Liberty greys and hexie happiness

I have another wonderful customer make to share today. Fiona bought lots of lovely Liberty squares from me in grey prints and look what she created:

IMG_0012

 

This beautiful baby quilt is all hand-stitched and quilted and, I think you will agree, totally fabulous!  I love the way that the hand-stitching gives it a wonderful heirloom quality, and the greys make it a beautifully subtle quilt. It was made for Fiona’s beautiful granddaughter – you can see more pics of the quilt, and the gorgeous baby, on Fiona’s daughter’s blog – Tinker and Tailor. Lucky lucky baby!

I am always happy to cut Liberty squares in custom colours if you have a particular project in mind, so feel free to get in touch. When it comes to cutting squares, my life has been made much easier now I have a 5 inch square die cutter for my Sizzix Big Shot. I have also recently purchased the 1.5 inch hexagon die, so have added slightly bigger hexies to my range on Etsy & Folksy.

1.5 hexies

 

Great for holiday EPP projects, these hexagons come with pre-cut papers and are packaged in a ziplock bag so you can keep your work together as you sew. I also have 1.25 inch and 1 inch hexies if you fancy something a bit smaller…

As ever, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate my customers’ support and enthusiasm. It keeps me selling and sewing!

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A Quick Breakfast – soda buns recipe

Soda buns 3

We mostly have baked stuff for breakfast because we aren’t really cereal eaters (I love porridge, but am in a minority of one in the family…).  I confess I am a bread snob and am not so keen on most of the available options locally – although we are hoping things change as our local community bakery gets going.

So, as punishment for my snobbery, I batch bake at the weekends, and usually have a supply of teacakes and breakfast buns in the freezer. When I have a bit more time in the morning I sometimes make sourdough pancakes, and apple and banana bread is always a (very nutritious) favourite. But sometimes the freezer is bare (I know, can you believe it?) and we need a quick breakfast that doesn’t need an overnight ferment or rise or something equally arcane…

The emergency breakfast (and I know this is all relative – home educating our kids means that are mornings aren’t quite as tightly timed as most) of the moment are lovely curranty soda buns. I can get a batch of these ready in the time it takes to heat the oven up to 230C – maybe 10 minutes? And then they are about 9-10 minutes to cook and then you have a wonderful fresh-baked feast – the best way to start the day, and worth getting up 20 minutes earlier for.

A little note about buttermilk, which is one of the ingredients in this recipe. It seems obscure, but you can get it easily at the supermarket (and if you can get hold of the Longley Farm version, I highly recommend it), and once you have it, you can keep it going indefinitely. If you don’t have it in, and want to have a go at the buns anyway, you have options – I usually use natural yogurt thinned down with whole milk.

Soda buns 1

Soda buns with currants

450g plain flour (I use 250g wholemeal and 200g white, but anything is fine – you might need a touch more liquid if you use just wholemeal)
1tsp caster sugar
1tsp salt
1tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
320ml buttermilk
180g currants

Makes around 15-16 buns

  • Preheat oven to 230C/Gas Mark 8. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and have a scone/biscuit cutter ready (I use one with a 2.75in/7cm diameter).
  • Sieve the flour, sugar, salt and bicarb into a bowl and then give it a quick stir.
  • Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in most of the buttermilk. Start stirring it all together using a knife until you have a very rough mix (basically until all the liquid is absorbed), then add the currants.
  • Using your hands now, bring the dough together in the bowl, adding more buttermilk if you need to. The mixture should be soft with the tiniest tiniest bit of stickiness. Try and keep your touch light and don’t knead the mix.
  • Tip the dough out onto a work surface and flatten gently with your hands so it is a generous 1 inch (2.5cm) thick and cut into rounds, transferring them to the prepped baking tray as you go. I don’t generally flour my work surface, but if you feel you need to, don’t hesitate!
  • Put straight into the oven and bake for 9-10 minutes (definitely check after 9!). If your oven is anything like mine, there will be hot spots, especially at high temperatures, so I tend to check after about 6 minutes and turn the tray through 180 degrees to make sure the buns get a fairly even colour.

Cool on a wire tray for about 5 minutes before serving. Delicious with butter, and, if you are feeling indulgent, your standard breakfast toppings! No breakfast is complete round here without a certain brand of chocolate spread for twin 2 and some honey for twin 1….

Soda buns 2

A confession – you might look at these pics and think, no way are those currants… They aren’t, I ran out! So I can tell you raisins and sultanas make a great alternative, but currants are quite definitely the best.

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Tutorial: Cafetière Cosy

Finished 3

Another tutorial that was originally published elsewhere, using more gorgeous fabrics from Ochre & Ocre. This is a really quick little project – it would make a super little gift.

Project Notes

  • The seam allowance is 1cm throughout.
  • The project requires 2 layers of wadding to create the necessary insulating effect. For one of the layers I used Insul-Bright which is a wadding specially designed to provide even more insulation – it is widely available, but you can replace it with another piece of fusible fleece if you cannot get hold of it.
  • I used Madeleine in sage and Ledbury in blue grey from the Ochre & Ocre range.
  • This cosy will fit an 8 cup cafetiere with a 31cm diameter and a height of about 18cm.

Step 1
From Fabric A (the polka-dot fabric in my version) cut:
1 piece measuring 10cmx34cm

From Fabric B (the stripe in my version) cut:
2 pieces measuring 6cmx34cm
1 piece measuring 18cmx34cm
2 pieces measuring 6.5cmx8cm

From low loft fusible fleece (I used Vilene H630) cut:
1 piece measuring 18cmx34cm
2 pieces measuring 6.5cmx8cm

From Insul-Bright cut:
1 piece measuring 18cmx34cm

From 2cm Velcro cut:
1 piece measuring 4cmx2cm

Step 2
Take one of the 6cmx34cm pieces of Fabric B and place right sides together with the piece of Fabric A, aligned with one of the long edges. Pin and stitch. Repeat with the other piece of Fabric B on the other long edge of Fabric A. Pic 1

Step 3
Press the seams open and then iron on the fusible fleece, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Top stitch the 2 seams, about 2mm from the seam, on the pieces of Fabric B. Use something with a curved edge (a cotton reel is good) as a template to create curved corners on the outer section.

Pic 2

Step 4
Measure 1.5cm from one of the short sides of outer section – position and pin one half of the piece of Velcro at this point. Stitch into place.

Pic 3

Step 5
Create curved corners on the 18cmx34cm piece of Fabric B, in the same way that you did in Step 3, and repeat with the piece of Insul-Bright. Zigzag these 2 pieces together, all round the edge.

Pic 4

Step 6
Iron on the fusible fleece to the 2 remaining small pieces of Fabric B. Cut 2 (only 2!) curved corners on each of these pieces.

Step 7
Take one of these pieces and measure 1.5cm from the edge with the curved corners. Position the other half of the Velcro at this point, aligned centrally, and stitch into position.

Pic 5

Step 8
Put this piece right side together with the matching small piece and stitch round 3 sides (leaving the long side with no curved corners unstitched). Notch the curved corners and trim seams to about 0.5cm, trimming off excess fusible fleece in the seam allowance. Turn right side out, press, then top stitch close to the edge.

Pic 6

Step 9
Pin the completed fastening tab to the right side of the outer section at the opposite end to the other piece of Velcro, and with the Velcro facing up, as shown in the picture.

Pic 7

Step 10
Pin the outer and inner sections right sides together and stitch all round, leaving an 8-10cm turning gap in one of the long sides. Trim the seam allowance to 0.5cm, trim any excess fusible fleece in the seam allowance and notch the curved corners. Turn through and press thoroughly, turning the edges of the turning gap in to match the seam line. Top stitch all round the outer edge of the cosy to finish.

Time for a coffee!

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Filed under fabric, handmade, pattern, tutorial

Camping & Cloud Craft Giveaway Draw

Hi everyone – sorry for being late with the draw for the Cloud Craft giveaway. We decided to take advantage of the glorious weather here and nip off for a night in the tent. Considering it was our first time camping with the dog as part of the family, and 2 years since we last used the tent, we didn’t do so badly. We just popped up the road to Mow Cop and stayed at a Camping and Caravanning Club certificated site called Castle Camping. We had the most amazing views over the Cheshire Plain and far away to the north Wales hills in one direction:

Camping Cheshire plain

Over in the opposite direction, we could see the Staffordshire Moorlands and the Peak District:

DSCF0476

The above is taken from the Gritstone Trail which runs directly by the site – you can just see my turquoise car there, with the tent behind it. After a 2 year break, we were VERY pleased we remembered how to get our beautiful Outwell Yukon River 6 upright… well, I remembered! Sandy was mightily impressed by my ability to remember how to get the tent sorted, and I told him it’s all the practice I get creating patterns and sewing which does wonders for my spatial abilities! Well that’s one reason for maintaining a large cupboard or 2 full of fabric….

Speaking of fabric – you are here for the draw, not my holiday pics…

Cloud Craft giveaway

Comment number 26 belonged to Michele T – so huge congratulations to her. Michele I will be in touch later today.

Thanks everyone else for joining in, and just to say, there is style time to join in with the ATC swap if you want to…

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Recipe: Gooseberry & Mascarpone Layer

Gooseberries

I love gooseberries (it’s gooseberry season again – hurrah!) but I really detest topping and tailing them, so I like to come up with ways of cooking them (like this gooseberry curd recipe) that avoids this tedious task. For this recipe I cooked and sieved the gooseberries to make a beautifully scented purée which I layered between a creamy but light combination of mascarpone and Greek yogurt. I couldn’t be fussed making biscuits to add a bit of crunch, so made a little crumble mix to top it off, but this is entirely optional – the mascarpone and gooseberry mix is delicious enough on its own.

Gooseberry & Mascarpone Layer

Gooseberry layer 3

Ingredients

For the layers:
400g gooseberries
50ml water
100g caster sugar (you can add more to taste)
250g tub mascarpone
200g Greek yogurt

For the optional crumble topping:
50g plain flour
25g rolled oats
50g cold butter, cut into cubes
25g caster sugar

Method

  • If you are making the crumble topping preheat your oven to 200C (Gas 6).
  • Put the gooseberries in a pan with the water, bring to a simmer and cook until the gooseberries are soft.
  • If using, get on with the crumble mix whilst the gooseberries are cooking. Mix the flour and oats in bowl and then rub in the butter until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs, and then stir in the sugar. Put on a small baking tray and bake for about 10 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven, leave to cool, then crumble into pieces with your finger tips.
  • Once the gooseberries are soft, pour into a sieve over a bowl and push the fruit through, using a wooden spoon, until you have just seeds, skins and and those tops and tails left in the sieve. Put the purée back in the pan and add the sugar – stir over the heat until the sugar has dissolved – taste and add more sugar if you need to. Depending on how juicy the gooseberries were, you might need to either reduce the purée or add a little water at this stage – it needs to be the consistency of pouring double cream. When it is the right consistency, put the purée in a bowl and put it in the fridge to cool.
  • Beat together the yogurt and the mascarpone. Taste, and if you find it a little tart (Greek yogurt can vary I find), add a tablespoon of caster sugar and stir in.
  • As soon as the gooseberry purée is cold, layer up the cream and fruit mixture (however you like!) in individual bowls. With this quantity I layered up 5 individual glass bowls, but I could have got the quantities into 4 generous portions if I’d wanted – 6 would be a stretch.
  • Chill the fruit layer in the fridge, and add the crumble topping just before serving.

Gooseberry layer 1

Can’t wait to try this later in the season with loganberry and raspberry purée and then with blackberries and blackcurrants later on. Yum!

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7th Textile ATC Swap Sign-up time

ATC SWAP 7 button

Please excuse the cheesy photoshopped pic… but I am keen to get going with the next ATC swap sign-ups and have no time for the fancy stuff! Hopefully it gives you a bit of a giggle anyway!

So, I wonder if there are new readers out there who haven’t read my textile ATC FAQs yet, and haven’t got a clue what I am on about? Here they are, just for you:

Textile ATC FAQs

1) What’s an ATC?

ATC stands for Artist’s Trading Card, and it’s basically a creative, unique and arty version of a business card.

2) OK, so what’s the point of an ATC?

It’s a way to be creative on a small scale, try out new techniques and skills in a non-threatening way. Lots of people collect these mini pieces of art, swap them, and give them as gifts.

3) Ok, I’m interested, tell me the details – What size is an ATC?

Your ATC must measure 3.5″x2.5″ (6.4cm by 8.9cm) – about the size of a business card. You can use the card in either portrait or landscape orientation. Don’t make the card too thick – no more than 1/8″ (3-4mm) please.

4) But what’s a textile ATC?

The majority of your ATC must be fabric and there must be at least a little bit of stitching involved. But otherwise, the world is your oyster. You can use any techniques that you want to try, e.g. applique, embroidery, patchwork, beading, cross-stitch, fusing fabrics, colouring fabrics, using fabric paints or ink stamps, you can even include crochet, weaving or knitting.

5) I’m really interested – where can I see some textile ATCs?

There is a Very Berry ATC swap group on Flickr, where you can see photos of cards made for previous swaps.

6) Wow – they are brilliant, I’m in, where do I sign up?

Hang on, read the rules first!
You will make 1 ATC and receive 1 ATC in return.
Your card must:

  • be the right size.
  • fit the theme.
  • include your name and the date on reverse (you can include your web address/email and the title of your card too if you want to).

So, the moment you have been waiting for, the theme! This time round, the theme is ‘My favourite…’ – please feel free to finish the phrase however you like! You can use your favourite song, book, film, building, view, meal, flower, person, fabric, technique, place, memory…. The list goes on.

Sign up by leaving a comment on this post and dropping me an email at veryberryhandmade (at) gmail (dot) com by 6pm on Wednesday 1st July. I will send you a questionnaire with a few questions (just a bit of basic info for the swap) by Friday 3rd July and you must respond by lunchtime on Monday 6th July. Partners will be assigned by Tuesday 7th July.

It will be a secret swap (you will not be sending to the person you receive your card from) so please don’t let your partner know who you are.

Participation is open to anyone anywhere in the world (the ATCs wont be too pricey to send), so please be prepared to send overseas if you join in (but I will *try* to make exceptions if I can – you can let me know on the questionnaire).

Cards must be posted during the week 24th-28th August (or a little earlier if you are posting overseas and you can manage it). As this is holiday season for some of us, please get in touch if you need to send early/late because you will be away from home during posting week. Don’t let that put you off joining the swap.

Please do not include anything else in your parcel, except a little note if you like!

Once you have received your ATC, you must get in touch with your partner to say thanks… (I know, I don’t need to say this…!).

If you blog, use FB, Twitter or Instagram, please feel free to share your ATC swap progress, and definitely share pictures of the ATC you receive from your swap partner, if you can. Use #veryberryatcswap on Twitter and Instagram please.

Serious bit: Before signing up, please think for a minute whether you can put aside enough time to make something lovely and thoughtful for your swap partner, and whether you will be able to meet the deadlines. Also I would hugely appreciate your commitment to responding to the couple of progress update emails I will send out during the swap. Thank you!

Regulars on this swap will tell you what fun and how addictive these swaps are, so please, do join us!

Oh, and one last thing, the swap is sponsored by the wonderful stitchy shop, Cloud Craft, and Very Berry readers have a 10% discount there until 31 July with the code ATC. Enjoy!

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Tutorial: Quick Quilted Pot Holder

Finished 1

I am gradually updating, gathering together and compiling a list of all the tutorials I have written and making sure they are available on this blog (where I can). This is a tutorial I wrote last year for Ochre & Ocre – using their beautiful organic fabrics which are available to buy. You might also have seen it in Love Sewing, so I am sorry if you have seen it before!

But just in case you managed to miss it elsewhere, here’s a sweet and simple sewing pattern for a pot holder that works particularly well with upholstery weight fabrics, but would be fine with quilting weight fabrics too. The utility fabric that makes this project work is insulated batting – I used Insul-Bright from the Warm Company, which is widely available in UK-based online fabric shops. I am sorry to all the quilters out there who work in inches – this one is written in metric – I recommend a metric ruler, it’s very useful!

Pic 13

Project Notes
Use insulating interfacing plus another layer of wadding to make this pot holder heat resistant – but remember it is heat resistant NOT heat proof so always take care with your precious hands and counter tops!

The seam allowance is 1cm, unless otherwise noted.

Cutting out:
Cut 1 piece of Fabric A (the blue fabric in my pictures) measuring 27cm x 23cm for the front of the pot holder, and 1 piece measuring 22cm x 23cm for the pocket lining.
Cut 1 piece of Fabric B (the yellow fabric) measuring 27cm x 23cm for the back of the pot holder, 1 piece for measuring 19cm x 23cm for the pocket front and 1 piece measuring 18cm x 6cm for the hanging loop.
Cut 1 piece of fusible fleece and 1 piece of insulating interfacing, both measuring 27cm x 23cm
Cut 1 piece of medium iron-on interfacing measuring 19cm x 23cm.

Pic 1

Step 2
Iron the medium weight interfacing onto the smaller pocket piece.
Iron the fusible piece onto the back of the pot holder (large piece of Fabric B).

Step 3
(You don’t have to quilt the pot holder at all if you want a *really* quick project)
Use a fabric marking pen (my favourite is a Chaco-pen) to mark quilting lines on the front section of the pot holder (large piece of Fabric A) – I marked a 5cm diagonal grid. Pin the insulating interfacing to the piece of fabric A, with the shinier side against the fabric and quilt the 2 fabrics together along the marked lines. Start at the centre of the fabrics and work outwards.

Pic 2

Step 4
Fold the 18cm by 6cm piece of Fabric B in half lengthways, unfold, then fold edges into the middle. Fold in half down the middle again and then stitch down both edges to form the hanging loop.

Pic 3

Step 5
Take the 2 pocket pieces and put them right sides together, aligned at the top edge, pin and then stitch together with a 1.5cm seam.

Pic 4

The lining fabric will be longer at the bottom edge. Fold the larger piece of fabric up, and then down along the marked line.

Pic 5

You are actually edging and lining the pocket at the same time. Press thoroughly then top stitch a couple of mm away from the seam.

Pic 6

Step 6
Use a cup, glass or something with a curved edge to use as a guide to trim curved corner pieces on the pot holder front, the back section and the bottom of the pocket section.

 

Pic 7

 

Pic 8

Step 7
Align the bottom edge of the pocket section with the back section of the pot holder and zigzag round the edge to hold in place. Fold the hanging loop in half and pin in one of the top corners of the pot holder, with the loop facing inwards.

Pic 9

Pic 10
Pin the back and front sections together, right sides together and then stitch all round, leaving a turning gap of about 10cm on one of the long sides (avoid the top edge of the pocket in your gap placement – you can see the gap I left in mine on the lower left hand side).

Step 9
Trim some of the bulk of the interfacing and batting away from the seam allowance and cut small notches in the corners of the pot holder.

Pic 11

Then turn right side out and press thoroughly, pressing the edges of the turning gap under so that they line up with the stitched part of the seam. You can glue this closed with a glue stick, or pin it, and then stitch all round on the right side of the pot holder, about 2mm from the edge, to finish off and to secure the turning gap quickly and easily.

Pic 12

 

 

 

You are all finished and your pot holder is ready to use!

 

Finished 2

 

 

 

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