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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Crochet Workshops at The Artisan Boutique


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So rather excitingly I’ve been running some crochet workshops in the Artisan Boutique in Stone, StaffordshireIt all started off when I met Susan, the lovely owner of the store, when she became a stockist of Dear Ewe products.  We got chatting and she asked if I fancied running some crochet workshops for her so I said ‘yes’ and went off to make a plan of workshops I could offer.

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We started off with a Learn to Crochet class on 19 August where we had a group of five wonderful people join us. It was a nice size group actually as it meant I was able to get round and help people when required. The group was a mixture of complete beginners and people who had crocheted before but it was a long time ago and they wanted to refresh their skills.

I had fun winding balls of yarn into little sets and creating packs for the class as well as creating a brand new pattern that I designed to help practice the stitches we were going to learn. In the class we went over the basics of crochet and we started off with how they might feel comfortable holding their hook and yarn (because there is no right or wrong way as long as you are happy with it!).

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We also learnt some basic stitches such as chain, double crochet (US single crochet), half treble (US half double crochet) and treble (US double crochet) – and you would have been amazed at how fast that two hours went!

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I was most impressed by how well everyone did; and everyone had made a swatch with all the new stitches by the end of the session. I was especially bowled over by the two young sisters that were taking the class as a birthday present – crochet can be tricky at the beginning, until you become more comfortable with everything, but both girls did amazingly well!

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I’ve got some more workshops coming up in the future at The Artisan Boutique if you fancy a fun crochet workshop…

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The workshops that I’m facilitating in 2018 are listed below:

Learn to Crochet Amigurumi – Sunday 9th September: 10.15am-12.15pm, £30pp

This class is ideal for beginners or anyone that would like to learn the technique of amigurumi crochet. This class will cover how to read a pattern, how to begin working in the round, increasing and decreasing. Make a simple crochet cat by the end of the session.

Granny Squares and Granny Stripes, Sunday 28th October: 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 or work some granny stripes and learn how to double crochet, 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 or a striped granny block and have started a project, to complete at home, using your new skills. 

Crochet Mandalas, Sunday 18th November: 10.15am-12.15pm, £30pp

In this fun and relaxed class we will build on your existing crochet ability to create a crocheted mandala.  Destress 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.

Crochet Christmas, Sunday 9th December: 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 snack!  Last time we had some delicious cupcakes! The minimum age for the workshops is 13 years old and all children must be accompanied by an adult.

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Obviously my workshops are going to be splendid so if you are in the area you should come along (booking directly to The Artisan Boutique please) it’s a nice relaxed atmosphere and such a sociable and friendly pass time when you work on a project together.

If you love a crafty workshop you should really check out the full list that The Artisan Boutique has available! There’s tons of stuff to try and experience – I especially love the idea of the big crochet pouffe workshop with jumbo wool, I might have to try that myself!

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.

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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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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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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And the winners are…The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show 2018


Is everyone ready! We have have ourselves some winners…but first I’d like to say thank you to everyone that submitted an entry, I really enjoyed reading your reasons why you’d like to attend and / or who you’d like to go to the show with.  And we also have to say a big THANK YOU to lovely people from the Knitting and Stitching Show for providing the ticket prizes. 

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So without further ado the winners are…

  1. Samantha Wormleighton
  2. Libby
  3. Posydog1
  4. Peter B
  5. Cheryl Gardner

Congratulations my lovelies! I’ll be in touch today to request your contact details so that the tickets can be posted out to you. 

And to everyone else sorry if you didn’t win this time but there’ll be more giveaways and special offers for you coming soon (if fact later today!)

And don’t forget the special discount for tickets still applies. Just quote KEEPCALM18 and you can save £2 on advance adult ticket price (or £1 for concessions)  which makes the tickets £11.50 instead of £13.50/£12.50).  You can buy tickets here or call 0844 581 1319.

I’d like to say a big thank you again to the shows organisers for offering this special deal to my lovely KCACO.UK readers! 

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My visit to the Nottingham Yarn Expo 2017


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Oooo I’ve just realised I’ve not told you all about my visit to the Nottingham Yarn Expo yet have I?

So my story starts back in June when Mr. KCACO.UK and I celebrated our 10th Wedding anniversary. The boy did good and along with a beautiful stamped tin heart necklace he surprised me with tickets to the inaugural Nottingham Yarn Expo which this year was held on the 11-12 November.  How he found out about it I don’t know as I hadn’t come across it before so I was super surprised! And it turned out there was a mountain bike trail not far away from the expo too which was handy…

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My family actually herald from Nottinghamshire, though we moved away when I was twelve, and I have fond memories of catching the number 90 bus with my Nana to go to the cinema in the Victoria Centre. Although alot has obviously changed since my childhood when hubby dropped me off to head for the trails I was able to find the expo easily enough.  Held over two floors in the Nottingham Conference Centre at Nottingham Trent University it’s about a 2 minutes walk from the Old Market Square (located in the heart of the City Centre).

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The conference centre is a fabulously big and airy modern venue and on the Sunday when I visited we were greeted by the delicate sounds of a harpist…which is exactly what you want! Nothing like wafting dreamily around yarn stalls eyeing up  wonderful yarn accompanied by the angelic sounds of the harp! Such a great idea! And I heard on the Saturday they had a string quartet entertaining the crowds.

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And oh my! Wasn’t there just a fabulous array of yarn! 

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And the expo, for the most part, was filled with gorgeous artisan and hand-dyed yarn…

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…okay stop drooling! I understand though, the gorgeousness of these yarns was something for the eye to behold!

And amongst the exhibitors I got to meet Caz fromWulla Yarn who was showcasing her wonderful meta yarn at the show. Although we’ve spoken by email, when we collaborated on the Wulla Wreath, we’d never actually met in person so it was great to put a face to the name.

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And she’d made a Wulla Wreath to display on the stall, you can just see it in the background there, I may have squeaked a little to see it, it’s always so fun to see a design you’ve created made by someone else.

Caz was super lovely and kindly gave me an impromptu spinning lesson as she had her spinning wheel with her. I really enjoyed having a go at spinning but found getting my hands and the feet moving in sync akin to trying to pat my head and rub my stomach at the same time. So in my case definitely more practice is required! 

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I also got to meet with designer Marie Wallin (whose book I reviewed here on the blog: Winter Crochet). 

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There are times where I wish knitting were my thing as her beautiful colour-work designs are seriously gorgeous! Even though I don’t knit I could certainly appreciate the mastery behind the designs and I really enjoyed chatting with her.

Over both days at the Expo there were some inspirational lectures from designers and artisans and also some skills workshops. I was so busy looking at everything that I forgot to actually look at my watch so I missed the talk I’d fancied going to and although I did look at the workshops to book before hand they seemed predominately targeted at knitters rather than hookers. I have seen recently though in the Expo Ravelry group that they are investigating suggestions for more crochet and advanced crochet classes for the 2018 Expo.

So what did I think of the Nottingham Yarn Expo? Well if you like luxury yarn then this is definitely the show for you!

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Lots of choice of hand dyed loveliness to choose from but there were only a few other stalls selling other things, there were some stalls for felters, and only one I could see for buttons or beads (which I was looking for on this occasions) so it would might have been nice to see a bit more diversity in craft products.

I actually ended up spending my money not on yarn but stationery! The fab Stationery Geek was exhibiting and all their crochet themed stationery is awesome! It’s so nice to see crochet represented! Sometimes it feels as if crocheters are knitters lesser-known cousin!

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I LOVE their crochet bible, which I have already started using for charted designs as it comes with handy squared graph paper, and I also ordered their Bloggers Bible which arrived yesterday – it’s going to help me be super organised in 2018 and it has stickers too!!

But back to the show. What I also really liked is that they had plenty of places to ‘sit & knit’ (or hook) in break-out areas which was a great idea (and there should be more of this at all yarn shows!). I also loved the inclusion of the live music. One thing that I hope will be included for future years is a floor plan of exhibitors and a little map of where the talks / workshops are being held. 

And what did I get? Well you know me! I find it almost impossible to go to any sort of craft event and not buy something! Well I was fairly restrained (as it wasn’t that long since I’d spent a small fortune at the Knitting and Stitching Show).

Well aside from the stationery and for saying it was a yarn show I actually didn’t buy any yarn at all (I can only say I was sickening for something) but I did get the beads that I needed for projects which I found in a little basket underneath some yarn, a new 2.75mm hook (as the hook monster has eaten my previous one), some new Clover yarn needles (possibly the sofa monster has eaten my others), a notions case, a fun crochet themed card, a cute little stitch marker and a fab new crochet project bag.  

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For me the show was again about the people I got to meet rather than my purchases but I will say if you get the chance to go to the Nottingham Yarn Expo in 2018 I think you’ll have a great day out.

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

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