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After a recent blog, a friend asked me if I were being sponsored because I mentioned brand names and suppliers so often.  She meant it as a joke, but I started to think about why I do usually say where I sourced things from.  I came to the conclusion that it is because so many craft blogs and pages I read are American.  They have fantastic craft superstores such as Joanne’s and Michael’s where there are endless choices and low prices.  We just don’t have an equivalent.  Hobbycraft is okay, but is often out of stock.  So, I tend to say, particularly if it is a high street chain, where I found things.  It’s really frustrating if you want to make something and can’t get the materials.  If you do go to Etsy or to a US website you can end up paying double in postage and customs and handling charges, which makes a cheap item quite expensive.  I try and put things on here that people could have a go at and could find the equipment for if they wanted.

Having said all that, if Tiger,  Marimekko, IKEA or Bernina, Madeira or  Liberty do want to sponsor me, I am more than willing to talk.

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What I did at the weekend, or, the joy of having the right tools

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It’s a bit of a stitcher’s post today, although it rings true for anyone practising their craft, I suspect.

Over the weekend I had to make some prototype cushions for a project we are doing at the University, called Tangible Memories.  The idea is that people with dementia benefit from music and singing and so the team led by the estimable Helen Manchester are making small cushions to put mp3 players in.  This involves making buttoned pockets.

I volunteered to make a couple, and so, had to make buttonholes.  I have done this plenty of times before but a. not recently, and b. not on very thick furnishing fabric, as we wanted to have texture as well.  So, I vaguely remembered how to do it, but being me, couldn’t be bothered to find the instructions for the machine.  In the event I remembered there was a special foot.

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And after much trial and error, I got the hang of it:

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And, as you can see from the second photo, I decided to make the inner buttoned pockets from a much lighter fabric, and to do loops and buttons on the heavy stuff.  I could probably have made it work on the heavy furnishing fabric, but I fear life is too short and walls don’t deserve to have things flung at them when it is clearly not their fault.

Once I had the hang of it, it was clear that it is pretty straightforward if you have the right foot on the machine.  When it came to stitching all those layers of heavy furnishing fabric together I actually managed to find my walking foot, which was a birthday present years ago and, once you can fit it on, which is a real fiddle, is a brilliant tool:

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It lives in this pristine little box in a drawer.  I also used my quilter’s foot with its quarter inch guide to make a block for a Bristol Quilters‘ project and even that came out with the points more or less meeting.  I like having these gadgets, and I find it fun, of all things, to use them.