Sashiko hot water bottle cover
This hot water bottle was one of my husband’s Christmas presents. I made the cover from some felted wool given to me by a colleague, and embellished it with some sashiko embroidery – my first try at this beautiful Japanese stitching technique. I chose a pattern that symbolizes prosperity, both because of the meaning and because I liked the look of the stitch. It was also one of the less complicated patterns!
I got inspired to make the hot water bottle cover by TeresaDownUnder’s Stipple Quilted Hot Water Bottle Cover tutorial on her blog, Patchwork, which I first found through the wonderful Sew, Mama, Sew! blog. I didn’t do the stipple quilting but I did follow her instructions for making the pieces.
I used the button off an old jacket for a closure
For a lining I cut up an old pillowcase and drew the pattern onto it as a guide. I added a layer of quilt batting in the middle, so with the felted wool I ended up with quite a padded hot water bottle cover. Luckily, the heat still comes through and it’s just the right warmth to have in the bottom of the bed. Because the layers were so padded, I did the sashiko stitching only through the top surface of the felted wool layer.
I loved working with the sashiko needle – it was much firmer than a regular embroidery needle, so I could guide the fabric onto it rather than guiding it through the fabric. I did a lot of the stitching on a very bouncy train journey, and it still turned out pretty evenly!
I’m going to use sashiko again in future projects. The look of the patterns and the action of the embroidery is very meditative and relaxing. I love the traditional look of the white/ivory thread on a dark background, but I think I may also experiment with lots of colours to see what can happen.
Dripping Kitty button
I’m almost ashamed to say how long this project took – and it’s not even done yet! It all started with a set of 4 fabric-covered ‘Washing Day’ buttons from Creamrose on Etsy. I saw them and had to have them. The dripping kitty and laundry-basket doggie were just too cute. I knew they’d be great for a pillow, so I bought some embroidery threads in matching colours and decided that it would be practice for hand-quilting. For the pillow top, I used a piece of fabric measuring about 40x40cm, cut from one of those shoe bags that they give you with fancy shoes that you never ever will use for storing the shoes because you already have a system for shoes, which is usually to shove them in your closet and have them fall all over the place, and then the battered old hiking boots suddenly get on top and are shedding crusty mud flakes everywhere…
Laundry Basket Doggie
My plan was simple. I would embroider diagonal lines along the fabric and then sew the buttons in place. I would use the three colours (light rose, butternut orange, and baby blue) in whatever order I liked, and the lines didn’t have to be evenly spaced (or even that straight – and they weren’t). It was actually really fun to do it as something to have in my hands while watching DVDs, and it was also very soothing and relaxing (although I did poke myself an uncountable number of times with my very sharp needle, causing disruptive adrenaline rushes). But it took so long that I must admit that I embroidered through the entire Season 1 of The Wire on DVD (plus some full-length Poirot mysteries) before I was done!
I have to go out and get a pillow form today so I can finish it up. Then that’ll be one project I can check off my list!
Washing Day buttons and embroidery