Introducing Doli Gwyr

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I have been rather busy lately playing around with a new little hobby making pretty little Welsh blanket dolls. I still love to make the smaller items such as Welsh blanket hearts and bunting but I am really enjoying making these little Welsh Lady’s. I source the vintage Welsh blankets form local vintage sales, charity shops- (I found a small piece form the 1920s) and good old eBay and never cut up anything unnecessarily. I have even been lucky enough to have been given some blankets from friends and whenever I am given something I try to make something special for them in return, as it makes them smile and that’s what makes the world go around. I try to find out as much as possible from the Welsh woollen Mills the blankets were made and add a little information on a little passport for each doll.

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I’ve learnt a few new things along the way, and what do they say? “learn something new every day its good for your braincells”…!!! so lets share my new found knowledge with you.

The Welsh woollen industry was very much part of every Welsh household in the years gone by- Carding(brushing) and spinning wool and cloth weaving were part and parcel of the domestic duties in the Welsh homes. The fulling mill, or pandy,  on the bank of a stream, was where the  the weavers of the Welsh neighbourhood would wash the wool  ready for spinning and weaving on hand looms. Urine! yes Urine! was collected from households to use in part of the washing process apparently it was a good detergent as far as wool was concerned.

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The smaller width blankets are usually the older blankets as they have been made on a hand loom and are generally worth more. Sometimes they were sewn together in the middle to create a larger blanket.

In 1850s, the power loom was invented; as a result of this new invention there were woollen mill factories popping up everywhere making blankets, quilts, carthenni (fringed bed toppers), tweeds, and knitting-yarn and you could say there was a “boom” in the Welsh weaving industry for a little while. From these many factories came the beautiful vintage blankets you can find today. My favourite has to be the tapestry style where there is a reversible double weave cloth creating the beautiful tapestry design on both sides. You can see why these beautiful Welsh Blanket’s,were traditionally given as wedding presents and handed down as heirlooms they are superbly designed and weaved.

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Unfortunately as with everything it seems that woollen products could be made cheaper else where and the Welsh weaving factories started to decline, among other reasons, but there are still some weaving today making and designing new Welsh blankets. So I think it is important to look after these little Welsh heritage treasures and keep them as heirlooms or refashion them into something else if they are too worn out.

Welsh Blankets are Beautiful

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Welsh Blanket my collection www.sewingbythebeach.com
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Welsh blanket my collection www.sewingbythebeach.com

 

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Beautiful Welsh Blanket my collection www.sewingbythebeach.com

 

I love Welsh Blankets and I have a little collection of my own scattered around the house.They are steeped in Welsh history and an important part of my Welsh heritage. At one point many years ago there were Welsh woollen mills all over Wales. I recently visited a huge collection of Welsh blankets in Ceredigion. Jane Becks shop www.welshblankets.co.uk/ is nestled in the Welsh countryside, I had a very warm welcome  and I came away with a cute Welsh Blanket chicken.

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My Little Chicken Jane Beck

 

I like to think I’ve rescued the blankets from the charity shops or boot sales, which is where I usually find them. Sometimes the blankets are so badly ripped and holey they are beyond repair. These are the only blankets I would take a scissors too and I will up cycle into something else so they can live on a few more years!! Although my latest finds are usually met with Muummm not another blanket!!

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Welsh Blankets my collection www.sewingbythebeach.com

 

I recently found a small (already cut up) piece of Welsh tapestry blanket in a charity shop. I did a bit of research and I discovered it had come from a Woollen Mill in Ceredigion Wales and it was made 100 years ago!!! I up cycled it into two little shawls for rag dolls I’d made.

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www.sewingbythebeach Welsh Dolls Tapestry blanket

 

 

 

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www.sewingbythebeach Welsh dolls Tapestry Blanket

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have up cycled Welsh blankets into hearts and cushions too. Follow my easy tutorial on Welsh Blanket hearts to make one for yourself or follow my crochet edge Welsh blanket tutorial and give a beautiful finish to a blanket.

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Welsh Blanket Cushion www.sewingbythebeach.com

 

 

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Welsh Blanket heart www.sewingbythebeach.com
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Welsh Blanket crochet edging www.sewingbythebeach.com

 

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Simple Crochet Tutorial

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Multicolour Crochet blanket
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Granny Squares
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Using up balls of wool

I have another crafty love which is crochet. I am a simple crochet lover and have made many beautiful crochet items for my home and for friends. I find it very relaxing and a great thing for me when I’m stressed or feeling low, my brain only has to think about my crochet stitches I am doing, everything else Swirling around in my brain has to wait as I’m so engrossed in my stitches!! I now meet with a group of friends around my kitchen table usually eating too much cake while we crochet.

The pictures are just a few things I have made.

Once I’d mastered a few simple stitches I just had a go at what I fancied. I self taught myself from watching youtube channels and reading simple steps in crochet magazines and I just built up my skills from there. My lovely auntie also showed me some techniques which helped me along the way. I love crochet as its easily transportable too! all I need is my hook and my ball of wool.photo (4)

There are loads of tutorials out there and you need to find the best one for you. I tend to look at a few different ones showing the same thing to give me an overall idea.

This is a really simple youtube crochet tutorial you can follow to teach yourself the basics. Once you’ve got the basics under your belt move on to the next simple stitch. This tutorial is from momof5daughters.com

Vintage Welsh blanket : free tutorial on pretty crochet edging.

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I love Vintage Welsh blankets and the history they have. I remember the woollen smell so vividly when sitting around by Nanas knees as a child. I love the sewing projects out there which use Welsh blankets BUT… I only use  blankets that are worn and holey ! and needs a new lease of life. For this project I have a ebay Vintage Welsh blanket find that was cut in two pieces!  I’m going to show you how to make a pretty crochet edge. This technique can be applied to any blanket or throw.

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Discovering Quilting

I have discovered a new passion for quilting. I have shown how to make a really simple quilted picnic blanket in my recent blog. BUT If you are itching to try out some more quilting styles I want to share with you a really easy tutorial web site which has given me loads of tips on quilting, and I just love her american accent and passion for sewing check out missouri quilt company – Google Search

DIY cards -Mothers Day Card

Crafty Card Birds

This little sewing project is a simple VERY cheap mothers day card. If you are the type of mum who’s left alone, still enjoying themselves, at the kids craft table while the kids have got bored and gone to watch T.V !! – well  this project is for you. I’ve made one for my mum and I’m 40 and I love how they look and they can be used for any occasions-new baby, wedding or for Grandparents.There is loads of similar projects on Pinterest but this one is from my head and tweaked around a bit to suit me. As with all my projects feel free to change things around to suit you, now lets show you how. Continue reading