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Tuesday, 10 August 2021

Fiddle mitts for dementia patients

Have you noticed that most activities to help charities involve running marathons, climbing mountains or jumping out of airplanes?  Well I'm not that sort of  person so imagine my delight when I found something that I could do. 

Through a face book friend who is a carer in a home for the elderly I discovered a local project which provides handmade items for patients in care homes and hospitals. Things like lap blankets, bags to fit on walking frames and fiddle mitts. Also called twiddle mitts.

I had heard of these but didn't know much about them so did some research and discovered that they provide stimulation and relieve stress in dementia sufferers. The bonus is they are also fun to make! I know that a lot of people who read my blog are makers so thought I would tell you how to make them. They only take a few evenings and can be given to a friend, relative or local care home. This is a front and back view of the one I have made.

As you can see there are lots of different textures and shapes as well as bits and pieces to stroke and fiddle with.

To make one you first need to knit or crochet a rectangle approx 12 x 24 inches. Decorate one half of one side of the rectangle with things like buttons, flaps, ribbon, tassels etc. anything that feels nice but make sure they are sewn on very securely. This will be the outside of the mitt. 

Leave a gap of about 2 inches and decorate the other half of the same side. This time make the decorations all soft as they will be next to the wearers arm.

Next you need to sew up the long edges of the rectangle so you have a long tube. Tuck the softly decorated half of the tube inside the other half. Now you have a double fabric with decoration inside and out. Stitch or crochet the bottom edges together and run a line of stitching round the top to keep the fold in place. I decided to add a crochet frill at the wrist end but that is not necessary. 
This is the inside of the mitt.

I think I will make a bag to fit on a walking frame next as my mother had one and said it was really helpful as you can't carry things whilst holding the frame.

Happy stitching!

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Some of my favourite flowers

 My favourite flowers are not the double blooms with showy flowers but the tradition cottage garden ones. I think the bees prefer them too. I also like to bring some indoors, especially the ones with scent as well as beauty. 

I have just made a felt with my favourite combination. Old fashioned Calendula always look bright and cheerful and I have some deep purple sweet peas which are almost black and have the most amazing perfume which you can smell as soon as you enter the room. The variety is called Winston Churchill if anyone would like to try them .Lime green  Ladies mantle makes a zingy addition and Ami major, which are a sort of domesticated cow parsley, add structure. Here is the felt.

I have added lots of french knots to help describe the ladies mantle and free machine stitch makes the calendula pop.

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

                                                 A use for my eco printing!

 Last time I posted I had been experimenting with eco print and made some samplers. It is quite an addictive pass time as you don't actually know what you will get until the bundle is unwrapped. Naturally, I wanted an excuse to continue but fabric (especially silk noil) is expensive.

I made myself a bag and purse with some of the fabric and had so many comments on it I decided to make more for my shop. Hooray! A use for my fabric and a possible income to buy more. Some of the bags and purses are silk and some are cotton.

Here are a few of them. More can be found in my etsy shop.

Each time I dye only enough for one bag and one purse so there is usually a matching set and all are completely unique. The green, cotton bag and purse were first dyed with a dye I made from nettles and then steamed with leaves from the hedge row. They are made from cotton so are vegan friendly. 

Next time I dye a batch of fabric I will try to remember to take photos so you can see how it's done.

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Eco printing on fabric with embroidery

 Hi everyone. It's been a few months since I last posted as we have very sadly had a family bereavement and I was dashing to and from England for hospital visits and a funeral. To be honest I didn't feel much like working anyway.

However, I am now getting back to work - and play. I have listed several more felts in my etsy shop. I was delighted that three sold within days ! Two of them went to repeat customers which is always nice because I know that they must have been very happy with their original purchase to have come back for more.

I'm waffling. Let me tell you about the eco printing. In case you've not come across it before it's a process where you mordant either paper or fabric, place leaves and flowers on it and steam it for a couple of hours. The leaves and some flowers leave a print on your paper / fabric. 

I have had a lot of success with printing on paper before but been disappointed with the results on fabric so I decided to take an online workshop. What a difference! Instead of looking like someone screwed the fabric and rubbed it in dirt I have leaf prints.

I started with cotton. It's not the best for this method but it's inexpensive and I had some. The prints were there but quite faint so I decided to add embroidery. I love the result. Here are photos of my samplers.

This is the first one. It was done on plain, white calico. I added both hand and free machine stitching. I also put some wadding on the back to make the stitches give more depth.
This is the second one I made. The background is actually a peachy, beige but doesn't show well in the photo. It started as plain, white calico but I dyed it with coreopsis before printing. Coreopsis gives a bright orange but the iron water I used as a mordant modified it.
Close up of stitching. Both machine and hand embroidery.

Close up of the second one which was all hand embroidery.

After having a bit of practise I treated myself to some silk noil. Gosh! Look at this.

The prints are so much clearer. I think it is a little too dark so today I am trying more silk with less mordant. It's so exiting when the time comes to unwrap the bundles and see what has happened.

I've no idea what I shall do with all of these prints but I'm sure I will think of something. I'll keep you updated when I do.



Monday, 22 February 2021

Embroidered portraits

 I know that everyone is missing their families during lock down and I am no exception. We managed to see our 3 daughters in between lockdowns last year but I haven't seen my mother or sister since last February. In a week it will be a whole year!

After watching 'portrait artist of the year ' on TV I wished that I could paint portraits of my family but, sadly, I am not much good with a paintbrush. Then I wondered if it would be possible to embroider a portrait because I do know how to use a needle. After trawling the internet I discovered that a few people do make them so I decided to have a go.

My first attempt was a self portrait as a sort of warm up piece. It was recognisable but not great. I did learn from my mistakes however so decided to have a go at my mum. I am actually quite pleased with this one.

I used mostly crewel wool on linen but didn't have all of the colours I needed  so improvised with stranded embroidery thread and even machine thread doubled up. It was kind of magical seeing her face appear beneath my needle.

I am attempting a portrait of my husband next but that is proving to be much more problematic as he has a more olive skin tone and I really don't have those sort of colours. I wish the shops were open!
Anyway, I will show you that one when it is finished.

Monday, 15 February 2021

Slow stitch . Garden birds in lockdown.

Like a lot of other people I have been looking out of the window a lot more than usual during lockdown. We always put food out for the garden birds and enjoy watching them but with more time I noticed how even the birds that look drab from a distance have beautiful markings.

I considered including them in a piece but my mind was made up when a small flock of long tailed tits moved in. They are not common around here and there was great excitement in the Forey household !

Eventually I decided to collage them on an interesting background and add lots of stitching. 

A robin in the snow.

Close up of a house sparrow. This one is also framed in a hoop.

The long tailed tit.
These took ages to make but I found all of the hand stitching really relaxing. The rhythmic  act of slow stitching is one of those things that soothes and makes me forget the madness going on in the world.

I also enjoyed picking out the fabrics from my left overs stash to make these pieces. The only bit I didn't enjoy was enclosing the back to make everything secure in the hoop and tidy.

Reverse side of hoop.

These are all currently available in my etsy shop. There are also more photos there if you want to take a look.

Next time I will tell you about another project that was bought about by lockdown. Nothing for sale on that one but you might be interested in trying it yourself.

Monday, 8 February 2021

Catching Up

 It's been a very long time since I've written the blog so I thought we should do some catching up before getting down to business.

The first thing that happened was my youngest daughter got married !

Her husband is lovely and we really feel that we've gained a son. 

Next my husband and I decided that we were getting too old and creaky for smallholding and we were rattling around the farmhouse. Time to down size. We have only moved about 5 miles but have left the hills and now live on the edge of a village just a mile from the sea. I do miss smallholding but it's nice to be able to walk to the beach and post office plus have really nice neighbours. These are our nearest neighbours.

As always in a new home, there was lots to do. Particularly in the garden . One of the exciting things that I am doing is planting a dye garden. Last year I made an 'eco jumper'. We were in lockdown but I managed to obtain some very nice fleece from a smallholder in the village where we used to live (socially distanced of course ). I then dyed the fleece with plants either from my garden or collected on daily walks. Next in the process was spinning the fleece which took ages. When I had finally spun around 700 grams of fibre I made a crochet jumper. All I had to buy from outside the area was a small packet of alum for mordanting the fibre. 

Lovely soft colours offset by the bright orange which came from dyers coreopsis. 

This is the finished sweater.

 I have still been working and you will find lots of felts in my etsy shop. To have a browse click on the etsy banner at the top of the page. I also have some new products but I will tell you about those next time.