Monday, 23 May 2016

The Peony and the Hanging Pod


My latest piecing is finally finished and this one actually came together really speedily (about three weeks), which isn't something that I find myself writing often! I finished it sitting in the new garden hanging pod that my husband bought for me and which I adore. I've actually been longing for one of these pods for the last three summers and our conversation around it always went something like this:

Me: Don't you think those those hanging pods are completely dreamy?
The Delectable Mr Teacakes: Yes
Me: Do you think we should get one then?
TDMT: No. 
Me: Why not?
TDMT: Because only one person can sit in it at a time; we'd fight over it.
This conversation was repeated again this year, but with the addition of the following lines: 
Me: Why don't we get a hanging pod and all say that it's just my pod and then no one will argue over it?
TDMT: Oh, go on then!

I was quite shocked that TDMT would reward this kind of selfish reasoning, but you'll find below that it's all worked out for the best!


The effect of the hanging pod theoretically belonging to one person has meant that sitting time has actually been distributed evenly amongst bottoms, because each person has felt delighted to be able to borrow the pod and I've enjoyed thinking 'Yay! People look so happy in my pod! It was a WISE purchase'. I think it may actually be the Pod of Happiness. I don't look happy in the photo below, but that's because I'm concentrating - I was totally happy inside. The pod is perfectly positioned to watch my son doing footballing-related tricks on the lawn. So it goes something like this: stitch, stitch, stitch, observe and admire bit of footballing skill, stitch, stitch, stitch, observe and admire bit of footballing skill, and in this way, it is the perfect place to practise any opticians suggestion when doing close-work of frequently looking up to switch between short and long-range vision. It is nothing short of heaven and the best purchase we've made for several years...possibly several decades (which means that not since I saved up for many months to help my sister to buy a Cloud Mobile for her Carebears has there been such a fine purchase)!


So here's one final close-up shot of my flower, which I think would probably be a peony if it were anything.


Totally off-topic (topic being hanging pods with a side of English paper piecing), I came across this little video today made by the Good Housekeeping Institute, which I have now watched about 45 times. My mind is blown.

But enough about impressive t-shirt folding feats, back to garden furniture. Sadly, the addition of the hanging pod has not solved our outdoor dining problems.  Our garden furniture now comprises of: 1 dreamy hanging pod; 1 wooden bench that lives in easy chatting distance of the hanging pod; one wooden table with two attractive, but broken (and therefore largely unusable) wooden chairs on the patio away from the pod and bench. If we want to eat outside, rather than risk death by sitting on one of the attractive-but-broken wooden chairs, we tend to sit on the lawn together (also necessary because two chairs isn't enough for four people to eat a) sociably b) without perching, which isn't conducive to relaxed dining). This isn't ideal, because it means that we have to lock Nell inside while we eat. Shockingly, while Nell doesn't steal food inside, outside with people sitting at her level she appears to believe that the Laws of the Wild apply and that snaffling things off people's plates and then inhaling them before they can be prised from her jaws is fair play (The prising would only serve the purpose of Nell not being rewarded for stealing; not because I'd want the food back for myself!). This is why even though the pod is loved by all, ultimately, it was a highly indulgent purchase. To justify it, I will now attempt to spend the entire summer in it, even when it's raining. This is actually feasible, as the half-egg shape means that the hood protects against laptop screen-glare in bright sunlight and light drizzle in less clement weather. 

Florence x

Friday, 13 May 2016

Thoughts Around Yellow...

English paper piecing with Oakshott Scandinavia

The end of April and beginning of May have proved to be Three Weeks of Illness around here. Just as I'd got better from the last bug, I was suddenly hit with a dose of flu, which was surprisingly more debilitating than I'd first thought when it initially arrived in our house in the form of man-flu, and it came complete with tonsillitis for me (which felt particularly sneaky due to it not declaring itself with the first sufferer due to his lack of tonsils). But it's amazing what can be achieved when you are in confinement and forgo a social life - this flower feels like it's sewn itself. 

English paper piecing with Oakshott Scandinavia

I noticed something odd happening while I was constructing this flower though and I'm wondering if anyone else finds themselves doing the same. When yellow is the predominant colour (I'm looking at you, Perpetual Spring) then I'm a huge fan and celebrant of the colour, however, the moment it's mixed in with other colours, I find myself wanting to root the yellow out. And so despite this gorgeous bundle of Oakshotts including a yellow and it looking completely delightful in bundle-form, every time I've cut some petal pieces from it, I've ended up discarding them. 

Oakshott Scandinavia


You can see a mock-up of some yellow inclusion in my magic mirrors above. I found the same thing when piecing my passacaglia cogs - despite the fact that it's seemingly just a riot of colours, I just couldn't seem to make the yellow work for me in there.

English paper piecing with Oakshott Scandinavia

So my flower is continuing to bloom ever-larger as a yellow-free zone, which feels a shame as I loved how the colours looked in bundle form. But I'm interested to know whether anyone else stumbles around the colour yellow and whether there's any art/science theory behind this or whether it's just my own loopiness. I know that yellow is perceived as the brightest colour by the human eye, in part because it reflects more light, so perhaps it's just a personal eye-thing of the yellow jarring because it seems so much brighter than the other colours? Or maybe it's because unless I'm actively craving a rainbow (as for this pencil case or this quilt, neither of which would have worked without the yellow), then yellow adds too much jauntiness.

I'd love to hear how you feel about yellow - or whether you have a colour that you feel like this about that isn't yellow. I did actually struggle with the lilacy colour at the centre of this flower too, but included it on the basis that I was in danger of eroding the glorious Oakshott Scandinavia bundle of its intrinsic loveliness....there's always a danger that I could end up working entirely in shades of white. 

Wishing you a lovely weekend, 

Ps. And no, it's not an illusion, nor is the flower absolutely tiny: the rope bowl holding this flower is absolutely vast! Rope bowl tutorial, here
Pps. I'm planning on writing the pattern for this flower once it's finished, if you're interested. 

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Other People's Sewing

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I thought I'd share a few of the beautiful things that people have been making recently using my patterns. I follow RubyLovesRed on Instagram and when I opened the app up yesterday this was right at the top of my feed and the first thing that I saw. I actually emitted a little squeal of delight: it's so beautiful. When I wrote the Perpetual Spring English Paper Piecing pattern, I made it up in mostly solids and it's been a wonderful surprise seeing what it looks like made up in patterned fabrics. This feels so elegant and airy (I also love the grey fabric with a smattering of white flecks - I must find out what it is as it's like a more sophisticated polkadot).

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a_L (I've suddenly realised I don't know her real name and can't find it anywhere on her website or IG, so apologies for calling a_L 'her' and 'she') maker of these next Perpetual Spring rosettes runs the lovely screen printing company, Peach + Pluto. I love her work, so I was excited to see how a_L's version would come together. She used Cotton + Steel fabrics and fussycat macrame plant holders and tiny japanese bowls. Dreamy. If the fiddly inbetweeny bits that join the rosettes have been daunting anyone, a_L got around this by appliquéing her rosettes to a background fabric, which looks fantastic. 

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There are a few other Perpetual Springs in progress that I'll hopefully share with you another time. Here's Sharon's version of the Ring-a-Roses EPP pattern (I've just realised, it's in nearly identical colours to a_L's Perpetual Spring!). Sharon made this for a mini-quilt swap (so generous!), and is now working on a version to keep for herself. I absolutely love it - there are so many different prints in this, but somehow it still looks completely cohesive and balanced. Beautiful. 

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Victoria (if you don't already follow her then do go and take a look at her gorgeous IG feed - she's a prolific quilter and her work is beautiful) made these adorable sleeping bags using the Three Bears Sleeping Bag pattern. All of Victoria's sleeping bags were sold to raise funds for Glasgow Children's Hospital back in April and you can find out more about that here, if you'd like to. 

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Isabel made this pair of sleeping bags for two rabbits, with ticking pillows and Liberty print covers. They feel deliciously old-fashioned. If you like Liberty prints, Isabel's feed is packed with them! 

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Unlike later patterns (#PerpetualSpringEPP, #RingARosesEPP) I don't think I've included a specific hashtag for sharing in this pattern, so it's a bit more random as to whether I or other people making the same pattern ever stumble upon seeing them, but the sleeping bags with their creatures inside would look particularly sweet all lined up, so belatedly, please do hashtag any makes with #ThreeBearsSleepingBagPattern if you fancy creating a little pool of sleeping bags. If you'd like more sleeping bag inspiration, here's a few other posts containing gorgeous sleeping bags that people have made! And here's some other Ring-a-Roses makes too, if you'd like to see. 

Can I be terribly seasonally inappropriate and share this gorgeous one from under Amy's Christmas tree? As someone who currently has flu in May, I feel I can. My daughter has an app that counts down to Christmas...there are less hours left in this year than you might have imagined. I love this Aneela Hooey Little Red Riding Hood print. 

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A few months ago, Martha emailed me to share a few photos of her rope bowls. I was quite literally awe-struck. The idea that my tutorial was a starting point for a rope-bowl-maker-extroidinaire was a bizarre thought - Martha clearly quickly surpassed my own rope-bowl-making abilities! I feel particularly admiring of the one in the centre that's slightly urn-like. I'd said in my tutorial that rope-bowl making feels like the sewist's version of throwing pottery - these completely exemplify this for me - they look like works of art. Do go and have a look at Martha's blog to see more of her work.


Wishing you a lovely end to the week, 
Florence x
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