Tag Archives: millstones

Holiday Exmoor Exploits

I wanted to share a few of the places I came upon whilst exploring on holiday this month.

There is a lot to be said for carefully researching days out, but sometimes it is those places that we just come upon that take our breath away! I did seem to keep being places at just the right time.

The Moyes Clan gathering holiday was in Timberscome this year and we had enjoyed a pleasant Sunday afternoon in Dunster village, before heading to the beach.

Wooly Dunster

Dunster Yarn Market is a historic timber octagonal building at one end of the High Street and creates single file traffic. As one of my sons commented as we drove through “it’s a bit in the way!”

Dunster Yarn Market

Dunster Yarn Market

Built in 1609 to provide shelter for merchants during cloth markets, we were staying during monthly woolfest. It was great to see the wool from sheep to jumper.

We were just in time to see a young ticklish sheep being shorn for the first time.

Another day I met Annabelle, a maker with a her own flock of sheep, had a crafty chat and bought  wool and wooden buttons.

When there was a group returning to Dunster to visit the castle, I decided to have a solitary explore towards the coast. I enjoyed a drive along the Somerset lanes, not worrying about the frequent delays for the “dance of cars” negotiating passing places and none.

Selworthy on a Sunny Afternoon

I parked up by Selworthy church and my first find was a craft shop in a thatched cottage to explore local makers work. Asking around I was directed to a path that took me towards the hill were “you can get a great view of Porlock Bay.”

 Glad I had borrowed a map from my local library that helped me to work out my route, but also appreciated a lady telling me the way – heading towards the hamlet of Bossington, and then on to find Selworthy Beacon on the headland, one of the highest points on Exmoor.

Thatched Shelter - Allerford Plantation

Thatched Shelter – Allerford Plantation

There are lots of thatched dwellings around, but I was fascinated to come across several thatched shelters, for walkers in inclement weather Thankfully the weather held for my walk. The gate  presumably deters animals.

Thatched Cobbled Shelter with wooden bench

Thatched Cobbled Shelter with wooden bench

St Agnes’ Fountain is a small spring in Allerford Plantation and has the seat with the bay view I had been told about. I am not sure I would have noticed the fountain if it wasn’t for the seat, after our dry Spring & Summer! There is no structure apart from an arrangement of mossy stones. The fountain was constructed in 1820 and named after the youngest daughter of Sir Thomas Acland. (SS 9047 4736 if you ever wish to find it)

St Agnes' Fountain a small spring, Allerford Plantation

St Agnes’ Fountain a small spring, Allerford Plantation

Seat with a Wiew, Allerford Plantation

Seat with a Wiew, Allerford Plantation

From here I climbed through forest, catching tantalising glimpses of deer and ponies. It was hot and tiring and I nearly gave up finding the Selworthy Beacon and the ocean views. I was so glad to finally meet another human who encouraged me it wasn’t too far and worth continuing to “her favourite place to be”.

A heather and gorse informal patchwork greeted me and I took a path through this to reach the view I had persisted for.

Selworthy Beacon View, Exmoor

Selworthy Beacon View, Exmoor

Amazing dark and light cloud formations coming over threatened rain but I remained dry and didn’t need to use the stone “wind and rain hut” built in remembrance of John Dyke Acland in on his death in 2009. He took his children, and then grandchildren on Sunday walks on the combe training them to love nature and poetry. There are some examples of his favourite poetry calved in the sections of the shelter:

wind and rain hut built in remembrance of John Dyke Acland

wind and rain hut built in remembrance of John Dyke Acland

poem calved in the wind and rain hut built in remembrance of John Dyke Acland

poem calved in the wind and rain hut built in remembrance of John Dyke Acland

From here I was able to work out how to get back to my car, back to our cottage to quickly wash and change to join my mother in laws birthday tea. I had been a much longer trek than anticipated but I felt uplifted by my Exmoor exploits.

The following day Nick and I set off early to take one of our sons to Exeter airport, as he had to fly to Ireland for a friends wedding. Afterwards we wend East to explore the coast there. I had noticed Otterton Mill on the map and we were driving past. Deciding to stop, we didn’t know what joys awaited us.

Milling and Fresh baked bread at Otterton Mill

Otterton Mill – on the River Otter was just preparing for one of the occasional demonstrations, allowing us to experience the ancient tradition of flour milling. The curved waterwheel paddles were turning it at a fair pace (12 revolutions per minute) producing 200kg of flour an hour.

Otterton Mill diagram

Otterton Mill diagram

This is helped by the petal shaped grooves cut into the millstones. I was impressed by the exhibit of this.

Groove patterns in millstones

Groove patterns in millstones

Milling has taken place here for over 1000 years and we watched a traditional wheat variety ‘Maris Widgeon’ being milled. This wheat is so tall its straw is used for thatching.

Otterton Mill Grinding

Otterton Mill Grinding

We browsed the local arts and crafts,  purchasing  some flour bread from the shop.

Driving to the coastal path above Sidmouth we tried the bread, before our walk down along the seafront, a paddle and a cream tea. It was at the beach I continued to stitch some seaside quilted cards.

seaside stitching

seaside stitching

seaside quilted cards

seaside quilted cards







Home Baking

After the blessing of summer sunny holiday exploits today is a cool wet day, just right for doning wool, lighting the stove and baking bread using the Otterton Mill stone ground flour.

Holiday Bread made with Otterton Mill stoneground wholemeal bread flour

Holiday Bread made with Otterton Mill stoneground wholemeal bread flour

Half the bag made two lovely loaves shown in their proving baskets:

Bread in Proving Basket

Bread in Proving Basket

I added some rosemary, olives and sun dried tomatoes to elude to happy summer holiday memories.

I would love to hear what your holiday exploits have included.

Sew Sheffield – My Sheffield Quilt

My Sew Sheffield Quilt is finished! And it’s ready to cosy up or hygge with, and grace our guest room. Here I share the inspiration and process of making it, with a machine quilt binding tutorial.

A Sheffield Quilt

The Sheffield Quilt was made during a “sew a row round robin quilt challenge” in 2016. Nine others from my quilting group joined the round robin, so we divided into two teams.

In July we each chose our own theme and made our own first row.

What Sheffield means to Us – in Stitch

I decided my theme would be “what Sheffield means to me”.

Sheffield, in South Yorkshire, England, is

  • a major industrial city, historically renouned for it’s steel and cutlery
  • one of the greenest cities in the UK. 61% of Sheffield’s entire area is green space
  • built on seven hills  – or is it eight, there seems to be local controversy!
  • in the valleys of the River Don and its four tributaries, Loxley, Porter Brook, Rivelin and Sheaf.

The parks, gardens and woodlands made it a wonderful place to grow up. And the rivers were house names at my Junior School.

During the five months of the round robin, I looked forward to seeing how others interpreted the theme. The challenge included piecing, but not quilting, the rows, which were to be between 5 and 9 inches deep.

My Row Design

My Sheffield Quilt row was inspired by growing up and living in Nether Edge and Ecclesall. These leafy suburbs in South Sheffield are on the edge of the beautiful Peak District. So I wanted to include both the city and peaks I love. This combination of a green, culture rich city with easy access to the Derbyshire Peak District makes me love living here. In fact, a third of the city lies within the Peak District national park.

I upcycled some existing patchwork from a worn out skirt, signifying my love of creating with the discarded.

Marvelous out of the discarded

The greens spoke of a lush landscape with varying foliage, and I created a background of hills.

I added a sky-scape for the city of Sheffield, in dark, small floral print fabric. And I used the council logo as a basis for the  design, enlarging it and cutting out the dark fabric (with bondaweb on the reverse) with embroidery scissors. Running stitches in black thread attached this to the patchwork background.


City of Sheffield Applique

I added millstones in a textural fabric and the Peak District arched logo in green satin to blend the City with the Peak District.


Derbyshire Peak District National Park Applique on Quilt

As instructed, in August we each took our first row in a plain cream fabric bag. We were also told to include any fabric we wanted in future rows and a notebook with colour or style preferences, theme etc.

I noted the inspiration for my row in my quilt notebook and added that I was happy if the theme was interpreted in any way, with any technique. Furthermore I wrote: ” a traditional patchwork block may come to mind, or it may be an experience of Sheffield you have which inspires your row design”

The group bag monitor then redistributed the bags so each month we each received a different bag. So during August, September, October and November I received a bag containing an ever increasing number of rows and I made a further row. This year I plan to blog about the other sewing, as each completed quilt is revealed. However, here I will share about my Sheffield quilt.

Second Row

This was the deepest row and ended up at the bottom of the Sheffield Quilt. The team member wrote in the notebook they hoped they weren’t being greedy as they chose five aspects of Sheffield to create:

Henderson’s Relish, because they were born in the previous maternity hospital opposite the factory that made this iconic sauce brand. Made in Sheffield for over 100 years, it’s spicy and fruity and known locally as “Enderson’s”, or simply “Relish”. The comedian Tom Wrigglesworth said that while ‘outsiders’ think Henderson’s Relish is Sheffield’s answer to Worcestershire sauce, Sheffielders think it’s the answer to everything. If you haven’t tried it and you live outside South Yorkshire, you can purchase online.


Stanedge Pole, where the quilter used to walk and learned to drive on the road leading to it. Stanedge Pole, also known as Stanage Pole, is a landmark on Hallam Moors close to Stanage Edge in Sheffield 10 (grid reference SK2468784429). On the crest of the moor the carved wooden pole (and it’s replacements) have helped the weary and confused navigate in driving rain or blowing snow from the 1550s.


Forge Dam Slide, near the cafe and by Ivy Cottage Lane, Sheffield S10, is a long metal slide. As the quilter said in the notebook, “the joys of living somewhere hilly is that you can get long slides”. You can see an image on Trip Advisor.

Cutlery, is what Sheffield used to be well known for, with the first reference to cutlery made in Sheffield in 1297. Now there are only a few small producers, including Ernest Wright & Son (whose stork embroidery scissors I used for the city-scape in row one). You can see sheffield cutlery at the Sheffield cutlery shop.


Wind, which the quilter remembers blowing the cherry blossom in her parent’s garden. The blossom blowing from the tree reminds me of frequent visits to Sheffield Botanical Gardens, from toddlerhood to the present day.

blossomHelen Moyes Designs Studio

Third Row

Sheffield’s Industry

This row, which is in the middle of my Sheffield Quilt , concentrates on Sheffield’s industry. The quilter shared in the notebook how, like me, when she thinks of Sheffield her first thought is of the hills, and her second is of the rivers which led to industry. The quilter used a background fabric suggesting the contours of the earth and appliqued the Bessemer Convertor, strip mills, steelworks and cooling towers. I hand quilted along the rivers in the top three rows.



Bessemer Converter Applique

Fourth Row

Five Weirs Walk
Sheffield’s industrial landscape has been changing along the river Don with it’s five weirs since the 1980s. Now it’s a green ribbon of trees known as the Five Weirs Walk. This 8km takes you through the East End of Sheffield, past scenes of Sheffield’s history. There are Victorian buildings and scenes of the city’s industrial heyday: old schools, mills, factories and some contemporary sculptures.


The quilter shares “the leaves represent the regeneration of the industrial sites”.

Sheffield Tinsley Canal
In 1819 the 4 mile Sheffield Tinsley canal was completed between the River Don and a new basin in the centre of Sheffield.

sheffield-tinsley-canalSome trade continued up to the 1970s but then it was neglected. Now the towpath is a walk out of Sheffield for all weathers and seasons, and I have enjoyed a cruise along the canal.

Tinsley Canal Applique

Fifth Row

Millhouses Park
As shared by a reviewer on the park’s facebook page, I’ve been going to this park since the 70s as a child.  A shame the lido went, but the cafe and all the facilities brought about by the friends of Millhouses Park have kept this beautiful space totally user friendly and alive.

millhouses-parkThe park was near Abbeydale Grange, the comprehensive school I atended, and is quite near where I live now. My children were taught to ride a bike without stabilisers on its gentle slopes and I enjoy the cakes at the cafe by the miniature boating lake depicted on the quilt row. I have walked dogs, played tennis and mini golf, and watched my sons play basketball and rugby at this park.

The blocks of the quilt row represent the sports pitches, paths and flower beds.

Millhouses Park Quilt Blocks

I added a “love blooms here” print to widen the row to fit the others and represent family times at Millhouses Park.



The common colours in the five rows for my Sheffield Quilt were grey and green. I chose a fairly dark grey textured “linen print” to divide the rows, highlight them and represent the “steel city”.


I chose a light grey with cream spots to represent living above “the snow line” in Banner Cross in Ecclesall.


Batting & Backing

My choice was a bamboo cotton 50/50 blend batting as this is eco friendly and anti bacterial. The makers recommend you hand wash it, so I did this in the bath with soap flakes. I then squeezed and rolled it in a towel to remove some moisture, before drying it flat.

The sashing, border fabrics, and batting for my Sheffield Quilt, were a gift from my son Matthew – from Billow Fabrics. I used a plain grey, soft fabric for the back.

Each month I am inspired by the stitchers at my quilters group. The Totley Brook Quilters are keen sewers and quilters who meet each month to chat and sew. Each session includes “show and tell” and it is amazing to see what has been produced. So this month I was able to show the top of my Sheffield Quilt – pinned and basted, ready to quilt.



I used a walking foot to do straight quilting rows on my Sheffield Quilt, rolling the quilt to work through the machine.img_8742img_8744

Machine Finished Binding with Mock Piping/Flange

This binding gives a piped look you can completely sew to your quilt with the sewing machine. Use either invisible thread or thread to match the piping in the top of your machine and a thread matching the quilt backing in the bobbin.

Make the Binding

You will need: 1½” strips of your main binding fabric and  1¾” strips of a contrast fabric.

Cut sufficient strips of each of these to go around your quilt plus extra for corners and joining. Prepare the binding by Joining the strips of fabric with a diagonal seam:

  • Place fabric right sides together at right angles
  • Stitch diagonally
  • Trim seam allowance to ¼” and press seam open

Next sew the two colours together along their length using a ¼” seam.

Piecing Mock piping quilt binding

sewing mock piped quilt binding

Press the seam towards the main binding fabric.

Machine Finished Binding with Mock Piping/Flange

Fold the binding in half lengthwise, so the raw edges are flush. Then press so a strip of the contrast fabric is visible on the right side of the binding.

Helen Moyes Designs Making Machine Finished Binding with Mock Piping/Flange

Now prepare the beginning of the binding strip:

  • Unfold the left edge of the binding, fold the corner in and press.Helen Moyes Designs Making Machine Finished Binding with Mock Piping/Flange
  • Trim the triangle leaving a ¼” seam allowance
  • Refold the strip
    Helen Moyes Designs Making Machine Finished Binding with Mock Piping/Flange

Attach the binding to the quilt

You will first sew the binding to the back of the quilt. Then fold to the front before stitching again. Place the right side of the binding to the wrong side of the quilt, with raw edges along the edge of the quilt. Using a walking foot stitch ¼” from the edge of the quilt.

Helen Moyes Designs Making Machine Finished Binding with Mock Piping/Flange
To turn the corners, stop stitching ¼” before the corner of the quilt. Then remove the quilt from the sewing machine to fold the corner. Fold the binding up so that the diagonal fold points directly into the corner.

Helen Moyes Designs Making Machine Finished Binding with Mock Piping/Flange

Next, fold the binding down again, aligning it with the edge of the quilt.

Helen Moyes Designs Making Machine Finished Binding with Mock Piping/Flange

Continue sewing ¼” from the edge, all round the quilt, folding each corner.
When you reach the start, trim the binding. Then Insert it into the pocket created at the beginning. Pin and stitch in place.

Helen Moyes Designs Making Machine Finished Binding with Mock Piping/Flange

Complete the Binding

  • Fold the binding onto the right side of the quilt so you can now see the narrow piping strip.
  • Pin carefully, being careful the match the corners.
  • Stitch in the ditch on the piping using a thread matching the piping, or invisible thread in the top of your machine and a thread matching the quilt backing in the bobbin.Helen Moyes Designs Making Machine Finished Binding with Mock Piping/Flange
    Helen Moyes Designs Making Machine Finished Binding with Mock Piping/Flange


You can find a youtube film of this method – Susie’s Magic Binding tutorial

Helen Moyes Designs Machine Sewn Quilt Binding

Sewing my Sheffield Quilt during the Christmas holidays was also a time to catch up with family. So I thought how patchwork and family life are similar and I also about this quote from, The Christmas Quilt (Elm Creek Quilts novel).


“A family is an act of creation, the piecing together of disparate fragments into one cloth – often harmonious, occasionally clashing and discordant, but sometimes unexpectantly beautiful and strong. Without contrast there is no pattern, and each piece, whether finest silk or faded cotton, will endure if sewn fast to the others with strong seams – bonds of love and loyalty, tradition and faith.”   Jennifer Chiaverini

I would love to hear about your experiences of quilting and/or Sheffield. Please leave a comment below, or contact me

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