Thursday 31 May 2012

Gone Sewing

I am packed and apart from a few essentials, ready. Deep breath, here goes. I will be taking pics at Instagram where I am @verykerryberry. I will be tweeting, I am @verykb and if this post is working to plan, I will be blogging using Blogsy. My husband has joined Twitter so he can see what I get up to.
Gone sewing, see you on the other side x


Wednesday 30 May 2012

Liberty Tea Cup

I recently had the chance to test a pattern for Laurraine at Patchwork Pottery.  She pattern tested for me with the Sew-Ichigo patterns, her proof reading and attention to detail was amazing, so I was happy to return the favour.   Regular readers here know my love affair with tea and tea imagery so I feel a kinship with Laurraine who is similarly inspired by tea and all that relates to it.  I followed her Quilted Teacup pattern  and made a Liberty lawn and linen tea cup.  
Liberty lawn is the perfect match for a teacup pattern, so English, delicate and small prints- just like floral china.  Ali at veryberryhandmade has started selling Liberty charm packs in a range of sizes at The Fabric Market Place.  I bought a pack of 15 x 4" squares and dug into my little Liberty stash making this a scrappy project, just as Laurraine intended.
The linen is Kaufman Essex linen in bleached white.  I had a selection of this sent to me when I did the Zakka Style Sew a long.  I first came across Essex in a quilting bee when it was part of a fabric selection.  It is linen/cotton blend, but it cuts like a heavy cotton- it doesn't slip and slide or even fray in the nightmarish way that 100% linen does.  The yarn dyed variations are incredible- I will show you more soon, but I always like to have a few colours of the standard Essex in stock and I have always bought from Simply Solids.

 To make this a truly scrappy project, I even pieced my binding.   Liberty lawn is thin enough and strong enough to make a great binding without significant seam bulk.  Laurraine's pattern prints as a booklet so there are illustrations and words for each stage so I was clear on what I was doing at all times.  I especially like pictures when I am following instructions and Laurraine has tweaked all the illustrations to make sure they accurately represent each stage of the process.

It is quite a fiddly pattern as all 3D sewing tends to be but it is not hard.   The skills covered are bias binding- making and attaching and then just standard sewing.     There is a balance of hand sewing and machine stitching and she includes a glossary and diagrams of all hand stitches involved.
The pattern comes out at around the size of a medium china tea cup- so delightful!  Now all I need is for Liberty to do a mix and match china tea set using their classic pattern archives!
You can find Laurraine's pattern here along with other equally detailed and cute projects.

sib blog

Sunday 27 May 2012

Fat Quarterly Retreat- Linky Party Time

It is nearly upon us and I am getting very jittery and uber excited
Fat Quarterly
Meeting people, many of whom I have now known for some time, in the flesh and talking sewing all weekend, it could only be better if some of my far away overseas buds could be there as well- one day...
If you haven't visited here before, my name is Kerry, I wish I looked view 3
but instead I am not gigantically tall with hugely long legs, but smaller and sort of hippyish
I might be wearing glasses
and have my hair back- rocking the pencil bun look.
I am hoping to wear this...
maybe this too...
and this
So it should be easy to spot me.
I have been sewing since I was very young and my dream was to be a fashion designer.  Instead I became a teacher and revisited sewing and design through my 20s and 30s.  I am  41, by day I run music classes for children 0-3- you can see my day job here.  For someone who earns their crust singing and telling others what to do, I am surprisingly introverted and rather quiet.  I need a little time to warm up but I'll get there.  I am all prepped and ready for teaching...
which is a good thing as I bounced one baby too many at work last week and sprained my wrist.  I then had a reaction to something, possibly my newly found licorice and mint tea and my hands swelled up like sausages.  So the machine and rotary cutter have had a break, I have had to bow out of Iron Man challenge- apologies group 1.  Instead I have been taking it easy and I have done a little x stitch following Lynne showing me a gorgeous pattern in Marie Claire Idees May/June 2012 issue 90 ( Ibought a PDF copy here .  I will be taking this with me along with my Spring Carnival/Ferris wheel english paper piecing.
 I have multiple pouches with pens, sharp stuff, thread, rulers and more...
And I am squeezing in a quick meeting with an old friend and a meal with my brother on Friday.  I am visiting all the linky blogs- I can't always comment, hands need their rest, but I am reading every single one.  I have met Mary before on our regular Car boot sale trips and Emily briefly but otherwise it is going to be an avalanche of new and familiar faces.  Truly can't wait x
sib blog

Thursday 24 May 2012

House for Charise

For a million reasons,  I am behind on my bee blocks.  Work is busy, home is busy and I am prepping like a crazy for Fat Quarterly Retreat.  Paper pieced blocks take time- not just to make but to think about and design too and I have to be in the right head space, each block needs a lot of thinking time!  I love a house block and that is Charise's theme in Cocorico for April.   She wanted older house, Victorian, Edwardian, that sort of thing.  I found my inspiration in a vintage game card at Ingrid's blog, Ing things and she kindly gave me permission to post here.
I always recommend a trip to Ingrid's blog, she posts almost daily and is full of creativity and zest!
Such a lovely house image, I loved the arcs above the windows and I knew I had to include them.
And this is how it turned out.  The arcs were undeniably tricky and were hand pieced- too tightly curved for the machine.  The roof is straighter than it looks- no subsidence here- I think the seams wouldn't lie flat for photographing.  It has a French gite feel, I would certainly holiday there- chicken wire walls and a green dog- who wouldn't!

 The images are from vintage fabrics and are my favourite feature when sewing a house.  The 'garden fabric' is a feedsack scrap from Chase.   We arranged a little fabric swap and it was one where I felt I got the better deal- she spoilt me with a gorgeous package.
Swap from Chase.
we have a little future swap planned after the retreat rush is over where we make each other something! I already have ideas for this.  Back to more prepping, I got my class lists today- oh my goodness, so many of you!  I truly can't wait :)
sib blog


I am sharing some great finds today.  Kicking off with the best! On a random perusal last night I found that Eternal Maker now stocks Lecien Cosmo embroidery thread/floss.  As far as aI know this is the only shop in the UK to stock the Cosmo.  I have been told by the folks at Eternal Maker that they plan to get a larger range of colours if these sell well and that some colour cards are on order.  I have assisted in this process and ordered one or two or three...
Cosmo threads by Lecien
With these threads, I have found a colour card to be essential- the colour you see on the screen can be a very different tone, it will save you a lot of time money and effort.  And what is special?  Finer and silkier than any of the usual embroidery threads, outstanding!
You know I love tea, my usual black tea brew is Ringtons Organic Classic Loose Earl Grey.  I wake up with a massive mug of this, all brewed in a teapot with a cosy of course!  I try not to drink too much tea so I am always on the look out for alternatives and Florence mentioned Teapigs.
Tea pigs

I live near a stockist so I bought a pack of Mint and Licorice- and now I am hooked.  I will warn you these are not cheap but they are not the dusty musty stinky usual herbal dust that I associate with herbal tea.  You can see the licorice root and the green mint leaves and the taste is clean and light.  I know Justine is a fan too and has just discovered the same flavour!   For the price of a few high street take out lattes you can buy a selection to test the tastes on the website.  Good for traveling with too.
And a random extra-scented candle suggestion.  I am very sensitive to smells- to be honest I am very sensitive to a lot of things.  I find most scented candles make me urge- I stand in shops smelling them and then saying ughh out loud- not populalr with the staff but I can't help myself.  And then in Waitrose   I found they had a scented candle section (that could only be in Waitrose!) and found these: Wax Lyrical linen and cashmere tealights.
Wax lyrical candle

When they are hot the wax turns completely clear which I rather like and the smell is lovely!  They are slow burning so a box of 12 lasts ages.  The holder is by Tord Boontje, a stunning designer just in case you wanted to know.
Random sharing- enjoy x
sib blog

Tuesday 22 May 2012

West Country meets LA

The Olympic torch came to my city over the weekend.  We went out to see and it was genuinely impressive- even if a little small from our vantage point!   Look to the centre...
We then went to a big screen to see a big gold cauldron being lit- all looked great.  And then yesterday the torch travelled on and by some strange circumstance, in the market town of Taunton only a few miles from- a mild and gentle place at the best of times- ended up with as a torch bearer, tweeting as he ran.  He gave an interview- the conclusion of which is the funniest thing!
Taunton and East LA Housing projects- twinned at last.
sib blog

Monday 21 May 2012

Destash: Quilting Books and Fabric

I have said before, this is a little house, I can't keep everything so here comes another destash- and the last one for a while I think!  If you are going to Fat Quarterly Retreat I am happy to bring any of these for you to save on postage.  Leave a comment or email me if you are interested- and there must be your email in your profile or comment to respond to.  Mail prices have risen sharply recently, especially airmail, so if you are outside the UK please email to find out the cost.  I have checked my book prices- all cheaper than Amazon!  All books in excellent condition.  All postage is second class, if you would like recorded delivery it will cost an extra £0.95.  I will be invoicing via paypal once I have let you know if your chosen item is available.   Here goes:
1.  Miniatures in Minutes by Terrie Sandelin. A very detailed book with a novel foundation piecing method for making tiny quilts.  I am including a pack of vellum paper with this as it is part of the technique.   £10 + £2.20.  
2. Mollie Makes issue 6 £2.50 + £1.60.  The free gift is long gone but magazine is all there!
3.  Farmers Wife Book with Template CD, immaculate!   £7 + £2.20
4.  The Modern Quilts Source Book by Bill Kerr and Weekes Ringle.  A great set of quilt patterns and details on using different colour ways, quilting techniques and planning your own designs.  I have had this a while and found it really useful when I started making modern quilts.  £8 + £2.20
5.  Hope Valley Stack.  I love Hope Valley but I have used it in a few projects now and so I am ready to let go.  The pile on the left is scrappy bits- around a fat eighth or smaller and different shapes.  The two FQs at the front left are unused FQs.  The stack to the right are all Fqs- 7 in total with small shapes cut out of the edge- for example a small quarter circle for a drunkards path block, or a small rectangle 2" x 4" so they are almost complete.  There is a pound of fabric here, 450g if you are metric!  £16 plus £2.20 postage.

6.  Japanese spotted linen- 100% soft 'washed' linen.  Lovely quality, £7 for 2 +£1.30 postage.
7.  Japanese Note Paper fabric.  This is one large piece measureing 124 x 80cm in total.  There a re 6 "squares" of different colour and designs, each measure 33 x 35cm and there are borders in between.  Medium weight, e.g. suitable for bags/purses.  A blend of 45% linen, 55% cotton.  I have zig zagged all round the edge because I pre-washed it and didn't want the raw edges to fray.  Lovely quality.  £10 + £1.30 postage.

Any questions, please ask away.   Happy shopping x
sib blog

A Joyful Giveaway!

A quick heads up!  Joy at A Joyful Soul Fabric is hosting a giveaway for Sew-Ichigo Kitchen Classics paper piecing pattern set, pop over to her blog to enter!  There will be two lucky winners- go click!
sib blog

Sunday 20 May 2012

Have you got the D factor?

I am not talking cup size here- in which case I have the -A factor- D is for Dress!   The Sewing Directory, Abakhan Fabrics, Hobby and Home and Janome have all joined forces to run a great competition with highly desirable prizes, including the Janome Memory craft 5900- the same machine that I won in the Christmas competition and 4 runners up receive £50 vouchers from Abakhans.

I know from the lovely comments you make on my clothing efforts that there are a lot of you out there who are tempted by garment sewing and even if making your own wardrobe is not for you,  this competition includes accessories- bags,  purses, scarves, fabric jewelry- they all count!  

 Five designers will be chosen and Abakhans  will supply fabric for you to make up your design.   I buy a lot of fabric from Abakahns, the green linen from my new skirt was from there.  Their shops really are an Aladdin's cave of fabric treasures!  Go on, be brave,  plan a project, enter- my lovely sewing machine is only sitting here now because I did the very same.  Find out more details here.
sib blog


The briefest glimmer of sun yesterday so the quickest of photo shoots in the tiny yard otherwise know as our garden.  This skirt was from Simple Modern Sewing.  I made a small size and added a little length.  It is an easy and forgiving pattern with an adjustable waist yoke fastened with Liberty ties.
You can see that I like to save the iron for sewing not my clothes,  THe linen is gently two tone and quite an open weave.  My daughter assured me it wasn't see through and then asked if I was wearing black knickers!  I have gone for the safe option of leggings instead.
The tank is a Wiksten tank, size S and shortened as I didn't have much of this fabric left.  A relatively straightforward make but a lot of binding- I bound the hem as well as the arms and neck.  The sandals are Saltwater from here and I can't wait to wear them for days on end in warm sunny weather, I realise this may be a fantasy. 
Damian was taking the photos and we were quickly joined by a little helper.

Yeah I know, they say owners start to look like their dogs ;)
sib blog