A pretty amazing weekend actually…


Although I’m currently a bit under the weather and feel like I have been like that for months (I blame little people and their germs) I need to tell you about the weekend before last as it was pretty fan-dabby-dozy and I shall tell you why in a rather longer than usual post.

Back in October, when I was down at the Knitting and Stitching show in London, I got chatting with the lovely Sara from Black Sheep Wools who told me about a special open day they were holding in November.  

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To celebrate becoming Scheepjes stockists they had arranged for Haak Maar Raak blogger Kirsten (think the Hygge Shawl) and Look at What I Made blogger Dedri Uys (think Sophie’s Universe) to come along and chat to people, sign books and run mini workshops.  Well after discovering that Black Sheep Wool are only about 50 minutes up the motorway from me I marked the date in my calendar to go along because yarn plus chance to meet amazing designers equals no brainer right?!

If you’ve never been to Black Sheep Wools  it’s a big yarn shop (with it’s own coffee shop) in Warrington who regularly hold yarny events and workshops in their craft barn. For me it was a little bit like stepping into a sweet shop – and I do so find it hard to resist squishy goodness…but more on that in a bit.

So with my lovely mum in tow (and my dad – but he read his book in the car) we set off early last Saturday morning to Warrington.  When we first got there the bloggers hadn’t arrived yet which was actually handy as I got time to squish and browse. I feel I must just bring your attention to the Christmas tree in the store foyer because I’m sure like me you will feel that you need it in your life! It had been decorated, amongst other things, with all the little Scheepjes Catona Cutie Pies and looked fantastic!

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But it wasn’t long before I got to have a complete fan girl moment and meet the lovely Dedri and Kirsten. Now you may recall that Dedri was my first ever designer interview  (which you can read it herebut we had never actually met in person.

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When Heather met Dedri!

It’s so nice to finally meet someone that you have only met virtually and I’m going to add quickly, in case any of you have done it too, that all this time I’d not realised that I’d been saying her name wrong! In case you were wondering Uys isn’t pronounced ‘yus’ as I’d been saying it but should be pronounced more like ‘ace’. And whilst we are talking about pronunciations Scheepjes I also learnt should be said like ‘Shape-yuz’ not ‘Sheepes’! 

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When Heather met Kirsten…

Both bloggers were so nice, open and helpful, answering all my many questions and offering really good advice on ways of looking at colours, designs and blogging! They also kindly signed a couple of my books that I took along (Amamani Puzzle Balls by Dedri and Bold Baby Crochet: 30 Modern & Colorful Projects for Baby collated by Dedri and features Kirsten).

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Next mum and I took part in a mini workshop by Kirsten to make her fab Scandinavian Heart (get the free pattern here) with some yummy Scheepjes Catona. 

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Mum and I both decided to go for Christmassy sort of colours and had great fun making little yarn jellyfish to weave together to form the heart. It was really nice sitting crocheting and chatting about crochet in a little group. 

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But conscious that Dad was still sitting in the car (he was still happily reading) and we’d already been there for over three hours we decided it was probably time to leave. But of course as there there was soooooo much lovely yarn to squish and as it was a Scheepjes open day I thought it would be really rude of me not to purchase maybe a little something…

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I know! I know! I have a yarn addiction! I must hasten to say at this point that although it may seem that all I do is buy nothing but yarn I promise that everything I purchased was / is all for specific projects! 

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And some of it was a lovely gift! Because I was one of the first 50 customers in store I also got an exciting Schjeepes goody bag in which I got the purple Schjeepes Catona (this is fast becoming one of my favourite yarns to use for my ami’s), the really inspirational Schjeepes YARN Bookazine Tropical Edition (which I LOVE by the way), two mini Schjeepes YARN pattern books, the big Schjeepes window sticker and two great Schjeepes wooden buttons.

The next day mum and Dad came back round to my house to look after the girls as Mr. KCACO.UK and myself were off for a spa day! I know! Sooooo exciting! You may remember that this year we had celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary and as I gift I bought us a spar day. We usually aren’t so extravagant as this with gifts but ten years – it’s an achievement well worthy of a bit of a special gift. 

We ended up going to Mottram Hall in Cheshire which has an outside sort of spa bit with a hot tub and steam rooms. It was so strange to be sitting outside in a swimming cozzie in November but it was really fun, they’d decorated ready for Christmas and I have to say their tree’s were pretty amazing ranging from Harry Potter themed to Alice in Wonderland (which was my favourite).

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We also had fantastic back massages and enjoyed a most delicious afternoon tea.

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All too soon the weekend was over and it was back to reality with a Monday-ish bump.  But cake, back massages, crochet and yarn – it doesn’t get any better than that really does it! 

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

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My visit to The Knitting & Stitching Show 2017


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Being a crochet blogger can certainly comes with it’s perks…like being invited to attend the biggest textile event in the UK!! I didn’t need asking twice let me tell you! So last Thursday saw me and my lovely mum, as my plus one, hot footing it down to London to attend The Knitting and Stitching Show at the Alexandra Palace (aka the Ally Pally).

Firstly I should advise you, my lovelies, that this is going to be a bit of a long post with lots of photos so you might want to get comfy and grab a cuppa (or your favourite tipple) before we proceed…right…ready…then I shall begin.

I’ll also quickly say I’m not usually one for selfies but seeing as this is a post about my experiences of the show there are some actual photos of me (and mum – who kindly gave me permission to post her photo on the web). Mum was also there in the capacity of a financial adviser basically to try and help me curb my need to buy everything I saw (more on that later). All photos were taken on my phone as I thought my camera would just get in the way of my shopping bags (ha!) so I’m hoping the quality isn’t too bad.

After a 3 hour journey we got to the Ally Pally at about 10.30am on the 12th October which was the second day of the show and late night opening (till 7pm). The show actually runs for a mammoth four or five days usually so there’s plenty of time to attend one (or more) of the show dates.  The Knitting and Stitching Show actually runs in several venues across the UK with two dates in London each year – you can sign up for their latest news by subscribing to their newsletter (link on the bottom of the website).

The Ally Pally was a completely new place to me and wow what a BEAUTIFUL building it is! 

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The stunning building that is the Alexandra Palace – just look at that window!

Situated on top of a hill in North London it offers a fabulous panoramic view of the city below. My mum, bless her heart, had never been to London before so I think she was a little thrilled about the view.

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It’s London baby!

First stop was to go and get my press badge! Yes that’s right my. very. own. press pass…and the next photo shows me completely geeking out about said badge (cringe)!

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Then after a quick visit to the loo and a large cuppa for sustenance we went inside to see what we could see.  

The corridor to the main event room was lined with some of the winning entries of this years Festival of Quilts. These quilts were pretty jaw droppingly stunning! The photo of the following quilt in particular, called African Village, was my favourite. You wouldn’t quite believe it was a quilt unless you saw it up close (I wasn’t the only one going up for a closer look). I think it just looks like a painting – the attention to detail is just amazing – and don’t get me started on the colours! 

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African Village by Janneke de Vries-Bodzinga

Now I’m still relatively new to craft shows, I’ve done Yarndale, WoolJ13 and TOFTfest) and I knew this was going to be a big show but I wasn’t quite prepared for how MAHOOSIVE it actually was. Sooooo many stands and sooooo much to look at and take in! 

We arrived just as the show opened so people were just beginning to trickle in and, although it did get busy, I felt that it was never too squashy or overwhelming – and the giant ceilings of the room also helped alleviate any feelings of claustrophobia you might have

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Early doors at the Knitting and Stitching Show 2017

There’s no distinguishable layout to the stalls that I could make out; they didn’t seem to be grouped by name or craft, and there was also booth’s with workshops and demonstrations dotted about in between the stalls. We did have a guide book that listed all of the stalls but we actually quite enjoyed just walking round and kind of ‘happening’ on things of interest – which was a lot!

I literally was that excitable child out with mum pulling her about saying ‘Ooo look at this’ and ‘OOoo look at that’.  She may have accused me of bouncing about and being hyper but my enthusiasm got us talking to some lovely people who were also visiting the show. It was great listening to other people’s experiences of the show; why they were attending and what bargains they’d got or what they were going to make with the things they’d bought. 

I also met some celebrities…of the crochet kind!

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The celebrity makes (from left to right): Sophie’s Universe by Dedri Uys (Look At What I Made), The Hygge Shawl by Kirsten Ballering (Haak Maar Raak), A Spicier Life CAL by Sandra Paul (Cherry Heart) , not too sure about the knit chevron blanket, then it’s A Spicier Life again in a different colourway and I think the last one is the Apre’s Ski Colour Pack designed by Sara from Black Sheep Wools.

After seeing so many of these blankets and shawls online seeing them made up close was pretty exciting! I think my mum was slightly stunned as I started reeling off the names and designers for ones I recognised. It also got us talking to more people who had made the blankets or shawls or were planning to make them – seriously loved the chatting to other crafters bits of the day.

The Black Sheep Wools stall was one of my favourite stands of the day.  Aside from displaying many of the blankets above they had basically set up a yarn sweet shop of Scheejpes Catona (which I love – look out for a future review and new pattern from me soon!) And I don’t know why I didn’t realise that the actual shop is not that far away from me…I see a visit coming on sometime soon!

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I mean come on! My purse didn’t stand a chance!!!

Another favourite stall of mine was the TOFT stand. I love the brand and designs anyways (see my previous posts about TOFTfest and my interview with Kerry Lord) and my mum just fell head over heals for this giant version of ‘Caitlin the Giraffe’. It is just amazing isn’t it! It was certainly drawing a lot of well-deserved attention.

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Caitlin with my lovely little mum for scale

Kerry Lord, the designer behind Caitlin, was there signing her new book; Edward’s Crochet Doll’s Emporium (look out for my review of the book coming soon) and the stand looked amazing with many other of her designs hanging up. 

Kerry is a definite source of inspiration to me! Not only does she produce gorgeous designs but she seems to have unlimited energy! I’d just seen on Instagram that she’d just literally come back from promoting in Australia and there she was at the show signing books and giving talks…and she’s got two young children – just amazing!

I didn’t go and say hi, as she was very busy with the signing books business, but mum and I did have fun with the Ed’s Dolls face stand in…

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Another part of the show we really enjoyed was The Women’s Institute display of knitting buildings. So much detail in each and everyone, they were incredible!

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Just incredible attention to detail!

I don’t know whether you can see but some of the houses and churches were decorated with little Halloween items like a pumpkin, witches hat and broom. Here’s another photo of my favourite house…

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Look at the cute little pumpkin!

Whilst at the show I’d also arranged to meet some of the people from Let’s Get Crafting Magazine. After working on commissions with the magazine for almost a year it was it was so great to meet the lovely editor Rosie and deputy editor Jess in person after so much chat via email. Mum and I were treated to a cuppa and we had a great long chat about past and future projects (some exciting stuff coming soon so watch this space!).

It was really good to develop a better understanding of the behind the scenes workings at the magazine – and I think they were interested to learn my design processes too. 

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Rosie, me and Jess

And then before we knew it, it was time to attend our workshop; Sewing a Quirky Creature with Miss Libby Rose

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The fab Miss Libby Rose and some of her Quirky Creatures

Now sewing for me, is very much out of my comfort zone! I can basically make easy things like a lining for a crochet bag…and maybe sew up something fairly square, but tackle things with shape – not on your nelly! That’s when the session at the machine usually ends up with tangled bobbins and lots of swearing. 

However, you don’t get better at things unless you practice and try new things and I would like to be able to sew better so I was excited to give it a try. 

Mum and I were joined at the class with the lovely blogger behind Elsie Pop (who you can just see in the background) and her other half (who turned out to be a natural secret speed sewer!).

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I obviously missed the memo about wearing matching tops…

The experience went a little as expected…it seems I develop a very heavy right foot as soon as I sit down at a sewing machine so things have a literal tendency to run away with themselves. BUT thanks to the most fabulous Miss Libby Rose, we did end up with half finished kitties for Little G and Little Miss….

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which we finished off at home, didn’t they come out cute in the end!

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Then it was time to go home! We literally left the show at 6.55pm just before it closed at 7pm. We’d spent a mega 8.5 hours at the show and yet it seemed like it went by so fast – I could have stayed longer!

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And what did I buy? Well mum epically failed to rein me in – but to be fair she didn’t really stand a chance! So I bought lots of pretties and squishies!

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For me the show was pretty much all about the yarn and the people I got to meet, but there’s fabric, sewing and embroidery stuff, beads, buttons and chances to listen to crafty talks and take part in workshops – pretty much everything a textile craft loving gal could desire! If you get the chance to go to a future Knitting and Stitching Show I can thoroughly recommend it.

Before I finish off this post I’m just going to thank the organisers of the show again for my complimentary tickets, goodie bag, workshop and for making me feel like a mini professional (rather than an blogging imposter) with my press badge! And for supplying five tickets free for KCACO.UK readers. It’s was very much appreciated!

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

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Yarn Review | Patons Tahiti


Disclaimer: I received a free sample of this yarn however I have not been financially compensated by the supplier to write this review. All opinions expressed are my own and based on my own experiences of using the yarn.

Tahiti-Review

Whilst Paton’s Tahiti range isn’t exactly a ‘new’ yarn on the market it was a yarn that was new to me. I have to say that fingering yarn is not something I have worked with very much – mainly because I feel slightly intimidated by tiny hooks! That said I’m always excited to try some new yarn play so I was most excited when I was sent a sample of Tahiti ‘Wildfire (Shade 7623’) by the lovely folks at laughinghens.com.

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I wanted to create something just out of this one ball and so I got out my hook and waited for that inspiration. And you know what, I discovered that actually using a small hook made a refreshing change…but more about that shortly. Let’s check out the yarn’s vital statistics first shall we: 

  • Weight:  3 Ply / Fingering
  • Blend: 99% Cotton, 1% Polyester
  • Yarn Ball Weight: 50g ball
  • Yarn Ball Length: 280m / 306yds
  • Wash instructions: Machine wash 40°
  • Price: £5.50 (at the time of this post)

So now we know a bit more about what we are dealing with I’ll tell you a bit more about the yarn. Paton’s Tahiti comes in eight different shades all inspired by elements and nature. With names like ‘cyclone’, ‘peach beach’ and ‘jungle’ it’s perhaps not surprising that the tonal range is vibrant and the colour transitions are long and smooth. As you know I love working with any style of variegated yarn; I find it such fun to watch the colours reveal themselves turning any project, as if by magic, into something special! As a designer I also love how anything that you crochet with yarns like this will look totally different dependant on the size of your project and stitches used – sooooo many possibilities!

The touch of polyester gives the yarn a slight stretchiness which would work well for lightweight garments as it creates a light, flexible fabric which returns back to shape when worn. This cotton doesn’t have a firmness about it that some cottons have, so it wouldn’t work for something like a hat – unless you were looking for something a little more floppy.

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The recommended hook size for the yarn is a tichy (eek!) 2mm-3mm (US size 2/0 or C/2) however even though, for my design, I was working with a tiny 2mm I found the yarn really nice and easy to work with. 

You know what I decided would be a great design for the hot weather of summer – a lightweight skinny scarf! The scarf pattern will be ready for you next week! But because I love you I’ll let you have a little sneaky peep at it…

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I have to say I really enjoyed working on this design, it was great for hooking on the go – that lady hooking on the bus to work; yes that was me!

I’m also muchly in love with the rich colours of this yarn and the contrast between the purples and orange on the final scarf well I just adore them…but you’ll have to wait till next week for my reveal!

In summary if you are looking to make some lightweight accessories like shawls, baby wear, fine knits, or something I really want to have a go at some point, socks then you should give Paton’s Tahiti a go! If you are interested in owning some of this yarn for your very own then it is currently available for purchase via laughinghens.com

Until next time, happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Pattern Release | Pembroke Seascape Shawl


For 2017 year’s edition of Indie June LoveCrochet.com wanted to do something special so they invited a group of designers to create a collection of knitted and crocheted garments featuring The Yarn Collective yarn (which I blogged about here). The result is the Coastal Adventures Anthology – featuring eight beautiful patterns with inspiration from Scandinavian summers on the coast.

I’m really excited to now reveal what I designed with The Yarn Collective’s Pembroke Worsted Yarn.  May I introduce to you my new Pembroke Seascape Shawl!

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The rectangular Pembroke Seascape Shawl, made from the softest hand dyed merino wool, is as light as a sea breeze!

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It’s just perfect for covering up on a chilly summer evening or on an adventurous stroll around a coastal path.

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I always think shawls are fun to crochet when I’m making them (I really should make more!).  I’ve had such fun with this one adding different stitch patterns which beginner and advanced crocheters should enjoy.  The shawl’s sinuous ripples and texture, combined with the cool grey and blue variegated colours, are inspired by marbled ocean waves lapping at a pebbly beach.

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Although the pattern may look complex it is very straightforward and will be readily picked up by beginners.

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Click on the following link to purchase the pattern and add to your 💗 Favourites on lovecrochet.com or Ravelry.

Exclusive Giveaway 🎉

For your chance to win a copy of my new design simply head on over to Ravelry or LoveCrochet and add it to your favourites or show it some love by commenting below this post with your Ravelry username / or email address. 

Bonus Entry: Re-pin any of the pins above, copy & paste the URL of your re-pin in the comments below. 

Winners will be randomly chosen on Friday 23 June 2017 around 7pm GMT

And…

Enter any coastal inspired projects in the LoveCrochet Community and enter the #IndieJune2017 competition for a chance to win £100 to spend at LoveCrochet!!! So exciting!!! Can’t wait to see your finished projects.

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

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Yarn Review | The Yarn Collective Pembroke Worsted


Disclaimer: I received a free sample of this yarn however I have not been financially compensated by the supplier to write this review. All opinions expressed are my own and based on my own experiences of using the yarn.

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Luxury yarn – sometimes you just have to splurge and get that hand-dyed loveliness that you’ve got your eye right!? Or does it seem a bit scary?

I like to think of luxury yarn as my ‘special’ occasion yarn…it’s something I’ll use when I want to make something for a ‘special’ someone – especially if it’s anything that is going to worn a lot. Anything that you want to last and perhaps become an heirloom well that’s where luxury yarn comes in. Whether you are making something as a treat for someone else or because you are going to put a lot of work into a beautiful pattern, I’ve learnt that it often pays to choose a luxury yarn.  

I recently had the pleasure of designing with some of The Yarn Collective Pembroke Worsted yarn which just oozes luxuriousness from every fibre!  

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Oh so lovely and squishy!

From that first squish when I got it out the packaging I just knew it was going to be a pleasure to crochet with…and it really was! But more about that in a moment, the first thing we need to establish, to be all proper and yarn reviewy, are the vital statistics of the yarn which are: 

  • Weight:  Worsted | 10ply
  • Blend: 100% Merino Wool
  • Yarn Ball Weight: 3.5 oz/100 g
  • Yarn Ball Length: 200m / 219yds
  • Wash instructions: Hand-wash
  • Price: £16.90 (at the time of this post)

Pembroke Worsted yarn comes in 10 different shades designed by Bristol Ivy, an influential American knitwear designer, all inspired by the rich, pure tones of gems and minerals.  It’s hand painted in small batches using a combination of solid shades and close tonal colours to create perfectly blended varicoloured skeins.

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Honestly this yarn was a dream to work with! It’s a lighter worsted yarn with a recommended hook size of 4.50mm (US size 7) – though I found it’s very adaptable dependent on the design.

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I have designed a brand new pattern with the stunning icy grey-greens of ‘Tellurium’ (shade 308). I love working with variegated yarns – it really keeps things interesting as you work and the colour changes in the Pembroke Worsted are pleasingly regular and add a lovely dimension to a pattern. You’ll have to wait a bit longer for my big reveal but I can give you a little sneaky peep…

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So if you are looking for a versatile worsted weight luxury yarn that will create beautifully soft, yet durable projects then I would definitely recommend The Yarn Collective Pembroke Worsted yarn.

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If you are interested in having some of this beautiful yarn for your very own it is currently available for purchase via loveknitting.com 

Well until next time, happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Wool@Jct13 Yarn Festival


It’s not everyday that a wool show happens pretty much on your doorstep so when I heard about the Wool@Jct13, the new wool show for the Midlands, I knew I’d got to check it out.  The festival is held on a family run farm in the pretty market town of Penkridge, South Staffordshire and the very first show was this weekend (13 & 14 May). I pre-brought tickets for the whole family which were very reasonably priced at £6.50pp on the day or £12pp for the full weekend. Getting advanced tickets I got a further 15% discount and the other great thing was that under 16’s and parking for the day were both free.

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So what is Wool@Jct13 all about? Well the festival is described as a celebration of all things woolly for anyone with an interest in wool – whether it be spinning, knitting, crochet, weaving or felting. Over the two days you could expect to find food, drink and live music (we very much enjoyed The Haywood Sisters) alongside demonstrations, competitions and wool craft workshops – and of course lots yarn themed shopping opportunities!

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Outside the large tent full of stalls was a fab singer (John) who recited a little ditty of his own creation for their stand the Wool Zone. Little G had a whale of a time dancing to the tunes…John’s song however has since turned into a ear-worm for the whole family as we are all still singing ‘come on into the wool zone!’ 

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There was plenty for children to do, Little G was fascinated by the spinning wheel over by The Woolly Roadshow Griffith Mill and was delighted and then thoroughly absorbed with the task of spinning when she was kindly allowed to have a go herself.  

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She also got to feed a lamb some milk and we all enjoyed watching the sheep shearing demonstration. I couldn’t believe how chilled out the sheep were when they were getting their fleeces removed…

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And inside the the tent…oh my! There were a plethora of stalls for all interests…

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And so much lovely yarn as pictured here at the Bellica Yarns stall – and they actually invited me to squish it! What an invitation!

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Everyone I met was so friendly! I had a wonderful time chatting to the owners and helpers of Crafts from the Dungeon, Fig Tree Yarns, Luxuryyarns.co.uk, Ewe and Ply, Thread of Life, The Woolly Roadshow Griffith Mill and Cotswold Alpacas – this isn’t a full list of all the exhibitors just the ones I happened to speak to on the day; the full list of folks around on the day can be found here.

I was quite reserved in my purchases as I really need to finish off some WIPs before I start anything else. That didn’t stop me from buying a couple of goodies though, I bought a sheepy braiding disc kit from Crafts from the Dungeon which is a tool to make cord with. I also brought a lovely wooden drop spindle kit from Cotswold Alpacas which came with some lovely alpaca fluff for spinning into yarn yourself. I’ve always wanted to give it a try and was very grateful for the mini demonstration and discussion I had about how you can hand spin yarn.

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All in all we had a really great day – I can’t wait until next years show! To find out about future events you can sign up to the Wool@Jct13 newsletter, at the bottom of the page, on their website here and they also have a Facebook page here.

Well until next time, happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine | Speedy the Sloth


Love sloths? Well I hope you’ll love my new Speedy Sloth design out now in Issue 90 of LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine! Make sure you don’t ‘hang around’ and pick up your copy today!

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I always love the styling that the magazine do with my designs – just look how cute Speedy looks hanging around in the bamboo!

Speedy’s arms and legs pop open with snap fasteners so he can flit between trees or simply take a seat somewhere comfy.  

If you are not familiar with LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine it comes as an exclusive pack containing six balls of yarn, a pair of needles and a hook so that you can get started straight away. Deputy Editor Jessica talks you through the latest issue in a great little video below.

LGC Knitting & Crochet Magazine can be found in major supermarkets and stores across the UK. So pop down the shop and get your copy now or you can find out about more about the magazine over on their website here.

And the very exciting news I have to share with you is that you can get Speedy the Sloth for FREE over on topcrochetpatterns.com or why not save him to your 💗 Favourites and Ravelry Queue here to hook up later.

Well until next time, happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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