Free & Easy Stitching

As a reader of sewing blogs, it’s hard for me to be inspired by books and magazines anymore.  I still look at books and sometimes purchase them, but when I find a one that is fresh and original to me, it’s a real gem.  My latest inspiration: Free & Easy Stitch Style by Poppy Treffry.  Besides having the coolest name, she has put together a fun and enjoyable read.  I personally don’t have a free and easy bone in my body.  In fact, I am very  much measured, structured and deliberate in everything I do, which makes being free and easy something I need to consciously work at.

Inspired, I decided to try my hand at reproducing Squerryes Court, a beautiful estate in Kent, UK (aka “Hartford” to those of us who saw the 2009 BBC series, “Emma”).

Photo by Bacon Sandwich, creative commons license, some rights reserved.

My first attempt: 

Squerryes Court2

 I have a feeling if Poppy could see this, she would be appalled at the structure – the straight cuts and right angles.  My apologies, Poppy!  

2nd attempt – bolder on the thread and drawing the shapes free hand.

Doodle Stitching
  Less structure, no measuring.  Less detail, more fun. 

Doodle Stitching

Can you guess which one I like better?

Doodle Stitching
Yep, the happy one – even though it looks like it was scribbled by a 5-year-old child. It has a joy and simplicity all it’s own.  Something that only a piece with imperfections can have.

15 Responses to “Free & Easy Stitching”


  1. 1 Beth June 14, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Very cool! I like the happy one the best, too. And I’m having similar feelings about books and magazines. A blog is always changing and constantly has new ideas. A book is limited to one window in time and can seem dated fairly quickly.

    • 2 craftapple June 14, 2010 at 9:32 am

      You know what I’ve found also? That the time it takes for a book to get to press makes it almost obsolete if the projects are similar to what is seen on blogs. I’ve purchased new books before where the things I’m seeing look like what I saw last year. It’s obviously not the fault of the author – it’s just a sign of the times, I suppose.

  2. 3 Cindy June 14, 2010 at 9:20 am

    Very nice! I’ll have to check out the book. I love that version of Emma too. BBC does it the best. Maybe you should try Pemberly next.🙂

    • 4 craftapple June 14, 2010 at 9:34 am

      Big BBC fan here, too. 🙂 I hadn’t seen the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice – just the movie version – so I just Netflixed it! Pemberly would be quite a challenge – it’s gigantic! I can only imagine how hard it would be to clean each one of the 50 rooms in that mansion.

  3. 5 UK lass in US June 14, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    One of my pet peeves about sewing is how hard it is to sew a perfect straight line – I should learn to embrace the imperfections more. Probably something to do with having a draughtsman for a dad.

    You should like the BBC P & P – they kept it pretty close to the book, which makes a nice change. I found the vhs version at Goodwill. I might be needing to watch that again this summer – unwinding after days spent with my kids winding me up…

    I’ve only bought 3 sewing books – but I keep forgetting to follow patterns and go off on my own tangents anyway. I’d learn a lot more if I followed patterns.

    • 6 craftapple June 16, 2010 at 12:18 pm

      Hi Dawn, You know, I have a ton of sewing books, but rarely make anything out of them. I’m like you in that I rarely follow anyone else’s patterns. I learn best when I make my own mistakes. 🙂 My Netflix Pride and Prejudice should be here tomorrow. It really is a nice way to unwind. 🙂

  4. 7 apeppermintpenguin June 19, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Wow! I think you have really embraced the concept. I haven’t gotten very far with that book. I think I’m too, erm *particular* (!) for the whole free and easy thing. But I do intend to give it a go.

    The book is fun, but my biggest gripe with it is the text all being printed on coloured backgrounds – makes it very hard to read. Style over function methinks. Or possible the rest of the world isn’t the Princess and the Pea and just thinks it’s fresh and different!

    While I’m at it, I’ll out myself as a total philistine and say that I don’t watch costume dramas at all. I’m glad everyone enjoys them so much, but I’d rather watch Doctor Who!

    So what’s next for the stitchy treatment? Family portrait?!

    Cheers,
    AJ

  5. 8 Stephanie June 20, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    oh wow! THis is absolutely amazing!🙂

  6. 9 happening June 21, 2010 at 2:13 am

    the first attempt is good. it’s the neatest one. anyway, the second attempt also nice, more fun with those curly thread patterns.
    good luck with your next stiching projects.

  7. 10 DiegoTwenty June 22, 2010 at 9:12 am

    nice design…unique house…can be inspiration to another.thank you.your content is great

  8. 11 kirsten June 24, 2010 at 10:25 am

    wow, I love this!!! good job, linda! i loved that version of emma – i love that book!

  9. 12 Elizabeth of Online Fabric Store July 1, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    I like both attempts. Yes, blogs have opened up a whole new world for crafters, although I still enjoy books, too. I usually add my own touch to the patterns, though.

  10. 13 Kay July 23, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Hi, it’s really nice to find your blog. I love this piece and thanks for your sharing about the book. And I found we have one thing in common is about Taipei where I live now🙂 Can I have one question about this Free & Easy Stitching? What kind of 壓腳 you are using to finish those beautiful lines? Your kind feedback will be highly appreciated!!

  11. 15 Kay July 23, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Thanks for your kind feedback. I just tried one with the darning foot you mentioned and found it’s not easy to control speed and 針距(guage?). But it’s really interesting. I think I’m in love with this Free & Easy Stitching (and I’ve already ordered the book from books.com.tw)!! You are leaving TW today? Don’t forget to bring some Chinese food with you. And have a nice trip.


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Craft Apple

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? Well, crafting is my apple. It's what I do to maintain my sanity while taking care of my family. I homeschool my three boys, ages 12, 13, and 14), am a quilter, a bagaholic, and a pattern designer.
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