Welcome to a joint blog post here and at VeryKerryBerry. Kerry and I recently discovered each other’s blogs and found similar names and two crafty bloggers. I loved Kerry’s blog at once – she loves colourful vintage style, she does fantastic quilting & sewing, and when I realised she was a fellow-fan of Suzuko Koseki, I was hooked. So with all these similarities we cooked up a swap between ourselves and had a few questions to find out more about each other. So here goes!
How did you decide on your blog name?
Ali: Is there anything more difficult than thinking up a blog/business name? Well, probably plenty of things, but it took me about 2 months to make a decision! I wanted a name with a colour in it, and also something that might make (eventually!) a funky logo. The colour thing got me thinking about rainbows, which reminded me of a pair of multicoloured wellies that my little boy Danny used to have. They were made by a company called Tayberry, and he always called them his ‘Very Berry Tayberry Rainbow Boots’… Something clicked and that was it! Very Berry I became – I like it because it always reminds me of my lads and their lovely ways..
Kerry: I have a rather unexciting answer to this, my blog name is the same as my user name on Flickr, Folksy and Etsy. My husband calls me Kerryberry and that had already be taken on Flickr so I added the ‘very’ and that became the blog name too!
What is your crafting story?
Ali: I’ve always done a little bit of knitting and sewing over the years, but lacked confidence in my ability to really enjoy it. The real urge to start making things really came when I was pregnant with my twin boys – I wanted to create for them – I made blankets, scarves, hats, little shoes… and then slowly things started to take off, I found I couldn’t stop!
I learnt to crochet and I was pleased to find something I’m pretty good at (I never did get to properly to grips with knitting!), and I started to design patterns like these bunnies:
And with practice, my sewing started to improve. I did a course in patchwork & quilting, and people seemed to think that I’d got a fair eye for colour – so I took confidence (although easily-shaken confidence!) from that. Now I am trying to make a little money from my work, which is a huge challenge – both my sons are on the autistic spectrum and we have chosen to educate them at home, so the little bit of extra income that my work brings in helps with the household budget. But just as importantly, my sewing and crochet give me a much needed outlet for my creativity, a way to indulge my love of colour and design, and access to the lovely online world of other crafters.
Kerry: I have always been very creative and loved drawing, painting and sewing as a child. I was lucky enough to go to a primary school that put creativity at the centre of the curriculum and I learnt calligraphy and embroidery alongside art and pottery from an early age.
I made the needle case when I was 7 andI still use it everyday! I have sewn all my life with a break for a few years for repetitive strain injury. Now, sewing is having a resurgence, my arms are recovered and blogging and social networking fits perfectly in tandem with sewing. I started blogging last February and it has been the best and most surprising adventure! I have made so many great friendships with people from all around the world.
Ali, what did you make for Kerry? What influenced your design?
It’s been brilliant getting to know Kerry through this swap – I’ve done plenty of exploring around her lovely blog and Flickr pages to find things she likes (although I had to stop looking after a while because her work is so lovely that my confidence was ebbing away!). She asked for a coin purse, and I decided early on that I didn’t want to do pieced patchwork, because I know that Kerry is so good at that herself – I thought she might like something a bit different. So, I decided on applique, taking my inspiration from the lovely daisy pattern in Suzuko Koseki’s lovely Playful Patchwork, with quite a subtle choice of colours because I know Kerry likes natural linen, and I spotted somewhere, that like me, she likes Denyse Schmidt’s Hope Valley fabrics.
I thought the applique might look a little dull on a plain background so decided to piece and quilt the linen fabric. Once I’d done that I hand-pieced the separate petals of the flower, appliqued them on, and hand-quilted round the edge. It took me a while to decide on a fabric for the centre of the flower – originally I had a more orangey-yellow (with a pattern), but although the colours looked good together, I decided it rather over-powered the petals so I swapped for this paler yellow. I wanted to add texture, so covered the center of the flower with French knots. I love hand-embroidery when I get the chance to do it, so I also added the little lazy daisy flowers on the front and on the little blue tag label. And finally I couldn’t resist adding a bit of crochet to the project, so the little zip-tag is hand-crocheted using perle quilting thread. No berries though – clever Kerry to think of that!
I promise I sent some goodies to Kerry – I even managed some fabrics she doesn’t already have… but I have no memory of what I sent, and no pictures either, because I was in the throes of horrid toothache when I packed it all up… I tried to send her colours she would enjoy, and some big vintage buttons too. But that’s all I remember! Very kindly, Kerry has taken a photo!
Kerry, what did you make for Ali? What influenced your design?
We both wanted to make each other something useful. Ali fancied a potholder, she does a lot of cooking as you can see by the wonderful recipe selection on her blog! She gave me some ideas about colour combinations and I pounced on red/aqua/grey as I knew I had a lot of prints that would work with that. I especially like to use red in kitchen items too.
The strips are joined in a half log cabin with borders straight onto a double layer of insulbright and cotton batting. This technique allows you to quilt as you sew and get multi directional lines. I went for a lot os foodie/kitchen fabrics and a few berries too!
I put a pocket in as I wanted this to be as practical as possible. You can see the pocket method at Oh Fransson! And added a little applique patchwork at the back.
I picked out some Hope Valley as Ali mentioned she liked this line. I also put in a little Cosmo plaid for nod to Mid century style fabrics and added a few other cute patterns that I thought she would like. I tend to put a mini bar of Montezumas Butterscotch milk chocolate in most of my swap parcels because it is so yummy.
So there you have it, two blogs with similar names and a whole load of craftiness going on! Are there any other bloggers out there who have found a similar situation? Do Share!