Nappy Stack

IMG_0070_2With just a week’s notice my son invited me to go to his partner’s baby shower.  The second thought to cross my mind (the first,  ‘Ooh, lovely’) was to wish I hadn’t rushed to give them the Retro Orchard Puff Quilt!IMG_0037




But it was only a fleeting thought and based only on the time remaining to complete a gift to give on the day.  I had a few ideas, one of them being the Nappy Stack I’d seen on Pinterest. So I set about searching. I found lots of lovely possible gifts but no sign of the very one I wanted.

It took just a little while for the light to dawn and for me to realise the language barrier issue! For Nappy Stack read Diaper Stack.  Of course! As soon as I re-worded my search there it was.                                And,1827-Diaper_Stacker-1 hey presto one click and I was on the Sew 4 Home site.  You can sign up for a weekly email from Sew 4 Home and I remembered that was where I actually first saw this. There are some great projects on the site and you can pin direct from the email link so it’s easy to keep the projects you like the look of.

This one caught my eye initially because grey and yellow are the nursery colours. As it happens I’ve been stashing away a little collection of yellows and greys ready for a quilt. I chose some Michael Miller ‘Here Kitty Cat’ fabric and some Riley Blake grey and white chevrons. I also think it’a a pretty nifty idea and much nicer than just having packs of nappies hanging around the nursery. I’m a sucker for idiosyncratic storage.


So, here is all the fabric cut and ready to sew.  The instructions on the Sew 4 Home tutorial are really clear and every step is accompanied by a clear photograph. Excellent! They also add links to  technique tutorials like sewing curves and making piping. Useful if you come across things you haven’t done before.

Opening for the hanger hook.

Basically the stack is made in two parts: the top hanger cover and the bottom sack. There are some fiddly bits, like the opening for the hanger hook in the top section, and of course, that piping.

The binding might have been a bit of a fiddle too but for my recently purchased Estone biased binding makers. imagesThis was the first chance I’d had to have a go with one of these and although the pattern didn’t call for bias it was magic for folding the binding evenly. Cheap as chips at £4.20 for a set of 4 sizes! You push your binding strip through and press it as it comes out folded at the other                   end. No more burned fingers!IMG_0064_2Here’s the main body part with the binding sewn on and the pockets in place.IMG_0066_2And here’s the top part with the hanger inside.IMG_0068_2And here’s the nappy stack complete with nappies, wipes and creams in the pockets.

Wooden hangers from ‘Hangerworld’!

Oh! Just one other thing. You will need a child’s, preferably wooden, coathanger. I didn’t have any so it was a case of thank goodness for Amazon and next day delivery, we have a handy family subscription to Prime. Living out in the sticks brings shopping challenges so it’s worth having.  Who would ever have imagined there is somewhere called ‘Hangerworld?

Nonnie had organised a lovely baby shower for her sister.  And there was an amazing cake made by her sister-in -law.  It made me giggle.IMG_0071

Here is the link to the tutorial on Sew 4 Home. I know now exactly where to find it. I’m going to need it, I’ve already started a second one at the request of my daughter.



Here is the second Nappy Stack. Made with two fabrics from the lovely Nature Trail collection by Bethan Janine for




Dashwood Studios. They consistently come up with fabrics I adore, in colours that just make my mouth water.






And a pic of the binding in the making. Next time I do it I’ll add a decent sequence.

Please leave a comment, it’s good to know there’s someone out there!


Have you ever completely ruined a perfectly good woollen jumper? I’ve done it once or twice! When Jeff first retired and took over the laundry he did. I remember one of my jumpers and one of his. I wish I’d kept them.IMG_0043Here’s my latest shrinker. This time it was deliberate! You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to really shrink something when you’re trying. Easy-peasy when you are doing the laundry in a hurry and in goes your woolly  then you take it out and aargh, dolly sized!

Reading about felting I found that the garment should be at least 80% wool. When I decided this cardie was past it’s best I checked it out and it was 70% wool.  Mmm? I gave it a go anyway and it actually felted up really well with a hot wash in the machine. Apparently you can improve the felting by taking it out and putting it in cold water and then back into a hot wash. The temperature changes enhance the process.

I cut it up like this

And sewed it together like this

I found the felt really easy to manipulate when I was sewing the strip to the circle, being used to working with cotton which is quite unforgiving.  To get the rib and collar to the right shape I pinned it first and cut it when it was in place to get the tapering right and to place the buttonholes. I thought the fabric was quite thick but the lovely Pfaff managed perfectly.

I turned the brim out and pressed it into shape then sewed the original buttons on with a little bit of contrast. And there was my new hat.

I was meant to be quilting my juicy jelly quilt this afternoon, this was  a bit of a spur of the moment whim. It was great fun.  Now am I going to wear it or use it for storage?

Retro Orchard Puff Quilt

IMG_0036The first ever Puff quilt I made was for my own first baby well over

How home photography has changed in the digital age!
How home photography has changed in the digital age!

30 years ago. We had a crib that had been in the family for many years and I wanted to update it. I have no idea now where the original idea came from but I obviously liked the look of it. I still do. The quilt was used for both of my children and for my nephew and niece when they took up the family crib.

Then when my daughter was expecting her first baby a puff quilt was the first thing she asked me to make and we chose fabrics to match the colours of his nursery. It was one of the first things I made on my return to sewing. Very fitting I think!

Dougie's Puff Quilt
Dougie’s Puff Quilt

Well now that my son and his partner are expecting their first baby, our third grandchild, I thought I would make this a bit of a tradition. I’m sure I can rely on my daughter to carry it on!                                      This time we know we’re waiting for a little girl and I chose a favourite fabric from my stash.  I’m often inspired designs from Dashwood Studios and like all ‘fabricologists’  I  just occasionally, sometimes buy fabric and wait for the right project. That was the case with Retro Orchard by Wendy Kendall, it was a 2014  collection so I’ve had it a while.IMG_5457IMG_5453

I added a hot pink pin spot for my backing fabric to the collection..

There are so many great tutorials on Pinterest, (here’s a link) I’m not going to add to them, but I’ll just share the general process.

I’m in the habit of keeping a (very scrappy) journal of my makes so it was easy to decide on the size. 8 x 12 puffs, with each puff being cut to 3.5 inches. IMG_5459I used an old white cotton sheet for the back of the puffs, making each backing square 0.5 inch smaller than the tops. I am still cutting my way through sheets inherited from my mum and mum-in-law, it will be the end of an era when I’ve used them all up, maybe some of mine will be ready for recycling by the time they are. Never throw away a cotton sheet.



So I started my 96 puffs, sewing by day and stuffing and pinning watching TV in the evenings. Some was done in Mel’s sewing class and some at home.

The pile grew quickly and soon I had a bag-full waiting to have their fourth side sewn and be joined together. I had to keep reminding myself to make the seam less than a quarter-inch.

IMG_2239I decided the design should have the four prints running in diagonal lines and began sewing the puffs together in four squares using a quarter-inch seam. This should have meant that the original seams wouldn’t show but the puffiness makes it difficult and many a seam had to be re-done and I had a few broken fingernails – don’t ask!

IMG_2245Pretty soon there were 12 rows and 8 columns all sewn together and then there was a bit more tidying up of seams before cutting the backing and making the binding. For my last puff quilt I wrapped the backing round to self bind but this time I decided on a separate binding. I used the recently learned method of turning the corner. IMG_0038

Now this is worth a tutorial so next time I do it I’ll make one. It’s a method that makes a lovely neat mitre easily!


I wanted to secure the puffs to the backing but I’ve never found a IMG_0039way to keep the joined puffs perfectly square so stitching the ditch would be a hideous messy, lumpy, bumpy  business so I hand sewed them together by just catching through the layers in between alternating puffs and making little four -petaled daisy shapes.IMG_0037It’s a great size for a crib, pram or pushchair and is comfy enough for a newborn to lie on for floor time. Here’s a very new Dougie on his.IMG_0157

IMG_0042I could think of uses for it rolled too.IMG_0040

It’s an easy make, comfy and cosy, and could be any size.  I hope I get the opportunity to make more!

Pedal Pushers Beach Bag

From Capel Bangor to Aguadulce


We didn’t spend a lot of time on the beach on our most recent trip to Spain and we didn’t ride our bikes down to the sea as often as usual either, but I did carry everything I needed to the beach in Aguadulce in the bag that I made  in Mel’s class in Capel Bangor.

Back in Capel Bangor in pale and watery March it looked almost too shockingly bright but on a sunny Spanish beach it wasn’t a bit out of place.

Well, the connection is not about cycling at all but the lovely Moda ‘Pedal Pushers’ fabric designed  by the mother and daughters Jung that caught my eye in the days before we started making Mel’s brilliantly designed, multi-pocketed bag.

Here’s the whole 1950’s inspired ‘Pedal Pushers’ range:product-collageIt was, of course, the red and aqua end of the range that caught my attention. A combination that always draws my eye.

The mini-patch, quilted back pocket shows all of my selection with raspberry ‘Wicker’ and sky ‘Floral Crest’ as my main fabrics.

I had a real sense of satisfaction putting the bag together, putting a range of skills to use, getting the inner and outer pockets in place and finding that everything fitted perfectly – thanks to Mel’s clear instructions and direction of course. Left to my own devices it probably would have been assembled and reassembled numerous times!


And as always our group worked happily and supportively; having lots of fun and, on occasion, really getting down to some serious work!


And when it came to going downIMG_1905 2 to the beach in sunny Almeria with all the necessary paraphernalia my bag was light and easy to carry and not just a brightly coloured beach bag but a practical, organised super-bag. Oh! And the soft padding meant it also served as a soft place to lay my head!

I think my beach dress just serves to prove a point about my current colour preferences!

And just look at all these pockets -perfect!

Thanks Mel!

Annali Inspiration

IMG_4956Among my Christmas presents this year was  a treasure chest from one of my lovely friends. Inside were lots of yummy foody things. All locally produced. There were speciality mustards and marmalade, a raspberry couli and a strawberry and  kirsch jam produced just at the top of our road and we’d  never tried it! There were holly leaf  Sarah Bunton Chocolates made just by the narrow gauge train station at Devil’s Bridge. We often take visitors up there so I’ll definitely be calling at the shop in future. There was a lovely little pot, and (how well my friend knows me) a fat quarter of Annali teal floral. 


Now as it happens I have had  some of this lovely Dashwood Studio range by Stephanie  Thannhauser  in my stash for some time. This new FQ was just the inspiration I needed to get busy with it.


I also wanted to try a Lynne Goldsworthy design I’d spotted in ‘Love Patchwork and Quilting’ magazine (issue 16) and this fabric seemed just the thing.  I needed a bit more than I had for my plan to make a bed runner and cushion covers  and turning to my stash again I found some pieces of Eloise Renouf  ‘Bark and Branch’ left from a previous project and I chose one for the sashing and one to add to the piecing for the runner. I’d think about the cushions later.

Bark and Branch

So Honeycomb Hexies’ it was to be then (find the template here). Let the cutting begin.

The design for Honeycomb Hexies looks quite complex but Lynne’s instructions combined with the diagrams and illustrations were great and there wasn’t too much work for the seam ripper. I did get carried away on my first row and was merrily adding hexies as if I was making a full size quilt, but I think that shows that the design was simpler than it looks.

The half-hexagon, sashing and triangles were pieced in rows, then mirrored by a second row. Once the rows were pieced they were sewn together  in pairs and then the whole top put together. It was a really pleasing process and I loved seeing the pattern emerging.

Here is the runner pinned ready for quilting.IMG_1719

When it came to the cushion covers I decided on one central hexagon with a border in a grey multi and the sashing fabric. IMG_1733

Because this was more of  a feature block I tried matching the join in the two halves. It’s not a bad job but it was fiddly so two matches was enough thanks!

I found the multi-grey in the sale in Aberdashery, I used another for the cushion backs.




IMG_4959The quilting needed to be simple, I’m still practicing but I think it’s getting a bit more even overall. Here’s the reverse, simply because it shows up better.

There are so many great designers and quilters out there. Suffolk-Garden--1024x717Dashwood  Studio have some great fabric designers on their books, I’ve recently bought FQs of another great range, ‘Suffolk Garden’ by Brie Harrison. So exciting. They’ll definitely bring the garden into the house.

I find myself following some terrific blogs from designers who generously share their work.  Lynne Goldsworthy is one of these. Find her at Lily’s Quilts  where she has posted lots of tutorials, among them another great hexie quilt, ‘Hexagon Park’. I’ll certainly be following her fabulous blog as well as looking forward to her contributions in LPQ. So much to look forward to!

Tee Time

AberystwythGC3I do love our golf course, it’s a  great course and the views are stunning. I really am still determined to get to grips with this challenging, frustrating and totally stimulating game but at this time of year with the north wind blowing straight off Cardigan Bay sewing is definitely my preferred option.

Jeff, on the other hand only needs a gap in the clouds and a slight lull in the wind and he heads off kitted out in thermals and with waterproofs at the ready.

And now with IMG_1725the latest little creation from my sewing machine.

Jeff had the idea  for a micro fibre ball cleaner but I knew there would be some golf themed fabric out there. There is!

Our first attempt was a pocket with a sealed end, but one muddy outing on the course highlighted  a fault. The pocket quickly became a pocketful of mud! Type 2 is open ended and it works perfectly well.

Easy to make just a tube of micro fibre inside a tube of golf-themed cotton (so far I have two designs) with tidily bound ends.

Quick to make with micro fibre fluff being the only problem, it was everywhere; all over my clothes and my sewing table and under the plate on my machine needed careful brushing.

But on the course it’s great, fits in your pocket and is much easier than the traditional towel hanging from the bag and getting in the way.

That’s my Clover mini iron in the first pic. A thoughtful present from my son (prompted, I’m sure my my equally thoughtful, quilting, daughter. I love it and recommend its time-saving simplicity.

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Or so I’m told….. I’m sure I’ll get to try it out soon.


Scandi Christmas Table Runner


Enough doodling and gardening. I was itching to get back to some serious sewing. The perfect project for getting back in the groove was the promise of  a festive table runner that I’d made my sister back in the summer. With Christmas creeping up it was time to get going.

Christmas fabric spotting begins IMG_1623in the summer so my sister was wise to mention it back then.                        I spotted this on one of my regular drop-ins at Aberdashery well before our departure for our travels in September. Scandi is such a trend at the moment and the Makower Christmas collection really appealed to me, I love reindeer right now. I chose my reds and greens and liked the idea of adding in a couple of the neutrals from the range.

I had the seeds of a plan in mind, it involved irregular strips across the width of the runner. I was slightly undecided about having white sashing between each coloured stripe but of course I decided for. I love the crisp, clean, modern look that it gives.

Once decided all that was left to do was get on with sewing strips together, as they were to be random there was very little planning to do and I just chose whichever fabric I thought should come next.

I’d also chosen a red and a very dark green solid to make it a little less busy. Joining the random strips was quick and easy and then all that remained to be done to the front was to trim the sides.IMG_1642

The back was to be plain red. Briefly. I started to think it needed something more so I sewed together some two and a half inch wide strips and cut them into two and a half inch strips then cut the red backing to create a patterned reverse. IMG_1637IMG_1644

I decided on a horizontal strip l strip at each end. Once I had put it all together it made the runner pretty much reversible.

I used cotton domette as wadding. I find it a good weight for table runners, mats and such like. Not too bulky or puffy.

My quilting plan was to have strings of stars and after a bit of doodling decided on this design . The stars are irregular in six, shape and spacing. Simple.IMG_4862      Lastly I gave the runner a solid red binding and it was ready to join my sister’s Christmas scheme, she has some lovely decorations. I hope it comes to to scratch!



Round and round the garden.

This post has been a long, long time in the making and there were times I doubted my wisdom in starting;  project ‘slate circle’ has taken a good deal of energy of every description. I’ve thought and re-thought it so many times. I’ve stared at it through the kitchen window with my problem solving hat on. I’ve lain awake at night visualising the necessary steps. I’ve searched local building outlets for just the right resource. I realise now that I began in June and finished in December! I know I’ve done a lot in between but it’s been on my mind in one way or another for over half of the year!

This latest garden project has been by far the biggest, probably the most ambitious garden project I’ve ever taken on. Back at the beginning of June I began the search for just the right circle. I found it on the internet after a lot of searching and speaking to sellers about the quality of the slate. I was pleased with my eventual choice it really does match up with Dai’s dry stone wall. I was even more pleased with the delivery guy who was really helpful.

ground I’d already got the plants for the surrounding bed, many of them gifts from  two of my friends from a great nursery we found during their visit. I think that Gwynfor Nursery in Pontgarreg will become a much frequented nursery over time. Such an an amazing selection of plants grown by lovely, helpful people. With the coming months in mind I needed to get planting so I marked out my circle and started to dig and plant the bed.

stonesAs ever It was hard going digging  out at least a proportion of the larger stones. The bed was a large one so this stage took a long time. I seemed to be digging and planting for a long time.

Digging on the slope didn’t help much and there were some very hot days (not ideal for planting but since I wasn’t going to be here in the autumn I had to take my chances) and I drank gallons I  even had to buy a suitably  floppy gardening sun hat! It did help.  My fork constantly jammed  against stones that I now know are going to be a constant in the gardening here, the quarrying label remains! When I eventually got down to the bottom digging became just impossible! I had discovered the reason for the wet-weather saturation! IMG_1427The rock bed we had found under parts of the patio ran this way. I explored and realised just how extensive this rock is!                      I didn’t really need a lot of encouragement to keep the new rock ‘feature’ and I began using some of the stones I’ve dug up to make my own little dry stone wall around the back of the rock base. There were plenty of them!

Now came the really hard part of the project – levelling the area for the actual slates. I had seriously underestimated the angle of the slope, there was at least a foot difference between the back and the front of the area to be levelled. I could have dug into the slope but I had, probably unwisely,  set my heart on how I wanted it to look. I knew I didn’t want the retaining wall behind the circle and I knew I wanted the circle level with the higher level. So I stuck in there and got on with it.

I used the large stones that were found when we were digging out the patio to give the slope some stability and then built up a retaining wall of blocks and layered  the turf I’d taken off the area to raise the front of the circle. I tamped it down and generally jumped up and down and danced on it. Anything to make sure it was firm. I filled little gaps with soil and sand and some of the shale I was digging out from a border I was making along the back of the dry stone wall. Actually I lost count of how many times I built up the blocks and then pulled them out again! Staring at it through the kitchen window every time I sat at the table made me realise I had to keep working at it until I was satisfied, madness lay in a future of catching sight of anything less than satisfying day after day. Frustration set in more than once, had I bitten off more than I could chew? Would the whole thing slide down the garden in a stony, muddy mess?IMG_4653It was hard labour!IMG_4883 Although I would have liked see it finished (or more like put an end to my agony) before going off to Spain for seven weeks early in September, in reality it couldn’t have been better planned. It gave the base time to settle, it got  soaked and dried numerous times and it felt a lot pretty solid underfoot by the time we got back at the beginning of November.

So now it was time to start laying the slate. I was excited and nervous, I procrastinated over getting started. What if it didn’t fit; what if a bit was missing; what if there was a broken piece or worse still, what if I broke a piece? And, of course, what if after all the work, my base still wasn’t right and the much dreaded avalanche actually happened!

But I was determined and with the help of some fine grit and sand and a lot of patience the slates were laid.  And by the time I laid the last couple of pieces there was ice in the garden.

I know it isn’t as level as a professional job and I’m waiting for some better weather to make adjustments to two sections. I know that a professional could have knocked it out in a week, but it’s all my own work and all in all I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself.   And I don’t think it’s going anywhere.                                                                                                                          And I’m especially looking forward to seeing how the planting comes along next year.

Lazy Beach Days

FootprintOur seven weeks in the Spanish sunshine seem distant now that winter has really arrived, but I haven’t blogged a thing in ages and wanted to fill in at least some of the gaps.

Spain was fabulous, we travelled down to Javea on the Costa Blanca. It’s become very familiar to us over the years and although I used to think it so boring to return to the same place year on year I kind of like the familiarity these days. Despite it’s  ex-pat reputation  Javea  has a great deal to offer and you are left in no doubt as to why the whole area  has become a destination for so many Northern Europeans .  There’s the seaside area, the Arenal (lots of English voices here), with a sandy beach and a busy promenade. A great place for young families and lively in the evenings. The port area; older,  quieter and more Spanish with a fresh fish market when the fishing boats come in. We love to cycle down here in the morningIMG_0457 for a coffee overlooking the sea. And lastly the old town, which is very much a typical Spanish town with a wonderful daily market in the traditional market hall and a colourful weekly market, shops that stick to the traditional timetable and a maze of narrow lanes to wander. All three areas have great restaurants and bars, traditional and modern.  Much very pleasant time is whiled away eating, drinking coffee or wine and just watching the world go by.

We played plenty of golf on some of the fabulous courses of the Costa Blanca, mostly with our good friends who make our trip to Javea a must.

We enjoyed our beach time too, but when I wasn’t  reading copiously (until I lost my kindle on the beach!) or taking the occasional dip before a wander up to the chiringuito that I found myself thinking about crafting or the garden. I played around with stones and and found myself doodling on the lovely pale,  smooth pebbles of the  port beach. I ended up with quite a collection, some of which were left with our campsite neighbours and others which made it home and are now scattered amongst the Welsh slate and granite in the garden.

Jeff the chef joined in the stone fun too. His creations were numerous towers, like these ones on the picturesque beach  at Portichol – if you ever find yourself here wander up to the beach restaurant, La Barraca. You’ll step back in time at this rustic building built into the cliff where you round the corner of the bay. Just look for ‘bar’ painted on the rock face!

Beautiful mediterranean blue and white.

We did manage a little IMG_4823bit of culture  too and visited the ancient and historical city of Salamanca with it’s amazing medieval and gothic cathedrals and stunning old university buildings.

We had a great campsite here, part of a hotel complex  and just a cycle ride away from the city centre.

P1000265Another stop-over on our homeward journey was in the Northern Rioja town of Haro. Here we indulged ourselves in a tour of the Muga bodega. A really interesting tour with a real insight into the making of one of my favourite beverages. Bringing back a couple of Christmas treats from here was an absolute must!

Well back home and let the crafting begin. After restoring the garden to order and getting back to my somewhat ambitious  unfinished garden project of course. I might just have to make that my next post!

Out in the Garden

It’s been all about the garden around here for some months. I had lots of plans for April but then the patio was finished and the May and June weather was too good to miss . So other activities have been  on hold and the gardening went on. I did begin blogging my garden goings-on when we move in last August but somehow I lost momentum. Time to catch up! shedFirst the shed. Looks-like-a-beach-hut shed!I love seeing it from the kitchen window, it manages to cheer up even the dullest day. It fills the weird pointy bit at the top of the garden – and it’s very useful and not the least bit overcrowded (unlike the garage, which is full of stuff).                                                                                                                                              Building the shed was the first thing we did when we moved in. We didn’t exactly plan it that way, we just couldn’t resist the special offers on sheds at the end of the summer. And of course we had a built-in assembly crew of Matt and Tony  when Bethan and Tony came for their first visit to Cae Bach Y Rhiw.

Matt, Tony and Jeff got to grips with the plan and the pieces and then I set to work with the paint brush and the wood stain. No boring  sheds round here! Wondered what the neighbourhood would think but we’d made up our minds long before we put it up.IMG_3191So, here’s the painted (inside and out) shed up at the top of the garden waiting for the winter.   But wait, what about inside? Jeff put up shelves and a retainer rail for the long handle tools and I spent a couple of wet and windy autumn hours cocooned inside. I added a little bit of IMG_3371North Wales (a special little bit)  to the walls. I’d wanted to cover the walls with maps from the first day I thought about a  shed and I will add some more; we have so many old maps.                IMG_3365Next some hooks, old and new,  for the hand tools and bits and bobs. I think I’ve added a few  more over the winter!                                   Then there was the miniature cyclamen that had come with us from London. I’m very attached to this gift from a very good friend on a trip to RHS Wisley many years ago.        It spread all around our

IMG_3367   London garden so I had to bring a bit with us.  It flowered beautifully hanging there in the Greenwich market potholder over the winter and I did manage to  schlep up to the shed to keep it watered.                                                                 I’ll transplant the corm this autumn ready to colonise our new garden I hope.

So the shed sat over the winter waiting, waiting for Stage 2.  The wet winter proved that Stage 2 was needed. As a storage area behind the shed was a right off; a claggy clay bog; soggy, sticky and squelchy and so the improvements were not just cosmetic.                                                                                                                                We began by covering the area behind and to the sides and a strip in front of the shed with a weed barrier membrane and then with golden gravel that we found at Mount Trading. We laid a path at the front and side with Bradstone Carpet Stone (very easy – blocks on  a plastic flexible mat ).

Then we finished it off with a border of Bradstone rope-top edging to keep the gravel in check.  The overall effect is, well, even more     beachy! IMG_1402

Flurry Hurry

A Summery Table Runner

IMG_4487When the ‘Flurry’ collection arrived I knew it wouldn’t be long before  I put it to use and when I began making the table runner I wasn’t really in a hurry, it just turned out that way! The design was uncomplicated;  putting it together was effortless and I thought the clean lines need plain quilting, which took no time at all.IMG_4494


IMG_4408I began with one and a half inch strips of the whole range of flurry colours, sewed them in groups of five then cut them into blocks. It was so quick!

I wanted a grey to set off the colour range (always a favourite) and went to look for something in Aberdashery and as usual found just the thing. A simple grey and white mini-stripe and to complement it perfectly another of the multi-coloured threads that just lift the quilting beautifully.

The checkerboard design was swiftly pieced

and in no time I had a sandwich and was ready to quilt the snappy, wavy lines. So simple.IMG_1341I cut more strips and cut them into randomly sized lengths to make the binding and there it was, complete in only a couple of hours over a few early evening, pre-dinner sewing sessions. Never was anything (made by me) so speedily done!IMG_4492IMG_4493

And what’s more I have plenty of ‘Flurry’ left!






I picked up a package from the Royal Mail depot in Llanbadarn today.     Early morning golf means missing the post and it couldn’t have been our usual postman. If it had been he would have left a message, schlepped up to the shed at the top of the garden, struggled with the fastening contraption on the door and popped the package in a plant pot!




Not a very glamorous building  is it?    Not nearly as attractive as the 1901 (only just ER not VR) Post Office building in Great Darkgate Street in town.

I often study the mosaic signage sipping coffee in a window seat in Costa just opposite.cropped-postoffice4

Well whatever the building looks like as soon as I saw the blue plastic package excitement mounted because I knew exactly what was inside. I didn’t even get as far as the car (here’s a place where you can park right outside) before ripping it open to feast my eyes on the colours inside.

The whole range of playful spottiness  – fifteen of them altogether –  ‘Flurry’ from Dashwood studios and ordered from Simply Solids online fabric shop on Saturday. I think  this lovely simple range caught my attention in LPQ magazine this month and when I searched for them online …. well as I said, irresistible.IMG_4426

IMG_4405I particularly love the aqua/teal/green fat    quarters.    No surprises there then!

I don’t think these are going to sit in my stash for very long, in fact I’ve already started imagining a summer table topper for the kitchen.

I wonder if I’ll use all 15 colours? I wonder if I’ll try out the my new ‘Quiltology’ App to plan my design? I wonder how soon I can start?IMG_4425

Chicken and Egg.

Whenever I set out to realise one of my ideas I find myself thinking back to Design Technology staff meetings at school! Our talented curriculum leader, Martha,  put us through our paces thinking through the design, make, review process. Well, whenever I make my ‘prototype’ there is always plenty to think about in the review part of the proceedings! There certainly was for this little fabric container … or pot …. or box. I’m not really sure what to call it. Ideas on a postcard  (or a comment here) please.

What to call it? Any ideas?
What to call it? Any ideas?

When I saw ‘Chicken and Egg’ in Aberdashery I knew what I wanted to make with it right away. I’d been planning some little round containers for a while. Initially the containers in my mind’s eye had turn down tops not lids but then the lid popped into my thoughts. I think I’ll still make a lidless round one, the rectangular ones I made are very versatile and I like them a lot.

Here are my choices from ‘Chicken and Egg’ in the Henley Studio Collection by Makower, lots more lovelies in the collection. Take a peek. These three were obvious choices for me, I’m besotted by the aqua and red combination and have to stop myself choosing it for everything I make. I love the fabric design and I thought the quilting should be kept simple and just let the design speak for itself. So my straight line practise came in useful.

I hope that I can get around to making the improved version soon but at this time of year, well gardening, golfing  and galivanting around the countryside seem to be higher on the agenda. Among my improvements will be making the lid slightly larger. I did make the diameter slightly bigger but not quite enough for the lid to just drop on.

There are other modifications too and as I make the new improved model I’ll have another go at writing a tutorial. All I need is a horrible wet  useful rainy sewing day. Shouldn’t be too long before one of those here in West Wales!

Nice Needles Part II


When I made my much needed new knitting needle roll (original post  here)

I did say I didn’t think it would be the only one I made. I didn’t have to be psychic to know that my daughter would be a very willing recipient of her own ‘nice needle’ roll but when my sister also put in a subtle request I thought it was time I got sewing. Well that was back at the beginning of February and my daughter has been waiting a while  so I thought I’d crack on before the weather (hopefully) warms up.

I went into Aberdashery with a particular range of fabrics in mind but, not unusually, something else caught my eye. These fabrics

from  Hantex  Art Gallery ‘Indian Summer’ range by Sarah Watson are beautiful and such great quality. I took a look at the whole range on the Hantex website (take a peek) and fabric love kicked in and sent my brain into overdrive thinking of all the possibilities.

Back to ‘Nice Needles’ I added a couple of pieces from my stash, including  a favourite Kaffe Fassett that echoes my sisters birthday quilt, and got stuck in. I hadn’t written any notes when I made the original so the process was down to measuring up, making it up and tweaking it up,  but this time I did make notes and have a tutorial here.

IMG_1200I thought my original was a bit too bulky so this time I chose cotton domette (recommended by Jane at Aberdashery) as a wadding and it is just the right weight. I’d choose it again for cushions, bags etc.

loveI quilted using the eggy loopy and the heart border stitches from my Pfaff machine quilting stitch menu for ease and speed and then  free stitched ‘love knitting’  along the       outer flap edge.


I used almost the same pocket layout as for the first ‘Nice Needles’ with three levels of pockets. The top  layer has equal sized pockets for pairs of needles; the second has one wider pocket in the centre and the third and shortest row has mainly wider pockets to fit a variety of tools. The only difference is two slightly wider pockets in the top level to accommodate the really fat sized needles.

I debated lots of options for fastenings but my abiding love of buttons and my new-found love of making  buttonholes won out.

IMG_1208When we moved house I found a collection of earrings from Bethan’s teenage years so I decided to incorporate some in decorating her needle roll. I can only hope she had no plans to return to wearing them!

I stitched a length of the tape measure ribbon along the inside.

It’s in 10 IMG_4222centimetre repeats so that it can be a useful tape measure.



labelI remembered to add my label this time too.



Brighter Baskets

A quick little in-between project to brighten up some storage baskets and add a little colour to the very useful but fairly characterless utility room. Utility by name and utility by nature – at the moment.

Being a skinflint, or maybe just economical with my precious fabric stash I chopped the tops off the original liners and replaced them with seagulls and spots.

The binding around the handle holes is far from perfect, it was a fiddly little job and my fingers have the pinholes to prove it. But they are tidier than the originals.

I didn’t dislike those original liners at all but a little pop of colour is just right.

Knit a bit, sew a bit. Create. Val Jones-Hughes

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