Birthday Weekend and Wonderwool 2014!

Well one year one it’s my birthday weekend again and I’m back in mid Wales for Wonderwool.  I loved this place last year and this year I have enjoyed it all over again although it’s never quite as good the second time around!  It’s full of lovely, tactile, woolly goodness, intricate tools to make things with and unusual and individual clothing!

We arrived on Saturday and stayed in the same B&B as last year – Guidfa House at Crossgates, Llandridnod Wells. This is a very warm, comfy place to stay and the hosts, Tony and Ann are very friendly and helpful. We were given tea and date and walnut cake on arrival which we enjoyed in the peaceful guests’ lounge.  Our room had 2 comfy chairs and coffee table – something that I always appreciate in hotel rooms as I don’t like having to sit on the bed all night. Oh the joy of relaxing by the window, looking over at the hills while doing my crochet, watching TV and drinking a glass of wine…, wait …actually that’s a pretty standard Saturday night for me … albeit without rolling hillside for a view!! Oh well I do know how to enjoy myself anywhere!!

Early this morning we arrived at the Royal Welsh Showground and there was plenty of parking and it was not too crowded inside at all,  though with lots to see and buy and lots of people showcasing their crafts – I love watching the spinners, in fact last year I really wanted to buy a wheel and go on a spinning course and I just realised it’s a year ago and I still haven’t learnt to spin!

It’s actually quite similar to Yarndale but more spread out and much easier to see what’s on offer as the stalls are in bigger spaces and more spread out. There are also live sheep, lamas and angora rabbits!




I did really love this rug below though and this wall hanging, both by Gill Curwen of Bapple and Jo Jo – It’s a craft called ‘Quillie’ which is sort of rolling felted wool strips cut from blankets or clothes into Swiss Roll shapes and then sewing them together to make mats and rugs in beautiful shapes and toning shades. I am looking forward to perusing her website now I’m back home!



I was talking to my daughter about Wonderwool before I went and she asked what her dad was going to do while I was engrossed in the woolly world I told her he follows me round then goes and reads his book in the cafe area – she said there should be a ”long suffering partners’ ” area with comfy seats, internet access and various reading material! Wouldn’t that be good?!!

Beaker-button-kit  I didn’t spend too much at all – just some felted wool and this handmade button kit from Beaker Button, which once you’ve learnt how to do it you can upscale it and make giant hangings in embroidery hoops and even hula hoops!  The information in the kit explains that Dorset button making was a huge cottage industry from the 1600s until the Great Exhibition of 1851 when a new button making machine was showcased.  Families were left destitute and starving and many were forced to emigrate!  It is the WI and others now keeping this craft alive – I am happy to become one of them!

Wonder if I’ll spend next birthday at Wonderwool?

Over to some other wonders now – at Handmade Monday!

Granny Squares and Granny Naps!

Ooh I am feeling rather full and sleepy after a big family dinner at my sisters this weekend!  I think I may need a nap!  My DS’ are home too so it’s a busier household here from normal when it’s just me and my DH  rattling round here! Not much time for making granny squares!

This week has been very exciting though, as my new sewing machine arrived!  I am in the process of writing about it and will have pics and a review next week!  I am already loving the extras  on it and spending time getting to know all the new features is very enjoyable.

I’ve done quite a bit of crochet squares towards a new blanket!

crochrt granny squares

getting the squares ready!

and I bought two new books!  Both of these seem to be very,  very good at first glance!

crochet book and bag making book

my new books

I can’t wait to start adding some granny square variations to the blanket and start making some more bags! Of all the sewing I do, I think I love making bags the most!

Well that’s it for now – I am full of pie and cupcakes and I need a granny nap, never mind a granny square!

best wishes to all the handmade mondayers celebrating Easter!

See you next week.

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Fabric Shops and Coffee Stops!

Well as I mentioned last weekend, I had a trip to Blackpool recently as DH likes to go to the annual Amateur Radio Show in much the same way as I like to go to fabric shops and events like Wonderwool and Yarnfest!  Now that our children have all left home we have a hobby room each – mine is full of fabric and yarn etc and his is full of radios, components and model railway parts!   Last time we went to the Blackpool show I was very disappointed with the ‘craft centre’ I had found on the internet – basically it had lots of empty units and most were closed!  This year however my internet research showed that things had improved!   Having dropped DH off at the radio show I excitedly drove to the March Mill Craft Village in Thornton.  It’s still not as good as it could be but it’s sooo much better than it was, as it now as a lovely coffee shop called ‘Tiffin’ which sells good coffee and homemade cakes,  🙂 and  a wonderful fabric shop called ‘Grace and Favour’.

Fabric shop in Blackpool

Grace and Favour Fabric Shop

Having forced myself not to run straight into buying fabric  I settled down to  scrumptious millionaires shortbread and an Americano in the warm coffee shop and contemplated the peaceful hour or two I would have before DH ‘phoned to arrange his pick up!  I was not disappointed – I didn’t even get in the door for about 10 mins as there were baskets of fabric packs outside to browse through.  I entered the shop with two of these already chosen!

Linen colour fabric with vintage rose pattern by Clarke and Clarke

Vintage Roses Fabric by Clarke and Clarke

Green and lilac cotton lawn

Cotton Lawn Fabric

It’s a lovely bright shop, not very big, but well laid out so you can enjoy a good browse working your way round the well stocked walls and then perusing the craft shelves in the centre. I was in their well over an hour – browsing, choosing, re-choosing and chatting to the friendly assistant Jess, who is also a sewing tutor at their sewing school ‘The Sewing Sanctuary’ in the same craft centre where they hold social crafting and run courses!  Wish I lived nearer!

inside-grace-and-favour-shop blurred-fabric-sidewall

I was very pleased to get these fabrics – only £1.50 a fat quarter!

red and pinky-red floral fabric in fat quarters

Far Quarters in lovely Cotton

I also got some trimmings for various projects – this is for my upcycling projects using the vintage linens I have acquired – I think it will make a beautiful addition to the dresses and tops I am designing!  I am going to make these out of a mix of vintage and contemporary fabrics and trims and it’s very exciting gathering the various bits and bobs and starting the designs!

beige lace flower rim

Lace Flower Trim

By a happy serendipity I got the ‘I’m ready to be picked up’ call just as I was paying for my items – so off I went to collect him and see who had spent the most!

And so to link with Handmade Monday!

Bye for now, Ali xxx

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ATC Swap!

I have always wanted to be part of an ATC Swap (Artist Trading Card) but have never seen one at a time when I could realistically join in. So I was very pleased when recently I was able to  join the ATC swap organised by Ali (another one!) at VeryberryHandmade  The theme was ‘Spring’ or ‘Books’.  Can you guess what I chose?  🙂

Here is mine!

ATC for the Verry berry handmade spring swap

My ATC I sent to my swap person!


The brief was to make a card using any craft technique and it must be the size of a business card.


ATC must show artist's name and contact email

The information which goes on the back

I had a lot of fun making mine and incorporated sewing, needle felting and embroidery into it.  You post your card out to a different person from whom you receive one and it’s a secret swap until the day it arrives!

This is what I received – a lovely countryside scene.

ATC received as part of the Very berry ATC SWap Spring 2014

The ATC I received!


Well  I am off to link with Handmade Monday now – not so easy as I am in the car on the way back from Blackpool where I visited an amazing fabric shop called Grace and Favour – more about that next time!


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