Tidy not Tangled: Hillarys Blinds Competiton

Happy Mothers’ Day for this weekend!  I am late linking up to Handmade Monday as I was enjoying myself too much on Sunday to do the link up!

Do untidy baskets and bags of yarn get you down as much as they do me?  I have been so fed up of having to sort out and untangle my balls of yarn everytime I start to crochet I have been trying to design a storage method which would allow me to have several colours on the go at once but keep them all separate, tidy,  NOT TANGLED!  Soooo much time spent untangling instead of creating does not make for a stress free enjoyable hobby!

So when I read about the Hillary’s Blinds Country Crafts Competition for bloggers to design something using some of their fabric I had an idea! The fabric I chose (from a choice of 4) was Calluna Amethyst, a beautiful upholstery weight fabric with a cream background with splodges of amethyst, emerald, gold and ruby, very pretty and so much my type of colours!  The free sample was 39×39 inches and the design was up to the blogger!  Exciting!



In my craft room I have a purple open weave plastic basket for keeping fabric bits in. If I put my yarn in this I could feed the ends of each ball through a hole and tie them to the side to keep each one tidy!  Only one disadvantage – not very pretty for the living room – but this is where the Hillary’s fabric came in!  A pretty cover for a yarn storage basket!


So how do you make it?

First you need to measure the height and circumference of your basket or box, or whatever you are covering and cut a rectangle accordingly – ie the size in height and length plus a couple of inches for hemming and seaming.

Now turn down one of the long edges half an inch and iron it flat, then turn this down again half an inch and pin in place.  Sew this to make a neat hemmed top edge. You can see in the picture I have aligned my 1/4 inch foot with the left side of the hem instead of the usual right side, this is to ensure I capture the turned under fabric as I sew!


Now fold your rectangle right sides together and check if the piece needs trimming to neaten it up and if so do this now before sewing up the side seams.

Now you have a circular tube of fabric which you put your basket into – this bit is quite fiddly but keep going till you have the cover round the basket up to the top row of holes. If you find the fabric is too small just unpick the side seam and add in a contrasting panel – no-one will know it wasn’t part of your original design!

Now you make some ties to keep the cover in place!  Take your cover off again. I used some grosgrain ribbon from my stash but bias binding would be good, or you could make some ties from the remaining fabric.  Anyway, cut 4 lengths of your ties, each 12 inches long.  Fold each in half and pin to the top edge of the cover with the folded end about half an inch down and the two ends pointing straight upwards.  The four should be equally space round the top.



Start by putting the first one over the side seam and then place the others accordingly. Sew over each a couple of times to secure in place.  At this point you can also hem the bottom edge or you could simply fold it under the basket and pin it in place or glue it in place – depends how quickly you want your basket to use!

Now you can replace your cover and secure the ties to the top row of holes.


So far so good!  I decided to make a loose cover for the top of my basket,  so if you do too you, go ahead!   Put your chosen fabric right sides together and draw on it a circle the same size as the circumference of the basket.   Cut this out and then cut out one of fusible interfacing or ordinary interlining as well.  Either iron on the interfacing or pin the interlining to one of the wrong sides of your circles.



You should now have the fabric still right sides together but one has interfacing on the back making a third top circle.  Sew the round the circumference of the three circles using a 1/4 inch machine foot aligned to the right hand edge of the top circle. Leave a gap of 4 inches for turning to the right side. Snip into the seam allowance round the circle being careful not to cut the stitch line.


Turn right sides  out and turn under the fabric in the gap and pin it so the the circle is now complete.


You can now just hand sew the  gap together and have the top as it is or you could quilt it.  You can get quite a nice effect even with an ordinary machine foot.  Although I have a walking foot and a free motion foot I have finished my top cover off with the normal foot to show you how it can be done.  Put the needle into the centre of your top circle and start to sew forward and round, guiding the fabric with both hands so that it turns as you sew  to make concentric circles,  spreading out from the middle to the very edge where  you take in the pinned gap area and so close it up.










All that remains now is to choose your yarn balls and put them into your basket with the end of each going through a different hole in the side and tied to the top.  Do not tie up the colour you are working with, just poke this through a hole and up to your work area. Every time  you need to change colour just tie up the one you are working with and untie one of the others!  You now have a  pretty and very practical basket and no more tangled yarn!!


wool in basket


A Basket of Bunnies!

I am having a mad week making all things Bunny!  This is because I was reading Pillows-a-la-mode blog and was entranced by a pic of a basket of bunnies!  Katherine, the blogger,  gives the link to the pattern which is here and I couldn’t help myself –  I just had to make some!  So about an hour later …..

basket of fabric bunnies in red and white and green and white.

Basket O’ Bunnies!


I added some eyes to a couple of them although not on the pattern.  They are very quick to make if you have pinking shears! They are now adorning my living room much to the amusement of visitors!




Next I made some bunny bunting!

Bunny and Egg Felt Bunting

Bunny Bunting!


Another very easy project – just bunny shapes cut from felt  (my freehand drawing) and egg shapes (template cut from Craftseller mag) with little bows cut out of the scraps!

It’s so nice making things like this for fun, especially when it’s supposed to be Spring but it’s hailing and blowing a chilly wind!! I am part way through a mobile ‘phone case with guess what on the front?  Yep, a Bunny!


I did do some ‘serious’ making as well this week 🙂  I added these lovely fragrant hanging hearts to my folksy shop!

hanging hearts in Liberty tana lawn fabric

Lavender Liberty Hearts


hanging hearts in Liberty tana lawn fabric

Lavender Liberty Hearts

hanging hearts in Liberty tana lawn fabric

Hanging Heart in Liberty Fabric

I  bought some lavender in bulk and have been stuffing things all week.  You might wonder why the bunnies in the basket of  basket look a little startled?  Well wouldn’t you if you’d had dried lavender stuffed up your bum?!!!





Off to link up at Handmade Monday now!








If you would like to comment please don’t be put off by the name and website box not showing your text – it is actually recording it and it will show up when the comment is published.  The actual ‘comment area’ works as normal!






Craft Fair Anticipation!

This week I have been making lots of little things for when I  attend another craft fair in the summer!  Yes I am once again going to risk it in the hope that it may be successful!  I love the anticipation of craft fairs;  the excitement of setting up, the hopeful feeling when the first customers come through the door, the lovely glow from receiving admiring comments about the items, the satisfying exchange of money and item, the travelling home with an empty car and a big bag of money…….. oh wait, actually I dreamed that last one!  🙂  It all goes according to the above but it tends to peter out after a few spasmodic sales and turns into the sinking feeling of ‘how long have I spent here all day and have I even covered my table fee and petrol costs!’

And yet here I am again thinking of repeating the experience as I really do enjoy meeting other crafters and chatting to them as well as the customers. Well, we’ll see how it goes – I am sure it will form the subject matter for a future post!

I did do some crocheting with the grundl flower yarn again this week.  This time I made a headband –  good for keeping the ears warm when you don’t want to wear a whole hat!  It is now for sale in my Patchwork Fairy in the Enchanted Wood Folksy shop

Crochet Headband in flower Yarn

Flower Yarn Headband

The other thing I have completed this week is the tutorial about crocheting with the Kidsilk Creation Stripe Yarn. It’s easy to do once you understand what you’re doing so hopefully this might help a bit if anyone is stuck.

So here we are again – Sunday night Linkyness at Handmade Harbour!   Now Dancing on Ice and Call the Midwife have both finished I might get round to commenting on the blogs a little earlier in the evening than recently!!

I always love to read comments.  Please don’t be put off  by the comment boxes for the name and site appearing to not let you type – it is actually recording your text and will show up once you  publish your comment! 

Wool, Coffee and Cake, a dream day out!

Ooh I had a lovely outing this last week!  Mum and I went for a drive in the countryside (well down the M53 amd M6, then the countryside!).  We went to Black Sheep Wools Craft Barn in Culcheth!  My dream day out! – it included wool, coffee and cake!!  (and my mum 😉 )


Black Sheep Barn entrance

Entrance to Black Sheep Craft Barn

The craft barn is set back off the road in a lovely countryside setting,  but it’s even more lovely inside!  As you step through the door you can see shelves of pretty, delicate spring coloured wools and cottons on one side, shelves of beautiful variegated purply pink yarns on the other and a central stand with crafty items and gifts!

inside Black sheep wools Craft Barn

craft items and gifts



different yarns on shelves

coloured yarns

Noro wools on shelves

Noro Yarns. I love the variegated colours of these Japanese yarns!


view of shop

view down shop

















I was hard pressed to actually move through the shop as I kept getting distracted by yet another shelf of lovely yarns!  They sell a wide variety: wool, mohair, cotton, silk, viscose, acrylic, bamboo and various mixes of these in plain and varigated colours.  There is also a large section of Cross Stitch kits and threads, a wide selection of craft books and patterns and various notions to purchase.

Mum and I always suss out a coffee stop wherever we go and so thoroughly enjoyed the onsite cosy café serving light lunches and cakes.  We had a very nice panini and a slice of Victoria Sandwich cake with fabulously strong coffee, just how I prefer it!  I’m quite happy to travel to visit new craft places but I do like it when there is a café so I can stop and reflect on all the things I’ve been browsing through before I make my purchases, especially when I’ve driven a while to get there!  It’s the sort of place you could enjoy visiting with friends or a knitting/crochet group.

I was very taken with a crochet designs book by Nikki Trench called,  ‘Hooked on Noro’, Now although I like the look of Noro yarns some can feel a bit harsh and are quite pricey so this time I bought the book but chose an alternative yarn – Fusion Cotton – a soft, cotton and viscose mix yarn by Patons, very reasonably priced for the quality, with which to make the fingerless gloves from the book.    Mum wanted to know why I would want to have fingerless gloves?!  When I said they would be handy for texting, she just raised her eyes to the ceiling and said, “you could just pull off  a normal glove!” – Eh?  I don’t think so! I love the pair I’ve just made and actually so did Mum once she saw them finished!

fingerless gloves in brwon cotton and viscose mix.

Fingerless Gloves!

They are very comfy and soft to wear and the pattern in the book is easy to follow.


The final thing I bought was one skein of Rowan’s Kidsilk Creation Stripe.  Now this is pricey,  but absolutely gorgeous!  It looks and feels like a high quality product.  It’s  actually mohair and silk mix and it already partly knitted into a long mesh, which can be stretched out widthways if desired.  I noticed there was a  pattern on the label to crochet a scarf with it  but I couldn’t understand how you would do it!   Luckily there are plenty of nice friendly staff to ask for help and one of the ladies explained I needed to crochet it  up the long edge.   However,  I was completely flummoxed at first when I got home, but once I understood what to do it was very easy to make up in about three quarters of an hour!  It ends up as a twirly, twisty floaty pretty scarf! I’ve taken some pics and will post a tutorial about how to work with this yarn as it’s certainly worth it!   I chose a pinky purply mix and the finished item has now been posted to my very stylish Aunty for her 70th birthday!

Mohair and Silk yarn

the kidsilk creation stripe yarn before crocheting

Purple and pink mohair and silk crochetd scarf.

Scarf in Kidsilk Creation Stripe

So all in all we were there just over two hours – it was long enough for Mum who by now was trying to nudge me to the exit! It’s the sort of place where you could keep going round and round oohing and aaahing and patting large balls of pink and purple wool!

Well I’m off for another visit now – over to Handmade Monday to visit some lovely blogs!  If anyone lives near Black Sheep Wools Craft Barn and fancies meeting for a coffee n’ cake I’m always up for another trip!!  🙂


I always love to read comments.  Please don’t be put off  by the comment boxes for the name and site appearing to not let you type – it is actually recording your text and will show up once you  publish your comment! 

Are magazines redundant?

Do you still enjoy magazines?  I subscribe to three at the moment and I really enjoy getting them each month.  However, with my own, and pass-ons from my mum, I am building up quite a pile in my bedroom which I thought I would enjoy as bedtime reading and whenever I was poorly.  In reality I haven’t read the magazines nearly as much as I anticipated – what happens is quite often I end up reading online articles and blogs instead and playing Candy Crush 🙂

So are magazines redundant?  Will we all be reading everything on iphones and ipads soon?  It seems that smart technology is affecting our lives in all sorts of ways from communication to heating our homes.  At least digitally downloading a copy of a magazine is under our own control though, whereas receiving printed copies through the post is not.  I didn’t receive the last copy of my Craftseller magazine and they were not very concerned when I contacted them and I though I would  end up missing a month 🙁  (Edit:  The April edition arrived today with a copy of last month’s so they came through in the end!).

So how much longer will people generally carry on buying or subscribing to printed reading matter?  I think I might cut down on some of my spending on printed copies but I can’t envisage giving them up entirely! There is something irreplaceable about hearing the magazine land in the porch and sitting with a cup of tea or coffee and turning over the glossy pages and smelling the print!  – it’s definitely one of my guilty pleasures!    It just isn’t the same sitting down with an electronic pad – and anyway, having a magazine stash works on the same principal as having a fabric or yarn stash – it doesn’t matter how much you have at home, you carry on buying new! So no hope for me!!

I’m linking up with the small blog meet at Lily’s Quilts!



Comment Feature is currently faulty!  — To leave a comment you may need to turn off the ‘authenticate’ box if you have one.  Text typed in the ‘name’ and ‘site’ boxes does appear when  comment is published  although it seems to be not working when you type!


Spring Feelings, Tea and Well-Being!

Ok well it’s now March and we can definitely say we’re entering Spring season!  (not today though as it’s very cold and rainy and very disappointing!). This last week however, has been noticeably warmer, and I was able to have the first mid morning cuppa in the garden!  Woo hoo!  Ok, I did have my warm jacket and boots on, but it was very pleasant when the sun was shining!  I love this time of year when I can get outside for a quiet cup of tea or coffee as it evokes the wonderful happy feeling I had when I first went part time at work at the beginning of April a few years back.  I remember sitting outside on a Wednesday morning and feeling so weird to be there on a work day, but with this creeping sense of peace and well-being.  Even though I am now full time at home and no longer going out to work I haven’t lost the excitement of the first few warm  weekdays at this time of year.

Of course I wish my health was better and I hadn’t had to give up in the way I did, or have the three lots of surgery, and still be in pain almost every day.  But – there is no point in dwelling on ‘what ifs’ – the only way forward is ‘what may be’ – to relish the good things about being at home and to recognise that in the eyes of other people, especially creative crafters, it must seem to be a dream come true to have weekdays in which to sew, knit, crochet, etc and never have that sinking feeling on a Sunday evening knowing it’s going to days before you can get back to your hobby. Obviously it would be even better to make a living out of crafting, but that’s not so easy and so not going out to work also means not bringing in the associated salary!!

However I am ever hopeful that one day I will make something so fabulous that everyone will just have to have one – likely? who knows, but it’s so much fun trying!  And with that I will show you my latest creations, because as well as doing a bit more on the twine bag I have been making spring themed crochet items for a garland!

crochet snail and crochet flower basket

Flower Baskets and Snails!

Twine basket in green and natural twine

Twine basket with two rows of Star stitch completed

It’s really hard to make Star stitch in twine so it’s taking a long time to make!

Over to Handmade Monday now for a catch up on the crafty adventures of others! Hope you are all enjoying some pleasant weather wherever you live.

The comment box is still faulty in the ‘name’ and ‘website’ lines but even if you can’t see what you type  it will still print when you publish. The box for the actual comment is working fine. 🙂