Antique Welsh Quilts

Antique Welsh Quilts

A few days ago I took a trip to see some old Welsh quilts. They are part of Jen Jones’ vast and amazing collection of antique quilts and were on show in the Welsh Quilt Centre in Lampeter, Wales. 

The ones that took my breath away were the wholecloth quilts. 

Handstitched and beautiful, the one above is from about the 1890s – very similar motifs and designs to a quilt made by Fanny Lewis which is in the Sain Ffagan National History Museum near Cardiff. 

This one above was one of my favourites. You can clearly see how borders were very important in these Welsh quilts, and most traditional designs had some form of medallion in the middle. I love the geometric heart – it looks very modern. It’s possibly 1930s but we don’t know who made it.  


This red wholecloth has the geometric heart in the centre. The circular shapes may well have been done using plates etc. The use of the hearts suggests that it may have been a wedding quilt. 

The names of the women who made these may be lost to history but they continue to inspire. Diolch ferched!

And if you find yourself in that part of the world, make sure you stop at Jen Jones’ cottage. 


It’s full to the brim of vintage and antique quilts and Welsh woolen blankets, four rooms of them for sale. 


It’s an absolute joy to see, thank you for letting me take these photos. Her website is Jen Jones and you’ll find the Welsh Quilt Centre here. 

Sewing shoes? Yes honestly!


I bought a kit (prym, it contained two espadrille soles) from Tikki in Kew recently  and within a few hours of buying them I had finished one shoe in this crazy Wonder Woman fabric!   

I do need to adjust the fit. I didn’t sew the sides tight enough (and I might add some elastic to the back too to make sure they don’t slip).
They’re a surprisingly easy and quick project. The video that The Makery did on Youtube was very useful to watch too. I’d add that you need to be extra careful you sew through all the layers of fabric where they overlap! I missed a bit of the inner fabric on the first shoe I made. 
All you need to be able to do is a bit of blanket stitch!

I love how you hide the knots within the rope structure of the soles.   

Also you will need a lot of pins! 

I love these, so much fun! My daughter, sister in law and niece have already said they want me to make them a pair!

Quilt as You Go

Quilt as You Go

For the Riley Blake Challenge run by the Modern Quilt Guild I decided to try QAYG for the first time. 

 I really loved how relaxing it was as a technique. I’ll definitely give this a go again. Pehaps starting with a smaller center piece. 

After finishing a square panel I turned it into a simple cushion. 


It’s not a combination of colours I’d chose usually – much more muted than my usual choice but I think it’s really calming and attractive. 

Now where to put it?!


Scissors or Shears? What’s the difference?

Scissors or Shears? What’s the difference?

My sewing scissors have disappeared! I’m sure I’ll eventually find them… after they’ve been used on paper or something else that’s sure to ruin them.

So began the journey to find the next pair of (get yer hands off my) SEWING scissors!

I found this pair in John Lewis…


How gorgeous are they? Quite expensive, but I just couldn’t help myself! They were made to celebrate JL’s 150th, and have a traditional print on the handle. I haven’t put them to the test yet.

Of course, for those in the know, these are not scissors, they are shears! Scissors have small holes in the handles for two fingers. Shears, on the other hand, have unequal holes for more than two fingers apparently!

Then OMG! I watched this BBC film and am now coveting a beautiful pair of small scissors from Ernest Wright from Sheffield. Hand made, from one of two traditional UK factories, the quality looks amazing. The price is not cheap, but you’re paying for the craftsmanship and contributing to the survival of a dwindling industry.

(Photo tweeted by Ernest Wright Ltd)

They have had a huge revival in the last year since 2 films were made about the company. Now they have orders from all over the world. It seems that because of this, there’s a bit of a wait for their products. I love that their social media hashtag is #wellworththewait – I have put a small pair on my birthday wishlist (which is ages away… And yes I’m willing to wait for them! )

“Step by step” my first mini quilt

“Step by step” my first mini quilt


This colourful mini quilt top was on my pile of UFOs (unfinished objects) for a very long time.

And now it’s done! I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Add a border? Just square it up and make it into a mini? Use it in a bit of improv slashing? I turned to instagram for help and inspiration, and was encouraged to make it into a mini quilt that will hang above my machine in my sewing corner.

I decided to FMQ swirls, pebbles and a burst of straight lines, and I really like it.

I did a bit of binding whilst the kids had their swimming lesson and also added a hanging sleeve on the back. I used a vintage star fabric from Tula Pink as backing. I love this fabric and saw it first on the back of a display quilt in Libertys of London. The assistant there couldn’t tell me what it was so I made it my mission to find out! Instagram helped, I ordered some online… and when I found that John Lewis were selling this half price I then got some MORE! That’s how much I love it! You can see it in the first montage photo where it shows the sleeve.

These self threading needle are a huge help when you need to bury lots of threads.

It’s now in the wash for some extra crinkle!


And here it is, out of the wash!


Initial cushions

Initial cushions


I recently offered to make personalised cushions in a fundraising promise auction. The winning bidder wanted one with S&D on it for her sons, and I said how about two? One each. She agreed.

When I’ve made name cushions in the past I’ve appliqued the letters on the cushion tops. But with one large letter, especially for young boys, I thought I needed a more robust construction. So one night it came to me, why not use the porthole technique I learned in Lu Summers’ class at the Fat Quarterly Retreat 2 years ago?


It worked really nicely, and I love how it’s a little window onto the seascape fabric underneath. I decided to frame the letters with 2.5″ squares.


Onto the quilting. I worried that swirls might be a bit too girly, but actually it was perfect – a hint of sea waves! I’ve been taking some Craftsy FMQ classes (Angela Waters) and I have to say it’s given me a great deal of confidence. That, as well as a face to face lesson by Trudi Wood at last year’s Fat Quarterly Retreat, has fuelled my love of free motion quilting. This is done in Aurifil 50, which is thinner than my usual 40wt, one of Angela Waters’ tips is thinner thread, and thread that blends (hides a multitude of slips!) and I’m a convert!


I love the quilting inside the letter D!


Best of all the boys and their mum love them. One of the boys took his straight to bed with him, and was still cuddling it in the morning!

Comox Trunks Prize Announcement and Parade



WOW! I won the Comox giveaway! So excited! I cam see more underpants in my future (IYKWIM!)

Originally posted on Thread Theory:

sew along poster-01 Drumroll please…..

And the winner of our Comox Trunks Sew-Along Contest is: Catrinmanel of I’d Rather Sew! Congratulations!  I’ll be sending her our Comox Trunks prize pack straight away :)

I'd rather sew...

Her entry was chosen at random by gathering all entries (both through email and through comments on the sew-along posts), using a random number generator, and then counting down the list of entries.  People who submitted multiple pairs of Comox Trunks were only counted once.  Here’s proof of the randomness in case you need it! :P:

random number

I wish I could have given a prize to everyone as Matt and I were really pleased with how many entries there were and how enthusiastic you all were about the contest!  Now, for your viewing pleasure, here is a parade of the Comox Trunks you submitted!  The numbers correspond to links provided in a list at the bottom:


  1. No More Heroes Anymore
  2. Sakiko…

View original 219 more words

Wavy quilted cushion



I’ve had Jenny Pedigo’s Quick Curve Ruler for absolutely ages, but didn’t even take off the plastic backing paper until the weekend. I love her blog, and admire the quilts she makes with this ruler, so it was about time that this baby got an outing.


I kept it simple and decided to make cushion covers (for a creative quilter I had NO home made items in the lounge). I have sewed curves before and I did find it very quick and easy to do these blocks. My mind is racing now with ideas how to make more cushions with this ruler. I am oficially a fan.

Then I decided on straight line quilting because I love the texture it creates.


Then I tried binding by machine to save time…

20140428-125018.jpg mmmm… made a complete mess of it… and decided to unpick and bind by hand instead…

20140428-125147.jpg aaah! That’s better!

Apparently Lily’s Quilts will be posting a tutorial on machine binding on Thursday. I’m hoping it will help with my clearly rubbish technique!

Can’t stop stroking my new cushion now!


Baby quilt

Baby quilt

Remember my son complaining about the quilt I was making for my niece? Well here it is:


It’s finished, washed and has crinkled up just as I like it.


Made with charm squares, quilted in straight lines and FMQ with star, heart, swirls and swirly designs. And here’s her name emboidered on the front:


Quilting and piecing with Aurifil thread, embroidered with Perle cotton. Hope she likes it!

Great sewing project for me and my seven year old

Great sewing project for me and my seven year old


I wanted an easy, quick project that I could do with my seven year old daughter. From the Tikki quilting shop in Kew I bought a ready cut bunting kit. I could have easily made my own, but the kit made everything much easier for us.

My daughter sewed the triangles together, we both turned them inside out (she’s now an expert at using the purple thang to make pointy corners), then I ironed them flat.


She pinned them on the binding in the order she wanted them… And then we both shared the final sewing together. (I think she did a lot more than me at actually).


By the end she was sewing confidently and even removing pins without stopping. I made sure I was using aurifil thread, so that we didn’t have any thread breakages… Just uninterrupted sewing!

She got the feel of what speed was comfortable for her and understood how to correct any mistakes. Although to be honest, the only mistakes she made were when I had left the machine on full speed accidentally!

I love the finished bunting, and we have a few triangles left over to put another short bunting on her pink fireplace.

I think this would be great with some space fabrics for my son too.


Another pair of kids leggings



On the serger, my daughter made a second pair of leggings. (Wearing a tiara whilst working of course)

On the serger it all took less than 20min to come together. A bit more for the fiddly elastic casing which I sewed on my sewing machine for her. But all exceptionally quick, and now I have a leggings master pattern for her.
I think we could have made the lower leg tighter, but I quite like that it’s not too tight. We could possibly lower the waist too, but she says it’s fine that high!

Black lycra as she requested! Shiny side out of course!


Now I have a long legged princess who is ready to run at any moment!

(That’s a hair piece by the way!)

Sewing Leggings



I followed this great tutorial to copy a pair of leggings for my daughter. Wow, how come it’s taken this long to discover twin needle magic?!

It was really easy and fun, so how hard could it be to make adult ones?

I had a go at drafting my own leggings. I followed this tutorial here one little minute draft your own leggings.

The one thing I found was that the knee was a bit tight, and around calves. I have wide calves, and this drafted pattern didn’t allow for that. But it was a very good fit around the bum (which also a bit wide!)

Then I bought the custom fit Espresso leggings sewing pattern. Honestly, I could have just adjusted the drafted pattern I had, but there’s something comforting about the Espresso instructions and I love the way you fill in the dots on this innovative pattern.

I learnt from my own draft to allow a measurement for my calves and I lengthened the pattern by 2″.
Now I have a great fit. I’ve made 2 pairs for myself. And I can see a few more on the horizon (cycling short, 3/4 length etc).

I made both my pair and my daughters with the sewing machine. I can imagine that making them on the serger would take no time at all!

“Girl fabrics are prettier!”

“Girl fabrics are prettier!”

My 6yo son has a quilt, but has demanded another one. He was in tears the other night (exhaustion playing a major part) saying that his quilt isn’t as pretty as the one I’m finishing for his cousin Nel.
TEARS! “Girl materials are much prettier Mami” he wailed!

A few days later after sewing some dolls house quilts with my daughter I told him to choose some fabrics he liked from my big box.
This is the result. He picked lots of greens and red in charm squares. And he was VERY specific that he wanted a big square of bug fabric right in the middle.

It’s very different to what I would have chosen for him, but he loves it. He also helped me piece the majority of the quilt top. (So there are a few wobbly seams and squares which wont match up, but I love it! )

We also put a panel on the back to make it a quillow (but I haven’t yet put any applique on the pillow bit, so it’s just plain beige fleece at the moment.
It’s backed with the fleece just as he wanted.

His quilt, his choices, his hard work and I’ve got the happiest 6year old in the world!

Now my daughter wants another quilt!