The most wonderful time of the year…Christmas at The Crochet Sanctuary

When I was asked if I might like to do another workshop at The Crochet Sanctuary, and this time the Christmas one, I may have squealed a little bit in my head! Christmas is my MOSTEST favourite time of the year and I was delighted to be given the opportunity to come up with a fun festive design.

If you’ve not heard about The Crochet Sanctuary before it’s a crochet retreat set in the beautiful Cranage Hall in Crewe. The hosts of the sanctuary, Lisa and Lynda-Rose, always plan an amazing weekend for their guests and it’s usually extra special at Christmas – and this time it was no different!

On this occasion we were a nice cosy group of about 20 weekenders (to be joined by roughly 5 more day guests on the Saturday). The room we were in, as always, was arranged with a circle of comfy chairs covered in crochet blankets and cushions to make ourselves at home.

Excitingly this weekend myself, with my Dear Ewe hat on, and fellow small business owner Mrs G Makes had a pop up shop in the room, and Amanda from Craftopia had a pop up shop in her van!

It was really nice for me to let people see the Dear Ewe products up close as I think it’s a totally different experience from seeing them just on your computer screen. And it gave me a chance to try out my new stall display format as Dear Ewe is hopefully going on the road in 2020 to some yarn shows near you….

We started off the afternoon with a really fun ice-breaker to get to know each other with us having to confess a time when we’d been naughty. Santa presided over us and checked his list to see if he agreed that we’d been naughty or nice! Apparently I was naughty – I’m sure that can’t be right!? And then we were all given a present…if you are Instagram you need to check out this video to see our reactions!

Inside the parcel was our very own Scheepjes Whirligig which was just unbelievable! I’ve been drooling (like so many others I’m sure) over these since they were released earlier this year. These decadent gigantic yarn cakes (1000m / 450g) are a super soft blend of alpaca and virgin wool and have gorgeous long repeats. Mine is the pink to plum version which is a pale pink that transitions to rich plums and deep purples. It was definitely love at first sight!

We were given two patterns to choose from, either the Scheepjes Valyria Shawl by Johanna Lindahl or the new Nolkag Wrap pattern designed especially for the weekend. I chose the Nolkag Wrap which is just a deliciously mindful pattern with a pretty cabled texture. I enjoyed working on the pattern, and with the yarn which just glides through your fingers, so much that I found it really hard to put it down the whole weekend!

But a gal’s got to eat so we hooked until 7pm then it was time for a three course meal in the restaurant (which was delicious) and then we went back up to the room for more crochet and chatting.

I was a bit more sensible this time and was in bed for 11pm (not the usual wee hours of the morning) and before I knew it it was time for a buffet style breakfast then back up to the room for our next project which was completely awesome! We were given everything we needed to make giant baubles! I still need to finish mine so I’ll have to share a photo when I’m finished.

Next it was Christmas dinner for lunch and with all of us feeling full and maybe a tad sleepy it was time for me to do my workshop! Lisa and Lynda had let me decide what I was going to do for my workshop, and when I’d suggested a stocking design they thought that was great – I think everyone was thinking it was going to be another amigurumi!

I came up with the Starlight Stocking design which I think would make a great addition to those handmade decorations you bring out year after year.

My chosen yarn for the stocking was the new Scheepjes Chunky Monkey yarn, which is becoming a fast new favourite of mine, so soft, combined with Scheepjes Catona and Scheepjes Lizzy (for a bit of bling). You can just see them hanging in situ below on one of the gorgeous Cranage Estate fireplaces!

As always it was great fun watching everyone get stuck into making the stockings (I don’t usually get to see that part!), we had a break for the evening meal until 7pm-ish (when the day people left us) for another scrumptious three course meal in the restaurant, then it was back up to the room again to continue with the stockings.

As always much belly laughter was had (you pinocchio nose people know who you are!)…then it was time for bed again, the weekend really does seem to just fly by so quickly!

Sunday until 3pm (when the Sanctuary finishes) is normally when we have time to finished off our projects but Lynda and Lisa had another fun project in store! We got to have a go at making our own custom shawl kilt pin and I got to use a glue gun for the first time. I now kind of want to glue aallll the things because I REALLY enjoyed using the gun. I chose some festive felt balls and bells to adorn my kilt pin to match my Nolkag Wrap.

After that it was wonderful to see that nearly everyone wanted to finish off their stockings…and some did get them finished or nearly finished over the weekend. Everyone did such an amazing job with them!

And some more stockings modelled with the gorgeously decorated fireplace!

I’m a bit addicted to attending The Crochet Sanctuary days / weekends they have throughout the year. It’s always such fun and I get to just talk crochet till I’m fit to burst which is especially refreshing because no one’s eyes start to glaze over – they are just as enthused as me!

It was a thoroughly wonderful weekend, which I knew it would be, that I was lucky enough to share with the most wonderful group of people! Just a lovely occasion to catch up with old friends and make some new ones!

If you are looking for a weekend of yarn, crochet, relaxation and just pure wonderfulness then the The Crochet Sanctuary is definitely the place for you. As testament the weekend dates for 2020 have already completely sold out – but you can still book the remaining few day dates that are left here.

I’m going back for a day visit again in February as a guest which I’m already looking forward to! How many more sleeps is that….

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

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Another fabulous weekend at The Crochet Sanctuary…

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What an amazing weekend I’ve just had at The Crochet Sanctuary!! It’s going to be hard to try and explain what a refreshing, relaxing and just downright fun time I had, but I’ll give it a go! 

You may remember that in February Mr. KCACO-UK bought me a day pass to The Crochet Sanctuary at the beautiful Cranage Hall in Crewe (which you can read about here). It was whilst I was there that the lovely Lisa and Lynda-Rose did me the very great honour of asking me if I’d like to host a workshop. I was delighted to be asked and of course I said YES please!

I think I’ve mentioned before that I don’t really have many crocheting friends that live close to me – or they are more dabblers in crochet rather than a self proclaimed addict like me. The majority of my crochet buddies I’ve only met virtually via social media so the opportunity to meet up with other creative folks that share my passion for crochet – and love to talk about it as much as I do is absolutely wonderful!

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I would describe myself as a bit of an introverted extrovert if there is such a thing. There are times where I feel a little awkward in social situations, but I also really love to chat once I get to know people. I love how the crochet sanctuary always makes me feel so welcome and straight away they seem to put everyone at there ease. 

On this occasion we were a nice cosy group of about 15 people and our room was a circle of comfy chairs covered in crochet blankets and cushions where we could make ourselves at home. There was also a spinning wheel of sweets (yes really!), prosecco, water, tea/coffee or locally produced cordial to drink, snacks galore and of course lots and lots of lovely yarn!

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We started off with a really fun ice-breaker to get to know each other which included being sorted by a talking Harry Potteresque sorting hat (I was Ravenclaw!).  And waiting for us on our seats was a giant goodie bag full of our first project.

We were given a complete Mabel the giant amigurumi Bunny by Wool Couture which I was very excited about. This was my first time making an mega large ami and the pure merino yarn was just soooooo squishy! The colour chosen for us was ‘mink’ which is what the original Mabel was made of and away we started hooking…

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We hooked until 7pm then it was time for a three course meal down in the restaurant (which was delicious) and then we went back up to the room for more crochet and chatting…and I may have just stayed up until 1am!! Time seriously just flew by! But everyone could have a lie in the next day until 9am (which when you think I usually get up at 6am – or earlier with my two early-bird girls was heavenly).

After a scrummy buffet style breakfast it was back up to the room for our next project and we were joined by some more people that had a day pass. This time our Lisa and Lynda had designed hot-water bottle covers for us to make. There were two different applique designs to choose from, either butterflies or stars, and we were also given a hot-water bottle and all the yarn we would need. I was pleased to see the Scheepjes Softfun Denim (which you may remember I used for the Stitch Story CAL) and some Scheepjes Catona (which is some of my favourite yarn to use) and by lunchtime I’d hooked up one completed panel of my hot-water bottle. Then it was off for another delicious two course lunch (we were so well fed the whole weekend!)

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Then it was time to get ready for my workshop…squeak!!! I was rather nervous but I’d taken along some of my favourite designs to talk about including the Leafy Boughs Shawl (on top) some crochet blankets I’d made for Simply Crochet magazine, the Stitch Story CAL blankets and various amigurumi…

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I also chatted a bit about Dear Ewe and our products which had it’s up close and personal debut that weekend with folks attending the sanctuary…

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And then I introduced the design we were going to be working on for the rest of the afternoon. Lisa and Lynda let me decide what I was going to do for my workshop, though they did suggest they’d maybe like to see an amigurumi. I thought long and hard about what I was going to do when I happened upon this photo…it was a serendipitous moment where the photo  just seemed to encapsulate perfectly what I wanted for The Crochet Sanctuary. Something fun and something to convey how the sanctuary made me feel – just completely relaxed!

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From that inspiration I came up with the design for Relaxing Ralph (pattern release coming soon), complete with optional hammock (and stand made by my lovely Dad).

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My chosen yarn for Ralph was Scheepjes Stonewashed XL combined with normal Stonewashed DK and some trusty Catona. It was super fun to watch everyone begin their cats – and a relatively new experience for me to be present when someone actually makes one of my patterns.

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The rest of the afternoon until 6pm-ish (when the day people left us_ was taken up with making our kitties, then we all had a little rest before meeting for another scrumptious three course meal in the restaurant at 7pm.

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Then for those that wanted to we all went back up to the room to do some more crocheting, and there was wine and gin (and soft drinks) shared around and oh my word just such belly laughter! Such a fabulous evening where something will just never be referred to in the same way ever again! Then before I knew it, it was 11.30pm and I really needed to sleep! 

Sunday until 3pm (when the Sanctuary finishes) was given over for time to finished off our projects (and of course another delicious breakfast and lunch). It was wonderful that nearly everyone wanted to finish off their cats and before I knew it Ralph was joined by Regina Phalangi, Hilda, Jasper, Cinnamon, Heather, Reba, Gary, Julian and Gordon! We couldn’t resist a little photo shoot with all the cats…

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Everyone did such an AMAZING job with their cats! And before I knew it the cats were getting up to all sorts of mischief! Sliding down banisters…

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and checking out the cat local population!

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And then there was just time for a fabulous group photo on the steps before packing up our belongs to go home (with some many goodies in our bags!).

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All in all a thoroughly wonderful weekend which I was lucky enough to share with the most wonderful group of people!

If you are looking for a weekend of yarn, crochet, relaxation and just pure wonderfulness then the The Crochet Sanctuary is definitely the place for you. As testament to that the dates for 2018 are all now sold out and the dates for 2019 are selling out fast – but you can book on the remaining dates here.

I have to say I’m totally getting addicted to these weekends and may have just booked on a few more myself for this year – I’m looking forward to my next day visit in November.

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

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