xmlns:fb='http://ogp.me/ns/fb#' OriginalStitch

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Personalised Birthday Picture

Being a bit of a stitcher, it's difficult not to use my skills when making birthday presents. Sneakily, I accumulated dates, memories, phrases, and favourites from my brother's family and friends, and compiled it into this big pint of memories. I think he was quite chuffed to see his life's work so far thus immortalised. And it's not often you get to stitch cricket bats, chillis, or very roughly rendered New Zealands...
Hoop up, de-hoop, hoop up, de-hoop...big piece of work!

The back, and my practice piece. How tricky are footballs?!

Not every day you stitch Lego pieces, that's for sure

I love selvedges, and they're perfect for hiding staples on the frame!
My favourite bit? James' mountain bike.
Zoom in and have a good look. Which is your favourite bit?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The ABC of Product Invention

We had a very silly Facebook thread going on the other day, after an equally silly conversation between Amanda and I, which went something like this.

"I find it so hard to know what the best products would be for us to make, sometimes..."
"I know, I mean - some are obvious, like the Great British Tea Cosy, but some are less so - I mean, with the demise of plastic bags, would we ever consider making plastic bag holders?"
"Exactly. And also, frankly, I just want to make EVERYTHING out of fabric. Everything in the world."
"Like what?"
"Cake tins, glasses case, cars, walls...."
"I think maybe that's going a bit far. The cakes wouldn't stay moist, silly."
"So let's just get the alphabet to decide what we make."
"Oooh! Yes! And our customers. And Facebook. They will have The Answers We Seek"

And we are delighted to announce the results of our highly professional market research on what products we could viably add to our portfolio, yes, yes....

A: Apron
B: Bag
C: Catamaran. No, cushion cover.
D: Door-Stop, Dotty Something, Door-Pockets
E: Egg-cosy
F: Finger Cloth, Floor Cloth, Fabric Fridge Magnets
G: Grain Storage Bag, Gardening Apron, Garden Kneeler
H: Haberdashery Pockets
I: Ironing Board Cover
J: Jam Jar Covers, Jewellery Roll
K: Kitchen Towel, Key Fob, Kettle Cosy (ok, we just liked the word kettle, ok?) Knitting Needle Case
L: Lampshade Covers
M: Mug-Cosy
N: Needlecase
O: Oven-Gloves, and our Over-Door Storage Pockets
P: Placemats, Patchwork anything! Pillows
Q: Quilts
R: Rag Rugs
S: Shopper, Spectacle Case,
T: Travel Laundry Bag, Tea Cosy of course,
U: Umbrella Holder
V: Vacuum Bag Holder, Violin Case Cover, Votive Candle Holder Mat!
W: Welly Cuffs
X: Hm. Xylophone Case
Y: Yarn, for tassles
Z: Zen Yoga Mat Bag, Zebra Bag (no, you're right, there is no such thing.)

Click here for the whole silly conversation if you like, and rest assured we shall of course launch every single one of these in due course.  Ahem.  Or maybe some of them.

What? What's that you say?  We forgot some?!  Tell us!
Well. It's a given, right?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Coffee & Alpacas: Spinning a Yarn

Alpacas!  And alpaca babies!

Sneak peek at some of their stuff, awaiting new shelves

Unpacking and Alpacas

Works Outing!  We needed to drop by and visit our friend Kirsty, of Moss Stitch Yarns, so we could beg her to lend us her gorgeous home for our new patchwork product range photoshoot, and bribe her with some brand new oven gloves.

Kirsty has recently moved to some new premises, where she shares her workspace with the lovely Liz of Chalkshire Alpacas in Buckinghamshire, who runs workshops and spins, dyes and knits yarns into products for sale.  They grabbed a break from pots of paint and bits of old wood, which they were valiantly wielding to make shelves and display stands for their workspace, so they could show me their wares.

We had a lovely warm half hour, basking in the spring sunshine in their cabin, while Liz untangled a gigantahoosive ball of wool, Kirsty made coffee, and I talked expansively with my hands, panicking when I got very excited that I was going to throw coffee all over their yarns.

Ethical and Fairtrade

A box of Kirsty's yarns
Kirsty, like us, has a keen ethical and environmental basis to her work - she imports and supplies many wools which are fairtrade or ethically produced, and of course, there is nothing better than dyeing and spinning yarns from animals you can actually see from your workshop window.  Liz has been working with the alpacas for years, dyeing their wools, and running knitting groups which include a walk to see the alpacas.

I was desperate to see the various woolly creatures in the fields beyond so I could say hi to them, probably in the voice I use for babies and animals.  It's not pretty, the voice, I'll be honest, but I think you'll find that ALL babies, without exception - including currently my little tiddler nephews - love it, especially when it's teamed with my grinning, gurning, funny-looking face.  Animals also.  Alpacas like a funny-looking face as much as the next ungulate.

A Stroll in a Natural Setting

When I was a kid we had a cavalier King Charles spaniel, so I was pretty pleased to see some clamouring at the gate as we strolled towards the woollier animals.  Kirsty too, apparently, because she has accidentally taken one of the puppies home with her.  That's what you get when you team up with alpacas, Kirsty. Puppies. Just leave it at that for now, eh?  Don't go taking any alpacas home...even babies, coz they DO get a bit bigger.

Kirsty, with her puppy's Mum

And why not? A barge in the yard.
Chook Truck!
Wheely comfy, if you're a chicken.

Kirsty gathers and forages for whisps of fleece, mainly amongst the poo.
Lovely alpacas, who look like they're wearing woolly leggings.

You can catch Kirsty over at her Facebook Page, Moss Stitch and go follow her, @mossy_mosstitch on Twitter too of course; why not go and say hi?  You can talk to her about the Chalkshire alpacas too, while Liz is in the process of getting on board with technology.  

And we'll keep you posted on our imminent photoshoots, in Kirsty's lovely home, where you'll see our new range of patchwork products.  Launching soon!

Why not pop your email address in our newsletter box up top there?  Then you'll be first to know when the new range and the new website are launched.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

A Day in Pictures: In the Workshop

This week, nothing but images of our new patchwork products in the making, and some of the (bonkers) quotes that come out of it.  This is a day in the life of Amanda and I, as we create in the workshop.  It'll be just like you're here with us!  In which case, put the kettle on, eh, love?

If you enjoyed this nonsense, then come follow us on Twitter where there's even more. And tell us in a comment below the most ridiculous thing you've said today. The more out of context the better!

Thursday, March 01, 2012

'Patchwork Colourway' Competition Winners!

Sneak peek: Tea Cosy loop in Mermaid
As you probably know, we make all sorts of lovely kitchen, laundry and kids' gifts, but we only use recycled and vintage fabrics, so it can be quite tricky telling you what colour your products are going to be...

The perfect answer to this, and frankly to any question you might ask, ever, including:
  • What's the best way to use up old fabrics?
  • What's the nicest and most attractive way to turn scraps into something gorgeous?
  • What's a nice quirky British look for a big year in Britain's sporting calendar?
  • What's the capital of Peru?
....is, Patchwork Fabric Colourways!  Ok, so maybe not the Peru one, but I'm not kidding when I say we feel patchwork is the answer to all the Puzzlements in the Known Universe. 

Brand New Colourways for 2012!

We've come up with 4 lovely Colourways, which will feature in ALL our products (except the Kids' Collection which has its own simpler Colourways) and although we just about managed to name the first one we put together - 'Jellybean' - we could not narrow down the others, despite innumerable cups of tea and some expert head-scratching.  So we came to you, and you helped by voting for, or suggesting a load of fabulous names.

So without further ado, and accompanied by a small drum roll, we give you..... 



Dolly Mixture

Thanks so much to Eve Miller, whose suggestion 'Mermaid' we chose instead of our offerings!  Eve will get a little surprise pressie from us in the post soon.  Thanks Eve!

When it came to drawing a prizewinner, we were a bit bored of putting names in a hat; so we decided to find a new way of getting the winner's name, via Elefun.  Yes, that's right. When in doubt, raid your children's games cupboard, take a shockingly poor quality video, and job done.  I can confirm it WAS more fun.  As soon as the video is edited, we'll shove it up here so you can see how extremely professional we are.

And the winner was.........Sharon Wells!

Sharon will be able to choose an OriginalStitch product from the website as soon as we launch them in about a month, in one of our new Colourways.  Lucky lady.  She'll be practically the very first customer!

Thanks for your support...

We'd like to thank you all very much for your inspiration, your time in voting or suggesting, and your interest in our happy little company, where we strive to be ethical and eco-friendly in all we do.  If we could kiss you we would, mwah, mwahhhhh.

Right now we're busy making and photographing the products, ready for launch soon.  We'll keep you all posted about the launch of these colourways here on the blog, on Facebook, Twitter and by newsletter (pop yer email in at box up at left, see it?) 


Sneak Peek: New apron design in Mermaid

Friday, February 10, 2012

Green Living: Book Review of 'Second Skin' by India Flint

Gorgeous images inspire. And frankly, make me a little jealous!

If you're into making do and mending, living sustainably, or even just trying to thrift a bit and save money; if you're creative, love textiles, love beautiful imagery or just love a good, hearty coffee table book; if you're all or some of the above, then Second Skin by India Flint could be the title to add to your wishlist.
"Almost from the moment of our birth we are wrapped in textiles of one form or another..."

While India's book at first glance looks like a beautifully rendered reflection of her values, philosophies and thoughts about her place on the planet, it is also surprisingly choc-a-bloc full of hints, tips, tutorials, patterns and suggestions of how you can get more out of your clothes and textiles.

So I was torn between settling down with a cup of tea and doing some gentle Sunday reading, and my usual frenetic gobbling up of a craft book, which involves leaping up in a frenzy of inspiration to start on something before I've even finished the book, or indeed, read the instructions.
We all love a how-to! Good little graphics inspire you to rummage in your wardrobe

For example, a whole chapter is dedicated to repurposing your clothes, including such quirky and inspirational ideas as:
  • Working out what will suit you by making a paper doll of yourself and playing with clothes shapes to work out what suits you;
  • Dividing your wardrobe into Keepers, Tweakers, Throwers, Swappers, and Rippers
  • A host of re-purposing ideas and talk-throughs such as:
    • Over-dyeing stained clothes
    • A short skirt into a shopping bag
    • Jeans into a picnic bag
    • Jumpers into cushions
    • Turning two jumpers and an old silk shirt into a long cardigan
    • Making a pinafore from an old skirt
Added to these lovely practical how-to's, are a gallery of wonderful images from inspirational textiles artists and refashioning gurus, and lovely pictures of India's dyeing projects.  She also gives you the no-nonsense, undeniable facts about some of the abominable environmental crises the fashion industry is responsible for; a good reason we should all change our thinking, and our actions, when it comes to the clothes we wear, a fact India sums up with a quote from fashion writer Lou Pardi:

"Modern production of clothing is an environmental and social disaster"

The book is beautifully written - full of whimsy and nostalgia, as well as practical and down-to-earth information on fibres, fabrics, washing notes, dyeing clothes and looking after them.  I was delighted to see that the index, a benchmark of a publication truly valued by its publishers but often a victim of cost-cutting, is refreshingly good, at 6 pages long.  It did well in some nasty tests I applied to it - I looked for English words such as 'jumper' to test its suitability for the UK market, and some vague terms like 'chemicals' and 'recycling' to test depth, and it didn't disappoint - it reflects the wealth of information and detail in India's work.
The book is graphically attractive, the colours natural

This is a book from a person for whom textiles is as intimately a part of her life as her skin is; Second Skin is a lovely expression of India's belief that we should all take care in what we put next to our, and our families', bodies.

I love this book - it is a treasure that I dip into when I have a quiet moment.  I hope you will love it too.

You can see what other lovelies Murdoch Books have in their stash too.  I follow Murdoch on twitter at @MurdochBookUK ; and of course you can follow our twitterings at @OriginalStitch  But don't blame me when you drool over Murdoch's library and find your wallet accidentally relieved of cash, ok?

Images taken from Second Skin by India Flint, published by Murdoch Books

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Name that Colourway: Part 3! Pastel Pinks

Look...look....oh, so pretty!

You're sick of this now aren't you?! 
Well, that'll teach you to be so creative and full of wondrous name ideas, you talented, attractive, gorgeous bunch, you.  (Feeling bigged up now?!)

This is the final of our Colourway naming competitions, and is one of four new patchwork fabric colourways we are introducing for our 2012 Collections of eco-friendly gifts and homewares products.

Your favourite of our Reds/Pinks/Oranges was our


to which we've added the excellent suggestions

Popping Candy
Pink Abyss
Tutti Frutti

Thanks to Lisa, Ethel and Gemma for those fab ideas!  Amanda and I will scratch our poor puzzled heads to make a final decision on the two sets of name ideas we already have, ready for the grand unveiling in a week or so of all our new patchwork colourways!

So pop over to our Pastels Colourway Survey and vote for your favourite, or tell us what you think it should be called.  It'll take you about, ooh, I dunno, 8 seconds. 

Thank you, you handsome, pretty devils, you. 

If these patchwork colourways are tickling your fancy, and you'd like products made from them, do pop your name in right at the top there for our email newsletters.

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