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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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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My visit to The Crochet Sanctuary

Sooo today I want to tell you about the wonderful weekend I had at The Crochet Sanctuary  What’s this I hear you cry! What on earth is a Crochet Sanctuary? Is it a sacred place for humans to crochet all day long? Well yes – that’s EXACTLY what it is. The Crochet Sanctuary is a place for like minded people to congregate in a state of pure relaxation and enjoy crochet aplenty.

You may remember that the lovely Mr. KCACO-UK bought me a day pass last year as a treat for a weekend in February. So last weekend hooks in hand and in a wild state of anticipation I made my way to the beautiful Cranage Hall in Crewe.

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The Crochet Sanctuary is the brainchild of the very lovely Lisa from The Wee House of Crochet and Lynda-Rose of Lyndas Craftroom.  It runs from Friday evening at 5pm until Sunday afternoon with day passes, like mine, on a Saturday from 10am until 6pm.  All snacks, drinks and lunch are included along with unlimited yarn (!!!), and there is also workshops and guest designers. Too much awesomeness right?!?

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Anyway back to my day…I got to the sanctuary and I was shown the way into a side room (with crochet bunting adorning the door) and once inside I was initially rather taken a back to find a room  full of people all ready and eager to crochet. I don’t know why I was so surprised, that is after all what the day was about, but it was just a completely new crochet scenario I suppose as I usually crochet alone (boo hoo). 

I think there was about 25 of us in total and as the day was about to start I quickly made myself at home on a sofa that, like all the other chairs in the room, were made up with crochet blankets and comfy cushions. We were encouraged to bring slippers before hand which I thought was lovely and many people did.

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We went straight into our first workshop, which was to choose a wonderful TOFT Edwards Menagerie amigurumi kit, and then it was hooks a-go-go.  I didn’t really mind what animal I ended up with, though I thought it would be nice to make something I haven’t already made (Hippo and Parrot), and in the end I ended up with the extremely cute Simon the Sheep.

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So the rest of the morning was taken up with working on our respective amigurumi projects – or if that wasn’t something you were really interested in there was yarn and other pattern books available so you could work on something different.

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There were breaks for tea and coffee and snacks and  lemonade / pink lemonade to quench our thirst and a fabulous pick and mix cart full of sweets of which we could help ourselves too. Our hosts really had tried to think of everything to make us happy and then some! 

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We were all given a gift of an electronic row counter and the cutest gummy bear stitch marker to use on our projects. This unfortunately I promptly lost whilst I was there, it certainly didn’t make it home with me – it’s quite possibly down the sofa I was sitting on if anyone wants to check. 

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I so so enjoyed chatting with everyone around me – it’s so refreshing to speak to people who don’t glaze over when you are talking about crochet or yarn and enjoy talking about it as much as you. And then it was 1pm and lunchtime! The morning went sooooooo fast! 

We enjoyed a delicious lunch and then it was back to a new workshop with the lovely Coastal Crochet who I’d been looking forward to meet.  We went back into the room which had been transformed by a most wonderful display of pebbles and yarn as Eleanora brought a bit of the seaside with her – and she’d also created a playlist to accompany the afternoon with seaside themed songs.

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Our workshop was to crochet around pebbles which I have had ago at before and enjoyed and as I have a bit of a pebble obsession was really pleased to try again. Eleanora had created five exclusive patterns for the workshop, and much to my delight, we were working with Scheepjes Catona which is one of my favourite yarns to work with.

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I made two of the most delightful pebble cosies (is that I thing – can I claim that?) and they are now adorning my desk at home and work as paperweights.

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There was a little bit of time left after that for chatting and working on whatever project we wanted to and then before I knew it (and way before I was ready to leave even though my time was up) Mr. KCACO-UK was outside ready to take me home.

Goodbye’s were said to all and with a goodie bag from the lovely Lisa and Lynda-Rose in hand I had to bid The Crochet Sanctuary a fond farewell.  All in all a thoroughly wonderful day which I was lucky enough to share with the most wonderful group of people!

Just in case you were wondering what happened to Simon the Sheep – I finished him off when I got home and he turned out SUPER cute!

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So if you are looking for a weekend of yarn, crochet, relaxation and just pure wonderfulness I can heartily recommend a visit to The Crochet Sanctuary. All the new dates for 2018 have now been added to the website here.

AND now I’m going to share my ultra exciting news!! If you’ve ever fancied finding out a bit more about the person behind these blog posts well now you can. The September Crochet Sanctuary 2018 will feature a workshop by ME! That’s right, I’m stepping into my presenting (crocheted?) shoes to deliver an interactive workshop with a brand new crochet design made especially for the day.  And I for one cannot wait wait to go back to  The Crochet Sanctuary. 

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

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