Deramores Poppy Appeal 2020


This year Deramores have partnered with the Royal British Legion to bring crochet and knitting communities together to raise money for the poppy appeal – and I felt quite honoured to be asked to design a crochet poppy pattern for them.

© Deramores 2020

The red poppy is a symbol of both remembrance and hope for a peaceful future.

Poppies are usually worn as a show of support for the Armed Forces community and for this project I wanted to create a simple design where you could easily produce a whole field of poppies in no time at all.

© Deramores 2020

If you are a crafter you can help support The Royal British Legion this year by creating any one of the endorsed Deramores poppy digital patterns or kits.

With every purchase of a poppy kit, Deramores will donate 10% of the RRP to the Royal British Legion to support the Armed Forces community, and for the purchase of any digital poppy patterns, they will donate 50% of the RRP.

Did you know there’s actually no wrong way to wear a poppy, you could glue gun them to a headband, wreath,  blanket or cushion, or just add a brooch pin, to honour and remember the service and the sacrifice of those within the Armed Forces.

For my poppies I used Deramores Studio DK in Ebony, Ruby and Peridot, with a 3mm hook, and with 1 ball of Ruby you can easily make about 20 poppies.

❤️ You can download the digital poppy patterns or purchase the kits here ❤️

Please share pictures of your poppies with on socials using the hashtag #DeramoresPoppy and #kcacouk so we can share your wonderful work.

And if you were looking for more poppy designs I also have a free one on the blog here.

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

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Crochet Workshops at The Artisan Boutique 2020


I’m very excited to say that I’m going to be back at one of my local craft shops this year to run some more weekend workshops.

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The Artisan Boutique in Stone, Staffordshire is a veritable treasure trove of gorgeous handmade and artisan products, and provides a fabulous backdrop to a lovely hooky morning or afternoon! The workshops that I’m hosting in 2020 are listed below:

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Intermediate Beginners Class: Facecloths and Dishcloths! Sunday 9th February: 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 be shown / reminded of some of the basics of crochet such as holding the hook and yarn and some basic stitches. By the end of the session you will have started a fun facecloth or dishcloth to finish off or take home with you.

Intermediate Crochet: Let’s Make a Llama! Sunday 1st March: 12.30pm -3pm, £35pp

This class is great for someone that knows the basics of crochet and would like to develop their skills to learn the technique of amigurumi crochet. We will be working from the Sidar ‘Happy’ amigurumi books to make their fun llama together. This class will cover how to read a pattern, how to begin working in the round, increasing and decreasing and sewing parts together.

Intermediate Class: Mindful Mandalas, Sunday 29th March:  12.30pm -3pm, £35pp

In this fun and relaxed class we will build on your existing crochet abilities 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.

Intermediate Beginners Class: Granny Square Therapy, Sunday 7th June: 10.15am – 12.15pm, £30pp

This class is ideal for beginners or for anyone wanting to refresh their skills. Through the morning we will be looking at all things granny square! This will including treble crochets and change colours, as well as reading a crochet pattern. By the end of the session you will have started a ‘granny square’ themed project, to complete at home, using your new skills.

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Intermediate Class: Let’s Make a Shaped Scarf! Sunday 5th July: 12.30 – 3pm, £35pp

This is the perfect workshop for those looking to advance their crochet skills or try new stitch techniques. This scarf will include elements of filet crochet and combine a fun series of stitches using just 100g of lovely yarn. We will cover how to read a pattern, and look at different shaping to start making a beautiful scarf that everyone is sure to admire.

Intermediate Class: Let’s Make a Sloth! Sunday 20th September: 12.30 – 3pm, £35pp

This class is great for someone that knows the basics of crochet and would like to develop their skills to learn the technique of amigurumi crochet. We will be working from the Sidar ‘Happy’ amigurumi books to make their fun sloth together. This class will cover how to read a pattern, how to begin working in the round, increasing and decreasing and sewing parts together.

Intermediate Beginners Class: Corner to Corner Crochet! Sunday 18th October:  10.15am – 12.15pm, £30pp

This class a great class for someone who knows the basics of crochet and would love to learn a new technique of corner to corner crochet. Through the morning we will be looking at how you do corner to corner crochet. This will including the ‘box stitch’ and how you can change colours, as well as reading a crochet pattern. By the end of the session you will have started a ‘corner to corner’ themed project, to complete at home, using your new skills.

Intermediate Class: Let’s Make Baubles! Sunday 8th November: 12.30 – 3pm, £35pp

This class is great for someone that knows the basics of crochet and would like to develop their skills to learn the technique of amigurumi crochet. We will be working from the Sidar ‘Happy’ amigurumi books to make one of bauble designs together. This class will cover how to read a pattern, how to begin working in the round, increasing and decreasing and sewing parts together.

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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So if you are in located in or around Staffordshire and fancy taking part in a crochet class why not pop along to The Artisan Boutique. Susan also has another lady running ‘learn to crochet’ workshops, if you are a complete beginner, where you can learn how to hold your hook and yarn and get a feel for the craft before booking onto one of my classes.

It’s such a nice relaxed atmosphere and such a sociable and friendly way to pass the time when you work on a project together! Bookings should please be made directly to The Artisan Boutique.

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 Demos 2020 | Abakhan Fabrics


Attention all crochet beginners! Have you perhaps stumbled upon this blog because you’d like to learn more about crochet? Do you live near Staffordshire? Well I’m pleased to say that I’ve been asked back to Abakhan in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, to do some more crochet demonstrations in 2020.

If you are in the neighbourhood then why not join us in store for a range of crochet demonstrations. You do not need any prior knowledge of crochet to come see what it’s all about just an interest. You could learn tips for a new hobby and find something to be inspired – and should you have any pressing crochet questions then I’ll be there to help anyone that needs it.

Learn to Crochet – Saturday 18 January: 1pm to 4pm

Always wanted to learn how to crochet? In this free in store demonstration I will be sharing tips on how to hold your hook and yarn, how to read a pattern, how to make a foundation chain and how to work your first stitches.

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The other FREE crochet demonstrations that I’m facilitating in 2020 at Abakhan are listed below:

Granny Square Therapy – Saturday 7th March: 1pm to 4pm

Always wanted to know how to make a granny square? In today’s free demonstration I will be sharing how to make a granny square, changing colours and sewing granny squares together.

Learn to Crochet – Saturday 5 July: 1pm to 4pm

If you missed the learn to crochet session in January don’t worry as we are re-running the demonstration just before the summer holiday season begins!

I’m also going to be in Hanley for Yarn Shop Day 2020 which is always a fun yarny sort of day – so make sure you save the date of Saturday 2nd May 2020!

If you’ve not heard about Yarn Shop Day before you might like to take a look at a couple of my previous blog posts about they kind of thing that goes on for 2017, 2018 and 2019.

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 one of the demonstrations soon!

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

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How to repair a broken granny square blanket


I was recently asked by the owner of the Artisan Boutique, where I sometimes do some crochet workshops, if it would be possible to mend a customers granny square blanket for her.

The blanket had been so well loved, and passed through a variety of different children in the family, that some of the squares had unravelled or almost disintegrated entirely!

The blanket was in a very sorry state with nine squares in total needing repair but I thought it could be fixed successfully – and I thought you guys might find it useful to know how to repair a granny square blanket too, just in case you are ever faced with a broken granny situation.

Repairing a granny square does take a bit of time! Depending on the severity of hole and the size of the square you’ll need to fix you’ll firstly want to choose a time where you can concentrate and be uninterrupted, as once you are in the process of repairing you really don’t want to be having to get up and run around somewhere.

To give you an example of time to set aside most of the squares I had to fix were of four rounds – and it took me at least an hour to make the new piece and fix that into place (and I’ve been told I’m not a slow crocheter). You could make a fair few brand new granny squares in that time. But for those blankets steeped in family stories and history that NEED to be kept as a keepsake, this method can be a perfect lifesaver!

This method is for any blanket that has a granny square that has unravelled from the centre but that has salvageable sections on the outer edges of the square.

What you will need:

  • Scrap bits of yarn roughly matching the yarn weight, fibre content (e.g. acrylic) and colours of the square you are going to replace,
  • A crochet hook to match the previous gauge, I do this by eye but roughly you’d probably use a 4mm (US size G) for DK (Light Worsted) or 5mm (US size H) for Aran (Worsted). If you are not sure make up a square with a hook first and see if it will fit the gap. A bit smaller is better, then it won’t be prone to sagging when it’s washed at a later date.
  • Sharp pair of scissors,
  • Lots of stitch markers with enough space on them to hold a cluster of three stitches,
  • A large wool / tapestry needle,
  • Optional: A small crochet hook (such as a 2.75 / US size C) to help pass the loop through stitches.
  • Optional: A table. Whilst you can make repairs with your crochet on your knee you’ll find it infinitely easier to fix broken squares working on a flat surface with you sitting comfortably!

Step 1:

Carefully snip away the damaged square to the point where the original stitches / yarn is strong enough. It’s important to not snip or untwist any of the original crochet stitches that are to be kept and worked on.

Sometimes you can save the centre of a square, you have cut away, to use again on a new square, just unravel where possible and use the yarn to remake your new granny square.

Step 2:

Making sure that your granny square blanket is right side facing add your stitch markers to each of the stitches you have saved; to stop them twisting and unravelling whilst you make your repair.

Step 3:

Make a new granny square to fit the space you have cut away. Snip yarn leaving a 10cm (4 inches) yarn tail. Weave in all ends EXCEPT the yarn tail have just crocheted with.

Step 4:

Unravel the last round you have just made to your first 3ch of the round, this will be exactly the amount of yarn you need to fix your new granny square replacement into the relevant gap. Thread your needle onto the yarn tail.

Step 5:

Line up your granny square in the gap so corners correspond and then thread the yarn tail end through the next bottom set of granny stitches.

Then using the small crochet hook pull through the loop of the top of the three chain through the bottom of the first cluster of granny stitches.

Step 6:

With your gauge sized hook; crochet in the next space as you would crochet a usual set of trebles (US double crochet) to make a granny square cluster.

Remove the stitch marker from the end of the cluster you have just passed your yarn / loop through. Double check that your square is still in the right place – it’s very easy to misalign your squares as you work!

To complete a corner, work the first granny square stitches next to the corner as usual, then thread the yarn / loop, through the bottom of TWO cluster of granny stitches (that form the corner), ch2, and then work the next granny square stitches as normal. Adjust the ch2 so that it fits through the bottom of the two clusters of granny stitches.

Step 7:

Continue to work your way around the square repeating the process from step 5 onwards; paying careful attention when you get to a corner.

And that’s it!

I hope that this tutorial helps your old blankets live on for many more years to come! Let me know if you find this tutorial useful, I’d love to hear the tales of blankets that have been saved!

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

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New for Ewe! Yarny Stationery Range


I don’t think it’s a secret that I’m a complete yarn addict but what you may not know about me is that I also love stationery. Like a brand new ball of yarn I find there is something quite special about a new notebook that makes me feel that almost anything can be achieved.

So when I was thinking about what products to develop next for Dear Ewe I knew I needed to combine my two loves together to create some fun stationery that everyone could enjoy.

I do enjoy thinking of things that could come next for Dear Ewe that I think people will like and of course I make sure that I like them too! I knew without doubt that there had to be a notebook in the new products.

When I’m designing patterns I write everything I do, in pencil, in a notebook, and I personally like notebooks that have a fastening or elastic around them as I sometimes stick in bits of paper or other notes that I don’t want to lose.

Yarn Whisperers Notebook

Each Yarn Whisperer notebook is made from soft touch PVC covered recycled cardboard and has a ribbon page marker and elastic closure. It’s A7 size means it fits easily into a handbag (for yarn shopping notes) or your project bag.

Yarn Whisperers Notebook

Keeping with the yarny theme there’s also a range of Yarn Lovers Die Cut Vinyl stickers which will allow you to add your own personal woolly touch to almost anything! As a kid I loved stickers and I realised I never grew out of that love!

Yarn Lovers Sticker Pack

Give people a little idea of who you are and what you love by sticking these yarny vinyl stickers to your notebooks, your laptop, your luggage or anything that you like! Available as a pack of four stickers or individually – I’m going to be sticking them everywhere!!

Individual Yarn Addict Sticker

And finally the perfect stationery addition to help organise all of your yarny projects! The Work in Progress (WIP) Crochet / Knit Project Cards are here to help you organise your WIP projects, because I’m assuming like me that you might find something like this a handy tool?!

Invented partly because I have a personal issue with so many WIPs scattered in various places in the house, (15 or so – that’s not bad right?), and I thought I can’t be the only one that would find the postcard size memo’s a handy thing to have around.

Each pack contains eight (8) individual WIP cards for your different projects and they will mean no more forgetting what that project was all about or what yarn you were using! You just write down the necessary details on the card, pop it in your project bag, (you can even add a yarn sample in the holes provided), then when you next go to that project (in few days, weeks, months or years) you’ll have everything you need, to know what to do next.

It’s getting to that time of year now when folks are starting to think about Christmas and all the stationery range are priced to make excellent stocking fillers for yarn lovers, crochet addicts, knitting fanatics and fiber artists. So if you’re thinking of presents for a crafty friend or as a treat for yourself I hope you’ll take a look at the new range of Dear Ewe stationery.

So what do you think? Like them? Love em? Already bought some? I’d love to know.

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

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Vanishing Act and Foxes


Hello!!! I’m so sorry for my absence on the blog – in the third week of September I came down with what I thought was a stomach bug and which actually turned out to be a gangrenous appendix complete with abscess and perforation!

After a long hospital stay, where I was pumped full of IV antibiotics, I can thankfully say that I’m now home. I’m still working on my recovery, but I’m beginning to be much better than I was, thank goodness! It’s been rather a scary time!

From being ill it’s probably been over a month in all since I picked up a crochet hook, which is a pretty long time for me, and as I’ve been feeling better I’ve been looking forward to crocheting. It was actually really nice to pick up my yarn and hook – like greeting an old friend!

I wanted to start off with something small and it coincided with my eldest daughter asking me if I would make her a fox hat. So I went looking in my stash and discovered that I’d got some lovely Scheepjes Chunky Monkey anti piling, in a rust colour, that was just the perfect colour for a fox.

If you aren’t familiar with Scheepjes Chunky Monkey anti piling it’s a new aran / worsted weight yarn that compliments the colours in Scheepjes Colour Crafter. Classed as hypoallergenic premium acrylic it’s lovely and thick and squishy! And as it’s anti pilling it’s just perfect for children’s hats which will be in frequent use no doubt this winter.

I let Little G decide which style hat she wanted and she chose the Fox Hat by Sarah Zimmerman which is actually a free hat on Ravelry / or her blog. I just love the little cheek tufts on the side, makes it look very foxy!

© Sarah Zimmerman

After I’d made the one for Little G (with a few modifications for her specific head and comfort) I realised I had enough left to make Little Miss one too so I made a slightly smaller second hat. I do love to see my girls in matching things sometimes (only if they are happy about it of course).

I was really pleased with how they turned out, both girls have been wearing them round the house (pretty much as soon as I made them) – you can’t get a bigger compliment than that can you! The only thing left for me to do is I’m going to make a bow for each hat of their favourite colour as an accessory for ease of knowing who’s hat is who’s in a rush.

It was nice to end up with two finished items, I’m terrible at collecting WIPs, but I’m looking forward now to catching up with a couple of projects that had to be put on the backburner whilst I was poorly.

I hope you have been enjoying good health and a hooky time – what have you been making? I’d love to hear about it.

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

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Yarn Shows 2019 | Wool@Jct13


Wool@J13 is the most local yarn show to me so I’ve started to mark it on the calendar each year. This year was the third time the show has run and subsequently my third visit to Lower Drayton farm where the show is held in May each year. 

For an avid crocheter a day out to a yarn festival is great for your sense of well-being and feelings of harmony with like minded souls. If you’ve not been to a yarn show before you probably need to prepare yourself for so much yarn (all of which you will probably want) and lots of people talking about yarn and knitting and crochet!

As yarn shows go Wool@Jct13 runs over two days (a Saturday and a Sunday) but it isn’t massive, and this year it was smaller than the year before. The stalls for the event are all held in a big structured tent with rows of stalls at each edge and along the centre which you get to walk around in a big sort of loop.

The last two previous years have been blessed with tremendous weather for the shows. This year it was a grey and cloudy so it was great to see lots of people still turn out for the show. Luckily the weather was still warm enough to sit outside and listen to the outdoor music by various artists.

Food-wise there are picnic tables available but most people seemed to just be buying lunch as there were quite a few food stalls at reasonable prices – we all enjoyed sampling pizza and tea and cake over the course of the afternoon.

My girls loved the bands and we were able to sit around and chill as they danced along to each track which was nice. That’s one thing I really love about Wool@Jct13, it’s extremely family friendly – you can just see my two girls (below) walking hand in hand through the stalls and even my husband was quite taken with the colours of the yarns available and by the artistry of some of the felt pictures we saw.

My girls also loved all the animals and the play-park that they have on site. In fact my husband played with them on the play-park whilst I got to have a first leisurely look at stalls then we all went round the stalls again together later. The kids also loved the fact that they got a tractor-trailer ride (there and back) to the show! My three year old was very impressed by the big wheels!

On offer at the show was mainly hand dyed yarn, things for spinners and needle felters, and products celebrating ‘wool’. Actually it is a very WOOLLY show, which based on a farm I think it was bound to be, there are sheep around and also fleece shearing demonstrations which are really interesting to watch. You certainly get a sense of where the yarn is coming from!

In the main tent there was just so much yarn prettiness to drool over that if I had all the money in the world I could have gone crazy – because I pretty much wanted everything I saw!

And I did buy yarn, I can’t lie, I felt it would be rude not to when at a yarn show! I just fell in love with the colourways of five skeins of yarn that had to come home with me. The first two are from Siobhan Crafts and the last three are from Bellica Yarns.

I just loved the speckles and flecks on the first two which are 75% SW Merino and 25% Nylon Double Knit. Together they make 200g and the colourways are OOAK – Prism and Mermaid Scales which I think will go beautifully together in an, as yet unknown, future project.

The gorgeous yellow toned yarns I had to have because I just envisioned them in a summer shawl. I’m going on holiday next week so I’m thinking of caking it up and taking it with me. The vivid block yellow is 100g and the smaller two lovely speckled variegated yarn are 50g each so I have 200g in total which should make a fair sized shawl. There were no colourway names on the labels but both are 4ply 75% SW Merino and 25% Nylon – perfect for a light and airy design I was thinking!

So all in all we enjoyed our visit to this years show and I’m sure you will find us back at Wool@J13 next year! If you are in The Midlands you might want to check it out. But actually if you love yarn then I hope you’ll go along and support any local yarn show, they’ll only be able to keep going if we help keep them running – if that’s not a good excuse for having to buy yarn I don’t know what is!

If you are looking for a yarn show near you I’ve found this comprehensive blog post, by the Travel Knitter, which seems to list all Yarn Shows for 2019 which is just fab (thanks to her for doing that!).

Are you visiting any yarn shows this year? I’d love to hear which ones you are going to and why you’ve chosen that particular one… feel free to drop a comment below.

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

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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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