Embroidery proper (rather than cross stitch) isn’t really something I’ve done much over the years. I bought Make by Cath Kidston a while ago when I was super into her designs and made an appliqué felt needle case, and that was about it. In fact, I still have the case even though it only has one glass-headed pin in it.
I felt that the guest book blanket needed a large central design to help it come together visually. I also felt that embroidery would give a look that was polished while at the same time handmade, just like the wedding itself. I decided to keep the theme of bunting, especially as the quilt uses the bunting fabric, and throw in some appliqué as well.
Here is my design.
The only real change I decided on was to move Poppy (the bunny) to the right hand corner so that she would be facing the design.
For embroidery onto cotton, a hoop is a must. It prevents the embroidery from causing the fabric to pucker. I used chain stitch for all of the lettering. I tried to do French knots for the full stops and tittles. Even though I spent an hour in a French knot workshop at the Knitting and Stitching Show last year, those little buggers continue to elude me.
Can you see the blue line on my ‘l’? My lines are drawn with an ordinary erasable pen (I think the brand is Frixion). Because friction is used to remove the ink, an iron can also be used to take it off. The poly-cotton I used was light enough that I simply put the fabric on top of my design and traced it.
And a little satin stitch heart. Couldn’t resist a touch of sparkle from metallic thread.
For appliqué, iron on interfacing is extremely helpful. I traced my design onto the paper backing, then reversed it and ironed onto the wrong side of the fabric. I then cut them out.
I then removed the paper, placed them on the cotton and ironed on.
I then used blanket stitch to hold them down, along with some chain stitch representing the bunting binding.
I haven’t added Poppy yet as I think she will overwhelm the design. I’m planning on adding her elsewhere on the blanket.
Part 1: Before the wedding
If you don’t already have a walking foot for your sewing machine, BUY ONE
Mum and I spent a whole day trying to assemble the quilt with increasing levels of frustration and disappointment. When I looked into quilt making further, I decided to try buying a specialised foot to see if it would make a difference and it bloody did! Don’t worry about getting an expensive one, I got a cheap one from China, watched a video on how to install it and Bob became my figurative uncle.
Decide on quilt dimensions and design
Rachael and I discussed how she wanted to use the blanket (for sofa snuggling purposes) and we decided on the final size- 150x120cm- from there. I thought that 15cm squares would give a nice size for people to decorate without being so small that I would go mad sewing them all together.
Cut out squares
Using a rotary cutter, ruler or steel rule and self-healing cutting mat makes this task much easier.
Choose what kind of pens to use
I wasted a lot of time on line researching the best brand of fabric pen. I bought a pack of coloured markers from Amazon based on the reviews, but found that they bled on the fabric more than I would have been comfortable with.
In hindsight it doesn’t look too bad but I remember being unhappy at the time.
I started going into art supply shops. Yes, I am so dependent on the internet that I go on Amazon before nipping to the high street. I have bought GLUE on Amazon before. IRL I quickly found these fabric pens that gave a finish that I was much more pleased with. I bought ten- five of each colour- but three of each probably would have done. Pro tip: If you leave the pens sealed and keep the receipt, you can return them after the wedding.
I would advise going with 2-3 colours with fabric pens as I think it would be very easy to get a busy or messy look with more.
Prepare idiot-proof guidelines
People may not read them, but at least you’ll know you tried!
The next post will discuss what you need to do on the day of the wedding.
Today I am so happy to be sharing my no-so-secret secret crochet project- the baby blanket I’ve been working on since September. Anyone with even the slightest interest in video games is likely to recognise the pixel heart from the Zelda games.
This blanket is made of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. I used 19 balls of yarn and had almost none left over at the end. That is pretty much 1.5 MILES of yarn.
This yarn is extremely well reviewed on Ravelry. I wanted something soft enough for a newborn’s skin, but also suitable for everyday use- i.e. washable and durable. This is an item that I hope will be used. The final row of the crochet edge is made of acrylic, partly for added durability and partly because I couldn’t face ordering another ball of yarn.
Speaking of the crocheted edge, it really turns seventy-two somewhat wonky granny squares into a cohesive whole. It took three hours in total, but check out how neat this corner looks now.
There were several reasons I went with the heart design, other than cuteness. At Cayleigh and Dave’s wedding, we bridesmaids had pixellated hearts for our fascinators. Here I am modelling mine.
Are you sensing a bit of a motif?
Trigger warning: Readers who are sensitive to sentimentality should look away now.
Cayleigh and I have been best friends since we were about thirteen years old and our friendship has weathered many storms, including my short-lived emigration to Jamaica, going out with the same guy (not simultaneously!) in our late teens, and the usual buttload of teenage angst. We have the kind of relationship where we might not see each other for a few months (I live in London while she stayed down on the coast in and around Portsmouth after she went to University) but whenever we meet up, it’s like no time has passed and we always find something extremely silly to laugh about.
For many reasons, I am not an effusive person. Most people who know me also know that if I hang out with you, that means you’re okay. I’m not amazing at giving or receiving compliments, or communicating my innermost thoughts. Making things and giving them away is a really important way for me to express how I feel. This blanket is comprised of seventy-two granny squares. Each one took about half an hour to make, and then sewing them up took many more hours on top of that (GIF here).
Each square comprises about 250 double crochet stitches, plus the chain stitches linking them. I’m not saying this to emphasise the ‘work’ of craft. For me, making is a Zen-like experience that gives me a bit of space where my conscious mind is semi-occupied and my unconscious is more active. In the process of hooking a loop of yarn through another loop of yarn repetitively, thousands of times, I reflected on my relationship with Cayleigh and how important it has been in my life. She and Dave are a truly lovely couple and I remember their wedding day with unfading fondness, and happiness at being a part of it.
As a child psychologist, I regularly come up against the sad fact that many babies and children are not wanted, or those around them lack the resources- financial, physical, psychological, social- to give them what they need. This child- whom I will call Little Bear- was loved before he even existed, and I believe that Cayleigh and Dave will be there for him unconditionally. That is not an easy thing, and I salute them.
Well Little Bear, someone else who will love you is your mad auntie Monique. And she made you a massive heart so that you can be wrapped up in love from the day you’re born.
I’m a little bit sad that I’m posting about my crocheted Zelda heart blanket as a Work in Progress rather than a Finished Object. Here I am presenting it to the baby mama in its slightly tragic UFO state.
It’s definitely a case of the best laid plans o’ mice and men ganging aft agley as I started work on this project in September and was brimming with (over)confidence about finishing on schedule for my friend’s baby’s entry into the world. A couple of errors in the planning stage came back to bite me in the arse.
Firstly, I calculated how much yarn I would need by making a test square, unravelling it, and measuring how much yarn each granny square consumed. Sensible, right? Well yes, apart from the fact that I used a different kind of yarn that works up very differently to Baby Cashmerino, meaning that I didn’t get enough yarn to begin with.
I then ordered the wrong colour yarn. The seller was really kind and agreed to exchange it but a senior moment (I call these craft moments, i.e. can’t remember a fucking thing) meant that I didn’t get the yarn before I had to go to Gloucester for a week. Long story medium length, despite pulling an all
knitter nighter, it was impossible to get the blanket finished in time.
This is the spreadsheet I used.