Friday, February 2, 2018

Patterns, patterns, more patterns!

Draw, draft, edit, print, edit, print. Repeat.

Well... I did make beef stock today 
whilst I was going cross eyed on the computer.
So that's some healthy news, yum for later.

Time to step away from the paperwork
 and do some stitching. 

Find new patterns of 
Cee Rafuse's design collection
Mrs. Brown's Sewing Kit
Early Menagerie Rug
Roosters at Sunrise
Menagerie Rug

Mrs. Brown's Sewing Kit pattern;
 © Cee Rafuse Early Style Penny Rugs
and Colleen MacKinnon Penny Rugs and More

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Wool, the nature of the fibre

I wrote this article earlier last year for members of Cee's and my Facebook group
Thought I'd share it here for everyone.  
The two links I've included at the end are very good reference

Wool, the nature of the fibre 
This is the most asked question when making a penny rug:
How do I felt wool? 
First understand the properties of wool, it is organic. 
All wool is different, just like the sheep and goats
that give up their coats for it. 
Looking under a microscope you can see the scales on wool, cuticles. 
Treat your wool sweater to a hot wash, the scales
will open and then close, 
never to open again, that’s why wool will felt
....essentially it shrinks. 
For penny rugs we don’t need to use pure wool. 
you can make a penny rug from a fabric 
that is a blend or not wool at all. 
We do want to use something that is soft, 
durable, and tightly woven. 
 That is the nature of wool when it is fulled or felted. 
Woven or knit,
 it has been my experience when felting wool to use 
a warm water wash and then a cold rinse.
You are saying that everyone told you to use hot
water, right or wrong? 
Read on for cautionary wisdom.
Certainly, hot water will full your wool, and oh my, one
day you will pull a beautiful cloth from your washer
that is so thick you can use it straight away for a doormat. 
So before you ruin a gorgeous wool fabric, start
with a warm wash and cold rinse. 

 If your fabric doesn’t felt, 
well maybe it was treated at the factory not to shrink at all. 
That’s a process and a trademark called SuperWash ®. 

 If your wool fabric did felt up, but not as
much as you’d like, you might want it thicker and tighter,
 then go ahead and toss it back in a hot wash.
 It’s been my experience that the agitation and heat
will further open the scales and the fabric will be fuller.
 A hot dryer can further the process, 
however the fabric will fluff. 
Perhaps you don’t want it fluffy, that’s fine,
 hang it to dry and save the energy expense.
Remember that the process of stitching the
 wool pieces in place, circles or shapes, 
will hold any lose fibres. 
 So, if the wool is a blend or not completely fulled, 
your stitches will hold it in place.
 That is what wool applique and penny rugs are about. 

Use up and make do. 
Most of all, enjoy your project.

Colleen MacKinnon
February 2017©
Read these two great articles: 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

From the Scrap Bin

I think it's time for a quick project. What to do?
How about using up some
 of that "over-felted" wool. 
You know, those pieces that are 
a bit too thick to make into soft pennies?
Those pieces that you keep pushing to one side.

I worked out this little change purse
 made entirely by hand, no machine work.
Of course, you can use your machine if you like.
I started with 2 x 3.5 inch circles of very dark green wool.
It photographed as black. 
Any colour will do just fine.
And a zipper, any size longer than 5 1/2" will do.
You'll need to cut 7 x 3/4" circles
 for a flower design.
You can see a rug that I made entirely with this design here
I posted a play by play of it on YouTube.
However, you can applique any design you like.
So...start with two 3.5 inch circles
If your zipper is longer than 5 1/2 inches, 
make some back stitches to shorten it.

 Easy, peasy. 
Now cut the zipper with about
 1/4" to 1/2" to spare.

More fun, start your applique:

Now to add the zipper.
Open it fully and put right side of the zipper
 to back side of your large circle.
Begin a running stitch to attach the zipper
Then fill in the running stitch, 
this will make the zipper secure.
Or you could do a back stitch all the way along.
Same result.
Attach the second circle in the same fashion:
Now match the wrong sides together 
and stitch from one end of the zipper 
to the other end, 
closing the purse with a blanket stitch.

Be sure to start and stop at each end with a secure back stitch.

Done! A cute little handmade wool coin purse!

Look for kits in my Etsy Shop

Happy New Year 2018!
hugs from


Friday, December 8, 2017

Writing and Editing - another one done

It takes me about 2-3 weeks to put together a pattern. 

I've been slowing writing all of Cee Rafuse's patterns. 
Many more to come.  

This is a favourite of mine. 
The Marriage Rug.

You may remember I blogged about it here
when I stitched her kit my way, with bound edges. 

There are many variations of this rug,
 but the most unique way
 is Cee's Marriage Rug, 
it is a true family heirloom. 

Cee Rafuse of Early Style Penny Rugs.  The Marriage Rug.

Find the written pattern, with templates and instructions, now in my Etsy Shop

Monday, November 6, 2017

Making Room

 Making changes. Good changes.
A sneak peak into my studio. 

My collection of sewing machine drawers finally has a home.
They are great for holding small things.  
The knob at the end makes for a great hanging spot for my thread cutter.

Check out the wood "heart in hand" down on the lower left. 
It's one of my favourite helping hands.  
David Schump of the Art Tramp made it for me.
It's a floss holder and a pin cushion... 
you'll have to look closely so see the little velvet cushion sitting on the ledge, 
it is attached with a ribbon.