This weekend is Yarndale, one of the best events in my yarn year!  I will be visiting on Saturday and I’m just thinking about my preparation.

Are you going to Yarndale?  If so here are my top tips.

The first part of my prep is a review of the exhibitor list and floor plan, both can be found on the website here.  I check the exhibitors then print out a floor plan and highlight the ones that I really want to visit, sometimes I end up with a long list of exhibitors and have to prioritise them (maybe using 2 colours of highlighter pen!).   This then helps me decide which route I should take through the auction mart.

Next is what to wear.  It’s a good idea to check the weather forecast, but even in hot weather the venue can be cold – it has open sides and concrete floor and is built on a slope which helps the air flow – so it can be chilly even on a warm day.  The floor means comfy shoes are needed, and nice warm handknitted socks.  I find trousers are best and ones with a secret security pocket, then lots of layers.  Also, some fingerless mitts are useful and something for around the neck (for me that means a cowl).

Normally, I would take a large canvas bag to fling over my shoulder, but this year there are bag searches and it will be quicker all round if I don’t take a large bag.   So I’m opting for a small cross body handbag for money, phone, lippy, comb, small packet of tissues, keys etc.   It has some good little zipped pockets which are great for security.

For food I will take some lunch items, I’ll have some before I leave the coach (did I say I was on a coach?) and leave anything else on the coach (you can do this also if you have a car). I’ll also slip a couple of energy bars in my pockets for if I get peckish.

Also in my pockets will be some lightweight but strong shopping bags, these will be full by the end of the day!    If I find they get full early, then I’ll just leave them n the bag crèche until later.  And if I need another bag, well I can always buy a supply of the Yarndale bags!

Some, but not all, stallholders have mobile visa machines but the signal isn’t always good, so it’s much better to have cash (and possibly a cheque book).  I don’t keep cash all in one place which is why those little security pockets in trousers and bag are handy.  And it’s good to have small denomination notes and a good supply of pound coins, stallholders love them!

One mention of security – it is heightened this year, and we should all be alert, not just for additional risks but also for normal risks, be careful of where you keep your money and phone and hang onto your shopping (this is the worrying risk – don’t leave any of your precious purchases anywhere!).

Finally, the night before I have an early night and I put the mobile on charge.

If you’re at Yarndale on Saturday, look out for me – I’ll be wearing my Ravelry badge.    And if you have any tips for Yarndale, please share them!

Happy knitting and crocheting xxxx

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Cheshire Fibre Festival is 4 weeks today!   Workshops run at 9.30am and 1pm and cover a variety of fibre crafts – look at the details here.

It is important you book in advance, if you just turn up you may not get a place.  Some workshops take only 6 people, others may take 8, and I know that some have already booked up – so don’t leave it long to book your place!  If you want to book on one of my workshops, then please be aware that I close bookings the week before, as I need time to prepare packs of materials and print notes for each participant.

The mini-marketplace is open at lunchtime; where you’ll be able to buy yarn, fibre and other goodies – Robert Mack will be bringing his exquisite hand made buttons!  And the Kitchen will be open for tea, coffee and cake in the lunch break – with all proceeds to The Christie.  So it looks to be a good day out, an opportunity to learn new techniques and have fun with yarny friends 🙂

I hope to see you there!

Happy crocheting, knitting, weaving, spinning and needlefelting!  xxx

At Cheshire Fibre Festival we cover many fibre crafts – weaving, spinning, needlefelting, crochet, hairpin lace crochet, modern Irish freeform crochet and knitting. This week I’m sharing more information on the knitting workshops.

These are tutored by Lynne Rowe. Lynne is an expert knitter and crocheter; she designs, teaches and provides technical editing services in these 2 crafts.  She has also written several books, the latest is called Knit Yourself Calm which I rushed to buy when it was published; it covers the health benefits of knitting and in particular how it can help you to manage the stresses of modern life.  It provides a variety of lovely knitting patterns to suit your mood and help you relax.

Lynne’s two knitting workshops at the festival are:

Knitting with Beads – 9.30am to noon.

Learn how to knit with beads/how to thread beads/work a beaded cast on and place beads to create patterns.  You will make a scandi-style christmas tree decoration. Suitable for a confident beginner who would like to expand their knitting skills
Cost £25, includes materials (needles provided for use on day)

Knitted socks – 1pm to 4pm

Learn the basic principles of sock knitting; knitting in the round using double pointed needles/how to knit a cuff/leg/heel/gusset/foot/toe shaping/Kitchener stitch.  You will make a small Christmas stocking using double knitting yarn.
Suitable for a confident beginner who would like to expand their knitting skills
Cost £25, includes materials (needles provided for use on day)

You can book these workshops by emailing Lynne (details on the Cheshire Fibre Festival page) or through her website:  Knit, Crochet, Create.

Happy knitting xxx

 

Nicola Rudd will be running 2 workshops at Cheshire Fibre Festival covering weaving and spinning.

Her morning workshop will teach you how to spin using a Dizzy Sheep spinner.

If you haven’t tried this then you will be amazed at how quickly you can learn to spin and you may become addicted!  Plus you will learn all the basics of spinning without having to learn how to use a spinning wheel (of course once you’ve learnt spinning a wheel may be in your future!).  The workshop starts at 9.30am and runs for 2 hours.  It’s suitable for absolute beginners, both adults and children age 8 upwards (no experience necessary) and costs £15 which includes hand dyed fibre. There is an opportunity to purchase a Dizzy Spinning Kit at a reduced rate at the end of the workshop if you wish.

In the  afternoon, Nic will be running a three hour workshop on weaving using a palm loom. The workshop will start with weaving a coaster or small piece of art (your choice!) in plain weave and will move onto more complex patterns. It starts at 1pm  and is suitable for absolute beginners, both adults and children age 8 upwards (no experience necessary) and costs £20 which includes hand-dyed yarn. There is an opportunity to purchase a palm loom kit at a reduced rate at the end of the workshop if desired.

If you wish to book a place on either (or both!) of these workshops, you can find them in the Nic’s shop Yarns from the Plain alternatively, drop her an email at

Nic will also have her shop open in the mini marketplace at lunchtime – a great opportunity to stock up on her luscious yarn and kits!

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Happy knitting, crocheting, weaving and spinning xxx

 

 

 

This week I’m sharing information on 2 crochet workshops at Cheshire Fibre Festival. These are not ordinary crochet workshops but ones which teach you different techniques to help you extend your abilities.   Also, whilst they look amazing they are not difficult to learn provided you know how to do the basic crochet stitches.

They are Hairpin Lace Crochet and Modern Freeform Irish Crochet by Louise Croall.

Hairpin Lace Crochet uses a hairpin loom to make beautiful lacy strips of crochet that can then be joined together to make a large variety of items including scarves, shawls, clothing and blankets. Hairpin Lace can also be used to embellish a pattern giving it a lovely lacy alternative to conventional crochet or knitting.   In this workshop you will be given a quality hairpin lace loom and will learn to use it to make hairpin lace and then how to join them using a variety of different methods.  This is one sample of hairpin lace crochet (it’s part of an amazing scarf that Louise made!):

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The workshop is suitable for beginners, who are able to tension yarn, crochet chains and make a double crochet stitch.

It runs from 9.30am til noon and costs £30 which includes the loom and the yarn to make samples.  All you need to bring is your usual crochet kit including hooks and scissors.

Modern Irish Freeform Crochet 

This workshop brings traditional Irish Crochet into the 21st century! Starting in Russia in the 1990’s using modern yarn in all sorts of colours; Modern Irish Freeform Crochet is a fantastic technique to learn. It’s extremely versatile and can be used for garments, blankets, household items or works of art!

Louise has made some stunning items in modern irish freeform crochet, the photo below is part of an autumnal table runner.   She has designed and made a beautiful floral top and is currently designing and making a sea themed top (I’ve had a sneak peek at some of it and I can’t wait to see the finished garment!).  She taught me the techniques and I am currently making a oolourful window pelmet.

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You too can get started in this wonderful craft by learning the techniques to make a table centrepiece (for Christmas!).

The workshop is suitable for intermediate crocheters, ideally you will be familiar with making motifs.  It runs from 1.00pm til 4.00pm and costs £30 which includes the yarn to make the project.  All you need to bring is your usual crochet kit including hooks and scissors, a blocking mat will also be helpful.

If you wish to book either of these workshops email Louise at the email address shown on the CFF page, alternatively send a message through the Cheshire Fibre Festival facebook page.

Happy crocheting xxxx

 

 

The 2017 Cheshire Fibre Festival is being held on Sunday 1st October, that’s only 8 weeks away!  This year the festival is all about creativity; there are workshops morning and afternoon in a variety of fibre crafts, and a mini marketplace at lunchtime.

Today I’m starting a series of blog posts highlighting the workshops and hopefully whetting your appetite so that you book a couple!

First up is my workshops.

Crocheted Christmas Baubles

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This workshop will teach you several stitch patterns and how to add beads to your crochet to make a variety of Christmas baubles.  We will work with double knit cotton yarn plus some sparkly yarn.

Suitable for Advanced Beginner; you need to know know how to work in the round.

Staring at 9.30am and runs for 2½ hours.

Cost £25, including all materials except your crochet hook (although hooks will be available to purchase), just bring your own crochet hook in the range 3.25mm to 4mm, plus a larger one about 6mm.

Design your own Crochet Cowl

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This workshop will teach you how to design your own cowl, picking the style and sizing to suit you and how to combine stitches to create your own unique cowl.

Suitable for Intermediate; you need to know how to work in the round with confidence.

This workshop starts at 1pm and runs for 3 hours.

Cost: £30, including a skein of luxury yarn DK yarn, just bring your own 4mm crochet hook.

Both workshops include comprehensive notes.

To book either of these workshops email agrarianartisan@supanet.com

I will also have a small stall selling crochet goodies at the lunchtime mini marketplace. There will be some small kits, crochet hooks and copies of my new book: Cowling Around.

There is more information on the venue, all the workshops and how to book here.

Next week, I’ll focus on another 2 workshops.

Happy crocheting xxx

 

 

 

In my last blog post I mentioned I had been busy and I promised to tell you about what has been keeping me busy – my book.

I started designing over 6 years ago, and some of you will know I have accumulated quite a portfolio of crochet and knitting designs (a quick look on Ravelry tells me it is over 180!). I have also published a few collections of designs in ebooks, and I have featured in print in several magazines but I have never published a printed book of my designs.   I decided 2017 is the year I should do this and in January I set about it.  The decision was a bit scary – will anyone like my designs enough to buy a book?  Well, I don’t know the answer to that but I felt so driven that after much deliberating I thought I’d take the risk.

So the last 7 months have been a whirlwind of designing, writing patterns and crocheting.  And I’ve had a whole army of people testing the patterns for me!

The book is called Cowling Around and is a collection of 9 crochet cowl designs.   You see I love cowls and to me it was natural that my first printed book will be a collection of them.

Today was a very big day for the book – we had the photoshoot!   I can’t share any photos with you yet, as it will be a while before I see them myself but I will share one photo I took of the ‘stage’ – it may not look exciting but it was perfect for capturing the right photos.   I learnt a lot from Laurie the photographer, not least about light – I knew light is super important but getting that right is difficult unless you know how!

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There will be a lot of people to thank when I publish but for today I’d like to give HUGE thanks to Laurie, Vicky, Julie, Louise and Jenny – what a team!

There is a LOT more work to do before the book is printed but I will start to share some more snippets soon. Meanwhile, maybe a few of my recent crochet cowl designs will tempt you!

Happy crocheting xxxxx

 

Sorry I’ve been so quiet recently.  I was very busy in early summer – putting the finishing touches on some new designs for a book I am writing (which I’ll tell you all about in a short while) and preparing for Cheshire Fibre Festival workshops.

So I took a much needed holiday to recover.   We travelled up to Scotland via Northumbria; I haven’t been to Scotland on holiday for a very long time and it is almost as long since I last visited Northumbria.  These are both very beautiful parts of the British Isles and generally much quieter than the rest of the UK in summer.

Scotland was lovely, with quiet roads and resorts.  We stayed at Pitlochry and Grantown-on-Spey, both beautiful Scottish towns set in lovely scenery. We saw lochs and rivers, mountains and valleys and everything inbetween, even some pipers!  And we travelled as far as the Moray coast.   This coastline is stunningly beautiful, if a little windswept from the North Sea, with banks of shingle and miles of golden sands.

We travelled back to Northumbria via the Snow Roads – a fabulous scenic route taking us along some of the highest public roads in the UK and some amazing landscapes.  At the end of the 90 mile route we felt we had seen all of Scotland!

In Northumbria we re-visited Holy Island, Bamburgh Castle and Cragside, all just as lovely now as years ago.

Of course, I can’t take a holiday without checking if there are any yarn shops in the area.  So I went armed with a list of shops I could visit.   Unfortunately we were never always in the right place at the right time to visit them all (confession – I had 8 shops on my list!) and only managed to visit one.   This was an amazing find – Karelia House.  It was more remote than I expected, off a single-track road, and I would say it was more a craft barn than a shop and with a lovely café. It had sewing machines, haberdashery, fabric and a wide range of yarn.   This is my haul:

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I came home feeling quite refreshed and ready to tackle the next stage of the book, more about that in a while 🙂  Meanwhile, this is a bowl of my momentoes from Scotland:

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Happy crocheting  xxx

There’s just a week left of Indie June on LoveCrochet/LoveKnitting and I realised this morning that I hadn’t done a ‘focus’ on the crochet shawl pattern that is on special offer during this month.    This is Kitty :

Kitty is not just one shawl pattern, it is a design that has variations.

You can use one colour or two, from the photos above you can see the one at the foot is a variegated shawl, that is the one colour version.  I used one skein of sock yarn about 370m.

You can make it large or small, in fact you could make it any size.  The largest I made is in the top left of the photo – it is approx 230cm wide by 50cm deep and used approx 300m each of 2 different colours of sock yarn.

You can choose between 3 different borders.  From simple picot to 2 colour block.

So if you mix and match colour combinations, borders and size you could get at least 12 different looks from one pattern.

The pattern runs to 6 pages, is written in UK crochet terms (US shown in the key to help you translate) and has some charts.  It is on special offer on LoveCrochet at £2 until the end of June (that’s half price) you can find it here.  Or you can buy it on Ravelry here but must use the coupon code INDIEJUNE to obtain the discounted price.

Happy crocheting xxx

 

 

 

The 4th pattern in my Indie June special promotion is another blanket. This is Sandlebridge Stripes:

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I love stripey blankets but I do have a short attention span, or rather I get bored with lengthy repetition!   To overcome this I challenged myself to design a stripey blanket that had just enough interest to continue ‘grabbing’ me for long periods of time.   It also became the focus of a workshop I was planning on blankets.

I wanted to avoid some of the pitfalls of stripey blankets (like having all the ends on just one side of the blanket which I think can affect drape and can make the blanket look untidy).   And I wanted to mix the design about so that some rows were quick to make (aiding in the sense of achievement) and others a bit more slow and therapeutic.  Armed with these ideas and 7 different balls of Stylecraft Special DK I set about designing and making a lap blanket.  I reckon I was successful because when I finished my 7th ball I grabbed another 7 and the blanket carried on growing!

The stitch pattern is a 5 row repeat and the colour changes mean that you only repeat the exact pattern/colour combo every 35 rows.  There are a lot of ends to sew but they are on both edges of the blanket so it is  balanced.

The finished blanket is approx 145cm by 175cm – a really great size, but you could make it bigger or smaller to suit your needs.

Whilst I used Stylecraft Special DK, any DK yarn would work well and colour choice is up to you!

The pattern is on special offer at only £2 during June here on LoveCrochet or here on Ravelry, but you must use coupon code INDIEJUNE on checkout on Ravelry to get the reduced price.

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Happy crocheting xxx

 

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