In September I assisted Charlotte in the making of two floor cushions for her room at uni. The fabric was bought from the 6 scraps for £5 bin at the Fent Shop in Skipton. All end of designer stuff and perfect for soft furnishings or tote bags.
I was allowed to cut strips, do the maths and press all the seams. Not bad for our first attempt at patchwork and they’re well loved and used.
Visiting a local charity shop I spotted a cone of wool for only 50p, no matter that it was strong rough rug wool, I had to buy it. It languished in my stash for some months then finally made it onto my crochet hook. After a brief flurry of activity it languished on my crochet hook too. It has finally made it from w.i.p. to finished project – phew, it took way longer than it should have but I’m pretty pleased with the result even if the wool felt somewhat rough against my skin at times.
The pattern was made up as I went along, I knew I wanted texture (when don’t I ?) and decided on a post stitch to create it. It was simple to follow and no counting so very easy to do.
It’s envelope style which doesn’t require buttons to keep it fastened but I love the contrast between hard shiny buttons and soft (well, softish) matt wool so I added buttonholes and buttons.
The buttons have been languishing in my stash for years and years so it was a perfect match with the languishing wool and a relief to finally find a use for them. I also went mad and added my first ever fringe to a cushion. Why haven’t I done this before? I’m partial to a fringe, I enjoyed doing it and I think it looks great and adds to the texture. There may be more fringes in my future 🙂 This cushion is now off to work to adorn one of the chairs we have available for customers to rest their weary bones, all those decisions on which luscious fibre to buy can really wear you out.
Where does the time go? I made these cushions during the winter but have only just managed to find the time to finish them off! It’s not that they needed a lot of work but if truth be told I somehow ran out of steam and put them to one side. In a fit of finishing off jobs last week I made them up and cleared the pile of clothing needing repairs, left me feeling rather virtuous.
Made with lovely squishy yet hard wearing Jacob Yarn from The Knitting Gift Shop. It’s simple moss stitch finished with three wooden buttons. Worried that it was a little too plain I hooked up five roses using this pattern from Attic 24. Looks rather good I think.
There was also some lovely mid grey Jacab yarn that needed using up and as I was on a roll with cushion making and had recently mastered a cable or two I set to and made another.
A relatively simple stag horn cable pattern free from New Stitch a Day.
Once I got into the rhythm of this it was a joy to knit.
Don’t you just love envelope cushion covers? Such little sewing to do. Closures for this are 6 mis-matched buttons from my stash.
Of the two I think I prefer the grey, probably because I think I’m hooked on cables, I just love the texture and the Jacob Aran wool from The Knitting Gift Shop is just perfect for it. You can see my previous cable attempt here
Only once before have I attempted a cable and that was on a pair of mittens for my daughter. I found it quite difficult but persevered and was actually quite glad when it was over. Why then did I decide to create a cable cushion? perhaps it was the luscious Jacob aran yarn from The Knitting Gift Shop.
I’m quite proud of it. I must have done the first couple of dozen rows about seventeen times before I really got the hang of the pattern and started to make progress.
The cable part of the pattern is a saxon braid which I found here, the remainder I made up myself with a lot of angst involved.
The Jacob aran is a beautiful wool to work with. One of the most helpful tips I found on the internet was to use a lifeline which is just a spare piece of yarn in a contrasting colour which you can thread though every few rows whilst the stitches are still on the needle. If you then make a mistake you can then unravel the last few rows without it going further. Although this was suggested for use with lace knitting it was extremely useful with cables. Being a beginner with cables I couldn’t always determine which way the stitches were twisting, the lifline meant I could pick them up again all facing in the correct direction.
A favourite part of finishing a project is choosing buttons from Duttons for Buttons and I think these suit this project particularly well. I have more of the black Jacob which I’m knitting into a second cushion, not a cable this time but still textured.
A couple of weeks ago I gave you a glimpse of my latest w.i.p. and can now fully reveal it. As it was a present I had to wait to reveal it until it had reached it’s destination.
The pale colour is sand, a pale grey and three blues. In July we were on holiday in France when we stayed at the Blue House B&B in Ducey. If you’re ever in the area you have to go. Staying with Nick and Di is like staying with friends, they make you feel so welcome and put their home and garden at your disposal. Plus they have 2 rather cute dogs. Here’s Franc.
In the morning when he was full of beans both ears would be upright. Throughout the day he could be seen with just one ear upright unless he’d just had a nap. Both ears would be down by bed time. He’s only 3 months old in the photo and is growing at the rate of a 1lb per week. So cute. Millie, their older dog, is still wondering when he’ll be leaving although she puts up with his antics very well.
Being the Blue House B&B I obviously needed to make the cushion in blue and as they have pets I made it from acrylic wool so it can be washed in the machine.
The buttons are recycled from my stash. If clothes are worn out I always recover any reusable parts like buttons and zips.
Sunshine bleaches the colour out a bit in photos, they were a little more vibrant than this.
I was very pleased with how it turned out and have it on good authority that it’s been road tested by Franc.
Happy New Year everyone, I hope you’ve had a good break and feel refreshed. I thought I’d start the year by showing you these two cushions. They were finished a couple of months ago but I just hadn’t found the time to photograph them.
It’s actually very strong and chunky, crocheted in a rug wool as this is for my friend and her children will have it on the floor to play on in seconds.
The wooden buttons were made by a local man, they go so well with the natural coloured wool.
This is crocheted using 2 colours of Shetland yarn. Each band of colour represents the change in just one of the two yarns each time which is why these quite bold colours go together so well. Choosing the buttons for my projects is always one of my greatest pleasures.
A close up to finish.
We may have been a small group but I couldn’t be more pleased with the results of the workshop. There’s just something about stitching into your felt that is so relaxing – go on, try it.
Fortunately I had pre-felts in the desired colours so we could get straight down to the business of yarn choice. It is possible to do these techniques in such a way that the stitching is invisble but both ladies chose to make the yarn part of the overall patterning.
The addition of orange to the blue and purple stripes makes this cushion sing. It’s for Judith’s son so applique and other embellishments were eschewed.
It was a very good choice of yarn which was mainly grey with small flecks of other colours. It’s amazing how different the yarn seemed when felted and, though you can’t see it on this photo, how some of the coloured flecks became very visible. Judith’s stitching is very neat but she surprised me by going for an irregular edge which I believe suits it very well.
Sue had collected fallen leaves during her dog walking forays and you can definitely see the inspiration they provided.
Again, the choice of yarns was very good. The background and some of the applique was stitched with a space dyed mohair yarn. Having visible stitching has really added to the effect.
This is a fabulous autumn image but I also wanted to show you the stitching on this leaf which was created with a roving type yarn. It’s felted down very well but has styayed raised so not only has the colour added to the pattern, the yarn has added to the texture. It pays to experiment.
Today’s ta-dah is the crazy patchwork done in naturals. I’ve used; white Cheviot, Manx Loaghtan, Black Welsh Mountain and grey Jacob (all available from Adelaide Walker). For someone who likes colour I’ve surprised myself with how much I love this cushion cover. Yes, it’s love, love, love.
Random shapes and sizes of pre-felt again stitched with a very plain stitch in a soft grey wool yarn. At one end of each stitch I’ve added a french knot which has really brought the stitching to life. It’s added greatly to the decoration and is a bit like adding a wool bead, it gives texture. I’ve also cut small discs of pre-felt and appliqued them to the patches.
The photo above shows it ready for final felting. I left the edges irregular as I thought I might cut it down later but again, I’ve left it irregular as it really seems to suit crazy patchwork.
Here it is after felting. On this occasion I’ve added stitching using embroidery thread in caramel, dark brown and chestnut. None of them are difficult stitches, you don’t need to be an accomplished embroiderer to achieve some pleasing results. The edge is blanket stitched in a brown wool yarn. It didn’t look finished untilIi added the blanket stitch. With so much going on elsewhere the edges looked too plain.
Still no buttons, beads or fringing added but there’s no reason not to, except for the time it takes. I’d love to make more of these but not sure when I’ll find the time at the moment. There’s something about adding stitch to my felt work that seems to slow the process down a little and yet the pleasure it gives is immense.
I promised to show another cushion but what I’m actually showing is one side of a cushion. The other side is in natural colours and I should have photos for you tomorrow. Meanwhile …. I began by randomly cutting up and stitching together various pieces of Merino pre-felt (part made felt) in crazy patchwork style.
It’s definitely a style where the more you put on the better it gets. I’ve not only chosen to show my stitching but also to use contrasting colours of wool yarn to stitch with to add to the general craziness.
The photo above shows it stitched and ready for final felting. I’ve cut out motifs and circles from past projects and appliqued them to the cushion. You don’t want to pull the stitching so tight you make the felt form ridges but it needs to be tight enough to stop the pieces separating during felting. Some pre-felts have patterns, carded wool or plain colours and at least one has Ramie fibre added.
I made it larger than needed so I could cut a neat edge if I wanted to but in the end, I decided that the cushion should have an irregular edge and have blanket stitched around in a contrasting pink yarn. I’ve not added any other embellishments but you could easily add buttons, sequins, stitching and items like fringing at this stage.
It’s quite fun, durable and a great way to use up those scraps and to practice your stitching.
I’ve been meaning to show you this for a while, temporarily lost some of the photos, found them, forgot to load them up, found them again and got on with it! Sometimes projects don’t work out and I put them in the pre-felt bag or if my fibres are starting to look a little sad, I make it into pre-felts, it stores a lot longer that way 🙂
The delight/problem is that you have a stash of pre-felts and so I wanted to show you ways of using them up. I began by chopping up some pieces of yellow pre-felt and then happliy found a space dyed yarn with yellows, blues and purples that I thought would be great for the stitching together.
I’ve used the pre-felt poppy flower as my applique centre which I’ve attached with blanket stitch and then attached the patchwork pieces by means of simple straight stitches. Using a contrasting yarn makes the stitching part of the design and I also like the extra colour it’s provided.
As you can see, for the reverse I’ve used 3 colours of prefelt for the background and then simple shapes for the applique design. Although I’ve still allowed the stitches to show and become part of the deign, the yarn used is tonal and has blended in far more. It’s very grey here so please excuse the colours on these next photos but you can at least see the finished effect.
It’s a lovely piece of felt and the colours do blend together very well. So well in fact that I had to rescue it from my Daughter’s bedroom to show it to you. When felted down there are no seams just a nice smooth fabric.
For me, this side is the most successful, due mainly I think to the contrast in colours provided by the yellow and the purple. It’s a fun process and there are still one or two places left on the workshop on Tuesday 9th October if you fancy joining in. Next time I’ll show you a sample worked n naturals.