Something old, something new…

I mentioned in a past post about owning a lot of lovely sewing things that I inherited from my Gran, in fact, most of my ‘things’ came from my Gran, she was a hoarder and provided my early collections of vintage clothing etc.  The photo I use in my About Me page is at her house dressing up in some of this vintage stash,  below is the full shot including my sister (on the right), the length of skirts always amazes me I virtually have my knickers on show!

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Anyhow, I digress.  So I finally made a start on updating and copying some of these lovely objects starting with the silks roll.  The original serves it’s purpose well but is full of old silks and I prefer to leave them as they are

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so here is the updated version

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I love cow parsley, I grow the florists version (Ammi Major) in my cutting patch and wake every morning to blinds printed in ‘Putkinotko’, which is a 1957 design by Maija Isola for Marimekko.

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so I have been planning to use the outline for a while, I was thinking cushions but decided to downscale and use beads for the flowers.

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As you can see, there are still improvements to be made, the linen, although a great weight is the wrong colour for the bead embroidery which you can barely see, but it’s a start.  The long term plan is to add a section to the shop selling sewing accessories, mostly replicas of my Gran’s things, but I am in no hurry I have plenty to be getting on with at the moment and I know that Christmas will come crashing in no matter how far ahead I plan.  The C word again, and in August!  hush up lady 😉

Linen, Silk and Sweet Peas…

I have had a week of sewing and have got right back into swing.  It feels good, I was missing that great feeling when you make something new, choosing the fabrics, cutting the patterns and then seeing the finished piece.

So, of the many new things in the pipeline, here are Sweet Pea Linen Cushions, finally finished (well the first few anyhow).  I will be putting the purple and dark pink into The Linen Cat online shop and Folksy, the pale pink was a special request order for my Aunt.  

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The new cushions are a good example of my design process.  Some things are spontaneous and evolve from new fabrics and a bit of a ‘play’ but others are more traditional in their conception.  I had already made linen cushions based on Winter Berries and Magnolias (the Winter Berries cushion is available on Folksy in orange and is also being made in tweed.  Both will soon appear on The Linen Cat Online).  I knew I wanted to expand the range so I had been thinking about new designs.  My inspiration comes from the things around me, in this case my own garden where I grow sweet pea Matucana over the arches on my vegetable patch, it has lovely bi-colour flowers and for most of June and July I permanently have a bunch in the kitchen.  I had also recently ordered some lovely silk for making Christmas products that just happened to be in similar colours to the sweet peas.

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First I took photos and did some very quick sketches to get an idea of the shape.  The sketches are to tone down the detail and create bold simple shapes, I would happily get over excited and make a very complicated appliqued version of sweet peas, but this would be more like a piece of textile artwork and not something I could reproduce for re-sale.  It’s just not my style for the shop pieces, I like simple bold shapes that suggest their original source but have a slightly abstract feel.  I then work up a pattern on brown paper (my pattern paper of choice.  I was taught to use brown paper as a student and I have used it ever since).  Quite often I have an image in my head of how I see the finished piece so I work towards this, if I am unsure I will make up one sample or even a toile in calico with the details drawn on in pencil, but in this case I was happy with my pattern so went straight into making them up.

I am really like the new cushions, I love the mix of linen with small splashes of bright silk and it’s a lovely way to remember the sweet peas which are sadly coming to an end in the garden.

Bold and Brilliant Colour…

It occurred to me over the weekend whilst working in the garden that my taste in flowers is similar to my taste in fabric.  The top flower bed has been a riot of colour, filled with bright tulips (Ballerina, China Pink and Jan Reus to name a few) against acid green euphorbias.  I would love to say that I planned it all without any help, but that would be a lie, I have taken most of my ideas for the garden from combinations suggested by Sarah Raven in her book ‘The Bold and Brilliant Garden’ (I also use her book ‘Grow Your Own Cut Flowers’ rather a lot).

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When designing, I especially like to mix bright coloured cotton prints with pale linens, wools and tweeds.  For those who read my blog or who have visited the shop site, you will already know my designs tend to follow this trend.  I also like fabrics with an element of nature, especially flowers so you can imagine my excitement when the below fabric (Garden Party by Anna Maria Horner) arrived in the post:

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And not only is it beautiful but it arrived the next day and was packaged perfectly in powder blue tissue and ribbon.  It came from the on-line fabric shop Saints and Pinners which I wouldn’t have know about had Karen over at Blueberry Park not highlighted in a recent post (so thanks Karen!).

I don’t normally sew at weekends, it’s family time, but I couldn’t resist making up a couple of new dresses for the linen cats/bunnies and here they are:

 

New linen cat and bunny

New linen cat and bunny

My husband even mentioned that he thought it was the nicest cat/bunny dress yet, which is high praise indeed as he doesn’t normally take any interest in my sewing.  In fact I love it so much I went straight back on-line to order some more and had to resist all the other lovely fabrics available, well I didn’t entirely resist I snuck in a half yard of Westminster Fabrics Social Climber in green and pink.

As if one blog wasn’t enough…

I had a thought over the weekend that blogging would be a great way to track the garden for a year, both the vegetable and flower growing; and the cooking that goes with it.  I realise the problems already, one being time, there already aren’t enough hours in the day and the cooking bit might get a bit tricky…chutney, does that go in my crafty blog or my gardening blog as it’s made with home grown produce?..hummm, I’ll figure that one when I get to it.

Anyhow, if you have an interest in gardening, or simply want to have a look at what my house/garden/kids look like feel free to pop over and have a read at Rock Cottage Year. (I didn’t say the title was very original!).

As a tempter here are my favourite Spring Flowers in the garden at the moment – Coronas ‘Sylphide’ (bright pink)  and Muscari/Grape Hycinth (my fav. ‘latifolium’ which has pale blue at the top).

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