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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Pattern Release | Floral Mandala Ring Cushion


So this May was a very special month for me as my best friend, of over 25 years, got married. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to design her ring cushion for her special day – and now it’s all over she’s happy for me to release the design as a pattern for others to enjoy too.

What was really funny when I started thinking about designing this cushion, and a testament to how well we know each other after all these years, I knew she wanted purple to be her wedding colour so I picked up some purple yarn and the accent button when I happened to see them. But this was before she’d made the final choice for her wedding decor – but it all matched perfectly, I just knew what she’d like!

Introducing the Floral Mandala Ring Cushion…

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If you’ve chosen to have a ring bearer on your wedding day and you’d love to include a handmade element in your day then this could be the perfect solution for you.

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This sweet and simple textured cushion with it’s floral mandala motif is elegant enough on its own and lets the rings do the talking. 

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The colours can be adapted to match any wedding theme and it’s a relatively easy item to make. Perfect for a beginner that was looking to learn some new crochet techniques or an experienced crocheter as a quick project.

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The cushion is made with Scheepjes Cotton 8 (4ply / fingering weight) yarn but if you made it with Aran (worsted weight) yarn and a larger hook I think you would also have a fantastic cushion for your favourite chair!

If you hook up the Floral Mandala Ring Cushion please share your photos with me on social media (facebooktwitter or instagram) – I love to see what you make! 

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

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Dear Ewe | Launch Day News and Discount Coupon


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FOLKS, THIS IS NOT A DRILL! DEAR EWE IS A GO-GO!!!!

Through hard work, focus, learning, grit & persistence my business partner Becky and I have finally launched our new online shop for crafty folks – Dear Ewe – the NEW place to shop for craft inspired products. 

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At Dear Ewe our aim is to celebrate your crafty life with a range of quality products which have been inspired by the handmade and everything has been designed with crafty EWE in mind.

We’ve worked hard to try and create beautiful and functional products for crafters which includes mugs, bags, framed craft room decor, photo prop cards and greetings cards.

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And for those of you that love to make things we have some crochet patterns too – all available as an instant digital download from the website. At the moment there are just two designs (available in UK or US crochet terminology) but I have big crochet plans so watch this space!

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We’ve got a launch special offer for anyone that enjoys a bit of retail therapy in our store. Our prop cards are a must have for crafters or bloggers who want to spice up their social media feeds! 

Buy two or more products from DearEwe.com from 28 May and you’ll receive two FREE lucky dip photo prop cards with your order.  

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We’ve chipped away at the dream for awhile now and it’s amazing to see all the hard work finally become reality. Personally the learning curve for me has been massive! But I feel very proud of what Becky and I have accomplished. 

And of course I’ve got a little something for you my lovely KCACO.UK readers, just enter KCACOUK4EWE at the Dear Ewe checkout for 10% off your final order (valid until the end of June 2018) – happy shopping folks!

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Until next time, keep calm and crochet on my friends x

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KCACO.UK and GDPR 😆


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Let’s use all the acronyms!! Joking aside I hope you’ll stay in touch!

You have probably been bombarded by a myriad of companies contacting you about opting in to stay in touch, this is because as of May 25th 2018, Data Protection Laws are changing.
For Keep Calm and Crochet On UK (KCACO.UK) I take your privacy seriously and in order to stay compliant I’ve updated my Privacy Policy (which you can also now view as a set page on the blog). 
 
If you are an email subscriber to this blog I need to double check with you that you are still  happy to receive my latest posts by email – if you are that’s awesome you don’t need to do anything.  However, if you no longer want to subscribe (if you are reading this in your email) you just need to click the unsubscribe option below and you will no longer be contacted by me.
If you are a subscriber to my mailchimp newsletter you should have an email in your inbox asking if you still wish to receive updates from me each month. Just click on the ‘Update Settings’ button to opt in and it will just reconfirm your email address with you.

Until next time (hopefully) keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Dear Ewe | Behind the Scenes


Squeek! The launch day for  Dear Ewe is getting ever closer…only 16 days and 17 hours to go and probably even less by the time I’ve finished writing this up and posted it! I seriously feel that all of a sudden the days have started speeding forward to the deadline date and just where on earth did April go?! 

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If this is the first time you are hearing about Dear Ewe it’s the online company and shop that I have formed with my friend, and now business partner Becky, that’s launching at the end of this month on Monday 28th May.  The shop will sell a variety of products  including bone china mugs,  bags, crochet patterns, prints and cards that all celebrate creativity and the world of handmade. 

We know that there are shops out there (not including the small handmade product providers) that have products for crafters but it’s often either only a small part of what they do or it’s a cheap import that’s not that great.  So we wanted to change that. Dear Ewe’s sole purpose is to create good quality products inspired by crafts designed exclusively for crafters.

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With launch date growing ever closer I thought it might be nice if I shared a little behind the scenes look at how we’ve been preparing for the big day and a bit more of a peep at some of the products that are going to be on offer – including some of my person favourites!

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As you can imagine we’ve been planning and working incredibly hard behind the scenes to design and source our products.  Sourcing our products close to home and supporting local business owners and our local community was something we were both very keen to do. We’re proud to live in Stoke-on-Trent, which is officially recognised as the World Capital of Ceramics, so it made sense that we should be able to find locally produced fine bone china – and we did with the fabulous and supportive Heraldic Pottery

One of my favourite days so far was when we were invited to go behind the scenes at the factory to see some of our first mugs being created. You can watch a little video that we took here, but I’ll pop a couple of photos below too…

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I can’t quite explain that feeling of having seen something that was 2-D for so long and then how it felt actually seeing it as a real product – it was so exciting! 

Every single one of our mugs is hand decorated by skilled lithographers, and when we got the opportunity to watch them, well it’s unbelievable how skillful they are! I love the fact that our mugs have that ‘handmade’ touch because we’re all about celebrating that aren’t we!

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Another of my favourite days so far was a fantastic photo shoot at the stunning venue of The Upper House with Clara Lou Photography. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, there were flowers everywhere, it was just such a lovely place to be – and it provided so many wonderful backdrops for some of our products shoots. 

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You can just see one of our bags in shot there. I LOVE our bags…shall I tell you a little secret…I’ve already bought several for myself (there’s definitely perks to being a business owner). But they are just so nice and handy and sturdy if you know what I mean!! I did a little bit of a yarn stash tidying exercise recently and oh my were the draw string bags great for that. But I digress…as well as (two different sizes) of draw string bags we also have our fabulous tote bags…

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And I think I’m going to leave it there…that’s enough sneaky peeks for now, but I will just quickly mention again that as well as our mugs and bags in store we also have our fantastic photo prop postcards, some beautiful framed print designs for your craft space, greetings cards and of course a couple of exclusive crochet patterns (designed by moi).

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Our official launch is 28 May 2018 but you can stay in the loop with details by signing up to our newsletter, or following us on social media (all links on the website).

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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Dear Ewe | Inspired Products for Crafty People


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Hey lovelies, I have some extremely exciting news! I’m thrilled to announce my new business venture, Dear Ewe, a online shop full of craft inspired products for creative folks.

I founded Dear Ewe, with my good friend Becky (of Keepsakes by Rebecca) because we felt there was a gap in the market for high quality, contemporary and functional gifts for crafters. We’ve been working hard in stealth for many months to combine our passions of stitching and graphics to develop a range of products that we think creative folks will really like. 

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Although the range of our products are for various crafts it made sense, as I’m a crochet addict, that some of our first ranges were exclusively for all the lovely crocheters in the world. 

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I love these mugs!! There’s 3 wonderful mug ranges to choose from: the beautiful crochet chart range (as shown), the gorgeous character range featuring our own lovable Ewe, and the fantastic crafts pattern range ➰ And the fabulous thing is that each of these mugs are hand decorated on English made fine bone china mugs – crafted by crafters for crafters!

As well as lovely mugs, we also have a range of fab textiles, patterns, art and cards – all celebrating creativity and the world of handmade.  I know I am biased, as this is my new business, but I love everything we’ve got! You won’t find anything in Dear Ewe that we don’t want to own ourselves and everything has been inspired by you (or ewe) that love  handicrafts. 

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More details about Dear Ewe will be following soon. Our official launch is 28 May 2018 but you can stay in the loop with details by signing up to our newsletter, or following us on social media (or go crazy sign up and follow us on them all!)

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

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