An Award Winning Weekend

The weekend before last Heather and I packed up my trusty Land Rover and pootled up the M1 and along the M6 to Junction 13 and the brand new show Wool@J13.  Two miles off the motorway and off we went through open fields and farmland, following the signs for the ‘Fun Farm’.

We came across a hive of activity surrounding a large marquee.  As we were one of the first there, we had a willing band of volunteers to help us unload and everything was unpacked in less than five minutes.

This set the mood of the whole show, relaxed, cheerful and well organised.

I was glad to have Heather’s help setting up and within a few hours we were blasting back down the M1 homewardbound.

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The next day I set off on my own for a weekend in Staffordshire.  Slight (huge) panic when I got on the M1 and it said ‘M1 closed between J18 and 19’ but luckily, the sign was wrong!

When I arrived I quickly spotted some of my show friends and managed to purchase a skein of sock yarn from For the Love of Yarn, well, I was on my own all day, so this was my chance to look around!  As you can see, I am cracking on with a gorgeous pair of socks (for me)…

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The show got off to a storming start and I was busy all day, meeting new friends and catching up with a few people I hadn’t seen for a long time.  Everyone was very complimentary about the stand and what I had on offer which was really lovely to hear.

On Saturday I took my trusty pack-up – marmite sandwiches… but on Sunday I treated myself to a ‘Bhaji Butty’ from The Green Canteen which was absolutely delicous.  As you can see, the van looked so inviting.  There was lots of other lovely food on offer at various stands that reminded me of Green Fields at Glastonbury.

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It was lovely to see my friend Clare, especially as this was her first show under her woolly pseudonym The Knackered Psycho!

I bought a few things at the show (would have been rude not to) including a couple of balls of boy coloured sock yarn for my Mum (she only knits socks for my brother) from WoolZone and some amazing herbs from the lovely Urban Herbs.  I got six ordinary herbs to replace the ones my chickens have inhaled and then six unusual ones.  I’m looking forward to trying the Orange Thyme!

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With the show nearly over I was just tucking into my ice cream, kindly bought for me by Julie (Wool Zone) when the marquee went quiet as Ingrid and Val announced the winner of the best stand at the show.

I nearly dropped it when my name was called out, I couldn’t believe it!  I was completely overwhelmed, especially as it was voted for by all the visitors to the show.

So Thank you to Ingrid, Val and their team of trusty volunteers (especially the Sandras), I had a smashing time and can’t wait for next year, when I will be proudly displaying my award, although perhaps not with a puppy peeping over the top of my head 🙂

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The next event I will be at is my own, The Woolly Moo day on Saturday 10th June in the Memorial Hall in Woburn Sands, to find out more have a look at the website, I hope you can join us!

It’s the perfect weather for drinking gin…

Sue x

Yarn Shop Days…

 

This time last year I was busy preparing for Yarn Shop Day at The Knitting Hut.  YSD is a national celebration of bricks and mortar wool shops, organised and promoted by Lets Knit magazine.

In the current climate of everything being just ‘one click’ away (and I have unwittingly found that to be true!) it has become more and more important to support the shops on our High Streets BUT to us knitters/crocheters our yarn shops are essential.  Where else do we get fabulous advice when we need it, to socialise with like-minded people and form the strongest of friendships with other people who ‘get’ what we love.

Wool suppliers are now getting behind this campaign with exclusive colourways only available in your LYS, here is a picture of this year’s special sock yarn colourway from West Yorkshire Spinners, lovely picture courtesy of LYS Alterknit Universe in Cleeve.  The picture also features a free pattern only available from LYS tomorrow.

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Lots of shops run competions and giveaways, together with special offers or limited edition yarns so it’s definitely worth going along.

As you can see, Florence, our knitted cow, can’t help but get in on the act and was in the window all day last year – we couldn’t get her out for weeks!  In our celebrations cake was always involved too and a few of our lovely customers made things especially for the day, making it even more special.

So if you are at a loose end tomorrow and fancy some yarn fun (and cake) seek out your LYS this Saturday.  If you are not sure where your nearest shop is then have a look at the AIYSO website.  ‘The Association of Independent Yarn Shop Owners’ was formed a couple of years ago as a support to independent yarn shops and is doing a fabulous job.  Sometimes it can be quite lonely running a business on your own but AIYSO has put all these yarn shop owners in touch with each other via Facebook so there is always someone there to listen, help and advise.  A bit like the service you would expect from your LYS itself.

It’s times like this that I really miss the shop and so tomorrow, I will be remembering what fun we have had at The Hut over the years  and, who knows, I may even get out to visit my LYS!

Have a lovely knitty (and gin) weekend!

Sue x

A trip to Welsh Wales

Last weekend was Wonderwool Wales and so Heather and I packed up and drove deep into the beautiful Welsh countryside.  I think Wonderwool has to be one of the friendliest shows I have exhibited at, AND THE FOOD!!  What a choice there was.  Heather is vegetarian and I will eat just about anything (although I have certain stipulations when it comes to cheese) and we were both more than well catered for, yum yum!

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As you can see the stand was larger than expected and we worked hard to make it look as full as possible, I was rather pleased that we could attach the washing line of clothes from Knit Me, Dress Me, Love Me to the stand itself, it made an eyecatching display it was lovely to see it making a lot of people smile.

The little nests you can see were an absolute bargain from Waitrose post Easter.  Originally £4 for one tiny and one not so tiny, reduced to just 50p!  I do get very excited about getting a bargain and they were just perfect for the birds.

The two cosy birds in the first picture are the Lovebirds I made for Erika Knight using her gorgeous British Blue Face Leicester DK.  We have a few kits left from the show which I have just put up on the website.

I love the shows we exhibit at, there is nothing quite like it, meeting lots of lovely people and catching up with other exhibitors who we may only see a few times a year, but have become good friends.  The other bonus of course is… SHOPPING!!

I was very restrained at Wonderwool (I know, unusual for me).  I bought some amazing buttons from Maggie and Colin at The Textile Garden, the shell buttons are for a shirt dress and the cute little hand buttons are for a shirt – when I find the right fabric to go with them.

The show was rather chilly but at least gave us the chance to wear ALL our knitwear – at the same time.  It was also the first outing for my new sweater design.  I’m really looking forward to having it ready for test knitting and I also need a name for it, all suggestions welcome! (p.s. I hate having my picture taken).  It is knitted using Merino DK yarn from La Bien Aimee in ‘Pop Grunge’.

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Next year Wonderwool has a wonderful plan, to have a ‘Curtain of Poppies’ all knitted, crocheted and woven by volunteers – each poppy will represent a person from the UK who lost their life in the First World War.  I am definitely going to make a few and if you would like to help HERE is a link with more information and a selection of poppy patterns available to download.

If you are considering a visit to Wonderwool next year, you should, there are roughly 250 exhibitors, lovely food, friendly knitters and beautiful countryside, what more could you want!

Happy Knitting and Gin drinking… Sue x

Easter and bunnies…

Usually, when I write a book with Search Press the idea for the title comes from them.  I am given a brief, my mind starts working and off we go.

But Knit Me, Dress Me, Love Me is a bit different so I thought I’d tell you about where the idea came from.

About five years ago, at The Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate I had an idea to make little knitted animals for my girls.  I bought some boucle wool, liberty print fat quarters and pure wool felt.  This all seemed like such a good idea, something I would do as soon as I got home and give them for Christmas….

Well, you know how it is, after knitting most of the pieces for the bunnies and sewing one together, other knitting got in the way and my good intentions came to nothing.

However, two years ago, just before Easter, I had a bright idea.  I could make Easter bunnies for my daughters and their cousins (plus Grandma because I knew she would love it).

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So six bunnies altogether, wearing clothes… and I had (by this time) less than two weeks.

Luckily I work well under pressure.

Well the needles clicked and the sewing machine whirred and, by Easter, there were six finished bunnies, wearing dresses and teeny tiny felt shoes.  I then took a ball of cotton home from the shop and quickly crocheted six little bags designed to hold a Lindt chocolate bunny.

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By this time I as running out of steam but I managed to knit a few mini bunnies so that the girls had something to pop into their bags when they had eaten their little chocolate.

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I’m not sure who had the most pleasure from these bunnies, I think it was me actually!

 

I Love Christmas!

I love Christmas!

Actually what I love the most is the decorations…

There’s nothing better than coming home to a glittering Christmas Tree full of all your favourite baubles and a garland or two!

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This year I have invested in this beautiful misletoe and pine cone garland from one of my favourite shops, Me, Me, Me in Leighton Buzzard.  The robins were an exciting purchase from Ikea, especially when I discovered they came in a pack of 3 for £5, I had an urge to fill my blue bag with boxes of robins…

The knitted decorations you can see peeping through were made in Loveknitting‘s new range of Paintbox yarn.  The brief was for a ‘Winter’ garland, rather than ‘Christmas’.  So I interpreted that as a Winter Woodland Garland and made a star, pine cones, holly sprig, misletoe and a snowflake.

The pattern is available as a free download from Loveknitting at the moment, perfect timing for a last minute Christmas knit.

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The snowflake was particularly tricky to work out.  Yes, a crocheted snowflake is MUCH easier to acheive!  But… after a bit of brainache and frustration I worked out how to do it.

Each ‘arm’ of the snowflake is knitted separately, the stitches left from each one are not cast off and put on a spare needle, all in a row.  Then you thread your working yarn through all the stitches to gather into a star, perfect!

In other news I bought myself a bottle of Baileys at the end of November, well the litre bottle was on special offer…. I have managed to save it until tonight when Christmas really starts, because the children break up from school and my son comes home from University.  Earlier in the week it was joined by a bottle of Chocolate Baileys…

Roll on Christmas!

Is it just me?

Today I planned to write a blog post about my lovely shop and how the High Street has changed over the eleven years that it has been open.

But… there is a more pressing issue.

I am losing my marbles.  “Yes”, I hear some of you shout, “that happened years ago”!  And you could be right.

Is it just me who remembers something very important that HAS to be done immediately, at the top of the stairs and has forgotten what it is by the time I get to the bottom?

Is it just me who has to drive back home straight after leaving to pick up their forgotten glasses, only to discover that they are in the side pocket of the car door?

Is it just me who is half way through saying something and forgets what on earth they were talking about?

Or is it just me??

Sometimes it is all just too much, I have a theory that your brain can only hold so much information (despite me trying to cram enough in there for two people) and when you try to mentally file that last crucial task it shoves it back out again.  Probably down your nose.

The problem is that there are so many people to disappoint and at the moment they are forming a not very orderly queue…

E.g.  Did you… change my school trousers, get my mini Christmas Tree, order presents for my friends, get a hundred weight of suppositories, remember recycling bags, pack my clothes for the Christmas play, make a vets appointment for the cat/dog (delete as applicable)

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“So”  I hear you cry… “what are you going to do about it?”

I’ll tell you what.

Set my alarm for 6am and, before anyone gets up and wants something, I am going to crochet a granny square using the wool from my Opal Advent Calendar.

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Where’s the Gin?

p.s. The suppositories pictured are not necessarily the requested brand due to a national shortage, who’d have known!

 

Knitting and Stitching Show – Harrogate

What a lovely weekend I had with Clare at The Knitting and Stitching show, read all about her side of the story here!

The Knackered Psycho

I have finally managed to catch a few moments to tell you about the weekend.  As you know, I went to help my friend Sue Stratford on her stand over the weekend at the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show.  I normally go to the one at Alexandra Palace as a punter, but I am going through my work experience phase of trying to get some understanding of what it takes to make the shows successful, just in case I get a bit braver and contemplate doing a show myself.

Sue is brilliant on all sorts of levels.  She is a super talented pattern designer, mostly known for her books on novelty knits.  She is very modest and down-to-earth, really approachable, and has a wonderful relationship with the people who buy her books and kits.  And just on a personal level it is a pleasure to spend time in her…

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