Stitch Gathering 2015 Giveaway

I had the wonderful pleasure of spending last Sunday at Stitch Gathering 2015.  It was another special day filled with lovely people who love to sew.  I taught all day this year – mouse comforters in the morning and workshops to teach orange peel applique and freeform/improvised piecing techniques in the afternoon.  It gives me such a buzz to see everyone concentrating and working away to make their various projects………and I love that they all put their own unique stamp on their work.  One pattern turns into 20 completely different interpretations.  Once again I pretty much failed to capture many  pictures of the day but I did manage to get photos of 15 of the 20 mouse comforters – the other mice were just as lovely but a little more elusive!

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Photo taken by Jen from her Love Patchwork and Quilting Magazine instagram feed

mouse comforter collage 2015-09-27 12.08.10-1I wished I could have joined in with the other classes – I really would have liked to take part in them all!  Jo is a master at putting together a great day – and she also has a persuasive way with sponsors so we, once again, had a great goody bag to take home!  Have a look here and here for the sponsor list and do check them out, their products are fantastic.

I’m going to hold a giveaway for the majority of the contents of the goody bag……for your chance to win the goodys shown in the photo below just comment on this post.  If you’d like a second entry just share my instagram photo using the hashtag #fpstitchgathering2015 – I’ll post it shortly and you’ll fing it on my IG account

Entries will close in 2 weeks, Thursday 15 October. Good luck!

stitch gathering 2015 giveaway

Sewing and other fun

floor mat  mini and maxi floor matreminisce hatI suddenly realised that I have been having such a good time posting photos on instagram that I haven’t been sharing some of my makes and general goings-on here.  I thought I’d do a wee catch up.  Hope you enjoy!

Crafting-wise I very much indulged myself with these floor mats.   The pattern was in Love Patchwork and Quilting Issue 24.  I thought it would be perfect for our kitchen floor.  We love the wooden floor but it isn’t great for sitting and playing endless games of ‘Scaredy Cat’, making jigsaws and reading stories with Katie.  I though the mat would be a good chance to have fun with pretty fabric while being justifiable as something properly useful – a bit of a win I think!

All the fabric is from M is For Make, the pattern is very straightforward and I love the result.  On it’s own it is fairly wasteful as wedges of fabric are leftover after cutting the shapes for the mat.  So, I decided to sew the offcuts together too and create a smaller mat.  The fabric order is reversed since the wedges are offcuts, I think it is interesting to see how different the feel is with the reversal of fabric order.  I didn’t round off the shape of the small mat before binding, each wedge had a straight edge, and this gives a slightly wavy outline which I’m not sure I’m fully happy with.  But, in all honesty, I doubt I’ll change it now!

The yarn is beautifully soft llama, bought on sale from Meadow Yarn to make a Reminisce Hat.  Progress is very slow.


Spot the builder’s wheelbarrows in the corner of the photo…..there’s lots of chaos and destruction out of shot!

garden produce garden haul buddleia brambles and flowers albertine roseI am so much enjoying our garden.  There’s a lot of learning going on.  My beans were a complete failure and I’m not really sure why, I don’t think it is entirely to do with the very late season – so perhaps I’m not learning after all since I don’t know what the problem is!  My various lettuce have done really well, we’ve had lots of peas, fantastically shaped carrot and good crops of kale plus some cabbage coming along too.

The fruit are obviously in their first year so haven’t fruited heavily but there has been enough to enjoy a good few meals from them.  I’m looking forward to having a surplus and being able to freeze some in the next few years.

chamomile and calendulaI’m experimenting with drying calendula (to make calendula cream or salve…….or maybe both) and chamomile (for tea).  I now have a large jar of each with hopefully a bit more to come.  I need to remember to leave a few calendula flowers to go to seed to self-seed for next year.

raspberry jam

And last of all I managed to squeeze in a 20 minute dash round our local fruit farm and picked enough raspberries to keep us in jam for a good wee while.

Is there anything in particular that has been giving you special enjoyment lately?  I wonder now how I managed for the last few years without a proper garden.  I knew I wanted to garden more than I could but luckily wasn’t aware quite how much I was missing an important happy-making factor.  The space we have around us up here, both in our garden and surrounding us really provides me with something which I think must be fundamentally important to me.  Looking back, all the places I have lived where I have been most content are those with countryside around and a rural view from the house.  Not at all like one of my Grannie’s who used to lock herself into my childhood home if there were no other adults around – my brothers and I sometimes had to bang hard on the door to get in after playing out in the garden and woods!  I guess growing up above her father’s saddler’s shop in Boston, Lincolnshire had a strong influence on where she felt most comfortable – just as growing up rurally has influenced me.


I also want to offer up an apology for not commenting on blogs lately.  I have read some lovely posts but for some reason I’m not managing to comment.  It may be the move over to Windows 10…….in which case I’m not sure what the solution is.  I’m going to try using my Tablet but it is pretty ancient and clunky so won’t be the best solution.  Any ideas how I can solve the problem?!





Plantain t-shirt with woven neckline tutorial

girl charlee jersey tophandmade jersey topplantain tshirt jersey and liberty liberty elbow patches liberty collar jersey knit plantain t-shirt

Here’s my latest top, the Plantain T-shirt by Deer and Doe.  I thought you might like a break from holiday photos (and I really couldn’t wait to share the top as I’m very pleased with it)!  I have been on a bit of a hunt for a knit top in a shape that really works for me.  I tried the Brigitte Top by Tessuti recently and, while I’m fairly happy with the results (and will share it also as I learnt a big lesson while sewing the top), it wasn’t really what I have been looking for……I guess what I want is a long-sleeve fairly close fitting top which will work under cardigans, under some of my me-made woven fabric tops and on it’s own too.

I think this may be the one.  What do you think?  I wonder if it is a little tight across the shoulders?  Apart from that one query I really do love it – helped, most definitely, by the lovely striped jersey and the Liberty neckline and elbow patches!

I had a good hunt around before deciding to try the Plantain tshirt (which is, incidentally, a free pattern) and the one aspect I wasn’t sure about was the neckline.  The pattern neckline looked too low for me, but otherwsie the shape looked good, so I thought I’d have a go at adjusting the pattern.

plantain tshirt neck adjustment

deer and doe plantain cutting out

I thought you might like to know how I did it – but although it worked for me I can’t promise it is a fool-proof method! Once I had the Plantain pattern taped together (it is a digital download) I compared it with my traced pattern-piece for the Scout Tee…..the Plantain is much lower.  To adjust it I aligned the shoulders of the two pattern pieces and copied the Scout neckline onto the Plantain.  My photo shows the new neckline in pencil, I have moved the Scout pattern down so that you can see the new neckline with the Plantain’s printed line showing faintly underneath – quite an adjustment isn’t it?

Having seen this wonderful combination of Liberty neckline with striped jersey I couldn’t resist trying for myself.  I was wary about whether I could get it to work – the woven Liberty obviously doesn’t have the stretch that the recommended jersey neckline would have.  I decided to start with cutting the Liberty, on the bias, at the length in the Plantain pattern – which would have been too long if I was using jersey because my adjustment had made the neckline much shorter.

plantain checking in mirror woven fabric neckline tutorial

To play safe I sewed the neckline on first with quite a long straight stitch and then tried it on (hopefully sinewy neck and large hand aren’t too scary!)… looked pretty okay, I thought, and with the side seams pinned outside-in the overall shape seemed good too.  Next step was to sew the Liberty on properly with my machine’s overlocker stitch, closely following the straight-stitch line.  Then I cropped the excess Liberty inside the neckline and finally finished with a straight stitch to hold the seam in place.

I used the same Liberty for the elbow patches.  And the result is a top I’m very happy with and which I’m sure will get lots of use.

Let me know if you have any questions or if any of the above needs clarifying. How are things with you?  We have had a lovely spell of relatively warm and dry weather – I got three loads of washing dried on the line today.  A small thing really but it makes me very happy!


Pattern:: Plantain T-shirt, modified with a) neckline from Scout Tee, b) woven fabric Liberty bias binding neckline and c) longer sleeves (around 3cm)

Fabric:: Knit jersey from Girl Charlee -this is a light to mid weight fabric with a really nice drape

Size:: 40, a little bigger than I would normally make but my printer wouldn’t cooperate and was printing off-scale slightly on the small side…….the resulting pattern pieces are pretty spot-on I think except for the shoulder query

Sewing::  I used my walking foot (I think I would have found the fabric tricky otherwise as it is very drapey) and chose the interlock stitch on my sewing machine.  I didn’t hem the bottom or sleeves….I like the unfinished look this gives