Jane Dallaway

Jane Dallaway

Often found in front of a computer, loom or sewing machine.

Software developer by trade. Weaver and photographer by hobby. Dog owner by design. This blog has elements of them all.

Maintainer of 30yearsagotoday.com and brightonbloggers.com


Email: jane @ dallaway.com
Twitter: @janedallaway
Flickr: janed
Instagram: janed

  • Sunglasses case 

    With sunglasses in: Closed

    Last year, when I was first starting to learn how to sew, I made a sunglasses case (photo at the bottom of this post). A couple of weeks ago I lost it. Never mind I thought. I'll make a new one. And so I did. It's a little better finished than the first one. But it is still nothing more than two rectangles of fabric and some cotton.

    It's made from some flannel that I bought over winter. It isn't lined. I contemplated lining it and decided that I was just too lazy and that I'd probably just lose this one too. I made the cord from 6 lengths of Rico Creative Cotton fringe twisted together. The colour matches between the cotton and the stripes of the flannel turned out to be almost perfect. I have to say that I'm particularly pleased with the cord.

    With sunglasses in: Open

    All in all, rather pleased with my second sunglasses case. And if I can make it last a year before I have to replace it with next season's version then all will be well.

  • A new space for crafting 

    My new crafting space

    My usual routine for doing any crafting work that needs a sewing machine or loom involves clearing the dining room table. This only takes 5 or 10 minutes but I'd noticed that it was enough to prevent me from getting started.

    We have a spare room which was rarely used for anything other than drying laundry. As part of a plan to reclaim the room we recently bought a washer dryer. So the room is available again. I wondered if I could use it as a crafting space. The morning light streams through the window in this room. And weekend mornings is when I do most of my weaving. So it sounded like it was worth a try.

    I bought a light but strong folding table as a work surface - I figured I could store it under the bed when the room needs to be a spare bedroom again. It fits under the window perfectly and is wide enough to rest the loom on. I've got space at the back of the table to store my sewing machine, sewing box and cotton caddy. And that still leaves enough space at the front of the table to hold my loom, or other stuff.

    This is my second weekend using this space. And I love it. It's great having a space that I can leave in a bit of a mess. I guess it is time to think about making a sewing machine cover.

  • Unwind Brighton 

    Unwind Brighton stash

    Yesterday a friend and I paid a visit to Unwind, a yarn event in Brighton. I showed great self-control and only bought 2 skeins of yarn and 3 pairs of socks (which were for Richard).

    The first yarn I bought was a John Arbon Textiles Hayward DK in blackberry marl. I thought I could crochet a hat out of it, and the marl idea intrigued me.

    The other was a ball of Blacker Elegance. I'd heard of Blacker Yarns via the craftsy Know your wool tutorial and had looked at their website but wasn't sure what to get. It was brilliant to be able to talk to Sue Blacker and get some advice and suggestions (and to be introduced to her book which I'm adding to my gift list). My intention is just to use this as a sample to get an idea of how it would weave up with a view to ordering some other yarns at a later stage when I have a project in mind.

    There were a lot of wonderful yarns around. Lots of squishing and stroking happened. My mistake was that I hadn't given any thoughts to projects I might like to do. So I didn't want to spend such a lot of money on gorgeous skeins of yarn that I wouldn't be able to make the most of. It seemed wasteful both in terms of money and of yarn. So, I limited myself to yarn for a hat. I enjoy crocheting hats although this is becoming a bit of a problem as I think I almost have a hat for all occasions now.

    One of the things I liked most about this show was that a lot of the stalls had made up sample squares or garments from the yarns they were selling. Which meant that not only could we squish the yarn in skeins, we could also see and feel what a finished object would look like. I should have made notes, or taken more photographs. I'm half tempted to go again today.

    All in all a good visit to a good show. And if Unwind returns next year, I'll be there again, maybe with a few more plans.

    Gift from Mitul

    Whilst talking about yarns, I should also mention that a friend bought me a couple of balls of gorgeous soft yarn. She'd been to the Wool shop in Bath and brought me a gift of some Artesano Alpaca Silk 4 ply and some Cumulus. The Cumulus is so soft that it may just become something I stroke when I'm feeling stressed rather than something I make something out of. A great gift that I look forward to finding suitable projects for.

  • Dog treat bag edition 3 


    This is my 3rd attempt at a dog treat bag. And the 2nd for myself. The one I made myself last year is finally looking a bit worst for wear. It has lasted well. I did do some remedial stitching on the attachment tab at the top but that was all. The canvas backing I'd put into it had caused the most damage as it had worn the fabric away.

    Version 1 looking a bit battered

    I liked the design of the bag I made for Richard so decided I'd use that as a base. On using it Richard had discovered that the attachment tab didn't hang well. It tended to hang open meaning it was nice and easy for a small dog to get her snout in and steal treats. Not ideal!

    For my 3rd attempt, I used another of the deckchair canvas squares. Actually I used half of one of them. The treat bag isn't huge. I used some blue fabric I had left over as the top section. And I lined it with some orange fabric I had left over from this. The only thing I bought for this bag was a tiny bit of ribbon to use as an attachment. And I could have just used fabric - it was just an excuse to buy some ribbon! I even made the ties by fringe twisting some existing yarns. So a good stash busting project.

    I made two changes to the design I'd used for Richard's version. Change 1: I attached the tab to the top most part - where the inner meets the top section. Change 2: I added an internal divider. This is to divide treats from bags (tho isn't visible in the photos).


    I haven't tried this out yet, so I can't report on it's function. But at least someone likes the look of it!


  • A "not quite as planned but pleasant anyway" woven cushion cover. 

    Perched amongst the plants

    The original intention for this project was to use up a lot of yarns out of my stash and make a cushion cover that was all woven - front and back.

    This was the first project where I used my new warping board. I watched the section on my Slots and Holes video and got to work. And struggled somewhat. But I have a clearer idea of what to do next time. New things are always hard to get your head around I guess.

    I used a lilac acrylic yarn left over from this project. And some Garnstudio Drops Loves You IV in blue that I'd bought to crochet a cowl from but decided that the floaty bits were going to be way too itchy. I'd bought some Stylecraft Special DK in Wisteria as a filler because I wanted to try this yarn out. Then having done my maths and worked out that I didn't have enough yarn for the weft I went to my local yarn shop. And left with some Sirdar Snuggly DK in grey. And I loved how all of these colours worked together.

    In progress

    The weaving started well.

    Showing the pulling on the blue warp threads

    But the blue Drops yarn turned out to not be particularly well plied and so wasn't strong enough to be a warp thread. Or even a weft thread used for hemstitching. I learnt this whilst weaving. I implanted a repair on the first warp thread to break and continued to weave. When the second and third started to look rather thin I decided to give up. As a result the piece of fabric didn't end up being long enough to be both front and back. But it was big enough to make the front of a cushion cover. So it was a change of plan, rather than an abandonment.

    I wet finished this by hand washing and then rinsing and spinning at a low speed in the washing machine. I didn't block it but just let it dry flat.

    When it dried it was obvious that it was quite a soft fabric. And that the textured stripes had worked well. But that the acrylic yarns hadn't given as much as the more natural fibres did. So, not quite the expected pattern. But it was definitely worth making that cushion cover out of. So, I popped to my local fabric shop and bought some blue fabric for the back and got to work.


    I used the same method as I have for all the other cushion covers. An envelope back. I used the weaving as the guide for the finished size. So there is a Wisteria stripe at the top and bottom. And a lilac stripe at the right and left. The envelope back has ended up being rather lower down that I'd planned . This was because I pinned it all together and then cut down to size rather than pinning, checking and finally cutting. A bit too impatient I'm afraid. But, the stitching in contrasting lavender ended up being pretty straight.

    With other made items

    Despite that assembly mistake, and the larger warp thread problem, it has ended up being a soft and comfortable cushion cover. It looks like it'll fit right in to colourful "hand made stuff" corner. (The crocheted blanket at the back isn't my work - that was Mum's work)

    On a stool in the garden

    Overall, I'm really pleased. I still like the pick-up stick patterns and all of the potential they bring. And I love the colour play in this project. And most of all, this is the end of my weaving backlog. So I've cleared the decks and ordered the yarn for my next project. Yay!