Cutting a straight edge on fabric

Been making curtains this week – for my sister’s new (secondhand) caravan. We got some really nice flowery fabric in the style of Cath Kidson as my sis wants to do out the whole ‘van in floral vintage style. The fabric is from Abakhan in Liverpool and is incredibly wide – it’s the widest I’ve ever worked with at 6 foot! The pattern repeat is quite small so it’s made it fairly simple to match up a pair of curtains.

Red roses on blue fabric

The pretty roses on the fabric

One major problem I have when using patterned fabric is how to cut straight edges so that the pattern doesnt go wonky across the curtain. With rotary cutters and a long ruler it’s easy to cut a neat straight line but it could be a straight line which doesn’t follow the straight grain of the fabric and hence the pattern ends up wonky!

I thought I’d describe how I make sure my curtains are properly squared in case anyone else out there has been wondering how to do it, especially when there is no selvedge as a starting point!

Firstly inspect your fabric for some nice frayed ends – you might need to pull a bit to get hold of an end but tweezers come in handy for this bit!

Floral fabric with frayed ends

Nice easy to grab strands!

Floral fabric

See the strand coming out

Floral fabric

Strand removed

90degrees lines on fBric

Two strands removed to form two cutting lines at 90 degrees to each other

So with a bit of gentle pulling of one or two strands of fabric you can pull them straight out and leave a blank line – it’s a bit like drawing up curtains – pull gently and then smooth out the fabric and pull again till the strand comes right out.

As you can see above once you have pulled a vertical and horizontal thread out you have two perfect lines to cut along!

Once you have your perfectly aligned cut fabric you can move onto hemming! My Wonderclips come in very handy here as they’re much easier to use than pins – for a start they don’t hurt you!

Wonder clips on fabric

Keeping the hem in place with Wonder-clips

So that was my week – and will be more of the same next week as I haven’t finished them all yet! Hopefully I can take a picture of the caravan all decked out soon!

Linking up with Handmade Monday again this week 😀


Simple Wavy Crochet Edging for a Blanket and finished my Road Trip Scarf!

Wow – I finished some WiPs! – my Ripple Blanket and my Road Trip Scarf!

My blanket is a Ripple Blanket – pattern is from Attic 24 Neat Ripple but I decided I wanted a simple wavy crochet edging on mine!  First I used this tutorial to do a round of different sized stitches to make the 4 edges straight. (raspberry  row) then I added 2 rows of double crochet all round.(purple and grey rows)

multi-coloured crochet ripple blanket

edging the ripple blanket

You could add as many straight rows as you like but I kept mine just to the two after the ‘straightening out’ row.  For the wavy effect I couldn’t find anything anywhere that was simple – I didn’t want pom poms or holes or shells or drop posts or anything other than a simple wave!

So I decided to make my own simple wavy crochet edging as in the picture below!  (see here for the pattern)

multi coloured blanket with patchwork fairy edging

simple wavy crochet edging

This week has been pretty similar to last week health wise and craft wise as I still have a very painful back and so still can’t get into my craft room to work!  I can still crochet though,  so after finishing my lovely Road Trip Scarf last week I immediately started another one in fiery red as I am really hoping I am selected for the xmas fair in Liverpool and so need some stock to sell!   They have 100 more applicants than places though so some of us are going to be disappointed!

I did manage to finish my ‘Road Trip Scarf’ and add on the embellishments which make it look really pretty I think!

blue crochet scarf

Finished Road Trip Scarf

Friday this week I was awake from half 4 and so I made a little bag for keeping my mobile ‘phone and glasses in as I can’t carry a big handbag at the moment – any kind of weight causes terrible pain  – I can’t even the kettle unless there is only a tiny amount of liquid in it!

Here is one I made a while ago and the one I made on Friday!


blue crocheted bag


I do have a thing about bags – I love making them and owning them so I find it difficult to make them for selling!  these were just practice ones with a made up pattern though so won’t be going anywhere! 🙂

Anyhoo, it’s time to meet up with Handmade Monday again! See you there?

Rag Quilt and Crochet Bag

Well after a lot of thinking I decided my crochet circle would be a bag!  However it isn’t really looking like one and is more like a sombrero!  I am following an Attic 24 pattern so it should turn out ok but I am wondering if floppy cotton was not the right yarn as the original pattern is in merino. Oh well – perhaps an interfaced fabric lining will be required to give it some form!

crochet bag in cotton yarn

bag base and 12 rows on

The other thing I decided to make this week was a quilt for me to take on holiday in a couple of weeks – it’s using up lots of the stash I recently received and as it’s a rag quilt it was fairly easy to make compared with  making a quilt top and then quilting it to a base.

I made some quilt ‘sandwiches’ first, then quilted each ‘sandwich’ with a cross of stitching. These were then sewed together in long lines and then the lines joined up – all had a half inch seam allowance for fraying later.

floral fabric and cotton wadding

quilt sandwich showing the wadding / batting

quilting yellow floral fabric

diagonal stitching to quilt the ‘sandwiches’

quilting purple fabric quilt

using the walking foot to quilt the edges

After sewing all the quilted squares together I made some long sashing strips in bright purple and made long rectangular ‘sandwiches’ to sew right round each edge.  I quilted these separately with  long diagonal lines and then finally a line right round the egde of the quilt leaving a half an inch seam allowance for fraying.

The hardest part if snipping all the seams for the fraying but it’s worth is when you take the quilt out of the tumble drier and it’s all soft and lovely!  It’ll certainly keep me cosy of the cross channel ferry!


pastel shades of floral fabric rag quilt

finished quilt

I’m rather late for Handmade Monday as I was at a Boyzone concert in beautiful  Delamere forest yesterday but that’s another story!

Boyzone in Delamere Forest

Boyzone in Delamere Forest

Standing Wool Rug- Quillie Rug

At  Wonderwool last week I was fascinated by the beautiful rugs made with by the standing wool rug-making technique also known as making a ‘quillie’ rug.  I wrote about it in this post.   Apparently it’s not a very well known or practised technique which is strange because it’s very addictive and I found it not at all difficult to do.  I thought I would show you how I did it  in case you would like to have a go! I watched the quillies being rolled up at wonderwool and then how they are sewn into a complete rug but didn’t see how they were kept individually rolled beforehand so that bit is just my own way. I started with the  cut-offs of wool blankets I bought at Wonderwool


my wool cut-offs

Back home I cut them all up into strips with my rotary cutter.

Wool strips ready for quilling

The wool squares cut into strips

Then the fun bit: First lay two different coloured strips on top on one another and begin to curl them up between your fingers  keeping the initial fold as tight as you can.


two strips laying one on top of the other


beginning to curl the strips

It’s quite easy to roll them up but you do need to keep tight hold or else they flirt open and leap onto the floor!   I kept mine  from uncurling by sewing them through the middle using  sock wool  with a very long needle.  Mine is a called a Doll needle and there were 3 in a packet,   I find the 5inch one easiest.  It was very hard to pull the needle right out of the other side of the roll without using a needle grabber.  Once I bought the grabber it was very straight forward. If you were making these to combine for a rug or item to be used you should sew them together with linen thread for strength.

wool and doll needle for sewing up

pushing the long needle threaded with sock wool through the ‘swiss roll’ quillie together


wool right through the ‘swiss roll’ quillie

I just snipped the wool off the leave a short piece through the middle


finished quilllie with wool through

Here are the first few I made


First few quillie rolls

Here are the finished ones grouped together but not sewn together. I wanted to experiment with the colours.   I haven’t decided if this will be the final colour layout but   I will add more quillies as soon as I cut more strips from my store of felted charity shop jumpers! image I could sew these together and then add to the rug so it grows like freeform crochet or I could wait until I have all my quillie rolls and create the design first.  Decisions!

The sewing up part involves sewing two together – straight through the middle of each in a couple of places, then adding another one and sewing it to the first two in what ever shape you want.  Each quillie needs to have several strands of wool, or preferably strong linen thread, holding it to the others around it, using the long needle,  and then needs to be sewn at the top edge  to the adjacent quillie, using a curved needle. I imagine this is to make it secure enough to be walked on unless you wanted to have it as a wall hanging.  They could also be made into place mats though which would be much quicker!


using curved needle to sew up at the top edge

My largest quillies are about 3inches in diameter, the ones in the picture are 2 inches.  You just roll up the strips till you have the size you want then cut off the rest! Hopefully next week I will be able to post a complete rug! Linking up with Handmade Monday now and off to see what everyone else has been making!

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


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!