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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Yarn Shop Day 2018 | Milo the Cat

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I have the most exciting news to share with you! Some of you may have already seen me mention it on Instagram but now I can tell you all properly.

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Last year I was approached by the editor of Let’s Knit Magazine to see if I would like to design the mascot for Yarn Shop Day.  Me!?! Design the mascot for Yarn Shop Day! I couldn’t believe it! What an honour to ysd-2018-logodesign the mascot for such a big day celebrated all over the United Kingdom! Of course I said yes and I quickly donned my (crocheted) designers cap and started planning.

If you aren’t familiar with Yarn Shop Day, it’s an annual annual event that celebrates bricks-and-mortar yarn shops. Part of the wider Love Your Yarn Shop campaign, this year’s event takes place on Saturday 12 May 2018. Each participating store will host its own special event, with all sorts of fun activities taking place.

I was asked to come up with a design for a cat and so in my excitement I drew about eleventy billion cat sketches and even tried playing with some designs to see what developed, but we finally settled on developing the cat sketch (below) using the Yarn Shop day colours.

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I made him from bits of double knit yarn I had in my stash, that I had bought from various yarn store visits, and this is how he turned out…Meet Milo the Cat 🐱

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And as I had to send that Milo away to the Let’s Knit Magazine team I’m currently making myself another little Milo in Scheepjes Catona yarn which I bought from Black Sheeps Wool last year – because he has to be made with shop bought yarn naturally.

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Milo the Cat and Dixie the Llama are the crocheted and knitted mascots for 2018 and are exclusively available (for free) in participating stores, along with specially produced knitted and crocheted blanket patterns. If you’re a keen crocheter or knitter, be sure to pop down to your local yarn shop for a day of fibre-tastic fun. Click on the banner below to find participating stores near you.

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I never need an excuse to visit a yarn shop and this year I hope to pop down to Abakhan in Hanley to join in the fun. I hope you will be out too supporting your local yarn shop! I feel it’s so important to be an advocate for any small shop owner, they are often the people who are experts in their field, love what they do and are just trying to live their dream.

And if you hook up Milo the Cat, I hope you will share your project on your favourite social media sites, Facebook page or FacebookgroupTwitter,  Pinterest and Instagram as I love to see your finished work! Also if you are featured in my newsletter, as the customer spotlight, you could win a pattern of your choice – so don’t forget to tag me when you share.

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

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Sponsors

Dear Ewe | Inspired Products for Crafty People

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Hey lovelies, I have some extremely exciting news! I’m thrilled to announce my new business venture, Dear Ewe, a online shop full of craft inspired products for creative folks.

I founded Dear Ewe, with my good friend Becky (of Keepsakes by Rebecca) because we felt there was a gap in the market for high quality, contemporary and functional gifts for crafters. We’ve been working hard in stealth for many months to combine our passions of stitching and graphics to develop a range of products that we think creative folks will really like. 

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Although the range of our products are for various crafts it made sense, as I’m a crochet addict, that some of our first ranges were exclusively for all the lovely crocheters in the world. 

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I love these mugs!! There’s 3 wonderful mug ranges to choose from: the beautiful crochet chart range (as shown), the gorgeous character range featuring our own lovable Ewe, and the fantastic crafts pattern range ➰ And the fabulous thing is that each of these mugs are hand decorated on English made fine bone china mugs – crafted by crafters for crafters!

As well as lovely mugs, we also have a range of fab textiles, patterns, art and cards – all celebrating creativity and the world of handmade.  I know I am biased, as this is my new business, but I love everything we’ve got! You won’t find anything in Dear Ewe that we don’t want to own ourselves and everything has been inspired by you (or ewe) that love  handicrafts. 

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More details about Dear Ewe will be following soon. Our official launch is 28 May 2018 but you can stay in the loop with details by signing up to our newsletter, or following us on social media (or go crazy sign up and follow us on them all!)

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

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Hook and a Book | Christmas Box Giveaway

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**GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED**

I know it’s November but let’s face it we are going to have to talk about Christmas sooner or later aren’t we…what is it now something like 40 days to go (eek)? Are you perhaps looking for a unique crafty gift for someone? Or  a present for someone to give to you? Well I might just have an idea of something you’ll like.

Do you remember Hook and a Book which I reviewed back in September? Well I was contacted by the lovely owner Maddy recently as she wanted to tell me all about the special one of a kind Christmas box that they are selling this year. AND she wants to give one of these exciting boxes away to one lucky KCACO.UK reader!!

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The mammoth Hook and a Box Christmas box includes a hard-backed book (a surprise, of course), 3 Christmas patterns, 5 crochet hooks and 7 balls of yarn!! Wow now that’s what I call a great gift!  The most important bit about this box however is that Hook and a Book are donating £5 from each box sale to Beanstalk UK. Beanstalk UK is a fabulous charity which provides one-to-one support for young children who are struggling to read.
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If you want to run off and order yourself a box now here’s the link: hookandabook.co.uk/its_christmas but if you fancy having a go at winning yourself a box then keep reading!
Right my lovelies I’m going to make it incredibly easy for you to enter to win a Christmas box. All you have to do is leave me a comment on this blog post saying why you’d like to win the box.   
To gain some brownie points why not pop over and give a nice ‘like’ to the kind people from Hook and a Book for donating a lovely giveaway prize. The link to their Facebook page is here.

The giveaway begins RIGHT NOW

and is open WORLDWIDE!!

The giveaway closes on Wednesday 22 November at 12.00noon, UK time. At the end of the giveaway I’ll contact the person for their address which I’ll pass on to Hook and a Book so that they can send out the prize. Please keep an eye out for the winners name release as if I can’t get hold of the winner I’ll sadly have to pick out another name. The winners box will be shipped out week commencing 27 November so in plenty of time for Christmas.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!

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

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Wulla Super Bulky | Yarn Review and Free Wulla Wreath Crochet Pattern

Disclaimer: I received a free sample of this yarn 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.


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Well I don’t think Christmas could come any chunkier than with the Wulla Wreath! I’m very excited to share this free pattern with you today for a true statement keepsake wreath just perfect for the holiday season – though I’m tempted to leave mine up all year!

Back at the beginning of October the lovely Caz, an indie spinner and dyer, from Wulla Yarn placed a call out for designers on Instagram to see who fancied experimenting with her amazing giant yarn.

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Isn’t it incredible! Well as you can imagine I REALLY wanted to get my hands on some of that lovely stuff to have a play!  So I dropped Caz a message with my idea and, luckily for me, she decided a collaboration would be a great idea. 

If you aren’t familiar with Wulla Yarn it might be because they are relatively new on the yarn scene. Started in April 2017 Wulla was born out of Caz’s desire to make big, bold contemporary yarn to inspire crafters to explore and create. The name ‘Wulla’ is a corruption of the word Wul, the Anglo Saxon for ‘wool’, and combines Caz’s love of history and her drive to do something new! 

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This yarn is serious stuff with a recommended hook size of 12-15mm or bigger! So let’s check out the yarn’s vital statistics we: 

  • Weight:  Super Bulky (7)
  • Blend: Wool
  • Yarn Ball Weight: 400g
  • Yarn Ball Length: 60m
  • Wash instructions: Cool, gentle hand wash only.
  • Price: £28.00 (at the time of this post)

Like many types of hand spun yarn the thickness and texture differs slightly along it’s length but, that to me, lends to it’s undeniable charm. 

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To me this yarn had statement piece written all over it and so I decided I wanted to try and create a giant hunky chunky wreath.  I chose to make my wreath with the un-dyed yarn as I think, although it’s neutral, the light natural cream colour has a lovely elegancy about it.

The wreath works up very quickly and, although a bit fiddly when you start off until you find your flow, it’s suitable for beginners to make as the pattern is essentially just giant UK double crochet / US single crochet stitches.

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Add the Wulla Wreath to your 💗 Favourites and Ravelry Queue for a print friendly of this page please scroll to the bottom of this post and click on the Print & PDF button. 

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  • Yarn: Super Bulky Undyed Handspun Giant Yarn / 60m / 400g
  • Hook: I used my 25mm hook – but smaller would work too, you might just need to experiment.
  • Size: 35mm
  • Gauge: Establishing the correct gauge is not critical to this pattern. 

Abbreviations: 

  • st(s) = stitch(es)
  • dc/sc= UK double crochet / US single crochet

Stitch Guidance:

  • Slip Stitch (sl st): Insert hook in st indicated, yarn over and pull through all loops.
  • UK Double Crochet/US Single Crochet (dc/sc): Insert hook in st indicated and pull up a loop (two loops on hook), yarn over, pull through both loops on hook.

You will also need:

  • 35mm / 1.4 inch Polystyrene Wreath (I got mine from Hobbycraft)
  • D ring (or something similar) for hanging the wreath
  • Cotton Thread / Needle
  • Large Pom Pom Maker (Mine had a 85mm / 0.3 inch diameter)

Pattern:

Rnd 1: Make giant UK double crochet / US single crochet’s all around the wreath – I found the easiest way to do this as follows;

Add the yarn with a slipknot on to your hook.

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Put the wreath in front of your yarn

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Pull up a loop of yarn through the middle of the wreath with your fingers

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And pop it around your hook

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Then bring your yarn over your hook

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And pull the loop through all loop on hook (this includes your slipknot loop for the beginning only). And that’s your first stitch made.

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Continue to work in this way all around the wreath; if you get any twisting of the yarn, straighten it as you go and push your yarn / stitches together so that none of the polystyrene shows.

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On your last stitch to do not join; cut your yarn and pull the tail all the way through the stitch, then thread the tail under the loop of your first stitch.

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Then pull the yarn into the centre of the last stitch to create an invisible join. 

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Finishing:

  1. Make three giant pom poms, I used my Clover Grand Pom Pom Maker just because I think the tool makes fabulous pom’s but you could use cardboard circles with a 88mm (0.3 inch) diameter. All pom’s should be tied leaving a 30 cm / 12 inch piece of yarn for hanging; if using the wulla yarn you should make sure your knot is secure, then trim off one of the pieces of yarn to leave one ‘strand’.
  2. Attach pom poms onto the bottom / back of your wreath 
  3. Attach a ‘D’ ring onto the top / back of your wreath

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And that’s it!

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I’m completely in LOVE with the texture and the look of my Wulla Wreath, I think it’s just delicious – and I have to admit to keep stroking it a bit.  

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And if you want to have a go at making your own wreath the lovely Caz from Wulla Yarns has a special offer for all you lovely KCACO.UK readers. For the whole of November her fabulous meta yarn has a 15% discount in her Etsy shop if you use the coupon code: KCACO1

If you have a go at making a Wulla Wreath don’t forget to share your finished projects with me on your favourite social media sites: RavelryLoveCrochet.comFacebook page or Facebook group, Twitter,  Pinterest and Instagram and if you are featured in my newsletter you could win a pattern of your choice!

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

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My visit to The Knitting & Stitching Show 2017

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Being a crochet blogger can certainly comes with it’s perks…like being invited to attend the biggest textile event in the UK!! I didn’t need asking twice let me tell you! So last Thursday saw me and my lovely mum, as my plus one, hot footing it down to London to attend The Knitting and Stitching Show at the Alexandra Palace (aka the Ally Pally).

Firstly I should advise you, my lovelies, that this is going to be a bit of a long post with lots of photos so you might want to get comfy and grab a cuppa (or your favourite tipple) before we proceed…right…ready…then I shall begin.

I’ll also quickly say I’m not usually one for selfies but seeing as this is a post about my experiences of the show there are some actual photos of me (and mum – who kindly gave me permission to post her photo on the web). Mum was also there in the capacity of a financial adviser basically to try and help me curb my need to buy everything I saw (more on that later). All photos were taken on my phone as I thought my camera would just get in the way of my shopping bags (ha!) so I’m hoping the quality isn’t too bad.

After a 3 hour journey we got to the Ally Pally at about 10.30am on the 12th October which was the second day of the show and late night opening (till 7pm). The show actually runs for a mammoth four or five days usually so there’s plenty of time to attend one (or more) of the show dates.  The Knitting and Stitching Show actually runs in several venues across the UK with two dates in London each year – you can sign up for their latest news by subscribing to their newsletter (link on the bottom of the website).

The Ally Pally was a completely new place to me and wow what a BEAUTIFUL building it is! 

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The stunning building that is the Alexandra Palace – just look at that window!

Situated on top of a hill in North London it offers a fabulous panoramic view of the city below. My mum, bless her heart, had never been to London before so I think she was a little thrilled about the view.

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It’s London baby!

First stop was to go and get my press badge! Yes that’s right my. very. own. press pass…and the next photo shows me completely geeking out about said badge (cringe)!

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Then after a quick visit to the loo and a large cuppa for sustenance we went inside to see what we could see.  

The corridor to the main event room was lined with some of the winning entries of this years Festival of Quilts. These quilts were pretty jaw droppingly stunning! The photo of the following quilt in particular, called African Village, was my favourite. You wouldn’t quite believe it was a quilt unless you saw it up close (I wasn’t the only one going up for a closer look). I think it just looks like a painting – the attention to detail is just amazing – and don’t get me started on the colours! 

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African Village by Janneke de Vries-Bodzinga

Now I’m still relatively new to craft shows, I’ve done Yarndale, WoolJ13 and TOFTfest) and I knew this was going to be a big show but I wasn’t quite prepared for how MAHOOSIVE it actually was. Sooooo many stands and sooooo much to look at and take in! 

We arrived just as the show opened so people were just beginning to trickle in and, although it did get busy, I felt that it was never too squashy or overwhelming – and the giant ceilings of the room also helped alleviate any feelings of claustrophobia you might have

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Early doors at the Knitting and Stitching Show 2017

There’s no distinguishable layout to the stalls that I could make out; they didn’t seem to be grouped by name or craft, and there was also booth’s with workshops and demonstrations dotted about in between the stalls. We did have a guide book that listed all of the stalls but we actually quite enjoyed just walking round and kind of ‘happening’ on things of interest – which was a lot!

I literally was that excitable child out with mum pulling her about saying ‘Ooo look at this’ and ‘OOoo look at that’.  She may have accused me of bouncing about and being hyper but my enthusiasm got us talking to some lovely people who were also visiting the show. It was great listening to other people’s experiences of the show; why they were attending and what bargains they’d got or what they were going to make with the things they’d bought. 

I also met some celebrities…of the crochet kind!

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The celebrity makes (from left to right): Sophie’s Universe by Dedri Uys (Look At What I Made), The Hygge Shawl by Kirsten Ballering (Haak Maar Raak), A Spicier Life CAL by Sandra Paul (Cherry Heart) , not too sure about the knit chevron blanket, then it’s A Spicier Life again in a different colourway and I think the last one is the Apre’s Ski Colour Pack designed by Sara from Black Sheep Wools.

After seeing so many of these blankets and shawls online seeing them made up close was pretty exciting! I think my mum was slightly stunned as I started reeling off the names and designers for ones I recognised. It also got us talking to more people who had made the blankets or shawls or were planning to make them – seriously loved the chatting to other crafters bits of the day.

The Black Sheep Wools stall was one of my favourite stands of the day.  Aside from displaying many of the blankets above they had basically set up a yarn sweet shop of Scheejpes Catona (which I love – look out for a future review and new pattern from me soon!) And I don’t know why I didn’t realise that the actual shop is not that far away from me…I see a visit coming on sometime soon!

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I mean come on! My purse didn’t stand a chance!!!

Another favourite stall of mine was the TOFT stand. I love the brand and designs anyways (see my previous posts about TOFTfest and my interview with Kerry Lord) and my mum just fell head over heals for this giant version of ‘Caitlin the Giraffe’. It is just amazing isn’t it! It was certainly drawing a lot of well-deserved attention.

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Caitlin with my lovely little mum for scale

Kerry Lord, the designer behind Caitlin, was there signing her new book; Edward’s Crochet Doll’s Emporium (look out for my review of the book coming soon) and the stand looked amazing with many other of her designs hanging up. 

Kerry is a definite source of inspiration to me! Not only does she produce gorgeous designs but she seems to have unlimited energy! I’d just seen on Instagram that she’d just literally come back from promoting in Australia and there she was at the show signing books and giving talks…and she’s got two young children – just amazing!

I didn’t go and say hi, as she was very busy with the signing books business, but mum and I did have fun with the Ed’s Dolls face stand in…

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Another part of the show we really enjoyed was The Women’s Institute display of knitting buildings. So much detail in each and everyone, they were incredible!

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Just incredible attention to detail!

I don’t know whether you can see but some of the houses and churches were decorated with little Halloween items like a pumpkin, witches hat and broom. Here’s another photo of my favourite house…

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Look at the cute little pumpkin!

Whilst at the show I’d also arranged to meet some of the people from Let’s Get Crafting Magazine. After working on commissions with the magazine for almost a year it was it was so great to meet the lovely editor Rosie and deputy editor Jess in person after so much chat via email. Mum and I were treated to a cuppa and we had a great long chat about past and future projects (some exciting stuff coming soon so watch this space!).

It was really good to develop a better understanding of the behind the scenes workings at the magazine – and I think they were interested to learn my design processes too. 

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Rosie, me and Jess

And then before we knew it, it was time to attend our workshop; Sewing a Quirky Creature with Miss Libby Rose

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The fab Miss Libby Rose and some of her Quirky Creatures

Now sewing for me, is very much out of my comfort zone! I can basically make easy things like a lining for a crochet bag…and maybe sew up something fairly square, but tackle things with shape – not on your nelly! That’s when the session at the machine usually ends up with tangled bobbins and lots of swearing. 

However, you don’t get better at things unless you practice and try new things and I would like to be able to sew better so I was excited to give it a try. 

Mum and I were joined at the class with the lovely blogger behind Elsie Pop (who you can just see in the background) and her other half (who turned out to be a natural secret speed sewer!).

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I obviously missed the memo about wearing matching tops…

The experience went a little as expected…it seems I develop a very heavy right foot as soon as I sit down at a sewing machine so things have a literal tendency to run away with themselves. BUT thanks to the most fabulous Miss Libby Rose, we did end up with half finished kitties for Little G and Little Miss….

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which we finished off at home, didn’t they come out cute in the end!

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Then it was time to go home! We literally left the show at 6.55pm just before it closed at 7pm. We’d spent a mega 8.5 hours at the show and yet it seemed like it went by so fast – I could have stayed longer!

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And what did I buy? Well mum epically failed to rein me in – but to be fair she didn’t really stand a chance! So I bought lots of pretties and squishies!

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For me the show was pretty much all about the yarn and the people I got to meet, but there’s fabric, sewing and embroidery stuff, beads, buttons and chances to listen to crafty talks and take part in workshops – pretty much everything a textile craft loving gal could desire! 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 thank the organisers of the show again for my complimentary tickets, goodie bag, workshop and for making me feel like a mini professional (rather than an blogging imposter) with my press badge! And for supplying five tickets free for KCACO.UK readers. It’s was very much appreciated!

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

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Yarn Shop Day | 6 May 2017


Yarn-Shop-DayHave you heard about Yarn Shop Day? It’s an annual celebration supported by Let’s Knit and Let’s Get Crafting magazines which aims to celebrate Britain’s much-loved independent wool shops.  This year Yarn Shop Day took place today, on the 6th of May, in hundreds of yarn and haberdashery stores across the country. 

I don’t know how I’d missed that this day existed previously (!?!) but as soon as I learnt of it’s existence I thought I really should pay a visit to one of my local participating shops on the day.  I personally think it’s incredibly important to support any local businesses and shops – but I don’t need an excuse to visit a yarn shop… So anyway earlier today I headed off to The Little Shop of Crafts which is luckily just down the road from me.

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The Little Shop of Crafts is a lovely little shop which stocks a great range of yarns from Sirdar, James C. Brett and other Designer Yarns, it also has proper crochet cotton from Coats. As well as yarn they cater for cross-stitchers and have a range of haberdashery items and fabrics. 

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Today the shop celebrated Yarn Shop Day with a charity raffle, 10% off all yarn purchases and a crafternoon group session full of lovely ladies.  

Little G, who wanted to come with me to the shop, held court with the ladies telling them all about the birthday party she had been to (hence the streamers on her top)…and pretty much everything else that was happening in her life – which allowed me plenty of time to shop!

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The crafternooners were busy hooking up some of the special freebies which were designed especially for this years event. Debbie Bliss designed an exclusive (Knitalong) blanket pattern that was given away free, along with Rainbow the Unicorn (knit by Sachiyo Ishii) and Coral the Mermaid (crochet by Sarah Shrimpton) amigurumi patterns.

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Little G loved the ones that had already been made and was delighted to be given the opportunity to name them (and in case you were wondering she named the unicorn Sparkle and the mermaid Lorelai!)

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And the fantastic thing is that even if you missed Yarn Shop Day the patterns will be available throughout the year so if your local store doesn’t have them, you can get them from a different store later if you’re visiting another town or city.

And what did I buy…well I just had to get myself one of the new Sidar colourwheel yarn cakes (Shade 201: Colourama) because I drooled on it a bit, kidding, but it is most delicious isn’t it – and so squishy! I may have hugged it a bit on the way home…just need to decide on what to make with it.  I also got some other little bits and bobs I needed and the most amazing unicorn fabric which I’m hoping I can transform into a dress similar to the one I made Little G when she was younger (this one).

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Both Karen and Tracy, the proprietors of the shop were lovely and helpful and I want to say a HUGE thank you to all the crafternoon ladies who chatted to Little G – she had a great time. Unfortunately though she doesn’t quite understand that they are not going to be there every day – she’s already asked when she can go back and see everyone!

lyys_300x300Well we both thoroughly enjoyed our first Yarn Shop Day! I think it’s now going to be an annual event in my calendar. Craftiness always deserves to be celebrated so whether you love crochet or the two stick-ed thing Yarn Shop Day is a must for your diary.  So if you can next year please do go along and support your local yarn shop.

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

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Getting Crafty | Paper Flower Chrysanthemums

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Our amazing cake made by www.cakeholetutbury.co.uk

Last weekend it was a flurry of activity in the KCACO-UK home as we not only had Little G’s birthday happening (how fast another year has gone!) but we also held a naming ceremony for Little Miss.

I’ve had a lot of people ask me what a naming ceremony is…well it’s a non-religious alternative for a service such as christening to mark a child’s arrival. We held one for Little G when she was a baby and now it was the turn of friends and family help us welcome Little Miss into the world.  The naming ceremony was facilitated by the British Humanist Association (who were fab) who designed the day to be personal to us – and what a happy, fun and relaxed, wonderful day spent with family and friends it was!

But before that I had decided that I was going to get creative and make my own decorations and things for the party. As I’m a massive fan of Pinterest I created myself a board and got pinning…and lost several hours of my life!  The main thing I decided I wanted to make were paper flowers as I thought that would be something Little G would enjoy making with me.  

Next it was off to the craft shop where I picked up, amongst other things, everything I needed to make paper flowers. There are loads of different ways to make paper flowers but I’m going to show you how I made mine to look like a chrysanthemum. To make them yourself you will need:

  • At least 8 sheets of tissue paper 
  • Scissors
  • Longish Pipe cleaners (if making with younger children) or craft wire 

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Next you need to cut your tissue sheets into squares – the easiest way to do this is to take the corner of your paper and fold it to the opposite edge to make a triangle. Cut off the excess tissue paper at the top, unfold and you have your squares! Make sure non of the squares are joined anywhere so you have eight individual squares.

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Next you need to fold the paper into a concertina…

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Next fold the concertina in half and then wrap your pipe cleaner or craft wire around the middle securely.

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Next you need to trim each edge to create the petals, to make the chrysanthemum your edges should be fairly rounded…

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The next bit can be a little tricky; so you might have to help little ones. Carefully separate each layer of tissue paper to create the fullness of the flower on each side… 

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And that’s it! You should be left with a beautiful paper chrysanthemum. Make smaller squares for mini flowers or make giant flowers with big squares.

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The lovely thing about paper flowers is that you can easily dress up a party or room yourself. I added my flowers to some jam jars wrapped in hessian and twine and cut out some petal shapes from the left over tissue paper and scattered those on the table. I was really pleased with how they turned out in the end.

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Let me know if you give tissue paper flowers ago!

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

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Vintage buttons are just the NICEST thing!

Beautiful buttons are just the nicest thing to add to a project so you can imagine my absolute delight when a most lovely friend of mine, who knows I enjoy all things crafty, gave me a bag full of the most gorgeous vintage buttons.  Just look at these beauties! Aren’t I lucky!
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I’m a bit of a button hoarder and have several jars and boxes of nice buttons, including ones I have inherited from family and brought in places like France, but some of these have a real WOW factor! You can completely imagine them on a 1940’s box coat or adorning a shiny mink coat can’t you.  

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A beautiful button can turn an ordinary crochet project into something special and unique!  But how am I supposed to pick from all these beautiful buttons? Though I must confess some of them are whispering designs to me…

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I love that these buttons have a history about them; and I love that these buttons are going to get a lease of new life when I add them to something new.

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Thanks again Alison! These buttons will all be put to good use I promise!  And just one day I’ll finish off that tea cosy for you; though I’m thinking now that it perhaps needs a button on it somewhere!

And if you are looking for some fun crochet button projects you should check out the blog post by www.crochetconcupiscence.com who has put together 15 fun ideas to do with buttons – I’m personally loving the broach idea!

Getting a bit crafty with string eggs

So as it’s nearly Easter I swear that string eggs are everywhere! As they look so cool I thought Little G and I would have a go at making some as the one thing I do have a lot of is spare yarn lying around.  

If you want to have a go at making them here’s what you will need:

  • PVA kids glue
  • A saucer or a bowl to put the glue into
  • Wool or String
  • Scissors
  • Small Balloons (or water balloons)
  • Some treats (in wrappers)
  • Apron (it does get messy!)
  • A tray to put your string eggs on to dry

1. Make sure you have an area you don’t mind getting messy and I would suggest aprons for anyone involved!

2. Stuff your treats inside the deflated balloon and then blow up to the size you want your string eggs.   The treats I had brought were like chocolate coins so it turned into a fiddle-fest to get them inside so I would definitely suggest roundish treats!  

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It’s only natural that not all the chocolate will make it inside the balloons if you are working with small children…

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3. Next put your glue into the bowl, you will need quite a bit as you need to soak the string or wool thoroughly.  

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4. Then start to wind your gluey string or wool around one of your balloons; this bit gets extremely sticky and there is likely to be glue splash! You don’t have to wrap your eggs too neatly; cross the yarn in lots of different directions to make an interesting ‘cage’.  You will need to wrap the balloons enough so that your treats won’t fall out.

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5. Once you have finished wrapping your balloons you will need to set them aside on a tray to dry; we left ours for a couple of days…

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6. Check to see if the yarn feels hard and if it does pop your balloon.  You may need to snip the balloon a bit to release the treats this can be a bit tricky.  Once the treats are free you can then pull out the balloon bits leaving the chocolate behind and that’s it, place on a shelf and admire!

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I really love them!  I have now added them to my Eastery looking shelves ready for Easter weekend! Hope you all enjoy a lovely holiday with your family x

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