Life is indeed a stitch!
Berryhill Heirlooms and Susie Gay present techniques, heirloom sewing, hand embroidery and other musings. Come and join in the fun with Susie, a Home Economist, and savor a little rest from your hectic day...and yes, it's a Degree she uses every day!

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Silk Ribbon UFO's

Several years ago I was very fortunate enough to win a raffle basket at the Smocking Arts Guild of America National Convention. It was loaded with gorgeous kits and patterns from the late Beverly Sheldrick of New Zealand. Her work and designs were legendary! Beautiful silk fabrics, lots of silk ribbon embroidery and unique designs....breathtaking to say the least! So I grabbed two of the small kits to work on while teaching at the latest SAGA Convention two weeks ago just to have on hand but didn't get around to working on them until now.

The first came about because there were no scissors of any kind allowed on planes, and Beverly flew around the world a lot on long flights. So she designed this lovely little "pouch" to hold a silk ribbon threader that just happens to have a little tiny cutter on the other end of it, which was allowed on the planes. It's called the "Traveler's Joy" kit. Very small, with a cord that ties onto the threader and there's a safety pin on the back to attach to clothing so it doesn't get lost. Great idea, fun small project done in a day!


The second small kit is the "Heart Pin Cushion", s beautiful heart with lots of Spider Web Roses in three colors of pink ribbon. She mentions in the instructions that the "idea of the garland was suggested by an old Victorian postcard". Oh My Goodness.....I had one similar to what she suggested! Take a look at the photo below......

This is the finished pincushion!!
And the back...

I substituted and made a pink and green cord for the hanger and as a surround to the heart pincushion.
What an interested coincidence. This kit took longer to make but the Spider Web Roses are fun to stitch and easy to do. It's what I call a lot of Bang for your Buck. In other words, a lot of gorgeous effects with very little effort.

Happy Stitching!!

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Scissor Making

 Have you ever stopped and thought about how important scissors are to our daily lives? You literally can't live without them. They're used in doctor's offices, for surgeries, offices, kitchens, stores...just about anywhere you can think of, and of course, especially for needlework and sewing!

They have a long history starting with a type like pinchers....the precursor of what we have today. This example above, Roman period shears, A.D. 2nd century perhaps, Turkey Anatolia, from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Online Collection. The Romans eventually developed cross blade scissors that had a center pivot. But the modern style of scissors that we know today didn’t evolve until the sixteenth century, possibly by the Venetians, although some earlier ones have been found from the fourteenth century. 

But did you ever think about how they're made? They are hot-drop forged steel. The hot-drop forged process significantly improved the problem of dulling by the mid-19th century. The process shapes metal and significantly increases its strength by forcing or dropping an upper die against a heated, stationary lower die, hence the name “hot drop forging”. 

In looking for photos for the process I came across this You-Tube video:

ww.youtube.com › watch

Hand Forging Scissors - YouTube

 It's 15 minutes long and by Greg GS Tongs....it makes you really think how far humanity has come and how easily, and cheaply, it is to buy a good pair of scissors. 

Enjoy and happy stitching!


Tuesday, August 23, 2022

More Break Sewing

Kits for two upcoming classes are completed so it's time to make something fun for myself. When ordering fabrics for the Purse Reticule kits I ordered some fabric for a shirt to go with some very special 'buttons" that I inherited from my mother. Aren't they interesting?


They are authentic Southwest silver buttons inlaid with turquoise and stamped with a cross motif. I've had them for years. They cannot be sewn permanently on because of washing the shirt, so I plan to use either "button pins" or cotter pins  so they can be removed prior to cleaning. I'll use the button pins after researching the value of these beautiful buttons: definitely more secure! Only having enough of them for the shirt front, I used some plain black buttons on the cuffs.

 I stitch small round holes for the button shank to peek through the garment front and attach either cotter pin or button pin (see the photo above for cotter pins), and stitch regular button holes on the other side.

If you look really close, one of the button pins is through the button shank over the black fabric just off center to the left....yes, it's a bad picture!

Black fabric was the best choice, and the addition of white dots works nicely. Relating elements in this project are dots and circles, and the black fabric relates to the stamped design in the buttons.  The fabric is a linen/rayon blend and washed up beautifully. Not to be too plain, I am using a black and white stripe line pique (leftover from my Ascot doll outfit class) on the collar stand and cuffs.

This will be great to wear with jeans or black pants, and it's comfortable.
Happy Stitching and Sewing!