A few weeks ago I bought an old OS map of our local area. The idea was to take a section, draw on it like people do on old book pages and then frame it for C to take to university with her.

Our local picture framers has off cuts of mount board which are free and I quickly found a pirece to suit. What to draw on the map was much more problematical and I struggled to come up with an idea until I began to doodle on a piece of scrap paper and settled on leaves.


I’m embarrassed to show it to you as my execution fell far short of my vision for it. Fortunately for me C is delighted with it.


The pen was scratchy, I tried to do it in a rush and I didn’t do it with confidence. I can show you this as I’ve already given it to her because the map also shows the village where her ‘bestie’ lives and so a second picture will be created from this same map. I hope C does better with her picture.

One of the many items that have been identified for uni is a shopping bag as she’ll be shopping for her own groceries from now on. I made lots of fabric bags some years ago from roll end pieces of upholstery fabric and they’re still going strong so C will take a couple of those but I also wanted to make a thinner bag with shoulder length handles that she could roll up and put in her handbag.


Now we’re onto textiles I’m much more in my comfort zone. Again, this was done in a hurry as I didn’t want her to see it before it was finished and she wasn’t out for long! We have 3 cats which I know will be sorely missed so it felt like the right image to use.


It’s free machine embroidery onto calico with a few lines of decorative stitches underneath. They’re the sum total of the fancy stitches offered on my old Bernina. I decided all stitching would be done in black so I wanted it to look a little fancier than running stitch. I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out and C is ecstatic, what more could I ask.

I enjoyed creating the bag so much I have another idea to use up the leftover fabric. Sorry I can’t say more, but I believe she reads this blog occasionally and I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

Bag workshop

Saturday was lovely and sunny outside and in as we created some fab felt bags.


The small blue/green bag on the left was made by Mandy. It’s only her second ever piece of felt and she made a great job of it even venturing into adding a pleat. On the right is the blue / red bag by Chris who decided upon a spiral pleat repeated on both sides.


Repeating the spiral pleat, on both sides, in the same position also made a wonderful gussett on the bag. Gill wanted a large fairly plain bag for everyday use. It had an internal pocket and was destined for a leather strap.


Irene was very taken with my leaf shaped bag and created her own autumnal version with a green interior. Many pleats means more stitching and felting but it was on it’s way to completion by the time she left. I can’t wait to see a photo of it finished.


Irene was also inspired to try one with more pleats and this shape I created based on a shell but Irene’s colour choice of turquoise with a white interior was stunning.


It was a joy to work with these lovely ladies and a very big thank you to them all for their help in tidying away. Clifton Village Hall is a really nice small hall with views into adjoining fields full of sheep and donkeys. All my workshops are being held at this venue for the remainder of the year, I hope to see some of you there.

Pleated bags workshop

A new workshop taking place on Sunday 9th November at Gisburn Festival Hall. This is a new venue for me and it’s a lovely light space to work. Initially we’ll make prefelt (part made felt) then insert pleats and then move on to finishing our designs.


The pleating gives a sculptural quality to the bag.


I made one very large piece of pre-felt so as well as the bag above I also made the one below.



A cute bag. The prefelt is white Norwegian with carded Blue Faced Leicester on top. Felt handle, off cut of pre-felt for the flap and a felt button. I’m very pleased with how this worked out and am looking forward to showing you my next example. Further details and booking on my workshop page.

Hidden texture workshop

I couldn’t have been more pleased with how this workshop went. A lovely group of ladies and the work! – just see for yourself.


You can very clearly see the depth of texture achieved in this bag by Janice. This was the very first piece of felt she’d made and to tackle, 3D, texture and carding skills in her first time was brilliant. And she smiled thoughout


Deborah kept her design simple but very striking, the sinuous curves are lovely. Each bag has an internal pocket followed by 2 layers of wool then the design work as we laid out the texture which would be hidden by 2 further layers of carded wool.


I’m so disappointed that I don’t have a better photo of Jenis’  bag to show you but the black proved a little harder to photograph and the group was about to leave at this point. There are several horizontal layers of lines and raised mounds which were very effective. Instead of a long handle  Jeni cut a hand hold in at the end of felting. Mulberry silk fibres were also incorporated into the felt but they don’t show up in photos as the bag was still wet. Bet it looks even better now


Sue was ambitious with her design and there was a point when I thought she’d be finishing it at home but it was completed in the time we had. It has quite a celtic feel about it, I wonder if it’s the colour  contributing to that?  This is the only bag without a handle as Sue was considering using a metal chained handle as a contrast to the wool.


I have more workshops coming up and am looking forward to the lacy cobweb felt scarf workshop a week on Sunday 5th october. It’s at the festival Hall in Gisburn which is a lovely light space to work in. I hope to see some of you there.


The skirt went from this


to this


and I got


Ilkley Flower Show is a small local show which I have to say seems to have gotten much smaller this year. The main reason for entering was to ensure that I completed the project and didn’t just push it to the back of a cupbaord. Working with all recycled materials forces you to think and be creative and is very enjoyable – give it a try. Perhaps it should be a workshop theme?


Skirt remodelling part 4

I bet you were beginning to think I’d never finish this project and I do have to own up to an amount of dithering. Happily it’ is finished. This is a long post with a lot of pictures so grab a drink then relax as I take you through the journey It began life like this.


Then it looked like this.


Ugh! I really didn’t like that. After deciding to turn it into a bag I straightened the edges.


I also decided to add some detail on top of the fabric through needle felting.


And a pocket on the inside. The fabric is flipped the other way so that there’s a contrast and the pocket stands out.


I stitched the side and bottom seams with a few tack stitches then it was ready to be felted together.


Once felted I removed the stitches and dried the bag with the top folded over giving a lovely contrast collar. I did felt a strip of fabric to form a handle but once finished I just felt it was too lightweight for the bag and had to rethink that one. A trip to the charity shops found me this belt which is just perfect isn’t it. Just look at the colour of those beads!


I used some rusty washers from a jar that I rescued from my father-in-laws’ garage some years ago and they’re stitched on with rug wool which I rescued from a skip and dyed up.


After punching an extra hole in the end of the belt I attached it using more rug wool. I’m not entirely sure I like this but I wanted to use only recycled items. If it doesn’t work out I may buy a couple of brass rings later.


After further searching through the jar I found a few more washers and a metal tube (no idea what that was for) which I used to make a fastening.


More of the rug wool used to make a linked chain.


It goes across the bag and the cylinder is used as a toggle fastening.


Do you like it?


I’m pleased the fastening works so well.


It’s a nice long strap and you can see the pattern well on the bag. One of my favourite decorations.


So pleased with it.


The only ‘new’ item in this bag is the wool I used in the felting. I’m entering this into the Ilkley Flower Show tomorrow in the something new from something old category. Wish me luck. I’ll let you know how I get on but most of all I’m looking forward to using this bag. I even made it deep enough to take my knitting needles!

Poppy bag workshop

Just for a change, the delay in showing you these photos hasn’t been down to me. My Daughter took the card from the camera for a school project, took it to school and left it there! All’s well that ends well though and I thought I’d begin by showing you the bags during the laying out process.




Each bag has an internal pocket and a separate handle. After laying out the base layers of green we carded greens to give extra interest to the background and then laid out areas to create dark and light. After that it was onto the laying out of the poppies using different sizes to give perspective to the work. The larger poppies then had extra detailing added and I think you’ll agree that the finished bags are stunners.


These are the backs of the bags and from left to right were created by; Jane, Sue and Susan.


I’ve never taught a bag class like this before. Usually, everyone has made a bag but with completely individual colours and patterns. There was still opportunity for people to choose their own poppy layout and addition of other colours for highlighting but otherwise, it was as instructed. It’s worked out very well and I think I may repeat this in the spring. Anne didn’t make it on the day due to a family accident but she was in our thoughts and I hope everything is now well.

Poppy Bag

I’m running a workshop next month making handbags inspired by one of our most recognisable flowers, poppies. Perhaps you’d like to see one of the samples?


I went for a plain purple background. The poppy is redder than it looks, for some reason the photo looks a little pink.


The flower was laid on at the beginning of the felting process. The stitching you can see is purely decorative.


It was so much fun making this small bag. I was a bit worried that the flower was too large for the bag but my daughter convinced me otherwise.

Bag workshop

The photos for this blog are courtesy of Lesley and Stephanie. I know you’re all now thinking that I forgot my camera yet again but honest I didn’t. This time it was the SD card which wouldn’t work. When I got home Hubby temporarily sorted it with the addition of some sellotape but I fear I need a new card. So, without more ado, the reveal.


This time we were working in Jacob fibres for the main body of the bag with any colour being supplied by Merino or other embellishments. Above you can see that Denise has added coloured wool nepps and curly kid Mohair. Below, Sylvia, has added Mohair, merino and some soyabean I think.


Pam has added coloured wool nepps, curly kid mohair and soyabean fibres. The nepps and the mohair were very popular that day and they do make attractive decorations. The grey and the black Jacob fibres really show off the additions well and make these bags to use with any outfit.


Next up is a tote style bag from Jean. The wiggly lines are yarn, pink spots are Merino, blue spots are dyed Ramie noil and yes, some coloured wool nepps as well. The wiggly yarn really gives the bag life.


Lesley went for full on impact and achieved it brilliantly through the addition of bright purple Merino and dyed Teeswater curls. The flap was stretched to exaggerate it’s width and make a feature of it.


Stephanie chose to go for a round bag and came prepared with some angelina fibres which have added a little sparkle to the bag with the remainder of the colour provided by Merino and dyed Teeswater curls. I know she’s now gone on to subtly stitch right across the surface of the bag which has just added to its charms


That concludes another great workshop. Where are my manners?  Thank you for all your help setting up and clearing away ladies, many hands do indeed make light work.


Making up

Last month I bought a remnant from the Fent Shop in Skipton which covered a stool for me. There was plenty of fabric leftover which has now made me a new shopping bag.

There’s still a little left even now. Searching for wo  lin the boxes under the bed I became aware of just how many pairs of knitting needles I own having inherited my Gran’s and my Mum’s and having added to the stash myself. A clearout was in order so I’ve slimmed it down to one pair of each size and decided I should make a receptacle to store them in. I don’t need a traditional needle roll, I don’t use them often enough for that.

The fabric above was bought for a project that didn’t work out and so was stahed away for another day. It’s upholstery quality so is strong enough to resist needle points.

A remnant of red cord from my stash provides the enclosure and now there’ll be no more  loose needles rattling about. the sewing machine was still out and there was plenty of fabric left so I made two more bags.

These though are destined to be presents.