Christmas stocking after first session
I know this probably feels all wrong to most of you but here in wintry Melbourne (I actually had to scrape ice of the windscreen the other morning)! It feels like just the right time of year for me to be making a Christmas project and this one is so much fun. It is a Christmas stocking called My Favorite Things and it is by Kerry Gillespie. You can order it here
if you would like one too.
I got together with my Mad Cow buddies on Saturday in one of the girls’ houses and she had set it up so beautifully with two tables for us to work on and a tea and coffee-making table (I told her it looked just like a conference centre)!
Initially when we got the pattern, we were all a little daunted (well I was anyway) as it required cutting out the fabric, tracing the design on and then painting before any stitching could take place. With all of us together though, it no longer seemed as daunting and with a great flurry of activity it wasn’t long before we were painting on our fabric stockings – it was amazing how quiet we all were (obviously all too busy concentrating to talk).
Lunchtime came and we were treated to the amazing cooking abilities of our host’s hubbie with homemade gyoza (Japanese dumplings) Chinese style duck pancakes and mini chicken and leek pies – of course we all ate too much as it was far too hard to resist and it would have been rude not to!
By 4pm when it was time to pack away our paints we were all amazed at how much we had managed to accomplish and were keen to make a date for a follow-up session. So I will keep you updated on how our stockings progress and hopefully it will be done before Santa comes hurtling down our chimneys!
I include this last photo because it was the bit that went most wrong! I am hoping to somehow rescue it as we go along. This is what comes of being impatient and trying to add paint to sections that haven’t dried properly! What do they say about learning from mistakes?!
These blocks I’m showing you are actually from our 2010 friendship group quilt. We chose the theme of “Garden” at the beginning of the year so that it would be nice and easy for people to come up with ideas and then we each had to come up with a design for a block which we would present when it was our turn for the monthly get together. The design could be either applique or stitchery as long as it had some connection to the garden theme.
Try to ignore the loose threads hanging (some of the blocks have been hanging about for a while)!
Some of the group had a lot going on in their lives so ended up not making all the blocks; they will probably use whatever they’ve got to make cushions out of. As you can see, this is not a high pressure group (thank goodness)!
There were 10 of us in the group at the time and here are my 10 finished blocks:
The next one was probably my favourite block as I liked the combination of stitches and buttons:
The last block was my contribution although not my own design as I had it in an old magazine and thought it would fit perfectly with the theme:
I hope you like them and I am now planning how I am going to put them all together in one quilt top. I have been playing around with a large centre block and will hopefully be able to show you that soon.
I love to hear how other friendship groups work and if you decide on a yearly theme or just work on individual projects. Let me know as we are always looking for ideas and I will show you some of the other things we have made in future posts.
Another place I should have known about – it was on my doorstep for so many years but has taken me until now as a returning tourist to finally see. The Red House was commissioned and lived in by William Morris in the 1860’s. He was founder of the Arts & Crafts movement in Victorian England and well known for the wonderful designs that we are so familiar with today (particularly fabric and wallpaper). He and his fellow artists were very fond of all things medieval and helped to bring about a gothic revival in architecture. As you can see by the photo of his house it has a very gothic look to it:
The Red House – half an hour from the centre of London
Part of the garden
Morris married the young artists model Jane Burden who caused more than a bit of a stir in Victorian England by not wearing corsets! Jane was from very humble beginnings, her father being a groomsman but she was a great beauty and a favourite muse for the group of artists Morris associated with and Jane was seen as the perfect example of pre-Raphaelite beauty. Once she was married to Morris she re-invented herself, learning french and italian and learning to play the piano. Jane was also responsible for the beautiful embroidery hanging in the dining room:
One of the embroideries from the dining room
Detail of embroidery
Window seat in the bedroom
Front door designed by William Morris
Front door detail showing painted glass
I had another trip to the op shop this week (couldn’t resist) and my trusty spotter Sharyn picked out some more great woollen bargains. Two of these bargains have now become part of my wardrobe as they refused to shrink sufficiently. They are mens sweaters but that’s ok – they are big and warm and snuggly and obviously not a high enough wool content as they didn’t shrink a great deal even after a really hot wash and being put in the dryer for half an hour.
The other find of the day were the table-cloth and napkins below which I just had to have. The napkins (at a mere 50c each) – I will use the next time we have people over for dinner – nicer than paper ones I think and quite pretty with their little embroidered flowers in each corner.
I really like the table-cloth with its embroidered flowers and can’t quite decide whether to keep it as is or make something out of it… and herein lies a dilemma. Whilst browsing through various images of recycled table cloths for ideas, I came across this website that raised passionate arguments for and against the recycling of others’ handiwork. I had no idea what a contentious issue I was walking into!! and you can see it here:
My own personal view is: it has to be better to rescue an item that has been discarded and re-imagine it so that it can once again be admired by others. The alternative being to bury it in the back of a cupboard somewhere, never to see the light of day again. I could understand a bit of moral outrage if it were the Bayeux tapestry being cut into little squares but honestly I think most creators of handmade items would be flattered at the thought that their embroidered tablecloth was being treasured in a new guise 30 or 40 years later… I know I would. Anyway, I will let you make your own mind up and would love to hear your opinion and any suggestions for the tablecloth.
6 embroidered napkins….50c each!
Detail from the table-cloth