Crochet Workshops at The Artisan Boutique 2019

Crafty classes I think are a wonderful resource for both beginners and experienced crafters aren’t they. The weekend before last I was in the driving seat though, so to speak, teaching a lovely class for beginners how to crochet bookmarks at the Artisan Boutique in Stone, Staffordshire

 

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I so enjoy teaching these classes, yes there are books and videos out there, which is definitely an invaluable resource, but I would say that it’s easier to learn when you have someone to show you how things are done. I know if I’m personally looking to learn a new craft that’s the way I learn best.

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It was a really nice sized class; of nine of about nine of us in total, and we covered holding the yarn, making chains, UK double crochet and even some decreasing – we also had fun making some pom poms.

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It was lovely to have one lady come back to join us who had attended a previous granny square class – since the class she’d gone on to make a whole granny square cushion and a half, she was hooked! Such a wonderful feeling to know that you’ve started something that someone is really getting some enjoyment out of.

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By the end of the class I was so proud of my hard working students many of which had completed their very own bookmark!

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It really was a most enjoyable way to spend a Sunday morning!

I’ve got some more workshops coming up in the future at The Artisan Boutique if you are in located in or around Staffordshire and fancy taking part in a crochet class…

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The workshops that I’m facilitating in 2019 are listed below:

Intermediate Crochet Mandalas, Sunday 12th May: 10.15am – 12.15pm, £30pp

In this fun and relaxed class we will build on your existing crochet ability to create a crocheted mandala. De-stress from life’s difficulties by working on a pattern that requires focus, stillness, and attention to the present moment – key components of mindfulness meditation. Take home a beautiful mandala by the end of the session.

Beginners Class: Learn to Crochet a Bookmark, Sunday 18th August: 10.15am – 12.15pm, £30pp

This class is ideal for beginners or for anyone that wants to refresh their skills. In this class you will learn the basics of crochet such as holding the hook and yarn and some basic stitches. By the end of the session you will have a fun bookmark to take home with you.

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Beginners Class: Learn to Crochet Granny Squares, Sunday 22nd September: 10.15am – 12.15pm, £30pp

This class is ideal for beginners or for anyone wanting to refresh their skills. Through the morning you will crochet a granny square and learn how to treble crochet and change colour, as well as how to read a crochet pattern. By the end of the session you will know how to make a classic simple granny square and have started a project, to complete at home, using your new skills.

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Crochet Christmas Mini Stockings, Sunday 3rd November: 10.15am – 12.15pm – £30ppp

You will be learn all of the techniques and shaping you will need to make some gorgeous mini Christmas stocking decorations. Choose your own colours and personal finishes. Take home a couple of decorations by the end of the session.

With each class you get the yarn and hooks, and anything else you need along with a drink and cake – which is always delicious!  The minimum age for the workshops is 13 years old and all children must be accompanied by an adult.

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If you are in the area and fancy a class I hope you will join us. It’s such a nice relaxed atmosphere and such a sociable and friendly pass time when you work on a project together. Bookings can be made directly to The Artisan Boutique.

And I think I said before that if you love a crafty workshop you should really check out the full list that The Artisan Boutique has available! Susan is very active on Facebook and often links all her workshops there – so if you want to be kept updated please hop over and follow The Artisan Boutique Facebook page or Instagram profile.

I hope to see some of you at a workshop soon!

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Crochet Workshops and Yarn Shop Day 2019!

Yarn Shop Day is coming soon folks! This year’s event will take place in participating yarn shops across the UK on Saturday 27th April 2019.

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Now in its sixth year, Yarn Shop Day is a successful, industry supported annual event that celebrates bricks-and-mortar yarn shops and is part of the wider ‘Love Your Yarn Shop’ campaign.

I think it’s such an important thing to try and be the advocate for any small shop owner AND to support local where you can. It’s something that I do in my business and my personal life because I care about my local community and I want my local economy to have a chance to thrive. All these little shops are also usually the place where you find little gems and the expertise of local makers with their own experiences, skills and creativity – that’s something we don’t want to lose do we!

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Each participating store usually hosts their own special event, with all sorts of fun activities taking place. I’m very excited to say that I’ve been invited back to Abakhan Fabrics in Hanley, which is one of my local yarn shops, to join in with all the fun and frolics for this years Yarn Shop Day. 

They have another great day lined up with:

  • 15% off yarn, books, patterns and accessories all day
  • free demos (such as mine!)
  • balloon prizes
  • free cake!
  • free patterns and more!

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It was a great day last year (you can read about it here) and this year I’m going to be around from 10am-4pm. In the morning (10am – 12.30pm) I’m running a crochet surgery where I’ll try and help you with any crochet conundrums you might be having, and also show any beginners that want to learn a few tips on how to crochet. Then in the afternoon (1pm-4pm) we are going to be working on this years Yarn Shop Day mascot and I’ll be sharing some tips on creating amigurumi. The crochet pattern for this years Yarn Shop Day is such a fun one (I’ve seen a sneak peep) but I can’t tell you about it yet as I don’t want to spoil the surprise for the day.

So I hope you’ll mark the 27 April on your calendars with that date to join us at Abakhan in Hanley, if you can, or keep an eye out on the Yarn Shop day page from a digital guide of shops taking part – making it super easy to find your nearest participating shops!

I’m also extremely thrilled to say that I’m going to be running a series of FREE crochet demonstrations in store too this year! 

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The first one is on 6 April and it’s an amigurumi for beginners session from 12pm-3pm where we are going to be working on some fun bunny egg cosies that use amigurumi techniques like working in a spiral, using stitch markers, increasing and decreasing and sewing things together.

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The other FREE crochet demonstrations that I’m facilitating in 2019 at Abakhan Fabrics are listed below:

Learn to Crochet Mandalas – Saturday 15th June: 12pm to 3pm

In this fun and relaxed demonstration we will be looking at the mindfulness meditation that can be achieved when crocheting a mandala. A mandala is a circle made up of different stitches and colours which you can use as a decorative piece, a coaster, or a potholder. We’ll be looking at how different stitches can make a variety of patterns within each round and that there are endless possibilities when you combine any number of crochet stitches and colours to make something truly spiritual and unique!

Ricorumi Animal Amigurumi – Saturday 13th July: 12pm to 3pm

Prepare to get hooked on amigurumi with Rico Ricorumi yarn! Designed specially for creating cute crocheted or knitted amigurumi characters, we are going to be looking at some cute Ricorumi Friends. We’ll be examining amigurumi techniques like working in a spiral, using stitch markers and increasing and decreasing. By the end of the session you will know how to make one of the Ricorumi Friends like the fox, hedgehog, squirrel or duck.

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Ricorumi Baubles – Saturday 26th October: 12pm to 3pm

Get ready for Christmas and make your Christmas tree look gorgeous by crocheting yourself a set of Christmas baubles. We are going to be taking a closer look at amigurumi techniques like working in a spiral, using stitch markers and increasing and decreasing. By the end of the session you will know how to make a bauble and have started a project, to complete at home, using your new skills. 

If you love a crafty workshop then Abakhan always have several classes and workshops available in their stores (in Stoke-on-Trent, Chester, Manchester, Liverpool, Altrincham and Shrewsbury) including dress making, sewing machinery, creative sewing, knitting and crochet and patchwork and quilting.

I hope to see some of you at a workshop soon!

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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My visit to Spring The Knitting & Stitching Show 2019

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Howdy folks, how was your weekend? Mine was a greatly creative one! Mum and I went down to The Knitting and Stitching Show in Olympia London for a weekend away and we had such fun! 

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I’m feel that I should start with a photo of one of the showstopping photos I took of The Enchanted Wood by the Norfolk Knitters just to entice you in…

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Though you might just want to grab a cuppa before you start to read the rest of today’s post, as it’s a bit of a long one with lots of photos… right…you all sorted..then I shall begin. 

Have you ever visited a craft show? For a craft lover it’s like a little slice of heaven! The Olympia London may not be as grand a venue as The Alexandra Palace we visited a couple of years ago (you read about that here) but it was still a jam packed with lots of stitching themed loveliness! 

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After a uneventful journey from Staffordshire (which is always the best kind of journey) we got to the show about midday on the Saturday which was the third day of the show. All the knitting and knitting show events run for a whopping four or five days so there’s usually plenty of time to attend one (or more) of the show dates.  

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As we were going to be there for two days we decided to be fairly systematic in our approach – the venue was kind of split into two sections, so we thought we’d spend the first day in one half and the second in the next. This worked out pretty well and we got time to see everything we wanted to and have a bit of time to chat to folks – which is the bit I love!

Guess what! We got to chat with the very lovely Katie Jones of Katie Jones Knit

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If you follow Katie, as I do, on Instagram (KatieJonesKnit) you will know that she’s a lover of vibrant bright designs and bold colour combinations. So as you can imagine her stand was just a fantastic pop of colour…and isn’t her t-shirt just the most awesome thing!

We got to see a close up of her amazing Blooming Bomber (which is a FREE download from Katie’s website)…

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and the stunning Casa Kahlo Blanket which I just adore (this is ALSO a FREE download from Katie’s website). 

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She was such a delight to talk to, she’s done so much and worked with so many different people, and was telling us a bit about her history in the fashion industry and how she’s now concentrating on her Make-It-Yourself collections. 

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We then thought it best to stop monopolising Katie’s time and go and see some of the other things on offer.

Around the corner from Katie’s stand was the Zandra Rhodes exhibit, which was a showcase of garments celebrating iconic British designer Zandra Rhodes’ 50th anniversary.

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Zandra Rhodes is well known for her bold iconic prints and this collection was no exception, really interesting to see these statement pieces up close. So much inspiration!

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The next stand I was excited to go and see was the fabulous exhibition from the Italian textile artist and designer Luisa De Santi with her Magical Crochet Spells.

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Up close it is just the most stunning work! She was explaining to us that everything she crocheted for Crochet Magic Spells was with sort of embroidery cotton and a 2.5mm (US size C/2) hook! Some of her pieces are really quite big so I can’t even imagine the length of time it took to create them.

Crochet Magic Spells (of which you can buy the book of here from Luisa’s website) is just such a wonderful fusion of crochet and embroidery! She was so kind in taking some time to tell us more about her pieces – she’s such a lovely lady.

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Much of her work, she says, is just created in an organic way, she may sketch a rough idea but she just lets her pieces develop and grow into the fantabulous pieces of art that they are. Her work is just so intricate and seeing it all up close it just amazing as you can really see and appreciate all the detail, it really was a magical collection.

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Around the corner from Luisa was some of  Catherine Kaufman’s sculptures. Catherine is a sculptor but not in a traditional sense as her medium is wool. She spins it and needle felts it into large scale sculptures that are just unbelievable!

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We did some more browsing of stalls and then found ourselves at Sue Strafford’s stand. I’ve seen Sue’s name a lot in Let’s Get Crafting Knitting and Crochet magazine so it was really lovely to put a name to a face. And actually my yarn purchase from the show came from her stand!

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I completely fell in love with the yarn colourway (by Skein Queen) that she’d used on her Voltage Shawl – so I bought the kit for the yarn (Sue didn’t mind)! The knitting pattern actually hasn’t gone to waste as it went to knitter mum who’s going to have a go at making it (though not with the yarn because that’s all mine!). Just take a look at these beauties!

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Meet urban graffiti, charcoal and neon kiwi! Every time I look at them it makes me ridiculously happy! Aren’t they just gorgeous! Sadly I don’t have the time to play with them at the moment, as I’m working on commissions, but I can’t wait till I do! I’m thinking some sort of shawl but the design hasn’t come to me yet!

After all that it was pretty much the end of day one! We’d walked our legs off and needed a bit of a rest! For the start of Day 2 we had already decided we were going to do a workshop.

I always like to take the opportunity at craft shows to try a craft that’s completely different to my own. I’ve found it’s really enjoyable to attempt something I probably wouldn’t otherwise and so that’s how we found ourselves at the RowanDean Embroidery stand.

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The workshop was to play around with some techniques that the lovely Katrina from RowanDean has developed in her book Hand Stitched Landscapes and Wild Flowers (available here). And what fun it was! Mum and I spent such an enjoyable couple of hours creating our little wild flower scenes – who knew that french knots could be so addictive!

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Both mum and I bought a little hanging hoop in which we can display our finished pieces and once I’ve just added a few more french knots (they really are ever so addictive) I’m going to hang mine above my desk at home.

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And now if you were pulled into this post by the Enchanted Wood image at the start then you’ll be delighted to know that, that was our next stop! And can I just say WOW! It was just unbelievable! Fairies, elves, unicorns, gnomes to name a few in a stunning magical knitted and crochet setting.

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Everywhere you looked there was something new to see…

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A veritable feast for the eyes!

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Such a wonderful collection of creativity – and I really also now want to make a crochet tree!

Next it was my complete and absolute delight to meet the one and only Erika Knight! Erika, as you probably well know, is is a highly respected knitwear and crochet designer, who has published more than 20 booked on knitting and crochet. Her designs are always classic yet modern (if that makes sense) and are what I would class as wardrobe staples that you’d get a lot of wear out of. I’ve got to admit I was a bit intimidated to meet her but she’s so lovely!

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We were chatting for ages about various things including my goal (to some day) crochet myself a wearable garment, my mum’s crocheted wedding dress and Erika’s love of supporting British manufacturing and wool.

As well as designing Erika also has her own yarn label and she asked me if I’d like to try some yarn that she’s designed especially for crocheters. I squeaked my surprised thank you at her lovely generosity and she allowed me to pick a 50g hank of her Studio Linen to try. I picked the colour Velvet which is a rich, dark heather / auberginy sort of purple.

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I’m thinking maybe some lacy summer mitts or maybe a skinny scarf when I get a moment to play!

There’s was so much more than this that we saw over the weekend and so many wonderful other people we met but I think that this blog post is getting quite long enough!

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Hopefully you get the general idea about the show and maybe fancy attending one yourself.  The Knitting and Stitching Show runs in several venues across the UK with two dates in London each year, the next one for London is in October – you can sign up for the latest news about the shows by subscribing to the newsletter (link on the bottom of the website).

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I had my step counter on whilst walking round the event and over the two days we walked the equivalent of 9.6 miles (15.6km) so it was great exercise whilst enjoying ourselves! Aside from the yarn and the frame for my embroidery I bought myself a few bits and bobs including some new scissors, some copies of magazines I hadn’t got, a fun £20 note themed hook case, some material that I wanted and some more safety eyes – I didn’t go too crazy (for once).

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Like all the craft events I’ve attended the show is not only about the pretty things I have the opportunity to buy it’s about the people I got to meet. If you get the chance to go to a future Knitting and Stitching Show I can thoroughly recommend it.

Before I finish off this post I’m just going to say a quick thank you to the organisers of the show for my complimentary tickets and goodie bag and for also giving me a press badge – I seriously will never lose the glee of that! 

Until next time folks! Happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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The Crochet Sanctuary | February 2019

Howdy folks, how are you all? I’ve been in crochet heaven as last week I went to join in the fun and frolics in a weekend stay at The Crochet Sanctuary.

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©  The Crochet Sanctuary 

Unbelievably it was their 1st birthday (the mind boggles at the fact that my first visit was a whole year ago). This time I was there for the whole weekend and we were well and truly spoilt as always.

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The theme for the weekend was birthdays and unicorns so as you can imagine there was lots of cake, of the crochet kind and the edible kind! There was also a pinata and pass the parcel and bubbles in party bags and just so much yarny fun and laughter!

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On the Friday we were given Stitch and Story Miffy slippers to try… I didn’t finish mine. I’ll be honest and say that I fell out a bit with the pattern whilst I was there, it isn’t written in what I would class as a standard format, but the yarn is gorgeous so I may give it another go when I’ve got a bit more time to concentrate!

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Then on the Saturday morning we made the fab crochet cupcakes and as Amanda, from the Little Box of Crochet was also attending the weekend, I also got to see the brand new Learn to Crochet Beginners box by Little Box of Crochet. I was very excited to see this box as it’s rather special! It includes one of our Dear Ewe project bags (you can read more about the box on the Dear Ewe blog here). 

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© The Little Box of Crochet

I’m not just saying it, because it contains a product from Dear Ewe, but it really is a gorgeous box that I wish had been around when I first started crocheting! A full set of lovely ergonomic crochet hooks, gorgeous yarn, scissors and more – what’s not to love!

Then on Saturday afternoon we had a wonderful crochet workshop with the lovely Lindsay from Lottie and Albert.

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If you love crochet then I don’t think you can have failed to see (or be inspired by) the rainbow blanket CAL that Lindsay is currently hosting. If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen that I’m joining in with a lemon sorbet version…

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And for our workshop we were given the choice to create the rainbow blanket or a chunky love heart belly basket.

It was super fun to get a master class from the creator!  The first thing I learnt was how much easier it is to wind six balls of DK yarn together standing up rather than sitting down like I did with my yarn ball at home! I would never even thought of it – but sooooo much easier!

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We were all given a really pretty pastel pallet of Scheepjes Colour Crafter  to work with and I started making the basket…which is nearly finished, I just need to add some pom poms to the front, I love the clever way that Lindsay has created these – which you can find out at the bottom of this post here.

Sunday was spent finishing off our projects and enjoying some good hook and chatter time. I love just watching everyone and seeing how enthused they are with crochet and yarn – definitely my kind of people!

Before I knew it the weekend had flown by and it was time to go home with loads of goodies, including a gorgeous wooden 20mm hook, and an extra special treat of Amanda Bloom’s The story so far book – and as Amanda was there attending the sanctuary I even got my edition signed!

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The book is gorgeous, with a lovely tactic cover, and features 15 of the best loved designs from the Little Box of Crochet. I’m seriously going to have to find sometime to make The Woodland Wreath by Kate Eastwood  because it’s such a beautiful nod to autumn which I just adore! 

So in a nutshell another fabulous visit at The Crochet Sanctuary.! I think you’ll know by know how much I love my visits by the fact I can’t stay away! I can’t recommend how great it is! The atmosphere of the weekend is lovely and we are spoilt rotten by our hosts Lisa and Lynda! Just a wonderful abundance of food, drink, yarn, laughter and of course crochet! I can’t wait to go back again in June!

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Until next time folks! Happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Simply Crochet 81 | Hook to Hook Challenge

If you are a fan of Simply Crochet magazine then you are probably familiar with their ‘Hook to Hook Challenges’ where two designers compete to come up with a unique pattern, to a given brief, using the same yarn.  I always love seeing these challenges as the results are always so different! So I was super excited to be asked to be one of the challengers for Issue 81. And this is what I came up with…

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The theme for this challenge was ‘Mother’s Day Card’ and I was given five 10g mini balls of Scheepjes Catona and some card with which to design some motifs suitable to create a card to give on that special day.

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I actually came up with a few different ideas for card designs but in the end I settled on creating some butterfly motifs. I love butterflies, I just think they are wondrous creatures and always delight in seeing them so it was fun to come up with some small designs in keeping with my card idea.

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I also decided to add an extra handmade twist of embroidering with the yarn directly onto the card. That was really fun to do and it produced exactly the effect I was looking for with the card.

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As it was my mum that taught me how to crochet this Mother’s Day card would just be perfect for her! 

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I did laugh when I saw that my competitor was none other than Eleonora from Coastal Crochet! You may remember that I’ve met her a couple of times and interviewed her here on the blog too (read that here). It’s so fun to be up against someone I know and I certainly wouldn’t mind if she won.  I love Eleonora’s cat and floral motif card – it certainly is purrrfect for Mother’s day too! 

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One of the fun bits of the Hook to Hook Challenge is that YOU can vote for your favourite of the two designs on the Simply Crochet Instagram page. To vote, simply double tap and comment on the design you prefer, and one lucky reader will win all the yarn that you need to make the project.

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A winner will be announced on Wednesday 20th February 2019 at 1pm (GMT) on the Simply Crochet Instagram page, the competition is open to UK entrants only and T&C’s will apply.

So please, go check out the challenge, vote, and then I hope you’ll pop to the shops to pick up your copy of Simply Crochet Magazine for both Mother’s Day card patterns so you can have a go at making them yourself!

Until next time folks! Happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Win tickets to The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show 2019

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EDITED: GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED, congratulations to Heidi Bradshaw, Sharon Bowles, Candida Carvalho, Cristiana Alexandra Ferreiro do Vale,  Jackie Walter and Michelle Smith! 

Hey folks, would you like a chance to win some FREE day tickets to the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show at London Olympia? 

I’ve got FIVE pairs of tickets, most generously donated by the shows organisers, for all you lovely readers – plus they’ve also set up a nice discount on ticket prices for anyone that doesn’t win (more about that in a moment).

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© The Knitting and Stitching Show

If you love a good craft show, which of course I do, and you aren’t familiar with the Knitting and Stitching Show then you are really missing something. These shows are the UK’s biggest textile art, craft and design events and the Spring show will open its doors to thousands of crafters for FIVE whole days at London Olympia on Thursday 28 February until  Sunday 1 March 2019.

You may remember I went to one of the shows back in 2017 with my lovely mum  and we had a blast (you can read about that visit here). So we are going back down to the show  together again this year for more crafty fun!

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Any hoo, if you want to go straight to the details on how to win tickets scroll to the bottom of this page, if you’ve got a few more minutes I just want to tell you about another couple of things that’s happening at this years Spring show…

I for one am extremely excited to see the amazing work by Italian textile artist and designer Luisa De Santi who is bringing her extraordinary knit, crochet and embroidery work to the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show. Her exhibition called Magical Crochet Spells sounds like something not to be missed out on! I’ve seen some of the photos of her work and it’s just so intriguing!  

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© The Knitting and Stitching Show / Magical Crochet Spells by designer Luisa De Santi

Lucia creates complex and colourful 3-D modular structures that are amazing and mind-boggling, weird and wonderful all at the same time and I can’t wait to see them in the flesh! 

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© The Knitting and Stitching Show / Magical Crochet Spells by designer Luisa De Santi

I’m also looking forward to seeing The Fashion and Textile Museum who are hosting a 50 Years of Fabulous. They are doing a showcase with a collection of garments from its forthcoming exhibition celebrating iconic British designer Zandra Rhodes’ 50th anniversary. Although I don’t sew I do admire those that can (and I LOVE The Great British Sewing Bee) so I bet that’s going to be a whole lot of  fabulous fun to see!

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© Photograph by Simon Emmett. Copyright Zandra Rhodes Ltd

I also can’t wait to see the stunning Enchanted Wood – an elaborate scene of
knitted and crocheted magical creatures created by the Louise Hamilton Knit and Yarn Group and Norfolk Knitters and Stitchers. It looks so amazing doesn’t it!

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© The Knitting and Stitching Show / Enchanted Wood

Ooo the more I’m writing about it, the more excited I’m getting! As well as all these exhibits there’s going to be over 150 exhibitors selling specialist craft supplies (including yummy yarn that needs to come home with me), and there’s going to be hundreds of workshops and demonstrations too. I’m still looking at the full workshop list deciding what to do as there are so many I just want to do!

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© The Knitting and Stitching Show

Spend a day re-stocking your yarn stash, learning to knit, mastering the art of tailoring and just so much more. There has never been a better excuse to go to a show – it’s been designed for us to enjoy to the max!

Right enough enthusing from me, I think you get that I’m quite excited about going, let’s get on to how YOU can win tickets to the show…

Giveaway

I’ve got FIVE pairs of tickets to giveaway and the tickets are for redeemable any day except Saturday 2nd March. These tickets are only for the Spring Knitting and Stitching show at the Olympia London which runs from 28th February until 3rd March 2018.

All you need to do to enter the giveaway is to leave a comment on the bottom of this blog post about why you’d like to go to the show.  The competition closes on Thursday January 31st 2019 at 7pm (GMT) with the winners being announced later that evening here on the blog. Good Luck Everyone!

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© The Knitting and Stitching Show

Special Discount

But if you want your ticket’s RIGHT NOW I’ve also got a special discount for you! Just quote KCACO19 and get £2 off any advance adult ticket or £1 off any advance concessionary ticket.  This means that tickets will be £12 instead of £14/£13 (please not there is a £1.75 fulfilment fee per transaction). 

This discount is for advanced bookings only and can be redeemed before 23:59pm on Wednesday 27th February.  Tickets can be booked online https://www.theknittingandstitchingshow.com/spring/ or by calling 0844 581 1319 and quoting the discount code.  

I’d like to say a big thank you again to the shows organisers for offering this special deal to my lovely KCACO.UK readers and maybe we will catch up with some of you at the show?

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Bluestar Crochet | Autumn Accessories Kit Review

Disclaimer: I received a free sample of this kit however I have not been financially compensated by the supplier to write this review. All opinions expressed are my own and based on my own experiences of using the yarn and kit.


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I have to say I really love a good crochet kit, over the years I’ve had several bought for me and I’ve even had the pleasure of designing a couple myself. I love the fact that it’s a whole project that you can just get on with as soon as you like – no fuss, no bother, just away you go! Personally working from a kit is an enjoyable escape for me from crochet designing. I’m following someone else’s pattern, the decisions have all been made for me, it’s all extremely relaxing! So I was delighted to be asked to review the new crochet kit by The Blue Star Crochet Company, by the lovely Veronika.

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You maybe familiar with Veronika’s work; as the designer behind the The Blue Star Crochet Company she’s had many designs feature in different UK magazines. In March this year she teamed up with The Mermaid Purse Yarns and released the Sea Shawl Crochet Kit, and now they’ve teamed up again with yarn and patterns for a an Autumn Accessories collection. Instead of offering just one pattern Veronika has teamed up with two other designers this time round to offer three different accessories. There’s a pattern by the lovely Eleonora Tully from Coastal Crochet (who you may remember I interviewed – check it out here) and Alison Holloway from Petals Crafts and Me – but more about all the designs in a moment, let’s first have a look at the kit…

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The kit contains everything you will need to complete the project aside from the tools, so you will need your own crochet hooks, scissors and yarn needle etc. Each kit comes with:
  • 100g hank of hand dyed yarn
  • pattern leaflet containing three designs
  • teabag and sweet treat
  • 2 x wooden buttons
  • exclusive discount code for Dear Ewe online store 

You will get all 3 patterns and one skein of yarn inside each kit and there is an upgrade option available to choose additional skeins of yarn to be able to make all 3 patterns as a set if you want to.

So what are the designs? Well I’m glad you asked! 

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The first is a fabulous Fall in Line hat designed by Veronika. The hat is worked in short rows and is customisable to get the perfect fit. Then there’s a pair of gorgeous shell stitch Autumn Seas wrist warmers by Eleonora and finally the showstopping Fleur Amore flower motif bandana scarf by Alison. I loved all the designs but I settled on making myself the pair of wrist warmers because I really wanted the them for me! But first I need to mention the yarn…can you say OOoooooo!

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The hand-dyed yarn by in the kit is 100% super-wash fine merino in a double knit weight (225m / 100g) and is such a unique colourway! It’s hard to describe all the subtle colour variants that have been included in the autumnal mix but I could recognise hints of grape, aubergine, lilac and flashes of dusky pink and a pop of russet! So gorgeous, and as I worked my wrist warmers the colours pooled beautifully. So without further ado let’s say hello to my lovely new wrist warmers…

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These wrist warmers were an ABSOLUTE joy to make! They were a great quick project, which I loved and found extremely satisfying – my pair was easily completed in a day. An awesome design for last minute gifts or craft fairs – I’m sure I’ll make some more! I also only used 54g of yarn in total for both wrist warmers so I’ve got a little bit of yarn left to use for something else.

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I was really pleased with how they turned out so I had a mini hand photo shoot – quickly learning it’s incredibly hard to take photos of your own hands! Luckily Mr. KCACOUK came to the rescue and helped me out and luckily I just happened to be drinking a cuppa in a Dear Ewe mug which made a very handy photo prop 😘 

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I very much enjoyed this kit and I’m sure you might to! The pre-order for these fabulous kits is open NOW, but it’s only open for 3 weeks! Use coupon BSCCBLOG10 for 10% off your pre-order from the from Blue Star Crochet Company Etsy shop. All kits will be dispatched from 24th September 2018. 

Until next time folks! Happy hooking, keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

 

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Crochet Workshops at The Artisan Boutique

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So rather excitingly I’ve been running some crochet workshops in the Artisan Boutique in Stone, StaffordshireIt all started off when I met Susan, the lovely owner of the store, when she became a stockist of Dear Ewe products.  We got chatting and she asked if I fancied running some crochet workshops for her so I said ‘yes’ and went off to make a plan of workshops I could offer.

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We started off with a Learn to Crochet class on 19 August where we had a group of five wonderful people join us. It was a nice size group actually as it meant I was able to get round and help people when required. The group was a mixture of complete beginners and people who had crocheted before but it was a long time ago and they wanted to refresh their skills.

I had fun winding balls of yarn into little sets and creating packs for the class as well as creating a brand new pattern that I designed to help practice the stitches we were going to learn. In the class we went over the basics of crochet and we started off with how they might feel comfortable holding their hook and yarn (because there is no right or wrong way as long as you are happy with it!).

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We also learnt some basic stitches such as chain, double crochet (US single crochet), half treble (US half double crochet) and treble (US double crochet) – and you would have been amazed at how fast that two hours went!

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I was most impressed by how well everyone did; and everyone had made a swatch with all the new stitches by the end of the session. I was especially bowled over by the two young sisters that were taking the class as a birthday present – crochet can be tricky at the beginning, until you become more comfortable with everything, but both girls did amazingly well!

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I’ve got some more workshops coming up in the future at The Artisan Boutique if you fancy a fun crochet workshop…

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The workshops that I’m facilitating in 2018 are listed below:

Learn to Crochet Amigurumi – Sunday 9th September: 10.15am-12.15pm, £30pp

This class is ideal for beginners or anyone that would like to learn the technique of amigurumi crochet. This class will cover how to read a pattern, how to begin working in the round, increasing and decreasing. Make a simple crochet cat by the end of the session.

Granny Squares and Granny Stripes, Sunday 28th October: 10.15am-12.15pm, £30pp

This class is ideal for beginners or for anyone wanting to refresh their skills. Through the morning you will crochet a granny square or work some granny stripes and learn how to double crochet, treble crochet and change colour, as well as how to read a crochet pattern. By the end of the session you will know how to make a classic simple granny square or a striped granny block and have started a project, to complete at home, using your new skills. 

Crochet Mandalas, Sunday 18th November: 10.15am-12.15pm, £30pp

In this fun and relaxed class we will build on your existing crochet ability to create a crocheted mandala.  Destress from life’s difficulties by working on a pattern that requires focus, stillness, and attention to the present moment –  key components of mindfulness meditation. Take home a beautiful mandala by the end of the session.

Crochet Christmas, Sunday 9th December: 10.15am-12.15pm – £30ppp

You will be learn all of the techniques and shaping you will need to make some gorgeous mini Christmas stocking decorations. Choose your own colours and personal finishes. Take home a couple of decorations by the end of the session.

With each class you get the yarn and hooks, and anything else you need along with a drink and snack!  Last time we had some delicious cupcakes! The minimum age for the workshops is 13 years old and all children must be accompanied by an adult.

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Obviously my workshops are going to be splendid so if you are in the area you should come along (booking directly to The Artisan Boutique please) it’s a nice relaxed atmosphere and such a sociable and friendly pass time when you work on a project together.

If you love a crafty workshop you should really check out the full list that The Artisan Boutique has available! There’s tons of stuff to try and experience – I especially love the idea of the big crochet pouffe workshop with jumbo wool, I might have to try that myself!

Susan is very active on Facebook and often links all her workshops there – so if you want to be kept updated please hop over and follow The Artisan Boutique Facebook page.

I hope to see some of you at a workshop soon!

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Yarn Review and New Project | Scheepjes Stardust

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I love it when I find a new yarn to play with! Stardust yarn was released by the Dutch company Scheepjes at the end of 2016 but it was a new yarn to me. I came across it when I was searching the web for a particular yarn to make a wedding shawl (more on that later) and when I saw this yarn I just KNEW it had been what I was searching for. 

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I really wanted something a little special for this project and Stardust contains really fine sparkling fibres that add a gorgeous shimmer when they catch the light. I must confess I was a bit worried about the scratchy element,  like some sparkle yarns can be, but I need not have worried, when this yarn turned up it was super soft without being scratchy.

So let’s check out the yarn’s vital statistics we: 

  • Weight:  Double Knit (3)
  • Blend: 11% mohair, 11% wool, 75% premium acrylic, 3% metallic polyester
  • Yarn Ball Weight: 100g
  • Yarn Ball Length: 540m
  • Wash instructions: Cool, gentle hand wash only.
  • Price: £5.80 (at the time of this post)

Stardust is available in 9 solid and 5 long variegated shades, each named after a star constellation – which I love! Who doesn’t want to hook up the stars!

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I chose Capricorn (Shade 653) for my particular project but it just might be that I have since purchased some more Stardust since then…

I may just have bought some Pisces (Shade 654), because I fell in love with the gorgeousness of the blue, and maybe some Virgo (Shade 664) also fell into my basket because I was born in September so I had to! What can I say…I know I’m a yarn addict!

I’m not usually much of a pink person but the Virgo is such a delightful variegated combination…and you can just make out the hint of shine I was talking about. 

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It’s hard to catch the lovely sparkle in a photo, this yarn is much better in real life and when it’s made into a garment it’s best – it needs movement to make it really shine! 

Stardust comes in large 100g / 540m balls which means you could easily make a project out of one ball. The particular blend of different yarns creates a lovely lightweight fabric when worked up with a lovely drape –  just perfect for a shawl or wrap. For my wrap I ended up using 3 balls which still isn’t going to break the bank – especially for a luxe handmade shawl.  

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I so enjoyed the effect this yarn creates when worked up, seriously can’t say enough about the sparkle, so decided to stick with a fairly simple design to let the yarn do the talking. Like most fluffy yarns it’s not the easiest to frog if you go wrong which was another reason I kept the pattern simple.  I’ll let you have a little peep at the design I came up with…

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The free crochet pattern for the Shining Light Wedding Wrap will be coming to the blog soon!

Have you worked with Stardust yarn – what did you think?

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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A Very Woolly Weekend

It’s quite ridiculous how long it’s taken me to get this blog post written up! It’s been one of those posts that I half wrote, then got caught up with the launch of Dear Ewe, the Stitch Story CAL, my best friends wedding, Little Miss’s 2nd birthday, school holidays and unexpected hospital visits that I just didn’t get chance to finish. But today I sat down with the sole purpose of finishing this post as I really do want to tell you all about the very woolly weekend I had in the middle of May.  This is a bit of a mammoth post so may go grab yourself a cuppa and then I’ll tell you all about it.

Yarn Shop Day 2018

It all started off with Yarn Shop Day on the 12 May – have you heard about Yarn Shop Day? It’s an annual celebration, facilitated by Let’s Knit and Let’s Get Crafting magazines, which aims to honour Britain’s much-loved independent wool shops.  I personally think it’s incredibly important to support any small or local businesses, especially since becoming a small business owner myself,  but anyway who am I kidding, I don’t need an excuse to visit a yarn shop!

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You may remember that this year’s Yarn Shop day was also a bit special for me as I’d been asked to design the crochet mascot, Milo the Cat specifically for the day. Along with particularly produced knitted and crocheted blanket patterns, Milo and Dixie, the (knitted) Llama, mascot patterns were exclusively available in all participating stores. 

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This year Yarn Shop Day took place in hundreds of yarn and haberdashery stores across the country and I headed off to Abakhan in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent – which is luckily just a short bus ride away from me. 

Abakhan are a group of stores in the Midlands which stock a great range of yarns like Sirdar, King Cole, Stylecraft, James C. Brett, Wendy and Rico and they have also now  started stocking some American yarns like Caron.

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The Hanley store is pretty big and has a large range of fabrics, haberdashery items and craft items for pretty much every hobby you can think of. I love it in there, I always find some goodies of some variety or other and more often than not I end up in there on a trip to town.

I’d made a brand new Milo to take with me and we arrived just as the day started. In store there were lots of festivities including prizes for purchases made and there were store discounts on all yarn and accessories at different times throughout the day and there was also cake. Cake and yarn….what a winning combination!

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Milo felt quite famous…though we won’t talk about the fact that his nose got a bit wonky on the bus trip and I didn’t notice until after I’d taken all the photos…it doesn’t annoy me…much!

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The lovely Kim, from Abakhan, was busy giving demonstrations of crocheting Milo (complete with a straight nose) at the front of store so I spent sometime with her and the customers that came to talk about crochet. It was very exciting to see them picking up there free copy of the Milo pattern and I know I was tagged in some people’s Milo makes (see more below).   

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It was wonderful to be in the middle of the crafting community and meet people with shared passions – and I got to learn something new! We got chatting to too lovely ladies who were double filet crochet enthusiasts. Double Filet crochet is two inter woven layers of filet or net crochet in contrasting colours. It’s not something I’d heard of before but Wendy (far left below) was kind enough to give me a demonstration and even let me keep the little sample she made and it’s something I’m definitely going to investigate further! Never show a designer something new right!

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In the afternoon I spent sometime with Debbie who showed me her fabulous Tina Turner-esque creation – that hair is everything isn’t it! 

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And then Debbie got children of shoppers involved in making Pom Pom monsters – I love the fact there were crafts for the kids! Milo had fun making friends with the monsters too – AND I managed to straighten up his nose for his group photo!

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And then it was time for me to go! And what did I buy…well it’s pretty unusual for me not to enter a craft store and not buy anything…and of course I couldn’t make this the exception! I got a cute fabric bundle, I don’t sew but I do line crochet purses and bags with fabric so it’s good to have some in. I also got a extra long tape measure and picked up some cute Ricorumi mini’s which I wanted to try – and yes I also bought a giant peg. I had no specific use for the peg I just fell in love with it!

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And I just need to share some of the photos of some of the wonderful Milo makes I’ve seen – if you made a Milo please do share a photo as I’d love to see.

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Yarn Shop Day tends to be celebrated either the first or second week in May so keep a look out for the dates for next year. Just one final note about Yarn Shop Day – I just want to say a HUGE thank you to all the Abakhan staff, they made me feel very welcome and looked after me well whilst I was there.

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Then on the Sunday the 13th of May the whole family went along to Wool@J13, a yarn show set on Lower Drayton farm, in the midlands.  We went for the first time last year and had a great day so I’d already planned for the family to go along again this year.

It’s was an absolutely glorious day – blue skies and sunshine and, with things happening inside and outside, it was just the perfect setting for a yarn festival!

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This year there were a lot more vendors than last year so there were plenty of stalls to wander around. You can just see my two girls below walking hand in hand totally at ease with the yarn show vibes – such cuties!

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Little G had a go at Satori weaving with a lovely lady from SAORIMor, Wales who was incredibly patient and kind to her. Satori weaving is a japanese freestyle approach to hand-weaving which is supposed to encourage people to express themselves intuitively. Little G got really into it! And now wants to visit the studio in Bangor sometime.

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And it was really nice to see some friendly faces! Wulla Yarn were there with there fabulous mega yarn. You may remember I teamed up with Kaz (on the left below) to create the free Wulla Wreath pattern so it was lovely to catch up with her. I also treated myself to one of Kaz’s fabulous 15mm string theory jumbo hook (in neon blue) as I’d been eyeing them up for awhile!

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I’m also completely in love with her new fades range but I really want to have worked out the perfect project to use it on before I get some of that – so I didn’t get any on this occasion (but it’s on my list!).

I also saw Fay from Knit it, Hook it, Craft it. I met Fay for the first time when I went to the Nottingham Yarn Expo last year and she was so fun to talk to. She  was actually the first person to introduce me to the idea of creative podcasts – something I’d not heard of before. Fay does a monthly podcast, The Crochet Circle Podcast, which is available as audio and on Youtube and it was from listening to her, and her suggestions for other podcasters, that I now have a list that I listen to regularly. I find them great to listen to particularly when I’m typing up patterns!

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I also got to meet Lynne Rowe, from The Wool Nest, for the first time. It was great to finally meet her, not only do I have several of her crochet books on my own bookshelves, but we’ve worked together, so to speak, for Let’s Get Crafting magazine and we’d talked a bit through comments on Instagram.  She was just about to run a workshop for the Crochet Sanctuary (I’m running a workshop in September) so we were chatting a lot about that and just other general crochet things – it so nice to talk to people that share your passion!

I also very much enjoyed talking to Lee aka The Crochet Man who is such a lovely guy. I’d seen him through a feature in Simply Crochet (Issue 70) – so it was great to meet him in person.  

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He’s not been crocheting for that long but he’s designed a fabulous range of amigurumi patterns that you should really check out! I adore his rainbow sheep!

I was that busy chatting to people that I didn’t actually have much time for buying but I did pick up a few goodies. I fell in LOVE with this colourway from Manchester Tart which is a silky baby DK, 70% baby alpaca and 30% mulberry silk. It’s sooooo soft and I’ve got 200 grams of it…I don’t have a plan for it as yet but I just HAD to have it!

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Besides that I  bought myself a couple of mini skeins, some hooks from Black Sheep Wools (who I also enjoyed chatting too) and my hook from Wulla yarn. A conservative (for me) but fabulous set of purchases I think you’ll agree!

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We had such a great day out and I can see us going again next year. I really love the fact it’s like a mini festival, it’s got quite a laid back vibe about it and it’s a very family friendly show. 

Well I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my very woolly weekend as much as I enjoyed attending Yarn Shop Day and Wool@Jct13. I’d love to hear your thoughts on Yarn Shop Day, did you do anything? Or what about yarn shows, been to any good one’s lately?

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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