Footloose in the garden

Footloose in the garden

I enjoyed stitching the mini Footloose cushion so much, I decided to make the full size version as a birthday gift for one of my nieces. The colour palette is based on her sitting room – I think she has sophisticated taste!

The Papper Sax Sten Drunkard’s Path templates always make such neat curves, and the top came together very quickly.

The quilting is based on one of the designs in Jacquie Gering’s new book Walk 2.0. It’s a series of interlocking circles which make a flower blossom.

I wanted to make one large flower to cover the whole quilt, so used the lid of our laundry basket as a template. The quilt needed a bit more quilting, so I echo quilted each circle in a teardrop shape.

This was a lovely quilt to make, and my niece was delighted with it!

Screenprinting with Jane Foster

Screenprinting with Jane Foster

I’ve been thinking about printing my own fabric for a while, and came across Jane Foster’s courses while googling one day.  I love Jane’s work, and the chance to learn from her – too good to miss!


Jane is based in Kingsbridge – about an hour from me – so I drove down there on the most beautiful day.  There were four of us, and I think we were all a bit nervous!

It was fascinating to hear from Jane about her career and life as an artist.  And I fell in love with screenprinting on my first try.  I’m not very good at drawing, but the process makes  simple designs look great, so it’s ideal for me.


I designed a flower using paper cut outs and round stickers, and struck with that for my one and two colour prints.


We printed three bags, some scraps of fabric, and paper.  I also made tiny niece Greta a bag.


She was a bit confused there was nothing in it (she had a very good look to make sure!), but soon came round when we showed her how to put toys in there.  (Also, she’s wearing the smocked dress I made – my sister knows how to make me happy).

Whenever I go on courses I am amazed by the variety of work produced – here is one bag from each of us.  Could they be more different?!


You can find out more about Jane and her work at – course details are in the Shop section.



Tiny niece Greta loves Peppa Pig, so I’ve been doing some Peppa knitting for her second birthday.

A toy Peppa – the pattern is from Woman’s Weekly –peppa_pig_knitting_dottie_doodle

A Peppa jumper.  I used a pattern from the Sublime Children’s double knitting book, and found a chart on flickr here .


It was too hot at her party to try on the jumper, but she seemed to like it.  “Mine” she said.

And she loved her toy.  I wish I could wear a pink tutu on my birthday!


Peppa even got in on the candle blowing!


The fabulous Muddy Puddle cake is by my sister, Jo.  It was delicious!

Ten go baking at River Cottage

Ten go baking at River Cottage


This year we are celebrating Mr D’s 50th birthday and nephew James is 21.  So on Good Friday we took a group of family and friends to River Cottage for a Baking Bread course.

I haven’t made bread before, mainly because I thought it involved lots of kneading – which looked like hard work!  But we didn’t have to knead anything for longer than 5 minutes.


James with the foccacia dough – sometimes a bowl just isn’t big enough!


We made pizzas to go in the wood fired oven – this is Hugh’s kitchen on the TV.  Mr D looks very proud of his pizza – he says it was just a small snack.


We made Hot Cross buns for Easter.  These are mine!


Most of the day we were in this wonderful barn, each with our own cooking station.


It was a fantastic day and Joe, our teacher, was excellent.   We were given masses of information, but lots of breaks and snacks too.


We all came home with three breads – foccacia, a basic loaf, soda bread and four Hot Cross Buns.  So when those are gone (they’re mostly in the freezer) I feel confident I can make some more!

Easter bunny, and a budding seamstress

Easter bunny, and a budding seamstress

debbie bliss small rabbit knit

The pattern for this little rabbit comes from Toy Knits by Debbie Bliss.

The book was published in 1995, and I bought it soon after, which means I’ve been making this pattern for nearly 20 years!  I think the first one was for a sweet little girl called Eleanor, who is now a beautiful twenty-something.

There’s something about this cute rabbit in an oversized sweater that makes me come back to it again and again.  The sweater is knitted from two strands of DK yarn worked together, so I sometimes make a matching cardigan as a baby gift.

The pattern taught me how to increase and decrease, and to use smaller needles (3.25 for DK) so the toy stuffing doesn’t show through.

Here is Greta measuring her new rabbit (I’d just measured her for a dress).  She looks like a natural!


Do you have a pattern you’ve been using forever?

The final five – my 2013 Goals

The final five – my 2013 Goals

1. Make clothes for the life I have now
We go for a two mile walk every morning and I’ll often stay in those scruffy clothes (I work from home).   Quite frankly, I look a bit of a mess most days!  So I’ll be focusing on comfortable, practical basics. (Also, pretty dresses.  Obviously).

2. Learn to use my new serger and sew knits
And to help me with number 1, Mr D bought me a serger – woo hoo!

3. Sew more slowly
I get excited and want to finish, I rush things.  Then they don’t turn out so well.  I’m not talking couture techniques, just not leaving threads hanging (so they get caught up in seams), not cutting notches properly (so I can’t find them and have to get the pattern pieces out again), not reading the instructions – the list is endless.

4. Take part in Me Made May
I started sewing clothes in April last year, but enjoyed watching from the sidelines.  This year, I aim to take part.  How successful I am could depend on the weather!

5. Where does the money go?
I don’t plan to renew my Seamless Challenge at the end of January – let’s see how I do without a pledge. Instead, I’ll keep a record of what I spend on ready to wear and sewing/knitting through the year.  Inspired by Roobeedoo’s recent post.

Thank you to Gillian for the Top 5 of 2012 idea.  I’ve really enjoyed compiling my lists, and reading everyone elses.

Top 5 Lessons Learned and Favourite Bloggers

Top 5 Lessons Learned and Favourite Bloggers


Continuing my review of the year….

Five Lessons Learned
1. Choose the right fabric for the pattern
This is very, very important, and I keep forgetting it!  And from the lovely, supportive comments many of you have left, I’m not alone.

2. Invisible zips
If they are not invisible enough you can just sew them again, without unpicking.  This is obvious isn’t it?  Not to me.

3. Planning works well for me
I’ve made a couple of inspiration collages on Polyvore to help me remember what I need and would like to make.  The first was a bit ambitious, but I’ve completed or started everything from number two.Autumn / Winter 2012 inspiration

4. I can stop shopping
At the end of January, I will have (almost completely) abstained from clothes shopping for a year and a half, and it’s been a revelation!  I’ll write about my experience in more detail then.

5. Blogging is great!
I didn’t discover sewing blogs until the beginning of the year and reading about all the wonderful things you make inspired me to start making clothes.  Then I wanted  to join in, so I took a deep breath and published my first post.  Terrifying!  But all good, everyone is so supportive and your comments often make my day.

Five favourite bloggers

I follow loads of blogs and it’s hard to choose, but here goes…

Scruffy Badger – gorgeous clothes, and so funny.

Alicia Paulson – beautiful pictures, wonderful writing.  I’m looking forward to seeing what she makes for her new daughter to wear as she grows.

Roobeedoo – I love her fashion style and she always has something interesting to say.

Did you make that – inspirational!

Handmade by Carolyn – her photos are fabulous, and I would wear almost everything she makes (if I lived somewhere warmer).  Worrying recent tendency to make men’s shirts.  I’ve told Mr D this is an elaborate hoax!

Just one more list to go – my five goals for 2013.  I’m enjoying reading everyone else’s lists –  Gillian has a link here.