Well here it is, my first quilted patchwork cushion. I have absolutely loved making it and can’t wait to get started on my next one. It’s been an interesting experience though as this is the first time I have quilted using my sewing machine rather than by hand. This has meant that the cushion came together much more quickly than it would have done (I still have two hand quilting projects ‘on the go’!!!) which is very satisfying.
I used a combination of traditional machine quilting (stitch in the ditch) and free motion quilting (for the hearts and swirls). Although I am very used to free motion stitching, using it on this project has been a bit of a challenge. It felt strange going from the very precise and neat process of patchwork to the completely free and almost messy flow of free motion stitching3. But it works….I think….
I have fallen in love with all things patchwork. This will come as no surprise to those who know me as there is perhaps no other form of sewing more suited to my obsession with neatness. Not only is a multitude of beautiful fabrics, in rows and rows of pretty baskets filled to the brim with perfectly proportioned fat quarters, readily available in my favourite shop (Coast and Country Crafts & Quilts); but once purchased, these fabrics need to be cut into mathematically precise squares (or triangles or hexagons etc). Heaven!
And there are so many gorgeous patterns and designs to choose from, which leads to hours and hours spent deciding which fabrics to use, for which project, and in which configuration. Bliss!
Once the project is planned neat and precise sewing is called for – as is my trusty 1/4 inch sewing machine foot. Having sewn and pressed and sewn and pressed and sewn and pressed some more, the moment of truth arrives where the corners of each set of four squares meet perfectly (or not!!!) in the middle. How much better could it get?!?!
Needless to say, this passion for patchwork is sure to find its way into my products before long. Watch this space.
This year we have added a new limited edition’Coastal Christmas‘ range to our homeware and have been busy getting it ready for the website. The central motif is this gorgeous reindeer (above), inspired by the swooping swirling lines of early folk art.
We’ve taken this central design and adapted it for a new line of Christmas cards, festive stickers, and napkins (coming soon).
Reindeer Christmas Card
I always love this time of year, and have often thought I would be quite happy running my own all-year-round Christmas shop 🙂 It’s not so much because I love Christmas Day itself…. it’s because I love Christmas time, and most especially Advent (which I will say more about when it’s here). For me, it’s all about the preparation…..cosying up the house for the longer darker days. Lighting the candles. Snuggling under the blankets. Choosing a new decoration for the tree. I love the deep warm reds and the soft russets and burnished golds that bring the autumnal colours of the outdoors inside.
My guilty secret at this time of year?…..ssh……feel good movies on ‘Christmas 24‘…….but don’t tell………
It’s a beautiful Sunday morning in Topsham, Devon. The November sun is soft and low and the estuary is calm and still – disturbed only by the movement of a small boat and the gentle splashing of the resident ducks.
I’m sitting by the window of the popular Route 2 cafe enjoying breakfast and planning a day of sewing. I’m in the middle of making a batch of Reindeer cushions and looking forward to launching them at the Arty Craft Christmas Fair next month. I’ve had great fun with their antlers, using a lovely silky embroidery thread to create long sweeping lines and plenty of swirls. I love the design so much that I’ve used it as the basis for my Christmas cards and seasonal packaging stickers.
I’ll post photos of the cushions when they’re ready. No doubt I will spend the evening sewing on buttons on the back 🙂
In an attempt to have more ‘sticky’ content on my website (see previous post), I decided to set about making my first video. The recording part was fairly easy. I simply rested my iPad on the lid of my open sewing box which gave me just the right height for a close up of me (or rather my battered dish-washing hands) sewing, and pressed the red button.
Nevertheless, the whole process did not turn out to be straightforward. I was too aware that I was being recorded and so I made mistakes! I forgot to breathe when stitching the lines of the Curlew’s beak – disaster! I decided to ditch my first attempt, start again, and forget about the fact that I was making a video. Success 🙂
Next came the editing. And that took ages! It was my first attempt at using iMovie and it didn’t go well. I couldn’t work out how to cut out sections of the 8 minute long video. And so I found myself searching for alternatives. Eventually I stumbled upon Movavi Editor 3 which was just right for my skill level. The editing tools were more intuitive and in no time at all I had a video of just over 3.5 minutes long……with transitions……and text 🙂
Adding music however was a little more difficult as none of the sample tracks available was appropriate. The link provided to download others was an expensive option, so once again I found myself searching for alternatives. I discovered Audio Network which allowed me to purchase just one track rather than take out a monthly/yearly subscription which I didn’t want or need. So, music chosen, downloaded and imported and I was good to go.
It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. Have a look and let me know what you think.
ETSY has been busy re-designing shop-fronts. I have used that as an opportunity to re-think how I describe what it is that I do. I seem to have outgrown my first strapline, ‘Coast and Country Textiles’: firstly because with the advent of my greeting cards range, I no longer offer textile products alone; and secondly because my work has naturally graduated towards the coast rather than the country. Time for a re-think.
Playing with straplines is an interesting activity. It has forced me to take a step back and look at my work from the outside. I have had all kinds of conversations with myself as part of the process and in the end I have decided to go with ‘Contemporary Coastal Style’. I will live with that one for a while and see how it feels.
I’ve been branching out a little in terms of my product range which now includes 100% cotton screen printed Avocets and Oystercatchers aprons. I’m delighted with how they’ve turned out. They look great and are so easy to wash and wear. I’m certainly going to add a few more of these to the range and am already busy planning the next design…..