Thursday, July 26, 2018

A Penny for My Thoughts and France

It's about time I finished a tutorial. 
I've been working on this one for a while.

In between my husband and I selling our life long
family business last fall,
leaving me (and him) retired from our day jobs,
 I realized what burn out really is. 

As well, I am still missing my dear friend Missy.... 
2017 sadly closed with the loss of two of my friends. 
Gather your friends and family, hold them close,
 you never know when you'll say goodbye.

Then months of burying myself into drafting, writing, and editing
 patterns for my friend, penny mat master and cohort,
Cee Rafuse of Early Style Penny Rugs.
Good therapy. 

Now here I am into 2018,
 happy and relaxed after a fabulous creative retreat in France. 
There I indulged and was spoiled with 15 creative women that I did not know.
All at the beautiful Chateau Dumas in Toulouse, France.
 Heaven on earth and a new formed sisterhood.
 Something better than good. 

I think I can turn the corner now and
 be what I've been longing to be again....creative.

You my friends get a "two-fer"
Pictures of France and a tutorial all in one!

 (I really am a goof)

 Now for that long overdue tutorial:
A random layout of greens and reds (because I love red)

I taped the rows and numbered them so I wouldn't forget my random layout.

 Which was a good thing considering how long this project waited for me.
Center row basted down.

Tip; I remove some of the "stick" of the tape on my jeans before I put it on the wool.
Gathered all into one of my many cigar boxes, and there is sat and sat and sat.
Stitching again! 
I am using an overdyed #10 crochet cotton with a #20 Chenille needle. 
Both are my favourites.

Hold the penny in place with a french knot.
 Apropos, oui mai non?

Bring your needle up from below

Begin a slanted blanket stitch

Here is where you "close" the blanket stitch, 
join the two bottoms of the stitch in the middle.
It looks rather lacey doesn't it?

Do you see how it is simply an angled and closed blanket stitch?

Doing it again

And again

End the circle with the needle into the first stitch.

So far so good, some pink and orange in there to keep it random. Make your mat any size, you can add or subtract rows. It doesn't have to end in points. Choose your own style.
 No worries, I will show you how I line the back of this rug
 and hide all those unsightly threads.

Keep going, stitch down the rows that you neatly taped and set aside.
Tip; notice here that I placed a stitch holding row number 12 tape as a marker.
The marker is so that I would know which end is which, and which way is up.
You can be really random and just pick a penny from your stash, 
just keep stitching them down.


Apply masking tape to all sides to create an even cutting edge.

Trim away the excess using the tape as a guide. Gently remove the tape.

Lay right side down onto a fabric for the backing.

Trim away excess backing fabric, matching the size of penny mat.

Pin well, allow an opening to turn to right side.

Sew all sides, not too close to the finished pennies. Pivot at corners and remember to leave an opening on one side of about 3 - 4 inches for turning.

Here is my opening.

Trim the seams down to 1/2 or 1/4" and clip corners.
After you turn your mat inside out, be careful at the corners. 
Use something blunt to push them out, GENTLY, don't push through the fabric.
Or you can pull them gently from the outside with a strong needle.
This is mine turned through the opening and pressed with a warm iron.
(Press on the backside, or cover the front with a pressing cloth)

Sew the opening closed with a ladder or whip stitch.

Find real wool pennies in my Etsy Shop

Yours, Colleen


  1. Perfection. I love that stitch. Saved to my penny folder which oddly enough has a lot of you in it : D
    BTW Fabulous photo of you!

  2. Oh la la ! Love this slant stitch :0)
    Looks like you had a wonderful time in France, The french really do know how do live and spoil themselves. Happy Sewing and thanks so much for the tutorial.

  3. Such a beautiful journey, woman, and rug!