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James and Amy with their upcycled wool bedspread

A Special Wedding Present from Recycled Woollens

narrowboat

James and Amy’s narrowboat, Willow

James and Amy live aboard this beautiful narrow boat, which is called Willow. When they announced they were getting married, James’ mum, Pat, got in touch to see if I would make them a bespoke bedspread for a wedding present. It was to be a gift from Pat and her friend, Alison. They thought that the upcycled nature of my work, using recycled wool knitwear would appeal to James and Amy. I love making bedspreads, and I love even more when it is for a special occasion like this. I do love a good wedding!

Recycled knitwear destined to be upcycled into a bedspread

Recycled knitwear destined to be upcycled into a bedspread

So the first task was to collect enough recycled wool jumpers in the burgundy, cream and green shades that Pat had requested. All jumpers are washed first before dissected.  Once the seams, cuffs and collars have been cut off, the woollen pieces are cut into rectangles. Pat had requested that the middle square be left blank for something special they wanted to add.

Rail fence design patchwork bedspread

Rail fence design patchwork bedspread

Once the rectangles are all cut, they are places in groups of 3 and sewn together to form squares. The squares are then sewn up in strips. I use an industrial overlocker for this, and I like to have my seams on the outside. I used burgundy thread, to compliment the colours chosen.

The middle square was plain cream, which was waiting for Alison’s handiwork.

Insert for bedspread showing the happy couple's initials

Insert for bedspread showing the happy couple’s initials

It is tradition amongst the barge community, that when living on ‘the cut’ a boy would ask a girl to marry him by writing his initials above his girlfriends in grease on a lock gate arm, if she said yes, she would write hers above his on the same. James and Amy did this, and this is what Alison has translated into the knitted centre piece. A beautiful and tender touch!

Pat collecting her bedpsread

Pat collecting her bedpsread

Pat travelled down to me in south west Northumberland from where she lives near Berwick on Tweed, to collect the bedspread. It then went further on it’s journey to the south, where James and Amy were married last weekend.

James and Amy get married

James and Amy get married

Here is Pat, with the happy couple, James and Amy, and her other son, Sam. Congratulations guys!! I’m loving the dark blue trim on Amy’s dress and the willow pattern Doc Martin boots.

James and Amy with their upcycled wool bedspread

James and Amy with their upcycled wool bedspread

Pat gave James and Amy their bedspread on the morning after the wedding, and I’m delighted to say there were thrilled with it. It was an absolute pleasure to make, and I’m very grateful to Pat for asking me to make it for them.

The wedding cake

The wedding cake

Congratulations to James and Amy! Wishing you both all the very best for your lives together.

Upcycled Patchwork bedspread

Upcycled Patchwork bedspread

Did you know, my patchwork bedspreads can be bought off the shelf from the website, or from Robinson-Gay Gallery on Market St Hexham, or at one of my Events.

Bespoke orders are always a pleasure, and can be made to fit any colourway of your choice. Do get in touch if this is something I can help with.

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upcycled poncho Green Gathering Woolly Pedlar

The Green Gathering 2015 & an Ethical Trader Award

11866468_816112391790862_8360432639777265028_n I love the Green Gathering!
Held in the beautiful grounds of Piercefield Park, near Chepstow, just over the Severn Bridge in Wales this truely is, as its tagline suggests, a festival beyond hedonism. I’ve taken these few lines in question form from their website, which in my mind,  sum up The Green Gathering up very nicely.
Are you disenchanted with austerity and consumerism?
Concerned about unjust, unsustainable economic and environmental policies?
Do you have a different dream?
Do notions of community and co-operation turn you on?
Interested in green tech, crafts, cycling, recycling and composting?
Do you enjoy story-telling; real food, cider and music; seeing kids roam free?

GG13You won’t find massive sound systems, big names or big bands at The Green Gathering. There most certainly is a party to be found at night, but that is not the main incentive for going. To me, the overriding force at the Green Gathering is the bringing together of like minded souls. I feel more at home and more connected with the folk at the Green Gathering than I do in so called ‘normal’ walks of life.

So, with the van full of newly made ponchos, jumpers, sweatercoats and baby blankets, we set off last Wednesday from Northumberland on the six hour journey.

With the help of mGG2y son and husband, we soon had the stall set up and began chatting to our neighbours.

On our right were Cotton Forest, owned by the lovely Davina with a classy stall full of fairtrade cotton clothing and upcycled accessories and handmade candles. Davina and Todd were great fun, and I am so glad there were next to us.

On our left were Phil, Shelly and little Lily from Festival Emporium

It was great to see that Em, who organises the market. had put all the handmade traders together – a great touch. We soon got to know each other and lots of fun over the weekend.

GG5Here’s Davina from Cotton Forest with her stall full of beautiful fair trade cotton goods and handmade candles – we got on so well with Davina and Todd and enjoyed their company both during the day and out in the evenings for a drink and a dance!

 

 

GG10…and here are Phil, Shelly and little Lily from Festival Emporium – lovely people! Just along from them was Orla from OrlaBeeHandmade – an inspirational young lady, who, despite major health challenges, and being wheelchair dependent has made beautiful clothes and was there with her mum selling at a festival – all power to you, Orla!

GG4 It was busy at the stall from first thing in the morning right through to night time – I was doing running repairs on this guy’s shorts before my mid morning coffee! He was very happy that his shorts were saved! #makedoandmend!

I love the banter that is to be had at a festival stall – you meet so many amazing people and have so many conversations about all sorts! Folk were really complimentary about my work and it was a joy to be able to talk about upcycling and saving the planet’s precious rescources with so many who just got where I was coming from.

What’s more, I had record sales!! I took over 30 jumpers and sweatercoats with me, and have come home with only a handful left!

GG11This lady bought this sweatercoat which looked as if it had been made for her – perfect colours, and an amazing fit. She looked stunning! In fact she fell in love with a couple of other pieces too – a poncho and hooded jumper!

GG8 Ponchos continue to be best sellers for men, women and kids. This guy was seen wearing his poncho for the rest of the festival – he told me he had even been to bed in it!

GG12

 

 

 

The autumnal colours in this poncho were a hit and I sold lots of them, both with hoods and with cowls, in large and regular sizes. I think this lady looks stunning in her poncho – she has a look of a 60s model!

I have lots more lovely photos, but must sign off soon and get sewing! I’m feeling the pressure a bit as I need to restock for my next events, BAAFEST  and the humungous Festival of Thrift – if you head over to my Facebook page, you’ll find the complete album of Green Gathering photos.

GG9Before I go, I’d like to give a shout out to the new compost loos! Crowd funded prior to the event, these were a very welcome addition to the festival. If you are a festival goer I’m sure you’ll join me in your loathing of chemical toilets. Here at the Green Gathering the compost loos were always clean, non smelly and a delight to use! Big up the compost loos!

GG3 Last but not least is my Green Trader Award. I thought Em was coming over to the stall for a cuppa or a natter, and was so surprised when I was awarded a Green Trader Award!

I am passionate about recycling and using less, and I do work very hard at upcycling so my woollies, so the award was absolutely brilliant! Thanks to the team at the Green Gathering for awarding this to me!

In fact, on behalf of all the other traders and festival goers, I would like to say a massive thank you to Em and Dave Wierdigan, and all the others involved in making this year’s Green Gathering such a resounding success.

I very much hope to be back next year!

 

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The Story of My Baby Blanket.

IMG_1402 Back in 2013, I was selling my woolly wares at Willowman Festival. Trading next to me was the lovely Hannah, who had her new baby boy, Lewis with her. He was just a babe in arms and being breastfed by his mum whilst she sold an eclectic mix of Fairtrade wares. Hannah commissioned me to make a hooded baby blanket for little Lewis, such as you see made from bath towels, but with a funky, pixie hood.

This was an exciting new commission, and when I got home from the festival I set about designing it.

I get a lot of beautiful cashmere and soft lambswool in my hunt for woollies to recycle. Cashmere jumpers often have a wee hole in them, making them unsellable in charity shops, but are ideal to cut up into squares and use patchwork style. I love that this is taking waste and using it to create something new.

IMG_1336 compI already made baby blankets using squares, and called them my ‘one hundred square’ blankets for obvious reasons! I thought they might be useful when learning to count, as kids could put an object in each  to learn one to one correspondance. (You can tell I was am ex teacher!)

I used this design as the basis for my hooded baby blankets, but added a funky hood with a pixie point in one corner.

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Hannah and Lewis were delighted with their hooded baby blanket and I caught up with them at another festival later that summer.

Here is little Lewis, with his daddy, hiding from the sun at a very sunny Cockermouth Festival.

 

 

 

 

 

Elijah

Since then I have made and sold dozens of my hooded baby blankets. I’ve made them in brights and pastels, and even in the colours of a rugby team for little Elijah, whose mummy and daddy support Leicester Tigers.

I have sold them to folk all round the world. One lady was searching for a baby blanket which was ‘Handmade in UK’ and stumbled across me. Her son-in-law was British, and so wanted to buy a present for the newborn baby that was made in Britain.

 

 

I love seeing photos of little ones in my baby blankets, so if you have bought one, then do send a photo. I of course would only use it with your permission.

IMG_0244 compThis bonny babe is little Seren, who came for a play in the Bridge Cottage garden with my good friends, Pete and Eli.

Like Seren here, and little Elijah above, babies are loving the soft comfort that wool gives.

I always try to keep a good selection of these one off, upcycled baby blankets on the website. To see what’s currently in stock, head to ‘Baby Blankets’

If you would like one making in a particular colourway – if you need one in your football team’s colours for example, or any colour combo, then do get in touch.

My baby blankets are all one off’s – the delightful nature of using recycled knitwear means that once a jumper has been used, it’s gone, and I can never make the same product twice.

I am always making more baby blankets, as with the rest of my upcycled designs, so do keep a weather eye on the website shop to see what’s there.

Hannah-and-Lewis

I caught up with Hannah and Lewis again this year at splendid Audio Soup festival, which I blogged about last week, in my post, ‘It’s a Tough Life’ .

It was really good to see them, and see how much Lewis has grown. He’s a great little chap, always busy and chattering about what he is doing. On the right here, he’s having a sit down infront of my stall while he eats his halloumi.

LewisThanks to Hannah and Lewis, the hooded baby blanket with the funky little pixie hood was born, and has now been made into dozens of little blankets and hopefully many more to come, keeping babies warm in upcycled woolly warmth all around the world.

If you are having a baby, or are looking for a present for a baby shower or for a little one, then do head over to the website shop to see if there’s one there you like. Delivery is free within the UK, with International Shipping also available.

Local stockists of my upcycled baby blankets and other woolly wares include:

Mr Wolf, Hexham

Once Brewed Visitor Centre, Bardon Mill

The Hemmel Cafe, Allenheads

You can also see where I’ll be bringing my woolly wares to next, over on the event’s page – you never know, I may be coming fo a field or market near you soon and you can then see and feel the baby blankets for yourself.

Thanks for reading – feel free to share this and spread the word about upcycling.

You can catch up on all the past blogs if you fancy a read over on the website too.

Bye for now!

PS – I’m out and about next near Chepstow in the South West at the Green Gathering – see you there if you’re going 🙂

 

 

 

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It’s a Tough Life!

Four years ago last week I would have been looking forward to school breaking up, exhausted, stressed and in desperate need of a holiday. How different life is today. Instead of being a teacher, bogged down with end of year reports, evaluations, school assemblies and no end of stess, I packed the silver van again as The Woolly Pedlar, and headed off to another festival to sell my upcycled woolly wares. This time it was Audio Soup festival which is a couple of hours up the A1 for me, just south of Edinburgh.

Audio-Soup-1Audio Soup may be small, but it is full off all the right ingredients that go together to make a beautiful festival. First and foremost are the people – what a lovely bunch!

Geoff, who runs Mutley’s Crepes is in charge of the traders and can be seen striding around the site in his woolly hat and kilt. He let me pitch up next to my dear friend, Lorraine. What a beautiful lady, and a very dear friend.

 

 

Audio-Soup-4  Here she is, looking for birds on Lewis’ dress. We spent much of the festival sitting in the sun in front of the stalls, drinking tea and talking. Audio Soup is not the kind of festival where, as a trader, you are rushed off your feet!

There is plenty of time to chat and get to know everyone at this very friendly affair.

 

 

 

Audio-Soup-2Following a very busy Woolfest, I was glad to still have enough stock left for the summer’s festivals.

The stall looked bright and colourful, with a full rail of children’s ponchos at the front. It was a bit like the Hokey Cokey mind you, taking the rail in and out, as showers came and went.

 

Audio-Aoup-5 I had some really good sales – this lady was treated to this jumper by her father-in-law, a fellow stall holder and seller of crystals.

Her little girl got a patchwork poncho, and it was lovely seeing her running around the festival in it. In fact, I spotted a few Woolly Pedlar creations in the crowd as I danced to bands later at night, which was a proud feeling.

Audio-Soup-5Ponchos are still very much the best seller of the year, and this lady was very pleased with hers. She comes from Manchester, and tells me she is off home to spread the word about my little woolly upcycling business.

 

 

My son and daugher came to help over the weekend, and it was great to have their company.

John, my son, got himself a tribal haircut from Billie the Barber, and spent the weekend practising his knife juggling.

 

Audio-Soup-6 Audio-Soup-8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had an absolute blast at Audio Soup, and danced the night away on all three nights. I really love my festival friends, and Audio Soup is up there as one of the best this year

Next up for me is the Green Gathering, held in beautiful Piercefield Park near Chesptow, 13-16 August where I’ll be joining hundreds of others in what must be the greenest, most eco friendly festival around.

GG1

It’s a tough life!

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Wonderful Woolfest

Over on the Woolfest Facebook group page, one lady recently posted: ‘ Not been this excited since I was 4 and waiting for santa to arrive!!!’

IMG_2112 compThere is a real buzz, as folk offer each other lifts, book tickets for Friday night’s spin in, talk about accomodation and most importantly, chat about what they are going to see, do and buy! Those exhibiting also show what they are going to be bringing along.

I find it really hard not to bombard the group page with photos of new designs, new products and exciting colours. I am so excited about the collection I’m taking along to Woolfest to hopefully sell, that I have to sit on my hands and not take up more than my fair share of group page space! Hopefuly enough folk will have found their way to The Woolly Pedlar’s Facebook page 😉

IMG_2119 compIf you don’t know about Woolfest, it is held in Mitchell’s Mart, on the roundabout as you approach Cockermouth, over in the Western Lake District, set in the most stunning scenery. I shall be rocking up in the silver van, and making the car park my home for the next two days. I have everything I need in my van, cooker, sink, bed, food, g&t, and even a bucket for nightime emergencies!

I love the atmosphere at Woolfest amongst fellow traders and look forward to catching up with them, once we stagger, exhausted, to our campervans after busy days.

pen-comp    So, when I arrive at Woolfest I’ll go to my empty cattle pen. This year I’ve got double the space – a large square, 15ft x 15ft. Last year it was rather like a bowling alley, which had created a bottle neck, and I wasn’t able to show my woolly wares at their best. This year, having been there once already, and having three times as much stock as last year, I am going to really enjoy transforming this empty pen into a colourful woolly paradise.

IMG_2115 comp

 

 

 

This is what I did with the space last year, with sweatercoats at the front. These were a real hit, and we had lots of ladies twirling in them at the front of the stall,  inspired by my friend, Adele, who came to help me wearing her sweatercoat.

I love Woolfest on so many levels. It is enormous fun, with hundreds of like minded souls, who have come together to celebrate wool.

It gave me a huge boost to my new little business, and I was thrilled to have been invited back again this year.

Brown-by-wallJulie and I was been working our socks off to bring lots of new designs. We’ve got dozens of ponchos for toddlers, children, and adults. New in stock are extra large size ponchos, and round necks in response too all who asked for ponchos without hoods.

I’ve got lots and lots of lovely blankets and bedspreads, with my popular hooded baby blankets, lap rugs, and hopefully enough bedpspreads to go round the whole of the stall.

I’ve been busy making sweatercoats and jumpers and have the biggest collection I have ever had at an event! I can’t wait to see what everyone thinks of them!

 

 

SW17.1 Last year there was lots of excitement and a bit of a rush over one very colourful sweatercoat. I have learnt from that, and have fifteen sweatercoats ready all in fabulous colours this year! I even have two rainbow coats ready for the off on Friday morning.

If you are coming to Woolfest, then goody!! Do drop by and say hello – you never know, you might be able to hold the stall while I go for a quick ‘comfort break’!

 

Meanwhile, I’d better get back to the packing. I’ve been labelling and packing for three days now! Still hoping to make some more mens’ jumpers at the beginning of next week, then that’ll be it! Woolfest here I come 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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If it’s good enough for Elvis…

All through my life my younger brother has teased me for being a hippie. As a teenager he would mock my Bob Dylan records, patchouli and joss sticks, and now that I have a business upcycling knitwear into alternative clothing, he now mocks my patchwork ponchos! I asked him, sleek Swiss city dweller that he is, if he would like a hooded patchwork poncho, but not surprisingly he declined. My brother is also a huge fan of Elvis, the rock n roll legend. Elvis-&-London

The good looking guy in this photo is also called Elvis. This Elvis is from California, not Memphis Tennessee, and this Elvis has a patchwork poncho.

Through my dear friends and business associates, Austin and Lindsey from Mr Wolf, the children’s shop in Hexham, little London seen here sitting next to her Daddy, got one of my kids’ patchwork ponchos.

540-template  London loves her Tutti Fruitti poncho, and her mummy is sending me lots of amazing photos from California of London, in her poncho. Here she is at The Angels Stadium, Anaheim, Californis. They tell me The Angels won that night! London’s mummy was so pleased with the little poncho that she asked me to make one for her, Elvis and London.

I was delighted to get this order, and it prompted me to add international sales to my shop, hoping that some of London and Elvis’ friends in California might also want a patchwork poncho. I’m told, however, that they are just entering their boiling hot summer weather so maybe it’ll be a while until I get any orders!

London-Elvis-&-Caroline-2

Elvis, Caroline and London took their ponchos on a boat rip recently to Lake Tahore and showed what excellent holiday wear my ponchos are. Great for slipping over beach wear when you need a bit of warmth.

family-beachElvis is in fact an airline pilot, and I’m hoping that he will soon be sending me a photo of him wearing his patchwork poncho in the cockpit of his 747. Wouldn’t that be cool!

So my dear brother, if it’s good enough for Elvis………..

Ponchos for little people, middle sized people and big people can be found online in the shop over at www.woollypedlar.co.uk  in Kids and Babies, Women’s Clothing, and Men’s Clothing.

I’ll leave you tonight with a photo of one of the men’s ponchos I have online – fab for festivals and outdoor parties! This time it is my handsome younger son who is the model.

MP3.6

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Finding Jumpers to Upcycle

I often get asked, ‘Where do you get all your jumpers from?’

When I made my first pair of armwarmers (see pic) 1st-attemptI got the jumpers for them from one of the charity shops in my local town of Hexham, or maybe even a combination of them. I can’t actually remember. Today I still get a good percentage of my woollies from my local charity shops. The whole purpose of why I’m doing what I’m doing, apart of course from making a living, is to rescue waste and turn it into better things rather than going to landfill – commonly known as upcycling. I therefore ask my local charity shops to keep a special eye out for anything that would normally be going to waste and save it for me. After all, holes can be cut around, bobbles shaved off, and grubby marks washed! I also buy off the shelf and find it best to set aside a day a week to check out what’s new in my local shops

I am really lucky in Hexham to have nearly all the charity shops on board, saving me their waste woollies.

Another wonderful source of good wool jumpers is the Scout’s Jumble Sale in a nearby local village. A love a good jumble sale and remember fondly when my kids were little and jumble sales were much more frequent than they are today.

dollI’m having a wonderful time at our local Farmer’s Market in Hexham where I’ve put out a collecting bin, where local folk can recycle their old jumpers. I’m more than happy to offer a discount or give a pair of armwarmers as a reward. It’s great to keep everything in the local economy too  – you’ll find me down at Hexham Farmer’s Market on every second and fourth Saturday ( next one is 25th April) with my stall full of woolly wares

 

 

 

 

 

BL4.3 As good as the local jumble sales and charity shops are, I found I was still needing more knitwear and in particular, patterned and Fairisle designs. I had a brainwave one day and emailed a knitwear factory up in the Borders of Scotland to ask what happened if they made a mistake in the making of one of their jumpers. I am happy to say we came to an agreement whereby I buy any waste from them whether in the form of odd panels, sleeves, fronts or backs, or seconds.

I also look out for sellers of vintage and secondhand knitwear on Ebay and in the north-east, and sometines travel with my van to secondhand clothing wholesalers.

So that’s it really. It does take a while to collect enough jumpers to stock my stalls throughout the year locally and at festivals. I put a lot of time and effort into collecting the right jumpers and I’m very fussy about the quality and quantity of wool in my products.

If you’ve got any more tips for sourcing sweaters, then do let me know! I understand there are much better opportunities in The States and Australia for finding waste knitwear – do let me know of your experience.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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P, P, P….Pick Up a Poncho

Ok, hand’s up! Who had a poncho back in the 70s? I certainly did – crocheted by my Nanna. It was hideous! White and coral stripes with tassels, lovely! I think it might even have been acrylic.

We’ve been talking today, over on the Woolly Pedlar’s Facebook page, about what you would call a group of ponchos? There have been some great suggestions, from a taco of ponchos, a penchant of ponchos and my favourite, a tequila of ponchos. The urban dictionnary says it is a ponchulation which is just fabulous! Thanks to Jenny for finding that info out for me.

540-templateThis is me in my poncho now. I’d popped into our local Scope shop in Hexham, one of the places where I buy jumpers to recycle, and the manager took this photo. My ponchos are made by cutting out squares from jumpers that might otherwise be destined for the rag man. They may have a hole in or have felted. That’s not a problem for The Woolly Pedlar, I just cut out the good bits and then pass on the scraps to proggy matters! Nothing is wasted.

IMG_1274

I also make ponchos for little people, as Lacey here is showing. The style is the same, a little hood, which gives a cosy neckline, and warm, woolly squares.

We do diddy little sizes – 18-24 month, 3-5 years, 6-7 years, and then adult sizes

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_1263Lacey and her mum are wearing matching ponchos, and are off to find puddles! I’ll have a few matching sets. Online sales too from Feb 1st over at www.woollypedlar.co.uk

 

If you’re out and about in Hexham, then Mr Wolf’s is the place to find my diddy little ponchos, or come and find me at Hexham Farmer’s Market every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month. The first one for me being on Valentine’s Day. Do pop down and say hello if you’re about. If you have any jumpers to recycle, bring them along!

540-template

Mr Wolf’s have commissioned Little Red Riding Hood ponchos which are really cute and have proving really popular.  At the moment, these are exclusive to Mr Wolf’s in Market Street.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knocky

Let’s not leave the lads out either! My ponchos make great festival wear for all the family – this first picture was taken at dear Knockengorrach, a wonderful wee festival up in the Scottish hills. I have made a few ponchos in this full blanket style, which keep you warm from head to toe .

earthy-ponchoI had already thought about making ponchos and then lo and behold, they started appearing on the catwalks of Vogue – brilliant! I do love  poncho,

 

 

 

 

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Pondering Patchwork

I have got my hands on a load of thick wool jackets which were destined for landfill as they have the odd little hole in them and cannot be resold in the second hand shops. They are made from the most wonderful thick wool, but are too thick for making into my sweatercoats and jumpers. They are however, absolutely fantastic when cut into squares or rectangles and used in a patchwork fashion to make blankets and bedspreads.

IMG_4265To make my bedspreads, a cardboard template is used with a sharp pair of scissors, shapes are cut from the jackets before being laid out on the floor, and then sewn together with the trusty overlocker.

 

 

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The one on this photo is loosely based on the log cabin patchwork design, though is my own interpretation of it, as the overlocker does not allow a true log cabin to be sewn.

IMG_1976

 

 

 

I often use this design which I made up for ease of sewing. I cut rectangles, and then sew them into squares using three. I then sew strips of squares and then finally sew all the strip together to form the bedspread. This week I was pondering whether this patchwork form had a name. I asked the question on the Make Do and Mend-able Facebook group page, and found that is was not a Woolly Pedlar invention, but is known as the Rail Fence design. Well, you learn something every day!

 

IMG_0692I certainly had my work cut out with this bedspread. I was given a load of vintage cashmere jumpers by a lady, who recently lost her mum, had requested a memory blanket from them. They were jumpers that went back decades, and held a lot of memories for the lady of her mum. It was a pleasure to make, and the quality of the cashmere, even though the moths has got in and wreaked havoc, was sublime. I managed to cut around the holes and salvage enough cashmere to make this huge bedspread for her. I have a page on my website that explains more about the service I offer with memory blankets.

IMG_1975There is a discussion going on today on my Facebook page, about which finish folk like the best on my bedspreads and blankets. Perhaps you could help by leaving a comment below, or joining in the discussion over on Facebook? The question is, do you prefer the stitching showing, as in this photo of the blue bedspread. By having the stitiching showing, you get a more textured crinkly finish, with the stitching becoming a feature, and offering the possibility of using a contrasting thread for added interest.

 

IMG_4278 Or, do you prefer the most traditional finish with the stitching hidden, giving a smoother finish?

If you are visiting our lovely market town of Hexham in Northumberland, then you can see some of my recent bespreads on display and available to purchase at the wonderful, eclectic Robinson-Gay Gallery on Market Street.

 

 

 

Many thanks for reading. You can sign up for my monthly newsletter by hitting the subscribe button on the home page or following this link:

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I’ll love and leave you now, with a photo of the patchwork quilt my Great Aunt Vera made for my husband and I for our wedding, thirty years ago. It is a wonderful piece of work, with every tiny stitch handsewn, and made to the highest standard. It is a most treasured possession.

wedding-ring-patchwork

 

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Getting some help

‘Recycled, Upcycled and Handmade by Me’ has been the message on the sign above my stall for the last couple of years, and I’ve taken great pride in the fact that I’ve made everything myself.

However, The Woolly Pedlar brand has gone from strength to strength and I just can’t make enough to meet demand anymore. It’s time to get some help.

Meet Julie, who I met at Brocksbushes Christmas Fair and who is my knight in shining armour. Julie has her own small business, teaching sewing classes and working as a freelance seamstress. I will still be designing my creations, choosing the colours and making my jumpers and sweatercoats myself, but Julie will be joining the Woolly Pedlar team to help with sewing blankets, ponchos and other projects when I need a bit of extra help.

1234883_10151651157005958_129562289_nI’m also enlisting some help in cutting out squares for blankets and ponchos. My patchwork ponchos have been a best selling item this winter, thanks to ponchos seeing a revival on the catwalks. I’ve been over the moon with how popular they’ve been, both with adults and children. The lovely children’s shop, Mr Wolf in Hexham has sold dozens of little diddy ponchos for me. However, this has meant hundreds and hundreds of squares have had to be cut out from recycled jumpers. My lovely daughter Hannah has come to the rescue, along with another couple of students. I now give them a pile of jumpers in a particular colourway, a sharp pair of dress making scissors and a template, with the instructions to cut the jumpers into 4inch or 6inch squares, and pay them by the hour.

When I tentatively made my first pair of armwarmers, I had no idea that in a couple of years I would be employing staff! I am over the moon with how my little business has grown, and am looking forward to 2015, and having a well stocked online shop (announcement about this coming very soon) as well as plenty for folk to choose from at the markets and festivals I will be attending.

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Thanks for reading, til the next time, keep cosy and all the very best

Sue,

The Woolly Pedlar

 

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