Singleton Buttons – Free Tutorial!

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I have written this tutorial for the WI Website and am posting it here as a freebie in case anyone fancies a go at Singleton Buttons! I love them and make a lot of them to match different projects – slightly more work than a manufactured covered button but a lot more fun and cheaper too. This is one of the historic thrift crafts of my home county, Dorset.

I will be teaching this method at a handmade button dayschool at Denman College on 16 September 2013, alongside traditional woven Dorsets and embroidered buttons.

Just click the link into the pdf below to get started with the tutorial, and please do let me know how you get on with it, and send any photos of your buttons – I would love to see them!

Singleton Tutorial

Workshops Galore!

There is so much happening right now! I have been away teaching quite a bit and not had a lot of time for writing, so here’s an update on my workshops.

I taught a wonderful Learn to Sew course last week at the WI’s Denman College. I had put a lot of work and thought into this new course and had driven the learning resources people there just a little bit potty with my sewing machine queries!  The group were delightful, including the charming head of the cookery school, worked so hard and were thrilled with the lovely items they made! It’s so good to be appreciated and the lovely card, the round of applause and the requests for more courses made all the difference. Here’s the group with their new laundry bags and peg bags in the fabrics they chose:

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Then it was onto the West Country Embroiderers to show them the embroidered strawberry method, a vintage find from Make & Do in Reading, where I worked before moving to Dorset, and always such a hit. These ladies knew how to stitch, their work was stunning! It was quite a privilege to work with them and hope they ask me back!

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I’ll be teaching this workshop again in July, plus there will be a strawberry cream tea included! So check out the link below to all my Denman courses!

Another beginners crochet workshop is coming up, plus I’m also working with a some local learning people, a gallery and studio to get some of my workshops going in the Dorset/Somerset area, which is all very exciting and is taking up a lot of my time! Watch this space!

For now, here’s the link to my next Denman College workshops coming up over the next 12 months or so. I will be putting them on my workshop list shortly. I am really excited about these – especially the Favourite Things sampler, which promises to be so unique, and the festive themed workshops, using needle felting and scandinavian style embroidery!

Sea Inspired

My trips to the beach here are really inspiring my creativity – I love the colours and the textures and the dynamic, changing scenery. The shoreline is a shifting, liminal place where sea and land mix in a strange point of exhilaration. Where we live, above the great Chesil Bank, we have heard the turn and tow for nights now as the pebbles are tossed in the big waves. Yesterday in particular was a very rough day, with high winds and great big seas, so the effect this morning was to clean the shingle down to a smooth grit, easier for walking on and for collecting sea glass, my favourite find, though they are worn down tiny here at this end of the Chesil, so you have to watch out carefully! There are several cairns of flotsam along Cogden Beach, or what I prefer to think of as shrines, one even has a white processional way set into the shingle leading up to it. I did some repairs to this one, and noticed that a couple further down the beach were doing the same, following some strange primordial instinct.

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So here’s my latest work, I am very pleased with it, its worked out better than expected and now I want to make more pebble pieces – other ideas are embroidered pebble dolls, embellished patterned fabrics, encrusted calico. They are a fiddle but at the same time a joy to make, highly textured and completely covered with french knots using experimental Stef Francis threads, which are completely beautiful – this is a 3 pack of stranded cotton, space dyed linen and a slippy, silky rayon which I really mixed up the space dying to get Image Image

random effects, then backed onto wool felt ‘sleeves’.  They take many hours and use some fairly complex techniques, I will get around to posting up a tutorial when I make a few more – these are samples for workshop ideas so I hope that my clients like them!

Crochet phone/ipod cover tutorial

I’ve been wanting to make one of these for a while, my ipod sloshes around in my bag with all the old rubbish in there, and now I have a lovely snug cover for it, all sealed in and safe! I worked this in a three colour tweed stitch, which is simple to do as long as you follow the sequence.

Start with an even number foundation chain row, measure it to fit the size of your gadget and join into the first chain on the row with a slip stitch, beng careful to keep your ring the right way up, ie all your stitches should be facing the same way, no twists!

Row 1 – Then work a dc into the 2nd chain from the hook, a chain, miss a stitch then dc into the next one, and continue until you reach the end, cut your yarn, leaving a long enough tail to darn in, fasten off.

Row 2 – Tie in your second colour as close as you can to the work, then continue in the same way, but working your dc’s into the chain spaces on the previous row. Work to the end and finish as row 1.

Row 3 – Tie in the third colour and carry on as before.

Continue, keeping the colour sequence, until your tube is the size you want. Fasten off.

Darn in all your loose ends.

Making sure that the back ‘seam’ – ie where you joined your new colours in, is central along the back of the tube, use dc’s to join the bottom of the tube to close it.

You can leave it like this if you want to, or you can make a closer for it by making a foundation chain row of the length you want, then work 2 dc rows. On the third row, make a buttonhole by chaining three stitches (or more depending on the size of the button), missing three stitches and joining back in further along the row, positioning the hole where you want it to be. Continue to end, turn then work another 2 rows of dc’s, working into the chains in the top of the buttonholes when you reach them. Fasten off and darn in your loose end, working the end into a rounded shape with the darning stitches, then sew onto your cover using a whip stitch, sew on your button and pop in your phone or ipod!

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Festive Fun at the WI’s Denman College

What a busy time I’ve had! No sooner had I partly settled into our new home, I was on my way up to Oxfordshire to teach papercrafts at the WI’s Denman College. This was a ‘New Wave Weekend’, a chance for the girls to get together, have some fun and entertainment in the beautiful surroundings, and try out some specially selected ‘on-trend’ workshops – a great blend from crafts and singing to cookery to image & wardrobe to blogging. I also met up with a celebrity in the making, the awesome WI sewing tutor, watch this space… and did some great networking with some truly ‘inspiring women’. 

At home, I’ve also been decorating rooms, altering curtains and appliquéing  planning patchwork, crocheting and am about to do up some old furniture with chalk paint and decopatch. How did I ever find the time to work full hours…

Here are a selection of wonderful paper wreaths made by students on my workshops this weekend. I really hope that they all like them as I was very pleased with the results! Well done, all! 

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