Tagged ‘handmade’


This Months Giveaway – Win a Handmade Linen Kitten Called Bertha!

win this handmade linen cat in the april giveaway

First things first, a brief announcement: The winner of the March Giveaway was Jenni Vento, who has been notified and may have received her prize of a hand made bunny brooch and purse already! A massive thank you to everyone who joined in. I loved reading about your favourite useful sayings. Some really great suggestions!

Well the dust has barely settled and it’s time for another giveaway!


A handmade linen kitten called Bertha. She is a one-of-a-kind creature made from a vintage linen table napkin, with hand stitched features. She is four and three quarter inches (12cm ) tall to the tips of her ears, which is just perfect for fitting in your pocket, if you want a cute buddy with you all day long!

This month I’m combining my giveaway with some market research about what kind of features you’d like to see more of here on my blog. Again, I’m using rafflecopter, which automates the whole process. To enter, you need to sign into sign into the Rafflecopter.com widget below – you can enter a number of different ways by completing different tasks. Each task has a different number of entries associated with it!


This giveaway is only open to United Kingdom residents, over the age of 18. (Full terms and conditions are listed in the widget below)


The winner will be chosen at random from all the entries at the end of the month. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Hillarys Blinds Country Crafts Competition

textile dog by Julia Laing

When I read about Hilarys Blinds Country Craft Competition on Craft Blog UK  I immediately started thinking about what I could make…The challenge was to choose a fabric from their Country Retreat fabric range, get creative by making an original craft design using one metre of the fabric, then write about the creative process. So here goes:

The colours and abstract design of Calluna Amethyst stood out to me so that’s the one I had to have!

I made a few scribbled notes of what I could make. Initially my ideas were, a notebook cover, a bag with a cat design on the front and a dog doll.

First I tried out the bag, using the fabric as the main body of the bag. It actually worked very well but I wanted to see just how versatile the fabric was so I went back to the drawing board and came up with a sketch for a dog. I thought the fabric design was perfect for the project because it was the right weight and the pattern suggested the flecks you see in some Spaniels coats.  I felt slightly out my comfort zone because I’m more of a cat person. However I enjoyed the challenge of drafting a pattern. You can see from the photo I made a few revisions. Originally it was quite a bit longer… And so, Charlie Pup came into existence!

Step by step:



  1. I laid the pattern for the main body on the fabric and cut out 2 pieces. The fabric was folded in half vertically, so the pattern pieces would match.
  2. The dogs ears were cut out from felt. I like to recycle so used a pre-used felted wool blanket but commercially made felt would work just as well and is widely available in a vast array of eye-catching colours.
  3. I cut out three pieces of scalloped edged felt strips for each ear. They were approx 3/4″ x the width of the ears. Then, pinned the first piece on to the bottom of one of the ears and stitched it in place, using a zig-zag stitch on the sewing machine. I carried on until three pieces were layered onto each ear.
  4. Next, I made a dart in the top of each ear. Top stitched it and trimmed the excess from the back of the darts. This made it less bulky and so much easier when it came to attaching the ears to the head. At each side, I  folded about 1cm under,  towards the back and then top stitched from top of ear to just over the start of the scalloped layers, trimmed off  the excess fabric, (as shown in the picture.) After that, I lightly pressed it, to smooth out the shape, using a damp cloth so as not to damage the felt.
  5. The next step was cutting out the dogs tail. Using sharp scissors, I cut into the bottom edge to create a fringe. I made a dart, in the same way as I did on the ears.
  6. Using a pencil, I drew all the shapes needed for the face, in reverse onto Bondaweb. Ironed them onto pieces of felt in suitable colours. Removed the paper backing and placed them onto the main body fabric (as shown in the picture.) Then ironed them in place. They were then stitched in place, using white thread, and a short running-stitch with my sewing machine.
  7.  I gave the doggie a twinkle in his eyes by embroidering a small star on each of them. Used back stitch to create his mouth.
  8. Then I folded his ears in half and pinned them in place, with the ears extending about 0.5cm beyond the edge of the body piece.  I attached them with a row of stitches, close to the edge, trimmed back the excess ear fabric to a neat edge. Pinned the tail on as shown. I used extra pins to keep ears and tail away from the areas to be stitched.
  9. I pinned front and back pieces together, with right sides together, using many pins, to keep both sides neatly together. Tacking together is also a good idea but I never have the patience!
  10. Carefully, I stitched round the dog pieces, leaving a gap at the back, starting from the bottom of the tail to the start of the back leg. I used quite a short stitch and made another row of stitching very close to to the first just in case the first row burst when I was stuffing the dog.
  11. Next, I clipped the curves all the way round the outer edge. This makes the seams lie more neatly when it is turned the right way out.
  12.  I turned the dog the right way out by carefully pulling it through the opening left in the seam.
  13. I used an old chop-stick to make sure that all the seams were poked out fully. I don’t advise using anything with too sharp an end because it could accidentally pierce the fabric or seam.
  14. Using polyester toy stuffing, I filled the dog.  This was the fun part, when the dog started to come to life.
  15. I like to make my dolls well padded, so I made sure the stuffing got into all the little nooks, using the chop-stick again when necessary.
  16. When the dog was fully and evenly stuffed I pinned and stitched, using matching thread and as tiny stitches as I could manage to close the opening.
  17. To neaten the ears, I folded their edges together, at the start of the scalloped layers. Pinned it and used a few small stitches to hold the edges together.  The last stage was to press the ears and tail down. I used a damp cloth with the iron so as not to damage the felt.

Laing craft dog design


Make Time To Knit – Envelope #11

mixed-media envelope with knitting and pom-poms

I still have a bit of a love / hate relationship with knitting. The beauty of hand-knitted garments often astounds me and I love how warm and comforting they are to wear. However, almost as soon as I’ve cast on I want it all to be finished. I knit slowly, and my stitches are tight on the needles, my jaw often clenched. May be because there are so many other things I want to make and I just don’t have the patience it requires. I also get frustrated with losing my place in the pattern and having to count stitches and rows over and over again….is it just me?

The main fabric of this envelope came from a jumper I did actually have the patience to knit. I wore it almost constantly for about 5 years, until the elbows completely wore through. Then it was recycled and made into numerous brooches & purses. I really love the purple heather colour of it. The brighter pink is from a jumper I’m (supposed to be) knitting just now (and have been for 1 year and 3 months so far)…and probably will be for a very long time to come!


15cm wide by 23.7cm in height (including the pom-poms)


Recycled felt jumper, wool, old knitting magazine page, embroidery thread & safety pins


knitting, chain-stitch embroidery, pom-pom making, hand stitch.

If I’ve done a ridiculously poor job of convincing you to ‘make time to knit’ you might want to take a look at this article which explains the many benefits of knitting has for your body & mind. See, it really is good for you!

Take a peep here to see more of my mixed -media envelopes.


Warmest Wishes – Envelope #10

laing embroidered envelope

Warmest Wishes (c) 2014 Julia Laing

Warmest Wishes

I want to convey my warmest wishes to you… also, I was thinking about staying warm in these chilly days of early Spring. Often when I sew, my hands are freezing. Sitting still so long is no good for the circulation! While I was making this my hands got so cold that it made sewing on the crochet embellishments very tricky indeed but I’m not complaining –  it was also great fun! I used one of my Gran’s old crochet hooks, which I inherited from her more than 20 years ago. She would have approved of the bright scarlet. She was never seen without her red lipstick .


Width 14.6cm Height 15cm


Hand-embroidery and crochet on silk and vintage knitting magazine paper.


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