How to: English Paper Pieced Patchwork

Patchwork has a long tradition of using precisely cut, paper pieces to ensure that the complex geometric designs fit neatly into place, ensuring fewer mistakes and more economical use of fabric – which was and can be expensive.

Patchwork 7

Finished, hand stitched Pinwheel design.

Follow these simple instructions below to help you with your own English Paper Pieced patchwork.

Patchwork 1

Stage 1

  • Pin the backing paper to the ‘wrong’ side of every fabric patch.
  • Fold over the seam allowance and pin it so that the paper and fabric are the same size.
Patchwork 2

Stage 2

  • Tack around this edge – contrast cotton works well as it can be easily removed later.

TIP: When sewing the corners, use your nails to ensure you have folded the fabric neatly to the points, then create ‘wings’ in the excess fabric, which will remain on the underside of your patchwork piece – giving you a neat sewing edge on top.

Patchwork 3

Stage 3

  • Place two patches, ‘right’ sides together, line them up carefully so that each corner you are going to sew from matches.
  • Pin along this line.
Patchwork 4

Stage 4

  • Then sew a very small whipstitch/over stitch, sewing this edge together – try not to sew through the backing paper.
Patchwork 5

Stage 5

  • Continue placing new pieces together.
Patchwork 6

Right side of English paper Piecing.

  • Looking at the ‘right’ side of the fabric, you should be able to still see the hand sewn whipstitch you used to sew the two pieces together. This gives it it’s authenticity and adds beauty to the piece.
  • The tacking stitches you can see around the edge (and the paper inside) will eventually be take out, once all of the patchwork/quilt has been pieced together, before the backing fabric is placed on.
Patchwork 7

Finished, hand stitched Pinwheel design.

 

Advertisements

Get involved! The Shipley Centenary Quilt Project

The Shipley Art Gallery in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear will this year be celebrating its 100th Anniversary, after being founded following a bequest by local solicitor Joseph Shipley (1822-1909). The gallery holds a beautiful collection of European Old Masters, to Victorian and more modern paintings. It now is also extremely well know and highly considered for its collection of decorative art including ceramics, textiles, wood, metal and glass by local and national makers. The Shipley Art Gallery has an amazing collection of whole cloth and patchwork quilts, which the North East has a long and strong tradition in making, either for private use or as a way of making money.

As part of the celebrations, I have been asked to work with and encourage creative people to work together to make a new patchwork quilt. As traditionally, patchwork would have been made using English Paper Piecing, this quilt will also follow in the tradition. To make this quilt, we need 100, 20 cm square (plus seam allowance) hand pieced panels.

 

Patchwork 7

One finished 20 cm square patchwork panel for the Shipley Centenary Quilt.

 

If you would like to get involved, the individual patchwork panels need to be returned by the end of August, either to myself or the Shipley Art Gallery. The finished patchwork quilt will be on display for the centenary celebrations towards the end of November. So, this allows a couple of months to piece all of the panels together and to quilt it.

How to: Knit Socks Part 1

First finished sock.

First finished sock.

To start with, knitting socks can be tricky….but well worth the effort! AND, once you’ve grasped it, you’ll never stop! Socks make great presents for anyone and everyone, for almost every occasion. Plus, the great thing is, what you need packs away really small, so if you have a nice small bag, you can keep the contents of your sock knitting inside and take them anywhere – so hours previously wasted sitting on the bus, long car journeys, by the side of swimming pools or gym lessons etc can be put to good use!

Over the next few blog posts, I will try and talk you through, step by step, ‘how to’ knit socks, using some of the funny little tips I’ve picked up from other sock knitters to help you on your way.

For a traditional pair of socks, you will need 4 double pointed needles size 2  3/4 [12], a ball of 4 ply sock wool and a tape measure. I have used sock wool which is variegated and gives the impression of fair isle.

Part 1: cast on and rib ankle cuff.

For an adult sock, cast on 64 stitches using ‘Cable Cast-on’. (See also photos below)

Cable cast-on: take needle between the two stiches to 'cast-on' the new stitch.

Cable cast-on: take needle between the two stiches to ‘cast-on’ the new stitch.

Row of 'cast-on' stitches, ready for next step.

Row of ‘cast-on’ stitches, ready for next step.

Next, separate the 64 stitches onto 3 needles – I separate them 20, 24, and 20.

Cast-on stitches separated onto 3 needles.

Cast-on stitches separated onto 3 needles.

Before you start to knit on these stiches, one tip I was given, was to take the first stitch and place it on the last needle AND then take the last stitch and place it on the first needle (these stitches over lap each other and pull the circle together).

ALSO, ensure that you cast-on edge is not twisted and runs evenly around the base of your stitches.

Knitting in the round on 4 needles.

Knitting in the round on 4 needles, with first and last stitch ‘crossed over’.

Now you begin to work the 64 stitches on 3 needles ‘in the round’. Using the fourth needle, you knit across the first needle with 20 stitches on it. As you come to the end, this needle you have just worked is now free of stitches and will be used to knit across the next row of 24 stitches. As you come to the end, this needle you have just worked is now free of stitches and will be used to knit across the next row of 20 stitches. You have now finished knitting your first ’round/row’ of stitches.

Continue working in rounds using ‘Rib Stitch’ (knit 1, purl 1) until the cuff of your sock measures 6cm.

TIP: When knitting the last stitches on one needles and the first stitches on the next needle, keep your tension tight, to ensure you don’t get what looks like a ‘ladder’ appearing between these stitches. Elsewhere, knit with a slightly loose tension as one danger I have found is that if the cuff is too tight, some people may find it harder to pull the sock over their feet.

Completed sock rib.

Completed sock rib.

Once you have completed the ribbed cuff of your sock. Change to knitting rounds in ‘Stocking Stitch’ and complete the first section of the sock using the length guides below.

NEXT TIME: Turning the heel.

Mini OC’s Pebble Painting

Although it’s Summer, recently it’s been rather stormy, cold and wet. So recently we decided to do some indoor crafting after a very cold and blustery trip to the beach. Having successfully decorating my ukulele with nail varnish, I thought that a good, hard wearing way to decorate pebbles would also be to use the left over nail varnish. Inspired by images we had seen on Pinterest, the girls made ‘Thank You’ pebbles for their teachers, little fairy houses and many other designs, of which these are a few.

Painting the clean, sand free pebble.

Painting the clean, sand free pebble.

Inspired by Fairy Houses on Pinterest.

Inspired by Fairy Houses on Pinterest.

Some of the pebbles are destined for our allotment, so the girls thought it would be lovely to paint little Fairy Houses which could either sit in or by the vegetable beds – they already have a collection of Gnomes which hide amongst the plants there!

Finished painting the pebble, just needs further decoration.

Finished painting the pebble, just needs further decoration.

Fairy House finished and ready for it's close-up!

Fairy House finished and ready for it’s close-up!

Once the painting as finished and dried, using marker pen to add further outlines and details, really enhanced the finished piece.

'Welcome' stone for the allotment.

‘Welcome’ stone for the allotment.

This is such a fun activity, cheap and easy to do. My seven year old had a great time, mass producing presents for friends and teachers.

Dog and Cat Pebbles made by my youngest OC.

Dog and Cat Pebbles made by my youngest OC.

Gorgeous Fairy House made by little OC.

Gorgeous Fairy House made by little OC.

My eldest two daughter’s made these lovely Fairy Houses – I love the detail!

Fairy House Pebbles.

Fairy House Pebbles.

Once we get some of these pebbles down the allotment, I think it would be great to make more with either the bed numbers on them, the type of paints growing or just more fairy houses…

School has now broken up for the Summer, so I am really looking forward to spending a lot of the time making with the girls, as my eldest daughter recently started Secondary School and she is very concerned that Textiles is being discouraged at G.C.S.E. So the plan is to gain as much knowledge and practice at home, so that she can have that wonderful, relaxing and productive skill for life – regardless of what she wants to be ‘when she grows up’. Rant over…

Peace Squares update.

It has been fantastic to see the response to the call out for Peace Squares to be made as part of the Artists for Peace  ‘All We Are Saying’ exhibition at the Holy Biscuit in September. I would like to share a few of the squares which have recently arrived.

All We Are Saying Peace Squares, a selection.

All We Are Saying Peace Squares, a selection.

The squares above were made by members of the North Shields Embroidery Guild and the Tuesday Crafternoon group. They are a fabulous collection, even using found items like shells to decorate the square.

Peace Square made by Margaret Graham.

Peace Square made by Margaret Graham.

Embroidered and progged Peace Square made by Kath Price.

Embroidered and progged Peace Square made by Kath Price.

If you would like to make a Peace Square and send it to us – wherever you are in the World – then please send it to:

Peace Blanket

The Holy Biscuit
1 Clarence Street
Shieldfield
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE2 1YH

The squares can be made in any textile technique – knitting, sewing, proggy matting, fabric painting etc. If the finished design size can be 20 cm square and please allow a few more cm around the square for sewing. The only thing we ask is if the square is not to be overtly religious or political, as we would like this to be a very inclusive work.

Peace in many languages.

Peace in many languages.

The beautiful piece above was sent into us anonymously and it’s a lovely piece on pretty fabric.

Two part peace square.

Two part peace square.

Give Peace a Chance embroidered square.

Give Peace a Chance embroidered square.

I hope to share more of the squares we’ve had delivered again soon.

‘Hook a Portrait’ textile workshop at the Biscuit Factory.

Louise Underwood

‘Hook a Portrait’ Textile Workshop

Saturday 4th July 2015

£40 per person

10am – 4pm, 1 hour lunch

Matriarchal Trefoil

Matriarchal Trefoil

Suitable for beginners, this workshop will teach you how to use the traditional North Eastern technique of ‘Hooky’ matting to create a portrait of your choosing (family member, self-portrait or famous personality – it’s up to you!) Tools, hessian and other materials will be provided. Hooky would have traditionally used old clean clothes from family members and you are welcome to bring fabric which you may wish to ‘hook’ into your design. Using distinctive garments which you associate with a person may add extra meaning to their portrait, although this is not essential).

Aunty Wilma

Aunty Wilma

10 places are available on this workshop, adults only. No experience necessary – come and get creative! Lunch is not provided. You are welcome to bring a packed lunch however, a discount voucher for use in The Factory Kitchen will be available for participants.

Mum

Mum

To book please email Louise Underwood – louise.underwood@blueyonder.co.uk or call 0787 949 5031. Cash payments can be taken at the gallery reception in The Biscuit Factory prior to the event.

Nan

Nan

Before the workshop, please email a suitable close up portrait photograph to Louise, which shall be prepared for the workshop as a template. Just a head and neck image will do! Participants please note: your contact details will be added to The Biscuit Factory mailing list. If you have any objections, please state at time of booking.

How to: Yarn Bomb a chair!

WARNING!! -This is a really fun one and could possibly get addictive!

Finished yarnbombed chairs.

Finished yarn bombed chairs.

You will/may need:

Knitting wool – double knitting and above in thickness, and lots of colours!

Crochet hook or knitting needles,

Wool needles,

Foam/seat pad,

Fabric for patchworking,

Webbing and webbing stretcher if there is not ‘seat’,

Tacks/small nails,

Hessian or similar fabric for underside of seat.

This is a great way to recycle an old chair you/friend may have or that you’ve found down a charity shop. Firstly, you need to clean your chair and tighten up any nut and bolts. If your seat has wicker for the ‘seat’, strip this as close to the wood as possible.

Strip wicker or any fabric/wood from the seat.

Strip wicker or any fabric/wood from the seat.

If you have a wooden seat, check there’s no nails etc sticking out, which could be dangerous. If you have a seat which was a woven wicker, which you have now stripped, then you will need to ‘web’ a seat – YouTube has many sites explaining this method.

Finished 'webbed' seat.

Finished ‘webbed’ seat.

You are now ready for the fun stuff! Using either crochet or knitting, make narrow strips according to a rough estimate of the width and length of you chair. I started with the legs. I calculated roughly by first crocheting a chain which I wrapped around the base of the leg and worked in treble crochet, making brightly coloured stripes.

Striped lengths of crochet for chair sections.

Striped lengths of crochet for chair sections.

When I had reached a ‘joint’ in the chair, I would slightly decrease the number of stitches to work around the joint, then increase again after. (When two joints meet the crocheted sections will be sewn together to cover the join.)

Once, the crocheted length was the correct size, I would cast off, then sew the section to around the leg of the chair, pulling tight to ensure the wool stitching is discreetly disguised.

Continue working this way, making lengths of crochet to wrap around the different joints of the chair.

Stitching the 'joints' together.

Stitching the ‘joints’ together.

If you have webbed the seat, stitch the lengths of crochet through the webbing. If you have a wooden seat, using small tacks, nail the crochet length around the base of the seat, ensuring your tacks will be covered over with your seat pad later. Also, ensure all tacks are safely hammered in.

Wrapping the length of crochet around the webbed seat.

Wrapping the length of crochet around the webbed seat.

Once your chair is fully yarn bombed, you will now need a foam seat pad which you can either buy pre-cut from a shop. Then, you will need to decide how to cover it. I choose to cover my seats using my daughter’s skirts and trousers they had grown out of. These were in great fabrics – ideal for upholstery – such as cord, velvets and denims. I decided to cut them and sew them into ‘crazy patchwork’. This is a traditional technique, which uses up small pieces of fabric. But, you could choose to continue with the crochet/knitting and make a cover or use a full piece of fabric to cover the cushion pad.

Chair covered in crochet yarn bombing.

Chair covered in crochet yarn bombing.

The fabric, with the pad positioned underneath, was tacked around about 1cm from the top edge of the seat. I then, made a crochet binding to cover the tacked edge, by crocheting a long length in two rows of double crochet. This was then discreetly sewn onto the patchwork and the chair.

Crazy patchwork seat cover, with crochet binding.

Crazy patchwork seat cover, with crochet binding.

You’re now almost finished! To make your chair look neat and tidy, it’s always best to cover your working, so that there’s no little wool ‘tails’ dangling from your chair. I would, therefore, recommend to now cover the underside of the seat with hessian to hide your working. This can be done with a small square of hessian, or another fabric you have at hand, and tack that to the underside of the seat.

Underside of seat, with the 'working' of your chair hidden underneath.

Underside of seat, with the ‘working’ of your chair hidden underneath.

Now, you can enjoy your most gorgeous and fabulous seat – invite your friends round and maybe make another!

My finished chairs on display at Ouseburn Open Studios this weekend.

My finished chairs on display at Ouseburn Open Studios this weekend.

Finished chair.

Finished chair.

How to: Broomstick Crochet

Broomstick Crochet is a traditional technique dating back to the Victorian period. It is a very decorative technique which can make the finest mohair’s, to the cheapest polyester and the chunkiest wools, look beautiful – whether by giving them a spider web feel or an architectural structure.

Finished Broomstick Crochet Scarf

Finished Broomstick Crochet Scarf

To make this scarf, I used some beautiful wool my husband bought me for Christmas. It is called Jitterbug, made by Colinette, 100% wool, 4 ply and 400yds in length. It’s not cheap, but the colours available are fabulous! He bought it in a lovely wool shop called Woolaballo in the pretty market town of Hexham.

To make this scarf you will need:

1 x 4mm crochet hook (larger if using chunky wool)

1 Ball of wool, sock weight/4ply

1 x 15/20 or 25mm knitting needle (the larger the needle, the bigger to loops)

Wool needle to finish off the ends.

Stage 1:

Cast on in multiples of 5 (for each loop series). I usually cast on 40 chain stitches, plus 2 for turning.

Crochet cast on

Crochet cast on

Stage 2:

Crochet 3 rows of double crochet (40 stitches on row)

Foundation of Scarf

Foundation of Scarf

Stage 3:

Using your crochet hook, slip stitch one loop from the top of each stitch from the previous row and hook it onto the large knitting needle. (Not lady like – but I do find it helps to place the knitting needle between my knees to do this!) If you started with 40 stitches, you should aim to have 40 loops. (The odd one more or less is fine as you can correct it later*).

Loops onto the knitting needle.

Loops onto the knitting needle.

Stage 4:

Next row. Pick up 5 stitches (loops) together with the crochet hook and double crochet 6 times into them (first set of stitches only). Continue picking 5 stitches together across the row, but now just crochet 5 double crochets into each set. You should now have 40 stitches on your row again.

Picking 5 stitches together with crochet hook.

Picking 5 stitches together with crochet hook.

Stage 5:

At the end of the row, you should now have a pretty ‘fanned’ effect across the top stitches.

Fanned and twisted effect caused by Broomstick Crochet.

Fanned and twisted effect caused by Broomstick Crochet.

Stage 6:

Now, double crochet 2 more rows. Then, as before, make slip stitch loops into the tops of the 40 stitches and place them onto the knitting needle.

Making new Broomstick Crochet loops onto the knitting needle.

Making new Broomstick Crochet loops onto the knitting needle.

Stage 7:

Continue this way until you have reached a length you are happy with for your scarf then cast off last stitch and fasten in all your ends.

Keep working further rows.

Keep working further rows.

The beautiful fanned, texture of Broomstick Crochet.

The beautiful fanned, texture of Broomstick Crochet.

Besides making scarves, I have also used this method to make lovely warm neck collars for the tops of coats and small, more fitted snoods which work well as a roll neck on a jumper. Once you know how to achieve the technique, there’s lots of beautiful things you can make.

Below, is a ‘figure of 8’ snood which I made for my niece. This was made using organic, aran weight, Welsh wool. As you can see, this weight makes the Broomstick Crochet less ‘spidery’ but it gives it a lovely architectural look.

Broomstick Crochet Snood

Broomstick Crochet Snood

*Occasionally, you might find that you end up with 39/41 loops. Don’t worry about this as you can amend this by picking up a batch of 4 or 6 loops to correct the number and ensure you still crochet in a multiple of 5 double crochet stitches to rectify the mistake – no-one will know.

In the orginal photo of the scarf you can see at the top of this blog post. I wrapped the scarf round twice, then placed the two ends of the scarf over each other and pinned it with a brooch. This creates a cowl/snood, very warm effect.

The brooch was made using the last length of the wool. To make it, I French knitted a length, folded it into a flower shape, which I stitched together. Then I decorated it with a piece of broken jewellery in the centre and stitched beads around the edge. This can now be used to keep my scarf together (which doesn’t have to be just an outdoor scarf) or used to decorate a jacket or bag.

French Knitted brooch.

French Knitted brooch.

Handmade Christmas presents

Happy New Year to everyone! I hope 2015 brings health, happiness and plenty of creativity to sooth the soul!

I thought I would post photos of the many gifts that we sent and received at Christmas that had been handmade with plenty of love. Some of them you may have already seen, others will be new to you. I hope you enjoy looking at them all!

Lion applique drawstring bag.

Mini OC’s Lion applique drawstring bag.

This one I just love! My eldest daughter, who’s 11, made this at school as a Christmas present for her cousin (19), who she adores. She received a special merit for it at school, which I think she rightly deserves as it shows great creativity and design.

Mini OC's Francesca Fox and Molly Pup

Mini OC’s Francesca Fox and Molly Pup

I know you’ve seen this one before! But so cute!! My middle daughter, who was 9 when she made these fab creatures, made Francesca Fox and Molly Pup for both her sisters for Christmas. Her sister’s were both delighted with their new animal friends!

Mini OC's Kitten lino print

Mini OC’s Kitten lino print

My eldest daughter has enjoyed learning to lino print. She cut, printed and framed this lovely picture and gave it to a couple of her close friends, her Grandma and her little sister – who it was originally created for. She has chosen a lovely colour for the print, which she mixed herself.

Mini OC's stocking for her TedTed

Mini OC’s stocking for her TedTed

Mmmm! When a certain someone gets an idea into her head, she really can’t be stopped. My 9 year old decided that her teddy might get presents for Christmas if her also put a stocking out! So, she went ahead and knitted this stocking with no pattern, all by herself. She knows how to increase and decrease, so all I did was recommend some wool – another Poundland purchase!! Ribbon was found in the ribbon tin and she plaited the tie top.

When she realised there may be a chance TedTed may not receive Christmas presents, as Santa doesn’t normally give them to teddies, she made him a set of hat, scarf and gloves to go in the stocking! Again, no pattern or parental involvement!

Broomstick Crochet Snood

Broomstick Crochet Snood

I plan to blog a ‘How to:’ about Broomstick Crochet over the next few days, as it’s a beautiful technique and can make any wool/yarn look fabulous. I made this broomstick crochet snood for my niece as she’d seen a similar snood which she wanted me to make for her. Which, as a good Auntie, I did. She also received the lino print of a Crested Tit, which you can see below.

Lino Print Crested Tit

Crested Tit, lino print.

I also made some of my close friends some lovely applique cushions, like these I was selling in my studio.

Inside my studio - cushions, crocheted hats and chocolates!

Inside my studio – cushions, crocheted hats and chocolates!

Besides Christmas, it was also my middle daughter’s 10th birthday and I finally finished knitting her the Triceratops I’d started last year for her birthday!! (It feels good to finish a W.I.P!!) She absolutely loves all things to do with dinosaurs and so she absolutely loves her – she’s been called triSARAHtops!

Knitted Triceratops

Knitted Triceratops

I’m sure I’ve missed a couple of other handmade gifts out but he’s my husbands very important contribution to our handmade Christmas. He made our lino print Christmas cards, which are simply delicious!

Mince Pie, lino print, Christmas Cards.

Mince Pie, lino print, Christmas Cards.

Broomstick Crochet Snood

Broomstick Crochet Snood

Broomstick Crochet Snood

My niece is doing well for Christmas presents this year, she has been watching my posts recently and has regularly spotted things that she fancies. This piece I have made specially for her after she’d seen a scarf she liked on the internet and asked if I could make her one. I have kept to the grey and yellow theme she liked and the ‘snood’ look, but I have made her scarf using Broomstick Crochet, which is the technique that creates the beautiful twist in the wool. The wool I have used is hand spun Welsh Aran weight, organic wool, un-dyed and the yellow is some Rowen baby weight wool, that was just the right shade.

Close-up of the yellow and grey wool tones.

Close-up of the yellow and grey wool tones.

I feel a ‘How to:’ coming on, as Broomstick Crochet is such a beautiful technique and I often use it in both mohair weights, sock wool is great, Aran weight works well and even the cheapest of wools can look pretty in this technique. In the heavy weight wools it shows off the structure of the design quite architecturally.

Close-up of Broomstick Crochet stitch.

Close-up of Broomstick Crochet stitch.