forests around my home. And a big soup for dinner that had to simmer all day long. I'd prefer my whole family to be there with me on this perfect weekend. Nothing crazy â€” just a lot of quality time we don't always get with our busy schedules.
And finally, please describe your style in three words. Soft, quirky, and friendly
a lovely idea
Orange Bath Bombs
Bath bombs can be superexpensive in the shops and you can never be quite sure of their ingredients. So why not have a go at making your own with this easy tutorial from Beauty Crafter website keep them for yourself, or, dare I say it? They would make a great healthy alternative to giving chocolate this Easter!
Free from Beauty Crafter website :Therapeutic Orange Bath Bombs
Here Comes the Sun Pennant I was singing along to the old Beatles song as I stitched this cheerful pennant showing sunrise over a range of applique mountains, perfect for brightening up your home this spring. The mountains are really simple to applique, I used freestyle machine stitching, but you could work by hand if you preferred. The sun and the text are hand stitched. Finished pennant measures 12” x 8” approximately. ● 20” white cord for hanging your pennant
● Embroidery foot for your sewing machine
● 8” x 26” white felt
● Scraps of printed cotton fabric for the mountains and the centre of the sun ● Stranded cotton floss in yellow and black - also pink and green though you can substitute these colours if preferred ● 9” narrow (¼” ) dowelling
with the positioning fuse into place protecting your work with a cloth.
● Fit the embroidery foot to your sewing machine and with black thread in your needle and a paler colour in your bobbin go around the edge of the mountain tops twice, not too neatly, you’re aiming for a sort of scribbled effect. Don’t stitch the sun in this way.
● ● Cut your piece of white felt into two rectangles, one measuring 14” x 8” and the second 12” x 8”. ● Mark the centre of one short edge of each rectangle, then a point 2” up on either side (see diagram below) Join the marks and cut to form the point at the bottom of the pennant. Put the smaller rectangle to one side for now.
● Transfer the embroidery part of the design to your felt. Applique the sun to the felt with small straight stitches worked at right angles to the edge of the shape in yellow floss. Work the circular rays in back stitch. ● The large letters are satin stitch and the text is back stitch. ● When finished press your work lightly on the reverse. ● Place your two pieces of felt together right sides outwards. With white thread machine stitch the long side edges and bottom together as close as possible to the edge. ● Fold over the top edge of the front piece (the part that’s longer than the back piece) and machine stitch across the top to form a channel for your dowelling. Trim Away any excess felt.
● Trace the mountain and the centre of the sun shapes onto the paper side of your Bondaweb and cut out roughly. Allow a little extra on the sun so it can be overlapped by the mountain shapes. Fuse to the reverse of our printed fabrics and cut out carefully.
● Insert dowelling into channel and tie cord to ends again trimming away extra length. ● Your pennant is now finished.
● Position on your pennant using the photograph as a guide and making sure the sun is overlapped by the mountains at the side and bottom. When you’re happy
Soft, silky and cute : The English Angora Rabbit
The farming of rabbits, whether for food or fur was introduced to the British Isles by the Normans nearly 1,000 years ago. From Tudor times their hair has been felted to make hats, whilst the first mention of an English Angora rabbit is thought to be the “white shock Turky Rabbet” in a book published in 1707. English Angora rabbits have thick hair all over their bodies, except on their noses and around their eyes. The tufts on their ears, visible when the rabbit is clipped are exclusive to the English Angora. The name itself though is thought to have derived from the city of Ankara, the capital of Turkey as it was believed that the original rabbits came from there. The story goes back to the early 18th century, about 1723 when some sightseeing sailors put into a Turkish port then called Angora. The sailors found the shawls worn by the native women to be remarkable for their beauty, fineness and silkiness. So before the sailors
left Angora they secured some of the Angora rabbits to take back to France. The French claim the Angora rabbits were first recorded in France in the Encyclopedia of 1765. In any event, credit must be given to France for seeing the commercial possibilities of Angora wool and for being the first to manufacture this type of wool into yarn. All Angora fibre is produced from Angora rabbits - the yarn derived from Angora goats is in fact mohair! Angora rabbit hair is extremely fine, each single strand being less than a tenth of the thickness of a human hair. It’s this fineness that makes the wool so exceptionally soft. Each fibre has a hollow core that’s filled with insulating air cells, making it far lighter and warmer than sheep’s wool. The rabbits’ fur grows very thickly and rapidly too, as a typical adult rabbit is capable of producing up to 16 oz (that’s 450 g) of wool each year. These long fibres cover the rabbit’s entire body, including
its feet(!) Apart from a patch of shorter fur on its face. The coat will grow about 1” each month and if a young rabbit is left unclipped its fur may grow as long as 9” before its first moult at the age of nine months! The English Angora Rabbit is believed to have originated here in the UK in the early 18th century. Its long hair was a naturally occurring genetic mutation. In the wild a rabbit’s fur grows for 5 weeks before being shed through moulting The coat of the Angora rabbit has exactly the same structure as that of its wild cousins, but a recessive gene means that, rather than being shed through moulting, it simply carries on growing. A typical adult rabbit weighs up to 7 ½ lbs and is about 14” long from nose to tail when its sitting down. This makes the English Angora the smallest of the Angora Rabbit family. The larger French and German breeds were developed from rabbits exported from the UK.
Everyone was shocked when, a few years ago, horrible videos emerged that showed the cruel way in which Angora rabbits are treated in China where they are farmed for their fur. And perhaps, like me you vowed never to wear, or work with angora fibres again. However, I’ve since discovered that there is no need to ban angora from my wardrobe entirely, as there are a handful of ethical angora brands that create soft, warm winter clothing, or spin yarn for knitting and crochet. without hurting their bunnies. Indeed, the owners claim the rabbits love a nice haircut every now and then since their extremely long hair can actually cause them to choke on their own hair balls if their fur isn’t cut regularly. This means that with ethical keepers of rabbits, there is always a strong supply of natural, ethical angora fibres. Still, Chinese fur farms are still the main suppliers of the material, so it’s critical if you wish to purchase ethically produced Angora fibres that you choose a reputable supplier.
English Angoras have finer wool than the other Angora breeds, and are unique in having the fringes, tufted ears and woolly feet known as furnishings. English Angoras have multi-layered coats, the tips of each new coat being darker than the previous coat which lightens as it grows. The breed standard states that the rabbit should be “round and snowball-like” in shape with a broad, short head. Indeed, the head conceals a strange anomaly of this breed - that it has an unusually small brain. This characteristic was studied by Charles Darwin who concluded that “the capacity of its skull is less than even that of the little wild rabbit.” He was surprised to discover that, in
spite of its small brain, the English Angora is “not unhealthy or idiotic.” He went on to write, “This case of the Angora rabbit so surprised me that I repeated all the measurements and found them correct.” White rabbits carry the albino gene, meaning they lack pigments. Their eyes are actually transparent and it’s the underlying blood vessels that give them their characteristic red or ruby colour. Rabbits that are the same colour all over are known as self-coloured. As well as white, Angoras come in a range of colours including chocolate, blue, sooty fawn and smoke. The closest colour to that of the wild rabbit is called agouti and
these rabbits have a white underbody. The rest of their fur may be blue, grey, chinchilla or cinnamon. Ethical producers will keep their adult rabbits, unless they have been neutered, in separate individual hutches. This is because they are territorial and even neutered animals that have been carefully introduced to one another may still fight. The wool is harvested every three months, ethically in this country, by shearing, or, if the rabbit is moulting naturally, by gently plucking out the longer strands of loose hair. Today a limited supply of English Angora Yarn is available from time to time from members of the National Angora Club.
Some Tips for Craft Fair Success In December last year we attended our first craft fair for quite some time and enjoyed a wonderful day. I used to attend quite a few fairs in the early days of Bustle & Sew, before I decided to concentrate more on pattern design and the magazine, and have always really enjoyed the opportunity to meet customers, both existing and new, as well as network with other makers and small business owners especially as I work from home so don’t get the chance to meet other like-minded people in the “real” world very often. I chatted to quite a few of the other makers that day, and thought that, particularly as now is the time that many maker/sellers will be planning for the coming season, it would be fun to share with you some of their tips, as well as some that I picked up many years ago when I attended fairs in Devon.
1. Choose your fair wisely It’s really important to check that the event is a “good fit” for your work. Ideally try to attend as a visitor before you apply for a stand and talk to exhibitors about their experiences of that particular event. Read any literature carefully - ask how the organisers will promote the show, check accessibility and location of the venue and anticipated footfall.
2. Put together application carefully
The most popular fairs are over-subscribed and have deadlines for applications months before the day itself. You’ll need good images of your work to include with your application that will make your creations stand out, especially in crowded markets such as textiles or jewellery.
3. Plan and prepare There’s a lot to organise when you’re attending a show. Make
Ready for the craft show!
a list of everything you’ll need to think about well in advance. This isn’t just about making sure you have enough stock to sell on the day, practising your display (it’s a good idea to have a trial run beforehand), transportation to the event, how you will take payments, flyers and cards, packaging definitely a list-worthy process!
4. What stock will you take? When I first started, I used to make the mistake of making things which needed a lot of work but wouldn’t necessarily give me the financial return for all the time I used to spend on them. I had to learn to simplify things a little while still keeping that special something. If you can, try to have a range of products at different price points to appeal to all budgets. “Pocket money” items - very small purchases may well lead to your happy customers returning to make a larger purchase at a later date.
Bustle & Sew at Etsy Made Local in Bristol 2017 5. Price your work properly Make sure your prices reflect the materials and time you’ve put into making each item don’t forget to pay yourself! It isn’t possible to compete with cheap imported goods, so don’t even try - discerning customers will be very clear that their shopping for handmade quality items with a story behind them. Show your prices very clearly and if you feel uncomfortable with charging the “right” price for your work, perhaps add a little description: “hand stitched embroidery on pure linen” gives the customer a
clear reason why this item is more expensive than superficially similar mass made products.
6. It’s not just about your products If people fall in love with your work, they’re probably going to want to know a little more about you and your creative process - how you get your ideas and inspiration and how you make your creations. It’s up to you how much you want to share of course, but if you stick to talking about your work then all should be fine Selling at an event can be the first and only time a customer
meets you, so it’s important to try to make a good impression. Don’t lurk behind your stand out of sight, stand up as much as possible, be friendly and ready to talk about your work (even if you’ve explained the same thing a dozen times already that day!). If there is a way you can demonstrate your craft it can be a great talking point and instantly shows people you are the maker and demonstrates your skill. Be friendly and engaging - a smile is probably the best sales tool you have!
Dear March - Come in Dear March - Come in How glad I am I hoped for you before Put down your Hat You must have walked How out of Breath you are Dear March, how are you, and the Rest Did you leave Nature well Oh March, Come right upstairs with me I have so much to tell I got your Letter, and the Birds The Maples never knew that you were coming I declare - how Red their Faces grew But March, forgive me And all those Hills you left for me to Hue There was no Purple suitable You took it all with you
Emily Dickinson 1830 - 1886 26
Baby Bunny Softie This is such an easy little softie to make, it would be a great project for a beginner softie maker or a nimble-fingered child. In fact, why not make a whole family of baby bunnies this Easter?! I’ve added a little ribbon decorated with tiny felt flowers to my baby bunny, but this is optional of course. Bunny measures 4” long x 4 ½” tall from his toes to the tips of his ears and is entirely sewn by hand. You will need a glue gun for the flowers though, so a child will need to be supervised for this stage.
● 6” narrow ribbon
● Tiny scraps of felt for flowers
● 12” square brown or other rabbit-fur coloured felt
● Hot glue gun
● Small scrap pale pink felt for ears
● Toy stuffing
● Brown stranded floss to match your felt ● Black stranded embroidery floss ● 1” pompom ● Small spherical black beads for eyes
to avoid lumpiness and you may also find a stuffing stick (made from a bamboo skewer with the point broken off and the end frayed to “grab” the stuffing) useful when stuffing the paws. Close the stuffing gap.
Method ● ● Cut out all pieces as directed on the full size templates. There is no need to add any seam allowance.
● Mark the position of the eyes with glassheaded pins. Take your time over this and make sure they’re level from all sides. When you’re happy with the positioning secure beads in place for eyes, pulling the thread tightly through the head to make hollows for the eyes to sit in. (You don’t want your bunny to have bug eyes!) Embroider nose with satin stitch and mouth in back stitch.
● Join the pink ear inners to the brown outers using a decorative cross stitch. Do this by whip stitching over the edge in one direction (1) and then returning in the other direction (2) to complete the stitch. The pink inner is smaller than the brown outer - this is fine - line them up at the tips and then join the sides the difference in size will make the ears curl inwards (1 and 2). Fold the base in half and secure with a few stitches (3). Place to one side for now.
● To make the flowers simply cut a 1 ½” x 1/2” strip of felt. Cut scallops out of one long edge. Now cut a smaller - ½” x 3/8” strip of a different colour and fringe one edge.
● With wrong sides together and again using a decorative cross stitch join the gussets to the body side pieces going around the legs from X to Z.
● Roll up the fringed felt and secure with your hot glue gun. Roll the scalloped felt around it and again secure with glue. Repeat twice more.
● Join the head gusset to one side from X to Y, inserting the base of the ear at the top of the head and then repeat on the other side. Finish the back seam by stitching from Y to Z.
● Cut 3 leaf shapes from green felt.
● Stitch part way along the gusset seam and stuff your rabbit. Use small pieces of stuffing
● Glue pompom in place for the bunny’s tail.
● Glue your flowers and leaves to your narrow ribbon and tie around your bunny’s neck.
The Countryside in March March of the chill winds, and the turning of the tilthy soil - Marchof the crocus-crop bursting through the new seasonâ€™s grass, of the first daffodils in the orchard, swaying in the wind which has strewn the woodland floors with dead wood and then died away to leave the budding woodland itself a clean-pillowed place to uphold the early springtime choruses of the mating birds. Through the woods and over the bare and winter-wet fields the winds have passed, pruning and cleansing and polishing the land. This is the great open-air spring cleaning, vibrating to the hum of newly awakened bees venturing from the hive and alive with the voices of the rooks among their tidied tenements among the elms. And from the farmyards the winter-serviced and well-sharpened machinery moves out again towards the land. Comes one March day, and as though by common consent the harrows are everywhere, turning the drying soil to tilth, followed by their brown dust clouds. For the first time since mid-September the grass cutter has chattered across the village green, levelling its miry winter whiskers and making a patch of ordinary grass a thing of cared-for-beauty. And instantly into scent of the sap hop the spotted thrushes, starlings, sparkling like coloured sequins in new plumage. A keen, astringent, and forward-looking month is March - the month of practically no-return to the worst of winter, the month when the countryside seems to take three Extract from
C Gordon-Glover 1953 (adapted)
paces forward to every one pace back. And when it does take a backward step, as though winter had tugged at its coat-tails, we endure with a good heart because the wallflowers are in stocky bud, and the pencil-points of pink upon the newly pruned rose are growing into outward-pointing leaves. Maybe it can be said of March in the countryside that its natural colours are like those first brush strokes an painter might make upon his landscape entitled “Spring”; that its sounds are the tuning up of the orchestra that awaits the conductor’s baton before launching into the full seasonal symphony ahead. The flowers of the field, the woodland, and the garden raise their heads, strong and self-assertive. There is the white mist of the blackthorn against the unbudded brake, the formal flame of crocus fire beneath the waiting fruit trees, purple patches of aubretia, first heady-scented wallflower in its sunny corner, and waxy japonica prim, neat, and resolute against the south house wall. Spring bulbs, spring flowers, the fruits of the eager autumn orders from the bulb catalogues; and the wild pride in the earlier than earliest flaming tulip that opens its sails like those of a galleon only to be shredded by the winds of March. Let cold days and nights, pray the fruit farmers, hold back the blossom; let warm days favour the shallots in the allotment, the winter-sown broad beans. The month of March sees spring capricious, and on tip-toe - rushing forward, holding back, producing days of almost alarming warmth, then returning to the truth of itself with equinoctial winds to blow through the tall elms where the rooks’ nests swing and sway, and to send the waves racing between brown reeds at the margins of the lake .
talks to Rosie about how her and her husband juggle family life with running their business, The name Auburn Hoops came from the small town my husband grew up in called Auburn. Picking the name came about quite simply. My husband and I were strolling around our neighbourhood with our first born dreaming about creating our hoops when he first suggested it. As we kept dreaming and I began embroidering in the final developing our hoops we kept days of my pregnancy with our referring to them as Auburn firstborn. A few months after she Hoops and it just kind of stuck! was born I opened an etsy shop selling my embroidery art framed in the old fashioned hoops. I did my first craft show and I was so As we developed prototypes of discouraged because many our hoops we went through quite people complimented my art but a few ideas but our key thoughts then would ask â€œwhat do you do were to create a decorative with it?â€? I explained over and over circular frame that got rid of the that the hoop acted as a frame outer clasp that an average and you can hang it on a wall or embroidery hoop has. As we display it on a shelf. After that arrived closer to what the Auburn craft show my husband began hoop is today, we realized that seeking a way to help people we could not only fill the need of appreciate and understand my art a circular frame but that we could by developing a frame. also improve the standard embroidery hoop by creating a more taught hold on the fabric.
Based in Alabama, Chelsea and her husband Brandon run their business from home, alongside raising their two children. We spoke to Chelsea to find out more!
All of our outer hoops are initially cut by a small woodworking company in the heart of Ohio. We then finish them by sanding the outer wooden hoop and making the inner hoops.
Our typical working day is not at all average! My husband has a day job and I stay home with our two children so we have a lot of demands outside of Auburn Hoops. I tend to spend naptimes during the days managing social media, customer service, and marketing. We try to not allow our business to take priority over our family time so we tend to do most of our work after the kids go to bed. A lot of sanding, assembly, and managing orders happens after eight o’clock. Those late hours are focused time that my husband and I can work together and its actually great marital bonding time for us!
The whole process of developing our hoops has
been such a great learning process. I do wish I knew more about the ins and outs of running a business but I’m so thankful to have my husband as my business partner because he keeps the business side of things under control so I can be creative and relational with our customers. Every step of the process of beginning Auburn Hoops has taught us something and has made our hoops and our business what they are.
I get so excited seeing our customers’ art in our hoops! I’m so thankful for Instagram because it allows me to connect with so many artists around the world and see our hoops with their creations. It is such an honor that they would choose our hoops to frame the art that they have poured so much of themselves into!
Time. Our daughter is two years old and our son is seven months old and they take a lot of attention. Finding ways to balance our time and priorities is a constant battle.
My husband and I are constantly dreaming up ideas for Auburn Hoops so there is no doubt that we will continue to innovate with our hoops. For now we are so overwhelmed with the response to our hoops that we are focusing on expanding into different sizes and shapes of hoops.
Chelsea & Brandon have very kindly offered all of our readers 10% off their gorgeous hoops. Just enter the code at checkout!
www.auburnhoops.co www.instagram.com/auburnhoops/ www.facebook.com/auburnhoopsco/
Auburn Hoops Product Review firm, but I personally found it extremely difficult to remove and replace the plastic inner ring that holds the fabric in the hoop, even though there is a thoughtfully provided leather (lovely quality again!) tag to help you do this. The second problem I experienced was difficulty in holding the hoop to work - it was just too heavy for me to use so I stitched my bunnies in a regular hoop and transferred my work when finished. Last month I was fortunate enough to receive one of Chelsea and Brandon’s lovely hoops to review. That’s it above - or rather that’s the reverse side(!) which I actually preferred for this simple bunny design. Auburn Hoops are exceptionally high quality, beautifully made with no nasty rough edges to snag your fabric and - from the picture above - you can see that the back looks just as lovely as the front. I think they are a brilliant innovative way to display my finished work and I will definitely be using them for this purpose in the future (they now
have international shipping so I can go ahead and order!) As a display hoop I think you’d go a long way to find a nicer option - if indeed you could. However … I personally wouldn’t use one of these hoops for its functional purpose - ie stitching my design. Before I go on, I feel it’s important to note that this is not due to any defect in the hoop itself, but rather in me. After decades of working with my hands I have arthritis in my wrists and fingers and not a lot of strength in them either.
This is only my personal experience, however, and I just wanted to give anyone else with hand problems a quick heads-up that you may need to keep your Auburn Hoop for display purposes only and use a regular hoop for stitching your work first.
I haven’t seen anyone else reporting these difficulties online, so I imagine that if your hands are fine, then you won’t have any problems at all using these lovely hoops for the purpose for which they My Auburn Hoop does indeed were intended. hold the fabric taut and very
a lovely idea
Easy Felt Bunny
Hand made, felt and everything sweet and cute - what’s not to like about this simple felt bunny? There’s even a little pocket on the reverse perfect for some mini Easter eggs too! And it’s easy enough for kids to have a go at making their own bunnies this Easter. Find the full tutorial over on i Manu Fatti blog (in Italian, but there’s a helpful English translation too)
Free from i Manu Fatti :Cute Felt Bunny
Sloth Love Cushion Such a cute and cosy pair, this mother sloth and her baby are an easy applique project - suitable for a confident beginner. All the shapes are simple to cut and you just have to take a little care when you’re layering the mother and baby bodies together. But don’t worry - I’ve included photos to help you do this. My cushion cover measured 16” square but it would be easy to resize if you wished. The back is a simple envelope closure.
● Scraps of cream, pink, light brown, dark brown, dark grey, black, green and yellow felt for the applique
Materials ● 16” square cream or white medium weight fabric (the finished cover will be ½” smaller than the pad all the way round, this will allow for compression of the pad over time)
● Pink, black and yellow stranded cotton floss ● Embroidery foot for your sewing machine
● Two 12” x 16” rectangles of the same fabric for the back of the cushion
● 12” x 14” grey marl felt
● Temporary fabric marker pen
edges are nice and smooth. Peel off the paper backing.
● Begin to assemble your applique design. Begin by positioning the branch - the base should be approximately 6 ½” down from the top edge of the cushion.
● ● ● Trace the applique shapes onto the paper side of the Bondaweb, remembering to add a little extra where they overlap (see template for guidance). Cut out roughly. Fuse to your felt and cut out carefully making sure the
● Then add the mother sloth pieces (1) but don’t fuse them yet. Add the baby body pieces (2). The baby is cut in two pieces (see template diagram) and the mother’s arm overlaps the centre. When you’ve positioned all these pieces and you’re happy with how
your work looks then fuse everything into place with a hot iron, protecting your work with a cloth. Be sure to press NOT iron. Pressing is a single up and down movement - with the iron resting on the fabric for up to 10 seconds to give the glue time to melt. Ironing means moving your iron backwards and forwards and you definitely don’t want to do this as it may cause your pieces to slip out of place.
right angles to the edges of the applique shapes. ● Use your temporary fabric marker pen to draw in the features. The mouths are back stitch and the eyelashes are blanket stitch. Work a few long straight stitches in black floss to represent the mother’s shaggy fur (see image below). ● When you’ve finished press lightly on the reverse and place your work face up on a clean flat surface.
● Fit the embroidery foot to your sewing machine and drop the feed dogs. With black thread in your needle and a paler colour in your bobbin go around the edges of the body shapes and branch twice and around the faces once (3). Don’t try to be too neat, you’re aiming for a sort of scribbled effect.
● Hem one long edge of each of the fabric rectangles and place them face down on top of your applique panel with side edges aligned so they overlap in the centre to form the envelop closure.
● Add the leaves and mother’s eye patches and both sloth’s noses and applique in the same way.
● Machine stitch around the edge. Clip corners and turn right side out. ● Insert pad. Your cushion is now finished.
● Add the flower and baby’s cheeks and secure them with short straight stitches worked at
Tastes of the Season: Sweet Potatoes Sweet potatoes are in season from October to March - so now is your last chance to enjoy them at their peak! These colourful tubers have a naturally sweet and spicy flavour and are delicious when baked, roasted or mashed - or even made into sweet potato chips with sea salt and perhaps tossed in a little rosemary too. There are two types, one with bright orange flesh, the other with pale cream flesh. Try to choose small to medium-sized sweet potatoes with unblemished skins, as they will be more tender when cooked and unless they are particularly small and smooth, remove the skins with a peeler as they are often well-travelled and can be tough . Sweet potatoes are native to the tropical Americas and are sometimes referred to as 'yams' in the USA. Sweet potatoes are rich in fibre, vitamins A, C and B6, and an excellent source of carbohydrates. The orange-fleshed variety are also rich in betacarotene. 38
Rosieâ€™s Recipes: Easter Treats!
Although I still love my chocolate at Easter (Mum holds the best Easter Egg hunt in the world in her garden!) as I’ve grown up I’ve realised that there are more delicious goodies to enjoy at this time of year than simply munching my way through as much chocolate as I can possibly manage. I do hope you enjoy these trusted family favourites too - and don’t worry, for the chocoholics amongst us, chocolate does make an appearance!
Hot Cross Buns A traditional favourite that I’m sure needs no introduction! To enjoy your hot cross buns at their best, serve them warm, split and buttered. This recipe makes around 20 buns.
● 40 g plain flour
● 650 g strong plain flour, and a little extra for dusting
● Few drops of almond extract
● 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
● 6 cubes white sugar, coarsely crushed
● 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg ● 1 teaspoon ground mixed spice ● ½ teaspoon ground mace ● ½ teaspoon salt ● 65 g caster sugar ● 90 g butter ● 7 g sachet fast action dried yeast ● 200 ml warm milk ● 200 ml hot water ● 1 medium egg, beaten ● 100 g raisins ● 65 g chopped mixed peel
To finish ● 1 medium egg, beaten
● 65 g caster sugar
Method ● Sift the flour, spices and salt into a warm mixing bowl and stir in the sugar. Rub in the butter and stir in the dried yeast. Add the warm milk, hot water and egg and mix to a soft dough. ● Knead the dough for about 10 minutes. ● Knead the raisins and mixed peel into the dough, then roll it into a long sausage shape. Cut into 20 slices with a knife, then shape these into buns. Place them at least 2” apart on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. ● Cover and leave to prove in a warm place for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 230C. ● To finish your buns brush the tops with the beaten egg. Mix the flour to a paste with a little water and the almond extract. Put into a piping bag and pipe a wide cross on the top of each bun. ● Bake for 15 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool. While they are still warm, mix the caster sugar and crushed sugar cubes with 5 tablespoons of water. Brush the buns with this mixture and leave to cool.
Easter Biscuits These spicy, fruited biscuits were originally baked in the West Country, including Devon where Mum used to live. She was given this recipe by one of the elderly ladies at the village lunch club and it has since become a firm favourite - not just at Easter, but all year round! Easter biscuits do keep well in an airtight tin - if you can stop your hungry family helping themselves that is! This recipe makes about 30 biscuits.
Ingredients ● 100 g butter ● 75 g caster sugar ● 1 egg, separated ● 200 g plain flour ● Pinch of salt ● ½ teaspoon mixed spice ● ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon ● 50 g currants
● Caster sugar for sprinkling
Method ● Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, then beat in the egg yolk. Sift in the flour, salt and spices and mix well. Add the fruit and peel and enough brandy or milk to give a fairly soft dough. ● Knead lightly on a lightly floured surface and roll out until about ¼” thick. Cut into 2” rounds using a fluted cutter. Place onto greased baking sheets and bake at 200C for 10 minutes. ● Remove from the oven, brush with the lightly beaten egg white, sprinkle with a little caster sugar and return to the oven to bake for around another 5 minutes, until the tops are a nice golden brown.
● 1 tablespoon chopped mixed peel
● Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
● 1 - 2 tablespoons brandy or milk
● Stir in an airtight container.
Marbled Chocolate Cake The Victorians were very fond of marbled cakes - so called as the swirls of chocolate that are revealed when the cake is sliced make a pattern similar to Italian marble.
Ingredients ● 225 g butter
● Grease and line a 2 pint loaf tin.
● 225 g caster sugar
● Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, then gradually beat in the eggs, beating well after each addition. Fold in the flour.
● 4 eggs, beaten ● 225 g self raising flour ● Finely grated rind of one large orange ● 1 tablespoon orange juice ● 75 g plain chocolate
● Transfer half of the mixture to another bowl and beat in the orange rind and juice. ● Break the chocolate into pieces, put into a small bowl and melt over a pan of simmering water. Stir until the chocolate melts. Stir into the remaining cake mixture with the cocoa powder. ● Put alternate spoonfuls of the two mixtures into the baking tin. Use a knife to swirl through the mixture to make the marbled effect, then level the surface.
● 1 tablespoon cocoa powder ● Icing sugar to dust the top
● Bake at 180C for 1¼ to 1½ hours until well risen and firm to the touch. ● Turn out onto a wire rack to cool and when cooled dust the top with icing sugar.
Chocolate Ganache Mum makes the most delicious ganache from this very simple recipe. I adore it - whether it’s filling reindeer at Christmas, bunnies at Easter or even, like my birthday cake this year forming a ganache mountain topped with Maltesers and peanut butter cups - heavenly!
Ingredients ● 350 g good quality chocolate (can be dark or milk depending on your preferences) ● 1 cup of double cream ● 2 tablespoons of butter
Method ● Put the cream in a pan and bring to the boil. ● Immediately remove it from the heat and pour onto the chocolate and stir until all melted and combined. ● Stir in the butter. ● Try not to eat it all at once!
Chocolate Fudge What’s not to love? This recipe makes about 700 g (that’s 1 ½ lbs of chocolaty deliciousness!)
● 50 g unsalted butter plus extra for greasing
● Lightly grease a shallow 20 cm (8”) square tin and line with baking parchment.
● 225 g granulated sugar
● Put the sugar, condensed milk, butter, honey and vanilla extract into a medium heavy-based pan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves.
● 400 g sweetened condensed milk ● 1 tablespoon runny honey ● 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ● 100 g good quality plain chocolate, grated
● Bring to the boil, stirring and boil for 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. The mixture is ready when it reaches the soft ball stage, that’s 115C on a sugar thermometer. ● Remove from heat, add the grated chocolate and beat until the mixture is smooth and glossy. ● Pour the fudge into the prepared tin, spreading it well into the corners. Leave for 2 hours or until set. ● Remove from tin and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container.
Tastes of the Season: Spring Onions Also known as Scallions, March is the time that the aptly named Spring Onion comes into season. With its long slender green stems and small white crunchy bulbs every part of this tasty vegetable may be eaten, either raw or cooked. It is rich in vitamins K and C, which are essential for strong bones and also contains vitamin A which has strong anti-oxidant properties that help to reduce the risk of heart disease. Thereâ€™s a lot of taste and goodness packed into this small onion which can be sliced into rounds and used as a garnish over meats and salads, adding flavour as well as good looks - especially if youâ€™re able to obtain the variety that comes in a wonderful deep red hue that fades to white tips at the ends of the bulbs.
Monstera deliciosa Hoop The trend for houseplants and succulents doesn’t seem to be going away very soon and I for one am very happy about that as I’ve always loved to bring plants indoors, especially during the winter months when there isn’t much to see in my garden. I remember my mum had a monster Swiss Cheese Plant (as we used to call them back in the 1970s), renamed “The Triffid” by my dad as it appeared to be trying to take over the whole of a dark corner of the living room! This specimen is a lot more restrained, contained nicely within a 10” hoop. It’s worked almost entirely in satin stitch with a little back stitch too. My satin stitch is by no means perfect, though I do keep practising(!) And if you’re the same then I’ve shared some tips for lovely satin stitch on the following pages.
● 14” square white fabric
● DMC floss in colours 310, 469, 831, 905, 907, 935, 3713
● Transfer the design to the centre of your background fabric. ● Stitch the design according to the guide and notes on the following pages:
● The leaves are all worked in satin stitch on an angle to the central spines which are worked in stem stitch.
● The text is back stitch in a single strand of 310. ● When you’ve finished stitching press your work lightly on the reverse being careful not to flatten your stitches.
● The plant “trunk” is long and short stitch ● When working the pot stitch the triangles in satin stitch first, then work the lines as long straight stitches.
Some Tips for Successful Satin Stitch Satin stitch sems to be a very popular stitch at the moment, featuring in lots of the lovely designs I've been seeing lately. You might think that satin stitch is an incredibly easy stitch to sew - after all you just go in and out, out and in, from one side of the shape to another - and in one sense you'd be absolutely right. But satin stitch is in fact rather like the English language According to my Russian friend Elona who was once heard to remark ... "English is a very easy language to pick up the basics,
but a very difficult language to speak well."
tangles and is horrible to work with.
I think the same is probably true of satin stitch, so I thought I'd share a few of my tips with you - though I am by no means suggesting I'm an expert, or that this is a fully inclusive list - these are just hints that my mum and grandma passed onto me.
2. I usually like to work with two strands, and personally would be unlikely to use more than three for a nice smooth stitch but that really is a matter of choice. No matter how many strands you use, when you're separating them from the skein, do so one strand at a time and then line them up together to thread your needle, making sure they're not twisted in any way. I have heard from stitchers that like to iron their floss before
1. Use a good quality floss. You won't get good results with any kind of stitch if you're using cheap floss that breaks and
working satin stitch, and I can see how this would indeed give very good results - but I am far too impatient to begin stitching I'm afraid. 3. Make sure the outline of your shape is nice and clear and unambiguous. You don't want to be wondering where is the best place to pass your needle through the fabric as you work. For a nice plump stitch you can outline your shape with running stitch first, then work the shape by taking your needle through the fabric just outside your back stitches so that the satin stitch sits over them. This works well for simple shapes, but isn't always practical if your shape is quite irregular - like the Monstera deliciosa leaves on the previous page. 4. Use a hoop. Even if you normally prefer to stitch without one, then give it a go - you may be surprised. If you don't have a hoop to keep your fabric taut, then it's possible your satin
stitches may grow tight causing your fabric to pucker beneath them - or alternatively loose, in which case they won't sit beautifully straight on top of your fabric. 5. Choose the angle at which you're going to work your stitches (this will depend on the shape you're stitching - if, for example you need to slant your stitches around any curves). Once you have chosen your angle, then stick to it! Beware your stitches drifting away from your chosen direction. I am particularly prone to this happening (I think I forget that floss has width as well as length and so my stitches tend to become bunched together at one end and fan out at the other). There are two ways round this problem - either draw parallel lines across the shape with a sharp pencil (preferred) or work stitches at intervals then fill in between them. This is less satisfactory as the gaps you leave may not be the exact
intervals to fill with strands of floss - you may have to squeeze extra stitches in from time to time. 6. Do not be tempted to bring your needle in and out of the fabric in one movement (My grandma was especially strict on this!) because (1) you will find it more difficult to follow your outline accurately and (2) the floss will enter and leave the fabric on a more oblique angle that will make your stitch flatter and far less lovely - you have been warned! 7. Don't try to carry your floss across the back of your work between areas of stitching. Work each area separately, starting and finishing off as necessary as I have done below. Because satin stitch depends so heavily on achieving the right tension, carrying your thread can be risky as your stitches may become loose and "wobbly."
A Childhood Favourite: Growing Cress Indoors snacks never imagined by my grandma, such as hummus and baba ganoush.
I remember that when I was a child in the seventies our family would head off to my grandma’s for Sunday tea at least twice a month. The menu never seemed to vary and always included tinned fruit salad with Coronation Evaporated milk poured over the top, her best caraway seed cake, beloved of my dad, tinned ham salad and, for the little ones, egg and cress sandwiches made with best Mother’s Pride sliced white loaf and each round lovingly cut into triangles.
Although I grow my cress on shallow dishes, it’s fun at this time of year to grow in eggshells. Save from your baking and carefully wash them out (you don’t want any stale eggy smells remaining!). If you have little ones in the family, then let them add faces to the eggshells with felt tip pen (beware of hot little hands squeezing those shells too tightly!) So they can watch their eggs’ “hair” grow.
Today, l wouldn’t want to bring back the tinned fruit salad and ham, but would argue that in some ways perhaps my grandma was being quite modern by serving her grandchildren what we might today term “micro-leaves” in the form of the cress in those long-ago sandwiches. And at this time of year, when there aren’t very many home-grown fresh greens available to use in the kitchen, it’s fun to grow cress indoors on the windowsill.
Then fill your eggshells with a few torn up pieces of kitchen towel - four to five layers placed inside fairly loosely is about right - don’t press them down too much or they won’t absorb the water. Soak with water and generously sprinkle your cress seeds on top. Be sure not to let the kitchen roll dry out check it daily if possible, and your seeds will soon be sprouting. Harvest (or cut the eggs’ hair!) Once the leaves appear and then discard the remains the stalks won’t sprout again.
Indeed cress can be surprisingly versatile - use to add a crunchy, slightly tart, texture to salads and sandwiches, as well as sprinkling onto homemade
A closer look at some of the accounts we love… C:\Users\Debbie\Downl...\penandpaperpatterns.png
Mrs Bunny Maker is based in Perth, Western Australia & makes the most gorgeous heirloom bunnies dressed in delicious outfits. We’re in love!
Michelle designs modern crochet patterns and has a passion for teaching workshops. Her style is vibrant and quirky, always bright and colourful.
Ploypisut is a freelance illustrator and designer based in Bangkok, Thailand. She creates gorgeous illustraions - we especially love her swans!
Anne designs beautiful embroidery art, hand stitched jewellery, lovely dolls and patterns to DIY. Her grid is full of colour and the gorgeous projects she’s working on.
Meet Rebekah Wright who makes the most gorgeous felt flowers that are blooming lovely the whole year through!
Please could you tell us just a little about your home and where you live. I live at home with my husband and two children. We live on the West Coast of Scotland, south of Glasgow. It's a beautiful part of the country!
Can you tell us a little about your creative background? How did you get started? I've always loved arts and crafts, as a young child I remember making myself toys out of fabric and whatever other materials I could find. As an adult, I enjoy creating unique gifts for people I care about, including my kids. I love to draw, sew, and try new things!
How do you keep yourself motivated and interested in your work? My motivation for what I do is strongly linked to the seasons. I'm inspired by the changing colours and textures of the different seasons, and as I see each seasonal bloom appear I'm inspired to create them from felt! It can be difficult to stay motivated at times, but it helps that I get a great sense of achievement from doing what I do.
Do you finish a piece before moving onto the next, or do you work on several projects at the same time? One of the key things I've learned is that I'm much more efficient when I make lots of the same thing in a conveyor belt style. I'm by nature
Meet the Maker
inclined to start lots of things and not finish them, so I discipline myself to always finish what I'm working on before moving on to the next thing!
Please tell us a little about your workspace. How do you keep organised? I'm not a naturally tidy person (just ask my poor husband!!), and while I like things to be organised when I'm working, they are not necessarily neat! I work in the Attic space (hence the business's name), so have lots of space to spread out. I store cut felt pieces in lidded plastic boxes so I can find them easily, and have a huge old dining table with one end for cutting and one end for glueing flowers together.
Where do you find your creative inspiration? As I'm inspired by nature and the seasons, I'm currently making hundreds of daffodils! Mother's Day is a busy time for me, and I love helping people show their mum how much she means to them!
In a popular and crowded market, what do you think makes your work unique? I never set out to compete with other creatives, I strongly believe in building up the other creatives around me. I'm always a little surprised at the positive feedback I get from the public when I do craft markets, and regularly am told that my items are very unique.
If you love Rebekah’s colouful felt flowers and would like to find out more you can find her online at “Rebekah’s Attic” ….
I think I stay original by staying focused on my own creative journey and not getting sucked into comparing myself to others. It's also really important to present your crafts well, making sure the finish of each piece is excellent and the packaging/labelling suits your brand.
What has been your proudest achievement so far? I'm most proud of having one of my wreaths featured in the Country Living Magazine - my mum has been a subscriber for years and it's a stylestandard that I never dreamed I'd achieve as a crafter!
What has been your biggest challenge in promoting and selling your work online? I love selling at markets where I can chat to customers, so I miss that about selling online. I also find it really hard to accurately portray my items
(both visually in photos and in written descriptions) so that they are as desirable online as they are when you see them. Most of my promotion is via Instagram and I've found some of the algorithm changes quite challenging... but the community of creatives that can be found on Instagram make it worth sticking with it through the challenges!
And what's the hardest thing about running your own business? The hardest thing about running my own business (aside from having to do accounts and tax returns, while juggling orders and keeping track of stock!) is maintaining my confidence in myself. It's difficult to cope with fluctuating sales (due to seasonal factors) and maintain the belief that I'm still doing the right thing!
What are your plans for its future? I also only have one pair of hands, and as all my flowers are cut by hand with
no pattern or template, I need to find ways of growing my business that don't result in me either not sleeping or needing a time-turner to function! Also, I speak to lots of people who love to create pretty things but struggle to source nice materials. I particularly struggled to find nice, good quality felt in colours that were pretty! So I'm expanding my range to include felt, and will soon be adding kits and sets. I'm really excited about this new venture, though I'll still be making plenty of my own items ready made!
And finally, please describe your style in three words. Naturalistic, clean, romantic. I struggled a little with this last question, but feel the picture on the previous page says it better - nature, with as much handmade/small business support as I can get, plus old stuff that has sentimental value!)
Bunny Cache Pot This is such a fun little project, and I’m sure my little grandson Freddie will love collecting his eggs in his very own bunny basket this Easter. Our bunny is completely hand stitched, and features an embroidered detail and cute little pompom tail too. Medium weight fusible interfacing means his ears stand up nice and straight. Bunny pot measures 4” diameter and 7 ½” tall from the base to the tips of his ears (approx)
● Stranded cotton floss in pink, green, light blue (or preferred colour for flower), black and white
Materials ● 13” x 9” white wool blend felt
● 1 ½” pompom for tail (either make your own from yarn or purchase ready made)
● 13” x 9” pretty quilting cotton (mine was from Tilda)
● 13”x 9” medium weight fusible interfacing
● Temporary fabric marker pen
● Small scraps pink felt
● Add whiskers as long straight stitches if desired - I left them off as I thought Freddie’s little fingers probably wouldn’t be able to resist pulling at them!
Method ● ● Cut out main pieces from full size template - remembering to extend by 4” at either side. Additionally cut one 4” diameter circle in felt, printed cotton and interfacing.
● Transfer the floral garland and stitch. The flower is radiating straight stitches with a centre formed by some small French knots. The leaves are long-stemmed lazy daisy stitches.
● Fuse the interfacing pieces to the printed cotton pieces and place to one side for now.
● When you’ve finished press your work lightly on the reverse being careful not to flatten your stitches.
● Trace the rabbit ear inners onto the paper side of your bondaweb and cut out roughly. Fuse to the wrong side of your printed cotton fabric and cut out carefully. Peel off the paper backing and position on the main felt piece. Fuse to the felt with a hot iron remembering to protect your work with a cloth. Secure the applique shapes in place with small straight stitches worked at right angles to the edges of the shapes.
● Place the fused interfacing and cotton main piece on a clean flat surface with the interfacing side on the top. Position the felt outer piece on the top, right side up. Pin or baste, then join the pieces along the top and around the ears. Use either blanket stitch or a decorative cross stitch. The cross stitch is worked by whip stitching over the edges in one direction then returning the other way angling your stitches to complete the cross stitch.
● Repeat for the pink cheek circles. ● With your temporary fabric marker pen mark in the positions of the eyes and nose and stitch in black floss. The nose and eyes are satin stitch and the mouth is back stitch. Add a sparkle to each eye with a tiny white stitch worked across the satin stitch.
● Stitch the back seam in the same way and then insert the base. ● Add pompom to bottom of back seam. ● Your rabbit is now finished.
If you love spring stitching you’ll adore our mini-Easter collection. Click here to download your FREE copy.
A Country Diary The smell of the earth? Yes, weâ€™ve got it now, and the tang of wet leaves and bracken under a thin diaphanous mist that enhances the colours close at hand, and drops a light veil over the distance. Larches rise from a floor of glowing orange fern and soft brown needles and stand ghostlike and shadowy and grey, just dimmed by mist, each drooping branch and twig encrusted with grey lichen. The sloping field beyond the wood has a bloom on it like dew. In the brown and purple hedges catkins have shaken loose and changed to gold. Low clouds hem us in, with just a line of light on the horizon. Looking back you see the sloping field now has pale sunlight breaking over it. A magpie crosses the path. The tail feathers of a jay make a pied streak as it disappears among the bushes. In the shallow pool among the furze bushes, where the frog spawn lay is now a congested mass of small black tadpoles.
Janet Case 23 March 1931, The New Forest, Hampshire, England 58
CLICK HERE To download this monthâ€™s templates as an easy to use pdf file 61
This month’s magazine is full of spring delights - even the cover is the colour of early spring. a vibrant daffodil yellow! Easter is early...
Published on Feb 22, 2018
This month’s magazine is full of spring delights - even the cover is the colour of early spring. a vibrant daffodil yellow! Easter is early...