Thursday 28 May 2015

Downton Swap

I recently participated in the "Downton Swap" which was hosted on Instagram by @amber_crawley and @rockislander 
Participants were asked to create a mug rug for their swap partner together with two handmade items of their choice, although we were asked to keep our partner's preferences in mind with regard to any particular favourites that they had specified in their application form and on their inspiration mosaics. 
All photos on Instagram were posted with the hashtags #downtonswap  There are some amazing photos in this feed so please check them out when you have time to do so. 
Our partners were secret so we did not know who was making for us - at least we wouldn't know until our parcel arrived.  And who we made for may not be the same person who was making for us.  Our dispatch deadline was 24 February.
I was ecstatic to discover that my swap partner was one of my quilting friends Alison White @alisonwhite31 who lives down in Melbourne.  I've known Alison for quite a while and have been looking for a way to repay some recent generosity that she had sent my way.  I was determined to spoil her rotten! 
I was told that Alison likes: The Dowager Countess Violet Crawley (upstairs) and Bates (downstairs).  She loved the quote by the Dowager "what is a weekend?"  She loves Christmas, the flower show, dinner parties and the early morning for the staff when the bells start ringing. Her preferences were: something decorative, scissor keep (for embroidery scissors), pincushion, just about anything.  Alison doesn't like solids but is fond of retro type designers like Lori Holt, Figtree & Co, polka dots, cutesy Japanese prints and Pam Kitty fabrics.  She also liked the mellow toned Downton range of fabrics by Andover.
The mosaic that Alison posted
Armed with this information I set out on my secret squirrel mission and this is what I created for Alison:
Alison's entire Downton parcel of awesomeness.

"I'm Down With Downton Abbey" is a cross stitch pattern by Lisa LeBlanc of Cottage Nest.  The finished size was 8.5" x 7.5" which I then machine sewed to a grey polka dot fabric "Flurry" by Dashwood Studios, and attached to a stretched canvas frame.  The finished product can easily be wall mounted or will sit upright on a ledge.
another view of "I'm Down with Downton Abbey" hanging on the wall
Two fridge magnets which I purchased off eBay
A cookbook, Twinings English Morning Tea, and some buttons.
Pincushion, Pouch, Scissor Case and Needle Book (based on the "Roses on Parade" patterns by Val Laird published in "Crafts to Stitch" No 4).  The Downton Abbey quilt labels are by Andover and I used these together with some matching polka dot fabric and some vintage lace which I tea dyed.
A key fob which I made from Downton Abbey fabric by Andover.
The Mug Rug I made from Downton fabric by Andover.  I printed the picture of the Dowager Countess onto fabric and appliqued it by hand.  The embroidered text reads "Are you drinking tea from a bag?  How middle class." 
I added a mini charm pack of Aloha Girl by Fig Tree & Co - one of Alison's favourite fabric designers.
I used this washi tape to decorate the parcels as it reminded me of the fancy jewellery that Alison had included in her mosaic.
I added this cross stitch pattern in with the parcel.  It was one of my original ideas but I soon realised that I would not have the time to make it.
This was how I wrapped Alison's parcel, in pretty polka dot paper & decorated with schmancy washi tape & Downton fabric scraps.  The rotary cutter is hiding Alison's name & address on the envelope.
So, what did Alison think when she received it?  You be the judge:

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