Monday, 13 June 2011

verys and berrys

Welcome to a joint blog post here and at Very Berry Handmade .  Ali and I  recently came across each other's blogs and found similar names and two crafty bloggers.   I have also noticed that she has exceptionally good taste in the plates that she photographs her cakes on- Midwinter and other great retro pots, nice!  So we cooked up a swap between ourselves and had a few questions to find out a bit more about each other so here goes!

How did you decide on your blog name?
Kerry: "I have a rather unexciting answer to this, my blog name is the same as my user name on Flickr, Folksy and Etsy.  My husband calls me Kerryberry and that had already be taken on Flickr so I added the 'very' and that became the blog name too! "

Ali:"Is there anything more difficult than thinking up a blog/business name? Well, probably plenty of things, but it took me about 2 months to make a decision! I wanted a name with a colour in it, and also something that might make (eventually!) a funky logo. The colour thing got me thinking about rainbows, which reminded me of a pair of multicoloured wellies that my little boy Danny used to have. They were made by a company called Tayberry, and he always called them his 'Very Berry Tayberry Rainbow Boots'... Something clicked and that was it! Very Berry I became - I like it because it always reminds me of my lads and their lovely ways"

What is your crafting story?
Ali:"I've always done a little bit of knitting and sewing over the years, but lacked confidence in my ability to really enjoy it. The real urge to start making things really came when I was pregnant with my twin boys - I wanted to create for them - I made blankets, scarves, hats, little shoes... and then slowly things started to take off, I found I couldn't stop!  I learnt to crochet and I was pleased to find something I'm pretty good at (I never did get to properly to grips with knitting!), and I started to design patterns like these bunnies
A Bunch of Bunny Boys...
And with practice, my sewing started to improve. I did a course in patchwork and quilting, and people seemed to think that I'd got a fair eye for colour - so I took confidence (although easily-shaken confidence!) from that. Now I am trying to make a little money from my work, which is a huge challenge - both my sons are on the autistic spectrum and we have chosen to educate them at home, so the little bit of extra income that my work brings in helps with the household budget. But just as importantly, my sewing and crochet give me a much needed outlet for my creativity, a way to indulge my love of colour and design, and access to the lovely online world of other crafters."

Kerry: "I have always been very creative and loved drawing, painting and sewing as a child.  I was lucky enough to go to a primary school that put creativity at the centre of the curriculum and I learnt calligraphy and embroidery alongside art and pottery from an early age.  
I made the needle case when I was 7 andI still use it everyday! I have sewn all my life with a break for a few years for repetitive strain injury.  Now, sewing is having a resurgence, my arms are recovered and blogging and social networking fits perfectly in tandem with sewing.  I started blogging February 2010 and it has been the best and most surprising adventure!  I have made so many great friendships with people from all around the world"

What did you make for Ali?  What influenced your design?
Kerry: We both wanted to make each other something useful.  Ali fancied a potholder, she does a lot of cooking as you can see by the wonderful recipe selection on her blog!  She gave me some ideas about colour combinations and I pounced on red/aqua/grey as I knew I had a lot of prints that would work with that.  I especially like to use red in kitchen items too.
The strips are joined in a half log cabin with borders straight onto a double layer of insulbright and cotton batting.  This technique allows you to quilt as you sew and get multi directional lines.  I went for a lot of foodie/kitchen fabrics and a few berries too for obvious reasons!
I put a pocket in as I wanted this to be as practical as possible.  You can see the pocket method at Oh Fransson!  And I added a little applique cooking words patchwork at the back.
For extra goodies, I picked out some Hope Valley as Ali mentioned she liked this line.  I also put in a little Cosmo plaid for nod to Mid century style fabrics and added a few other cute patterns that I thought she would like.  I tend to put a mini bar of Montezumas Butterscotch milk chocolate in most of my swap parcels because it is so yummy."
What did you make for Kerry?  What influenced your design?
It's been brilliant getting to know Kerry through this swap - I've done plenty of exploring around her lovely blog and Flickr pages to find things she likes (although I had to stop looking after a while because her work is so lovely that my confidence was ebbing away!). She asked for a coin purse, and I decided early on that I didn't want to do pieced patchwork, because I know that Kerry is so good at that herself - I thought she might like something a bit different. So, I decided on applique, taking my inspiration from the lovely daisy pattern in Suzuko Koseki's lovely Playful Patchwork, with quite a subtle choice of colours because I know Kerry likes natural linen, and I spotted somewhere, that like me, she likes Denyse Schmidt's Hope Valley fabrics.

Applique coin purse from the front
I thought the applique might look a little dull on a plain background so decided to piece and quilt the linen fabric. Once I'd done that I hand-pieced the separate petals of the flower, appliqued them on, and hand-quilted round the edge. It took me a while to decide on a fabric for the centre of the flower - originally I had a more orangey-yellow (with a pattern), but although the colours looked good together, I decided it rather over-powered the petals so I swapped for this paler yellow. I wanted to add texture, so covered the center of the flower with French knots. I love hand-embroidery when I get the chance to do it, so I also added the little lazy daisy flowers on the front and on the little tag label. 
Applique coin purse from the top
And finally I couldn't resist adding a bit of crochet to the project, so the little zip-tag is hand-crocheted using perle quilting thread. No berries though - clever Kerry to think of that!  
I promise I sent some goodies to Kerry - I even managed some fabrics she doesn't already have... but I have no memory of what I sent, and no pictures either, because I was in the throes of horrid toothache when I packed it all up... I tried to send her colours she would enjoy, and some big vintage buttons too. But that's all I remember! (No worries Ali- I took a picture and it was a great little stack of goodies!)
So there you have it, two blogs with similar names and a whole load of craftiness going on and now a new friendship!  Are there any other bloggers out there who have found a similar situation?  Do Share!
sib blog


  1. What'a not to love about two such very creative berries!! Love both your swap items :-)
    Kerry did you go to a Rudolph Steiner or Waldorf school I think you call it over there?

  2. I know it sounds like it but no, just an ordinary primary, I was just very, very lucky as many of the teachers were creatively focused and there was a lot of ethical stuff about conservation, saving the Whale, seal culling etc going on too, a sign of the political times between 1975-81 but not normally in a British primaryschool!

  3. Thank you so much for a fun and inspirational joint blog post today! I love Kerry's pot mat, and Ali's flower applique coin purse is just so lovely! Both of you are so lucky to have found each other ;)

  4. It has been a really lovely experience all round!

  5. It's been a lovely thing to do. I love swaps and this has been a fab one - getting to know Kerry has been a pleasure. And the potholder is fantastic - gorgeous & useful, the ideal combination!

  6. This is so sweet -- evidence that the virtual crafting community can be incredibly warm, supportive AND a source of creative inspiration! You are both so talented and generous-spirited; this post made my morning.

    And Kerry, how lucky you were to have had that education! My own mum is a painter, so I always had access to art supplies at home, but there was very little in the way or art or crafting in my school life. I started knitting at 13 (taught by my grandmother) but only learned to sew a couple of years ago. Anyway, thanks for sharing all this interesting information! (And thanks too for yet another sweet comment on my blog.)

  7. Thanks ladies - that was interesting x

  8. I just loved that post, and both of your gorgeous swap items. Making new friends online is the BEST. Thanks for sharing your friendship with us!

  9. What a great post! I have actually got you 2 confused before as you have both commented on my blog! I have never been able to reply to Ali as she is a 'no reply' blogger (sort that out Ali!), and that is how I told you apart for a while! So pleased you know each other too, and now I know you both al ittle better. And love those crocheted rabbits Ali!

  10. What a great story of how your friendship has come together and grown! All from a name and the power of the internet! :)
    Great swap items there too!

  11. Oooo I love both your swap items, and think it's brill that you found each other :) "Go Berrys!"

  12. how fun! i'm so in love with that pouch. :) I'm such a sucker for zippers.

  13. this is such a serendipidous blog post. i have found a online twin too. we recently realized how much in common we have with out likes and decided to do a swap also.
    i adore what you both made for each other.
    iamchickenfoot at yahoo dot com

  14. That's a great post about my two Kerry friends!! You both made lovely swap items - what a treat!

  15. kerry, your potholders are so beautiful! They are inspiring me to try my hand at some. Do you know where I could find the cute suzuko koseki prints I see in so many of your crafts? I'm in love! Karen P.

  16. That Ladybird book brought back so many memories!! I made several things out of that book if my memory serves me well - it was a great book for a young person to get started - Happy Days!!

  17. So cute! Think you would love some projects from A kind of wonderful by Anni Downs (Hatched and patched). So similar to this! Also a stiched linen bag!


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